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.

(1Pt.4:7-13;   Ps.96:10-13;   Mk.11:11-26)

“The consummation of all is close at hand.

Therefore, do not be perturbed;

remain calm so that you will be able to pray.”

As at the time Jesus walks the earth the end of the Israelite nation is at hand – a consummation signified in “the fig tree withered to its roots” at His command, a consummation that will be fulfilled in the crucifixion of the Messiah but whose coming is already evident in the fact that the temple has been turned into “a den of thieves” – so at the time of Peter’s writing, that end is about to be realized in the destruction of the temple.  And more than this, the “trial by fire” occurring in the midst of the disciples refers greatly to the death of this world we face in becoming Christians, to the persecution faced by all His children and felt most genuinely at the hands of the Romans.

But as all around is cast into the sea at the command of the Lord, we should not fear.  This is the time to “put [our] trust in God,” to pray in faith, to put [our] gifts at the service of one another” and “let [our] love for one another be constant.”  Rather than be sad, we must “rejoice instead, insofar as [we] share Christ’s sufferings.”  For it should be our joy to see the temple cleansed, to have our hearts purified of all that is not holy – to witness the power of the hand of God at work.  “For He governs the peoples with equity” as “He comes to rule the earth,” so indeed “the heavens [should] be glad and the earth rejoice.”

“In all of you God is to be glorified through Jesus Christ.”  His “house is to be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”  We are His House now; we hold His promise – and we come to His glory as we share in the trials He has known.  If the end is close at hand, if the world is already dead, if the devil’s illusions are about to fade… what can this bring us but joy to know the Truth is about to be revealed and all His faithful ones are about to be gathered into His kingdom?  Remain steadfast in love and prayer, and “a multitude of sins” shall indeed be covered; and the new life which has sprung from the withered roots of the fig tree shall soon be fulfilled in your sight.

*******

O LORD, drive all evil from our midst  

that we might not wither to our roots.

YHWH, you come to rule the earth with justice, to cast out all evildoers that your House might indeed be a house of prayer.  And though such purgation bring suffering to our souls (for who is without sin?), uniting our trials to the sufferings of Christ and remaining true to His Word, we are indeed purged of all sin and made ready for the kingdom. 

O let us love this day!  Let us place ourselves at the service of one another, freely sharing the gifts we have by the grace of your Son.  It is in Him we find our home, in Him we know our salvation, and so let His chastisement be upon us for good, O LORD, as we seek to join Him in your eternal glory.

All the earth shall rejoice at the coming of Jesus; the heavens shall sing praise at such wonder.  For though the consummation of all be close at hand, O God, all who put their trust in you shall be remade in His image.  Alleluia!

Direct download: BC-060112-F_8_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O priest of joy

whose song of service

rises unto the Lord

until this day,

whose delight in sacrifice

inspires others

to give themselves in freedom

to the work of Christ –

pray all God’s priests

and people

will give themselves so completely

in the love of the only Son

that indeed a holy song

might rise unto the heavens

until He returns from there

to carry us home forever.

May the Lord’s healing graces

be poured forth

through your generous intercession

that all souls might be prepared

to unite with their Creator and Redeemer,

with the Spirit who inspires the Church

even here with His glorious presence.

Direct download: May_26_Philip_Neri.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Pt.2:2-5,9-12;   Ps.100:2-5;   Mk.10:46-52) 

“Be as eager for milk as newborn babies –

pure milk of the Spirit to make you grow unto salvation.”

Does not the “blind beggar Bartimaeus” show his eagerness for the milk of the Spirit, for the blood of Christ upon his soul, when he persistently calls out “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” despite those who “were scolding him to make him keep quiet”? And was his ready desire to meet with the Lord not revealed most clearly when “he threw aside his cloak, jumped up and came to Jesus.” All else becomes as nothing as even in his blindness he strains forward to find the Lord.

Brothers and sisters, should we not “come to Him, a living stone, rejected by men but approved, nonetheless, and precious in God’s eyes,” just as this beggar? Are we not “‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people He claims for His own to proclaim the glorious works’ of the One who called [us] from darkness into His marvelous light”? Is it not so that “once [we] were no people, but now [we] are God’s people”? Once we were blind as Bartimaeus, without mercy for our souls, “but now [we] have found mercy.” And oh how we should treasure such grace – even as a newborn child treasures its milk.

Who better than Peter, our high priest, to let us know that we “too are living stones, built as an edifice of spirit, into a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”? Having been cured of our own blindness, having been purged of our “carnal desires,” we join this blessed Rock of the Church at the altar on high, sharing in the sacrifice of our Risen Christ. Should this thought not cause us to “serve the Lord with gladness”? Should it not make us ever eager to serve Him more, to draw ever closer to Him as He passes by? Is it not our desire to be with Him forever?

“Get up! He is calling you!” Do not be afraid for “He made us” and we are “the flock He tends.” The gentle Lord desires nothing more than to heal your troubled soul. See that you now “follow Him up the road” in joy, growing daily in the new life and light of the Spirit of God.

*******

O LORD, in your great mercy

you have saved us from our sins

that we might see your glory –

let us proclaim your marvelous works this day.

YHWH, we praise you for the mercy you bring to our souls. We were once blind and begging by the roadside, but you have heard our cries and healed us; and now we walk with Jesus to Jerusalem. In His very sacrifice we share, offering ourselves and our works up in His Name. So generous you are that in His priesthood we now share.

O LORD, though we are the poorest of sinners, though we have been so far from you and your mercy, mired in the deepest darkness, yet you have come to us, you have passed by the gutter in which we were splayed, and you have lifted us by your Word from our emptiness – you have given light to our eyes. Let us thank you now by following in your way, and so fulfill your grace at work in us.

O LORD, let all our carnal desires be stripped from us like an old cloak and let us stand with you in white robes. Truly, O LORD, make us your own, that we might praise you forevermore.

Direct download: BC-053112-Th_8_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O humble soul

whom the Lord blessed

with mystical elevations

to His heavenly presence,

you who remained so faithful

through all trials

and encouraged others

to seek such perfection as well –

pray that this proud age

which leans so distinctly

from the truth,

from the love of God,

will be consumed as you were

by the Holy Spirit,

by desire for the Lord’s overtaking

of our lives,

that all souls will turn

from the false gods at their hands,

idols that overshadow their spirits,

and toward the humility

known only in our Savior’s blood.

Only in Him is life eternal;

pray all souls will come to His love.

Direct download: May_25_Mary_Magdalene_de_Pazzi.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:10pm EDT

O Shepherd and Father,

defender of the faith

and of holy MotherChurch

against those who would rob her

of her freedom,

those who would rape her,

stealing away her purity,

those who would deny

her singleness in the sight of God

as the House which He has founded –

those who would destroy the faith

and bring to naught

the Church, our Mother,

and Peter, our Holy Father,

do not relent in their efforts…

and so we need still

your prayers and your courage

to aid us in standing strong

against the tide

the evil one stirs up in this world.

Pray indeed, O Father,

that all our shepherds and all God’s people

will tirelessly defend the truth in love.

Direct download: May_25_Gregory_VII.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

O learned master

whose life itself was as a monastery,

consumed as you were

by study and teaching and writing

and prayer,

who till the very end

spoke the name of the Lord

in all your words

and deeds –

pray that the incense of your life

will rise unto the throne of God

and intercede for us here below

who are so far from His presence,

from knowledge of His providence

and remembrance of His sacrifice.

How will we find ourselves

one with the Lord of Creation

and ascend to His glory

if you do not pray for us,

O blessed soul

so united to His will,

so held within His Hand

and breathing forth His name?

Direct download: May_25_Bede_the_Venerable.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Pt.1:18-25;   Ps.147:12-15,19-20;   Mk.10:32-45) 

“The Son of Man has not come to be served but to serve –

to give His life in ransom for the many.”

As Jesus and His apostles make their “way up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes,” He tells them that these elders of the people “will condemn Him to death and hand Him over to the Gentiles, who will mock Him and spit at Him, flog Him, and finally kill Him.”  He then adds, “But three days later He will rise.”  Here is the Gospel in short.  Here is “the living and enduring Word of God,” the “indestructible seed” which brings us to life by our “faith and hope” centered upon it.  Yes, “by Christ’s blood” we “were delivered from the futile way of life” that sin wrought in us; this blood is “the blood of a spotless, unblemished lamb chosen before the world’s foundation and revealed for [our] sake in these last days.”  Christ has died, Christ is risen, and in Him we come to life again.

And we must “drink the cup” He drinks; we must “be baptized in the same bath of pain.”  There is no other way to His glory.  Our lives on this earth must be joined in sacrifice with Him.  Never are we to “lord it over” others; but always we “must serve the rest.”  So Jesus instructs His apostles in this most weighty moment filled with “wonderment” and “fear,” as He stands at the precipice of His sacrifice.  And Peter tells us the same when He counsels us to “love one another constantly from the heart.”  Jesus’ blood is the greatest love and it is in this river we must swim; in this ocean we shall be cleansed – “by obedience to the truth you have purified yourselves for a genuine love of your brother,” the Lord’s principal apostle declares to all his faithful readers.

“He has proclaimed His word to Jacob, His statutes and ordinances to Israel,” and all these are summed up in the blood of the Lamb of God.  “Swiftly runs His word” to all who seek redemption from God; swiftly it comes to pierce our hearts.  And though by it we ourselves bleed with Him, by it “He has granted peace in [our] borders” – through Jesus we are “believers in… the God who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory,” and His same glory is ours as we die with Him now.  Let this Word be inscribed upon your heart.

*******

O LORD, your Son is the Word spoken by your mouth

that comes quickly to save us;

may we share in the cup He raises to His blessed lips.

YHWH, we are purified by the Word your Son speaks to us, by the Gospel preached in His Name – by His death and resurrection, which you desire us to share.  Let His blood be upon us for good this day, that we might be thoroughly cleansed of our sins and come to serve you and one another.

Our faith and our hope are in you, LORD; all our desire is to join you in glory.  The blessing of your way be known to us – let us walk the path to Jerusalem with your Son.  For if we die with Him, if we lay down our lives in service of one another for your sake, then we shall live with you, saved from the death that comes upon all flesh.

Our lives are passing as the grass of the field; this you know, O LORD.  But your Son has come to redeem our souls, to raise us from the dust that we might sit with Him in your kingdom.  Let your will be done and we come by the drinking of His cup to the heavenly Jerusalem.

Direct download: BC-053012-W_8_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(1Pt.1:10-16;   Ps.98:1-4;   Mk.10:28-31) 

“Set all your hope on the gift to be conferred on you

when Jesus Christ appears.”

“The Lord has made His salvation known: in the sight of the nations He has revealed His justice.”  That “which the prophets carefully searched out and examined” but was hidden from their eyes, that into which “angels long to search” is now indeed made known “by those who preach the Gospel to you, in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.”  Yes, “the divine favor which was destined to be [ours],” “the sufferings destined for Christ and the glories that would follow” spoken of in all Scripture by the Spirit of Christ, are now come into our midst; and it is these we wait to see fulfilled.

And as we await our salvation we must “become holy… after the likeness of the holy one who called” us.  As we stay, we must share in His sufferings to find His glory.  “Obedient sons” of the one Father, we must pattern ourselves after His only Son.  “The desires that once shaped [us] in [our] ignorance” must be absolutely abandoned as we become holy as He.

And the same Peter who instructs us in the salvation prepared for us from all ages and the holiness which alone befits it, exclaims to Jesus in our gospel today, “We have put aside everything to follow you!” as if to plead, “Have we done enough?”  And the Lord assures him all that he gives up for the kingdom’s sake shall return to him a hundredfold, and “in the age to come” he shall have “everlasting life.”  For indeed, as the Lord has been, so the apostles have followed, and in these same steps we must walk – to this same cross we must come.

Here we stand at the end of salvation history, as the last in a long line of the children of God.  But first we can be with the Spirit as our guide and conformed to the sufferings of Christ.  Being at the end of this line we have the benefit of all the prophecy and teaching that has prepared this time; greater fullness of truth is ours than at any time before.  And so, more so are we called to be like our Savior; impossible is it become for us to hide in ignorance.  “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God,” the light of Christ has been cast upon all hearts, and to continue in sin becomes yet a greater torture – for our eyes are so much less blind.  Now must the earth become obedient to His voice, calling so clearly in its soul; condemnation awaits otherwise.  Now the simple word of truth spoken by God at the heart of Scripture must be our sure guide: “Be holy, for I am holy,” and our expectations will soon be fulfilled in Him.

*******

O LORD, your Son has come

and now sends forth the Spirit;

let us put all aside to follow Him in holiness of life.

YHWH, your salvation you have made known to us; what the prophets declared has become so in our midst – your Son has walked among us and died for us that we might be saved.  O let your salvation be fulfilled this day!

O LORD, make us holy as you are holy, that we might be where you are.  Help us to walk the path to glory by fully embracing the Cross your Son provides.  Help us gladly to give up all things that we might find all things anew in your presence.

What of this earth matters, O LORD?  What is there we should put before our love for you?  For all things are in your holy hands and only by you is anything blessed.  And so, let us give ourselves to you who are holy, and you will make all things holy for us.

Thank you, O LORD, for your kindness toward us.  Thank you for the blood your Son has shed.  Thank you for making your love known to us, for now by your grace this love we may share.  Open our eyes and our hearts to the glory of your way, and let us walk that way with Jesus.

Direct download: BC-052912-Tu_8_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(1Pt.1:3-9;   Ps.111:1-2,5-6,9-10;   Mk.10:17-27)

“Go and sell what you have and give to the poor;

you will then have treasure in heaven.”

“You may for a time have to suffer the distress of many trials,” for even if you are not a rich man with “many possessions” to give up, all that you have that is of the world must die before you will find “birth to an imperishable inheritance incapable of fading or defilement, which is kept in heaven for you.”  You can have no pride, you can have no greed, you can have no lust in your heart if you are to find the kingdom of God.  Your faith must be like “fire-tried gold” whose “genuineness [will] lead to praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ appears.”

Jesus’ question to the rich young man: “Why do you call me good?  No one is good but God alone” is, I think, often misunderstood.  The Lord is not saying not to call Him good because that title is reserved only for God, for He is God and deserves every title of praise we can utter.  Rather, He is testing the young man, who kneels at this moment at His feet, to find out if he truly recognizes that He is “good”, that He is the Son of God. 

This is borne out by the Lord’s response as to what the young man should do “to share in everlasting life.”  Jesus first lists only the latter commandments, which refer to love of neighbor, which the young man rightfully states he has kept well.  “Then Jesus looked at him with love and told him,” in essence, of his need to keep the first three commandments, those which refer to love of God, in a more complete fashion.  For what is He telling him in our quote above but to have no false gods, to love the Lord with heart, mind, soul, and strength – and how is this accomplished but in His instruction: “Come and follow me”?  As we give up the idols which spring from the earth, as all our possessions and our trust in them are taken from us, we find the “birth unto hope which draws its life from the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”  By such death we follow Him unto heaven.

Brothers and sisters, “there is cause for rejoicing here,” for on this strait path, through this “needle’s eye,” we are “achieving faith’s goal, [our] salvation.”  Let us “give thanks to the Lord with all [our] heart in the company and assembly of the just.”  Let us “rejoice with inexpressible joy touched with glory” because God “has sent deliverance to His people; He has ratified His covenant forever.”  And “He will ever be mindful of His covenant” – always He will be at our side by the grace of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to lead us to the “salvation which stands ready to be revealed in the last days.”  Endure now the sadness and distress of the death of this life, and find therein the fulfilling of your hope for the treasures of heaven.

*******

O LORD, you make possible

even the salvation of our souls;

let us give up all things to follow you to everlasting life.

YHWH, we praise you, for with you all things are possible, even the salvation of our souls and our coming into your eternal presence.  And so, whatever we suffer here brings us only joy, for all things bring us to your kingdom.

O LORD, may we be truly consecrated to you, thoroughly confirmed in your covenant with us, that the new birth you grant through the resurrection of your Son might be fulfilled and we come to dwell with you forever in Heaven.  Let nothing of this passing earth stand in our way; let nothing obstruct our worship of you, that we may be truly happy and rejoice all our days in you.

Help us, dear God, to give up all our possessions, to desire to hold to nothing but you.  Take all that is not of you from our souls and bodies – let our hearts be set on your surpassing glory.

What trial can sadden us, LORD, if our love is for you?  You redeem us from all evil and give new life to our mortal frame.  For such grace let us ever praise you.

Direct download: BC-052812-M_8_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O saint of the impossible

whose union with Christ

in His Passion and His glory

serves to grant favors

to those in great need,

you whose great thirst

to be one with our Bridegroom

brought the help of the saints yourself –

pray we poor souls

shall fulfill our vocation,

that through the din of this world

we shall hear and answer

the call of the Lord

and give ourselves in His service

in the manner He desires.

Pray our hearts be so set

on union with Him

that no obstacle shall stand in our way,

that all help we need

to find our path to Him

will be provided through your prayers.

How shall we come to dwell in Heaven?

Invoke God’s blessing upon us.

Direct download: May_22_Rita_of_Cascia.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Prv.8:22-31;   Ps.8:2,4-9;   Rm.5:1-5;   Jn.16:12-15) 

“Everything that the Father has is mine.”

From the beginning Jesus is with the Father, one with the Father, the pure reflection of His being which cannot be separated from the substance of the Father.  Through Him all things were made, and indeed He is reflected in all things.  And it is by the power of the Holy Spirit, who takes from what is the Father’s and Son’s, that anything that comes to be comes to be.

And man is the crown of the creation of this Most Holy Triumvirate.  It is He who is the purest reflection of the love of Father and Son brought to birth by the Holy Spirit.  It is he in whom the wisdom of God takes great delight.  And all the wonders of earth and heaven are put in our hands: “You have given him rule over the works of your hands, putting all things under his feet.”

But a greater gift than this earth has the Lord in store for us: it is a oneness with the one God which we could not have imagined, and still strive forward to see.  “The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit”; and that same Spirit, left to us by the Father and the Son, remains ever with us to bless and guide us to that magnificent vision of glory we hope one day to be able to bear in its fullness.  The Spirit declares unto us the beauty that will be, and calls us to prepare ourselves to receive it.

And our afflictions do not deter us from attaining the promise of all truth; they do but strengthen us in our resolve as we conquer them day by day in the Spirit.  “We have gained access by faith to this grace in which we stand,” and our suffering shall not shake us – even Jesus’ own leaving us does not hinder our journey to God, for we indeed have faith that His Spirit is with us and that His Spirit has all that is of Jesus, who has all that is of the Father… and so we have all things through Him.

The first glory in which we were set is a marvel to behold, for His fingerprints are on all we see.  But the second glory to which we are now called is simply beyond words, ineffable as is our God.  Alleluia!

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

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

*******

O LORD, may your Spirit find delight in us

and we reflect your glory.

YHWH, your love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, and we have peace with you by your only Son.  To what glory we are called, we in whom you take delight, we who are your own – the blessed creature upon whom your favor rests.  Your Wisdom is with us to guide us to all truth, to guide us even to you, and to all the graces you would pour upon us.

All things of this earth you have placed under our feet, and we realize this honor through Christ your Son.  In Him we are crowned with great glory, for in Him you are well pleased, O LORD.  And so, in Him let us place all our hope.

From the beginning you had us in mind, dear God; in your heart you held us well.  Though we did not exist from the beginning with you, Jesus did, and by your Spirit you would make us one with Him who is one with you.  And so we boast of the glory that is ours by faith.

Direct download: BC-052613-Trinity_Sun._C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O sacrificial sheep,

priests of the Lord

who offered your lives

even as you offered Mass,

in union with Christ and His Church

for the sake of your homeland:

you prayed for its peace

even as violence was done to you;

you celebrated the Mass

and baptized your flock

even when it became a crime,

even when it cost your lives –

such union with Christ

pray all souls,

and especially our priests,

shall know to the depths of their heart;

let none be afraid

to shed their blood

as one with His redemptive sacrifice.

The Cross pray we follow where it leads,

despite the world’s persecution.

Direct download: May_21_Christopher_Magallanes_and_Companions.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jas.5:13-20;   Ps.141:1-3,8;   Mk.10:13-16) 

“Let my prayer come like incense before you;

the lifting up of my hands, like the evening sacrifice.”

“The fervent petition of a holy man is powerful indeed.”  For indeed Elijah “prayed earnestly” and “no rain fell on the land for three years and six months.”  Then “when he prayed again, the sky burst forth with rain.”  And now greater things are accomplished by prayer, especially of “the elders of the Church,” our priests, who, in union with Jesus the Lord, “reclaim the one who is ill” and bring “forgiveness” to the sinful soul.  Redemption itself is at our hands through the Anointing of the Sick and Confession, and all the other blessed sacraments.  And prayer by all souls is a constant guard and reclaimer of lives gone astray.

And in our gospel it is made clear what our disposition should be when we pray, when we come to Jesus.  The Lord encourages the little children to come to Him and states unequivocally: “Whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a little child shall not enter into it.”  We must always come to Him as children – with faith, in innocence, of truth – if we hope to gain a hearing in His sight, brothers and sisters.  If when we call upon Him we do not have the pure faith of a child, how can we expect to communicate with Him who dwells in absolute light?  If our prayer and our song fall short of the love and joy of innocent praise, then we fall short of reaching Him.  But if in such innocence and with such faith and of such truth we come to Him, know that He will treat us just as the children who come to Him today: “He embraced them and blessed them, placing His hands on them.”  Yes, then His holy hand will be upon our lives, and His great power we will find at work within us and through us.

“Toward you, O Lord, my eyes are turned.” 

Please “hearken to my voice when I call upon you.” 

“In you I take refuge; strip me not of life,”

but make me as your child of light.

Our prayer comes like incense before the Lord when it is united with the sacrifice of the Son.  Anointed by the Lamb’s blood, all our cries rise unto the Father of Life.

*******  

O LORD, as a child let us come to you,

in trusting prayer,

and you will hear and answer us.

YHWH, how powerful prayer is!  For it unites us to you and to your great power; it makes us as your children.  Let our prayer be sincere, that we might find your gentle embrace.

There is nothing we need fear, dear LORD, if we but turn to you.  If we ask, you will give, and cure us indeed of every ill.  And so, let us pray for one another in your NAME, desire the salvation of all souls by your grace, and the blessing of your Son’s Cross will reign here on earth and bring us soon to Heaven.  Let your will be done and your kingdom come.

Let us pray especially for your priests and the special power you give them to forgive men’s sins and make your presence known among us.  In your sacraments we take our refuge, LORD; let them always be celebrated in accord with your Word.

Let our prayer come like incense before you, O LORD; may it be acceptable in your sight.  Let it always come from an innocent heart.

Direct download: BC-022512-Sa_7_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O apostle of the holy name of Jesus

who proclaimed God’s loving mercy

to those in darkness

that the light of faith

might save souls

and make them children

of the light of Christ,

radiating His splendor,

the splendor of truth,

to the ends of the earth –

where is such zeal today,

where apostles

with the preaching of Paul;

and so, how shall souls be saved,

how shall false beliefs flee,

infidelity be consumed

and the truth appear as a great candle

lighting the whole world with its brilliant flame,

if you do not intercede?

Pray that we may not lack

knowledge of and devotion to Jesus,

that His name shall not be suppressed

but preached without cease to waiting hearts.

Direct download: May_20_Bernadine_of_Siena.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jas.5:9-12;   Ps.103:1-4,8-9,11-12;   Mk.10:1-12) 

“Merciful and gracious is the Lord,

slow to anger and abounding in kindness.”

And we must be like Him.

James makes clear that we must “not grumble against one another,” nor swear on earth, any oath at all,” but rather simply speak “in the name of the Lord”: “Let it be ‘yes’ if you mean yes or ‘no’ if you mean no.  In this way you will not incur condemnation.”  And as a sign of the endurance we must have to find the Lord’s blessing, he reminds us of “the steadfastness of Job” and “what the Lord, who is compassionate and merciful, did in the end.”

“As your models in suffering hardships and in patience, brothers, take the prophets.”  And, of course, Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophets, and His suffering in silent servitude the sentence of crucifixion is the fulfillment of their endurance of persecution.  And in our gospel today, does He not give example of the patience we all must hold and the clarity with which we all must speak?  For when the Pharisees “ask Jesus whether it was permissible for a husband to divorce his wife,” how do they intend their question but “as a test”?  But the Lord does not take offense at their temptation; He simply answers them, clearly and to the point: “At the beginning of creation God made them male and female; for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall become as one.”  And lest there be any doubt that He is saying no to divorce, He continues, “They are no longer two but one flesh.  Therefore, let no man separate what God has joined.”  And even when “the disciples beg[i]n to question Him about this” again later, He remains patient and gives direct answer: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.”

The question would seem a simple one and the answer easy to understand, but is it not this question that is at the heart of man’s disobedience, of his grumbling against God?  Is it not this answer man seeks most to change, thus leading to his greatest sins, and really to the destruction of society?  Yet the Lord’s love is greater than our profligacy, and as the father so readily forgave the prodigal son, so He waits for us to turn to Him – to His presence, to His truth.  As David sings of God: “He redeems your life from destruction, He crowns you with kindness and compassion”; and so He longs to “put our transgressions from us” “as far as the east is from the west.”  Indeed Jesus “pardons all [our] iniquities, He heals all our ills” – for this has the Savior come.  And if we but bless Him for “all His benefits” and share in His love in our relationships with others, we shall find the merciful Lord enabling our endurance of all on this earth and making firm our place with Him in heaven.

*******

O LORD, man and woman are one

and are brought together in your will;

in our covenants let us reflect your mercy

and faithfulness.

YHWH, give us your patience in enduring all things.  You are kind and merciful; let us be like you.  Help us to practice your compassion in our marriages and in all our relationships – let us be ready as you to forgive.  Yes, let all our sins be put far from us.

If we endure with you, O LORD, shall we not be blessed?  If with you we practice patience and kindness when put to the test, will we not share in your reward?  Let us be so joined to you, LORD, that we may indeed be called your Body in this world.

O my LORD, let us never be divorced from love of one another or love of you.  Let our covenants be sure as your own; for you have promised to be with us even till the end of the age, and so, should we abandon one another?  Would this not be an abandonment of you?

