Twenty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (September 11th) – Cycle C


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them.”)

1. Why did God tell Moses to go down to his people? Exodus 32:7


2. From what had they turned away? Exodus 32:8


3. What was the way God pointed out to them? Exodus 20:1-17.


4. What did they do with what they had made and what did they cry out? Exodus 32:8


5. How did the Lord see the people? Exodus 32:9


6. What did the Lord say to Moses about his wrath? Exodus 32:10


7. What did the Lord say he would do for Moses? Exodus 32:10


8. What was the question Moses asked the Lord? Exodus 32:11


9. Who did Moses ask the Lord to remember and what did the Lord say he had promised for their descendants? Exodus 32:13


10. What did the Lord relent in doing? Exodus 32:14


Personal – How do you, like Moses, stand in the gap and plead for God’s mercy, rather than his wrath, for your country, community, parish, family, and finally for yourself? What promises that God has made to us from his Word, can you use for your defense?




(“The grace of the Lord has been granted me in overflowing measure.”)

1. In 1 Timothy 1:12 who has been strengthened by Christ and been made his servant? 1 Timothy 1:1


2. How has he been judged? 1 Timothy 1:12


3. Who keeps faith with us and strengthens us and guards us from the evil one? 2 Thessalonians 3:3


4. What three things was Paul at one time? 1 Timothy 1:13


5. For what reason was he treated mercifully? 1 Timothy 1:13


6. What has the Lord granted Paul in overflowing measure plus two other things which are in Christ Jesus? 1 Timothy 1:14


7. What can you depend on as worthy of full measure? 1 Timothy 1:15


8. What kind of a sinner does Paul see himself? 1 Timothy 1:15


9. Are we any different than Paul? Romans 3:23


10. How was Paul dealt with, what did Jesus display and for what reason? 1 Timothy 1:16


11. What is Paul’s response to what God has done for him? 1 Timothy 1:17


Personal – In what way have you seen yourself as a sinner saved by the grace of God? What has your response been to this?




 (“Father, I have sinned against God and against you.”)

1. As the tax collectors and sinners were gathering around to hear Jesus, about what were the Pharisees and Scribes murmuring? Luke 15:1-2


2. In the parable Jesus addressed to them, to what was he referring as being lost? Luke 15:3-4


3. What does the owner of the sheep do when he sees one is lost, and what is his response when he finds it? Luke 15:5-6


4. In verse 7 of Luke 15 Jesus goes from speaking of sheep (an animal) to speaking about people. What does he say about people?


5. Jesus goes on to speak another parable and this time it is not an animal but an object. What is it and what does the woman do when she loses one? Luke 15:8


6. When she finds it, what is her reaction? Luke 15:9


7. What is the reason for the joy of the angels of God? Luke 15:10


8. Jesus now tells the story of the man and his two sons. What did the younger son say to his father, and what did the father do? Luke 15:12


9. When the son collected his inheritance, where did he go and what did he do? Luke 15:13


10. When the famine broke out and the son found himself in dire need, what did he do? Luke 15:14-16


11. When he finally came to his senses, what did he say and do? Luke 15:17-19


12.  In verse 18 of Luke 15, who does the lost son say he had sinned against?


Personal – When you come into repentance over something you know you did wrong, are you sorry because you got yourself into a mess or are you sorry because you offended God and others? What do you see as the difference between worldly repentance and Godly repentance?


13. When the son set off for the father’s house, what happened when he was still a distance away? Luke 15:20


14. What did the son say to the father and what did the father tell the servants to do? Luke 15:21-24


15. Meanwhile what happened with the elder son, and what was his reaction? Luke 15:25-30


16. What was the father’s reply to the older son? Luke 15:31-32


Personal – In what way, this past week, have you been angry or jealous over what has happened to someone in your family, a friend, a church member or a work acquaintance? Come into Godly repentance.



FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19

(“My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit.”)      

Read and meditate on Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




EXODUS 32:7-11, 13-14

This passage clearly defines the consequences of what happens when idols become the god of our lives. The people were beginning to panic and become very unruly. Moses had been up on the mountain for a long time (over 40 days) and the fire, smoke, and thunder continued to terrify them. They wanted to see a familiar God and wanted to shape him into an image that they could understand and worship. They wanted a god made into their image and a god that was convenient to either obey or ignore. Today our temptation is still to shape God to our liking or to make him in our image. We need only to look around and see some of the golden calves that we have made into gods. The cow or calf was one of the most popular idols in the pagan world at that time. They were a symbol of power and fertility and were, therefore, connected with immoral sexual practices. The Lord saw how stubborn and rebellious these people were and he responded in great anger as he does even today when his mercy is trampled on. The people in today’s passage were blind to the love that God wanted to shower upon them. Their blindness came from their idols and useless worship. We need to reflect on our rebelliousness and stubbornness. Some of the golden calves in our lives are power, sex, money, pleasure, education, youth, health, big homes, fancy cars, athletic ability, marriage, family, etc. We need to ask ourselves if any of these things come before our total commitment to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Moses begged God not to destroy those foolish people, and then he called on God to remember his promise to the servants of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. God had promised that these descendants would inherit the kingdom forever, so the Lord heard this plea and changed his mind, and spared them. You and I have to get down on our knees and pray the same prayer that Moses prayed. There are so many people today worshipping false idols and many times they are right in our own families. We have a loving, merciful, and just God, and he will hear our prayer of intercession. We need to put down our false gods and become repentant and change the way we live. Our God is the One True God, and his name is Jesus Christ.

1 TIMOTHY 1:12-17

Praise God, praise God, for being so merciful. Paul probably said this kind of prayer day and night. He is telling Timothy that God’s mercy is so powerful that no one has to feel unworthy or abandoned. Paul tells about how he was a blasphemer of the Lord and how he hunted down people who believed in Jesus. Paul was an educated man with a zealous vengeance that produced terror in the hearts of Christians. He not only hunted Christians, but he had them arrested and murdered before he, himself, came to Christ in faith (Acts 9:1-9). Paul tells us about a God that not only loves and forgives, but he forgets our wrongful past. Some people feel so guilt-ridden by their past that they think God could never forgive and accept them. That is what we call today “stinkin’ thinkin’,”We are called to renew our minds (Romans 12:2), to put on the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5), and fill our minds with thoughts that are pure and honorable (Philippians 4:8). The call to renewal has to begin with the call to repentance, and repentance begins with the confession of our sins. Even Paul admitted he talked violently against Jesus through unbelief and arrogance and was a persecutor of innocent people. God forgave Paul, and he can forgive you and wants to forgive you. Take this time now to reflect on what is going on in your life. Ask, “Do I blaspheme God with my tongue?”  “Do I attack others with my criticalness?” We as Catholic Christians have a tremendous opportunity to be reconciled with the Lord through the sacrament of Reconciliation (being brought back to a loving relationship with God). Forgiveness is a decision and God wants to forgive us more than we want to be forgiven. God wants to love us more than we want to be loved. His love for us is unconditional – no strings attached. Paul wants Timothy to spread the news that God took a sinner like Saul and made him into a loving servant called Paul. We need to let the healing power of God’s love and forgiveness soak into us and repent because the Kingdom of God is at hand (Mark 1:15).

LUKE 15:1-32

In this passage, Jesus defends why he associated with the unwashed, the unclean, and the unsaved people by sharing with them a story about sheep, coins, and a human being. Jesus knew that the Pharisees were always very careful to stay clean and safe according to the Old Testament law. They avoided unsafe people and unsafe conditions to make sure they did not violate any legal restrictions. Jesus was a complete contrast to them, in that he risked defilement by touching lepers, eating with tax collectors, and being seen in the company of public sinners (like Mary Magdalene). Jesus came to love the sinner and hate the sin. He came to show that God loves them no matter what they have done or where they have been. He continued going to those who needed him, regardless of what that might do to his reputation. Jesus’ love for the individual is so great that he seeks out each one and rejoices when he or she is “found.” Jesus connects sinners being lost to sheep that are lost, as both depend very heavily on the shepherd. The shepherd will go through the most dangerous situations to save one lost sheep. They would fight off robbers, wolves, and thunderstorms. Dangerous rocky cliffs were places where a valiant shepherd would find a lost sheep and be returned safely to the flock. Sinners who were beyond hope were found and saved through the good news of God’s Kingdom.  Our God is like the shepherd. He searches for lost people and then he saves them. Jesus then shows us the incredible power of God’s love for the lost in the story of the prodigal son. You first need to understand that the oldest son receives more than one-half of the father’s estate. The rest was divided up equally by the remaining sons. This young man received one-third of the estate when he demanded his share. The remaining two-thirds of the estate went to his older brother. In most cases, this would have been done after the father’s death, but this showed the contempt he had for his father’s authority as head of the family. His son took the money and left for a distant land and he squandered it on parties and prostitutes. After a while, his money was gone, and to survive he got a job feeding the pigs at a local farm. For a Jew to stoop to feeding pigs was a great humiliation. According to the law of Moses, the pigs were unclean animals (Deut. 14:8).  The son had hit bottom and finally he came to his senses. The key to this passage is his saying “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you; and I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” He confessed his sin and in a spirit of true Godly sorrow and repentance, he went home to be accountable to his father. His father ran out to meet him and instantly restored him to his former position of honor. We need to reflect on this message. It may take a great tragedy to cause us to look up to the only one who can help. Are you trying to live your life this way? Don’t take foolish chances, stop and look before you hit bottom, and save yourself and your family much grief. God, like the father in this story, waits patiently and lovingly until we come to our senses.


The first reading tells us of the consequences that happen when idols become the God of our lives. The second reading shows that the call to renewal has to begin with the call to repentance. The Gospel reveals that God waits, patiently and lovingly, until we come to our senses. In the spirit of mercy, select someone in your family, or among your friends, and make a decision to forgive all the wrongs of this particular person; and for one whole week, affirm what he/she does right. You will be astonished at the result.

Twenty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time (September 4th) – Cycle C


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“Or whoever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom…”)

1.   Fill in the following blanks: For what man __________  ________  __________, or who can            ____________ what our ________ _______?  Wisdom 9:13


2. What are the deliberations of mortals, and of what are we unsure? Wisdom 9:14


3. What does the corruptible body do to the soul? Wisdom 9:15


4. What does the earthen shelter weigh down? Wisdom 9:15


5. What do we find with difficulty? Wisdom 9:16


6. What does Wisdom 9:16 say about things that are in heaven?


7. You had to be given ________ in order to know his counsel. Wisdom 9:17


8. What was sent from on high? Wisdom 9:17


9. By sending your Holy Spirit from on high, what would happen to the paths of those on earth? Wisdom 9:18


10. What did men learn and by what were they saved? Wisdom 9:18


11. What happens to the man who walks in wisdom?  Proverbs 28:26


Personal – In what way have you been following God’s wisdom and counsel in your everyday affairs, or have you not thought to seek it?




