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.

 (Is.8:23-9:3;   Ps.27:1,4,13-14;   1Cor.1:10-13,17;   Mt.4:12-23)

 

“Light has arisen.”

 

“Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness: for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.”  Yes, “a light has shone”; Jesus has come.  No longer do we walk in darkness.  So we should proclaim with David: “The Lord is my light and my salvation”; we should long to dwell in the Temple He has built, “gaz[ing] on the loveliness of the Lord.”  Here in His House we “see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living.”  Here in His Church we come to the paradise He has come to establish in this land of darkness.

The light dawns as Jesus calls His disciples to His side.  Here are the beginnings of His Church, the coming of light to this earth.  The Lord calls Peter and Andrew, and James and John, and they respond, and they follow the light.  And the light goes forth as He goes “around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.”  Do you see how the light grows?  Do you know the light reflected in the disciples’ eyes, which shall take root and become known to all the world?  Here indeed is the Church begun, the holy House of God – the New Jerusalem.  And nothing shall disturb its growth; nothing shall dim or block the light that has come.

Yet what division is upon the Church Christ has founded here on the shores of Galilee.  How has it come to be that we are so disobedient to Paul’s instruction “that there be no divisions among [us], but that [we] be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.”  How many more rivalries have we than the Corinthians.  Not only do those separated from the Church declare their peculiar allegiance to various people or nations, saying, “I belong to Luther,” or “I belong to Calvin,” or “I belong to England” – and now there are some 360 different denominations, one for every day of the year, it seems – but within the Catholic Church deep divisions arise between “liberal” or “conservative” theologians, thus bringing darkness upon God’s people.  The Church remains, and nothing shall overcome it, but what a poor sign it is to the world as the devil has his day in its division.

The Lord has come bringing “abundant joy and great rejoicing” for those who remain in His light.  The unbroken flame rises up from these first apostles Jesus called on this one morning by the Sea of Galilee.  The net extends from their hands and draws in all who truly seek to dwell in the presence of God.

 

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

 

Music: "Mirror of Knowledge" (2nd part) from Listening to the Lamp, ninth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

 

*******

O LORD, may the Gospel be proclaimed

in strength this day

in your Son’s holy Name. 

YHWH, your light has dawned upon this dark world; in Jesus your Son our salvation has come, and now we may dwell in your House with Him.  Beginning on the shores of Galilee, your Word goes forth, calling all men to your kingdom.  May we repent of our sin that we might enter there.

Today your Son calls the first apostles from their boats to dry land that they might be fishers of men.  And so He works through His apostles even to this day.  A great light shines upon those who walked in darkness – we who were sinners now come to your Temple, LORD, there, we pray, to remain all our days.

Let there be no division in your Church, dear God, but let us be united in the flesh of your Son and preach His Gospel with one voice (His own) to the ends of this dark earth.  O let your holy light now shine through all He calls to be His disciples!  The yoke of sin that has enslaved us be smashed, we pray, that we shall no longer be afraid, that we shall no longer walk in darkness.

Direct download: BC-012311-Su_3_OT_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EST

O you who persecuted

the Church of God

but then preached the faith

in earnest,

you upon whom

abundant mercy fell,

whose weakness became strength

as each day in bearing

extraordinary torments

you grew closer to God –

show us the way

to Heaven.

Pray we fall continually

from our horse,

from our pride,

and allow the Lord

to change our lives.

Pray repentance

be our constant food,

that the love of Jesus

and His forgiveness

we shall ever know

in greater measure.

Direct download: Jan._25_Conversion_of_St._Paul.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EST

(Acts 22:3-16 or Acts 9:1-22;   Ps.117:1-2,Mk.16:15;   Mk.16:15-18)

 

“Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to all creation.”

 

One would not have expected these words to be spoken so profoundly to the heart of St. Paul.  For he, then known as Saul, had spent such time and with such vigor had persecuted the followers of Christ.  Why does the Lord shine His light all about him?  Why does He speak to him and reveal Himself to him?  Why is it this man who is picked to bring the Name of Jesus to all the nations?  Perhaps it was his very vigor in persecuting His followers Jesus admired.  Perhaps his sincerity and commitment to this cause in the name of God He knew He could use for the cause of justice and right.  Perhaps he is a sign to us all that none is beyond the redemption the Lord offers.  We know only that he who was persecuting the Church now works to build it up.  We know only the story of this great Apostle to the world.

“Recover your sight,” Ananias says to this Saul, and so Paul, once blinded by the light of the Lord, now has his eyes open to see.  So he who once went about with scales on his eyes, he whose vision was once so prevented from realizing the truth of the Jesus in his midst… he who was once so like his brother Pharisees, now sees.  And what he sees is not simply Ananias standing before him.  What he sees standing before him in this faithful disciple of Jesus, is Christ Himself.  And he realizes whom he has been persecuting, and repents.  And so he is baptized.  And so his mission, one wrought in the suffering of Christ, begins.

“Praise the Lord, all you nations; glorify Him, all you peoples!” are the words of our psalmist, but they could as easily be the exhortation of the Apostle Paul.  Having himself believed in the Good News proclaimed to all creation and accepted Baptism into its way, he himself now brings so many others to walk along the same path.  Great signs accompany him, and his words to our ears are as those of Jesus to him, for now he is such a strong part of the Body of Christ, persecuted by this world and calling it to salvation.  On this day all our hearts should turn to the Lord, that we might join Paul and profess our faith in His Name.

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, help us to believe

and so turn to your Son to be saved.

YHWH, let all men turn to you as has your great Apostle.  Reveal yourself to the eyes and ears of all souls who seek God, all who are zealous for the truth.  Why should we continue so blind?  Let all be baptized into the way of your Son and so be blessed with His power and His love.

Let us not be afraid to lay down our lives for you, O LORD. Let us not turn away from what we must suffer for your Name and that of your Son.  In this we should find our joy; proclaiming the Gospel to all Creation should be the food that sustains us.  Let us be the sign of your presence in this world.

Lay your hands upon us, LORD, that we might be healed.  Send your disciples to us to teach us of your way and your truth.  Let us enter into that way with them and declare to all that Jesus is the Messiah and in Him all souls are saved and brought to light.

Direct download: Conversion_of_Paul_2011.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EST

O most devout spiritual guide,

great pastor of your flock

and of all souls,

you who speak to us

even this day

with your words of wisdom

and blessed direction –

pray every branch

of Jesus’ vine

may aspire to His perfection;

in whatever state we find ourselves,

let us set our hearts

on loving the Lord

and serving Him and neighbor

prayerfully.

Teach us to pray faithfully,

to offer our lives

in all situations,

all for the glory of God.

Our call may we hear

and heed by your intercession,

following the Christ and carrying His Cross

as He leads.

Direct download: Jan._24_Francis_de_Sales.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(1Sm.24:3-21;   Ps.57:2-4,6,11;   Mk.3:13-19)

“Sovereignty over Israel shall come into your possession.”

Today we see David at perhaps his most humble and obedient in the sight of God – we see why he is the great king of Israel.

David is being hunted down by Saul once again in his jealousy.  His psalm, our psalm today, is his cry for protection from the Lord in whom he trusts: “I call to God Most High, to God, my benefactor.  May He send from heaven and save me.”  To the cave in which he hides, God sends his pursuer, vulnerable and at arm’s length.  But this man who will be king of the Israelites by God’s ordination refrains from taking the sword into his hand to kill the man who would kill him.  Why?  Because Saul is yet the king, “the Lord’s anointed,” whom David even calls “a father to me” despite the threat he is to his life.  Such an act of respect, such an understanding of the obedience due God and His will is unparalleled in Scripture.  This is David.  This is the king.

