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.

(1Cor.2:10-16;   Ps.145:8-14,17;   Lk.4:31-37)

“We have the mind of Christ.”

The demon has been cast from us and we see the Lord as He is: “Good to all and compassionate toward all His works.”  “The glorious splendor of [His] kingdom” is before our eyes, and it is this which gives us light.  We have bowed ourselves down before Him, the demon has thrown us “to the ground before everyone’s eyes,” and we have found that “the Lord lifts up those who are falling.”  No longer “the natural man” who finds “what is taught by the Spirit of God” complete “absurdity,” filled with His Spirit we now “recognize the gifts He has given us.”  And in these gifts we rejoice, for we have become as He is.

“The Lord is faithful in all His words and holy in all His works,” and so what should we who are His works do but “discourse of the glory of His kingdom and speak of His might,” brothers and sisters?  Should not all our words and all our works give Him due glory?  How can we do otherwise, knowing now how “gracious and merciful” God is and that His “kingdom is a kingdom for all ages”?  “All generations” must be called into His holy presence.

“He commands the unclean spirits with authority and power, and they leave.”  Here is the Good News in action; here is the glory of God come among us.  All the evil that possesses the soul of man is cast out by a word from His Son’s mouth.  And so is paved the way to the kingdom.

Brothers and sisters, embrace the Spirit of God at work in the world.  Put on the mind of Christ.  “The Spirit we have received is not the world’s spirit but God’s Spirit,” and so should we not teach as we have been taught?  If indeed the light of the Lord is upon us illumining our minds and hearts, is it not but just that we should be compelled to impart that same Spirit to others that they might not be in darkness but might also be able to “appraise everything” “in a spiritual way,” that they too might know “the mind of the Lord”?

Devils, be gone!  Be silenced before the Son of God!  All the evil of the world shall be struck and destroyed by the all-powerful Word of God.  All His children sharply shine His saving light.

*******

O LORD, let us have your Spirit within us,

that our speech may be as your Son’s.

YHWH, let us be your children of light, with your Spirit within us.  The mind of Christ let us put on, and we shall understand all things and be found in your presence.

Your Son speaks with authority, LORD, for He speaks your NAME in every word.  His word casts all demons from our midst, for what evil can stand before your Spirit?

O LORD, let us speak of your glory to all souls, tell the nations of your might.  Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages; your dominion shall not pass away.

Holy are you, LORD, and no one can know you who does not seek your holiness.  But you bless with great gifts those who love you and praise your NAME – your wisdom you grant to the spiritual man.

Let us listen to your voice calling to our souls.  Let all darkness and sin be cast from our hearts.  O let us be faithful to your Word! and we shall find ourselves in your kingdom on high.

Direct download: BC-090412-Tu_22_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O witness to the Truth,

to the Light that has come among us,

you gave your very life

and death

for the sake of Christ,

who redeemed us in His blood,

blood you shed with your Savior;

you who were a pillar of iron

against the whole land

and against its king,

you who stood so strong

against the lust of the world,

suffering its persecution so willingly,

fortified even in death

by the Lord and His promise –

how can our meager lives

measure up to your blessed sacrifice;

how can we who are so weak of knee

endure our exile so bravely?

Pray for us, O forerunner of the Christ

both in word and in the giving of your life,

that our blood may be joined to your own

and so to that of our holy Lord.

Direct download: Aug._29_Martyrdom_of_John_the_Baptist.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Cor.2:1-5;   Ps.119:97-102;   Lk.4:16-30) 

“Your faith rests not on the wisdom of men

but on the power of God.”

Paul comes to the Corinthians with preaching that has “none of the persuasive force of ‘wise’ argumentation, but the convincing power of the Spirit,” and with them he determines to “speak of nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”  Similarly, when “Jesus came to Nazareth where He had been reared,” in the synagogue He simply read the passage from Isaiah which prophesies the coming Messiah, sat down before the eyes of all, and stated, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”  I AM here.  I AM He.  This is the day of salvation.  Period.  And here even at the beginning of His ministry we see how the crucifixion is already near, as His townspeople attempt to kill Him for the truth He speaks.

Upon what is this simple wisdom, this power of the Lord, based but the Word of God?  The psalmist, whose “meditation all the day” is the law of the Lord, declares in truth and in joy: “Your commandment has made me wiser than my enemies.”  It grants him “more understanding than all [his] teachers” and “more discernment than the elders,” because all genuine wisdom comes from the Word spoken by the mouth of God and not through human learning.  We have seen that Scripture is the foundation of the teaching of Jesus Himself, who is the Word of God made flesh.  Yes, He speaks much more through “the appealing discourse which came from His lips.”  Yes, there is oral tradition as well (for the Word of God is living and active); but on Scripture He begins His instruction, and continually He refers to the Word.  Whether rejecting the devil’s temptations, rebuking the Pharisees and scribes, or enlightening the people – as He tries to do today by referring to Elijah’s having to go to Zarephath and Elisha’s healing only the Syrian, to show how prophets are not accepted in their native place – the Lord’s words are founded in the Word of God, in Scripture.

And, of course, an integral part of that Word is the suffering the Christ must undergo.  But notice that even as the people intend “to hurl Him over the edge” of the hill of Nazareth, just as directly as He has spoken truth to them, so directly and with the power of God He “went straight through their midst and walked away.”  For the Word is as a sword which pierces all the dark limits of the world, and even through death it shall lead all to salvation.

Brothers and sisters, let your faith rest on this Word that is Christ found in Scripture and living in the Church, for the Spirit does not die with the devices of the human mind.  This Spirit holds eternal life.

*******

O LORD, open our eyes that we might see and know

the blessing you bring us by your Son’s Cross.

YHWH, let us follow your Word and your way, the way of your only Son, the way of the Cross that leads to life.  Of Christ crucified let us speak; with all our lives let us give witness to Him.  Then we shall be obedient to your Word as He – then we shall make your wisdom our own.

O LORD, let us meditate on the Word that comes to us in Scripture, that comes walking among us in your Son.  All the day let our hearts be set on the illumination your Word brings.  Though in the Word we are chastised for our sins, though it lead us along a narrow path; if we observe your precepts and follow in the way of the Christ, you shall guard our steps and keep us from every evil.  For then we shall be wiser than all our foes, wiser than any other soul, for then your Spirit will be with us; His power will be upon us.

May the Word of Truth come from our Savior’s mouth and lived in His very flesh help us to walk straight through the midst of our enemies and come to you.

Direct download: BC-090312-M_22_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O shepherd made anew

by Him who is within,

Him who made us all,

the Light above and beyond

every soul

who gave His life,

His flesh as food that we might live –

pray that the Lord and God of all

will break through our deafness

and dispel our blindness,

that He will breathe His fragrant Spirit

upon us

and we too will be created

anew,

saved by His grace from the sin

that has kept us from Him

and thirsting for the wisdom

which became your own,

with which you shepherded His people

apart from the things He created

to His very Beauty itself,

that all souls might rest in Him

who made them.

Direct download: Aug._28_Augustine.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Sir.3:17-18,20,28-29;   Ps.68:4-7,10-11;   Heb.12:18-19,22-24a;   Lk.14:1,7-14)

“Humble yourself the more, the greater you are,

and you will find favor with God.”

Is this not the message of Jesus’ parable in today’s gospel, and indeed of all our readings – and indeed the essence of our Christian lives?  “Take the lowest place.”  Exalt not yourself in the sight of God, who sits at table with you, whose presence is everywhere, and is a guest far greater than you.  Give your place to the poor, provide for them out of your means, as He has done, and then you will know the glorious vision of heaven where He dwells.

The Pharisees are blind to the presence of Jesus; because of their pride and desire for esteem, they cannot see the guest of honor in their midst.  They observe Him carefully, ready to judge Him, but it is He who sees them and seeks to instruct them in their ignorance.  The Lord is most out of place here among the proud.  He looks around for lowly ones, but finds none.  The poor have not been invited to this feast; the blind here do not recognize their need for Him… and so this banquet is not like that of heaven.  And so, who of these will partake of His Body and Blood and come to “the heavenly Jerusalem”?

“God gives a home to the forsaken,” David declares in our psalm, and we are called to be like God.  Jesus makes this quite evident in His instruction to the host of the banquet: “Invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,” who are unable to repay such kindness, and then “you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”  This attitude of self-giving we must make our own, knowing our own lowliness in the sight of God, and the vision of heaven of which our second reading speaks will be ours as well.  Then we will come with the “countless angels in festal gathering” and “the assembly of the firstborn” into the presence of Jesus and the holy blood of His sacrifice.  “The just rejoice and exult before God,” and with them we too shall rejoice, if we make ourselves humble before Him.

It is no mystery that “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  No, the teaching is clear, and only by living it will we find its fruit, brothers and sisters.  “My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts,” Sirach instructs us; for how can you find favor with God (or with anyone) if you have no respect for Him?  And if you do not see the greatness of the God before you, how shall you enter His kingdom? 

Our place before God is with faces to the ground.  This is just.  This is right.  By this He will be pleased and so lift our heads to gaze upon His countenance.

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

Music: "The Humbled and the Exalted" from All One, sixth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, help us always to take the lowest place,

that you might call us up to you.

YHWH, you give a home to the forsaken and call us to do the same; as you have provided for our needy souls – though we deserved it not – so you call us to care for others, or we shall not find our place with you.

We are truly lowly, dear God, for before you, who could stand?  How can we hope to sit at the same table as your only Son and partake of the food He provides?  Yet to His side He calls us; to be lowly as He is our great gift.  His grace we shall know, and in abundance, if with Him we lay down our lives for those in need.

Then we shall come to your holy mountain, to the heavenly Jerusalem with all your angels and saints.  Washed in the blood of the Lamb you offer for our sakes, emptied of all the vanity of our race, we shall be exalted and chant your praise, dearest LORD, we who have made ourselves humble and lowly before you, we who have thus found our place at your table with Jesus, and been made perfect by His Cross.

Direct download: BC-090113-Su_22_OT_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O tearful mother

whose persistent cries

for the soul of your son

were heard in time

by the Lord our God

and so led to his conversion,

to his becoming

not only a Catholic Christian

but a bishop and doctor of the Church,

a saint like yourself –

pray for the prayers of all mothers

who cry for their wayward sons;

pray indeed that all souls may turn

and come to know so deeply

the love of our Lord and God

and the blessing upon

His holy Catholic Church.

Pray that all who stray,

many as they are,

shall be raised from the death of sin

and come to the life of Heaven,

where you wait with your son

to welcome all his brothers.

Direct download: Aug._27_Monica.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Cor.1:26-31;   Ps.33:12-13,18-21;   Mt.25:14-30) 

“He called in His servants and handed His funds over to them

according to each man’s abilities.”

All comes from the hand of God.  Yes.  Do you see this?  God it is who provides any talent you possess on this earth and “God it is who has given you life in Christ Jesus.”  Not yourself.  It is not from you any power comes.  God has proven His power by choosing “the lowborn and despised, those who count for nothing,” and making them strong.  This is you.  You are nothing; and yet you have all things in God.

Brothers and sisters, “mankind can do no boasting before God.”  How could they?  It is He who looks down from heaven and “sees all mankind”; it is He who chooses “His own inheritance.”  It is He who places in our hands the “silver pieces” we employ on this earth – and it is He who expects us to use well that which we have been given.  To Him we must answer for all things.  And if we are “industrious and reliable” in our service, it is He who will declare, “Since you were dependable in a small matter I will put you in charge of larger affairs.”  On earth as it is in heaven…  If our work is done well here, it shall lead to the greater fruits, and we shall “share [our] Master’s joy!”  But it is always His joy to which we come and not our own.

God is all things to us.  “He has made [Jesus] our wisdom, and also our justice, our sanctification, and our redemption.”  All that we have is from Him, and without Him we could not live.  And should you be resentful of so great a gift?  Should you return the gift of Himself He lays before you on your table?  Or should you not rather take it up, make it your own, and by it produce fruit according to the abilities He has shared with you?  This is all He expects of you: that the graces He shares with you, you share with others.

“In His holy name we trust.”  Yes, “our soul waits for the Lord” and “in Him our hearts rejoice.”  For He does not fail us.  What He gives He does not take back: it is we who reject His love; it is He who increases the yield within us.  “Brothers, you are among those who are called,” and so be among “those who hope for His kindness.”  For His kindness shall but enrich you each day as you make His will your own and find your “boast in the Lord.”  Praise Him for His gifts and for His grace, for by His grace the gifts He provides become eternally fruitful in our lives.  Alleluia!

*******

O LORD, enrich us with your blessings

as we serve you humbly in this world.

YHWH, let us trust in your NAME and in your NAME alone.  How can we trust in ourselves or in the riches of this world when all this is but dust?  But in your hands this dust we are becomes as gold, for we become as you who are so far above this world.

O make us your own, dear LORD!  Help us to look to you, to wait for you, to trust in you for all things.  May our tongues praise your NAME and our hands work in your service, and then, O how we shall be blessed!  For truly you will be with us, and we with you.

Into your joy let us come, O LORD, the joy that surpasses any joy of this earth, the grace that passes not away.  Let us boast in you, that you are great and do marvelous things for those who trust in you, those who know your love.  From death let us be delivered – into your House let us come.

O LORD, increase your yield in us; we are but instruments of your holy love, your poor children whom you raise from the dust.

Direct download: BC-090112_Sa_21_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(1Cor.1:17-25;   Ps.33:1-2,4-5,10-11;   Mt.25:1-13) 

“The world did not come to know Him through its ‘wisdom’.”

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and thwart the cleverness of the clever,” says the Lord God.  And in its place we find the Gospel, “the message of the cross,” which is “complete absurdity to those who are headed to ruin, but to us who are experiencing salvation it is the power of God.”  It is this wisdom which saves us, even as the wisdom of the world falls to dust.

The wisdom of the world tells us to take our rest, to find our pleasure in the things of this life; the wisdom of God instructs us to “keep [our] eyes open” for the coming of the kingdom of God, wherein we shall find eternal rest.  The wisdom of the world has only the torch to offer; like the foolish bridesmaids, it brings no oil for its lamp, for it can see nothing beyond its eyes – its immediate physical concerns are its preoccupation.  The wisdom of God knows that all depends on the oil of the lamp, and so it calls us to find our souls in the Word of God, which is a flask whose contents never recede but rather increase with use and preserve the soul’s burning brightly before its Creator.  The wisdom of the world is “wordy,” is empty rambling with no foundation in truth; God’s wisdom is founded in silence, pregnant with the power and authority of all ages.

“The Lord brings to naught the plans of nations; He foils the designs of peoples.”  What can stand that is not rooted in Him?  What has purpose that is not spoken by His mouth?  Apart from Him nothing comes to be or lasts.  And does not the Lord thwart the ideas of the human mind most perfectly in the crucifixion of His Christ?  Making “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” turns the vain strivings of men upside down and exposes them in all their emptiness.  Here is my Word, He says; here is my Love.  To this sacrifice does He call us all, that we might celebrate at His wedding feast and not be barred outside in the cold world.  For indeed all that is of the world comes to nothing, “but the plan of the Lord stands forever; the design of His heart, through all generations.”  And it is His design that we become children of light, shining forever in the light of His wisdom, not burning to ashes in the deceit of our hearts.

In the cross all our empty words fall to naught as we are confronted with the truth of our sin and the love of our God.  Thus our eyes are opened.  May they remain so, fixed on this lamp which shines in the darkness of the night.  By no other means will we come to know God and the meaning of our lives.

*******

O LORD, let our eyes be open

with the light of your wisdom

that we might see your coming in the Cross of Christ.

YHWH, the plans of the nations you bring to naught to show all souls where wisdom lies: it rests with you and in the Cross of your Son, for the light of our minds is dim indeed without your Word to feed it.

How can we even speak of you, LORD, you who are beyond the realm of our words?  We cannot determine whence we have come and do not know when our end shall be fulfilled… and so, how can we know anything?  All we know is what you tell us through your Son in the love He offers.

Jesus has died for our sins.  This is all we need to know, LORD, for such knowledge, such faith, will bring us to your doorstep; and by the light of the Spirit we shall be able to enter in – to enter into your presence and so come to know all things by your grace and mercy.

Dead are we apart from you, LORD, dead in our sin and in the emptiness of our minds.  But the blood of your Son enlivens our souls that we might come to know the wisdom beyond all ages in His salvation.  O may we be wed to you!

Direct download: BC-083112_F_21_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O guardian angel of poor children

who formed them in the image of Christ,

an education of body and soul

you provided those most in need,

those most impressionable

and thirsting for the Lord’s care,

and led so many others

in this work for the least of our brothers –

pray we shall become fellow workers

with Jesus in the cause of truth

and teach with deep love,

the greatest patience,

and profound humility,

the souls He places in our hands.

May the desire to see all

attain eternal life

be that which most impels us

and especially those whose responsibility

is the formation of Christian youth,

that all men might rejoice at the straight paths

these walk to the kingdom.

Your zeal despite persecution

may we maintain in our call from the Lord.

Direct download: Aug._25_Joseph_Calasanz.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

O loyal subject of the Lord

and of His Church on earth,

though a king

you did not exalt yourself

but listened rather

to the words of your Savior

and chose to serve Him,

doing His work in this world:

the poor you cared for,

your children you raised

in the teaching of Christ,

and for all those in your reign

you sought true justice

and maintained concern

for their spiritual welfare –

pray we poor souls

will emulate your desire

for penance and prayer,

and your faithful obedience

to God and MotherChurch.

May we be blessed as your sons

to have your wisdom in our ears,

a wisdom reflective of Jesus’ own.

Direct download: Aug._25_Louis_of_France.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Cor.1:1-9;   Ps.145:1-7;   Mt.24:42-51) 

“He will strengthen you to the end,

so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Brothers and sisters, “you lack no spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  The Lord provides all you need, generously and faithfully.  You “have been consecrated in Christ Jesus and called to be a holy people” and so “have been richly endowed [by God] with every gift,” that you might fulfill the call He places upon your soul, that by His grace you might indeed be holy.  And so you should realize “the favor He has bestowed on you in Christ Jesus” and “call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” to gain all the blessings the Lord God is ready to pour forth upon you.

Brothers and sisters, “keep a watchful eye and [do] not allow [your] house to be broken into.”  “Be prepared” for the Lord’s coming.  Let His every gift be at work in you, that readiness will ever be yours.  Do not think as the foolish and worthless servant, “My master is a long time in coming,” and turn thus away from His light, sagging into the world’s darkness.  Such a thought brings only death and the punishment of the Lord.  For never is He long in coming.  Always is He present to us; ever is His Spirit here within us when we remain faithful to Him.  He it is who is of life and light – it is we who grow blind to His grace and are slow to come to His eternal presence.  Forsake not His gifts, which sustain us at all times.

Here is cause for rejoicing.  Here is the reason David sings, “Every day I will bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever” (revealing thus the newness of life which is ever upon us): “God is faithful, and it was He who called [us] to fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”  No more than this need we know.  For this reason “generation after generation praises [His] works” and “publish[es] the fame of [His] abundant goodness.”  It is this which brings His praise to our throats.  For indeed in His grace He has called us to be as His only Son, and of course He is faithful to His call.  And so by faithfulness all is ours in the Lord, and on that Day His blessings shall be full.  Remaining in His light, growing in His gifts and favors, there shall be no “wailing then and grinding of teeth” for our souls – no, “happy that servant whom His master discovers at work on His return!”

*******

O LORD, let us be prepared and waiting

for your coming Day.

YHWH, strengthen us to the end that we might be blameless on the Day your Son returns; make us your servants, faithful and true, praising you ever for your goodness to us, and we shall be ready on the Day of His revelation.

LORD, great are you and highly to be praised, for you provide all the gifts we need as we await Jesus’ coming.  You give us speech and knowledge, and consecrate us in the Name of your Son.  May we be like Him whom you sent for our salvation, that with favor you might ever look upon our lives.

As your Apostle has borne witness to your glory, LORD, so let us proclaim your greatness this day, that from generation to generation your NAME might be known and all souls be prepared for your coming Day.  Let us serve you with diligence and with love, never forgetting that He whom we serve loves us more than we could ever return, remembering always that you are the Most High God who has created us in your image, in the image of your only Son.

Direct download: BC-083012_Th_21_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O apostle of the Lamb,

man without guile

led by love to the Lord,

you who declared Jesus Son of God

and King of Israel,

whose eyes of faith were illumined

by angels’ wings –

pray we shall be found by the Christ

under our fig tree

in peace, in prayer,

and carry with you His holy Gospel

to the very ends of the earth.

With you as a foundation stone,

one of the Twelve,

may the Bride of the Lamb

be led to her Husband,

her heart burning with love

for Him alone;

her soul thirsting only for God’s presence,

may her eyes be opened

to see her Lord.

To vision of Heaven pray we all come

by an angelic belief in the Son of Man.

Direct download: Aug._24_Bartholomew.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(Rv.21:9-14;   Ps.145:10-13,17-18;   Jn.1:45-51) 

“Come, I will show you the woman who is the bride of the Lamb.”

Nathanael (who is Bartholomew) is taken by Philip (whose name means “love”) to meet the bridegroom of his soul – and immediately he weds himself to the Lord, recognizing Him as the Son of God.  As Bartholomew is without guile, so must all His Church be so sincere to find the glory that awaits us “under the fig tree” in the absolute peace and splendor of His presence.  How else will we see Him?  How else can we recognize Him?  How else will we become one with Him if we don’t come to Him even with the faith of this innocent child?

“You shall see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son Man.”  He it is who stands in the breach between earth and heaven; He it is who is as the ladder we climb to find God’s eternal kingdom: by Him it is heaven comes to us and we fly to heaven – His angels are with us to guide us to the vision of His splendor and lead us to safety within the protective walls of His Church as His bride.  As the angel comes to John, leading him to vision of the heavenly kingdom, so by Jesus the angels come to us to carry us home in His arms.  May we find the peace that awaits us within His walls and enter through its gates.

And who are the foundation stones of this glorious kingdom but John and Bartholomew and the Lord’s blessed apostles?  These simple men who walked the earth as you and I have now become the radiant gems on which Holy Church is set – they serve now to support the Bride of the Lamb and bring her to His “dominion” which “endures through all generations.”  These generations include our own, and we simple men are now called and guided by the “discourse” of these “faithful ones” to enter in and take our own place in the city which has “the radiance of a precious jewel that sparkle[s] like a diamond.”  But to do so we must be like Him who is “just in all His ways and holy in all His works.”  We must come as Nathanael, without guile, guided only by love, to find our place in the peaceful kingdom.

The Lord sees us all, brothers and sisters.  He knows us all.  He knows we are but simple men and women, but this is who He seeks.  Let us trust utterly in Him, and His angels will take us to the bridal chamber and we shall enter in and dwell with Him in His “kingdom for all ages” with all His holy ones redeemed in His blood.

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, let us see the sky opened and the Son of God

and His holy Bride coming down out of Heaven;

let us have eyes that look for Him,

hearts that long for Him.

YHWH, may the sky be opened and our eyes see the glorious splendor of your kingdom coming down unto us.  Let us be pure and innocent, without guile, as all your children must be, and indeed your glory shall be revealed to us.  And we shall declare with all your apostles that you are God and Jesus is your only Son.

Through all ages your kingdom lasts, O LORD; your dominion endures through all generations.  And that kingdom your Son comes to make known to us – and into that kingdom we must all be built.  The apostles are the foundation stones of your Church, and they speak of your might to all, but every soul must shine with your radiance in your holy City.

O LORD, let us be wed to your Lamb and to His sacrifice; then indeed we shall have our eyes opened to see the angels ascending and descending upon Him.  Then indeed we shall enter the gates of the New Jerusalem.

Direct download: St_Bartholomew_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O penitential soul

whose eyes saw the Lord,

whose ears heard His voice

calling all to the Cross,

obediently you accepted

the afflictions that are necessary

to attain union with God

and His surpassing glory –

pray that fearful souls

like our own,

which turn in complaint

from every torment and trouble,

however small,

may be blessed with a measure

of your selfless devotion,

that the unfathomable treasure

of the Lord’s grace

might be our own

as we endure,

and even desire as you,

the pains that pave the road to Heaven.

Then we shall know Christ even as you

and proclaim His glory to all creatures.

Direct download: Aug._23_Rose_of_Lima.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(2Thes.2:1-3,14-17;   Ps.96:10-13;   Mt.23:23-26)

“He shall rule the world with justice

and the peoples with His constancy.”

“Brothers, stand firm.”  Be not “easily agitated or terrified” “on the question of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him.”  This should not preoccupy your thoughts because this is not in your mind to know or your hands to control.  The day and the hour are with God alone.  Rather, you should pray that the Lord will strengthen your hearts “for every good work and word.”  This is what is in your power, and effectively accomplishing the Lord’s will thus, all fear will be removed from your souls.

Brothers and sisters, be not like the scribes and Pharisees, the “blind guides” who “strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!”  Distracted by the details, they inevitably neglect “the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and good faith” – those for which the Lord calls us above all to be concerned.  And so their vision and their actions are not whole, and they are not holy.  Failing to see as God sees and to do as God does, they indeed become blind guides frittering the life of the Lord away in anxiety for external matters.  Let this not be the fate of your soul.

Children, know of a certain that “our Lord Jesus Christ Himself… loved us and in His mercy gave us eternal consolation and hope.”  We must make this hope our own.  For “the Lord is King.  He has made the world firm, not to be moved,” and we must be as immovable as He in our faith and in our work.  We should not doubt that “He governs the peoples with equity,” that in fairness all are looked upon in His sight, and so, that if we strive to do His will with all our hearts He will indeed bless us.

Friends, we should know that, though not complete, though He does not stand before us in final judgment yet, still it is so that “the day of the Lord is here,” in our midst today.  His rule has always been and has come to us in this place.  And what we do now leads only to that day – the kingdom should be growing within us at all times.  If we know not His justice and His constancy at work in our days, then indeed we have reason to fear and should heed the Lord’s rebuke.  But if we strive with Him for holiness, any fear itself will be holy and lead us only to the joy that makes “the heavens… glad and the earth rejoice.”  For each day we rejoice with them in the presence of our God.

*******

O LORD, make us constant as you

in doing good works,

in dispensing justice and mercy according to your Word

      and have mercy upon our own souls.

YHWH, it is you who judge the earth, who come to rule all the world; your justice you bring to every man’s soul, preparing him for your Day.  And there is no need for us to fear if we are striving to do your will.  Rather, we should rejoice at your glorious coming!

O LORD, let us set our souls each day on your Word and your work, and your love and mercy shall meet us where we are and bring us soon to where you live.  Even should we have to endure chastisement as the Pharisees, what should this bring us but a holy joy?  For by such words of truth you make us in your image, if we but listen and respond in kind.

All the world shall rejoice at your coming, dear God; let us not be blind to such wonder and glory but set our hearts on that Day, cleansing our souls of every stain of sin by your grace and mercy, by your surpassing justice.  Let no woe be on us in your Day but only your consolation, only the joy of your salvation, which you offer forth even this day.

Direct download: BC-082812-Tu_21_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O Queen of Heaven and earth,

you radiate the glory of God,

for now you stand at His right Hand

in the heavenly kingdom.

Clothed with the sun,

the moon under your feet

and a crown of twelve stars

upon your head,

you give light to all souls

who thirst for the grace

our Lord and King

pours upon us through your intercession.

O how the angels rejoiced,

how the heavens rang with praise

when the Son led you into His presence

clothed in gold

to be forever His Bride!

O pray for us,

dearest Queen and Mother,

that we too shall be led in

among your maiden companions

to stand in God’s glory forever.

Our cause we entrust to your Immaculate Heart.

Direct download: Aug._22_The_Queenship_of_Mary.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(2Thes.1:1-5,11-12;   Ps.96:1-5;   Mt.23:13-22) 

“Which is more important, the offering

or the altar which makes the offering sacred?”

The Pharisees in their blindness taught: “If a man swears by the altar it means nothing, but if he swears by the gift on the altar he is obligated.”  Indeed, “How blind [they] are!”  For what do they do but exalt that which is secondary beyond that which is primary?  What do they do but invert logic?

And what is the significance of their blindness?  Why does it bring them “an evil day”?  What the Pharisees essentially do in their thinking and their teaching is place the created ahead of the Creator, themselves before their God.  For we are the gift upon the altar and the Lord Jesus the altar that receives and consumes our offering.  It is He who makes us holy, and not we Him; it is we “who belong to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” and not vice-versa.  He is above; we are below.  The divine order of things must not be skewed.  Yes, “the Lord made the heavens” and we who dwell below the heavens, and we must bow down before Him and praise His name.

“Awesome is He, beyond all gods.”  Above every created thing He stands, He towers, for all these things, including our souls, are in His almighty hands.  “All the gods of the nations are things of naught,” idols of so much dust and sand, devised alone by human hands and serving to inflate the pride of those who make them.  These we must leave aside.  Our false ideas we must abandon.  To Him alone must we come.

“Tell His glory among the nations,” brothers and sisters, “for great is the Lord and highly to be praised.”  It is He who is “seated on [the] throne” of heaven, He alone who merits our songs of praise.  So let our song rise up to Him from our place upon His altar; let our offering be acceptable in His sight.  Let us pray “that our God may make [us] worthy of His call, and fulfill by His power every honest intention and work of faith,” that “the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in [us] and [we] in Him, in accord with the gracious gift of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  May He make us holy.

*******

O LORD, let us sing of your salvation

as we strive to put you before all things

and grow constantly in your love.

YHWH, you are seated on the throne of Heaven, far above all gods – you alone are worthy of our praise, for you alone are holy.  All things of this world let us leave behind to find your glory.

LORD, bless our work and make us worthy of your call; in faith let us endure every persecution and trial and be fruitful in your sight, that we might be found in your kingdom.  There is nothing but you that we should desire – may you alone be praised by all the ends of the earth.

How shall we lose our blindness, LORD, and come to see that you are all in all?  How shall we learn to put you first at all times, always remembering your holy NAME?  How might we be blessed to announce your salvation in all we think, say, and do?

By you alone let us live our lives, O LORD and God, striving to do your will in all things by the grace of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.  In Him we shall know you and find you; through His Cross we shall come to your kingdom.

Direct download: BC-082712-M_21_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O simple priest

who became Shepherd

of the universal Church

and defended her with courage

against the errors of the age,

you did not waver before the powers

that would dilute the purity

of the teaching of our Mother

but stood strong against the tide

attempting to wash her away –

are we not yet threatened

by falsehood and sin

being held up as good,

and so do we not yet need

your spirit and your prayers?

Though the tide may be turning,

returning to the solid rock of faith,

yet certainly we need your help

to see the Spirit of Truth

regain and maintain

His place in this House.

Pray indeed all priests and people

be simple and true as children before God.

Direct download: Aug._21_Pius_X.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Is.66:18-21;   Ps.117:1-2,Mk.16:15;   Heb.12:5-7,11-13;   Lk.13:22-30)

“People will come from the east and the west

and from the north and the south

and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.”

“I come to gather nations of every language; they shall come and see my glory,” even those of “distant coastlands that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory,” says the Lord.  The Word goes forth.  The Word goes forth to the ends of the earth and it will open the eyes and ears of all peoples.  But who shall be ready for its coming?

Indeed, Isaiah’s prophecy and the verses of our psalm are in harmony with the Lord’s own words: all the nations shall come, all shall “praise the Lord,” and all shall find a place in His kingdom.  The light that goes forth, the glory of the Lord, knows no boundaries, is not limited by constructs of time and place – there are no walls in its way.  All nations.  All tongues.  All peoples at all times and in all places are called forth by the all-encompassing love of our God and our Savior.  You are welcome at His table, my brother, my sister, whomever you are, wherever you are.  It is the Lord’s will that all come to Him who is the Father of all nations and of all creation.  But do you know the way?

The way of the Lord is not easy; it is narrow and rough – it is one wrought with chastisement, with discipline.  “For what ‘son’ is there whom his father does not discipline?”  And how can you expect to come into His paradise if the soil of this world still clings to your soul?  The cross is the way to the kingdom; only the scourging discipline of the Lord will enable us to sit with Him.

And this discipline, this cross, is of love.  Do you see this?  Do you see how much the Father loves you in His reproof of your sin?  “At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.”  If you have not learned this basic lesson of the working of the Lord’s love, you “will not be strong enough” to enter His gate.  You must “not be disjointed but healed” as the Lord takes from you all that is unfit for His presence.  Your suffering the loss of this life is all that will bring you to heaven.

We note that even the above words of the Lord are as chastisement to the Israelite people who walk with Him, for He is telling them they are not alone in the call to God; other nations shall indeed enter before they.  And as this pride in their heritage must be wrested from them before they are prepared for the kingdom, so all that limits the love of the Lord from working in our lives must be taken from us before we may enter in.  Fear not the pain this brings.  The “wailing and grinding of teeth” outside His gates is more painful by far – and for this suffering there is no healing anymore.

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

Music: "There Are No Words" (middle part) from Breath, the Apple Rises, fifth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, teach us always to do what is right

that we might be as your sons

and enter into your House.

YHWH, all peoples are called to your glory, to your kingdom, for all are sons and daughters to you.  But truly you must be our Father, we must come from you, we must reflect your image, the image your only Son reflects to us in His way of the Cross, if we are to enter your presence.  Relying on accidents of time or place we shall never be saved.  Only by accepting the discipline you offer will be made ready for Heaven.