(“I prefer to appeal in the name of love.”)

1. In the name of what does Paul prefer to appeal? Philemon 9


2. As what does Paul refer to himself? Philemon 9


3. For whom is Paul appealing to Philemon? Philemon 10-11.


4. Where was Paul when he had begotten him? Philemon 10


5. In sending Onesimus to Philemon what did that mean that Paul was really sending? Philemon 12


6. What reason did Paul want to keep Onesimus with him? Philemon 13


7. For what reason was Paul in prison? Philemon 13


8. How might kindness be bestowed? Philemon 14


9. Onesimus was separated from Philemon for what reason? Philemon 15-16


10. By regarding Paul as his partner how would Philemon welcome Onesimus? Philemon 17


Personal – In what way have you defended a brother or sister in the Lord this week?  In what way can you make an appeal for the unborn who is about to die at the hands of an abortionist?




(“Anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”)

1. To whom was Jesus speaking on one occasion? Luke 14:25


2. What must a person do to become Jesus’ follower? Luke 14:26


3. What two things must we do to become Jesus’ follower? Luke 9:23 and 14:27


4. How often must we take up our cross? Luke 9:23


5. How do we discover who we really are? Matthew 10:37-39


6. What would a person do if he decides to build a tower, and for what reason? Luke 14:28-29


7. What would people say if he could not finish the tower? Luke 14:30


8. What will a king who is about to do battle sit down and do first? Luke 14:31


9. If he cannot withstand the enemy while he is at a distance, what will he do? Luke 14:32


10. In the same way, if we want to be Jesus’ disciple, what must we do? Luke 14:33


Personal – What are you still possessing that is holding you back from completely dying to self in order to peacefully and joyfully follow Jesus?  How can you give up all of your possessions?



FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 90:3-6, 12-17

(“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 90:3-6, 12-17.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




WISDOM 9:13-18

The book of Wisdom is addressed to Jews around 50 B.C. These people were so impressed by Hellenistic learning and civilization that their faith was in danger. The author combats their materialism, Hedonism, and idolatry by taking full aim at the renegade Jews. Wisdom is a gift of God; genuine wisdom means belief in the one God of Israel and fidelity to his Law.

Wisdom delivers the believer from all evil. This is illustrated by a review of the saving deeds of God for the patriarchs and for the Israelites in Egypt, the very country where Jews were beginning to abandon their faith. We are told that man’s counsel can never conceive the Lord’s counsel. We see in these passages thanksgiving for the excellence of wisdom. We experience folly when we trust in ourselves and our peers (Ps. 49:13).

Our plans can only be stable and successful when our source is the scriptures. We become eligible for salvation only through faith in Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 3:15). Our corruptible body is called an earthen tent and that is what weighs down our minds.  This idea of a body as a tent is found in Pythagoreanism and Platonism. In other words, it is a conception of stoicism. The Greeks look at wisdom as knowledge of natural science; the Hebrews looked at wisdom as the chief servant of the Creator. We have in the final verses the realization that only the wisdom of God can really grasp all that happens and is about to happen to the earth and all of its creatures (Ps. 104:24).

The Lord, through his grace, has given us the gift of faith which is born of a “Fear of the Lord.”  Wisdom is this fear of the Lord, and to those who have this wisdom, the Lord also gives knowledge and happiness (Ecc. 2:26). Let us look not to ourselves or to our peers for wisdom, rather let us yield to the healing power of Jesus Christ. Let us say, “Lord, come into my heart, renew my mind, and let me have a tongue that professes your glory.” Lord, I pray that you will give all of us wisdom, and I stand on your Word for this request.” (James 1:5).


PHILEMON 9-10, 12-17

Paul wrote this letter from Rome in about 60 A.D. when he was under house arrest (Acts 28:30, 31). Onesimus was a runaway slave of Philemon’s; he robbed his master and fled to Rome (verse 15). He then came under the influence of Paul and was converted into Christianity (verse 10). This letter to Philemon was a very exceptional one for Paul, for in it we see him asking a favor. He is asking a favor for Onesimus who had taken the wrong turn and whom Paul was helping to find the way back.

Paul could have demanded whatever he wished from Philemon, simply on his authority as an Apostle. His was a humble request and he realized that a gift must be given freely and with good will; if it is forced, it is not a gift at all. Paul based his request, not on his own authority, but on Philemon’s Christian commitment. We might ask ourselves the same question, “If when you know something is right and you have the power to demand it, do you appeal to your authority or the other person’s commitment?” Paul gives us a great example here of how to deal with a possible conflict between Christian friends.

Paul wrote this letter on behalf of Onesimus who feared for his life. A master had the legal right to kill a runaway slave, and Paul wanted to help him understand his new relationship with Onesimus. Paul calls Onesimus his child whom he has “begotten” in prison. To bring someone to Christ is like giving him a new birth, and that is exactly what Paul did to Onesimus.

Paul would like to have kept Onesimus with him but he would do nothing without the consent of Philemon. Paul was sending him back, not as a slave, but as a brother and partner in Christ. Paul tells Philemon that if he agreed that Paul is his partner in the work of Christ, he must receive Onesimus as he would receive himself.

The tone of this letter reflects against what was a common occurrence, and that was human slavery. Paul does not come right out against the unjust law; but through the power of Christian love, he presents to Philemon the obviousness of its injustice. The fact that Onesimus, the runaway slave, was returned as a brother to Philemon was a powerful statement against slavery. We need to reflect that all are equal in God’s family, and how we treat our brothers and sisters in Christ’s family reflects our own true Christian commitment to Christ.


LUKE 14:25-33

This passage is one of the strongest in the New Testament about the cost of discipleship. Jesus told them that nothing or no one can come between the love of a disciple and his master. To make this point even more pronounced, he then tells them that they have to carry their own cross every day and follow him. The people were very much aware of what that meant. They knew from the criminals who went to be crucified in their hometown that to carry one’s cross in public was an act of submission to Rome. This warned others that they had better submit and turn away from their rebellious actions.  

Jesus gave this message to the crowd so that they might reflect on what it really costs to follow him. You and I need to reflect on this message also. There is no room for a disciple who looks for “cheap grace” in the Kingdom of God.  “Cheap grace” is what we sometimes think our devotions and sacraments bring. They are not magical toys that prevent us from suffering and yet deliver us into glory. Following Christ calls for a total submission to him. This means letting everything go and putting him first. It could mean great financial, social, and even physical loss, even death itself. We are called to carry our cross every day, not just once in a while. We must count the cost of becoming a disciple so that we know what we are getting into and are not tempted to turn back.

As Christians, we are called to be “the salt of the earth.” We will be of no value if our flavor is lost or dried out. We must not just blend into the world and avoid the cost of standing for Christ. We are faced today, in our society, with the direct challenge of driving out the scourge of abortion. If we fail to do this, then our flavor of being the salt of the earth becomes worthless. Just as salt flavors and preserves foods, we are to preserve the good in the world. This calls from us a willingness to sacrifice everything for Christ. If we take up our cross and follow him daily, all that will change in our lives is everything.                  



The first reading tells us that wisdom is the “fear of the Lord.” The second reading shows that a gift must be given freely and joyfully. The Gospel reveals that there is no “cheap grace” in the kingdom of God.

This week, let us be the salt of the earth to our families by taking up our cross and dying to ourselves by serving them and not judging them, even if we are rejected by them. To serve them as a Christian means to bring out the best in them, like salt brings out the flavor. Let them see that you care enough to give them your personal attention as well as your affirmation. We cannot expect to be the salt of the earth until we have become the salt for our families.

Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (August 28th) – Cycle C


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“Conduct your affairs with humility.”)

1. How are we to conduct our affairs? Sirach 3:17


2. What will happen to us if we conduct ourselves this way? Sirach 3:17


3. What are we to do all the more, the greater we are? Sirach 3:18


4. With whom will we find favor? Sirach 3:18


5. For what are we not to seek or search? Sirach 3:20


6. What does the mind of a sage appreciate? Sirach 3:28


7. What is the wise man’s joy?  Sirach 3:28


8. What quenches a flaming fire and what atones for sin? Sirach 3:29


9. What makes a person great and what happens to the person who exalts himself? Matthew 23:11-12


10. What must we do to our soul and where do we put our hope? Psalm 131:1-3


Personal – In what way have you taken on a servant’s attitude at home, with family or friends, or at work? What is your attitude about being a servant to all with whom you come in contact?




(“Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant”)

1. To what have we not been drawn near, that those who heard begged that it not be addressed to them?  Hebrews 12:18-19


2. Where have we drawn near and whose city is it? Hebrews 12:22


3. Who is there and how are they gathered there? Hebrews 12:22


4. Of whom is it the assembly, where are they enrolled, and who is the judge of all? Hebrews 12:23


5. Who has been made perfect? Hebrews 12:23


6. How can we be made perfect? Matthew 5:43-48


7. Of what is Jesus mediator? Hebrews 12:24


8. What speaks more eloquently than that of Abel? Hebrews 12:24


9. What is the new covenant of which Jesus is mediator? Hebrews 8:6-12


10. How was this new covenant made? Hebrews 9:11-14


Personal – In what way have you accepted the new covenant of God? How has the shedding of Jesus’ blood washed you clean?




(“Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.”)

1. What day did Jesus come to eat a meal, to whose house did he come, and who were they observing closely? Luke 14:1


2. What did Jesus go on to do to the guest, and what had he noticed happening? Luke 14:7


3. What did he say we are not to do if we are invited to a wedding, for what reason, and what might the host do? Luke 14:8,9


4. How would we proceed to the lowest place, and what should we do when invited so the host will say, “My friend, come up higher?” Luke 14:9-10


5. What will this do for us in the eyes of our fellow guest? Luke 14:10


6. What happens to everyone who exalts himself, and what happens to everyone who humbles himself? Luke 14:11


7. Who was humble and how did he humble himself? Philippians 2:5-8


8. What did Jesus say to the one who had invited him? Luke 14:12


9. What are we to do when we have a reception? Luke 14:13


10. About what should we be pleased,  and how will we be repaid? Luke 14:14


Personal – How have you demonstrated humility in your home, at work, or at social functions?  When is the last time you entertained someone who could not repay you the honor?  Be specific.



FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 68:4-7, 10-11

(“God gives a home for the forsaken.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 68:4-7, 10-11.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




SIRACH 3:17-18, 20, 28-29

 To have a clear picture of who you really are is to be humble.  Paul tells us in Romans 12:3 that we should not get too enthused about our own self-importance.  While a healthy self-esteem is important, we should not go too far in self-love.  Humility is the key to an honest and accurate evaluation of our self-worth, our own identity in Christ.  Being humble does not mean that we should put ourselves down, because we know that we are sinners, and are saved only by God’s grace.  We also know that we are saved and therefore have great value in his eyes and in his kingdom.  We must yield to him completely and put ourselves in his hands to be used as he wants, in order to spread his Word and share his love with others.