And how tragic a figure is Saul.  Upon having his eyes turned inward to his very soul and the injustice he wreaks upon David, he weeps aloud in recognition of his sin: “You are in the right rather than I; you have treated me generously, while I have done you harm.”  It is he who speaks the words of our quote today, he who recognizes the truly kingly nature of David…  Yet for all his penance and insight it shall not be long before his jealousy leads him to pursue David unrighteously once again.  He cannot escape his envy for David’s blessing.

And in our gospel we read of the blessed apostles of Christ, those “men He Himself had decided on,” whom He summoned and “who came and joined Him.”  These “He would send to preach the Good News”; these would “have authority to expel demons.”  They are named by name for us today: here is the foundation of the Church in which God dwells.  Here are His blessed kings of the New Jerusalem.  Let us not be jealous of them.  Let no man attempt to breach the authority given them; for pursue them as one would, none shall take their blessing away – it is they who are ordained by God for His service.  Humbly let us join them in their sovereignty over Israel.  Obediently let us come into the Lord’s kingdom.

*******

O LORD, though your justice is beyond our reach,

in your mercy make us your disciples. 

YHWH, those whom you appoint must be respected.  It is you who anoint the king and ordain apostles.  Jesus is your only Son and He has chosen the Twelve to follow Him.  Who are we to go against His will and pursue them and those who continue in their stead? 

O LORD, you have made Peter the rock of your Church and given all your apostles power to preach the Gospel and expel all demons.  At their hands your presence becomes real, of your Son’s flesh and blood we partake, and we are forgiven our sins.  If David your chosen could not kill an unjust king because of your blessing upon him, how much less can we usurp the power of the bishops and priests who stand this day in the very place of Jesus?  O let us learn the respect and obedience to your will that King David has clearly shown! 

You protect your righteous ones, dearest LORD and God.  And so we need have no fear as long as we take refuge in your justice. 

Direct download: BC-012012-F_2_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O lover of the least,

the most wretched of society,

whom you embraced

when no one else would;

how like St. Francis you were

in your care for the lepers,

in your living the Gospel

as an image of Christ:

He was hungry and you fed Him,

thirsty and you gave Him drink,

naked and you clothed Him

and cared for Him when He was sick –

pray our hearts will burn

with the same sacrificial love

you bore so well

for those most abandoned,

that truly we shall see Christ in them

and welcome Him

into our homes…

may their suffering be our own.

How else shall we become holy?

How else shall we be welcomed

into the kingdom with you?

Direct download: Marianne_Cope_Jan._23.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:05pm EST

O martyr of the Lord extraordinaire

who suffered unspeakable torture

but was not bowed

by such savagery,

who spoke of great faith,

singing of God’s glory

even as your limbs

were crushed,

even as all the brutality

the world could inflict

sought to break

your spirit –

help us to conquer the world

as you have done,

as the Lord has done in you,

not to be afraid

but rather to serve

our Savior and His Cross

in joy

as His blessed disciples;

pray we, too, shall enter the heavenly gates

open to those in whom the Spirit speaks

even unto death.

Direct download: Jan._22_Vincent.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(1Sm.18:6-9,19:1-7;   Ps.56:2-3,5,9-14;   Mk.3:7-12)

“Saul has slain his thousands,

and David his ten thousands.”

And Jesus His millions.  He slays an untold number of “unclean spirits [who] would catch sight of Him, fling themselves down at His feet, and shout, ‘You are the Son of God.’”  “A great crowd followed Him from Galilee, and an equally great multitude” from all the surrounding regions.  So great were their numbers He needed a boat to escape the press upon Him.  For He “cured many,” and many more desired to be touched by Him.

The women sing of David’s greatness upon his return from slaying the Philistine.  Their rightful attribution of praise for David, through whom “the Lord brought about a great victory for all Israel” and so for its king (who had himself sought someone to stand against the giant Goliath), does nothing but provoke resentment and jealousy from King Saul.  His anger even leads to his plotting to kill the man who has saved his kingdom; and though he sets aside his plan “of shedding innocent blood by killing David without cause” for the moment, the plot never leaves his heart and shall repeatedly surface with greater intensity.  Thus Saul proves his inability to serve as king of the Lord’s people.  Thus his pride shall be his demise.

And rightfully does Saul claim of David that “all that remains for him is the kingship,” for in fact he has already been anointed king in place of Saul by Samuel the prophet.  And though as with the kingship of Jesus, who silences the demons from revealing “who He was,” David’s crown shall remain hidden for a time, inevitably –  again, as with the Lord’s reign – those who “press their attack against” the Lord’s anointed shall be turned back and the true king shall “walk before God in the light of the living.”  It is inevitable for it is God’s will, and neither the jealousy of Saul nor the plotting of the Pharisees – the jealous kings who would be overthrown by Jesus – can turn aside what God has ordained.

The Lord is with David.  Though his “adversaries trample upon [him] all the day,” he sings in praise of God in his psalm: “You have rescued me from death.”  And so we see how our psalms sing of Jesus Himself and why He is called Son of David.  For the greatest victory the Lord God shall achieve will be the resurrection of His Son from the dead, and the redemption of the many souls who shall follow Him.

*******

O LORD, we press upon you with our afflictions, 

and by your Son’s intercession we are saved. 

YHWH, how many evil spirits have you slain?  How many enemies have you turned back for those who trust in your NAME?  Though many fight against us, we are saved when we call out to you – forever we shall be safe from the malice of the wicked. 

Your Son has come to our shores and cured us of our afflictions.  By His grace He has freed us from all sin and evil.  His power is greater than that of the devil though the devil sit on the throne of a king.  For the spirit is greater than the flesh, and trusting in your Spirit, O LORD, we are released from the weakness of the flesh upon which the devil preys and made victorious in your NAME. 

Thousands may we too slay if we keep our vows to you and in you find our strength.  Then on the Day of your Son’s return, the angels shall sing of the glory which is ours in you and in Him, O LORD, as we enter your reign. 

Direct download: BC-011912-Th_2_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(1Sm.17:32-33,37,40-51;   Ps.144:1-2,9-10;   Mk.3:1-6)

“You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar,

but I come against you in the name of the Lord.”

“The battle is the Lord’s” is the simple truth David proclaims to all those who stand in arms.  To “all this multitude,” he declares “that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves.”  Thus with David’s defeat of the Philistine giant is emphasized what has already been revealed in the anointing of this ruddy youth as king and the loss of that kingship by the tall-in-stature Saul: the exalted are humbled and the humbled exalted.  For God blesses those who make Him their “rock,” trusting not in their own wealth or strength.  “My refuge and my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, my shield, in whom I trust, who subdues peoples under me,” David chants in praise of the Lord in his holy psalm.  And so should we all take refuge in the Lord, and find strength in praising His Name.

And in “hoping to be able to bring an accusation against Him,” do not the Pharisees come, too, with sword and spear against God’s holy one today in our gospel?  And do they not make this violence clear in their turning “to plot with the Herodians on how they might destroy Him”?  They are defeated in battle by the Word of truth which issues forth and indeed is embodied by the Christ of God, Jesus, Son of David, Son of God.  They cannot contradict the authority of His teaching or the blessing of the healing He brings from the Father on high, but yet they harden their hearts and close “their minds against Him,” seeking to confirm their trust in the warring hand of this world in the capture and crucifixion of their Savior.  But the battle is the Lord’s, and their attempts to destroy Him shall prove the fruitlessness of such trust in violence – indeed, their killing Him with sword and spear shall be the instrument which leads to His resurrection, bringing the dawn of new life in whose light death itself, and the pride of man, shall be destroyed forever.

