The BreadCast
Daily Exposition of the Readings of Catholic Mass, from the book 'Our Daily Bread' by James H. Kurt (now with Chanted Verses, and added text of Prayer for the Day). Additional cast - SaintsCast, entries from the book 'Prayers to the Saints' (also by James Kurt). Both books bear imprimatur.

(Heb.8:6-13;   Ps.85:8,10-14;   Mk.3:13-19)

 

“I will be their God

and they shall be my people.”

 

“Near indeed is His salvation to those who fear Him, glory dwelling in our land”; for absolute oneness do we find with our Lord and God through the ministry of His only Son.  For the Lord has said of His new covenant, “All shall know me, from least to greatest,” promising: “I will place my laws in their minds and I will write them upon their hearts.”  There shall be no separation from His presence for those who believe; His “kindness and truth shall meet” in us as they have in Jesus.  Alleluia!

But yet does the time move toward perfection.  Though the new covenant be fulfilled in Jesus, it is still being fulfilled in the world and among those who dwell in the world.  We know this because the Lord says of the covenant to come, through His prophet Jeremiah: “They shall not teach their fellow citizens or their brothers, saying, ‘Know the Lord’” – there being no need any longer to teach the perfected – and also, “Their sins I will remember no more,” meaning that sin will no longer exist.  But Jesus upon commissioning the twelve apostles sends them out “to preach the good news” and “to have authority to expel demons,” and to this day there is need, and great need, for instruction in the Word of God and healing by the expulsion of sin in Holy Confession.  This ministry still in place, we know we have yet to reach perfection; we know we have yet to find absolute oneness with Christ and His sacrifice… and so, perfect union with the Father yet awaits us.

“He appointed the twelve as follows: Simon to whom He gave the name Peter; James, son of Zebedee; and John, the brother of James (He gave these two the name Boanerges, or ‘sons of thunder’); Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon of the Zealot party, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.”  Upon these the new covenant is founded.  By their ministry it shall grow, taking root in the world and bearing much fruit.  And though Matthias must take the place of the traitorous Judas, there is no breaking the line that comes from these foundation stones: all of the coming kingdom is traced to them and from them, for they are anointed by the Son and by them God will make all His children. 

Brothers and sisters, “the Lord Himself will give His benefits; our land shall yield its increase.”  In His Church as in His arms make your home, for His blessings are upon us and shall be fulfilled.

 

*******

O LORD, let us be companions of your Son

that we might be made one with you.

YHWH, as your Son is joined to you and the apostles to Him, so let us be joined to them that we might be joined to Jesus and you, and your promise might be fulfilled and your NAME be written on our hearts.  O let it be so, that all shall know you, that we shall be your people.

O LORD, let truth spring out of the earth as your justice looks down from Heaven.  Let the union of Heaven and earth accomplished in your Son be accomplished in us as we join ourselves to Him.  O let us walk in the way of His steps that we might find salvation!

LORD, forgive us our sins, remember them no more – cast all evil from us.  May the priests who stand in your Son’s place absolve us of all wrongdoing as we come on our knees before them.  Your power be upon us for good; by your Word let us be taught, till we are entirely one with you, living in your New Covenant, living in the flesh of Christ, as His holy Body.

Direct download: BC-012111-F_2_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(Heb.7:25-8:6;   Ps.40:7-10,17;   Mk.3:7-12)

 

“Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through Him,

since He forever lives to make intercession for them.”

 

Oh how the people approach Him today, seeking healing, seeking grace: “a great crowd followed Him from Galilee, and an equally great multitude came to Him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, Transjordan, and the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon” – from all around they came to press upon Him, to press upon Him…  “All who had afflictions kept pushing toward Him to touch Him.  Unclean spirits would catch sight of Him, fling themselves down at His feet, and shout, “You are the Son of God!”  So great were their numbers He needed to take refuge in a fishing boat.  Oh “the press of the crowd against Him,” the press of the crowd.  They could not resist drawing toward Him who stood at the center of the universe, Him who stood in the place of God, Him who was God.  Greater than the pull of gravity was the pull of their hearts toward salvation.

And do you think He has left you, brother?  Do you say, “Where is He now that I need healing, that I may press upon Him myself?”  He has not left you alone; He has multiplied His presence and increased His grace through the ministry of His apostles.  They now go out to those who would press upon Him, and through these priests they find the high priest, He who is “holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, higher than the heavens.”  Indeed, He is not on earth anymore and His ministry is not earthly – yet He is ever present to all who stretch forth their hands to Him.  Do you not know the immense mercy available to you in the Sacrament of Confession?  Do you not realize the heavenly food you eat in Holy Communion?  Press upon Him this day; approach the priests who, despite their imperfections, hold the power He has left in our midst, and to your loving God you will come.

“Jesus has obtained a more excellent ministry now,” and “He is mediator of a better covenant,” an eternal covenant.  Brothers and sisters, “we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of Majesty in heaven, minister of the sanctuary and of that true tabernacle set up not by man but by the Lord.”  What greater gift could we ask for?  How much more exalted could we be called to be than to receive mercy from Him who dwells in the heart of the Father, than to take food from the hands of Him who holds the hand of God?

 

O Lord, “may all who seek you

exult and be glad in you,

 And may those who love your salvation

say ever, ‘The Lord be glorified.’”

 

*******

O LORD, your Son has taken on our flesh

that He might draw us

into the sanctuary of your presence 

O let us join ourselves to Him!

YHWH, your Son is able to save all those who approach Him, for He sits with you in the heavenly sanctuary having offered Himself for our sakes.  And so the crowds press upon Him, and so the devils cannot but recognize His power over them… and so we are saved from our sin by our faith in Him and offering ourselves to you through His hands.

O LORD, may we be an acceptable sacrifice to you, joined well to the sacrifice of Jesus.  May we say with Him, “I come to do your will,” and think of nothing but obedience to your call.  Write your law within our hearts that we might transcend the darkness of this place as we align our lives with your Son’s and die to all that keeps us from you.  He is made perfect forever in your presence and intercedes for us to be made perfect with Him.  O let us press upon Him this day that we might ever glorify your NAME.

Direct download: BC-012011-Th_2_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(Heb.7:1-3,15-17;   Ps.110:1-4;   Mk.3:1-6)

 

“Without father, mother, or ancestry,

without beginning of days or end of life,

like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.”

 

We hear today more specifically about “Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of the Most High God,” whose name means “king of justice” and also “king of peace,” who is therefore so like our King Jesus; it is in his line the Lord takes His place.

“Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor,” King David declares of his Lord and our Lord.  Indeed before the dawn of light upon earth, Jesus is King: He is the only-begotten Son of God whose rule is from everlasting to everlasting; and His priesthood, like that of Melchizedek, is “in virtue of the power of a life which cannot be destroyed” – not by physical descent but by spiritual ascension.  From God Himself He receives His kingship and His priestly anointing.

In contrast to the eternal priesthood and princely headship of our Lord and Savior, we see in our gospel those whose power comes only by “virtue of a law expressed in a commandment concerning physical descent,” and which is, therefore, passing away.  Indeed, before their eyes it passes this day as Jesus stands before the Pharisees at the front of the synagogue and calls them to acceptance of the greater glory now in their midst.  But they “closed their minds against Him” as they refused to realize the limitations of their own calling as leaders of the people, choosing to cling to a dying law and a power which is being taken from them even as a greater is offered, rather than stretching forth their hands to the Lord, in whom the law takes life and finds fulfillment, through whom all power comes…

Yes, the Lord “stretch[es] forth” “the scepter of [His] power” even as the man stretches forth his “shriveled hand” here at the front of the synagogue, before all the people and their teachers on a sabbath day, and finds it “perfectly restored.”  The same He would do for each of them and for all of us, if we but recognized His transcendent power and glory, if we but realized He is the Son of God.

*******

O LORD, your Son is of the Spirit

but we are of the flesh;

help us to offer this poor flesh

through His eternal priesthood.

YHWH, in the line of Melchizadek your Son comes to us, without beginning of days or end of life, for by you He is begotten before the world was brought forth.  And so His power is like your own, and so in Him we shall not die but be healed of all evil upon us. 

We praise you, LORD, for your justice toward us, for the presence of your Son.  For in Him we take our refuge; in Him we find our salvation.  O let us freely reach out our hands to the grace He offers that He might stretch forth His scepter toward us and we be made whole in your sight!

The Day you make is one of peace, O LORD, and so the Son you send brings to us that peace.  Let us give to Him our possessions, even our very body and soul; for all He touches He sanctifies, and so we will thus be blessed by Him.

No hardened heart could ever destroy Him or His love.  Let us sacrifice ourselves with Him, LORD, that we might join Him at your right hand.

Direct download: BC-011911-W_2_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O father of monks

and all who would give themselves

completely to the Lord,

you who have been so obedient

to the word of God,

to His call

to sell everything,

to renounce all possessions

and follow Him –

how we need your prayers

this day,

when love for material things

possesses our very bodies

and souls,

when prayer and penance

seem things of the distant past.

Make present to us

the blessed call of the Lord,

the renunciation of the world,

that we too might find

the riches of Heaven

you knew so well.

Pray we give up all for God.

Direct download: Jan._17_Anthony_the_Abbot.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(Heb.6:10-20;   Ps.111:1-2,4-5,9-10;   Mk.2:23-28)

 

“I will indeed bless you, and multiply you.”

 

God promised to bless Abraham, to make his descendants numerous as the stars; and “He swore by Himself,” “by oath,” to carry out His promise, thus giving an unshakable, “unchangeable” “firmness to [the] promise.”  God does not go back on His word.  And so, “after patient waiting, Abraham obtained what God had promised”; He became the father of many nations, of all those of faith.

Now if God is so faithful, should we who are “heirs of His promise,” who are children of Abraham in the faith and so the sharers of the same blessings promised to him, should not “we who have taken refuge in [God]… be strongly encouraged to seize the hope which is placed before us”?  For we, “through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises”; and greater promises than Abraham do we receive at the hand of our Lord now, for our “hope extends beyond the veil through which Jesus, our forerunner, has entered on our behalf.”  As David “entered God’s house… and ate the holy bread which only the priests were permitted to eat,” and “even gave it to his men,” so Jesus enters His Father’s house, passing through the gates of heaven into the sanctuary, into the holy of holies, and there partakes of bread at His Father’s hand… and indeed shares it with us, His brothers.

Oh brothers and sisters, each day we partake of the bread of the angels from the hand of the Lord; it surrounds us like the “standing grain” around the disciples.  And does it not prove to us that “great are the works of the Lord, exquisite in all their delights”?  Doesn’t it reveal to our souls that our hope in Him is “a sure and firm anchor,” that His love for us is strong and all His promises are fulfilled in our midst, before our eyes?  “God is not unjust.”  No, “gracious and merciful is the Lord.”  “Holy and awesome is His name,” and He shares the glory of His presence with all His children: “He has given food to those who fear Him.”  So, let us “not grow lazy” in faith but take strength in this food He supplies.  “He will not forget [our] work and the love [we] have shown Him by [our] service.”  But let us continue to serve Him in our brothers; let us “show the same zeal till the end,” that all His promises we may taste.  Indeed, the more we eat His bread, the more we accomplish His work, the more His blessings are multiplied, in us and in the world!

“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.”  The gift of God’s rest is ours, releasing us from slavery.  Freedom we find in His name, blessing we find in His promise – His rest is upon us as we remain in Him.  And “He will forever be mindful of His covenant”: His blessings shall ever increase in our souls.

*******

O LORD, your Son has entered into your presence

that we might be fed with the Bread of Life –

let us hope always in Him.

YHWH, if Abraham’s cause for hope was great, how much greater is our own, we for whom Jesus has passed through the veil of death that we might enter your presence?  Now that your Word has been made flesh and been given to us as food for our journey, how much stronger should our faith be, and so, how much surer our work?  We should not bend in the wind like standing heads of grain but know the glory to which we are called as we reach up to you through the grace that is with us by the sacrifice of your Son.

O LORD, you are indeed gracious and merciful; you look upon our needs and answer them.  You promise to be with us always and increase and multiply our works, so long as we remain faithful to you.  Let us trust in your Word to us and find hope always that you are near.  In Jesus your Son, you have walked among us – your great love for man let us never forget.

Give us the food we need even this day, O LORD, the Bread that is our very life.

Direct download: BC-011811-Tu_2_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(Heb.5:1-10;   Ps.110:1-4;   Mk.2:18-22)

 

“You are a priest forever,

according to the order of Melchizedek.”

 

 Without beginning or end is the holy priesthood of our Lord; high above all sacrifices reigns His own.

“Taken from among men” is Jesus our high priest “and made [our] representative before God.”  Like others He is in this respect; yet the “gifts and sacrifices” He offers are infinitely greater than any that have ever been, for it is Himself He lifts up for our sins.  “He is Himself beset by weakness,” though not His own; He is Himself pierced for transgression, though not of His making – and in the cross of our condition He bears “in the flesh,” in the crucifixion He suffers at our hands, does the high priest become the victim whose blood covers the earth with redemption.  Yes, “Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered; and when perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.”  What other high priest can boast as much?

And yet the people would limit the grace that pours forth in the blood of His sacrifice, in the sweet-smelling flesh He offers, to a dying law which has been corrupted by the hands of man.  They fail to see that the old is subsumed by the new… and so the Lord seeks to teach them to receive the “new wine” He would pour into their hearts with minds open to the light of God.  They do not yet know the joy His disciples experience just being in the presence of the Messiah, the bridegroom of all faithful souls; as yet their hearts have not been circumcised by the nails of the sacrifice He makes in their name.  But soon their time will come, we pray.  When He is lifted up, perhaps they shall see.

And in our psalm we have David’s verse of Jesus: “The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool.’”  Jesus is David’s Lord even then, for Jesus our Savior has always been.  Beautifully does David speak of this as well, in the voice of God: “Before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you.”  As the dew covers the earth unseen before the sun rises, so before the Father pronounced the words “Let there be light” – first bringing the universe into being by the power of His Word – Jesus was eternally present, even as the water the Spirit moved upon.

And so He has “princely power,” seated at the right hand of God.  And so He “rule[s] in the midst of His enemies,” His sacrifice destroying the death which seemed to take hold of Him.  And so, like the order of Melchizedek, which came well before the institution of the Israelite’s priestly line, from all eternity His salvific priesthood is – and shall last until the end of time.

*******

O LORD, you sent your Son to offer Himself

in our stead;

may we be clothed anew in His grace.

YHWH, the priesthood of your Son is from all eternity and will last until the end of time for the expiation of our sins.  And the sacrifice He offers is Himself in the suffering and death He endures in our midst.  Though He rules forever at your right hand, He humbles Himself to suffer at our hands that the evil in our hearts might be washed clean by the blood He freely sheds.  O let us be made as new wineskins able to receive the grace He pours forth.

Jesus is our Prince who fights our battles and puts all our enemies under His feet.  He crushes the head of the devil and destroys all the weakness by which we are beset, and He does this by the weakness He endures and the death He suffers for our sakes.  O LORD, let us know the glory He would bring to our poor souls, the salvation wrought by His holy sacrifice, and let us join ourselves to that sacrifice by fasting and doing penance in His stead as long as He is apart from us, until the Day He returns.

