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.

(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: 7:00 AM

(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: 4:00 PM

(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: 4:00 PM

(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: 4:00 PM

(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)

 

“His blood be upon us and upon our children.”

 

“The whole people” cry out for the death of Jesus.  “Let Him be crucified,” they shout ever more loudly.  The sins of us all demand the death of the Son.  And though He would have us not bear such guilt – “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me” – and though even after we have succeeded in our lust for innocent blood, He forgives… yet bear such a burden we must, to find release from its punishment under the shadow of His cross, where, upon the opening of our eyes in the fear of our crimes and the power of Him whom we have crucified, we shall proclaim, “Truly, this was the Son of God!”

Yes, it is an irony that the blood of this “King of the Jews,” the Chosen of the chosen, the Messiah, the Son of God, is upon our souls both for condemnation for the great crime all commit in crucifying the Lord always by our sins; and, of course, for our salvation by its cleansing the same sin from our souls through our belief in Him Who Is. And so He accepts our mockery.  And so He remains silent before our accusations against Him.  And so He “set [His] face like flint,” enduring “buffets and spitting”; as “many dogs surround” Him and “a pack of evildoers closes in,” He endures all for our sakes, knowing only this will bring us to open our eyes and see the light that is the love of God.  “They have pierced my hands and my feet; I can count all my bones.”  Could more of a sacrifice be made for sinful man?  Could greater than this be accomplished in the name of God?  What more need you to believe?  O let His blood pour upon you!

Brothers and sisters, Christ Jesus “emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness… becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  God has come among us and suffered all for our sake, that we might be washed clean of all the evil within us by His gentle acceptance of all our hatred, of all our doubt and fear, of all the violence we could mount, saying to our heart: “I love you still, and my Father, too,” that we might return to the grace that is ours in Him.  Let us not be ashamed to bend the knee “at the name of Jesus.”  Let “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  “You who fear the Lord, praise Him; all you descendants of Jacob, give glory to Him; revere Him all you descendants of Israel.”  Let His blood pour upon your soul.

 

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

 

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

*******

O LORD, your Son humbles Himself

to die on a cross for us,

and we can but lay Him in a tomb –

how shall we be saved? 

YHWH, your Son is led to death, even to crucifixion, but He turns not His face away from the buffets and the spitting, from the mockery of sinful men.  He sets Himself to undergo all the suffering that is rightly ours to bear – and all the while we sleep, we take our rest.

All abandon your Son, O LORD; He is left quite alone.  None is able to defend Him, to stand with Him in His place upon the Cross.  No, we betray Him by our faithlessness, and so now must endure the sight of His bloodied corpse splayed upon the Cross.

O LORD our God, let us not fail to repent of our sin, of our crucifying the Son of Man.  Let us not fail to recognize who He is and what He has done for us in His Person and death.  This day let us partake of His Body and Blood that we might be taken with Him from the Skull place to your right hand in Heaven.

Direct download: Passion_Sunday_2011.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 4:00 AM

(Ez.37:21-28;   Jer.31:10-13;   Jn.11:45-57)

 

“My sanctuary shall be set up among them forever.”

 

Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise to “gather [His people] from all sides to bring them back to their land”; He is the “one prince for [us] all” by whom God makes complete the “everlasting covenant” with us: “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”  It is He “who make[s] Israel holy,” who makes us all one in Himself.  And so, “no longer shall [we] defile [our]selves,” but we “shall live by [His] statutes and carefully observe [His] decrees” now written upon our hearts by the power of the Spirit upon His flesh and blood.

In our gospel the Sanhedrin fear the loss of the Jewish nation on earth when they say, “The Romans will come and sweep away our sanctuary and our nation” because of the wonders Jesus performs and the power He has over all people.  So when Caiaphas asks, “Can you not see that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed?” it is of the protection of the temple and its worship he speaks and which is his concern.  But, of course, he unwittingly prophesies the salvation of all in the eternal, heavenly Temple of the New Jerusalem, where Jesus “gather[s] into one all the dispersed children of God.”

Yes, “Jesus would die for the nation”; He would give Himself that all might live.  The plan “to kill Him” He shall allow to bear fruit; though all are on the lookout to apprehend Him, yet He shall come to the feast to offer Himself as the spotless Lamb of Passover, to purge the nation of its sins and protect it from final damnation.  And so, “He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together, He guards them as a shepherd His flock.”  And so we should “come streaming to the Lord’s blessings: the grain, the wine, and the oil” – so we should come now and consume His Body and His Blood.  For the New Covenant is now set in place; His sanctuary is here among us.  And forever He is seated in the heavenly kingdom to make intercession for us and for the purging of our sins, to draw into the presence of the Father all His holy children.

He is “likely to come to the feast,” brothers and sisters, for the feast would be nothing without Him.  It is His sacrifice alone which “turn[s] our mourning into joy,” which “shall make [all] merry and dance” in the sanctuary of God’s love.

 

*******

O LORD, by the blood of your Son

gather into one all your dispersed children. 

YHWH, your feast is prepared and we are called now to enter in to the dancing and joy of your kingdom.  Your sanctuary is set up in our midst, your Son has come into our presence, and so we become one holy nation in Him.  Though He must die to save us and unite us, He shall face such a fate openly, and so lead us to the heights of Zion.

Up to Jerusalem Jesus comes with all the people for the Passover feast.  The Temple you have set up comes now to the temple made by human hands; and though the latter shall soon be destroyed, the former shall never pass away but be set up forever as our dwelling place.  O let us worship you, LORD, in your holy Temple!

Jesus is indeed our salvation and the New Covenant founded in His Body and Blood is now among us.  O LORD, let your sacrificial Lamb be prince over us that we may come streaming to His blessings.

Direct download: BC-041611-Sa_5_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

(Jer.20:10-13;   Ps.18:2-7;   Jn.10:31-42)

 

“He has rescued the life of the poor

from the power of the wicked.”

 

As Jeremiah’s persecutors surround him on every side but are “put to utter shame” when he calls out to the Lord, so as the Jews “again tried to arrest Him,” Jesus again “eluded their grasp.”  And so when “the breakers of death surged around [us], the destroying floods overwhelmed [us]...” so when our sins seemed to have conquered our souls, the Lord came to save us.

Evil is all around.  Always there is “terror on every side!” and those who would shout, “Denounce!  Let us denounce him!” because of our missteps, because of our stumbling into sin.  Ever the devil is on the watch to trap us with his wiles and cast our souls into “the netherworld.”  But always, too, the Lord is present, and when to Him we entrust our cause, saying with David, “O Lord, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer,” whenever we call upon His name, He hears and saves us from “the snares of death.”  “Praised be the Lord, I exclaim, and I am safe from my enemies,” David sings.  “Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord,” Jeremiah echoes, and he, too, is safe.  All who call upon Him He hears, and affords them His salvation.

“The Jews reached for rocks to stone Him,” but still He called to their hearts: “Many good deeds have I shown you from the Father.  For which of these do you stone me?”  Still He invites them to look upon the good works He has done in His Father’s name to see that He is indeed the Son; still He desires their salvation.  The signs He performs are recognized by many people who thus “come to believe in Him,” but the hardness of heart of these the leaders continues to blind their eyes to the truth of what John the Baptist said and what He is.  This ignorance shall find its ultimate expression soon in the crucifixion of the Son of God; but even from this the Lord shall deliver Him – and by this sacrifice we shall all be saved.  And many more will come to know thereby that He is God. 

The Lord rescues all our souls when we cry out to Him.  Let us put all trust in His saving grace.

*******

O LORD, thank you for hearing our cries;

from death you have delivered us

by the grace of your Son 

YHWH, let us come to believe that Jesus is your Son, one with you and the source of our salvation.  You rescue from the power of the wicked all who put their trust in Him; even from death we are preserved by taking our refuge in Him.  And so, why should we doubt His divinity?

In our distress you looked upon us, dear LORD, and heard us as we called out to you; and so you sent your only Son to answer our deepest prayers.  We were enmeshed in the snares of death but from the netherworld you saved our souls, giving us safety in the blood of Jesus, the Christ.  We thank you and we praise you, O God, for your grace upon us.

O let us ever praise your Name, our LORD and God, and we shall be ever safe from our enemies.  Let us take our refuge in the flesh of your Son and nothing shall ever harm us.  May our cry always come to your ears.

Direct download: BC-041511-F_5_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

(Gn.17:3-9;   Ps.105:4-9;   Jn.8:51-59)

 

“Before Abraham came to be, I AM.”

 

Abraham is a great man, the blessed patriarch, to whom God made the promise: “I will maintain my covenant with you and your descendants after you throughout the ages as an everlasting pact, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”  So Abraham becomes “the father of a host of nations,” not just by lineage, but by faith in the promise God has given him and the keeping of the covenant with Him.  Abraham is father to all who believe in the one God: the sons of Israel, the Jews; the sons of Ishmael, the Muslims; and all who worship the living Lord and “seek to serve Him constantly.”

Yet as great as Abraham is, as fertile as he has become, Jesus is the greater and the more prosperous, for He Himself is the Lord our God, from whom Abraham receives his promise and so his greatness.  “Abraham rejoiced that he might see [Jesus’] day.  He saw it and was glad.”  For here come to us is the only Son of the God before whom he “prostrated himself”; here is the Lord of all the nations of whom Abraham is father.

Jesus is equal with the Father, coeternal and all-powerful.  He does not make Himself so but receives such glory from the Father, with whom He is always.  How hard it is for the Jews to hear this.  Though according to their faith they have been waiting for just such arrival of the Holy One, of the Messiah, yet their hearts are unable to accept such divine wonder.  And so “they picked up rocks to throw at Jesus” upon His solemn declaration of His divinity.

Is it not just so hard for all of us who call ourselves believers to come to terms with the awesome majesty of Jesus our God?  It seems something so far beyond our belief, that God could walk in our midst.  And yet HE IS; and so we must see how much greater than any man He is.  For though fully a man born in time and murdered upon a cross, yet He is God, living forever as Lord of all.  So great a gift, so wonderful a presence, is all that assures us that we “shall never see death” but be as He is, alive in the kingdom as He has promised.  Keep His word, and the Word of Life will be with you.

*******

O LORD, a greater than Abraham we have in your Son,

for He is God with you –

let us live forever in Him. 

YHWH, your Son is God with you, dear Father, the great I AM; and He would bring us where you are, to a life that passes not away.  How could we die if we were with you?  For you are Life itself, and your Son with you.

Abraham is the father of many nations; many lives came to be through him and all of faith find a father in him who was of the greatest faith.  But you are the Father of Abraham, dear LORD, and Jesus is your Son – and so Jesus Himself is as Abraham’s Father, coming before him and giving life to him as He does.

O may He give us life, too, Father on high.  In your Name let Him speak to us of your surpassing glory, a glory He shares with you and which He would share with us (as He has shared it with Abraham) if we would but listen and believe.  Be our God forever, LORD, as you promised Abraham.

Direct download: BC-041411-Th_5_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

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: 1:00 PM

(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: 7:00 AM

(Nm.21:4-9;   Ps.102:2-3,16-21;   Jn.8:21-30)

 

“From heaven He beheld the earth,

to hear the groaning of the prisoners,

to release those doomed to die.”

 

As the Lord has said to the Pharisees: “You belong to what is below; I belong to what is above.”  And truly, how could we come to where He is unless He reached down to lead us there?

The Israelites show just how much they are of this world below when they reject the food of the heavens in utter bitterness: “We are disgusted with this wretched food!” they say of the manna the Lord has provided.  And punishment comes to them in the form of a serpent for their cursing the hand of God.

And the Pharisees are the same.  They have the living bread from heaven standing before them, teaching them, yet they cannot grasp what He says and with mockery ask, “Who are you, then?” when He tells them, “I AM.”  And so they too “will surely die in their sins” for their rejection of the great I AM.

But yet there is hope.  For the Israelites, Moses “make[s] a serpent and mount[s] it on a pole,” and those who gaze upon it are healed from the serpent’s deadly bite.  And, of course, Jesus Himself will mount the wood of the cross and be fixed there – and the Pharisees and we who gaze upon our sins (which, as with the serpents, have caused this punishment), we who see what we have done and repent thereof, shall be healed, restored, forgiven.

“When you lift up the Son of Man, you will come to realize that I AM,” says the Lord.  And now we look up at Him who has died for us and pray He will take us where He has gone, that our cry will come to Him, that He will regard “the prayer of the destitute” and lift us up to heaven with Him as we share in His cross.

 

*******

O LORD, you have answered our prayers;

let us be released from death

by looking upon your crucified Son.

YHWH, we are doomed to die; apart from you there is no life, and we have separated ourselves from you by our sin, by our complaining against your goodness toward us.  How can one come to your presence on high if he desires but the world below, where is but dust and death?  May we hear the call of your Son, who by His Cross would lead us to your kingdom.

Jesus will die.  On the Cross He will be lifted up, crucified by sinful hearts.  But His death means only life for us, for He is Life itself, O LORD, He is one with you; and that life is more powerful than the imposter death, which fades to nothing before His glory.

Your Son cannot but be raised on high, dear LORD, for He is one with you and dwells ever in surpassing light, to which He would draw all souls.  May we indeed recognize He is the great I AM and come to life with Him, separated far from our sin and the poison it brings.  Hear our prayer and save us.

Direct download: BC-041211-Tu_5_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

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: 7:00 PM

(Dn.13:1-9,15-17,19-30,33-62;   Ps.23:1-6;   Jn.8:1-11)

 

“Let the man among you who has no sin

be the first to cast a stone at her.”

 

“Then the audience drifted away one by one, beginning with the elders.”  And no one was left to accuse her.

In both our gospel and our first reading a woman is accused of adultery, one justly, the other unjustly.  Yet both are freed.  For under the old law the innocent were to be set free, but under the new, even the guilty.  In the blood of Christ sinners are saved from the fate they deserve; the Lord does not condemn us, and only He has power to do so – for it is always against Him that we sin.

It is curious to note that in both reading and gospel the accused woman is brought before the man against whom she is principally accused of sinning.  In the case of Susanna, it is her husband Joakim to whom the people come with their difficult questions, “because he was the most respected of them all”; and the woman in the gospel is brought before Jesus, the Lord and the bridegroom of us all.  It is only wed to Him that we find salvation, and He does not disappoint the repentant adulteress today.  Nor shall He condemn any of us who stand before Him weeping for our sins against His pure love.

There is a “dark valley” through which we all must walk.  One day we shall all stand before the Judge.  Some will be persecuted only for righteousness’ sake, accused of that which they have not committed; others will stand in the full light of their sin.  But all before Christ might find forgiveness, if they but realize their faults and who it is stands before them.  For the love of God is unimaginable; it is not something we humans can put our fingers upon.  The love of God and the grace and mercy He holds forth will never be deserved by our race.  Yet they are there.  Yet are we washed clean.  Yet the Truth will set us free.

Let no man condemn another; “the angel of God waits” “to receive the sentence from Him” – none of us is able to move His hand.  And so, always we must forgive to find His grace alive in our souls.

 

*******

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-041111-M_5_L_AB.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

(Jer.31:31-34;   Ps.51:3-4,12-15;   Heb.5:7-9;   Jn.12:20-33)

“Father, glorify your name.”

Jesus cries out in supplication to Him who is “able to save Him from death,” but He prays not to be saved from death, not to be saved from the sacrifice He must make, but only that in His death the Father might glorify His name.  His “hour has come,” He knows.  He hears from His apostles of the Greeks who seek Him, and He knows it is now time for Him to return to the Father and for His apostles to take over the work He has begun – to carry His salvation to the nations.  And though He is “troubled,” knowing “the kind of death He would die,” knowing that it is the only path to the Father, yet He does not ask to be saved “from this hour.”  His only desire is to fulfill the Father’s will by being “lifted up from the earth” in crucifixion and resurrection that He might “draw everyone to [Him]self” and to the glory in the Father He knows.

And of course “He was heard because of His reverence.”  Because His cry is sincere, is a laying down of His life in perfect humility and perfect love, the Father readily answers His prayer.  Even in “a voice c[o]me from heaven” He responds, speaking not for the sake of His Son – who needs no such assurance, who is dead to Himself and serves the Father perfectly – but for those whom the Son would save by His “fall[ing] to the ground” in death.  For them, for us, the Father answers, for this is the Son’s wish.

And if we are holy as He, we “all, from least to greatest, shall know” the Lord our God just as He knows Him – we shall have our prayers answered as readily as the cries of supplication of our Savior.  And so we shall be saved; and so we shall be preserved from death… and so we, too, shall glorify the Father’s name.  As the Lord listens to David when he cries out in his penitent psalm, so shall God come and make our hearts clean: so shall He come and write His name upon them as we cry out to Him.  And we shall be blessed as Jesus, and we shall stand just as steadfast.  Renewed in spirit, our offenses wiped out, we shall stand in the Son’s stead upon the cross and in the kingdom.

“Your Holy Spirit take not from me,” O Lord, for it is the proof of your presence within me; it is the seal of your Son and His blood upon my soul.  By your Spirit I know I shall be protected from death; by His touch I am led to my salvation.  Father in heaven, glorify thy name in me as in thy Son.

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

Music: "The Sunset Bleeds Me Clean" (1st half) from Bearing the Birth Pangs, tenth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, may we be made perfect as your Son

as we join Him in His sacrifice.

YHWH, the Cross of your Son is the source of our eternal salvation.  In His blood is written the New Covenant you promised your people.  For by His sacrifice our sins are removed and our hearts made new, that your Name might be written upon them.  Our sins are forgotten by you that we might remember your glory forever.

And we are called to lay down our lives with Him: where He is, so shall His disciples be.  And so, upon a cross we must find ourselves, a grain of wheat fallen to the ground.  If we hold to our lives in this world, what shall we do but die, LORD?  But if we hate the world and even our own lives, we shall find eternal life in you through your Son.

Jesus is our Savior.  In Him your Name is glorified, O LORD.  May your Name be glorified in us as well, as in His blood we are cleansed of our sin and joined to Him in your kingdom.

Direct download: BC-032512-Su_5_L_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 4:00 AM

(Jer.11:18-20;   Ps.7:2-3,9-12;   Jn.7:40-53)

 

“Let us destroy the tree in its vigor;

let us cut him off from the land of the living,

so that his name will be spoken no more.”

 

With these words “they were hatching plots against” Jeremiah, and in the same way against Jesus.  And so, “like a trusting Lamb led to slaughter,” “like the lion’s prey, to be torn to pieces, with no one to rescue” are they.  But “the malice of the wicked [shall] come to an end.”

“The upright of heart” are ever persecuted.  Even Nicodemus, “one of their own number,” a member of the Pharisees who are seeking the life of the Lord, was “taunted” when he “spoke up to say, ‘Since when does our law condemn any man without first hearing him and knowing the facts.’”  But the Lord “sustain[s] the just” “because of the innocence that is” theirs.  In Him do they “take refuge,” and He will not leave them a prey to their teeth.

Even the temple guards recognize the power of the word that comes from Christ.  “No man ever spoke like that before,” they state as the reason that “no one laid hands on Him.”  “He is the Messiah,” it is sure, and only the hardest of heart are able to blind themselves to the authority that issues forth from His lips.  But the Lord is the “searcher of mind and heart,” of “heart and soul”; He is the just Judge, the just God, and so even as He rescues the innocent from trial, so He “punishes day by day” the evil man. 

Their plots shall come to naught; in vain do they pursue Him.  For though He shall allow them “to apprehend Him,” yet He will be eternally free from their clutches.  Indeed, He will be fixed to a cross.  Indeed, like an innocent lamb He shall not open His mouth to protest or to call upon the angels for assistance.  And they shall think that He is theirs.  But rise from the dead He will, and His Name will be spoken to the ends of the earth.  For nothing can destroy the power of the Word of God.

*******

O LORD, though the innocent man be condemned,

you are there to save him.

YHWH, you save us from every snare of the devil, every plot of the wicked; you do not leave us prey to the lion’s teeth.  Though we be ringed about by our accusers, though with your Son we be crucified, yet we shall not be destroyed – with Him we shall be raised on high.

For you, O LORD, are a just Judge; you look into the hearts of all.  You know who is set upon the doing of your will and who would oppose you and your blessed One.  Let us never be a curse unto you.  Though we be condemned by men, in your sight let us ever be holy.

No man ever spoke like your Son, dear LORD, for no man else is the Word Himself.  He comes from your very heart, and becomes our daily Bread.  In your House with Him let us make our home, though it mean persecution and certain death.  For in Him we shall be protected always, and brought quickly to your side.

Direct download: BC-040911-Sa_4_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

(Ws.2:1,12-22;   Ps.34:17-21,23;   Jn.7:1-2,10,25-30)

 

“He calls blest the destiny of the just

and boasts that God is His Father.”

 

And for such He shall be persecuted; for such He shall be killed.  For to the wicked “He is the censure of [their] thoughts; merely to see Him is a hardship” for those who stray from the Lord’s commands.  And so, in vain attempt to spare themselves the just judgment of the Lord, in their jealousy they say to one another: “With revilement and torture let us put Him to the test”; and so they “condemn Him to a shameful death,” tempting the Lord God to watch over Him.

Evil are their thoughts and wicked are their ways.  But the one “they want to kill,” the one “they tried to seize,” escapes their grasp, for indeed the Lord “watches over all His bones; not one of them shall be broken.”  And they cannot take hold of Him unless He so wills it; so, frustrated are their efforts “because His hour had not yet come.”

Even when His hour comes and He is delivered into the hands of the prince of darkness, still their violence will not touch Him; yet will He be protected by the Lord, as are all who follow Him.  Yes, David sings of what he knows: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit He saves.”  And so, even in distress, even in death, the Lord is near to His chosen ones.  The Lord shall ever be delivered from the grasp of those whose “wickedness blinded them.”

Jesus stands up in the temple and cries out: “I was sent by One who has the right to send… it is from Him I come.”  He declares openly that He is the Son of God, and for bringing such light the wicked who would hide their sins seek to destroy Him.  But it shall indeed be proven that He is the Son of the Most High, that God is His Father.  The “recompense of holiness” shall be witnessed by all eyes.  In subjection to their evil plots, in dying upon the wood of the cross, and in His subsequent resurrection, Jesus shall utterly destroy all the power of wicked men and reveal the one true light that shines, that cannot be overcome by darkness.

“We know where this man is from,” they say, and so they are blind.  For God the Father is not of this dark earth, and neither is His just Son.

 

*******

O LORD, you care for those reviled by the world;

make us as the Just One sent by you.

YHWH, the wicked cannot know the origin of your Son for they are blind to you and your holy will.  He is sent by you to suffer and die, but the plots of evil hearts shall not succeed, for His life is ever in your hand.  From the dead He shall be raised and draw all just souls to you.