Let all know it is the Lord who fights for those whom He loves, those who trust in Him and His ways, who seek to do good and not evil, to “preserve life” and not “destroy it.”  The question Jesus poses to the Pharisees He presents to us: do we cherish the saving power of the Lord of life and take refuge and joy in Him, or do we reach for the weapons at our side to destroy Him?  The posturing of this world is vain, for it is God who holds life and death in His Hand.

*******

O LORD, you save us from the clutches of evil men. 

YHWH, the battle is yours.  You strengthen our hands against the enemy and give victory to your chosen ones.  Despite the plots of those who surround us with evil intent, despite the might of the armies arrayed against us, you give confidence to those who trust in you, for with you the faithful soul triumphs over the powers of this world.

You deliver us in the day of battle, dear God; you are our refuge, our stronghold, and by your hand we destroy those who come at us with closed minds and hardened hearts, railing against your holy One.  They cannot stand before your awesome power – their swords and spears are broken by the Word that issues from your mouth. 

The head of the snake shall be cut off, crushed by the feet of your lowly ones, and we shall sing your praise, O LORD.  Forever we shall be preserved from the violence of the enemy. 

Direct download: BC-011812-W_2_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O holy virgin martyr,

O innocent child

who offered your life

more freely than a bride

to her husband,

more courageously than a warrior

in battle,

who though lacking in years

was not lacking in faith

nor desire to honor

your only Spouse…

you who were honored

by the Fathers of the Church

and are remembered to this day

as a holy offering,

a lamb of God sacrificed in flames

yet professing ever

your love for Christ –

but a small measure of your courage

would save our souls.

Pray but a drop of His blood

we may know

falling from our veins.

Direct download: Jan._21_Agnes.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(1Sm.16:1-13;   Ps.89:20-22,27-28;   Mk.2:23-28) 

“Man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.”

Indeed, how different the vision of God from the vision of man, and how well the Lord illustrates this in His rejection of Saul and His choosing of David.  When Samuel sees Eliab, whose appearance and “lofty stature” are reminiscent of Saul, even this great seer is blinded by his eyes and must be directed by God to look beyond what is apparent to his sight.  All seven sons brought to the feast are rejected by the Lord, and the youngest, “who is tending the sheep,” must be sent for.  Jesse, his father, did not think David worthy of coming to the sacrificial banquet, but it is he who is the centerpiece of the celebration.  This ruddy youth is the one chosen by the eyes of God.

And lest we think that there is some kind of diametrical opposition between physical beauty and interior loveliness, we must note that David is not ugly to behold and the Lord does not choose him for a poor appearance.  He too was “handsome… and making a splendid appearance.”  But the beauty of David finds its source not in the skin but in a heart set on God, and it is this faithfulness and dedication to Him upon which the Lord gazes and, so, chooses, and not upon the curls falling around his face.  David’s appearance is beautiful because his soul is beautiful, and his soul is beautiful because it finds its life in God.  And so, from the day of his anointing by Samuel, God’s prophet, “the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David” and there remained, for it had found its proper home.

In our gospel we have a quote like unto the one separated out for this day, and expressive of a similar lesson: “The Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath,” Jesus tells the Pharisees critical of His disciples picking, peeling, and eating heads of grain on the Lord’s Day.  For what do the Pharisees do but judge the law by its appearance alone, and fail to look into its heart.  The law is indeed beautiful to behold and was made for man for his benefit, to draw him close to God; but how far from its purpose these leaders of the people have come, and so, how distant from the Lord they stand – unable to recognize Him as He stands before them.  The sabbath itself was made for man’s rest and refreshment from labor, and yet when the disciples of Christ pick and eat to allay their hunger, to find refreshment for their failing bodies, these Pharisees deem it evil.  Again one wonders how they can be so blind.  Again it is apparent that they are unable to see beyond the surface.  Empty indeed are their hearts.

As He has done for David, the Lord makes us strong, makes us fruitful and beautiful.  He blesses our works as the works of this “highest of the kings of the earth,” if those works are founded in Christ.  If we truly say with David, “You are my father, my God, the rock, my savior,” the Lord will hear us, and finding His presence in our hearts, He will bless us, even as His only Son.

*******

O LORD, your Spirit be with us as with David, 

as with Jesus. 

YHWH, give us eyes to see what you see, hearts to understand your will.  Your Spirit dwell within us that we might be as your Chosen One. 

O LORD, as we are presented before you, may we be acceptable in your sight.  Let our hearts not be hardened to your Word but anointed by your Son’s blood.  O that we might call you our Father and know Jesus as our Savior!  Give us your Wisdom that we might radiate your beauty to all who look upon us this day. 

David you blessed, dear God, as king of kings, as the child upon whom your favor rested.  Is He not the figure of your only Son?  In Him do we not see presaged the Christ who would be Lord even of the Sabbath?  

And are we not called to be joined to Him, to have His anointing upon us this day, His Spirit to guide us in all things?  Let us be fed by your Anointed, O LORD, that His crown might be upon our heads, that our eyes might be open to His glory. 

Direct download: BC-011712-Tu_2_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O soldier for Christ

who sought with such courage

to embrace His Cross,

to die a death

worthy of such a Lord,

you whose heart

was so set

on imitating the suffering

only He knew

and so were rewarded

with the crown of martyrdom –

where is our courage;

where is our strength?

Pray for us,

O warrior of our Lord and God,

that our lives

may bear witness

to approach your own,

that we shall not shrink

from the Cross before us

but with your same zeal

seek to make it our own.

Pray the blood of Christ upon us.

Direct download: Jan._20_Sebastian.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EST

O Holy Father of the Church,

Pastor of the sheep of our Lord

who have given your life freely

for the name of Christ

and its spreading

throughout the earth,

you whose blood was shed

by the persecutors

of the body

but whose soul

was ever in the Hand of God –

pray our lives

shall be lived in integrity

and our death correspond,

that a blessed witness

we too shall give

to the glory of God

and His Son Jesus Christ,

and so lead others

to that same glory.

May none of the flock

or their shepherds

fear the sacrifice of their lives.

Direct download: Jan._20_Fabian.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(1Sm.15:16-23;   Ps.50:8-9,16-17,21,23;   Mk.2:18-22)

“Does the Lord so delight in holocausts and sacrifices

as in obedience to the command of the Lord?

The answer to the question Samuel puts to Saul is, in a word, “No.”  “Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams.”  Nothing does the Lord deem greater than our hearing and heeding His Word, than our obedience to His will.  And nothing will save us, nothing will preserve our place in His kingdom like our doing what He asks of us.

Saul loses his kingship for his disobedience to the command of the Lord.  The Lord has told him to destroy the enemy he invades and all that belongs to them.  Saul retains some of the animals to bring back for sacrifice to God.  Why waste them?  Why not honor God with them?  Reasonable thoughts to the human mind, but not the will of God.  And in heeding these thoughts is revealed the seed of Saul’s rebellion against God, which will lead to his attempts to destroy the king (David) the Lord has chosen to replace him, and end in his own suicide.

How prone the human mind is to favor its own counsels against those of God.  How foolish seem submission and obedience, especially when they go against our own logic.  But David will show the humility God desires in those He would bless.  “To him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God,” He promises us.  David will be one who does not hate the discipline of the Lord or cast His words behind his back.  When all justification is present for his killing Saul, who hunts down God’s chosen like an animal, he forgoes every opportunity, respecting his pursuer as God’s anointed.  How different his attitude from Saul’s, he who “rejected the command of the Lord” by taking matters in his own soiled hands.