Direct download: BC-011711-M_2_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(Is.49:3,5-6;   Ps.40:2,4,7-10;   1Cor.1:1-3;   Jn.1:29-34)

 

“I am made glorious in the sight of the Lord,

and my God is now my strength!”

 

John the Baptist testifies that Jesus is “the Son of God,” the One upon whom he has seen “the Spirit come down and remain.”  And we are all His servants, made holy only in Him.  John declares his own servitude, speaking of “the one who sent [him] to baptize with water,” and stating, “A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because He existed before me.”  His witness to Jesus and the strength he takes from Him is clear, as is the case with St. Paul, who declares himself “called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,” and goes on to say that, indeed, all the Church is “called to be holy” in Jesus Christ.  This call from the Lord to be His servant, and that it is through His servants the Lord shows His glory, is prophesied in strength by Isaiah in our first reading, showing that even before Christ came to be born among us He indeed existed and through Him the Father called His servants, His children, to Himself.  For Isaiah speaks for God, saying, “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”  Here he speaks of Jesus; here he knows even in his time of the salvation the Lord brings.

And David in our psalm echoes the same theme of the servitude of Christ and the servitude in Christ to which all are called, and which acts as a light to this world.  “Ears open to obedience you gave me,” proclaims the great and humble king, and sings as if in the voice of Christ: “In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, to do your will, O God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!”  What great blessing it indeed is to share in the servitude of Jesus, to have His song placed in our mouths, to make our lives “a hymn to our God.”  He makes us His own and we share in the blood that flows through His veins when we place ourselves in the service of the Lord.

The Lord calls.  He is among us now and has made His salvation known.  Through the prophets, through the Baptist, through His apostles and martyrs and saints – through “all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” He reveals His glory day to day.  It is His desire that we be strong in Him as we join to Him and are baptized by Him with the Holy Spirit.  His grace and peace He would leave with us, His glory He would reveal through us, if His servants we would make ourselves this day.  Find your strength in Him, brothers and sisters.  He stoops toward you and hears your cry, and will instill His song of praise in your hearts, to be declared to all the world.

 

Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.

 

Music: "Miracle" from Listening to the Lamp, ninth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

 

*******

O LORD, may we all testify

that Jesus is the Son of God;

by Him may all souls be saved. 

YHWH, ears open to obedience give us that we might be your servants, that we might be as the Body of your only Son, doing your will in all things, ever making Him known.  Let all we do testify to His presence in our midst that salvation may come to all men, even to the ends of the earth.  Your apostles, your prophets, please make us, crying out your way, calling all to holiness in the Lamb of God.

Jesus is the One who is greater than us, greater than any man who has walked this earth, for only He is your Son, dear God; only He sanctifies the human race by His blessed sacrifice.  Let our lips not be restrained, but let us declare His glory to all souls.

You have stooped toward us, O LORD; through Jesus you have shown us your glory.  Your Servant you have called and sent among us that we all might become your servants in Him.  O let your law be so in our hearts and the doing of your will our delight!  Alleluia!

Direct download: BC-011611-Su_2_OT_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EST

(Heb.4:12-16;   Ps.19:8-10,15,Jn.6:63;   Mk.2:13-17)

 

“Nothing is concealed from Him.”

 

In God’s eyes all men are sinners; this is what His penetrating vision cannot help but see.  Yet it is just such sinners as we He has come to call, to call away from our sin.  The Pharisees cannot bear this sword of truth to pierce their soul, and so they take up the sword of anger against those who are being redeemed, and He who is redeeming them.  Let us not be as these hardened hearts, brothers and sisters, but expose our sin to the Lord’s sharp gaze, that He might heal us by His grace.

That Jesus Himself sees all that is in a man is indicated by His “overhearing the remark” of the complaining Pharisees today, and more clearly elsewhere in His reading their and His disciples’ thoughts without a word being spoken (e.g. Mt.17:25).  As nothing is concealed from the Father, so nothing is concealed from the Son: “The reflections and thoughts of the heart” are open to Him.  And He knows the troubles that affect each of us.  And these, even of the Pharisees, He would heal, even as a wise physician – but we indeed must come with our souls exposed and prepared for surgery.

And though this process can be painful, and though we might say to ourselves, “We are not deserving” – though the questions of the Pharisees might be our own – yet we must witness Jesus’ attitude toward Levi and his fellow tax collectors/sinners.  Yet we must see how He defends these from attack, not bringing their shame before them as the Pharisees would, but with a heart set only on forgiveness.  For indeed “we have a great high priest,” one who takes our sins upon Himself, one who suffers with us our weakness in order to save us from its consequences.  And so with Levi and his friends we should “confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and favor,” both in the confessional and at the Eucharistic table, for our need He has come to fill with His love.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul”; Jesus is this law made flesh.  “The command of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eye”; to remove the darkness of our vision, the all-seeing God has come.  “The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever,” and as long as we come before Him, trembling for our sin, we shall live on in His love.

 

Shine your light upon our souls, O Lord,

and remove all darkness from them.

In your grace you make us whole;

with you let us be holy.

 

*******

O LORD, your Son has come to save us from our sins;

may the light of His Word dispel all darkness

from our souls.

YHWH, let the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart find favor in your sight, my Rock and my Redeemer.  For you see into the depths of our hearts; you know well the sin that is within us – yet you are merciful in judging us, desiring only to heal us of our sickness.  O let us always come humbly before you to find your blessing upon our souls, that we might ever serve you well with our poor lives!

O mighty God, O all-seeing and all-knowing LORD, let us treasure your Word, your Law, which is as balm for our troubled spirits.  Let us welcome your Son to our table that He might feed us with your truth, that we might find wisdom and learn by your grace to live forever in joy in your presence.

How we need your Son, our high priest, as our physician, He who gives Himself to take away our sin.  O LORD, may we indeed find your favor through Him, obediently answering His call to salvation.

Direct download: BC-011511-Sa_1_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O shepherd and doctor

of God’s holy Church,

is this not what you would declare

with all your breath

to the ends of the earth:

“Jesus is the Son of God

and God Himself”?

Would you not proclaim

the true light of Scripture

and the Word, the Light,

become flesh in our midst?

Know, O saint of the Lord,

that your words reach our ears

and our hearts

even to this day,

and this day we proclaim you holy

and your words true –

continue to speak to us;

please intercede for us,

that the Truth you declared

so fearlessly

will be taken up again

by those in His stead today.  

Direct download: Jan._13_Hilary.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(Heb.4:1-5,11;   Ps.78:3-4,6-8;   Mk.2:1-12)

 

“The promise of entrance into His rest still holds.”

 

But only those with faith in Him shall be made whole.

Paul says of the Israelites in the desert, “The word which they heard did not profit them, for they did not receive it in faith.”  Though they had seen “the glorious deeds of the Lord and His strength and the wonders that He wrought,” they yet became “wayward and rebellious, a generation that kept not its heart steadfast nor its spirit faithful to God.”  Yet they disobeyed and disbelieved.  And so they entered not into His rest; they received not the grace of union with the Lord in His peaceful kingdom, but rather died in the desert in their sin.  Thus does Paul warn us not to “fall in imitation of Israel’s unbelief,” but ever to “strive to enter into that rest” God holds for all His faithful.

And the faith necessary to enter God’s rest is illustrated clearly in our gospel today, as is the woe of unbelief.  It is “when Jesus saw [the] faith” of those who lowered the paralytic through the ceiling to Him that He said to this poor soul, “My son, your sins are forgiven”; and it is upon hearing these grace-filled words from the Savior’s mouth that some of the scribes, those faithless souls so much the descendants of their faithless fathers, grumbled against Him and accused Him of “blasphemy.”  And as the Lord here makes clear the equation of forgiveness and healing (“Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk again’?”), commanding indeed the paralyzed man: “Stand up!  Pick up your mat and go home,” so does this healed soul, washed clean of all his sin, with his companions and all those of faith who stand “awestruck” as they look on… so do these enter God’s rest – even as the scribes gnash their teeth.

Brothers and sisters, “God rested from all His work on the seventh day,” and that rest awaits all at their completion of the Lord’s work in this world.  This truth Jesus reveals in our midst even this day.  And so we “should put [our] hope in God, and not forget the deeds of God but keep His commands”; for “it is we, who have believed, who enter into that rest,” so long as we keep faith in Him.

*******

O LORD, let us enter into your rest,

that we might rise and carry souls to you.

YHWH, how shall we have our sins forgiven if we have not faith in you and in your Son; how shall we enter into your rest if we turn away from you?  We must come to you and to your Son, believing in the salvation wrought by you and letting nothing stand in our way… and you will bless us and gather us into your arms.

O Lord Jesus, forgive us all our sin this day.  Cast far from us all that keeps us paralyzed, all that prevents us from rising and following you.  Take away our rebellious souls, our unfaithfulness before you – O may we hear your gracious words calling us to stand and walk with you!  O may we know the peace of your forgiveness!

O LORD, you are our God, and in you alone we find our rest, we find healing from all our sickness and sin.  Help us to be strong in faith ourselves and serve to bring others to you as well.  You await our coming to you; let nothing else matter to us at all.

Direct download: BC-011411-F_1_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(Heb.3:7-14;   Ps.95:6-11;   Mk.1:40-45)

 

“Today, if you should hear His voice,

harden not your hearts.”

 

Today we see Jesus continuing His healing ministry, and we see how it becomes “no longer possible for [Him] to enter a town openly” because of the public proclamation of His wondrous and powerful works.  We see also how, though “He stayed in desert places… people kept coming to Him from all sides,” for His work must be accomplished.  But we see most particularly the way we must come to Him to find our own healing.

“Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the Lord who made us,” David sings, calling all to their proper place before God.  And this the leper in our gospel does today, indicating indeed to all the attitude we must have toward Jesus, the place we must find at His feet.  With soft hearts we must come before our Lord in tears for the sin upon our souls.  Not like those in the Egyptian desert can we be, those who “saw [His] works for forty years” yet “tested and tried” Him constantly.  This generation indeed He “loathed” in His anger, calling them “a people of erring heart” who “know not [His] ways.”  On the contrary, our hearts must burn with a tender love of God and one another as we approach the Lord in the desert where He waits to save us from our sin.  He will match any tenderness of our own.  “Moved with pity” we shall find Him, ready to gather our broken spirits into His arms.

“Take care, my brothers, lest any of you have an evil and unfaithful spirit and fall away from the living God.”  See that your hearts are never “hardened by the deceit of sin.”  It is always “today” and the Lord is always calling to your soul, always requiring your life from you – always offering His love to you.  Offer your own in return, that you shall not be cast from His presence, that you shall not be ostracized like this leper from the community, but remain ever in His holy fold as “the flock He guides” with His gentle hand… and finally that you might “enter into His rest.”  He calls you to healing at His hand; hear and answer on your knees.

 

*******

O LORD, make our hearts soft and our spirits loving,

as your Son;

let us bow down to Him.

YHWH, let us not be of erring and unfaithful heart but let our love match your own and that of your Son, for He looks on our poor condition with pity and reaches out His hand to heal us of our sin, of our weakness before you.  Why should we harden our hearts against Him when all He wishes is to save us?  Let us accept and treasure such blessing which comes only from you.

So blind we can easily become, O LORD, so blind to your presence among us and your works done for us.  So easily we are led astray; so easily we become deaf to your Word speaking to our hearts.  O let our hearts not be hardened! but let us come humbly before you to worship you and call on your holy NAME.  This is what brings life to our souls.  In this worship alone do we find our rest. 

O LORD, set us free from all pride, from all failure to remember your presence before us….  Be not angry with your wayward children but gather us into your loving arms.

Direct download: BC-011311-Th_1_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(Heb.2:14-18;   Ps.105:1-4,6-9;   Mk.1:29-39)

 

“Since He Himself was tested through what He suffered,

He is able to help those who are tempted.”

 

And help them He does.  Die for us He must.  Each healing is a move of love which takes His life as sacrifice for our sins. 

Jesus died on the cross for us, yes.  He opened His arms and let His healing blood pour forth for all “the children of Abraham,” all those of faith.  But His whole life, and especially His ministry of preaching and healing, is a dying, is a robbing of “the devil, the prince of death, of his power.”  We see clearly in our gospel today how Jesus “free[s] those who through fear of death had been slaves their whole life long,” how He lays down His life for “the whole town [which] was gathered outside the door” of “the house of Simon and Andrew.”  After healing Simon Peter’s mother-in-law of a debilitating fever, He cures all who press upon Him, all “who were variously afflicted”; from them “the demons He expelled.”

And in these cures, in these expulsions of demons, do we not see our “merciful and faithful high priest” who has come “to expiate the sins of the people” at work in “blood and flesh,” dying for the nation’s salvation?  Has the Lord not equated such healing with salvation, declaring there is no difference between forgiving sins and saying “be well” to the troubled soul (Mk.2:9)?  And do not these demons desire to cry out that He is the Christ even as He gouges the life from them as He Himself dies?  Does their rule not escape them now with every word of the Spirit He speaks?  But He does “not permit the demons to speak,” for they would reveal who He is only that He might be tempted to become ruler on earth of these people who would certainly seek to crown Him king.  But the salvation He brings rises beyond this dying life, and the Son of God has no relations with the prince of darkness and his lying rule.

And so our Lord “went into [the] synagogues preaching the good news and expelling demons throughout the whole of Galilee.”  So He went forth robbing the devil of His reign, suffering and dying all the while, all the way to the cross, where His ministry is accomplished.  And we, brothers and sisters, do we not continue His ministry to this day?  Has the Lord not left the dying to us now – a cross upon each of His disciples’ backs to fill up what is yet lacking in His sacrifice?  Is this not the great gift He gives us?  And in His steps, by the apostles’ instruction, in union with His Church, do you walk through the suffering and darkness of this world to the Lord’s eternal light?  For your sake has He died.  So “seek to serve Him constantly” as He does you.

*******

O LORD, in flesh and blood your Son has come

to drive all demons away from us

and save us from the power of death.

YHWH, your Son has come to heal us, to cast all our sin far from us, releasing us from all power of the devil.  Death itself He conquers for our sakes, suffering all the weakness of our human condition that He might free us from its bonds.  He has made Himself captive to flesh and blood that we might fly unto the kingdom with Him.  And so, let us glorify His Name!

O LORD, how your Son lays down His life as He walks among us, taking our sickness upon Himself.  How much He suffers as we come to Him to find our healing – how brokenhearted He is to witness our travail.  But He does not turn from His mission or rest in His accomplishments; on He goes from place to place, redeeming all who come to Him.  And this path leads inevitably to the Cross, to His death and our freedom from all sin.  Let us praise Him for the sacrifice He makes, for His offering His life for our sakes.

Direct download: BC-011211-W_1_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(Heb.2:5-12;   Ps.8:2,5-9;   Mk.1:21-28)

 

“A completely new teaching in a spirit of authority!”

 

Thus do the people exclaim at the power of the word which issues forth from the mouth of Christ, into whose hands “all things” have been subjected.  The devils see Him and shriek: “I know who you are – the holy one of God!”  They know Him and they fear Him, for He has indeed “come to destroy” them and whatever authority they seemed to have.  He it is who has come to return man to his rightful “rule over the works of [God’s] hands.”  God has “crowned [man] with glory and honor, and put all things under his feet”; and though “at present we do not see all things thus subjected” because of man’s sin, because he has subjected himself to the works of the devil, yet Jesus has come to bring “many sons the glory,” to reveal in His own person the power of God present in all mankind.