Though the Just One suffer torture and humiliation for His purity, for the truth upon His soul; though those whom He reproaches for their sin seek to put Him to a shameful death; it is so, that none of His bones shall be broken, for you, O LORD, are close to the brokenhearted – those who are crushed in spirit you indeed save.

But those who are proud and envious, those who cannot bear the censure of their thoughts, the chastisement of their evil ways… these, O LORD, shall be destroyed even as you draw your just ones whence your Son has come.

Direct download: BC-0340811-F_4_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O righteous man called by God

to be foster-father of His only Son

and protector of His Mother,

you who were obedient to the Spirit,

who took Jesus by the hand

and led Him from the temple

in Jerusalem

to the home in Nazareth

where Mary made a place for Him –

pray that we shall be built

into the house of Abraham,

the man of faith,

into the house of David, your father,

into the House the Holy Spirit builds

for the faithful even this day,

where our Mother waits for us

with you and all the saints;

pray that we too shall hear the words

spoken over you by the Lord:

“Well done, good and faithful servant;

enter into the joy of your Master.”

Pray we shall be righteous

as you.

Direct download: March_19_Joseph_Husband_of_Mary.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 1:00 PM

(2Sm.7:4-5,12-14a,16;   Ps.89:2-5,27,29,37;   Rom.4:13,16-18,22;

Mt.1:16,18-21,24a  or  Lk.2:41-51a) 

“I will be a father to him,

and he shall be my son.”

It is through Joseph that Jesus is a son of David and so fulfills the promise to the king made by God: “Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever,” for He is the heir “raise[d] up” after David “who shall build a house for [His] name.”  “In heaven [the Lord has] confirmed [His] faithfulness,” and on earth He has made it known.  And so Jesus says of God, “You are my Father, my God, the Rock, my Savior!” and we of faith join His refrain.

As with Abraham, Joseph is made foster father of Jesus not merely by physical descent from David but “through the righteousness that comes from faith.”  For as Abraham believed and so became “the father of many nations,” so Joseph believed that it was “through the Holy Spirit that [Jesus] ha[d] been conceived” and “did as the angel commanded him and took Mary into his home,” thus becoming a father to Him who would “save His people from their sins.”  Like Abraham “he believed, hoping against hope,” and like Abraham he is blessed.

But, of course, Jesus is more than the Son of Joseph; in fact, this is the great sacrifice Joseph makes.  For truly he cares for Him who is more Son to the Father in heaven and Son of Man, born for all the human race.  Evident this is when He is found by Joseph and Mary in the temple after three days and He asks them (a question much like those He might have been putting to the teachers of the faith): “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” and in the curious fact that His parents waited a day before journeying back to Jerusalem to look for Him, for they were “thinking that He was in the caravan” – so much a part of His people had He become.

Jesus is Son of God and Son of Man, yet “obedient to them” – Joseph and Mary – He ever was.  And they were ever obedient to the dictates of the Father, that they should care for His only Son.  And so Joseph, husband of Mary, a simple carpenter, fulfills in simple fashion all the Lord had set out for him.  May we, too, by faith fulfill all the care we must take for Jesus, His mother, and His people.

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

Music composed and performed by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

******* 

O LORD, let us dwell in your House forever.

YHWH, your Son is known as the Son of David, the Son of Joseph the carpenter.  And truly He is the fulfillment of your promise to the king that his son shall ever sit upon the throne.  But He is conceived by the Holy Spirit: He is the Son of God.  Give us the faith of Joseph that we might believe this and take Him into our home.

In our houses He would dwell, in our very souls.  Thus would He make them your House, dear Father, as is the soul of His Mother, and the soul of the righteous man we celebrate today.  Your Church let us be, dear God; in faith let us ever remain.

Your kindness to us is indeed great, O LORD; your very life you would share with us this day.  In your kingdom let us make our home – your sons and daughters let us be.  Jesus sits upon the throne now, for He is the Christ.  And so, your Covenant stands firm forever: all who believe in Him will be blessed.

O LORD, make us righteous in your sight, even as the humble Joseph.  In our lives let your will be done…  In your Son let us make our home.

Direct download: March_19_-_St_Joseph_Husband_of_Mary_2009.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 7:00 AM

O steadfast teacher of the faith

whom exile could not keep

from proclaiming the truths

of Scripture and the Church,

whose pastoral zeal

called souls

to the blessed chamber

of our divine Lord Jesus Christ

that we might unite with Him

who united Himself with us

to draw us unto Heaven –

pray that the shepherds of the Church

shall be just so diligent

and faithful

as you have consistently been

in imparting the Word of God

to waiting ears and hearts,

that all might be nourished well

and so prepared

to meet our King and Bridegroom,

grace upon grace

overflowing in souls

led by the Spirit of Truth.

Direct download: March_18_Cyril_of_Jerusalem.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(Is. 49:8-15;   Ps.145:8-9,13-14,17-18;   Jn.5:17-30)

 

“Just as the Father possesses life in Himself,

so He has granted it to the Son to have life in Himself.”

 

Here the great mystery of the unity of Father and Son is revealed, and so also our salvation.

God is life.  The Father is the great I AM, He who will be what He will be and do what He will do – He who holds the world and all its wonders in His creating Hand.  And Jesus is as He is.  He shares absolutely in the Life that is the Father.  “Speaking of God as His own Father, [He is] thereby making Himself God’s equal.”  And this perfect union is most clearly evident in the fact that “the Father has given over to Him power to pass judgment.”  For who can judge the soul of man but God, and so, who is Jesus but God Himself?

And this union of Father and Son in the absolute love that gives proof of the Spirit’s presence, and thus completes the Holy Trinity, is the key to our readings today.  Thus, though the thrust of the Word is our own salvation from sin and death, this is only effected in the love of the Father for the Son – for it is in our own union with Jesus and in His washing us clean from sin by standing in our place upon the cross that we find union with the Father, that we find the Life to which we all are called… in whom we find our home of love.

The Lord says, “I will cut a road through all my mountains and make my highways level.”  Jesus the Son is that road by which the Father “comforts His people and shows mercy to His afflicted” by leading them back to Him, guiding them “beside springs of water” that “they shall not hunger or thirst” but “find pasture” in His arms.  For “can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?”  Greater than any mother’s love is the Lord’s love for us, and this He makes known through His only Son.

Brothers and sisters, “the dead shall hear the voice of God’s Son, and those who have heeded it shall live.”  Even now the Lord is “saying to the prisoners: Come out!  To those in darkness: Show yourselves!”  Out from the tombs He calls us, for He is “compassionate toward all His works” and desires in His perfect will that all share in His holiness, in His Life.  Let us do right in Him, and as His Son we, too, shall live.

 

*******

O LORD, from the tombs let us come forth

at the sound of your Son’s voice.

YHWH, you are kind and merciful and so you send your only Son to reveal your loving will, to draw all unto you and so to eternal life.  Let us heed His voice and so your own; let us thus come to your kingdom.

On your holy mountain let us make our home, dear LORD.  Though desolate we may be, seemingly abandoned by you, far from your grace… yet you call us back to you and assure us of your loving kindness in the word and the Person of your Son.  You do not forget us; let us not forget the wonders of your love you show us in Jesus.

Your Son shall judge all men’s souls.  To Him you have given this power, O LORD.  For He is One with you and does only your will, and so His judgment is your own.  May we be so united with your will and your judgment in Jesus your Son that we shall ever know your surpassing love and come to dwell with you in Heaven.

Direct download: BC-040611-W_4_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O great apostle to the nations

who gave up your birthright of freedom

for the benefit of others,

who went forth in faith,

Christ ever above you and before you

and all around to protect you

who were brought through trial

to do His will

in bringing God to unbelievers,

you who never doubted –

pray that we, too, shall spend ourselves

for the sake of the Gospel

and all souls

yet to be gathered to the Lord,

that indeed from east and west

men shall come

and sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

in the kingdom of our God,

that from the ends of the earth

one people shall be drawn to Him…

and let us do all

without concern for persecution,

with the heart of a shepherd you had. 

Direct download: March_17_Patrick.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(Ez.47:1-9,12;   Ps.46:2-3,5-6,8-9;   Jn.5:1-3,5-16)

 

“There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,

the holy dwelling of the Most High.”

 

Brothers and sisters, Jesus is our living water.

In our first reading, Ezekial speaks of his heavenly vision of the river of God which runs from His holy temple.  The water, which increases as it flows further from its source, eventually “empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.”  Along both banks of the river are trees whose “leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail… for they [are] watered by the flow from the sanctuary.”  Their fruit nourishes and their leaves heal.

What is this river and this temple?  What is this sea and who are these fruit trees revealed to the eyes of the prophet?  Brothers and sisters, that Jesus is the river, the healing water, is made poignantly clear in our gospel.  The sick man struggles daily to plunge himself into the healing pool at Bethesda but is never able to find the assistance he needs.  When Jesus asks him if he wants to be healed and the man explains his plight, the Lord immediately states: “Stand up!  Pick up your mat and walk!”  The healing waters have come to him, and he is cured.

Yes, Jesus is the living water, and the cross is as the temple from which His healing blood flows.  Upon us all who have prepared the cross and set it in place by our sins – which have made our water undrinkable – His grace pours to make us whole… and so we are the salt sea made fresh.  And so the trees on the river’s banks, bearing fresh fruit each of the months, do we become, as we walk in the paths of the twelve apostles… who are first to know His redemptive power, and with whom God becomes “our refuge and our strength.”

“Come! behold the deeds of the Lord, the astounding things He has wrought on earth.”  For by the river that flows from His side He has prepared a people and a kingdom.  And all shall see what Ezekial sees; all shall know what the prophet is shown – the water of the Lord flows out now to the ends of the world, making all whole and fruitful by His prese

 *******

O LORD, let us be watered

by the flow from your sanctuary,

healed by your only Son

that we might bear fruit as your holy Church.

YHWH, your Son is the healing water that cleanses us of our sins and makes us whole in your sight.  The blood flowing from His side is the source of our salvation.  May we wash in this river and have our hearts made new that we might bear fruit unto Heaven.

O LORD, may Ezekial’s vision be our own; may we sit with you on the banks of the River in your holy Paradise, where all shall be fed by the fruit of the trees there and healed by the medicine of their leaves.  In your Church, founded on the twelve apostles, let us make our home, for there we shall rest in you, there we shall be as the Body of your Son, His blood flowing through our veins. 

To newness of life let us come, dear LORD, raised from our sickness by a word from your mouth.  Your Temple is with us in your Son who walks among us…  May the healing graces He brings forth increase even to the ends of the earth.

Direct download: BC-040511-Tu_4_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

(Is.65:17-21;   Ps.30:2,4-6,11-13;   Jn.4:43-54)

 

“You changed my mourning into dancing.”

 

Here in the midst of Lent we find the purpose of all our suffering, the hope to which we all are called.  “At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing.”  And thus does this time of penance and fasting lead to the abundance found in Easter joy.  For what is darkness but the world in which we dwell, and what is the dawn but the coming of Jesus to our hearts, the kingdom of heaven within us?  And even in the midst of this darkness, the light begins to shine.  “Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth,” the Lord says.  And today we hear that reassuring voice speaking to our waiting souls.

In our gospel today we find a marvelous sign of the light that follows the darkness, of the joy that follows sorrow.  A Gentile royal official, a man in darkness for his being apart from the chosen race – and whose darkness is compounded by his position of authority there – comes to the King of the Jews, the Light of God.  In sorrow he mourns the imminent death of his son, and so the darkness is quite complete.  But the man’s son shall not die, and neither shall the Gentile race.  For it is great faith he shows.  Enlightened by the One he seeks, he believes, and so his son is saved by the Son of the Most High, and so he enters the fold of Heaven.  What greater joy could he have hoped to find, for not only is his son “brought… up from the netherworld,” but indeed he (and the race he represents) is “preserved… from among those going down into the pit.”  No greater words of joy could we read than these: “He and his whole household thereupon became believers.”

Brothers and sisters, the Lord has made us to be a people of “rejoicing and happiness.”  He tells us so today through the prophet Isaiah: “I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people a delight.”  This is our destiny; this is our call.  If we must suffer for a time in this land of darkness, in this time of penance, let us be assured of the fullness of joy that comes Easter morning: “No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there, or the sound of crying.”  Yes, how particularly marvelous it is to hear of this light before us even as we stand in the midst of the darkness; what even greater joy do we feel! 

The Lord conquers all.  He wishes only life for our soul.  And that life is upon us even this day.  At the wedding feast we shall dance: “sing praise to the Lord, you His faithful ones, and give thanks to His holy name.”

                                                                                               

*******

O LORD, no sign should we need of your love for us;

only give us new life in you.

YHWH, what sign need we that you love us and desire to save us from the darkness and death that envelop this fallen world?  For your Son has come and walked among us, and so your mercy is now near.  Create your new heavens and your new earth, we pray; remake us in His image.

O LORD, we wish to weep and cry no more; no more would we see our children die or our own lives cut short – let us never be separated from you, never come to the nether world, but let your dawn be upon us and our mourning be driven away.

Let the fever depart from us, Lord GOD, that we might not burn in unholy fire but be redeemed from all our iniquity and enter your presence with rejoicing and happiness, living as you created us, to be a delight in your sight.

Rejoice in Jerusalem, dear LORD, and let all the nations round about find the salvation that is upon your House; let all come to believe in you and praise your Name forever.

Direct download: BC-040411-M_4_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

(2Chr.36:14-16,19-23;   Ps.137:1-6;   Eph.2:4-10;   Jn.3:14-21) 

“By the streams of Babylon we sat and wept.”

For “practicing all the abominations of the nations and polluting the Lord’s temple,” the people of God “were carried captive to Babylon.”  For all their “infidelity” they were forced to watch as “their enemies burnt the house of God [and] tore down the walls of Jerusalem.”  And so did their “tongue[s] cleave to [their] palate[s]” in a foreign land; so they “hung up [their] harps”; so their “right hand[s] [were] forgotten”…  They could not sing the praises of the Lord; they could not strum to His glory – all the works of their hands were stilled.  They could but weep in desolation.

So are we like them in our sins.  So do our transgressions silence our tongues and make us lame and ineffective.  So were we dead as these before Christ Jesus came to save us.  And as the Israelites were called back to the city of peace and entreated to build the Lord’s house there once again, as they found their release from exile by the king of Persia speaking in the name of God… just as these could enter in once more to the “song of the Lord,” so we now find our freedom from the chains which bound us, and to the Lord’s temple come proclaiming His gracious salvation.

No more should we cry, brothers and sisters.  No more should we sit idly as the streams of this world pass us mockingly by.  No, now we must come resolutely to the Christ of God, for the word has gone forth to the ends of the earth that all who love Him should come into His light.  “By grace [we] have been saved”; by the Lord’s immeasurable kindness we have been redeemed – in His love we must now sing our song.  “For we are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance,” and so our work must now be accomplished in Him.

“Whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.”  And so “saved through faith” we must now bring before Him the offering of our lives.  There is no longer cause to hide.  There is no longer need to weep for our sin, to find the oppression of the world and the devil too much to bear.  No, the gates of Jerusalem are opened once again, and the Lord God has “seated us with Him in the heavens in Christ Jesus.”  Here in this light let us now find our home.  Here in His presence let us begin to live the Lord’s eternal salvation.  Our tears of weeping, with our condemnation, have passed.

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

Music: "A Guitar" from Thoroughfare, seventh album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, let us leave behind our sinful past

and come into the light of your presence.

YHWH, we were dead in our sins till you sent your only Son to save us, to bring us life by the grace upon Him.  Light has indeed come into the world, the light of Christ shining now in our midst.  Let us come to that light that we might escape the darkness into which we’ve fallen and be raised up to be seated with Him.

Jesus has been lifted up for our sakes, that all who believe in Him might have eternal life with you, Father, in Heaven.  Though our transgressions have been severe, you have mercy upon us still, and call us to faith in your only Son.  Though we have failed to listen to the prophets you sent to speak in your Name, let us not fail to heed the One in whom your love has come to perfection, the One who shares your own place on high.

No more can you love us than by sending us Jesus, and so, no further opportunity will we have to repent and return to you.  Let us live now in your truth and your light, that our works might be done in you. 

Direct download: BC-031812-Su_4_L_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 4:00 AM

(Hos.6:1-6;   Ps.51:3-4,18-21,Hos.6:6;   Lk.18:9-14)

 

“As certain as the dawn is His coming,

and His judgment shines forth like the light of day!”

 

It is night.  There is darkness.  In this world of sin we are afflicted on account of our guilt, for our failures to love God.  And so David cries out in our psalm, “Have mercy, O God, in your goodness”; and so the tax collector in our gospel “beat[s] his breast and say[s], ‘O God, be merciful to me, a sinner’”; and so with all the afflicted, in the words of Hosea, we should “return to the Lord, for it is He who has rent, but He will heal us.”

Brothers and sisters, we must “strive to know the Lord,” for “He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain that waters the earth” to cleanse us of our sin and make us fruitful again.  To us the Lord will “be bountiful… by rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.”  He will grant us a place for worship and again “be pleased with due sacrifices, burnt offerings, and holocausts.”  Our prayers shall again come before Him.  But if our piety is not to be “like a morning cloud, like the dew that passes early away,” we must come to know and love God.  And the first step to knowing God and showing our desire for His love is the recognition of our own sinfulness before Him, for “he who humbles himself shall be exalted.”

Yes, brothers and sisters, “in the greatness of [His] compassion [He will] wipe out [our] offense.”  “He will revive us after two days; on the third day He will raise us up.”  But first we must die.  We must die to the sinful pride that afflicts our souls and leads us from the light that shines, that awaits all our coming to Him in blessed humility.  For He desires to show us mercy, but mercy we must have.  He longs to bring us light, but light we must seek to find.  His judgment, which is just, must be our desire, and it will come to us and wash us free of all our sin.  And we shall know Him.  And His love shall be our own.  And only light will shine in our souls.

It is night, brothers and sisters.  There is darkness.  Our sins are with us still.  But the Lord is coming: the light is upon us.  Turn to it now, and live.

 

*******

O LORD, show us your grace

that you might rejoice in our return to you.

YHWH, your kindness and compassion are without end, your forgiveness deeper than the ocean and higher than the sky, for you are beyond our ability to understand – your love is ever abiding.  But we, O LORD, are so limited, in our comprehension and in our love.  We think only of ourselves, whereas you reach out to us.

Help us, dear LORD, to be more like you; help us to share in your kindness and mercy.  Your goodness please make our own, that in your presence we might always remain.

So dark is our sin, dear God, so far have we run from your face, so foolishly removed ourselves from your embrace, from your loving arms and secure protection…. Bring us back into your House, welcoming us as sons again; our guilt remove forever.  And let us rejoice as others enter, for then we will be like you, who care more for our redemption than that honor be shown to you.

Direct download: BC-040211-Sa_3_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

(Hos.14:2-10;   Ps.81:6-11,14,17;   Mk.12:28-34)

 

“Hear, O Israel!  The Lord our God is Lord alone!”

 

“There is no other than He,” and so what should we do but “love the Lord [our] God with all [our] heart, with all [our] soul, with all [our] mind, and with all [our] strength”?  What promise the Lord makes to us if only we would return to Him and love Him: “If only my people would hear me, and Israel walk in my ways, I would feed them with the best of wheat, and with honey from the rock I would fill them.”  Indeed, then we would be “not far from the reign of God,” even here on earth.

Brothers and sisters, we “have collapsed through [our] guilt.”  We have had “strange god[s]” among us and said, “‘Our god,’ to the work of our hands.”  Why should we continue so blind?  Why should we continue stumbling as sinners – why do we find the straight paths of the Lord so difficult to walk?  He will “forgive all iniquity” and strengthen us in justice; if we turn to Him, He will “heal [our] defection” and “love [us] freely.”  “In distress you called, and I rescued you,” He says in the words of our psalmist, and His words are true.  Turning away His wrath, He shall become “like the dew for Israel.”  And with His living water to nourish us, we “shall blossom like the lily… blossom like the olive tree.”  We “shall dwell in His shade and raise grain,” our “fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.”  We must but love God and our neighbor, and we shall “bear fruit.”

“Let him who is wise understand these things; let him who is prudent know them.”  There is no God in all the world but the Lord, and it is He in whom “the orphan finds compassion.”  Why should you continue in your vain pursuits when love awaits your turning to Him?  What refuge can you find in your false gods?  In them and in your pride you indeed will find yourself orphaned, cut off from the love that only the Father holds.  But He loves the orphan, brother, and so He calls to your soul to return to Him with all your heart.  In this is true wisdom; in Him you will find strength.

 There is no further question when the love of God is known.  When His presence is revealed we fall silent, for nothing can be said in the face of Truth.  Listen, brothers and sisters; but listen – and then do.

 

*******

O LORD, you are rejected, you are killed,

that your inheritance you might share with us. 

YHWH, though we reject your Beloved Son, dragging Him out of the vineyard to kill Him, yet His blood becomes salvation for us, release from slavery to sin.  As Joseph who was sold to the Ishmaelites became ruler in the land of Egypt, so has the One who has died on a cross become the cornerstone of your kingdom.  And all who come to Him this day, under Him become a holy nation.

There is a great famine upon this land, O LORD, and we would quickly die for lack of nourishment if to us you did not send your only Son to provide for all our needs.  Let us show our gratefulness to you for such rich blessing by giving due honor to the One you have sent and producing abundant fruit in His Name.

O LORD, let all jealous souls be gathered into your harvest, redeemed from the blood upon their hands by our Savior’s sacrifice.  Such marvels you would perform for us at no cost but the abandonment of our greed and envy.

Direct download: BC-04011-F_3_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

(Jer.7:23-28;   Ps.95:1-2,6-9;   Lk.11:14-23)

 

“They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts

and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.”

 

The Lord calls His people to “listen to [His] voice,” to “walk in all [His] ways,” that they “may prosper.”  But with whom is there obedience?  How many harden their hearts against Him!

Of the people of Jeremiah’s time the Lord says, “Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech.”  They, as all, should “bow down in worship” and “kneel before the Lord who made us,” but they, as we, do not recognize that “He is our God, and we are the people He shepherds, the flock He guides.”  They pay no heed to the voice of the prophet.

And this hardness of heart is fulfilled in the opposition of the faithless to Jesus.  In our gospel He casts out a devil that a dumb man may speak and some say, “It is by Beelzebul, the prince of devils, that He casts out devils.”  Indeed, the hardness of heart does not get any greater than this.  (And so for this sin against the Holy Spirit and His ways there can be no forgiveness.)  They call good “evil” and presume that the evil they speak is a good – but they are utterly lost in darkness.  “The reign of God is upon” them, and they desire to dwell in the realm of the devil who is being cast from their midst.  What can save such a soul?  For all prayers the Lord answers.