Strengthen us, O LORD, by the chastisement you bring to our souls, by the Word of truth come from Jesus’ mouth.  He knows you and is the way to you – let us be obedient to His call and the call of His apostles to enter through the narrow gate, to leave all of this world behind that we might come rejoicing to your holy mountain with all our brothers and sisters, with all your blessed children.  May all men hear your Son’s voice this day, that none shall be barred from your kingdom.

Direct download: BC-082513-Su_21_OT_I.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O great light of the Church

who by word and work

inspired your brothers

and so many others

to a life of virtue,

to peace and unity with one another

and an abiding love

for our Lord and His Mother –

teach us this day, O blessed preacher,

of the way in which Jesus calls us,

of the life and love God offers

if we but respond in kind

in our weak and limited manner.

To all souls in His holy Church

and throughout the world

you brought the Word of God,

you imparted the light of His wisdom;

please pray, dear father in the faith,

that our lives may be conformed

to the loving will of the Lord

and we become children of His light

and bearers of His Good News to the nations,

till we stand with you in His surpassing glory.

Direct download: Aug._20_Bernard.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Ez.43:1-7;   Ps.85:9-14;   Mt.23:1-12) 

“The temple was filled with the glory of the Lord.”

Certainly the vision of Ezekiel is fulfilled in the coming of Jesus and His founding the Church, the New Jerusalem, here amongst us.  In this Temple He has “set the soles of [His] feet”; here He “dwell[s] among the Israelites forever.”  For though the temple in Jerusalem shall be restored, it shall again be destroyed, and forever.  In the Catholic Church now does His presence remain.  Through it and through its teaching “the earth [has] shone with His glory.”

“Truth shall spring out of the earth”: Jesus is born in our midst and walks among us; “justice shall look down from heaven”: through Him the light of God shines upon us, bringing salvation to all souls.  And it is in His Church truth and justice remain, “glory dwelling in our land.”

And “like the roaring of many waters” is His teaching, which comes with power, which comes with authority.  And this teaching He leaves in the apostles’ hands.  As “the Pharisees have succeeded Moses as teachers” and Jesus has succeeded these, so do the apostles succeed Jesus; thus we must “do everything and observe everything they tell us” – the Spirit is upon the Church, which does not teach in error despite the sins of its members.  These must be respected; it is upon these, and so upon Jesus’ teaching, the Catholic faith is founded.

And what if some refused to enter into this Temple and share in His glory present in His Church?  What if they did not share the wholeness of His thought or receive His precious Body and Blood, offered each day in the New Jerusalem?  Their eyes would be as blind and their vision as limited as those who quote our gospel today to prove that the Church should not call its priests “Father”.  They would not be able to see that what Jesus teaches His disciples in telling them to avoid “marks of respect in public and of being called ‘Rabbi’” is to avoid having themselves inflated with pride.  If these blind souls were correct, then no one could be called “teacher” either, for this is more the word the Lord wishes us to avoid.  And they would have to condemn Paul for calling himself “father” of the Church in Corinth (1Cor.4:15).  Such absurdity ensues when one has not the wholeness of Truth, but looks only on appearances.

Brothers and sisters, where would we be without the teaching of the apostles?  In a word, we wouldn’t have Jesus.  It is from Him their teaching comes, bringing His glory to the ends of the earth.  In this Temple let us dwell, His Word and Sacrament sustaining our lives.

*******

O LORD, your Son has humbled Himself

to walk among us;

the soles of His feet are set in this Temple, your Church

– may we follow in His steps.

YHWH, let us humble ourselves that we might be exalted in glory with you.  You humble yourself to come among us as a Man; let us be as your only Son and so gain the favors of Heaven.  Here in your Church make your home, in the soul of every believer.

And, LORD, let us have a reverent respect for those you place in position of authority, especially here in your Church.  They carry your power through the Word of your Son, becoming as His body and blood with the teaching of the Spirit He breathes upon them.  We cannot disobey their teaching without disobeying you, and so let us be faithful to your apostles.  Then we shall come to know your surpassing glory.

What you revealed to Ezekiel help us to know and live this day – your glory here in your Temple bring to its fulfillment, we pray.  In your kindness you come to us, Truth walking in our midst.  The justice and peace of your Son let us find as we follow in His way of salvation.

Direct download: BC-082512-Sa_20_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O priest of Jesus and Mary

so dedicated to the Hearts

of our Lord and Lady

and the formation of your fellow priests,

how well you preached

of our need to be one

with Christ our Head;

with what zeal you cared

for the poorest among us –

pray that priests and indeed all Christians

will have hearts and souls

beating and breathing as one

with the Lord,

in union with our Blessed Mother;

may all serve and glorify the Father

by using all their faculties

as if they were His alone.

O that we might indeed

belong to the Son of God

and be ruled by Him,

His own eternal life

coursing through our very veins,

His breath upon our tongue!

Direct download: Aug._19_John_Eudes.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Ez.37:1-14;   Ps.107:1-9;   Mt.22:34-40)

“I will open your graves and have you rise from them,

and bring you back to the land of Israel.”

The commentary in the missal I read states: “The lesson here is return from captivity, not life after death.”  And so the speaker proves once again the limited vision of so many of our scholars – indeed, how like the Pharisees and the Sadducees and the lawyers of Jesus’ time these faithless are, how blind… how dry their bones without spirit.

Certainly the prophet Ezekiel speaks to the exiles of their return to Israel: to these he is sent, and of this redemption they must hear.  But if this were all the Scripture says, what lesson would we take from it – this passage why should we bother to read?  And if this were all God intended even for these scattered children, what an ineffective God He would be.  (As limited in vision as so many of our leaders today.)  For what is the land upon which any find life but the kingdom of heaven?  And how do we come there except through death, the death of our attachment to this earth?  Vain all is if we have not the resurrection of Jesus within us; we must rise from our graves before anything has meaning in life.

That the Lord speaks of more than the return to Israel in Ezekiel’s prophecy of the dry bones today is indicated clearly in our psalm, which equates “the redeemed of the Lord” with those “gathered from the lands, from the east and the west, from the north and the south.”  Is it not so that the Psalms, though greatly written a millennium before Christ (and hundreds of years before even Ezekiel’s time), speak of Christ, and even in the voice of Christ?  Is it not Jesus who speaks even to Ezekiel himself?  Listen to our psalm.  It speaks of the Israelites’ wandering “in the desert wilderness.”  It says they were “hungry and thirsty” and that “their life was wasting away within them.”  Certainly they lacked food and water in this arid place – but is this all of which the psalmist speaks!  Do they not rather fail to drink from the spiritual rock which follows them?  Is their hunger not for Christ?  And the “inhabited city” to which the Lord leads them, is it but the land beyond the Jordan River?  Is it the dust of this earth that will satisfy their dry bones?  No.  They “give thanks to the Lord… because He satisfied the longing soul and filled the hungry soul with good things” – things of the spirit, not merely the body.

“On these two commandments the whole law is based, and the prophets as well,” Jesus says of the love of God and neighbor.  Here is the Spirit!  Here is the Life!  Here is what nourishes the dry bones and makes them stand upright: the Love of God!  This is in every passage of Scripture – every prophecy, every psalm…  This Word is the lesson we must always find: Jesus Christ is risen from the grave!

“From the four winds come, O Spirit, and breathe into these slain that they may come to life.”  May the Spirit of love open all eyes.

*******

O LORD, your love bring to our hearts,

your Spirit breathe within us that we might stand

and praise you in our heavenly homeland.

YHWH, you bring us to life by a word from your mouth; speak over us your holy Word that we might rise from the death that has settled upon our souls, that there might be flesh on these dry bones and your Spirit breathing in us.  Bring us back to the land you have set aside for all your children – let us enter Heaven.

If your command we follow, LORD, we cannot but come into your presence, we cannot but live forever.  If there be love in our hearts for you and our brothers, what can we be but united to you?  If we place you above all our joys, if we love you with heart, mind, and soul, your life will indeed be within us… for you yourself are love.

Breathe upon us this day, dear LORD.  Speak your Word of truth and life.  Announce by the tongue of your Prophet the way we must go to find you.  And let us be obedient to His command of truth, His Word of life, that we might stand in hope with Him, our hungry soul fed by this spiritual Bread, our thirsting hearts washed clean in His blood.

Direct download: BC-082412-F_20_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Ez.36:23-28;   Ps.51:12-15,18-19,Ez.36:25;   Mt.22:1-14) 

“Cast me not out from your presence,

and your Holy Spirit take not from me.”

The Lord desires to “prove the holiness of [His] great name,” which has been “profaned among the nations” by the children of Israel.  And so He determines to “gather [them] from all the foreign lands,” to bring them back from their exile from His sight, and bless them again upon their “own land.”  He will “cleanse [them] from all [their] impurities… a new heart and… a new spirit within” them, and they shall be “careful to observe [His] decrees”: “You shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

But when the time comes for the reign of God to be fulfilled in their midst, when all is prepared and they are invited to the “wedding banquet for His Son”… when indeed the Lord would wed the Israelites to Himself by the grace and blessing of the Messiah – they refuse the call.  “Come to the feast,” He cries out; eat your fill of my delights.  But they make excuses and even kill those by whom the invitation comes (laying hands even on the only Son).  And so the chosen city having rejected His offer, the Lord tells His servants to “go out into the byroads and invite to the wedding anyone [they] come upon.”  So do the apostles preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth; so are all now called to the wedding feast.  But will all be prepared?

To “the chief priests and elders of the people” Jesus addresses His parable of the wedding banquet today, for it is these who refuse to hear Him – it is they who reject the call of the Lord.  And so, indeed, to the nations does His voice go; the Gentiles now hear the call.  And we, we who though founded firmly upon the rock of Judaism are in such great number of Gentile races, do we heed the call of the Lord and prepare our hearts to receive His food?  We are now the chosen city and the banquet table is now spread before us each day: His Body and Blood is the greatest food of which we could ever hope to partake.  But have we the wedding garment necessary to remain in His banquet hall, in His Church, or do we wander in ignorance of the gift and graces before us?

Brothers and sisters, we must pray not to be cast from the Lord’s holy presence.  We must seek the purity of heart we need to receive His blessing, to partake of the food of His altar and grow in His grace.  We shall only avoid being thrown “out into the night” if we nurture the light that is with us and prepare well to meet our Jesus.  Only then will the Holy Spirit here remain.

*******

O LORD, made pure in Jesus’ cleansing blood

may we rejoice with Him in your kingdom.

YHWH, you invite us to your wedding banquet, you call us to the feast prepared by your own hands, for you would wed yourself to us, making us your own holy children.  But we must turn from our sins; with contrite hearts only can we approach your table and feed upon the Body of your Son.  How shall we find our heavenly homeland if not cleansed in His blood?  How shall we celebrate your glory if not renewed by your Spirit?

O LORD, bring us back to our own land, that with you we might dwell for eternity.  Your light and your love make our own; you alone let us worship.  Into your Temple let us come, that we might feast upon your Word, and upon your Son’s Body and Blood.  Then what would we be but your children?  What would we be but one with you?

A white wedding garment of purity provide for our souls, dear LORD, that we might not be cast from your presence but glory in you forevermore.

Direct download: BC-082312-Th_20_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Ez.34:1-11;   Ps.23:1-6;   Mt.20:1-16) 

“I myself will look after and tend my sheep.”

How grateful we should be that “the Lord is [our] shepherd,” for with Him we want for nothing.  Indeed, our “cup overflows” and “only goodness and kindness follow [us] all the days of [our] life”; for it is He who watches over our every step, and He is only goodness, He is only kindness – His mercy endures forever.

How the Lord’s hand contrasts with the false shepherds’ of the house of Israel.  These “pastured themselves and did not pasture [the Lord’s] sheep.”  They “fed off their milk, wor[e] their wool, and slaughtered the fatlings,” but the sheep they allowed to be “scattered over the whole earth, with no one to look after them or to search for them.”  But where these shepherds “lorded it over [the sheep of Israel] harshly and brutally,” the Lord Himself is “generous.”  Though under them the sheep “were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and became food for all the wild beasts,” the Lord, the owner of the vineyard, the Good Shepherd, goes forth at all times of day seeking every straying sheep, gathering all into His fold and seeing that we have wages enough to feed each of our families.

And whether the laborer works many hours or few, yet he is provided all his needs.  Here, of course, is notice that the Gentiles, who come late to salvation history, enter the kingdom before the Jews, who have always been in the Lord’s house.  Here is word that the generosity of our God extends to all, that His loving arms will not be shortened.  And we may learn, too, from the response of the workers to the owner’s questioning why they have been “idle all day” – “No one has hired us” – that the Lord looks upon the heart and pays us not so much for the work accomplished but for the intention of our will.  For these would have worked all day had they earlier been approached.

“In verdant pastures He gives me repose.”  In the Lord’s loving arms we all find our home.  Had He not come Himself to shepherd us, still we would be wandering alone.  But as it is we work now in His vineyard, sharing in the very blood of the Son.  As it is we are well cared for by a Father whose generosity knows no bounds.  He whose mercy alone could redeem us has come with His staff to guide us on the “right paths” that lead to His kingdom.  And so we say, gratefully, “Thank you, Jesus, for your kindness.”

*******

O LORD, thank you for your generosity in saving us;

your Son is the true Shepherd, the Shepherd of love –

pasture us well this day in Him.

YHWH, because you are our Shepherd, we are well cared for; we have all we need for the day.  If our desire is to do your will, to work for you in your vineyard, you will reward us well.  For it is your desire but to see your children safe in your House, and to achieve this goal you are diligent in seeking us out.

To this end, you send your own Son to take on our flesh and blood; He becomes one of us that we might become one with you, LORD, fed by His Body and Blood.  He shepherds us into your kingdom with great care.

O let us work for you, LORD, day in and day out!  Let our hearts not be set on the wage we receive but on doing your will.  For if we are with you in your vineyard, though the sun beat down on us, we shall be at peace.  Nothing can disturb the soul set on serving you – our cup overflows with the wonder of your presence.

Let us be blessed to be gathered into your pasture, LORD, with all our brothers and sisters.

Direct download: BC-082212-W_20_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O faithful king,

loyal son of MotherChurch

and just ruler of your people,

in peace and piety,

humbly and honorably

you executed your duties,

never showing favor to anyone

but always respecting all

and maintaining above all the faith

and the Church which propagates

that faith in Christ –

where is true Christian profession today,

where those in positions of power

truly dedicated to right service

of the Lord and His people?

Do pray for us, dear king,

that others shall follow in your footsteps

as has your son

so that all shall become

faithful followers of our Lord

in whatever position He grants them.

Pray especially for leaders

whose hearts are set on love of God and holy Church.

Direct download: Aug._16_Stephen_of_Hungary.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Ez.28:1-10;   Dt.32:26-28,30,35-36,39;   Mt.19:23-30) 

“Only with difficulty will a rich man enter the kingdom of God.”

Yes, “close at hand is the day of their disaster, and their doom is rushing upon them!” – those like the prince of Tyre who are “haughty of heart, and say, ‘A god am I!  I occupy a godly throne in the heart of the sea!’”  What condemnation they mount up for themselves, those who by their “great wisdom applied to [their] trading… have heaped up [their] riches,” for “the most barbarous of nations… shall draw their swords… [and] run them through [their] splendid apparel.”  These shall be “thrust down to the pit, there to die a bloodied corpse in the heart of the sea.”  How else shall they learn that they “are a man, not a god”?  How else might they find the humility necessary for the kingdom of heaven?

It is tragic how riches and power turn men’s hearts away from truth, making them “a people devoid of reason, having no understanding.”  For what do such as these say of their state but, “Our own hand won the victory; the Lord had nothing to do with it,” thus blinding themselves to the fact that all comes only from God?  And so the Lord’s warning against those inflated by the riches of this world; and so “it is easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  For how their swollen pride makes it impossible to squeeze through the gates which admit only the humblest of children.

Brothers and sisters, store not up for yourselves a heap of riches which serve but to block the light of the Sun of God.  Use not “your wisdom and your intelligence… [to make] riches for yourself.”  This is not the proper end for the gifts God gives, and will serve only to bring the destruction of your haughty soul, along with the riches themselves.  If you desire to “inherit everlasting life,” it is upon this your heart, your wisdom, your desire for riches, must be set.  For the heavenly riches from the hand of God do not fail and cannot be run through by the sword of the nations; and in this kingdom “the last shall come first.”

*******

O LORD, it is those who keep nothing for themselves

to whom you give everything,

including eternal life.

YHWH, how can a man whose heart is set on the things of this world come to the riches of Heaven?  How can he who thinks himself a god know the God who rules over all?  Only if we give up the riches of this world, only if we humble ourselves as servants, will we come to know you and so enter into your reign.  Otherwise, we shall be trampled into dust.

You are life, LORD; you alone possess everlasting life, for the world and all it contains are in your hands – our very breath is your own.  And so, how can we speak against you, how can we exalt ourselves above you, and expect to live, and expect to thrive?  It is death we court by our insolent pride, not life.  It is our condemnation we embrace by turning away from you.

O LORD, help us to give up the things of this world, entrusting all into your hands, for then you will care for our lives here, and share with us the life of Heaven.

Direct download: BC-082112-Tu_20_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O soldier of the Immaculate Virgin

and martyr for our Lord,

well you spread the fame

of the Mother of all graces,

calling all souls to repentance

that she might apply her Son’s blood

to save the straying among us;

and well you heeded our Savior’s call

to lay down your life for others –

pray this day we have such strength,

such conviction and determination

in serving our Lord and Lady,

in publishing the Good News

of salvation,

that by our dedication

we too may serve well upon this earth

in the army of the faithful,

also leading souls

through the Immaculate Heart of Mary

to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

that peoples and nations may be converted

and so learn in turn to serve

the surpassing glory of God.

Direct download: Aug._15_The_Assumption.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(Rv.11:19a,12:1-6a,10ab;   Ps.45:10-12,16;   1Cor.15:20-26;   Lk.1:39-56)

 

“A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,

with the moon beneath her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.”

 

The Queen of Heaven here appears to us in her glory.  She who has been taken up by her Son to His heavenly kingdom to stand at His side: “The queen takes her place at your right hand in gold of Ophir.”  Yes, Lord, the Mother you preserved from sin for all eternity you have preserved from the jaws of death; she who has suffered so intimately with you here on earth now shares your glory in heaven.  And as she has said, “All generations will call me blessed,” for you have “lifted up the lowly” and she your humblest and most holy of all creatures can be nowhere but with you in your eternal life.  May she bless us from her place with you this holy day.

In Mary we find our hope, brothers and sisters; in her we find it fulfilled, made real by the hand of God.  We know that “in Christ shall all be brought to life,” and “in proper order” she so blessed in life is now so blessed in death, having been preserved from its clutches and preceding us into God’s heavenly realm.  The devil would have devoured her and her child, but she and He, and we with them, have escaped his gaping mouth and the fire it breathes; this enemy and the death he wrought is destroyed by our Lord and His birth through the Virgin Mary, and so, “now have salvation and power come.”  “The kingdom of our God and the authority of His Anointed One” now reign supreme, and she who has been His special instrument in bringing such salvation now stands at His side in His paradise.

“How does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” asks Elizabeth in wonder at the blessed presence of Mary in her midst.  She who carries the Lord shares in His divinity in a way beyond our comprehension, for if her own kinswoman could be filled with such awe, recognizing whence Mary comes, how much more should we be filled with veneration for the Virgin daughter of Israel?  Indeed, it is her voice which causes the Baptist to leap for joy in the womb; with such joy we should approach this sacred day.

As intimately as she was with Jesus, and is with Jesus now, so intimately is she with His Church here on earth as well as in heaven.  From her place at His side she watches over us and cares for our needs as any mother for her son.  We are her sons and daughters, united to her through the One Lord, Jesus Christ.  She comes to us now at the end of the age, granting wisdom and direction to those who seek their place with her Son.  Call her blessed, brothers and sisters in Christ, and see her glory shining forth at the right hand of God.  In her you will find light greater than sun and moon and stars.  You will find the presence of our Lord and our God.

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, look upon all your lowly servants with favor,

that we might join Mary at your Son’s side

in the kingdom. 

YHWH, your promise of mercy is fulfilled in our midst as she who is blessed comes to us bearing your Son.  And our hearts leap for joy at her approach, for indeed she brings salvation with her, and so the destruction of death.  In her Son is your kingdom, your power come, and to His glory we are all called.

Dearest Mary, who are we that you should come to us, O Mother of our Lord?  O what blessing you are for those who rejoice with you in God our Savior!  For as He has looked upon you, His lowly servant, so He looks upon all poor creatures and fills our emptiness with His presence.  O that we might stand with you at His side this day!

LORD, in Jesus death is conquered and all souls are brought to life again.  His Virgin Mother is the first to join Him in your glory, for you prepared a place for her.  May we all find the place prepared for us in your kingdom. 

Direct download: Assumption_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O soldier of the Immaculate Virgin

and martyr for our Lord,

well you spread the fame

of the Mother of all graces,

calling all souls to repentance

that she might apply her Son’s blood

to save the straying among us;

and well you heeded our Savior’s call

to lay down your life for others –

pray this day we have such strength,

such conviction and determination

in serving our Lord and Lady,

in publishing the Good News

of salvation,

that by our dedication

we too may serve well upon this earth

in the army of the faithful,

also leading souls

through the Immaculate Heart of Mary

to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

that peoples and nations may be converted

and so learn in turn to serve

the surpassing glory of God.

Direct download: Aug._14_Maximilian_Mary_Kolbe.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jer.38:4-6,8-10;   Ps.40:2-4,14,18;   Heb.12:1-4;   Lk.12:49-53) 

“Though I am afflicted and poor,

yet the Lord thinks of me.”

Persecution is necessarily a part of every Christian’s life.  Not many of us will struggle “to the point of shedding blood” as has Jesus, as has Paul, as have all the apostles; and not many of us will be thrown into muddy cisterns as is Jeremiah… but all will remain “afflicted and poor” in their striving against sin and have to endure “opposition from sinners” as they grow in holiness before their Lord and God.  Jesus is anguished at the baptism He must endure in carrying the cross of division set in opposition to the forces of sin in this world, and so all who call themselves Christian take this same cross upon their shoulders.  If we do not suffer for the faith, we must question whether we have become lukewarm and worthless, but to be spit from the mouth of God.

Division must necessarily come as we follow in the steps of Jesus, “the leader and perfecter of faith.”  As the princes of the people were set against Jeremiah for his prophesying in truth against the nation, spelling out the danger it faced for its sin, so opposition will come to us even from friends and family as we seek to draw closer to Jesus; for the world is set in opposition to the cross, and any who yet cling to it and its sin will inevitably be insulted by our resistance to its ways.  And so persecution comes to those who remain faithful to the ways of Christ.

But your hearts should not be troubled, brothers and sisters, for though the world of sin encompasses us now and often closes in, we indeed have a “great cloud of witnesses” surrounding us with their protection.  As Jeremiah had Ebed-melech to intercede with the king to draw him from the muddy mire, so we have Jesus now to intercede with the Father for us to lift us out of the dark cistern that is the world.  And not only Him do we have at our side, but all those who have suffered with Him – all the saints and all the martyrs, all the apostles and prophets – who stand at His side in the heavenly kingdom and with Him reach down to assist us.

So fear not, little ones, remember Jesus: “For the sake of the joy that lay before Him, He endured the cross, despising its shame.”  He “has taken His seat at the right of the throne of God” and we shall soon join Him there with all His angels and saints if we but endure the persecution with Him now a little while.  The Lord thinks of those who are afflicted and poor.  He blesses their sacrifice and makes it fruitful (by which we may draw even sinners unto Him).  Continue ever to run the race of faith.

*******

O LORD, lift us up from the pit

and baptize us with your fire.

YHWH, opposition from sinners we must indeed endure if we are to be called by the Name of your Son.  The Cross we must carry through this world if we are to come to where Christ is at your right hand.  If we are lowered into a muddy cistern, what should that matter to us, as long as we ourselves are not guilty of sin.

Should we not take great strength in the suffering of Jesus and all those who have followed Him so faithfully to the Cross?  Have they not proven that you come, O LORD, to save those who cry out to you?  We shall be delivered even from death by the grace upon your Son, and so why should we fear the shedding of our blood?

Your sword of truth cannot but divide the evil from the good, those who look to you from those who take their refuge in the things of this earth.  Let your fire come, dear God, and burn away all sin from our midst, that all your afflicted and poor may rise from the ground blessed.

Direct download: BC-081813-Su_20_OT_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O brothers united in faith

and in offering the ultimate sacrifice

for the sake of that faith,

for the sake of God’s Church –

pray nothing shall separate

Christ’s brothers

one from another,

but that all members of His flock

and all those who lead His flock

will remain ever united

in His blood

under the See of Peter.

O pray that His Body

not be divided

but that it be healed,

made whole

by His Cross.

Into His arms

may we all offer our lives

and so join our Lord

in His kingdom.

Direct download: Aug._13_Pontian_and_Hippolytus.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Ez.18:1-10,13,30-32;   Ps.51:12-15,18-19;   Mt.19:13-15) 

“Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed,

and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.”

“A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me,” David cries out in his psalm.  Ezekial speaks of the same cleansing needed to find the life of God.  And Jesus amongst the children reveals the purity to which we are all called.

“Turn and be converted from all your crimes, that they may be no cause of guilt for you,” the Lord exhorts us through his prophet today.  Through Ezekial it is revealed that we are judged “each one according to his ways” – the sinner according to his sin and the virtuous according to his “right and just” acts.  And the sinner “because he practiced all these abominations… shall surely die,” while the just “shall surely live.”  This is the Word of the Lord God.

But the Word continues.  Ezekial also reveals that the Lord God “takes no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” that it is His desire that all should live.  And so he cries out, “Return and live!” for the Lord is a forgiving God and will indeed wash clean all who turn from their sin.

“My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.”  Here is the truth of our Lord: He does not desire to cast us “out from [His] presence,” but wishes us to come as children before Him, to know His love, to discover the kingdom of God which belongs to “such as these”… for these are as He is – humble as Jesus, the Child of God.  Marvelously our sins He shall wash away, and we shall live!  We shall know “the joy of [His] salvation” as children in His sight.

O Lord, we pray that “sinners shall return to you.”  We pray that none shall die.  We pray that you take our own lives and let them witness what it is to be a virtuous child of God.  In your hands may our hearts be: “a willing spirit sustain in me.”  Lay your hands upon our heads before you leave this place; let all our sin be cast away.

*******

O LORD, make for us a new heart and a new spirit,

that we might be as children in your kingdom.

YHWH, make us pure and innocent as children before you that we might not be judged guilty of sin, that we might not be deserving of death.  Lay your hands upon our head, and make us clean.

You judge every soul according to his deeds, LORD, but you are merciful to those who turn from their sin.  Indeed, you desire the death of no one and so long for our hearts to turn to you.  May we be truly contrite and humble; may we sincerely desire to return to you, and so reform our ways.

To each man you give a soul, O LORD, a free will to decide his fate.  If he goes along the way you direct him, worshiping you alone and loving others as you do, he shall indeed be saved and live with you forever.  But if in pride he casts aside your words of instruction, worshiping gods that are not you and despising his neighbor… he cannot but die.

O LORD, take away all our empty pride, and let us come to you as a child.

Direct download: BC-081812-Sa_19_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O tireless worker for the Lord

who when cut off from everything

dearest to you

gave yourself completely to God,

you who have shown the way

of the martyrdom of love,

of dying entirely to self

and serving our Savior

in the sick and the poor,

in whose guise He comes –

pray our lives shall not wallow

in mediocrity

or sin;

pray we shall have

the same thirst for love as you,

that by our love we may die

and so overcome death

to live forever

in the presence of our Redeemer.

Visit us this day in our weakness

that our hearts, too, might be strong

and our lives be laid down

in the blood of the only Son.

Direct download: Aug._12_Jane_Frances_de_Chantal.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Ez.16:1-15,60,63 or Ez.16:59-63;   Is.12:1-6;   Mt.19:3-12) 

“I will remember the covenant I made with you when you were a girl,

and I will set up an everlasting covenant with you.”

Ezekial first “make[s] known to Jerusalem her abominations,” telling the people, “You were thrown out on the ground as something loathsome, the day you were born.”  And though by the Lord’s blessing they “grew and developed”; and though when they were “old enough for love” He “spread the corner of [His] cloak over [them]”; and though when He “swore an oath to [them] and entered into a covenant with [them]” they became His, the recipient of all the bride’s gifts and graces – “You were adorned with gold and silver; your garments were of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth.  Fine flour, honey, and oil were your food” – yet they took the beauty with which the Lord had endowed them, and turned to harlotry.  The wisdom of the Lord, His laws and decrees with which He favored no other people, which were the source of their glory, they spurned in favor of the wickedness of the nations.

The hardness of the hearts of the Israelites we find well illustrated in our gospel today; their attitude toward the marriage covenant reveals their level of faithfulness to the Word of the Lord.  A covenant is made binding for all generations, yet the Lord relates the truth to those who question Him: “Because of your stubbornness Moses let you divorce your wives.”  Never was it meant to be so.  This promise, this sacrament Paul later tells us mirrors the love of God for His Church, was ever meant to be lasting.  But how weak is the faith and the love of even His chosen, causing even the disciples to marvel at all that is asked of them.

But the covenant the Lord made with His people in their immaturity, the marriage He called them to when they were but profligate children, He now comes to make everlasting through the grace brought by His only Son.  He forgets us not in our sin and weakness; He remembers our humble origins.

Now may we “be utterly silenced for shame when [He] pardon[s] all [we] have done”; now may we declare, “God indeed is my savior” and rely entirely upon His strength and the word from His mouth.  “Great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel!” and He comes now to wed you to Himself forever.

*******

O LORD, let your Covenant with us never be broken;

may we be wed to you forever.

YHWH, if anyone ever had the right to divorce his wife, you have the right to separate us from yourself.  For how unfaithful we have been!  How profligate have been our actions against you who took us from the ground, from the gutter, and gathered us to yourself… washing us clean of our sin, of the blood upon our hands, and clothing us as a queen before your majesty.  How foolish we have been, and yet you show us mercy.

Indeed, we are utterly silenced for shame at your grace at work in our lives, at the gifts you bestow on your rebellious child.  O LORD, to yourself once again you take us, and for this what can we do but shout with exultation?  We do not deserve your faithfulness toward us, yet you renew your Covenant with us in Jesus our Bridegroom; and even greater are the blessings now as we return to you.  In His blood let us be washed, and clothed in His wedding garment.

Direct download: BC-081712-F_19_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O bride of Christ

whose poverty matched His own,

whose humility made Him known,

whose love indeed approached

His throne

and the embrace of His holy arms –

pray all souls will gaze into the mirror

that is our Lord

born in a manger,

dead upon a Cross,

risen unto Heaven.

Pray we shall be driven on

through the death we all must die,

through His marvelous poverty,

His wondrous humility,

to the indescribable delights

of those who remain at His side.

O that we might be poor as you were poor,

as He is poor

for the sake of every soul,

that we might come to embrace

His blessed sacrifice

and so know the glories of His kingdom.

Direct download: Aug._11_Clare.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Ez.12:1-12;   Ps.78:7,56-59,61-62;   Mt.18:21-19:1)

“As captives they shall go into exile.”

“The prince who is among them shall shoulder his burden and set out in darkness, going through a hole he has dug in the wall, and covering his face lest he be seen by anyone.”  O the woe of the “rebellious house”!  How their sins eat away at their souls like hands digging holes in a wall; how they must hide their faces from the light of day and from the Lord’s glorious face.  Into what hell they cast themselves with no means of escape, their burden too heavy to bear.

The house of Israel “turned back and were faithless like their fathers,” and so the Lord “surrendered His strength into captivity, His glory into the hands of the foe.”  And just such a fate awaits all who are hardened by sin, who have no forgiveness in their hearts.  For all owe the Lord “a huge amount” and all have “no way of paying it”; and so all deserve to be sold into slavery.  Only the mercy of God preserves us from such a fate.  But can a heart know mercy which shows none?  Can a soul receive forgiveness if it continues in sin?  Does not this house remain in exile from its God?  And what shall become of the one who spurns the love of God as does the wretched servant?  Shall he not be like him whom “the master handed… over to the torturers until he paid back all that he owed’?

There is only woe for the soul so set in opposition to the loving will of God.  There is only banishment from His sight.  As the Lord “was enraged and utterly rejected Israel,” His chosen children whom He had loved and blessed and forgiven so much, so all shall die in their sin who refuse to turn to Him... for there is no place for the evil with the good.

From darkness let us come, brothers and sisters.  Exile from the Lord let us avoid. May we, too, learn from Ezekial’s sign and open our eyes to the danger upon us.  On our knees let us come to our confessor, who has been instructed by his Master to forgive “seventy times seven times,” and so wash ourselves clean of our rebellion – and then share the same with others.  To the Lord let us return.

*******

O LORD, save us from the captivity

wrought by our sin;

let your mercy and love work in and through us.

YHWH, how shall we avoid exile from you and from your holy face?  For we are a rebellious house, blind to your mercy.  And if we are blind to your mercy, if we cannot hear you calling us back to you through your prophets, through the Word that comes to us by your Son, how can we find anything but condemnation and exile?  Into prison we shall be cast to pay for all our sins if your Son’s love we fail to recognize in our midst.

It cannot but be that as we reject you, as we rouse your jealousy by our vain idols, by the false love we so desire with our faithless hearts, you cannot but reject us – do you not respect our wills, dear LORD?  And if we choose not to share the mercy you offer to our barren souls, if we have not love in our hearts for others in need of that same mercy… how can that mercy be said to be ours?  If we harden our hearts against you and your love, we build the prison in which we find ourselves. 

