April 2017

2 April Fifth Sunday of Lent

“Jesus told Martha, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’” (Jn 11:25-26).
Communion Connection –

With these words Jesus is not denying that physical death exists, but he is telling us that physical death does not mean the loss of true Life. Through baptism, death will never again mean that existence is pointless; never will it be absurd anymore. Rather, through our clinging to the risen life of Jesus Christ, we die to ourselves so that Christ, the risen Lord, may live in us even now.          -adapted from Word of Life
Additional Catholic Resources:
Word of Life – http://www.focolare.org/en/news/1999/03/01/marzo-1999/
Audio Homily by Fr. Robert Barron - https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/treating-death-as-a-trifle/1029/

9 April  Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

“Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins’” (Mt 26:27-28).

Communion Connection –

“Drink from it, all of you….” This simple phrase contains an incredible invitation, an overwhelming responsibility, a holy mandate. Through these words, as a result of God’s grace and our inclusion in the communion with God and one another made possible through our baptism and life in the Church, we play a part in the redemptive plan of salvation. Jesus invites us to be one with him, to be reconciled in all things through him, and to join him in his work of love and service so as to build the Kingdom of God in our midst.

Additional Catholic Resources:
Audio Homily by Fr. Robert Barron - https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/the-one-who-journeys-into-the-far-country/534/  
Order of Carmelites - http://ocarm.org/en/content/lectio/lectio-divina-palm-sunday

16 April Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

“And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me’” (Mt 28:9-10).

Communion Connection –

It is striking that Jesus continually meets people where they are. These women were already running to the disciples because they were commanded by the angel to take word to the disciples – but still Jesus himself meets them along the way. It can serve as a reminder of the two lessons learned through "Church@Home" this Lent: to be confident that he loves us and will find us – and also to do the same for others, and to go out to meet them where they are. Encounter!

Additional Catholic Resources:
Audio Homily by Fr. Robert Barron – https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/the-great-hope-of-easter/1030/
Order of Carmelites  – http://ocarm.org/en/content/lectio/lectio-divina-resurrection-lord

23 April Sunday of Divine Mercy

“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the holy Spirit’” (Jn 20:21-22).

Communion Connection –

To fulfill this mandate of the Lord, we have to act in such a way that he may live in us: By being living members of the Church, and by evangelizing ourselves (renewing our faith) first of all. We make our love concrete by giving and responding to those in need, and providing support to those undergoing a time of trial. Living in this way we will allow others to experience (evangelize) what a redeeming figure Jesus is and, by becoming like Christ, we will give our contribution to the continuation of his work. – adapted from Word of Life

Additional Catholic Resources:
Word of Life – http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2005/05/02/commento-di-chiara-lubich-alla-parola-di-vita-del-mese-di-maggio-2005/
Audio Homily by Fr. Robert Barron – https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/the-risen-christ-in-the-midst-of-his-church/925/

30 April Third Sunday of Easter

“And it happened that while they were conversing and debating Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him” (Lk 24:15-16).

Communion Connection –

The disciples were engaged in conversation, but something kept them from recognizing the very one in their midst whom they professed to put their hope in as Savior. It’s a reminder to us of the urgency to be strong in faith, open in mind, and ready at heart in order that we might encounter Jesus. In doing so we hope to be steadfast believers with a readiness to see and love our God who is ever present in the encounter with people and the world around us.

Additional Catholic Resources:
Audio Homily by Fr. Robert Barron – https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/the-road-to-emmaus/926/
USCCB Reflections Video –  http://bcove.me/c5i26x5i

Parish Communion Prayer

March 2017

5 March                                                            First Sunday of Lent
“The tempter approached and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.’ Jesus said in reply, ‘It is written: ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God’” (Mt 4:3-4).
Communion Connection
Jesus is being asked to assume an attitude of independence rather than one of abandonment to the Father. In reply, Jesus presents the word of God as bread, as nourishment. This truth sheds light on our relationship with God’s word. Every time we receive it and seek to put it into practice, it’s like nourishing ourselves with the Lord Himself. While bread is the staff of life, so God’s Word nourishes us and helps us to grow in Christ and for Christ to grow in us..      Adapted from Word of Life
Additional Catholic Resources:
-       Audio Homily by Bishop Robert Barron: https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/back-to-basics/785/