Brothers and sisters, it is a dark world and a difficult age in which we dwell.  But the response of our hearers is not our concern; we must speak as called regardless of the reaction – we must live our vocation despite any opposition.  Note the Lord’s words to Jeremiah: “When you speak all these words to them, they will not listen to you either; when you call to them, they will not answer you.”  For as with all the prophets, and as with ourselves, he speaks to “the nation which does not listen to the voice of the Lord, its God, or take correction.”  To these it is our duty to call; to darkness we must bring light.  And realize, too, the fate of Jesus, who will die on the cross for His work to bring salvation to the world.  It is this same cross to which we are all called, for it is by this same cross we have been called; and those who are yet to be gathered in must hear our voice.  Let us stand with the Lord and gather in His grain, despite the stiffened necks we might find.  There shall be others like us who hear the cry of Jeremiah and cling to the saving power of Jesus.  Test Him not with your own hardness of heart.

 

*******

O LORD, let us be saved from torment

by walking in the way of your risen Son.

YHWH, let us not be wayward souls, separating ourselves from you and the nourishment you offer; for we shall but wilt and fade if we put our trust in the passing things of this earth – we shall but die if we fat our bellies and become bereft of your Spirit.

Jesus let us follow, LORD, for upon your will alone He set Himself.  Your Word let us meditate upon both night and day that we shall remain in your presence always and walk ever in your ways.  You reward the faithful soul with the blessings of your House but can only cast the wicked man far from your table of grace.

Let us not be rich in the things of this world nor turn our sights to what is evil.  Upon your love let us set our sights, that our hearts might be purged of all insolence, of all sin against your goodness.  And let us reach out a helping hand to those in need of your water, that all might have life this day in the Holy Spirit.

Direct download: BC-033111-Th_3_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

(Dt.4:1,5-9;   Ps.147:12-13,15-16,19-20;   Mt.5:17-19)

 

“What great nation has statutes and decrees

that are as just as this whole law?”

 

“He has proclaimed His word to Jacob, His statutes and ordinances to Israel.”  The Lord in His grace “sends forth His command to the earth; swiftly runs His word!”  And as the snow and the rain come down to nourish the land, to bring life to the earth, so His Word is food and life to all who listen to it.  By His Word He “strengthen[s] the bars of [our] gates,” giving us protection against the tribulations of this world, and by it He “bless[es] [our] children within” us, making fruitful all our endeavors.  By fulfilling and teaching His commands, we find life eternal in the kingdom of God; by breaking them and leading others to do so, we court death.

And so why should the Word be withheld from the ears of the flock?  By his silence does not a priest give credence to the breaking of the law?  And then are not the results upon his soul?  Has the devil so blinded his eyes to the truth that he cannot see the life-giving water the Word of God is, that His commands are not burdensome but bring release from labor under the weight of sin?  By withholding such nourishment does he hope to increase his flock?  Oh but it is so hard to open my mouth, you say, so difficult to speak the truth.  Better you die to self now than to find your soul dead to the kingdom of heaven.

Brothers and sisters, it is fulfilling “the smallest letter of the law… the smallest part of the letter,” that brings us to perfection, that brings us to the life that is our God.  Ignorance shall not bring you there.  As Moses instructs of the commands of the Lord, “Observe them carefully, for thus you will give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations.”  For they are a great gift made known to souls; they are the fountain of life, fulfilled in the flesh of Jesus.  So neither practice them in vain “nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,” for they hold life, and should you lose them, you shall lose the Christ.

Do you desire holiness?  Do you wish to be whole?  Do you long for the presence of God, thirsting for His truth?  Then follow the Word He speaks in your presence today and teach others to do so: Abortion is wrong.  Contraception is wrong.  Euthanasia is wrong.  Premarital sex is wrong.  Love of money and goods is deadly.  We have the word in our Church – our mouths must speak it, or we shall die.  By our Baptism we are all made priests in the sight of God and are called to live and to preach the Word of God.  “What great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon Him” or whenever we come to His table of sacrifice to receive Him?  In love make His Word and presence known.

 

*******

O LORD, though good be repaid with evil,

we shall rise on the third day

if we remain united to the sacrifice of your Son. 

YHWH, though persecutions come, as they must, we trust ourselves into your hands knowing that your protection is with us, knowing that as your Son was raised on the third day, our suffering shall soon come to an end and we stand with you in your kingdom.  Give us faith and strength in your abiding presence, despite the whisperings of the crowd.

The people plotted to take the life of your prophets and your Son.  A pit is dug for all your faithful, LORD.  But that pit is shallow as this passing world; only your eternity remains.  And so, let us not fear as we drink the cup Jesus offers us, the cup He Himself drank upon the Cross; for as we lay down our lives in this world, sharing in the sacrifice of Christ, so we shall be blessed to know the glory to which you call all your faithful servants.

Our trust is in you, O LORD, for you are our God.  Save us from the snares of the devil.

Direct download: BC-033011-W_3_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

(Dn.3:25,34-43;   Ps.25:4-9;   Mt.18:21-35)

 

“With contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received.”

 

The Lord “guides the humble to justice, He teaches the humble His way,” and so it is the prayer of these He receives; upon them He showers His mercy.  For His mercy is His justice and it is known by those who humbly share the same.

Azariah makes his prayer for mercy for his people Israel who suffer the purgatorial fires of their exile from the Promised Land, even as he himself stands in the quite literal fire of the furnace of the King of Babylon for his faithfulness to the living God.  He begs the Lord: “Do not let us be put to shame, but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy,” and as he comes humbly and with great faith interceding for others and not himself, and thus exhibiting the mercy he desires of the Lord, he is well protected from the flames by the angel of God.  The Lord’s justice is known to him who “follow[s] [Him] with [his] whole heart.”

And Jesus makes quite clear the great mercy God holds for all who humble themselves before Him – “seventy times seven times,” eternally, He forgives.  His reign is like the king who “wrote off the debt,” though it was “a huge amount,” of his servant who begged His mercy.  For the Lord is “moved with pity” at our contrition for our sins.  But the same forgiveness we must offer to others if we are to prove that His blood runs in our veins.  The master tells his wicked servant: “I canceled your entire debt when you pleaded with me.  Should you not have dealt mercifully with your fellow servant, as I dealt with you?”  And indeed the fires of hell and purgatory await those who break their bond of justice and mercy with the Lord by failing to manifest the same grace that has been revealed to their souls.  We are sinners and must see ourselves so.  The Lord forgives and we must accept His grace.  Others seek our mercy and we must grant it to them.  This is how the kingdom works.  Those who do not follow the Lord’s way of compassion do not enter there.

Brothers and sisters, we must be as Azariah, who “stood up in the fire and prayed aloud.”  For all, we must humbly intercede before our merciful God even in this dark world.  And for the contrition we show for our sins and those of others, the Lord holds an eternal reward.  As our priests, as Peter, as God Himself, let us forgive one another; if we receive one another humbly and mercifully, the Lord will receive us in His grace, in His justice.

 

*******

O LORD, let us be humble and just in your sight

that we might be saved from our sin

and enter your kingdom.

YHWH, our sins are red as crimson, but you would make them white as wool if we but listened to your Word and put it into practice.  If our worship of you were genuine, then we would be truly blessed.  But as it is we speak in vain when we call upon your Name.  For who among us lives the way Jesus teaches, the way He walked?  His chastisement let us treasure, that we might be saved from empty sacrifice.

There is so much pride within our hearts, O LORD, and in our words and actions.  We desire to be exalted in the sight of others.  Oh if it were but our desire to serve you!  If we but sought to be humble and true, then you would raise us to be with you, in the heavenly kingdom.

O let us listen to you, LORD?  Let us heed your command, your word of instruction.  Let us do what is right and just in your sight and with our neighbor, and your cleansing grace we shall find.

Direct download: Bc-032911-Tu_3_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O patient and loving soul

who cared for both

the physical and spiritual needs

of the poor and the sick,

who with a gentle word

would rebuke sins

and heal division

and with a gentle touch

bind the wounds

and smooth the beds

of the ill

in your home and in hospital,

who saw that remedies for the soul,

the Bread of life and holy Confession,

were available, too,

through the hands of a priest –

who cares as deeply and fully

for the needs of souls

this day?

Increase their number;

pray the Lord touch all souls

with your same patient affection,

with the love only He knows.

Direct download: March_9_Frances_of_Rome.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(2Kgs.5:1-15;   Ps.42:2-3,43:3-4;   Lk.4:24-30)

 

“There is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.”

 

“There is a prophet in Israel,” brothers and sisters, and this prophet is God.  Jesus Christ has come, salvation from the Jews.  Do you recognize Him?  Will you accept Him?

It is only in “the waters of Israel” that we are made clean.  As wonderful as may be the waters of our native land, it matters not, for it is these alone that are blessed; these alone will make our flesh again “like the flesh of a little child.”  For a little child has come through these waters, has been baptized in this River, and it is His blood which baptizes us all and makes us clean as the flesh of God.

“Bring me to your holy mountain, to your dwelling-place,” our souls should sing with our psalmist as they seek “the running waters” of “the living God” that alone will satisfy all our needs.  Oh to “behold the face of God,” to “go in to the altar of God” in “gladness and joy”!  How we should search for His grace and His presence!  Like Naaman who came from a distant land upon the word of a servant girl, so should we obediently seek the grace that comes only from God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ.  He is our dwelling place, the Temple of God.

“No prophet gains acceptance in his native place,” Jesus proclaims to those of His hometown.  And His prophecy is true.  For though salvation is from the Jews and they are Jews who serve as its foundation stones, yet the Church shall be constituted greatly by those of other lands.  The Jews who follow Him shall be greatly persecuted by their own, and the Word shall bear fruit to the ends of the world before the eyes of the Chosen shall be opened to the living water, the healing grace, in their midst.

Come in faith, brothers and sisters, to this holy mountain where the Lord does dwell, to find the cleansing of your sins.  Through none else does salvation come; in no one else is the Word made known.  The flesh of God is Jesus alone.

 

*******

O LORD, let us not turn away

from your Word to our souls

but be compassionate as you. 

YHWH, you are a compassionate God calling us to your mercy and love.  Forgive us all our transgressions against you that we might know your favor.  Though we have sinned and done what is evil in your sight, though we have rebelled against you and your command, refusing to listen to the Word of truth you utter in our midst, hear our cry for deliverance from the prison into which our sins have cast us.  Save us in your love!

O LORD, if we do not judge we shall not be judged.  If we do not condemn we shall not be condemned.  If we but forgive others their transgressions against us, you will forgive our transgressions against you.  And we shall return to your pasture.

Help us to give, O LORD, to give as you give, to give as your Son gives… to lay down our lives for the sake of others – to seek pardon for their sins.  Jesus stands in the breach to reconcile us to you and one another; may we join Him in His mission of love.

Direct download: BC-032811-M_3_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O servant of love

whom the angels knew

to be of God

for your blessed care

of the poor and the sick

and all the needy pilgrims

who came to you in abundance

that you might be the greater blest

by what you did for the least

of Christ’s brothers,

you who turned from the world

to absolute service of the Lord

and complete trust in His providence –

please pray that our hearts

may be enlarged

and we find the grace

to lay down our lives so freely

for the needs of others,

for their well-being,

that as we welcome all who come to us

we might ourselves be welcomed

in our misery

into the loving arms of Jesus. 

Direct download: March_8__John_of_God.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 8:00 PM

(Ex.20:1-17;   Ps.19:8-11;   1Cor.1:22-25;   Jn.2:13-25)

“The fear of the Lord is pure,

enduring forever.”

Is it not fear of the Lord, Jesus would instill in the people as He makes “a whip out of cords” and drives those who buy and sell out of the temple?  Is His great zeal not to purify His Father’s House of all corruption?  And will the Temple He will raise up not endure forever?

David tells us that “the law of the Lord is perfect,” and it is so; and so our worship of the Lord should be perfect as well – it should match the perfection of the Lord and His Word.  Thus does the Lord give us His commandments, to refine us in His light and make us like Himself.  Thus should we rest on the sabbath day as He has done, and indeed do all things according to His way, having “no other gods besides” Him.  He alone is worthy of our worship, and He alone is worthy of imitation.  His words alone will enlighten our eye.

And how do we know this “wisdom of God” except by the blessed presence of His Son?  And how do we know it most fully but in His crucifixion?  Here is the wisdom of God upon the cross, calling us to what is far beyond us – beyond this world and our lusts.  “Human nature” He knew quite well, assuming it in all but sin as He has, and so He knows it must be nailed to the cross if we are to gain redemption.  And what wisdom is greater than that which effects salvation?  To what greater place could we be led than the kingdom of heaven?

And “Christ crucified” reveals not only the wisdom of God but “the power of God” as well, for what makes the devils tremble more than our Savior on the cross?  What forces them to realize the vanity of their efforts to destroy man than to see Him dead, and know that He shall live again?  (And we with Him… and we with Him.)  “The weakness of God is stronger than human strength,” and here God’s weakness comes to full power.  And with absolute force it shall drive all evil from the world, and from our souls.

“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up,” are the Lord’s prophetic words.  The Temple of His Body once destroyed now is made to last forever, for it can never be destroyed again.  Now that He is raised from the dead, death has no more dominion.  Purified of all darkness and sin is the kingdom; and in awe of the Lord’s humble majesty we come there with open eyes and hearts on fire, to dwell with Him in eternal life.

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

Music: "Nothing You Can Buy (The Spirit Is)" from Loving Spirit, third album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, if we join your Son in obedience

even unto death,

we shall be raised with Him.

YHWH, your Son has died to raise us all to new life; only His death could bear such fruit.  And should we not therefore put faith in Him, Him whom you have declared your Beloved?  Should we not thus come to a great love of you who have loved us so greatly?  And would we not then come to glory, the same glory He shares with you this day?

A sign you give to us this day, dear LORD, a sign of your eternal glory, a glory that comes to us by the death of Jesus the Christ.  And so, we should not be afraid of the death we must die, of the offering we must make of our lives in His Name.  For as we are joined to Him in sacrifice, so will we be joined to Him in your heavenly kingdom.

O LORD, bring many souls, souls as countless as the stars, into the land you promise us and which you bring to fulfillment in the death of your Son.  For this grace let us praise your Name forever in your House.

Direct download: BC-031112-Su_3_L_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 5:00 AM

O blessed martyrs

who willingly and happily

suffered a cruel death

by the teeth of beasts

and the point of a sword,

all for love of Jesus –

how can we match your faith;

where shall we find the strength

you displayed

in ecstasy at tortures

devised by the wicked of this earth,

and can we call ourselves Christian otherwise?

Pray for us, dear martyrs,

that the Lord will bless us

with such favor

as you have known

and we, too, will be enabled

to stand in joy

even in the face of the severest persecution,

even at the time of our death…

even then may Heaven be with us.

Direct download: March_7_Perpetua_and_Felicity.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 8:00 PM

(Mic.7:14-15,18-20;   Ps.103:1-4,8-12;   Lk.15:1-3,11-32)

 

“While he was still a long way off,

his father caught sight of him and was deeply moved.”

 

“He ran out to meet him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him.”  Amen.  Such is the forgiveness of the Lord, that even while we are far from Him, yet while we are sinners, He sees our hearts turn to Him and welcomes us into His embrace.

We have all “sinned against God,” brothers and sisters.  We are all as the Prodigal Son who has “squandered his money on dissolute living.”  But oh the forgiveness of our God, who “with kindness and compassion” “redeems [our] life from destruction,” who in “pardon[ing] all [our] iniquities” raises us from the death of sin to sit with Him in heaven.  Does not the father in our parable say as much of the sinner? “This son of mine was dead and has come back to life.”  Is it not so that when we were still sinners Jesus died for us, to raise us with Himself to new life?

“Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of His inheritance?” the prophet Micah asks in our first reading, wondering at the infinite grace of our Father.  “As the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is His kindness toward those who fear Him,” sings David in our psalm.  And so, how joyous we should be, how our souls should “bless the Lord… and forget not all His benefits.”  For indeed, “not according to our sins does He deal with us, nor does He requite us according to our crimes.”  Rather, even though we deserve damnation, even though the most we could hope for is to be treated as one of His hired hands, yet does He remember His love for us.  Beyond all human reason, He graces us with “the finest robe” and calls us in to “eat and celebrate” at the heavenly banquet, where there shall be “music and dancing” to the Name of our God, where all the gifts of the Spirit poured forth through the blood of Christ are ours as we become one with the Father, as we return to Him “in good health.”  Is there anything more remarkable?

And let us not sin as the elder brother.  Let us not begrudge God, the loving Father, His infinite generosity to all His sons.  Let us not presume to stand in judgment against those the Lord deigns to forgive, but share His forgiveness and His grace toward all.  Then truly the father’s words to the elder son (which are a noticeably kind word to the Pharisees, whom this son represents) will be our own: “You are with me always, and everything I have is yours.”  Let us know the truth of this, God’s will for all our souls, and accept the gracious forgiveness which brings us to it as we come “to [our] senses” and turn to Him with all our hearts this day.  He is calling us home.

*******

O LORD, show us your grace

that you might rejoice in our return to you. 

YHWH, your kindness and compassion are without end, your forgiveness deeper than the ocean and higher than the sky, for you are beyond our ability to understand – your love is ever abiding.  But we, O LORD, are so limited, in our comprehension and in our love.  We think only of ourselves, whereas you reach out to us.

Help us, dear LORD, to be more like you; help us to share in your kindness and mercy.  Your goodness please make our own, that in your presence we might always remain.

So dark is our sin, dear God, so far have we run from your face, so foolishly removed ourselves from your embrace, from your loving arms and secure protection…. Bring us back into your House, welcoming us as sons again; our guilt remove forever.  And let us rejoice as others enter, for then we will be like you, who care more for our redemption than that honor be shown to you.

Direct download: BC-032611-Sa_2_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Gn.37:3-4,12-13,17-28;   Ps.105:5,16-21;   Mt.21:33-43,45-46)

“They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.”

“The stone which the builders rejected has become the keystone of the structure.”  Hear what Scripture says.  As he who was “sold as a slave” by his brothers became “lord of [the king’s] house and ruler of all his possessions,” so He whom the elders of the people could call “our brother, our own flesh,” whom they “seized… dragged… outside the vineyard, and killed,” has become the very foundation of the New Jerusalem.

How parallel are our first reading and gospel today.  Jacob, Israel, sends the son he loves best, he who is “the child of his old age,” to the brothers who are tending their father’s flock, to bring them food to nourish them in their labor.  The Father in heaven sends Jesus, His beloved Son – who is Child of His old age both in His existing with Him before time and in His coming here at the end of the age to His brothers – to those whom He has entrusted the care of His vineyard, through whom He feeds all the people, with the greatest of nourishment to sustain them unto heaven itself.  For their jealousy over the favor granted their brother, Israel’s sons strip Joseph of his long and princely tunic and cast him into a cistern “which was empty and dry” as their souls.  Out of the same jealousy and in the desire for His inheritance, the chief priests and Pharisees will soon arrest the Lord and see that He is stripped and nailed to a cross.

And, brothers and sisters, the outcome of each story shall be the same.  As his brothers must come on their knees to their brother to find grain to keep themselves from dying of famine on the parched earth once Joseph has taken his place as ruler of the king’s possessions, so the elders of the people and all of us who bear responsibility for the death of Christ by our continual sins against Him shall have to come on our knees before Him who sits on the throne of heaven robed in glory, to find nourishment for our journey here in His sacred Body and Blood, and to find a place at table in the kingdom to come.

There is much to be pondered in the rejection of Jesus, as is so with the betrayal of Joseph.  It is not only the Pharisees – who answer so well the Lord’s question regarding the fate of the tenant farmers, yet have not the faith to match the words God puts on their lips – who must look inside themselves and recognize their anger and jealousy and greed.  The Lord invites each of his brothers to examine his conscience this day, in this time.  In particular, are we showing ourselves to be the nation the Lord has given the kingdom of God?  Do we “yield a rich harvest” for Him who was sold for thirty pieces of silver?  Or have our souls gone bankrupt?  May from us the Lord “obtain His share of the grapes.”

*******

O LORD, you are rejected, you are killed,

that your inheritance you might share with us. 

YHWH, though we reject your Beloved Son, dragging Him out of the vineyard to kill Him, yet His blood becomes salvation for us, release from slavery to sin.  As Joseph who was sold to the Ishmaelites became ruler in the land of Egypt, so has the One who has died on a cross become the cornerstone of your kingdom.  And all who come to Him this day, under Him become a holy nation.

There is a great famine upon this land, O LORD, and we would quickly die for lack of nourishment if to us you did not send your only Son to provide for all our needs.  Let us show our gratefulness to you for such rich blessing by giving due honor to the One you have sent and producing abundant fruit in His Name.

O LORD, let all jealous souls be gathered into your harvest, redeemed from the blood upon their hands by our Savior’s sacrifice.  Such marvels you would perform for us at no cost but the abandonment of our greed and envy.

Direct download: BC-032511-F_2_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Jer.17:5-10;   Ps.1:1-4,6,40:5;   Lk.16:19-31)

 

“He is like a tree planted beside the waters,

that stretches out its roots to the stream.”

 

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord.”  For he shall be like the tree “that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade.”  He shall never be “like a barren bush in the desert” or “like chaff which the wind drives away.”  Never shall he know the “place of torment,” for “the heat when it comes” shall do him no harm.  This man “follows not the counsel of the wicked nor walks in the way of sinners,” but rather “meditates on [God’s] law day and night.”  His faith and his hope are the roots that stretch out to the living water of the living God who nourishes all by His Word and in His flesh.

Brothers and sisters, we must never “trust in human beings” as do the Pharisees, or be as the rich man who “seeks his strength in flesh,” “dressed in purple and linen and feast[ing] splendidly every day.”  This earth itself holds not our food.  Notice that it is to the Pharisees Jesus addresses His parable in our gospel today.  How closely the rich man parallels these leaders of the people.  The bounty of God’s wisdom is bestowed upon them, but they use it to feed their bellies rather than to shepherd those in need.  They claim Abraham as their father and the Law of Moses as their guide, but they neither have the faith that makes Abraham the father of all, nor do they follow the instructions Moses conveys.  Only in the flesh are they Abraham’s sons; and though they see him from the hell to which they come, they cannot touch him, they cannot reach past him to the Father in heaven, who gives Abraham his blessing.  Dwelling but in their “father’s house” as the rich man who gorged himself on the pleasures of the flesh, they come not to the Father’s House on high, for their roots penetrate not to the living water that is found in faith, and now Lazarus cannot even “dip the tip of his finger in water to refresh [their] tongue.”  Dead as the stone upon which the commandments were written do they become. 