The blessing obedience is, the transcendent joy of joining oneself to the will of the Lord, is evident in our gospel as well, in Jesus’ teaching that “new wine is poured into new skins” and not old.  Fasting is a blessed sacrifice provided by the law and by God.  But as wholesome as this practice, or any other religious observance, can be, it does not supersede being present to the Lord.  If we are not present to Him, all our works become empty.  The disciples are so close to Jesus, so happy to be in His company, it is as if they have stepped into heaven – and so how can the law’s prescription for fasting touch them in a place where fasting is no longer necessary?  Indeed, they shall fast upon His death, and we know our great saints have performed great fasts and sacrifices in the Name of the Lord and for His glory… but first the grace of God must be with us all, or all becomes empty show.

It is the new wine of which we drink now, brothers and sisters; it is the Word become whole which is ours.  Let us now be obedient to the Lord’s command, and all we do will be joy for us and for our God.

******* 

O LORD, make of us new wineskins 

that we might bear your Word within ourselves.

YHWH, let us not question your Word or your will but walk in your way, for only by such obedience will we find salvation.  Let us not pull away from you or presume our thoughts above your own.  For in such foolishness we shall surely die – how can we remain if rejected by you? 

And surely shall our rejection come if we fail to listen to your command and do your bidding.  For your command is life to us, O LORD, and following in your way our means to glory; thus we will be without hope if we turn from your discipline.

Let us listen to Jesus, Him whom you have sent as Bridegroom among us.  In His presence our hearts rejoice, and apart from Him we can only fast.  But in feasting and in sacrifice He is our treasure; Him do we love.  And so, let us be obedient to His teaching, LORD, that your blessing we might ever find. 

Direct download: BC-011612-M_2_OT_II.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

(1Sm.9:1-4,17-19,10:1;   Ps.21:2-7;   Mk.2:13-17) 

“You are to govern the Lord’s people Israel,

and to save them from the grasp of their enemies round about.”

Tall and handsome, Saul gives every appearance of a king.  And so God gives the people what they want in this “handsome young man” who “stood head and shoulders above the people.”  But with Saul the Lord shall indeed prove that it is not upon appearances He gazes.  In the failure of Saul’s reign will be revealed the emptiness of such outward attraction and our proclivity to desire what is appealing to the eye.  For Saul shall not prove to be God’s anointed; His Christ shall be quite another.

It is not of Saul our psalm of David sings when it speaks of the blessings of the king.  The “majesty and splendor [the Lord] conferred upon him” is as passing as his beauty.  The “crown of pure gold” is to be placed upon the head of Jesus Christ alone; it is He the Father has made “a blessing forever.”  His glory will be reflected in David, the ruddy shepherd youth whose son he is called, but will be fulfilled only in the Person of Jesus.  It is He in whom all kings rejoice, in whom all find “the joy of [God’s] presence,” in whom all discover victory.

In our gospel, Jesus, the true king, comes, not with stately train, but “walking along the lakeshore.”  And crowds of people follow Him, people not of power and riches or reputation; rather, “many tax collectors and those known as sinners joined Him.”  This greatly disturbed the self-righteous scribes and Pharisees – it was not according to their vision of who He should be and what He should do.  “Why does He eat with such as these?” they complain to His disciples.  But He has a ready answer, one which cuts to the heart of us all and reveals the nature and purpose of this true king: “People who are healthy do not need a doctor; sick people do.”  And so the Savior comes into our midst, neither tall nor handsome nor desiring praise, to save us from our sin.

We are all sick, brothers and sisters!  Make no doubt; have no question about it.  We need Him!  It is this king and the “goodly blessings” that flow from Him that must be our heart’s desire, for He alone will bring us into the joy of the kingdom; He alone will save us from the sin into which we have all fallen.  Let us follow Him as Levi, leaving behind our sinful station in life, and He will govern us well.

*******

O LORD, Jesus you have made King over us 

that we might be saved from sin

and rejoice in your presence forever.

YHWH, your Son, our King, has come to call us from our sin, to save men in need of healing.  And who among us is not in need of Him?  Pity the poor soul who thinks himself so. 

What are we in your sight, O LORD?  However tall we might be, we are no more than ants.  To you all men are sick and in need of a physician; you see how quickly our beauty fades. 

Oh if we could only see as you see!  If we could only recognize your greatness among us in the humble stature of Jesus, the holy One.  Make us ready to follow Him as Matthew from his post.  Somehow open our eyes to see His gaze passing before us. 

Save us from the grasp of our enemies round about.  Only you could govern us; only in you could we rejoice in victory.  O LORD, let us join your Son in majesty and splendor – for us He is a blessing forever.  In Him we find all we need.  In Him we are all anointed kings. 

Direct download: BC-011412-Sa_1_OT_II.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

(1Sm.8:4-7,10-22;   Ps.89:2,16-19;   Mk.2:1-12) 

“We have never seen anything like this!”

What the Lord can do, no one else is able to do – no king, no prophet, no priest.  Though all may do in His name, nothing is done except through Him.  He alone forgives sins; He alone heals.  He alone fights our battles, for He alone rules over us.

In asking Samuel to appoint a king over them, the Israelites reject the rule of God in their lives.  If they but believed, the Lord would take care of all their concerns and they would keep all His blessings – their children, their animals, their land… as their own.  But they do not trust in Him; rather, they fear the world, the surrounding nations, and seek to be like them, to fight as they do – to have one of their own to rule them.  And thus they will lose what they have, for when we give all to God, He returns all we give with manifold blessing; but when we trust in man, giving ourselves to him, he swallows up our offerings.

Our psalm expresses well the attitude we should have toward God.  It should be “in the light of [His] countenance” we walk.  It should be “at [His] name [we] rejoice all the day.”  We should say with our psalmist: “To the Lord belongs our shield, and to the Holy One of Israel, our king.”  And so it is Jesus who must be our King; He alone must rule our lives, for He alone truly belongs to God; He alone is the Son of God.

The scribes were right to ask, “Who can forgive sins except God alone?” for God alone stood before them, forgiving the sins of His children.  And it is now by His power, His presence, that our priests forgive men’s sins in His name.  “The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” and He does not take that power from the face of the earth upon His return to the Father’s side in heaven: He multiplies that power – as well as the power to teach, to, in this sense, rule our lives – in His holy Church and its appointed leaders.  What He granted to the Israelites because of their stubbornness of heart, He now brings full circle by blessing us with the presence of Christ: our king, our prophet, and our priest.  No longer is it blasphemy for one to stand in God’s stead, for the Lord has visited His people.

And should we not praise Him, therefore, for the wonders He accomplishes in our midst?  Should we not shout for joy for His blessings?  For now we have a king to rule us, a king greater than any other; now we need not fear the attacks of any nation.  For even Satan He holds in His hands and casts him out at will; and so we are able to return to our land, to stand up and “go home.”  May “all give praise to God” for His goodness to us, turning our foolishness and sin to His grace and blessing before our very eyes.

*******

O LORD, let us walk in the light of your countenance; 

you alone are our strength. 

YHWH, forgive us our sins, forgive our rejecting your rule over us.  Forgive our seeking to be like other nations with one like ourselves as our king – O why do we not cherish your presence in our midst?  But thank you for sending your Son to be our King, to be Lord over us, for by this grace you take our foolish desire and make it holy.  By Him we are redeemed from our sin…  By Him we are forgiven.

Only you, O God, can forgive our sins, and this you do through your Son.  For He shares your authority – He Himself is God.  And this power to forgive sins you extend to men who stand this day in Jesus’ stead.  Though we be weak and sinful, in His Name all is accomplished according to your will.