Our conduct speaks volumes about our humility.  Humility is the call to servanthood, it is totally opposite of one who is selfish.  A humble person is one who is selfless and thinks of others more than of himself. This is what Christ preached, believed, and lived.  Being humble is a guard against selfishness, prejudice, and jealousy.  Showing genuine interest in others is one way to strive actively to put on the “mind of Christ” (Philippians 2:5-11).  The attitude of humility was the kind that Jesus has shown to all mankind.  He didn’t demand or cling to his rights, or cry out for vengeance.  He called us out to love our enemies and forgive over and over.  Jesus was humble, he was God yet he took on the role of a servant.  He was willing to give up his rights in order to obey God and serve his people.

We must be just like Christ, in fact he calls us to do even greater things than he (John 14:12).  We can strive to be more like him by being more humble than we have ever been before.  Like Christ, we must serve out of love for God and for others, not out of guilt or fear.  Jesus humbled himself on a cross and to his death.  We are called to follow him by humbly going up on our own cross and dying to ourselves in his Holy Name.


HEBREWS 12:18-19, 22-24

Paul describes what it must have been like on that flaming Mount Sinai.  The people were probably terrified with all of the commotion going on the mountain.  A great ball of fire was present, then out of nowhere a great storm sprung up.  Paul told them that they did not have to face anything as terrifying as the people of Moses’ time did on that mountain.  He goes on to tell them about the incredible contrast to their being able to be on the special mountain and into the city of God.  This contrast between the old and new covenant was like pointing out the differences between a photograph of a person and the actual person.  The photograph is in reality a shadow of the real person, and the old covenant of God handing Moses the ten commandments was a shadow of the new covenant.

The old agreement was a covenant of Law between God and Israel.  The new and better way is the covenant of Grace.  The new covenant is Christ forgiving our sins and bringing us to God through his sacrificial death.  This covenant goes beyond Israel and Judah to all the gentile nations of the world.  Jesus is the source of this new agreement, and his blood was shed in forgiveness not in vengeance as was Abel’s.  This new covenant is written in our hearts and minds.  Our bodies have become the sacred temple of this Lamb of God.  This new covenant offers a new way to forgiveness, not through animal sacrifice, but through faith.  We need to reflect and ask  ourselves, “Have I entered into this new agreement and begun to walk in the better way.”

The invitation to partake in this new covenant is open to all of us.  Before Jesus came God seemed distant and threatening, as we can imagine on that night on Mount Sinai. Now God welcomes us through Christ into his presence.


LUKE 14:1, 7-14

Jesus accepted this invitation to a Pharisee’s home even though he knew they were trying to trap him into saying or doing something wrong.  He was criticized for defending the integrity of a woman who came uninvited to the home of the Pharisee who had invited Jesus. Their trap to get Jesus to do something wrong, so that they may get him arrested, did not scare him.

Jesus began to teach them about honor. He told the guest not to always be seeking places of honor, rather they should seek ways to be of service.  Today, just as it was then, service is more important in God’s kingdom than status.  He told them not to be so particular about who is invited because he knew that this select group of people would invite them to one of their special functions.

Jesus really hit a nerve with them when he told them that if they try to impress others with their own status and demand to sit up front, they might be terribly embarrassed if someone who has more status shows up and forces them to sit in the back. We might ask ourselves, “Does this apply to me?”. When you go out to some function, such as a dinner, do you demand quick service and complain if the service or food is not quite the best?  Do you expect people to cater to you because you are a religious person or maybe a professional person like a lawyer, doctor, teacher, etc.?

Jesus’ message to the Pharisees who lived two thousand years ago applies today to all of us.  We are all called to be humble, to defer to others.  We are called to die to ourselves, to think about meeting the needs of others and not just our own.  Jesus tells us to think about inviting someone to our house who will not be able to repay the invitation.  He tells us to serve someone who is not of any high status personally.  He is not asking us to join some organization or help out at a soup kitchen.  He is saying that we need to reach out in humility to someone who is poor in spirit.  To be poor in spirit is to have material things and yet be emotionally and spiritually hungry and looking for a personal relationship with Christ.

Spiritual leadership, which means taking on the humility of Christ and becoming a servant, is desperately needed in our own homes. It is certainly needed in our jobs, schools, and churches. God will reward us for inviting the uninvited, for loving the unlovable. He will say to us one day, “My loving friend, I have a better place for you; come, be here with me in heaven forever.”



The first reading tells us that our conduct speaks volumes about our humility.  The second reading shows that the old agreement was a covenant of law between God and Israel.  The new and better way is the covenant of grace.  The Gospel reveals that we are all called to be humble.

This week, put on a heart of humility (Col.3:12) and be clothed in humility toward one another (1 Peter 5:5).  We can only love one another when we serve each other in Jesus’ holy name.

Let us begin at home by helping one another in simple chores around the house. Look around to see where you can serve instead of being served.  We really love one another when we serve one another.     

Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time (August 21st) – Cycle C


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you.”)

1. Who does the  Lord come to gather and what will they see? Isaiah 66:18


2. Who will we set among the nations? Isaiah 66:19


3. What does Matthew 24:30 say about a sign and the glory of the  Lord?


4. Who will he send to the Nations? Isaiah 66:19


5. What had the coastlands never heard, what had they never seen, and what shall the fugitives do? Isaiah 66:19


6. Who shall they bring from all the nations as an offering to the Lord and how will they bring them? Isaiah 66:20


7. Where will they bring them and what is this place called? Isaiah 66:20


8. How did the Israelites bring their offerings to the house of the Lord? Isaiah 66:20


9. What will the Lord do with some of them? Isaiah 66:21


Personal – As you approached the altar of the Lord this past week, in what way has your vessel (your body) been made clean, and in what way can you make it clean now?




(“For whom the Lord loves he disciplines;”)

1. What kind of words were addressed to you as sons and what were they? Hebrews 12:5-6


2. With what should you not disdain nor lose heart? Hebrews 12:5


3. Who does the Lord discipline and who does he scourge? Hebrews 12:6


4. What are you to endure as the discipline of God and how does he deal with you? Hebrews 12:7


5. At the time discipline is administered, what does it seem like? Hebrews 12:11


6. What does it bring forth later to those who are trained in  its school? Hebrews 12:11


7. Where do you find peace and how is peace made? John 16:31,33, Colossians 1:19-20


8. What are the fruits that come from the Holy Spirit? Galatians 5:22


9. How did God manifest his own justice? Romans 3:24-25


10. What must you strengthen? Hebrews 12:12


11. What are you to do with the paths on which you walk, and what will happen when you do this? Hebrews 12:13


Personal – In what way has God, who loves you, disciplined you this week?  In what way can you make straight the paths you walk on and what are you looking toward, according to this lesson?




(“Try to come in through the narrow door.”)

1. What was Jesus doing as he went through cities and towns and where was he going? Luke 13:22


2. What did someone ask him about being saved? Luke 13:23


3. What did Jesus say about the narrow door and what will happen to many? Luke 13:24


4. What did he say about the master of the house? Luke 13:25


5. Knocking on the door, what would you say to the master, and what will be his reply? Luke 13:25


6. What will they then begin to say and what will they say he did in the streets? Luke 13:26


7. What will he say about where they come from and then what does he say to them? Luke 13:27


8. What does he call these people? Luke 13:27


9. Who will enter the kingdom and how do you know if you will enter? Matthew 7:16-21


10. What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit? Galatians 5:22


Personal – On a daily basis, what fruits of the Holy Spirit are most evident in your life?  Which ones are not evident?  What can you do so that all of the fruits are evident in your life, especially to your family?




(“Steadfast is his kindness towards us.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 117:1-2.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




ISAIAH 66:18-21

The incredible gift of being able to participate and to see God’s glory is now granted to all nations and tongues.  Many nations and people will go against Jerusalem and God will bring his wrath against them and send those who escape as missionaries to all those foreign lands.  They will bring back to Jerusalem the good news and will behold the sign that the new heavens and the new earth have come.  The list of foreign people was symbolic of all the world: Tarshish in Southern Spain, Put and Lud in Africa, Tubal around the Black Sea, and Javan representing Greece.

These nations will bring back God’s people to the holy mount of Jerusalem.  We might reflect on this passage that as Israel brought the good news of salvation to tie nations, so will these nations in turn be responsible for Israel’s final conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Today we are one of those Gentile foreign nations. The question we might ask ourselves is: “Is our country an example of God’s holy nation?” If not, what must we do to become, once again, God’s holy people?

Today we see in our Gentile religion of Catholicism, priests, and deacons performing priestly functions; we need to pray for them, bless them, and above all love them.  The Israelites made their special offerings to the Lord in clean vessels.  We are called to make our offerings, which will be ourselves to the Lord and we have to be clean vessels.  We do this by loving God with all our mind, heart, and soul (Deut. 6:4-5) and then by loving others as he has loved us (John 15:12).


HEBREWS 12:5-7, 11-13

This passage from Hebrews exhorts us to pattern our lives after Jesus Christ and to allow God to discipline us as we are establishing this pattern.  It is never pleasant to be corrected and disciplined by God, but like a loving Father,  he does not want his child to do anything that will bring harm to himself.  Who loves his child more, the father who allows the child to do what will harm him, or the one who corrects, trains, and even disciplines the child to help him learn what is right?

A loving Father’s discipline is a sign of God’s deep love for us.  When we are being corrected by God, we need to see it as proof of his love and ask him what he is trying to teach us.  We can respond to discipline in several ways: (1) we can accept it with resignation; (2) we can go into self-pity, thinking we do not deserve it; (3) we can be angry, resentful, and bitter at God for it; or (4) we can accept it gratefully as a proper response from a loving Father.

God pushes us to our limits and requires of us a disciplined life.  We will be able to continue as we follow Christ and draw upon his strength.  It is then that we can use our strength to grow and to help those who are weak and struggling.  We must live our lives so that others will follow our example.  We have a responsibility to them if we claim to live by Christ.  We have to ask ourselves, “Does my example of life make it easier for others to believe, follow and mature in Christ?”  We also must be sure that our actions will not confuse and mislead others into following a life of sin.

Our daily response to prayer, scripture, and church fellowship will help us to establish the pattern of being a disciplined disciple of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


LUKE 13:22-30

This is the second time Luke has reminded us that Jesus was intentionally going to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51).  Jesus knew that he would be faced with persecution and death in Jerusalem, yet he pressed on toward the city.  His determination to follow the will of the Father should characterize our lives too.  When our Lord gives us a course of action, we must steadily move toward our goal, regardless of the obstacles along the way or the potential hazards that await us.  Even the prospect of death did not turn Jesus away from his mission.