Notice, too, brothers and sisters, the connection between thoughts and actions, between faith and works, between the word and the flesh in our first reading, and present throughout Scripture: “I, the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart, to reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds.”  Only the Lord, who is Himself the living water, knows if His Word of life dwells in a man, and that faithful spirit is reflected directly in the just man’s deeds – for by these the Lord judges.  And Jesus is the just man; He is the Word made flesh in whom the Spirit dwells, in whom all find life.  He is the undying tree, one with the Father, whom all must imitate.  His words are living water; His flesh is food we eat: He alone is perfect in word and deed, for in Him spirit and flesh meet.  Let our hearts be set on Him, and we, too, shall be blessed; and we shall know that He is risen from the dead.

 

*******

O LORD, let us be saved from torment

by walking in the way of your risen Son. 

YHWH, let us not be wayward souls, separating ourselves from you and the nourishment you offer; for we shall but wilt and fade if we put our trust in the passing things of this earth – we shall but die if we fat our bellies and become bereft of your Spirit.

Jesus let us follow, LORD, for upon your will alone He set Himself.  Your Word let us meditate upon both night and day that we shall remain in your presence always and walk ever in your ways.  You reward the faithful soul with the blessings of your House but can only cast the wicked man far from your table of grace.

Let us not be rich in the things of this world nor turn our sights to what is evil.  Upon your love let us set our sights, that our hearts might be purged of all insolence, of all sin against your goodness.  And let us reach out a helping hand to those in need of your water, that all might have life this day in the Holy Spirit.

Direct download: BC-032411-Th_2_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

O patron of the impoverished

who though son of a king

counted yourself among

the poor in spirit,

you whose love abundantly flowed

to all in need,

who sought the purity

of our Blessed Mother,

who thirsted for our Lord

in the Blessed Sacrament,

who devoted yourself

to prayer

and constant works of charity –

teach us this day to be pure

and set our hearts

on serving the poor

that we too might come

to share the kingdom

with all God’s children,

all those who empty themselves

of the things of this world

to find the grace

of Heaven.

Direct download: March_4__Casimir.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 8:00 PM

(Jer.18:18-20;   Ps.31:5-6,14-17;   Mt.20:17-28)

 

“Can you drink of the cup I am to drink of?”

 

Do you know what He asks, brothers and sisters?  And do you know where it leads?

In our gospel today, Jesus is very deliberate in His instruction to His apostles.  As He starts out “to go up to Jerusalem,” where the chief priests and scribes “will condemn Him to death” and the Romans crucify Him, He takes “the Twelve aside on the road” to speak clearly to them of the fate which awaits Him.  (So objective are His words that He refers to Himself in the third person.)  Of course, the apostles are yet far from understanding His message, as shown by their soon dissembling into jealous indignation regarding the question of the power and importance of each.  And the Lord must teach them again that He has come “to give His own life as a ransom for many”; He “has come, not to be served by others, but to serve,” and that those who “aspire to [the] greatness” that is His must necessarily “serve the needs of all.”

We know that Peter is the first among equals “for whom it has been reserved by [the] Father,” as the Lord has indicated earlier, and not James or John – though both of these shall have prominent place in drinking of the cup of Christ: James as the first apostle martyred and John, the beloved, whose martyrdom shall be white, coming in the endurance of a long life – but all of us who seek to follow Jesus indeed share in the selfsame cross, and so shall receive of the selfsame blessings of Him who is raised up “on the third day.”  All are called to drink of the cup of suffering and service in Jesus’ stead.  We must be clear on this essential point of faith.

And does not Jeremiah’s persecution at the hands of the citizens of Jerusalem show that the cross of Christ extends even to the time before He had come in the flesh?  Do not the words spoken against the prophet: “Let us destroy him by his own tongue; let us carefully note his every word,” echo exactly the plottings of the Pharisees against Jesus, whom they repeatedly sought to entrap?  And all this though He does “speak in their behalf, to turn away [the Father’s] wrath from them.”  And David in our psalm chants the same refrain: “They consult together against me, plotting to take my life.”

Brothers and sisters, as it was for David and Jeremiah and Jesus, following in the ways of the Lord will bring us persecution.  You may well ask, Must good be repaid with evil? but the Lord will answer, “Let it be for now.”  For “from the clutches of [our] enemies and [our] persecutors” He rescues those who trust in Him.  Take heart that the humbled shall be exalted as you drink deeply of His cup.

 

*******

O LORD, though good be repaid with evil,

we shall rise on the third day

if we remain united to the sacrifice of your Son.

YHWH, though persecutions come, as they must, we trust ourselves into your hands knowing that your protection is with us, knowing that as your Son was raised on the third day, our suffering shall soon come to an end and we stand with you in your kingdom.  Give us faith and strength in your abiding presence, despite the whisperings of the crowd.

The people plotted to take the life of your prophets and your Son.  A pit is dug for all your faithful, LORD.  But that pit is shallow as this passing world; only your eternity remains.  And so, let us not fear as we drink the cup Jesus offers us, the cup He Himself drank upon the Cross; for as we lay down our lives in this world, sharing in the sacrifice of Christ, so we shall be blessed to know the glory to which you call all your faithful servants.

Our trust is in you, O LORD, for you are our God.  Save us from the snares of the devil.

Direct download: BC-032311-W_2_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

O mother to the poor

and disadvantaged,

missionary to those in your own country

isolated from their neighbors

because of the color of their skin,

some who lived upon the land

long before those who oppressed them,

others brought to this land

in chains…

you who sought to break the chains

of ignorance and poverty,

who gave your treasure

and the riches of your soul

that those without

might find a home –

pray for souls still disadvantaged

by poverty or ignorance;

pray that those with

and those without

might meet as one,

as brothers before the Lord

here on earth

and in the heavenly kingdom.

Direct download: March_3__Katharine_Drexel.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 8:00 PM

(Is.1:10,16-20;   Ps.50:8-9,16-17,21,23;   Mt.23:1-12)

 

“To him that goes the right way

I will show the salvation of God.”

 

“Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good.”  For it is only following in the way of the Lord we shall be saved; for mere words, vain pretense, the Lord has no patience.

Indeed it is so, what Isaiah proclaims: “Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow.”  Forgiveness is offered forth generously by the Lord to the nation that goes astray.  But we must be “willing, and obey” the word “the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”  If we “hate discipline and cast [His] words behind” our backs, if we but “recite [His] statutes” as the Pharisees whose “works are performed to be seen,” whose mouths profess the covenant but whose deeds are far from Him, how is it we shall find salvation?  For the Lord is not blind and deaf as we to the heart of man; and unlike our own, His word is true, and His command must be followed – we must serve Him and our neighbor.  We must humble ourselves in His sight if we hope to be exalted to His kingdom.

“Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.”  Over and over we hear from the mouth of the prophet and the psalmist and the Son Himself – the Lord has compassion on the poor and lowly, and we must do as He calls… we must be His arms and legs in this world.  Unlike the Pharisees who “will not lift a finger” to carry even the lightest burden, whose “deeds are few,” we must take up the full weight of the cross.  It is not “places of honor” and “marks of respect in public” for which we hunger; but when we teach and as we serve, our hearts must be set on the salvation of souls, which can only be accomplished by living the way of the Messiah, by following His example.

What has Jesus not done for us?  What teaching has He left lacking flesh and blood?  And so, rightly is He called “Rabbi”; and so, truly is He the only Son of the one Father in heaven.  Brothers and sisters, we must go the way He leads – we must follow the humble path to the kingdom.  In this our sins shall become “white as wool,” washed in the blood of the Lamb.

 

*******

O LORD, let us be humble and just in your sight

that we might be saved from our sin

and enter your kingdom. 

YHWH, our sins are red as crimson, but you would make them white as wool if we but listened to your Word and put it into practice.  If our worship of you were genuine, then we would be truly blessed.  But as it is we speak in vain when we call upon your Name.  For who among us lives the way Jesus teaches, the way He walked?  His chastisement let us treasure, that we might be saved from empty sacrifice.

There is so much pride within our hearts, O LORD, and in our words and actions.  We desire to be exalted in the sight of others.  Oh if it were but our desire to serve you!  If we but sought to be humble and true, then you would raise us to be with you, in the heavenly kingdom.

O let us listen to you, LORD?  Let us heed your command, your word of instruction.  Let us do what is right and just in your sight and with our neighbor, and your cleansing grace we shall find.

Direct download: BC-032211-Tu_2_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Dn.9:4-10;   Ps.79:8-9,11,13,103:10;   Lk.6:36-38)

“Deliver us and pardon our sins for your name’s sake.”

It is a cry for forgiveness our psalmist makes to our compassionate God.  “Remember not against us the iniquities of the past,” he begs, seeking release from sin’s prison for himself and his people.  And Daniel does the same; acknowledging with full throat the sins of Judah and all Israel, he seeks the merciful hand of the Lord upon the people, interceding in their stead.  Though he himself is an upright man, he cries out, “We have sinned, been wicked and done evil,” praying thus for the rebellious nation which has been scattered to “all countries” for their failure to heed the command of the Lord.

Well do our Old Testament figures embody Jesus’ teaching in our gospel, summed up simply: “Be compassionate, as your Father is compassionate.”  For they “do not judge” or “condemn” those individuals primarily responsible for the apostasy and so the destruction of the kingdom and the covenant, but rather seek earnestly to heal the rift that has come by giving generously of themselves and their love for God and others, in Christlike fashion standing in the breach.  And so they earn the titles of prophet and psalmist of God; and so they foreshadow the heavenly compassion Jesus calls all His followers to pour forth in His name.  (And so we can be assured their compassion has been “measured back” to them by the Lord.)

Jesus on the cross dies for the sins of all people, and this is His central call to all our souls: to imitate Him is our blessed goal.  For insofar as we die for God and others, insofar as we lay down our lives in His truth, thus far we shall find His “compassion quickly come to us” and so live in the heavenly glory which is now His place.  To us all He calls this day to pardon and forgive, for in doing so we shall find the reconciliation of the Lord even with our enemies, and secure for ourselves a room in His heavenly home.

He who knew no sin was made sin for our sake.  He has humbled Himself to carry the sins of the nation…  Let us, brothers and sisters, die with Christ on the cross, that all sin might be taken away in His Name.

*******

O LORD, let us not turn away

from your Word to our souls

but be compassionate as you.

YHWH, you are a compassionate God calling us to your mercy and love.  Forgive us all our transgressions against you that we might know your favor.  Though we have sinned and done what is evil in your sight, though we have rebelled against you and your command, refusing to listen to the Word of truth you utter in our midst, hear our cry for deliverance from the prison into which our sins have cast us.  Save us in your love!

O LORD, if we do not judge we shall not be judged.  If we do not condemn we shall not be condemned.  If we but forgive others their transgressions against us, you will forgive our transgressions against you.  And we shall return to your pasture.

Help us to give, O LORD, to give as you give, to give as your Son gives… to lay down our lives for the sake of others – to seek pardon for their sins.  Jesus stands in the breach to reconcile us to you and one another; may we join Him in His mission of love.

Direct download: BC-032111-M_2_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Gn.22:1-2,9-13,15-18;   Ps.116:10,15-19;   Rom.8:31-34;   Mk.9:2-10)

“You shall offer him up as a holocaust

on a height that I will point out to you.”

“Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love,” the Lord instructs Abraham, calling him to sacrifice even as an animal his beloved child, upon whom God’s promise rests.  To a mountain he is led, with his son carrying wood in tow.

And arriving at the place God had told him to go, “Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it… and took the knife to slaughter his son.”  The angel comes to stay his hand, but Abraham is prepared to do as the Lord commands.

The Lord prevents Abraham from making this sacrifice because it is not his son who is to die; only the Lord’s Beloved could be offered as such a holocaust; only His Son is called upon to die.  “Christ Jesus it is who died,” no one else, for only His death brings life.

And on Mount Tabor today we see the life that will come by the Lord’s sacrifice; already we glimpse the rays of heaven.  Jesus is as engulfed in flames, holy fire of the most blessed holocaust; and – like the three young men in the furnace, like the bush before Moses on Mt. Horeb – by these flames He is not burned: by these flames His purity is made to shine.

How good indeed it is for these apostles to behold this blessed vision!  In it we all find hope that the death of Christ is not for naught, and neither shall our own death be.  For all who die in Christ, die as Christ, a death that brings only eternal life.  And so, comprehending here the majesty to which we are called, all disciples of Jesus, all children of the God of Life, are strengthened for all trial.

God “did not spare His own Son but handed Him over for us all,” not because He loved Him not, but because He loves us all.  And now “will He not also give us everything along with Him?”  Will He now seek to condemn those whom He has justified at such a massive cost?

“It is God who acquits us,” brothers and sisters, by the death of His Son.  And now “precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of [all] His faithful ones”; do not be afraid to serve the Lord.  For by your sacrifice, to a great height He will draw you, even as He has His Son, who “is at the right hand of God” this day.  With Abraham, He “will bless you abundantly.”

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

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

*******

O LORD, if we join your Son in obedience

even unto death,

we shall be raised with Him.

YHWH, your Son has died to raise us all to new life; only His death could bear such fruit.  And should we not therefore put faith in Him, Him whom you have declared your Beloved?  Should we not thus come to a great love of you who have loved us so greatly?  And would we not then come to glory, the same glory He shares with you this day?

A sign you give to us this day, dear LORD, a sign of your eternal glory, a glory that comes to us by the death of Jesus the Christ.  And so, we should not be afraid of the death we must die, of the offering we must make of our lives in His Name.  For as we are joined to Him in sacrifice, so will we be joined to Him in your heavenly kingdom.

O LORD, bring many souls, souls as countless as the stars, into the land you promise us and which you bring to fulfillment in the death of your Son.  For this grace let us praise your Name forever in your House.

Direct download: BC-030412-Su_2_L_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 5:00 AM

(Dt.26:16-19;   Ps.119:1-2,4-5,7-8;   Mt.5:43-48)

 

“You will be a people sacred to the Lord, your God.”

 

The promise made to the Israelites through Moses is also a command, and is fulfilled in the command of Jesus.

In our first reading Moses tells the people the Lord will raise them “high in praise and renown and glory above all other nations,” but makes it clear that this shall be so only as long as they “walk in His ways and observe His statutes, commandments, and decrees” – only if they “hearken to His voice.”  For His law is as food to the body and light to the mind and must be observed carefully, “with all [our] heart and with all [our] soul,” to maintain the presence of God in our lives.  If “He is to be [our] God,” we must do as He commands.

Thus our psalmist sings of the happiness of those “who observe His decrees, who seek Him with all their heart.”  Thus does he cry out in longing, “Oh, that I might be firm in the ways of keeping your statutes!” for he knows in them is life.  To “walk in the way of the Lord” is his joy.

And that joy is made complete, our life is made whole, by the new command of love Jesus imparts to our soul.  The Lord fulfills the Law of Moses, which gave light to the people, by commanding us not to love only our “countryman” but all: “Love your enemies, pray for your persecutors.”  Here is His challenge for us to “prove that [we] are sons of our heavenly Father,” to love as He loves, to know the greatness of His glory, therefore, in our very lives.  If the psalmist cried out in such joy at the blessing found in following the Law of Moses, what indescribable joy is ours when we follow Jesus’ words.  What greater call can we have than to “be made perfect as [our] heavenly Father is perfect”?  What greater merit and blessing could there be?  None.  For He is Life itself, and here we are called to live with Him.

“His sun rises on the bad and the good, He rains on the just and the unjust.”  Nothing dims God’s holy light or stems the blessings He showers upon all.  In absolute light, in absolute love, the Father dwells, in the heavenly kingdom; and if we can love as He loves, as Jesus has loved, we shall know such blessing.  Love even those who hate you and you will be as the Father, who knows only love, and you will become sacred to Him – you will be saints in His kingdom.

*******

O LORD, if we follow your way with our whole heart,

we shall come to where you are, in Heaven.

YHWH, what can we be but blessed if we heed your commands and walk in your way, for then we will be like you, who are most blessed of all?  O to be a people sacred to you!  O to love as you love!

What greater blessing can we know, O LORD, than to love as you love, to love all, even our enemies?  What blessing it would be to know such absolute love, to live such absolute love – then we would be living with you; then we would be living in you.  You shine like the sun upon all creatures…  Let us live in your light this day.

Your Word is light to us, LORD; your commands are truth.  And by them you would lead us to all truth, to all love – by them you would lead us to yourself.  And your greatest command is to love our enemies, a command your Son embodies.  Let us join with Him in keeping this Word and so live in your heavenly presence.

Direct download: BC-031911-Sa_1_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Ez.18:21-28;   Ps.130:1-8;   Mt.5:20-26)

 

“Settle with your opponent while on your way to court with him.”

 

We are all on our way to court, brothers and sisters.  The judgment of the Lord awaits us all on the Last Day, and the Last Day is upon us here at the end of the age.  There is no time to lose; we must be “reconciled with [our] brother”; we must turn from sin today and find the Lord’s grace.  “With the Lord is kindness and plenteous redemption; and He will redeem Israel from all their iniquities” – but “out of the depths” we must cry to Him “in supplication” to find His blessed forgiveness; and from sinful paths we must turn our feet to know His salvation.

“If a wicked man, turning from the wickedness he has committed, does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life.”  It is a great promise that comes to us through the prophet Ezekial, that none of our crimes shall be remembered by God when we return to Him.  For the Lord does not “derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked,” He “rather rejoice[s] when he turns from his evil way that he may live”; for the Lord wishes life for us all, wishes Himself, who is Life, for every soul, and gives it freely, and quite naturally, when we follow His ways.

It is really rather simple: as when a wicked man turns to good things he is no longer wicked but good and so lives in the Lord, so “when a virtuous man turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die.”  Evil brings death, and righteousness and justice (goodness) brings life.  The Lord desires life for us all and so He calls us to repentance, to repentance from even what might seem to our minds the smallest of sins – for so greatly does He wish life for us.  And clearly does He know that which we cannot see, that death holds sway over us by every sin on our soul.

Let us avoid the fires of hell and the pains of purgatory, brothers and sisters.  Let us call out to the Lord this day and find His “plenteous redemption” even as we turn from our sins.  And there shall be no prison into which we are thrown, as we forgive one another, and the Lord forgives us, our sins.

 

*******

O LORD, let us be released from all bondage to sin

that we might walk with you in righteousness

and so find life.

YHWH, forgiveness is with you, for it is your great desire to see us turn from our sin that you might have mercy on our souls.  And if we do so, if we leave behind our wickedness – even our wicked thoughts and words – we shall find your goodness; you shall gather us into your arms.  For then we shall be of goodness itself, and so, united with you.

But turning from the right path, what can we find but death in our separation from you, LORD?  What can we know but condemnation in leaving you behind?  For then you will not be with us, and without you there is no life.

O LORD, you are generous in redeeming us from all our iniquities.  Let us follow your way as your Son does call, purging all hatred from our lives.  Help us to be perfect as you are perfect – in love, in forgiveness, in grace… and we shall thus enter your kingdom, where only perfection exists.  No evil in our hearts let us desire; cast all iniquity from us this day as we love even our enemy.

Direct download: BC-031811-F_1_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Est.C:12,14-16,23-25;   Ps.138:1-3,7-8;   Mt.7:7-12)

 

“My Lord, our King, you alone are God.

Help me, who am alone and have no help but you.”

 

In our gospel we have today a few of our Lord’s most famous words: “Ask, and you will receive.  Seek, and you will find.  Knock, and it will be opened to you.”  Jesus encourages us to faithfulness in prayer, assuring all that our “heavenly Father [will] give good things to anyone who asks Him.”  How beautiful are His words, and how true.

And how well Queen Esther illustrates the faithful prayer of one who has “recourse to the Lord.”  She comes to the Lord in all humility as an obedient child before her father and opens her heart before God with a sincere plea for her fellow Jews, threatened with extinction by the enemy.  She says of her forefathers, proclaiming herself a daughter of Abraham, “You fulfilled all your promises to them,” and comes now seeking the same answer from the “King of gods and Ruler of every power.”  Such prayer for salvation before the God she recognizes “know[s] all things” cannot but be answered by the loving Father.  He will give her the food she desires.

In our psalm we hear David’s song of thanksgiving for the prayers the Lord has been faithful in answering for him: “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth,” thus proving the truth of Jesus’ exhortation to His disciples, and indicating that Esther will also find answer to her prayer – and so, that we all should have assurance of God’s loving desire to heed all our sincere pleas.  David, too, acknowledges the greatness of God: “You have made great above all things your name and your promise,” and so comes to the place where the “kindness and [the] truth” of the Lord will be known to him.  And his faith in the Lord’s promise to be with him and hear him lasts for perpetuity: “The Lord will complete what He has done for me.”

Praise the Lord, who answers all prayers.  Praise the loving God who knows all things.  It is in His heart to feed us with the best of wheat, and this He does each day for those who “worship at [His] holy temple and give thanks to [His] name.”  “Forsake not the work of your hands,” dear Lord.  Be with us always to hear our humble prayers, that we might witness always your loving faithfulness to all who call upon you in truth.

 

*******

O LORD, forsake us not, for we are your children

and have no one but you to help us;

thank you for your mercy. 

YHWH, you readily give good things to those who ask them of you, for it is your will to give what is good to all.  You are goodness itself and would share yourself with all your children if they but desired your presence in their lives.  Let us turn to you and call upon your Name with faith that you hear all our prayers.

We need but seek you, LORD, and your hand at work in our days.  We need but a tiny seed of faith, and you will nourish us with your Word and see that we are protected from our enemies and have all we need to live forever with you.  In your kingdom we shall find our home if we but knock upon its door.

Your Name let us ever praise, O LORD our God, and we shall remain in your truth, and we shall remain in your light, ever growing unto your heavenly presence.  We would need fear nothing at all if we but trusted in you and the love you hold for all your people.  Your kindness be upon us this day as we raise our hearts to you.

Direct download: BC-031711-Th_1_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Jon.3:1-10;   Ps.51:3-4,12-13,18-19;   Lk.11:29-32)

 

“At the preaching of Jonah they reformed.”

 

Let us learn from the people of Ninevah, who heeded the message of repentance given Jonah.  At Jonah’s cry they “believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.”  Even the king “laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes” in hopes of averting the destruction he knew God held in hand for his wayward city.  He decrees that “every man shall turn from his evil way” and “call loudly to God.”  Such utter repentance!  Such turning from sin!  And this from a pagan king and a pagan nation.