And in your Church men now also teach in the Name of Jesus, and so in your NAME as well.  O LORD, let us hear your Word, let us know your healing, that all the day we might give praise to you.

Direct download: BC-011312-F_1_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(1Sm.4:1-11;   Ps.44:10-11,14-15,24-25,27;   Mk.1:40-45) 

“Our souls are bowed down to the dust;

our bodies are pressed to the earth.”

The Israelites suffer “a disastrous defeat” at the hands of their worst enemy.  Not only do they lose thirty thousand men, but the ark of God – “who is enthroned upon the cherubim” which protect it – the tabernacle which holds the manna and the tablets of the Ten Commandments.  This most holy ark is taken into the camp of the Philistines.  How can this be?  The Israelites trusted in God’s presence to save them, and they are beaten down.  Our psalm addresses their plight directly: “You have cast us off and put us in disgrace, and you go not forth with our armies… those who hated us plundered us at will.”  And so the psalmist cries out with the defeated Israelites, “Why do you hide your face, forgetting our woe and our oppression?”

The Israelites – like the thieves on the cross either side of Christ, like us all – deserved their crushing defeat.  They, again, as us all, turned their faces from the Lord of hosts to worship false and empty gods.  There should be no question as to why the chastising hand of God is upon any of us.  But our psalm is about more than this defeat of Israel or even our own punishment for sin.  Written as the voice of Jesus Himself, it reveals the suffering of the innocent Lamb of God in our stead: “You made us the reproach of our neighbors, the mockery and the scorn of those around us.”  Jesus endures the scourging and the crown of thorns and the crucifixion for no other reason than to save our souls from similar fate, and worse, from condemnation.  The sinless dove dies for the sinful flesh, which keeps us all in prison and pushes our faces to the dust.  Though the sons of the high priest die in battle and are no more, Jesus lives, and through His death in battle for our souls, all now live.

In our gospel “a leper approach[es] Jesus with a request, kneeling down as he address[es] Him.”  Here we all are as sinners, symbolized by this outcast, coming earnestly to Jesus and humbling ourselves to the ground which, without God, is our place, is the dust from which we come and to which we return.  Jesus is “moved with pity.”  Jesus “stretch[es] out His hand.”  Jesus “touch[es] him,” and says: “Be cured.”  And the man is made whole. 

Yes, this leper must be each of us, brothers and sisters.  Humbly, our faces to the ground, knowing our sin and being repentant of it, we must come to Him.  And He will raise our souls from the dust and our bodies from the earth into which they have fallen.  This is why He has come; let us come to Him.

*******

O LORD, we come to you to beg your grace:

make us no longer the laughingstock of the nations.

YHWH, our bodies are pressed to the earth; we are bowed down to the dust.  As the leper we come before you begging your healing touch.  May your Son reach out to us that we might be saved from all evil. 

Disastrous defeat we suffer at the hands of the devil for we have sinned against you, O LORD our God.  Our enemies overcome us for you do not fight with us, and so we are without a savior.  Our courage fails for we are alone and have no help from you.

What can we do on our own, dear God?  Of what worth are our souls left to their own device?  Where shall we find the strength to withstand the attack against us?  Our oppressors bring us to woe, we are put to disgrace, for you have cast us off and we cannot enter battle alone. 

O LORD, if you will to do so, you can cure us!  Turn with pity to your wayward sons.  Hide not your face from us, but let us know the merciful gaze of Jesus.

Direct download: BC-011212-Th_1_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(1Sm.3:1-10,19-20;   Ps.40:2-5,7-10;   Mk.1:29-39) 

“To do your will, O Lord, is my delight.” 

O how Samuel shows the “ears open to obedience” we all must have.  For when called, even from sleep, he immediately and repeatedly rises and presents himself for service to the Lord.  Even from his youth he is with the Lord and in His will.  Such readiness to serve is also revealed in Peter’s mother-in-law, who, when touched by Jesus, “immediately began to wait on them.”  She, too, rises quickly from bed (and sickness) to do the work of the Lord.

And certainly Jesus Himself is our greatest example of readiness to do God’s will, for He and the Father are indeed one and all He does is according to the Father’s word.  After healing the “whole town” of their afflictions, working to exhaustion to arouse those imprisoned by the darkness of demons and bringing them into the light of God for service of the good, He rises “early the next morning” and goes “off to a lonely place in the desert,” where “He was absorbed in prayer.”  When the disciples find Him, He is prepared to move on to the next town and the same exhausting work in service of the will of God, saying of the need to “proclaim the good news”: “That is what I have come to do.”

It is said of Samuel: he “grew up, and the Lord was with him, not permitting any word of his to be without effect.”  And so, well does this great prophet presage the coming of Christ – He who fulfills the will of the Father – and the faith of all those who follow Him.  For all those who wait for the Lord, He stoops toward.  To all those who say, “Behold, I come,” He Himself comes, He Himself strengthens… His greatness He makes known through His children.  So it is written in the scroll and upon our hearts: so is the will of God accomplished in our lives.

Only Him do we serve, brothers and sisters.  His voice alone we must hear and heed.  “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening,” must ever be our attitude toward the Creator of heaven and earth and the Savior of our souls.  The Spirit’s lead we must follow readily.  And He will be with us to bless and give us the strength we need to work in Him beyond exhaustion, beyond sickness… beyond death.   Life will be ours.

*******

O LORD, let your Good News be proclaimed

that all might hear and be healed

and ready to answer your call.

YHWH, to do your will is our delight, is our holy call in this world.  Let us be so blessed to hear your voice and accomplish the work you set before us.  Let nothing we say be without effect; let us never act apart from you.  Somehow let us find you so present to us as you were to Samuel – somehow let us follow in the footsteps of your Son.

In the temple let us dwell, in your holy resting place.  Before the ark of the Covenant let us keep watch – never let your light be extinguished from our hearts and minds.  Ready let us be to answer your call and show ourselves your servants.  O LORD, let us do your will. 

Why should we be afflicted when your Son is near to cast all demons from our souls, to heal us of every illness.  To His door let us come, O LORD, and He will reach out His hand to save us.  Give light to these eyes blinded by age and the falsehood of this evil world.  In obedience let us stand before you. 

Direct download: BC-011112-W_1_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(1Sm.1:9-20;   1Sm.2:1,4-8;   Mk.1:21-28) 

“May the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him.”

For He holds all authority.  “He gives orders to unclean spirits and they obey.”  “The Lord puts to death and gives life; He casts down to the nether world; He raises up again.”  All He wills, He does – nothing is beyond His reach and power.  And His desire is to answer your prayer.  If you are faithful as is Hannah, if you come before Him in such sincerity and truth, then what you ask shall be yours; for He Himself is sincerity and truth and goodness, and when you join yourself to Him, you join yourself to His authority… and find the answer to your prayer by His presence in your heart.

And so your heart shall exult with Hannah’s.  And so you shall see how “He raises the needy from the dust; from the ash heap He lifts up the poor.”  Indeed the prayer of the poor touches His heart and He “seat[s] them with nobles and make[s] a glorious throne their heritage.”  To heaven do they come, for heaven is their love.

How evident is the Lord’s will and favor to those lowly ones who seek Him in the birth of Samuel – whose very name means “asked of the Lord” – to the barren wife Hannah.  None could be poorer in blessing than she; ridiculed by the world is she for the Lord’s lack of favor toward her.  But as bitter as the fruit she must taste, she does not rebel against her God, but comes to Him in all humility and with a heart full of prayer and eyes filled with tears.  And He loves His child.  And one of the greatest men of the Old Testament becomes her son.  And her song in praise of the Lord foreshadows Mary’s own.