Let our ‘yes’ be ‘yes’, O LORD, and let us therefore live forever in your eternal Word, in the truth and love only you hold.

Direct download: BC-022412-F_7_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jas.5:1-6;   Ps.49:14-20,Mt.5:3;   Mk.9:41-50) 

“You lived in wanton luxury on the earth;

you fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter.”

“You rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries,” James warns all those who trust in their wealth.  For though they were “contented with their lot,” to find which they “condemned, even killed, the just man,” yet “like sheep they are herded into the netherworld,” where “quickly their form is consumed.”  “Your wealth has rotted, your fine wardrobe has grown moth-eaten, your silver and gold have corroded” – all these things in which the fool has trusted will not only die of themselves but also “devour [his] flesh like a fire,” for so greatly has he placed his heart upon them that with their destruction he is also destroyed.

“See what you have stored up for yourselves against the last days.”  The rich man fattens himself for “Gehenna, where ‘the worm dies not and the fire is never extinguished.’”  Thus does Jesus call us to repentance in such severe terms, for lacking of it indeed how “quickly [our] form is consumed.”  It is not the body which matters, or this earth; heaven is all that matters, and so our souls.  Therefore, it is indeed better to cut off hand or foot or tear out one’s eye than to “enter Gehenna with its unquenchable fire.”  For what are these things, what are all the riches of the world, in comparison with the kingdom of God and its eternal riches?  Do not, therefore, be led astray by your earthly passions; store up treasures for heaven.

“The shouts of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.”  “The wages you withheld from the farmhands who harvested your fields” are known to God.  And as “it would be better if anyone who leads astray one of these simple believers were to be plunged in the sea with a great millstone fastened around his neck,” so much better would be your fate than to suffer eternally the fires of hell.  For what shall your unjust wealth benefit you there?  From whom shall you steal among your fellow prisoners in chains?

“The netherworld is their palace,” those who grow rich on the backs of the poor and oppressed of this world.  For ultimately “death is their shepherd, and the upright rule over them.”  They “shall never more see light”; but peace shall reign in the hearts of all God’s children.

*******

O LORD, let us not be plunged in the sea

or herded into the nether world,

but let us set our hearts and minds on you

and so find life everlasting.

YHWH, let us be poor, poor in spirit, poor to this world and its deadly passions.  Let us put no hope in the riches that rot, or we shall rot with them.  Let us seek, rather, the riches of your kingdom by giving our poor cup of water for the upbuilding of your Church.

Take from us, LORD, all that keeps us from you.  Let us not steal or walk in the paths of the unrighteous or look with lust upon anything or anyone.  Take hand or foot or eye from us instead; keep us from all sin.  Let our salt not rot, our lives not be worthless, but let us bear fruit in your NAME.

LORD, our God, take especially from us our foolish pride, our belief that we can do anything of ourselves.  O let us not trust in ourselves or in the things of this world but only in you and help rather than hurt the just man you bless in your holy will.  Let all souls be led to your kingdom.

Direct download: BC-022312-Th_7_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O faithful Shepherd

who laid down your life

for the sake of true teaching,

who was killed by one

set against God’s Word…

though deprived of food

and so of this life,

you were given instead

the life of Heaven

and serve as a holy example

of what should be sacrificed

for love of truth and right –

pray that the flock

shepherded this day by the apostles

will be led by the same loyalty,

led by genuine pastors

whose love for the sheep

would lead them to lay down their lives

that the Church might be blessed

by a radiant faith

which shines the light of Christ

even to the ends

of this dying earth.

Direct download: May_18_John_I.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jas. 4:13-17;   Ps.49:2-3,6-11,Mt.5:3;   Mk.9:38-40)

“Anyone who is not against us is with us.”

And whoever is not with the Lord is against Him.  There are only two ways by which a man may walk.  We choose to place our lives in the hands of God, or we worship the things of this earth.

Indeed, anyone who “perform[s] a miracle in [His] name” is with Him, for a tree is known by its fruit.  If indeed we commend our lives into the care of the Lord, saying, “If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that,” then we shall find His blessing at work within us, and we shall be His children, doing His will.  And demons shall be expelled at our words.  And we shall never “fear in evil days when [our] wicked ensnarers ring [us] round.”

But if instead we “make arrogant and pretentious claims,” boasting reprehensibly of the profits this earth shall bring us by the power of our own hands, we are in utter danger of the destruction we think can never touch us.  For “in no way can a man redeem himself, or pay his own ransom to God.”  If we “have no idea what kind of life will be [ours] tomorrow” – and who knows the turns this earth does take? – what can we do at all by our own wills?  We are, in fact, utterly dependent upon God for each breath we draw, and He may withdraw such life from us at any moment.

What fool is there among you who “trust[s] in [his] wealth”?  Who are they for whom “the abundance of their riches is their boast”?  Have you no eyes in your head?  Is there no sense in your mind?  “Hearken, all who dwell in the world, of lowly birth or high degree, rich and poor alike,” and from all lands and of all times – it is in Jesus alone that you find strength to draw your next breath; it is He alone who brings light to your eyes.  Your riches will rot.  Even prophecies will cease.  There will not be a stone here left upon another.  Consecrate yourself now to the Lord of all and begin to find His grace at work within you.  And each day renew the power of God at work in you for that day.  In His name do all things, and you shall be with Him, and He shall not leave you.

*******

O LORD, let us be for you,

living perfectly in your will.

YHWH, let us be with you; let us give our lives to you, doing your work in accord with your will and not following the vain path our own desires mark out for us.  Let us be your own; let us be your own, your disciples in this world.

How can we do anything if you do not bless it, LORD?  Where shall we end if apart from you?  For we indeed are as vapor that quickly vanishes, and empty are all our plans.  But with you and in your NAME, miracles we can perform.  Great works we may accomplish if in humility we follow your way; for you are great and all powerful, and we become as you are when we walk with you.

O LORD, we do not know what tomorrow may bring.  Even this day is a mystery to us.  Let us but place this day into your hands, and tomorrow will care for itself in your will.  Let us not die seeking the vain riches of this earth but come to life by your saving grace.

Direct download: BC-022212-W_7_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jas.4:1-10;   Ps.55:7-11,23;   Mk.9:30-37) 

“In the city I see violence and strife;

day and night they prowl about upon its walls.”

The violence this world holds is known most poignantly, of course, in “the Son of Man… [being] delivered into the hands of men who… put Him to death,” but exists most pervasively and fundamentally in our own bodies, insofar as they are conformed to the spirit of the world.  For as James asks so pointedly, “Where do the conflicts and disputes among you originate?  Is it not your inner cravings that make war within your members?”  It is indeed the evil desire in our bones, the “envy,” the “love of the world [that] is enmity to God” which causes us to “quarrel and fight,” which is the source of all sin, and so death, and so war.

That “the spirit He has implanted in us tends toward jealousy” is evident even in the apostles, whom we find in today’s gospel “arguing about who was the most important.”  Even these, who have yet to receive the “greater gift” – the Holy Spirit of God who serves to cleanse His children of the evil in them – even these are divided by the cravings that make war in our members.  Even these contribute to the crucifixion of Christ.

Brothers and sisters, if you would “find shelter from the violent storm and the tempest” at work in you and about you, you must “cast your care upon the Lord, and He will support you.”  “Submit to God; resist the devil and he will take flight.”  “Purify your hearts” of all that is not in conformity with the Spirit of God and you will find safe haven from the violence of this world and the violence of your own hearts.  For “never will He permit the just man to be disturbed.”

And both James and the Lord teach what it is to be just, what it is to excel before God.  If you desire the goodness of the Lord, rend your hearts; “be humbled in the sight of God and He will raise you on high.”  You cannot raise yourself, for you are but dust; and dust you must be if you desire holiness in the presence of the Most High: “If anyone wishes to rank first, he must remain the last one of all and the servant of all,” as is Jesus, the suffering Son crucified for the sins of each of us.

Brothers and sisters, let our hearts be so docile as to welcome His children openly – as His humble children we ourselves must be.  For then we shall welcome Him; for then we shall be sons of the Father, free from sin and so no longer subject to the violence known in the city that is this world of sin.  May our own members and all the members of the Church be cleansed of all strife by the power of the Holy Spirit.

*******

O LORD, help us to be humble before you,

that you might raise us up from our sin.

 

YHWH, should we not be as children before you?  Is your Son not like a Child, O LORD?  Is He not the humblest of all?  O let us be like Him, and you!

Is there some other image in which we should be made, LORD, than your own?  What of this world should beguile our soul?  To whom should we aspire but our heavenly Father, and how shall we find you except through your Son?  Does He not show us the way by His death on the Cross?

O LORD, let us not be deaf to your speaking to us in His words and actions, for He reveals to us who we must be.  Help us to leave the example of the world behind, to abandon all hatred and jealousy, all the sinful pride and insatiable greed wrought into our fallen nature, and come to you even this day that we might be redeemed by your Son’s sacrifice and our sharing therein.

O help us to be humble, LORD, to find the humility only you know.  With all our hearts let us serve you, and your glory will be ours.

Direct download: BC-022112-Tu_7_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jas.3:13-18;   Ps.19:8-10,15;   Mk.9:14-29) 

“The command of the Lord is clear,

enlightening the eye.”

What is the wisdom of which James speaks in our first reading but this enlightening of the eye and the mind by following the command of the Lord?  It is the words and the wisdom of Jesus, reflected clearly in the Lord’s own life, James relates to the waiting ear this day.  What does he instruct but to practice “a humility filled with good sense” and to “cultivate peace,” not to “nurse bitter jealousy in [our] hearts” but to “refrain from arrogant and false claims against the truth”?  We must be as “innocent” as the Lamb of God, and as forgiving.  Then we will realize that “the decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple,” for “wisdom from above” will then fill us, and lead us by its sacred light.

How clear the command of the Lord is in our gospel, and how powerfully it enlightens the eye.  As He comes down from the mountain where He has been transfigured before His principal apostles, “a large crowd… on catching sight of Jesus” is immediately “overcome with awe.  They [run] up to greet Him.”  Being presented with the boy possessed by a spirit that often “throws him into the fire and into water,” Jesus “reprimanded the unclean spirit by saying to him, ‘Mute and deaf spirit, I command you: Get out of him and never enter him again!’”  And the boy is healed; he is freed from bondage to the devil, and now in his right mind, he can see.

Though perhaps not always so dramatic, every command of the Lord casts out just such darkness which pervades our souls.  Coming in faith before Him as the father who trusts in God and in His Son, the same healing do we know.  Following His words, our eyes and ears are opened, too, and we discover that indeed “the law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.”  So, brothers and sisters, let us pray with David today: “Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer,” that we might remain ever in His enduring purity and light.

*******

O LORD, if we but lived lives of prayer in all humility,

never could we be separated from you

and always you would work through us.

YHWH, how shall our words and thoughts match those of your Son, who commands and the devils flee, whose heart is set always on your will… who sacrifices His life for our sakes?  Help our unbelief, our lack of trust in you and in your power, that we might by your grace come to share in that power with Jesus, even as we share in His humility.

How can we live in your perfect innocence, LORD, we who are such a faithless lot, we who lack prayer in our heart?  O how easily we are overcome!  But you are our hope.  You come down from the mountain, from the glory on high, to dwell with the likes of us and save us from the devil’s grasp, which has such a dire hold upon us and upon our children.  Only by the grace of your presence will this generation be saved – leave us not till your work is accomplished.

Teach us, O LORD; give us your wisdom, that your peace might be ever in our souls and we might serve you with all our thoughts and words.  Save us, dear God, from all darkness.

Direct download: BC-022012-M_7_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O farmer of God’s green earth

who cultivated the faith

even as you cultivated the ground,

whose simple and humble life

should serve as inspiration

to all toiling on this plane –

pray that we shall follow your example,

sharing our food with the hungry

as we work for the salvation of souls.

Pray that all the work we do

will bear fruit in God’s kingdom,

that with you and your wife

we may be found worthy

of those blessed words

come from our Savior’s mouth:

“Well done, good and faithful servant.

Enter into your Master’s joy.”

Pray according to your own blessing

from the Lord

that this earth He has given us

to care for

may be saved from the greedy hands of corrupted man

and serve as source of nourishment for all.

Direct download: May_15_Isidore_the_Farmer.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 2:1-11;   Ps.104:1,24,29-31,34;   Rom.8:8-17;   Jn.14:15-16,23b-26) 

“Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him,

and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”

The Spirit of God is with those who keep His commandments; and His Commandment is to love.  In such love all become sons of God, all are made one in His Name.  (Spirit of Love, anoint us.)

In our first reading the oneness of God’s children is emphasized: “They were all in one place together” and “they gathered in a large crowd.”  The first quote refers to the disciples of Christ waiting for His Holy Spirit, the second to “devout Jews from every nation under heaven” who would be made one with the disciples by the power of the Spirit.  We note particularly the word “devout”: because they were keepers of the Word of God, the Spirit descends upon them.

Our psalm exalts the renewing power of the Spirit of God; all creatures in the palm of God are given life, and new life, by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Alleluia!  We rejoice in His grace.  In our second reading, Paul contrasts the life-giving Spirit with the death-bringing flesh, speaking, much as Jesus in our gospel, of the Spirit who dwells in those of God.  “Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him,” but belongs to sin and the world.  He does not keep the Word of Jesus and so dies in the flesh; his flesh lacking the Spirit that gives life, he becomes as an empty shell.  The love of God is not in him.

But for those who keep the Word of God, their hearts cry out in joy to the Father of all as they are made one with Him and one another, and led to the truth of everlasting life in His Spirit.  May the Spirit of Jesus be with us.

Further note: expounding on the theme of keeping the Lord’s Word, we see in the fact that people of all languages hear this one language of the Spirit that the Word is not beholden to any tongue; it is the tongues of flame, the tongue of the Spirit which speaks the Word of God, we all must keep.

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

Music: "There Is No End to Life" (end) from Thoroughfare, seventh album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, let us be baptized in your Spirit,

renewed for the proclamation of your love.

YHWH, comes the driving wind from Heaven, the Spirit Jesus breathes upon His apostles, and so we are made your sons, dear Father, and declare your glory unto all.  May your Church with one voice offer you due praise and teach the nations of your eternal call.

We must leave our sins behind and accept the gifts of the Holy Spirit, living as one with the Son of God.  If we keep His commandments, we shall dwell with you forever, O Father God.  For He is with you and through Him you send the Spirit; all who desire to be your children you bless with purging fire this holy day.

Now the promised gift of the Spirit falls upon our immortal souls and we are refreshed and made new creatures, formed in the image of Jesus, your Son.  One you make us in Spirit and Body, free from all the works of the flesh.  Your Son stands in our midst and offers us His peace; the Advocate now testifies to all Truth… Come and make your dwelling in us, O glorious LORD and God.

Direct download: BC-051913-Pentecost_Sunday_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O chosen apostle,

destined to serve the Church

as witness to the resurrection

of our Lord Jesus Christ,

you who walked with Him

from the beginning

even until He was taken

from our sight

yet were not appointed by the Spirit

as one of the Twelve

until a place was made desolate

by the traitorous one –

pray that the call upon the soul

of all God’s children

will be fulfilled

according to His will

and we all shall come to be

witnesses to Jesus

and His eternal glory

wrought in our midst

by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let none shy away from the Lord

but assume their rightful place in His presence.

Direct download: May_14_Matthias.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(Acts 1:15-17,20-26;   Ps.113:1-8;   Jn.15:9-17)

 

“It was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit.”

 

Since “the saying in Scripture uttered long ago by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of David was destined to be fulfilled in Judas” and he “went the way he was destined to go,” now the word of the Lord must be accomplished: “May another take his office.”  And though “Peter stood up in the center of the brothers” and declared the need expressed in Scripture, and though the one hundred and twenty brothers gathered together “nominated two,” the prayer of the disciples, as well as their actions, makes clear by whom Matthias is chosen: “O Lord, you read the hearts of men.  Make known to us which of these two you choose for this apostolic ministry.”  As Judas is destined for perdition, so Matthias is chosen by the Lord to take his place, for all is indeed in the hands of God.

And what loving hands these are, brothers and sisters; and what loving hands all His disciples are called to employ.  The words of the Lord in today’s gospel breathe the very love of God upon His apostles.  “Love one another as I have loved you” is His command to them.  “Live on in my love.”  Our “fruit must endure,” and it can only endure, we can only bear fruit, sharing in the love of Father and Son.  For then the Holy Spirit is upon us, who brings all to life.  And the way in which we share in divine love the Lord makes clear as well: “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  And it is this laying down of his life to which Matthias is called today; and it is the same service in His name that makes us all friends of Jesus.

“From the rising to the setting of the sun is the name of the Lord to be praised,” for indeed “high above all nations is the Lord; above the heavens is His glory.”  His ways are certainly far above our own, and it is His ways to which we must come, obediently following His command, His command to love.  Today He reaches down and “raises the lowly from the dust… to seat [Matthias] with princes, with the princes of His people.”  Today His choice is made of who will follow the Son.  None but He knows the ones He chooses, the way we must walk, for none is “like the Lord, our God, who is enthroned on high and looks upon the heavens and the earth below”; and our joy is made complete only in going forth as He leads, for, simply put, none can compare with His love.

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

Music By Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, you choose those whom you send forth –

let us live in your love.

YHWH, help us to love one another as your Son has loved us that we shall live ever in His love and bear fruit in His Name.  May we take our place with Him and all His apostles in your kingdom this day.

O LORD, as you chose Matthias to take the place of Judas, to sit with your princes, so let us know that we, too, are chosen by you to do your will in this world as the friends of Jesus.  We take no honor unto ourselves but all honor you bestow upon those you call to your side.  The greatest honor you would give to all – to be formed in the image of your Son.

Let us be faithful to that call, O LORD; let us give you due honor, you who are enthroned on high, far above heaven and earth.  We are but dust, dear God, but you sit above all Creation, and this dust you would raise up to dwell in your eternal presence.  In all your children let your will be done.  Let us give witness to your Son’s resurrection and so join Him at your side.

Direct download: St._Matthias_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O marvelous Wonder,

O Lady who shines

like the sun,

who brings the Light

into our midst

and calls us to repentance

that we might be saved,

that the whole world

might turn to the Lord

and be preserved

from destruction…

you come at the end of the age

to lead us back to your Son

before He comes again

and finally –

pray we shall hear and heed

your warning to our souls

and, with the faith of the children

whose eyes beheld you,

offer ourselves

in union with the Cross of Jesus

for the salvation of all

and the renewal of the Church and the world.

Direct download: May_13_Our_Lady_of_Fatima_Feast.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 25:13-21;   Ps.103:1-2,11-12,19-20;   Jn.21:15-19)

 

“When you are older you will stretch out your hands,

and another will tie you fast and carry you off against your will.”

 

And so the Lord “indicate[s] the sort of death by which Peter was to glorify God.”  And by his laying down of his life, this leader of the apostles shall indeed feed the Lord’s sheep.

After “they had eaten their meal,” when there was nothing to distract them – as the apostles gazed at the wonder of the risen Christ before their eyes – the Lord quietly speaks to Peter in the hearing of all.  Three times Jesus inquires of His blessed Rock, calling him by his earthly name to assume the name heaven has assigned him.  Three times the risen Lord asks, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” and three times Peter must publicly declare his love for God above all things, three times negating his previous denials.  It is a simple scene, but beautiful, and remarkably weighty.  Not only does Jesus place the care of the Church into this poor apostle’s hands, but He speaks clearly of the sacrifice His Rock must make, teaching him what love of God and care for His people entail… nothing less than death.

And of Paul’s death for the Lord we continue to read.  Though the Apostle does not himself appear in our first reading, he is spoken of clearly.  Two things we learn of him: first, he is a “prisoner” “kept in custody”; second, the reason for his arrest – he differed with the Jewish leaders “about a certain Jesus who had died but who Paul claimed is alive.”  In his imprisonment is Paul’s death and in his profession of the risen Lord he shows his love for God and the people.  Here he clearly follows in the steps of Jesus, fulfilling his call from the Lord.

And, brothers and sisters, the call to death, the call to love of the Lord and care for all His children, is all our own.  What the Lord speaks to Peter He speaks indeed to all the apostles seated there on the shore in Galilee; and He speaks the same in our hearing today, calling all who would follow Him in the same way.  And follow Him we must.  It is only by this same sort of death that any of us will come to life; it is only sharing in His cross that we will find the resurrection.  We cannot see the risen Lord, nor rise ourselves, if we are not willing to die for Him and with Him.

But do not fear: “The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.”  Neither Festus nor Felix nor King Agrippa nor the Jewish elders can judge Paul, for he is only in God’s hands.  And so, though we be dragged to certain crucifixion, the world holds no sway over our souls – the life the Spirit provides and the strength He instills cannot be destroyed.  Let us stretch out our hands freely to embrace our blessed Lord and “all His benefits” receive through our sharing in His sacrifice of love.

 

*******

O LORD, may we declare our love for you

by laying down our lives for you who are above all.

YHWH, you rule over all from your throne in Heaven, and so, though brought before the rulers of this world, what need we fear?  Though to death you call us all, we have your blessing to protect us and your Church to feed us along the way.  With your Son’s Body and Blood you feed us, and so, again, what need we fear?

It is a blessing to witness to your Name and your Son’s resurrection before the powers that be in this world, for then by your grace we serve to bring your kingdom forth to take its place amongst all.  Thank you, O LORD, for this gift you give us, to share in the work of your Christ.

And thank you, LORD, for your call to Peter and His obedience in laying down His life, His following in the path upon which Jesus leads us, that we might know the way we should travel and have the Church’s protection, the food you give us at the hands of the apostles all through our earthly life.

Direct download: BC-061011-F_7_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O child of courage,

though but a boy

you gave your life

as the strongest of men,

proving thus your love for Christ,

a love that steels souls

even in the face of death,

even in the youthful breast –

if but a young child like yourself

could die so freely for the faith

and show the face of Jesus

to the whole world,

how much more should we,

so graced by the Lord

with years of devotion,

be ready to give

for the name of God?

Pray your innocence

may renew our hearts

and your strength

fortify our commitment

to give our lives for Christ

and His Church.

Direct download: May_12_Pancras.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

O brave soldiers,

the world could not take

Christ from your hearts;

though it tried to expunge Him

from the army in which you served,

your allegiance to the holy One of Israel,

our Lord and God,

remained firm,

and so death you preferred

to life without Jesus –

pray for us who are so weak in faith,

that our stale complacency

might be invigorated

by the blood of our Savior,

the blood you yourselves shed

as you filled up what was lacking

in the sufferings of Christ.

Pray we shall not turn

from the sacrifice to which the Lord calls us

but embrace with joy the cross we must bear,

and which bears us unto Heaven.

Direct download: May_12_Nereus_and_Achilleus.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 22:30,23:6-11;   Ps.16:1-2,5,7-11;   Jn.17:20-26)

 

“I set the Lord ever before me;

with Him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.”

 

Yes, “the Lord appeared at Paul’s side” at night, in prison, after his testimony and the near riot it caused in Jerusalem.  He comes to encourage him, to strengthen him for further trials; and through all Paul shall remain strong.

“Keep me, O God, for in you, I take refuge,” David prays, and sings of the confidence his heart and soul find in the Lord, his “allotted portion and cup… who hold[s] fast [his] lot.”  He knows deep in his spirit that the Lord “will not abandon [his] soul to the netherworld, nor will [He] suffer [His] faithful one to undergo corruption.”  And certainly, the same faith Paul exhibits; the same trust in the Lord, Paul holds in his own spirit.  He, too, is not disturbed, though he finds himself “on trial now because of [his] hope in the resurrection of the dead.”

And whence comes such confidence?  How can a man so attacked, a man so beaten and cursed, be so without fear?  Does not Jesus answer this question in His prayer to the Father, which we are all blessed to hear?  Here He prays that we be one in Him even as He is one with the Father.  Here He asks that our “unity may be complete.”  And if our unity is complete with the Father and with the Son, as well as with one another, what, brothers and sisters, have we to fear?  If the love of God which the Father “bore [the Son] before the world began” is in our hearts now, what can disturb them?  “That your love for me may live in them, and I may live in them” is Jesus’ prayer to the Father for us all – and do you think the Father does not listen, does not answer His Son?  He would have us in His company where He is, gazing upon His glory – and this is where Paul dwells.  And so he cannot be moved.

“You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.”  The Spirit brings us now that of which David sings, that which Paul knows, that all might know the glory of God, that all might be one in Him, and so, safe from all harm.  As Jesus is resurrected from the dead, so shall we all be.  What have we to fear?  We must but set Him before us always.

*******

O Lord, let your love live in us

that we might make your Name known

with faith and courage.

 

YHWH, in you we take our refuge, and so we pray that you keep us ever close by – with you at our right hand we shall not be disturbed.  Please answer your Son’s prayer that we be in His company where He is, with you in eternal glory.  You will not abandon our souls to the nether world, and so, encourage us as you have Paul, with your presence at our side.  In your Spirit may we find confidence to bear witness before all.

Jesus has been resurrected from the dead and with Himself He would bring us to your glorious presence.  What need we fear with His power upon us?  Why should we be afraid when His Spirit is with us, showering on us your love?  In you we should but rejoice for the eternal protection you give us in your holy NAME.  To life we shall come even this day, O LORD, for we have believed in your Son and so share in the glory of His resurrection.

Direct download: BC-060911-Th_7_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 20:28-38;   Ps.68:29-30,33-36;   Jn.17:11-19)

 

“O Father most holy,

protect them with the name you have given me.”

 

In our gospel today Jesus prays to the Father, “who rides on the heights of the ancient heavens,” to “guard [His disciples] from the evil one.”  And the parallels continue between His and Paul’s parting words, as the Apostle warns his own disciples, “When I am gone, savage wolves will come among you who will not spare the flock,” and therefore exhorts them to “be on guard.”

It is the Lord’s earnest desire of the Father that we His disciples “be consecrated in truth.”  If truth be with us, if the Holy Spirit He promises to send be ours, the “careful watch” Jesus has kept “as long as [He] was with [us]” will continue.  In fact, Paul’s instruction to the elders of Ephesus to “shepherd the Church of God, which He has acquired at the price of His own blood” – blood the Lord is about to shed in our gospel – will be realized, and His apostles will become themselves those who care for the safety of the people of God.  “I consecrate myself for their sakes now,” Jesus says, offering Himself, His blood, as sacrifice for the Church; and Paul commends his disciples to this same Lord, “to that gracious word of His which can enlarge [them], and give [them] a share among all who are consecrated to Him.”  In His name all are saved.