And how does the Lord Jesus Christ destroy the devils?  How does He redeem man from their clutches, from their possession?  By suffering.  By dying.  Yes, even now we “see Jesus crowned with glory and honor” – the glory and honor to which we are all called – “because He suffered death.”  By suffering death He conquered death, and thus any power the devil wielded by its weight upon our souls.  And we are free!  The devils are cast from us because He has walked among us; He has come into the synagogue and “taught with authority.”  And so the pride of the devil is broken, and we see the angels’ place as servants to man as we see the dignity to which men are called in this Son of Man.

And the Lord “is not ashamed to call [us] brothers.”  Though by our weakness, by our sinfulness, our disobedience, certainly we merit shame – and so, rightly does David cry to God, “What is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him?” – yet He does care for us, He is mindful of us…  He suffers and dies for us, taking our shame upon Himself in His only Son.  And what the Lord has earned we should not spurn, but treasure the grace that is ours through our Brother’s sacrifice.  Let us put ourselves under His authority that His authority might be our own, and the devil shall be gone.

 

*******

O LORD, all things are under the authority of your Son,

who came to save us from all evil.

YHWH, what authority is upon your Son!  Your own authority, your own glory.  He has power over all the earth, and the unclean spirits are subject to His command.  There is nothing outside his rule, for His rule is your own.

And through your Son, and through His suffering, this rule, this glory, becomes our own.  Since He has come as our Brother, we become your sons with Him.  And so, great authority you place upon your children, LORD, upon the men you call forth; for you call us to share in the work of your Son and in His consecration.

Greater than the angels is Jesus, our Savior.  O LORD, only He leads us to your glory this day.  May we know the blessing that is ours through the Holy One of God and listen to His teaching.  Let all men to the ends of the earth hear of His fame and believe in Him, that all might praise Him in the great assembly.

Direct download: BC-011111-Tu_1_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(Is.42:1-4,6-7;   Ps.29:1-4,9-11;   Acts 10:34-38;   Mt.3:13-17)

 

“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.”

 

And so He anoints us all in the baptism our Savior has wrought.  As Jesus humbled Himself to be baptized by John, so must we bow our heads before Him and receive holy baptism at His hands.  As He has laid down His life for us, so must we lay down our lives for one another.  As “He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil,” so God is with us to do the same.

“The Spirit of God descend[ed] like a dove and [came] upon Him.  And a voice came from the heavens, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’”  So Matthew recounts the Baptism of our Lord.  And how similar is the beginning of our reading from Isaiah: “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am well pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit.”  The chosen one of the ages now walks amongst us, the Spirit of God upon Him.  His justice now extends to the ends of the earth, calling all into His blessed confines.  None who come to Him does He reject.  The “eyes of the blind” He opens, the prisoners He brings “from confinement” in the sin and darkness of the dungeon that is this world to the heavenly light of His presence walking among us in sacred flesh.  “In every nation whoever fears Him and acts uprightly is acceptable to Him,” for He loves all.

And so should we not sing out in praise of the glory of the Lord to which we are all called as did David at the completion of the tabernacle of God?  For here stands the true Tabernacle, here stands its fulfillment… before us is God who calls us not only to look upon but to enter into His doors and dwell within Him in His heart, in His bosom – one with His sacred flesh and blood.  The law is now written on our hearts, not only pages of a book; now the Spirit speaks to those who remain close to Him.  Now we hear the “mighty” and “majestic” “voice of the Lord… over the waters”: “the God of glory thunders.”  “In His temple all say, ‘Glory!’”  And should we not “give to the Lord the glory due His Name”?  Does not our cup overflow as Peter’s to declare the salvation that comes at the hand of our God?

Jesus has come.  The Spirit is with us.  Go now in the Spirit and power of God.

 

Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Carie Fortney.

 

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

O LORD, may your Son, our King,

bring your merciful justice to all who dwell in darkness. 

YHWH, your mighty voice is over the waters, declaring the glory of your Son to a people in darkness.  Your Spirit is upon Jesus to open our eyes to your glory here now in our midst – and what should we do but praise you?

He comes humbly to us, bearing our sins and bringing peace to our troubled souls.  And so, now the flood cannot overwhelm us; now we are released from the prison in which we had been trapped for so long.  Now, O LORD, your will is accomplished and all are called into your holy light.

O let us be baptized with Him and so become as your beloved sons!  Let us, too, hear your voice speaking your blessing over us.  Fulfill all righteousness among us this day, let your work be accomplished among men – let us be known as your children.  O LORD, let us be acceptable to you!

Glory to you, O God of all glory!  May we be pleasing to you as is your Son.  Let your surpassing justice be done. 

Direct download: Baptism_of_the_Lord.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EST

(Is.60:1-6;   Ps.72:1-2,7-8,10-13;   Eph.3:2-3a,5-6;   Mt.2:1-12)

 

“They were overjoyed at seeing the star,

and on entering the house

they saw the child with Mary His Mother.”

 

And so our prophecy of Isaiah and our psalm of David come to pass: “Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you… the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.”  And “the kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts; the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.  All kings shall pay Him homage, all nations shall serve Him.”  And so we have the revelation made known to the Apostle Paul and all His holy ones: “The Gentiles are now coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”

Yes, the Light of Jerusalem has come, and it draws the ends of the earth by its radiance.   Here is the star which rises in our midst; here is the true light which shines upon all men.   And all men are drawn to it – none can deny its brightness before us, its truth and its glory.  And who is this king but the One of “justice” and “profound peace”?   Who is He but the One who “shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; the lives of the poor He shall save.”   And so all must make themselves poor before Him, laying their gifts at His blessed feet.

Today we celebrate the coming of Light to the nations, the manifestation of Jesus Christ to this world covered in darkness.  And we find our hope and our joy in Him as did the magi two thousand years ago.   For He continues to reveal Himself to our hearts.  He continues to show His peace and justice to all who look for His coming.   Let our eyes be raised to the heavens and our hearts be diligent in seeking Him, and we will be led to His crib.   There the Mother holds Him in her arms; there before such beauty we should empty our souls in adoration of His blessed presence, like these magi who “prostrated themselves and did Him homage.”   Then we shall rise fulfilled.

 

Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Roger Fortney.

 

Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

O LORD, lead us by your light

to lay down our lives before you.

YHWH, into this world of darkness you have sent a great light and now all nations desirous of truth, desirous of light, follow that light to find you, dear Father in Heaven.  As the magi followed the star to find the Baby Jesus with Mary His Mother, so all poor souls follow your Son to find you who have created us all; for He is in you, and looking upon His innocent face we see you, our LORD and God, and the light is ours.

There is no division in your House, O LORD; all souls are called into your presence.  Your star you make obvious for all to see that none may be left by the wayside but all keep to the road that leads to life.  Help us, O LORD, to empty ourselves of all that keeps us from gazing at your light, all that makes our eyes blind to your glory.  May we with the magi prostrate ourselves before your Child, offering all we have to Him and so to you.  He is the King that shall rule us all – let us embrace His coming.

Direct download: Epiphany_of_the_Lord_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EST

O redeemer of captive slaves,

those enslaved to sin

and those enslaved

by the clutches of the world –

preach to us this day

the freedom found

under the Cross of Christ

and in the repentance of heart

blessed by the grace

upon the Church.

Teach us well

the path to Heaven,

which is wrought not in comfort and peace

but in struggle against sin,

in the laying down of our lives

before our persecutors.

Ransom us from wayward

thoughts and actions,

and from the snares

of the adversary

who waits for our misstep.

In Christ alone

may we find our rest.

Direct download: Jan._7_Raymond_of_Penafort.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(1Jn.5:14-21;   Ps.149:1-6,9;   Jn.2:1-12)

“He hears us whenever we ask for anything according to His will.” 

In our gospel, the waiters come to Mary; their misfortune is witnessed by her compassionate heart: “They have no more wine,” she tells her Son.  She knows what she is saying, she knows what she is asking… and Jesus knows, too.  And though He seems not prepared to answer her concern (you see, our concern is her concern, and she makes it His), yet she says to the servants standing by the words which perhaps best exemplify the Mother’s relationship to the Son – “Do whatever He tells you.”

Has Jesus a choice now?  Can He rebuff her request to “reveal His glory”?  It is a miracle she asks for the benefit of those in need, and the Lord cannot turn her down.  Do you see this?  Do you understand the significance of this scene, here at the very inception of Jesus’ ministry, especially those who doubt our Blessed Mother’s intercessory power with her Lord, her Son?  And do you think the power for finding answer to prayer with her beloved Jesus, the Son of God, is somehow shortened in ensuing days?  Does death conquer it?  Is she no longer the blessed of all generations?  Has this blessed generation come to an end?

“We know that He hears us whenever we ask” and that “what we have asked Him for is ours.”  This is our confidence in God’s compassion and love.  And we know too that the Blessed Mother stands beside our Lord and prepares the prayers we would offer Him, putting them into the words, the Spirit, we cannot express.  If we give them all to her, they will all be made effective, and we will taste of “the choice wine” which has been kept in store for us until these latter days.

Through this miracle at Cana “His disciples believed in Him.”  Here He offers them a sign of His divinity – here they find “discernment to recognize the One who is true... the true God and eternal life.”  And so the wedding feast truly begins.  And so we “praise His name in the festive dance” and “sing praise to Him with timbrel and harp.”  “The children of Zion rejoice in their king,” for He has answered their deepest prayer: here in our midst is the Son of God.

*******

O LORD, reveal yourself to us in your Son;

hear our petition. 

     YHWH, your Son has come and given us the grace to recognize Him. And so we have confidence to approach Him with our petitions, especially through His Blessed Mother. And we know that our petitions shall thus be granted and we shall sing praise to you in the assembly of all the faithful in your holy kingdom.

     From sin take us all, dear LORD, from that which holds us to this world. Your glory alone may we seek, the eternal life we find in your only Son. He is true, He is God, and if we are in Him we may rejoice in you. Increase our faith in Him this day; let our eyes not be blinded to His miraculous presence.

     O let us taste the water become wine! and the wine become the blood of your Son. Let us be inebriated with this fruit of the choicest Vine whose time has come and celebrate your glory in our midst. For by His flesh and by His blood we are wed to you, O God, and for what greater cause could we dance and sing? All sin He takes from us that life in you we may know.

Direct download: January_7.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(1Jn.5:5-13;   Ps.147:12-15,19-20;   Mk.1:7-11)

“God gave us eternal life,

and this life is in His Son.” 

How reassuring John is to us who believe – “I have written this to you to make you realize that you possess eternal life” – for how easily we can forget the grace that is ours “in the name of the Son of God.”  How sure he is.  How clear in his explanation.  How loving.  One has little reason to wonder why he was beloved of the Lord, for this love bleeds in all his words and leads us to that love of Christ that is eternal life.

The Father’s witness has been given clearly, “You are my beloved Son.  On you my favor rests.”  Mark, too, makes certain that Jesus is the Son of God.  How can we forget the words of the Father?  And how can we forget the blood He has shed on our behalf, and the water that flows like baptism from His side?  “It is the Spirit who testifies to this, and the Spirit is truth.”  If you have the Spirit dwelling in you, you know this – it sets your heart on fire, and is indeed as the breath of life.  How can we know anything but eternal life when baptized in the Holy Spirit by the Lord?

“He has granted you peace in your borders,” our psalmist proclaims; and in the Spirit we have only peace – nothing lacking rest can enter there.  And now “with the best of wheat He fills [us],” now that we receive His body in the Eucharist.  What bread indeed we eat!  Here is the bread of life.  We have His Word born in the Spirit spoken to our ears, and on His very presence we sup.  Such witnesses!  What more need we to believe?

“Jesus is the Son of God,” brothers and sisters.  This alone you need remember.  When all else fails and darkness pervades, know that Jesus is with you and bringing you to life.

*******

O LORD, let us be baptized in the Holy Spirit,

and we shall have eternal life. 

     YHWH, eternal life you have given us in your only Son. Peace reigns in Him, and in us, if we believe in Him. As the Spirit descended upon your beloved One, so it descends upon those who believe in the Name of Jesus. Him you have sent us that you might give us yourself.

     There is none greater than Jesus the Christ, nor shall there be. There is no one else for whom we need wait. He has come. He has died for us. Now He is risen and His Spirit is with us to guide us to all life. Help us, O LORD, to remember this; help us to hold on to the blessing you have provided in your only Son.

     With the best of wheat fill us, O LORD, with His Body and His Blood; His flesh let us become. Then nothing shall disturb us; then our faith will make us whole. Then we shall hear your words pronounced over us that we are your beloved children. O let the Spirit fall upon us and remain with us! Let us be cleansed of sin and believe in your Word.

Direct download: January_6.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O shepherd who walked

in the humble stead

of your flock,

who worked so diligently

among those in your care,

speaking to their hearts;

you who gathered into schools

the little ones,

who saw to the education

of the children…

and all this in a foreign land –

pray for the country in which you ministered,

that its lambs

once again be raised

in the faith

and its strangers

be once again shepherded

by one as anxious as you

for their well-being.

Here let us find the grace of Christ

to redeem

the lowly

and the lost.

Direct download: Jan._5_John_Neumann.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(1Jn.3:11-21;   Ps.100:1-5;   Jn.1:43-51)

“We should love one another.” 

In our gospel, “first [Jesus] came upon Philip” – whose name means “love” – and invited him to follow Him.  Love brought with him one in whom “there is no guile,” and he (Nathanael) declared openly to the Lord: “You are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”  And so we must all be of love, and be without deceit.  We must all “know that the Lord is God; He made us, His we are; His people, the flock He tends.”  The Lord must find us all at peace “under the fig tree” with consciences that have “nothing to charge us with.”  And great things wrought by the hand of God we shall see before our eyes.

“The Lord is good,” and we must be like Him.  The Lord is of love, and loving as He does we pass “from death to life”: “The way we came to understand love was that He laid down His life for us; we too must lay down our lives for our brothers.”  How well John speaks of the love all need in our first reading today.  Here is the voice of a man, an apostle in the Spirit of Christ, who loves “in deed and in truth,” and since he does “not merely talk about it,” but lives it, his words are alive with that truth.  Love.  This is “the message [we] heard from the beginning.”  This laying down our lives is our guiding light leading us to the eternal life of heaven.

And so we should “serve the Lord with gladness.”  We should “come before Him with joyful song.”  We should declare openly that He is God, as our love leads us to do.  His “kindness endures forever”; yes, His love is for eternity, and we must come to share in that great gift of love.  “The man who does not love is among the living dead,” but he who loves lives forever.  The world will hate us because it is not of love; but all the more we should be encouraged to love, to die to the hatred the world brings and find our place in peace under our fig tree with the Lord who is love itself.

Let us love and be of love, brothers and sisters, and we shall live forever with our Lord and the angels of heaven.

*******

O LORD, let us pass

from the death wrought by this world

to life with you in Heaven. 

YHWH, may our consciences be clear before you; may we be of love and so be of you who are love.  May we be without guile, seeking only you and the peace you bring to our souls.  Then we shall praise you in joy forever, for then we will be your own.

O LORD, let us be true to our call to love you and one another.  Let it not be only in words that we love but in truth, with our very lives.  If we do not act as your Son, how can we call you ‘Father’; how will we know you at all?  You dwell in ineffable light with the angels of Heaven, and only by love do we come to that light, only by laying down our lives as Jesus.