The question, “Will only a few be saved?” (v.23) was asked by one of his followers.  This gave Jesus the opportunity to mention once again the many difficulties encountered in following him.  He does not directly answer the question, but he does say that many will not be saved.  Finding salvation requires more concentration and commitment than most people are willing to bear.  Salvation is not a doctrine or a set of rules, it is a person and his name is Jesus Christ.

It is obvious that we cannot save ourselves and it is not possible to work our way into God’s favor.  But, there are many who are under this illusion today, like the ones in this passage who were following Jesus but had no intimate fellowship with him.  They heard his teaching but did not accept it as the word of God to be put into practice.  The work Jesus referred to is the establishment of a deep personal relationship with him, whatever the cost is here on earth.  We need to have a hunger and thirst for his Holy Word, we need to establish a quiet time every day of our lives and learn to abide in him (John 15:7).  We dare not put off this work, the door will not stay open forever.

Jesus’ words, “away with you evildoers,” (v.27) are meant as a challenge to you and me to redirect our steps toward Jerusalem with Jesus while there is still time.  The people in this passage were eager to know who would be saved, and Jesus explained that while many people knew a lot about him, only a few had really accepted his forgiveness. Just listening to his Word, attending church services or admiring a few miracles is not enough.  We need to turn away from sin and turn to and trust in Jesus Christ to save us.

There will be many surprises in God’s kingdom.  Many great people here on earth (in God’s eyes) are virtually ignored by the rest of the world.  What matters to God is not one’s earthly popularity, status, wealth, or power, but one’s personal commitment to Jesus Christ. We need to make sure that we put God in first place so that we will join the people from all over the world who will find their places in the kingdom of heaven.



The first reading tells us that God’s glory is available to all nations.  The second reading challenges us to pattern our lives after Jesus Christ.  The Gospel clearly reveals that we cannot save ourselves.

Let us take the incredible gift of faith and become disciplined in our response to that gift and develop a deeper personal relationship with Jesus by accepting his forgiveness of ourselves.  Then let others see the fruit of our faith by forgiving others, especially those who are close to us.

Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time (August 14th) – Cycle C


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“King Zedekiah answered: ‘He is in your power.'”)

1. What did the princes say to the king? Jeremiah 38:4


2. What was it Jeremiah said that caused the princes to say this? Jeremiah 38:1-3


3. What did the princes say Jeremiah did to the soldiers and all the people and in what did they say was his interest? Jeremiah 38:4


4. Who was the king at that time, how did he answer them and for what reason?  Jeremiah 38:5


5. What did they do with Jeremiah?  Jeremiah 38:6


6. Who was Ebed-melech and what did he do?  Jeremiah 38:7-8


7. What did he tell the king about the men who had Jeremiah put in the cistern?  Jeremiah 38:9


8. What did he say would happen to Jeremiah and for what reason?  Jeremiah 38:9


9. What did the king order to be done?  Jeremiah 38:10


Personal – In what way are you influenced by the opinions of others?  This past week how have you obeyed God’s Word, which was against what others thought you should do.




(“For whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;”)

1. By what are we surrounded? Hebrews 12:1


2. What are we to lay aside? Hebrews 12:1


3. In what are we to persevere? Hebrews 12:1


4. On whom are we to keep our eyes fixed, and what does he do for us? Hebrews 12:2


5. What lay before him and what did he endure, heedless of its shame? Hebrews 12:2


6. Where has he taken his seat? Hebrews 12:2


7. What are we to remember and what are we not to become? Hebrews 12:3


8. Who was it that opposed him? Hebrews 12:3


9. Who are the sinners? Romans 3:23


10. Where do we get our strength in the struggle against sin? Isaiah 40:28-31


11. What have we not yet done?  Hebrews 12:4

Personal – How have you resisted sin in your life?  What does it mean to you personally: “In your fight against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood?”




(“I have come to set the world on fire,”)

1. What has Jesus come to do on the earth? Luke 12:49


2. What does he wish? Luke 12:49


3. What does he have to receive and what does he feel, until it is over? Luke 12:50


4. What is the baptism to which he is referring? Mark 10:38 and John 19:28-30


5. What question does Jesus ask and how does he answer it? Luke 12:51


6. Why did he come? Luke 12:51


7. What is the division to which he refers? Matthew 25:32-46, Ezekiel 34:17


8. What will happen to a household of five? Luke 12:52


9. What will happen to fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law? Luke 12:53


10. What will happen to you because of Jesus and when will this happen? Matthew 10:21-23


11. Who will be our enemies? Matthew 10:36


Personal – In what way has following Jesus separated you from family members? How have you dealt with the rejection? Meditate on Matthew 11:28-30.




(“He put a new song into my mouth.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 40:2-4, 18.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




JEREMIAH 38:4-6, 8-10

King Zedekiah and his officials did not want to listen to Jeremiah’s words, but they were in need of blessing from his prayers.  The King went back and forth from surrender to resistance.  The King was in turmoil with everyone.  He was told by Jeremiah that if he accepted Egypt’s help and stayed in Jerusalem, he would be destroyed by the Babylonian army.  He asked Jeremiah to come secretly to the palace, hoping for some better news from God.  The King was in a panic, he wanted to hear God’s word but he had no desire to enter into a political conflict with some of his public officials.

King  Zedekiah was a leader who was incapable of making firm decisions. He agreed with everybody, which resulted in his nation’s being in turmoil.  He listened to Jeremiah (37:2); and then by another’s advice, he agreed that Jeremiah should be killed (38:5).  Finally, he had Jeremiah rescued by advice from yet a different person (38:10).  Jeremiah was not popular, his words were misinterpreted as being those of a traitor.  He was, in fact, stating God’s prophecy that Jerusalem was going to be destroyed because of its sins.  He warned the people to flee to Babylon but they refused to listen.  Jeremiah was proclaiming God’s word for 40 years and was rejected, persecuted, and had no followers encouraging him.  He finally was forced to leave his homeland, and even the pagan Babylonians treated him with more respect than did his own people.

Today, we need to recognize that God does not guarantee that his servants, even one with the stature of Jeremiah, will escape persecution, even when they are faithful. But God does promise us, as he promised them, that he will be with us and will give us the strength to endure. As you minister to people,  remember that your service is for God and not for man’s approval. Jerusalem had several gates, including the gate of Benjamin, where legal matters were handled. Ebed-melech, a public official, went immediately to the gate of Benjamin to protest to the King about the injustice being done to Jeremiah. This public official stood alone in his protest of the murder plot. His obedience could have cost him his life, but God spared him when Jerusalem fell (39:16-18).

You can either go along with the crowd or speak up for God when someone is treated unjustly. You may be the only one, and when you are being treated unjustly yourself be sure to thank the Lord when he sends an “Ebed-melech” your way.


HEBREWS 12:1-4

Living a Catholic Christian Life, or as they say in the street, not only talking the talk but also walking the walk, involves hard work. We are called to let go of anything or anyone who endangers our personal relationship with the Lord. We are to run patiently and to struggle against sin in our lives with the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:7). To live this type of life, we must constantly keep our vision on the Lord Jesus Christ. We stumble and eventually fall when we take our eyes off Jesus Christ and look at ourselves or the circumstances surrounding us. We need to remember that we are running Christ’s race and we must always keep him in sight. When hardship and discouragement come, it is easy, sometimes, to lose sight of the big picture.

Jesus is always with us, encouraging us in our struggle. We must not back away from suffering either, because suffering is the training for our Christian spiritual maturity. Jack LaLayne, the body builder, canned the phrase “no pain, no gain.” It is true that suffering develops our patience and makes our final victory sweeter. Jesus endured the ultimate suffering and it was for us all. He suffered to the point of shedding his blood, so that all mankind might be free.

Many of us face tremendous physical, emotional, or spiritual difficulties but it is in knowing that he is within each of us that makes the race endurable. Jesus sweat great drops of blood over the sin and temptation to which all are subject. Jesus did not give up his vision for our freedom, and neither should we give up our vision of running his race in the same manner as he did his.

Today we hear of many ways to run in the race of life. An athlete has to train diligently if he expects to be successful. You and I are called to look together to Jesus, and he will be in concert with us. His love will become obvious in the way we respond to the needs of others.


LUKE 12:49-53

Jesus warns that his coming to the earth was about to bring division between many close groups, including families. He tells us that he came to bring a fire to the earth and that, of course, was his Holy Spirit. We think of the coming of the Holy Spirit as little tongues of fire over the heads of the Apostles  (Acts 2:3).

Fire is used for cleansing and purifying precious metals. Fire strips and burns away all imperfections. Fire is powerful and painful.

Jesus’ terrible baptism was his coming crucifixion. He talked of the incredible physical, emotional, and spiritual pain of complete separation from God which was necessary to pay for the sins of the whole world. That’s right, he had to take on the pain of all the sins of the world. He died for you and me, while we yet were sinners (Romans 5:8). His death released all of us from our slavery to sin. It is easy for us to say we will suffer anything for Christ, and yet most of us complain every day when even little irritations come. If we say that we are willing to face suffering on a large scale for Christ, we must be willing to suffer in little ways for Christ.

Jesus had revealed that his coming would result in conflict even between family members. He demands a response, and many groups are torn apart when some choose to follow him and incur suffering in his name, while others refuse to do so. There is no middle ground with Jesus; you are either with him or against him. We need only look at places in our world where families are pitted against each other. We are called to declare our loyalty to Christ and make our commitment to him.  This might involve cutting off some relationships, possibly in our own family. Are you willing to risk the approval of your friends or even that of your families to gain eternal life?



In the first reading we see Jeremiah being persecuted and rejected for forty years in his ministry.  The second reading tells us that we must keep our eyes on Christ as we run the race of life, especially when suffering comes our way.  The gospel tells us not to give up, that Christ is always with us even in our darkest moments of life.

This week, let us be especially aware of others, particularly our family members.  If we experience rejection and persecution because of our commitment to Christ, let us, through our prayers, and knowledge that Jesus is always with us, respond in a manner that will show others that nothing can separate us from God’s love.     

Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (August 7th) – Cycle C


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“Your people awaited the salvation of the just.”)

1. What night was known beforehand to our fathers? Wisdom 18:5-6


2. Fill in the following blanks: “With sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their __________ they might have ____________.  Wisdom 18:6


3. What is faith? Hebrews 11:1


4. How does faith come to us? Romans 10:17


5. They put faith in the knowledge of what in order to have courage? Wisdom 18:6


6. What did the people await? Wisdom 18:7


7. Who was punished and in this, what happened to those who had been summoned? Wisdom 18:8


8. What were the holy children offering and what were they putting into effect with one accord? Wisdom 18:9


9. What two things would the holy ones share alike and what had they previously been doing? Wisdom 18:9


Personal – In what way have you been “singing the praises” of what your forefathers, those who believed, have passed on to you?  In what way have you passed this faith on to your family?