“Jesus entered the synagogue on the sabbath and began to teach.”  He comes to us now with His Word, His authority.  Where Hannah sought Him, He now comes to us, offering freely the wisdom and power and grace which are His alone.  And there is nothing which stands in the way of that Word.  There is nothing to prevent its coming to our hearts and healing our souls of all injury, if we but listen, if we but seek His presence in our lives – if we but promise to give all to Him, He will give all we ask to us.

*******

O LORD, you have granted what we have asked of you

in Jesus your Son.

YHWH, the needy you lift up from the dust; the barren wife bears seven sons and the poor man you seat with nobles.  For you hear the prayer of those who cry to you, who believe in you despite their misery and come with a sincere heart – you cannot resist our tears.  You have all authority and that authority you wield to heal those in need and teach us your way of holiness. 

And so our hearts exult in you, O LORD.  You give us victory over all our enemies.  Sin you cast far from our souls; all unclean spirits vanish at your Word.  The holy One you have sent to us, and He is our LORD and Savior. 

And so we are rich in Jesus, your Son.  And so a glorious throne you make our heritage.  Though a moment before we may have been in the throes of evil, though so long we may have dwelt in sorrow, you give us new life and raise us to your side.  In Jesus let us make our home. 

Direct download: BC-011012-Tu_1_OT_II.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

(1Sm.1:1-8;   Ps.116:12-19;   Mk.1:14-20)

“Hannah was childless.”

And so she would “weep and refuse to eat,” for it was “a constant reproach to her that the Lord had left her barren.”

But He will not leave her barren long.  Her husband’s love for her despite her condition and her own prayers will soon be answered: she will give birth to the great prophet and priest, Samuel, who will anoint kings in Israel.

And her song of joy, which will foreshadow our Blessed Mother’s own Magnificat, is here foreshadowed in our psalm in praise of the Lord’s favor to His servants: “To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the Lord,” as is her faithfulness in fulfilling her vow to offer her son entirely to God: “My vows to the Lord I will pay in the presence of all His people.”  All who have looked upon her shame and sorrow shall marvel at the blessing the Lord’s “handmaid” will receive as He looses her bonds of emptiness and makes her fruitful in His eyes.

And in our gospel the Lord awakens the empty womb of the earth, stirring it to life.  “The reign of God is at hand!  Reform your lives and believe in the Good News!” He proclaims to a people in darkness.  And children He brings forth from this barren country, the disciples He calls unto Himself, to be the first to share in His life.  And they come forth, these pillars of the Church; they leave behind the world, all the world, to follow Him.  Immediately, “on the spot,” they “became His followers.”  “Along the Sea of Galilee,” beside this simple body of water, the waves of grace call forth from the darkness the light that shall illumine all men.

“How shall [we] make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for [us]?”  How shall we poor sinners, barren of good works, unfruitful in His sight, thank Him for hearing our grieving cries?  Simply, we must bear fruit in His name.

We are no longer childless.

*******

O LORD, call us to yourself

that we might be childless no more. 

YHWH, let us enter the temple singing your praise, for though we sit here in darkness weeping for our barrenness before you, you shall hear our prayer, you shall answer our weeping and make us fruitful in your sight.  For now the Word goes forth to the ends of the earth, the Good News your Son brings to us through His blessed apostles, and our lives will be reformed and we made ready to enter your presence.

Look upon us, LORD our God, as here we toil in vain for the bread which cannot satisfy our souls.  For you alone do we long, and long have we been waiting in tears for you to come to us and call us to your side.  Hearing the sound of your Son’s voice, what can we do but rejoice?  For He is our light in this darkness.

And so, let us offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving; let us leave all behind now to follow your Son, for He leads us to fruitful labor in your holy NAME.  O LORD, let us die to the things of this world that we might live in glory forever.

Direct download: BC-010912-M_1_OT_II.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: 12:00am EST

(1Jn.5:14-21;   Ps.149:1-6,9;   Jn.3:22-30)

 

“The Son of God has come and has given us discernment

to recognize the One who is true.”

 

John’s disciples had difficulty recognizing “the One who is true.”  They saw everyone “flocking to Him” and away from their master, so they came to their master questioning.  But John was forthright: “I am not the Messiah,” he said, “I am sent before Him.”  And now that He has come, the Baptist’s joy is complete.

Brothers and sisters, “we know that we belong to God, while the whole world is under the evil one.”  “We are in the One who is true.”  Jesus has brought us to such knowledge.  And this knowledge, this reality of the eternal life of God, should make us rejoice with our psalmist.  It should make our lives ones of thanksgiving in which we “praise His name in the festive dance” and “with timbrel and harp.”  For, yes, “the Lord loves His people” and we are His faithful who “exult in glory.”  Let us “be glad in [our] maker.”

The world is under sin, and there is deadly sin which destroys the soul lurking in the world.  The devil is real as well, and will not simply go away.  And though only God can cast him away ultimately, we can pray against much of his work in this world, “petition[ing] God,” interceding for our brothers who falter in sin that is not deadly… and finding their release through the grace of God.  With this “confidence in God: that He hears us whenever we ask for anything according to His will,” we have a great gift and a great strength in this dark world – we can bring light to it, the light of the only Son.  But we must always be as “the body” He adorns “with victory.”  We must have the same attitude as the Lord’s “best man,” and say with the Baptist, “He must increase while I must decrease.”  We must find our joy in Him and not in our works or in our pride.  He is all and He is true, and He leads us to the kingdom in His baptism in water and the Spirit.  Brothers and sisters, we must see the grace we have in our midst.  Jesus is ours.

 

*******

O LORD, let us remain in you

and rejoice at the coming of your Son. 

YHWH, in Baptism we are begotten by you and protected from all sin and selfishness.  Let what you have begun in us become complete – let all sin be taken from us that we might rejoice forever in your presence.

O LORD, let our joy be complete.  Now that your Son has come and drawn us into His flesh and blood, now that He has cleansed us from our sins and made us whole again, let us decrease as He increases within us, until He is all in all in us… until we exult in the glory of your kingdom.

O LORD, let all your children praise your holy NAME and sing of the grace upon all the lowly ones of God.  O true God, let us be your own, born again in your Son, in the Spirit upon Him.  And we shall be ready even to die with Him that we might find new life in Him with all our brothers and sisters.

Save us from sin, dear LORD, and let us live in your glory.

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

(1Jn.5:5-13;   Ps.147:12-15,19-20;   Lk.5:12-16)

 

“Whoever possesses the Son possesses life.”

 

What does our psalmist mean when he sings: “He has granted peace in your borders; with the best of wheat He fills you,” but that we are in Christ?  What are those “borders” but the flesh of Christ?  What is this wheat but the manna, the Sacrament of His Body He gives us to feed upon during our earthly journey?  And this word which “runs swiftly,” what is it but the Spirit which enlivens the Body of Christ, which brings the flesh of Christ to life?  And why should we not “glorify the Lord,” the God of life, who provides His Son and His Spirit, who makes the world and all that is in it, who calls us to believe, as the human beings we are, in the name of the Son, that we might find all three who testify to truth and “are of one accord”?

It is through the Son we come to the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit.  If we believe in God the Father, we believe “the testimony He has given on His own Son’s behalf,” and we find the eternal life that is thus ours through the Son.  May the Spirit run quickly to us and teach us and guide us along the way of God.