LORD, let us know your goodness in our lives that we might enter your gates with thanksgiving for all the blessings we share with your saints.  In freedom may we bless your Name, you who look upon us with kindness.  To your side let us be guided by our desire to love.

Direct download: January_5.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O mother through marriage

and religious Mother,

who indeed became mother of many,

many sisters whom you led

in the faith

and many children whom you taught

in your schools –

in your wisdom

teach many still

the path of Christ,

the way of charity He has trod,

that renewed will those be

who call you Mother,

and instructed well

those in their classrooms

throughout the land.

What should we teach our children,

dear Mother?

Have we not forgotten the lesson of Christ?

Pray for us, I beg,

this day,

that the way and the truth

we shall follow.

Direct download: Jan._4_Elizabeth_Ann_Seton.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(1Jn.3:7-10;   Ps.98:1,3,7-9;   Jn.1:35-42)

“When Jesus turned around and noticed them following Him,

He asked them, ‘What are you looking for?’” 

Brothers and sisters, what Jesus asks the first two disciples He asks each of us who follow in their wake.  What do we seek?  Why are we following Him?  What is it we hope to find at the place where He stays?

David makes clear in our psalm that the Son of God, “His holy arm,” has been revealed in our midst – in “wondrous deeds” He “comes to rule the earth.”  “The world and those who dwell in it” should resound with joy.  Him whom John the Baptist points out in no uncertainty is with us now.  There is no other whom we should follow.  And so we do.  And so we come to Him each day, to receive our daily bread.  Seeing where He lodges, we come to stay with Him.

But what does the Lord see when He looks upon us?  Does He stay with us?  When Andrew brought his brother Simon to Jesus, He “looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon, son of John; your name shall be Cephas (which is rendered Peter).’”  Jesus upon looking at Peter sees the Rock on which He will build His Church.  Peter’s holiness, the strength he has in God and for God, is evident to the Lord.  Jesus knows what Peter seeks, and both have found what they are looking for.  Is it upon our hearts as well to find the holiness of heaven, to become one with the Son of God?

“The man who acts in holiness is holy indeed, even as the Son is holy,” but “the man who sins belongs to the devil.”  Holiness or sin?  Jesus or the devil?  The choice is clear, and must be evident in our lives.  “No one begotten of God acts sinfully” and “no one whose actions are unholy belongs to God.”  The first letter of John, our first reading, could not more simply state our call in the Lord: to be holy, not to sin… to love our brothers and sisters well – to be as Jesus, the Son most holy.

Jesus will turn and see us; His eyes are upon us now.  What does He see as He looks upon your heart?  What is your answer to His question, “What are you looking for?”  Let His dwelling be all you seek.

*******

O LORD, let us follow your Son to where He lives,

in holiness with you. 

YHWH, let us stay with you and with your Son.  May He turn and look upon us with kindness, with pity for our frail condition.  O let this Lamb take our sins from us that we might no longer be in the grip of the devil but come to eternal life in your House!

The Messiah you have sent is in our midst this day; let us come to the altar to receive Him, to receive His holy sacrifice and become one with Him.  Only thus shall we be made holy; only with Him will we find true justice and so rejoice in your presence, O LORD.  O let us be ruled by Him!

Make us your children, dear LORD.  Make us as your only Son.  May Jesus be with us this day and we with Him that we might become holy indeed.  Never let us act sinfully but ever love as you love, as your Son loves us.  Let us seek your love alone and so be founded upon true Rock, in your House.

Direct download: January_4.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(1Jn.2:29-3:6;   Ps.98:1,3-6;   Jn.1:29-34)

“Look there! 

The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

“This is God’s chosen One.”  This is He upon whom “the Spirit descend[s]” – who takes away our sins and makes us pure by His own baptism “with the Holy Spirit.”  He who walks with Him walks in holiness, for “everyone who acts in holiness has been begotten by Him” – we have become “children of God” because we have now the grace of the only Son.

Listen to the manner in which the Baptist “sing[s] joyfully before the King, the Lord” in our gospel today: “I saw the Spirit descend like a dove from the sky, and it came to rest on Him.”  How like music, like “the harp and melodious song,” is his witness to the Lord Jesus Christ.  His exclamation of Jesus as the holy Lamb of God, offered as a sacrifice pure and undefiled, resounds to the ends of the earth more eloquently and with greater power than “the trumpets and the sound of the horn” of which David sings in our psalm.  Here is the voice proclaiming the Truth, the message our ears have so longed to hear.

“The very reason [John] came baptizing with water was that [Jesus] might be revealed to Israel,” and “the reason [Jesus] revealed Himself was to take away sins” – all this for our salvation.  Yes, brothers and sisters, “in Him there is nothing sinful.”  And we must be like Him.  Insofar as we sin, we have “not seen Him or known Him.”  Insofar as a man “keeps himself pure, as He is pure,” he is His child, knowing Him most intimately, and may exclaim in wonder with John the evangelist: “What love the Father has bestowed on us in letting us be called children of God!”

All sin and struggle with sin all the while they are on earth.  There are many times when we must admit that we do not see Him or know Him in order for Him to be revealed in our lives, in order for us to find His blessed purity.  We must confess our sins that we might sing His praise.  But all the while the Son is with us, the Lamb intercedes to remove our sins.  And always we must look to Him whom the Baptist proclaimed to be “what we are,” to become “like Him” when His light comes to its fullness and His Spirit is all we know.

*******

O LORD, your saving power, your Lamb,

has come to take away the sin of the world –

may all nations rejoice in such blessing.

YHWH, Jesus is your Chosen One, your only Son, the pure reflection of your Being… and we must be like Him.  We must be pure as He is pure, as you are pure, as the Spirit that comes from Him and descends upon us is pure.  O let us truly be pure!  Let us truly be your children.

O LORD, Jesus has come to take away all sin from us.  This is the mission, the work He has from you.  It is for John to declare the coming of the Lamb of God, and it is for this Lamb to die for our sins.  Let all be accomplished in your will.  As John has made the Christ known and He has been crucified for our sakes, so let us find the purification from sin you desire for us that we might be united to you.

All the earth has seen your saving power, O LORD.  Let all souls recognize that power in our midst and remain in Him who brings it.

Direct download: January_3.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O bishops and doctors,

O brothers so united in Christ,

united in your desire

to find His wisdom

and live His virtue,

for you what mattered

but to be like Christ?

All you would have given up

to find His way;

nothing of this world

did you wish

but to leave it behind.

One in heart and mind,

one in word and work

and in the food of which you partook…

how blessed it is

when men live as brothers,

when nothing they desire

but the other’s good –

teach us this way of union

in the love of God.

Direct download: Jan._2_Basil_the_Great__Gregory_Nazianzan.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(1Jn.2:22-28;   Ps.98:1-4;   Jn.1:19-28)

“Remain in the Son and in the Father.”

In our gospel John the Baptist tells the priests and Levites sent by the Pharisees, “There is… one who is to come after me – the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to unfasten.”  This Messiah has come, “The Lord has made His salvation known: in the sight of the nations He has revealed His justice,” David proclaims in our psalm, and continues to invite us to sing praise of Him.  It is the anointing that comes from Jesus that John, in our first reading, encourages us to hold on to, for it is true and leads invariably to the Father of all.

We must come to the Father; we must find ourselves in the presence of all truth, in the hands of our Creator, who loves us beyond all telling.  And the way to the presence of the Father, in whom we find our true home, is Jesus the Christ.  He is the Son and the only one who can lead us to the Father, for He and the Father are inextricably one.  We cannot deny the Sonship of Jesus, His oneness with the Father – that He is the Christ, upon whom all true anointing rests – and come to know God.  Jesus is the means the Father provides to come to Him; it is through Him alone we find the promise of eternal life.  We must “remain in Him,” that we may “not retreat in shame at His coming.”

Those who do not believe in Jesus, who do not recognize Him as the only Son and so only way to the Father, are not to be persecuted – but they are not to be believed.  Jesus is all.  Those who know Him know this; they indeed have His anointing in their hearts.  This “anointing teaches [us] about all things and is true.”  It is this knowledge of His salvation, of His glory, which John instructs us to remember: His Word grows in our hearts.  But again, this Word is not a weapon for the persecution and destruction of others – it is the means for the manifestation of light.

Remain in Jesus, brothers and sisters, and eternal life with the Father will be assured you.

*******

O LORD, help us always

to proclaim Jesus as the Christ. 

YHWH, we must indeed acknowledge Jesus as the Christ, as your only Son, as God Himself, and rejoice that your saving power has come to us through Him.  And His anointing will rest upon us, the Holy Spirit will be with us to guide us in all things – we will be one with you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

John has prepared His way and in the sight of the nations His glory has been revealed.  None can deny His divinity, except he be a liar.  And to these we must not listen, LORD, but only to the teaching of your Church.  For upon your apostles rests the anointing that is from above, and if we are to find our way to eternal life, no other voice should we heed.

John has indeed cried out the way we all must follow if we are to meet your Son and so you, Father.  O LORD, let us listen to the Spirit that is upon him.

Direct download: _January_2.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O Blessed Virgin

in whose womb was conceived

the only Son of God,

who by such grace

has brought salvation

to our race…

What faith is yours

in God the Father!

What power is upon you

by the Holy Spirit!

What unutterable wonder we find

in your Son!

How is it one of our own number

could give birth

to our Creator?

Such glorious union

with the Godhead

we could never merit

nor discover

except that the Lord

has chosen you –

pray this day

He shall be born in us, too.

Direct download: Jan._1_Mary_Mother_of_God.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EST

(Nm.6:22-27;   Ps.67:2-3,5-6,8;   Gal.4:4-7;   Lk.2:16-21)

 

“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God

for all they had heard and seen,

just as it had been told to them.”

 

The blessing of God, His holy Son, was upon the shepherds, and it is upon us all.  For “God sent His Son, born of a woman” that His “way be known upon earth,” “that we might receive adoption as sons.”  And what greater blessing could man know than to fulfill his call as son of the living God?

We are blessed, brothers and sisters, and we should proclaim it as the shepherds.  The blessing invoked upon the people by Aaron has been realized in the birth of the Son.  Through Him “the Lord let[s] His face shine upon [us]” – this is His grace come.  And how else but in haste should we travel to Him?  How quickly we should arrive at His side.  And how amazed all should be upon hearing the blessings we have known, at the hand of our God.

Mary is she who is truly blessed, and we honor especially today she “who kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”  For so obedient was she to God’s will that He was “conceived in [her] womb” and made flesh in our sight.  So, let us thank her today for the blessing she has brought into our midst.  As we are now sons of the Father with the Spirit of the Son “crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’” in our hearts, so we are sons of Mary, too, for the Lord’s divinity cannot be separated from His humanity – the two meet as one in Jesus Christ.  This is our great blessing.

From “an infant lying in the manger” shall come the salvation of our race, and the Mother of this renewed race, consecrated to God in Him who is “named Jesus,” we commemorate with our hearts and our voices in praise this holy day.  May she now be the instrument by which “the Lord bless[es]” and “keep[s]” us; may she pray this day that “His face shine upon [us].”  And may all her children be one in the blessing of Christ, her Son.  Amen.

 

Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Carie Fortney.

 

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

O LORD, what blessing is upon us

this Christmas day! 

YHWH, we are your sons now because Jesus has become our Brother.  Born of the Virgin, His blessing is now upon our race – He it is who shines the light of your face.  Let us glorify you for your blessing.

Now we may call you “Father!” now that the Spirit of your Son is with us.  For in Him we are adopted as your sons, LORD, and so through Him you are our Father.  Let the light of your face shine upon us all our days.

It is you who rule all nations, LORD; all the earth is in your hands.  Yet you come to us as a little child, poor and lying in a humble manger.  Let us ponder this wonder with Mary; let us keep your will and your Word ever in our hearts, that we might see unfold the revelation of your presence among us.

Too wonderful for us is the grace you bring, LORD; yet let us live as your sons, born of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Direct download: Mary_Mother_of_God_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EST

O eminent Shepherd

of God’s people

who led us from the catacombs

into the light of day

by a blessed peace

with the city of man,

allowing the Lord’s Church

to grow and flourish freely

in its sacraments,

in its worship of the one true God –

pray the Body of Christ

may again prosper in truth

with its divine Head,

that the Light that has come into the world

may be proclaimed to the ends of the earth

and all souls called by the Lord

come to the font of Baptism

and find the fullness of faith

in the holy Catholic Church.

Pray there be no dissension

in the Body

but that all shall be one in Him

who is God Himself.

Direct download: Dec._31_Sylvester_I.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(1Jn.2:18-21;   Ps.96:1-2,11-13;   Jn.1:1-18)

 

“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”

 

And we must dwell with Him, remaining in His light, walking in His way.  “Through Him all things came into being,” and we who have come into being by Him, “who believe in His name,” must “become children of God.”

In our first reading, John warns against the antichrists who come in this “final hour” to lead astray all those not founded in truth.  Elsewhere he warns against anyone who does not recognize Jesus as the Son of God, as the Christ come among us.  Certainly there are more than a few antichrists today, looking to distract believers from “the Holy One.”  But as John says, “All knowledge is yours”: if we believe in Jesus, we have the truth written within us.  Yet we must beware of faltering, for “no lie has anything in common with the truth.”  Remain in His Church.

Our psalm of David encourages us to “exult before the Lord,” to “sing to the Lord; bless His name.”  And well we should this holy day to know of the Christ that has come “to rule the world with justice.”  The Word has become flesh and left His flesh and His Spirit with the Church He has founded on the apostles – great is the joy of those who find their home there.

And in our gospel we hear John’s beautiful and clear explication of the divinity of Jesus, the Word ever in God’s presence from the beginning, the Word that is “God.”  There are pseudo-religious that change the evangelist’s words  to say that the Word was “a god”; such is the work of the antichrists spoken of by Paul.  For only in the clear recognition of Jesus as “God the only Son,” only in the unequivocal proclamation of His divinity – that He is God – is salvation found.   For this is Truth, Truth brings light, and the light has no discourse with the darkness of lies. 

Come to Him who has come unto you, brothers and sisters.  Seeing Him you see God and know God.  And knowing God you “know the truth” and so exult in the joy of His presence in His Word, in His Sacraments, in His Church… in His love.  Praised be the Lord and His dwelling among us.

 

*******

O LORD, you have revealed yourself to us

in the presence of your only Son –

let us live in the truth that He is God. 

YHWH, thank you for the truth you have given us, the glory you have revealed through your only Son.  Your Word has become flesh and so your very light shines now in our midst – may we embrace Him and His love.

Though surrounded by the darkness of lies, we find our way to your truth, O LORD, by your Son and the Holy Spirit with whom we are anointed through Him.  Now we know the truth and are gifted with all knowledge therefore – let us exult in the gift of life you provide.

Whoever does not acknowledge your Son does not know you, Father, and does not have the Holy Spirit.  Let us know well Him whom you have sent and bless His Name among ourselves.  Praise and glory belong to Him alone for He alone reveals your glory.  O let this light shine in the hearts of all men, of all who would rejoice in your presence.