“Awesome in His sanctuary is God, the God of Israel; He gives power and strength to His people.”  David sings mightily of the majesty of God, whose “voice resounds, the voice of power,” and calling all to “confess the power of God!” indicates how we share in that great power.  In declaring of the Father, with Jesus and with Scripture, “Your word is truth,” that truth in essence becomes our own; we are thereby consecrated to it.  And so Paul can exhort those he has placed in positions of power: “Keep watch over yourselves, and over the whole flock the Holy Spirit has given you to guard,” for he knows as long as (like Paul) they do not “set [their] hearts on anyone’s silver or gold,” as long as they work tirelessly to “help the weak,” to serve the Church, they shall indeed be sharing in the power and authority of God.

Brothers and sisters, we “do not belong to the world” but to God and to His truth.  His Spirit is with us to guide us and protect us here on our journey through death to life.  As we humble ourselves in prayer before Him, He hears and answers all our needs.  Remain in Him this day.

 

*******

O LORD, shepherd your flock in the truth;

keep all falsehood from us.

YHWH, let us be consecrated in your Word, in your Word of truth, that we might share in your might and power, that we might be protected by your Name.  As your Son sends His apostles forth, so these apostles send others forth, all sharing in the power that comes from you by the Spirit upon your Church.  May we all be one with your Son as He is one with you, and so may we all do your will despite the persecutions of this world.

We do not belong to the world, O LORD, but to the One who has left this world to come to you in your kingdom.  Help us to follow where He leads by your power from on high.  Your Spirit fall upon us this day to give us strength to accomplish the work you set before us.  From your sanctuary come to us and with us here remain, that we shall never turn from you along this narrow way.  From generation to generation let your Word go forth till all your children are consecrated in your truth.

Direct download: BC-060811-W_7_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 20:17-27;   Ps.68:10-11,20-21,33;   Jn.17:1-11)

 

“Father, the hour has come!

Give glory to your Son that your Son may give glory to you.”

 

A day of departures.  A day of final words and commendations.  Paul bids farewell to the leaders of Ephesus, declaring his faithfulness to them; and Jesus prays to the Father in the hearing of the disciples, calling the Lord’s blessing upon them.

“The Holy Spirit has been warning me from city to city that chains and hardships await me,” Paul confesses as he makes his way to Jerusalem; Jesus now has the cross directly before His eyes, having supped for the last time with His disciples.  “Never did I shrink from telling you what was for your own good, or from teaching you in public or in private,” Paul reminds his disciples; while Jesus states to His Father: “I have made your name known to those you gave me out of the world.”  “I have never shrunk from announcing to you God’s design in its entirety,” Paul declares; “I have given you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do,” Jesus says to the Father.  And as Paul hopes, “If only I can finish my race and complete the service to which I have been assigned by the Lord Jesus, bearing witness to the Gospel of God’s grace” –  not caring for his own life or any suffering ahead –  Jesus’ only concern as He moves toward His own death and His return to the “glory [He] had with [the Father] before the world began” is that the Father will bless His disciples, for, as He says, “It is in them that I have been glorified.”  These who remain in the world, as has Paul, are those who bring His glory forth, even as Jesus has revealed the glory of the Father.

The hour of death has come but “God, who is our salvation… controls the passageways of death” because He “bears our burdens.”  The Lord Jesus Christ has borne, and will bear, all the temptations the devil can mount – the greatest of these illusions being death – and has conquered them all.  And now His disciples follow in His footsteps, like Paul, who has “served the Lord in humility through the sorrows and trials that came [his] way.”  By this sacrifice the Lord “restored the land when it languished,” and now all are called to “repentance before God and… faith in our Lord Jesus” to know that redemption.  This life that comes from His death is the glory of the Lord that goes now forth.

*******

O LORD, we must leave this world to come to you,

but you control the passageways of death –

let all be done in your Name.

YHWH, what do you desire of us but sincere repentance and faith in our Lord Jesus?  We glorify you by glorifying Him, by keeping faith in Him and witnessing His Gospel to all.  May we ever preach the kingdom as has the Apostle Paul and so complete our mission here in union with your Son.

O may we come to eternal life!  May we truly know you and your Son.  May we share in your glory as He has prayed.  O LORD our God, may we make your Name known to all, never shrinking from your call upon our souls, and leave this place blessed by you.  Keep us ever in your truth and love until the day we join you in Heaven.

The hour has come, O LORD.  Your Son has been glorified by you, returning to the glory He had from before time began.  And now in us He seeks to be glorified, to continue the work of eternal life here on this earth.  Death is not far from any of us; may we die in you and so be freed from all the chains of this world.

Direct download: BC-060711-Tu_7_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 19:1-8;   Ps.68:2-7,33;   Jn.16:29-33)

 

“You will suffer in the world.

But take courage!  I have overcome the world.”

 

“An hour is coming – has indeed already come – when you will be scattered and each will go his way, leaving me quite alone.”  Yet the Father is always with Jesus, even as He faces His imminent execution, and Jesus is with us by the power of the Spirit through all the trials we face.

“In me you may find peace,” the Lord assures us, bearing out the words of David’s psalm: “The father of orphans and defender of widows is God in His holy dwelling.  God gives a home to the forsaken; He leads forth prisoners to prosperity.”  Such the Father does for the Son, who is brought from being utterly forsaken and alone upon the cross to the absolute fruitfulness and glory of heaven; and so the Son does for His sons, as from His place in the kingdom He delivers us the same grace of salvation and prosperity in His name.

In the Lord Jesus, Paul finds his peace and his inspiration, fearlessly defending the Gospel in all synagogues “with persuasive arguments”; and this same fire of the Holy Spirit he imparts to the disciples by Baptism “in the name of the Lord Jesus” and by laying his hands on them.  In these, as in us all to this day, God’s grace and power go forth: “The Holy Spirit came down on them and they began to speak in tongues and utter prophecies.”  More than just repentance for sins, this Baptism in the Spirit prepares all to do the work of the Lord despite any difficulties in the world.  It convinces us of the divinity of Christ and causes us to declare in truth to our Lord, “There is no need for anyone to ask you questions.  We do indeed believe you came from God.”  And it enables us to prove such complete faith and trust in the One the Father has sent.

When the Baptism of the Lord comes upon us, God’s “enemies are scattered”; all doubt and fear are driven from us “as smoke is driven away… as wax melts before the fire.”  And though we need be refined in the crucible that is our earthly life, yet at every moment God is near to preserve the grace and peace He has planted in our souls, to see that our faith does grow.

 

Lord, be with us always.  Send your Spirit forth.

Let the ends of the earth be convinced of your loving presence

and the salvation it brings to all hearts.

 

*******

O LORD, let us be baptized in the Name of Jesus

and receive the Holy Spirit

that even in this world we shall live in your peace.

YHWH, when the Holy Spirit comes down upon us, our enemies are scattered, driven away like smoke, and we conquer the world.  His fire burns up every evil and we can but rejoice in your presence, singing praise to your Name.  O let that holy fire be upon us even this day!

In the world there are indeed many troubles, many temptations which would cause us to be scattered, separated from you.  But Jesus has indeed overcome the world, O LORD; by His death He has put to death all the wiles of the devil, and so in Him we may take great strength.  Through belief in Him the power of the Holy Spirit is upon us.

Dearest LORD, let us not be scattered but indeed by your Word upon us scatter all those who hate you.  Help us fearlessly defend your kingdom that all poor souls might make their home with you.

Direct download: BC-060611-M_7_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 7:55-60;   Ps.97:1-2,6-7,9;   Rv.22:12-14,16-17,20;   Jn.17:20-26)

“I wish that where I am they also may be with me,

that they may see my glory that you gave me.” 

The Father gave Jesus His glory.  It is Jesus’ own glory He owns, for He had it “before the foundation of the world,” but now the Father has given it to Him anew in His incarnation as the Son of Man; and in His death and resurrection He shall not only confirm it in Himself, but serve thus to make it our own.

What glory is ours in this Son of God who has come among us to draw us into the Father’s immortal, eternal love!  It is the same glory the Father and Son know and share in the Spirit who makes them one.  We are called to be so one with this Holy Trinity.  Our jaws should drop at such a prospect, our hearts reach up, and praise of the Most High God resound upon our tongues; for what does Jesus pray for us but that we be one in glory with the Righteous One?

And this glory is “coming soon.”  Jesus promises John that soon He shall return, and then absolute glory will be our own, if we have washed clean our robes from sin, if we have prepared our souls to eat from “the tree of life and enter the city through its gates,” coming thus to where the glory of God dwells in eternity.  But if we are not clean, if we attempt to enter the city by other means than the gate before us, the gate who is Jesus and His teachings – climbing over the wall we shall but fall, and find the taste of the fruit of the tree terribly bitter.

The people and their leaders could not well partake of the blessed word Stephen brought to their ears.  Of the glory of God and their own falling short they would not hear… and so could but stone its bearer to death.  But Stephen finds himself present there within the City gates, even while upon his knees and crying out; for his eyes are open to see God’s glorious One, and these stones he returns to their throwers with but a prayer for peace.

Open your ears, my brothers and sisters.  Open your hearts to His call.  “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come,’” and you must echo their glorious song to the Alpha and the Omega.  To us soon Jesus the Christ is coming; “all peoples [will] see His glory.”  Invite Him in and be one with Him, even as the stones are falling.  “Amen!  Come, Lord Jesus!”  Amen and Alleluia!

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

Music: "There Is No End to Life" (2nd half) from Thoroughfare, seventh album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, let us hear the Word of your Son 

and come to join Him in glory with you on high. 

YHWH, you are the Most High over earth and Heaven, and you call us to yourself through your only Son.  He would have us be one with you in the kingdom, and so He joins Himself to us that we might be joined to Him and so to you. 

To your glory let us come, O LORD.  Soon Jesus shall return to us; let us be prepared.  Let us see Him at your right hand as has Stephen, and welcome Him so freely into our lives, ready even to die.  For what is our death in this world but a falling asleep?  What matter the stones raining upon our heads if we have vision of you in our eyes and in our minds?  May we wash our robes clean and so freely call upon your Son to come. 

With you and with your Son let us be one; let us see your glory.  O may we stand in your presence forever, LORD!  Please receive our spirit.

Direct download: BC-051213-Su_7_E_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Acts 18:23-28;   Ps.47:2-3,8-10;   Jn.16:23-28)

 

“He went about establishing from the Scriptures

that Jesus is the Messiah.”

 

In our gospel today, Jesus again assures the disciples, “Whatever you ask the Father, He will give you in my name,” He tells them of the time when He will no longer speak to them “in veiled language,” but “shall tell [them] about the Father in plain speech.”  A most fascinating quote is His statement, “I do not say that I will petition the Father for you.”  So great is our oneness with Jesus because we “have believed that [He] came from God,” that now as He returns to the Father, we go there with Him; and since we are thus with the Father through Him, He need not ask for us of the Father, but we ask ourselves.  When Jesus declares, “The Father already loves you, because you have loved me,” He is telling us that we are indeed one with Him in the Father’s love, and so, of course, the Father hears all our prayers.

In our reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear of Apollos, who was “a man full of spiritual fervor.  He spoke and taught accurately about Jesus.”  His love for the Lord is most evident in His “express[ing] himself fearlessly in the synagogue,” in his “vigorous” preaching of Jesus as the Messiah.  He also shows himself to be a humble man, very acquiescent to Priscilla and Aquila, who “took him home and explained to him God’s new way in greater detail.”  As strong as he was, and as much as “he greatly strengthened those who through God’s favor had become believers,” he was very willing to learn of his weakness.  And so he becomes a model of faith and of the oneness with God we find in the Spirit through the love of Christ.  And so his words are like prayers which never fall short of the glory of God.  And so the Father answers all he has in his heart.

“He is supreme,” brothers and sisters.  The Lord Jesus now sits on the throne of God in the highest heavens.  And we who believe in Him become one with Him, and so, one with the Father of all.  And thus do we find all our prayers answered; thus do we find all our work blessed.  Thus do we find ourselves moving as one with the will of God by the love the Father shares with all of us through our faith in His Son.  As great as Apollos and Paul and all the apostles are, we can be, if we but believe that Jesus is God and so share in the Father’s love, and so hear the Holy Spirit speaking plainly to our hearts.

 

*******

O LORD, Jesus is your Christ;

He reigns with you over all the nations –

thank you for sending Him to us

that we might be united to you.

YHWH, you are King of all the earth, reigning in highest Heaven, and Jesus is the Messiah you send, one with you and born for us that we might be one with both of you through the power of the Holy Spirit.  As your Son returns to you, He brings us with Himself; insofar as we love Him and believe in Him, you love us and so unite us with yourself.  What can we say of so great a gift but, Alleluia!  Praise you, LORD!

May the Name of your Son be preached with zeal to all towns, to every soul that longs for salvation, that none shall be left without instruction but all realize the glory to which we are called in you.  With you, O Most High God, may we be joined by the grace found in your Son.

All we desire may we ask for this day in the Name of your Son.  And so, O LORD, all shall be as you desire – all will be gathered together as your children.

Direct download: BC-060411-Sa_6_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 18:9-18;   Ps.47:2-8;   Jn.16:20-23)

 

“Go on speaking and do not be silenced,

for I am with you.”

 

As Paul continues his missionary journey, his fears are calmed by the Lord, who assures him: “No one will attack you or harm you,” though he be in Corinth, whose infamous immorality is illustrated in the riotous behavior of the Jews in its court, and to which the court “paid no attention at all.”  And the Lord is true to His word, protecting Paul throughout his year-and-a-half stay, and keeping him even from having to defend himself from charges in today’s first reading.

In our gospel Jesus reassures the disciples at the Last Supper, as He is about to leave them and their hearts begin to be troubled: “You will grieve for a time, but your grief will be turned into joy.”  And though there remains ever a measure of grief in our hearts as we labor in this world, our bodies apart from the fullness of the grace of heaven, yet we know that Jesus’ promise has indeed been kept in His sending His Spirit upon the apostles from His heavenly kingdom.  It is, of course, this Holy Spirit who inspires and guides and protects Paul, making his missionary work fruitful, for he does all having been baptized by the fire of Christ.  And, of course, the disciples to whom Jesus speaks today will soon have no more fear, for Pentecost is not far from them.

Pentecost is not far from any of us, brothers and sisters.  The promised Spirit is come into the world to answer all questions, to calm all our anxieties.  As we wait these nine days to celebrate this great feast of the Church, as we prepare again to enter into its birth in the Spirit of God, let us be assured that the Lord’s promise remains: “You are sad for a time, but I shall see you again; then your hearts will rejoice with a joy no one can take from you.” 

No one can take from us the promised joy we now hold in our hearts and which is renewed in this season.  As Paul is emboldened even through his most difficult trials, as the apostles rejoice at their persecutions for Jesus’ sake, so we should know that the Lord “brings people under us, nations under our feet”; and so, as powerful as the world may seem in all its brazen immorality, yet we are assured that “He chooses for us our inheritance, the glory of Jacob, whom He loves.”  “There are many of [His] people in this city,” here where we dwell on earth, and we must speak to them of the Lord’s glory, His love strengthening us for every task.  It is He who accomplishes all in us, and so He will guide and guard our way.

*******

O LORD, give us reassurance of your presence with us,

now and until the end of time.

YHWH, soon our hearts shall rejoice at the return of your Son and our union with you in Heaven forever.  But now your Spirit is with us reassuring us of the fulfillment of this promise and guiding and protecting us along the way.  We can accomplish all the tasks you set before us because of the glory that is among us even this day in our Advocate from on high.

O LORD, though there is cause for us to weep and mourn in these days we remain apart from complete unity with you, we are strengthened as we wait by the knowledge that Jesus is yet present with us in the Spirit He sends.  Let us take refuge in this gift and, as we wait now again for its outpouring in a few days, let us remember your faithfulness to us and our destiny to praise you forever in your eternal kingdom.  O you who sit upon the throne, shine your light upon us this day.

Direct download: BC-060311-F_6_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 1:1-11;   Ps.47:1-3,6-9;   Eph.1:17-23  or  Eph.4:1-13  or  Heb.9:24-28,10:19-23;

Mt.28:16-20  or  Mk.16:15-20  or  Lk.24:46-53)

 

“God mounts His throne amid shouts of joy;

the Lord, amid trumpet blasts.”

 

Three events are the subject of today’s readings.  The key of these is certainly the Lord’s ascending into heaven and taking His place at the right hand of the Father.  Without this the other two could not follow.  And so we celebrate the Lord’s Ascension in particular; but we also hear of the coming Pentecost and the apostles’ call to go forth to the ends of the world.

“As they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him from their sight.”  Now He goes to heaven, returning to the Father, as He has said, to enter into glory.  And as He has asked, we should be joyful, we should “shout to God with cries of gladness.  For the Lord, the Most High, the awesome, is the great King over all the earth,” and now Jesus, our Savior and our brother, is with Him, and so brings us to Him.  His glory becomes our own, and so His now assuming His throne in heaven should cause us to “sing hymns of praise” to Him who now “reigns over the nations.”

And from His place seated “at the right hand of God” “upon His holy throne,” the Lord keeps “the promise of the Father about which [we] have heard [Him] speak.”  For “in a few days [we] will be baptized with the Holy Spirit”; Pentecost will be here, and Jesus’ words to His disciples as He prepares to ascend will be our own: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”  It is from this Holy Spirit that the Church takes its strength, through whom we are all made one in “faith and knowledge of the Son of God,” and by whom we attain to “the full stature of Christ.”  He it is who inspires all, and He could not come except that our high priest has entered the sanctuary of heaven – opening for us the way to enter there – and from there delivered unto us the grace which through Him comes.

And what does this inspiration, this absolute strength we take in the Spirit call us to do but to heed the Lord’s words and “go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature,” knowing as He has said, “I am with you always, until the end of the age”?  And so, apostles and prophets and evangelists and all His children go forth empowered by His Spirit that “hearts [may] be enlightened,” that all might know “the hope that belongs to His call… the riches of glory in His inheritance… and what is the surpassing greatness of His power” – that all might believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Jesus is now seated at the Father’s right hand in heaven, “far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come.”  All things are “beneath His feet,” for “King of all the earth is God,” and Jesus is God.  But though the Son has joined the Father, remember He is with us always, suffering with us still and bringing us to His side by the power of His Spirit.  Wait now on His Word.

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

Music: "There Is No End to Life" (1st half) from Thoroughfare, seventh album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, may the cloud

which took Jesus from our sight

soon bring Him back to us

and keep Him with us forever.

YHWH, your Son mounts His throne of glory, He ascends to you in Heaven, drawing us up into your presence and giving us the power to proclaim your glory and baptize all in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit – with you, O God, let us be made one!

And let us go, O LORD, even to the ends of the earth, your Son working through us by the power of the Spirit upon us.  As we wait now for your promise to fall upon us and be fulfilled in us, let us with faith set our hearts on your surpassing presence.  From the bonds of this earth let us be freed, that by the power of the Spirit we might indeed join Jesus at your right hand.  O let thy kingdom come!

Soon your Son shall return to us and we will sing in unending joy.  But even now we are the Body of Christ, united with Him in Heaven.  O LORD, send your Spirit forth that we might find the strength to call all souls unto your glory.

Direct download: BC-060211-Ascension_Thursday.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

(Acts 17:15,22-18:1;   Ps.148:1-2,11-14,Is.6:3;   Jn.16:12-15)

 

“It is He ‘who gives’ to all life and ‘breath’ and everything else.”

 

“His majesty is above earth and heaven,” brothers and sisters.  And so our psalmist today encourages all in the heavens and all on earth to “praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted.”  “From one stock He made every nation of mankind to dwell on the face of the earth,” and it is “in Him we live and move and have our being.”  And so should we, “His faithful ones,” not offer Him praise?

Brothers, be not ignorant as the men of Athens who thought “the God who made the world and ‘all that is in it,’ the Lord of heaven and earth,” as “something like a statue of gold or silver or stone, a product of man’s genius and his art.”  Could man with all his intelligence make the sun or wind?  Then how can it be that he might contrive the Creator of these?  Such groping in darkness for the God who is “not really far from any of us” shall not be tolerated forever.  For the time has come to turn on the lamp which lights the room and let all shadows flee.  He who is going to “judge the world with justice” is among us now; it is He whom God “has endorsed in the sight of all by raising Him from the dead.”  And it is faith in Him to which we must come.

Jesus promises the disciples that “the Spirit of truth… will guide [them] to all truth.”  It is He who “will not speak on His own, but will speak only what He hears.”  He receives from Jesus, who possesses “all that the Father has,” all that He announces to us.  And Paul is His mouthpiece today, speaking not what he has invented by his erudite learning and fanciful imagining, but rather proclaiming the truth he hears the Spirit inspiring in his soul and burning in his heart.

We shall not get to heaven on stairs we make with our soiled hands; they cannot but crumble under the pressure of time and the weight of truth.  Only by obedience to the Spirit who inspires all, shall all find the presence of the “God Unknown” to hearts of stone and minds as fleeting as a wisp of smoke.  “He calls on all men everywhere to reform their lives,” for their scoffing at truth shall bring them alone to a dark room, where there shall be no breath of the Spirit.  But we who know all wisdom comes from God, living in its light are made His children.

*******

O LORD, may we know your glory in the Word

announced to us by the Spirit Jesus sends.

YHWH, the light of wisdom you alone shine by the Spirit of Truth come through your Son.  You are exalted above earth and Heaven, and we cannot approach you by our minds or the work of our hands – only by faith will we come to know your surpassing glory.

O LORD, let your glory be announced to all that all might praise you in whom we live and move and have our being, that all might thus come to know themselves by realizing we are your offspring.  If we do not see you, how blind we remain to everything, hopelessly groping in the dark for truth and light.  We cannot make truth, we cannot make you, for it is you who have made us. 

May we heed your call to reform our lives, dear LORD, that we might come to understanding, that guided by the Spirit we might come to faith in you and praise your Name forever with all your children in the heavenly kingdom.

Direct download: BC-060111-W_6_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O holy apostles of the Lord

upon whom the Church is established,

your words go out to the ends of the earth,

bringing the Gospel to all nations.

You who were near to Jesus Himself,

who were with Him all the time

He walked among us…

there is no greater witness

to the way and the truth and the life

of our God, our Savior –

please pray for the Church in the world

this day,

that it shall be led by the Spirit of Truth

and we shall all be as brothers of the Lord,

living in His love

and revealing the Father.

As you have performed the works of the Son,

so let us join in the work of redemption,

that all the earth will come to see

that Jesus is in the Father

and we are made one in Him.

Direct download: May_3_Philip_and_James.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(1Cor.15:1-8;   Ps.19:2-5;   Jn.14:6-14)

 

“The man who has faith in me will do the works I do.”

 

What is the message the apostles preach “to the ends of the world”?  What is “the glory of God” that “the heavens declare” and “the firmament proclaims”?  It is none other than Jesus’ words to Thomas: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me”; it is His answer to Philip: “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.”  The Father “lives in [Jesus] accomplishing His works,” and Jesus lives in His apostles continuing the great work of God.

Here is the Gospel in short, which Paul preaches to the Corinthians in our first reading: “Christ died for our sins in accord with the Scriptures… He was buried and, in accord with the Scriptures, rose on the third day.”  He has appeared to all the apostles who preach His Name, who declare His salvation to all men; and He is known to us this day in His Spirit, in His Church, in His Sacraments and in His Word.  And indeed it is so that knowing Him we know the Father; filled with His Spirit we cannot but proclaim the majesty of the grace at work in Him through His Church.  Standing on the solid foundation the apostles have set, what can shake our faith or keep us from His glorious presence?

Brothers and sisters, on days such as this – and indeed on all days – our hearts should burn intensely with the love of the Lord.  Our souls should join with the blessed spirit of these holy apostles and declare aloud the silent Word that “imparts knowledge” to the minds of all.  So should our “voice[s] resound” of the glory of God and the grace He has poured forth in our spirits.  Let the earth be filled with His light!

 

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

 

Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission.

*******

 

O LORD, you are seen in your Son;

let Him be seen in us.

YHWH, let us do your works; let us believe in you and bring your Gospel to the ends of the earth.  Let us declare with your holy apostles that your Son has died for our sins, and that He is now risen.

Dear LORD, open our eyes to see that Jesus is in you and you are in Him.  Truly He is the way, the truth, and the life – by His presence amongst us, we are saved and drawn into life.  Let us follow in His way and so become one with you and with the Spirit.

With confidence may your apostles speak, LORD, that your voice might go out to all the world and all hearts might declare that Jesus is God, and that in Him alone we are redeemed.  O let us all speak for Him as He comes to us this day!

Make us His brothers in the faith, dear Father, those who see you and know you and do your will.  Strengthen us today to do your work, and so find glory in your Name. 

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

O defender of the faith

in the divinity of Christ,

bulwark of the Church

of the One

who is true God and true Man,

upholder of the way

in the face of all persecutions –

pray that the shepherds of the Church

will today be so staunch in the faith,

never afraid to defend the truth

from attacks from within

and outside her walls.

So many souls

are led so astray

by the teaching of false prophets;

pray indeed that the Lord

will raise up leaders,

prophets of His true teaching,

of His narrow way,

which leads through the body He assumed,

the death He took upon Himself

for our sins,

to His divine presence in Heaven.

Direct download: May_2_Athanasius.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 16:11-15;   Ps.149:1-6,9;   Jn.15:26-16:4)

 

“You must bear witness.”

 

The Spirit will come and call to your hearts to speak of the name of Jesus and His salvation.  As He prompts you, you must speak the truth in love, you must go as He calls – you must bear witness.  And sometimes the word you speak, and you yourself, will be accepted with the faith and great hospitality as known in Lydia (who is said to be “one who listened,” for “the Lord opened her heart to accept what Paul was saying,” and who generously invited Paul and his companions, foreigners traveling to distant lands, to “come and stay at [her] house”); and other times those who “know neither the Father nor [the Son]” will “expel you from synagogues,” will cast you violently from their midst, and “anyone who puts you to death will claim to be serving God!”  It does not matter.  The Word must go forth, in season and out.