If Ninevah has so believed in God, if it has so recognized its sin before Him and turned so dramatically back to Him, pleading for His mercy, what should we not do, brothers and sisters, in this time of Lent set aside for the cleansing of our sins, we who have Jesus’ preaching now ringing in our ears and calling to our hearts?  Indeed, we must again and continually cry out to God with David for His mercy to come upon us.  Ever with “a contrite and humbled heart” we must sit before Him recognizing our sin.  For always our sin is with us, however much we might be ignorant of our guilt as we live our lives in vain.  “Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me,” must be our eternal plea, for we are in continual danger of going away from Him.

Let us not be afraid to humble ourselves before God and man.  Let us seek nothing else but the wisdom of Christ, the call of the cross to our souls.  In humility, in sackcloth and ashes, let us prostrate ourselves before the true king who will come at the judgment to discern the worth of all souls.  Perhaps He will have mercy.  Perhaps He will “withhold His blazing wrath.”  Perhaps the punishment we deserve He may avert and “we shall not perish.”  Upon the soul He finds His cross inscribed, He shall take pity, my friends.

O Lord, we have sinned and done what is evil in your sight.  In your infinite mercy look upon our broken hearts, and help us to reform our lives.  For you alone are God.

*******

O LORD, your Son is greater than any prophet or king;

let us listen to Him as He calls us to repentance.

YHWH, let us be humble before you and your Word.  Let us repent at the preaching of your holy ones.  May your Son be a sign for us that we shall not forget – you are calling us to your kingdom, and to find our way there we must turn away from all sin.

O LORD, let us not fail to take this time to reform our lives; let us not be deaf and blind to the grace you offer forth to all men.  May we know true contrition for the wrongs we have done – O let our hearts be circumcised!  You desire to forgive us, if we would but leave off our evil ways.

We shall all indeed be destroyed if we do not heed your saving Word.  May your prophets cry out the message of the Gospel, and may all your holy ones cover themselves in sackcloth and sit in the ashes… may all fast from the poisonous food this world offers.  Then our spirits shall be renewed.  Then no judgment will come upon us.  Then we shall live forever with you.

Direct download: BC-031611-W_1_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Is.55:10-11;   Ps.34:4-7,16-19;   Mt.6:7-15)

 

“Give us today our daily bread.”

 

Our daily bread comes from the mouth of God; it is His Word that nourishes us.  His Word “water[s] the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats.”  By His Word our spiritual lives are anointed with holiness; the breath of His mouth makes us whole, and so we become fruitful in His Name.

Yes, we are sharers in His Word; it is His Word the just speak in their time of need.  “Crushed in spirit” before Him like holy seed, their cry comes to His ears and the rain He sends upon them saves them from all sin, “deliver[s] [them] from all fears.”  Jesus, the Word made flesh, is true, and His words are true: “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him”; and so the Father is quick to hear when we enter into His Word and call upon His Name in all humility.  It is this humility which makes us fertile earth, this trust in His will that lifts our faces toward His light, that we “may not blush with shame.”  “Look to Him that you may be radiant with joy,” O sinner.  “Glorify the Lord” and “extol His name,” for with you He shares His Spirit; in you He plants the Word that grows to eternal life.

Father in heaven, you alone are holy, and your Name is life to us.  Let “your kingdom come,” let “your will be done,” for apart from you we wither and die.  Make our earth your heaven; bring to us all the blessings you know we need to live ever in your light.  Feed us with your bread, feed us with your Word – your Son is all the food we need.  And for all “the wrong we have done,” as He has taught us, let us find our forgiveness by releasing from all bondage those who have done wrong to us, by loving our enemies.  In the end we pray, O Lord, that temptation be taken from our path; though we treasure your chastising Hand, let us not falter anymore – “deliver us from the evil one” who lurks in this world seeking the ruin of our souls.

O Lord, our lives are in your hands.  Our hearts are given life by you.  In our prayer let us not imitate the vain words of the pagans, but let us join in the Spirit with your Son and become one in the Word with you.  (Help me to remember your Name.)

 

(I witness here that however many times I speak the Lord’s Prayer, as however many times I attend Holy Mass, by the grace that comes through the Spirit, it is ever new and alive with the blessings that come from above.  These words are a gift to us we must cherish in our souls.)

 

*******

O LORD, may the grace of your forgiveness

flow upon us and through us

and so bear the fruit of salvation. 

YHWH, your Word be upon us to bless us and nourish us this day that our words might be fruitful as your own.  With your Son and by the words He has instructed us to pray, let us come to you and find your presence upon us, saving us from sin and leading us to your kingdom.  From the grasp of the evil one let us be released as we call upon your Name.

How shall we be fed this day, O LORD, if not by your hand, if not by the Spirit you send forth from your holy throne?  From on high you shower down upon us cleansing rain that we might be made whole and fruitful in your sight, that we might be as your Son on this earth, bringing your kingdom to bear on this plane.  O let us be as your sons and daughters, shining your light in this dark place!

Hear us as we call to you, LORD.  Deliver us from all distress and affliction.  Let our poor souls be blessed by you that we might ever praise your holy Name.  O Father in Heaven, let us be with you this day.

Direct download: BC-031511-Tu_1_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

O disciple of John

and shepherd who drank deeply

of the cup of Christ’s suffering,

you who bore both

the burden of a long life

and the pain of a violent death

yet remained faithful

till the end –

pray that the fire into which we are cast

we may also endure

as the sacrifice of Jesus

and so find it fruitful,

and so find it blessed…

and so rejoice in the witness

we are granted to give

in the name of our Savior.

May the offering of our lives

join with your own and all the saints’

in rising as holy incense

to the throne of God

and serve as witness,

to the eyes that behold us,

of the Lord’s great power and love.

Direct download: Feb._23_Polycarp.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 8:00 PM

(Lv.19:1-2,11-18;   Ps.19:8-10,15,Jn.6:63;   Mt.25:31-46)

 

“As often as you did it for one of my least brothers,

you did it for me.”

 

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Such is the golden rule and the second of the greatest commandments, which is like unto the first: Love God.  And the union of the two is made evident by Jesus in our gospel today; He makes clear that what we do to others we do to Him, and so to love God and neighbor become one and the same.  So tied is the Lord to His creation by the incarnation of His Son.

And how blessed are all His commands to us, all of which are summed up in love, and all of which give us life.  “Refreshing the soul… giving wisdom to the simple… rejoicing the heart… enlightening the eye… enduring forever” – such is the Word of God to the obedient soul.  All He speaks is just and all He speaks is holy and brings life, for all He speaks is of the Spirit of love.  And of that Spirit we must be, if we hope to attain to eternal life where He sits in glory.

“Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you, O Lord, my rock and redeemer,” is David’s prayer after extolling the virtues of the law of the Lord in his psalm today.  And such should be our prayer.  For if our hearts are set upon Him, and if our mouths speak truth, we can be assured that our actions will follow and we will please the Lord in all we do.  For being of the Lord, we can only feed the hungry; seeking His will, we can only welcome Him and all His children into our lives.  If we are founded upon this Rock, all will find in us the love of God.

For He is love, brothers and sisters, and all He asks of us is love.  Love does “not steal.”  Love does “not lie.”  Love does “not defraud” or “curse the deaf” or “act dishonestly” in any way.  In a word, if you are of love as He is love, “you shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart.”  And all are our brothers, even the least of these; the Lord has made this known.  All are our neighbor and so none can “stand by idly when [his] neighbor’s life is at stake.”  All are called by love to lend their hand, His hand, to others in need.  For then we help Him.

Would we not help the Lord if we saw Him wanting?  Is it not our desire to ease His pain?  We have opportunity ever to do this in those around us.  When we do, we fulfill His command and find life for our souls, for then we are holy as He.

*******

O LORD, may your Word bring us to everlasting life;

let us be obedient to your call to compassion.

YHWH, let your Word be upon us that it might reprove us, that it might teach us and guide us in the way we should go… that it might refresh our souls.  We know not the way we should walk but tend toward selfishness and sin.  Speak to our hearts this day that our eyes might be opened and we be corrected and come to be holy like you.

Your Son tells us in no uncertain terms that condemnation awaits those who hate their brother, who turn their backs on their fellow man.  He lets us know that in doing so we turn our backs on you, O LORD.  And thus spurning your love and the practice of that love in our lives, what can we be but separated from you who are love and life?

But the righteous shall be blessed.  This He tells us, too.  If our hearts are set on fulfilling your commands and especially your command to love (which is all you command), then with you we shall ever dwell in eternal light and life.  May all men listen to your Son and live as He does.

Direct download: BC-031411-M_1_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

O Rock of the Church,

leader of God’s people

to whom the Father has revealed

the divinity of His Son

and on whom the Son has therefore

built His Church,

giving you the keys to the kingdom,

the power to bind and loose

both on earth and in Heaven,

that the ship you steer

might conquer all Satan’s power

by the power of the Spirit

with which you serve your brothers,

secure in the blessed protection

and guidance of the Lord –

pray the Church you do yet lead

shall fulfill the call

the Christ has placed

upon every soul

and that we shall come to our heavenly home

in the light of the Messiah.

Pray we shall indeed be strong

and give faithful witness to our Savior. 

Direct download: Feb._22_Chair_of_Peter.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 2:00 PM

(Gn.9:8-15;   Ps.25:4-9;   1Pt.3:18-22;   Mk.1:12-15) 

“I set my bow in the clouds

to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”

In times past God made a covenant with Noah and his sons once they had come from the ark “that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all mortal beings,” that they and those who would descend from them, indeed all races of men, should experience such devastation no more.  And the sign of the rainbow He has given “for all ages to come,” that His covenant shall not be forgotten.

This promise is a reassuring one, even if not by water but by fire we know this earth shall yet be destroyed.  But a greater promise than this certainly we have, one for which this covenant is but a shadow.  For now we have “Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him.”  Through His resurrection from the dead He now shines in the firmament more brightly than any rainbow, and indeed in Him all races of men meet again and find their hope, not only that they shall not be destroyed from the earth, but that they shall know everlasting salvation in heaven.  Even “the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient when God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark,” have this word preached to them.

“The kingdom of God is at hand.”  Yes, the salvation of the Lord has been set firmly in our hearts, even as the rainbow God set in the heavens.  He has remembered His “love” and “compassion” which “are from of old” and in His “goodness” has fulfilled them in His only Son.  Though Jesus has had to suffer death for our sakes, yet death is remembered no more as we gaze upon His resurrected form – as the bow after the rain, so does His glory shine after the death of this flesh.  And though the flood “prefigured Baptism,” yet Baptism in the name of the Lord and into His death and resurrection is so much more, for “it is not a removal of dust from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience” with which we are blessed now.

And so, brothers and sisters, let us find the “life in the Spirit” to which our Savior, come from the desert of our sin, now leads us.  Let us fix our eyes upon His resurrection glory, even as we experience the death of the body.

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

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

*******

O LORD, let your kindness and compassion

be fulfilled in our midst this day;

let us turn from our sins to walk with Jesus

on the way to you.

YHWH, your Son has come to suffer and die and be raised to new life that we might be led from our sinful state to union with you in Heaven.  Truly, your kingdom has walked among us in the Person of Jesus; truly, your kingdom is now at hand.  Like a bow in the clouds is His resurrection from the dead – let us keep our eyes fixed on Him that truly we shall enter your reign.

You are of compassion, LORD, and your love is from of old.  It is this love you would share with the humble, and so you call us to follow in your ways.  By repentance we shall come to you, and that we might receive this grace your Son cries out to our souls.  Let us follow Him on the way of the Cross that the new day shall be ours.

Your promise of eternal life is our treasure, LORD, our hope in a fallen world.  And you are faithful to your promise – in Jesus we shall never be destroyed.

Direct download: BC-022612-Su_1_L_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 5:00 AM

O blessed reformer of the Church

who by a holy austerity

cleansed your soul

of the corruption of this world

and served by example

to lead others to a religious life –

teach us this day

of the chastising hand of God

and the suffering which leads

to joy,

that in the will of the Lord

we might all be purged

of our dross

and come to the kingdom of Heaven.

Pray that we, too, might realize

and so benefit from

the blessing upon us

when our souls are lashed

with pains

that threaten sorrow,

for He does but wish to lift us

from the sinfulness of this passing earth

to the consolation of His presence.

Direct download: Feb._21_Peter_Damian.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 8:00 PM

(Is.58:9-14;   Ps.86:1-6,11;   Lk.5:27-32)

 

“Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you,

“restorer of ruined homesteads.”

 

“Levi gave a great reception for Jesus in his house,” but it is Jesus who invites him, and all sinners, “to a change of heart” and to join Him in the home He makes for us all in heaven.  As Levi (or Matthew) has done, so must we all: we must leave our “customs post,” that which roots us to this world – we must stand up and follow Him.

“You, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.”  David makes his prayer in our psalm, coming to the Lord as one “afflicted and poor,” begging the Lord’s pity upon his soul.  And there is confidence that his cry is answered, that his soul is gladdened; for the promise has been made through Isaiah that “He will renew [our] strength,” that we “shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails.”  All that He has broken down in His anger against us and against our sins shall be raised up again: “The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake, and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up.”  As we turn to Him and “call the sabbath a delight… not following [our] ways, seeking [our] own interests, or speaking with malice,” we shall indeed “delight in the Lord” and in His inheritance; He shall indeed “nourish [us] with the heritage of Jacob” – the food He gives us will far surpass the bread upon the table at Levi’s banquet.  For it is upon His own Body we shall feed, and so find ourselves renewed in spirit and strengthened for the kingdom of heaven.

The Lord comes to invite all “sick people” to His healing grace.  All who turn from their sins shall be acceptable to Him.  And in His House they shall find a place, and be nourished well.  “Even on the parched land” they shall find the water of life, for His grace extends to all places and all peoples.  And with the bread we bestow on the hungry we ourselves shall be fed, for by this labor we shall unite with Him.  “The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”  Let us find the mercy His words desire for us.

*******

O LORD, help us to recognize our sin

and call upon you for healing,

that your House might be rebuilt. 

YHWH, teach us to turn from our sin, from following our own ways, that we might follow your Son where He leads, that we might come to Him for healing this day.  Let us come into your light and there remain.

You will renew us, LORD, if we do well, for it is your desire to share your mercy with us and make us as your own again.  Though in ruins our lives stand, though all seem lost because of our sin, when we call out to you, you hear us and gladden our souls with your refreshing love.

When Jesus comes to us, O LORD – as He shall come to all to heal us of all illness – when He stands before us and invites us to follow Him, may we be as Matthew and leave all of this world behind and set our hearts on obedience to His voice.  May we invite Him in to the table of our bodies and our souls that He might feed us always with His Word and with the Bread He is, and that we might thus feed others.  O let us be nourished well and be as a watered garden!

Direct download: Saturday_after_Ash_Wed.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Is.58:1-9;   Ps.51:3-6,18-19;   Mt.9:14-15)

 

“Would that today you might fast

so as to make your voice heard on high!”

 

Brothers and sisters, in this day of fasting and penance, first we must “acknowledge [our] offense” as David in our psalm.  We must cry out to our God: “Against you only have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight.”  This is our leaven of truth.  “A contrite spirit, a heart contrite and humbled” the Lord cannot resist.  It is this heart the Lord answers; it is prayer of this soul He hears – to this “cry for help… He will say: Here I am!”

“When the day comes that the groom is taken away, then they will fast.”  We “go in mourning” when Jesus is no longer in our midst.  What does this then say of our fast?  For though the Lord may be with us always in the power of the Spirit, yet He is physically taken from us now till the end of time.  Our fast must therefore be a permanent condition all the while we walk this earth.  And so true is this if we understand the Lord’s definition of a fast as revealed in our first reading from Isaiah: “This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly… sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless, clothing the naked… and not turning your back on your own.”  And what sense it makes that this be our fast now that Jesus is gone, for are we not His children here, called to carry out His mission in this world?  Are not these the very things He instructs us to do in His stead for the least of His brothers who suffer now?  On this earth here at the end of the age we should be engaged in fasting always.

And if we pray with a sincere heart, and if we do the will of the Lord in all things, what promise He makes to us: “Your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed…  The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.”  All we ask shall be given us; all we seek we shall find in Him.  And so, what shall our fasting be for us but pure joy, even as we become one with the Lord our God?

A blessed call is upon us now, one which makes our voices known to Him.  Let us “remove from [our] midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech.”  Let us denounce any “quarreling and fighting” that keeps us from Him, and see that His will is done in our lives.  Then indeed He shall hear us; then by this death to sin we shall come to the glory of our God.

 

*******

O LORD, what can we do but fast

now that your Son has been taken from us? –

let us do His work, stand in His stead,

laying down our lives for all in need. 

YHWH, your Son has been taken from us, and so, on this day we fast.  He no longer walks among us, and so we must be as His presence.  We must free the oppressed and feed the hungry, doing the works He did while He was in our midst.  And if we do this, we shall be pleasing in your sight, as He was, and so be blessed.

With a contrite heart let us come to you, O LORD, recognizing our faults and failures to serve you as we ought.  Instead of laying down our lives in humble service of those in need of your Word and your Bread, we have spoken ill of our brother and been oppressors ourselves.  And so, any offering we have made has been in vain.  And so we have but served to separate ourselves from you and your compassion.

O LORD, let us not continue blind to our wickedness but seek each day to convert our hearts to your call to be as your Son and live His way of sacrifice for the sake of others.

Direct download: Fri._after_Ash_Wed.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Dt.30:15-20;   Ps.1:1-4,6,39:5;   Lk.9:22-25)

 

“The Lord watches over the way of the just,

but the way of the wicked vanishes.”

 

In our first reading, Moses makes clear the choice we all must face: “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse.”  “By loving the Lord… heeding His voice, and holding fast to Him,” the Israelites will be blessed with “long life” in the Promised Land; they “will live and grow numerous” by “loving Him and walking in His ways.”  This will be life for them.  “If, however, [they] turn away [their] hearts and will not listen… [they] will certainly perish.”  The promise to them will soon die if they walk “in the way of sinners.”

Life and death.  The blessing and the curse.  The just and the wicked.  To the Israelites the promise that they would be “like a tree planted near running water” if they followed the commandments of the Lord referred quite literally, quite physically, to the blessing of long life and enjoying the fruits of the earth.  It showed itself in the numbers of people in the nation and the land they were given to occupy.  When they were cursed, their kingdom was torn down and the land taken away from them.  They became “like chaff which the wind drives away” when they were forced into exile from the lands of Judah and Israel.

What is the land we must so treasure today, brothers and sisters?  What place are we called to preserve by following in the way of the Lord?  For now he “who gains the whole world” will likely “destroy himself in the process.”  Now our sights, our hopes, can no longer be set on the physical universe.  Jesus has come.  The Son of Man walks in our midst.  And His presence, His flesh, makes the heavenly homeland our desire – it is this which is now our Promised Land.  It is the number born into this kingdom which now causes our hearts to rejoice.  It is this blessing that now comes to him “who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on His law day and night.”

And the Lord makes clear what “the way of the just” now entails.  Our gospel tells us “Jesus said to all” – not just to His disciples, but to all who would find the blessing, would find life – “Whoever wishes to be my follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in my steps.”  And His steps include enduring “many sufferings,” being “put to death” and then being “raised up on the third day.”  Now it is death that leads to life.  Now this world must be left behind.  Now, though we love all – even our enemies – and everything upon it, we must leave the earth we have held so dear.  The command is the same (to renounce all sin and love God), but now the prize is much greater, and so the way there much more narrow.  But the Lord blesses our every step toward Him.

*******

O LORD, let us remain in you and in your Son,

walking the way of His Cross

that we might not lose our souls

but gain the life of Heaven. 

YHWH, may we find not only long life on the land but eternal life in your heavenly kingdom by our turning away from all sin and following your Son on the way of the Cross.  Let us be dead to all the distractions of this wicked world that we might dwell with you alone.

Death comes to the wicked, LORD, death that spells the demise of his soul, of his life in you who are Life itself.  And so, how shall he live anymore if apart from you?  And so, what is his life then worth?  It is indeed like chaff driven away by the wind.

But those who take their refuge in you, who meditate on your Word and the Word that is your Son, these you prosper in all they do, for all they do is in your will and so cannot but receive your blessing, the blessing of your living presence, LORD.

Let us choose this day to live in you and never to turn our backs to your call to love.  Laying down our lives, O LORD, may we be carried by your angels.

Direct download: Thursday_after_Ash_Wed.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Jl.2:12-18;   Ps.51:3-6,12-14,17;   2Cor.5:20-6:2;   Mt.6:1-6,16-18)

 

“Even now, says the Lord,

return to me with your whole heart,

with fasting, and weeping, and mourning.”

 

“We implore you, in Christ’s name: be reconciled to God!” Paul exclaims; and the people of God today raise a cry, rending their hearts, begging His forgiveness… turning from their sins to find His healing grace.

The trumpet is blown in Zion; the people are gathered as one.  Now “let the bridegroom quit his room, and the bride her chamber.  Between the porch and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep.”  For now is the time of mourning, now is the time of prayer… now is the time to cry with David, “Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me.”  For now as we “acknowledge [our] offense” we find how “gracious and merciful is He”; now “the joy of [His] salvation” returns to us as “a clean heart” He creates for us, as His Holy Spirit He instills in our souls.  Yes, “Now is the acceptable time!  Now is the day of salvation!”  And so let us cry out to our Lord: “Spare, O Lord, your people!”

The Lord will hear us, brothers and sisters; He will be quick to respond, as long as we are careful “not to receive the grace of God in vain.”  As Jesus said to His disciples, so He says to us: “Be on guard against performing religious acts for people to see.”  Only such vanity will prevent our finding the “recompense from our heavenly Father.”  Yes, we must give alms.  Yes, we must pray.  Yes, we must fast.  But listen to the Lord’s instruction to “keep your deeds of mercy secret,” to “pray to your Father in private,” and to make sure “no one can see you are fasting but your Father who is hidden.”  For then indeed “your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you” for your sacrifice.  But if your offering is one to impress the eyes of man, be sure the eyes of God do not look upon it and it shall find no blessing in His sight.

The time has come, the time of great mercy.  As we call upon our God, “in the greatness of [His] compassion [He will] wipe out [our] offense.”  In Jesus and in His sacrifice for our sin we might now “become the very holiness of God.”  May we find now the Lord “stirred to concern for His land and [taking] pity on His people.”  May we find His grace at work in our souls as now we give ourselves to Him.

 

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

 

Music: "The Sackcloth Song" from Remove the Mask of Lies, second album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

 

*******

O LORD, you see what is hidden;

let there be in our hearts no sin

but only your heavenly presence. 

YHWH, against you we have sinned, against you and your love.  We have turned our backs to you and our guilt is with us always.  But you are merciful and offer opportunity for repentance.  You are good and kind and allow us to return to you.  Help us to rend our hearts and weep in your presence, that we might know the healing touch of your forgiving hand.