Direct download: Seventh_Day_Oct._C.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

 

O three holy persons

united as one

in the humble home at Nazareth,

Mary and Joseph

with God’s only Son…

who became your Son,

who became our Son,

who became our Brother

in all things human

and shared with you

the food of your table

and the dust beneath your feet –

you are our model upon this earth;

you we should follow

to find new birth in the Spirit,

to find ourselves sons of the Father,

to be as brother to Christ.

O Holy Family,

what a blessed trinity you form

in the love of God and neighbor;

pray we not fall short of your grace.

Direct download: Dec._30_Holy_Family.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EST

(Sir.3:2-6,12-14;   Ps.128:1-5;   Col.3:12-21;   Mt.2:13-15,19-23)

 

“Let the peace of Christ control your hearts,

the peace into which you were also called in one body.”

 

A man is a man, a woman is a woman, and children are children – this does not change with time or culture.  All are called to be one in the love and sacrifice of Christ; all are one holy family.

Why do we find it necessary to make excuses for Holy Scripture and the “patriarchal family pattern” it reflects and “the subordinationist family ethic of the Biblical culture” (from the commentary of the missal from which I take today’s readings)?  How is it we have lost the beauty of Paul’s words on the complementary nature of the conjugal relationship?  How is it the family has become bereft of Christ?

One would think Paul states, “Husbands, beat your wives,” instead of “Husbands, love your wives, and avoid any bitterness toward them,” by the way his text is avoided like the plague.  Why such ignorance of what is actually present in Scripture?  And if the Scripture is perverted, why do we not “in all wisdom... teach and admonish one another,” instead of casting the wisdom of the Lord from our presence, or rationalizing it away.  Is it a sin for a wife to be submissive, to respect her husband; for children to be obedient toward their parents; for the husband and father to lay down his life for his family?  Is power to be defined by the dictates of the world, or by the cross?  Do we desire to control, or to love?

“Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways!”  Here is the key to our roles, in the exclamation of our psalmist.  “Do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him,” Paul summarizes his teaching.  Hear in his letter the call to “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another,” even as the Lord has done with us.  Be led by the Word of the Lord and His instruction and guidance.  You, husbands, do you reflect Joseph’s obedience to the Word of God brought by the angel?  Do you care for your families as God calls?  Are you mothers like Mary, moving according to the protective hand upon your hearth, your house?  And children, do you honor your father and mother’s authority over you as Jesus, who, though the Son of God, humbled Himself to be the child in this Holy Family?  Let us all be as Christ – honoring, obeying, humbling ourselves… in a word, loving one another as He has loved us.  Then we will be of the family of God.

 

Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.

 

Music: "Vision of Children" (2nd part) from The Innocent Heart, first album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

 

*******

O LORD, call us out of Egypt to your holy land. 

YHWH, obedient let us be to you, and serve one another.  It is your will that we love one another, that we act with humility and patience, always forgiving and living in peace.  Indeed, let us reflect the life of the Holy Family.

Was not Joseph obedient to your every word, dear LORD?  Did he not have in his soul only to protect your Son and His Mother?  Did he think of himself at all?  O let all fathers lay down their lives in such a complete manner!

And was not Mary obedient to Joseph (who was obedient to you)?  Did she not recognize, O LORD, that your will was being accomplished through his instruction, through the inspiration upon his soul?  Did she stop to question his actions?  Did she think herself better qualified, being the Mother of God?  O let all wives be so respectful of their husbands!

And was Jesus not obedient in all things to Joseph and Mary, He who was Son of God and God Himself?  Did He invoke His superiority over them?  O God, let all children so honor their mother and father!  Let all walk in your ways, in your way of sacrifice, and so be blessed as the Holy Family. 

Direct download: BC-122610-Holy_Family_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EST

O blessed martyr

who died in the cathedral,

murdered by the king of this world

as you defended the Chair of Peter

and the true faith of the Church –

where can we find bishops like yourself;

how shall the Church be led

without holy apostles

willing to give their lives

as Christ,

in whose place they stand?

Pray for us, devout shepherd,

that many will be inspired

by your example

to follow in the footsteps of our Lord

and defend the faith

even unto the shedding of blood,

for what is the shedding of blood in this world

compared with the light of Heaven

you now know in our Savior’s presence?

Pray for us and let us pray with you,

seeking truth and love

in our pilgrimage on this earth.

Direct download: Dec._29_Thomas_Becket.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(1Jn.2:3-11;   Ps.96:1-3,5-6,11;   Lk.2:22-35)

 

“The way we can be sure we are in union with Him

is if one who claims to abide in Him

conducts himself just as He did.”

 

“The darkness is over and the real light begins to shine,” and we must live in that light. 

“My eyes have witnessed your saving deed displayed for all peoples to see,” declares Simeon in his prophecy over the Christ child.  “In accord with the dictate in the law of the Lord,” though He Himself is God, Mary and Joseph dutifully bring Jesus to the temple to be “consecrated to the Lord” as every first-born male must.  And there the “just and pious” Simeon who so patiently “awaited the consolation of Israel,” the coming of “the Anointed of the Lord,” takes the child “in his arms” and blesses God for His gift, His mercy.

Learn from these the attitude all must have.  In their faithful observance of the commands of God and the inspiration of the Spirit, they fulfill His Word.  And so light dawns for us and we know of its presence in our midst.  Now we must continue to “announce His salvation, day after day tell His glory among the nations; among all peoples, His wondrous deeds.”  Our deeds must mirror His deeds; His light, “a revealing light to the Gentiles, the glory of [His] people Israel,” we must shine.  The sign has come; the new commandment which has been of old must now be realized in each of us.  As a sword has pierced the heart of the Blessed Mother, so it shall pierce the heart of everyone who unites himself to the Blessed Child, who follows in the steps of our blessed Lord.

“The thoughts of many hearts [shall] be laid bare.”  There will be no hiding from this light that has come.  If you think you can claim to know Him “without keeping His commandments,” without conducting yourself “just as He did,” you must know that your lie will be exposed.  “The man who continues in the light is the one who loves his brother.”  Only this will save you, for only love is of light; hatred is only of darkness, and in the Lord there is no darkness.

Let us join with Simeon in proclaiming His salvation.  Let us join with David in singing of the “splendor and majesty” of the Lord.  “Praise and grandeur are in His sanctuary.”   And let us do this principally with our very lives, becoming as the temple of God who is presented to us this day.

 

*******

O LORD, let the light of your Son

be revealed to our eyes, and in our actions.

YHWH, your light be revealed in us this day as it was revealed in your Son to the eyes of Simeon.  May Jesus live in us and we shine His glory forth, that your Word may indeed be fulfilled in all our lives.

We are in darkness, LORD.  As we keep not your Word, your Law, your command to love, we stray from right paths and become blind to your presence.  If we do not live your presence, if we do not do your will, how can we claim to be of you?  How can we say we are your disciples if we do not do the things your Son has done?

Take us from the shadows, LORD, and reveal to our eyes the presence of Christ in our midst.  Dispel all the dark of hatred and doubt and error by this unending light you shine upon us.  And let us truly be transformed by the light of our Savior that we might announce His salvation every day of our lives until our last breath on this earth.  Then let us live with you forever.

Direct download: Fifth_Day_Oct._C.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O innocent martyrs of the Christ

who gave your lives

from the cradle

for Him who carries the Cross,

who suffered and died in His place

even before His crucifixion,

even as His martyrs would do

after His death on the Tree –

let our hearts cry not

for the evil that has wrought

your violent death;

pray we not fear

the dark wrath of this world’s king

but set our hearts

on the joy of our Lord’s kingdom,

where you now reign with Him

and to which we hope to come

by the laying down of our own lives

in His Name.

And pray for the least among us

who suffer the most this day,

that they who are murdered in the womb

will know the light of Christ’s holy face.

Direct download: Dec._28_Holy_Innocents.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EST

(1Jn.1:5-2:2;   Ps.124:2-5,7-8;   Mt.2:13-18)

 

“The blood of His Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.”

 

And as martyrs of the Church, these innocent children slaughtered by Herod participate in the pouring forth of the blood of Christ.

“Out of Egypt I have called my son.”  What does the prophet mean but that by the only Son all shall be redeemed of their sins – that out of sin all are called, all are drawn by the Lord?  “Broken was the snare, and we were freed” when the child was born, when He died upon the cross.

And that death is begun already in the slaughter of the holy innocents, whom indeed we commemorate as martyrs this day.  In their sacrifice the cross is already known, though the Child Jesus be but a boy.  No greater evil, no greater act of sin could be than Herod’s cruel decree to “massacre all the boys two years and under in Bethlehem and its environs.”  And in the “sobbing and loud lamentation” rising from the town where Jesus was born we hear presaged our own cry, our own beating of our breasts as we gaze upon the crucified body of God’s Holy One.

It is sin that brings the slaughter of the innocent children, and it is sin that causes Christ’s crucifixion.  And we are participants in that sin, brothers and sisters.  “If we say, ‘We have never sinned,’ we make Him a liar and His word finds no place in us.”  For He has come because of the sin which encompasses mankind, to redeem us from its sentence of death.  And the blessed apostle John makes clear that we are indeed all participants in sin, and if we deny this fact we make His sacrifice null for our lives and continue to walk in darkness.  We must all bewail our sins and the horrors they have wrought, and from their snare we shall be released – else the “raging waters” will overwhelm us.

The souls of the innocents slaughtered by the evil king have been preserved, for their “help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”  Our souls, too, shall be redeemed “if we acknowledge our sin,” our complicity in evil.  For “He who is just can be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrong” if we are but able to see we are not innocent as He, or they.

 

Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.

 

Music: "My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?" from Bearing the Birth Pangs, tenth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

 

*******

O LORD, take from us our weeping for our sins;

make us innocent as these children. 

YHWH, what horrors our sins have wrought?  Are we not complicit in the slaughter of these little ones, as indeed we are complicit in the crucifixion of your Son?  Should we say, “We are free of the guilt of sin”?  Should we deceive ourselves about the darkness in which we find ourselves?  If we should, we would make void the sacrifice of Christ for the cleansing of our souls.  For what would then need to be cleansed, and why should He have died?

The truth is we are surrounded by sin and it would overwhelm us without the blood shed by Jesus.  It is He alone who breaks the snare that holds us, and His martyrs share in His sacrifice.  And we are called by you, O LORD, to share in this holy offering with them.

Out of Egypt you call us, LORD, far from the darkness of sin.  And if we admit our sin before you, in such light of truth we can be assured of your forgiveness.  To Jesus let us come; at the foot of His Cross let us remain, and we shall never be separated from His cleansing grace.

Direct download: Holy_Innocents_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EST

O beloved disciple of the Lord

who saw Him

and touched Him,

who believed in Him

with all your being,

who loved Him so

that no love but His

surpassed your own –

speak to us this day

of the Word of life

who has come among us,

died for us,

and been raised from the grave.

Continue to proclaim that love

which alone saves men from sin,

which alone banishes death from our midst;

let us share in your love for Jesus

and join you in proclaiming

Him who has come

in the joy you knew so well.

Point us to Him even this day,

that we too might see

and believe.

Direct download: Dec._27_John.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EST

(1Jn.1:1-4;   Ps.97:1-2,5-6,11-12;   Jn.20:2-8)

 

“He saw and believed.”

 

And “the eternal life that was present to the Father and became visible to us,” which John now proclaims, is Jesus Christ the only Son of God, risen from the dead and present to us now even as He sits with the Father.

John has seen Him.  He has believed in Him.  His “hands have touched” Him and so he “proclaim[s] the word of life” made so real in his midst.  What else could he do but declare that which burns in his heart?  What else could be the Evangelist’s desire but to share the blessing he has known as “the one Jesus loved”?  For brimming with love this apostle is, and only in writing of this joy, only proclaiming it to the world and seeing others enter into such selfsame blessing will make his joy complete.  To this he has been called by the Lord.

“Light dawns for the just,” David declares, as if in his psalm to presage the coming of Christ and John’s own words on the coming of Light to this earth.  And indeed the just shall see Him, and gladness shall be “for the upright of heart.”  For all the just shall “be glad in the Lord… and give thanks to His holy name,” for their souls drink deeply of the salvation in their midst; they know Him whom their hearts love.  They see Him, and believe.

And I note the special significance “the piece of cloth which had covered the head” of Jesus – which was “not lying with the wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself,” as John tells us in his gospel – seems to have as a catalyst to belief.  John had seen the wrappings before entering the tomb, but not this cloth, and it is when he enters he sees and believes.  It is as if the Lord left it neatly rolled up in a place by itself to indicate to them that He had not “been taken from the tomb” by robbers, as Mary Magdalene (another beloved of Christ) seems to fear.  Why would a thief take time to do such a thing?  And so, Jesus’ touch is upon the cloth.

“All peoples see His glory” now, brothers and sisters.  By the witness of John and all the apostles, eyes are opened to His presence.  Let us see Him with John; let us touch Him… and let us know His touch upon our hearts, and so continue to proclaim His glory.

 

Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by James Kurt.

 

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

O LORD, let us rejoice in the presence of your Christ

with us this day. 

YHWH, let all men see your glory in the presence of your risen Son.  Let all men come to that glory through faith in Him.  Let us hear and believe what John tells us – that He has walked among us in the flesh, that the apostles’ hands have touched Him… that our hearts might be touched by His presence, and so your own.

With our eyes let us look upon your glory, LORD, we who are so blinded by sin and slow of heart to believe.  Let us run to the tomb with your apostles that we may see your Son has been raised from the dead, that death no longer has dominion over us but with Him we have been raised.  Let us rejoice at the light that dawns in our midst.

You are king over all the earth, LORD, and all the heavens proclaim your justice and your truth.  May we join in the choir of your angels and your holy apostles in declaring your glory to the ends of the earth, that all men might be loved by you as was John.

Direct download: St_John_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EST

O first martyr,

model of Christ’s love

and bearer of His Holy Spirit

in wisdom and in truth,

you who spoke as the Lord Himself

and died as He died,

with the forgiveness of your persecutors

upon your lips

and utter trust of the Father

in your heart –

pray that we too

will find the grace and strength

to commend our lives

into the Father’s hands,

never holding bitterness

toward those who destroy the body,

who would chain the Word,

but ever loving every soul

even as you have done.

O let our hearts be set on Jesus!

let them bleed as His own,

that united in Heaven with Him we shall be

with you in the glory of God.

Direct download: Dec._26_Stephen.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EST

(Acts 6:8-10,7:54-59;   Ps.31:3-4,6-8,17,21;   Mt.10:17-22)

“They proved no match for the wisdom and spirit

with which he spoke.”

The world cannot stand up to the Word of God; even death has no power over those who trust themselves to His Spirit.

A model of faith is Stephen.  A perfect trust in the Lord made this martyr shine before the persecution of men.  He made the Lord his “rock of refuge” and so the Lord did “lead and guide” him even unto heaven, hidden in “the shelter of [His] promise from the plottings of men.”

It is this trust Jesus speaks of in our gospel when He warns His apostles beforehand of the persecution which awaits them.  He tells them that when they are dragged before rulers to “give witness… on [His] account”: “Do not worry about what you will say or how you will say it… the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you.”  And it is this trust, even unto death, that Stephen exemplifies so perfectly.