O LORD, release us from such hell to dwell with you and our brothers in your House.

Direct download: BC-081612-Th_19_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O generous soul,

you gave your life freely

to the poor

and your death completely

to the Lord;

a grain of wheat fallen to the earth,

you have indeed produced much fruit,

so closely have you followed Christ –

pray for us miserable souls

who cannot seem to draw near

your thorough sacrifice,

made without fear of the fire

ignited by your torturers,

made in joy of uniting

your death to Jesus’ own.

How shall we approach your love,

your blood so closely mingled

with that of our crucified Lord;

how shall we match your generosity

in serving His blessed call?

Pray we will find the courage

to give everything over to God

and know we are in His arms.

Direct download: Aug._10_Lawrence.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(2Cor.9:6-10;   Ps.112:1-2,5-9;   Jn.12:24-26)

 

“The just man shall be in everlasting remembrance.”

 

The servant of the Lord lays down his life in His name.  Today we celebrate St. Lawrence, deacon, servant, and martyr, who gave his life and his death generously to God.  His life must be that of every Christian; his witness is one we are called to follow.

“The man who hates his life in this world preserves it to life eternal,” the Lord tells His disciples in today’s gospel.  As “the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies,” so must we if we are to produce “much fruit.”  We cannot hold on to our lives and our pride but must give them over in service of God, or they will be nothing worth.  We must trust in the words of Paul that “God can multiply His favors” among us, that as much as we give generously of ourselves, the more He will provide; and the greater will thus be our reward as we draw ever closer to Him and His sacrifice.  “Where I am, there will my servant be.”  By these words Jesus both calls and assures all who would follow Him that the laying down of their lives will bring them “honor” in the presence of the Father.  To be so “exalted in glory,” we must be washed in His blood.

The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church; it is by their sacrifice, their total giving of themselves, that the Church does grow.  They bear witness to God’s power working in the world, and we must sow bountifully with them in order to “reap bountifully” the graces of the Lord.  He provides the seed we sow and will “multiply the seed” and its yield; as long as we remain “firm, trusting in the Lord,” our posterity shall endure unto heaven.  So let us plant our prayers and our works and our lives in the fertile earth where the martyrs found their joy, and whether we live or die, we “shall be blessed in His holy presence.”

May all the Church ring out their praises to the God who calls and blesses us with the holy example of those who serve Him and give their lives completely to Him.  “Lavishly He gives to the poor; His generosity shall endure forever,” so let us pray that this blessed yield the Lord provides will be increased in our own time, and that we may join in the grace of such sacrifice.  In His Spirit and in His blood may we ever grow away from the earth and the death it holds and unto the life of “everlasting remembrance” in heaven with God.

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, if we serve you,

we will be where Jesus has been

– fixed to a cross –

and so, blessed will we be as He accepts our sacrifice,

for we will come to where He is now in Heaven. 

YHWH, the seed and its yield are both in your hand, and you give freely to all of your abundance.  Help us to be generous as you, trusting that you will always multiply and increase our yield, trusting that all we are and all we do are in your holy hand.

O LORD, let us unite ourselves with the Cross of your Son, let us plant our souls in His blessed death, that we might bear much fruit and endure unto eternal life.  Let us be so blessed to be His servants, to follow in His way, to be joined to His holy sacrifice.  Then we shall be honored with all your saints, with all who lay down their lives in your Name.

What is it to hate our lives in this world but to see ourselves as we are, small and insignificant as a grain of wheat?  Yet giving what little we have cheerfully to you and to others, our yield becomes abundant, dear God.

Direct download: St._Lawrence_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O sacrificial victim

seeking to bring peace

to a dark world,

you found your wisdom in love,

in the love of Christ

and in His Cross,

and died three times for His sake:

once in entering His Church,

once in taking His habit,

and once in laying down your life

at the hands of the enemies of His peace –

pray, O blessed teacher

and sister to all men,

that the death of this life

be something we shall not fear

but embrace with the same grace

with which the Lord blessed you.

Why should we hold

to the things of the earth

when Jesus waits to embrace us

in His loving arms

and carry us unto Heaven?

Pray we shall be ready to answer His call.

Direct download: Aug._9_Teresa_Benedicta_of_the_Cross.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Ez.2:8-3:4;   Ps.119:14,24,72,103,111,131;   Mt.18:1-5,10,12-14) 

“How sweet to my palate are your promises,

sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

And is there a sweeter promise or a sweeter teaching than that which Jesus gives today in our gospel?  In answer to the disciples’ question, “‘Who is of greatest importance in the kingdom of God?’ He called a little child over and stood him in their midst and said ... ‘Whoever makes himself lowly, becoming like this child, is of greatest importance in that heavenly reign.’”  And He goes on to assure them that none of His children is forgotten by the Father – each He searches out diligently.  Always they shall behold the absolute sweetness of His countenance... forever they shall look on His presence.  O to be as that innocent child in the Lord Jesus’ arms!

“Yes, your decrees are my delight; they are my counselors.”  O Lord, “I gasp with open mouth in my yearning for your commands.”  Let us be as your prophet Ezekial, to whom you bring the written scroll and command, “Open your mouth and eat what I shall give you.”  Let us “eat what is before [us]”; let us “eat this scroll.”  Let us consume your words and commands and “feed [our] belly and fill [our] stomach” with your teaching and your promises.  For all your words are “sweet as honey in [the] mouth.”  All that comes from you is grace and peace and joy.  And though the words may be sour in our stomach, though we may have to declare “lamentation and wailing and woe!” to those who turn from your law – though suffering may indeed follow in accomplishing your will, yet the sweet knowledge that all comes from your hand shall sustain us; we shall never forget your blessing.

Nothing is sweeter, nothing is more wonderful, than fulfilling the word of God in our lives.  Nothing is greater than coming to His table to eat.  And now this Word made flesh is in our midst, and of its sweetness we daily partake.  Of His presence we cannot receive enough; to His love there are no bounds.  And children before Him we constantly become as we ever consume His promises, listening to His Word and eating and drinking His Body and Blood.  And so, let us rejoice as we receive from the “hand stretched out to [us].”

*******

O LORD, fulfill your promise, we pray,

and let all your children enter your reign.

YHWH, how sweet to my taste are your commands, are your words to our souls, for they are life to us – you save us by your prophecy.

You would have us be as humble as you, LORD, and so you call us to be as children.  O let our eyes and our mouths open wide to receive the glorious food you offer, and in faith we shall come into your kingdom.

And if it should cause us pain to speak in your NAME, to live our lives according to your Son’s example – to follow in the way of the Cross, LORD – of what concern should this be to us?  If we must proclaim your message of lamentation and wailing and woe that others might be saved from straying and be gathered into your fold, this too should be sweet to us; indeed, we should gasp with open mouth to aid the salvation of your little ones.  Then our own salvation will be assured.

O LORD, let us be your disciples; let us share in your Son’s Cross, in the Word He is and shares with us…  O let your will be done and let all enter your presence!

Direct download: BC-081412-Tu_19_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O humble preacher

who walked in poverty

with Christ your King

and spoke in power

to destroy lie by truth,

you gathered men around you

to be bearers of the grace of God,

to be men of the Gospel

inspired by love divine –

pray we shall be taught well

the faith

and walk with you in Jesus’ way,

that all we do

will be for the salvation of souls,

our lives even as our Savior’s.

May His Word

and deep love for others

lead us in all our work on earth

that always and in all things

we may beseech the Lord

to be with all His brothers.

Pray our hearts be set on His will

and we serve as His apostles.

Direct download: Aug._8_Dominic.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Ez.1:2-5,24-28;   Ps.148:1-2,11-14;   Mt.17:22-27) 

“His majesty is above earth and heaven.”

Gleaming like gold or silver, shining forth like burning fire, splendorous as “the bow which appears in the clouds on a rainy day” – “such was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the Lord” given the prophet Ezekial.  And this is but His likeness; nothing could describe the glory of the One who has beneath His feet the four living creatures whose wings beat “like the roaring of mighty waters, like the voice of the Almighty.”  These eyes cannot see God.

But His only Son we can see, for He whose greatness is as the Lord’s own has deigned to walk amongst us in human form.  Though His place is at the throne of the Almighty God, though His glory is itself exalted above earth and heaven, yet the Son of God becomes also the Son of Man.  And not only does He walk in our skin, but even dies for our sin.  How humble is our glorious God! 

And though He Himself is the Temple of God, though it is by His hands only the temple on earth has been built, yet He does not presume exemption from paying tax to those who are but its caretakers.  For He subjects Himself entirely to our laws, as well as to our scourges.  (And notice that the coin Peter will find in the mouth of the fish is “twice the temple tax,” to pay simultaneously for himself and Jesus.  Thus is Peter equated with the Lord in the exemption of sonship, in authority over the temple – for it is he who shall be at the helm of the new Temple.)

The disciples are “overwhelmed with grief” at hearing of their Lord’s coming crucifixion.  They have known the glory of God so wonderfully as wedding guests, as the best men of the bridegroom – as the blessed disciples of the Son – and now the thought of His dying is beyond their comprehension.  (So much so that they do not even hear that “He will be raised up on the third day.”)  They want to maintain the glory they have known, which is indeed heavenly.  But Jesus’ humbling of Himself is not complete, as neither is His glory.  Remain on this earth He cannot, but must return to the right hand of the Father.  And the only way to this fulfillment of glory is through the cross – only this will bring Him to resurrection, and bring us all from our sin.

“Praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted.”  Let all that lives and that breathes praise our Savior, Jesus.  For it is He who brings us to the majesty of our Father.

*******

O LORD, your Son is the Temple in which we worship;

He is our heavenly King –

may we offer our lives with Him this day.

YHWH, your majesty is above earth and Heaven, far beyond our comprehension; Ezekiel’s vision gives us but a glimpse of your surpassing glory.  Our eyes could not look upon the perfect wonder of your presence.

But to us you send your Son, LORD, for Him we may look upon.  And looking at Him on the Cross we see the Temple of Heaven open up for us; our vision is cleansed and we know thus the glory that is with Him, that He is your Son, and that it is He who leads us to your throne.  And so, your majesty becomes our own.

Indeed, we cannot fathom this great gift you grant to your children, LORD; we cannot say how unworthy we are of your presence.  And yet, by His humility, by His uniting Himself to us, we become as the Temple your Son is – we find His Spirit upon us.  In your Church you make your home, making us as your sons.  Your praise resound from the ends of the earth; on the third day may we too be raised.

Direct download: BC-081312-M_19_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O reformer of the Church

and leader of her priests and people,

calling all to live the Gospel,

to give their hearts

in the service of Christ,

who alone can save men’s souls –

pray that your love for the Lord

and His holy Church

will be known in all

the members of His Body,

and so that apostles will be sent forth

to preach and to heal

even this day.

Pray we shall be one

with Him who made us,

eating His Body and drinking His Blood

and living according to the Word

He speaks to our souls

through MotherChurch

and all her faithful servants.

It is the Lord alone

who must be our concern;

pray we, too, shall walk in His footsteps.

Direct download: Aug._7_Cajetan.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

O martyrs of the faith

ordained by the Lord

to shed blood for His sake

and the sake of His Church,

to give witness to the glory of Christ

and so win the crown

of eternal life…

it is in your blood

and by your sacrifice

the Church has grown

and become strong –

pray it shall always stand firm

in confessing the faith

despite any threat

from the powers of this world;

pray every soul

shall give his life in joy

and so emerge victorious

in the spiritual combat.

Handed over to death for Jesus’ sake,

may we, too, come to life eternal.

Direct download: Aug._7_Sixtus_II_and_Companions.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Ws.18:6-9;   Ps.33:1,12.18-20,22;   Heb.11:1-2,8-19;   Lk.12:32-48)

“You also must be prepared, for at an hour

you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

 “Our soul waits for the Lord.”  Though we do not know the day or the hour of His return, we must always be ready for His coming.  As the ancients, the Hebrew fathers and especially Abraham the father of faith himself, we must ever be seeking our heavenly homeland.  By faith the ancients, who saw the promise only from afar, “awaited the salvation of the just”; by faith Abraham “sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country.”  As he dwelled in tents, nonetheless, “he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and maker is God.”  With the incarnation of Christ, and in His death and resurrection, what greater assurance have we of that which we hope for.  We now have Jesus speaking to our hearts: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.”  How much more are we called to follow His way in faith; how much more we should now be prepared for the coming of the Son of Man.

“Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when He comes and knocks.”  If the Lord finds us “vigilant on His arrival,” how blessed will we be.  If we have distributed well the food He has put in our charge here, if His work we have accomplished according to His word, we shall ourselves sup at the table the Lord prepares for us in the heavenly homeland.  But all we are given here, all the graces and blessings which are ours through Jesus and through His Church, we are responsible for; by them we must bear fruit in patience and in faith, Peter first, as the first of servants, and all of us beneath his charge in proportion to “the food allowance” placed in our hands for distribution at the proper time.  (This refers primarily to our priests, but we all do share in the priesthood of Christ, and all are graced with a measure of the flesh of Christ to share with the world.)

“Exult, you just, in the Lord,” for what was held “in secret” by “the holy children” of times past has now come to light in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Now we await the second coming of Christ with a “sure knowledge” far surpassing the one granted our fathers.  We are “the people He has chosen for His own inheritance,” and a promise so sure should spur us on to a readiness that is meet to such a wonderful gift.  The Lord is coming to sit us at table at the place He now prepares; let us “make preparations” of our own, remaining ever the servants of Christ, that we shall not be taken unawares when it is time to fold up our tents in this world and join the Lord in glory.  Hear Him knocking even now at the door of your hearts.

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

Music: "The Readiness Is All" from Bearing the Birth Pangs, tenth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, our hope is in you;

may we patiently await the coming of your kingdom.

YHWH, how we hope for your kindness to deliver us from death, to save us from our adversaries, even from our very selves.  We place all our trust in you – O may our faith soon be rewarded!

If we but had the faith of Abraham, dear LORD, blessed as he would we be, with no fear for the impending darkness, with hearts set solely on your coming light.  The salvation of the just let us await with steadfast hearts, knowing well that you are faithful to all your promises and that you have promised a heavenly dwelling to all who seek their place with you.

To this earth let us not be attached; all of this world let us offer freely to you.  You are our only treasure, dear God – you are all that is worthy of our concern.  And so, let us await your Son’s return with loins girded and lamps burning.  Let us be ever vigilant for His coming, serving well your holy will all our days, and our inheritance we shall find in you.

Direct download: BC-081113-Su_19_OT_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Dn.7:9-10,13-14;   Ps.97:1-2,5-6,9;   2Pt.1:16-19;

Mt.17:1-9 – Mk.9:2-10 – Lk.9:28b-36

Note: since the three gospel accounts vary only in detail,

they are treated as one in this one exposition for the day)

 

“I saw one like a son of man coming on the clouds of heaven.”

 

Daniel’s vision, as John’s vision in the Book of Revelation, is perceived in the flesh by the three apostles on MountTabor, and is known in all our hearts as “the morning star” of faith rises in our hearts.  It is the coming of Jesus in all His glory Peter, James, and John glimpse here in the Transfiguration, and it is this same glory to which we are all called.

The Lord wishes that the faith of the apostles and so the faith of the Church be strengthened against the “dark place” in which we find ourselves, so He here provides “a lamp shining” for them and for us, that we might not doubt the overwhelming “dominion, glory, and kingship” that are His and that will one day be ours as we join Him at the throne of God.  He is indeed “the Most High over all the earth, exalted far above all gods,” and the “flames of fire” which flow out from where He sits, the brightest of lights He is for “all peoples, nations, and languages,” we must ever be “attentive to.”

So Jesus leads His three principal apostles up the mountain.  Apart by themselves and in prayer Himself, Jesus is “transfigured before them”: “His face change[s] in appearance and His clothing [becomes] dazzling white.”  What a fearful, absolutely awesome scene it is for Peter, James, and John.  Moses the great lawgiver and Elijah the great prophet appear in glory as well before them, speaking with Jesus of His coming sacrifice.  If this is not enough to stir their hearts, and our own, they are overshadowed by a fearsome cloud and the Father’s own voice speaks to them: “This is my beloved Son.  Listen to Him.”  Now they see Jesus alone, the Son of God Himself before their wide-open eyes.  He tells them not to speak yet of the vision, but their mouths are already shut tight in awe.  After the resurrection and the coming of the Spirit they will speak openly of the Lord’s glory – as Peter does for us today in our second reading, saying, “We had been eyewitnesses of His Majesty” – but for now they cannot utter the truth of such glory.

“The power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” has been well documented for us now; “the prophetic message” reaches to the ends of the earth: Jesus is the Son of God and “all peoples shall see His glory.”  What the apostles glimpsed on MountTabor, what Daniel and the prophets foresaw, what the psalms sing about and that of which the proverbs and parables speak is come.  It dawns now on our human sight, the surpassing glory of the only Son; let us treasure that light with all our hearts.  He comes now on the clouds of heaven.

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, how great is your power,

how bright your light,

and yet you make yourself known to our mortal eyes. 

YHWH, how great is your Majesty!  How wonderful your glory!  How brightly does your light shine!  You are a consuming fire, purging away all darkness, all the impurities of sinful man.

And does your Son not perfectly reflect your glorious Majesty?  Is He not your very image, O God?  And so, should we not listen to Him whom you have sent, Him who is your own, who carries your dominion among us?

How blessed were the eyes of the three apostles to see the transfigured glory of your Son, to glimpse the surpassing wonder to which all souls are called – and to hear your voice!  O LORD, how fearful a moment this must have been, and how much joy it must have brought to them, and should bring to us.

Let us be so blessed, dear LORD, to keep our eyes and hearts fixed on the light that is Jesus, and soon become one with your risen Son.

Direct download: Transfiguration_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

(Nah.2:1,3,3:1-3,6-7;   Dt.32:35-36,39,41;   Mt.16:24-28)

“It is I who bring both death and life,

I who inflict wounds and heal them.”

When the Lord comes indeed “He will repay each man according to his conduct.”  And the justice and judgment that are the Lord’s alone are evident in His work amongst Israel and their enemies, spoken of in our first reading and psalm today.

“The flame of the sword, the flash of the spear, the many slain, the heaping corpses, the endless bodies to stumble upon!” such is the graphic description of the horrors inflicted by the “bloody city” of Ninevah, of Assyria, whose nation is “all lies, full of plunder, whose looting never stops!”  And that which they have visited upon the nations, and upon the children of Israel, shall come to rest upon their own heads.  For “surely, the Lord shall do justice for His people” and prove to the evildoers that it is He alone who “will sharpen [His] flashing sword”; it is He whose “hand shall lay hold of [His] quiver.”  For vengeance is with the Lord alone and it is He who “will repay [His] foes and requite those who hate [Him].”

All those who take up the sword, what can be said of them?  “Close at hand is the day of their disaster, and their doom is rushing upon them.”  Like Ninevah they shall be “destroyed, and who can pity her?”  Is she not like he who has “gain[ed] the whole world and ruin[ed] himself in the process?”  And shall not all who trust in “horses a-gallop, chariots bounding, cavalry charging,” themselves hear “the rumbling sound of wheels”?  As the Lord has duly repaid those on earth, so He will more greatly repay all on the Day of salvation.

But even as death is visited upon the sinner, life dawns upon the righteous.  For them, “the bearer of good news [comes], announcing peace.”  Those who are pierced to the heart by the cross of Christ in this life, those who bear its weight through this forsaken land, walking in the footsteps of the Lord – even these shall “see the Son of Man come in His kingship.”  For “whoever loses his life for [God’s] sake will find it,” and it shall be preserved unto eternity.

Brothers and sisters, though wounded here, the Lord Himself shall heal us.  Let death come to all sin, and salvation shall be assured.

*******

O LORD, let us not be trampled underfoot

but come rather to see your glory

by following in your way.

YHWH, it is you alone who bring both death and life, for life itself is in your hands, as is judgment of those who violate it.  Your justice is both sure and true, and so you will repay each man according to his deeds: those who have embraced plunder and looting cannot but come to the death they have made; but those who embrace the Cross and lay down their lives in this world shall be blessed greatly by the sight of the Son of Man coming in His glory.  Although such vision cannot but bring agony to those whose hearts are set on the ill-gotten gain of this evil age, the destruction of all evil in the LORD’s reign brings joy to the heart set upon Him who passes not away.

And so, dear LORD, let us be numbered among those who seek to lose their lives that they might be found walking in the way of your only Son.  We pray the angels of Heaven may carry us to your kingdom on the Day He judges the world and all souls.

Direct download: BC-081012-F_18_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O priest exemplar,

O preacher and confessor extraordinaire,

healer of souls

who by prayer and penance

was made holy unto God

and brought others

to that same holiness

before the Lord and Maker

of all poor souls –

pray indeed this day

that our hearts will be set on Heaven,

that our longing will be for the Lord,

and so that by prayer

we shall come to union with Him.

Pray all your fellow priests

will be filled with your same zeal

for the salvation of their flock

and so serve to bring them

to blessed union

with the God of all.

Pray the Lord send out holy priests

to labor in His vineyard

as diligently, as tirelessly, as you.

Direct download: Aug._4_John_Mary_Vianney.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jer.31:31-34;   Ps.51:12-15,18-19;   Mt.16:13-23)

“I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel

and the house of Judah.”

Do not the days come to pass, is not this promise made through Jeremiah fulfilled, when the Lord declares to Peter, “On this rock I will build my Church, and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it”?  Does Jesus not hereby wrest the covenant from the hands of the leaders of the Jews and thus make His people anew, here founding His New Covenant and His new Church upon Peter and the apostles?  Does not all that has been declared to the Chosen now come to pass in the Christ and in those who follow Him?  Are we not, as it were, true and complete Jews, basking in the light of the Messiah?

And what is it this New Covenant is like?  The Lord says, “I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God and they shall be my people.”  Indeed, all shall “know the Lord.”  And how shall this come about?  Is this not the answer to David’s heartfelt prayer when drowning in the midst of sin: “A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me”?  Is it not by His cleansing us of all our transgressions that He shall “remember [our] sin no more”?  Is it not in this way our hearts are prepared to receive Him, and He comes to make His home with us?  Is this not why Jesus has come?

“Your Holy Spirit take not from me,” David cries out, and his “heart contrite and humbled” the Lord responds to.  For upon Peter and His Church He places His Holy Spirit, never to be removed, and all who dwell within this House shall indeed never be “cast... from [His] presence.”  Later He shall breathe upon the apostles; later the Spirit shall fall mightily on them.  Now He is still teaching them to make “God’s standards” their own; now He is still making room for His love in their hearts.  But still, here is the declaration that His Church shall be, and shall grow unto eternity. 

May we all take refuge within the blessed walls formed by the Lord’s hands, anointed by His Spirit.  May our hearts all be set upon Him.  And His power shall be in our hands; and we will be His own... and the New Covenant of love will be known.

*******

O LORD, write your NAME upon our hearts,

that we might be made holy like you.

YHWH, write your NAME upon our hearts, that we shall never forget you.  Let us be blessed to remain in your Church, faithful ever to your New Covenant.

Your promise fulfill among us, LORD, in our obedience to Peter and all your apostles.  I pray we shall learn to judge by your standards, and not according to our selfish concern.

Reveal to us your Word and your Way, LORD, and let us follow Him to the end.  Though we must travel through Jerusalem, may our joining in your Son’s sacrifice but serve to make us holy in your sight. 

Take not your Spirit from our hearts, LORD; never let us be separated from you.  But be pleased with our humility, and remember our sins no more.

The joy of your salvation shall be ours, if we build our house upon your Rock.  O LORD, day to day may we be released from all bonds, washed ever in the blood of the Messiah.

Direct download: BC-080912-Th_18_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jer.31:1-7;   Jer.31:10-13;   Mt.15:21-28) 

“Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion,

they shall come streaming to the Lord’s blessings.”

In our first reading Jeremiah prophesies the restoration of “all the tribes of Israel” to the grace and “age-old love” of their Lord and God.  The Lord promises His virgin daughter Israel: “Carrying your festive tambourines, you shall go forth dancing with the merrymakers.”  He will “turn their mourning into joy” as this “remnant of Israel” returns to the holy heights of Mount Zion, as he “gathers them together” as His chosen once again.

And in our gospel the Lord makes clear it is for the lost children of Israel He has come.  Here in the mission of the Christ, Jeremiah’s prophecy is fulfilled.  But more than the restoration of the nation of Israel do we hear of today.  What we find is that not these alone shall come streaming to the Lord’s blessings, but indeed all the nations shall find Him whom their hearts desire.  And it is this Canaanite woman who leads the way for all Gentile people to receive the grace and favor of the One God.

On her knees she comes, crawling like a dog, this mother of all us not born of Jewish blood, to be grafted to the kingdom’s tree.  Here is a sign of the humility we all must have.  And when rebuffed she does not answer, “Who are you?” and leave in anger, but drops further on her face, pleading for “the leavings that fall from [the] masters’ tables.”  And so she shows the Lord the “great faith” even we Gentiles can exhibit; and so she wins a hearing not only for herself but all people of foreign nations who, like Ruth, are able to say in truth: May your God be my God (see Ru.1:16).  And so her daughter finds the healing touch of the Lord.

Brothers and sisters, the promise given the people of Israel is now for all of us to share, if we have but faith – if we but have the love of God burning in our hearts.  And so, “rise up, let us go to Zion, to the Lord, our God” and “enjoy the fruits” He offers forth for all His many sheep.  This Canaanite woman came “shouting after” Him and found the ear of the God of the universe; let us now “shout with joy for Jacob” and with Jacob, as we celebrate the glory of the Lord here present in our midst.

*******

O LORD, gather us all into your arms.

YHWH, you restore the fortunes of Jacob; his house you rebuild and your blessings he finds.  Jesus has indeed come to the lost sheep of Israel, for they are your chosen sons and daughters.  You have loved them from of old and your mercy remains upon them.

But if we come on our knees before you, LORD, we who are but dogs, perhaps the leavings of your table we may find, and so share in your blessings with the chosen ones.  Faith is open to men of all nations, and it is this alone that will enable us to enter your House.

O let us rise up and go to Zion!  Let us climb the heights of your mountain and fall at the feet of your Son.  His mercy He cannot withhold from any who beg of Him.  As a Shepherd guide us, O LORD, that we might find rest in you, that we might be fruitful in your NAME and come to praise you in the joy of your kingdom.

Direct download: BC-080812-W_18_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O priest of the Blessed Sacrament,

you gave your life in sacrifice

at the altar of the Lord

and in all the trials of this earth;

you suffered all for Jesus

and desired only to bring souls,

all the children of God,

to receive Him and His grace

in the Sacrament of Communion,

in oneness with our Lord –

pray, O priest of Christ,

that our very lives

shall also be offered in sacrifice,

especially in the holy sacrifice

of the Mass

and in reception of His Body and Blood

in the Blessed Sacrament.

Pray particularly that our priests will know

the profound call upon their souls

to make Him present in this world

and be as inspired with holy devotion

as were you, dear saint.

Pray our hunger for His Presence increase.

Direct download: Aug._2_Peter_Eymard.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

O vigorous defender of the divinity of Christ,

you who suffered exile

for your work for the faith,

you who had a true shepherd’s heart

and cared so deeply

for the priests and people

the Lord placed in your hands –

pray the shepherds of the Church today

will strive with your same selfless zeal

to bring the love of the Son of God

and the blessed demands of His call

to every soul in their care,

that the faith might increase

and be known in all its fullness

even to the ends of the earth.

Pray and weep, O steadfast apostle,

for all the members of Christ’s holy flock,

that we shall be protected

from false and specious claims,

from wolves in sheep’s clothing

who would enter and steal the faith

of this holy Catholic Church

founded by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Direct download: Aug._2_Eusebius_of_Vercelli.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jer.30:1-2,12-15,18-22;   Ps.102:16-23,29;   Mt.14:22-36) 

“His assembly before me shall stand firm.”

The words of the prophet Jeremiah are fulfilled in the Apostle Peter and in the Church, for upon this Rock we have our firm foundation.

“The Lord looked down from His holy height, from heaven He beheld the earth”; and when the time had come, He sent His only Son.  And that Son, in all His wisdom, chooses those who would follow Him, making certain thereby that indeed “the children of [His] servants shall abide, and their posterity shall continue in [the Father’s] presence,” thus fulfilling the word of the Lord: “You shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

Yes, Jeremiah declares of the New Jerusalem, the “city [that] shall be rebuilt upon [the] hill”: “His leader shall be one of his own, and his rulers shall come from his kin.”  Jesus is of our kind, a man like each of the Lord’s children, and so is the apostle He chooses – and all who likewise follow.  All bishops and priests, all the descendants of Peter and the apostles in the ministry of the Word and the ministry of the flesh of Christ, all come from our midst and are our very brothers.  And the Church is ruled by them in the power of the Holy Spirit.

In the beginning of our gospel today we find Jesus much as He was the night before choosing His apostles – “He went up on the mountain to pray, remaining there alone as evening drew on.”  John the Baptist has been killed and the time has come now for our Lord’s mission to increase, and so He prepares Himself for this next step in His ministry.  And so it becomes His primary concern to be sure that when the time comes for Him to die, His successor shall be readied.  And so the test and teaching He brings His Rock, Peter.

“When I summon him, he shall approach me; how else should one take the deadly risk of approaching me? says the Lord.”  Again Jeremiah’s prophecy is fulfilled, for Peter does not come to Jesus on his own, but first states, “Lord, if it is really you, tell me to come to you across the water,” and waits for the Lord to exclaim: “Come!”  And what happens now, what miracle?  “Peter got out of the boat and began walking on the water, moving toward Jesus.”  Yes, our Rock walks miraculously with the Lord!  Then why does he begin to sink? you say.  It is the Lord’s will to teach our leader, and all of us, of our dependence on Him alone and our need to cry out, “Lord, save me!”  (Oh how sweet and instructive are the words Jesus whispers loudly into the apostle’s ears – “Why did you falter?”)

O may the Lord ever bless His Church with the firmness of faith found only in Him!  May we ever stand in His presence, unshaken by the winds of the world and our own human weakness.  Yes, may we be His children.

*******

O LORD, let us stand in assembly before you,

healed of all our wounds.

YHWH, make us your people that you may be our God.  Call us to you, for how shall we approach your majesty except at your invitation?  If we have not word from you, surely we shall sink in the sea, for our hearts are terribly afraid of the winds of this world and the prospect of your punishment.  But trusting in you, we may follow Peter walking on the water; we may become as your children by the grace of your Son.

How great is your mercy toward us, dearest LORD, for you hear us as we cry out to you; from the darkness of this prison you release our souls.  Even in the night you come to us, well aware of the troubles we encounter in doing your will.  Great pity you have for us as you look down from your holy height, and to the heights of Mount Zion you would draw us, that we might join your Son in prayer and praise of your NAME.  By you alone shall we be glorified, and remain in your presence always.

Direct download: BC-080712-Tu_18_OT_IIBC.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O patron of moral theologians

and servant of the poor,

how blessed was your loving wisdom,

your understanding of God

and His love for us,

made perfectly known

in His only Son

whom you loved so much

with His Mother and the Church,

and whom you call us all to love

through your blessed words –

pray the redeeming love

of Jesus our Savior

flow in all our veins,

that we might unite our wills

to the Father’s

as perfectly as His only Son

and so be as encompassed by grace and love

as only He could be.

Pray indeed that we shall be saved,

that we will come to the Lord on our knees

and so find His presence filling us

unto eternity.

Direct download: Aug._1_Alphonsus_Liguori.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jer.28:1-17;   Ps.119:29,43,68,79-80,95,102;   Mt.14:13-21) 

“Take not the word of truth from my mouth,

for in your ordinances is my hope.”

The word of truth is what Jeremiah speaks in the face of the lies of Hananiah. The false prophet declares in the name of God: “I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, from off the neck of the nations,” even as he “took the yoke from upon the neck of Jeremiah” – which he wore to symbolize the exile to which Judah was fated – and broke it “in the presence of all the people.” A dramatic action and a prophecy all would gladly consume. But a lie. To Hananiah, Jeremiah prophesies the truth: “By breaking a wooden yoke, you forge an iron yoke!” as well as the false prophet’s own death, which comes in but a few months. And yes, it is seventy years the exile shall last, and not two.

And is it not the word of truth by which the Lord feeds the five thousand today? Using human logic the disciples suggest to Jesus that He “dismiss the crowds so that they may go to the villages and buy some food for themselves.” But it is with the word of truth Jesus states: “Give them something to eat yourselves.” How? they respond. “We have nothing here... but five loaves and a couple of fish.” How does the Lord multiply these loaves and fish? How can He feed five thousand with barely enough food for fifty? It is not possible except by the word of truth, which can move mountains. Is it not His looking up to heaven and blessing and breaking the food that causes it to be multiplied in the sight (and eating) of all? Does not the Father give the Son all for which He asks? Is His prayer not true?

Brothers and sisters, if the ordinances of the Lord are our hope, what can we not do? What food can we not multiply? What ailing hearts can we not heal? For trusting in Him and in His Word all is ours for the asking. But making our own words and our own desires our way in this world, what can we come to but death? What shall we find but an iron yoke upon our necks?

Yes, the yoke of the Lord is light, for it is formed by the word of God, and in its truth we are buoyed up unto heaven. And all our words are justified. And we are fed with the bread of life.