(“Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, “)

1. Fill in the following  blanks: “Faith is the confident assurance concerning what we __________ for, and conviction about things we do _______ ________.” Hebrews 11:1


2. Why were the men of old approved by God? Hebrews 11:2


3. What did Abraham do when he was called, where did he go, and did he know where he was going? Hebrews 11:8


4. What did Abraham do in the promised land as in a foreign country and with whom did he dwell in tents who were heirs to the same promise? Hebrews 11:9


5. To what was he looking forward, and who is the designer and maker of this? Hebrews 11:10


6. What did Abraham do by faith, and of what did he think the one who made the promise was worthy? Hebrews 11:11


7. In whom are we to trust? Hebrews 2:13, Isaiah 8:17


8. As a result of this faith, what came forth from the one man? Hebrews 11:12


9. What happened to those who died in faith and for what were they searching? Hebrews 11:13-16


10. What is God not ashamed to be called, what has he prepared for them, what did Abraham do by faith, and what would happen through Isaac? Hebrews 11:16-18


11. What did Abraham reason that God was able to do; in so doing, as what did he receive Isaac back? Hebrews 11:19


Personal – List the things you have given up by faith and trust in the Lord. This list can include monetary things or people.




(“Do not live in fear, little flock”)

1. In what must you not live, and what has pleased our heavenly Father? Luke 12:32


2. What must you do, what must you give and what must you get? Luke 12:33


3. Fill in the following blank: “Wherever your treasure lies, there your _______ will be.” Luke 12:34


4. What must you do, with whom will it go well when the master returns, and what will the master do with them? Luke 12:35-37


5. If the head of the house knew when the thief was coming, what would he not do? Luke 12:39


6. What are we to be and when will the Son of Man come? Luke 12:40


7. What was the question Peter asked Jesus when the Lord replied with a question and then gave an example? Luke 12:41-42


8. What is the servant doing who is fortunate, and who will the master rank undeserving of trust? Luke 12:43-46


9. What will happen to the one who knew his master’s wishes and what will happen to the one who did not know them? Luke 12:47-48


10. When much has been given a man what will be required of him and what will be asked of a man to whom more has been entrusted? Luke 12:48


Personal – How have you been preparing for the day when you will be face to face with the Lord.  Pray and ask the Lord to show you where to spend your money, where to spend most of your time and what you should be doing with your talents (natural gifts God has given you). Repent and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation this week in order to receive the added grace to change.



FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 33:1, 12, 18-22

(“Happy the nation whose God is the Lord.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 33:1, 12, 18-22.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




WISDOM 18:6-9

The Exodus was Moses leading his people out of bondage in Egypt and into freedom in the new land.  The angel of death went from house to house and killed the firstborn baby.  The only ones spared were in the homes that had the blood of the slain lamb spread around their doorsill.  The Israelites, rather than succumb to the darkness of false religions and immoral culture, remain loyal to the genuine wisdom of their faith.

This passage was written for the Jews who found it essential to keep that night (Exodus) vividly implanted in their minds for maintaining spiritual balance. On that night, all of Egypt’s firstborn died.

We see incredible contrasts in this passage, the Hebrews sharing the same things, blessings and dangers, and all the time singing praises to their heavenly Father. We can also hear the despairing cry of their enemies lamenting for their dead children. All suffered, slave, master, common man, even Pharaoh’s firstborn died that night. Finally, he saw that the faith of the Hebrews was far too strong for him to defeat. He told them to take their God with them and flee from Egypt.

The Jews were delivered from Pharaoh by the power of God’s Holy Word.  In faith, they read, believed, and lived his word.  The Lord delivered them and he will deliver us if we keep his Holy Word in our minds, on our lips, and in our hearts.  He has given us the gift of faith and in that faith, we will find the courage to profess that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.

Jesus is the new and permanent passover. Through Moses, the people passed over from bondage to freedom and then finally they died.  Through Jesus, we have passed over from death to life and with him, we will have eternal life.


HEBREWS 11:1-2, 8-19

This passage challenges us to question the very meaning of faith.  What is faith?

Faith is the response to the living presence of the power of God in our lives.  It is a response, an acceptance, a belief in a very special gift from God.  A birthday always brings the excitement and anticipation of receiving gifts.  You knew you would receive some things but there would always be something that was a surprise.  Birthdays combine assurance and anticipation and so does faith.  Faith is the conviction based on past experience that God’s new and fresh surprises will surely be ours.

We describe faith with words like confidence and certainty.  These two qualities need a secure beginning and ending point.  The beginning point of faith is believing – “He is what he says.”  The end point is believing in God’s promises – “He will do what he says.”

Abraham believed in who God was and he believed in what God promised.  His faith was anchored by obedience.  It is not enough to believe, we must also, through obedience, RESPOND.  Abraham left his home and went to another land, obeying without question.  Abraham was even willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac.  We should not be surprised if God asks us to give up the security of the familiar to obey him and what he promised.  Many people of faith listed in scripture died without receiving all that God promised, but they never lost their vision of heaven.

Today many Christians become frustrated and defeated because their needs, wants, expectations, and demands are not immediately met when they believe in Christ.  Many become impatient and want to quit. We need to take courage from those heroes of faith who lived and died without seeing the fruit of their faith on earth, and yet they continued to believe.  We can in faith trust God with our most prized possessions (our families, etc.).  We may not receive what we want immediately, but by responding in faith he will do what he says when the time is appropriate.


LUKE 12:32-48

This passage tells us that to worry is not of the Lord. Jesus tells us that it gives his Father great pleasure to give us the kingdom. To understand this verse we must know that when a person was adopted into a Hebrew family, he became legally eligible for all the benefits that were due to him; therefore, he was now a full-fledged heir to the estate.  Through the blood of Jesus Christ, we all become eligible heirs to the King.  We need only to accept Jesus as Lord to become an heir to the kingdom.

That is why we do not have to worry, we are heirs of the King.  We do not need to worry about how much money we have to make, God will provide for us.  This does not mean that we do not need to be responsible or to plan to provide for our families.  Money used as an end in itself quickly traps us and cuts us off from both God and the needy.  We need to see how much of our money can be used for God’s purposes.  Does God’s love touch your wallet?  Does your money free you to help others?  If so, you are storing up lasting treasures in heaven.  We cannot separate what we do from what we believe.  What we treasure reveals our true priorities.  If your priorities were judged by where you put your time, your money, and your energy, what would be the verdict?

Not only does Jesus tell us not to worry but also to be prepared for his return.  Our faith is a response to the living presence of God in our lives.  It is through the gift of faith that we can draw on the resources of Jesus Christ.  It is Jesus who will supply all of our needs from his riches in glory (Phil. 4:19).  We must stop worrying about what the world thinks of us and in faith live in preparation for his return.

Jesus tells us that a kingdom is being prepared for his followers.  Furthermore, we are told in this passage that much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater.  You and I have much; we have been blessed in many ways.  We have a loving, compassionate, forgiving God, who calls on us to be the same as he.  Our faith, which is a gift from him, gives us the courage to say “Yes Lord.”

To prepare for the Lord’s return, we must not be hypercritical, but sincere, fearless,  and ready to witness.  We need not be anxious but trusting. We should not be greedy but generous, not lazy but diligent. In faith, we can be ready for his return.



“That night,” in the first reading, was a flight of faith out of Egypt.  In the second reading, we saw a journey through the darkness by our spiritual heroes that were illuminated by their faith. The gospel tells us to be prepared and through the gift of faith, be ready for the Lord’s return.

Today, through our own gift of faith, by daily prayer, reading scripture, and receiving the sacraments, we can keep ourselves ready for when the Lord appears personally to each one of us.                         

Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (July 31st) – Cycle C


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“For what profit comes to a man for all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he had labored under the sun.”)

1. Who is Qoheleth, and what are his words? Ecclesiastes 1:1-2


2. How has a man labored, over what has he labored, who must he leave it to, and besides vanity what is it? Ecclesiastes 2:21


3. Why do we do honest (labor) work? Ephesians 6:7-8


4. What question is asked over that which a man labors? Ecclesiastes 2:22


5. For the sake of profit, what do many do, and what does the struggle for wealth do? Sirach 27:1


6. What chokes the word and bears no fruit? Mark 4:19


7. What did Jesus tell Martha? Luke 10:41-42


8. What is a man’s occupation, what happens to him at night, and what is this? Ecclesiastes 2:23


9. What has God made the wisdom of the world, and what will he do with it? 1 Corinthians 1:19-20


10. What is there in much worldly wisdom and sorrow? Ecclesiastes 1:18


Personal – In what way have you worked so hard that worry has kept you awake at night over your work?  What is your purpose in doing this?




(“Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices.”)

1. What did you do with Christ, what do you seek, and where is Christ seated? Colossians 3:1


2. Through what have we grown in union with him, and through what shall we also be united with him? Romans 6:5


3. About what are we to think, about what are we not to think, and for what reason are we to think this way? Colossians 3:2-3


4. About what things are we to think, with what are we not to occupy our mind, and where is our citizenship? Philippians 4:8, Philippians 3:19-20


5. What will happen when Christ your life appears, and what are we to put to death? Colossians 3:4-5


6. What should not even be mentioned among us? Ephesians 5:3


7. What are we to stop doing, and what have we taken off? Colossians 3:9


8. What is being renewed, and for what is it being renewed? Colossians 3:10


9. What are we to put away, and in what are we to be renewed? Ephesians 4:22-24


10. Between what is there no distinction, and who is everything and in everything? Colossians 3:11


Personal  What are the things you seek in life, and about what do you spend most of your time thinking?  What do you need to do to think about the things above and not of these earthly things?




(“Take care to guard against greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”)

1. What did someone in the crowd say to Jesus, how did Jesus address him, and what did he say? Luke 12:13-14


2. Against what did Jesus tell the crowd to guard, of and what  did he say one’s life does not consist? Luke 12:15


3. What comes from a man’s greed, and it is better to be a poor man than what? Proverbs 19:22


4. What does not satisfy a man’s greed? Ecclesiastes 4:8


Personal – How can you guard against greed in your home or work?


5. What did Jesus go on to tell the crowd? Luke 12:16


6. What did the rich man ask himself, and what did he say he would do to store his bountiful harvest? Luke 12:17-18


7. Now that he had so many good things stored, what did he say he could do? Luke 12:19


8. About what should you not boast, and for what reason? Proverbs 27:1


9. What are you to tell the rich? 1 Timothy 6:17-18


10. What did God say to man? Luke 12:20-21


Personal – What are the things you are storing that matter to God, and what do you need to give away?




(“Come, let us bow down in worship.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




ECCLESIASTES 1:2, 2:21-23

Today’s reading is taken from the Book of Qoheleth, which in Greek means Ecclesiastes. The book is presented as coming from David’s son, King of Jerusalem. We see the author as a man of numerous experiences. His interest in human life and experiences is very broad.