Wash us thoroughly from our fault; let it no more be known in your sight, O LORD.  Now is the acceptable time for repentance – in Jesus you will hear our pleas.  O let His sacrifice be fruitful in your sight that we might be holy in Him this day!

And let our offering be acceptable to you as well.  May our fasting and praying and almsgiving bring down your blessings upon us.  Make us sincere, dear LORD, in our love for you and one another.  Let us lay down our lives with your Son and know your presence in our souls.  Spare us this day, O God; let us know the greatness of your mercy.

Direct download: Ash_Wed.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 8:00 AM

O seven men

who lived as one

in service of the Lord

under the mantle of Our Lady,

you who left everything of this world,

all you bought and sold,

that you might discover the riches

of Heaven:

to the mountain you went

to find perfection –

to the mountain let us come

to live with God.

Led by the prompting of our Lord and Lady,

let us, too, be fruitful on this plane,

founded in humility and love and poverty,

living as one in the Body of Christ,

freely giving our lives

and so knowing the blessing

of the virtues upon which you fed.

Pray for us through our Mother

that we too follow the call of her Son.

Direct download: Feb._17_Seven_Founders_of_the_Order_of_Servites.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 8:00 PM

(Gn.6:5-8,7:1-5,10;   Ps.29:1-4,9-11;   Mk.8:14-21)

 

“The voice of the Lord is over the waters,

the Lord, over vast waters.”

 

“Mighty” indeed is the voice of God, but who can hear it?  Who listens to its “majestic” ringing in their ears?

In the time of Noah the Lord’s “heart was grieved,” for He “saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth, and how no desire that his heart conceived was ever anything but evil.”  So great was the Lord’s grief over man’s disobedience that He uttered the saddest words we could hear: “I am sorry I made them,” and resolved to “wipe [them] out from the earth.”  If we have not pleased our Father, what hope have we of life?  If we have not listened to His voice, what can we hear but a sentence of condemnation?

It seems Jesus’ heart is grieved, too, today at His disciples’ ignorance of His instruction.  Here in a boat upon the waters His voice chastises their slowness to comprehend His call to wakefulness in the Spirit: “Are your minds completely blinded?  Have you eyes but no sight?  Ears but no hearing?” and finally, “Do you still not understand?”  And though He seems eminently frustrated by the fact that their vision is still trained so stubbornly on the bread of earth rather than the Bread of heaven, though they so quickly forget the miracles He has worked and the power He has revealed, yet He shall not remove them from His sight, but continue in patience with their schooling. 

For just as “Noah found favor with the Lord” and thus served to salvage our race from utter destruction, so the Lord’s apostles have found favor with Him.  And Jesus knows that as “Noah did just as the Lord had commanded him,” putting complete faith in God’s word, so these disciples will also in strength and in faith carry out His mission after His own death and resurrection, after His ascension into heaven… and with the Holy Spirit’s power upon them.  As in Noah’s ark God keeps man’s “issue alive over all the earth,” preserving them from the flood, so now in the barque of Peter “all the [Lord’s] household” takes refuge from the fiery destruction that is coming upon the world in these the last days.

Like the “one loaf” the disciples hold in their hands is the Church of the Lord – it is all that is needed for food in this world.  And so as we sail along to the farther shore, let us listen to God’s mighty voice speaking through Her.  As the end approaches, be sure to heed the Lord’s instruction: “Keep your eyes open!”  Beware the hypocrisy and pride of the powers that be.

 

*******

O LORD, how shall we be just in your sight

and begin to understand your majesty and glory?

YHWH, you are majestic, exalted far above earth and sea and every living creature.  But we are deaf and blind to your ways, and so, beset by wickedness.  How shall we hear your mighty voice calling to us over the waters, calling to us in your Son?  How shall we heed the thunder of your glory and praise you in your Temple with full voice?  How do we begin to understand what is far beyond our poor minds?

Send your Spirit upon us, LORD, that we might know and eat the Bread that is your Son, that we might be saved from the destruction that is coming upon all living things.  Into your Ark let us come, into your holy Church; with your apostles let us dwell, enlightened by your teaching and sharing in your food.

The Bread of Heaven make our own, LORD, that we might rise above the earth to where you dwell enthroned in glory and majesty with your only Son.

Direct download: BC-021511-Tu_6_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Gn.4:1-15,25;   Ps.50:1,8,14,16-17,20-21;   Mk.8:11-13)

 

“Sin is a demon lurking at the door:

his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.”

 

Thus does the Lord encourage Cain not to hang his head at his failures in worship but to learn from his errors and be strong.  Here already in Scripture we see how redemption is possible, how God gives us power to conquer sin.  But Cain does not fight off the demon at his door but instead attacks his brother Abel, killing him who has overcome sin.  The jealous demons write their name in Abel’s blood, by the hand of Cain his brother.

And the Pharisees are the same as Cain.  It is they of whom our psalmist sings, they who “recite [the Lord’s] statutes, and profess [His] covenant with [their] mouth,” but whose hearts are far from Him and who “hate discipline and cast [His] words behind” themselves.  It is they who “sit speaking against [their] brother,” for indeed they come to “argue with Jesus,” to “test” Him who is most especially their brother, who is their Messiah.  And it is they who will shed their brother’s blood, who will conspire to kill their own “mother’s Son.”  And though Jesus Himself “correct[s] [them] by drawing [their sin] up before [their] eyes,” yet, like Cain, they refuse to see the evil taking hold of them, and so will be unable to turn from it.  And their punishment shall be greater than that of Cain, for so much greater is their sin.  As Cain is banished from the soil which had been his own, so the covenant which the Lord had given into the Chosen people’s possession shall be taken from their leaders’ hands, and they shall be left empty – except for the hope of turning to Him and cleansing themselves in Jesus’ blood.

The sign the Pharisees seek is essentially one they would make with their own hands, one which they would find at their command.  But “no such sign will be given” them, for then truly would they be condemned.  They must come to the sign Jesus is and accept it as the Lord God offers – their attempts to control the Father’s will are perhaps the most tragic of transgressions.  They say, as does Cain, that God must accept matters their way and are not humble to His Son’s teaching.  And so, sadly for them, “He left them” there on the shore alone, burning in their jealousy.

Fight the demons, brothers and sisters.  Ward off sin in all its forms.  The Lord promises we shall have the strength, if we are willing to turn from our sins and accept His chastising word… and wash ourselves in His cleansing blood.  But if we remain “resentful” and so “deaf” to the Lord’s correction, what shall save our souls?  And with Cain we will wander restlessly the earth, avoiding the glorious presence of the Lord.

 

*******

O LORD, we are a jealous race;

forgive our shedding the blood of our Brother.

YHWH, how sinful we are!  How we turn our hand against our brother, inflicting upon him the punishment for our guilt.  In condemning others we seek to rid ourselves of the condemnation we deserve; but this only brings the punishment on our own heads.  Help us to admit our sin and turn away from it!

Killing our Brother will not free us from the death upon our souls.  O LORD, how can we be so blind, so hardhearted, as to think such wickedness is our salvation?  Jesus comes to us as our Brother, as the one closest to us and most concerned for our well-being… but we cannot bear to hear His voice speaking of our need to turn away from sin, and so, what can we do but kill Him?  O set us free from bloodguilt!

Accept the sacrifice of a pure heart, dear God; make our offering to you sincere.  Our very hearts let us give in the service of our brother.

Direct download: BC-021411-M_6_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Lv.13:1-2,44-46;   Ps.32:1-2,5,7,11;   1Cor.10:31-11:1;   Mk.1:40-45) 

“I said, ‘I confess my faults to the Lord,’

and you took away the guilt of my sin.” 

The leper in our gospel confesses his faults to the Lord when he says, “If you wish, you can make me clean,” for by these words he recognizes that “he is in fact unclean” – that he is a sick man in need of a physician.  And Jesus takes away the guilt of his sin when He responds, “I do will it.  Be made clean.”  For by a mere word from His mouth we are purged.

That the sinner should cry out his guilt is evident even in the ancient Book of Leviticus; it gives specific instructions for the actions of the leper, whose sin has made him unclean: “The one who bears the sore of leprosy shall keep his garments rent and his head bare, and shall muffle his beard; he shall cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean!’  As long as the sore is on him he shall declare himself unclean.”  Here is a graphic representation of the way we sinners should present ourselves to the Lord.  Like the leper who cries to Jesus on his knees, we should never hide our sin from the Lord; our “guilt [should be] covered not.”  For the Lord indeed sees all things – nothing is hidden from Him – so we fool only ourselves if we attempt to hide; and He can’t heal us of our affliction if we do not come into His light.  We must come before Him in all humility for the poison upon our souls, and He will save us from our sin.

How sincere is the leper’s contrition to move the Lord to such immediate pity!  How pitiable indeed he is, as to a final hope for cleansing waters he comes with head bowed to the earth, his years of suffering evident in his shaking voice.  Whimpering like a dog he humbles himself before the Lord… and a tear we find in Jesus’ eye – inevitably He reflects our penitence in His grace.  Let your heart break before Him!  Bleed before the Lord who bleeds for you!  Expose your sores to His eyes and His light shall cure them all.

Finally, brothers and sisters, let us indeed “be imitators” of Paul, “not seeking [our] own benefit but that of the many, that they may be saved,” that people will keep “coming to [Jesus] from everywhere” to find the healing of their “sore of leprosy,” to discover salvation from their sins.  For He does “will it” for everyone – the redemption of all He holds in His arms of sacrifice.  Let all souls show themselves to His priests; let all confess their sins openly, that reconciliation with God and one another all may know.  O Lord, take away the sin from my soul!  (Thank you for the sacrament you leave with us.)

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

Music: "Be Well" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, take away the guilt of our sin

and return us to your fold

that we might declare your glory to all.

YHWH, let us not dwell apart from you but forgive us our sins and let us return to your presence.  Your Son leaves your side for a time to save us from our exile; may His sacrifice bring healing to all this day.

We are all unclean in your sight, O LORD; before you we come on our knees begging to be relieved of our guilt.  Heal the sore upon our souls, which would spell our death – stretch out your hand and make us clean.

How merciful is your Son, LORD.  How perfectly He reflects your compassion for the sinner.  He is moved with pity at our contrition; He shares our tears as His own.  O let all souls press upon Him for salvation!

And let us all reflect His love in all we do, giving glory to you in all things.  Let our tongues follow the confession of our faults with praise of your goodness…  Let us become as Jesus, LORD, laying down our lives that all might be saved and return to you.

Direct download: BC-021212-Su_6_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 5:00 AM

O brothers in the faith

who brought that same faith

to the peoples

entrusted to your care,

who extended the reach of the Church,

gathering in lands

under her holy roof

and into her blessed arms…

faithful you were unto death

in proclaiming the word of God –

please pray that we, too,

shall be holy brothers of Christ,

offering our work, our lives,

for the sake of the nations

yet to be called

into His fold,

for the sake of peoples

unfamiliar with His Word,

that the heavenly kingdom

may come to fulfillment

and all be made one in God’s presence.

Direct download: Feb._14_Cyril_and_Methodius.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 8:00 PM

(Gn.3:9-24;   Ps.90:1-6,12-13;   Mk.8:1-10)

 

“You are dust,

and to dust you shall return.”

 

Because of the fall we come face-to-face with this truth: our own mortality, our own humility, that we are but a creature made from the dust of the earth.  And this truth we must understand.  Because we have “eaten from the tree of which [God] had forbidden [us] to eat,” “thorns and thistles” the earth brings forth for us and “by the sweat of [our] face shall [we] get bread to eat,” until we learn our place – for our own sakes – before our Creator, or “until we return to the ground, from which we were taken.”

“Cursed be the ground because of you!” the Lord God exclaims to the man.  The womb of the woman, like the earth for man, shall bring her pain in bearing children, in bearing her fruit… and the serpent shall eat dust “all the days of [his] life.”  If now we should eat of the tree of life, to what state would we be condemned!  How shall we be saved from such a fate, wherein our own flesh brings upon us such pangs – how shall we escape ourselves?  And how shall we look upon God again?

“Teach us to number our days aright,” our psalmist cries, “that we may gain wisdom of heart.”  And what is he asking but that we realize, as God would teach us, that though He is “from everlasting to everlasting,” that though for Him “a thousand years are as… a watch of the night,” we are “like the changing grass, which at dawn springs up anew, but by evening wilts and fades.”  So passing is our life.  This indeed we must comprehend, for this is truth, and failing to understand it we shall not find answer to our prayer: “Return, O Lord!  How long?  Have pity on your servants!”  But knowing our limitations before our God, He comes quickly to remedy our weakness.

See how Jesus looks upon those who “were without anything to eat,” those whose bodies fainted before His eyes.  Listen to the thought of His heart: “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd.  By now they have been with me three days and have nothing to eat.  If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way.  Some of them have come a great distance.”  Oh how the Lord has pity on us!  Oh how He knows our plight – that we are but fading grass, having been far removed from His sight!  And how He wills to feed us, to nourish those who come to Him, who share the “three days” of His trial.  For though they toiled not, “the people in the crowd ate their fill” in the most peaceful of fields.  The Lord had come to save them!  And now eternal life is upon them.

Brothers and sisters, we need no longer fear our dying flesh, for the Lord feeds us with Bread that does not fail, that brings life eternal to the lowly body that eats it.  And so, no longer are we dust alone, though to dust our body may return.  But we become eternal souls in the hand of our Savior, eating from the tree of life He is.  In all humility let us receive His gift, His saving presence among us.  And to God we shall return, and now forever.

 

*******

O LORD, feed us with the Bread of life

that we might lie in the dust no more.

YHWH, have pity on our weakness, for our flesh is like the changing grass – we do but wilt and fade.  Weak in body and in spirit we find ourselves separated from you by our sins, by our disobedience to your command.  You care only for our good; let us come to you and remain with you till you take pity on our souls.

You give us food to eat, O LORD, even the body of your only Son.  Let us not prefer the food of this world or that which the devil offers.  If our eyes are opened unto death, if we but see our weakness, our nakedness before you, without realizing your eternal love… to what end shall we come?  We shall but return to dust.

Your punishments are good, LORD; your chastisements are what heal our tortured souls.  Let our suffering be joined to Jesus’ own, that we shall hunger for you alone, and in our humility you will be quick to feed us and return us to your fold.

Direct download: BC-021211-Sa_5_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Gn.3:1-8;   Ps.32:1-2,5-7;   Mk.7:31-37)

 

“The eyes of both of them were opened,

and they realized that they were naked.”

 

How different this opening of the eyes of Adam and Eve is from the opening of the deaf man’s ears in our gospel; for our first parents’ eyes were opened unto blindness, but the deaf mute’s ears and tongue only to light.

Why this difference?  Why such contrast in the freeing of the senses to receive their signals?  Why is one evil and the other good?  The opening of the eyes of the man and the woman brings their downfall because they are not prepared for what they see.  They seek to be “like gods who know what is good and what is bad,” but they have not the skins to hold such wine of wisdom.  And so they burst.  And so they died before the glorious light suddenly before them… and so “the man and his wife hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden,” for they could not show their faces of dust before His Face of Majesty.  (Indeed, the woman first erred when she “answered the serpent,” when she responded to his enticement, not realizing she was no match for his “cunning”… much as she failed to understand she is no match for God’s wisdom.)

On the other hand, the opening of the deaf man’s ears and the loosing of his tongue is prepared by Jesus Christ, He in whose presence we are able to see light itself, He who provides the new wineskins for our becoming like God, enabling us to stand before the wonder of His Holy Face.  Notice how “Jesus took him off by himself away from the crowd” before healing the deaf-mute; see how this contrasts with Adam and Eve’s hiding from God.  Where they would avoid the glance of the Lord, Jesus brings the man closer to Him by drawing him away from the crowds; and there, more perfectly in His presence, He heals him.  And the man is healed, of course, because he himself does not hide: he is brought openly by his friends to Jesus.  In this way he “acknowledged [his] sin” before God; his “guilt [he] covered not” (as the man and woman covered their nakedness with fig leaves).  No, in his “spirit there is no guile,” and so his “fault is taken away”; and so, paradoxically, he who “confess[es] his sin to the Lord,” as the humble King David, finds that by the Lord his “sin is covered” – he is forgiven.

Brothers and sisters, let us learn to open our tattered souls to our Lord and God, never to hide; for to hide is hell and the Lord calls us to Him in the light of heaven.  And He will prepare our eyes to see, and He will make our ears ready to hear, and our tongues shall be loosed to praise His name and exclaim our amazement at His grace… for we shall be released from the blindness of sin and be as His Son, who alone can answer the devil.

 

*******

O LORD, let us hear your voice calling us

to confess our sins and return to you this day.

YHWH, how terrible it is when we transgress your Word, when we rebel against your loving will!  We are blinded by our sin even as our eyes are opened to our weakness… and so we hide from your glory, which we cannot contain.

We have bodies, LORD.  You have made us so.  We are not like you, pure Spirit and perfect Light.  And how weak our bodies can be when we lack your secure protection, when we lose your presence with us by our failing to love you.  Who can save us from such travail?  Who can open our ears again to hear and heed your holy Word?

O LORD, as we confess our faults to you, as we come before your Son to seek His healing – He who comes to show us that we are like you (for He is like you and we like Him), He who would restore us to our place as your children, blessed to be in your image… then our nakedness is covered; it is taken away as we reveal our weakness before you.  Let us listen only to you!

Direct download: BC-021111-F_5_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Gn.2:18-25;   Ps.128:1-5;   Mk.7:24-30)

 

“A man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife,

and the two of them become one body.”

 

And Jesus leaves His Father’s side and His mother’s care, and takes to wife His chosen people.  From His side indeed we are born, and become His holy family.

To the “sons of the household” Jesus comes; among the Israelites He walks, calling them to His table to eat the food of eternal life, of eternal union with Him and His Father.  Those who were conceived by God, who were taken as a rib from His own side and formed as His special bride, Jesus seeks to bring to full nuptial blessing in Him.  For this He would even die (as any man should for his wife).  But one “approached Him and crouched at His feet” who was not among those called to the “table first,” who was not of the family of the Chosen.  Unfazed by His rebuff she continues begging, not for “the food of the children” but just for their “leavings,” their crumbs, knowing even this will be enough to join her to His banquet, believing only a word from His mouth will save her own daughter from the devil’s clutches and bring her to His sacred presence.

And moved is He by her who is unmoved by His rebuke.  And so, “when she got home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.”  And so she finds herself and her family wed to Jesus the Christ.  Why?  Because she is one who does indeed “fear the Lord,” who does in fact “walk in His ways”; crawling on her knees before Him, she finds herself “happy” and “favored,” eating “the fruit of [her] handiwork.”  She knows she is not one of the “wild animals” or of the “birds of the air”: she is made in God’s image, a human being, and is inextricably drawn to His side, the side from which she has been born… and thus she finds her life and becomes with her daughter (with all us Gentile people) one of the “olive plants around [His] table,” grafted onto His “fruitful vine.”

Let man love woman as his own flesh, and let all men love one another as fellow children, for our Father in heaven loves us all much more greatly and draws us all to be wed to Him through our Bridegroom, His only Son.  As His side is opened by the lance and so we His Church are born in His blood, washed clean by His holy water, so let husbands give themselves for their wives, knowing they are “taken from” their own sides.  Yes, let us all die for one another that the love of God might extend to “the recesses of [His] home,” from which no soul is excluded.  In His blessed marriage feast let us all shout for joy!

*******

O LORD, blessed are those

who humble themselves before you;

they shall be joined to you.

YHWH, flesh of your flesh we are; flesh of your flesh let us be, wed to you through the flesh of your only Son.  One with you let us dwell forever, for from you our very lives taken.

And help us thus to love one another, LORD.  If you love us so much to give us yourself, let us then reflect your love and so give ourselves for the sake of others.  Let husbands love their wives and all souls serve the needs of others, finding great joy and blessing in thus serving your will.

To your table let all come, LORD, that they might share the food of your children, the Bread that is Jesus your Son, the Word that is your Spirit.  May all souls recognize the greatness and the goodness of Him who walks among us, and may we be hidden with Him in you and so become your fruitful children.  In faith let us be born and live in you and with you forever; let none be alone or apart from you.

Direct download: BC-021011-Th_5_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

O lovely Lady who appeared to Bernadette,

Mary, Blessed Virgin and Mother of our Lord –

let our eyes, too, see your beauty

and hear your voice

calling us to pray for sinners,

calling us to come to you with our prayers

and to wash ourselves clean

in the water you provide

through Jesus your Son.

O Immaculate Conception,

so pure, so full of grace,

cleanse all our sickness from us;

let us be immersed

in the bath of purity

that washes us of sin,

that makes us whole

in the sight of God.

If we but had innocent hearts

we would see you,

we would remember the blessing you are

to all faithful souls…

O let us come to you

and find the grace we need this day.

Direct download: Feb._11_Our_Lady_of_Lourdes.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 8:00 PM

(Gn.2:4-9,15-17;   Ps.104:1-2,27-30;   Mk.7:14-23)

 

“The Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground

and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,

and so man became a living being.”

 

In addition, “out of the ground the Lord God made various trees grow that were delightful to look at and good for food.”  These would feed the body of the man.  But only spirit feeds the soul. 

Body and soul.  They meet in man and become one, yet one is the cause of life while the other passes.  When God formed man out of the clay of the ground, what He held in His hands was the body, and at the time it was dead.  Not until He breathed into him did man become alive: in this breath he found his soul.  And the time shall come when this form does rot, but not the soul.  Only in heaven will we have bodies that live eternally with our spirits (though certain saints – as did our Blessed Mother – may know this holy union even here on earth.)

And so does Jesus tell us “that nothing that enters a man from outside can make him impure,” and, to make this point graphically clear, adds, “It does not penetrate his being, but enters his stomach only and passes into the latrine.”  What is of the body is just so passing, and therefore of no consequence.  It is “what emerges from within a man” that “makes him impure.”  For sins such as “acts of fornication, theft, murder,” etc. are not the result of the food we eat, but of the thoughts in “the deep recesses of the heart.”  These are what make a man impure – or, by contrast, which will make him pure.  It is the soul that is capable of good or evil, not the body.  And even though it is eating of the fruit of “the tree of the knowledge of good and bad” that causes man’s downfall, this is not the result of the fruit itself, but of the covetousness and pride of man’s disobedience.  It is the ‘eating,’ the desire of the eye and the heart and the act which follows, which constitutes the sin, and not the fruit eaten.