 *******

O LORD, your Word is fulfilled in our midst,

and so your Son feeds us with His Body and Blood.

YHWH, take all falsehood from our hearts and from our lives; on your Word alone let us depend. For as we go according to our own thoughts, so we are lost, so we are without answer to the difficulties of life and fooling ourselves with the responses we devise. But trusting in you, what cannot be done; what do we lack? For you feed us by your own hand if we but remain obedient to your command and come to your Son.

In your Word is our hope, dear God – let it be spoken clearly to our ears and let us cling to its truth. Let us not fear whatever darkness may come to us in this land of exile, but let us know that your yoke is light and it frees us from the yoke of sin and all oppression.

Heal our troubled souls, dearest LORD, by the compassionate touch of Jesus. Let us know we are not alone but that you care ever for your poor flock even in this deserted place. You hand be upon us to bless us, and your Word be spoken to the ends of the earth.

Direct download: BC-080612-M_18_OT_IIBC.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O strong and holy apostle,

soldier for the Lord Jesus

and defender of His Church,

you gathered together an army

to labor in mission fields,

to educate the masses,

to serve and die as loyal sons

of the Christ and His Pope –

teach us this day

to follow in the way of Jesus,

to meditate on His life

and be fruitful in His works.

Pray your own sons

and all the children of MotherChurch

not waver in the faith

which sustains them on this earth

but that in all truth

steadfast Christ’s disciples shall stand

and proclaim in strength the salvation

that comes only through Jesus

and the Vine He has planted,

through whose teaching and sacraments

His very Spirit and blood flow.

Direct download: July_31_Ignatius_of_Loyola.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Ec.1:2,2:21-23;   Ps.90:3-6,12-14,17,95:7-8;   Col.3:1-5,9-11;   Lk.12:13-21) 

“If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above,

where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.”

Yes, “all things are vanity!” without God.  All is empty, for “like the changing grass” our life “wilts and fades”; we are turned “back to dust,” and so what becomes of the earthly desires we pursue?  Where do “immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry” lead us but to the grave – and what do they do for us here but keep our hearts from what truly matters?

See the difference between the man in our first reading who “labors under the sun” in “toil and anxiety of heart” and those in our psalm who “shout for joy and gladness” all their days, for the latter say to the Lord, “Prosper the work of our hands,” putting all things into the care of Him who indeed holds all things in His loving embrace.  One’s heart is set on “what is on earth,” and so he is blinded by the flesh into which he puts all his hopes.  Like both the man in the crowd and the one in the parable of our gospel, his sights are set on his possessions and the feeding of his belly – both of which shall rot away.  The other’s heart, however, is set on “what is above.”  He is rich in “what matters to God” because he has died to the vain things of this earth, dying with Christ to their illusion and, so, rising with Christ to the life and glory of heaven.  As one sinks into hell, the other rises to newness of life “in the image of [his] Creator.”

In what image is our own life made?  What do we pursue with heart and soul as we tread this earth?  Are we consumed by the mud at our feet, miring ourselves in selfishness and sin; or do we indeed rise above the greed which tempts our hearts to “eat, drink, be merry”?  If we are truly raised with Christ as we proclaim as Christians, we would be seated at God’s right hand with Him, knowing that He is our only refuge, our only God.  But so many are distracted by the idolatrous images that surround us in this world.  So many desire to be rich and famous, to satiate their appetites in gluttony and drunkenness, to do what pleases their flesh in sexual immorality.  And what shall become of these but that the worm shall consume them and they will cry out with Qoheleth, “Vanity of vanities!  All things are vanity!”

Brothers and sisters, with Jesus and with Paul I encourage you to find the treasure that is meaningful in life.  Set aside the earthly passions that drown the soul, and seek what is alive with Christ.  We have a great call in this world to bring the Lord’s light and life forward, to make Him present in our own flesh, in all our work.  With Him in our hearts, nothing is done in vain, for such “bountiful harvest” as this is stored up for heaven, which shall never pass away.  Let us make His resurrection our own; even as we die to the empty desires of this earth, let us rise unto God as a holy sacrifice.

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

Music: "Addictions: What Do You Say?" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, let our lives this day be in line with your will,

united to the glory of your only Son.

YHWH, let us not store up treasures for ourselves, but think rather of you and the salvation of others.  All is indeed vanity if like Qoheleth we set our sights on what is on earth, if we are preoccupied by our possessions.  For these shall rot with the lusts of the flesh and we shall die with them.  But if we set our hearts on you and on the things that are above, where Christ is seated at your right hand, then we shall be blessed with life everlasting.

Your Son calls us to glory with Him in Heaven.  He warns us of the emptiness of this earth and the riches hereon.  He would turn our eyes to you and away from all greed and selfishness.  He alone can prosper the work of our hands, LORD, for without Him we pass like the changing grass and nothing comes of our days.

O LORD, let us not labor in vain but with the wisdom that comes from above, that we might not come to great misfortune but to eternal life in your presence.  Remake us in the image of your Son.

Direct download: BC-0800413-Su_18_OT_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O you of golden words,

of angelic tongue,

of sermons refined

seven times

by the Spirit of God…

O how you made present on earth

the invisible Creator

even as He was made for us

in the womb of the Virgin,

so tangible had His grace become

through the preaching the Lord inspired

in your soul –

pray we shall indeed be vivified

by the eternal grace of God,

by the gift of His becoming Man,

to become like Him,

heavenly spirits in His reign.

How could we comprehend such blessing;

how could such surpassing joy

these earthen vessels hold?

Let us come close to Christ our Savior,

close to Him as now you stand

in His radiant glory.

Direct download: July_30_Peter_Chrysologus.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jer.26:11-16,24;   Ps.69:14-16,30-31,33-34;   Mt.14:1-12) 

“In truth it was the Lord who sent me to you,

to speak all these things for you to hear.”

Jeremiah speaks to the people in the Lord’s name, even as he is threatened with death: “Reform your ways and your deeds; listen to the voice of the Lord your God, so that the Lord will repent of the evil with which He threatens you,” he declares at his trial – he does not hide the truth.  And the words of David’s psalm are proven genuine: “His own who are in bonds He spurns not”; for the prophet’s words find a hearing in the people, and Ahikam advocates for his release.

It is the truth which John the Baptist, the greatest of prophets, comes to declare most boldly.  Even from Herod’s dungeon this voice crying in the wilderness continues to proclaim the sinfulness of the king’s taking his own sister-in-law to wife, repeatedly telling him, “It is not right for you to live with her.”  He, too, does not back down in the face of trials, in the dark of prison, and he, too, is released from bonds – though bonds of a different kind.  He, too, is “rescued from [his] foes, and from the watery depths…  The pit [does not] close its mouth over [him].”  For though he be beheaded, though death at the hands of his persecutor he does not escape, yet it is his message which lives and has power, power shown now in the presence of the Truth walking the earth in the Person of Jesus Christ – a power which causes the evil king to shake in his boots at the voice which still comes to his ears.  Indeed, John yet lives.  In Jesus he makes his home.

“I will praise the name of God in song, and I will glorify Him with thanksgiving.”  For all His “lowly ones” He sees; all who “seek God” are known to Him.  And these shall be released from all bonds of this earth, even as they speak His truth.

The party shall soon be over, the dance of the daughter of lust come to an end.  And who shall stand justified then?  Who shall hear His soothing words?  And who shall be condemned?  Turn to Him in your hearts this day.  Listen to His voice.

*******

O LORD, save us from the dungeon of death;

lift us from the mire of this corrupted world –

let us repent that we might praise you.

YHWH, it is you who are our secure protection, you who save us even from death, you who raise our heads in the joy of your presence.  And so, what need we fear?  Let the wicked of this world tremble before your voice, but let us be blessed to dwell with you in your kingdom.

O LORD, though your prophets and disciples be cast into dungeons, though they be beheaded for your NAME’s sake, though the princes of this world call for the death of those who proclaim your truth to their unyielding hearts… yet you are there to protect your own, for your power is beyond any creature crawling upon this desolate earth.

And so we take refuge in you, LORD; and so we stand strong in the face of our persecutors.  For we shall not die at their hands but live in your presence, as your saints do even this day.  Give us the strength we need to place our trust entirely in you and in your Son, for we know even as we die with Him we shall live with Him forever.

Direct download: BC-080412-Sa_17_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O servant of the Lord

who welcomed Him

into your home,

fulfilling all the duties

of hospitality,

and yet realized

as He taught

that it is He

who serves us poor creatures,

who is the resurrection and the life…

in whose House we make our home –

pray that even as we fulfill the duties

of our station in life

we too shall come to believe

Jesus is the Christ,

the Son of God

who comes to us

to serve us in His need,

allowing Himself to be fed by us

that He might feed our souls

with everlasting life,

with the Spirit that passes not away

with the body.

Direct download: July_29_Martha.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jer.26:1-9;   Ps.69:5,8-10,14;   Mt.13:54-58) 

“No prophet is without honor,

except in his native place, indeed in his own house.”

How consonant are our readings today, speaking all of the persecution the prophet of God must bear in bringing the truth to His people.  (Indeed I had thought to refer to the incident in our gospel before having even come to it, while still reading the words from Jeremiah, for elsewhere in the gospels the same quote of Jesus written above causes His people to lead Him to the brow of a hill, intending to throw Him down.)

As Jesus was rejected when He “went to His native place and spent His time teaching in their synagogue,” so when Jeremiah is obedient to the Lord’s command to “stand in the court of the house of the Lord and speak to the people of all the cities of Judah who come to worship in the house of the Lord … all the people gathered about [him],” not to “listen and turn back, each from his evil way,” but to join with “the priests and prophets [who] laid hold of him, crying, ‘You must be put to death!’”  And David bemoans the same treatment in our psalm: “I have become an outcast to my brothers, a stranger to my mother’s sons,” as for the sake of the Lord he “bear[s] insult.”

What does the prophet come to do; what does Jesus speak to His people but truth?  They themselves recognize that He has great “wisdom and miraculous powers.”  With these He would save their very lives; His sword of truth would incise every cancerous growth of sin from their souls – He would heal them with the Word of God.  In fact, it is their health He is so zealous to effect.  But “because zeal for [the Lord’s] house consumes [Him]… the insults of those who blaspheme [God] fall upon [Him].”  As they do upon Jeremiah.  As they do upon David…  As they do upon every faithful prophet of God.

Those who “disobey [God], not living according to the law [He] placed before [them] and not listening to the words of [His] servants the prophets,” do not wish to hear of their sin: foolishly, they would be left to die in their rebellion.  And so they kill the prophet, attempting vainly to destroy His message.  And it must be those of the Lord’s own house that reject His word, that kill the Christ, for it is only they who know His voice speaking in their heart.

“This city shall be desolate and deserted.”  Hear these words, brothers and sisters.  Let them sink deeply into your ears and take root in your hearts.  Be not afraid of the death that must come to this earthen vessel.  Nor reject the word because it comes from one who is your own brother.  It is this sword of truth alone that will save you.

*******

O LORD, your Son’s own brothers surrounded Him

and condemned Him to death –

forgive us, LORD, and let us be faithful as He.

YHWH, why are our hearts so set against your will that we would persecute your prophets and kill your only Son?  Why are we so stubborn in our rejection of your love, of your chastising word that would bring us to your holy presence?  It should be your temple in which we desire to dwell, and yet we seek to build our own.

O holy LORD, take the blasphemy from our lips, the anger and hatred from our hands and tongue.  Let us see and recognize that you are God and treasure the wisdom you bring to us.  Let us not turn our backs or raise our hands against you, but rather bear the insult of those who suffer for the sake of your NAME.

You look upon our zeal for you and for your house, LORD, and so hear us as we cry to you.  Protect us well from the devastation of this fallen race, that we might accomplish your will and come to stand with you in Heaven.  In your House alone let us seek to dwell.

Direct download: BC-080312-F_17_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jer.18:1-6;   Ps.146:1-6;   Mt.13:47-53)

“Like clay in the hand of the potter,

so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”

“I went down to the potter’s house and there he was, working at the wheel.”  According to the Lord’s words Jeremiah goes, and a marvelous sign is provided him.  For there in the hands of the potter and in his work, he sees the Lord huddled over His creation.  And what in particular does he witness in this vision: “Whenever the object of clay which he was making turned out badly in his hand, he tried again, making of the clay another object of whatever sort he pleased.”  Are we not indeed like this clay in the potter’s hands?  Does He not send His only Son to remake us in His image?  And so, should we not be as pliable as clay in the holy hands of our Lord and God?

And are we not as those caught in the net of the fishermen who, having “collected all sorts of things… put what was worthwhile into containers.  [But] what was useless they threw away.”  Yes, at the end of the world “angels will go out and separate the wicked from the just,” and then the hand of the Lord will be at work in its fullness.  So, while there is yet time, let us do all we can to be remade in God’s image, that we might avoid “the fiery furnace” – let us not be hardened in our sin.  For once cast in this kiln, what shall they do but “wail and grind their teeth”?

Brothers and sisters, do you not see that it is the Lord “who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them”?  It is the Lord who holds all in His holy hands, and does what He will with the universe.  And so, should you not take refuge in Him?  “Put not your trust in princes, in men, in whom there is no salvation.”  What is man who “when his spirit departs he returns to the earth”?  When God removes His breath from man, indeed he becomes as nothing but clay in a potter’s hands.  But “happy he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord, his God.”  For the one who trusts in Him, He shall remake in His own eternal image; upon this clay His breath shall remain.  And so his soul shall ever “praise the Lord.”

*******

O LORD, all is in your hands;

may our hands and our hearts

be conformed to your own.

YHWH, we are indeed as clay in your holy hands; you can make of us what you will.  And so we pray you make us in the image of your Son, that we will be gathered into your kingdom and not cast aside.

We are but dust, O LORD, except that you breathe upon us.  And should you take your Spirit from us, to dust we would return.  Yet we fail to recognize your power and glory and put our trust in the dust of this earth, in the things you have created.  It is you who have made the heavens and the earth and all that dwell in them.  It is you who hold the life breath of all men.  O let us worship you alone and seek to be remade in your image!  Then to eternal life we shall come.

The fiery furnace awaits the wicked; let us not forget that you will separate the evil from the good at the end of the age.  May your angels’ hands be upon us this day, preparing our souls for the end of the world, forming us by your grace as your blessed children.  Praise you, LORD!

Direct download: BC-080212-Th_17_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jer.15:10,16-21;   Ps.59:2-4,10-11,17-18;   Mt.13:44-46)

“If you repent, so that I restore you,

in my presence you shall stand.”

The Lord called Jeremiah even from before he was formed in his mother’s womb, but it seems he falls short of fulfilling that call, for the Lord says to His prophet today, “If you bring forth the precious without the vile, you shall be my mouthpiece.”  Indeed it seemed that Christ’s words in His parable today – “The reign of God is like a buried treasure which a man found in a field” – had been realized in Jeremiah, who declares, “When I found your words, I devoured them; they became the joy and the happiness of my heart.”  Yet it seems the prophet struggles to heed the Lord’s instruction to “put up for sale all he had,” to give up all else to receive fully the gift of God’s gracious presence.

Jeremiah complains to God, “Why is my pain continuous, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed?”  And what is this pain but the persecution he continually finds as “a man of strife and contention to all the land”?  The Lord has called him to be a continual sign of contradiction toward His rebellious house, and the difficulties of this cross he must bear move the prophet toward despair.

What is the “vile” matter of which Jeremiah must “repent” to become “a solid wall of brass” in his mission for God?  It is, I believe, the “indignation” he says he has toward his fellow people, who, though evil in the sight of God, must be borne with patience, according to the Lord’s call.  It is his failure to be as really only Christ is – able to forgive His persecutors even as He stands nailed to the cross.  Jeremiah must accept his weakness and trials, as does Paul later, but struggles greatly in this time before the coming of the Son.

Yet the Lord promises to “free [him] from the hand of the wicked, and rescue [him] from the grasp of the violent.”  Yet the Lord is with him to answer his prayer when he cries out as has David, “Rescue me from my enemies, O my God; from my adversaries defend me.”  And yet he will know what David proclaims: “You have been my stronghold, my refuge in the day of distress.”  For whoever cries out to Him from the cross, the Lord hears; and to him He brings the greatest treasure of all – His own presence within him.

(If you would find this “pearl” of greatest value, brothers and sisters, in a word, learn to love thy enemy.)

*******

O LORD, you will defend us if we but trust in you;

why do we not make you our pearl of great price?

YHWH, you free us from the hand of the wicked, the grasp of the violent, for you are our refuge, our stronghold; and so, what need we fear?  Let us trust in you and bear our Cross in joy.

LORD, if we are to be your disciples, your prophets – your light – we cannot be less than you are.  If with anger or indignation we speak to your people, how can it be you who are calling them to repentance?  We must first repent ourselves of any vile matter that may be polluting our souls, and then we can serve as your image in this world.  Help us to set aside all sin and attachment to sin that we might find you at work in our lives.

O LORD, it is you who are the pearl of great price and so we should treasure above all our service of you and the persecution it necessarily brings.  Would we be other than you were among us?  Should we lay down our cross?  Never, I pray.  Rather, let us freely lay down our lives that we might find them in you.

Direct download: BC-080112-W_17_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O parents of the Virgin Mary,

grandparents of the Lord our God,

you who gave birth

to our Blessed Mother,

through whom we are blessed

for all ages…

O you through whom the promise to David

came to be fulfilled,

you whose virtues

found favor with the Lord,

you whom He chose

to bring forth His Mother

and the Mother of all the redeemed –

pray our posterity shall endure

even as your own,

that we shall bear fruit

even in our old age

and see our children’s children

in a happy Jerusalem.

Pray we shall know the Virgin

as intimately as you

and so come to know our Lord

in the kingdom where He reigns.

Direct download: July_26_Joachim_and_Anne.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jer.14:17-22;   Ps.79:8-9,11,13;   Mt.13:36-43)

“Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;

may your compassion quickly come to us,

for we are brought very low.”

If the prophet’s “eyes stream with tears day and night, without rest, over the great destruction which overwhelms the virgin daughter of [his] people, over her incurable wound,” how many more tears will there be “at the end of the world” when the “weeds are collected and burned”?  For in our first reading Jeremiah sees “those slain by the sword” and “those consumed by hunger,” suffering enough to bring tears – but this “blow” struck by the Lord is not one which “cannot be healed.”  “A time of healing” shall indeed come as the nation is brought back from exile only seventy years after its being taken; and soon Jesus shall come to “free [all] those doomed to death,” to set prisoners free… to make permanent the compassionate deliverance of the Lord God.  But at the end of the age, when Jesus comes again and finally, the sentence that is passed against those who have sinned shall have no means of repeal; the death upon souls shall be everlasting.

In our gospel today Jesus speaks in plain terms as He explains “the parable of the weeds in the field.”  This is no mere fable but the delineation of the harvest time that shall come upon all.  To heaven or to hell all shall go, and there shall be no more changing: no more opportunity for redemption for those set upon evil, and no more faltering into wickedness for those set upon good.  Great shall be the eternal gifts showered upon the blessed, but what of the wailing then… what of the wailing?

“We have sinned against you.”  “We recognize, O Lord, our wickedness.”  We pray you shall “remember your covenant with us,” and from all our sin set us free.  “Deliver us and pardon our sins” and we “will give thanks to you forever; through all generations we will declare your praise.”  Keep us safe from your judgment on the Last Day.  Do not “cast [us] off completely,” but raise our lowly hearts unto your kingdom.

*******

O LORD, we are doomed to death for our sin,

but Jesus comes to save us from the fiery furnace

that we might shine your light forever in the kingdom.

YHWH, remember not against us the iniquities of the past but let us be purged of all sin, that we might shine with you in your kingdom.  For the glory of your NAME forgive our wickedness and let us share your glory in your holy Day.

You are right to punish us, LORD, and to condemn us if we harden our hearts on the day of judgment.  But we beg you to hear the sighing of the prisoners and free those doomed to death.  Make us as the sheep of your pasture and we will give thanks to you forever.

Our very lives are dependent on you, LORD our God.  We cannot eat or breathe except that you feed us, except that you give life to our souls.  If you remove your providential hand, we cannot but be destroyed, we cannot but perish in our sins.  But you are our Savior – let your will be accomplished among us and let us be redeemed!  Save us from the fiery furnace and let us stand as citizens of your kingdom, Father of us all.

Direct download: BC-073112-Tu_17_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(2Cor.4:7-15;   Ps.126:1-6;   Mt.20:20-28)

 

 “Continually we carry about in our bodies the dying of Jesus,

   so that in our bodies the life of Jesus may also be revealed.”

 

In His apostles the death and resurrection of Jesus are most clearly shown.  It is particularly their place to suffer persecution, to be “afflicted” and “crushed”, “constantly being delivered to death for Jesus’ sake”; and it is particularly their grace to show forth the glory of the resurrection.  In this selfless service of the Lord, what comes through them is the preaching of the Word; “the spirit of faith” prompts them to speak, and though it bring their death, they do not hesitate: “We believe and so we speak, knowing that he who raised up the Lord Jesus will raise us up along with Jesus and place both us and you in His presence.”  Paul speaks here for all the apostles, and for the grace which comes to us as well through their service.

The Son of Man has come “to give His life as ransom for the many,” and James truly moves quickly “to drink of the cup” of which the Lord partakes.  As the first apostle martyred for the faith, he leads all the apostles forth to such sacrifice, in which they shall all soon join him.  Once the Spirit is upon them, speaking through them, they will have the unquestioned faith necessary to confront without fear, but indeed with holy joy, the death to which each is called.  They “possess a treasure in earthen vessels” and the vessels must be broken for the “surpassing power” of God to come to fulfillment in them and through them.  Willingly do they lay down their lives once the Spirit inspires them, once their faith has been strengthened – once they have lost entirely any preoccupation with honors and attachments of this life, they come preaching and serving, facing the death the world inflicts therefore without a thought to run and hide, but knowing the joy it shall bring deep inside.

“Those that sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.”  We are taken as captives from this world, our hands tied behind us.  But upon returning from this exile, after this death we suffer, we know our mouth will be “filled with laughter, and our tongue with rejoicing.”  So surpassing is the peace which awaits us, the troubles of this life of mission in His Name are as nothing.  Let us pray to the Lord that we shall always speak freely in His Name.  Let us pray to imitate James and all the apostles in their selfless service of Christ.  May we have always that Spirit of faith that led them forth, that in the death of our bodies, we, too, may know and reveal the life of Jesus Christ. 

 

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

 

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

O LORD, may the sacrifice of the apostles

bring many souls into the gates of your kingdom. 

YHWH, let us be ready to be delivered even to death for the sake of your Name and in union with your Son and the blood He has shed for our sakes.  All persecution let us gratefully endure, knowing it shall but lead to great joy in your kingdom.  Crushed in union with the sacrifice of Christ, let us rejoice for the blessings to come.

Let our hearts be set on service of you, O LORD, and not on the honors of this world.  Only those who lay down their lives for the sake of your Name shall find union with you in Heaven.  And so, let us drink of the cup of your Son that your glory may be known among all.

Though speaking of you bring our end in this world, we shall still continue as has James, for then we shall be raised up with him at Jesus’ side.  All power comes only from you, LORD.  We pray you work in all our lives that even our mortal flesh shall serve as a holy sacrifice.

Direct download: St._James_2011.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

O martyred apostle,

first to endure the death of Christ,

you have indeed drunk of His cup,

fully accepting the sacrifice

to which all are called,

and so blazed the path of service

for others to follow –

pray all God’s children,

all those blessed to be called as sons,

as brothers of the Lord,

will have the courage and strength

that comes from the Spirit

to lay down their lives

as a ransom for many

and so find a place

beside our Savior Jesus

in His heavenly kingdom.

Pray the blood of Christ

in which you shared so intimately

pour upon His Church

and all souls be blessed

to drink thereof

unto the world’s salvation.

Direct download: July_25_James.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

O solitary prayer,

alone with the Lord

in the Blessed Sacrament

you offered your life

for the salvation of souls;

in penance you lived,

and so a light shone

even from your tomb

to show the presence of Christ

and His miraculous powers

at work in the world –

pray all souls

seek perfection in prayer,

the perfection of being with Jesus,

of remaining always in His presence

with a heart of love

poured out for our fellow man.

Pray even now

for the salvation of all,

for what else matters

but that we come to dwell

with you in the light of our Lord,

adoring Him forever?

Direct download: July_24_Sharbel_Makhluf.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Gn.18:20-32;   Ps.138:1-3,6-8;   Col.2:12-14;   Lk.11:1-13) 

“Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find;

knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Prayer.  Our wonderful gift from God.  Our sharing in His will.

The Lord ordains that Abraham should speak with Him, and so He stops and waits to hear the prayer of His favored one.  And so in this mystical scene from our first reading, we are given a holy model for our own petitions of the Lord.  Indeed, first we see that the Lord waits upon us to approach Him – His ears are ever open to our pleas.  (As we read elsewhere, He knows what we need before we ask.)  Second, Abraham prefaces his prayer with acknowledgment of the justice of God, thus revealing the confidence we must have that the Lord will answer any righteous request.  Third, Abraham shows the manner in which we must come before our God.  Though we must be persistent, thus manifesting our genuine concern for the prayer we offer, we must realize to whom we speak and come before Him in deep humility: “See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord, though I am but dust and ashes!” says Abraham, and it is with words such as these that he precedes each of his persistent requests.  And because of his faith and humility, his prayer is answered and Lot is spared from the destruction of Sodom.

And, of course, our greatest model of prayer is found in our gospel.  When Jesus finishes praying, the disciples beg Him to teach them to pray.  First He shares with them the Lord’s Prayer, wherein we give ourselves to the providential hand of God and reflect His grace and forgiveness.  He then relates a parable on the necessity and blessings of perseverance in prayer – we must never be discouraged in our prayer.  Finally, the words which drip like honey from His mouth: “Ask and you will receive…” and His blessed assurance that the Father will “give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.”

The Lord loves us and wishes to share all of Himself with us.  We must but come as children before Him and we will know the kindness of which David sings, and we will sing with him: “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth.”  Indeed, “the lowly He sees”; His “right hand saves” them.  Forsaking not the work of His hands, He rather justifies them, giving them life even by the recognition of their voices before Him.  Thus we are “raised with Him through faith in the power of God.”  “Having forgiven us all our transgressions” through the cross of Christ, the Father now brings the humble to life through the Spirit of His Son.  It is in His hearing our prayer that this grace is best known, for therein our spirits become one with His own.

O Lord, hear and answer us as we call upon you each day in all faith and humility.  Make us your own sons and daughters in the Spirit of Christ.

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

Music: "Prayer: He Asks/I Am Not MY Body" (1st part) from Breath, the Apple Rises, fifth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, give us the Holy Spirit

that the salvation wrought by Jesus

might be fulfilled in us,

and we might forever praise your NAME.

YHWH, we call upon your NAME; answer our prayer and send your Spirit upon us to save us and bring us into your kingdom.  Your Son would forgive us all our sins – let us be joined to Him.

It is you, O LORD, who listen for our prayers, wishing always to share your grace with your children.  By your own hand you would feed us with your Spirit if we would but turn to you in faith.  Let us not grow weary of calling upon your NAME, but by our persistence may we find our good desires fulfilled in your kindness.

O LORD, let your people not perish in their sins but find your compassion at work in their lives.  Forgive all who turn to you and are baptized into the sacrifice of Jesus.  Your promise be fulfilled in our midst by the blood of His Cross.

O Heavenly Father, help us to remember your NAME and the grace that is ours when we seek your face.

Direct download: BC-072813-Su_17_OT_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O seer of the Passion

of our Lord Jesus Christ,

of the scourges and the nails,

of the blows and mockery

He endured,

of the blood which covered

His face and all His skin…

O you who have witnessed

all His suffering

and sought so diligently

to share in it with Him –

pray that we who are so blind

to the pain and anguish

our Savior bore

under the weight of the Cross

we build by our sin

may by His grace

have our eyes opened,

and so turn from our own condemnation

to the blood of redemption

He has shed for our sakes

and take refuge in the penance

that leads all souls to the kingdom.

Direct download: July_23_Bridget.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jer.7:1-11;   Ps.84:2-6,8,11;   Mt.13:24-30) 

“Reform your ways and your deeds,

so that I may remain with you in this place.”

We hear again today of the failure of “the temple of the Lord” and its sacrifices to bring the Israelites to the eternal presence of God.  For though the Lord “sowed good seed in His field,” though He made His temple a house of prayer, it has become “a den of thieves” in the eyes of His chosen.  And the Lord “see[s] what is being done.”  And because they “steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, [and] burn incense to Baal,” the Israelites break the covenant upon which the temple is founded, and it can but fall to ruin.  The Lord spells out what they must do to preserve the integrity of His temple: “If each of you deals justly with his neighbor; if you no longer oppress the resident alien, the orphan, and the widow; if you no longer shed innocent blood in this place, or follow strange gods to your own harm…” but though He repeatedly warns them of what it takes to maintain His presence in their midst, yet they repeatedly turn from His blessings and the words the prophets offer.  Unable to “thoroughly reform [their] ways and [their] deeds,” they cannot but lose the temple.

But, again, there is hope.  For what has not been preserved on earth shall be made permanent in heaven.  Though “an enemy came and sowed weeds through His wheat,” and though in this world they are not rooted out from our midst – though our worship fall short of the Lord’s eternal glory, yet Jesus comes to perfect God’s will in us, drawing us to the Temple not made by human hands… and with Him the weeds are no more.  Yes, because of our sin we lose His blessing; but by His grace our worship is made whole in His sight.

“My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord.  My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”  In the heart of Jesus I would dwell; in His flesh we find the Temple.  And His Temple we become as we eat His Body and drink His Blood.  As we follow this Word made flesh, we are redeemed and our home with God blessed permanently.  And so in truth and with His love welling up in our souls, we cry with our psalmist: “I had rather live at the threshold of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked”; and so, “happy” indeed we are.  Praise the Lord for His eternal goodness, for in Him “even the sparrow finds a home.”

*******

O LORD, the weeds are bundled for burning,

for sin cannot stand in your sight;

only the pure of heart enter your House.

YHWH, be with us in this place; gather us as wheat into your barn.  Make our bodies the temple of your Spirit, that we shall be pleasing to you and so with you remain.

There are weeds among your wheat, LORD, and there are sins that prick our hearts and move to separate us from you and your love, and your presence with us.  O let us reform our ways and our deeds! that our lives may find your blessing and we dwell forever in your holy Temple.

Our heart and our flesh cry out to you, O living God, that we might live in your sight, that we might be as your own precious children united in heart and flesh with you.  Even in this land let us be with you; let this land become as Heaven by your Body and Blood among us, by our joining ourselves in joy with you… by the reform of our lives according to your Word.

Direct download: BC-072812-Sa_16_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O woman of great love

whose heart burned

with desire for the Lord,

whose soul thirsted for the living God…

the tears you cried

became the source

of the greatest joy

as from your sins the Christ released you,

as your eyes beheld

your blessed Teacher –

pray for us this day, O Mary,

that our hearts shall be set aflame

with faith and love

as we hear the news you bring us:

that our Lord is no longer in the tomb,

that He lives

and so we with Him,

that He is ascending to the Father

and we shall join Him there.

O pray His love

dispel the coldness of our hearts

that we shall be like you,

remaining with Him forever.

Direct download: July_22_Mary_Magdalene.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jer.3:14-17;   Jer.31:10-13;   Mt.13:18-23) 

“At that time they will call Jerusalem the Lord’s throne;

there all nations will be gathered together

to honor the name of the Lord at Jerusalem.”

I would like today to focus the attention particularly of the Lord’s chosen race on the following prophecy of the great Jeremiah: “They will in those days no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord!’ or miss it, or make another.”  For I must in obedience to the Spirit of Truth ask the question: If the temple of the Lord has been destroyed, how is it Judaism can be said to yet exist?  With the discontinuance of the sacrifices, does the heart of the Mosaic Law not undergo a certain transformation?  To the point: Does the sacrifice of Christ not supplant – even as it fulfills, perfectly – the Old Covenant?  Is His blood poured upon the altar now and sprinkled upon all our souls, is it not this which gives birth to the New Jerusalem, where “they shall come streaming to the Lord’s blessings”?

And does not the destruction of the temple so soon after the death of Him who prophesied it in tears not substantiate His claim as the Temple not built by human hands?  And does the fact that the ancient walls have remained in ruins for some two thousand years not indicate its permanent end?  Would the Lord really wish it to be built again?  And do you think He would leave you alone for so long a time?  Has He not come?

My brothers, my sisters, should not he who has the deepest “roots” be the strongest tree reaching to the greatest heights?  Is He not?  And should you not be as this quintessential Jew, suffering for the sake of all at the hands of those who breathe condemnation?  (Here is a message to those who would take the Lord’s justice in their violent hands – you shall not escape condemnation for your sin.  Whatever good may seem to result from your prideful persecution, though His chosen may turn at your threat, yet your sin will be remembered.)

“Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion.”  This word is for all who understand “the message about God’s reign” Jesus comes to sow in receptive hearts.  And so, “hear the word of the Lord, O nations, proclaim it on distant coasts” to all God’s “rebellious children,” to all who yet walk “in their hardhearted wickedness” – for all may now “become fruitful in the land.”  (And you, brother Catholic, do you know the blessing that is upon you; do you see that you stand in the New Jerusalem?)  But still the chosen are called first of all; still the Lord waits for those most blessed, to pour His new graces upon them.