This reading challenges us and raises more questions than it answers. We see man constantly searching for more out of life, and while he achieves a great deal, he seems frustrated and unfulfilled. He talks about vanity in the sense that everything is only temporary and to put all of our energy into things is foolish as well as in vain. He states that the wise man and the fool both die, and whatever they have on earth goes to someone else to enjoy.  He sees in the vanity of life that a man is blessed if he reverently honors his promise to God. The unjust man, on the other hand, will someday face great punishment.

A strong vanity of life appears to be great wealth, because it also causes a man much worry and loss of sleep due to his fear of losing his wealth. Wisdom seems to help a man from being depressed and fills his life’s emptiness, but death seems to put an end to wisdom. Qoheleth showed through experience that even the just suffer and the unjust seem to go unpunished for a long time. He calls for patience and wisdom. He links obedience with authority to obedience to God. He sees life as something to be enjoyed rather than something to be endured. This reading brings to us the example of life’s experiences.

Today we see people who are very wise with very little formal education. We see in the wise person the knowledge that God is the only one who is permanent. Today’s passage tells us that to put our complete trust and faith in anything or anyone, other than God, is indeed this vanity of vanities.


COLOSSIANS 3:1-5, 9-11

In today’s passage, true Christian behavior is demonstrated by putting on a new nature and accepting Christ, and then letting the old nature die. In Baptism, the Christian dies and rises again. Baptism means to submerge, drown, and sink. This is the death of the old nature. To rise is when we come up out of the water and, as Christ did in the resurrection, take on a new life. We rise from the waters of Baptism, a different person.

We change our behavior when we let Christ live within us so that he can shape us into what we should be, rather than what we may want to be. While the Christian’s real home is in heaven, it does not mean that he is to withdraw himself from the work and activities of the world. God never did tell us to leave this world; he did tell us to win over the world. The Christian sets his eye, his standard, and his ideal, not on the world but on that which is of God. He will go on using the things of the world, but he will use them in a new way.

As Christians, we are invited to place giving before getting, serving before ruling, and forgiving above avenging. The Christian’s standard of values will be God’s standards, not men’s. The early Christians regarded Baptism as a dying and rising again. The Greeks spoke of a man who was dead and buried as hidden in the earth, but the Christian who has died a spiritual death in Baptism is not hidden in the earth, but hidden in Christ.

Today, the world tells us that the treasury of wisdom is hidden, acquired knowledge. Christians have the treasury of all wisdom in Jesus Christ. The Christian is in a continuing educational program. The more we know about Christ, the more we are being changed to be like him. Christ breaks down all barriers and accepts all people who come to him. As Christians, we are called to build bridges, not barriers.


LUKE 12:13-21

Today’s Gospel brings us right into the conflict that is threatening to tear the heart out of our communities. The conflict is between the people who have much of the so-called good life and those who are struggling just to make ends meet. Jesus is pointing to a higher issue, a correct attitude toward the accumulation of wealth.  He tells us that life is far more than material goods, and most important is our relationship with God.

When we bring our problems to God in prayer, he often shows us how we need to change and grow in our attitude toward these problems. Jesus tells us that we do not always have to wish for what we do not have, and he tells us the existing good life has nothing to do with being wealthy. This is the exact opposite of what the world is telling us. Advertisers spend fortunes telling people that if they buy a certain product, their lives will be happier, and more comfortable. In your community, how do you respond to the constant pressure to buy?

We must learn to concentrate on the good life; that is to live in a relationship with God and do his work. The man in today’s reading died before he was able to use what he had saved. Jesus asks what good is it to put all of our energy into what we need here on earth and not to prepare for our inevitable death. When a rich man or a poor man dies, they both will stand in judgment. It makes no difference how well they did in their earthly life. How powerful, rich, or educated you are will not be the question asked by the Lord. He will say, “What you did to the least of my people, you did to me.” (Mat. 25:31-46). You are to plan and save and be prudent with your life, but it is most important to make your life worthwhile by living it for others through Christ. When Christ one day asks you, “What did you do when you were on earth?” and if you say, “I loved others as you have loved me,” you will be one of the richest saints in heaven.



The first reading tells us “that you can not take it with you.” The second reading tells us to give before getting, serve before ruling, and forgive before avenging. The Gospel shows that we should seek first the kingdom of God and all else will be given to us.

This week, use what you have to help others and let your example be passed on to others. Let your comments be positive and offer to help whether it is a big project or a small one. Share your wealth generously. Your wealth is far more than your money. To those who love you and know you, your presence is priceless to them. Let people see the Christ in you as you speak. Listen to them with the ears of Christ and see others through the eyes of Christ. You will be the richest person in your community because Christ wants you to give him away, so he can stay with you.

Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (July 24th) – Cycle C


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave,”)

1. What did the Lord say about Sodom and Gomorrah? Genesis 18:20-21


2. What was one of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah? Genesis 19:4-9


3. Why did the Lord go down to Sodom and Gomorrah? Genesis 18:21


4. Who were the two men that walked on further while Abraham remained standing before the Lord? Genesis 19:1


5. What did Abraham say to the Lord in Genesis 18:23?


6. What did he say about fifty innocent people? Genesis 18:24


7. What was Abraham’s statement to the Lord, and what was the Lord’s reply? Genesis 18:25-26


8. How did Abraham see himself, with what did Abraham persist in questioning the Lord, and what was the Lord’s answer? Genesis 18:27-32.


9. How many times did he persist with his questions? Genesis 18:24-32.


10. As soon as the Lord had finished speaking to Abraham, where did he go, and where did Abraham go? Genesis 18:33.


Personal – In what specific area have you been persistent in praying to the Lord?  How often do you get into conversations with the Lord as Abraham did?




(“God gave you new life in company with Christ.”)

1. What two things happened to you in Baptism? Colossians 2:12


2. In whom did these two things happen and why? Colossians 2:8-9 & Colossians 2:12.


3. Who raised Jesus from the dead? Colossians 2:12


4. What condition were you in when God gave you new life? Colossians 2:13


5. When you were dead in sin, to whom did you give allegiance? Ephesians 2:1-2.


6. With whom was this new life that God gave you? Colossians 2:13


7. How can we partake of this new life? Romans 6:3-4


8. What did he do with all of our sins? Colossians 2:13


9. What did he cancel, and taking it; what did he do with it?  Colossians 2:14


10. What did Jesus do in his own flesh, what did this create in him, and what was the result? Ephesians 2:14-15


Personal – In what way do people see in you a person who has been pardoned of all your sins? Take time to thank God for freeing you from the bondage of sin which he did by sending Jesus to die on the cross for you.  Spend time in conversation with our Father this week.




(“Lord, teach us to pray.”)

1. What did the disciples of Jesus observe him doing in a certain place, and what did they ask him? Luke 11:1


2. To whom did Jesus say you first address your prayer, and what two things do you say to him? Luke 11:2


3. Next, what do you ask him to do? Luke 11:3


4. What do we ask him to do for us as we do the same to others? Luke 11:4


5. From what do we ask him to forgive us? Luke 11:4.


Personal – How have you used the five levels of prayer in the Our Father this past week? (Praise; Acceptance; Petition; Forgiveness; Protection). Let this include your family life and work.


6. Jesus tells a parable on prayer in Luke 11:5-8. What is a reason he gives for prayer to be answered? Luke 11:8.


7. What does Jesus say will happen when you ask, when you seek, and when you knock? Luke 11:9.


8. What does he repeat in verse 10 of Luke 11?


9. What analogy does he use about our earthly fathers? Luke 11:11-12


Personal When did you personally ask God to give you the Holy Spirit? What change took place in your life?




(“I will give thanks to you.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 138:1-3, 6-8.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




GENESIS 18:20-32

Abraham introduces to us the idea that prayer is the means through which we can better comprehend the mind of God. Abraham is well aware of the evil that is going on in Sodom, and he begins his prayer for the Lord’s people, including Lot, his nephew, and Lot’s family. It appears that Abraham was attempting to change God’s mind but in the process, Abraham’s mind was changed.

Abraham never doubted that God hated sin and that sinners would be punished. But he may have been confused on just how merciful God really is. He is seen probing the mind of God and ending his prayer convinced that God is both kind and fair. Abraham’s prayer is in many ways like ours, always subject to change. We might question why God let Abraham intercede for a city of people who were so wicked. God wanted Abraham to personally experience God’s mercy towards sinners. God knew that there were not ten righteous people in the city of Sodom, but he was delighted with Abraham’s intent to intercede for them.

God wants us to constantly intercede for others so that they can repent and come back to the kingdom of righteousness. It is very important that we see God, not as one who enjoys destroying the wicked, but as one who must punish sin.  God was fair in testing the men of Sodom. He told Abraham that he was going to see for himself how wicked the people of Sodom were and then he would decide what to do (Genesis 18:20). God was not ignorant of the perversion that was going on in the city (Gen. 19:4-9), but in his mercy, he gave the people one last chance to turn to him.

God is still waiting for his people to turn to him (2 Peter 3:9).  We are that people.  We too can suffer the same fate as the people of Sodom.  We need only to look around and see the moral perversion that has become so common and acceptable in our society. Abraham prayed that God would not destroy the city if only ten people were righteous.  We need to reflect and pray that there are enough good people in our community.

God wills that none of us should perish.  God was not unfair to the people of Sodom.  He showed great mercy to Lot, who had only a mild relationship with him.  We are told in scripture, “Repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15).  Let us not be like the Sodomites who risked God’s patience wearing out. Rather, let us imitate Abraham and be people of prayer and righteousness.


In Paul’s day, the Church’s common form of Baptism was total immersion.  This was because the majority of new Christians were adult converts.  The Christian family had not yet come into existence which led naturally to infant baptism.

The new Christians were completely submerged in water. This submersion symbolized the death and burial of their old way of life.  The coming up out of the water symbolized the resurrection of Christ from the dead.  We who have been baptized need only think of our old sinful life as dead and buried. Then we will have a powerful motive to resist sin.  We do not want to empower that ugly part of our past.

Through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the power of his Holy Spirit, we can consciously choose to treat the old nature as dead and enjoy our wonderful new life with Jesus Christ.  Through our baptism, we now have a new nature.  God crucified the old one (Romans 6:6) and replaced it with a new loving nature (Colossians 3:9-10).  It is important for us to realize that God does not take us out of the world and make us into religious robots.  We still have that tendency to sin occasionally and sometimes we do sin.

Incredibly, before we were saved we were slaves to a sinful nature, but now, through faith in Jesus Christ, we can choose to live for Christ.  We can enjoy our new life in Christ because we have joined him in his death and resurrection.  Our evil desires, our love of sin, and our bondage to sin have died with him.  Now, joining him in his resurrection, we can have unbroken fellowship with God and freedom from sin.