12 March                                                          Second Sunday of Lent
“While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.’ When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Rise, and do not be afraid’” (Mt 17:5-7).
Communion Connection
The first thing we hear Jesus say after God instructs us to listen is, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” It is as if those words are meant to serve as a guiding star for any who accept God’s invitation to follow Jesus. First of all – Rise. Do not sit idle, do not let fatigue or worry lay you out – but rather, stand tall. And secondly – Do not be afraid. Do not succumb to fear and anxiety which are common burdens in a broken life. Instead, let’s move with confidence and surety in our efforts to follow the will of God.
Additional Catholic Resources:
-       Audio Homily by Bishop Robert Barron: https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/the-mystery-of-light/661/
-       Order of Carmelites Lectio: http://ocarm.org/en/content/lectio/lectio-divina-2nd-sunday-lent

19 March                                                          Third Sunday of Lent
“Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life’” (Jn 4: ).

Communion Connection –
Every moment in which we seek to live the Gospel is like drinking a drop of that living water. Every gesture of love for our neighbor is like a sip of that water. That water, which is so alive and precious, has something special about it. It is a wellspring of God dwelling within us.  It wells up each time we open our hearts to others through small or big acts of love and it flows out from us to quench the thirst of others.         Adapted from Word of Life

Additional Catholic Resources:

26 March                                                          Fourth Sunday of Lent
As he passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him’” (Jn 9:1-3).

Communion Connection –
Rather than joining in negativity, Jesus is able to see goodness even in the condition of the man born blind. What a different viewpoint from we who are tempted to question the presence of God when we experience hardship in our lives or see it in the lives of others! Jesus points to the opportunity for the grace of God to be at work. We are invited to join Jesus in this life-giving perspective. When we see sickness and brokenness of any kind – instead of doubting the power of God, let us believe in God who is always faithful and look for the way in which God’s handiwork will be made visible yet again.

Additional Catholic Resources:
-           Audio Homily by Bishop Robert Barron: https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/coming-to-see/1028/
-           Order of Carmelites Lectio: http://ocarm.org/en/content/lectio/lectio-divina-4th-sunday-lent

February 2017

5 February Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lamp stand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt 5:14-16).

Communion Connection –

 Christians must live in the world because of a responsibility, a mission before all people: that of being the light that shines. This light is made visible through “good works.” For Christians, “good works” refer not only to isolated works of charity, but to their complete adherence to the will of God so that his or her entire life becomes a “good work”. In this way, they live their lives with a new spirit, that spirit by which it is no longer they who live, but Christ who lives in them. – adapted from Word of Life

Additional Catholic Resources: Word of Life http://www.focolare.org/en/news/1999/02/01/febbraio-1999/ Audio Homily by Fr. Robert Barron https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/salt-light-and-a-city-set-on-a-hill/1025/

 12 February Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 “Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven’” (Mt 5:17-19).

Communion Connection –

 Jesus invites us to proclaim his Gospel. But before we “teach” His words, He asks us to “obey” them. In order to be credible, we should strive to become experts in the Gospel, a living Gospel. In this way we will be able to witness to it with our lives and teach it with our words. What is important is to maintain the presence of Jesus among us through our mutual love, to be docile in listening to His voice—the voice of our conscience that always speaks to us if we know how to practice holy silence. – adapted from Word of Life

Additional Catholic Resources: Word of Life http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2008/02/01/febbraio-2008/ Audio Homily by Fr. Robert Barron https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/extreme-demand-extreme-mercy/1026/

 19 February Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

 “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust’” (Mt 5:43-45).

 Communion Connection –

 Jesus came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it – and He teaches that we are called to do the same. Civil law allows for retribution when a wrong is done, but Jesus tells us that our call as children of God is to imitate God’s by mercy. Only with such a divine response of love, mercy, and kindness will it be possible to transform the world from one of violence into one of the kingdom of heaven.

Additional Catholic Resources: - Audio Homily by Fr. Robert Barron https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/be-perfect/919/ - USCCB Reflections Video http://bcove.me/igk55qbj

 26 February Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky, they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?’” (Mt 6:25-26).

Communion Connection –

 Jesus is fully human. In his life on earth, He experienced human needs for food, shelter, and clothing. However, true to all of His teachings, Jesus shows us how not to be preoccupied about things of this world – even basic needs. He keeps His eyes fixed on the providence and will of God the Father, and that’s where He directs our gaze and dependence, as well. The object of our deep concern needs only to be seeking the kingdom of God, and from there all will fall into its rightful place.

Additional Catholic Resources: - Audio Homily by Fr. Robert Barron https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/seek-ye-first/920/ - USCCB Reflections Video http://bcove.me/g81ytw80

January 2017

1 January Mary, the Holy Mother of God

“The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child” (Lk 2:16-17).