In our gospel Jesus heals a leper.  He reaches out His hand “to touch him” and so draws him into Himself, into the borders of His holy flesh, and he is made whole.  He wills it so, that the bars of all our gates be strengthened, that all enter into Him – that we be healed, whole in Him, and that our children, the fruit of our own bodies be blessed by their truly being begotten therefore of Him.  If we are in Him, so will our children be, so will all the works we perform.  But we must come as the leper, “bowed down to the ground.”  We, too, must see Jesus and be moved to humble ourselves before His loving glory.  In faith we, too, must desire His touch upon our flesh, to be released from all sin, to be made whole again.  And we must do as He instructs us through the power of the Spirit; then we shall find life with the Father in heaven.

If it is remarkable that the Son of God would draw the leprous man into His sacred flesh and make him His own, it is perhaps more remarkable that He would do the same for us poor sinners – that being possessed by Him, we possess Him, and so we enter life by the flesh of Christ.

 

*******

O LORD, let all men know

that Jesus Christ is the Son of God

and eternal life to all who believe in Him. 

YHWH, by a word from your mouth and the touch of your hand, we are healed of all our ills; your Son has come to save us.  He is all we need to find eternal life – let Him live within us.

You testify, O LORD, by the word of the Spirit that Jesus is your beloved Son and we should believe in Him.  Your testimony let us embrace in faith that the life you desire for us we may know.

Your Word of truth runs swiftly, LORD, and brings peace to our gates and borders.  Our very flesh is anointed in your Son – in Him your Spirit is upon us.  And we are blessed as your children; we are made whole in your sight.  Let your Word run to all the world, that all might know of the glory you bring us in Jesus your only Son, in the water upon Him and in His sacrificial blood.  In faith let all bow down before Him, seeking a word from His mouth and the touch of His hand.

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

(1Jn.4:19-5:4;   Ps.72:1-2,11,14-15,17;   Lk.4:14-22)

 

“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

 

Today the Son has come into our midst.  Today He has “unrolled the scroll” of the Word of God and read aloud the words written of Him for all to hear.  Today the WORD is brought to life.  As “appealing” as is the discourse which flows forth from His gracious lips, so much greater is the Spirit that is upon Him.  For by that Spirit and in His sacred flesh He shall “bring glad tidings to the poor… proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and release to prisoners.”  In word and deed He “announce[s] a year of favor from the Lord.”  In Him all time comes together.  In Him it is all one moment.  And this moment reveals the love of God.

And by the Son we are begotten, by His love: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been begotten of God.”  And so, children we become with the one Child most blessed.  And if we are all one child born of the love of God and His Word, what can we do but love one another?  Does one not love his own flesh and bone?  And so, “whoever loves God must also love his brother,” for his brother is of him as he is of God and both are His children in love, born of the flesh of the one Christ.

“In Him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed.”  It is not for the few He has come, but for all.  For God is the Father of all and the Son possesses and reveals all that is of the Father.  “All nations shall proclaim His happiness,” for all peoples shall find their happiness in Him alone, who is love and which love is itself our happiness and our hope.

Speak to us, Lord Jesus.  Work through us, dear God.  Let your Commandment of love be fulfilled in us.  Let our love be fixed on God and let us love our brother.  May we hear the words you speak in our midst today.  May your Spirit make us children of the Father.

 

*******

O LORD, Jesus is the Christ;

your Spirit is upon Him and He has come to save us –

let us declare His praise. 

YHWH, your Word is fulfilled in Jesus and in the Spirit upon Him.  Glad tidings the poor hear from His blessed lips, and we who are blind may now see your glorious presence in our midst.  From our prisons let us be released, that we might love as Jesus loves.

If we remain in your Son, we will be able to keep your commands and so be blessed forever.  You will give us power to conquer the world, to conquer the world even as He has done.  O LORD, in Him may our lives be governed with justice, that our mouths might bless you all our days.

O LORD, if we keep our eyes and ears and hearts fixed on Jesus, we will know your love and be able to share in that love.  Truly we will love you and our brother, and every blessing will be ours by the grace upon your Son.  Your Name be praised by the tongues of men for all the goodness He brings us

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

(1Jn.4:11-18;   Ps.72:1-2,10,12-13;   Mk.6:45-52)

 

“If we love one another, God dwells in us,

and His love is brought to perfection in us.”

 

Jesus has just fed the five thousand men with the five loaves and two fish.  He has performed a great miracle before the eyes of His disciples and through their hands.  Yet “their minds were completely closed to the meaning of the events,” and when He comes walking toward them on the water in the middle of the night as their boat is tossed about by a storm, they are “terrified.”  They are afraid because they are not yet perfect.  John tells us in his first letter, a letter of love: “Love is not yet perfect in one who is afraid” and “perfect love casts out all fear.”  The disciples will not be perfect, will remain afraid, until after the death and resurrection of the Lord, and, really, until Pentecost, when the Spirit falls upon them.  As John states, “The way we know we remain in Him and He in us is that He has given us of His Spirit.”

His Spirit is the Spirit of love and He, our Lord Jesus, is Himself love.  John follows both the clauses, “If we love one another” and “When anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,” with the statement that God dwells in us.  Jesus and love are equated as the Spirit and love are equated above.  Why?  Because “God is love” and both Jesus and the Spirit are God, and so are love.

Brothers and sisters, our love must be brought to perfection, and it is “brought to perfection in this: that we should have confidence on the day of judgment” – that we should have no fear of the punishment we deserve, that we know fully of His love.  Jesus takes a step to preparing the disciples against the judgment, against fear and for love, by walking toward them on the water.  He means to teach them that they should not be afraid of the wind and the waves which rock our boat in this world, nor should they be afraid of His miraculous, overwhelmingly loving presence.  Let us learn what Jesus would teach the disciples: “Do not be afraid!”  “For He shall rescue the poor man when he cries out.”  He is love and He will save us.  Let our minds open to His presence as we love one another, and let that love be brought to absolute perfection in us.  May His Spirit be with you.

 

*******

O LORD, your Son has come among us as a Man –

how can we recognize His glory in our midst;

how can we love as He has loved? 

YHWH, why should we be afraid of your love, of your glory among us?  Why would we rather remain in darkness than come into your light?  Why can we not believe that your Son has walked among us and that He invites us to become one with you?  How can our hearts bear such blessing?

O LORD, cast all the fear from us; let us not shrink from your presence, from your overwhelming love, but welcome it in our hearts with gratitude and a return of love to you and others.  Let it be our desire to be saved and so glorify Jesus’ coming into our midst.  Let Him enter our boat this day, and with Him let us remain.

Dwell within us, O LORD God.  Dwell within us and rule over us with your justice and love.  Hear us as we cry out to you; have pity on our afflicted souls.  Speak to us: “Do not be afraid!” and open our eyes to your eternal protection.

Direct download: Wednesday_after_Epiph.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm 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.4:7-10,   Ps.72:1-4,7-8,11;   Mk.6:34-44)

 

“Justice shall flower in His days, and profound peace,

till the moon be no more.”

 

Our psalm (of Solomon, the king of peace and wisdom) relates the infinite justice of God, He who “defend[s] the afflicted among the people” and “save[s] the children of the poor.”  Such is the judgment of our God, who “rule[s] from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth”: His perfect justice He showers upon all.

And how is this justice effected?  It is already evident from what we have said, from what our psalmist has sung of His Name, and our letter from John leaves no question – “God is love.”  His ultimate justice and love have been “revealed in our midst in this way: He sent His only Son to the world that we might have life through Him.”  In sending Jesus “as an offering for our sins,” His perfect love and perfect justice meet and kiss and become one.  He bleeds for us, and so our sins are forgiven.