Let no man’s soul be choked by “worldly anxiety”; let all come now to the Lord’s glorious throne, here in the heavenly Jerusalem.

*******

O LORD, let us not falter along the way

but come streaming to your blessings.

YHWH, how shall we bear a fruitful yield, we who have been so rebellious?  Have we not choked your Word off from our souls; are we not today void of the roots of your kingdom?  Yet you remain as a Shepherd who cares for His flock, you continue in your love for us, and so you call us back to the land set aside for our flourishing – you ransom us from our sin that your City we might enter with dancing.

Open our ears to hear the Word of your Son.  Open our hearts to receive your grace.  Let us be planted in good soil, in the flesh of Jesus; let us be as the New Jerusalem.  In the Temple of His Body let us make our home, all hardness of heart taken from us.  O LORD, let us again be blessed to be your children, washed clean by the blood of the Christ.

These waters from Heaven fall upon our souls that indeed we might grow and produce an abundant harvest in your NAME, O LORD.

Direct download: BC-072712-F_16_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O great preacher of the Word of God,

you who were entrusted

with this angelic office

to bring light to Christian minds

and dispel the darkness

of sin and error –

pray all souls this day

may be blessed with hearing

the Word of God you spoke so well,

that all hearts might turn in faith

to the Lord

purged by its cleansing fire.

O blessed teacher,

pray men of every tongue

be told of the truth,

that all might live

by the Spirit of God

in grace,

that the renewal of the Church

and every soul

might be made complete

and the ranks of the New Jerusalem

be filled to overflowing.

Direct download: July_21_Lawrence_of_Brindisi.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jer.2:1-3,7-8,12-13;   Ps.36:6-11;   Mt.13:10-17)

“They look but do not see,

they listen but do not hear or understand.”

Oh how “sacred to the Lord was Israel, the first fruits of His harvest.”  And oh how they loved the Lord “as a bride,” following Him so closely.  But oh how they have forgotten “the devotion of their youth” and turned from Him.  For when He “brought [them] into the garden lands to eat its goodly fruits,” they did not seek Him from whom all their blessings flowed, but rather “entered and defiled [His] land,” and “made [His] heritage loathsome.”  So blindly “they have forsaken [the Lord], the source of living waters [and] have dug themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that hold no water.”  And so, how empty of life they have become.

And so Jesus echoes Isaiah’s prophecy upon the people today, declaring it now fulfilled: “Listen as you will, you shall not understand, look intently as you will, you shall not see.”  Though the Son of God stand before them, though their blessing is complete in their midst, strain as they might they cannot see what is so obvious – for “sluggish indeed is this people’s heart.”  Too long have they turned their sights away from Him, and now what shall refresh their vision?

Should they not sing with David of the Lord’s glory – “How precious is your kindness, O God!”  Should they not “take refuge in the shadow of [His] wings?”  Does He not spread them above them this day?  In Jesus should they not “have their fill of the prime gifts of [His] house”; does the Lord not “give them to drink” from this “delightful stream”?  Then why are their mouths closed to receiving this precious gift offered upon His altar?  Is He not the holy sacrifice of the covenant renewed?  Is it not so that in drinking His blood all find life?  Is He not the source of living water?

O Lord, “with you is the fountain of life, and in your light we see light.”  Awaken our hearts to see your face; let us “turn back to [you]” that you may “heal [us].”  For you are Light and Life itself, and all our blessings flow from you and from your Body and Blood offered for our sakes.  In your Son may we find again our home; may our hearts be open to understand your love present in our midst.

*******

O LORD, let us be blessed

to hear your word of forgiveness,

we who have blinded ourselves to your good gifts.

YHWH, you are the fountain of life, the source of living water; in you we find all blessings.  You provide for all our needs, planting us in a garden land filled with good fruits.  You make us as your holy Bride – such is your love for your faithful child.

But we are not faithful to you, O LORD.  We do not drink from the fountain of living water but dig for ourselves broken cisterns, the creation of our soiled hands, of our wayward hearts and minds.  And so our soul languishes in a foreign land.

How shall you heal our blindness, LORD?  How shall our ears open to your Word?  How shall we return to you and find again your blessing?  Your kindness knows no bounds and so you send your Son among us.  To His teaching let us be obedient; let our hearts open before Him that we might be redeemed.

How blessed are we to have the living God in our midst, His face shining upon us, His voice speaking to our hearts…  O LORD, take not your Son from us, but let us be healed by His presence.

Direct download: BC-072612-Th_16_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O suffering shepherd

severely persecuted

for your work of evangelization,

you ever continued to preach the faith

and convert multitudes

despite all the tortures

the ravenous beasts of this earth

could muster;

a true apostle you proved to be,

martyred even as Christ’s Twelve –

how shall we find

a measure of your conviction,

of your persistence

in spreading the Gospel of the Lord?

Pray for us, blessed shepherd,

that we who are weak of will

and so fearful

of the slightest disturbance

to our comfort and ease

shall learn by God’s grace

to give our lives

as freely as you

in the service of man’s salvation.

Direct download: July_20_Apollinaris.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jer.1:1,4-10;   Ps.71:1-6,15,17;   Mt.13:1-9)

“O God, you have taught me from my youth,

and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.”

So does the seed grow, and bear fruit in the sight of the Lord.

Our psalmist declares, “On you I depend from birth; from my mother’s womb you are my strength.”  Indeed we are planted in our mother’s womb and we grow by the grace of the Lord.  And as our bodies grow so gradually from the womb of our mother, so our spirits, too, grow from the womb of our Mother, the Church, in whose womb the Lord plants us and nurtures us with His water, the Holy Spirit.  For it is the Lord who prepares the ground for our planting.  As He declares to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you.”  So even before we are planted as seed the Lord holds us in His Hand, and that Hand of love shall never leave us.

And what does the Lord expect of the seed He plants and nurtures but that it sprout and bear much fruit?  What does He do but call us forth to proclaim His Word with our lives: “To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak” – what He requires of Jeremiah He requires of us all.  As “the Lord extended His hand and touched [the prophet’s] mouth, saying, ‘See I place my words within your mouth!’” so He reaches out to us all, planting His Word within our hearts and expecting it to grow and blossom forth.  Into the light our works must come to reveal His heavenly presence.

“The crowd stood along the shore” as rows of plants in an ordered garden, and Jesus watered them with His teaching.  And in whom would His Word take root?  Who would grow unencumbered in His light?  Who would bear fruit unto the kingdom of God?  “Let everyone heed what he hears!”  Make the Lord your “rock of refuge” and He will “rescue [you] from the hand of the wicked” and nurture you with His Bread and the Word of Life.  And your “mouth shall declare [His] justice, day by day [His] salvation” as you come gradually and invariably – you know not now – to the kingdom our Savior prepares with His Blood.

*******

O LORD, let the seed we sow with you

bear fruit by your blessing.

YHWH, from the womb you call us; from our conception you bless us with your Word to nourish us and help us grow in your sight, that upon maturity we might praise your NAME and share your Word with all.  Help us indeed to grow each day in you and do your will with all our lives.

O LORD, may we bear fruit a hundredfold!  May we be planted in good soil, in the womb of your Church, that fruitful indeed we might be.  Touch our mouth with your hand that our tongue may be purified to speak of your glory and so serve to plant seeds of life in souls with ears to hear your voice.  Let us not wither and die in our sin or be choked by the cares of this world; keep the clutches of Satan far from us, and we will be your own children, declaring your salvation until your Son returns.

O LORD, we depend on you for our very lives, for the breath in our nostrils and the love in our hearts.  Shine your light on us this day and let our fruit be pleasing to you.

Direct download: BC-072512-W_16_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Mic.7:14-15,18-20;   Ps.85:2-8;   Mt.12:46-50) 

“Then extending His hands to His disciples, He said,

‘There are my mother and my brothers.’”

The Lord’s blessing rests upon all who worship Him in spirit and in truth, and it comes to us primarily through the forgiveness of our sins.  For the Lord extends His hands to His disciples first of all to “cast into the depths of the sea all our sins.”  This is His principal work, He whose name means “God saves.”  And by such compassion poured upon us, by His “treading underfoot our guilt,” we are drawn into His holy fold; we become “the flock of His inheritance” by the death that brings us life.

“Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of His inheritance?”  Who indeed is like Jesus?  For He dies and we live.  He washes us clean of sin, and we become His children.  Though we deserve His “burning anger,” He abandons not us but “[His] displeasure against us.”  He “does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency,” a clemency that not only forgives but redeems – for Jesus also extends His hands to His disciples to gather them into the Father’s arms.

“You have favored, O Lord, your land; you have restored the well-being of Jacob.  You have forgiven the guilt of your people; you have covered all their sins.”  How shall we thank you, Lord, who “grant us our salvation”?  How shall we praise you, Lord, whose “kindness” has made us your own?  “Shall not your people rejoice in you?”  Will we not sing of your glory forever?  Will we not stand in your presence and serve you for all ages to come?  “You have withdrawn all your wrath.”  You “will again have compassion on us.”  In you we take refuge always, as your blessed daughters and sons.

O Mother in heaven, pray for us,

that children of the Lord we shall ever remain,

doing the will of the Father as thou hast done.

*******

O LORD, could you be kinder

than to make us your own flesh and blood?

YHWH, shepherd your people; make us as your Son’s brothers and sisters – make us as His Mother.  Forgive us our sins that we might be gathered into your outstretched arms.

How kind you are to us, dear LORD, how compassionate.  Who could imagine such a love as makes us one with God Himself?  Who could have believed you would send your only Son, your very self, into our midst to save us and make us your inheritance?  Your kindness is unsurpassable – no greater gift could we find.

Be not angry with us for our sins this day, O LORD, but grant us your mercy as you do for all your children who turn to you.  Make us your disciples, truly brothers and sisters of Jesus, one with the Blessed Mother and all the saints.  Into your kingdom let us come; let us pasture on your holy mountain.

How blessed are we when your anger is passed, dear LORD.  Let us be your flock, living in your peace even this day.

Direct download: BC-072412-Tu_16_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O servant of the sick

whose compassionate heart

melted at the sight

of every suffering soul,

who constantly visited Christ

as He lay in hospital…

how deep was your charity,

how complete your love and dedication

to the poor –

pray that we too shall leave

the cares of the world behind

and have only concern

for serving Christ

and our fellow man;

pray the hard hearts of this age

will be saved by the Lord’s grace

even as they look upon Him

in the face of those in need.

How shall we match your stature,

which was so like Jesus’ own;

how shall we find perfect charity,

taking the Lord into our homes?

Pray our hearts be set on Him alone.

Direct download: July_18_Camillus_de_Lellis.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Mic.6:1-4,6-8;   Ps.50:5-6,8-9,16-17,21,23;   Mt.12:38-42) 

“The Lord has a plea against His people,

and He enters into trial with Israel.”

“God Himself is the judge,” brothers and sisters.  And so He declares: “Gather my faithful ones before me, those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”  All are brought before His throne, and all must “present [their] plea” in His presence.

And what shall we say on that Day?  Will you “come before Him with holocausts, with calves a year old?  Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriad streams of oil?”  Hear His word to His people: it is not these the Lord desires.  It is not the sacrifices offered in the temple built by human hands the Lord seeks of His chosen ones.  The temple He has destroyed, and with it the vain works of the flesh.  It is now the Lord’s desire that you but “walk humbly with your God.”  And so He promises: “To Him that goes the right way I will show the saving power of God,” and proclaims, “He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me.”

Oh how we should praise Him! He who is “greater than Jonah” and “greater than Solomon.”  Oh how we should repent and reform our lives at His preaching!  Oh how we should walk in the light of His wisdom!  But are we not too often like those who offer vain sacrifice and seek to have our eyes impressed by some extraordinary sign?  The sign stands before us.  But all too often we are as faithless and blind as the scribes and Pharisees in our gospel today.

What a terrible thought that we might be condemned for our lack of faith by the “citizens of Nineveh” and “the queen of the South,” who needed so little, really, to believe in the greatness of the Lord.  Has He not “brought [us] up from the land of Egypt”?  Has He not released us from “the place of slavery”?  Why do we so soon forget what the ancients knew by much less?  Is not Jesus in our midst this day? 

Let us not be blind to His presence, and let us not offer our sacrifice unworthily.  For here before us stands the Lord of all; into our souls and bodies we receive Him by Word and by Sacrament.  All He asks of us is our faith.  And will we believe Him?  Or is our worship only on the tongue and not burning in our heart?  Let Him not find you faithless this day.

*******

O LORD, teach us your way of humility;

let us seek only to be as you.

YHWH, how can we seek a sign from you when it is we who should be offering a sign to you, and more than a sign – our very lives.  For your Son comes to us bringing salvation to our souls and teaching us the way to find it; should we not repent of our sin, rend our hearts before Him, and praise you for your mercy this day?

But we have not faith, LORD, and so we come only with vain sacrifices, mere words  on our lips and a heart seeking our own will to be done.  We would create you – but it is you who have created us!  You have created us and you would redeem us, and so you enter into trial with us to see if we shall merit your love.  Bring our sins up before our eyes, that by your grace we might turn from them and walk humbly with you.

Why should we even need your Son to be buried in the earth, LORD?  Should our faith not recognize you before us without such a sign?  Ah, but we are blind, so blind.  Discipline us in your love that we might reform our lives and find the way to you.

Direct download: BC-072312-M_16_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gn.18:1-10a;   Ps.15:1-5;   Col.1:24-28;   Lk.10:38-42) 

“There is need of only one thing.”

Whether we teach or whether we serve, all must be done in the Name of the Lord.  If it is not sitting at His feet that we do all things, if all is not a prayer offered in His Name, to His glory, it is all quite worthless.

How “anxious and concerned about many things” we often are.  How like Martha we often struggle under the burden of our duties without a proper heart for service.  And so how often, in the words of our psalm, we are like one who “takes up a reproach against his neighbor.”  How like Martha we fail to be as one who “honors those who fear the Lord,” even if that holy one is our sister.  Jesus is at work there in her midst, in the words of Paul, “teaching everyone with all wisdom,” but Martha cannot stop to hear His words, and would take the word from her sister’s heart.  And so the Lord must be put to work, performing the other task Paul outlines, that of “admonishing everyone.”  Can she really think that the passing needs of the body take precedence over the eternal need of the soul?

Brothers and sisters, we are no less ignorant of the presence of Christ in our midst; we are no less ignorant of His Word speaking to our souls when we rush through our daily tasks – be they to teach or to serve – as if we are on some nonstop treadmill which is beyond our control.  Each day and at every moment, the Lord calls to us, and each day and at every moment we must listen.  With His Name written clearly upon our hearts we should act, and not otherwise.  We must think and say with Paul, “I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God,” whether we bring forth that Word by word or by action.  Again, if we do not listen to His voice, if it is not this that moves us, that animates our work, all our afflictions are useless, for they are not united to the cross of Christ. 

Let us take Abraham as our example.  He greets the Lord as He comes to him.  He rushes about to prepare Him a meal and care for His needs.  Indeed, “he waited on them under the tree while they ate.”  But he did all of this with a prayer in his heart; he performed all his diligent service out of love for Him whom he served.  He could see clearly it was God he waited upon, and so all his frantic work was no burden; he found only joy to be in the presence of His God.  So must be our attitude in all we do, brothers and sisters.  It cannot be otherwise.  All we do must be done for Him; we must ever keep His presence in our hearts, and with this one needful thing fixed firmly within us, all of our lives will be blessed.  And we, too, will be holy.  We, too, will be made whole by the power of His Word at work within us.

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

Music: "Breathing for a Living" from Breath, The Apple Rises, fifth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, help us remember it is in serving you

we find our hope for glory.

YHWH, let all our work be done for you, all we suffer be for the sake of your Body, and we shall not grow weary in serving you but rejoice that you are in our midst.

You come to us, dear God, you sit among us calling us by your presence and by the words of your Son and His disciples to make known the riches of your glory to all souls to whom we come.  O let us give witness to our love for you in all we do this day!

Should we not treasure your presence with us and the work we are blessed to do for you?  Should it not be our great glory that we may feed you, O LORD and God, by our own hands?  What grace you give us in letting us serve you and one another – what joy we should take in thus doing your will, in putting flesh to your Word… in becoming as Jesus!

O LORD, let all our afflictions be endured with your Son under His Cross, and we shall be fruitful in your sight and remain forever in your presence.

Direct download: BC-072113-Su_16_OT_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O Mother of contemplation

who heard the Word of God

and kept it,

pondering its wonder

in your heart,

you who were so faithful

to His call

and remain ever in His presence –

how shall we know our Lord

if you do not pray for us,

if you do not intercede

for souls so blinded

by the distractions

and temptations

of a fallen world?

Our prayers are with you, dear Mother,

who pray as one with our dear Lord,

who are so one with Him

in body and soul,

who stand at His side this day

in the kingdom of Heaven

There on His holy mountain

help us to make our home.

Direct download: July_16_Our_Lady_of_Mt_Carmel.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Mic.2:1-5;   Ps.10:1-4,7-8,12,14;   Mt.12:14-21)

“When the Pharisees were outside

they began to plot against Jesus

to find a way to destroy Him.”

Is it not of these David sings when he declares, “He lurks in ambush near the villages; in hiding he murders the innocent; his eyes spy upon the unfortunate”?  And though He withdraw from them this day, though He will silently subject Himself to torture and death at their hands, be assured that the Lord is “planning against this race an evil from which [they] shall not withdraw [their] necks.”

“Woe to those who plan iniquity, and work out evil on their couches.”  And what greater woe can there be than for the one who plots disaster upon the head of the Chosen One?  These are they who would “cheat [the] owner of his house, a man of his inheritance”; for here is the One of whom Isaiah prophesies in the name of the Lord: “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, my loved one in whom I delight.”  Yet by “cursing, guile, and deceit” these would steal the inheritance of the only Son.  But the Lord shall not “stand aloof” forever, and over these soon “shall be sung… a plaintive chant: ‘Our ruin is complete, our fields are portioned out among our captors.’”  What the Lord has promised He has accomplished in wresting the House of God from the disobedient and placing it in the hands of His children of light.

Now the Lord does “proclaim justice to the Gentiles.”  And we who suffer with Him, we “the afflicted, who are caught in the devices the wicked has contrived,” rejoice in the knowledge that “judgment is made victorious” in Him – “on [Him] the unfortunate man depends,” and his fortunes are made prosperous as the Lord’s own.

“‘There is no God,’ sums up his thoughts,” the evil one who turns from the Lord.  But the One they kill is God Himself, whose patient endurance of their crown of thorns shall bring the wicked to ruin.  Caught in their own snares, “misery and sorrow” shall be theirs forever, even as the Lord and His anointed find release from the plots of men and are gathered into the kingdom of heaven. 

The beast is slain by a word from His mouth, opened on that Day; though silent now His redeeming Word goes forth to the ends of the earth, setting free all suffering prisoners.

*******

O LORD, we find our hope in you,

for you save the poor and afflicted soul

even as you destroy his wicked tormentors.

YHWH, look upon the afflicted who are pursued as was your Son; you see our misery and sorrow – save us from the plottings of men.

The greedy and deceitful you will thwart, O LORD.  The violent you will destroy.  You will save your poor ones who cry out to you; the plans of the wicked will not succeed.

Though your Son is captured by their snares, though the hands of men take hold of His body and nail it to the Cross, they will find, O LORD, they cannot touch His Spirit, and that Spirit will bring them to ruin.

On the third day He rises from the dead, LORD, and so we shall rise with Him.  Though trodden down and deprived of our earthly possessions, yet forever we shall live in the riches of Heaven.

Silently let your Word go forth now, LORD, calling all to repentance and healing.  All you give opportunity to turn to you – crush us not till we know your mercy upon our souls.

Direct download: BC-072112-Sa_15_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O good doctor

who taught the way to God

by death to things outside the Cross,

by resting with Christ

in the tomb

that we might pass

from this world to the Father –

pray our passions

indeed be silenced

that the fire of God

will carry our soul

to Him who is beyond

the operations of our mind;

pray our surrender to Him

may be complete

and the Holy Spirit lead us

in loving flame

to the kingdom.

Where is the longing of our soul

for God,

and who will assist us on the journey?

Speak to our hearts this day, good teacher,

from your place in His radiant presence.

Direct download: July_15_Bonaventure.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Is.38:1-8,21-22;   Is.38:10-12,16-17;   Mt.12:1-8)

“Hezekiah turned his face to the wall

and prayed to the Lord.” 

“When Hezekiah was mortally ill, the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, came and said to him: ‘Thus says the Lord: Put your house in order, for you are about to die.’”  When the Jewish race was about to perish for lack of love, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to the Pharisees and declared, “It is mercy I desire and not sacrifice.”  And if they heed not His word, they indeed shall die.

But will what occurred “in those days” with the king of Judah recur with these leaders of the Jews?  Will they, too, turn their face to the wall and cry out to the Lord?  For there is a greater threat than “the hand of the king of Assyria” upon their race now.  Here is a greater threat than death.  The condemnation they cast so freely upon “innocent men” now begins to overshadow their souls.

“To the gates of the netherworld I shall be consigned for the rest of my years,” Hezekiah cries out; and indeed his fears shall be realized in these.  For they “shall see no more the Lord in the land of the living” if they refuse to see Him here as He stands before them.  They shall know no longer the mercy that sustains all life if they harden their hearts to Him who holds that mercy in His flesh and blood.

The Lord seeks to open their eyes and their hearts to the power and love of God.  By their own Scripture and history and law He proves their judgment wrong, asking, “Have you not read what David did when he and his men were hungry…?  Have you not read in the law how the priests on temple duty can break the sabbath without incurring guilt?”  But yet would they condemn King David and the temple priests, placing their own judgment over the law of the love of God.

I fear for them, brothers and sisters, as for all who are obstinate of heart.  For here are the chosen of God.  Here are those graced with the Lord’s promise.  But what shall become of their blessing if they reject the Promise when He stands before them?  What shall become of those who turn the grace of God to empty wind?  Oh how their bones shall rot!  Oh how the fears of Hezekiah shall be fulfilled!  Oh that they could hear the words the Lord speaks to His repentant king: “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears.  I will heal you.”  Oh that they would know the mercy of God.

To Him may all come, for He who stops the sun and moves it back upon its course indeed holds all in His loving hands.  The Temple of the Lord is here.

*******

O LORD, you raise us up from death,

from condemnation for our sins,

for you are the LORD our God.

YHWH, have mercy on our poor, judgmental souls, for we have come close to death because of our sins, for the lack of mercy we have shown.  But you are not like us, for you have pity on those who cry out to you, on those who hunger for your food – hear us as we cry to you this day for your forgiveness upon our souls, that even this day we might live in your sight.

Our sins would have cut off our life, LORD; our disobedience but brings us to the nether world.  But Jesus is Son of Man and God like you and He walks amongst us as your mercy, seeking to redeem our fallen souls from the grave we have made by our transgressions.  And He brings us new life.

O LORD, let the days be turned back that we might make amends for our past sins, that we might have years to reform our lives and set our house in order for your Son’s return.  If you had not mercy upon us, we would already be dead, doomed by our disobedience.  But remember us and make us faithful and wholehearted in your sight; feed us with the Bread of life. 

Direct download: BC-072012-F_15_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Is.26:7-9,12,16-19;   Ps.102:13-21;   Mt.11:28-30)

“The Lord looked down from His holy height,

from heaven He beheld the earth,

To hear the groaning of the prisoners,

to release those doomed to die.”

Yes, “we cried out in anguish under [His] chastising.  As a woman about to give birth… we conceived and writhed in pain, giving birth to wind.”  Empty were our works; dead in sin were we.  But the Lord took pity on His people.  Though “oppressed by [His] punishment” and as prisoners in chains, the time arrived for Him to “arise and have mercy on Zion.”  And so He sent His Son.

“My soul yearns for you in the night, yes, my spirit within me keeps vigil for you.”  Because even in death His faithful set their hearts on Him and make Him the “desire of [their] souls,” He comes.  “He has regarded the prayer of the destitute, and not despised their prayer.”  Though afflicted by sin, the Lord looks upon our tears; and His heart breaks with ours, and the light walks among us… and Jesus comes.  And Jesus comes.

Hear the words of our Lord: “Your souls will find rest.”  He promises us His peace.  Though heavy burdened with the weight of this dark world, He is here to save us.  How do we find such peace?  How do we find release from the prison in which we are confined?  Heed His instruction; “take [His] yoke upon your shoulders and learn from [Him].”  And what is this yoke in which you will find your freedom?  It is nothing else but the cross.

The Lord has looked down from heaven; He has sent His Son forth from His throne.  And what does He come bearing “to release those doomed to die”?  Yes, it is a cross He carries.  Our sins and our pain He takes upon Himself.  Only through this instrument of salvation, only through the flesh of Christ fastened to the wood – only by the nails which pierce His hands and feet are we brought life.  For He cries with us in anguish: He dies with us in pain.  And the Lord’s pity is realized, the mercy of God fulfilled… and washed are we in this blood from sin, and our cry thus taken away.

And we must do the same as He.  We must die, too.  We must unite ourselves to His cross, and let Him take all pain from our souls.  And so we shall be whole.  And so the cry shall be no more.  And so we shall never die.  “Awake and sing, you who lie in the dust,” for your “corpses shall arise.”

*******

O LORD, we were doomed to die

but you heard our cry

and sent your Son to save us by His Cross –

let us share in His mercy this day.

YHWH, have mercy on Zion, on your children who cry out to you in the night, in the night that is our life in this world.  Regard the prayer of your poor ones; look down from your holy height and have pity on us.  Send your Son to save us from our pain, from our sin, by the grace of the Cross He bears.

We have given birth to wind, O LORD.  In vanity we have lived our lives.  But we look to you to redeem us from such emptiness, from the darkness which besets our hearts.  You bring peace to us; your Son grants us the salvation we could not achieve on our own.  O let us take up His gentle yoke that we might find rest for our souls.

Thank you for your mercy, Jesus, for coming among us in gentleness and humility and carrying our burden of pride away.  Let us come to you now, as you call us; let us find the refreshment you offer in your Cross.  Upon our shoulders let us take your light burden, that we might know your judgment is removed from us in the sacrifice you have made.

Direct download: BC-071912-Th_15_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O you who were king and emperor

yet set your sights

on the reign of Heaven

and the reform and upbuilding

of the Church on earth,

who dedicated yourself

to the Lord of all

and service of His apostles –

pray our cares and responsibilities

will not distract us

from remembrance

of our God and His mercy

but that we shall indeed

dedicate these

and all our lives

into the hands of our Savior,

that He might dispose of them and us

as He sees fit.

Pray our kingdom not be of this earth

but of Heaven

and that we shall make our home

at the foot of the throne

of the Almighty.

Direct download: July_13_Henry.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Is.10:5-7,13-16;   Ps.94:5-10,14-15;   Mt.11:25-27) 

“Shall He who instructs nations not chastise,

He who teaches men knowledge?”

Again we learn the basic teaching of the Lord: The exalted are humbled and the humbled exalted.  In our first reading “the Lord of hosts” promises to “send among His fat ones leanness” – condemning Assyria for the pride it takes in its “own power”; and in our gospel Jesus “offer[s] praise” to His “Father, Lord of heaven and earth,” declaring, “What you have hidden from the learned and the clever you have revealed to the merest children.”  “Judgment shall again be with justice,” for the Lord shall raise those who have been “trample[d] down” even as He topples the pride of the wicked.

Assyria boasts, “I am shrewd” and proclaims itself “a giant.”  But truly he is a fool who exalts himself above the power of the Lord and does not see that all things are done only in Him.  Yes, with what wisdom Isaiah speaks when he questions: “Will the axe boast against him who hews with it?” and, could a rod “sway him who lifts it, or a staff him who is not wood”?  How clearly he exposes the foolishness of the vain boasting of those who are mighty in their own eyes.

And how well his lesson leads to Jesus’ own.  “Everything has been given over to [Jesus] by [His] Father”: all power is in our Lord’s hands.  And when He states, “No one knows the Son but the Father, and no one knows the Father but the Son – and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal Him,” what is He saying but that no one comes to the Father, no one receives any blessing of the Father’s power and love, unless He humbles himself before Jesus who is the Chosen One?  Nothing of God can anyone know, nothing of His power can we share – no salvation is found at all unless we come to Him as a child.

“Shall He who formed the ear not hear?  Or He who formed the eye not see?”  Do you believe your vision greater than His own?  “Understand, you senseless ones among the people; and, you fools, when will you be wise.”  For though these puffed-up souls “murder” “the fatherless” with their tongue, though “widow and stranger they slay” in their wicked deceit, the truth shall not escape them: justice shall indeed come.  And as “the upright of heart… follow it” – follow the Lord of all to eternal glory – for those who take pride in their own power, “instead of His glory there will be kindling like the kindling of fire.”  Know this, you who are slow to believe.

*******

O LORD, let us be as your children,

doing your will in all humility.

YHWH, what greater knowledge can we have than to know you who know all things?  Of what worth is our wisdom apart from you and your blessing?  Vainly we toil upon this earth, seeking our own gain and falling into wickedness – reveal yourself to us that we might be raised from our blindness.  Else we shall surely die.

Trusting in our own power, what a fateful path we tread, O LORD, for then we walk further and further from you, and so further and further from true light.  In darkness we can but end, putting our faith thus in creatures.  But if we turn to you, our Creator, and recognize your power over us, then we shall be blessed by your love, for then we shall enter your presence.  Then we shall be doing your will and sharing in your wisdom, and so finding your light.

From all our wickedness let us turn, O LORD, by the grace of your chastisement, and let us be as children before you, obedient to your Word and so sharing in your life.

Direct download: BC-071812-W_15_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Is.7:1-9;   Ps.48:2-9;   Mt.11:20-24)

“Unless your faith is firm

you shall not be firm!”

“Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear; let not your courage fail.”  For “great is the Lord and wholly to be praised in the city of our God” and “renowned is He as a stronghold.”  But the faithless shall be as the rebellious nations which came against the Lord and His anointed: these “shall not stand” but “shall be crushed.”  Though “the kings assemble, [though] they come on together” against the “city of the great King,” they shall be seized with “quaking,” with “anguish, like a woman’s in labor.”  They shall be “stunned, terrified, routed.”

And so Jesus proclaims His rebuke of Capernaum and the other “towns where most of His miracles had been worked.”  So His severe reproach echoes to all faithless hearts, hearts which have refused His mercy, who have turned from His wonders: “I assure you, it will go easier for Sodom than for you on the day of judgment.”  Sodom was burned with fire.  There is no city greater known for sin than this profligate place which sought even the rape of the angels.  And so, what shall be the fate of those who turn now from the preaching of Jesus, from His holy presence among us?  What shall become indeed of the baptized who reject the grace at work in their souls?  One can only shudder to think of the horrors built up by such turning away, by such “failure to reform.”

O Lord, how often I have turned from you; how little of your grace I have treasured in my soul.  How little faith have I.  And so, how I fear your mighty hand, your perfect, absolute light.  Who shall stand in the purity of your love?  Who can know your holiness?  My heart condemns me of my sin; “in sackcloth and ashes” I come before you, seeking the strength found only in your touch.  Send me not “down to the realm of death” but lift this faithless soul to your side.  Let me fear no attack of the world.  Enable me to stand in your light.

*******

O LORD, make us your House, faithful and true,

that we might find your protection and glory.

YHWH, let us be your House, your holy City, faithful to you and so finding your secure protection and your blessing unto Heaven.  Help us to reform our lives that we might be made entirely in your image.

Great are you, O LORD, and worthy of all our praise and worship.  You alone are God and to you alone should we be devoted.  It is you in whom we find our hope, you who are our stronghold.  With you as our God, all our enemies flee before us, for it is you who fight for us against all the evils of this world.

For your miracles let us praise you, LORD; let us never be blind to your hand at work in our midst.  Let us not be as ungrateful sons failing to recognize your goodness to us and the provisions you make for our inheritance.  Let us rather be as your only Son, turning always to you and to the fulfillment of your will.  Then we shall be like Him in your kingdom, seated with all your angels and saints around your holy throne.  You alone are our King; let our enemies tremble before you.

Direct download: BC-071712-Tu_15_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O monastic father

who led the way into the desert

where the Lord speaks to men’s hearts,

where He calls souls to perfect worship,

putting Christ before all else

and treating others as He Himself…

O you who prayed most perfectly,

you who knew God so intimately –

pray that our distracted minds

will somehow be conformed

to listening for His voice

and answering His call

to serve Him with all our lives.

Help us, dear brother,

dear father in the faith,

to find our dwelling place

in the kingdom,

to live so completely

according to God’s Word,

that with great fervor,

with overflowing love,

we may accomplish His will

and join you in His presence.

Direct download: July_11_Benedict.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Is.1:10-17;   Ps.50:8-9,16-17,21,23;   Mt.10:34-11:1)

“Your hands are full of blood!

Wash yourselves clean!”

Elsewhere in Scripture we read, “The Lord chastises those whom He loves” (Heb.12:6), and this truth is made evident in our readings today.  The Lord commands us through the prophecy of Isaiah, “Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good.”  Our psalm continues the same theme, declaring again in the voice of God, “You hate discipline and cast my words behind you.”  And the lesson is fulfilled in Jesus’ own admonishment: “Whoever loves father or mother, son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me.”