Our debt for sin has been paid in full, our sins are swept away and forgotten. We can be clean and new.  We need not be torn apart by the distractions in our society, families and even within ourselves.  We have been saved from the grasp of Satan by Christ through Baptism.  We have become heirs of the King and children of God.  We need only remember that because of our baptism “the Spirit that is within us is greater than anyone in the world.” (1 John 4:4).

Our baptism brings into our temple the awesome power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes us far more than just conquerors.  Spend time with our heavenly Father this week. Giving prayer and praise will strengthen our response in faith.  Those around us will see that we are people of prayer and power.

LUKE 11:1-13

After finishing a regular, much-needed, and fulfilling time of prayer, Jesus was asked by his disciples to teach them how to pray. Jesus was a devout Jew who practiced his faith very diligently by reading his scripture and spending time in prayer. He knew that his power and success in his mission came from his heavenly Father. We too can take on this attitude of humility especially when we look around and see the accomplishments that we have made in our families, jobs, etc. We need to remember that we can’t do anything of lasting value by ourselves.

Our only power and success come from God (2 Cor. 3:5). This is why praying is so powerful and so needed in our lives today.  Jesus taught them what we call today the “perfect prayer.” First, he identifies God as “Father,” which immediately ties him into a special relationship. The Hebrew word for father is “Abba” or daddy.  Jesus, by calling him that name, states that he knows him personally. Not only he but all who make this prayer can be included in this intimate relationship. He lets us know right from the beginning that Our Father can be trusted completely.

Jesus praises his Father and then he makes his requests. Praising God first puts us in the right frame of mind to tell him about our needs.  The most powerful way to break out of a depression is through praise.  We step out of ourselves when we are truly praising someone else.

Many times our prayer is a shopping list, and not a conversation, between two people who love each other.  We see his precious name being hallowed or blessed.  This makes sense when we realize that in Hebrew times a person’s name was his entire character, his strength, and his reputation.  God’s name was blessed because all who called on it would also be blessed.  His kingdom was not only coming to earth but was in fact already here, transforming and saving the earth through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God’s provision of bread is daily, not once but for all.  We can’t just store it up and then cut off communication with God.  We dare not become fully self-satisfied.  If we are running low on strength, we need only to ask ourselves how long have we been away from the source.  The cornerstone of this prayer is forgiveness.  Forgiveness, like love, is a decision that must be made in our relationship with God.  We can choose not to forgive and hold someone else in bondage, or we can choose to forgive and loosen someone from the bondage of being imprisoned.

Jesus very clearly shows us that his love is a love of forgiveness. We are to love as his Father loves and to love as Jesus loves.  We must forgive those who have wronged us just as he has forgiven us who have wronged him.  To remain unforgiving shows that we have not understood that we ourselves, along with all others, deeply need to forgive.

After the Lord’s prayer, Jesus continues to explain the need for persistence in prayer by an example of a friend waking his neighbor in the middle of the night asking for food. We need to be as persistent in our prayer as the man knocking on his neighbor’s door.

God who loves us receives our prayers as a perfect Father would and we should be persistent in praying to him.  His response to us is always for our own good, even if we don’t understand fully the response at the time.  He is our Father, he is blessed, and he forgives us. We as his children honor him by our prayers, our praise, and our forgiveness of others.


The first reading shows that Abraham prayed constantly and with great persistence. The second reading tells us that we are dead to the old sinful nature through Christ, and the Gospel introduces us to the perfect prayer.

Let us pray that all will accept the Holy Spirit from our heavenly Father.  If you have not asked to receive him, I pray that you will take this time now and invite the Holy Spirit to take up residence in your heart.  This is the essence of our “perfect prayer.”  The result of this will be a hunger to know his will for your life by getting to know what he says in his Word.    

Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (July 17th) – Cycle C


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“…he waited on them under the tree while they ate.”)

1. To whom did the Lord appear by the great tree at Mamre, where was he sitting, and what was happening to the day? Genesis 18-1


2. When he looked up, what did he see and what did he do? Genesis 18:2


3. What are two of these men called? Genesis 19:1


4. What did Abraham say to them? Genesis 18:3


5. Why did he want to bring them water? Genesis 18:4


6. What did Abraham call himself, and why did he want them to have food? Genesis 18:5


7. How did Abraham enter the tent, and what did he say to his wife, Sarah? Genesis 18:6


8. How did he go to the herd, and after picking out a tender choice steer, to whom did he give it for preparation? Genesis 18:7


9. What else did he get for them, and what did he do, and continue to do as they sat eating under the tree? Genesis 18:8


10. What did they ask Abraham, what was his reply, what did one of them say about Sarah, and what was Sarah doing? Genesis 18:9-10


Personal – In what way do you show hospitality to those passing your way? Who are the messengers of the Lord in your life? How do you treat them?




(“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,”)

1. Who is speaking in verses 24-28 of Colossians, and to what is he a minister? Colossians 1:23


2. Where does he find his joy? Colossians 1:24


3. Where does he fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, and for whose sake does he do this? Colossians 1:24


4. What does he call his body? Colossians 1:24


5. What did Paul become to this church, through the commission of whom, and to do what? Colossians 1:25


6. To whom has he revealed the mystery that was hidden from ages and generations past? Colossians 1:26


7. What is the mystery that God has willed to make known? Colossians 1:27


8. What is this for which you hope? Colossians 1:27


9. What are we to proclaim, and how are we to do it? Colossians 1:28


10. What is useful for teaching and admonishing one another? 2 Timothy 3:16


Personal – In what way has the mystery of Christ in you been revealed to others? When did you first realize that he dwells in you, and what change took place in you when you realized this?




(“There is need of only one thing.”)

l. Who welcomed Jesus to her home, and where was this located? Luke 10:38, John 11:1


2. What was her sister’s name, and what two things did she do? Luke 10:39


3. What did God the Father tell us to do?  Mark 9:7


4. What did Moses say about Jesus?  Deut. 18:15 and Acts 3:22


5. With what was Martha busy, and what did she say to Jesus?  Luke 10:40


6. What did Martha tell Jesus to do?  Luke 10:40


7. What was the Lord’s reply?  Luke 10:41


8. What is the one thing only that is required?  Psalm 27:4


9. Who had chosen the better portion?  Luke 10:42


10. What did he say would not happen to Mary?  Luke 10:42


Personal –  This past week in what way have you not been distracted by duty in order to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to him?  In what way have you heard his voice and responded? Share this with someone.




(“He who walks blamelessly and does justice,”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 15:2-5.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




GENESIS 18:1-10

The story illustrates near Eastern hospitality in several ways.  In Abraham’s day, a person’s reputation was largely connected to his hospitality, in the sharing of his home and food.  Even traveling strangers were accorded treatment that would be given to highly honored guests.  Meeting another’s need for food or shelter was and still is today one of the most immediate and practical ways to obey God and do his will.

We can see Abraham trying to get a cool breeze and looking out of the opening of his tent on a very hot day in the desert.  He probably was startled when he saw the three men coming toward him.  He immediately gave them all of his attention.  He addressed one of his guests as “my lord” and yet he addressed himself as a servant.  He acted like they would be doing him a favor by letting him serve them and attend to their needs.  He washed their feet in accordance with the local custom.  This was not only a pleasant comfort but also a sign of genuine respect.  This was a courtesy to refresh a traveler in a hot, dusty climate like Mamre.  He then prepared his food from his best source of crops and the meat came from choice animals.  He bowed down to them and stood back and waited upon them like a true servant.

Tradition reflects on the three angels as the Trinity.  We may well reflect on the hospitality that Abraham extends to his guests and try to bring it into our manner of conduct.  Do people see in my actions the role of a servant, or do we insist on our needs being met first?  We are called on to meet the needs of anyone who needs help.  Jesus, in Philippians 2:6-11, shows us how to take on the role of a servant.  We need to look with humility and joy towards others, and they need to see in our service the sign of God’s love and peace in us.



Paul compares his suffering as completing the sufferings of Jesus Christ.  Jesus died to save the church; but the church must continue on in a broken lonely world.  Paul experienced incredible rejection and physical danger in bringing his message of Good News to a many times more hostile world.  Paul’s legacy to us is that we too are called today to bring the marvelous mystery of Christ to all people, and if such service involves suffering, sacrifice and even death, then that is the filling up and sharing the suffering of Christ.  Paul’s task was to bring to men a new discovery, a mystery that was now revealed.

Paul’s great gift to our Christian faith and to the world itself was that Christ was the God of not just the Jews,  but the Gentiles as well.  Paul totally destroyed the idea that God’s love and mercy were for only a special nation or a privileged people.  Our God is a God of all people, poor people, rich people, young people, old people and all nationalities.

Had it not been for Paul we might have been nothing more than a new sect of Judaism.  The Jews would have refused to believe that he was the God of Gentiles, and that would have been blasphemous.  The gnostic would have never believed that every man could be taught enough knowledge necessary for salvation.  The gnostics believe that salvation was only for the spiritual elite and the chosen few.

Most educators today have agreed that it is impossible to teach knowledge to every person, because not everyone is capable of learning it.  We can look around today and see that not everyone has the same gifts.  There are gifts which some will never attain.  There are those who are color-blind and to whom the wonders of art mean nothing.  There are those who are tone deaf and the glory of music does not exist.  Not everyone can be a singer, a writer, a student, or a preacher.  These are gifts which some will never possess.  There are privileges a person will never enjoy.  There are some heights of fame and glory that some will never scale but the mystery that Paul brought to the world through his preaching was that to everyone there is available the Good News of the Gospel, and that is the love of God in Christ Jesus who dwells within each one of us.

This Good News is the transforming power which brings holiness into life itself.  That is why Paul can say he rejoices in his suffering for us.  He was bringing the Good News, and making the Word of God fully known.  Today you and I are called to continue and we too are to rejoice in our sufferings as we bring the Good News, and, like Paul, make the Word of God fully known to all men.


LUKE 10:38-42

In the first reading Abraham’s anxiety to entertain his guests leaves us almost winded.  Abraham hastened into the tent.  He ran to the herd.  He had a servant quickly prepare a meal.  Then in our Gospel reading we see Martha rushing about and even complaining about Mary’s lack of concern.  To judge from the story of the Samaritan, Martha should have been praised for her practical service to Jesus.  Jesus, in fact, challenges her priorities.

The whole gospel is not contained in loving your neighbor, no matter how important that is.  Christian discipleship is first and foremost surrendering to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  There must be a quiet time to listen to his Word.  Devotion to Jesus is the “one thing” that is required.  Matthew 6:33 “Seek ye first his kingship and all else will be added unto you.”  This kind of a relationship shows itself in loving service, but without prayer, care for other’s needs may not be love.