How few true witnesses there seem to be today, for in the time and place in which I stand certainly the Word of God is out of season.  False witnesses with strange gospels abound, but the tongue of the apostles is tied, and what is spoken seems to land upon deaf ears.  Those who have no conception of the Holy Spirit and so know neither Father nor Son are emboldened to speak as messengers of Jesus, though the Jesus they know is not the Christ and what they speak but serves to lead the sheep astray.  And where is His Church?  Will no one stand to speak of His love?

Today instead of “sing[ing] for joy upon [our] couches… the high praises of God… in our throats,” the houses in which we dwell seem to swallow our souls, and we are left mute in the face of destruction.  And it is hard to say that our faith is shaken, for who can find any faith at all?  Neither persecution nor glad acceptance do we find, for we speak no word to challenge the world.

Let us pray to the Lord, brothers and sisters, that He will send laborers forth, that even in this time of lethargy upon His Church, new life is beginning to grow.  For until the end of time the Word must go forth; before then it shall not have reached its goal.  However well the devil may fool us into complacency, we must know that it is always time to preach the Word, for ever will hearts be seeking Him – and ever hands seek to destroy Him.  “The Lord loves His people, and He adorns the lowly with victory.”  This call to the humble must be heard by all.

 

*******

O LORD, let us stand strong in doing your will,

praising your Name, come what may. 

YHWH, help us to go forth in the Name of your Son, to speak His Word to the world, to bear witness to truth as He has.  For though we be persecuted and even killed for serving you, there will be those who will listen and be saved.

Ready our hearts for what may come, O LORD, that we shall not fear in the hour of darkness, on the day the power of the evil one asserts itself.  Help us to realize his power is as nothing and those who do his bidding shall pass like the fading grass.  Only those who hear and heed your voice will stand on the last Day.

The faithful will rejoice in you, LORD, and sing a new song to your glory come into our midst by the grace of Christ and the power of the Spirit.  We shall praise you forever in your eternal House.  Even now in prayer we come to dwell with you.

Direct download: BC-053011-M_6_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O humble laborer in God’s House

who served to build up His Temple

by the sweat of your brow

and your careful concern

to follow His will –

pray that we shall embody

the same obedience

to the Word of God

and His call to our souls,

that we too will consecrate ourselves

and our daily labor

to service of the Lord

and the upbuilding of His Church,

and that we, too,

might be built into the House

wherein He makes

His eternal dwelling.

We are but poor creatures,

simple and weak;

pray the Lord our God

and His Son for whom you cared

will bless us with your dignity,

O righteous man of God.

Direct download: May_1_Joseph_the_Worker.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 15:1-2,22-29;   Ps.67:2-6,8;   Rv.21:10-14,22-23;   Jn.14:23-29) 

“The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation,

on which were inscribed the twelve names

of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

And so is “the holy city Jerusalem” protected; and so are its boundaries defined.  And so we come to the apostles to find the true teaching of Christ.

When “there arose no little dissension and debate” between Paul and Barnabas and certain brothers from Judea who were insisting the Gentile converts must be “circumcised according to the Mosaic practice,” what was the recourse needed to settle this most crucial of questions – the first great question of the Church?  “It was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders.”  There the debate would be settled.  There authority is found – in the apostles and those they appoint.  There is nowhere else on earth any could turn to secure the truth, to find genuine guidance of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus has promised “will teach [the disciples] everything,” who will be with the Church as its Advocate till the end of time.  And so the apostles and elders speak in truth when they write to the waiting souls of the Gentiles: “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden,” for indeed they speak of the Holy Spirit and for and by the Holy Spirit – indeed they speak the truth.

Brothers and sisters, is not the reason the Church is fractured into hundreds if not thousands or even millions of pieces (each soul following his own way without regard for the teaching of the Church), is not the reason some advocate for abortion, or euthanasia, or female or homosexual priests, or a thousand other indiscretions and blasphemies – is not the cause of the great turmoil within the walls of the temple as well as, inevitably, outside it in the world… is it not fundamentally a lack of obedience to the teachings of Christ, to the teachings of His apostles?  And though it is so that upon all His baptized is placed the seal of the Spirit, and so all may know the truth, yet it is just as so that without the confirmation of the apostles – as even Paul realized – one cannot be sure of his thoughts, and certainly has no right to teach!  Surely the Jews thought they were right in insisting the Gentiles be circumcised.  Let none be presumptuous of the Spirit’s word.

In the heavenly city there is “no temple,” there is “no need of sun or moon” – “the glory of God [gives] it light, and its lamp [is] the Lamb.”  But we do not dwell in the fullness of Jerusalem here; this I can assure you.  On earth we have unquestionable need for a Church.  And that Church is now founded in Rome with the Pope.

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

Music: "Solid Rock Unshakable Foundation" from The Innocent Heart, first album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, let the light and peace of your Son

be with us this day as we gather in your holy NAME.

YHWH, let us enter your Temple, here on earth and in Heaven.  With you and with your Son let us dwell.  Your Church, the New Jerusalem, be our home.

O LORD, to your holy City let all peoples come – make your face shine upon all souls.  To your heavenly glory Jesus calls us, and so, let us indeed keep His Word, His commandment of love, and with us you will come to dwell.

But how shall we know if we are keeping your commandments except by the authority you place upon the twelve apostles?  How can we be certain we are following the path to the kingdom apart from the declaration of Peter?  If we are not obedient to the ones you send, we shall not be obedient to you, and so will be without the light of the Holy Spirit to guide us.  O let us be one with you as is your Son, as is your Church on earth!  O LORD, let us glory in your presence forever.

Direct download: BC-050513-Su_6_E_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O Shepherd of the Church

who led her through

a difficult time,

seeing to her reform

in faith and morals,

in teaching and prayer,

that the foundation once established

by the Lord Jesus Christ

might be confirmed

and strengthened,

kept from decay –

pray this day, too,

MotherChurch will be blessed

by the nourishing food

of the Spirit,

that she might be fed

at the Lord’s table

and all might be encouraged to enter

the gates of Heaven

she guards and opens

to all souls in communion

with the Savior and His way…

May Peter lead us unto His Day.

Direct download: April_30_Pius_V.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 16:1-10;   Ps.100:1-3,5;   Jn.15:18-21)

 

“I chose you out of the world.”

 

What is the world but heartache and sin; from this the Lord would release us.

Jesus tells His disciples: “You do not belong to the world,” and yet, as is most evident in the journeys of Paul, to all the world do the apostles go.  The Master tells them, “You [will] find that the world hates you”; even so, they preach to a world which has no respect for the name they proclaim, who “know nothing of Him who sent” them.  The inevitable persecution they do not fear, the death their work brings they do not flee, but face all in complete readiness.

Indeed, Paul is our example of the commitment we all must have to doing the Lord’s will in this world.  With great fervor he travels from land to land and, praise God, “through all this, the congregations grew stronger in faith and daily increased in numbers.”  He transmits the Lord’s Gospel message to all waiting ears and perseveres through all trials.  For there are those throughout this earth who will listen to the Word that “the Lord is God; He made us, His we are,” and that Jesus is His Son – and Paul cannot help but strain forward to find these hearts which long to “come before Him with joyful song.”  So great is Paul’s desire to bring the word of the Lord to those who have never heard it before that he must be restrained by the Holy Spirit.  Twice today in our first reading he is prevented from entering and preaching to lands for which it is not time, finally being called in a vision to those who awaited him.  Paul and the apostles’ readiness to do the Lord’s will is related clearly in Luke’s statement, “After the vision, we immediately made efforts to get across to Macedonia, concluding that God had summoned us to proclaim the Good News there.”

We must go where we are called and move as we are led by the Spirit of Jesus the Christ.  Into the world He leads us all to bring His light forth.  Though never of the world, we must encourage all the world to “sing joyfully to the Lord,” to “serve the Lord with gladness.”  By our words and by our lives we must show that we are “His people, the flock He tends,” and others will be drawn from the clutches of a world that hates the truth and into the protecting arms of God.

*******

O LORD, let your Word go forth to all the world

that all might be saved from the world

and come to you.

YHWH, should we not rejoice that the world hates us, that it persecutes us and the Word we speak, for does this not show that we are of Jesus, that we are one with Him in following in His way?  And is this not the path by which fruit is born, fruit that will last unto Heaven?  Is this not the way souls are saved and come to rejoice in your kingdom?

Help us to remember this, LORD, to remember and desire only to do your will, to follow in the way Jesus leads and bring His Word, His Spirit, to the ends of the earth.  Make your apostles as zealous as Paul to bring the Gospel to all who are open to receive salvation, to know the blessing of being your children.

May all souls be grafted onto the tree of your Chosen people.  Let your Church increase in faith and numbers, LORD, until the return of your Son.

Direct download: BC-052811-Sa_5_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O wise and holy virgin

whose love for God

was matched by a great love

for the Church

and a great desire

to see her pure and holy

as He…

peace you brought to peoples

and to MotherChurch,

for peace you held

within your blessed soul,

held as you were

in the hand of God –

pray the light of the Lord

will be shed upon the Church

and all souls

this day,

and that reconciliation shall come

and we stand as one

in that surpassing light

and peace of the Trinity.

May holiness be all men’s desire,

to live in accord with the will of God.

Direct download: April_29_Catherine_of_Siena.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 15:22-31;   Ps.57:8-12;   Jn.15:12-17)

 

“There is no greater love than this:

to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

 

Do not Judas and Silas fulfill the Lord’s command to “love one another”; do not they lay down their lives for the Lord when they bring word “to the brothers of Gentile origin in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia” of the apostles’ decision regarding those who have “upset [them] with their discussions and disturbed [their] peace of mind”?  Do they not carry the love of the Lord in their persons as well as in the letter in their hands?

And are these not made friends of the Lord even as the apostles and elders, even as those who come to them?  Jesus says to His disciples in our gospel, “I call you friends, since I have made known to you all that I heard from my Father.”  And now in the same way these disciples “go forth and bear fruit” as the Lord has commanded by making known to the children of the nations “the decision of the Holy Spirit,” the whole Truth of God’s love, thus drawing them into the friendship of Christ.

The apostles and elders, who call themselves “brothers” of those of Gentile origin, “have unanimously resolved to choose representatives and send them” to witness of the Lord’s love for them; Paul and Barnabas are called by the apostles, those “who have dedicated themselves to the cause of our Lord Jesus Christ” – there is left no doubt of the strength of the decision that is made and the authority by which it comes.  And so “there was great delight at the encouragement [the letter] gave,” for it and those who read it hold indeed the love of God, the absolute truth of the Holy Spirit, by whose power they have been freed from the burdens being imposed upon them and brought into the fold and friendship, the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Alleluia!

“I will give thanks to you among the peoples, O Lord, I will chant your praises among the nations.”  With David, the Gentile disciples “sing and chant praise” to the living God who is “exalted above the heavens” and “above all the earth.”  The Spirit of the Lord is upon them now by the love that has been laid down before them, and now they too are called to lay down their lives in the Lord’s love, as are we all, that friends of Jesus, sons of the Father, may ever be drawn into His holy fold.

*******

O LORD, your love is all we need –

help us to worship you with our very lives.

YHWH, let us all live in your love and rejoice in the blessing of the Holy Spirit; let us dwell with you in the glory that is above all the earth.  Obedient to your Word, to the rightful authority of your Church, we follow in the way of the Spirit and find ourselves as friends of your Son.

You do not make the way difficult for us, but quite simple.  You simply call us all to love.  To lay down our lives for one another, even as Jesus has done, may seem impossible to our corrupted hearts – but in you all is made very easy, for your yourself are love.  O LORD, help us to walk in the footsteps of your Son and so bear the fruit of eternal love.

It is clear, dear God, that you desire all to share in your great blessings.  You long to give us all we ask for.  You wish for us peace of mind and heart, and you know this is found only in doing your will, for your will is only love.  Let us heed your command to love, and so chant your praises in the kingdom.

Direct download: BC-052711-F_5_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O blessed wife and mother,

extraordinary in ordinary devotion

to your family and God,

you who freely gave your life

that your child might live,

who put the fruit of your womb

before your personal concern –

in this age when so many mothers

in freedom

and seemingly without care

are more inclined to destroy

the life in their wombs

than nourish it

or sacrifice themselves

for their children’s sakes,

pray that these same may turn

to the love you have shown

and find the call of the Lord

upon their souls

in the heart beating

innocently and plaintively

within them.

Pray this holocaust shall be ended.

Direct download: April_28_Gianna_Beretta_Molla.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:10pm EDT

O apostle of Mary

and so of our Lord Jesus Christ,

to the Lord you drew souls

through devotion to His Mother.

How perfectly you have spoken

of this grace upon the Virgin

and the role she plays

in the salvation of the world –

pray this day

that her sweet protection

and most blessed intercession

will be with all the children

who turn in faith to the one

chosen by the Father

to be Mother of His Son.

May this Spouse of the Spirit

lead us into God’s presence

where with you

and all the heavenly saints

we shall find ourselves one

with the Most Holy Trinity

and sing forever the praises

of our Lord and God.

Direct download: April_28_Louis_Mary_de_Montfort.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

O great missionary,

you served to convert

a land and a people

that had never heard

of our blessed Savior,

and though killed for your work,

you loved those to whom you were sent

and toiled tirelessly

for their salvation –

pray the same kind heart you showed

we shall also know

in serving souls

placed into our care;

and pray the name of our Lord

shall go forth in freedom

to the very ends of the earth

this day.

What are our lives

compared with the service of Christ

and the salvation of souls

in faith in His name?

Let us live with your same zeal

the love that is Jesus and His Cross.

Direct download: April_28_Peter_Chanel.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 15:7-21;   Ps.96:1-3,10;   Jn.15:9-11)

 

“We are saved by the favor of the Lord Jesus.”

 

We are told of the Council of Jerusalem, convened to determine if the Gentiles need be subject to circumcision and the Mosaic Law, “After much discussion, Peter took the floor,” and that after he had finished speaking, “the whole assembly fell silent.”  What is there to say after the Rock of the Church has spoken?  And how marvelously his declaration mirrors Jesus’ own simple command to His disciples, “Live on in my love.”

I am certain that before he stood to speak in the midst of the din of argument that pervaded this first assembly of God’s people, Peter heard the words of Jesus speaking to his heart: “Simon, son of John, feed my sheep.”  He remembers his call and the Spirit the Lord has placed upon him as keeper of the keys of heaven.  He remembers, too, the vision the Savior of mankind brought to his mind, instructing him not to discriminate in his sharing of the Word of God.  He therefore reminds his brothers that God “reads the hearts of men,” and particularly of how “He showed His approval [of the Gentiles] by granting the Holy Spirit to them,” just as He had done to those gathered in this assembly.  God “made no distinction… but purified their hearts by means of faith also.”  And would they then place undue burden upon what God has wrought by His own hand?

Yes, Peter in his pronouncement sings of the “new song” of the Lord and by doing so encourages all to “sing to the Lord; bless His name.”  He hereby “announce[s] His salvation,” that His glory might be told “among the nations; among all peoples, His wondrous deeds.”  Here he demonstrates how the Lord “governs the peoples with equity.”  The righteous judgment that James makes, now shared in harmony by all assembled, is none other than the judgment Peter has proclaimed – which is none other than Jesus’ own word for all to keep the commandment to live in the Father’s love that all our “joy may be complete,” that all may be gathered into the Father’s kingdom.

Scripture says of the House the Father builds here on earth, of Jerusalem, His Church: “From its ruins I will rebuild it and set it up again, so that all the rest of mankind and all the nations that bear my name may seek out the Lord.”  What was the house of David now shelters all the nations – the old Jerusalem has become the new City of Peace held in God’s own hand, His Holy Spirit breathing upon its members and giving them life.  By the favor of Christ has this been accomplished; let no man shorten the arm of the Lord.

 

*******

O LORD, may all peoples be saved

by the love your Son bears to us.

YHWH, it is by faith you have purified our hearts, and it is to love you call us.  It is by the Spirit we are saved and drawn into your holy kingdom.

O let the favors of your Son be upon us, dear God!  His love beat in our hearts and course through our veins.  Yes, let us live in His love and so remain in your joy forever.

Your commandments are not burdensome, O LORD, but lead only to freedom, absolute freedom in the light of your presence.  Help us not to take unnecessary burdens upon our shoulders, burdens that would keep us from you and your love.  Let us never quench your Spirit at work in our lives.

Work your wonders in our midst, dear LORD, and may we cooperate fully with them, that forever we might sing your praise and bless your holy Name with all our brothers and sisters.  In faith may all souls seek your face, and so find it by your grace.

Direct download: BC-052611-Th_5_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 15:1-6;   Ps.122:1-5;   Jn.15:1-8)

 

“I am the vine, you are the branches.”

 

And within Him we must remain; nurtured by the Church He has planted we must always be.  We must have His blood flowing in our veins and His Word inspiring our souls.  There can be no separation from Him and from His teaching if we are to bear fruit abundantly, as is the Father’s desire.

Paul and Barnabas bear fruit abundantly.  As “the church saw them off… they made their way through Phoenicia and Samaria, telling everyone about the conversion of the Gentiles as they went.”  And to each branch of the vine they went, “their story caused great joy among the brothers.”  Here is the vine’s growth evident, the blood of the Lord coursing through its veins.  “When they arrived in Jerusalem they were welcomed by that church,” too, and there they “reported all that God had helped them accomplish” to the apostles.  Why have they come here to Jerusalem?  Because “in it are set up judgment seats.”  As great as their work had been, yet they knew the necessity to be obedient to the structure of the vine the Lord tends by His hand.  And so when a controversial question arises, Paul and Barnabas “go up to see the apostles and elders in Jerusalem” to find answer.

Why Jerusalem?  Because the Church, the New Jerusalem, is “built as a city with compact unity,” and still at this time the Rock, Peter, and the foundation stones, the twelve apostles, reside in this place.  If one separates oneself from the roots of this vine, one effectively separates oneself from Jesus and becomes “like a withered, rejected branch, picked up to be thrown in the fire and burnt.”  “No more than a branch can bear fruit of itself apart from the vine, can you bear fruit apart from me,” Jesus instructs His disciples.  And Paul and Barnabas know the order that must be preserved if the vine is to remain whole, if their work is to be truly fruitful.  So here as to the question of circumcision, the first major controversy in the early Church, “the elders accordingly convened to look into the matter.”

“If you live in me, and my words stay part of you, you may ask what you will – it will be done for you.”  The Lord’s promise is great.  But to receive such grace we must keep our feet firmly planted within the gates of the New Jerusalem, in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church He has founded.  We should rejoice to “go up to the house of the Lord,” for there we shall find Jesus, there we shall find His vine spreading faithfully to the ends of the earth – in it we shall always be nourished by truth.

 

*******

O LORD, may your Church bear much fruit

in you and in your Son;

with you let us be one.

YHWH, to your House let us come; in your City let us dwell – in the New Jerusalem let us make our home and we shall ever remain united to your Son and bear fruit in His Name.  Apart from Him we can do nothing, and if we separate ourselves from the Church He founded, we separate ourselves from Him… and His blood does not course through our veins.

O LORD, let us display the obedience of Paul and Barnabas to the rightful authority you set up to stand in the stead of your Son.  If we listen to these, we listen to Him, and thus your will is done.  If we take matters into our own hands, what hope have we of salvation, for what does man make but destruction?  Let us not be unfruitful branches fit for the fire but be pruned of all uncleanness of heart by the Word your Son speaks through the apostles and elders of holy Church.  Only in this way will we be one with one another and with you.

Direct download: BC-052511-W_5_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 14:19-28;   Ps.145:10-13,21;   Jn.14:27-31)

 

“We must undergo many trials if we are to enter into the reign of God.”

 

“With this instruction” Paul and Barnabas “gave their disciples reassurances, and encouraged them to persevere in the faith.”  Their apostolic journey has been a witness that the road to the Lord is wrought with difficulties, but that it bears great fruit.  These apostles are pursued from towns in which they have preached by those who would destroy them and their word.  Paul is stoned, seemingly unto death.  But their trials do not dissuade these apostles from retracing their steps through the very towns from which they have been ejected and installing elders, priests, in each one, “commend[ing] them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith.”  And so they arrived again at the place “where they had first been commended to the favor of God for the task they had now completed.”  Now they are able to relate in joy “all that God had helped them accomplish, and how He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles,” perhaps the greatest feat of the growing Church, the Body of Christ on earth.

Of course, Jesus’ words to His disciples are the same as Paul’s: “‘Peace’ is my farewell to you, my peace is my gift to you,” Jesus says, and adds, “I do not give it to you as the world gives peace.”  For the peace Jesus gives is deeper and abides eternally; it remains through any trial of the world for it is not dependent on the consolations that come from earthly things.  And so He can assure them, “Do not be distressed or fearful.”  He can freely invite them into the peace He possesses and to which He returns, as He retraces His steps back to the Father from whom He has come, whence He had first been commended to the favor of God for His mission.  He knows they will suffer, even as He is about to suffer death at the hands of “the Prince of this world.”  But He knows the devil’s power “has no hold” on Him, and would have us know Satan has no power over us either.  For we are with Jesus; we are with the Father in heaven.  And though we be as Paul in his persecutions, though we be stoned and “dragged… out of town” and left for dead, the Lord’s angels will surround us as Paul’s disciples surrounded him – as they come to Jesus in the tomb – and like Paul, and like our Lord, “before long” we shall get up and return to our call; and ultimately we shall rise from the dead to eternal life with Jesus, coming to the home He now prepares.

“I go away for a while and I come back to you,” Jesus assures His disciples, and asks them to be joyful that He returns to the greatness of the Father, whose “dominion endures through all generations.”  And so, brothers and sisters, may our “mouth[s] speak the praise of the Lord” all our days; “may all flesh bless His holy name forever and ever.”  Let us do as He commands and “discourse of the glory of [His] kingdom and speak of [His] might,” and that power will enable us to endure all things, and we shall be brought at last into His reign.

*******

O Lord, though it mean we must die,

let us be obedient to your command,

that we might enter your reign.

YHWH, let us discourse of the glory of your kingdom; let us carry your Word to the ends of the earth.  Let us not fear the trials that must come to all who enter your reign but hold the peace Jesus offers ever in our hearts.  Let us, too, come to you in Heaven.

Though we be stoned and left for dead, we shall rise up again, for you, O LORD, are with your disciples, surrounding them with your grace and protection.  As Paul returned even to the towns from which he had been cast out, so let us be ready to enter every battle this world presents, knowing the power you give us is greater than any of this earth, for it overcomes even the Prince of darkness.

Let us give you thanks, O LORD, in all the works we do and so make known to all men your glory.

Direct download: BC-052411-Tu_5_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O proclaimer of the Word of God,

we know of our Lord

who suffered and died

that we might rise with Him

on the third day

because the Spirit inspired you

to tell us of this Good News.

Faithful you were to the Lord

and to His blessed apostles,

and so became an apostle yourself,

carrying the Gospel

to men of every nation –

pray that the Word

which you have served

to impart to us

may be remembered

and cherished in the hearts

of all believers,

and that we, too, shall work,

inspired by the Spirit,

to build up the Body of Christ,

making it ready for His return

to dwell with us forever.

Direct download: April_25_Mark.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(1Pt.5:5-14;   Ps.89:2-3,6-7,16-17;   Mk.16:15-20) 

“Go into the world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.”

Such is the call and accomplishment of our evangelist Mark, whose gospel reflects the song of our psalmist today, “The favors of the Lord I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.”  For his inspired Word lives forever to declare the faithfulness of God.  And “happy the people who know the joyful shout,” who exclaim like Peter in our first reading, “Dominion be His throughout the ages!”  For they “walk in the light of [the Lord’s] countenance,” and so “they rejoice all the day.”

“The Eleven went forth and preached everywhere,” and those who believed in the Good News they proclaimed indeed were saved, as are we today.  The promise Peter makes in our first reading is true: “The God of all grace, who called you to His everlasting glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish those who have suffered a little while.”  Though answering the call of the Lord bring suffering in this world, it is but little to endure for the surpassing glory which is ours in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  And so to “bow humbly under God’s mighty hand, so that in due time He may lift [us] high” is a joy in itself; the suffering we experience for the sake of the Word is itself laced with great joy, for we know in our souls and have seen that it but leads to exaltation at the right hand of God.  “Through your justice they are exalted” – so our psalmist praises God for His mercy and His truth.  And all souls converted to the Lord will know the Lord’s justice in full flower.

And oh the signs that “will accompany those who have professed their faith,” the strength in the Name and the Spirit of God and the healing graces that are known in them.  Every day and in every situation such power is invoked and implemented by those who believe.  Be not so forgetful of the wonders Jesus works through those who walk with Him.  “The heavens proclaim your wonders, O Lord, and your faithfulness, in the assembly of the holy ones.”  The verse is true, my friends.  And as “the Lord continued to work with [the apostles] throughout and confirm the message [they proclaimed] through the signs which accompanied them,” so He will not leave alone this day anyone who takes up His cross and even in the humblest fashion proclaims His holy Name.  The news is good and the Lord wishes all to hear.  Make His message known to the ends of the world: salvation has come to all.

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

Music by Annette Meyer; used by permission. 

*******

O LORD, though we suffer for His Name,

your Son is with us all the day,

and we walk in the light of His countenance.

YHWH, you call your apostles to go out to the whole world and preach the Good News of the coming of Christ.  May they be faithful in their mission and may all believe and be baptized, and so be saved.  Humbly let all souls come to you, that we might be exalted at your right hand.

There is suffering in your call, O LORD; there is even the shedding of blood.  But though we might die for the sake of your Name and that of your Son, your peace rests upon us.  For it is you who fulfill your work in us, you who go out with all your apostles… and you who are with them till the end of time.  May they lay their hands on the sick that they might recover, and not be afraid to lose their lives in the process.

To every corner of the earth let your Word now come, LORD, to every soul that sits in darkness.  Awaken hearts to sing of your glory, you who raise all who bow humbly before you.