How difficult for many to hear Jesus’ words: “My mission is to spread, not peace, but division.”  How in conflict with their image of a pleasant Jesus placed so neatly in a politically proper box.  How they would anesthetize themselves against the suffering of the cross.  But the same Spirit who speaks through Isaiah, proclaiming, “Hear the word of the Lord, princes of Sodom!  Listen to the instruction of our God, people of Gomorrah!” is He who speaks through the Son, who Himself condemns the towns that do not receive His preaching and presence to a worse fate than these infamous cities.  Our Lord is no less offended by “worthless offerings” and “octaves with wickedness.”  He is no more deaf to our disobedience or blind to our sin.  In fact, as He is the fulfillment of the love of God in the forgiveness and grace He offers all, so He is the fulfillment of God’s justice in the ultimate judgment of every soul.

“I will correct you by drawing [your sins] up before your eyes,” the Lord declares through our psalmist.  And does not Jesus call the Pharisees “a brood of vipers” (Mt.12:34)?  Does He not call Peter “Satan” (Mt.16:23)?  Does He not open all our eyes to the sin upon our souls to save us from final damnation?  If He did not do this, could He say He loves us?  Is it not by this cross placed firmly upon our backs that we rise from the sin weighing down our hearts?  Otherwise, would we not drown in sorrow?

Brothers and sisters, do not try to ration away your cross by vain supposition.  They are wolves in sheep’s clothing who would convince you there remains no place for the wood, for the blood.  The world is ever and more a place of sin, and the devil ceases not to lead souls to perdition.  Be warned by the Lord of all.  Stand chastised in His love.  Wash yourselves clean of all pride and vanity; be not as he who “brings himself to ruin.”  You are called to be the Lord’s image in the world; and the Word made flesh ends His life on earth fixed to a cross.  Accept His gift of love.

*******

O LORD, let us be brought to nothing for you;

let all the sin within us die

that we might be your disciples.

YHWH, let us welcome you and your Word and those who bring it to us.  Though your Word is hard, it is our means of salvation, for only the Son’s Cross leads to life; only your chastisement will break our hardened hearts.  O let us love you above all others!

We are sinful, LORD, pretending a love that is empty and false.  And so, what do we merit but condemnation for our turning our hearts from you?  No better than the lands of Sodom and Gomorrah, our house is full of wickedness, our hands full of blood.  We do all but to please ourselves; our sacrifices are but to feed our bellies, and so are no sacrifice at all.  Bring our sins up before our eyes! that we might see and turn away from them.

Your sword, O LORD, your sword alone will separate us from our sinful deeds.  Your Word alone will save our souls.  Let us cherish your discipline as once we treasured the vain things of this world.  The word of your prophets let us desire that we might receive a prophet’s reward.

Direct download: BC-071612-M_15_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Dt.30:10-14;   Ps.69:14,17,30-31,33-34,36-37 or 19:8-11;   Col.1:15-20;   Lk.10:25-37) 

“He lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn,

and cared for him.”

This “Samaritan traveler… was moved with compassion” upon seeing the poor victim on the road.  And so he “poured oil and wine over his wounds” and provided for his healing.  Such is the love to which we are called.

In our first reading, Moses exhorts us: “Heed the voice of the Lord, your God, and keep His commandments…  Return to the Lord, your God, with all your heart and all your soul.”  We are told this commandment of love is not far from us, but in our very hearts and on our very tongues – “You have only to carry it out.”

In our second reading, Paul tells of Jesus’ presence in all creation: “In Him were created all things in heaven and on earth…  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”  He tells us, too, that it is by “the blood of His cross” that all things are reconciled, that peace comes.  And in our gospel, the commandment to love God and neighbor is clearly presented, both in the words of the law, and in a parable of its employment.

The commandment we have is indeed to love, brothers and sisters, to love God and to love neighbor.  This word burns in our hearts.  We must “carry it out.”  It does little good simply to know the law; it must be put into practice to have merit.  And who are we called to love?  Jesus makes it quite clear that we are called to love all who are in need; we are called to respond with compassion at the sight or the cry of any of His “lowly ones,” His “victim[s].”  Remember that Paul has told us that Jesus lives in and through all creation: He is not in some and not in others.  So, mustn’t we help our Lord when He is in need?  Has He not told us, “What you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me”?  Is not every soul in His blessed Hand?

And we must be His blessed hands here on this earth.  We must indeed be like Him.  Let us look at David’s psalm.  In it we hear the cry of those “afflicted and in pain” calling on the favor of the Lord: “In your great kindness answer me with your constant help.”  Here we see that in “great mercy” the Lord turns toward those who seek Him.  Brothers and sisters, “the Lord hears the poor” and we must be as He is.  We must cry out to Him ourselves in our own need, yes, but we are also called as His disciples to serve in His place, to share His love – to pour His blood upon the wounds of those in need.

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

Music: "Coat of Warmth" (1st part) from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, let us carry out your Word

by caring for the needs of others

in Jesus your Son.

YHWH, let us do as your Son has done; let us live in and by His blood.  Compassion may we have for all in need that all might know your mercy.

All things were created in and through Jesus, and all things have life because of Him.  To reconcile all things He died on the Cross that all might dwell in your peace.  And to what are we called, O LORD, but to help bring that peace to bear upon this earth?  What must we do but share His blood with all souls, that all souls might indeed find themselves alive in Him?

Enlighten our eye, O LORD, to the truth of your presence in the love of your Son.  Let us see His light shining before us this day and allow it to shine through us as well.  O let your Word be fulfilled, your Word that burns in our hearts even as we speak.  You hear the prayer of all your lowly ones – may we listen to them with you.

Direct download: BC-071413-Su_15_OT_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O righteous band of martyrs

united by faith in Christ and His Church

in a nation of religious oppression:

children and grandparents,

workers and teachers,

lay and ordained,

native and foreign-born…

all as one you gave your lives,

led by your convictions –

pray the Word of the Lord

come to a land so cold

to conversion,

to the love and worship

of Jesus, all men’s Savior.

Pray the Holy Spirit

fall like purging and redeeming fire

upon every soul in the country

where you so honorably died;

pray His power spread

and bring renewal

upon the face of all the earth.

Direct download: July_9_Augustine_Zhao_Rong_and_Companions.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Is.6:1-8;   Ps.93:1-2,5;   Mt.10:24-33) 

“‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts,’

they cried one to the other.

‘All the earth is filled with His glory.’”

Hear the angels’ song.  It is their praise, which fills the heavens like fragrant incense, that our psalmist proclaims: “The Lord is king, in splendor robed; robed is the Lord and girt about with strength.”  Exalted is the majesty of the Father in heaven, upon whom no eye can gaze, and so of His Son.  And rightly does the prophet Isaiah – “a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips” – fear having seen “the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, with the train of His garment filling the temple.”

And should we not fear Him, too?  Should we not fear the glorious Son in whose light we dwell and in whose steps we follow?  Do we realize His Majesty?  Do we somehow presume to outrank our teacher, or are we as the pupil who is “glad to become like his teacher, the slave like his master”?  If humbled before the Lord of all, we shall fear nothing of this world.  Fearing Him who “can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna,” any power of the devil becomes as nothing in our sight.  For we know our God holds every “single sparrow” in His Hand, and we “are worth more than a flock of sparrows.”

The Lord sends “one of the seraphim” to touch the lips of the prophet with an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar.”  (So holy is the Lord that even the angels cannot touch His fire with their hands.)  And so Isaiah’s “wickedness is removed, [his] sin purged.”  And so he is sent, in turn, to proclaim the Word of God.  First he must be purified; first we all must be purged of sin, for indeed “holiness befits [His] house” – holiness alone may stand in His presence, and only the tongue cleansed of stain can “speak in the light” the truth of our God.  And as the prophet speaks, as the psalmist sings, so are we sent to proclaim the glory of “the King, the Lord of hosts.” 

“Your throne stands firm from of old; from everlasting you are, O Lord.”  You alone are holy.  What can we pray but that the earth be filled with your glory, but that we shall enter your house and praise your name all the days we are blessed with life?  Make us holy as thou art.

*******

O LORD, you are the Almighty God

and we are your sons;

and so, how blessed we are to die with Jesus.

YHWH, holiness befits your house and only those who are holy enter there.  And it is only you who can make us holy, for you alone are holy.  O Jesus, acknowledge us before your Father; let us never be disowned.

O LORD, let our lips be cleansed that we might sing your praise and so be found worthy to join your choir of angels in Heaven.  Send your angel to touch our lips with a coal from the fire of your altar; let your Holy Spirit descend upon us to sanctify our souls.  How else shall we look upon you?  How else shall we become as you are?

Your house is filled with your glory, LORD, with the smoke rising from your holy altar.  Let our prayers be offered on that altar, our very lives be immolated with your Son that as incense they may rise before you.  O let us proclaim your glory from the housetops and die with you in that same glory.  Praise to you, our Creator and Redeemer, and our Sanctifier!  Holy are you, O LORD!

Direct download: BC-071412-Sa_14_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Hos.14:2-10;   Ps.51:3-4,8-9,12-14,17;   Mt.10:16-23) 

“O Lord, open my lips,

and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.”

Hosea instructs the Israelites, “Take with you words, and return to the Lord,” and this David does in his psalm of sorrow.  In “sincerity of heart” he begs the Lord’s forgiveness for his sin and finds that the Lord creates “a clean heart” for him.  “In [Him] the orphan finds compassion,” and so the humbled king receives the Lord’s cleansing grace.

Because the Lord does “forgive all iniquity, and receive[s] what is good,” so we find that Hosea’s prophecy – “He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar, and put forth his shoots” – is fulfilled in His Church today.  We indeed “blossom like the vine”: the vine of Christ covers the earth.  And though “straight are the paths of the Lord,” though Jesus’ blunt words to His disciples – “You will be hated by all on account of me” – are realized in all who are “brought to trial before rulers and kings, to give witness before them and the Gentiles”… though persecution, the cross, be an inevitable part of every Christian’s life, yet through it all the Church is strengthened, growing “like a verdant cypress tree.”  For always it is the Lord who strengthens us; always it is “the Spirit of [our] Father… speaking in [us].”  It is He who opens our lips; it is His praise we proclaim with all our words, and so what can He do but bless us?  We “say no more, ‘our god,’ to the work of our hands,” and so no more do we sin.  Taking refuge in the love of God, “because of [Him we] bear fruit.”

“Your Holy Spirit take not from me,” O Lord.  “A willing spirit sustain in me,” that your wrath might ever be “turned away,” that I might forever be purified by your grace – that the pangs I suffer never be the result of my sin but rather the blessing of sharing your cross in this world.  Come, O Son of Man, and find your sheep suffering all for you.  Your Word keep upon our souls.

*******

O LORD, cleanse our hearts of sin

that you might speak through us,

that we might do your work in this world.

YHWH, wash us clean of all our sins this day that our tongues might freely praise your NAME and declare your glory to all the world, that we might be ready even to die for you.  You are our salvation; you are our very life.  It is only by you we bear fruit – without you we would certainly die.  And so, a clean heart create in us that we might be your faithful disciples.

Speak in us this day, O LORD; in our lives let your will be done.  And as we blossom by your favor let us never forget that it  is by your love alone we grow.  If we perform good works, it is only by your grace, for truly we deserved death for our sins but your compassion has made us new again and prepared us for our service.

The work of our hands shall not save us, LORD, but only you and your love.  Let us not be distracted by the gleam of the stones, even of the temple, but set our hearts and desires on you alone.  Truly you hold our lives in your hands – let us have your wisdom to guide us, that we might never again turn away but ever recognize you as our Savior.

Direct download: BC-071312-F_14_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Hos.11:1,3-4,8-9;   Ps.80:2-4,15-16;   Mt.10:7-15) 

“I am God and not man,

the Holy One present among you.”

And He comes to us as do the disciples today, blessing each home as He enters.  And “if the home is deserving, [His] blessing will descend upon it.  If it is not, [His] blessing will return” to Him.  Be careful to receive the blessing of the Lord, for if you reject Him, He will leave you, shaking the dust from His feet, and “it will go easier for the region of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than it will” for you.

In days past the Lord loved Israel as “a child,” drawing him “with human cords, with bands of love.”  And though “they did not know that He was their healer,” though they rejected Him, His “pity [was] stirred” and He did “not give vent to [His] blazing anger.”  He withheld His “flames” of wrath and offered them forgiveness.  Thus Jesus is sent into our midst.  For we, as Israel, have sinned.  All have spurned the love of God and gone astray.  But here comes the Holy One to heal us once again.

But now if we should reject Him, now if we should spurn His Son present to us, how shall we be saved?  What more can the Lord God do to draw us home to His loving arms.  The Lord has heard the psalmist’s plea to “look down from heaven and see,” to “take care of this vine, and protect what [His] right hand has planted.”  He comes to His children wholly offering Himself for their sakes.  Like the apostles, like His saints who come without money or goods but possessing everything they need and giving all this blessing freely to any who would receive it, so the Lord comes to us this day – and do we receive Him?

There is nothing more the Lord can do to save our souls: He has died for us.  He has given all He has freely for our redemption.  His Son walks amongst us.  Enter His reign today.  Accept His blessing.  The day of judgment is not far from you.

*******

O LORD, save us from the fires of hell;

obedient to your call,

let us come into your kingdom.

YHWH, let your peace be upon this House, upon your Church, upon all souls.  Let none reject the grace you give as a gift to your children.  Truly you love us and forgive us our sins – let us accept your healing this day.

You send forth apostles to spread your Word, to bring salvation, to bring your healing to all souls, LORD.  You look upon us with pity and provide for our care, despite our failure to recognize your presence.  Our sins you would remember no more, your love you would plant as a seed in the heart of our home, in our very spirits…  Let us be your faithful children and cherish your reign over us!

How shall we be made worthy to be citizens of Heaven?  How shall we find your blessing upon our town, upon our poor houses?  Let us provide for those you send forth to serve, LORD; then we shall be welcoming you.  And let us go forth ourselves as you call.  Let us place our trust entirely in you and in your Word of truth, and so find all things provided for.  In your House let us make our home.

Direct download: BC-071212-Th_14_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O perpetual virgin

who defended your purity

even with your life

and so earned the crown

of martyrdom

at a tender age…

O bride of Christ

who prayed even for your murderer

and so served to inspire

his conversion –

pray for us, too, dear child;

pray the lust and violence

so prevalent in this world of sin,

and in our own hearts,

be purged from our midst

that we, too, might turn

to Jesus

and find the purity

He offers.

O pray innocence and chastity

overtake this age

and all souls stand

in the light of Christ.

Direct download: July_6_Maria_Goretti.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Hos.10:1-3,7-8,12;   Ps.105:2-7;   Mt.10:1-7) 

“Jesus sent these men on mission as the Twelve.”

And in these men the Lord founds His Church, choosing “first Simon, now known as Peter,” as the Rock upon whom the Building rests, and in like fashion all the twelve apostles, upon whom He places His Spirit.  And so the foundation is set.  And so none can separate themselves from these and their teaching, for in them and in this Church, Jesus Himself resides.  It is in their place the bishops stand; it is through these, priests are ordained.  In His holy Catholic Church we find the New Jerusalem.

The Lord chose Abraham and his son Isaac, and placed His blessings upon the twelve tribes of Jacob and their descendants.  He does not remove this blessing, does not break His covenant.  And the Lord set up in Jerusalem His place of worship.  This, too, does not change.  Regardless of how corrupt the priests or kings may have been throughout the history of Israel and Judah, these remain His chosen people, and here is His temple.  And when another would rise up to take the place of what God had anointed, as typified by Jeroboam’s setting up the golden calf in Samaria that the people might worship there and so not go up to Jerusalem, this pride the Lord curses.  In our first reading He vows, “The king of Samaria shall disappear, like foam upon the waters.  The high places of Aven [Iniquity] shall be destroyed, the sin of Israel; thorns and thistles shall overgrow their altars.”  Yes, “God shall break down their altars and destroy their sacred pillars” for “their heart is false.”  It is not these upon whom His Spirit rests.

Brothers and sisters, “it is time to seek the Lord,” to come into the House His hands have made – not a separate Church set up apart from His covenants but standing in fulfillment of them with the coming of Jesus as the Christ and Messiah – and realize that “the reign of God is at hand.”  Here in His New Jerusalem you shall find His presence; here you shall hear His teaching transmitted through the apostles and receive the Bread of His sacrifice at their holy hands.  Know that “He, the Lord, is our God” and “throughout the earth His judgments prevail.”  “Glory in His holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord,” for now He has come to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  Now through His apostles, through those who “seek to serve Him constantly,” He gathers all into the New Jerusalem – upon this House His favor remains.

*******

O LORD, open our mouths

that we might speak of your glory,

you who are the living God.

YHWH, you send your apostles forth to the lost sheep of the house of Israel to gather them into the New Jerusalem, your Holy Catholic Church.  Here are the pillars of your Church, here the foundation.  In these Twelve you send out, the promise to Abraham is fulfilled – here are the twelve sons who will do your will.

All false gods you will destroy, LORD; all unholy altars shall be torn down.  And every nation that turns from you and the call of your apostles will not enter into your reign but cry to the mountains and hills to fall upon themselves.

Save all faithful souls from such woe, O LORD.  Let us see your hand at work in our midst, that we might praise your NAME.  Cast all evil from our hearts, heal us of every disease, that we might be whole in your sight and so enter freely into your fold.  Into your reign let us come, into the House founded on your apostles.  In Spirit and truth let us worship you on your holy mountain.

Direct download: BC-071112-W_14_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O child of the Apostle Paul,

follower in his steps,

preacher of the Word

he proclaimed so completely

with his very life,

you who desired so

to bear the fruit of love in patience,

to share in the hardships of the apostles

as well as in their glory,

and led your fellow ordained

zealously to desire the same –

pray there shall be reform

in this day among our priests

and among the people of God,

that all will so zealously follow

the teaching and way of the Apostle,

which is, of course, the way of Christ:

to die, to lay down our lives,

to suffer indignation

and pray for our enemies,

all the while calling souls

to the Lord’s undying love,

to His saving blood.

Direct download: July_5_Anthony_Mary_Zaccaria.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Hos.8:4-7,11-13;   Ps.115:3-10;   Mt.9:32-38)

“Our God is in heaven; whatever He wills, He does.

Their idols are silver and gold, the handiwork of men.”

In Israel, the people have turned from worship of the living God and “with their silver and gold they made idols for themselves, to their own destruction.”  As the golden “calf of Samaria” is “destined for the flames,” so they “shall be like them, everyone who trusts in them.”  So empty are the lives of those who worship wood and stone, and to inevitable destruction do they come.  That which we make rots; only what is made by God endures.

How the Lord Jesus contrasts with the false and empty gods worshiped by the nations: where they are dead, He is alive.  He alone is able to see and hear and smell and feel.  He alone walks the earth with a heart that is “moved with pity.”  He alone reveals the living God and enables us thereby to see and hear and smell and feel.  He alone gives us strength to walk this earth and do His work.  Their gods are mute – “they have mouths but they speak not.”  But He takes the “mute who was possessed by a demon” and enables him to speak.  It is He who gives us our souls, who renews our spirit.

“Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel!” the crowds exclaim as they witness the glory of God in their midst.  It is as if they shout, “God is alive!” and come to faith in His presence.  For here He breathes upon them; here His heart beats in their hearing.  In Jesus all see the wonders of the Father in heaven come to earth and made real before their eyes.  Such is God’s will – to bring heaven to earth.  Such is His great grace – to send us His only Son.  And what can we do but rejoice at the works of the Lord; what can we do but join Him in such labor?

“He shall remember their guilt and punish their sins,” those who harden their hearts against Him and trust in the wisdom of their own minds and the works of their own hands.  For only the works wrought by His hands, through His living Spirit, are genuine, are true – are alive.  All else dies.  So let us leave off any empty sacrifice, any false worship not accomplished in the House of God.  There is but one God and one Church through which He works, and only by what He has established will we know the grace and freedom of the living Lord of all.  Only in Jesus’ Body and Blood do we find the life that yields lasting grain.

*******

O LORD, open our mouths

that we might speak of your glory,

you who are the living God.

YHWH, open our mouths that we might sing your praise, and never again call upon false gods.  Your Spirit alone dwell in us this day, and we shall again be your blessed children.

O LORD, how could we be so fooled as to worship wood and stone, or other more modern images made by our own hands?  What we see on the TV screen is not real, yet we give it precedence over living souls.  Our desire is set on such empty illusions, on such dead matter, and so we die of hunger far from you.  And so we lie prostrate from exhaustion, from chasing the vain contrivances of our corrupted minds.

But you come to save us, LORD, from such empty worship of these no-gods, from these pursuits which sap our strength, which but blind our eyes and leave us without tongues for speaking the truth.  You send laborers forth to relieve our dying spirits; you come into our midst each day to feed us with Jesus’ Body and Blood, that we might not fade away in our vanity but be revived by His sacred presence.  Let us stand and walk with you who are life itself!

Direct download: BC-071012-Tu_14_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O reconciler of warring sons,

tranquility in the midst

of great disturbance,

though born of royal blood

and married to a king,

the Lord you preferred

to all the riches of this world,

and so His peace

became your own –

pray we, too, may keep our hearts

set upon that which passes not away

and the peace which passes understanding;

pray our prayers be deep as your own

and reflect the same tranquility,

that those in our own families

and those under our care,

all those whom we meet

and to whom we relate,

may find the Lord’s peace

dwelling in us

with His divine charity

and so be reconciled to Him

and to one another.

Direct download: July_4_Elizabeth_of_Portugal.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Hos.2:16-18,21-22;   Ps.145:2-9;   Mt.9:18-26)

“When the crowd had been put out

He entered and took her by the hand,

and the little girl got up.”

How like Hosea’s prophecy today is the Lord’s raising of Jairus’ daughter in our gospel.  For the Lord speaks through His prophet, saying, “I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart,” and Jesus does this when He puts the crowd out of the house before whispering to the little girl to arise.  And as the Lord declares in our first reading, “I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy,” so Jesus takes the hand of the child, wedding His Spirit unto her own; and so, as the redemption is promised Israel in her again calling the Lord, “My husband,” so Jairus’ daughter stands and walks in the light of Christ.

“She shall respond there as in the days of her youth,” it is said of the Lord’s chosen nation.  With the faith of a child all shall be raised.  And as the Savior covers the “woman who had suffered from hemorrhages for twelve [full] years” with the edge of His cloak, taking her into His wedding chamber and so immediately healing her flow of blood, so Jesus would make us all His own; so in His grace and love He would enter all our souls and make us one with Him.  And so would all find themselves “restored… to health,” His blood alone coursing through our veins.

“I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the Lord,” our God declares.  And knowing the Lord, being wed unto Him in the depths of our hearts where He speaks, promising us His love, what can we do but “praise [His] name forever and ever” with David His king?  What can we do but “speak of the splendor of [His] glorious majesty and tell of [His] wonderful works”?  For “great is the Lord and highly to be praised,” and His Spirit wed to our own we are overwhelmed by the glory of His presence and cannot help but declare our love for Him who has loved us above all.

Listen to His voice, brothers and sisters; let Him enter your hearts and make you His own.  And you shall be raised from the death of sin unto His glorious majesty.  Yes, may news of His grace circulate among all; let us “publish the fame of [His] abundant goodness and joyfully sing of [His] justice,” for He speaks now to our souls.

*******

O LORD, speak to our hearts

that we might rise in faith with your Son,

and so praise your glory.

YHWH, you come to us in quiet places and whisper in our ear to rise and be with you.  Our souls you wed to your Spirit that we might live forever in you.  Let us remain faithful to your glorious presence in our midst; with courage let us come to you to be healed.

You are merciful, LORD, and desire our good.  You would see us well and walking with you.  And so you call to our hearts to worship you, to make your love our sole desire.

Cover us, O LORD, with your kindness; show your compassion to our souls.  And we shall rise up and praise your NAME – one with you we will extol your glory forever.  For what greater gift could we find than you yourself abiding in our heart?

Let us hear your voice calling us, LORD, in the quiet, in the silence of your presence.  Cast all distractions from our minds.  You alone let us know and desire, and we shall find ourselves at peace in your presence.  Let all the world know your abundant goodness toward your children.

Direct download: BC-070912-M_14_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O believing apostle

who declared the divinity of Jesus,

our Lord and our God,

all doubt disappears

in the light of your faith,

for we see with you

what is beyond all eyes –

pray for an increase

in our faltering faith,

that we shall indeed believe

though we do not see;

let it be as if we ourselves

have touched the nail marks

in His hands and feet

and placed our hands into His side.

So firmly let our faith be founded

that we shall reach out

to all mankind

and the truth of Christ

as the Son of God

will grow in all hearts

until that Day we see the Lord

with our own eyes.

Direct download: July_3_Thomas.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(Is.66:10-14c;   Ps.66:1-7,16,20;   Gal.6:14-18;   Lk.10:1-12,17-20) 

“The Lord’s power shall be known to His servants.”

Paul states: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Jesus instructs: “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”  The bottom line is that “the laborer deserves his payment.”

The prosperity of Jerusalem shall flow “like a river” over those who work as laborers in the field of the Word of God: “peace and mercy” shall be to the “Israel of God.”  All “who were mourning over her,” all who have suffered the indignity of the cross in this exile of ours, shall indeed rejoice as they “suck fully of the milk of her comfort” in the heavenly kingdom which the Lord brings to us this day.  Indeed, “let us rejoice in Him.  He rules by His might forever.”  And we share in His reign who serve Him now beneath the shadow of the cross.

Satan falls now “like lightning from the sky”; we “tread upon serpents and scorpions,” crushing them underfoot by the power the Lord gives us as we tread this earth in His Name.  Sent forth with nothing, we have everything, for He is with us who provides from the throne of heaven.  “As nurslings” we are carried in the arms of the New Jerusalem “and fondled in her lap.”  “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you,” the Lord assures us; and indeed in the cross we bear, “the marks of Jesus” on our bodies, we find the open gate that leads to the house of peace: the wounds themselves are the doorway.

“The kingdom of God is at hand for you,” my brothers and sisters.  I proclaim it in your hearing this day.  “Peace” and the “grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters.”  Peace be to your house.  You shall know His peace and find His healing as you accept His sweet cross upon your backs.  “When you see this, your heart shall rejoice and your bodies flourish like the grass”; for in that day you shall be a “new creation.”  You will say with Paul, “The world has been crucified to me, and I to the world,” and you will make your abode in heaven.  That day is upon you now, brothers and sisters.  Heed the Lord’s call to go forth as lambs in the midst of wolves, and you shall find His incomparable blessing of the peace which passes all understanding – you shall come into His kingdom.

“Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare what He has done for me.”  For me “He has changed the sea into dry land” and by the blood of His cross cleansed these feet to which the dust did once cling, that I might enter heaven.  Walk now in His power, I beg you, children of the Lord.  “The harvest is abundant.”  Let us go forth laboring and eating of this Bread.

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

Music: "Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder" from Listening to the Lamp, ninth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, may your Spirit guide us

on the road to the Cross.

YHWH, how shall we be fit for your kingdom?  How shall we give ourselves as we must to your will?  Help us to leave all behind and never turn back to it.  Help us to follow your Son even to the Cross.  For if you do not help us, we shall falter on the way.  Without your grace we shall not have the light and strength we need.

O LORD, our spirit is willing to follow you, but how weak is our flesh.  How concerned we are about the things of this earth!  And so your Son must be severe with us, for how else shall we break the yoke of slavery to sin?  Without His sharp Word we would linger in complacency all our days.

O let the ties that bind us to this world be cut and we be free to walk with Jesus in utter service and love!  May the fire of your Spirit be upon us to burn away all attachment to sin.  Be our sole refuge, dear God, that no corruption we shall know but remain at your right hand forever.

Direct download: BC-070713-Su_14_OT_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Amos 9:11-15;   Ps.85:9,11-14;   Mt.9:14-17)

“I will bring about the restoration of my people Israel.”

Of the city of David, the Lord promises, “I will wall up its breaches, raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old.”  Beautiful imagery is given indeed through the prophet Amos to illustrate the renewal of the land now fallen: “The juice of grapes shall drip down the mountains, and all the hills shall run with it.”  Indeed, in His great grace the Lord vows, “Never again shall they be plucked from the land I have given them.”  And so we have prophecy of the New Jerusalem.

Our psalm continues such prophecy of the kingdom to come, declaring, “He proclaims peace to His people, and to His faithful ones…  The Lord Himself will give His benefits; our land shall yield its increase.”  Justice and truth shall be known in fullness, even as salvation walks “along the way of His steps.”

And these steps have been trodden in our midst.  Jesus is coming and has come, bringing in Himself the new wine of the New Jerusalem, which courses like a river through all this City’s streets.  Indeed His Blood flows in our veins now.  Indeed we become the new wineskins that hold His abundant goodness, and so are lifted to the kingdom of heaven.  John’s disciples do not yet understand.  If the Lord’s own followers have difficulty seeing, it should not be surprising that those who have yet to be baptized in the fire of the Holy Spirit yet find themselves preoccupied with the stipulations of a law that is passing away, a law – so embodied by the Pharisees – which is to be subsumed by the greater Law of love Jesus comes bleeding to bring into our midst.

But they shall.  There can be little doubt that these followers of John and his baptism will come, with the Lord’s own disciples, and be washed in the blood that makes all things new.  There is certainty that these, as even some Pharisees, shall “drink the wine” of the New Covenant, even as we do this day.

Brothers and sisters, this new wine is upon our altars even this day; before us is set the Blood that washes all clean.  It is for our restoration the Lord provides this feast.  Let us not refrain from partaking what He has died to bring into our midst, but let us be indeed the new wineskins filled with His Word and His Blood, and declare His salvation unto the nations.

*******

O LORD, the wine of your Son’s blood renews us;

may we be open to receive the blessings

He pours upon us.

YHWH, you are our salvation; in your Son’s flesh let us take our refuge, of His blood let us partake.  It is in Him we find our peace, in Him that our house, our own flesh, is rebuilt, redeemed for the kingdom to come, for the New Jerusalem.  It is in His walking the earth that truth is known; in Him justice flows down from the heavens.  In His skin let us make our home.

Your promise is great, O LORD, the promise of eternal life, the promise of bearing your NAME and so being as you are.  In Jesus we see that promise before our eyes – send your Spirit to fulfill that promise in our poor lives.

O LORD, let us be rebuilt; raise us up from our ruins.  It is at your hand we find our food – only by your grace do we live at all.  And so, let us return to you and walk with your Son along the way of salvation.  And so, let us be wed to you as your faithful ones.  In you we place our hope; by you let us be made new.

Direct download: BC-070712-Sa_13_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Amos 8:4-6,9-12;   Ps.119:2,10,20,30,40,131,Mt.4:46;   Mt.9:9-13)

“Many tax collectors and those known as sinners

came to join Jesus and His disciples at dinner.”

It is just such as these that Amos prophesies against in our first reading; it is sinners such as Matthew whom he addresses when he declares, “Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land!”  For the apostle the Lord calls today is a tax collector, one of those famous for extorting money from his fellow Jews even while standing in the stead of their occupiers, the Romans.  And so are he and his kind not like those who can’t wait for an end to the Lord’s sabbath that they might “fix their scales for cheating,” greedily proclaiming, “Even the refuse of the wheat we will sell”?  And so is it any wonder the Pharisees complained, “What reason can the Teacher have for eating with tax collectors and those who disregard the law?”

Our psalm itself supports the importance of following the law of the Lord, stating, “Happy are they who observe His decrees, who seek Him with all their heart.”  And so, how unhappy, how lacking in God’s blessing must Matthew be to live apart from His word.  And so, are not the Pharisees correct in their assessment that such as he deserve but condemnation?

They are correct.  It cannot be denied.  But what they cannot see is that they are just as guilty.  What they do not understand, as these others do, is that before their eyes the Lord’s prophecy through Amos is being realized:  “I will make the sun set at midday and cover the earth with darkness in broad daylight,” our God makes known – and it is the sinners they condemn who are the ones who “mourn as for an only son”; it is they who now “gasp with open mouth in [their] yearning for [the Lord’s] commands”… it is they who recognize the famine “for hearing the word of the Lord” that is upon the earth and upon their souls, and turn to the Son who feeds the hungry even as He joins them at table.  What these Pharisees do not see is that the justice of the Lord is not the judgment in their hearts, else all, including themselves, would be condemned.

Brothers and sisters, open your eyes to the emptiness of your soul and come to His table this day with open mouth and open heart to hear His Word and receive His Body and Blood.  For it is repentant sinners such as you whom the Lord feeds quite freely.

*******

O LORD, in the darkness of our midday,

your Son has made the sacrifice for our sins;

and so now you but desire our merciful love,

that we should long to be as Him.

YHWH, how shall we live unless you feed us with the bread of your Word?  We die as in a desert when you withhold your mercy from our souls.  Come to our table this day and give us the food we need to live eternally – give us your very self!

Is there not a famine upon the land, O LORD?  Are we not without the light of your guidance?  Do we not turn from your commands to love of gain and so lose our souls in sin?  How the earth is covered in darkness!

Have mercy on us, dear God, have mercy.  Open our hearts to listen to your voice of instruction; let us thirst for the words of your mouth as we abandon our wicked posts.  If we seek you, we shall find you – let us set our hearts on your love.

It is your great desire to forgive our sins, to save us by your mercy, LORD.  You search us out to gather us to your table.  On the flesh of your Son let us feast this day.  Let us be found by your grace in the kingdom of Heaven.