Communion Connection –

The shepherds were both special recipients of evangelization (they went in haste because of what "they had been told"), and were evangelizers themselves (“they made known the message”). We can be likewise! If we are open to it, we can be amazed at God’s presence all around us and likewise share that inspiration with others.  Like the shepherds of long ago, we can tell the Good News with great faith and enthusiasm, rousing others to reflect on what they hear and to desire to know God more deeply.

Additional Catholic Resources:
USCCB Reflections Video – http://bcove.me/vdl9mir6

8 January The Epiphany of the Lord

“The magi were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage.  Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Mt 2:10-11).
Communion Connection –
“Overjoyed.” The scriptures paint an image of those searching for the “King of the Jews” as being eager and hope-filled. As magi, and with their prominent gifts, they were likely people of means – yet they were clothed in the virtue of humility as they lay their gifts before the newborn and his mother. They were prepared to surrender themselves to the infant king, and to gift him with the best they had.  Let us join them in their manner of approach to our Lord and Savior: eager, humble, and generous.

Additional Catholic Resources:
Audio Homily by Fr. Robert Barron - http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/herod-and-the-magi/950/
USCCB Reflections Video - http://bcove.me/nl79d7t9

15 January Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

“John the Baptist testified further, saying, ‘I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the holy Spirit’” (Jn 1:32-33).

Communion Connection –
John the Baptist shows us how to respond in faith alone. He tells us he “did not know” the Messiah, but because he listened so well to the Father and saw with the eyes of his heart, he was able to recognize God among us. May we be so open to the Spirit at work in our midst!

Additional Catholic Resources:
Audio Homily by Fr. Robert Barron – http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/behold-the-lamb-of-god/782/
USCCB Reflections Video –   http://bcove.me/we3viigw

22 January Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Jesus left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan. Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by dark light has arisen” (Mt 4:13-16).

Communion Connection –
We have only to believe: “Light has arisen.” Not only in biblical days long past but also in today’s world, we may think that we sit in a land overshadowed by darkness. However, to believe in Emmanuel means that we are convinced that God is with us. Encourage one another and keep your minds fixed on a God who is ever present, ever-loving, ever waiting for our faith and trust in Him to be firm.

Additional Catholic Resources:
Audio Homily by Fr. Robert Barron – http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/land-of-zebulon-land-of-naphtali/1023/
USCCB Reflections Video – http://bcove.me/edtlnr83

29 January Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:10).

Communion Connection –
Being persecuted often makes us think of people in far off countries who are being abused for their religious convictions. However, we might reconsider the meaning of righteousness used by our Lord in this passage. “Righteousness” means “right relationship with God, others, and the material world.” To stand up for righteousness can lead to persecution all around us everyday. May God give us the courage to pursue such righteousness, and the strength to endure persecution that we will encounter. Then we will be "the blessed" of Jesus' Kingdom.

Additional Catholic Resources:
Audio Homily by Fr. Robert Barron – http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/blessed-are-we/917/
USCCB Reflections Video –  http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm

November 2016

6 November Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Jesus said to the Sadducees, ‘They can no longer die, for they are like angels, and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise’” (Lk 20:36).
Communion Connection – During the month of November, when we especially remember all of the saints and souls who have gone before us, these words from Jesus bring us special comfort. While we know from faith that the kingdom of God is present in our midst – that we experience heaven to some extent right here and now – we can’t help but long for assurance of an angelic life for our loved ones who have died. May our hearts be filled with faith and confidence in this promise of eternal life, when we will be joined together in a new way with Jesus and all of the beloved children of God.

Additional Catholic Resources:
Audio Homily by Fr. Robert Barron – http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/the-resurrection-of-the-body/1016/
Order of Carmelites Lectio – http://ocarm.org/en/content/lectio/lectio-divina-32nd-sunday-ordinary-time-c

13 November Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time 

“Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives’” (Lk 21:17-19).