David echoes Jesus’ words on the cross in our psalm: “Into your hands I commend my spirit,” and Stephen lives them in our first reading.  While being stoned to death he prays, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (and proceeds to forgive those who kill him).  And so this feast of our first martyr follows our celebration of the birth of our Lord, for it is in this world we are handed over to death, and it is in this world we must suffer in love.  Entirely we must trust ourselves to the care of God to find the vision of heaven – “I see an opening in the sky, and the Son of Man standing at God’s right hand” – which becomes Stephen’s own.

The words we speak, if they are blessed by God, will bring us inevitably unto heaven.  If it is the Spirit who works in us, what need we fear?  For what is more powerful than He?  Where is greater truth to be found?  And so, to whom else should we turn?  “Whoever holds out till the end will escape death,” brothers and sisters.  Though “hated by all” for our love of Jesus, if we continue ever to love even those who hate us, His Spirit will lift us unto Him and provide all we need, in words and works, to conquer the evil of this world. 

May the sweet blood of Jesus cover all His children and bless their witness to Him.

Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Carie Fortney.

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, by your power we escape death

and find your glory. 

YHWH, let us take refuge in you, in your Son, and in the Spirit, and we shall never die but be raised to life in glory with you forevermore.  May your Spirit speak through us and we lay down our lives with your Son.

A crown awaits those who love as you love, dear LORD, who follow in the way your Son has marked out for us.  If we speak your truth, if we trust in you and do your will, you will protect us even from death – you will save us from the plotting of men, and we will stand at your right hand even as the stones rain down upon our heads.

St. Stephen, pray for us this day that we will be led by the Spirit of God and be unafraid of speaking before the rulers and kings of this world.  May our blood be joined with your own and so we, too, be one with our Savior.

Direct download: St.Stephen_Dec._26.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EST

(Is.52:7-10;   Ps.98:1-6;   Heb.1:1-6;   Jn.1:1-18)

 

“You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.”

 

The coming of the One prophesied by Isaiah and hailed by John these many days is fulfilled in our midst at this blessed moment in time.  And so in our dark world, the light that is God now shines.

“Hark!  Your sentinels raise a cry, together they shout for joy, for they see directly, before their eyes, the Lord restoring Zion.”  To “all the ends of the earth” He makes “His salvation known: in the sight of the nations He has revealed His justice.”  For the Lord God walks among us now as man; He “who is the refulgence of His glory, the very imprint of His being,” is now revealed, is now made flesh; “full of grace and truth,” He appears in our midst.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  And He through whom “all things came to be,” who brought life, “the light of the human race,” now shines – and now we come to know Him; now we hear the Word spoken to our ears… now we can say, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”  The Word no longer hidden, God no longer speaks “in partial and various ways,” but now “through the Son” the fullness of truth, the blessing of peace, is upon us.

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him,” for He comes “announcing peace… announcing salvation.”  No longer need we wander in darkness, wondering, Where is our God?  He is here.  He is Jesus.  He washes all darkness from our minds, He accomplishes “purification from sins,” and He sits “at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” giving power to be like Him, “to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, “who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.”  Come, see and know the transcendent glory standing in our midst.

And so, what have we to do but rejoice?  Though “no one has ever seen God,” though He has seemed to us beyond understanding, yet “the only Son… has revealed Him.”  So let us “sing joyfully before the King, the Lord” “with the harp and melodious song.”  Let us “break into song” and “sing praise.”  For He whom “all the angels of God worship” has come for our salvation, and our Christmas should only be merry. 

God be with you, brothers and sisters.  Jesus love you.

 

Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.

 

Music: "Baby Being Born" from The Innocent Heart, first album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

 

*******

O LORD, your glory is revealed to us this day,

and so let us offer you due praise.

YHWH, your Son is born in our midst and so reveals your glory to us.  His light now shines in this dark world, and so men are saved from their sins.  O let us worship Him who is the very imprint of your Being! who is one with you.  You are with us this day in your Son, and what should we do but rejoice.

Glory to you, LORD and GOD, for now the feet of Jesus walk among us and peace is proclaimed to the ends of the earth; salvation is ours by the grace and truth He brings to this land.  Let all eyes behold the salvation He has wrought in our midst.  Let all souls break out in song in praise of His glory.

It is our joy to worship you, O LORD, and the only Son whom you have sent.  For you are our life; in you we are born – by you all Creation comes to be.  And now you are with us in the flesh of your Son; now your dwelling is among us.  To us this day please bring your peace.

Direct download: Christmas_Day_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EST

(Is.9:1-6;   Ps.96:1-3,11-13;   Ti.2:11-14;   Lk.2:1-14)

 

“Today in the city of David 

a savior has been born for you

who is Christ and Lord.”

 

Here is the “infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger”; here is He who saves all from sin, born into our humble humanity.

Yes, “a child is born to us, a son is given us,” and “upon His shoulder dominion rests.”  This little one wrapped in our own flesh is indeed named “Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.  His dominion is vast and forever peaceful,” for He rules all the earth with His loving justice.  And so what should we do but “announce His salvation, day after day”?  What can we who are overwhelmed with the joy of His presence in our midst do but “tell His glory among the nations; among all peoples, His wondrous deeds.”  For He has come for all nations and all people, to live in their hearts this day.

“Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice”; and let all mankind join the angels in their song of praise: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.”  The Lord has come “to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people as His own,” to bring His surpassing peace to all souls set on His goodness and His glory.  So, let us be “eager to do what is good,” that we might be as He is, that we might share in His eternal peace.

To Bethlehem the Virgin came at the time of the census.  There “the time came for her to have her child,” He who is our Bread of Life.  For He is enrolled among our number now; God has been made man – and nothing could give life to waiting souls like this miracle of new birth in our midst.  And so, let us know the humble shepherd’s awe; let us hear the word the angel brings, for he “proclaim[s] to [us] good news of great joy that will be for all people.”  Jesus our Savior is with us today.

 

Written & chanted by James Kurt; read by Sylvia Kurt; produced by Carie Fortney.

 

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

O LORD, your glory is revealed to us this day,

and so let us offer you due praise. 

YHWH, your Son is born in our midst and so reveals your glory to us.  His light now shines in this dark world, and so men are saved from their sins.  O let us worship Him who is the very imprint of your Being! who is one with you.  You are with us this day in your Son, and what should we do but rejoice.

Glory to you, LORD and GOD, for now the feet of Jesus walk among us and peace is proclaimed to the ends of the earth; salvation is ours by the grace and truth He brings to this land.  Let all eyes behold the salvation He has wrought in our midst.  Let all souls break out in song in praise of His glory.

It is our joy to worship you, O LORD, and the only Son whom you have sent.  For you are our life; in you we are born – by you all Creation comes to be.  And now you are with us in the flesh of your Son; now your dwelling is among us.  To us this day please bring your peace.

Direct download: Midnight_Mass_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

(2Sm.7:1-5,8-12,14,16;   Ps.89:2-5,27,29;   Lk.1:67-79)

 

“Your house and your kingdom will endure forever.”

 

The Lord builds a house for us; He is that House.

“Forever will I confirm your posterity and establish your throne for all generations,” the Lord promises David, and accomplishes His word by Himself entering the line of the king.  Thus “He has visited and ransomed His people.  He has raised a horn of saving strength for us in the house of David His servant” in the Person of Jesus the Christ.  And so we shall find “freedom from [our] sins” and “the kindness of our God” shall remain upon us.

“To guide our feet into the way of peace,” Jesus has come.  To bring “salvation from our enemies and from the hands of all our foes,” He stands among us.  Zechariah’s joy at the birth of John, his son, is really the joy in the coming one, for whom John but “prepare[s] straight paths.”  The Spirit inspires this old priest to sing primarily of the fulfillment of the promise long held by his people, the promise of Abraham, the promise of David – the promise of finding fulfillment as God’s chosen ones, held in His hand, in His temple, in His house, and protected from all harm while worshiping Him in spirit and in truth.  This Jesus accomplishes.

And so, “we should serve Him devoutly, and through all our days, be holy in His sight,” for no greater gift have we than this opportunity for holiness in the one true Son of God and in the House He establishes.  Should not the Church be our home?  Has not the Lord provided for the building of its walls?  Has He not provided His own flesh and blood to be spread upon its altar?  Has He not “fix[ed] a place for [His] people Israel… that they may dwell in their place without further disturbance”?  Has He not said, “My kindness is established forever,” and “in heaven… confirmed [His] faithfulness”?  And should we not enter His house, enter His heaven, and praise His holy Name?

Here we stand, with His Word, with His Body and Blood.  Here we have His teaching and His food.  What more need we?  And this day the Child who is the House of God approaches.  Are we ready now for His coming?

 

*******

O LORD, guide our feet in the way of peace;

fulfill your promise and make us your sons.

YHWH, we sit in darkness waiting for the coming of your Son; open our eyes to see His light and our mouths to sing of His glory.  Let us enter into His way of peace.  Deliver us from the enemy, O LORD, from the sin upon our souls.

How shall we be made free of our sins, LORD, except that you come to us and fulfill your Covenant with us, that you shall be our Father and we your children?  And how shall you accomplish this except by the birth of your Son in our midst?  We would have remained ever blind and dumb had Jesus not come to open our eyes and loose our tongues, had you not had such mercy on our souls.

A House you established for David, a place we all may dwell.  And the birth of this House is upon us now.  May we enter in and serve Him, LORD, that with Him we might stand firm forever.  

Direct download: Adv._II_Dec._24.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O holy teacher of the faith

and pastor of Christ’s flock

who instructed with wisdom

and led by kindness and humility

those in your care

and all those around you –

teach us today

not only to know our faith

but to practice it by holiness of life

as you have done,

so simply,

so thoroughly as a child of the Lord.

Pray for us

and pray for our priests,

for whom you are a model of perfection.

All yourself you have given

in imitation of Jesus;

may the Lord God

be in our hearts and on our lips

just so truly

as He has been

with you,

good teacher.

Direct download: Dec._23_John_of_Kanty.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(Mal.3:1-4,23-24;   Ps.25:4-5,8-10,14,Lk.21:28;   Lk.1:57-66)

 

“His name is John.”

 

Yes, “the hand of the Lord [was] upon him,” whose name signifies the grace of God, who comes at the end of the age to turn men’s hearts back to God, who prepares the way we must walk to find the instruction and purgation of the Lord.

We must be purified by “the refiner’s fire.”  We must be purged of all dross “like gold or like silver that [we] may offer due sacrifice to the Lord,” that we might be called children of the One God.  The Day is coming; the Lord is returning to the temple, and we must be prepared to welcome Him – and so John is born, sent in the spirit of Elijah the prophet to cry out the way in the wilderness of this world.  By the Spirit of the Lord, he “shows sinners the way; he guides the humble to justice,” leading them to the Son who stands ready in Truth to teach and to save.  Well do the people do to wonder at the birth of this holy child, for well will they do to follow his exhortation, and come to praise of the living God.

This John leads us to something new, as even the originality of his name among his relatives signifies; he assists us in making the turn, the conversion to the New Covenant in the blood of Christ.  From the Old and as a prophet of old, he leads us to the dawn of new light in this world.  Jesus he comes to proclaim.  Without this grace of God to be washed in the river of our sins, how could we stand on “the great and terrible day” of the Lord’s coming?  How could we bear His light, His fire?

“All the paths of the Lord are kindness and constancy toward those who keep His covenant and His decrees.”  Praise God we have the instruction of the Lord with us now to guide us to life everlasting; and thank God we have been made ready by “the messenger of the covenant” to stand in the light of that wisdom.  The Lord teaches us now, brothers and sisters; the Lord is with us to instruct us in His way and, “like the fuller’s lye,” to make us white.  Let us not make the grace of forgiveness John has wrought by the hand of God among us come to naught – let us listen closely now to the Word of God to which his voice has led us.

 

P.S.  Re the Bible, the Word of God – a quote by St. Hippolytus from today’s Office: “Sacred Scripture is God’s gift to us and it should be understood in the way He intends: we should not do violence to it by interpreting it according to our own preconceived ideas.”

 

*******

 O LORD, you brought John to birth

to prepare the way of your only Son –

let us walk that path to you. 

YHWH, your hand was upon John for our good, to prepare the way for your Son, that we might be prepared to receive the glory of His presence among us.  This day may our hearts be ready for His coming.

Sinners you show the way, O LORD; you mark out the path we all should tread if we wish to be cleansed of all evil and turn our hearts to you.  You are our Father, and all we should desire is to love you – O LORD, lead us in the way to you.

Your Son is the way, dear LORD.  It is by Him on His terrible Day that we are purged of all dross in the fire of the Holy Spirit and so made pure to stand before you.  O holy God, let us be refined like silver or gold that we might shine so brightly in your presence.  By your grace only is this accomplished; let all be made new by your hands.

Direct download: Adv._II_Dec._23.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(1Sm.1:24-28;   1Sm.2:1,4-8;   Lk.1:46-56)

 

“His mercy is from age to age

on those who fear Him.”

 

The Magnificat of Mary mirrors but, if I may say, far surpasses the Canticle of Hannah in beauty, in wonder, in grace… even as the perfection of the Son she bears far exceeds the blessing of the prophet Samuel.  As Jesus brings to fulfillment the greatness of all who came before Him, so Mary’s song expresses that perfection in the light of the same divine mercy.

Mercy indeed is infused in each line she utters under the power of the Spirit.  Mercy and truth, a love completely open to the blessings of God is hers and is revealed in the words which fall like cleansing rain from her immaculate lips.  She is blessed, she knows, and she shall be called blessed; for the truth, the Word of God, cannot be hidden, must be raised to meet the eyes and ears of all who seek His grace.  For “the hungry He [gives] every good thing,” and the lowly He raises “to high places.”  She is “His servant in her lowliness” and the joy of such blessing she cannot help but proclaim with all her being.

Hannah brings the child she has conceived in answer to her prayer, through the intercession of Eli – by the grace of God – and dedicates him to the Lord, leaving him at the temple.  She, too, “exults in the Lord” for the fact that, in the Lord’s will, “the barren wife bears seven sons”; for she who was thought sterile has borne the great man of God, Samuel.  Mary, in her grateful appreciation for the blessing upon her, will not need to leave her child at the temple, for He has been conceived entirely of the Holy Spirit and is Himself the Temple of the Lord, wholly dedicated to the will of the Father from before the inception of time.

As the ancient Israelites found the direction and guidance of God through the ministry of Samuel, as by him they were led to serve the Lord their God, so now in this the end of the age we have Jesus, the perfect light of guidance through the grace and mercy of God, to lead us to the total service of the Lord that Mary embodies so well.  God is “mighty,” brothers and sisters; “holy is His name.”  Let us rejoice in Him who “has upheld Israel His servant, ever mindful of His mercy,” and let us make that same blessed mercy the leaven that lifts us unto heaven.  To Him let us sing our song of praise.

 

*******

O LORD, Mary you have blessed

with your very presence,

and so she has become the Temple in which you dwell –

may we all become as your Temple.

YHWH, to the humble you show your mercy; you raise them up to dwell with you.  Our Mother Mary is the humblest of our race, and so she is at your side forever in Heaven.  O may we be blessed as she!

Hannah, too, you blessed, O LORD, she who had borne no children.  Samuel, the man of God, you gave to her, for she had promised to give him to you.  But the Son of Mary who could give to you, for He is with you always?  Let us be with Him this very day, that we might remain in your Temple.