And what clearer proof that we all “have life through Him” is shown in our gospel, in which Jesus feeds the masses.  First He teaches them with the Word “at great length.”  Having pity on them, He feeds their souls with Truth.  But His pity does not end there – His concern extends to the physical as well as the spiritual… for He knows all our weakness, and He feeds the peoples’ bodies as well as their souls.

What a beautiful picture this is: the people “neatly arranged like flower beds,” Jesus raising the bread to heaven and pronouncing the blessing, the disciples distributing it, and Jesus Himself dividing the fish among them.  All eat and all are satisfied.  Here is a picture of the Lord’s justice and love.  And this scene we enact each day at Mass, listening to His Word, His teaching, and then eating the bread of life He distributes among us.  May the Lord be praised!

And what have we to do to receive this bread of life but heed the words John offers and “love one another.”  For “love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten of God and has knowledge of God.”  And this knowledge we find in our love is that His justice is true and endures forever in the perfect peace His presence brings.  Let us have faith forever.

 

*******

O LORD, you sent your Son

to shepherd all afflicted and fainting souls;

may we be nourished by His love. 

YHWH, you send your Son to rule over us with His love, to feed us with His own Body and Blood.  May justice flower in His day and all the ends of the earth be blessed with His peace.  And let us love as He has loved; let us lay down our lives for one another.

O LORD, upon your holy mountain let us take our rest, our souls arranged like flower beds, our hearts yielding to your Word.  May your rule be made complete even in this deserted place where men are as sheep without a shepherd.  To this place let your Son come and make it as your eternal home.  Give us something to eat this day, LORD, by the hand of Jesus and His apostles, or we shall faint for weariness, or we shall starve to death.

It is only your love which sustains us, LORD, only our being joined to you.  May we eat our fill of your goodness, and never be apart from your reign.

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

O friend of the lowly,

humble child of St. Joseph,

servant of the poor

and counsel to the afflicted

through whom the Lord worked miracles…

how He blessed your ignorance

with His wisdom,

your weakness with His strength;

unattached

to this passing world,

you drew souls

to the world to come –

pray we be as poor and lowly

as the dust you swept each day,

as the Child Jesus

in the manger at Bethlehem.

Pray we, too, have ears

to hear and answer

the needs of others

and that good St. Joseph

will hold us in his arms

and carry us with you

unto Heaven.

Direct download: Andre_Bessette_Jan._6.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(1Jn.3:22-4:6;   Ps.2:7-8,10-11;   Mt.4:12-17,23-25)

 

“Every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh

belongs to God.”

 

And for every spirit that acknowledges Him, He answers all prayers: “Whatever we ask we shall receive at God’s hands.”   “Ask of me and I will give you the nations for an inheritance…”  And so, when “they carried to [Jesus] all those afflicted with various diseases and racked with pain,” He heard this prayer made in faith, made in the belief that He could do this, and as Matthew so simply and wonderfully states, “He cured them all.”  They had listened to His preaching: “Reform your lives!  The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  They accepted it, humbly, taking no offense at His words and His actions – but believing in Him.   And so He could perform such wonders for them, He whose spirit is true; and so “on those who inhabit a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.”

And now we should “give heed” and “take warning”; now we should “put the spirits to the test to see if they belong to God.”  Now we must clearly acknowledge Jesus as the Christ and know what John tells us, “There is in you One greater than there is in the world,” and follow that Spirit within us.  Are we “keeping His commandments and doing what is pleasing in His sight”?   Do we “remain in Him”?  He is never far away and He will hear all of our prayers and cure us of all ills, if we but believe in Him, if we but heed His teaching – if we reform our lives.  We show our belief in Him when we follow His commandments, and we follow His commandments when we reform our lives.   Thus we prove that we speak His language; in our love we reveal His Spirit in us.

“The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son, this day I have begotten you.’”  Even in our psalm are spoken the words of the Father to Jesus; and they are spoken to us, if we believe that He is the Christ.   This is the salvation the Father offers; it is for us to accept it and live it.  For a greater gift we cannot expect, more love He could not show – this is His Son, this is God… believe in Him.   There is nothing else you need seek.

 

*******

O LORD, all those who seek the truth

come to your Son,

and you make them your children. 

YHWH, we shall be healed of every ill; all darkness will be banished from our midst, if we turn from our sins, if we seek to reform our lives – if we believe in the Name of your Son, that He has come in the flesh and is our Savior.  And then our every prayer shall be answered, for we shall be living in your love.

It is not of the world we are to be, O LORD, not of the darkness of this place.  For the world does not recognize that Jesus has come, nor has it ears to hear Him.  But our ears are attuned to His voice and the truth He speaks to our heart.  Let us not be deceived by those who would deny the truth, those who would speak against what is plainly before them.  Let us hold fast to the teaching of your Son and His apostles, and we shall have power to overcome all such evil by His love.

Give us all we ask of you, LORD; give us a world remade in your image.

Direct download: Monday_after_Epiph.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

(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 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: 3:00am 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

(1Jn.2:12-17;   Ps.96:7-11;   Lk.2:36-40)

 

“The world with its seductions is passing away

but the man who does God’s will endures forever.”

 

Upon what is your eye fixed?  Do you seek the Lord as has Anna these many years, “constantly in the temple, worshiping day and night in fasting and prayer,” or are you seduced by “carnal allurements, enticements for the eye, the life of empty show.”  Indeed, “all these are from the world” (and what appropriate description of the extreme vanity which grasps the world in this day), and indeed are all passing away into the nothingness from which they spring.  And those whose hearts are fixed upon them shall pass away with them, while he whose heart seeks the Lord passes to the eternal life of heaven.

“Give to the Lord the glory due His name!” David exclaims in his psalm today, and, yes, much glory is due Him.  “Through His Name [our] sins have been forgiven”; through Him we “have conquered the evil one.”  Do you know “Him who is from the beginning”?  Does “the word of God [remain] in you”?  Is it His love you have, or love for the world, wherein His love finds no place to dwell?  “The Lord is King,” brothers and sisters.  He alone is worthy of our worship, worthy of our attention, worthy of our praise.  Waste not your breath on the empty illusions of this passing world.

Anna “gave thanks to God and talked about the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.”  Do you look forward to such deliverance?  Do you care to hear of the glory of the Lord spoken of by this prophetess?  Or have you better things to do?  What sporting event, television program, or party takes precedence in your life?

We live in a vain world, brothers and sisters.  And that vanity permeates this modern society, presenting itself as an accepted good.  It is not easy to conquer the hold such illusions cast upon our waiting eyes – only in Jesus will you find the strength to overcome these seductions.  As “the child grew in size and strength, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God… upon Him,” so will you learn to make progress as you “tremble before Him”; so will you grow in His will to eternal life, as you turn away from the carnality of this life.  Keep your eyes upon His light, rising from the darkness.

 

*******

O LORD, let our hearts be set

on worship of you and your Son

and not on the things of this world.

YHWH, you are from the beginning; may your grace be upon us that we might conquer the evil one and endure with you forever.  The world is indeed passing away – let us not pass with it.

O LORD, help us to do your will each day and at every hour.  Teach us to remain in your Temple always and so be joined to you.  If we worship you constantly, you will come quickly to save us – you send your Son to deliver Jerusalem, to comfort all who look to you.

How strong are the allurements of the world the devil presents to our weak flesh!  How easily we give in to such distractions, LORD.  Let it be your courts alone our hearts are set upon – help us to turn from darkness to your marvelous light.

In you we are made firm, and in your Son.  With Him let us grow, O LORD, that we might indeed be your children and remain ever with you.  Praise to you, O living God!  Let us heed the words of your prophets and apostles.

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

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 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

(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

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 b