Direct download: BC-070612-F_13_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O first of souls to shed blood,

whose sacrifice began the great persecution,

you indeed handed your bodies over

to torture,

to the mad king of this dark world,

but everlasting reward you have gained

for yourselves and for the Church;

your robes washed clean

in the blood of the Lamb,

you served to nourish the growth

of the people of God –

pray your holy offering

shall always be remembered,

that the Church in this day

and in all days

may be blessed by your witness

of faith,

that you might light our path to Heaven

until our crucified Lord returns again

to gather all of faith and courage

into His redeeming arms.

Direct download: June_30_The_First_Martyrs_of_the_Holy_Roman_Church.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Amos 7:10-17;   Ps.19:8-11;   Mt.9:1-8) 

“The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”

Amos says of himself in our first reading: “The Lord took me from following the flock, and said to me, Go, prophesy to my people, Israel.”  And so he can say, “Now hear the word of the Lord!”  And so he can speak for God.  And so he can reveal the Lord’s will to the people, calling them to return to His presence.

Like the prophets is the law, of which David, another shepherd called by God – himself to be king – sings today in our psalm: “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.”  As the prophets’ chastisement would bring healing to those who listen and obey the word of the Lord they impart, so the law of God is meant to bring a “fear of the Lord [which] is pure, enduring forever,” so it, too, would bring blessed healing to the wayward child, “rejoicing the heart” and “enlightening the eye.”

But the people did not listen to the prophets; they refused to obey the law of the Lord.  His words they cast aside, unable to swallow them, unable to make them an enduring part of their lives.  Like a cloud which passes, so ephemeral, so abstract and therefore unknown they would too often become.  And so the Father sent His Son.

“Have courage, son, your sins are forgiven,” Jesus says to the “paralyzed man lying on a mat”; and this word He has come to make real in all our hearing – to all He brings forgiveness for their straying hearts.  Even the stiff necks of the scribes the Lord would bring healing.  The sins of the past He comes to wash away, advocating to the Father for us that we knew not what we were doing before His arrival, and come now He has to make real for us God’s presence in our midst, to take away our ignorance of the Father’s love… to enable us to stand up and walk “toward [our] home.”

Indeed, “a feeling of awe” should come over us as it did over the crowd that witnessed Jesus’ power, for the same authority resides with us now in His Church – He has not left His people abandoned.  And so, come to the Lord and confess your sins, for the Lord in His grace gave “such authority to men” to act in His stead as does Christ.  And now find the courage and conviction to live your life led by the Incarnate Word of God.  May your soul be in the hands of the Good Shepherd.

*******

O LORD, your Word be in our hearts and upon our lips

that we might be saved from death.

YHWH, in ancient times you gave authority to ordinary men to speak in your NAME.  Simple shepherds you called to prophesy against Israel and serve you as king.  In the fullness of time you sent your Son with the power to forgive men’s sins, to heal us of all our ills.  And now your authority rests in your Son’s apostles, those whom He sends forth to forgive and feed your flock.  May all souls come to your Church to receive grace from on high!

Who will listen to your Word, O LORD, and turn away from his sin?  Who will be refreshed by your Law and find the enlightening of his eye?  Who treasures the sweetness of your chastisement, who knows the mercy bleeding in the heart of Jesus…?  Who of this fallen race would stand and walk with Him toward our home in Heaven?

Give us courage, dear God, that you are with us and you care for all your sons.  From our exile let us be taken, that we might be held in your Hand.

Direct download: BC-070512-Th_13_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O most blessed apostles of the Lord

upon whom the Church is founded

and the faith goes forth,

in you we cannot be shaken

and the Lord’s reign extends

to the ends of the earth –

pray we always take refuge

in His House

and in the teaching of His mouth.

It is you who preserve

the authenticity of the faith;

through you we may be assured

the Spirit of God is with us,

leading us out of the dark prison

of this world

along the narrow path to Heaven.

Pray the chains fall from our hands

and we heed the angel’s command,

remaining faithful to the end,

pouring out our lives like a libation.

Feed the poor sheep in your care.

Direct download: June_29_Peter_and_Paul.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

Acts 12:1-11;   Ps.34:2-9;   2Tm.4:6-8,17-18;   Mt.16:13-19)

 

“On this rock I will build my Church,

and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it.”

 

We go through death to life, for death has no power over us: the power of Jesus founded firmly on Peter, brought forward by Paul, and present in all the members of the Church and in its faith, has conquered death and leads us all to heaven.

Today we celebrate the solid foundation of the Church in Peter, the man of faith, first of the apostles and rock upon whom we are firmly set; and Paul, the great Apostle, through whom that faith went out to “all the nations.”  Our readings today clearly manifest the faith we possess, which overcomes even death, in Jesus’ commissioning of Peter and in the example shown in the lives of both Peter and Paul.

Our first reading describes Peter’s mystical release from prison and reveals in this act our own coming to the heavenly kingdom: the chains of sin fall from us, we are clothed in righteousness, and led through the snares of this world to freedom.  And it is he who holds “the keys of the kingdom of heaven” who is led out; and indeed by these keys, by this office and its grace, “the iron gate leading out to the city” opens before us “of itself.”  And in our second reading we find Paul declaring the faithful life he has led even unto the end, which he now faces, and that his fighting of the good fight has merited the crown which awaits him on the Day of Lord.  He is able to state with confidence, “The Lord will continue to rescue me from all attempts to do me harm and will bring me safe to His heavenly kingdom.”  Finally, our psalm confirms the protection the Lord grants His faithful ones: “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them.”

We are sharers in this faith with Peter and Paul.  This is evident in the Church who “prayed fervently to God” on behalf of Peter, and whose prayers were answered in this astounding fashion, and is made certain in Paul’s proclaiming that Jesus gives the reward of a heavenly crown not only to Paul himself “but to all who have looked for His appearing with eager longing.”  The Church is one in all its members, and though the Lord has chosen certain of us to special places and granted them special blessings and powers, all are blessed by this same God.

So, today as we rejoice in this faith with which we have been gifted by the Lord, as we “together extol His name,” let us consider the place we have in His holy Church and the work to which He calls us.  And let us resolve to fulfill that call, pouring ourselves out unto death, that we might be assured of our entering through the heavenly gate.  Let us walk in faith the narrow path the Lord has set before us, for it leads beyond death to life.

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

Music by Carie Fortney; performed by Carie Fortney and Annette Meyer.  Used by permission.

*******

O LORD, may we be loosed

from the chains of this earth

that we might walk with you in Heaven. 

YHWH, the gates of the netherworld cannot prevail against you and your Church.  To Peter you have given the keys to the kingdom and these shall open every lock the devil can devise; the chains fall from our wrists by the angel you send to guide us.

You deliver us, LORD, from every evil and bring us into your heavenly kingdom.  The lion’s mouth shall not close upon us, nor any prison door keep us from you.  For we are redeemed by the sacrifice of your Son; in Him and in His blood your Church finds power and grace to facilitate release from all the wiles of the evil one. 

Jesus sets your people on solid rock through His commissioning of His apostle Peter.  And your Word goes forth to the ends of the earth through Paul and all your disciples.  And so, on the day of your Son’s appearance, all shall enter freely through the eternal gates to dwell in your presence forever.  You have heard our cries to you, O LORD, and bring us quickly to Heaven.

Direct download: Sts._Peter_and_Paul_2011.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O great teacher of the Catholic faith

who served to set a foundation

upon which she could grow

in peace and in truth,

in the Spirit of God,

you who valiantly defended her

against attacks of heresy

and shed your blood

in the battle –

pray we shall find shepherds today

to explicate the faith of the apostles

as clearly

and loyally

as you have done,

that none shall be led astray

into false doctrine

by whim and fancy,

by pride and envy,

but drink rather the pure milk

of our Mother

and of the one true God.

To vision of the Father let us come

by revelation of His only-begotten Son.

Direct download: June_28_Irenaeus.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Amos 3:1-8,4:11-12;   Ps.5:4-9;   Mt.8:23-27)

“The lion roars – who will not be afraid!

The Lord God speaks – who will not prophesy!”

Yes, the Lord prophesies against Israel today like a lion rending and roaring: “You alone have I favored, more than all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your crimes.”  He brings upon His chosen “such upheaval as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah: [they are] like a brand plucked from the fire.”  In no uncertain terms does He cry out through Amos – “Prepare to meet your God, O Israel.”

A frightening prospect indeed it is which is presented to us in our readings.  Here is the Lord God coming to take vengeance on His people.  This is He before whom “no evil man remains,” who “destroy[s] all who speak falsehood.”  And against His own who turn from Him, He reserves greater punishment.

How shall we react, we who are now become His chosen children?  What should we do before such an awesome prospect as the Lord’s hand coming with power?  With David we should “bring [our] plea expectantly before [Him]”; with the disciples we should make “our way toward Him” and call out: “Lord, save us!  We are lost!”  And if we have the faith and humility of the Lord’s king, who declares, “I, because of your abundant kindness, will enter your house; I will worship at your holy temple in fear of you, O Lord,” then with his same confidence we may believe that the Lord will wake and take “the winds and the sea to task” – that what besets us because of our sin and separation from Him will be appeased by the same voice which threatens our destruction thereby.  For indeed the Lord is abundantly kind and speaks to us as His own, and chastises us as His own.  He raises His voice that we might return to Him; He places us in the fire that we might be purged.  Let us find our strength in a holy fear.

    And let us join His voice.  Let us call out with Him to His blessed children, that all might return to Him who is their maker and protector – that all might be rescued from harm.  The Lord would not see us caught in the snare laid for the wicked, and so He has sent His only Son to appease the wrath He has justly spoken forth.  Let the lion’s mouth not close upon our heads, but may we be awakened by its voice and open our own mouths to declare the mercy of our God.

*******

O LORD, the wind and the sea obey your Son,

but we harden our hearts against Him –

O let us heed His voice!

YHWH, even wind and sea obey you, and so we call upon your NAME to be saved from their clutches.  Let not our sins overwhelm us, but bring us the grace of your salvation.

LORD, we deserve your just punishment, for we have stubbornly turned our hearts from you.  Though you have been kind in watching over and protecting us from harm, we have not recognized your goodness toward us and praised your NAME;  instead, we have turned to other gods and walked in the wickedness of our hearts.  And so, what can you do but cry out against us; and so, what can we be but destroyed if we do not heed your voice?

Give us courage, LORD, for our strength fails us.  All we can see is the turmoil our weakness brings upon us.  Help us to see beyond the troubles the world presents, troubles we have brought upon ourselves, that we might see you and your power at work, and place all our faith therein.  O let us listen to your prophets as they cry out and so walk your way in peace and light, despite the surrounding darkness.

Direct download: BC-070312-Tu_13_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Amos 2:6-10,13-16;   Ps.50:16-23;   Mt.8:18-22) 

“Consider this, you who forget God,

lest I rend you and there be no one to rescue you.”

What we should realize from our readings today is that the Word of the Lord is severe.  Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, etc. – His chastising hand is upon us in the words He speaks to our sinful hearts.  He does not nod and smile as we walk our errant ways, but calls us onto the strait path He treads.

In our first reading and psalm the Lord recounts the sins of the people, “drawing them up before [their] eyes”; and for their crimes He declares, “I will not revoke my word” – they shall not escape His punishing hand.  They who “sell the just man for silver, and the poor man for a pair of sandals,” who “trample the heads of the weak into the dust of the earth,” will themselves be “crush[ed]… into the ground as a wagon crushes when laden with sheaves.”  The sheaves of their sins are indeed heavy,  and will duly lie upon their backs.  Those, too, who are thieves and adulterers, who give their mouths “free rein for evil” and “harness [their] tongue for deceit,” will not their fate be the same?  And you, brothers and sisters, “when you do these things, shall [the Lord] be deaf to it?”  He is not evil as yourselves, and so cannot stomach your iniquity.

And do you think with Jesus you will be able to continue in your sin?  Because He bears your sins upon His shoulders, because He is crushed to the ground for your sakes, do you find thereby the right to go on sinning?  Do you somehow believe the way of Christ is easier than that presented through Amos?  Listen to His demand: “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.”  This He says to a seemingly willing disciple who desires to remain with his family a while, not to a notorious dictator or a profligate heathen.  And do you still wish to follow Him who “has nowhere to lay His head,” Him whom the world wishes dead – Him who will be whipped and beaten and crucified for the sins of mankind?  This is your fate.  This is your fate, O Christian.  In it will you find your joy? 

The Lord has come to rescue us, indeed to exalt us on high, “and to him that goes the right way [He] will show the salvation of God.”  But your sins are not forgotten by Him who sees all things; they are no light matter in His sight.  And following Him is not an easy road, for He is God.

*******

O LORD, help us to leave the sin of the world behind

and follow you wholeheartedly, lest we die.

YHWH, how can we follow you when your way is so severe and we are such sinners?  Who among us does not betray your Word; who among us is innocent of crimes?  Only you are without stain, without attachment to this sinful plane – the rest of us have wickedness dwelling in our hearts

Yet you call us, LORD, to follow you; yet you desire us to be where you are, to live as you do.  And so, what can we do but beg your forgiveness?  What can we do but thank you for bringing our sins up before our eyes?  What can we do but praise you for the grace you provide?

Let our mouth not speak evil, LORD; let us not walk in the way of sinners.  Let us be obedient to your word of truth, to your blessed call to our souls… and make haste to follow along your way.  We cannot trust in our own strength, lest we die – let us trust in your mercy and goodness alone, and follow along the way of your salvation.  Then we shall be sinners no more, crushed by the weight of our guilt, but your light burden we shall bear, your Son’s redeeming Cross.

Direct download: BC-070212-M_13_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O great defender of the Mother of God

and of the faith itself,

courageously you declared

that Jesus is God indeed,

become Man in Mary His Mother;

this you made plain for all to see,

O shepherd of the people of God,

that truth might reign

and the Virgin might find

her proper place among us –

pray, O brave teacher,

that we shall not be afraid

to proclaim the truths

inscribed by the Spirit

upon the heart of the Church

and in her inspired writings;

and may indeed our Mother,

the Mother of Jesus,

the Mother of God,

be recognized for her preeminence

amongst the saints,

that the Word of the Lord might be fulfilled

and all generations call her blessed.

Direct download: June_27_Cyril_of_Alexandria.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Kgs.19:16b,19-21;   Ps.16:1-2,5,7-11;   Gal.5:1,13-18;   Lk.9:51-62) 

“No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind

is fit for the kingdom of God.”

We must follow Jesus.  And the path He walks leads to the cross.

Our gospel tells us, “When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled, He resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.”  Jesus knows what awaits Him in Jerusalem.  He knows how He will weep over the city for its lack of faith, and He knows their lack of faith will bring His crucifixion.  Yet into the waiting arms of death He travels, undeterred.  And how many there are who proclaim their desire to walk with Him; how many volunteer to follow in His way.  But how little they know of the difficulty found on that road: “The Son of Man has nowhere to rest His head” – we must give up our homes.  “Let the dead bury the dead” – we must leave behind our family.  Yes, we must never look “to what was left behind,” namely, “the desire of the flesh” of which Paul speaks.  We are now “guided by the Spirit”; the flesh no longer holds sway over us.  That which is opposed to the Spirit we must give no thought to anymore.

Look at Elisha, the powerful prophet, in our first reading.  He is called by the master, Elijah.  Yes, he fails to follow immediately, but look at what he does in saying good-bye to his family.  He takes what has been his livelihood to this day and sacrifices it utterly: he slaughters the oxen and even uses “the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh,” giving the meat as food for his people.  Nothing remains to call him back; he effects a total departure from his old self.

Brothers and sisters, we must take such complete refuge in the Lord.  We must say with David, “O Lord, my allotted portion and cup, you it is who hold fast my lot.”  All must be given over to Him and entrusted to His care.  It does us no good to hesitate on our journey with Him or take up things which will weigh us down along the way. 

“Do not submit again to the yoke of slavery,” Paul exhorts us.  Leave all the desires of this world behind to find the freedom known only in heaven.  Then we will proclaim with David: “I set the Lord before me; with Him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.”  We will know His mantle of strength and protection in our call to walk with Him; the yoke of slavery to sin will be broken from our shoulders.  We are truly free, brothers and sisters, only insofar as we follow Him, submitting ourselves to the cross.

O Lord, take all that keeps us back from following in your way, that in such death to self we may draw nigh to your kingdom.  Your cross is the path to life.

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

Music: "Hold On, Here We Go" (second part) from Bearing the Birth Pangs, tenth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, may your Spirit guide us

on the road to the Cross.

YHWH, how shall we be fit for your kingdom?  How shall we give ourselves as we must to your will?  Help us to leave all behind and never turn back to it.  Help us to follow your Son even to the Cross.  For if you do not help us, we shall falter on the way.  Without your grace we shall not have the light and strength we need.

O LORD, our spirit is willing to follow you, but how weak is our flesh.  How concerned we are about the things of this earth!  And so your Son must be severe with us, for how else shall we break the yoke of slavery to sin?  Without His sharp Word we would linger in complacency all our days.

O let the ties that bind us to this world be cut and we be free to walk with Jesus in utter service and love!  May the fire of your Spirit be upon us to burn away all attachment to sin.  Be our sole refuge, dear God, that no corruption we shall know but remain at your right hand forever.

Direct download: BC-063013-Su_13_OT_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Lam.2:2,10-14,18-19;   Ps.74:1-7,19-21;   Mt.8:5-17) 

“It was our infirmities He bore,

our sufferings He endured.”

And oh how deep are those sufferings; “great as the sea is [our] downfall.”  And graphically are they seen in the destruction of Jerusalem; sharply they pierce the flesh of the Son.

Yes, the Lord “has torn down in His anger the fortresses of daughter Judah…  On the ground in silence sit the old men of daughter Zion; they strew dust on their heads and gird themselves with sackcloth.  The maidens of Jerusalem bow their heads to the ground.”  And the children and infants “faint away like the wounded in the streets of the city, and breathe their last in their mothers’ arms.”  And so the prophet Jeremiah is “worn out from weeping”; and so his “gall is poured out on the ground because of the downfall of the daughter of [his] people.”

And is this weeping not Jesus’ own?  Does He not shed tears over Jerusalem for the suffering it has known, and its suffering to come?  Does He not indeed die for our sins?  Listen to the description of the destruction of the holy city offered by our psalmist today: “With chisel and hammer they hack at all the paneling of the sanctuary.”  Are these not the blows Jesus suffered; are they not the nails which pierced His hands and feet and side?  “They set your sanctuary on fire; the place where your name abides they have razed and destroyed.”  Is not Jesus the Temple of the living God, crucified by the hands of lust and greed and jealousy?  Have we not done such violence to our Lord?  And has He not endured all for our salvation?

Let the priest and all the children note the cause of such destruction of God’s chosen ones, the suffering of His only Son.  Is it not the prophets who proclaimed “false and specious visions,” who “did not lay bare [the people’s] guilt, to avert [their] fate”?  And note the Lord’s own words and attitude toward those who follow Him, to the children of Israel who press upon Him: “The natural heirs of the kingdom will be driven out into the dark.  Wailing will be heard there and grinding of teeth.”  Does Jesus fail to show those in His care the narrow gate?  And so should we continue to coddle faithless hearts unto their destruction?

He indeed bears all our infirmities, all the sickness our sin has wrought.  But we must indeed see ourselves as the centurion’s servant boy, “in bed paralyzed, suffering painfully,” to find His word of healing.  We must come with the faith of the centurion to know His saving touch.  For destruction indeed awaits the land, and so we must cry out to Him, “Turn your steps toward the utter ruins; toward all the damage the enemy has done in your sanctuary,” if we hope to be redeemed by His blood.

*******

O LORD, only Jesus could heal our ills,

only He could bear our suffering, for our guilt is great –

only He could take it away.

YHWH, how dire is the condition of your city this day; your people waste away on its streets, and none is there to help them.  Should we not call upon you; and would you not be faithful in carrying away our afflictions, in saving us from the destruction that surrounds us because of our sin?  We lie paralyzed before you; lift us up from our bed of pain.

Does not death surround us this day, O LORD?  Is there not little hope among your people – are not the walls of our city torn down?  Yet your Son would bear all our suffering; our infirmities He would take away.  Let us come to Him for healing.  Let us cry out to you for grace, for you are faithful to all sincere prayers…  Look upon us in our desolate state.

O LORD, the sanctuary has been torn down – your Son has been crucified in our midst.  But we know this death He endures with us will bring us new life if we but pour out our hearts like water in your presence.  O let us come to your banquet in the kingdom!

Direct download: BC-063012-Sa_12_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O greatest of men born of woman,

before you were formed in the womb

the Lord called you;

while still in this cave

you leapt for joy

at His presence come to you…

a sharp, two-edged sword He made you

to hail the coming Messiah,

the Light in our midst,

the New Covenant born of the Old –

how shall we humble ourselves

as you have done;

how shall our call be realized

in flesh and blood

as was your own?

Pray, dear brother,

that from darkness we be taken,

from blindness and inability to speak

we be rescued,

that the Word among us

we may know

and raise our voices

to proclaim His salvation to all.

Direct download: June_24_Nativity_of_John_the_Baptist.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(Is.49:1-6;   Ps.139:1-3,13-15;   Acts 13:22-26:   Lk.1:57-66,80)

 

“I will make you a light to the nations,

that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

 

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, he who hails the coming of the Lord, is born today.  This voice speaks of the Word among us.  And from before his birth he is called, in the womb he is formed, to proclaim with the sword of truth God’s salvation for His people.  “Surely the hand of the Lord was with him,” and surely we find the grace of God by walking the path he blazed for us in the desert; for surely that way leads to the glory who is the Son of David.

Yes, “to us this word of salvation has been sent.”  To us this light has been brought forth.  We “distant peoples” hear now the call of the voice which pierces our souls: Make straight the way of the Lord!  The tongue now speaks; no longer silenced, no longer hidden, it has risen from “the depths of the earth” to plainly declare the coming of Christ.  Yes, in the womb of the Old Testament the Lord wonderfully formed the salvation of Israel, probing and scrutinizing all its ways and preparing it for birth in the light of day.  And now what He hid in His quiver He shoots forth to wound with amazement the hearts who have waited to hear the Word of life.  “John heralded His coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel”; by his voice a place is made for the Savior, Jesus.

At the turning point of the history of salvation John stands.  He has come to direct souls to the Promised Land.  For this he was made.  To this call he answers – to lead us to the Son of Man.  The old is passed away; now all is made new.  Fulfillment has come.  The womb has brought forth.  The time of salvation is here.  For He through whom time and the earth and heavens were made is now come to wash even the dirt from our feet.  Listen to the voice which hails the Word of God in our midst.  His call is for all ears; the light shines for all “who are God-fearing.”

Your recompense is upon you now.  You, too, make known His light to the world.

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, your Word of salvation you speak

through the mouth of John,

whom you have blessed with your might and power.

YHWH, your Word of salvation goes forth to the ends of the earth, proclaimed through the mouth of John, the fulfillment of the prophets of Israel.  In his birth what is old passes away, and what is new comes.  Now the light of the nations enters this house.

Loose our tongues to declare your glory, dear LORD.  You who have formed us in the depths of the earth, in the womb of the Church, now gather us into your arms that we might be raised unto the glory of your Son, brought into union with you who are our Father and our God.  O may we share your Name as we are born into your kingdom!

Let your hand be upon us for good, O LORD; let your will be accomplished in us as it has been in John.  Let all souls know that it is you who probe us and know us, you who understand all our thoughts and ways.  May all our thoughts and actions be in accord with your own, and so in all things let us declare to all that your Son has come – O let us be His servants!

Direct download: Birth_of_St._John_the_Baptist_2011.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

(2Kgs.24:8-17;   Ps.79:1-5,8,9;   Mt.7:21-29) 

“The rains fell, the torrents came,

the winds blew and lashed against his house.

It collapsed under all this and was completely ruined.”

Yes, “the officials of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, attacked Jerusalem, and the city came under siege,” and “Jehoiachin, king of Judah, together with his mother, his ministers, officers, and functionaries, surrendered to the king of Babylon, who… took him captive…  None were left among the people of the land except the poor”; and these, too, shall soon be struck.

Yes, the nations “have defiled [the Lord’s] holy temple, they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.”  And why has such destruction come?  Our first reading tells us simply of Jehoiachin, “He did evil in the sight of the Lord, just as his forebears had done”; and now finally the day of reckoning has come.  And now the nations “have poured out their blood like water round about Jerusalem, and there is no one to bury them.”  Now does the Lord’s “jealousy burn like fire.”

And what shall be left when that fire is passed?  Who shall stand on that day of reckoning that shall come to all souls, to peoples of all nations?  Will you stand before the Lord and recount the great deeds you have done before Him who holds all the world in His holy hand?  Will you attempt to justify yourself before Him who justifies all?  Will your heart truly be set upon such vain pursuit?  Truly then the Lord will “declare to [you] solemnly, ‘Out of my sight, you evildoers’”; for all you have done will be as a grain of sand in His sight, and that grain will be blown from His hand for your lack of humility, for your pride before whom none can stand.

How shall it be then that your house be “solidly set on rock”?  How will you avoid the fate of His chosen city Jerusalem?  If it has been destroyed, do you not think that you, too, are liable to be struck from His sight?  Or do you find yourself perfect?  You must cry out as our psalmist, “Deliver us and pardon our sins for your name’s sake.”  You must heed the words of Christ and consider yourselves unworthy servants (Lk.17:10), unfit as you are to stand before His eyes, to dwell in His light.  Then He may have pity on your wretched soul.  Then He might make you strong.  Your tongue silent before His majesty, there will be hope that you shall remain.

Remember, brothers and sisters, this is He who “taught with authority” before whom you stand.  Do not lose the awe of His presence.  And perhaps the great collapse of your house will not be necessary; perhaps you shall find His great love which washes away all sin.  Let the rains He sends but be cleansing.  Endure them gracefully.

*******

O LORD, the gold of the temple does not endure,

but only a humble soul set on your will.

YHWH, let us do your will, that we might stand humbly before you on the Day of judgment.

You cannot help but judge, dear LORD; you cannot help but condemn the pride and wickedness of an evil heart and a vain life.  You would give us food to stand strong, your command that gives life indeed… but we would follow our own ways, and so, how can we end but removed from your sight?

You make us as temples, LORD, temples of your Holy Spirit feeding on the Body and Blood of your Son… but how faithful are we to the call to be as your Son, to listen to His words and the guidance of the Spirit – are we truly obedient to your will for our lives?

If we are not humble, LORD, then we know you not.  If we expect return for works done in your NAME, then we understand not the great blessing of being your sons, and how unworthy we are to carry out your will.

O LORD, come back to us and help us because of the glory of your NAME.  Let us make our home in you and in your Temple, and so find strength in you on the Day you return.

Direct download: BC-062812-Th_12_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O kings of martyrdom

who indeed laid down your very lives

rather than heed the dictates

of an evil emperor,

whose loyalty to the Lord

and the Church He established

stands unparalleled,

your defense of the faith

and conscience

written in the blood you shed –

pray that the mediocrity,

the utter inability to stand for truth

in this relativist age,

will be defeated

by souls founded firmly

in the Spirit of Christ

and in the Cross

He offers forth

for our salvation.

Pray for leaders of Church and State

to embrace your singular devotion.

Direct download: June_22_John_Fisher_and_Thomas_More.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

O lover of poverty

who gave up great wealth

to find her abiding

within the walls of your heart,

a heart which turned thus

to God’s people

and the shepherding of them

with great care –

pray that we too may hear

and come to realize in our lives

the call of our Lord

to give up all things

for the sake of the kingdom,

to be attached to nothing

but service of the poor,

service of God Himself

in the humble of this earth;

pray that like you

we may have the heart of a shepherd,

of a laborer in Jesus’ vineyard,

united in the Spirit

with all God’s children

with whom we share His Heaven.

Direct download: June_22_Paulinus_of_Nola.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(2Kgs.22:8-13,23:1-3;   Ps.119:33-37,40;   Mt.7:15-20) 

“Lead me in the path of your commands,

for in it I take delight.”

The people of Judah and Jerusalem have been unfaithful to God and to the covenant made with Him, and so the time of their exile draws near: soon this remaining tribe of Israel shall join the others in being cast from their promised land.  But today we hear of a faithful king, Josiah, who makes a kind of final effort, a final sign of faithfulness among the people, as he seeks to restore what has been so sorely lost by the nation.

King Josiah recognizes that Judah has sinned against God and so lost His blessing; and this truth is brought home to him in the clear light of “the book of the law,” which has been uncovered in the temple of the Lord, dusted off of its many years of neglect, and read in his hearing.  Hearing the commands of the Lord, the Word which gives life to its hearer, the king tears his garments in penitence for what has been lacking to the kingdom, and declares: “The anger of the Lord has been set furiously ablaze against us because our fathers did not obey the stipulations of this book, nor fulfill our written obligations.”  To his great credit he seeks now to fulfill these stipulations, making “a covenant before the Lord that they would follow Him and observe His ordinances, statutes, and decrees with their whole hearts and souls, thus reviving the terms of the covenant which were written in the book.”  The covenant made through Moses he looks to restore.

“And all the people stood as participants in the covenant”; a measure of the blessing does return to God’s chosen as they “turn away [their] eyes from what is vain” and find life in the ways of the Lord.  Here is a final harvest of good fruit before the tree turns rotten and so must be uprooted from the Lord’s sight.

Brothers and sisters, it is adherence to the Word of God which gives all life; it is faithfulness to His call that is our bread of life.  If we do not remain in Him and walk in “the way of His statutes,” we are no better than the “false prophets” who are but “wolves on the prowl” and shall be burned in the fires of Gehenna.  If we are faithless how shall our tree grow?  And if no growth, then no God have we, and we shall but rot.

In His light let us remain, seeking the nourishment of His Word and the Bread we break and offer at His altar.  And we shall need fear no exile from the Promised Land, from the Temple that is our risen Christ…  We shall be led ever in the way of Truth and grow each day unto Life.

******

O LORD, renew your Covenant within us,

that we might bear good fruit in your presence.

YHWH, if we but followed your Word and your way, heeding the commands you give us for the nourishment of our souls, then would we bear fruit unto eternal life; then would all be well with our lives.  But in disobedience we turn from you to follow our own desires, and so cast from your sight we can only be.

Forgive us, LORD, the sins upon our hands and upon our hearts;  let your wrath not blaze against us – save us from the fire!  Help us to renew this day our commitment to you and to your Word of truth, that your love might return to us and feed us well.  O let us return to you!

So blind we have been, so deaf to your Word, O holy LORD.  And so, holiness has escaped us.  Let us no longer be led astray by false notions conceived in the corruption of sin but repent entirely of our hypocrisy.  Let us but serve you and not our selfishness, and you will bless us once again and we will remain standing strong in your Temple, as your chosen people in light.  May your Word take root within our hearts and grow unto eternal life.

Direct download: BC-062712-W_12_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O patron of youth

whose innocence was unsurpassed,

whose desire to give yourself

to the Lord

in poverty and purity

led you to relinquish

your wealth in this world

at a tender age

that you might embrace Jesus

fully –

pray for the youth of our day

and the child in each of our souls,

that all might turn away

from the temptations which surround

and threaten to enter and enslave;

let all turn toward

the love of the Lord

and His heavenly call,

a call to a kingdom

that surpasses everything of this earth

and brings the joy

known only in breathing and speaking

His holy Name.

Direct download: June_21_Aloysius_Gonzaga.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(2Kgs.19:9-11,14-21,31-36;   Ps.48:2-4,9-11;   Mt.7:6,12-14)

“I will shield and save this city for my own sake,

and for the sake of my servant David.”

Brothers and sisters, “renowned is He as a stronghold,” the Lord our God.  And faithfully does He watch over His chosen one.

Our psalmist proclaims, “Great is the Lord and wholly to be praised in the city of our God.”  He extols the glory of Mount Zion, of Jerusalem, “the city of the great King,” for the blessings of God upon it.  Here is His temple and so here it is we “ponder [His] kindness”; here it is we take refuge, finding “the narrow gate” that leads to Him and to His salvation.

In our first reading today the Lord gives evidence of the way in which He protects His children; He reveals that He will not “give what is holy to dogs or toss [His] pearls before swine.”  The king of Assyria has indeed “laid waste the nations and their lands,” including the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  He has acted with seemingly invincible power, and now he has come to the Lord’s chosen city to destroy it as well.  And though this Jerusalem, where His temple does dwell, and the chosen tribes of Judah (through whom His Savior shall come) shall not be protected forever… though this earthly tent shall so soon be ransacked and taken into exile itself, today the Lord shows how His promise, His covenant with them, will never be taken away.  Though the temple’s walls be one day destroyed, His spiritual kingdom, His New Jerusalem is eternally blessed in heaven.

Hezekiah indeed “enter[s] through the narrow gate” of prayer.  Taking the threatening letter from Sennacherib in his hand, “he [goes] up to the temple of the Lord, and spreading it out before Him, he pray[s] in the Lord’s presence.”  He calls out, “O Lord, our God, save us from the power of this man, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God.”  And the Lord listens.  He takes pity on His “virgin daughter Zion… for out of Jerusalem shall come a remnant, and from Mount Zion, survivors.”  And by the hand of the Lord the king of Assyria is turned back.

Brothers and sisters, “Jerusalem will not be handed over” to the king of this world.  Upon His Church His blessed protection remains.  Through Judah and David, the king whose city is Jerusalem, Jesus has come – the Lord’s promise is fulfilled and the remnant now does thrive.  Here is the Temple not made by human hands; here is the narrow gate through whom all must enter paradise… here is “the joy of all the earth,” God’s “holy mountain” in our midst; and on His heights and in these walls, we are shielded and saved forever.