Our psalmist speaks of the body and soul as well.  It is so that by the Lord we are “filled with good things,” that He gives us “food in due time,” food we need for our survival; but as the psalmist says of the soul, “If you take away their breath, they perish and return to the dust.”  How quickly we would die, in a moment or two, without the breath of God in our nostrils, without His Word to give us life.  And what great care we should take of the spirit that enters our beings.  May our souls ever be set upon our God and His teaching.  May our every thought and word and action be of Him, that we shall never be disobedient.  O Lord, “when you send forth your Spirit, [we] are created, and you renew the face of the earth.”  Give us your divine breath of life in our nostrils this day.

*******

O LORD, you make us of the clay of the earth,

but it is not the body that is of consequence

but the Spirit breathing within us –

let it be your own.

YHWH, it is you who make us of the clay of the ground and you who breathe the breath of life into our nostrils.  It is you who feed us in both body and spirit – you are our LORD and God.

It is you who care for us each day, O LORD, you who send your Son to take away our sins.  He reveals to us that it is not the flesh that gives life but the Spirit that is within; and He would cleanse us of all iniquity that we might stand as your sons always.

Though Jesus comes in the flesh and gives us of His flesh to eat, this food is not the passing kind but that which lasts unto eternal life.  And so, LORD, we pray that we shall embrace Him and the Word, the Spirit, He imparts to us.  Thus will we  be raised from the dust of death, from the chains that bind us to this earth, and rise with Him unto Heaven.

  Feed us with your Word, LORD, that we might be renewed and live forever in your Garden.    

Direct download: BC-020911-W_5_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

O innocent soul,

pure as an angel,

meek as a lamb,

from slavery you were taken

to the house of God,

where freedom you found

in faith in the Lord –

pray for the freedom of all slaves

chained in soul or body,

that they shall be released

from the snares of this world

to walk at liberty with Jesus.

Pray His goodness reign

in all His children,

in all who would be

gentle as this Lamb;

may all those in need of His grace

hear His Word proclaimed,

and in His blood

be redeemed.

And pray His Mother watch over

all who are near or far from Him,

till they enter His presence.

Direct download: Feb._10_Scholastica.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 8:00 PM

(Gn.1:20-2:4;   Ps.8:2,4-9;   Mk.7:1-13)

 

“God created man in His image;

in the divine image He created him.”

 

At God’s word “the water teem[s] with an abundance of living creatures… birds fly beneath the dome of the sky,” and “the earth bring[s] forth all kinds of living creatures,” too.  And “God saw how good it was.”  Then God conceived the crown of His creation and said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”  And so, “little less than the angels He made him” and gave him “dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.”  And all this was “very good” in God’s eyes.  Alleluia!

But what does man do with this ultimate blessing from His Creator: he takes the freedom and power placed in his hands and makes himself a slave to “cups and jugs and kettles,” forever trying to wash his hands clean of the sin upon them.  God gives man “rule over the works of [His] hands, putting all things under his feet,” and all man can do is trample upon them as he forgets the God who made him.

“How accurately Isaiah prophesied about [us] hypocrites when he wrote…  ‘Empty is the reverence they do me because they teach as dogmas mere human precepts.’”  Placing our traditions and practices above God’s commandments we lose sight of the glory upon us, of the majesty of God’s works around us, as we lock ourselves in a dark and empty room of our own making.  And all the creatures God has placed in our unclean hands suffer too, as our hearts turn from their stewardship to our selfish plottings.  And so, though we are crowned by God “with glory and honor,” we crown Him with thorns.

O Lord, “what is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him?”  Lord, come and restore us to our former glory.  Father, let us give you true honor.  May your Word be made fruitful in our lives and we become as your Son.  Let all be blessed and made holy again in your sight.  In Jesus’ blood please wash our hands, that we might help you build your peaceful kingdom.

 

*******

O LORD, may your Word be fulfilled in us;

may we who were created in your image

be recreated in the image of your Son,

washed clean in His blood.

YHWH, you place all things in our hands, and we but corrupt them.  Your glory and majesty you reflect in your creation, and especially in man, but he cares not well for your gift and abuses his dominion.  His hands are not subject to your will but soiled by his own, and so creation with them.

In your image you create us, LORD: what greater blessing could there be!  Like gods we are made to reflect your presence on this plane – why have we gone so astray?  And how shall we return to you?  Only by heeding the chastising word of your only Son, who speaks with your own authority.  Listening to Him we heed your commands; turning from Him we can only be condemned.

Thank you for all your blessings, LORD, for the beauty and goodness of your creation.  Most of all, we thank you for making us in your image.  Let us not nullify your word and remove ourselves from your presence, but honor you in all we do.

Direct download: BC-020811-Tu_5_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Gn.1:1-19;   Ps.104:1-2,5-6,10,12,24,31,35;   Mk.6:53-56)

 

“How manifold are your works, O Lord!

In wisdom you have wrought them all.”

 

It is the Lord who “fixed the earth upon its foundation not to be moved forever,” and “with the ocean, as with a garment [He] covered it” – “the earth is full of His creatures.”  By the Word of His mouth all comes into being, and is sustained, sustained in the goodness of God.

Here as we read the beginning of sacred Scripture, we might do well to quote St. Bonaventure from the day’s Office of Readings.  In speaking of knowledge of Christ as “the main source of a firm understanding of the truth of all sacred Scripture,” He states: “It is impossible, therefore, for anyone to achieve this understanding unless he first receives the gift of faith in Christ.  This faith is the foundation of the whole Bible, a lamp and a key to its understanding.”  But how many read God’s Word as though in a dark room.

The prevailing lack of faith and so blindness to the truth of Scripture is evident again today in the commentary of my missal, which says of the Creation prophecy in Genesis, “The story is divided artificially,” giving as example the fact that “the sun is created after light.”  How indeed we grope in darkness without the light of the Spirit; without childlike faith we shall never understand God’s Word, never enter His kingdom.  Is the light of God dependent upon the sun or the stars?  When our psalmist sings of the Lord “robed in light as with a cloak,” is it sunlight of which he speaks?  Does the light of the Lord not necessarily precede the limited light of the sun – which the Lord has but made “to govern the day” for a time – even as it shall be all by which we see when the sun and the moon and the stars pass away?  Where is your faith, where is your understanding… why is the Lord’s light not in you, my brother?

Brothers and sisters, as the people of Gennesaret upon seeing Jesus “immediately recognized Him” and “scurried about” to bring all their sick to Him, so we must be drawn by the light of God to the Truth that is Christ the Lord.  He is in every page of Scripture.  He is at work with the Father in Creation.  He is the all-powerful Word which brings all into being by its eminent wisdom made flesh before our eyes; and we shall never know the wonder of God’s works and the wonders He has wrought in our own soul unless we come to faith in Him.  In Jesus are all God’s works revealed.  He is the light of the universe.  (And though His radiance extends beyond our sight to infinite galaxies, it is here in this dome between clouds and sea we dwell, the earth from which we have been formed solidly beneath our feet.)

 

*******

O LORD, you created the world and all it holds

and redeemed us by your Son –

let your light be upon us this day.

YHWH, by a word from your mouth you have created the heavens and the earth and given us light to guide our way.  It is you in whom all glory and majesty dwell, yet you have made this world as a reflection of your beauty.  For this we should ever praise you.

But how we have disfigured your Creation, LORD!  How we have lost our way.  Still, you do not leave us alone in the darkness we have made – to us you send your only Son, Word made flesh, Light of the world.  And as we recognize in Him your glory in our midst, as we reach out to Him for healing, we are made well again, whole in your sight.

Let us dwell, O LORD, in the place you have made for us; in your goodness let us remain.  Through the ministry of your Son let us be fed by your hand, that we might be led one day to your Promised Land.

Direct download: BC-020711-M_5_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

O innocent soul,

pure as an angel,

meek as a lamb,

from slavery you were taken

to the house of God,

where freedom you found

in faith in the Lord –

pray for the freedom of all slaves

chained in soul or body,

that they shall be released

from the snares of this world

to walk at liberty with Jesus.

Pray His goodness reign

in all His children,

in all who would be

gentle as this Lamb;

may all those in need of His grace

hear His Word proclaimed,

and in His blood

be redeemed.

And pray His Mother watch over

all who are near or far from Him,

till they enter His presence.

Direct download: Feb._8_Josephine_Bakhita.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 8:05 PM

O soldier for the Lord

and servant of the poor

who trusted in God alone

and gave your life

for those in need –

may we, too, become friends of the one Lord,

purified of all dross

by the trials we endure

and by doing His will

in this world.

His children let us become

as we care for the children

most in need,

those who seem abandoned

by Him.

His hands and His heart

let us be,

that in such love

we shall be free

of all fear and separation

from the Father

and so dwell with those we serve

in the peace of Heaven.

Direct download: Feb._8_Jerome_Emiliani.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 8:00 PM

(Jb.7:1-4,6-7;   Ps.147:1-6;   1Cor.9:16-19,22-23;   Mk.1:29-39)

“He heals the brokenhearted

and binds up their wounds.”

In our first reading, Job is about as brokenhearted as a man could be, beset entirely by the devil’s trials as he is.  “Swifter than a weaver’s shuttle” his complete loss of goods and family and his own health has come upon him.  And so he seems to see his days “come to an end without hope.”  More miserable a creature there could not be.

In our gospel we are told that “Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever” and that the people of the town in which Jesus found Himself “brought to Him all who were ill or possessed by demons.”  Surrounded is He with the afflictions man suffers, the weakness to which our fallen race is so prone.  It seems that all are indeed “brokenhearted” and wounded; as Simon Peter says upon finding the Lord praying in a deserted place the next morning: “Everyone is looking for you.”  All need so greatly the healing only He brings.

And He does heal all who come to Him.  As even before His birth into this world He served to set Job free from the clutches of Satan and grant him a new life which was beyond his hope; as Simon’s mother-in-law “He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up,” the fever fleeing His touch; as “He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and He drove out many demons” from those gathered at the door of the house where He stayed… so He continues “preaching and driving out demons,” not only throughout Galilee and all of Judea and all of Israel, but to this day to the ends of the earth through His holy Church.

Our Lord has become “a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible.”  Our weakness He has taken upon Himself to remove our weakness from us.  Our diseases, our darkness, our sin… our “months of misery” He has borne that He might heal us of all infirmities – that He might bind up our broken hearts.  Our salvation comes at the touch of His hand, at the breath of His mouth.  Let us rise and walk with Him, for the Dawn has come and His grace-filled blood is upon us.

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

Music: ""This World of Sin" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, drive the demons from our souls,

heal our broken hearts,

that we might rise and offer you praise

all the days of our lives.

YHWH, has your Son not made Himself weak for our sakes?  Has He not freely given His life to save us from sin?  Does He not bind up our wounds and cast all demons from our midst?  He heals the brokenhearted who cry out to Him – let us eagerly seek the touch of His hand.

We gather around your Son, O LORD, for He is the door that leads to your presence.  Only He can save us from the misery of this dark world and redeem our troubled souls, and so let us praise your goodness to us as we draw near to Him.

We are all sick, LORD, all in the grip of a fever from which there seems no escape.  The devil would have us believe the wickedness that surrounds us is eternal, but we know the night shall soon come to an end.  Your light has already dawned upon us in the presence of your Son; let the grace of salvation be fulfilled in our midst.

Direct download: BC-020512-Su_5_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 5:00 AM

(Heb.13:15-17,20-21;   Ps.23:1-6;   Mk.6:30-34)

 

“The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want.”

 

All things are cared for by the Lord; our work and our rest are in His hands.  Nothing need we fear.  No good desire goes unfulfilled – His sheep He loves.

Brothers and sisters, “through Christ may [the God of peace] carry out in you all that is pleasing to Him.”  Let Him guide you “in right paths” for the accomplishment of His will.  In “good deeds and generosity,” in obedience to superiors, in every intention of the heart, “continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which acknowledge His name,” for this thanksgiving He desires before all deeds and in all deeds; such praise will ensure His blessing, and lead to greater praise, and so greater blessing!  Have every confidence that the Lord “will furnish you with all that is good, that you may do His will,” and rejoice always in all you accomplish by His grace.

See in our gospel that when “the apostles returned to Jesus and reported to Him all that they had done and what they had taught,” “He said to them, ‘Come by yourselves to an out-of-the-way place and rest a little.’”  They have done His work faithfully, and now He would give them rest; now He would refresh and renew their souls.  “Beside restful waters He leads me”: in a “boat by themselves” He takes them.  “In verdant pastures He gives me repose”: “to a deserted place” the boat goes.  And though upon arrival at their destination the people wait “like sheep without a shepherd” and so their work must resume, this does not distract from the promised rest which awaits the finishing of our work in this world, and indeed but emphasizes that our rest shall be complete only in heaven.

For now the Lord watches over.  Now He cares for us like needful sheep.  Now He takes upon Himself all our fears and burdens, and calls us to do the same for all.  What should we want?  What do we need when we do the Lord’s will?  In this laying down of our lives all is provided; in our work we take our rest, we eat our bread.  For He is with us with His “goodness and kindness”; He remains at our side even in darkness…  We become one with our Shepherd, and no further grace we desire.

 

*******

O LORD, in you alone we take our rest,

through the blood of your only Son.

YHWH, through Jesus may we carry out your will; washed in His blood may we be raised from the dead.  In Him let us take our refuge, and nothing shall be wanting to us.

In your Son all our needs are met, and this to overflowing.  For He has pity on all our weakness – O LORD, let us be obedient to our Shepherd!

LORD our God, let us praise you in all things, your NAME ever on our lips.  In all our work may we be blessed and brought into your heavenly presence.

You would give us rest, dear God; you call us to an out-of-the-way place to be with you.  May we find repose in your eternal kingdom after these days of toil are passed.

But even here you are with us, LORD, even in this dark place.  Your Son is the Shepherd who walks amongst His sheep, leading us ever to your side.

Direct download: BC-020511-Sa_4_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

O proclaimers of the faith

even unto death,

death on a cross,

you who have followed

in the way of our Lord

so completely,

loving your enemies

even as they killed you,

encouraging your brothers

even with your last breath –

may the blood you shed not be forgotten

by those of the nation in which you preached

and by all souls who seek God;

may it nourish the land

and bring it to bear much fruit

unto Heaven.

Pray that we who are so fearful here

may find the faith and courage

you displayed

and so be blessed with the same grace

that imparts the peace of the kingdom.

Direct download: Feb._6_Paul_Miki_and_Companions.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 8:00 PM

(Heb.13:1-8;   Ps.27:1,3,5,8-9;   Mk.6:14-29)

 

“I will never desert you, nor will I forsake you.”

 

A series of parallels we have today between our first reading and our gospel.  Paul instructs us in his letter to the Hebrews not to “neglect to show hospitality” to our “fellow Christians,” since we may be “entertain[ing] angels” thereby; but it is not angels Herod entertains at his birthday banquet, and a false sense of hospitality leads him to grave sin, as when Herodias’ daughter requests the Baptist’s head on a platter, “because of his oath and the presence of his guests,” he “dispatch[es] an executioner.” 

Paul also tells us to “be mindful of prisoners as if [we] were sharing their imprisonment”; and it seems almost against himself Herod indeed sympathizes with John.  We are told, “When he heard him speak he was very much disturbed; yet he felt the attraction of his words.”  He knows John is the angel he should better entertain, but denies the voice speaking to his heart.  And so Paul’s warning, “You may yet suffer as they do,” proves true with Herod, who is clearly imprisoned by his own fear that John has been raised from the dead to haunt his soul.

Of course, the central cause of all Herod’s problems is his breaking the command Paul expresses distinctly: “Let marriage be honored in every way and the marriage bed be kept undefiled,” for it is “on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married,” that John chastises Herod, that the king has the prophet imprisoned, and that he is cornered into murdering him.  And so now he knows very deeply the extent to which “God will judge fornicators and adulterers.”  Indeed, his adulterous relationship and his niece/daughter’s dance of lust stand as examples comparable to the profligate lands of Sodom and Gomorrah for their immorality, for their opposition to the Father’s love.

It is the Father’s love and our trust therein which rises above the immorality and violence so present in our gospel.  At the heart of Paul’s letter is his paraphrase of today’s psalm: “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?”  Indeed the faith in God David sings of so confidently – “Though an army encamp against me… though war be waged upon me, even then will I trust” – is what the Baptist holds in his own spirit, even as he extends his neck for the executioner’s blade.  He knows well that the Lord “will hide [him] in His abode in the day of trouble,” and so no trouble does his death cause him: the Lord will certainly “set [him] high upon a rock,” keeping him untouched by the lust and destruction which surround him in Herod’s dank prison.  It is Herod upon whom darkness shall fall.

“Your presence, O Lord, I seek.  Hide not your face from me.”  Through all things let me remain in your light.  And as John’s life ended, this greatest of “leaders who spoke the word of God” to us, so let my own, in faith in you, O Lord, who are with us forever.

 

*******

O LORD, though thrown in prison or put to death,

still you protect us;

in purity in your presence let us dwell.

YHWH, O what fate awaits those who feed their lust, who wallow in the wickedness of this world!  Theirs is a punishment far worse than death, for never will their fear come to an end.

But those who love you and their brothers, LORD, those who have pity on souls most in need, these are shielded by you in the day of trouble and shall rise to be with you in the end.

Your children are persecuted on this earth, O LORD our God.  They walk in the footsteps of your Son.  But despite the war that is waged upon them, despite the threat of death itself, those who trust in you are not shaken.  But those who sit upon the thrones of sin, those who give free reign to their passion and greed – these do but fat themselves for the day of slaughter, when the dance of lust shall be long past.

Let us serve you in our brothers, LORD.  Let us share in the pains of those oppressed and keep ever to your way, and you will keep us from all harm to sit with John and Jesus on the last day.

Direct download: BC-020411-F_4_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

O good child of God

who gave your life so willingly

for the sake of Christ

and so wore His holy blood

upon your robes,

you who were blessed

to remain ever faithful to the Lord

even as those around you

turned from His presence –

pray for us this day

that our lives too

may be holy and blessed

as your own,

that we too might give witness to the Lord

with the same pure love

you did so readily show.

Pray we shall be wed to the Spouse

you so intimately knew

and thus become one with Him

and all His saints in Heaven.

May our lives also be good,

may they also be godly,

and may we, too, stand as others fall.

Direct download: Feb._5_Agatha.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 8:00 PM

(Heb.12:18-19,21-24;   Ps.48:2-4,9-11;   Mk.6:7-13)

 

“You have drawn near to MountZion

and the city of the living God,

the heavenly Jerusalem…”

 

“…to the assembly of the first-born enrolled in heaven, to God the judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood which speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.”  Alleluia!  “Great is the Lord and wholly to be praised in the city of our God.”  And great is our call to dwell in His blessed City with all His holy ones, and with our Lord.  Could there be a greater cause for joy?  For “His holy mountain, fairest of heights, is the joy of all the earth,” and the joy of heaven.

To the New Jerusalem we are drawn, brothers and sisters, to the fairest heights.  Holiness in the Lord is our call – to dwell with our Lord forever.  But what is the road that leads to such a blessed mountain?  How do we who tread the dust of this earth find our way to heaven?  Evident the Lord makes the path today in the summoning of His apostles.  In their call we find our own.

“Do not bring a second tunic,” Jesus says to the Twelve as He sends them forth to preach and to heal.  For they are to make no provision, to put no stock in the things of the earth… “to take nothing on the journey.”  Their trust must be entirely in Him and the word with which He anoints them: the power He gives, the grace He provides, is sufficient not only to cast out demons, but to find all we need for our day-to-day lives.  The Lord teaches us as He teaches them that our faith must be complete, our spirits wholly set on His will, if we are to make our way across the dust of this earth to His kingdom.  Nothing short of the sacrifice He Himself offers first will bring us there.  His sprinkled blood must be upon us, and work through us.

“O God, we ponder your kindness in your temple”; we marvel at your grace.  For no longer by “fearful… spectacle” of “blazing fire” and “gloomy darkness” do you make yourself known to us.  No longer are you “untouchable,” Lord.  But present in our midst, sandals upon your feet, you, O unapproachable glory, draw near to us, and so enable us to draw near to you, to touch you, O wounded Savior.  And your sandals you place upon our feet and invite us to walk in the way you have shown.  May we do so, Lord, as humbly as thou; and so to our eyes and our hearts make your kingdom known.

All the saints in heaven, pray for us.  All His holy angels, watch over our way.  May our feet stand forever upon the Lord’s holy mountain.  In His heavenly City let us make our home.  (In His Church, in His Mass, He is with us.)

 

*******

O LORD, may we take with us only

the Cross of your Son

as we journey to your holy mountain.

YHWH, how can we express the joy of the gracious gift of your Son in our midst?  In Him your Temple comes to us; in Him we dwell in your City, O living God.  He is the mountain to whom all holy souls come.  His is the blood that washes us clean and prepares our hearts to receive your glory.  May we follow in His steps this day that we might live ever in the heavenly Jerusalem.

Nothing need we but your Son and His Cross, O LORD.  There is nothing in which we should put our trust but His Word.  For walking in His sandals all is provided for us – what does any son need but you.

O Father in Heaven, in your great love you think of us and draw us into your presence with all the holy ones.  Let us be made ready to stand on your mountain by our trust in you today.  Let your Son work in us; in Him let us make our home.

Direct download: BC-020311-Th_4_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Heb.12:4-7,11-15;   Ps.103:1-2,13-14,17-18;   Mk.6:1-6)

 

“Whom the Lord loves, He disciplines;

He scourges every son He receives.”

 

Like His only Son we must be.  For without discipline where would we be?  Apart from the Lord’s chastising hand, into what state would we fall?  Without the cross, how could we find the kingdom?

If the Lord did not scourge us, we would be blind as His countrymen in our gospel today, who question even what their ears behold and their eyes see – dead to His presence we would remain.  Only the dust of His flesh would we look upon, thinking He is no more than our sinful selves; far short of His divinity would we fall.  And so a word of chastisement He brings to our hearts, as He does those of “His native place,” of “His own house,” condemning our failure to honor God in His prophets and in His Son, calling us beyond our eyes of flesh to the breath of the Spirit.

Oh how our “lack of faith distress[es] Him”!  Oh how He would stir within us “that holiness without which no one can see the Lord”!  For “the kindness of the Lord is from eternity to eternity toward those who fear Him,” and His kindness He would have all know.  But failing of a reverent awe for the Most High Lord, what do we do but grovel in the dust?  Our hearts cannot know Him if they are not humble; our souls cannot bless Him if they are not holy… and so we lose “all His benefits” by a stubborn pride.  This is not the will of God.