Direct download: April_25-St._Mark.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O charitable and zealous soul

who gave your life

that others might know

the true and abiding Catholic faith,

you who cared for the sick and the dying,

those who were ailing in body

and diseased in spirit –

how shall we learn

to sacrifice all as you have done,

to stand in the face of opposition

and speak the truth

though those we would help

would devour us instead

of listening to the words

come from the Savior’s mouth?

Penance and prayer

are so far from us this day,

and who really cares

to show others Christ’s way?

Pray this ship shall be strengthened

by holy souls

eager for the salvation of all

and confirmed in the truth and love of the Spirit.

Direct download: April_24_Fidelis_of_Sigmaringen.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 14:21-27;   Ps.145:1,8-13;   Rv.21:1-5a;   Jn.13:31-33a,34-35)

“Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.”

This is the promise on which we set our hearts, this vision of John.  This is the word which encourages us to look forward to the coming of our God in the fullness of His presence amongst us.  How we long to be His bride in heaven!

John indeed sees the “new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,” His holy bride.  And his ears hear the promise that “He will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes.”  No more shall there be “death or mourning,” no more “wailing or pain” – these things which beset us here shall all pass away.  On this glory we must set our sights, for as long as we toil upon this earth there will be tests and trials that can only be overcome with this vision of God.

In our first reading we hear that Paul and Barnabas have accomplished the rounds of their mission journey and “made a considerable number of disciples.”  We witness how God “opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” and so to the world at large.  All men of all times are now called into the kingdom of God.  And here is cause for great rejoicing.  Yet the message of these apostles, borne out by their own experience, is that we must “undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” for though the Spirit of the Lord fall on Christ’s disciples, still these disciples are in this world, where the coming of the kingdom has yet to be fulfilled, and weeping at the darkness remains part of our condition.

In this world there shall be persecution, no doubt.  Though God’s “kingdom is a kingdom for all ages, and [His] dominion endures through all generations,” though Jesus has come and lived and died among us and sent His Spirit for rebirth, though indeed His presence is very much in our midst – yet the evil one enters in; yet he lurks in hiding.  And we must be prepared to conquer him, and even to find our salvation by enduring the suffering he devises.

In Jesus we see well the way in which God is with us here and how we come to Him in heaven.  The Lord says as His hour of death approaches: “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him.”  Even as Judas leaves to fetch the instruments of His death, Jesus sees His glory come.  In His crucifixion He shall destroy the devil and come completely to the Father – and even on the cross, God is with Him.

Here we must endure, brothers and sisters, knowing God is with us; and soon we shall come to the fullness of His presence, to “the glorious splendor of [His] kingdom.”  Soon the Lord will “make all things new,” as new as our spirits have already become.

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

Music: "In Your Eyes" from Loving Spirit, third album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, let us see your kingdom

descend into our midst

through the love of your only Son.

YHWH, let the glorious splendor of your kingdom be upon us; let us dwell in the New Jerusalem with Jesus your Son and with all His disciples.  From the ends of the earth gather your Church into your holy presence, that forever we might sing your praise.

Though we must endure many hardships to enter your kingdom, it matters little to those who know the glory that comes through the Cross; in fact, it is cause for us to rejoice.  For so long as the Cross is with us on this dark earth, O LORD, Jesus is with us bringing His comfort and peace – and so we know the mourning and weeping will soon pass away… so we see how He makes all things new.

O let us discourse of the glory of your reign!  Let us set our hearts on serving your will by bringing others into your gates.  Help us, O LORD, to love one another even as your Son.

Direct download: BC-042813-Su_5_E_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O persecuted shepherd

whose flock repeatedly drove you

from their midst

but who accomplished

great work of conversion

among them…

to these indignant souls

you repeatedly returned,

ever spreading Christ’s net further –

pray for us, apostle to nations,

that in God’s Church today

His Word may go boldly forth

to convert hearts

so hardened by sin,

that the acquired ignorance

of peoples returning to paganism

will be thoroughly dispelled

by truth.

Forth let all souls journey,

humbly proclaiming the Gospel

till all have heard and understood

the glory to which they are called

by our Savior.

Direct download: April_23_Adalbert.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

O courageous soldier

in the army of our Lord,

you gave up the ranks

of this passing world

for the kingdom

wrought by Jesus Christ,

dying willingly

for such a just cause

and showing us the path

we must tread

to be found worthy

to stand with our God –

pray that we may be strengthened

in the battle of earthly life,

that our weak limbs

may not be disjointed,

that we might not tremble in fear

at the threats of the mighty

but take our refuge

in the Almighty

and fight for Him who fights for us

until we are wrapped in His arms,

until we cling to His breast.

Direct download: April_23_George.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 13:44-52;   Ps.98:1-4;   Jn.14:7-14)

 

“I have made you a light to the nations,

a means of salvation to the ends of the earth.”

 

In the preaching of Paul today is fulfilled the words of our psalm, “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God.”  Rejected by the Jews to whom he comes, he “now turn[s] to the Gentiles,” and – fulfilling the words of our psalm which read, “Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands, break into song; sing praise” – our first reading tells us “the Gentiles were delighted when they heard this and responded to the word of the Lord with praise.”  Thus does the light of the Lord’s salvation go out to the ends of the earth.

And our gospel makes clear just how salvation comes to all.  First Jesus declares with wonderful clarity the oneness of the Son and the Father.  When asked by Philip, “Show us the Father,” Jesus responds, “After I have been with you all this time, you still do not know me?”  Notice that Philip’s request refers to the Father but Jesus’ response refers to the Son, as if to ask of one is to ask of the other.  The Lord then states the truth of His oneness with the living God in plain terms: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”  There is no separation here, and all that Jesus does is done by the Father, so the living Lord of the universe is at work in absolute fashion through the Son’s words and works.  In Him the Father’s will of love, His desire to save His children from sin and death, is accomplished.

But more than this is made evident of the working of salvation, for the Word must reach to the ends of the earth.  How is this accomplished?  The Lord again declares with absolute clarity the oneness now of Himself and His disciples.  In order “to glorify the Father in the Son,” He makes them the solemn promise, “The man who has faith in me will do the works I do.”  And the oneness of Jesus and His disciples is made more poignant in His definitive statement: “Anything you ask me in my name I will do.”  Who does these works of the Lord?  Who brings His salvation forth?  We do the works, do we not?  We are those still on this earth with flesh and bone and voices.  Yet He says “I will do” them to show how He works through us in all we do, to reveal our oneness with Him and the Father.

Our first reading tells us, “Almost the entire city gathered to hear the word of God” when Paul and Barnabas were in Antioch in Pisidia.  In this simple line is shown both that the salvation of the Lord is going forth to all, and that it is occurring through His disciples.  For it is indeed “the word of God” that Paul the apostle speaks and not his own, and this Word is irresistible in its truth and love to all hearts open to hear the voice of Him who speaks, for this Word brings only joy.

*******

O LORD, looking upon your Son we see you;

when others look at us may they see Jesus.

YHWH, you live in your Son, accomplishing your works, and He in His turn works through us.  What grace and blessing you grant all your disciples, that we might share in your very life and work!  Alleluia!

And this grace and blessing extends to all throughout the earth; all may know the salvation wrought in men by the only Son.  And so, what can we do but sing to you in joy, for your light is with us even in the persecution your Word brings.

O let us be one with you, dear God, even as Jesus is one with you.  To your side let us, too, come; this is your will now that you have revealed yourself to us in your Son.  May we say in truth, He is in us and so we in you.  No separation let us know from your surpassing glory.

I pray, O LORD, even the words on this page be spoken not of myself but by you, that your work be accomplished in this poor servant.

Direct download: BC-052111-Sa_4_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 13:26-33;   Ps.2:6-11;   Jn.14:1-6)

 

“You are my Son;

this day I have begotten you.”

 

This same verse appearing in both our first reading and our psalm is spoken also by Jesus in our gospel when He says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me,” for such is the Son begotten of the Father.

How comforting are Jesus’ words in our gospel, and how enlightening Paul’s speech.  The disciples’ hearts are troubled at the Lord’s speaking of His imminent departure; that He must die begins to sink in to them.  But the only Son tells them, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places,” and, “I am indeed going to prepare a place for you.”  Not only this, He also promises, “I shall come back to take you with me, that where I am you also may be.”  The words come like a river of peace, like a wind of love breathing upon them, and upon us.  And the same message is spoken by Paul to “the children of the family of Abraham and [all] others who reverence our God.”  His is “this message of salvation,” that though the rulers condemned Him to death and “laid Him in a tomb,” “yet God raised [Jesus] from the dead.”  And now His witnesses, those to whom He appeared thereafter, declare the Good News of His resurrection, and our own.  “The words of the prophets which we read sabbath after sabbath” and “what God promised our fathers He has fulfilled for us, their children, in raising up Jesus.”  This is the word Paul brings to the waiting ears of his Jewish brothers, and which should be heard by us all.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled,” brothers and sisters.  The Lord is near and is calling us to His home.  Even as we speak He is preparing a place for us.  The death that you experience day to day is passing away, and all that will be known is the truth, the life of God the Father.  The Lord declares, “I myself have set up my king on Zion, my holy mountain,” and Jesus is that King for all ages and all peoples.  With His truth He shatters kings, and so death itself, “like an earthen dish”; He takes “the nations for an inheritance and the ends of the earth for [His] possession.”  He has died, but He is risen, and now all must “serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice before Him.”  There is no breaking in to the place He prepares for us to dwell.

The devil has been defeated by the Son begotten of the Father; his house has come crumbling down.  We need but follow the way Jesus is to find our home in the New Jerusalem.  Death no longer holds dominion, for the Son is now come.

*******

O LORD, you have begotten Jesus

and raised Him from the grave we have made

that we might be saved,

that we might dwell with you forever – Alleluia!

YHWH, may we come to you through Jesus your Son; may we follow in His way, for His way is truth and leads to life, and leads to you.  O may we be resurrected from the dead with Him that we might come to new life with you who are Life itself.

Let us not be troubled, LORD, by the death Jesus had to die, and the death we too must know.  What is this world and the things of this world in comparison with you?  What can this world do to us if we have Jesus as our guide?  For He shatters the powers of evil like an earthen dish and raises all the faithful from the tomb.  Let us come to the dwelling He prepares for us in your heavenly kingdom.

Though He has died, He has been raised, and we shall be raised with Him, all according to your will, Father God.  And on Zion we shall find our home with your eternal King.

Direct download: BC-052011-F_4_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O sublime teacher

and defender of the Church

and her freedom,

the joy of Heaven

you sought

in your spiritual life,

and for the autonomy of MotherChurch

you fought

in your call as shepherd –

pray that we

who remain so blind

to the presence of God

will have our eyes opened

and draw closer

to Him who is our life,

in whose light

we alone find peace;

and pray, too,

that we shall fulfill our call

as disciples of truth

and defend with your same strength

the life of our Mother,

despite the persecutions that come.

Direct download: April_21_Anselm.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 13:13-35;   Ps.89:2-3,21-22,25,27;   Jn.13:16-20)

 

“He who accepts anyone I send accepts me,

and in accepting me accepts Him who sent me.”

 

And who is this Jesus who sends apostles like Paul forth traveling from Syria to Cyprus to Asia Minor?  Who is He of whom Paul rises to speak in this distant synagogue?  Two quotes I offer for your consideration.  First is the Baptist’s declaration, “I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of His sandals”(Lk.3:16).  The second is the mere statement of fact that He “washed the feet of the disciples.”  And so with two questions I will tell you who He is: Tell me, who is worthy to unfasten His sandals?  Then tell me, whose feet does He not wash?  Mary washed His feet with her tears and her hair and knew herself nothing but unworthy to touch Him (Lk.7:38).  Jesus stoops to cleanse the feet of even Judas, His betraying apostle, who will kiss Him on the cheek, but to whom He shall turn the other one.  He heals lepers; children come to Him – none is beyond His humble reach.  Yet this man with the towel around His waist is none other than the Son of God.

The Israelites awaited His coming.  Hundreds of years they expected Him.  Paul tells us that “God testified, ‘I have found David son of Jesse to be a man after my own heart who will fulfill my every wish,” and in this Son of David the Father’s every wish is indeed fulfilled.  Here is the “Savior for Israel.”  It is of this Christ the Lord speaks when He says, “With my holy oil I have anointed Him, that my hand may be always with Him, and that my arm may make Him strong.”  And He in turn says of the Lord, “You are my Father, my God, the Rock, my Savior.”  So obedient is Jesus to the Father that there is none for whom He will not die; for all He shall drink the cup the Father offers, that the whole world might know the Father’s love.  Here is the great “I AM”, “the fulfillment of Scripture,” the WORD made flesh, the image of the living God: Jesus, Son of David, Son of God – God Himself dwelling among us.  And as He was Chosen, so He now chooses, instructing men to go forth.

Do “you know all these things”?  Do you see who He is and hear the words He speaks?  Then “blest will you be if you put them into practice.”  For in humble service of the Name of God, with Him you shall “be exalted.”  Bring forth His message of love.

*******

O LORD, obedience to the Church

is obedience to your Son,

and obedience to your Son is obedience to you –

may we all be as faithful as Jesus. 

YHWH, may we be men after your own heart, men formed in the image of Jesus and so reflecting your glory – may we be worthy to be called your sons.  O let us never raise our heel against you but ever put into practice your humble love.

O LORD, you call us to serve as you called David; you anoint us with oil even as your only Son.  Let us, too, be sons of David, calling you our God, our Rock, our Father – in the image of Jesus let us indeed be formed.

None is worthy to unfasten the sandals of our Savior.  None of your poor creatures could even touch your Son.  Yet He comes to wash our feet, to touch us with your merciful love.  Help us, O LORD, to imitate Him; help us to reveal your glory in the service we show one another.  Help us ever to declare your faithfulness, made known in your only Son.

Direct download: BC-051911-Th_4_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 12:24-13:5;   Ps.67:2-6,8;   Jn.12:44-50)

 

“Set apart Barnabas and Saul for me,

to do the work for which I have called them.”

 

These words came to the Church at Antioch “while they were engaged in the liturgy of the Lord and fasting”; spoken by the Holy Spirit, they show how intimately the Church and her apostles are connected to the Lord Jesus and His Father.

In John’s gospel, Jesus proclaims, “The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to speak.”  Jesus is sent by the Father.  He is the image of the Father: “Whoever looks on me is seeing Him who sent me.”  In the same way, Barnabas and Saul are “sent forth by the Holy Spirit” through the ministry of the Church, who “imposed hands on them and sent them off” to proclaim the word of God.  Jesus is sent by the Father.  Jesus speaks in the Holy Spirit the words of everlasting life.  Hearing these words His children, His Church, go forth to the ends of the earth.  There is absolute unity in the Church and all its members, as long as we are as obedient as Jesus, our Head, who declares, “Whatever I say is spoken just as He instructed”; as long as we are as faithful to the Spirit’s prompting as Jesus is to the Father’s will, we shall reflect His glory as He reflects the Father.

And what is the glory of the Son of God but to bring light to this dark world: “I have come to the world as its light, to keep anyone who believes in me from remaining in the dark.”  The words He speaks, the instruction He offers and the sacrifice He makes, indeed bring spirit and life to those who listen and obey.  He is true when He says He has not come to condemn but to save, for the world is already condemned by its sin and His words would bring it to life.  And so, if we reject His words, we reject the lifeline He provides, and what hope can there be for us?  If instead of asking that “He let His face shine upon us” and celebrating in joy the salvation that comes “among all nations” – if we do not seek the holy light of God, where else shall we find eternal life?  “His commandment means eternal life”; all other words lead to destruction.  We must follow the Lord and His way.

Brothers and sisters, it should be obvious to us that we are called even as Barnabas and Saul and the first Christians in the city of Antioch.  The Spirit of God remains upon the Church, and He would send us forth in Jesus’ name to do the work and will of the Father.  Do not reject His call upon your soul; put faith in Jesus and in Him who sent Him, and the Spirit will lead you forth.

 

*******

O LORD, you speak through your Son

and call His apostles to proclaim your Word

to the ends of the earth – Alleluia!

YHWH, send us forth in the Holy Spirit; in the Name of your Son let us preach to the nations.  Let us be a reflection of Him as He is the pure reflection of you.  He brings your light to us by His presence among us – may we be His presence in this world that your light might shine unto all.

In your Son we see you, O LORD.  Though you are hidden from all human eyes, Jesus gives us new vision.  He indeed is Light itself and looking upon Him we see anew: our minds are illumined to look upon you by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Alleluia!

For this great gift let us praise you, LORD.  By this great blessing to us you are made known.  Help us to declare to all what you reveal to us, to make you known even to the ends of the world.  Your salvation come to all nations.

By faith in your Son we are saved and brought into your presence.  Your Spirit be with us even this day to accomplish your mission.

Direct download: BC-051811-W_4_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 11:19-26;   Ps.87:1-7,117:1;   Jn.10:22-30)

 

“Of Zion they shall say:

‘One and all were born in her.’”

 

“I tell of Egypt and Babylon among those that know the Lord; of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia,” sings our psalmist today.  Yes, “when the peoples are enrolled” in the kingdom of heaven, when it is noted: “This man was born there,” it shall not be to the soil of Jerusalem to which the angels refer, but to birth in the spirit of the place, in the Holy Spirit Himself, who leads all into the New Jerusalem.  For all nations are called, and it matters no more the land of your origin.

This impotence of place and importance of the Spirit is made clear in Jesus’ words to “the Jews gathered around Him” “in the temple area, in Solomon’s portico.”  To those here in the heart of the city of Jerusalem He says, “You are not my sheep.”  They “refuse to believe” that He is the Messiah and so they prove that they are no sons of Abraham, that they have no faith.  Only those of faith hear the voice of the Shepherd, and only these are admitted into the kingdom.  This He tells them plainly.  For what is He saying when He declares, “The Father and I are one” but that He dwells with the Father in heaven, and not upon this earth.  The earth to which they cling shall pass away, but the kingdom shall last forever.

“My sheep hear my voice,” Jesus says, and how that voice does work among all souls.  (For this let us praise the Lord!)  We are told in our first reading that at first “the community who had been dispersed by the persecution that arose because of Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, making the message known to none but Jews.”  Here, even though the Word is spread far, it is kept for those born of the land of Zion.  But then the change occurs, and the truth of the Word, which goes beyond all borders, becomes known, for “some men of Cyprus and Cyrene among them who had come to Antioch began to talk even to the Greeks, announcing the Good News of the Lord Jesus to them.”  The church in Jerusalem, the protector of the faith – whose seat is now in Rome – sends Barnabas to investigate.  He finds “the evidence of God’s favor” and rejoices to realize the Lord’s sheep come from near and far.  Here “in Antioch the disciples were called Christians for the first time.”  Here it becomes clear that there is a new Church being formed, one that finds “eternal life” in following Jesus.

“The gates of Zion” “the Lord loves,” and to this holy mountain He brings all, through the Gate that is Jesus.  And “no one shall snatch them out of [His] hand,” for this mountain cannot be shaken, this Temple cannot be torn down.  It is of the life of heaven “all shall sing, in their festive dance” when they proclaim: “My home is within you.”  And this land shall endure forever.

 

*******

O LORD, let us be found in your Hand,

filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith,

living as your Son.

YHWH, into your House all faithful souls are called; in your Church all find a home.  We are born into the New Jerusalem by virtue of our Baptism, and so become assimilated to Christ.  And as He dwells with you as your Son, so we become as your holy children, wherever we may come from.

Jesus is one with you, dear Father, and we are called to be one with Him.  Though from the Jews He comes, He goes out to all the earth, bringing the light of salvation.  And when by the Spirit we are reborn in Him, when His sacrifice bears fruit in us and we come to eternal life, we become as your City, O God, our names written in Heaven.

You establish your Church, O LORD; the New Jerusalem is built up in your Name.  And all who long for truth and love hear the Good News of your risen Son and fly with Him unto your kingdom, where they rejoice all the day.

Direct download: BC-051711-Tu_4_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 11:1-18;   Ps.41:3,42:2-3,43:3-4;   Jn.10:1-10 or Jn.10:11-18)

 

“God has granted life-giving repentance even to the Gentiles.”

 

In his vision Peter sees “an object like a big canvas… lowered down to [him] from the sky by its four corners.”  Upon it he discerns “four-legged creatures of the earth, wild beasts and reptiles, and birds of the sky.”  Like Noah’s ark it seems to contain all the animals upon it.  But these animals he sees are not for the good Jew to eat: they are unclean.  And so Peter protests when instructed to “slaughter, then eat.”  But he is assured (and three times), “What God has purified you are not to call unclean,” even as “the canvas with everything in it was drawn up again into the sky.”

What is this shepherd to do – he who has been told by the Lord, “Feed my sheep”?  When the uncircumcised come to him seeking salvation, how can he turn away?  And so, as the canvas which came from the sky and returned to the sky, we learn that everything comes from God and returns to Him, and He calls whom He will.  And so the Gentile man whose home Peter enters by the Spirit’s direction is “saved, and all [his] household.”  “As [Peter] began to address them the Holy Spirit came upon them,” for they, too, “believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Yes, even these thirst for God “as the hind [who] longs for the running waters,” and so are led to the Lord’s “holy mountain, to His dwelling place”; even these “go in to the altar of God.”  For these unclean creatures are made as the pure and obedient sheep of Israel, heeding the Good Shepherd’s voice.  Here are “the other sheep that do not belong to this fold” of which Jesus speaks, whom He leads, too, by His loving word.

All that He calls shall come to Him who lays down His life for the sake of the fold, by whom all “have life and have it to the full.”  All living creatures are His own, for it is He who is the living God; and all who live, live for Him and through Him alone.  The Son has come from the Father that we might know Him as He knows Him, and so that we might indeed have life.  As good sheep let us follow in His way, and lead those behind us also to salvation.  Let us all “go and behold the face of God” as we turn from anything that makes us unclean in His sight and listen for His voice leading our pure hearts.

 

*******

O LORD, open the gate that we might enter in

and dwell in your presence.

YHWH, let all hear and heed the voice of your Son, who is the true Shepherd leading repentant souls to salvation.  Send your apostles into every house that all might hear the call of Jesus, be purged in the fire of the Holy Spirit, and come to dwell in your House, beholding your holy face.

Let us be led forth by the Christ to your mountain, O God.  Make us one flock in Him, all as your blessed children.  O let us be as sheep slaughtered for your table, joining your Son on the altar of sacrifice; by His voice let us be cut to the heart and in our repentance become a holy offering to you.

False prophets keep far from us, dear LORD, those who work but for pay, who care nothing for your flock.  In the Spirit send forth disciples to lead to running water those who thirst for you, O living God.

Direct download: BC-051611-M_4_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 13:14,43-52;   Ps.100:1-3,5;   Rv.7:9,14b-17;   Jn.10:27-30)

“The Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them

and lead them to springs of life-giving water.”

Joy is our promise in the Lord, brothers and sisters.  Absolute, eternal, universal joy.  And though we may suffer persecution now, “the time of great distress” upon us but provides the means, the water, by which all saints “have washed their robes and made them white.”  “The blood of the Lamb” is necessary to bring us to the kingdom of God.

Paul and Barnabas suffer “violent abuse” today for proclaiming the word of the Lord.  But from it comes their turn to the Gentiles, who delight in joy at this call to the kingdom.  And these disciples themselves “were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit,” despite being expelled from the territory to which they’d come.  All is joy in the Lord!

In our second reading, John depicts all the saints who “stand before God’s throne and worship Him day and night in His temple.”  Here they are utterly protected from harm, the harm that afflicted them while on earth.  No trials exist anymore in this everlasting shelter, for the Lord has “wipe[d] away every tear from their eyes.”  These tears, too, are water which cleanses the soul, which makes us robed in white before the Lord.

And Jesus assures us, to our great exultation, that “no one can take [us] out of the Father’s hand,” or His own.  He and the Father are one, and no greater power is there under or above the sun.  Though threats of robbery besiege our souls as we travel through this world, let us make the Lord’s assurance our own, and have faith that nothing will remove us from His arms.

Our psalmist exalts in the joy that should reflect the song in all our souls: “Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands; serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful song.”  So let us search our hearts to find that joy within us and overflowing from us.  Let me ask you, brother, sister, did John see you present in his “vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue”?  Is the life-giving water of the Lamb washing you clean for that day?  Then joy should be yours even where you stand, for even now you stand with Him.

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

Music: "Everyone's a Baby, Everyone's a Child" from All One, sixth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, let us follow your Son to the kingdom

where He reigns over all.

YHWH, souls from every nation stand before your throne in white robes, for your Son is a light even to the Gentiles; even to these do His apostles speak your Word.  Even these are called to eternal life by the Messiah.

Day and night we shall worship in your holy Temple, O LORD, protected by the Lamb at the center of the throne in your heavenly kingdom.  What John has seen shall soon come to pass for all those who wash their robes in Jesus’ blood.  Every faithful soul is welcomed into His arms, is led into your pasture.  And this flock you tend untiringly, your Spirit upon all your children of light.

And why should we care if we should suffer for your sake and the sake of your Name?  This persecution but brings joy to your blessed disciples, for in it they share in the sacrifice of your Son and so in the eternal joy of Heaven.  O LORD, hold us always in your Hand!

Direct download: BC-042113-Su_4_E_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Acts 6:1-7;   Ps.33:1-2,4-5,18-19,22;   Jn.6:16-21)

 

“The eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear Him,

upon those who hope for His kindness.”

 

Alleluia.

As the apostles set out to cross the lake, “it was dark, and Jesus had still not joined them; moreover, with a strong wind blowing, the sea was becoming rough.”  As they struggled to row and keep afloat, “they sighted Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water.”  They had not expected their prayers for assistance and their wishes that Jesus was with them to be answered so remarkably, and so they must have wondered if He was a ghost.  But He assures them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”  (And these eternal words of comfort and peace come to rest upon His Church.)  The disciples of the Lord now were ready “to take Him into the boat, but suddenly it came aground on the shore they had been approaching.”  He is with you, brothers and sisters, be assured, and will bring you to the home you seek, despite the storms you may face.