*******

O LORD, if we enter through the narrow gate,

we shall come into your presence,

and you shall always fight for us.

YHWH, how shall we find our way to your holy City, on which your protection rests, which shall always be saved from the violence of this world?  No kingdom can conquer your Church; in her let us make our home.

On your holy mountain, the fairest of heights, let us find our place, O LORD.  To your Temple let us come, stretching out our arms in prayer.  And you shall listen to our pleas, and your help will be with us quickly – you will be our stronghold.  And so, we will praise you forever, for you teach us the way that leads to your House; in your heavenly kingdom we shall ever remain.

O LORD, let us be holy as you are holy, as all your children are holy.  Let us be as those who walk the narrow path to you, who find joy in the difficulties present there.  Dwelling in faith we shall not fear the threats of the mighty, for you who are above all are our shield and guide.

Direct download: BC-062612-Tu_12_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(2Kgs.17:5-8,13-15,18;   Ps.60:3-5,7,12-13;   Mt.7:1-5)

“In His great anger against Israel,

the Lord put them away out of His sight.”

Jesus instructs His disciples today, “If you want to avoid judgment, stop passing judgment.”  In other words, “Judge not and you shall not be judged.”  Here is the prerequisite not only for avoiding judgment and condemnation at the hand of God, but also for assisting and healing others, as is our call.  If we wish to serve as Christians and remove the speck of sin from others’ eyes that they might see in the clear light of the Lord Jesus Christ, first it is certainly necessary that we ourselves see so clearly, that we come to the Lord and have our great sin removed from our souls.  Otherwise our desire to help others in their frailty will indeed but turn to judgment of them; first we must recognize the great sinners we ourselves are – and so, that we cannot judge another – before we can find the grace from God to bring Jesus’ mercy to others.  God alone judges, brothers and sisters, for God alone is good, God alone is pure… the Lord Jesus alone is free from every speck of sin.

And God will judge.  Believe this.  He will send His apostles and prophets forth to bring remission of sins – He has sent His Son to die on the cross that we might be cleansed in His blood – but failing the acceptance and embracing of the call of the Lord, indeed what hope have we of salvation?  There is but His righteous judgment remaining for our souls; there is but His chastising Hand to be placed upon us.

That God does judge, that He does cast sinful man from His sight, is made evident in exemplary fashion in the fate of our ancestors, the Israelites.  “Because the Israelites sinned against the Lord, their God,” He cast them into exile at the hand of their enemies.  “The Lord warned Israel… by every prophet and seer, ‘Give up your evil ways and keep my commandments and statutes’”; He sought to turn them from their sins by those whom He had touched, but “they did not listen…  They rejected His statutes, the covenant which He had made with their fathers, and the warnings, which He had given them.”  And so, His pure eye unable to look upon them anymore, He removed them from before Himself.

“O God, you have rejected us and broken down our defenses,” David cries, and begs the Lord’s return to the Israelites’ ranks…  And how often this must be our prayer because of our foolishness in the sight of the Lord.  Brothers and sisters, we have a greater covenant now with the Lord than did the ancient Israelites, for we have a greater than David or Moses or Abraham with us now.  And more demanding is He of our purity, of our virtue before Him.  For what threatens us now is not mere exile, but the fires of hell; what awaits those who turn from Him now is eternal damnation, and so let us remain faithful to our God.  Indeed let us remove the log from our eye that we “will see clearly to take the speck from [our] brother’s eye” and so effect the building up of the kingdom of God.  The time is now upon us; let us do all we can to remain in His sight.

*******

O LORD, remove us not from your sight

but remove the plank from our eye.

YHWH, judgment is yours alone and it is eminently fair.  Where we would condemn out of hand, you are merciful, and cast us from your sight only when we persist in our sin.  Help us to see as you see, and to be as you are, that we might remain before you and help others to return to your presence.

We are outcasts, LORD, for our sins against you, for our failure to heed your blessed commands.  You would save us from such fate as would separate us from you, and so you tell us of the path to tread.  But we do not listen.  And so we invite your wrath upon our souls; and so, how can we help others?

Save us this day, O LORD, from ourselves and from all our enemies.  Let us listen to your voice and so enter into your love and the light of your presence.  In your land let us dwell, in the land of Heaven, and there let us stay… and to this place let us draw others who seek you in the forgiveness of their transgressions and the following of your way.  We have sinned against you, but gather us back into your arms, we pray.

Direct download: BC-062512-M_12_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O sign of perfect solitude

who heeded so well

the Lord’s command

to enter into your closet

in order to pray,

whose great measure of self-denial

led you to the peak of contemplation

in God’s holy presence,

whose only desire

was that souls might draw close

to Him –

pray all who seek the Lord

may approach Him with a whole heart,

a heart set on Him alone,

that in such perfect devotion

all might find Him present

in their souls, in their spirits,

and be elevated in their lowliness

to His indescribable divine love,

to His peace which passes

all our understanding

but draws us ever closer

to His wounded side.

Direct download: June_19_Romuald.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Zec.12:10-11,13:1;   Ps.63:2-6,8-9;   Gal.3:26-29;   Lk.9:18-24) 

“They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.”

Jesus is the Christ of God.  It is He who suffers, He who has been pierced for our sins, and He whose blood cleanses us as we look upon Him, as we cry out in tears for the pain we have caused Him and resolve to follow Him now in His way of the cross.  What is the “fountain to purify from sin” but the blood poured forth in His sacrifice, and what is it we thirst for but to drink in full the grace contained therein?  And it is our great grace to suffer with Him, to take up our cross daily and share in His sacrifice, denying ourselves to find Him and His life.  This is what makes us one, with Him and so with one another: this is the baptism that redeems us and makes us whole.

Do we live out our baptismal vows?  Do we follow Him in the way of the cross?  Are we truly longing for the Lord, pining for Him, gazing upon Him – what is the banquet we seek to satisfy our souls?  Are we one in His Spirit, loving Him above all others?  Or do we set our souls on the empty pleasures of this life?  These we must lose to find Him.  Here in solitude the Lord tells the disciples quietly and sincerely, knowing the vanity and thirst for power the devil would plant in their souls – “The Son of Man must suffer greatly.”  How He desires them to hear His teaching.  How He longs to keep them from the evil one and see that their hearts are not fixed on this life.  He knows only this will save them.  He knows only repentance brings the life of God, and so He approaches them in the silence of God that His words might sink deeply into them.

And they will listen.  And they, too, will all die.  They will understand the sacrifice that leads to life.  And what of us?  The Lord speaks to us, too, today.  His words are here written down and proclaimed for our ears to treasure.  Do we turn to this fountain of forgiveness, mourning for our sins “as one mourns for an only son”?  And does our mourning lead us to lay down our lives?

Nothing of this world will suffice.  His Body and Blood alone are our food and drink here in this life.  They make us one and make us strong, and by them He will uphold us, if our hearts are set on losing this life to find Him.

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

Music: "Blood in My Palate" from Loving Spirit, third album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, in the Cross let us find

your cleansing fountain. 

YHWH, we look toward your sanctuary and what do we see but your Son pierced for our sins?  And so we mourn, and so we cry… and it is in these tears we are washed clean – baptism in His blood purifies us of sin.  And so, in the shadow of His wings we rejoice.

For now, O LORD, our souls may cling to you; by the sacrifice of your Son we are made one with Him and with one another.  And His call to take up our own cross, to share in His sacrifice, we receive with great joy; for He has shown us that it is this path that leads to salvation, that leads to eternal glory in your presence.

O let us enter your sanctuary this day, LORD our God!  Let us join ourselves to the offering Jesus makes for our sakes, eating His Body and drinking His Blood and doing your will as He has done.  At the banquet of Heaven let our souls be satisfied!

Direct download: BC-062313-Su_12_OT_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(2Chr.24:17-25;   Ps.89:4-5,29-34;   Mt.6:24-34)

“Because you have abandoned the Lord,

He has abandoned you.”

How quickly Joash the king of Judah, who so recently had restored true worship in the temple at Jerusalem, “transgress[es] the Lord’s commands.”  After Jehoiada the priest died, the people “forsook the temple of the Lord, the God of their fathers, and began to serve the sacred poles and the idols.”  And so, “wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem.”  So great is their apostasy that not only would they “not listen to [the prophets’] warnings” when they were sent “to convert them to the Lord,” but when Zechariah the son of Jehoiada stood up in their midst to call them back to the Lord, “they stoned him to death in the Lord’s temple.”  And so the central place of worship becomes a place of murder.

How truly Jesus speaks in today’s gospel: “No man can serve two masters.  He will either hate one and love the other or be attentive to one and despise the other.”  How clearly we see the hatred of God at work in Judah as she embraces false and empty gods.  And so Judah becomes like her profligate sister in the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  She who is set aside to preserve the temple and the holy city of Jerusalem, who is given yet a share in the inheritance promised David, turns boldly from her call and blessing to despise that which is most her own.  And now does her hatred grow.  And though she may escape the chastising hand of God a longer time than her sister, God’s promise: “If [David’s] sons forsake my law and walk not according to my ordinances, if they violate my statutes and keep not my commands, I will punish their crime with a rod and their guilt with stripes,” will not be set aside forever, and they shall follow their sister into exile.

Brothers and sisters, we must choose the master we shall serve: if the world and its spirit, then you court God’s condemnation; if the Lord, then remain faithful with your whole heart and follow His Son unto heaven.  It is to heaven He desires your soul to come, but you must trust in Him and remain faithful to His call.  For if you leave Him, He cannot but leave you; but if you hold fast to His love, He can do nothing but bless you.

Today Jesus, the Son of the Father in heaven, stands up to warn you against the traps of this world and call you into full, living worship of the One God.  Will you enter into His love?

*******

O LORD, in your House alone let us make our home,

and so find your kingship over us,

and so find your blessing forever.

YHWH, how kind your words to us are; how reassuring you would be.  But do we listen to you; indeed, can we hear you at all?  O heavenly Father, you know all that we need, and so would provide for us all things if we but followed in your way – but who among us has any faith?

O LORD, do we not rather fret over the passing things of this earth?  Do our hearts not turn quickly to false gods, abandoning you and true worship to feed our bellies, to save the flesh?  And what can we be but destroyed like the grass of the field if we have no more sense, no more faith, no more love for you than a lifeless statue?  Woe to us as we turn from you, for you are our very life, and without your Spirit quickly we die… quickly we die.

Let us seek holiness, LORD, let this be our goal, our call, our only desire.  Let us hope for you alone and for your heavenly kingdom, and we shall be blessed, and we shall remain in your House forever.

Direct download: BC-062312-Sa_11_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(2Kgs.11:1-4,9-18,20;   Ps.132:11-14,17-18;   Mt.6:19-23)

“The eye is the lamp of the body.

If your eye is good, your body will be filled with light;

if your eye is bad, your body will be in darkness.”

And “how deep the darkness” is upon Athaliah.  For her eye is evil, her “light is darkness,” as so desperately she seeks to “lay up for [herself] an earthly treasure” by unjust and murderous means.  Seeing that her son, the king of Judah, has died, she attempts to hold on to his crown by killing all the rightful heirs to his throne, caring more for the things which “moth and rust corrode” than for the righteousness of God.  And she succeeds, though only briefly, as, true to the words of our gospel today, “thieves break in and steal” the kingship she has herself stolen away.  And how great is her woe upon seeing all she has so anxiously and vainly sought removed from under her sight.  How deep indeed is her darkness, deeper than the death she is about to endure.

In our psalm today we are reminded of the promise the Lord has made with David, king of all Israel: “If your sons keep my covenant and the decrees which I teach them, their sons, too, forever shall sit upon your throne.”  For in Zion the Lord vows to “place a lamp for [His] anointed,” and declares that upon His chosen one His “crown shall shine.”  This crown, this lamp, is for all the Lord’s children to receive, to shine forth in His holy presence.  All who keep to His ways shall know such blessing.  But, clearly, those who turn away lose the light the Lord deems to give to us as followers of His One Light, Jesus Christ.  And however boldly or by whatever anxious means we attempt to hold on to it, it shall be removed from us like the passing day.  Only remaining in Him are we saved.

In our first reading the people, led by Jehoiada the priest of God, renew the covenant “by which they would be the Lord’s people.”  Terribly they have fallen from it and its grace and seek to regain what has now, and so often, been lost.  Continually, in fact, the Israelites fell away from the Lord’s command and so were abandoned to their sins – thus necessitating the coming of Christ – but continually the Lord returns them to the light when they return to Him, until finally Jesus does come.

Let us not be as the Israelites have been, brothers and sisters, so easily led into darkness and error, so easily seeking to look upon the evil of this earth.  The Lord has come now to lead us away from just such things and give us a light that never fades.  It is for us to remain with Him.  Let your eye be sound, and so let His wisdom shine through you, O blessed one.

*******

O LORD, let us shine like your Son

in your heavenly kingdom.

YHWH, upon what are our hearts set?  Are they set on you and the doing of your will?  Do we seek indeed your kingdom?  Or do we look to gain whatever we can of earthly treasure, and so set ourselves in opposition to your law of love?  You alone are King; your Son alone is the rightful heir to all.  Let us place Him upon the throne of our hearts and rejoice at your presence there.

How evil man can be, O LORD, how blind and desperate in his selfishness.  Into such grave darkness can we fall when we set our hearts on the things of this world.  But how vain power and riches are; how quickly they come to an end, for these are not ours but yours alone, and they return to you at the end of the day.  And so, if we would hold to them, we would find ourselves fighting you… and that is a battle we cannot win.

O LORD, have mercy on your people!  Take not your light from our midst – make us your very dwelling place.  Let your light shine forth from all your children as they set their hearts on Heaven.

Direct download: BC-062212-F_11_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Sir.48:1-14;   Ps.97:1-7,12;   Mt.6:7-15)

“Your kingdom come,

your will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.”

Our psalm sings of the greatness of our God; in our first reading we hear of how this greatness was revealed in the prophets Elijah and Elisha; and in the Lord’s Prayer we call for this greatness to be present in our midst.

“Fire goes before Him and consumes His foes round about,” our psalmist declares in praise of God.  “His lightnings illumine the world.”  How great indeed is He: “The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.”  Nothing stands before His glance, for “justice and judgment are the foundation of His throne,” and this world is held in His all-powerful Hand.

And how well this greatness is brought to bear by His holy prophets.  We are told, “Like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah whose words were as a flaming furnace.”  The consuming power of the Lord is indeed revealed in him, for “by God’s word he shut up the heavens and three times brought down fire.”  He “brought a dead man back to life from the nether world, by the will of the Lord… sent kings down to destruction,” and finally was “taken aloft in a whirlwind, in a chariot with fiery horses.”  How the Lord blesses His holy ones!  How He reveals His greatness in them!  And of Elisha it is said, “Nothing was beyond his power…  In life he performed wonders, and after death, marvelous deeds.”

There is no end to the power the Lord provides to His children, for there is no end to His power, and this power He would share with all.  Thus does the Lord encourage us to call upon the majesty of God our Father to be with us, to feed us each day, that His Name might indeed be praised, that His holiness might be revealed in His chosen ones.  And to avoid His wrath, and to share in His power, what must we do?  What is the central call of this all-powerful, all-holy Lord?  Forgiveness.  His grace is power, and grace and mercy we must share with all to share that power which has no end.

Trust in Him who holds you in His Hand, brothers and sisters.  And His mighty Hand you shall see at work in the course of your day, and the fire of His grace shall pour upon your soul.

*******

O LORD, let your power be upon us,

the power of your merciful love.

YHWH, you are all-good and all-powerful, and those who share your goodness share in your power.  Let your kingdom come upon us; there let us dwell with you.  We pray to be forgiven all our sins that your Spirit might be with us.

But we know, O LORD, for your Son has taught us, that if we are to come into your presence and share in your power and wonder, first we must forgive our neighbor – even our enemy we must love.  Those who sin against us indeed become as our enemies, but your mercy we must share with them if we are to know your grace at work in our souls.  Separated from you, all die, but in your light all are brought to life: let all souls come into your kingdom.

Let thy holy will be done, O LORD, in all your prophets, in all your disciples.  Your power, your love, make known in all who bear your NAME.  What should we fear if you are with us?  Let your Word be spoken through us and His  blood course through our veins.  Let all peoples see your glory.

Direct download: BC-062112-Th_11_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(2Kgs.2:1,6-14;   Ps.31:20-21,24-25;   Mt.6:1-6,16-18)

“As they walked on conversing,

a flaming chariot and flaming horses came between them,

and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.”

Jesus instructs us in our gospel, “Whenever you pray, go to your room, close your door, and pray to your Father in private.”  This prescription the holy prophet Elijah fulfills in our first reading when he miraculously crosses the Jordan River and enters the wilderness, out of the sight of the prophets who remain standing on its other side.  Elisha, too, he would have remain apart, but this holy man determines to stay with his father in faith.  And so as their prayer becomes secret, as their conversation of God becomes hidden and private, even then Elijah is taken in flames of holy fire from the sight of men; even then he ascends to heaven.  And though so otherworldly, the eyes of Elisha witness the hand of God lifting the prophet from our midst.

Brothers and sisters, can you see that this is as what happens with us when we pray to God in our private rooms?  David in his psalm declares, “How great is the goodness, O Lord, which you have in store for those who fear you, and which, toward those who take refuge in you, you show in the sight of men.”  When we “hide… in the shelter of [His] presence… screen[ed]…  within [His] abode,” He reveals Himself to us in His glorious might, He lifts us up to heaven where He dwells.  As He blesses those who keep their alms secret and repays those whose fasting is hidden, so He anoints the prayers of His children who find Him in the recesses of their hearts.  From this wilderness, from this desert place, He lifts us to see the encompassing shining of holy light.

The quiet place is within your soul; the kingdom of heaven is within you.  Converse with the Lord quite readily, quite faithfully, in this hidden place, and all shall be revealed to your eyes.  Stay with Him; do not leave His side, and all your requests shall be filled in His blessed generosity.  And His cloak He shall place upon you, His cross He shall lay across your shoulders, and the great blessings of heaven will be your own.

“Love the Lord, all you His faithful ones!

The Lord keeps those who are constant.”

And all humble souls He raises

to the throne of God.

                         *******

O LORD, let us hide ourselves in you,

that you might carry us to Heaven.

YHWH, let us enter into your presence hidden within us; into this wilderness let us come that we might meet with you and you might bless us, and take us to Heaven.  Hear our prayer this day.

LORD, you alone are our refuge, you alone are our glory and our peace – you are our only desire.  Let us not seek the approval of this world or the praise it may give, but look always only to serve you, to love you, with all our might… and let all our might be only of you.  Let it be you who work miracles in our life.

Take all we have, LORD; we ask nothing in return but to be with you.  Quietly let us come to you who dwell in the purest silence, apart from all the vain distractions of this world. 

You are quite above this dreadful place, though you come to dwell with us even here.  In you let us transcend all the emptiness that surrounds us, even as we walk with you.  O LORD, let us never leave your side that we might come to be where you are.

Direct download: BC-062012-W_11_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(1Kgs.21:17-29;   Ps.51:3-6,11,16;   Mt.5:43-48) 

“Thoroughly wash me from my guilt

and of my sin cleanse me.”

We have hope, brothers and sisters; we have hope that the very depths of our sin and depravity against the Lord shall be forgiven, and we shall be made new, washed in His blood.  For the Lord “sends His rain on the just and the unjust,” and this He proves today in our readings.

The Lord forgives David his “blood-guilt,” he who has committed the dual sins of adultery and murder; and Ahab, too, of whom it is said, “No one gave himself to the doing of evil in the sight of the Lord as did Ahab,” finds a measure of His mercy.  Indeed, if there is reconciliation of these sinners with the Lord God, then even we must have hope of the Lord’s grace at work within us.

The Lord is He who loves even His enemies, whose “sun rises on the bad and the good” alike, whose arm is not shortened, whose love knows no bounds – for has He not gone so far as to die on the cross as a common criminal, as the worst of sinners, to redeem all from their sins?  But to receive such grace and mercy how must we come to Him?

It is clear both in our first reading and in David’s great psalm that forgiveness is not obtained in a casual manner.  To find it, we must imitate our sinners in their repentance as we have mirrored them in our sin.  For Ahab when he heard the condemnation of the Lord upon his house “tore his garments and put on sackcloth over his bare flesh”; he did not hesitate to “acknowledge [his] offense” before the Lord and all the people.  And recognizing that his “sin is before [him] always,” David comes begging the Lord, “Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my guilt,” seeking the compassion he knows only God holds.  And this trust in His mercy the Lord sees; this declaration of sin the Lord hears.  It is because Ahab “humbled himself before [Him]” and because David proclaimed openly his guilt that God has mercy on their lives.  And we must join them just so in our own repentance to find that same mercy and kindness.

More than this, brothers and sisters.  To more than this are we called now, my friends.  For like the Lord Himself we are commanded to be – to show such mercy as He.  The blood of Christ now outpoured, and it having poured upon our souls, we must now see that it is shared with all.  We do that by shedding our own blood, by sharing that same love with everyone, indeed even with our enemies, as with us the Lord has done.  And so our freedom from sin is made complete in His heavenly presence.

*******

O LORD, is it not only fair

that we should love our enemies

since you have loved us

who have done such evil in your sight,

even having your Son die for our sins?

YHWH, free us all from bloodguilt, for we are all guilty of shedding your Son’s blood; we are all sinners in your sight.  Yet you love us, and offer forth your forgiveness as we repent before you – though we have been your enemies, you make us your friends.  Help us to receive such grace from you, and to share it with others.

Your mercy pour upon us, LORD; each day let us come to you and find your cleansing rain.  For continually our hearts turn from you… sinners we remain, and your healing grace ever we need to come into your presence and find your all-encompassing love.  Have mercy on us, LORD, have mercy!

And let us answer your call to show your love and mercy in our lives.  The light you impart to us let us shine upon all souls.  O what a great grace you offer us, LORD! to be as you are, to love as you do – to be perfect even as you.  Let us find such grace at work in us; let it be all we desire.

Direct download: BC-061912-Tu_11_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O gentle preacher of the Word,

the fire of the Holy Spirit

upon your soul

for the conversion of heretics

and the leading of all  

to God –

hold us in your arms

even as the infant Jesus

who appeared to you

along the way,

and pray that the Word

may be instilled in our hearts

even as it was in your own,

that we shall never go astray

but always have the consolation

of the Spirit of God

and His love and innocence

to lead us through this life

till we find ourselves

at home in the Father’s arms,

where you dwell in peace

with all His blessed saints.

Pray for us, our teacher and brother, this day.

Direct download: June_13_Anthony_of_Padua.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Kgs.21:1-16;   Ps.5:2-3,5-7;   Mt.5:38-42) 

“I will obtain the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite for you.”

How divergent are the paths of Jezebel and Jesus.  This Queen of Israel, wife of Ahab, holds the philosophy that if someone won’t give you what you ask for, take it by force; whereas the Lord says if someone wishes to take something from you, give it and more.

Here are the way of the world and the way of heaven in stark contrast.  When as a petulant child Ahab refuses to eat after not getting what he wants, his wife plots the death of Naboth to obtain the king’s desired land.  She truly is among “the bloodthirsty and the deceitful the Lord abhors.”  Jesus and those who follow Him are they whom the Lord loves.  Far from stoning the righteous man to death, they themselves are the righteous who shed blood freely at the hands of their enemies.  Both the wicked Jezebel and the just Jesus go beyond the old law: “An eye for an eye, a tooth for tooth.”  She takes an eye and a tooth when none has been taken from her, going thus below the law; but Jesus says, “Offer no resistance to injury,” going thus above the law.  Where He fulfills the law in love, she makes a mockery of God.

We hear these mutually exclusive paths spoken of even literally today.  Jesus instructs His disciples: “Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him two miles,” encouraging His followers on the same way of suffering He models for all – a way revealed most clearly in His carrying of the cross to the hill of Golgotha; and our first reading tells us that “on hearing that Naboth was dead, Ahab started off on his way down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it,” walking quite a different path of blood.

Brothers and sisters, it should be obvious that God “delight[s] not in wickedness; no evil man remains with [Him].”  He indeed “destroy[s] all who speak falsehood” – the justice of God they shall not escape.  But let it be equally obvious that we must follow the Lord’s words in turning the other cheek.  His are not mere platitudes but necessary instructions for finding the way to God He Himself walks.  If we do not walk where He has walked, how can we come to the place He now is?  Do not think you will come to heaven along an easy path, much less a wicked one.  You will obtain the vineyard of heaven only by drinking the blood of Christ where you are, only by laying down your very life here in this world.

*******

O LORD, let us leave behind

all the wickedness of this world

and join in your Son’s holy sacrifice of love.

YHWH, let us leave the way of the wicked far behind and walk only in the path you mark out for us.  In your Son’s blood let us make our home, that there shall be no blood upon our hands.

Let us lay down our lives with your Son, turning the other cheek to those who would harm us, to those who would slap us in the face.  Yours is the way of forgiveness and love, of sacrifice in the name of goodness, in your NAME, O God.

Keep us from the path of the world, LORD, for it is one of evil, of use and abuse of neighbor, of the shedding of his blood, the blood of the righteous Man.  O let us not have Jesus’ blood on our hands!

LORD, we are all sinners, but if we turn to you, you save us from such sin as would condemn our souls.  But if we harden our hearts against your love, if we seek only our own gain, and at others’ expense, choosing to remain blind to your Son’s Cross of sacrifice, which is our only hope of salvation… we can only be destroyed.  Help us to give all to others, to answer your call to love.

Direct download: BC-061812-M_11_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(2Sm.12:7-10,13;   Ps.32:1-2,5,7,11;   Gal.2:16,19-21;   Lk.7:36-8:3) 

“I said, ‘I confess my faults to the Lord,’

and you took away the guilt of my sin.”

“Who is this who even forgives sins?”  It is Christ the Lord, the promised One, the Messiah – the Savior of the human race.  But the Pharisee and the others at table “nullify the grace of God.”  Simon does not welcome Jesus as a prophet, a brother, or even a respected traveler; instead, he sits back in judgment of the Son of Man: “If this man were a prophet…” he speculates to himself, all the while blind to the tears of the woman, ever remaining cold to her repentance.  And even when Jesus speaks to him by name and confronts him with his own guilt, even after he reveals to him the coldness of his welcome to Him whom he should be glorifying, he is not repentant.  He cannot be forgiven even a little, for he has no love in his heart.

How different David’s reaction (in our first reading) to the exposure of his great sin to the light.  He does not hide from the truth.  He does not pretend all is well.  He falls to his knees in tears and confesses his guilt at the feet of the prophet of God.  And so he finds forgiveness.  David recognizes the chastising hand of the Lord and the great grace that is found by it.  The woman, too, sees the truth of her sins in the face of Christ and longs to find the grace of forgiveness.  The Pharisee hardens his heart.

“A person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ,” Paul proclaims in our second reading.  It is not that the law is bad or that it should be abandoned, as Christ Himself confirms; it is simply that the law alone will not bring us to justification, it does not serve to make us one with God – the death of Christ and faith in Him is necessary for this.  If the Pharisee had truly kept the law well, he would have recognized and celebrated Jesus’ coming, for, indeed, He and His love are the very heart of the law – to which Christ has also witnessed.  The greatest commandment is recognized by the whole nation of Israel as love of God and neighbor.  But the Pharisee fails even to exhibit basic hospitality, an essential work of the law, to the Lord.  He knows not Jesus because his adherence to the law is false, is but a pretense.  If he followed the law rightly it would lead him to the justification found in Jesus; but love, the heart of the law, is far from his sight.

Let us, brothers and sisters, not be blind as the Pharisee.  Let us not take refuge in our own works and ignore the Lord who walks amongst us.  If we do not recognize our sins against Him, we shall never come to the light of salvation, we shall never know His surpassing love.  Let us be as David and as the woman: let us “bathe His feet” with our tears of repentance.  He is waiting to forgive.

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

Music: "Cry Mercy" from Remove the Mask of Lies, second album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, cast all evil from our hearts

that we might walk in the company of your Son.

YHWH, may we have faith in you and in your Son that we might be saved from our sin and share in your love.  It is this grace Jesus comes to impart to us: the forgiveness of our sins.  How we should rejoice that you look upon our tears!

To even the worst of sinners you show great pity; we may say that these deserve your mercy even more.  For those who recognize the depth of their sin against you, you raise to great heights, O LORD.  And it is not so much repentance of sin itself that opens us to your saving hand upon us, but our realization of the glory before us in your only Son and how no soul is able to stand in the overwhelming light of His presence.

And so let us all fall at the feet of Christ with tears pouring from our eyes, in repentance for our sins, yes, but more so for the surpassing love He offers freely to all who believe in Him… and so come to you.  Take away the guilt of our sin, dearest God.

Direct download: BC-061613-Su_11_OT_I.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O son of encouragement

and of consolation in the Holy Spirit,

you who were filled with faith

and lived that faith for the Lord,

giving up all things to bring His Name forth

to the ends of the earth,

calling all souls

and confirming them in the truth

by the authority of the risen Son –

whose footsteps go forth today

as did yours

upon the birth of the Church;

what souls are so blessed

to be set apart by the Spirit

to perform His works

in this dying world,

to bring His light

to those who sit in darkness?

Pray the Lord shall indeed

send out laborers into His vineyard

and they shall with the same faith

be an encouragement to all,

a consolation to Christian souls.

Direct download: June_11_Barnabas.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Kgs.19:19-21;   Ps.16:1-2,5,7-10;   Mt.5:33-37) 

“I will follow you.”

Elisha gives His yes to Elijah, and so to God.  He “kiss[es] [his] father and mother good-bye” and weds himself to the prophet who has thrown “his cloak over him.”  And he shall not turn back, shall not fall short of giving his entire self to the service of God, and so shall be greatly blessed.  All he leaves behind.  His very livelihood he slaughters, and gives these twelve oxen “to his people to eat.”  For he shall not return to work for them anymore.

“You are my inheritance, O Lord,” David sings; “my allotted portion and my cup, you it is who hold fast my lot.”  All his soul trusts in the Lord in whom he “take[s] refuge,” and what more does the Lord’s king need?  “My heart is glad and my soul rejoices, my body, too, abides in confidence”: all his being finds peace in the presence of God, for all his being is set upon Him.

So it is, brothers and sisters, that to the extent we give ourselves to God, to the degree that we give our yes to the Lord, even so will we find our place secure.  For making our home in heaven with Him, there is nothing to keep us from His grace.  All else falls short of His glory.  Heaven and earth shall pass away, and the hairs on our heads are numbered: only the New Jerusalem is lasting; only heaven is secure, for only in heaven is God.

We must be with Him.  We must give ourselves to Him.  Why should anything less hold sway in our lives?  Why should we hesitate to follow Him with our whole heart?  For there is nothing else that has importance – heaven is all that matters, and giving our lives to this place which is all life, how protected we are from “the evil one” who would dilute our love of God.  And how certain our yes to our God is a no to this adversarial devil.

Honor your mother and father, children; give to all the love that is due.  But give to God your very soul; let your spirit rest in Him alone, and you will be blessed forevermore.

*******

O LORD, let us follow you unreservedly

and know your presence at our side.

YHWH, let us give you our ‘yes’ even as your Blessed Mother, even as Elisha, even as all your faithful disciples.  Let us give all things over to you and follow your way unreservedly.  In your truth let us ever remain, not wavering or turning back to what we have left behind.  In you let us make our home and we will dwell in Heaven.

What do we need but you at our side?  For what should we be concerned but serving your will?  For as we take refuge in you, as we set our hearts on your work and your will, nothing can disturb us – in complete confidence our soul abides.  For you are all, O LORD; you are all and everything, and nothing exists apart from you.  And so, if we have you, everything is ours.  Let us but give our trust to you.

And we shall never die if we trust our lives into your hands.  You shall be our food and drink, and we shall sit at your table forever…  O LORD, we give you our ‘yes’ this day.

Direct download: BC-061612-Sa_10_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(1Kgs.19:9,11-16;   Ps.27:7-9,13-14;   Mt.5:27-32) 

“Of you my heart speaks; you my glance seeks.”

“Your presence, O Lord, I seek.  Hide not your face from me,” David sings in our psalm; and it is the presence of the Lord that is made known to Elijah in our first reading.  And that same presence stands most openly before us in the teaching of Jesus in our gospel.

Elijah comes to the mountain of God to find shelter against the persecutions of his own people, for as he says, “I alone am left, and they seek to take my life.”  He alone holds the word of God, and so with what zealousness his life is sought.  God promises to show Himself to His lone prophet, but neither in the “strong and heavy wind” nor in “the earthquake” nor in “the fire,” which come before Elijah with great power as he stands upon the mountain, does the prophet find God.  By none of these is he moved.  But in “a tiny whispering sound” the presence of the Most High God is made known (“it is not by sword or spear…” 1Sm.17:47); it is this still, small voice that instills the fear of the Lord in his pierced soul and causes him to “hid[e] his face in his cloak and [go and stand] at the entrance of the cave,” now seeking shelter from the power of God.

And is not this quiet Word made known in fullness today in the presence of Jesus, He who came “humble and mounted on an ass” (Mt. 21:5)?  Does His simple teaching, do His gentle words not rend our hearts in twain?  Here is the power of strong wind, earthquake, and fire all together in the voice of the Son of a carpenter; here in this unassuming flesh is God Himself made known.