O LORD, the proud and the mighty you tear down that they might know they are of the earth.  But the meek and humble you raise to high places, even to your presence.  Let us leave behind all the riches of this world; help us to escape the trap they are to us, the death they spell to our souls, that with the lowly we might dwell, in your eternal kingdom.  O let your servants live! 

Direct download: Adv._II_Dec._22.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O great defender of the faith,

of the clear waters,

the wellspring of salvation

that flows from the Sacred Heart

of our Savior

into His holy Church,

thus to nourish the world

and fill it with truth

and wisdom

and love…

you whom the Lord inspired

with apostolic zeal

to teach and lead souls

along His holy way –

teach us today

by your gracious intercession

to be faithful,

to be obedient to the voice of Jesus

and the Spirit speaking in the Mother

the Lord God provides His pilgrim people.

Let us not be separated from His Word

and His precious Body and Blood,

but come together as one in His presence.

Direct download: Dec._21_Peter_Canisius.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(Sgs.2:8-14 or Zep.3:14-18;  Ps.33:1-3,11-12,20-21;   Lk.1:39-45)

 

“Let me see you, let me hear your voice,

for your voice is sweet, and you are lovely.”

 

“Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” – she who comes bearing the Christ child, she whose very voice magnifies the presence of the Lord.  Listen to the witness of Elizabeth: “The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby stirred in my womb for joy.”  Mary carries the Son of God not only in her womb, but in her soul; the Spirit working within her serves to inspire him who shall go before the Lord, and so she paves the road the forerunner of Jesus shall tread.

How one are mother and child!  Never so evident has it been than in this passage from Holy Scripture.  For Mary’s voice carries the very presence of Jesus, and Elizabeth’s ears convey that presence to her child.  Here is that relationship of love depicted in our reading from the Song of Songs exemplified most clearly; here is the oneness of lover and beloved.  And the loveliness of the lover becomes the loveliness of the beloved; the blessing of the Child becomes the blessing of the Mother – and in this love the earth brings forth its fruit.

“The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.”  “The Lord, your God, is in your midst,” and He blesses all with His presence.  He calls to your soul to come forth and know His love.  “Springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills,” He hastens to your side.  He visits you.  He visits you, speaking to your heart, calling you to arise and join Him.  As Mary visits Elizabeth, “proceeding in haste into the hill country,” to bring her Son to the son of Elizabeth and so producing joy in this unborn child’s heart – so she brings her sweet Jesus to us this day, her voice speaking of His glory to the ears of Mother Church.

And so she becomes our Mother; and so she becomes our lover, for she bears the great lover of all souls to wed Himself to us as He is so perfectly wed to her.  His sweetness comes to us through His “beautiful one,” causing our hearts to rejoice at the sound of her voice and leading us to sing songs of praise to His holy name.  Let us raise the joyful shout to our God!

 

*******

O LORD, in joy with Mary,

help us to bring Jesus to every waiting soul.

YHWH, should we not rejoice at the coming of your Son?  He comes to us across the hills in the womb of His Mother: should His approach not fill us with expectation and wonder, with joy in the Holy Spirit?  And should we not cry out that joy with the Baptist and his mother?

She who secluded herself for five months is now in her sixth, and now your Son comes to her.  And what has lain dormant within her womb springs to life at the sound of the voice of His Mother.  O LORD, are we not just so in need of your Spirit to awaken in us the love that has been dormant these many days?  Do we not begin to doubt your gifts to us as we long to see them fulfilled, as we sit this day in darkness?  And will you not come to us in your Son, in His Mother who carries Him to our side – she who is your perfect Bride?

You desire to rejoice over us, O dearest LORD and God, and so our misfortunes you take away, and so the darkness of winter you dispel.  Even we who are aged in sin you find beautiful.  May our loveliness match your own.  May our voice be pleasing to you. 

Direct download: Adv._II_Dec._21.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(Is.7:10-14;   Ps.24:1-7,10;   Lk.1:26-38)

 

“Blessed are you among women.”

 

“The virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and shall name Him Immanuel because ‘God is with us.’”  “The virgin’s name was Mary.”  And she has given birth to the Savior.

“Who may stand in His holy place?” King David sings in our psalm.  “Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord?”  Clearly Jesus is He.  But as clear is that we are all called to be as He, and that she has been, she who is so like Him – she that is indeed His Mother.  It is she who “seeks the face of the God of Jacob,” she “whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain…” and so she “receive[s] a blessing from the Lord,” the greatest blessing: the Son of God.

Fearful is she in her great humility in the awesome presence of the Lord.  Questioning is she in the perfect innocence of her consecrated virginity.  But obedient only is she as she hears of the answer to her devout prayer for the pregnancy of her kinswoman, and so assumes the role most native to her, the one she has promised to fulfill: “the maidservant of the Lord.”

O glorious Virgin Mary!  You who worship so perfectly, so completely, the One who owns “the earth and its fullness, the world and those who dwell in it,” and so bring that very fullness to us all, teach us to be like Jesus your Son, whom you imitate so absolutely, so naturally.  Teach us to be as He who is flesh of your flesh.  Be our Mother as well, that we might be brother and sister and mother to the Lord.  Aid us in giving our total consent to the will of God.  “O highly favored daughter!  The Lord is with you.”  Pray He be with us now, too.

“With that the angel left.”  Upon receiving her wholehearted acceptance of her call, his mission is finished, and so he goes.  Brothers and sisters, may the angel leave our presence so satisfied that the call of the Lord for our lives will be so well answered.  Take heart that “nothing is impossible with God” and that as blessed as she is, so blessed does the Lord call you to be – if you but say yes to His word burning in your soul and lay down your life as has the Mother of God.  Give the Lord your “yes” this day.

*******

O LORD, may the Blessed Virgin Mother of your Son

pray for us this day that we shall be pure as she,

and so, able to stand in your presence.

YHWH, she whom you call to be Mother of your Son is indeed sinless in your sight.  Because her heart is clean, she can accept your Word and give birth to our Savior.  O may we be of her race!  May we with all our souls seek your face and so find the blessing that is upon her.  O let us know your only Son in our midst!

The blessing you give us we could not imagine – it is beyond our ability to conceive.  Yet, LORD, you come to us; you prepare a Virgin from among us that your Son might be with us and so we with you for all ages.  O let all be done according to your will!  Let us all follow the obedient path of our dear Mother.  Let us be her children, O LORD, and so your own.

O Mother of our Lord, blessed among women, most blessed of our race, pray for us this dark day that we will hear the Word of God spoken to our hearts.  Pray our hearts be pure as your own, that they might receive our Creator. 

Direct download: Adv._II_Dec._20.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(Jgs.13:2-7,24-25;   Ps.71:3-6,8,16-17;   Lk.1:5-25)

“From my mother’s womb you are my strength.” 

How the above line from our psalm is reflected both in Samson and in John, and how parallel are the lives of these two great men.  Of John it is said, “He will be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb”; of Samson, “This boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb” and “The Spirit of the Lord began to be with him.”  The birth of both is announced by an angel of the Lord.  Both will be born of women who were barren.  Both will be nazirites, who shall “never drink wine or strong drink,” and whose head “no razor shall touch.”  Both come for the deliverance of the people, though Samson only from “the power of the Philistines” while John comes to “prepare for the Lord a people well-disposed,” that we might have eternal salvation.

Of course, Jesus, too, will have His birth announced by the angel of the Lord; He will be born of a woman from whom it seems no child could come – a consecrated virgin – and this of the Holy Spirit, who is with Him even before time.  His is a new testament, however, signified by His birth of a woman of youth and not old age.  Though hailed by the old, He brings the newness of God into our midst.  His birth fulfills all the births and words and wisdom of the prophets and judges and kings of the Old Testament.

But, returning to our psalm and its universal call in the voice of Christ (words which apply to all in their quest for God), we should remember today that for all, God is our “rock of refuge” on whom we “depend from birth.”  “You have taught me from my youth,” the psalmist declares to the Lord, and so it should be true with us all that from the womb “till the present [we] proclaim [His] wondrous deeds.”  He works in all our lives, brothers and sisters; He has brought us all to birth and is acting now, His Spirit upon us, to see that we are born into His kingdom.

The great figures of the Old Testament, and especially John, are models from whom we can all learn, holy men whom we can certainly admire.  But as our Lord has stated clearly, none of those born of woman can compare with those born into the kingdom of heaven.  And so, let us take our strength for our journey from His prophets and from His Word; from His Spirit let us receive what we need in this life for our journey to His paradise.  As strong as were Samson and John, so much stronger can we now be by His Body and His Blood, our holy food on this earth, and by His Spirit upon us.

*******

O LORD, it is you who give us life

and make us strong –

your Spirit be with us.

YHWH, your power is upon the mothers of both Samson and John, and so upon their sons.  They are born by your will to bring deliverance to the people.  As they trusted in you from the womb, so let us be blessed to know you, LORD; let us be blessed to do your will.

Strength we should all take in you, O LORD, for you teach us from our youth to this day: the moment we turn to you, you come to us, and from our souls you would never take your leave.  O let us trust in you, that in our lives your works might be done.

How hard it is for our wounded hearts to believe the glory you bring into our midst, dear LORD.  Your presence is overwhelming to us and so difficult to bear.  But you would make it easy, if we had but faith.  Turn our hearts to the call to serve you, that we might be ready to receive you.  O let us speak in your Name!

Direct download: Dec._19_Adv._II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(Is.7:10-14;   Ps.24:1-7,10;   Rm.1:1-7;   Mt.1:18-24)

 

“God is with us.”

 

How shall we “ascend the mountain of the Lord”?  How shall we scale the heights and come to know Him as He is, He who “founded [the earth] upon the seas and established it upon the rivers”?  Only by the Son, who “will save His people from their sins,” are we made ready to stand in His presence.  “For it is through the Holy Spirit this child has been conceived,” and we are made holy by the blessing of His presence among our kind.

He is one like us.  Can you believe it?  Can you understand it, understand its significance and the grace it is as a gift from God?  Joseph struggled, certainly, to believe, to understand, to accept the greatness of this gift to him and to his people.  The angel of the Lord had to come to him to convince him to receive such great grace into his life, into his home.  But he did.  He did believe, and he did fulfill his role in the coming salvation.

And, yes, what of us?  We “are called to belong to Jesus Christ… called to be holy.”  Paul answered the call from God to be His apostle and “bring about the obedience of faith”; again, what of us?  Do we answer the call to holiness?  Do we reflect that obedience?  The time is upon us now.  The great sign has been fulfilled in our midst.  Jesus has been born and stands with us now to lead us to the purity of the Father – are we prepared to make this Child our own?

What greater truth can be proclaimed than that God is with us?  What greater grace can we receive than the forgiveness of our sins, than the preparation of our hearts for heaven?  Jesus accomplishes these blessings now for all who desire to enter the presence of God, for He is the presence of God among us; He Himself is divine grace.  His mercy is upon us.

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” brothers and sisters.  The power of the Lord be upon your souls.  May the “Spirit of holiness” establish you with the Son as a child of the Father.  Be of “the race that seeks for Him,” and you shall find Him present, dwelling in your homes.

 

Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.

 

Music: "Vision of Children" (1st part) from The Innocent Heart, first album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

 

*******

O LORD, you call us to be holy;

let us indeed be as the Virgin Mother of your Son.

YHWH, you are with us now in your only Son, who has been born of the womb of the Blessed Virgin.  All the earth is yours, and now this Child comes into the world to save it from its sins, from the destruction that is upon it for having turned from you.  O let us welcome Him into our homes!

O LORD, let us belong to Jesus and so become one with you.  May your grace and peace be upon us this day and all the days of our lives.  Make us pure as His Mother that your holy mountain we might ascend and gaze upon your face with all your saints.  Obedient to your call as Joseph let us be; let us listen to the voice of your angel.

You desire us all to stand with you, but our hands must be sinless and our hearts clean.  May the Virgin Mary, she who has conceived and borne your Son, pray the Spirit upon us, that our obedience shall be like her own, and so her blessing also.  Be with us this day, dear God, and let us be with you.

Direct download: BC-121910-Su_4_Adv_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EST

(Gn.49:2,8-10;   Ps.72:3-4,7-8,17;   Mt.1:1-17)

 

“May He rule from sea to sea,

and from the River to the ends of the earth.”

 

Since “the scepter shall never depart from Judah,” the reign of Jesus, His descendant, His fulfillment, is without end – He is King forever.  And so, “tribute is brought to Him, and He receives the peoples’ homage,” which is in itself their salvation.

Who is this Lion of Judah, fulfillment of Jacob’s prophetic blessing of his son?  What sort of king have we?  It is in the words of our psalm we find His kingship revealed: “He shall defend the afflicted among the people, save the children of the poor.”  For Jesus, though fierce as a lion in His judgment – for there is nothing untrue in Him – reveals primarily the love of God the king must embody.  In His reign, “the mountains shall yield peace for the people, and the hills justice.”  First is the love He brings to this generation; second, its complement, justice.

And of what worth is the “family record of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham,” we find in our gospel today?  Be not overly bored by it, my brothers and sisters, for in its mundaneness it holds the key to our salvation.  For it reveals how very real Jesus is, that He is part of our human family; and should this not make us rejoice, that the Son of God is also Son of Man?  And though the forty-two or so names may not be familiar to our ears, we should know at least that there are all kinds in this family tree of Jesus, from great men and women of faith humble before their God, to wicked kings and a prostitute.  There is thus hope for us all.

Jesus is indeed the fulfillment of the promised son of Abraham, and son of David, the king who sits on the throne forever.  It was of Mary He was born, and Mary’s husband was Joseph.  And since husband and wife are one – and though there’s was only a spiritual communion, it is in the spiritual communion unity is truly found – we trace His line through this humble man.  And we pray we shall enter into communion with the Lord ourselves and live in the reign of this King in whom “all the tribes of the earth shall be blessed.” 

Today we praise our brother in the flesh and pray to be made one in His Spirit.  May He indeed rule over all.

*******

O LORD, because your Son judges justly,

peace shall reign to the ends of the earth –

for this He has come among us.

YHWH, your Son rules over all; from sea to sea and to the ends of the earth His rule extends, for He has been born into our midst, He has become part of our generation, and so all in our midst, every generation, is under His reign.  Alleluia!

All the tribes of the earth should rejoice in Him, O LORD.  Though David’s Son and so of your Chosen people, yet your prophets have foretold that every people shall bow down before Him, even as all David’s sons.  This Lion of Judah shall govern all with justice, shall bring peace to all who call upon His Name.  Alleluia, LORD!  For this grace we thank you.

Truly the Name of Jesus shall remain as long as the sun – forever His Name shall be blessed in our midst.  For He has come among us to save us; He is indeed one of us and brings divine blessings in His wake.  O LORD, in every heart let Him reign!

Direct download: Dec._17_Adv._II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(Is.56:1-3,6-8;   Ps.67:2-3,5,7-8;   Jn.5:33-36)   

 

“My house shall be called a house of prayer

for all peoples.”

 

The Truth has come, and all nations are drawn to Him.

None is excluded in the House of God; His holy Temple is a place where all take refuge, where all find fulfillment, where all find joy.  He only asks that we heed His testimony, that we see the works which He performs and act in accordance with His holiness.  “Observe what is right, do what is just, for my salvation is about to come, my justice, about to be revealed,” the Lord says to us all.  Set yourselves on right paths with Him who has come, and you will be readily accepted into His presence.