Today’s Gospel shows us a tension between temperaments.  Some people are naturally dynamos of activity; others are normally quiet.  Some people find it very hard to just sit and meditate alone with the Lord.  There are those who would find it very uncomfortable to go into an active ministry.  God needs his Mary and Marthas too.  Ecclesiastes tells us, “There is an appointed time for everything and a time for every affair under the heavens.” (3:1).

In today’s Gospel Luke shows us how the incident between Mary and Martha illustrates the primary love of God with all one’s heart, soul, strength and mind.  Jesus points out to Martha that there is a proper time for prayer and contemplation, for studying scripture and listening to God, just as there is a proper time for action.

We need only to think where Jesus was going when this happened.  He was on his way to Jerusalem – to die.  His whole being was taken up with the intensity to bend his will to the will of God.  Jesus wanted comfort, peace, solace and Martha wanted to lay on him a fantastic meal and a spotlessly clean house.  That was not what Jesus needed or wanted but it was what Martha wanted.  Mary listened to his needs and Martha in her kindness assumed his needs.  Jesus said “one thing is necessary,” and in probability, a small simple meal would have of been enough.  This is one of our great difficulties in life.  We want to be kind to people, but we want to be kind to them in our way. We get hurt when  our way is not the necessary way.  We need to forget our plans and  listen to what he or she needs.  Mary understood Jesus’ needs but Martha did not.  Let us, as Mary, listen, listen………….



The first reading tells us that a person’s reputation was largely connected to his hospitality.  The second reading tells us that the Good News of the Gospel is available to everyone. The Gospel reveals that it is God’s agenda not ours that is to be followed.

Let us be available as Abraham and a servant to others, and let the mystery of Christ’s presence within us be available to all we meet.  Mary listened to Christ and she heard his heart as well as his words; let us do no less.

We can be present to our families only when we are listening and understanding what they are saying and not saying. The essence of the Christian life is not doing, but rather it is dying. It is in dying to one’s own needs and being available to listen and respond to other’s needs.

Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (July 10th) – Cycle C


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“If only you heed the voice of the Lord, your God,”)

1. Who is speaking and to whom is he speaking? Deuteronomy 29:1


2. If you heed the voice of the Lord and keep his statutes and commandments what will God do? Deuteronomy 30:9-10


3. What is this book called? Deuteronomy 30:10


4. In what way must you return to the Lord? Deuteronomy 30:10, 6:5


5. What does Moses say this command is not? Deuteronomy 30:11


6. What two places will you not find it, and what shall you say about it not being there? Deuteronomy 30:12-13


7. What two places will you find this command? Deuteronomy 30:14


8. What are you to do with the Lord’s command? Deuteronomy 30:14


Personal – In what way has your mouth spoken about the love that you have in your heart for the Lord?  In what way have others in your family, friends, or work acquaintances seen and heard this love in you?  Is the way you see yourself confirmed by the way others see and hear you?




(“Making peace through the blood of the cross.”)

1. Who is the firstborn of all creatures? Colossians 1:15


2. In the image of whom did he come? Colossians 1:15


3. In whom were heaven and earth created? Colossians 1:16


4. What are some of the things that were created for Jesus? Colossians 1:16


5. Apart from him, what came into being?  John 1:3


6. He is before what, and how does everything continue its being?  Colossians 1:17


7. Of what is he the head, and for what reason?  Colossians 1:18


8. What pleased God?  Colossians 1:19


9. How are we reconciled to God, and how has peace been made? Colossians 1:20


10. For what reason has he done this?  Ephesians 1:14


Personal – In what way have you personally been at peace with God through Jesus?  Write down when and how this happened.  In what way have you shared this with someone else?




(“Then go and do the same.”)

1. Who stood up to pose a problem, how did he address him, and what did he say to him? Luke 10:25


2. When Jesus answered him, he answered with two questions.  What were they? Luke 10:26


3. What was the lawyer’s reply in verse 27 of Luke 10?


4. What is the new command that Jesus gave us at his last supper? John 13:34 and 15:12


5. How did Jesus say the lawyer had answered him and from where did he get his answer? Luke 10:28, Deuteronomy 6:5, and Leviticus 19:18


6. What did  Jesus say would happen to him if he followed that command?  See Luke 10:28, and also Leviticus 18:5 to see what happens to a man who obeys his command.


7. What did he say to Jesus and what was Jesus’ reply about the man going from Jerusalem to Jericho?  Luke 10:29-30


8. Who was going down the same road and what did he do, and then who came upon him and what did he do?  Luke 10:31-32


9. What did the Samaritan do when he saw the man?  Luke 10:34


10. What did the Samaritan do the next day?  Luke 10:35


11. What did Jesus ask the lawyer, what was the lawyer’s answer, and what did Jesus tell him to do? Luke 10:36-37


Personal – In what way has the Lord given you an opportunity to be compassionate to a family member, a friend, a work acquaintance, a stranger this past week?  How did you respond?



FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36-37

(“In your great mercy, turn toward me.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36-37.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?





This passage states that comfort, forgiveness, and restoration is not only possible for the Israelites but is desired by God. The nation of Israel must turn itself around and come back to the Lord.  Only then will God restore his mercy and restore Israel to her rightful place in the land.  Only through the covenant proposed by God to his people can the people regain happiness.

We hear in today’s reading that the keeping of the command (Deut. 30:11-14) is not as far-fetched as many of the shallow minds of the ages suggested.  The author has stressed a powerfully spiritual message. The Law of God is not in some far-off courtroom or in some prestigious university. The Law of God is something very close to the heart of man. If this attitude prevailed toward the Mosaic Law, Jesus would not have had such conflict with the formalism of the lawyer. The Judeo-Christian positive law can be equated simply with God’s way of guiding the aspirations of the human heart toward him.

St. Paul shows us how close God’s law really is in Romans 10:6-10. Paul tells us that we don’t need to search the heavens for Christ to bring him down to help us, and we don’t need to go among the dead to bring Christ back to life again! Salvation is trusting in Christ; it is as near as our own hearts and mouths.  For it is by believing in his heart that a man becomes right with God and with his mouth he tells others of his faith, confirming his salvation.

People have always looked for God through dramatic experiences, hoping for some life-changing encounter.  Some people will travel far and wide to meet some famous spiritual leader, but God’s salvation is right in front of us.  He will come into us wherever we are.  All we need to do is yield and surrender to his gift of salvation.  We need to stop searching and start yielding to his love and mercy.

We hear everyday at our Catholic Mass the proclamation of God’s Word bringing us salvation, healing, and restoration.  Let us yield our ears to hear, our hearts to believe, and our tongues to speak and his gift of salvation will spread throughout the land.



This passage has some of the most powerful theological statements about Christ in the New Testament.  Christ is praised as the Icon or image of the invisible God.  He manifests God’s presence in his person.  He is called the firstborn of all creation because everything else was created through his mediation.  He existed before all creation and is preeminent among all creation. Paul shows us the scope of creation.  He begins with heaven and earth, visible and invisible, power and might, thrones and dominions, principalities or power.  This was all created not only for him and through him but, also, in him.  Everything is subject to Christ, and through his creative power, creation itself continues on.

Paul speaks of Christ as the beginning, the starting point of redemption.  He is the first to experience the resurrection of life and, therefore, is the firstborn from among the dead.  By the frequently used word “all,” the cosmic dimension of Christ’s power and glory are emphasized.  The restoration which he brings about is the peace that was accomplished by the shedding of his blood on the cross.

It is stated that Paul had never visited Colossae, evidently, the church had been founded by other converts from Paul’s missionary travels.  The church, however, had been infiltrated by religious relativism by some believers who attempted to combine elements of paganism and secular philosophy with Christian doctrine.  Paul attacks the heresy, confronts these false teachings and affirms the sufficiency of Christ.

We can see in today’s passage what happens when the head coach is absent and the team begins to flounder.  Paul defends his teachings about Christ in a strong doctrinal discussion of the person and work of Christ.  Paul was battling against a group of leaders called “Gnostics.”  The Gnostics believed it took special knowledge to be accepted by God, even as they claimed to be Christian.  They believed that Christ alone was not the way of salvation.  Paul’s main argument was: it is not what one knows that makes him a Christian, but who he knows.  To know Christ is to know God.  The same danger exists today, and like Paul, we must accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.  Jesus calls for our heart, mind, and soul and we need only surrender to him and say yes.


LUKE 10:25-37

The lawyer asked Jesus a question that on the surface seemed simple: “What must I do to receive eternal life?”  Jesus, in his role as a Hebrew Teacher or Rabbi, answered him with two questions: “What was written in the Law, and how did he interpret the law?”  At that time, to an orthodox Jew, the definition of neighbor would have meant no one else but a Jew.  Jesus relates to them a story that draws from them a definition of who is neighbor.

Jesus begins by telling the story of a man who was robbed and beaten and left in the roadway to die. The first person to come by the injured man was a priest, who was probably on his way to the temple to practice his sacred duties.  The priest did not even touch the fallen man because, as scripture has it in Numbers 19:11, a priest would be banned from entering into the sacred temple for seven days after touching a dead person.  His duty to the temple and community came before helping this particular man.  The next person to come by was a Levite who was an assistant to the priests.  The priests made the atonement sacrifice and were in charge of the altars and sacred services.  The Levite, too, was caught up in his duties to his ministry, and his responsibility which was being an assistant to the priest in the temple and other religious duties.

Finally, along came a Samaritan who not only stopped to see what was wrong but became involved in trying to help.  The man may have not been a Samaritan really, the name itself was used for people who didn’t exactly conform to existing standards.  Today we might call that kind of a person a “maverick”, someone who is willing to take a risk.  Jesus was called a Samaritan in John 8:48, obviously they thought he was not orthodox like them.  The question Jesus puts to the lawyer, “Who do you think was neighbor to the man?” is the same question that is being asked of you and me.  God’s love is so great that anyone who is in need is eligible for his help.

God wishes that no man perishes no matter his station in life. We are called to love God with all our heart, soul and strength by loving our neighbor the same way. Jesus even elevates this standard higher in John 15:12 when he calls us to love one another as he has loved us. The Samaritan had the love of God in his heart and he spoke his love into action with his deeds.  We will be judged one day, not by our doctrine or creeds, but rather by how we loved our neighbor with all our heart, strength and soul.  It is how we love our neighbor that signifies to the world how we really love God.



The first reading tells us that repentance must come before mercy can be expected.  The second reading shows that Christ is praised as the image of the invisible God.  The Gospel reveals that we will be judged by how we love our neighbor.

We can love, like the Samaritan, when we yield to God’s love and allow ourselves to love everyone and anyone just as Jesus loves us. This is a love that is willing to pay any price that is required. Let your family be the first to experience this kind of love from you. You can begin by dying to your own needs, become more aware of the needs of others, and respond to those needs.