In our first reading, the eyes of the widows must have been looking to the Lord, wishing that He were with them to provide for them.  In this case, “the Twelve assembled the community of disciples,” and though they do not enter the boat themselves, do not “wait on the tables” to address the tumult that had arisen between the factions, they provide what is needed to calm the winds and see this boat ashore by laying hands on “deeply spiritual and prudent” men chosen from their own.  And so, “the word of God continued to spread” through the apostles’ concentration “on prayer and [their] ministry,” “while at the same time the number of the disciples in Jerusalem enormously increased.”  So the widows are fed as the Word is spread; so the boat comes aground on the land it approaches.

Jesus is with us, brothers and sisters.  In all things He is there, working.  He ministers to us always as the head of His Church through the hands and hearts and voices of all His disciples.  And each to his own call, and this ship shall find its port assured.  And all shall sing His praises as they see in us and we know in Him that “upright is the word of the Lord, and all His works are trustworthy.”  His eyes are upon us.  Do not be afraid.

 

*******

O LORD, let us live and act

as if we believe in your Son;

let us do the things He has done.

YHWH, you have loosed our bonds and raised us from death by the sacrifice of your Son, and in His Name all are now saved from their sins and consecrated to you.  Help us to believe the words He speaks, to be of the Spirit and life and not the flesh.  O let us come to you!

O LORD, let our faith not be shaken by the demands of your Son, by the challenge He offers us to believe and so come to life in His Name.  Let your Church flourish and grow in fear of you and the consolation of the Spirit.  Yes, let all be converted to love of you and serve to do your will in this world, till all come to dwell eternally in your kingdom.

This day we take up the cup of salvation and declare your praise, O LORD.  This day let us fulfill our vows to you, that in your sight our death might be blessed and we be raised to life with you.

Direct download: BC-051411-Sa_3_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 9:1-20;   Ps.117:1-2,Mk.16:15;   Jn.6:52-59)

 

“My flesh is real food and my blood real drink.”

 

And “the man who feeds on this bread shall live forever.”

The truth is simply stated to those who wonder at His words today in our gospel.  As the Israelites in the desert asked, “What is this?” when presented with manna as their food, so now the Jews say, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”  For those who do not believe, it is impossible; but for those who believe, it is the gift of God.

Here is the Bread of Life in our midst, as real as the Light which shone around Saul and knocked him off his horse; as real as the voice which spoke aloud to his soul.  This bread and wine on the table of the Lord, this great grace upon His altar of sacrifice, is indeed that which feeds us, that which sustains us – that which makes Him most present to us.  Our first reading says of Saul that “his strength returned to him after he had taken food.”  For three days he had fasted in darkness, experiencing the absolute blindness of his life as persecutor of the Church.  Then Ananias laid his hands on him and he recovered his sight.  Then he was baptized.  Then he could come to the table of the Lord our God and gain the strength “to proclaim in the synagogues that Jesus was the Son of God.”  Yes, the Scripture refers in fact but to ordinary food, but indeed it indicates the “real food” Saul shall soon come to know and find his spirit through.

“The man who feeds on me will have life because of me.”  He will become one with the Son as He is with the Father.  And he, too, the Lord will be speaking of when He asks, “Why are you persecuting me?”  By this Bread we become so one with our God, and with Him we suffer for His Name.  “I myself shall indicate to him how much he will have to suffer for my name,” Jesus says to Ananias.  And so the disciple is convinced that this man who has done nothing but harm to God’s holy people is truly being called to come to the Lord of all.  It is through such suffering that discipleship comes, as it is through His sacrifice we have this food upon our table.

Eat His Body, dear brothers and sisters.  Drink His Blood.  Let us share together this day this gift of oneness with our God.  And let us be strong; and let us bleed with Him upon the cross, to bring His Name to all.  “The fidelity of the Lord endures forever,” and He shall never leave us orphaned.  He shall feed us forever.

*******

O LORD, feed us with the Bread that is your Son,

that we might have strength to do your will. 

YHWH, how shall we come to see that your Son is the Bread of Life and we must eat His flesh and drink His blood to have life in us, to be united with Him as He is to you?  We have scales upon our eyes and upon our hearts – how shall they fall away and our souls open to receive your Word?  Send your disciples forth to lay their hands on all blinded men.

There are those still who persecute your Church, thinking they are acting in your Name, O LORD.  There are many who cannot but harden their hearts to your gracious gift to them.  Help all souls to accept your Son and see that it is His Body that acts in your Name.  Help all come to the table of sacrifice and eat His flesh and drink His blood, that they too might proclaim Jesus as your Son.

From our horses we all need to fall; your light we need to shine about us.  Let us hear your voice, O LORD, and be obedient to its commands, and so live in your presence forever.

Direct download: BC-051311-F_3_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 8:26-40;   Ps.66:1,8-9,16-17,20;   Jn.6:44-51)

 

“No one can come to me

unless the Father who sent me draws him.”

 

How evident it is in our first reading that the Father draws all believers unto Himself.  For though it is clear that the Ethiopian eunuch is in search of God, has a desire for God, and welcomes God – He is coming from pilgrimage to Jerusalem, is reading Holy Scripture, and “invite[s] Philip to get in and sit down beside him” – which is necessary for belief as well, it is most certain that the Lord is leading him to Himself.  The angel of the Lord directs Philip to the Ethiopian.  The Spirit specifically instructs him to approach his carriage, and then inspires His disciple to speak to the eunuch of the Word of God and lead him into the waters of baptism (snatching him away immediately upon the completion of his task).

Also evident in our first reading is Jesus’ quotation of the prophets: “They shall all be taught by God.”  For indeed it is God that, through Philip, enlightens the Ethiopian eunuch regarding the Suffering Servant spoken of by Isaiah, and all of Scripture, “telling him the good news of Jesus.”  It is “not that anyone has seen the Father,” for the Father is not visible to our human vision.  But the Father has sent the Son, “the one who is from God,” and “He has seen the Father,” and He knows Him.  And now through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Son sends His disciples forth as His own flesh and blood, with the same Spirit that inspires Him, to reveal the Father’s love to a waiting world.

“The bread I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.”  We are those who have heard His Word, who have been instructed in His way, and who have received His Body and His Blood.  And so, having eaten “the bread that comes down from heaven,” we indeed become flesh of His flesh, bone of His bone.  Wed we are to the Son of Man by the power of His Word and the blessing of His Sacrament.  We have responded to the Lord’s call; He who draws all to Himself and to the Father has become our “living bread,” our life-giving water.  And now at His command we must draw all men to the Son, who brings all to the Father.

The Light of the world shines in our midst, and we are drawn as moths to this flame, to Him who “is deprived of His life on earth.”  And though we die in our turn as this Sheep who “was led to the slaughter,” yet “of His posterity,” and so our own, all the world will speak… and be drawn to Him who has been lifted up from the earth upon a cross, to Him who dwells with the Father in heaven.

*******

O LORD, your Son is the living Bread

come down from Heaven;

let us seek Him and listen to Him,

and rejoice in Him. 

YHWH, let us be taught by you; let us be drawn to you and receive the Bread that is your Son.  Let us be baptized in His Name, with you and the Holy Spirit, and so let us come to eternal life in your kingdom.  May all souls praise you for your goodness toward us!

What can we do but rejoice when we hear your voice speaking to us in the depths of our souls, when your Word is revealed to our ears and our hearts – when Jesus stands before us in the flesh and offers Himself to us for our salvation?  And so, let all indeed come to Him, and so to you, LORD, and loudly sound your praise.

You stand before us in the flesh of your Son, O LORD our God, and this Good News goes forward by the power of the Holy Spirit upon His Church.  We who eat the Bread He offers become His Body; let your Word now extend from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. 

Direct download: BC-051211-Th_3_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O martyred Father

of the Church,

you laid down your life

to save her from the enemy,

to preserve her in the truth

of orthodox faith;

unmindful of the humiliation

and exile you bore

at the hands of the king

of this world,

you died that all might know

the Christ

in His divinity and humanity –

pray we shall indeed be saved

from all temptation

to turn from the faith,

and so find our way

to the kingdom

where now you dwell

with the Lord and all His holy angels.

May our leaders be as strong as you

and we follow them loyally

in the name of our Redeemer.

Direct download: April_13_Martin_I.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 8:1-8;   Ps.66:1-7;   Jn.6:35-40)

 

“Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you,

sing praise to your name!”

 

And why should there be such exultant joy among all the peoples of the earth?  What should cause all men to “shout joyfully to God”?  It is Jesus’ profession that “everyone who looks upon the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life.”  Nothing but life everlasting can bring such absolute joy, and we have the assurance from the Lord’s own lips that He “shall lose nothing of what [the Father] has given” Him, that all who come to Him He “will raise up on the last day.”  Alleluia!  Let us come to Him.

How evident the universal call of the Lord is in our first reading.  Upon the persecution which follows the death of Stephen, Philip, a Greek-speaking Jewish Christian “goes down to the town of Samaria” – where the Jews intermarried with the pagans of the land – “and there proclaimed the Messiah.”  And we are told that “without exception, the crowds that heard Philip and saw the miracles he performed attended closely to what he had to say” and that “the rejoicing in that town rose to fever pitch.”  Here we see the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy to the woman at the well, that all who worship Him will worship in spirit and in truth and not in any particular place; here we see the realization of the Lord’s parable of the Good Samaritan, that all men truly are our neighbors.  For now all are called into His holy fold.  All now come to know the glory of the Lord.  And, of course, he who leads the persecution against the growing Christian community, he who “entered house after house, dragged men and women out, and threw them into jail”… this same Saul we hear of today will soon become the great Apostle Paul, who travels to all the nations of the world converting waiting souls.

Yes, brothers and sisters, “He has changed the sea into dry land; through the river they passed on foot.”  As the Israelites passed through the Red Sea, so now all God’s children pass through holy Baptism and have the way made straight before them.  “The glory of His name” is upon us all, upon all who believe in His Son, and now we who were “paralytics or cripples” – who were unable to move for not having heard of His Name or who had had our limbs disjointed for having forgotten His Law – all, Gentile or Jew, are now welcomed into the Father’s eternal home.  For “no one who comes will [the Son] reject.”  In Him all find their dwelling, and so what should we do but “rejoice in Him” and “proclaim His glorious praise”?

 

*******

O LORD, let us be raised with your Son

on the last Day – Alleluia!

YHWH, O how persecution brings great joy!  For even as the disciples are hunted down and thrown into prison, many go out to new lands to proclaim the kingdom of God to waiting souls, souls who welcome the Word with shouts of joy.  And, of course, it is looking upon Jesus on the Cross and believing in Him that brings us to eternal life.  Alleluia!  May the Word of God go out to the ends of the earth and all souls sing for joy at their salvation.

Jesus has assured us that He will lose nothing of what you, Father, have given Him; no one who comes to Him will He reject, but He will gather all your faithful children into your eternal presence.  Let us but long to look upon Him whom you have sent.  Let us but set our hearts on the love that passes not away.  Let us but come to Him to find your surpassing glory, and all our sickness will be taken away, and we shall never thirst again.

Direct download: BC-051111-W_3_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 7:51-8:1;   Ps.31:3-4,6-8,17,21;   Jn.6:30-35)

 

“No one who comes to me shall ever be hungry,

no one who believes in me shall thirst again.”

 

“I myself am the bread of life,” Jesus declares, and it is in this Bread we take refuge.  It is by this Bread we are fed.

Do you think that Stephen is at all hungry as he lives again the trial, way of the cross, and crucifixion of the Lord in our first reading today?  No, even in this time, and perhaps especially in this sacrifice, the Lord feeds him with Bread from heaven.  Even as he is stoned to death, the Lord God hides him “in the shelter of [His] presence from the plottings of men.”

Yes, in our first reading we have Jesus again chastising the elders and indeed all the people for their betrayal and murder of the Word of God.  Here we have again Jesus being dragged “out of the city” and killed at the hands of those “who received the law through the ministry of angels [but] have not observed it.”  And here again we have forgiveness offered with His last breath.  Here is the persecuted Church found in the person of Stephen; here is Jesus.  Recall Jesus’ words to Saul upon his conversion: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me”(Acts 22:7)?  And here is that same Saul overseeing this first “act of killing,” this first martyrdom of the Body of Christ.

But all the while Jesus is there, not only in the persecution, but quite evidently in His glory.  “I see an opening in the sky, and the Son of Man standing at God’s right hand,” Stephen exclaims.  And notice that it is not until this moment, not until they hear this declaration – despite their “shouting aloud, holding their hands over their ears” – that the people are moved “as one man” to destroy that voice.  Stephen’s chastisement “stung [them] to the heart” and made them “ground their teeth in anger,” but it is this Truth of the presence of the Lord which they simply cannot stand.  And what is the significance of Stephen’s vision being the impetus for his own death?  It does bring his stoning, but simultaneously it prepares him for such martyrdom, for now truly the Lord is with him.  Before this he would not have been able to bear so completely this cross.  And without this Bread he would not have been killed.

“God’s bread comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”  That bread of life is in Stephen’s trust in the Lord and in his echoing the words of David’s psalm, which are Jesus’ own: “Into your hands I commend my spirit.”  For even as he dies, he is most alive.  It is this same faith we need, brothers and sisters, and we shall never be hungry, and we shall never be without the Lord, but shall declare His love and His truth to all, happy to be called His own.  The Lord’s “face shine[s] upon [His] servant[s],” and they always have the Bread they need.

*******

O LORD, give us the Bread from Heaven, your Son,

to be with us even unto death,

and help us to proclaim His Name. 

YHWH, into your hands let us commend our spirit, and we will be protected.  Though stones rain down upon our heads, vision of you will light our way, and we shall come into your presence.  At your right hand with Jesus let us stand.

In your Son let us take our refuge, O LORD, in Him and in His Cross.  Let us be as He was, revealing His image to this fallen world.  Let us proclaim the truth in His Name, let us accept the persecution it brings… and let us forgive those who kill us, those who would destroy your Word this day.

Jesus is our Bread from Heaven; it is in His flesh we find our home.  Let us be His Body in this world, crucified and rising on high.  O LORD, O faithful God, out trust is in you alone, and in your Son – in our lives let your will be done.

Direct download: BC-051011-Tu_3_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O soldier of Christ

who stood with courage

against the powers of this world,

leading the troops in your charge

even unto death –

pray that we may remain

loyal to our call,

faithful to the Lord

even unto our own death,

standing strong and tall

against the assaults of the world

and the devil

and forming those entrusted to us

in the ways of God

as you, dear shepherd,

have bravely done.

Let us not be afraid

to shed our blood for the truth,

to suffer persecution

in order to light the way

that leads to life,

the life that is Christ,

who strengthens us with the armor of God.

Direct download: April_11_Stanislaus.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 6:8-15;   Ps.119:1,23-24,26-27,29-30;   Jn.6:22-29)

 

“This is the work of God:

have faith in the One whom He sent.”

 

It is this faith that moves Stephen; it is this work upon which he sets his heart.  And so he was unmoved when “the people, the elders, and the scribes… confronted him, seized him, and led him off to the Sanhedrin” and “brought in false witnesses” against him.  Surely the words of our psalm are fulfilled in him as they had been in the Lord: “Though princes meet and talk against me, your servant meditates on your statutes.”  Thus it is that throughout his persecution, “Stephen’s face seemed like that of an angel” – through it all it is the voice of the Lord to which he listens.  And one wonders if the members of the Sanhedrin had not “stared at him [so] intently” because they had seen that face of an angel not long before in the One whom they had crucified, the One who stood before them like a sheep before its shearers.  And this one, too, they would sacrifice.

“You should not be working for perishable food but for food that remains unto life eternal, food which the Son of Man will give you.”  It is this food, which those who persecute him cannot see, that Stephen eats.  If he were seeking to get his “fill of the loaves” which satisfy the stomach, he would not suffer the trial upon him, and not in such peace.  Only Jesus gives this food, brothers and sisters.  It is nourishment the world cannot touch, and to it there is no end.  We need eat nothing else to sustain ourselves.

“Yes, your decrees are my delight; they are my counselors.”  O Lord, what voice can compare with thine own?  What word can stand where yours is spoken?  For yours is “the way of truth,” and the truth cannot be shaken, cannot be changed over time.  It is not subject to the corrupting forces present in our flesh; it is of the spirit.  And so, in the Spirit let us be, called before your throne.  Though we stand accused before the tribunals of this barren land, may your food be ever within us to sustain us – in your presence ever let us rest.

On this unshakable foundation we shall remain, even as the world passes away.

*******

O LORD, let us have faith in your Son

and your work shall be done in us. 

YHWH, let us meditate always on you and your wondrous deeds; let us eat of the food of the Spirit that passes not away, that we might come to dwell with you forever.  We should not be concerned with the things of the body, with filling our bellies or even with whether we live or die.  Like Stephen we should face all persecution with the patience of an angel, knowing you are at our side.  And then we shall never die.

O LORD, if only it were eternal life upon which our hearts were set, then we would be truly blessed.  Then we would have all we need, for then we would have you dwelling in our souls.  You are Life itself, dear LORD, and this is what Jesus would give to us.  This is what all His disciples preach, for they, too, would share what has been given them.

Teach us your ways, dear God; let us walk in your truth.  And all wisdom will be ours, and we too will witness to your Holy One.

Direct download: BC-050911-M_3_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 5:27-32,40b-41;   Ps.30:2,4-6,11-13;   Rv.5:11-14;   Jn.21:1-19)

“You changed my mourning into dancing.”

Throughout our readings today we witness the glory the risen Lord effects by His sacrifice, the change of fate that comes by the Savior.

In our first reading, though the apostles are brought before the Sanhedrin for persecution, they leave their presence rejoicing, happy to have “suffer[ed] dishonor for the sake of the name.”  In our psalm David sings the praise of the Lord for His having brought him “up from the netherworld,” turning his weeping into joy.  In our second reading, John sees and hears “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, everything in the universe, cry out” the “blessing and honor, glory and might” of “the Lamb that was slain” – perceiving thus the ultimate fulfillment of the Lord’s living sacrifice.  And in our gospel, though the apostles had toiled in vain all the night within their boat, and were tired and hungry and disillusioned as morning approached, Jesus stood upon the shore… and at His instruction they caught more fish than they could carry, and were fed by His hand.

The light follows darkness, inevitably.  “At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing.”  It is the maxim of the universe, epitomized by the death and resurrection of the Christ.  And so, though Jesus calls Peter from the freedom he has known in youth to the bondage that shall be his as he “grow[s] old,” it is understood that, indeed, by this “death he [will] glorify God,” and thus joining his death with the Lord’s own, shall know the same glorious morn Jesus does now own, and to which He leads all His followers.

Darkness can never overcome the eternal light of our God; of the glory of the Lord the angels and all living creatures sing in heaven even now.  And we shall join their voices soon, we shall stand in the ranks with Peter and John and David and all His holy ones very soon.  Once we have finished giving thanks to the living God for the suffering we are graced to endure here in His name, we will come to the joy that is ours in Him in heaven.  Then we shall dance and sing forever.

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

Music: "Souls at a Carnival" from All One, sixth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

******* 

O LORD, may the blood of your Son cleanse us of sin,

and may our own death glorify you.

YHWH, Jesus was killed by being hung on a tree, but you preserved Him from among those going down into the pit, you brought Him up from the netherworld, and with Him all those obedient to His Word.  Now in glory He sits with you upon the throne, and the angels and all creatures in Heaven and on earth and under the earth praise His holy Name.  And, yes, those who follow Him here unto death shall come to such glory with Him in Heaven.

To the Lamb who was slain belong all honor and glory and blessing; and to His disciples, to those who lay down their lives that His sheep might be fed, comes the blessing that rests upon Him.  O LORD, make us fruitful in your sight!  May we help turn the mourning of mankind into dancing and singing before your throne.  Forever let us give you thanks for having been found worthy to suffer dishonor here for the sake of your Name.

Direct download: BC-041413-Su_3_E_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Acts 6:1-7;   Ps.33:1-2,4-5,18-19,22;   Jn.6:16-21)

“The eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear Him,

upon those who hope for His kindness.”

Alleluia.

As the apostles set out to cross the lake, “it was dark, and Jesus had still not joined them; moreover, with a strong wind blowing, the sea was becoming rough.”  As they struggled to row and keep afloat, “they sighted Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water.”  They had not expected their prayers for assistance and their wishes that Jesus was with them to be answered so remarkably, and so they must have wondered if He was a ghost.  But He assures them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”  (And these eternal words of comfort and peace come to rest upon His Church.)  The disciples of the Lord now were ready “to take Him into the boat, but suddenly it came aground on the shore they had been approaching.”  He is with you, brothers and sisters, be assured, and will bring you to the home you seek, despite the storms you may face.

In our first reading, the eyes of the widows must have been looking to the Lord, wishing that He were with them to provide for them.  In this case, “the Twelve assembled the community of disciples,” and though they do not enter the boat themselves, do not “wait on the tables” to address the tumult that had arisen between the factions, they provide what is needed to calm the winds and see this boat ashore by laying hands on “deeply spiritual and prudent” men chosen from their own.  And so, “the word of God continued to spread” through the apostles’ concentration “on prayer and [their] ministry,” “while at the same time the number of the disciples in Jerusalem enormously increased.”  So the widows are fed as the Word is spread; so the boat comes aground on the land it approaches.

Jesus is with us, brothers and sisters.  In all things He is there, working.  He ministers to us always as the head of His Church through the hands and hearts and voices of all His disciples.  And each to his own call, and this ship shall find its port assured.  And all shall sing His praises as they see in us and we know in Him that “upright is the word of the Lord, and all His works are trustworthy.”  His eyes are upon us.  Do not be afraid.

*******

O LORD, give us our bread this day,

that we might come with your Son

to the farther shore.

YHWH, from death you deliver us; you preserve us in spite of famine.  By your own hand you feed us, through your apostles; and them you watch over always as they guide your boat.  And so we need not fear – we should but praise your faithful care for our souls, and bodies.

Your Son comes to us across the waters, O LORD, walking steadily though the sea be rough.  He is unafraid of the trials and tribulations of this world, caring only that our lives are preserved, seeking always to bring us to our home in you.

O let your Word go forth, dear God, bless those who serve as the ministers of your Church.  Our hope in your kindness shall not be disappointed…  All shall hear of the blessings upon those who put their trust in you.  May all answer that call.

Direct download: BC-042112-Sa_2_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 5:34-42;   Ps.27:1,4,13-14;   Jn.6:1-15)

“I believe that I shall see the bounty of the Lord

in the land of the living.”

Seeing the vast crowd following Him up the mountain as He seeks to sit with His disciples, Jesus asks the one without guile, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat.”  In honesty Philip answers, essentially, “It is impossible.”  Ah, but nothing is impossible with God.

Brothers, is it not their seeing “the bounty of the Lord” that causes the apostles to leave the Sanhedrin and the whipping they received at their hands “full of joy that they had been judged worthy of ill-treatment for the sake of the Name”?  And is not this bounty revealed most clearly here “in the land of the living” in the Bread of Life Jesus provides for us at His Eucharistic table?  And so should we not rejoice every day in this miracle?

“Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.”  Are not David’s words the ones Jesus speaks to His children in the feeding of the five thousand?  Should the apostles not but sing, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?” as they stand each with one of the “twelve baskets full of pieces left over” from the miracle brought about at the Lord’s hands?  Does He not here convey their mission of feeding His sheep?

And filled by the food at their hands, should not our own reaction be in accord with the joy expressed by the people in that green field, “This is undoubtedly the Prophet who is to come into the world”?  For does He not come into us each time we receive Him?

But king He shall not be made, not in this world.  No, this world cannot contain His Kingship, for we have a greater than David here.  The land of the living will ultimately be not upon this grass beneath our feet, but upon the clouds of Heaven.  Thus the persecution comes, you see.  Thus those who go about “fighting God Himself” scourge and crucify the Word they cannot bear and the messengers who bring it to their ears.  But the ill-treatment that comes by their jealous hands brings no fear but only encouragement to the hearts of His apostles.

Brothers and sisters, let us be as they who “day after day, both in the temple and at home… never stopped teaching and proclaiming the Good News of Jesus the Messiah,” making always this world as one with the kingdom of God.

*******

O LORD, it is by faith we are fed,

and so let us seek you with all our hearts,

with our very lives.

YHWH, let us come to the Eucharistic banquet, that your Son may enter into us and we ever dwell as your temple in this world.  Your bounty is revealed now, wrought by the hands of Jesus and brought to us by His disciples – let us partake of the Bread you provide and rejoice in all your blessings.

None can fight you, O LORD our God; none can destroy what you bring to life.  And so, though whipped and ill-treated for the sake of the Name of our Savior, we can but rejoice indeed.  For you cannot be overcome, nor those upon whom your Spirit rests.  As we follow in the footsteps of your Son, we shall ever live with you.

In your House let us indeed make our home; you are our refuge, O LORD, and with you we are never afraid.  For the destroying angel shall pass over all who eat of the flesh of the Lamb, all who are anointed by His blood.

Direct download: BC-042012-F_2_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O good teacher

of the poor boys in your care,

minister of the Lord

to those most in need,

with what humble affection

you carried out your work

in educating souls

in the Gospel of Christ

and guiding others to do the same –

pray that we, too,

shall give ourselves in sacrificial silence

to the call the Lord has placed

upon our souls,

and especially that teachers

of the young and disadvantaged

will find grace and strength

from our Lord

to carry out in truth and love

their work for Christ and His Church.

May the Temple of God

be built up on this earth

in all poor souls

washed in Christ’s blood. 

Direct download: April_7_-_St._John_Baptist_de_la_Salle.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 5:27-33;   Ps.34:2,7,9,17-20;   Jn.3:31-36)

“The One whom God has sent speaks the words of God;

He does not ration His gift of the Spirit.”

And thus it is that Peter and the apostles, sent by the Lord to speak His words, can boldly proclaim to the Sanhedrin’s chastisement for continuing “to teach about that name”: “Better for us to obey God than men!”  In no way do they ration the Spirit as they testify that God “has raised up Jesus whom [they] put to death,” that it is “He whom God has exalted at His right hand as ruler and savior,” that He is “to bring repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”  The praise of God and of His Son is “ever in [their] mouth,” for indeed they know the happiness of “the man who takes refuge in Him.”

And they know, too, the folly of those who deny the Truth of God’s presence in Jesus the Christ.  For as He Himself says to Nicodemus in our gospel, “Whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure the wrath of God,” and as David states in his psalm, “The Lord confronts evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth,” so the blessed Rock and his fellow apostles convey to the high priest and the Sanhedrin as they are persecuted by their hands.  Their declaration that not only do they testify to Jesus as the Messiah but “so too does the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those that obey Him,” is a clear indictment of those to whom they speak, those who are deaf to the Spirit’s words.  And it is for this implication that they lack the truth that the Sanhedrin “were stung to fury and wanted to kill them.”

But it is they who shall be killed.  It is their rule which shall not last, which shall be overcome by the Just One and the Spirit of Truth upon Him and His own.  It is Peter, who speaks for all the apostles, who shall lead the New Jerusalem, the holy Church of God.  Such chastisement the leaders cannot bear, save perhaps for Nicodemus; the testimony of “the One who comes from heaven” they cannot accept, and so they fail to “certif[y] that God is truthful.”  What then shall be left to them?

Brothers and sisters, though the just man find himself “brokenhearted,” “crushed in spirit,” and with many “troubles,” know that “out of them all the Lord delivers him.”  And He shall deliver you, if you but speak His truth.  Find strength in the witness of the apostles, in the saints and martyrs of all the ages, and in the Lord Himself.  He is with the one He sends and so will bless him as he speaks the truth without fear.  “The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to Him,” and He, in turn, gives to those whom the Spirit inspires.  Trust in Him with all your lives.

*******

O LORD, by your risen Son

the evil are confronted and the just lifted up –

let your Spirit be upon us.

YHWH, your Spirit is upon the one who believes in your only Son, for He is from Heaven and so the Spirit is upon Him.  Let us be as He is; let us live and speak the truth, despite all threats of persecution, knowing well that you will save us as we cry out to you and for you. 

O LORD, let us never disobey you or your Son.  For what life can he have who turns from your will?  How can the Spirit rest upon him?  Let us not be afraid to admit our guilt, that we have put to death our Savior and are responsible for His blood, and so let that blood pour over us for the forgiveness of sins as we repent of what we have done.

Let our hearts not be hardened, LORD, by the chastisement of your Son and those who follow Him.  Let us accept their testimony, let us thirst for such truth.  For only this will bring us from our earthly bonds to new life in your kingdom – let your Spirit be upon the brokenhearted to carry them to your presence.

Direct download: BC-041912-Th_2_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 5:17-26;   Ps.34:2-9;   Jn.3:16-21)

“He who acts in truth comes into the light,

to make clear that his deeds are done in God.”

Jesus is “the light [that] came into the world,” and “happy the man who takes refuge in Him.”  None shall fear anymore who love the Lord, for He shall answer all his cries.  And newness of life shall be ours.

The Sadducees, who do not believe in the resurrection of the dead, “arrested the apostles and threw them into public jail.”  They attempt to hide the truth in darkness, to kill the light of the Spirit.  “During the night, however, an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the jail [and] led them forth,” telling them to preach again in the temple “about this new life.”  And so, “they went into the temple at dawn and resumed their teaching.”  Do you see the resurrection at work here, brothers and sisters?  Do you see how the Word is rescued from the darkness of night, from the prison into which the world would cast it, and brought into the clear light of dawn?  The Truth cannot be chained and death shall never overcome life.

And what do the apostles preach but the words Jesus whispers into the waiting ears of Nicodemus in the middle of the night – bringing him, too, out of the darkness into the Lord’s marvelous light: “Yes, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him may not die but may have eternal life.”  Eternal life!  This is the Word come from God through His only Son begotten in love for us all.  The high priest and the Sadducees would hide this; but here one of the leaders listens.  He does not question anymore how this can be.  And so the seed of eternal life is planted in his heart.

That seed must be planted in all hearts, and so the apostles repeatedly return to preaching, unafraid of the consequences.  For how clearly it has been shown them that “the angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them.”  How well they believe their own words, that in Jesus is found eternal life.  In their hearts burns the faith, and so, openly they speak.  And though they shall see just how much “men loved darkness rather than light,” yet they shall seek the salvation of all: unto death they shall stand in the light of truth, confident in the resurrection to follow.

May all believe “in the name of God’s only Son” and thus avoid condemnation.  May all stand confidently in the Light of the new day, for the darkness of sin and death is banished when we call upon His Name.

*******

O LORD, by faith in your Son and His resurrection,

may we be freed from all condemnation

and come into your light.

YHWH, in the morning light the apostles preach in the temple of the new life found in Jesus, your Son.  From the prison of darkness they would rescue all souls, as they themselves have been rescued.  Your angel delivers all who love you from death and fear; may our souls glory in the salvation found in your only Son.

That we might not die you sent Jesus into the world as the Light that conquers all darkness, and those who believe in Him come into the light and so find eternal life.  There is no power that can chain or imprison your Word, O LORD, for it is your will that it go out to the ends of the earth.

May the Name of Jesus be proclaimed to all men that all who seek the salvation of their souls, all who would be released from their afflictions, might find the freedom of your sons and daughters and do all in you and in your light, O LORD our God.

Direct download: BC-041812-W_2_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O great preacher

who taught so well

the love of God

and the precepts of the Church,

who worked with such zeal

to repair the breach

within the Church

in a time of corruption –

pray that now the Word

may again go forth

to the ends of the earth,

that all might hear

the voice of the Spirit

speaking in their hearts

and turn resolutely

from their sins

to the grace of the Lord;

and pray, too,

there will be priests

to preach God’s Word

with that same loving zeal

you had for the Church

and every soul.

Direct download: April_5_Vincent_Ferrer.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 4:32-37;   Ps.93:1-2,5;   Jn.3:7-15)

“The community of believers were of one heart and one mind.”

This oneness is itself of heaven, is itself the sign that they are “begotten of the Spirit.”  And this oneness is reflected in a very real manner in the fact that “none of them ever claimed anything as his own; rather, everything was held in common.”  This sharing of goods, of “lay[ing] them at the feet of the apostles to be distributed to everyone according to his need,” is but an earthly thing.  It is easy to see; it is easy to know, for it deals indeed with the things of the earth.  But if like Nicodemus this earthly matter is beyond our comprehension, if we say such living as one on this plane is impossible, how far short we will fall of understanding the oneness that exists on the heavenly plane.  For do you not see that one not only reflects the other, but in fact leads to the other?  How can one be as the wind which “blows where it will,” how can one’s origin and destination be said to be unknown if one is unduly placed, indeed rooted, in the houses, in the property of this earth?  And so Barnabas is indeed a “son of encouragement,” because by selling his entire farm and laying the money derived therewith at the apostles’ feet he is saying: I no longer live here on earth.  My home is in heaven.

How tied we can be to earthly things.  How blinded by them.  And yet they can be a means to heaven, if one gives them to the Lord.  For then already here in this world we will begin to see and know the life of heaven.  Even now the Spirit shall move within us and our eyes will be opened to see “that all who believe may have eternal life” in Jesus.  Yes, by the giving up of our goods, by dying to self in this real way, we may transcend this earthly plane.

“Holiness befits your house, O Lord, for length of days.”  Do you not understand this matter, brothers and sisters?  Do you not see that you are called here on earth during your limited length of days to live as though in heaven?  Do you not know that it is but this which will lead to the unlimited number of days lived in holiness in heaven?  Do not think that one is somehow separated from the other, as if heaven can be kept apart, as if its power is not all-encompassing.  Here you must begin; even here you must find yourself on that eternal road.  For such has Jesus been lifted up, to show you the emptiness of your earthly self.  To such oneness with Him and His disciples does He call you – to be a child of heaven.  Let us walk together in the Spirit of the Lord and love one another with the love that comes only from God.

*******

O LORD, let us be as the wind,

moved by your holy will alone.

YHWH, in Heaven with you we find our home, not in the things of this earth.  And so as we give the things of this earth over to you and your apostles, we draw closer to you and your kingdom.  Help us to be born of you, to have life in you and in your Spirit, and not put trust in any possession.

You are King, O LORD, in splendor robed, and holiness alone befits your House.  Thus, if we would dwell with you, we must indeed be holy.  And to be holy we must be purified of any attachment to this world.  As Jesus is lifted up on the Cross, we must be lifted up with Him; as He stands empty of all things, so must we be, if we are to be ready for Heaven – if we are to be raised in glory with Him.

It is in the resurrection of Jesus we take our life, dear God, but to find His resurrection we must first die; to dwell with you in Heaven we must lay down our lives.  O may we live here as His disciples!

Direct download: BC-041712-Tu_2_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O learned man

whose wisdom remained

not only in the mind

but found practice

in the Church of God,

you who read and studied Scripture

not just for its own sake

but that the Word might be implemented

amongst your flock –

pray we too might live

with the Word of God,

that we too might share

the light He would impart

to every soul.

Pray God’s grace

touch our innermost minds,

that the understanding our ear receives

will penetrate to our heart;

and pray, dear shepherd,

that God’s Word permeate

His Church as a whole,

led by servants as learned as you

in the way of love and truth.

Direct download: April_4_-_Isidore.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

O chosen one of the Lord,

how well you answered His call,

giving yourself entirely

to the angel’s word

and so conceiving in your womb

the salvation of the world –

pray, O Spouse of the Holy Spirit,

that His voice might inspire in us

your same commitment to the Word of God

and its working in our lives;

pray the Son be conceived in us as well

that we too might serve

to bring His salvation forth

into the light of this day.

How shall we give ourselves

completely to the Lord

without your prayers, dear Mother,

without your blessed intercession…?

O pray we shall follow in your wake

and add our ‘yes’ to your own,

that the Lord may indeed work in us,

that He might make His home in us

and we come to our home in Heaven.

Direct download: March_25_-_The_Annunciation.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(Is.7:10-14,8:10;   Ps.40:7-11;   Heb.10:4-10;   Lk.1:26-38)

 

“Behold, I come to do your will.”

 

Today we celebrate the fact that the Word became flesh, that God became man through Mary and dwells among us to take away our sins.  In this is fulfilled the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The Lord Himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name Him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us!’”  She is the Virgin; He is the Son – we are they with whom He dwells.  Praise God for His grace!

Obediently Jesus takes on the body prepared for Him by the Father for all ages; humbly He bows under the Hand of God. To come among us is His delight.  For He shall fulfill the prescriptions of the old law – as is written, so shall it come to be.  And in His blood poured out for our sakes, in the love He shares with us men, indeed shall be fulfilled the will of God.  No longer need we wait or search in vain, for all that is written is accomplished in Him.

And Mary is, of course, the perfect reflection of the Lord’s obedience; it is she in whom He is formed.  As He says, “Behold, I come,” she says, “Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord.”  As the Lord says, “In the written scroll it is prescribed for me.  To do your will, O God, is my delight,” His Lady says, “May it be done to me according to your word.”  And so by the obedience won from her by the angel, this Blessed Virgin “will conceive in [her] womb and bear a son, and [she] shall name Him Jesus”; and “the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”  She in her innocence and by the fullness of grace at work in her believes the reply to her question, “How can this be?”  She is assured by the miracle spoken of Elizabeth – for which this holy woman must certainly have prayed – and so the words of the angel: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you,” are realized; and she who believes becomes the instrument of our salvation.

Brothers and sisters, “we have been consecrated through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all.”  His coming among us is more than the greatest miracle; it means life for our very souls.  For by His incarnation and by the sacrifice of His flesh for our sakes is effected the cleansing of our sins and the drawing up of our lives unto heaven where He eternally dwells.  As He has dwelt with us, so may we now dwell with Him who has come for this purpose.  Let no fear grip your heart.  Consecrate yourself to Him and to His holy sacrifice.  And give yourself to His Mother, that she may form you in His image, and you may know the blessed obedience which both hold, and which is itself the means of our salvation.

 

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

 

Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

O LORD, make us all as your handmaid,

ready to do your will. 

YHWH, make us as selfless as Mary, as selfless as your Son, offering our bodies to your service, caring only for the salvation of others’ souls.  Freely let us give ourselves to your will, that your Son may work through us.

A Virgin conceives and bears a Son, LORD, and so your Word is fulfilled; your Word now walks among us.  This Virgin you prepared from all eternity to accomplish your will of saving souls.  Your own heart you placed within her, one of selfless sacrifice, and now as the angel comes to her, she is ready to accept your Word.

Upon hearing of her cousin Elizabeth, she is convinced that the angel is from your side, LORD; hearing answer to her sincerest of prayers, she knows you are in this Word.  Did she not perhaps offer her virginity for her cousin’s fertility?  Certainly her purity is blessed with the greatest fruitfulness, even as she who was thought barren prepares to give birth to a son.

Make us so fruitful, dear God.  Let us too lay down our lives, as has your Son, as has His Mother, that we might be of your generation, we pray.

Direct download: Annunciation_2011.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

(Acts 5:12-16;   Ps.118:1-4,22-27;   Rv.1:9-13,17-19;   Jn.20:19-31) 

“When I caught sight of Him,

I fell down at His feet as though dead.”

But Jesus “touched [John] with His right hand and said, ‘Do not be afraid.’”  Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” as he humbled himself at the sight of the risen Christ who had appeared before him, and so he was blessed with faith.  The first believers “carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them.”  And the sick and possessed brought forth “were all cured.”  All “those who fear the Lord” know His eternal mercy!

Brothers and sisters, let us not be afraid to humble ourselves in awe before the mighty Lord and the apostles He sends forth in His name and with the blessing of the Father.  We must set our hearts on “the first and the last, the One who lives,” and let nothing keep us from the path to His grace, to the glorious vision of His holy face.  He waits.  He waits in expectation for all humble souls to turn to the blood poured out by the nail marks in His hands and the wound in His side.  He wishes not to have died in vain, and so with power He sends the Spirit out through the ministry and the sacraments of His Church on earth.

“Many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles,” and these same wonders and more are offered for our edification and our salvation this day.  The time of fulfillment is upon us and the Lord Jesus is not remiss with His graces: generously the fount of mercy gushes forth.  And as John was surrounded by water on the island of Patmos in the day of his divine vision, so are we surrounded with the blessings of the Lord, if we but come to His presence.  He is near.  He is waiting.  Do not doubt; but believe – and whatever ailment of body or soul, heart or mind, which seems to obstruct your reception of the glory of God, will be removed in an instant, if you but fall down at His feet in awe.

Dead before Him we must be, dead to sin and sadness.  Alive in the Spirit we must remain, keeping His peace within us.  With John let us share “the distress, the kingdom, and the endurance we have in Jesus,” and the distress will disappear and the kingdom come, even as we endure all in His name.  God’s “peace be with you.”

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

Music: "Branch of the Vine" from Loving Spirit, third album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, your mercy endures forever;

help us to trust in you.

YHWH, let us lay our broken bodies in the streets that your apostle might pass by and we be healed of our infirmity.  Let us fall down at the feet of your glorious Son and feel His hand upon us and hear His voice reassuring us.  May the risen Jesus be known to us that in faith we might proclaim, “My LORD and my God!”  O let His peace be upon us!  May the Holy Spirit ever guide us.

O LORD, let your divine mercy be upon our souls that we might be forgiven all our sins; all our doubts and fears be washed away in the blood of your Son.  He has been rejected by the builders, but those who are pressed hard by the trials of this earthly life know the wonders He does for all who believe.  He was once dead but now is alive, and we who believe in Him are raised up from all sin to look upon Heaven.  In His wounds we find new life.

Direct download: BC-040713-Divine_Mercy_Sun.C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O little one,

holy and true,

who wanted no more

than to leave the world

that you might draw closer

to Christ

but who was followed by the world

and called to teach the world

of the way of holiness

in our blessed Lord –

pray we shall follow His path

of Passion and death,

death to self

and all animosity, all hatred,

finding thereby His peace,

peace in His Spirit

and light.

O that we might be sanctified!

our hearts converted to God,

following your example,

which leads to the Cross

and so the resurrection

of our humble Jesus.

Direct download: April_2_-_St._Francis_of_Paola.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 4:13-21;   Ps.118:1,14-21;   Mk.16:9-15)

 

“Go into the whole world

and proclaim the good news to all creation.”

 

How faithfully Peter and John accomplish the Lord’s command, and with what strength, so much so that our first reading tells us, “The priests and elders were amazed as they observed [their] self-assurance” – for these “were uneducated men of no standing.”  “How can this be?” they must have queried inside.  “Then they recognized these men as having been with Jesus.”  And so the answer had come: it is from Him all power derives.  In His Spirit all God’s disciples “declare the works of the Lord.”

And how wonderfully silenced the leaders of the people are: “When they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them, they could think of nothing to say.”  For the works of the Lord speak for themselves, and the power of the Spirit cannot be denied.  And though these priests of the Old Covenant attempt to silence the glory of God, telling Peter and John “that under no circumstances were they to speak the name of Jesus or teach about Him,” these first of apostles declare confidently, “We cannot help speaking of what we have heard and seen.”  Indeed, “a remarkable show of power [takes] place in them.”

And what have they heard and seen?  Our gospel tells us: “Jesus rose from the dead early on the first day of the week.”  From Mary Magdalene, to whom He first appeared, “they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her.”  And the same “good news” is announced to them by the two disciples who had sojourned to Emmaus.  And though “they refused to believe it,” and though when “Jesus was revealed to the Eleven,” when they saw His risen presence for themselves, He chastised them “for their disbelief and their stubbornness” – though the doubt from human corruption still clings to them, it shall no longer be so (as evidenced by Peter and John) when Pentecost has come.  In the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, the Word shall be preached and believed in strength and power.

“The right hand of the Lord has struck with power.”  “The joyful shout of victory in the tents of the just” has come now in fullness to all His children who hear and see and declare that the Lord is risen.  “My strength and my courage is the Lord, and He has been my savior,” sing all the redeemed.  As the psalmist “give[s] thanks to the Lord” and the people who had witnessed the great work wrought through the apostles “were praising God for what had happened,” so joy is unbounded for all who enter the “gates of justice” and know in their bones the power of the Spirit at work through the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.  Brothers and sisters, let your joy be known by all; declare the good news to all the earth, that light may come to a world in darkness.

 

*******

O LORD, let the Good News of your Son’s resurrection

be proclaimed to all believing souls. 

YHWH, your right hand has struck with power, and what can we do but declare the glory of your risen Son by the Spirit that is now upon us?  Though we be uneducated men of no standing in this world, yet you make us instruments of your salvation as we proclaim what we have heard and seen and believed – Jesus is indeed raised from the dead and in His Name all souls are raised with Him.

And so, let us enter your House and praise your glory, O LORD our God.  Let us not stand outside the gates doubting the Word that comes to us or even persecuting the bearers of such Good News.  Let us believe!  Let us believe because it is Truth, undeniable, standing before us in the light of day and burning in our hearts.

May all who seek your kingdom be delivered from death and come to you in joy, LORD, by the power of the Spirit Jesus imparts to us.

Direct download: BC-043011-Sa_Oct._E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 4:1-12;   Ps.118:1-2,4,22-27;   Jn.21:1-14)

 

“Jesus is ‘the stone rejected by you the builders

which has become the cornerstone.’”

 

What Peter has proclaimed to the people, he now proclaims even more boldly to their leaders: “There is no other name in the whole world given to men by which we are to be saved.”  Jesus, whom they crucified, is the Messiah.  And the same quote Jesus offered the Pharisees after making it clear to them they would lose dominion over God’s vineyard – over His people, over His Church – Peter invokes before the high-priestly class today… for here standing before them is the new authority on earth.  

And so, here the Church is gathered, under Peter and the apostles.  This day of preaching in Jesus’ name by the power of the Holy Spirit has brought about five thousand children to God, and there shall be no stopping the power of the Word which goes forth to draw in all believers.  On the Church goes “proclaiming the resurrection of the dead in the person of Jesus.”

Our gospel today is the perfect parallel to our first reading, and reveals just from where the power of the apostles’ preaching comes.  First, it shows Peter as the clear leader.  He says among the seven – the number of fullness – disciples assembled: “I am going out to fish.”  And they reply: “We will join you.”  All night they toil in vain.  Why?  Because they lack the cornerstone who comes to them in the morning.  (Notice in our first reading Peter and John are put in jail for the night to await their trial in the morning. But, ironically, this night is less of a prison than the one spent toiling in vain on the sea… for this day they have been most fruitful; for by this time they have been anointed by the Spirit.)

In the morning Jesus stands upon the shore and instructs them where to cast their net, much as He did when first He called His fishermen apostles.  And like that morning, their catch is overwhelming.  John cries, “It is the Lord!” and Peter jumps into the water to swim to His Jesus as the others tow the net and fish behind him.  Once all have come to land, it is Peter who goes “aboard and haul[s] ashore the net loaded with sizable fish” and drops it at the Lord’s feet.  But it is the single fish Jesus has prepared which is most important, with which they must begin their feast.  For Jesus is that fish Himself, the cornerstone upon whom the tallest of buildings stands.  And see how He feeds them as at the Eucharistic table: “Jesus came over, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.”  Here the Bread of Life is distributed to those who shall impart it to all others.

One hundred and fifty-three (the number of Hail Marys in a full Rosary, pre-Mysteries of Light) fish are gathered by the disciples in a net beyond the point of breaking.  Five thousand men are drawn into the fold by Peter and John’s fearless speaking.  God’s Church is here built up on the cornerstone that is Jesus; and so we exclaim with our psalmist today: “O Lord, grant salvation!  O Lord, grant prosperity!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; we bless you from the house of the Lord.  The Lord is God, and He has given us light.”  Amen.

*******

O LORD, by the resurrection of your Son

and the power of the Holy Spirit upon His apostles

may your Church be filled to overflowing

with believing souls.

YHWH, the stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone of your Church, and we are built upon Him and upon the Rock He has set in place as the first of His apostles.  From the hands of the leaders of the Jews divine power has been wrested, for now Peter is your high priest and John your scribe.  Now only in the Name of Jesus is salvation to be won, and all who come to Him and eat at His table enter into your House.

This is the day you, LORD, have made.  Let us rejoice in the blessings now upon us in your Son.  For now we are raised from the dead; now we share in His glory… now we know your merciful love and are given strength to do your work in this world.

On the flesh of your Son let us feed, O LORD; His Body let us be.  Led by Peter may we come to Him who waits for us upon the shore – in the morning light let us praise your glory!

Direct download: BC-042911-F_Oct._E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 3:11-26;   Ps.8:2,5-9;   Lk.24:35-48)

 

“In His name, penance for the remission of sins

is to be preached to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

 

And so Peter begins the preaching at the temple: “When God raised up His servant, He sent Him to you first to bless you by turning you from your evil ways,” he announces clearly to the Jews, those first to hear of the Savior, Jesus.  And again he speaks boldly and repeatedly of their sin: “You disowned the Holy and Just One…  You put to death the Author of life,” for it is absolutely essential that they recognize their guilt if they are to find their salvation.  How can they repent of what they do not see?  How can “a season of refreshment be granted” through Jesus if they do not know that they are despoiled?  And brothers and sisters, it is certainly no different for us.  We must recognize our own complicity in the Lord’s death or we shall have no place with Him in life.  Hear the message of His apostle: “Reform your lives!  Turn to God, that your sins may be wiped away!”  If you have nothing to reform, how are you a hearer of the Good News?  And if your repentance falls short of knowing the blood of Christ upon your hands, how ineffective it will be.

“All the prophets… have announced the events of these days.”  “God has brought to fulfillment by this means what He announced long ago: that His Messiah would suffer.”  What Peter proclaims, Jesus confirms in His own teaching to the disciples, “It is written that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,” as “He opened their minds to the understanding of the Scriptures.”  What must be has been, and now is – Jesus has died and risen.  “Look at my hands and my feet; it is really I,” He says to His incredulous apostles.  And so in “flesh and bones” the Truth has become known, and this same flesh we eat each day.

The disciples same “sheer joy and wonder” we should share, brothers and sisters.  For what is theirs is ours, too.  Though “out of ignorance” we crucified Him, in grace we now know Him.  And so should we not cry out, “O Lord, our Lord, how glorious is your name over all the earth!”  Should His blessed care for this sinful man not make us incredulous with joy?  For though man is guilty of the Lord’s own death, yet He has “made him little less than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor.”  How little we deserve the Messiah, now glorified in heaven, to be with us; but oh how generous He is.  No “power or holiness of our own” has brought us to life – it is His forgiveness that has made us whole.

*******

O LORD, let us proclaim the Name of your risen Son

to all men.

YHWH, how wonderful is the Name of your Son throughout all the earth, for by it all men are healed – all are raised up from their sin and made whole again.  With what wonder we should look upon Him risen from the dead; and with what faith we should believe in Him.

O LORD, in the Name of Jesus let penance for the remission of sins be preached to all nations.  Beginning at Jerusalem and going forth to the ends of the earth, let it be known that the Messiah has suffered and died and been raised on the third day.  May all souls be taught by the apostles you send forth – may we come to understanding of the Scriptures and turn from our sin.

O let us all rejoice in the newness of life He brings! the season of refreshment upon us in His Name.  O LORD, let us reform our lives and turn to you that with Him whom you have glorified we might be one.

Direct download: BC-042811-Th_Oct._E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 3:1-10;   Ps.105:1-9;   Lk.24:13-35)

 

“The Lord is risen!  It is true!”

 

And how it is proven this day!  The two disciples find their “hearts burning inside” as He “explain[s] the Scriptures” to them on the road to Emmaus, and then they come “to know Him in the breaking of bread.”  “The Eleven and the rest of the company” of disciples rejoice in Jerusalem because “He has appeared to Simon.”  And the crippled beggar at the Beautiful Gate is pulled up by Peter “in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarean,” and he goes “into the temple with [Peter and John] – walking, jumping about, and praising God.”  “Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord!”

Brothers and sisters, the Church is as this crippled beggar at the temple gate; it is as these confused disciples sojourning for answers to their deepest questions and fears – it is the whole company assembled and astounded and declaring with joy the truth of God’s presence among us.  To the beggar the Lord says with Peter, “Look at us!”  To those on the road to Emmaus He says, “How slow you are to believe!”  And to all He appears in the breaking of the bread.  The beggar He heals; in the seeker He instills faith; and to us all He leaves His Blessed Sacrament, the greatest proof of His presence.

“Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds.”  And as great as His healing may be, as wonderful as His teaching is, the greatest of these is the table He sets before us and the Body and Blood with which He nourishes us.  Here is His love most known, here where we “give thanks to the Lord” and “invoke His name.”  For in this we are healed, in this His teaching is made real – until the end of time this shall stand as proof of His presence… in this is ever declared, “The Lord is risen!”

“He remembers His covenant which He made binding for a thousand generations.”  Never shall this blessing leave us, brothers and sisters.  Always we have His Word at work within us, and always we share His Body and His Blood.  Here He remains “powerful in word and deed in the eyes of God and all the people.”  Let us not fail to declare all He has done for us; let us never be afraid to proclaim His truth.  For then all shall be “struck with astonishment”; then all shall know the Risen Lord.

*******

O LORD, in our astonishment let us rejoice

at Jesus’ risen presence among us.

YHWH, your Son has been raised and for this we praise you, for it means our salvation – we who were once crippled by sin, by His death and resurrection are made whole again, and so the words of your prophets are fulfilled.  May we recognize Him each day in the breaking of the Bread, and may we live with Him now and forever.

O LORD, let us invoke the Name of your only Son and we shall know His salvation, we shall know the grace and mercy that pour forth from His sacrifice.  He had to suffer and die at the hands of His own people that His people and all who would come to Him might be saved from their sin.  For this blessing He has imparted to us let us dance and sing on this holy day.

Jesus is the One who sets all men free; dear LORD, let us know His risen presence in our midst this very hour and always.

Direct download: BC-042711-W_Oct._E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 2:36-41;   Ps.33:4-5,18-20,22;   Jn.20:11-18)

 

“Let the whole house of Israel know beyond any doubt

that God has made both Lord and Messiah

this Jesus whom you crucified.”

 

Brothers and sisters, we are all as Mary Magdalene who “stood weeping beside the tomb,” and like the Jews who were “deeply shaken” by the words of Peter.  Though it is to the Chosen people “that the promise was made,” it extends “to all those still far off whom the Lord our God calls.”  To all sinners, to all who ask His apostles, “What are we to do, brothers?” the Lord responds: “Reform and be baptized… in the name of Jesus Christ, that your sins may be forgiven”; indeed, then we “shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” – then our eyes shall be opened to His presence among us as we turn to Him in tears.

“She turned around and caught sight of Jesus standing there,” this greatest of sinners become most faithful disciple.  And as He speaks the name of her who cares only for Him – “Mary!” – so He calls “each one” of us who come to Him in our desperation by name; so He cares for all sinners who love Him and seek Him with all their heart.  And the same joy that she has known shall also be ours; we shall declare, “I have seen the Lord!” to all who wait to hear of Him.

“Save yourselves from this generation which has gone astray,” Peter urges his fellow Jews on Pentecost day, and “some three thousand” accepted his message and were baptized.  Here is where the Church begins to grow, here among those who crucified the Lord – here among His own brothers in the flesh.  And though the message is primarily to them this day, indeed it is for all who would be grafted to this tree of life, to this race of whom Jesus is come.  For, indeed, it is so that all are sinners, that all bear the guilt of His crucifixion; and so to all who hear His call for repentance, forgiveness may come, and the Spirit follow.

“The eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear Him… to deliver them from death.”  What was sung of under the Old Covenant is even more true today; and so let what was true of those faithful under the Old be so with us now.  Let it be that “our soul waits for the Lord.”  Let us declare, “Upright is the word of the Lord,” and the Word in its fullness shall be ours, and the tears we cry shall be answered quickly by our Lord and Savior who calls us each by name.

 

*******

O LORD, let us ascend to where your Son is,

far from this world of sin,

even to your side.

YHWH, baptized in tears we cry out to you that we might see your only Son, that we might know He is risen from the dead and sits now at your right hand.  Leave us not alone in this world with our sins and weakness, but let your Word please strengthen us; in your mercy deliver us from death.

We have crucified the Holy One; we have killed our Lord.  The Messiah has come to save us from our sins, to reunite us with you, O God, and we have turned away from Him and laid Him in a tomb.  And what are we to do now?  What can save us now that our very life we have murdered?

O LORD, let us be truly repentant of our sins and baptized in the Name of the One you have raised from the dead.  To Him let us cling this day, to Him who has ascended on high.  In Jesus may we be blessed to make our home, freed from the darkness of the tomb.

Direct download: BC-042611-Tu_Oct._E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 2:14,22-33;   Ps.16:1-2,5,7-11;   Mt.28:8-15)

 

“You will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,

nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.”

 

“It was impossible that death should keep its hold on Him.”  And so “the paths of life” we now walk; “joy in [His] presence” is ours – “in confidence” we abide forever.  For God has “raised Him up again,” this Jesus, our Lord.  Let us be witnesses of His truth to the ends of the earth.  Like Peter, our Holy Father, let us be faithful to the Word at work within us. 

As the women “ran to carry the good news to [Jesus’] disciples” that He, the Lord, was no longer in the tomb, in the belly of this earth, the guards ran to the chief priests, who concocted a lie.  See how the ways diverge between truth and lie.  And see today the power with which Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, stands up even amongst those who had Jesus crucified, and proclaims the truth of the risen Lord.  And God is with Him.  He has heard the Lord’s words: “Peace!” and “Do not be afraid!”  He knows full well that his soul will never be abandoned to the netherworld; he has life at work in him, the life that comes from “the resurrection of the Messiah.”  And so he witnesses in strength, as do our popes to this day.

Let us “live on in hope,” brothers and sisters, “half-overjoyed and half-fearful,” though only with the fear of God which overwhelms our souls, and He will be before us always, speaking words of peace; and we will see Him walking in the places He was wont to walk on earth… and we will see Him walking everywhere we walk.  For by our side will He be constantly in the power of the Spirit to lead and guide us always unto Life, the life that is already with us and will never leave us. 

The Lord is risen, alleluia!  The powers of death and hell shall never touch us, for in Him alone do we “take refuge,” He alone is our “allotted portion and cup” – in Him alone do we believe, and so we “shall not be disturbed” even by the darkness of night.  The Light has dawned; in Him let our souls rejoice.

 

*******

O LORD, let us take refuge in your Son,

who was not abandoned to the nether world

but lives and goes before us this day. 

YHWH, in your Son we find the path to life, the path upon which the Spirit guides us.  In His resurrection we are preserved from death and take eternal refuge.  Nothing shall disturb us now that Jesus has been raised from the dead, for death no longer has power over us.  Let us have but faith in Him and in His reassuring presence among us.

O LORD our God, our hope is in you and in the One who sits upon your throne.  He is the Son of David who has conquered death and in whom there is no corruption.  And if we believe that He is the One, to the grave we shall not come.  For in Him we enter life.

The lies of this world let us leave far behind, O LORD.  In truth alone let us make our home and the Spirit of Truth will be upon us to free us from death’s bitter pangs.  He has died that we might live; let us find our peace in Him.

Direct download: BC-042511-M_Oct._E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 10:34a,37-43;   Ps.118:1-2,16-17,22-24;   Col.3:1-4 or 1Cor.5:6b-8;  

Jn.20:1-9 or Lk.24:13-35)

 

“Everyone who believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins

through His name.”

 

“His mercy endures forever,” brothers and sisters, and it is for us to “declare the works of the Lord”: that Jesus was “raised on the third day,” that He lives, that He still is “healing all those oppressed by the devil.”  With Peter and the apostles we must “preach to the people and testify” that “the right hand of the Lord is exalted.”  Yes, “they put Him to death by hanging Him on a tree,” but “the stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”  Yes, we all bear guilt for the death of the Son, but in His rising He brings about the death of our sin.

Brothers and sisters, “you were raised with Christ” and should have nothing more to do with sin.  “Christ is seated at the right hand of God,” and we must be seated there with Him.  To Him should we raise our eyes for our “life is hidden with Christ in God.”  “Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”  No more should sin find place in us or grow within us unto death, but now that new life has come, we should find our place with Him.

Peter and John ran to the tomb upon hearing the news that Jesus was not there.  Upon entering, they “saw and believed,” they “understood the Scripture that He had to rise from the dead.”  Upon believing, death no longer held dominion over them; and soon they would proclaim to all the world the Gospel of life and peace.  Soon the cornerstone of truth would take hold of all who heard their words, and grow in time unto heaven.  And His kingdom shall not be removed.

Brothers and sisters, each day the Lord opens the Scriptures to us as we gather as His children.  Each day we recognize Him in the breaking of the bread.  Each day we are called to make known the glory of the resurrection we hold in “our hearts burning within as He [speaks] to us on the way.”  Here at His table we receive Him each day in Word and in Sacrament.  May all men know the gift of life that is ours through the forgiveness of sins He offers.  Let us pray that all will believe.

 

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

 

Music: "Every Day Is Christmas" from All One, sixth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, He whom we crucified has been raised;

the tomb is empty

and His Word now burns in our souls – Alleluia!

YHWH, your Son has truly been raised.  Alleluia!  And this stone rejected by the builders has now become the cornerstone of your Church.  Let us be built up in Him and come to His glory.  Alleluia!

Help us, O LORD, to keep our eyes fixed on Him and on the glory to which He leads us.  In Him we find the forgiveness of our sins and so become new men.  Let us not turn back as we walk on the road with Him; may His Word always burn in our hearts along our way to you, and may we partake always of His precious Body and Blood until we are present with Him in your eternal kingdom.

O LORD, we praise you for your glory, for your grace that has come into our lives and leads us to union with you.  O let us die and be raised with Christ!  Let us humbly run to the empty tomb and declare with His disciples that He has been raised.  Let all hear His Word and believe in Him, and so enter into His glory.  Alleluia!

Direct download: Easter_Sunday_2011.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Gn.1:1-2:2;   Ps.104:1-2,5-6,10,12-14,24,35 or Ps.33:4-7,12-13,20-22;   Gn.22:1-18;   Ps.16:5,8-11;   Ex.14:15-15:1;   Ex.15:1-6,17-18;   Is.54:5-14;   Ps.30:2,4-6,11-13;   Is.55:1-11;   Is.12:2-6;   Bar.3:9-15,32-4:4;   Ps.19:8-11;   Ez.36:16-17a,18-28;   Ps.42:3,5,43:3,4;

Rom.6:3-11;   Ps.118:1-2,16-17,22-23;   Mt.28:1-10 or Mk.16:1-7 or Lk.24:1-12)

 

“He is not here.”

 

The women come faithfully to the tomb early Easter morning.  What do they find but that the stone is rolled back from its gaping mouth; and angel(s) in white deliver unto them the message of the ages: “He has been raised.”

This night, this early morning, we are led through salvation history, through our own history as human beings made in the image of God here upon the face of the earth, souls coming unto heaven.  “Our soul waits for the Lord, who is our help and our shield,” is the song of the Old Testament.  From the beginning of Creation our hearts are set on Him.  Along the way “Abraham took the wood for the holocaust and laid it on his son Isaac’s shoulders,” prefiguring the Father’s own sacrifice of His Son for our sins and our salvation.  Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, out of the land of sin, through the Red Sea, “with the water like a wall to their right and to their left,” prefiguring our Baptism as Christians; and they “sing to the Lord for He is gloriously triumphant,” prefiguring our own joy.

Always we are reminded by the prophets of old: “The Lord calls you back, like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit.”  And he who heard the call even then sang, “O Lord, you brought me up from the netherworld; you preserved me from those going down into the pit.”  Yes, repeatedly the Lord calls out through His prophets: “Come to the water!… Come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk!”  He promises, “With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation.”  We who “have forsaken the fountain of wisdom” by the sin that plagues our inheritance are called back to “the One who established the earth for all time… before whom the stars at their posts shine and rejoice”; we are called to cling to the Word of God, to Wisdom: “Turn, O Jacob, and receive her: walk by her light toward splendor.”  For the sake of His Name, the Lord who “scattered them among the nations” now beckons His children home.  And those of faith sing with David, “Send forth your light and your fidelity; they shall lead me on and bring me to your holy mountain, to your dwelling place.”

Brothers and sisters, we know that “we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death,” the death to sin.  And having been “buried with Him,” we are also raised with Him this night, this morning, that “we too might live in newness of life.”  Now His holy dwelling place is here among us with the purest of light that rises this day.  Let us be children of this holy Light.  No longer in the tomb let us dwell.

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

Music: "Removing the Log from My Eye" (third part) from Listening to the Lamp, ninth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, from the tomb your Son has been raised,

and we shall be raised with Him.

YHWH, your Son is no longer in the tomb, and we have escaped with Him.  It is the third day and He has been raised, just as He said.  The stone is rolled away and so now all souls may leave the darkness of this world behind and come with Jesus to the light of Heaven.

You have led us to this day, O LORD, throughout all our history, it has always been your intention to save our souls and raise us to you, even from the time of Creation.  And so you called Abraham to sacrifice his son; and so you led the Israelites out of Egypt.  Your Wisdom has been upon your people every step of our way that we might be wed to you in your eternal kingdom.

And now in the death and resurrection of your Son you fulfill your will among us.  And now we who are baptized into His death are raised to glory with Him.  Let it be declared to all, LORD, that the Christ is no longer in the tomb, but awaits us all in new life.

Direct download: Easter_Vigil_2011.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

(Is.52:13-53:12;   Ps.31:2,6,12-13,15-17,25,Lk.23:46;   Heb.4:14-16,5:7-9;   Jn.18:1-19:42)

 

“He shall be raised high and greatly exalted.”

 

Here is your king: “Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews,” Pilate has written upon His cross.  Here He is lifted up, where “many were amazed at Him – so marred was His look beyond human semblance and His appearance beyond the sons of man.”  Yet “shall He startle many nations; because of Him kings shall stand speechless.”  The Scripture passage is fulfilled: “They will look upon Him whom they have pierced.”  And there they shall see that He who “was spurned and avoided by people… one of those from whom people hide their faces,” held in “no esteem” as He was… this same “lamb led to the slaughter” “shall divide the spoils with the mighty”; for as He has been lifted up on the cross, debased beyond all others, so He shall be raised on high in His kingdom, one with the Father in heaven.  Here they “wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on His head.”  Here they “clothed Him in a purple cloak, and they came to Him and said, ‘Hail, King of the Jews.’  And they struck Him repeatedly.”  But there no mockery shall He know; there all shall see that He is the Son of God.

Brothers and sisters, “we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God.”  Our weaknesses He has known in full, and now He brings us “light in fullness of days.”  Though on earth “He offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears,” now has He become “the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.”  For all the tears He shed, all the scourging He underwent, all the humiliation He experienced and the death He knew, were all for our sake.  “It was our infirmities that He bore, our sufferings that He endured.”  And having suffered in our stead for the sins of those by whom He is condemned, now He has come unto what is His own, and invites us there as well.

“He shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses.”  The guilt of the nations is removed by Him who had “no guilt in Him,” and is known by all who “take refuge” in His wounds.  And so, “take courage and be stouthearted, all you who hope in the Lord”; though we, too, may be “an object of reproach” in this world of sin, He awaits us all in His heavenly kingdom.  And for this we call this Friday “good.”

 

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

 

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

*******

O LORD, on this day we killed your only Son –

may we look upon Him whom we have pierced

that our sins might be forgiven. 

YHWH, your Son suffers a violent death at the hands of wicked men that our sins might be taken away.  All our offenses you lay upon His shoulders, and this innocent Lamb becomes expiation for our transgression.  Only by His bearing the Cross will we be freed; only by His shedding of blood will we be washed clean – only by looking upon Him lifted high on the Tree will we come to realize how we have separated ourselves from you who are Life, how we have wrought our own death.

And so Jesus takes upon Himself the guilt of us all; and so by His stripes we are healed.  This broken, beaten Man whose divinity none can see startles all souls as He enters into His glory.  O LORD, may we take our refuge in Him!

There is no salvation apart from the Christ; there is no sacrifice that could atone for our sins except that made by this High Priest.  LORD our God, let us know that He is One with you, and let us worship Him as our only King.

Direct download: Good_Friday_2011.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

(Ex.12:1-8,11-14;   Ps.116:12-13,15-18,1Cor.10:6;   1Cor.11:23-26;   Jn.13:1-15)

 

“This cup is the New Covenant in my blood.”

 

For this cup holds the Blood of our Lord.  And, “Seeing the blood, I will pass over you,” says the Lord.  “When I strike the land of Egypt, no destructive blow will come upon you.”  As the Israelites mark each of their houses with the blood of a lamb, so our bodies are marked by the Blood of the Lamb; and so we are saved by the Lord our God and become temples of His Spirit.

“How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for me?” the psalmist cries in joy.  Each day we “offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,” taking up “the cup of salvation” and “call[ing] upon the name of the Lord”: each day we partake of His blessed Body and Blood.  And sharing in this celebration of the Eucharist we “proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes”; and so, into our midst He comes.

“He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist” as “a model to follow”: “as I have done for you, you should also do.”  He says to His brothers in the upper room the night “His hour had come to pass from this world to the Father”: “You ought to wash one another’s feet.”  And so by this teaching, and so by His masterful lead, He multiplies His presence in the world through His twelve apostles.  And so shall these souls by whom the Bread of Life is multiplied, by whom we have inheritance with the Lord, wash the feet of all His followers by their witness and the ministry they shall bring to the ends of the earth.  And so shall all who have bathed in His Blood be made clean for the Holy Day.

And we, as they, as the Lord, find the strength to lay down our lives in service of one another by being as our Jesus, who was “fully aware that the Father had put everything in His power and that He had come from God and was returning to Him.”  Any power that any have comes only from the Father, and comes only through the Son, and is known only in His Blood – which all must share, by which all must be anointed, if we are to be preserved until the coming of the Christ again into this world of darkness.

 

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

 

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

O LORD, let us be washed clean

in the blood of your Son,

and so protected from all harm;

let us live in His New Covenant,

eating His Body and drinking His Blood. 

YHWH, as your Son has laid down His life, the innocent Lamb sacrificed for our sins; as He has bowed down to wash our feet that we might be made clean and have inheritance with Him; so let us be humble and serve one another in His Name.  Let His blood be upon us to save us from condemnation – let us die with Him that we might live again.

In His feast let us partake, of His very Body and Blood.  At His table let us sit, His disciples ready to follow Him.  Indeed, even as we eat let us be prepared to go out and serve, to step from the table where we have been nourished and into the way of the Cross.  Far from Egypt we would be taken, LORD, far from all our sin; and others we would see follow Him in the path to the kingdom.

He has died that we might live – O LORD, let us be His children!

Direct download: Holy_Thursday_2011.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O missionary shepherd

whose love for the truth

was a love for Christ

and a desire for your flock

to know Him

and the way to glorify God,

you who gave yourself

for the Truth that is Christ

and for His Church on earth,

through whom He teaches all men

and brings them into His fold –

may we, too, lay down our lives

and work as hard as you have done

in the name of Jesus,

that all our lives

and the lives of all His flock

might be in accord

with the will of the Lord

and faithful to the Mother

He has left for our care;

let all that is not of God

be cast from our midst

by the Spirit of Truth this day.

Direct download: March_23_Turibio_de_Mogrovejo.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Is.50:4-9;   Ps.69:8-10,21-22,31,33-34;   Mt.26:14-25)

 

“The Son of Man is departing, as Scripture says of Him.”

 

Of Him in Scripture we read, “Morning after morning He opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back.”  Even as death approaches, even as His betrayer goes forth (perhaps especially at this dark time), He sets His face “like flint” to confront those who oppose Him, those who would destroy Him.  In His own voice He speaks to us in the first reading and the psalm of His trial and His resolve: “I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard,” though “they put gall in my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”  And He stands alone before such blasphemy – “I looked for sympathy, but there was none; for comforters, and I found none.”

Though only one of the Twelve betrays Him, all abandon Him in His brokenness; none stands by His side as He “bear[s] insult” in the Name of God.  But the Father does not desert Him: “See, the Lord God is my help.”  “For the Lord hears the poor, and His own who are in bonds He spurns not.”  And when He cries from the cross, it is not His fate He bemoans, but our own, whose dark separation from God He takes upon Himself as our guilt He bears.

Yes, He must depart in this way; He must suffer at our hands.  But that it is written so, and that by this our souls are made whole, in no way nullifies that we have sinned – sin remains the evil it is.  As for Judas, yet it would have been “better for him if he had never been born,” for the fires of hell are real; and as for the souls who abandon Him, as for all His disciples, it is only through similar darkness that we shall come back to His light.

Tears will fill our eyes as we look upon Him whom we have pierced.  Yet, fear not, for the Lord hears the cry of the “lowly ones… who seek God”; and Scripture speaks just as faithfully of the third day.

 

*******

O LORD, zeal for your House consumes your Son,

and so He is betrayed by one of His own

for thirty pieces of silver. 

YHWH, your Son is betrayed by one who sits at table with Him, and by all He will be abandoned, left alone to die upon a cross.  Yet He goes as you call Him; freely He accomplishes your will, with complete faith in your protection, with the strength found only in your love.  O help us to be as He is! to bear all with patience, to so freely offer our backs for beating and our faces for spitting upon.

O how shall we go from putting gall in His food to being fed at His table in the kingdom if you do not help us, O LORD our God?  We have no hope if you have no mercy on our poor souls.  Let us find the strength He takes in you.

Only one of the Twelve betrays Him, only one hands Him over for crucifixion, but we all line the path He must tread – we are all cause for His shame.  Dear LORD, in His sacrifice may we find freedom from such sin.

Direct download: Holy_Week_Wed._2011.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Is.49:1-6;   Ps.71:1-6,15,17;   Jn.13:21-33,36-38)

 

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

and my God is now my strength!”

 

The Lord is with His servant, with Israel, with Jesus, the Son of David, the Son of Man, the Son of God: “From my mother’s womb you are my strength…  O God, you have taught me from my youth.”  And to this “sharp-edged sword” the Lord had concealed “in the shadow of His arm,” to this “polished arrow” He has hidden in His quiver, God says: “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”  He who was called from birth, given His name in His mother’s womb, prepared before all the ages, now comes to reveal the glory of God.

And how is it “the Son of Man [is] glorified and God is glorified in Him”?  We see in our gospel the moment the glorification begins; we see in our gospel the path by which it comes.  At table at the Last Supper Jesus grows “deeply troubled,” for the time of His betrayal has come.  Judas eats the morsel of food dipped in the dish and “immediately after, Satan entered his heart.”  Then, “no sooner had Judas eaten the morsel than he went out,” and, we are told, “It was night.”  And immediately upon Judas’ leaving, the Lord proclaims His glorification has begun.

Here begins the Passion.  Here begins the first of the three days Jesus will spend in the belly of the earth.  How unlike the days the Servant spent in His mother’s womb these days shall be!  And yet it is precisely these days and in this way that what God has prepared for Him and for all creation shall come to its fulfillment.  Now shall the arrow be sharpened fully and shot forth to pierce all men’s hearts with truth – even as the nails pierce His hands and the sword His side.  Through the depths of such absolute darkness, light shall shine forth, and this light shall in time reach to the ends of the world.

Now the time has come.  Now all shall abandon Him.  Now by the Suffering Servant shall all be saved.

*******

O LORD, make us glorious in your sight,

even as your Son has been glorified by His sacrifice. 

YHWH, now the darkness falls upon your Son and He is prepared to be glorified.  In the death He must endure He will be revealed as the light of the world.  Though we cannot follow Him now, let us soon follow where He leads.  Help us, dear God, to lay down our lives with Him that we might come to Heaven.

He has been hidden for all ages, concealed in the shadow of your arm, LORD; but now this arrow is shot forth, this sword unveiled for all eyes to see.  Now is the time for all to be justified by His holy sacrifice.  O let us join with Him!  Let us not fear the darkness which sets upon this corrupted earth but suffer its betrayal with the patience of the Son of Man.

In Him let us take our refuge, LORD; let us be one with your Servant.  To this world help us bring His light, you who have been our trust from our Mother’s womb.

Direct download: Holy_Week_Tues._2011.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Is.42:1-7;   Ps.27:1-3,13-14;   Jn.12:1-11)

 

“I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people,

a light for the nations.”

 

He has come “to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who dwell in darkness.”  “He establishes justice on the earth,” and this justice is His bringing light to our darkness.  But He could not release us from the dungeon unless He Himself had entered the dungeon.  How else could light penetrate the darkness?  And so He not only enters the veil of flesh, humbling Himself to be born as a man, but also gives Himself up to the death we all must die – in our own form He pays the wages of our sin, that we might be released from its prison.

How could we “be stouthearted” “when evildoers come at [us] to devour [our] flesh,” we who are so weakened by the scourges of sin, if He had not strengthened us by standing in our stead?  How could we truly say with David, “Though war be waged upon me, even then will I trust,” if He had not defeated the enemy which comes against us?  We can say, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?” only because Jesus has brought God’s justice into our very midst, to our flesh and to our bone, by entering into the world of darkness we have created and taking upon Himself the death we deserved.

Lazarus, who sits at table with Jesus a week before His own death, is a sign of our release from the dungeon, from the tomb of our sin.  As “Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in Him on account of Lazarus,” so should all be drawn to the promise of new life which the Lord shall fulfill now in His death and resurrection.  And as we enter Holy Week, as we prepare ourselves for the great mysteries of our faith, how appropriate for Jesus to sit at table “in the land of the living” with this dead man.  See that He will sit with us all just so in the kingdom of heaven.

Now the light comes; now justice is done.  The aromatic fragrance of His holy sacrifice fills this house, and darkness shall be banished forever.

 

*******

O LORD, your Son is the light

which saves us even from death;

let us die and rise with Him.

YHWH, as Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, so all who believe will be raised with Him and sit at His table in Heaven.  As He defended Mary from Judas’ attack, so He will advocate for us all against the accusations of the evil one, so we will be protected from all condemnation and come into the light of your presence.  Though we dwell as if in a dungeon here, release we shall soon find in the offering of your Son.  From all our enemies we shall be saved; let us stand fast with Jesus.

The fragrance of the Spirit fills our souls even as darkness closes in.  O LORD, your promise to us is sweet indeed and gives us courage in this world.  For what victory has our Savior not won, what power has withstood His justice?  And so, even death He tramples underfoot as in a tomb He is laid.

Direct download: Holy_Week_Mon._2011.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Is.50:4-7;   Ps.22:2,8-9,17-20,23-24;   Phil.2:6-11;

Mt.26:14-27:66  or  Mk.14:1-15:47  or  Lk.22:14-23:56)