Brothers and sisters, the Lord “knows how we are formed; He remembers that we are dust.”  But from the dust He calls us to join Him on high, to rise above our earthen state.  In His compassion the Father would have us be even as He is; and so He sends His only Son to suffer for our sins, to show us the path to holiness we must walk.  “So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees”; fear not the cross of Jesus.  For by it you will be made strong, you will be made whole; through it “the grace of God” will pour, and make you as His own.

Peace soon follows every cord of scourging; the nails in our hands open our souls to the Spirit’s movement, to the Lord’s love, as by this bleeding our sins are purged.  And in His light we shall soon stand, “all [our] being bless[ing] His holy name.”  Then we shall no longer question His wisdom but in His mercy make our home.

 

*******

O LORD, may we be your sons

not just in flesh but in truth;

your compassion be upon us

in the discipline of your Word.

YHWH, thank you for your discipline, for your blessed chastising hand.  It is out of love you correct us; in your compassion you desire us to be with you.  Let us praise you for your kindness.

Forgive us, LORD, all our blindness, all our failure to see your hand at work.  Our disobedience hurts us most of all, for by it we separate ourselves from your love.  In our lives let your will be done!

If you had not compassion on our erring hearts, if you scourged not our sinful souls, where would we be, LORD, where would we be?  From your healing and your teaching let us never be apart.

Come to your native place this day, O LORD.  Those baptized in your NAME please bless.  Let us welcome you with open arms into our houses, treasuring every chastising word, and we shall be at peace in your presence.

Direct download: BC-020211-W_4_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

O bringer of light

to many nations,

you who struggled on

for the souls placed in your care

that all might know the Christ

for whom you toiled,

endlessly seeking

to convert obstinate hearts –

may your zeal

inspire missionaries this day

to go forth selflessly

proclaiming the Gospel to all,

bearing witness to the Lord

in the cross they bear

in season and out of season;

whether producing much fruit

or being rejected,

may their hearts be set on the Word

and the love of God

for His children.

Pray especially those lands you led to Christ

will turn again

to the one true light.

Direct download: Feb._3_Ansgar.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 8:05 PM

O shepherd whom we invoke

for the healing of throats,

you who suffered torments

for the sake of the Name

and embraced death

as leader of His flock –

open our throats

to speak of Jesus,

to declare His goodness and glory,

the salvation that comes

only through Him.

Let us not fear

our persecutors

nor shrink from the threats

of the mighty

but stand fast

in the Lord’s healing grace,

confident that His every blessing

will keep us well

and on the path

that leads only to Heaven.

Pray all sickness flee from us

this day and forever.

Direct download: Feb._3_Blaise.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 8:00 PM

(Heb.12:1-4;   Ps.22:26-28,30-32;   Mk.5:21-43)

 

“Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus,

who inspires and perfects our faith.”

 

Like the woman in our gospel who saw Him in the crowd and with great confidence made her way toward Him but to reach out and “touch His clothing,” knowing in her heart that by this she “shall get well”; like the official of the synagogue who draws near and falls at His feet begging healing for his daughter, who even after being told, “Your daughter is dead,” does “not grow despondent or abandon the struggle” but takes refuge in the Lord’s encouragement to trust; like all the “cloud of witnesses” that have sought Him, that have believed in Him, that have never taken their eyes off Him or His love – let us be saints who “lay aside every encumbrance of sin which clings to us and persevere in running the race which lies ahead,” and we shall receive our reward even as those who have gone before us have done.  By endurance in faith we shall find Jesus.

Sin it is, of course, that is the greatest obstacle to sanctity in the Lord, to achieving our goal of eternal life in heaven; death and disease are merely the fruits of this poisonous tree.  And so the “fight against sin” is truly our greatest struggle, for once sin is set aside, peace comes to our souls and we are no longer anxious or fearful, despite any workings of the devil – despite the destruction in his hands.  The woman’s “flow of blood” (for as many years as Jairus’ daughter, “a child of twelve,” has been alive) is but symptomatic for us of the greater affliction of transgression against God.  And even the young girl’s death is nothing really, for it is so that “she is [only] asleep,” as the Lord says, and not dead at all… and so death and disease mean nothing unless they are accompanied by sin.  It is this plague which must be overcome.

And for this healing we come to Him.  For this grace we must press upon Him, like the crowds who surround Him this day.  And like the raised child’s parents our “astonishment [will be] complete,” for we shall be clean: we shall be alive in the Lord.  “To Him alone shall bow down all who sleep in the earth”; by Him alone all shall be raised.  So let us keep our eyes and our hearts fixed upon Him, knowing “they who seek the Lord shall praise Him” – in Him our faith is complete.  “To Him alone [our] soul shall live”; therefore, let us bleed with Him this day.

 

*******

O LORD, let us be freed of all illness;

let us be raised from our graves to walk with you.

YHWH, our faith unites us to you and so we find healing for every disease and every sin, for no evil lives in you.  And so, help us to endure all, keeping our eyes ever fixed on your Son and the hope He brings to our souls, and we shall be well in your presence.

O LORD, you raise us from the sleep of death and sin.  Your Son who walks in our midst leads us to your glory.  And so, let us bow down before Him, humbling ourselves in faith, and our every prayer shall be answered; and we shall be united to you and your glorious majesty.

Why should we be afraid?  Why should we fear placing our trust in you?  Let no obstacle stand in the way of our coming to you that we might join the band of your holy ones in your eternal kingdom.  Though we must shed our blood in the struggle, let us know our salvation is assured.

Direct download: BC-020111-Tu_4_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Mal.3:1-4;   Ps.24:7-10;   Heb.2:14-18;   Lk.2:22-40) 

“Suddenly there will come to the temple

the Lord whom you seek.”

“And He will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the Lord.”  “To expiate the sins of the people” He has come – to bring us light.  But to do this “He had to become like His brothers and sisters in every way”; He had to “share in blood and flesh” with us, and so share in our death, to overcome death and make us holy in the sight of God, that our lives might be like His: a true sacrifice to the Lord.

Hear in our gospel how many times is stated that when “Mary and Joseph [take] Jesus up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord” this is done “just as it is written in the law of the Lord.”  Because it says, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,” His parents do so “in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.”  They “brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to Him”; they “fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord” before returning to Galilee to raise Him.  Of what significance is this in this day and age when so many place themselves above the need to be obedient to the dictates of the Church and the Holy Spirit which speaks through her.  Though the Lord Himself did all according to the way it is written, so many find no necessity for themselves to go to church on Sunday, to confess their sins, to give their tithe… and on.  In their minds they need no “religion” to follow.  Let them learn from the Lord and His obedience, and His humility, in the place where God is found.

And see what happens when this humble Child allows Himself to be brought into the temple of the Lord: light comes to His people.  Simeon the prophet proclaims in joy, “My eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples,” and declares his readiness for death.  Anna the prophetess gives thanks to God and speaks “about the child to all who [are] awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.”  It is not to a street corner He comes to bring salvation; it is to the temple.  There we await Him.  There we find Him, in His Father’s house.

Finally, we must relate the pain His coming brings.  Though leading to glory, for us as well as for Him, the performance of the Father’s will in all things is not easy.  As “a sword will pierce” the Mother’s heart, so in our purgation, in our persecution as we turn from the darkness of this world to be purified for the next, there shall be suffering.  But this suffering does lead to life.  But our waiting shall be answered.  The light is powerful that comes when we “lift up” the gates of our hearts “that the king of glory may come in,” but in Him we find all our hearts need.  His is a perfect sacrifice.

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

Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, your Son has come into our midst

and united Himself to us;

may we be united to Him and become as your Temple. 

YHWH, in the purification of your Son, we are purified.  By His sacrifice, our sacrifice is made acceptable to you.  Thank you for presenting Him to us this day, that indeed we might be saved, that indeed as He has become flesh and blood for us, we may become as His flesh and blood and be a holy offering to you.

O LORD, we must be purified if we are to come into your Temple, if we are to become as your Temple, according to your desire.  And so let us be obedient to your Word, let us welcome Jesus into our hearts, that He might cleanse our troubled souls from any fear of death, that by His presence we might be refined for the kingdom of Heaven.

He is our hope.  He is our joy.  He is our very life, O LORD; let us remain faithful to His Cross.  As the sword pierces our own hearts, let us be purged of sin that with Simeon and Anna we might rejoice in the light of your presence.

Direct download: Feb_2_-_Presentation_of_the_Lord_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 8:00 AM

(Dt.18:15-20;   Ps.95:1-2,6-9;   1Cor.7:32-35;   Mk.1:21-28) 

“A prophet like me will the Lord, your God,

raise up for you from among your own kin.”

Thus does Moses speak to the people as he prepares to leave them, and they prepare to enter the Promised Land.  He prophesies most immediately the anointing of Joshua, who will take his place as leader of the Israelite nation and guide them into the holy land, as well as all the prophets who shall follow… but most especially, of course, he hereby prophesies the coming of the only Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will be raised up from among us, a man as we are, to be God in our midst.  No greater fulfillment of this promise could there be: no more real could God make His presence known to us.  Here on this earth He stands, and speaks.

Our reading from Deuteronomy makes clear the nature and role of the prophet; in this passage we see the inception of this gift, of this power God gives to man.  When the people begged Moses, “Let us not again hear the voice of the Lord, our God, nor see this great fire anymore,” for fear of death after having witnessed the Lord’s most powerful theophany at Mount Horeb, the Most High answered them and promised instead, “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kin, and will put my words into his mouth; he shall tell them all that I command him.”  Here is the very definition of a prophet: one who speaks for God.  Out of a prophet’s mouth come the words of the Lord, not his own.

And what a Prophet is Jesus!  And, of course, so much more than a prophet – the only Son.  “For He taught them as one having authority”; His words of rebuke: “Quiet!  Come out of him!” cast out all unclean spirits…  His power is immeasurable as God’s power is immeasurable – all is in His hands and at the command of His voice.  For His words are not His own (though intimately His own); they are His Father’s.  He does only the Father’s will and so is the Father’s Son.  In them together the Spirit moves!  Upon all regions of the earth His Word goes forth.

“Oh, that today you would hear His voice,” brothers and sisters, and “bow down in worship before Him,” knowing who is here before you now and consecrating yourself entirely to Him.  Then you would but “sing joyfully” and be filled with “thanksgiving” as, free from sin, from all darkness – from all that is unclean – you come to full union with the promised One of all the ages and make your home in His heart, obedient to His blessed, protective commands, and so find yourself “free of anxieties” as you think only of “how [you] may please the Lord.”  Alleluia!  He has come.

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

Music: "Speaking for God" from The Whole Whale, eighth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, let us listen to your Son, Jesus,

who speaks with your authority.

YHWH, let us listen to your voice, O God, and the voice of your only Son, for with authority He speaks in your Name, greater than all the prophets.  He Himself is God, one with you before time, and so should we not bow down and worship Him; should we not heed His Word?  If we desire salvation, we cannot but listen to Him.

Why should we doubt Him who commands even the unclean spirits, whose word is as your own, LORD, able to bring the world into existence, or bring it to an end.  If we but trust in Him and listen to His teaching, this same authority we will share; nothing will be able to distract us from serving you and becoming as your Son.

Cast out all the demons from us, LORD, that we might be free to hear your voice clearly and worship you with a pure heart.  As we kneel before you and praise you for your Son, may we indeed become the flock He guides and so enter into your presence.

Direct download: BC-012912-Su_4_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 5:00 AM

O teacher and father

of the children in your care,

in whose hands

they were not abandoned

but held in patience

by Christ’s love –

teach us, too,

to have that same patience,

to have that same love

for those the Lord places

in our care,

that anger shall be banished

from our hearts and our minds,

that the wisdom of Christ’s sacrifice

you taught and lived

we too might embody,

and so serve

in raising the kingdom of Heaven

among the children of this earth.

And pray that we, too,

may know the Lord’s gentle word and touch

upon our own souls

 and so grow into His likeness.

Direct download: Jan._31_John_Bosco.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 8:00 PM

(Heb.11:1-2,8-19;   Lk.1:68-75;   Mk.4:35-41)

 

“Why are you so terrified?

Why are you lacking in faith?”

 

“Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see,” our brother Paul would have us know, and realize.  We all hope for something; there is ever something we all long to see.  The eyes are set in the front of the human head and always he is looking at what is before him, straining to see what is ahead.  And what is it we hope to see further along this road we tread?  What is our hope for the future – what is set indelibly in our hearts, calling us forward to tomorrow?  Are we as Abraham, who was “looking forward to the city with foundations,” to the city of God, and so was able to uproot himself from his city here on earth, “not knowing where he was going,” and dwell in tents?  Have we the same hope as he?

If we have his hope, we should have his faith as well, and more.  For what upon this earth is worthy of greater assurance than the coming of the kingdom of God?  Is there any firmer promise in which to believe?  And if Abraham and all the “men of old” were able to live by faith and so find God’s approval and His blessing, how much more should we be ready, how much greater confidence should we have, we upon whom the light which they only “saluted… from afar” has dawned?  To our eyes has been brought what they were kept from seeing; and so our faith should go beyond hope – it should be most real, utterly unshakable by the vicissitudes of this world.  For He is here, He who was “promised through the mouths of His holy ones, the prophets of ancient times.”

Brothers and sisters, it is time to “cross over to the farther shore” with our Lord.  What Moses could only view from afar is now present to us in the flesh of Christ: heaven is in our midst, and nothing should we fear… no room for doubt should we make.  In the words of our gospel we witness the disciples coming gradually to see Him who has entered their boat, who has power over all.  And their fear shall leave them soon, even as awe overtakes them.  And we must be the same, and more.  For upon us the Spirit has already come, completing the Trinity’s presence among us.  Nothing more is there to look forward to than our life in heaven, and nothing for our crossing do we lack.  Sure indeed should we now be.  And so, “rid of fear and delivered from the enemy” by Him who is all-powerful, “we should serve Him devoutly, and through all our days, be holy in His sight.”  Let faith find its fulfillment now in the lives we lead in His name.  Cast all fear away, and love.

 

*******

O LORD, you are able to raise us even from the dead –

let us put our faith in you.

YHWH, will Jesus not lead us to the farther shore, to the kingdom where you dwell?  Will not He who holds the wind and the waves in His hands and commands them by a word of His mouth, will He not save us from all that would keep us from you?  But are our hearts set on the Promised Land of Heaven as was Abraham’s and all the prophets’ of old?  Are we so willing to give up all the things of this world to find your eternal City?

O LORD, have we the faith that you are able to raise from the dead, that even death and sin and all the wiles of the devil and the trappings of this earth are in your power to command?  If so, then why should our hope ever be dimmed; why should we be afraid?

Save us, LORD, from our faithlessness!  Let us serve you in holiness all our days, our hearts set on the land to which Jesus would take us.

Direct download: BC-012911-Sa_3_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Heb.10:32-39;   Ps.37:3-6,23-24,39-40;   Mk.4:26-34)

 

“You need patience to do God’s will

and receive what He has promised.”

 

Brothers and sisters, “we are not among those who draw back and perish, but among those who have faith and live.”  Whatever “great contest[s] of suffering” may be before us or behind us or upon us even now, we do not “surrender [our] confidence” in the Lord but stand strong, enduring all by our “trust in Him” and so coming by these means to the kingdom of God.

My friends, we know we have “better and more permanent possessions” in heaven, and so “the confiscation of [our] goods” upon this earth, the “insult and trial” we have to endure, and even the prison into which we may be thrown, hold no sway over our souls and do not deter our resolve to follow the way of Christ – in fact, they but increase our firmness in the Lord.  For seeing how “He delivers [us] from the wicked and saves” us when we “take refuge in Him” reveals to our souls the firmness of His hand upon us and the passing nature of any vain temptation or torture.  We comprehend hereby that we need but “commit to the Lord [our] way… and He will act”; He is the one who preserves us from all harm and sees that fruit is born in our lives.

And so, day by day we come to Him; night after passing night we approach His presence.  We grow in His sight even as “the soil produces of itself first the blade, then the ear, [and] finally the ripe wheat in the ear.”  Even unto the day of judgment we shall grow so gradually, so blessedly, steadily producing fruit in His glorious light, and thus avoid any condemnation.  For He has taken possession of our souls; His hand is upon us now, and from such marvelous grace we cannot turn our faces away.

“A brief moment, and He who is to come will come; He will not delay,” says the Lord; and so, brothers and sisters, let us “live by faith” as the Lord’s “just man,” knowing full well that “He will make justice dawn for [us] like the light,” that on His Day we shall be drawn into the kingdom of God.  “Bright as the noonday shall be [our] vindication,” so let us endure all patiently and bravely in this world, ever bearing fruit in His name.

 

*******

O LORD, help us to endure all persecutions

that we might grow steadily unto your kingdom. 

YHWH, let us take refuge in you and there find protection and blessing.  Let us grow gradually unto your kingdom, enduring all with patience and faith.  Your justice will dawn for the man who remains steadfast in your sight.

O LORD, what should we care if we must suffer persecution, if our goods are confiscated and we are thrown into prison?  For what blessed possessions we have in you, those which last forever.  And so, increase our faith day to day as we see your hand continually rescue us from all distress, from every trial; let us ever grow unto your presence and make our home in your branches.

If we could but be the man you desire us to be, LORD, for our own sakes!  If we could but trust in you and your constant blessings!  Then we would forever be sustained, knowing that you will not delay your coming but very soon we will be with you in eternity.  Be with us as we wait here.

Direct download: BC-012811-F_3_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

(Heb.10:19-25;   Ps.24:1-6;   Mk.4:21-25)

 

“Since we have a great high priest who is over the house of God,

let us draw near in utter sincerity and absolute confidence.”

 

Let us shine our light without fear, for it is the light of the Lord and cannot be removed.  “Let us hold unswervingly to our profession which gives us hope, for He who made the promise deserves our trust.”  Do you think He will fail you in your commitment to Him?  No, His love is always first to come; you need but follow.

And let us “encourage one another,” brothers and sisters, even as Jesus does us all in our gospel today.  Let us “rouse each other to love and good deeds,” calling one another to shine our light, the light that is in each of our hearts by the grace of our Savior.  “Our hearts sprinkled clean from the evil which lay on our conscience and our bodies washed in pure water,” ready we are to do His will in this world; “the blood of Jesus assures our entrance into the sanctuary,” and so, with our place in heaven set firm, we hesitate not to put our love “on a stand” and let it pierce the darkness all around.

“We should not absent ourselves from the assembly,” brothers and sisters.  We should not think we need not gather together in His name.  For we cannot take strength alone to fight our battles in this world; apart from one another we will be worn down by sin, by pride.  Our light is not our own but is meant to be shared; indeed, it belongs to the whole community for it belongs only to the Lord.  And it can only grow and increase when given in measure to others; otherwise it will be taken from us.

So let us draw near our Lord as we draw near each other in the sharing of our gifts.  Let us be as “he whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain,” and our gifts will be acceptable one to another, and our lives will be acceptable to God.  And we shall “ascend the mountain of the Lord” and “stand in His holy place” – the place He makes for us by His sacrifice…  “We shall receive a blessing from the Lord, a reward from God our Savior,” if we seek His face alone.

Do not be afraid.  Hide not your light.  Enter His presence, do His will, accepting the grace He imparts to our lives.  He calls you to join in His sacrifice.

 

*******

O LORD, all the world is ours

if we but come to Jesus for the cleansing of our sins. 

YHWH, let us be the race that seeks your holy face and to shine your holy light to all around us.  This world is your own and we are in your hands, and none of us can ascend to you if we come not through your only Son.  Let us come to Him with confidence and joy and seek to serve one another and the salvation of all.  Then we shall be seeking you; then we shall be serving you – then we shall be standing again in His stead, and so find your holy blessing and receive it more and more.

O LORD, let us give ourselves as Jesus has done.  Let us be His very flesh and blood.  Bless your Church, O God, with His love, with His light shining in every member.  Let us not hide in fear but freely offer the gifts you impart to each of our lives for the service of the whole Body.  The more we give the more we shall receive, for the more we give the more we share in your love.  Let us not fail to shine forth your light as you call us to do.

Direct download: BC-012711-Th_3_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 5:00 PM

O wise doctor of the Church

who ate the bread of angels

in your long hours

of prayer and study and writing

and shared with us

the knowledge you gained

of the sublime truth of God,

shedding the light of reason

upon the faith we hold so dear –

teach us this day

to know God

that we might better love and serve Him,

that we might not be blind

to His presence in our midst,

to the holiness to which He calls us.

Pray we shall enter into

His Cross, His love, His obedience;

pray we, too, might have knowledge,

true knowledge of His grace

and the everlasting life

which is ours in Him…

and pray the Lord send us holy teachers

to fill your shoes.

Direct download: Jan._28_Thomas_Aquinas.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 8:00 PM

(Heb.10:11-18;   Ps.110:1-4;   Mk.4:1-20)

 

“I will put my laws in their hearts

and I will write them on their minds.”

 

He will plant His seed firmly upon “good soil,” and it shall yield fruit abundantly.  Let us be open to receive His word each day.

Today we hear Jesus’ well-known parable of seed sown in four places: “on the path,” “on rocky ground,” “among thorns,” and “on good soil”; and the Lord makes clear that only in the last place will the seed bear a profitable yield.  And, of course, the Lord hereby calls each of us to consider what place we make for the seed with our lives.  Clearly, “what the sower is sowing is the word,” and just as clearly, our hearts are the ground into which that word is sown.  Therefore, the question is: What kind of hearts have we for the word of God, for His love?  The seed does not change; in every place it is sown the same.  It is only the soil which changes, and thus determines its fruitfulness.  Are our hearts barren of the Spirit, or wrought with stones or choking thorns… or do we make a welcome place for the love of God to take root in our lives and grow?  Though our tree shall be known by its fruit, only we really know where our heart stands with God, and so this question Jesus would bring to our minds, not to condemn us for our emptiness or hardness of heart, but that we might turn to Him and bear fruit in His light, that He might take away the “sins and… transgressions” that keep us void of life.

Do you know the Spirit at work in your hearts, brothers and sisters, at work in your souls?  Is His word taking root in you and being nourished by the waters of the Lord?  “To you the mystery of the reign of God has been confided,” and so, what a pity it would be to turn from His instruction, or fall short at all in preparing a place for the Lord to reside.  The Spirit burning in our hearts, the blessing of His pure light, is all we should thirst for in our lives.  “Like the dew” before the dawn He comes; each morning you should find yourself wet with that dew and set to do good works in His name.

Yes, brothers and sisters, upon the heart of each of His children, the Lord God writes His name, places His law, His love, by the blood of His only Son.  He thus makes us one with His infinite presence, ever giving growth to our tree.  With His word piercing our souls, our soil is prepared to receive His seed.  Let us therefore open our hearts to His light touch – His finger, His breath, His word, inscribing His NAME at the center of our being – and we shall grow in Him even unto the kingdom.

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