“Loving the name of the Lord and becoming His servants,” this is what brings us into His house.  No matter who we are, no matter where we are, no matter when we are, we will be brought “to [His] holy mountain and [made] joyful in [His] house of prayer,” if we follow His ways.  Exult in the light of the Lord, know that Jesus is the Temple to which your heart is drawn and your “holocausts and sacrifices will be acceptable on [His] altar.”

His justice is for all; His love extends to the ends of the earth.  David’s prayer is answered in Jesus: “May your way be known upon earth, among all nations your salvation.”  For now does He “rule the peoples in equity”; now “the earth has yielded its fruits.”  Now the blessing of our God falls upon all whose hearts turn to Him.

“May all the ends of the earth fear Him!”  Then will all be drawn into His house of prayer and know His love.  This day shall not be long in coming; come now to “the lamp, set aflame and burning bright” for all eternity.  Enter into the flesh of Christ.

 

*******

O LORD, you sent your Son

that the light of your face might shine upon us

and all peoples might learn to love your NAME. 

     YHWH, let us exult in the eternal light that is your Son. He has come among us to draw all souls into your House of prayer, that all might offer holy sacrifice to you on high. And you accept all who come through Him; those who do what is right and keep your day holy you join to yourself. O may all men know such blessing! May all the ends of the earth glory in your presence.

     All the nations you gather into your arms, O LORD, by the intercession of Jesus. Your works He performs in our midst to reveal your glory to us and so draw us to the truth, to your holy mountain – to the Heaven where you dwell. May we not be kept apart from your kingdom by any evildoing, by any ignorance of the Word your Son brings to us. Let us enter under your rule.

     If we wish to be your children, you will welcome us, LORD. If it is our desire to give you worship, if our hearts are set on prayer, you will bless us. In your Son we will find answer to our prayer, if we believe His testimony, if we believe in the divinity He shares with you.

Direct download: BC-121809-F_3_Adv.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(Is.54:1-10;   Ps.30:2,4-6,11-13;   Lk.7:24-30)

 

“For a brief moment I abandoned you,

but with great tenderness I will take you back.”

 

We are “the barren one who did not bear,” the “wife married in youth and then cast off” by our God.  Once “forsaken and grieved in spirit,” blushing for the “shame of [our] youth,” now the Lord takes us home and promises us His love.  “My love shall never leave you nor my covenant of peace be shaken,” the Lord in His mercy assures us.  Though we be as those in the days of Noah, deserving of His destructive wrath, yet He takes pity on us, not only sparing our lives, but also promising to expand our space, to increase us in His blessed generosity beyond what we could imagine. 

“At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing.”  Yes, our sin has made us sad; our separation from God has invited His wrath and made us less than what we are.  But though the Lord may punish in His justice, yet “His anger lasts but a moment; a lifetime His good will.”  David sings, “You changed my mourning into dancing,” for indeed great is His mercy toward us; tender is His touch upon us as He brings us “up from the netherworld” and places us at His side in the kingdom, as His holy bride.

And the Baptist makes the way the redeemed must walk.  Necessary is “the baptismal bath he administered” in order to realize God’s plan for the salvation of our lives.  He is the messenger who goes ahead of the Lord, preparing the path that leads to our being “born into the kingdom of God,” where our greatness cannot be measured for it will be in union with Him who is “God of all the earth.”  Indeed, we must turn from our sins to find our way to this unity; we must repent in tears and turn back to Him.  And He will be quick to rescue us, and we will be blessed to rejoice forever, to “break forth in jubilant song” at the graces poured forth upon us by our God in the forgiveness of our sins.

His tender Hand is near us, waiting to touch us.  Is it your will to be wed to the Most High God?  Then receive the baptism He requires and you will be made fruitful in the kingdom of God.

 

*******

O LORD, take us back to you;

may our hearts be prepared to receive your glory.

     YHWH, we must be cleansed in your baptismal bath, for you wish to draw us back to you from our sin; you wish to turn our mourning into dancing, but we cannot approach you, we cannot enter your kingdom if our shame still clings to us, if the dust of this earth remains upon our souls. We have been made barren by the evil our hands have done; we deserve to be drowned in the waters of the flood, to be cast to the nether world… but you look upon our desolation with mercy and seek to wed us unto you that we might again bear fruit, that we might spread out across all the earth. Bring your Heaven to this desert place, we pray.

     Weeping we have known. Abandonment we have suffered, O LORD. Let us now hear your voice crying out to us, calling us back to your loving arms. Our sins indeed please wash away. Never leave us again, we pray; assure us of your abiding love. Into your kingdom let us come with all your holy people.

 

Direct download: BC-121610-Th_3_Adv.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O mystical doctor –

help us by way of the Cross

to find wisdom and knowledge of Christ

and union with God;

let us desire to enter

the suffering of the Lord,

that by this means

we may draw closer

to His glorious presence

and there remain in joy.

Let us fear not

the dark night the soul must endure

but bear it well,

that we might be purged of all blindness;

pray the Lord will shine upon us

His holy light

and we might soon look upon

His face

with you.

May the Lord’s Cross overshadow all

and anoint every soul

with the peace that surpasses understanding,

with His undying love.

Direct download: Dec._14_John_of_the_Cross.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(Is.45:6-8,18,21-25;   Ps.85:9-14,Is.45:8;   Lk.7:18-23)

 

“There is no just and saving God but me.”

 

Jesus is “He who is to come”; His deeds speak for themselves.  “There is no other!”

“Justice shall walk before Him, and salvation, along the way of His steps.”  How evident this is in Jesus’ life, for wherever He goes He teaches wisdom; whomever He touches He heals.  God created the world “not to be a waste” but “to be lived in,” and so Jesus sets free all captives – the blind, the lame, the deaf… He releases all from sin.  Yes, “the Lord Himself will give His benefits; our land shall yield its increase.”  The justice which descends from the heavens, which falls from His lips “like dew from above,” will cause “salvation [to] bud forth.”

“Near indeed is His salvation to those who fear Him.”  We see Him.  We hear Him.   If our hearts are open to Him, we witness His working every moment of our lives.  For He is “the creator of the heavens… the designer and maker of the earth,” and His Hand is at work in all things – He cannot be separated from His creation.  The light and the darkness are made by Him, and for us who love Him “truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven.”  “For He proclaims peace to His people.”  For those who love Him, there is only light.

And we know that Light is Jesus.  It is to witness to Him the Baptist came; and now he hears of the fulfillment of the way he has prepared.  We must find “no stumbling block” in the Lord.  We must join in proclaiming His good news, in walking in His way – in letting our deeds speak for themselves as wrought by the Hand of the loving Creator and His redeeming Son.

Be of light, brothers and sisters, of justice, of peace.  Let kindness and truth meet in all your words and deeds and you will be sons and daughters of the one “just and saving God” – and you will be blessed forever.

 

*******

O LORD, may every knee bend before you

who created us and redeemed us.

YHWH, in your goodness you have made the earth and all who dwell in it, and by your grace your Son has served to redeem Creation.  From the beginning you designed this world to be lived in, you desired that all your creatures should flourish, and though woe has come upon us because of our disobedience, now Jesus has come among us to make the deaf hear and the blind see, to raise us from the death of sin.  O let us walk before you in justice!

You are the only just and saving God; beside you there is no other.  And should we not rejoice in your presence, O LORD?  Your justice rains down upon us from Heaven now, and should we not spring up from the earth declaring your truth and your glory?  Should we not be one with your Son who is our salvation and so find your blessings, and so yield an increase of holy fruit?  O let us be healed of all our afflictions! that we might know your glory dwelling in our land.

Direct download: BC-121510-W_3_Adv.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O bride of our Lord Jesus Christ,

in your virginity

and in your dying

you have given yourself

entirely

to the Lord of Heaven and earth.

O how like Him you were

in your purity

and in your suffering!

and so how close to Him

you must be

in Heaven –

pray that a ray of His light

might come to us

who sit in darkness,

we whose hearts

are not as strong

as your own.

His heavenly light

we wish to enter;

by your prayers

may we see

His glory.

Direct download: Dec._13_Lucy.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(Zep.3:1-2,9-13;   Ps.34:2-3,6-7,17-19,23;   Mt.21:28-32)

 

“I will leave as a remnant in your midst

a people humble and lowly,

who shall take refuge in the name of the Lord.”

 

All have been “rebellious and polluted”; all have been as she who “hears no voice” and “accepts no correction.”  But the Lord now comes to “change and purify the lips of the peoples, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord.”  Who is it who hears the voice of the Lord to “not be ashamed of all [our] deeds, [our] rebellious acts against [Him]”?

“Let me make it clear that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you,” Jesus states simply and directly to the chief priests and elders.  These lowest of society, these most polluted, have put faith in John’s preaching of “a way of holiness,” but those most esteemed, the elder son whose words bear the stamp of God but whose actions are far from Him, are held back from entering the kingdom by their pride, perhaps thinking they are already there.

How sad.  How can it be that those so steeped in the holy Scriptures do not hear the words of David’s psalm: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit He saves”?  Or how are they blind to the vision of the “humble and lowly” the Lord deems to bless?  For that matter, how do they hide themselves from the great prophet’s declaration that the Lord “will remove from [their] midst the proud braggarts”?

Our words alone will not save us, brothers and sisters.  However great the lines of the scribe or the preaching of the priest, it will mean nothing if not lived in flesh and blood.  Better to say no to God, as the younger son, and then turn to Him and do His will.  Certainly we all stray; and this we must recognize.  But just as certain is that all must turn to Him, after regretting our sin, and do as He commands. 

 Do not be afraid.  The Lord will “destroy remembrance of evildoers,” but count not yourself as in allegiance with them.  Be among those who “speak no lies” and you “shall pasture and couch [your] flocks with none to disturb [you].”  The vision of God and His Spirit shall be your own.

 

*******

O LORD, let us speak no lie before you

but let our actions meet our words of praise. 

YHWH, we must do your will to enter your kingdom, this your Son makes clear to all.  We cannot merely honor you with our lips but must make our holiness incarnate as His. 

O the woe of the proud, dear LORD!  How terrible their separation from you.  For they are blind even to their separation, and so, what shall save them?  Let them be saved by seeing the humble come to you; let them know your mercy and love by witnessing your forgiveness toward the lowly sinner… and let them accept your mercy upon their own hearts.

Purify our lips, O LORD, from all lies, all deceitful words.  Let it be your holy NAME that is upon our tongues, that we might dwell in truth and peace and humility, and praise your glory forever.

You are close to the brokenhearted, LORD; you gather even the rebellious into your arms.  Let us accept the correction of your Son and cry out to you, that we may indeed be saved and come to serve you.

Direct download: BC-121410-Tu_3_Adv.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(Nm.24:2-7,15-17;   Ps.25:4-9;   Mt.21:23-27)

 

“A star shall advance from Jacob,

and a staff shall rise from Israel.”

 

And the light of that star is reflected in the eyes of Balaam, who, though a pagan, is gifted by God with the clear vision to see the beauty and wonder of “Israel encamped, tribe by tribe,” “like gardens beside a stream,” “like the cedars planted by the Lord.”  And as He is seen in the nation of Israel blessed by the Lord, so His glory is reflected in the heart and words and actions of everyone who believes and proclaims in truth that Jesus is that star, that Jesus is the Son of God.

Those who remain close to the teaching of Jesus, and to His ways, “shall have the sea within reach.”  There shall be an abundance of wisdom at the ready for those who are graced with ears to hear His words.  “He teaches the humble His way,” yes, and guides us on straight paths which lead directly to the Most High.  And “with eyes unveiled” we shall gaze not only on His reflection in the fields of this earthly existence, but on Him Himself as He is in heaven.

The teaching of Jesus is divine and He Himself is divine, above whose authority there is no other.  But His light can only be seen, His words can only be understood by those whose hearts are open to truth and willing to walk the path He sets.  If the “chief priests and elders of the people” closed themselves off from Him in a political quandary, we must not do so.  Instead we must be as His apostles, in whom the tribes of Israel are truly aligned perfectly, and have as ready a response as we know Peter had on the shores of Galilee, as Thomas had when He appeared in their midst: He is our Lord, our God.  This we must see.  This we must know.  And this we must proclaim.

The star has risen in our midst; the Savior has come.  Now we await the fulfillment of that light and must bring it to bear in this generation.  Now we must follow that star where it leads.

*******

O LORD, let our eyes see the coming of your Son,

and our hearts put faith in His authority.

YHWH, let our eyes not be blind, blind to the glory that stands before us in your only Son.  Let our eyes be open to vision of your kingdom, the kingdom He brings to this earth.  Let our tents be set in line with your will, O LORD; let our hearts be humble before you.

LORD God, you show the humble your way; you bless them with your presence in their souls and your light shining in their lives.  Teach us this day the way we should walk, the way marked out for us by your Son.  Upon Him your authority rests – let us not question His divinity but believe in His power and so in your own.  May His Word transform our souls.

The wisdom of the ages comes to us this day in Jesus and in His words.  Here is the ocean at our hands, before our eyes, that all we might know of your goodness, LORD.  Let us honor Him as our King who has come and follow in the way He leads.

Direct download: BC-121310-M_3_Adv.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O Patroness of the Americas

and Protectress of the Unborn,

look upon our troubled state,

where lust and greed abound,

where thousands are killed in the womb

every day,

where the poor and the rich

are separated by steel walls

and thirsting souls

die in the desert –

help us, dear Mother,

to discover life,

to find your guidance

in this land of opportunity

and broken dreams,

in these hearts that have grown so cold

that more are sacrificed

on unholy altars

than when you first came

to turn our hearts to the Lord!

Pray for us, Our Lady,

or we shall surely die

in a soulless pride.

Direct download: Dec._12_Our_Lady_of_Guadalupe.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EST

 (Zec. 2:14-17;   Lk.1:46-55;   Lk.1:29-47)

“Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD!

for He stirs forth from His holy dwelling.”

And His own stirring forth causes John the Baptist to stir forth, to “leap for joy” – thus is opened the mouth of the one who will proclaim His way.

On this the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe we celebrate the Lord’s stirring forth in astounding fashion in the Americas.  As the Lord looked upon His humble servant Mary to bring forth the only Son of God, so He smiles upon the humble Juan Diego, to bring the conversion of a continent.  His Mother comes humble and with child to bring new birth to a land in darkness…  And how that land sits in darkness now, awaiting renewal by the graces from His hand. 

“He has looked upon His handmaid’s lowliness” once, and again; let us pray a humble spirit He shall once more find in this place and on this earth, that indeed “the hungry shall be filled with good things,” that He who has “lifted up the lowly” will remember them now that they are trodden down, now that the most humble are destroyed in the womb.

“Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day.”  And many have.  But how sincere is their commitment to Him?  Are they truly “His people,” and so will “He dwell among” them?  Have we cause to “sing and rejoice,” to be as she who “proclaims the greatness of the Lord” – or to cry tears of sorrow for the land to which we have come?  For the womb is barren; the spirits are proud – and in these the Lord takes no joy.

Silence before Him we must find once again, that He might turn to us and bring new birth to this land.

“Stir forth, O Lord, from your holy dwelling,”

     and renew our languishing souls.

Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Roger Fortney.

Music by Roger and Carie Fortney; used by permission.

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