Communion Connection – Whoever wants to follow Christ must take up his cross each day, not hating it but accepting it as God's will. The Christian vocation is this call to perseverance. Perseverance is necessary and indispensable when we suffer, when we are tempted, when we are inclined to be discouraged, when we are drawn to the seductions of the world, when we suffer persecution. Those who really know how to persevere are those who love. Love is never hindered by obstacles. It does not count difficulties or sacrifices. Perseverance is love that has been put to the test.  That is how they will know we are Christians – by our love. – adapted from the Word of Life

Additional Catholic Resources:
Word of Life – http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2009/10/01/ottobre-2009/
Audio Homily by Fr. Robert Barron – http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/apocalypse-and-the-resurrection/1017/

20 November Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

“Then the criminal hanging beside Him said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus replied to him, ‘Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise’” (Lk 23:42-43).
Communion Connection – The tremendous mercy that Jesus extends to the guilty criminal hanging beside him does not undo the man’s immediate suffering, but rather the divine gift is even richer – Jesus gives him eternal life.  So often we pray to be relieved of a particular burden, but perhaps this criminal shows us the better way. We can take our hardship to Jesus and with total faith ask that he keep us in his heart where the kingdom lies. After all, as children of God, it is Paradise that we truly seek.                                            

Additional Catholic Resources:
Audio Homily by Fr. Robert Barron – http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/march-in-the-army-of-the-true-king/1018/

27 November First Sunday of Advent

“Jesus said to the disciple, ‘Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come’” (Mt 24:42-44).

Communion Connection –If Jesus is coming, then this life is a passing thing. But that does not mean that we should undervalue it. On the contrary, we should give it the highest importance. We should prepare for that encounter with Him by living a worthy life.  We must be vigilant – and vigilance is a characteristic of love. When we love someone we constantly watch and wait for him or her to return. Every moment away from the one we love is spent with him or her in mind. So it is when we love Jesus. We do everything with Him in mind, encountering Him in the simple expressions of His will in every moment. And so we must prepare - let us be vigilant – for that solemn encounter with Him on the day when He comes.  
                                                                       – adapted from the Word of Life

Additional Catholic Resources:
Word of Life – http://www.focolare.org/en/news/2009/04/01/aprile-2009/
Audio Homily by Fr. Robert Barron – http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/look-to-the-son-of-man/985/

September 2016

SeptemberTwenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Great crowds were traveling with him, and he turned and addressed them, ‘If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple’(L14:25-26).
Communion Connection 
These words make radical, unheard-of demands! Jesus is asking us to put into second place all the beautiful affections we have here on earth, lest they become obstacles to our following Him. Only God could ask so much. Jesus wants to orient us to Himself first and fundamentally before anything else so that He can bring about universal family of believers. We must all, sooner or later, choose between the Truth of Jesus Christ and everything false in our world and our lives. Dont be afraid. Dont fear for your life. It is better to lose any falseness that has attracted us away from God than to lose our communion with God forever. Eternal life is really True.        

-adapted from Word of Life

Additional Catholic Resources:

11 SeptemberTwenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The father said to his older son, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found’” (Lk:15:31-32).

Communion Connection –

In saying these words, Jesus is denouncing a danger that tempts all of humanity: wanting our lives to be satisfying and judged to be perfect while judging others to be less perfect. Instead, Jesus puts the emphasis on divine Love and shows us that God, who is Love, takes the first step towards each person without considering his or her worthiness. Jesus is inviting us to have that same boundless love of the Father towards those whom the self-righteous would judge harshly.     adapted from Word of Life

Additional Catholic Resources:

18 SeptemberTwenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to His disciples, No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon’” (L16:13).

Communion Connection –

Jesus' words are not a condemnation of wealth in itself, but rather He condemns the obsession with having wealth that occupies ourhearts. He doesn't require absolute poverty of everyone; he requires rather detachment in everything. Wealthy persons should not so much consider themselves as owners, but as stewards or caretakersof the goods they possess, which belong primarily to God.  A good steward tends to his master’s goods on behalf of and in the manner of the master. Wealth is an excellent tool if used to serve those in need, to be kind and to promote the common good. We are good stewards by being generous with our wealth but also by proper management of our commerce, business, and taxes. Thisstewardship is the way to use our goods without becoming enslaved by them. – adapted from Word of Life

Additional Catholic Resources:

25 SeptemberTwenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The rich man cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames. Abraham replied, ‘My child remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented’ (Lk 16:24-25).

Communion Connection –

The story of the rich man and Lazarus can drum up the song in our minds and hearts – “Open my eyes Lord, help me to see your face…. Open my ears, Lord, help me to hear your voice….” It is indeed possible to be so blind, so clueless, so self-occupied that we can miss the opportunity to love someone who was right in front of us. Perhaps this can be our challenge to expand our view of where and how we see God, and to make it our aim to strive for loving communion with others beyond our customary, socially acceptableand easy connections.

Additional Catholic Resources: