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.

(Ezra 6:7-8,12,14-20;   Ps.122:1-5;   Lk.8:19-21)

 

“The elders of the Jews continued to make progress in the building,

supported by the message of the prophets.”

 

And so, returning from exile and with the permission and indeed the financial support of the Gentile king, Darius, the Jews completed the rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem.  And so, the prophecy of the return to the Lord from their sins is in a measure fulfilled here in this act and in the worship which once again transpires in “that house of God.”  But we know that this is not the fulfillment of the new covenant; this is not the realization of God’s promise through Isaiah to write His Name upon the hearts of His people and to be with them forever.  Though a sign of its coming, we know that such blessing cannot be fulfilled in buildings and on an earth so corrupted by sin – it can only be realized in heaven.

And so in our gospel His mother and kinsmen come to the Lord, who is the new Temple, the New Jerusalem Himself.  They come but do not find easy access for the crowd that has gathered to Jesus to worship at His feet.  And this is to show that it is not in our bloodline that we find salvation, but by faith in Him who is the ultimate sacrifice.  Indeed, all may come now to this holy sacrifice, all may enter the gates of this Temple… all may rejoice as they set foot within the gates of this New Jerusalem, if all but follow the Word of Truth which issues from His lips.  Returning to Jerusalem and having rebuilt the temple, the Levites offered sacrifice “for the rest of the exiles, for their brethren the priests, and for themselves”; but Jesus’ one sacrifice is offered daily now for all who would come to the altar, to all who would sup at His table.

“I rejoiced because they said to me, ‘We will go up to the house of the Lord.’”  How blessed are these words to the ears of the Jew returning from exile, and how blessed now to the peoples of every nation are their fulfillment in our hearing.  Brothers and sisters of the Lord, let us hasten our steps toward His presence.  Let us long to worship before Him.  And let us continue to make progress in the upbuilding of the Church, His Temple, by our daily labor for the God who blesses all our endeavors with His providential care.  May His Word be fulfilled in us and in all His people.

*******

O LORD, the temple of our souls we must rebuild,

according to your Word,

that we might be His brothers and sisters,

that we might enter His House.

YHWH, let us go up to your House; let us enter its gates in joy, giving thanks to you who have made us as your Temple, built into the Body of your Son, as His brothers and sisters who do your will in this world.  He is the New Jerusalem and we desire to come to Him and make our home in Him.  Bless our efforts in building ourselves into your holy Temple, the Church.

Help us as we return from exile, as from sin we turn away and come back to you, O LORD our God.  We shall need your assistance in rebuilding lives which have gone so astray, in restoring the walls that keep us from harm, from the dangers all about our souls, and that found us in you and in the Word of your Son.

O let us hear your Word calling us into your presence! and let us act upon that Word and give glory to you, LORD, with our every breath, with every sacrifice we make in your NAME.

Direct download: BC-092011-Tu_25_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O holy priest

who bore the wounds of Christ

in your hands

and in your ministry,

who served the Lord so greatly

in casting out many demons

in your confessional,

and whom He thus blessed

with miracles of the Spirit –

pray for us of lukewarm faith

who falter day to day

in following our dear Jesus’ path.

So close to Him you were

in His suffering and His love;

so far are we

from His Cross and so His grace.

Pray we shall be strengthened to approach Him

and find healing for our weakness,

the frailty of our souls

which keeps us from knowing the Christ

and laying down our lives for Him

as He calls, as you have done…

O pray His blood be upon us!

Direct download: Sept._23_Pio_of_Pietrelcina.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Ezra 1:1-6;   Ps.126:1-6;   Lk.8:16-18)

 

“Those that sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.”

 

The Israelites toiled in tears for four hundred years under the yoke of the Egyptians, then rejoiced to finally enter the Promised Land (after wandering forty years in the desert).  For seventy years Judah had been exiled to Babylon, but rejoiced when, remarkably, the king of Persia called them to return to Jerusalem and, with his blessing, to rebuild the temple of the Lord.  And now we wait in exile for our Lord to return.  But sadness should not overwhelm us in this land of exile.  Indeed our lights must shine; for in the shining of these lamps of holiness is the coming of our Lord to this earth.  And the more we shine forth His light to this earth, the more we grow in that light, and so the closer the Lord comes to both us and the universe.

Tears do tend to be our lot here in this world; such is the way of the cross.  We cannot help but mourn the lack of His love and the failure of hearts to come to His peace.  Here where hatred and violence so often enter in by the ignorance of man’s soul to the Word of God and His presence in our midst, what can we do but cry?  But we are not without hope; and it is this hope our readings speak of this day.  For if the Gentiles could return the chosen people to their land of promise with such rich and generous gifts, how can we not take hope that the Lord shall “restore our fortunes” as well?  And so as we ascend the steps to the temple of our Lord in the highest heaven, may the nations say of us, too, “The Lord has done great things for them,” as they look upon our wisdom and grace even in this land where darkness reigns.

“There is nothing hidden that will not be exposed, nothing concealed that will not be known and brought to light.”  And so we take promise in the fact that that which we cherish now in our souls, the Word and the Bread of the Lord which nourishes us on this journey, shall come to their fulfillment in the joy of the kingdom of heaven.  But do not hide that light growing within you, brothers and sisters; shine it forth unashamedly for all to see, and the tears you sow in hope for the salvation of the world shall serve to cleanse your vision to behold the Lord in all His glory. 

*******

O LORD, you will repay the faithful soul;

you will repay him to the full – 

the lamp you light in us will never dim. 

YHWH, bring us into the New Jerusalem; return us to our true home with you.  In Heaven let us dwell this day, blessed with all the gifts and graces come from your hands.  Then we shall rejoice.  Then we shall laugh and sing.  Then our tears will be washed away as we join ourselves to you. 

How impossible it seems as we sit here in this dark world, and yet how very likely.  For even here you are present to us as we speak your NAME.  Even now we know your light shining in our minds and hearts.  Yes, LORD, even now we come to Heaven. 

You are with your people even in their exile, and you call even those who are strangers to help them along their way to you.  All the nations know your greatness and shall enter your Church, O LORD.  Let us build your Temple this day.

Direct download: BC-091911-M_25_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Amos 8:4-7;   Ps.113:1-2,4-8;   1Tm.2:1-8;   Lk.16:1-13)

 

“If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,

who will give you what is yours?”

 

This world and the things of it are not our own; we are children of heaven.  Yet we are here amongst these things which are foreign to us.  And so, what should we do?  With all the Lord puts in our hands as we pass through this generation we must honor God.  Though in the world of mammon, we must use it to serve our God in heaven.  Thus  we shall prove ourselves worthy to enter into that kingdom which is above, which is our true home.  This call is stated simply in the Lord’s Prayer when we say, “On earth as it is in heaven” – we must bring the kingdom of God to bear in this place we find ourselves.

In our first reading, Amos makes clear what our attitude should not be with regard to the riches or power we may find at our disposal.  We must never “trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land.”  We must never reflect the greed of these merchants who cannot wait for the sabbath, the Lord’s Day, to end, that they might satiate their thirst for wealth, and this by dishonest means.  The Lord will condemn such pride and avarice.

In our second reading, Paul gives a clearer idea the manner in which power should be employed in his exhortation to prayer for those in position of authority.  God “wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth,” and if our kings seek to maintain peace in the world, they will save not only themselves, but provide ground for others to come to God.  Again, all that is given us, be it riches, power, wisdom or strength, must be given over to service of the Lord.  We must be as He “who gave Himself as ransom for all” in His teaching, in His healing, indeed, in the laying down of His very life.  And so, if we ourselves are teachers, we must be as Paul and do so “in faith and truth,” without any deceit.  And when we offer prayers, we must always lift up “holy hands, without anger or argument.”  In our prayer should always be forgiveness of others.

In our gospel parable Jesus illustrates and commends not deceitful dealings with others’ wealth, but to be wise in what is given us, to turn the riches of this world against the prince of this world (Satan), and use them for the good of the kingdom.  Even in these things which are the devil’s we must work to serve our Master in heaven. And so we feed the hungry, we clothe the naked, we pray for those in power, that the Lord who is “high above all nations” and whose glory is “above the heavens” might stoop down to us and through us fulfill the mission of Christ; for “He raises the lowly from the dust, from the dunghill He lifts the poor.”  And we must do the same to find our place with Him in heaven.

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

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

*******

O LORD, let us serve you alone  

with all that is at our hands. 

YHWH, help us to be trustworthy in the very small matters of this dishonest world, with the wealth that passes so quickly away.  This is not our world, but your world we must reveal to this place; if we do not reflect your glory now, how can we be called children of your light? 

And so we pray for all souls, that they will turn from the oppression wrought by their greedy hands and acknowledge you as God Most High and your Son as their Redeemer.  We desire no man to be trampled underfoot but for everyone to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth; and so with hands held aloft we call down your mercy, dear LORD. 

With the things you place in our hands here upon this dying earth, let us be faithful, let us be true – let us produce fruit unto the kingdom of Heaven.  Heaven is our only home, and so with all our strength let us seek to raise souls to dwell there with all your angels and saints.

Direct download: BC-092213-Su_25_OT_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O faithful apostle

who so readily answered

the call of the Lord,

leaving your station in this world

to follow in His footsteps

and so find your place in Heaven,

who even with these first steps

brought others to the Christ

as you opened your heart

as well as your home

to Him and to the least of His brothers –

pray, dear brother through whom the Spirit has spoken,

that we too shall follow Jesus

and so find His grace and mercy,

and so find our way to the Father.

Pray our hearts will ever be

so open to hear His voice

and invite Him in to our table,

where He may eat and speak with us,

feeding us with His presence.

And pray we may be blessed as you

in drawing others to the Word, our God,

till all are one in His Body.

Direct download: Sept._21_Matthew.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(Eph.4:1-7,11-13;   Ps.19:2-5;   Mt.9:9-13)

 

“Through all the earth their voice resounds,

and to the ends of the world, their message.”

 

“Till we become one in faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, and form that perfect man who is Christ come to full stature,” the Word of the Lord shall be carried forth by all His “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers”; indeed, “each of us has received God’s favor in the measure in which Christ bestows it,” and each of us plays a role in bringing to fulfillment the Gospel of our “one Lord.”

“Matthew got up and followed Him.”  He was called, he was chosen, and he answered the Lord’s call without hesitation.  And he brought the Lord in immediately to dine with Him, welcoming Him fully at his table.  And because of his openness to God and His Word, and because of his generous response, we see that it is Jesus who in fact feeds him, that he in turn might feed others with the true teaching, “the one faith” in the “one God and Father of all, who is over all, and works through all, and is in all,” from the least of sinners to the greatest of apostles.  We are all thus called to follow Jesus Christ, to find the mercy He so greatly desires to impart to our sinful lives, that we might be whole and able to serve Him well.

One day we shall come to perfection in Him; in Him it is already fulfilled.  And now insofar as we share His love, insofar as we “live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received, with perfect humility, meekness, and patience,” the Spirit who is indeed the origin of our unity in Him works through us and we, even with the twelve apostles, serve to bring His blessed peace, His divine life of salvation, to the world.  Yes, “day pours out the word to day, and night to night imparts knowledge,” and soon that Word will reach to the ends of the earth; and soon it will come to fulfillment in our sight.

Brothers and sisters, we are called to a great hope, and to a great mission to bring it to light.  Let us keep our hearts set on the Gospel and the promise it contains, and “build up the Body of Christ” until we stand with Him, as Him, in His eternal kingdom which stands in our midst even today through the words of His apostle and evangelist, in the breath of the Spirit upon us and in its message.

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

Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, let us all be drawn as one

into the Body of your Son,

that we poor sinners may become His saints. 

YHWH, you are over all and work through all and in all, and your Gospel message goes out to all the world through your apostles and evangelists.  O let us listen to your voice as it comes to us in the words of Scripture and through your prophets’ preaching!  Let us be quick as Matthew to answer your call, that the Body of your Son might be built up on this earth and soon come to fulfillment in Heaven.

We are all sinners, O LORD; you see this and you know this.  Help us to see this as you do and so come readily to the table Jesus spreads before us, a table of mercy and grace in answer to our repentance.  Let us recognize that only in Him will we find our place with you in the kingdom.  And help us to proclaim your love and your peace with your apostles, that in the one faith all might be baptized and come as your children to praise your Name.

You are our hope, O LORD; let your Spirit go forth.

Direct download: St._Matthew_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O blessed, holy martyrs

who won for yourselves

the crown of salvation

by your undying faith in God,

who cherished well

the prize of persecution

the Lord offered your souls,

who stood fast despite the death

that raged around you –

pray we shall know as you

that all the hairs of our head

are numbered by God

and in His all-embracing providence

He has care over us all,

that we might stand as strong

in our little trials

and sufferings

as you did before the face

of the executioner.

To all people be a witness to the faith

that reaches ever unto Heaven.

Direct download: Sept._20_Andrew_Kim_Paul_Hasang_and_Companions.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Tm.6:2-12;   Ps.49:6-10,17-20,Mt.5:3;   Lk.8:1-3)

 

“Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation, and a trap.”

 

Today we hear Paul’s famous words: “The love of money is the root of all evil.”  They are oft-quoted, but how well are they understood and practiced in the avoidance of excessive possessions and inflated bank accounts.  Paul tells us, verifiably so, that men “have come to grief amid great pain” because of their passion for money.  And the pain is so much the greater if they had been men of faith, which stands so much in opposition to the things of this world.

One must be “content with a sufficiency,” Paul teaches us.  “If we have food and clothing we have all that we need.”  But how many are satisfied, grateful to God, for having their needs met?  And how many rather thirst for ever-increasing wealth, in which they foolishly believe they shall find peace and comfort?  Indeed, it is as an addiction, and blinds us to the providential hand of God and the humility we should have in His presence.  Our psalm speaks pointedly and graphically of the vanity of those for whom “the abundance of their riches is their boast,” but who, when they die, “shall take none of it”: “He shall join the circle of his forebears, who shall never more see light.”  Indeed, such trust in wealth leads invariably to hell.

“Then what should we do?” you may well ask.  Let us turn to our gospel.  It is brief and seemingly of little significance, but gives a concise picture of the life of the Lord and those who followed him.  In it we hear that Jesus and the Twelve did what Paul exhorts his disciple Timothy to do (in his letter): “Preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.”  This must be our concern.  This must be our desire – to fulfill the will and the word of God in our lives.  We must “fight the good fight of faith,” setting aside all preoccupation with the riches of this earth.  And we shall be cared for even as the women who accompanied Jesus and His apostles “were assisting them out of their means.”  They saw that the Lord and His disciples were clothed and fed.  They cared out of love for their basic needs.  And God will provide such as these to care for the needs of all who devote themselves to His work.

Let us never fall into the devil’s trap and temptation, as he attempts to distract us from the spiritual necessities God demands.  Such a fall is mighty indeed.  Trust in God’s hand and be satisfied with His call.

 

*******

O LORD, you are the Most High God –

let us enter your House with praise!

YHWH, you are with us, always with us, dearest LORD, and you call us to be with you; you promise us peace in your holy Temple.  And your Temple has come into our midst.  He has suffered and died for our sakes and been raised on the third day.  Now we must suffer with Him, we must do His work in this world, the work of building up His Temple… and soon we will come to dwell with Him in your eternal presence in your dwelling place.

O LORD, take away our mourning for what we do not have, for the lack of your glory among us.  Let us remember that Jesus is the Messiah, that though we be surrounded by darkness this day, His light is with us leading us forth to your kingdom, which even now is indeed being built up in your Church, in all those who work in His Name.  To greater glory bring us each day till your promise is fulfilled and we dwell in your presence forever.

Direct download: BC-091611-F_24_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O protector of your sheep,

you laid down your life

for them,

giving your blood

for the service of souls

that all might witness

the surpassing love of the Lord

and the glory that awaits

those who die in Him –

pray for shepherds

who feed their sheep,

not lording it over them

or seeking what gain they might find

for themselves,

taking the milk and wool

of their flock

and leaving them naked and lifeless…

but living the call of Christ

as you, dear shepherd, have done.

Pray those who govern God’s Church

will be ready even to die for Him

and the people they serve.

Let all be protected by the blood of the Lamb.

Direct download: Sept._19_Januarius.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Tm.4:12-16;   Ps.111:2,7-10;   Lk.7:36-50)

 

“Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;

prudent are all who live by it.”

 

If “the works of His hands are faithful and just,” as His children living in His Word and as His image, we must “be a continuing example of love, faith, and purity.”  If we do not attend to this duty, “so that everyone may see [our] progress,” how shall we “bring to salvation [ourselves] and all who hear [us]”?  Our love of Him must shine forth in all we do.

And what is the fear of the Lord spoken of in our psalm but the love shown by the woman in our gospel?  As she stands behind Jesus, what is she but fearful, what is she but filled with love?  This passage teaches us what fear of the Lord truly is, and what it isn’t.  Certainly she is struck to the heart.  Certainly in the presence of such purity she is convicted of her lust; certainly in the presence of such faith she is convicted of her lack thereof.  But if she were fearful as the world understands the word, would she presume to touch Him?  If she thought He might strike her to the ground, would she wipe His feet “with her hair, kissing them and perfuming them with oil”?  No, she would die where she stands.  But as it is her tears are sweet, for she knows the forgiveness He holds for her in His sacred hands.

This is the fear of the Lord we all must have; it is this which is the beginning of wisdom.  We must be convicted of our sins, yes; but at the same moment we must be filled with the overwhelming love of our God.  The two go hand in hand, and it is the practice of this fear of God in love of Him and neighbor that is the fulfillment of our duty before Him, that will keep us as a holy example of His presence in the world.  The Pharisee in our gospel lacks this holy fear.  First of all, he does not see his sin, and so he is not moved to love.  Failing to view himself in the light of the One present before him, he fails to find the grace that is the knowledge of our sins – and so he is not moved to love, and so he does not find forgiveness.

Let us not love little, brothers and sisters, for this would not be wise.  Failing to live in holy fear of the Lord, we shorten His hand’s working in our lives.  May we ever, by His grace, be convicted of our sins, and so turn to Him in love to find forgiveness.  We will do this only if we remain ever in His presence, bowed at His sacred feet.  Amen. 

*******

O LORD, in your House let us make our home

and to us you will be known.

YHWH, may you receive due glory from all souls, we pray.  May all bless your holy NAME with songs of praise in your Temple.  May all recognize that you are the God of all and that Jesus is your only Son, and so may all rebuild their broken souls by the grace that comes through Him.  O let us all put you first in our lives! as you deserve.

It is our joy to praise you, LORD, to recognize your glory in our midst and so join in that glory you offer through your Christ.  Without you, what are our lives worth?  We remain hungry despite the food on our tables; we remain naked despite the clothing on our backs – we remain empty and poor despite the riches we gather if we remain apart from you in our paneled houses.

O let us set our hearts on serving you, on humbly coming before you as your sons, dear God, and we shall exult in glory.

Direct download: BC-091511-Th_24_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(1Tm.3:14-16;   Ps.111:1-6;   Lk.7:31-35) 

“God’s wisdom is vindicated by all who accept it.”

“The Church of the living God” is the “pillar and bulwark of truth,” as Paul tells us.  And it is those who live the faith, “professing it” with all their beings, who prove its truth.  “Wonderful, indeed, is the mystery of our faith”; no greater grace or wisdom could we hope to attain.

“He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up into glory…”  “Great are the works of the Lord, exquisite in all their delights…”  How our first reading and psalm sing of the glory of our God!  And how blessed are we to know “the power of His works,” to be recipients of His gift of “majesty and glory,” to be the children of so great a God.  We should indeed praise Him unceasingly for being “mindful of His covenant” with us, for shedding His blood for our salvation, for drawing us into the Father’s presence.  “He has given food to those who fear Him,” and we partake of His glorious meal each day in the Holy Eucharist.

Forget not the blessings the Lord imparts to us, brothers and sisters.  “Know what kind of conduct befits a member of God’s household.”  We must not be as the men of Jesus’ day who like spoiled children sought to form the Lord in the image they desired of Him, refusing to accept Him and His wisdom as it came to them, as it stood before them in the flesh.  How can we presume upon the will of our God and His wisdom?  How can we fail to accept the light and grace of the Gospel?  What folly it is to judge Him who judges the universe.  We must be open to His Word, open to His grace, open to His teaching and the marvelous works known only in adherence to His covenant of absolute truth and love.  He is the foundation upon which the Church is set, and a Church living His wisdom and grace is the vindication, the proof, of its eternal efficacy for the good of all. 

Rejoice in the Lord always, brothers and sisters, that He has blessed you with knowledge of His glory and fed you with His own body and blood.  Eat and drink this food He gives, do all He commands in His eternal wisdom, and with the angels you will behold His face as children of the Most High God.

*******

O LORD, lead me forth in the peace of your presence –

restore our ruined house;

heal all our disease.

YHWH, you grant mercy to our souls.  Though we be cast down to the nether world for all our sins, you send forth your apostles to overcome all demons and cure us of our diseases; you raise our heads to look upon your face.  And so, what should we do but praise you with full voice?

Continually we falter, LORD; repeatedly your people fall back into sin.  But ever you call us to turn from our wickedness that we might find your favor again.  In your Son you make this mercy complete, and we find it now at work in your Church.  Let us receive well the Word that comes to us and so approach your kingdom.

What have you not done for us, O LORD.  Even the hearts of the kings of this earth you have turned to our cause to assist us in rebuilding your Temple.  All is in your hands, Almighty God!  Redeem us from captivity to walk in freedom with you at our side.

Direct download: BC-091411-W_24_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O wise doctor

whose intellect served well

in defense of the Church

and her teachings,

who bore well the light yoke of Christ

that leads to eternal life

and shepherded your flock

in following you

along this path of our Lord –

speak to us this day

your words of grace

that the souls of all

within the Church’s gates

might be founded well

on the truths of the faith

and on the love of God.

Pray we shall be wise as you

in knowing the way

the Lord marks out for His sons;

pray we shall have shepherds

so blessed with His light

that all shall be saved from the wolves about

and remain secure in the Father’s arms.

Direct download: Sept._17_Robert_Bellarmine.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Tm.3:1-13;   Ps.101:1-3,5-6;   Lk.7:11-17)

 

“He who walks in the way of integrity

shall be in my service.”

 

“God has visited His people.”  What the people said when Jesus raised the widow’s son from the dead should be said of us all as we pass through this world.  That same love that moved Jesus to pity upon seeing the tears of this poor mother should move us all.  To all we should say, “Do not cry.”  To all we should step forward with the love of Christ fixed firmly in our hearts and bring the same grace and healing.

In our first reading Paul outlines the qualities necessary to be a servant of the Lord.  At whatever level we find ourselves, to whatever role we are called, we must walk in integrity of heart.  All “must be serious”; all “should be temperate”; all should be of peace and never of greed; and all must keep their homes in order.  “The man of haughty eyes and puffed-up heart I will not endure,” the Lord warns us in David’s psalm.  And we must heed that warning and walk humbly with our God, seeking to serve Him and our neighbor well, that we might ever be built up in “faith in Christ Jesus.”

His servants are blessed.  “My eyes are upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me,” of the Lord’s kindness and judgment David sings.  Indeed, those who follow in His ways will do things as great as He – even to the raising of the dead – and shall find themselves raised up on the last day.  But as we go through this world we cannot have cold hearts for our neighbors: we cannot allow the faith to die within ourselves.  That which has been nurtured within us must be shared with others; then we will “gain a worthy place” at the Lord’s side.

All are called to their stations in life; all have a part in the Body of Christ.  Let us not set before our eyes “any base thing” but look always to fulfill that call in a trustworthy manner, holding “fast to the divinely revealed faith with a clear conscience.”  If our conscience becomes clouded, we will be unable to serve Him, and our reward will be placed in jeopardy.  Therefore, let us ever maintain His goodness within us and let our actions always reflect the great love of God.  The Lord wishes us to be forever in His service.

 

*******

O LORD, the temple of our souls we must rebuild,

according to your Word,

that we might be His brothers and sisters,

that we might enter His House.

YHWH, let us go up to your House; let us enter its gates in joy, giving thanks to you who have made us as your Temple, built into the Body of your Son, as His brothers and sisters who do your will in this world.  He is the New Jerusalem and we desire to come to Him and make our home in Him.  Bless our efforts in building ourselves into your holy Temple, the Church.

Help us as we return from exile, as from sin we turn away and come back to you, O LORD our God.  We shall need your assistance in rebuilding lives which have gone so astray, in restoring the walls that keep us from harm, from the dangers all about our souls, and that found us in you and in the Word of your Son.

O let us hear your Word calling us into your presence! and let us act upon that Word and give glory to you, LORD, with our every breath, with every sacrifice we make in your NAME.

Direct download: BC-091311-Tu_24_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O brothers in Christ,

in death and in life

you gave yourselves as one

for the sake of the flock;

for the cause of the faith

readily you shed your blood

to serve the growth of God’s Church –

pray we today will be zealous as you

in defending the faith with our lives;

by fasting and by prayer,

by standing courageously

before the courts of the world

and offering our flesh in sacrifice,

may we imitate you who imitated Christ

and so come with all our brothers

to His resurrection and life.

Shepherd us well even this day

from where you now stand at the Lord’s side,

that we might be unafraid to speak

and to live the truth in undying love.

O let us lay down our lives with you!

Direct download: Sept._16_Cornelius_and_Cyprian.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Tm.2:1-8;   Ps.28:2,6-9;   Lk.7:1-10)

 

“Offer prayers with blameless hands held aloft.”

 

We must pray.  We must petition the Lord for the good of the world, that the good of our souls, the Lord Jesus Christ, might be known to all.  If we do not intercede, if we do not seek the healing of a people sick with sin, who shall do so?  The Lord desires “all men to be saved and come to know the truth.”  It is our responsibility, it is our call, to bring the love and forgiveness and healing of our Lord forth.

“Hear the sound of my pleading, when I cry to you, lifting up my hands to your holy shrine.”  Our eyes and our hands must be continually lifted up to the temple of the Lord and to His holy presence.  The Lord listens to our prayers, brothers and sisters.  The world depends upon our prayers.  Those for whom the Lord is “strength” and “the saving refuge” are near to Him, and He waits to hear from them.  He longs to hear the petitions of their hearts and is eternally prepared to respond to their pleas.  Should not we who are blessed to be within the walls of the Church, who partake of His Word and His sacraments, who have His teaching upon our hearts and His presence in our midst, be concerned for the good of all; should we not long to see the Lord’s will done on this earth?  Then pray.

And our gospel teaches us that those who disparage the faithful for depending on the intercessions of others, those who think they must always come directly to Jesus to find answer to their petition – those who fail to see the family of God and our connection here on earth with the saints who have preceded us to heaven – are in danger of a vain pride.  Learn from the centurion, who says to the Lord, “I did not presume to come to you myself.”  And why?  “For I am not worthy to have you enter my house.”  And so, first “he sent some Jewish elders to him” (are these not so much like our beloved saints?), and then “sent friends” to deliver the above message of humility.  And for his humility, and for his faith in the intercession of others… and for his realization that the Lord hears petitions offered for others and that He Himself has ministering angels who perform His work at His Word – the Lord holds this centurion in “amazement” and raises him up as a model of faith.

Do we believe?  Do we truly believe in the Lord and in His angels and His saints?  Do we believe His heavenly kingdom is near to us, and His will is for our good?  Then we should not hesitate to lift our hearts and our hands to the Lord in faithful prayer.

Blessed Mother, intercede for us before your Son, Jesus, that we who are not worthy to receive Him into our mortal bodies may be made immortal by His presence within us.  May He bring peace to the world.

 

*******

O LORD, you will repay the faithful soul;

 you will repay him to the full –

the lamp you light in us will never dim.

YHWH, bring us into the New Jerusalem; return us to our true home with you.  In Heaven let us dwell this day, blessed with all the gifts and graces come from your hands.  Then we shall rejoice.  Then we shall laugh and sing.  Then our tears will be washed away as we join ourselves to you. 

How impossible it seems as we sit here in this dark world, and yet how very likely.  For even here you are present to us as we speak your NAME.  Even now we know your light shining in our minds and hearts.  Yes, LORD, even now we come to Heaven. 

You are with your people even in their exile, and you call even those who are strangers to help them along their way to you.  All the nations know your greatness and shall enter your Church, O LORD.  Let us build your Temple this day.

Direct download: BC-091211-M_24_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O sorrowful Mother

whose heart was pierced by a sword,

who stood at the foot of the Cross

dying in spirit

as your Son died in the flesh…

Jesus was sent to suffer

and die for our sins,

and how intimately you shared

in the profound pain

He carried about all His life;

how preeminently you filled up

what was lacking in His suffering,

suffering the whole Church must share

with our crucified Lord –

pray we shall indeed enter into

the sacrifice of Christ your Son,

following in your wake,

O Mother of God;

pray we shall meet Him

along His Way of Sorrow

that His blood upon our souls

will carry us to Heaven,

where you stand at His side.

Direct download: Sept_15_Our_Lady_of_Sorrows.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Ex.32:7-11,13-14;   Ps.51:3-4,12-13,17,19,Lk.15:18;   1Tm.1:12-17;   Lk.15:1-32) 

“The Lord relented in the punishment

He had threatened to inflict on His people.”

Redemption is ours, brothers and sisters.  Though we are great sinners, the Lord has mercy on us when we turn to Him; for, as Moses interceded for the Israelites in the desert, so Christ Jesus intercedes for us now before the throne of His Father.  Indeed, He “came into the world to save sinners,” sinners like you and me.

What examples of sinners we have throughout our readings today – what examples of great sinners and the greatness, the abundance of God’s grace.  Where shall we begin?  In our first reading the people of Israel had fallen into the depths of depravity as they passed through the desert.  While Moses was on the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments, they were far below, “making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it.”  To it they sacrificed, and in drunken revelry proclaimed it God.  Yet because of Moses’ intercession the Lord held back His blazing wrath against them.  He did not destroy them.

In our second reading we find “the foremost” of sinners, the apostle Paul, recognizing his own great guilt as arrogant persecutor of the Church and, in the same breath, witnessing to the manner in which he was “mercifully treated” by the Lord, that he might indeed be “an example for those who would come to believe in [Jesus] for everlasting life.”  If the Lord can turn him who was the primary persecutor of Himself and His people into a leading apostle of His Word, how might He not convert our own hearts, or the hearts of any, to Him and to His will?

And, of course, in our gospel we have the parable of the prodigal son, he who “squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation” yet was openly received into the waiting arms of the same father whose property he swallowed up when this dissolute child came to his senses and returned to him.  The Lord makes so clear in His parable today the great desire God has to take the sinner in His arms, to place Him on His shoulders; indeed, “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.”  Brothers and sisters, we all have need of repentance, and the Lord welcomes us all.

After all this, perhaps our most poignant witness to God’s forgiveness and grace comes in King David, who has been adulterous and murderous but who cries out to Lord in our psalm, “Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me.”  His “contrite spirit,” his humble begging is heard by the Lord, as is the repentance of us all.  Through the blood of Jesus, all ignorant sinners may be saved.

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

Music: "Wish I'd Never Done It" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, you welcome poor, repentant sinners

into your House with joy.

YHWH, have mercy on us poor sinners.  In the greatness of your compassion, wipe out our offense.  Like the Israelites who made the golden calf in the desert, like David who turned to adultery and murder, like Paul who persecuted your Son with such abandon, we are all your prodigal children.  But as you had mercy on all of these, look upon us with kindness as we turn back to you.

O LORD, how greatly you desire our repentance.  What great joy it brings you when we confess our guilt.  For this you sent your Son to suffer and die; to save our souls you did not spare His life.  And so, as we listen to His teaching, as we hear His call to penitence, our contrite heart causes you to rejoice that you might have us home again.

Forgive us our sins, dear God, and help us to forgive others.  In this is your will fulfilled; in this the blood of your Son bears fruit, and we are redeemed.

Direct download: BC-091513-Su_24_OT_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Nm.21:4b-9;   Ps.78:1-2,7,34-38;   Phil.2:6-11;   Jn.3:13-17)

 

“God greatly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him

the name which is above every name.”

 

And why is it that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bend”?  Why does “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord”?  It is because “He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  It is precisely because “He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness” and dying as a cursed criminal, that this innocent dove who was “in the form of God” became the praise of our race and the source of our salvation.

Yes, He and His cross are now the source of our salvation.  By His cross we find the forgiveness of our sins.  Now that “the Son of Man has been lifted up… everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.”  Now that we have been shown both our sins and the love God has for us sinners in the Lord’s being nailed to the cross, we may find the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life.  Just as the Israelites looked upon their sin, recognizing their guilt in the serpents God had sent among them – and finding also its conquering in the serpent’s being bronzed and “mounted on a pole” – so now we who look upon our crucified Lord cannot help but see how we have injured our God, and at the same moment find cleansing for those sins in His blood upon the cross to which we have nailed Him. 

 Do not be afraid to come to His cross, brothers and sisters.  Do not shy away from His love or turn away from the recognition of your guilt.  By it alone will you, too, be exalted with the Lord who has humbled Himself and died for you.  By it alone will you find glory in God eternally.

He loves us so, brothers and sisters.  “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that He who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.”  And so the cross becomes a sign of triumph not only for our Lord, but for ourselves; for indeed by it we are saved – without it we would yet be lost in our sin.  But as it is He “has come down from heaven.”  As it is He has been “lifted up” before our eyes.  As it is He has sacrificed Himself in absolute love to draw us unto Him and His love.  As with the Israelites “He, being merciful, forgave their sin and destroyed them not,” so now He forgives our sins and carries us “up to heaven,” whence He has come.  And so we rejoice in the victory of His holy cross.

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, let us be saved from our sin

by the sacrifice of your only Son. 

YHWH, to be saved from our sin we needed first to recognize our sin and repent of it.  And how could our sin be made clearer to our eyes than in the crucifixion of God Himself, than in the suffering and death of your only Son?  What could better bring us to repentance than to see the effects of our sin so graphically displayed?

And how could we better know your love for us, LORD, than in Jesus’ willingness to undergo all the tortures the sins of men could inflict upon Him, all only that these same men might be saved from the hatred that had taken hold of our hearts?  Your Son has humbled Himself even to the point of death, death on a Cross; and so, what should we do but glorify His Name and the Cross which is the source of our salvation?

Forgive us, O LORD, our bitterness toward you.  Raise us up with Christ, your Son.

Direct download: Triumph_of_the_Cross_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O you of golden tongue,

how well you proved

the Word of God cannot be chained;

how well you revealed

its radiance to our ears and hearts…

unconquered by threats of death

and the sufferings

the world imposes,

you proclaimed the glory of God

and His presence with us

until the very end –

pray, O dear shepherd,

who held your flock

so close to your heart

that they became one body with you

in Christ,

that we all shall be so willing

to lay down our lives,

speaking and walking in

the Word the Lord gives us

to share with all our brothers in light.

Pray indeed God’s will be done

in all His holy children.

Direct download: Sept._13_John_Chrysostom.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Tm.1:1-2,12-14;   Ps.16:1-2,5,7-8,11;   Lk.6:39-42)

 

“Remove the plank from your own eye first;

then you will see clearly enough

to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

 

The answer to Jesus’ question to His disciples: “Can a blind man act as guide to a blind man?” is obvious.  No.  It must be a man of sight, of vision, who leads those who are blind, who are without understanding.  Paul has become a prime example of one who is well able to lead others.  In our first reading he speaks to Timothy, his “true child in faith,” whom he has taught and led and who now stands as a bishop of the early Church.  But how did Paul come to be such a profitable apostle?  We see in our reading that he has taken the instruction of the Lord, his teacher, to heart, and first recognized and then removed the plank which once rested firmly in his own eye: “I was once a blasphemer, a persecutor, a man filled with arrogance.”  Indeed, this great Apostle of the Lord was once an egregious persecutor of the Church; and indeed we all have or have had great sins in our lives which have set us in opposition to God – but Paul has faced his sin, found “the grace of our Lord… in overflowing measure,” and served to remove innumerable specks from others’ eyes.  What of us?  Do we see our sins?  Have we removed them?  Do we see clearly enough to “remove the speck from [our] brother’s eye?”

“Every student when he has finished his studies will be on a par with his teacher.”  Paul has humbled himself before Jesus and absorbed the lessons the Lord imparts by the Spirit.  Timothy has proven himself a true student and son of Paul.  Who is our teacher?  Where do we get our knowledge?  Whom do we imitate?  And whom do we lead?  Are we falling into ditches following blind men’s leads?  Are we leading others astray with any false philosophy?  Or is it the Lord who “counsels” us as He does David in our psalm?  Do we say with him, “O Lord, my allotted portion and cup, you it is who hold fast my lot,” and, “I set the Lord ever before me”?  Is it His “grace, mercy, and peace” we seek always; or in arrogance do we set about doing the business we think fit? 

The teaching of the Lord would lead us to set aside any sin within ourselves, to cleanse our hearts and purify our souls in order to have clear vision.  For it is by this holy vision His Church is led forth, and we must be part of this procession. 

*******

O LORD, in Christ Jesus let us grow in faith and love

by the forgiveness of our sins.

YHWH, remove the sin from our lives that we might be filled with your vision and serve to help you call others to faith.  On our own we remain blind, but we can bring light to others with you at our side.

O Jesus, teach us of the ways of God, and open our hearts and minds to listen to your voice and act upon your words.  We are worth nothing apart from you, but if we follow in your way we may become like you who see and know all things by love and lead all souls to salvation.

Have mercy on us, dear LORD, for without your grace upon our souls we shall die in our unbelief.  Who can come to you unless you call him?  And apart from you, indeed we die in sin.

Open our eyes to your glory; let us set you ever before us.  Let your counsel sink deeply into our hearts that we might live at your right hand and lead others to your glory.

Direct download: BC-090911-F_23_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O Mary, sweetest of creatures,

whose name on our lips

brings joy to our hearts…

inflamed with love toward God

and you

we become

in speaking your blessed name –

pray we shall call your name,

dear Lady,

in our time of need,

that you will be quick to intercede

with your Son

for our salvation.

Washed in the water from His side

and in His holy blood,

pray we shall rise above the sea,

beyond all rebellion,

that obedient as you, His Handmaid,

we shall find favor with the Lord

and enter into Heaven,

our names written beside your own

in the Book of Life,

dearest Mary.

Direct download: Sept._12_The_Most_Holy_Name_of_Mary.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Col.3:12-17;   Ps.150:1-6;   Lk.6:27-38)

“Whatever you do, whether in speech or in action,

do it in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

“Sing gratefully to God from your hearts in psalms, hymns, and inspired songs.”  Such is our speech and action when dedicated to God.  Our lives indeed become a symphony of His grace when we “let the word of Christ, rich as it is, dwell in [us].”  The “blast of the trumpet… with lyre and harp… with timbrel and dance… with strings and pipe… with sounding of cymbals,” which our psalm exhorts in praise of God, are the litany of virtues we are called in both our first reading and our gospel to practice with our Christian lives.

Paul conducts us to “clothe [our]selves with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”  He invokes “Christ’s peace,” “thankfulness,” and “wisdom made perfect” upon us, and states: “Over all these virtues put on love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect,” making love the key to this hymn we sing and play with our lives, the note to which we continually return and which is ever present at the heart of our melody.  And what a perfectly marvelous, heavenly song this is when sung in sincerity and truth.

The sincerity and truth to which we are called is made unmistakable in the Lord’s teaching in our gospel.  Here we have the greatest challenge to our virtue of love, and its greatest moment.  Here the magnum opus is sounded.  Jesus has for us a litany of virtues Himself: “Be compassionate… do not judge… do not condemn… pardon… give,” and assures us that “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over” will be ours if we live by His word.  But the love which is the sum of all virtues is most poignantly accentuated in the command which sets the Lord and His grace apart from all others and their teachings, which makes Him so clearly the Son of God.  “To you who hear me, I say: Love your enemies,” He proclaims to His disciples, and then makes explicit the call to a Christian life: “Do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you, and pray for those who maltreat you.”  And more specifically, “When someone slaps you on the cheek, turn and give him the other; when someone takes your coat, let him have your shirt as well.”  Who can hear these words?  Who can heed these commands?  Who can live them in speech and action, as has our Lord upon the cross?  It is this sacrifice of love to which we are called, and only this will raise our song unto heaven.  We must act always out of love.

*******

O LORD, how shall we love as you who are Most High

when we cannot even love as humans? –

if we really are your chosen ones

we will die on the Cross with Jesus.

YHWH, let us praise you with all our lives; may all our words and all our actions be a song of praise to you.  Christ’s peace reigning in our hearts, help us to love one another, even our enemies, forgiving any wrong done to us and praying for the salvation of all souls.  As Jesus let us be in our compassion, desiring never to see others condemned but hoping always for their conversion in your blessed mercy.  Then our song shall reach to you and the angels will shower your graces upon us.

To what great love you call us, LORD! to be even as your only Son, even as you are in your infinite mercy.  If we could but hear your call, if we but answered Jesus’ instruction with the sacrifice it entails, how blessed we would be?  Help us to lay down our lives with Him, even for those who kill us.  Alleluia!

Direct download: BC-090811-Th_23_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Col.3:1-11;   Ps.145:2-3,9-13;   Lk.6:20-26)

 

“Set your heart on what pertains to higher realms

where Christ is seated at God’s right hand.”

 

Is this not the central message of the Lord’s beatitudes: “Be intent on things above rather than on things of earth.”  For how could we be blest in poverty, hunger, and weeping if our hearts are set on this earth?  And how could riches and fullness and laughter be curses except that they do not find their origin in heaven?  Paul makes it explicit: “You have died!” he declares, and leaves no question but that our “life is hidden now with Christ in God.”  There must our hearts be.

“Put to death whatever in your nature is rooted in earth,” the Apostle continues.  Lust and anger and deceit have no place in the life of a follower of Christ, for these indeed are sins of this earth which stand in contradiction to the grace of heaven.  Therefore, we must set them all aside to become “a new man, one who grows in knowledge as he is formed anew in the image of his Creator.”  It cannot be that the Lord’s children have discourse with evil conduct; those who are called to heaven must “discourse of the glory of [His] kingdom,” their souls must “speak of [His] might” and their lives must be lived in His light.

And so the Lord “raised His eyes to His disciples.”  And so He spoke to them of heaven.  And so the blessing of persecution in this world was made known to them, that their hearts might begin to understand.  God’s world is not this world; His kingdom is not of darkness but of light.  And if in the darkness we take our refuge, and if our hearts are not grieved by its injustice… if we fat ourselves on things of the flesh and turn our eyes from the demands of the Spirit… how shall we ever find justice and light?  How shall we ever come into the Lord’s glorious presence?  What will we do then but weep in our emptiness?

The Lord’s kingdom is coming, brothers and sisters.  Be assured.  What this world holds – its passion and death – is passing quickly, like a cloud in the night.  The rays of morning are not far from us, for the Lord is even now at our side.  And to His side in heaven we shall yet come, if we but accept His blessing.  So let us say with David, “Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages, and your dominion endures through all generations”; and let us enter now into His eternal presence. 

*******

O LORD, let us set our hearts on your kingdom

and let this world and its sin pass away.

YHWH, blessings and woes you hold for all souls, and so help us set our hearts on things above rather than things of earth, on your kingdom which endures forever and not on this dying, deceit-filled place.  Let our mouths bless you and speak of your glory, not be filled with every kind of wickedness.  For then indeed we will be blessed by you, as those who revel in their sin are subject to your wrath.

O let us not take our consolation now in this dark world!  Let us not give ourselves to the passion and lust that characterize this age.  We must die to all of this world and find our life in your Christ, who has died, or when He appears we shall be condemned.  Help us, O LORD, to rejoice in the persecution that is ours in following His way, knowing we are thus joined to Him and, so, destined also for His glory.  All idolatry let us set aside and make your Son our only desire.  O let us be poor souls who hunger ever for you!

Direct download: BC-090711-W_23_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Col.2:6-15;   Ps.145:1-2,8-11;   Lk.6:12-19)

 

“Coming down from the mountain with them,

He stopped at a level stretch where there were many of His disciples.”

 

In our gospel, the Lord has gone “to the mountain to pray, spending the night in communion with God.”  Then at daybreak He chose His twelve apostles.  On His way back down the mountain He comes upon those who have been waiting for Him, and He takes pity on this “large crowd of people” and reaches out His hand to heal them.

Yes, He in whom “the fullness of deity resides in bodily form,” as Paul tells us in our first reading, has come down from on high, from His union with the Father, to walk amongst us, to dwell with us – to “pardon all our sins.”  He “who is head of every principality and power” has bent down to the level of the humble creature dead in sin and circumcised him with the circumcision “which strips off the carnal body completely.”  He has accomplished this by taking the claim against us, our debt for our sins, and “nailing it to the cross.”  And baptized into Him and His cross we are “not only buried with Him but also raised to life with Him.”  The grace that comes from this sacrifice, the healing we find in the touch of His hand and by the power of His word and His blood, we must now treasure.  And so Paul tells us we must “be rooted in Him and built up in Him, growing ever stronger in faith,” lest we make His sacrifice void.

“The Lord is good to all and compassionate toward all His works,” sings David in our psalm today; and how can this be greater shown than in His coming down from heaven to teach us and to heal us, and to fulfill this teaching and healing in dying on the cross?  What more could He do for us than to die for us to save us?  What greater love could our God impart?

Do not be deceived, brothers and sisters, by “any empty, seductive  philosophy… based on cosmic powers rather than on Christ.”  Avoid any teaching that does not recognize Jesus as the Son of God, as God Himself “in bodily form.”  Without Jesus there is no salvation, and failing to recognize “the fullness of deity” in Him, we cannot “share of this fullness” to which we are called.  Rather, let us sing with David, “Every day will I bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever.”  Always in the Lord Jesus let us take our refuge, and in His love; let us ever wait for His coming down from the mountain to touch and heal our hearts.  Alleluia.

 

*******

O LORD, power goes out from your Son

to heal us of all our sins – 

let us come to Him, and remain with Him. 

YHWH, your power resides in Jesus, He who is God in bodily form.  He it is who took our sins and nailed them to the tree that we might have new life in company with Him in your eternal presence.  In the fullness of His power we now share, with all His apostles and disciples; let us ever grow in faith and strength before you. 

How compassionate you are, O LORD!  And how that compassion is revealed in your only Son, He who died for our sins, He who came down from Heaven to heal us of all our ills.  And how He provides for us whom He loves by appointing His apostles, that indeed we might all become His disciples, anointed by His blood. 

Let us join Jesus our Savior in His union with you.  In prayer let us enter your presence and there remain.  O let us praise your NAME forever and ever, never ceasing to bless you for the glory you share with poor creatures such as us.  O LORD, in Jesus let us live and thrive.

Direct download: BC-090611-Tu_23_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O slave to the slaves,

to those who came in chains

to the new world,

those whose dark skin

made them seem to eyes of flesh

less than men…

to you these were children of God,

souls to be saved by His love

and through His Church,

and so the thousands

baptized by your hands

celebrate your glorious sacrifice

this day in God’s presence –

pray for us, dear brother,

that the shackles of racial prejudice,

the pride that exalts man above man,

shall fall from our hands,

our tongues and our hearts,

and that all of the Lord’s holy people

will work so diligently

as you, His blessed slave,

for the care of the weakest among us

and the salvation of all souls.

Direct download: Sept._9_Peter_Claver.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Col.1:24-2:3;   Ps.62:6-7,9;   Lk.6:6-11)

 

“We admonish all men and teach them in the full measure of wisdom,

hoping to make every man complete in Christ.”

 

It is Paul’s desire to see the nations “enriched with full assurance by their knowledge of the mystery of God – namely Christ – in whom every treasure of wisdom and knowledge is hidden.”  It is his desire for us all to be filled with this wisdom that is Christ, for it is his call from Christ to bring His Gospel forth to the eyes and ears of the whole world, to “fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His body, the Church.”  And it is our call to join Him in such sufferings in Jesus’ name, that indeed His Word might come to its fullness, that indeed in such suffering we might find with Paul the joy of knowing “the mystery hidden from ages and generations past but now revealed to His holy ones.”  This “glory beyond price” is ours as we listen to His Word, as we follow in His ways.

Jesus shows Himself to be the model teacher, the teacher of teachers, the Word itself, in our gospel today.  “On a sabbath Jesus came to teach in a synagogue where there was a man whose right hand was withered.”  For Jesus the synagogue was hostile territory, for the scribes and Pharisees “were on the watch” to “find a charge against Him,” to catch Him in His teaching.  Jesus does not turn away from the danger before Him but confronts them with the limitations of their interpretation of the teaching perhaps most dear to them – the command to keep the sabbath holy.  He would teach them the full meaning of this command; He would fulfill this wisdom before them, showing them that God does not preclude the doing of good for others on the sabbath, that this day made for rest is thus truly a day made for healing and that this day is therefore the best to come to Him for healing – for what does He wish for us but our healing, our salvation?  But being blind to the love of God and His desire for good and the good of all, they do not perceive His lesson, and make it instead a cause to “destroy” the Son of God.

It is difficult to understand how these leaders of the people could become “frenzied” at the healing of one of their flock – how can this be evil to do on the sabbath?  But we must remember that blindness to the will of God is not the sole possession of these scribes and Pharisees.  It is a foolishness which is part of us all in our all-too-human thoughts and actions.  It is this blindness which the Lord calls us from; it is this wisdom known in Christ to which Paul would direct us all.  Let us join with him, with Jesus, in the “work and struggle” to bring God’s healing word forth to the hands and hearts of all.  “God is our refuge.”  Let us firmly “trust in Him” and in His wisdom, and we shall be made whole. 

 

*******

O LORD, let us be whole in your sight

by the sacrifice of your Christ.

YHWH, in your Son every treasure of wisdom and knowledge is hidden.  In Him let us take our refuge, that we might be taught in fullness of your goodness, of your love for us, and come to share in that love with all your holy ones.

O LORD, let us not harden our hearts against your work in our midst, against your Son come among us to lead us to you.  Let us not rather stay the path we travel in our blindness but recognize before the great mystery you reveal to us in the presence of your Son that we fall short of His glory because of our limited vision, and embrace the wisdom He holds out to us.

O let us stretch forth our withered hands! that we might be healed of all the wickedness in our hearts and come to serve you and your Church as you call us.  In suffering for the sake of your kingdom may we find our joy with Christ; ever strengthened and united in His love, let us take our refuge in the glory He bears us.

Direct download: BC-090511-M_23_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O Virgin who bore the Son of God,

who became the divine dwelling place

for the Creator of us all,

should we not celebrate your birth

this day,

the blessing of the generation

of you who signal our salvation?

Pray for us, dear Mother,

pray for all your children,

all who would call themselves

sons of God

and brothers of our Lord Jesus Christ...

pray that all generations

will call you blessed,

that all will hail you

as Mother of our Savior

and glorify the Lord

who has filled you with His grace.

You are one of us, dear Virgin Mary,

one of the human creation,

yet in you God deigns to dwell;

pray we shall all be made worthy

to be such a temple for the Lord.

Direct download: Sept._8_The_Nativity_of_Mary.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(Wis.9:13-18b;   Ps.90:1,3-6,12-14,17;   Phlm.1:9-10,12-17;   Lk.14:25-33)

“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me

cannot be my disciple.”

The wisdom of the cross, that blessed necessity for every Christian’s life.  What does it teach us?  How does it call us to act?  Its wisdom is not of this earth, for the “corruptible body burdens the soul,” but the counsel of the “Holy Spirit from on high” brings the freedom to be sons of God.  This wisdom can only be found by knowing we are but dust and renouncing all things of dust to serve the living and true God.

“Who can know God’s counsel, or who can conceive what the Lord intends?” our first reading from the Book of Wisdom inquires of us.  Indeed, things before our eyes, things of this earth, “we find with difficulty,” so who can understand things of heaven?  How shall we attain the vision of God, of whom our psalm states, “A thousand years in your sight, are as yesterday, now that it is passed, or as a watch in the night”?  How can we who wilt and fade “like the changing grass” come to the surpassing knowledge our Lord possesses?

Jesus answers the question.  He turns to the crowds who follow Him, who are excited by His presence but unaware of the demands made upon every Christian’s life, and He teaches them this wisdom that is of God.  It is His essential lesson: Be prepared to give up all things for the sake of the kingdom.  Put nothing before your worship of God.  Renounce all your possessions and be ready to die for Him – only then can you approach the glory He brings to this earth.  Only by the wisdom of His cross will you find the kingdom of God.  For indeed “the earthen shelter” and all its concerns weigh down the mind, weigh down the spirit, and keep it from attaining to God; they must therefore be left behind to find the freedom of sons of the Most High.

The Lord comes to “teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.”  It is this teaching Paul seeks to impart to Philemon as he asks him to forgive the slave that has wronged him and accept him back “forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a brother.”  This same forgiveness, which is divine not earthly, is that which is asked of us all by the Lord.  For so we have been forgiven by Him, so we who were sinful slaves have been made his brother… and so we must do the same for others.  It is no longer the mind of man by which we judge but the mind of God, and the grace of this wisdom we gain only by carrying our cross.  It is this which shapes us in His image, which imparts to us His wisdom – and by this the work of our hands shall prosper.

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

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

*******

O LORD, help us to renounce all our possessions

that we might know your counsel and follow your Son.

YHWH, send your Holy Spirit from on high that our paths might be made straight, that we might walk the way of the Cross and so find the grace we need to be disciples of Jesus and so enter your presence.  Without such kindness toward us, we shall be lost, distracted by the vain things of this dying earth.

We are but dust, dear LORD, passing like the changing grass, and our hearts are often set on the passing things around us.  Teach us to renounce our possessions, help us to know it is in this true freedom lies… that walking the way of worldly concerns will lead us only to death but laying down our lives with your Son we shall come to glory.  Let us not be so foolish as to think we shall be blessed otherwise.

Freely let us offer all we have to you, LORD; then you shall indeed prosper the work of our hands.  And we shall go from being slaves of the flesh to dwelling as your beloved in the age that does not pass away.

Direct download: BC-090813-Su_23_OT_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Col.1:21-23;   Ps.54:3-4,6,8;   Lk.6:1-5)

 

“Hold fast to faith, be firmly grounded and steadfast in it.”

 

“The Son of Man is Lord,” Lord of the universe, Lord “even of the sabbath.”  He is the Word through whom all things have come and it is He who has “achieved reconciliation” for all with God, the Father.  We must be presented to God “holy, free of reproach and blame.”  We must bow before His Majesty, trust all things to Him, and He will defend our cause.  But if we continue to nourish hostility in our hearts against the Lord of all, if we refuse to recognize Him as our God and Savior, if we remain stubborn in our blindness and our sins against His glorious presence… what hope have we?  We can only then be shaken in our weakness.

Such is the case so often with the Pharisees, who repeatedly harden their hearts against the Word of God and His presence amongst them.  Repeatedly He tries to teach them of truth and the necessity of holding to it, that their rules alone will not sustain them; but continually it seems their hearts are closed.  They cannot seem to understand because they cannot seem to bow before Him; and so they see only with their eyes and not with the wisdom that comes through fear of God.  And the bedrock foundation, the cornerstone of the Church, they cast aside as they concern themselves with its ornaments.

But we must hold to the faith, to the heart’s core of existence itself and the life that is God: Jesus Christ and His holy Gospel must be that which speaks in the depths of our soul.  Then we will know and sing with David, “The Lord sustains my life,” as we praise His name “for its goodness.”  Then we will be “unshaken in the hope promised… by the Gospel,” for the Gospel will be as the blood coursing through our veins and the food we eat; from it and from the Lord we will draw our life as a man draws water from a fountain.

Such light let us pray we maintain in our lives.  Such wisdom and strength which comes only in truth let us make our own.  He is happy to give us this life – for this He has died – let us not turn in blindness from His face but ground ourselves in Him who is the foundation of eternal life.

 

*******

O LORD, your Son gives His life to save us

and lead us unto Heaven.

YHWH, how your Son has saved us!  He who is Lord of the Sabbath, Lord of the universe, who is One with you and so holds every soul in His all-powerful hand – this same Christ has come amongst us not only to teach us of His glory in you, but to join us to that glory by dying for us.  Reconciliation He has achieved for us in His mortal body by dying, by allowing Himself to be nailed to a cross; and now His blood does redeem us from our sin and offers us the promise of eternal life with you in Heaven.

In our hunger we cried to you, dear God, and you hearkened to the words of our mouth.  You sent us help in Jesus your Son and we were released from all evil in our hearts, all the wicked thoughts that controlled our lives by an empty pride.  Help us now to bow down before your Son, to treasure His Word in us – make us firm in faith and unshaken in the hope of entering your House.  For even now your food is upon our table in the flesh of Christ.

Direct download: BC-090311-Sa_22_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Col.1:15-20;   Ps.100:1-5;   Lk.5:33-39)

 

“New wine should be poured into fresh skins.”

 

“The blood of His cross” is poured forth for us; it becomes the new wine we drink this day, that which makes us new men by its grace.  The scribes and Pharisees refuse this new wine, saying, “I find the old wine better,” so they cannot see “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creatures,” standing before them this day.  Do we see Him?  Do we hear His teaching?  Do we allow His Word and His presence to be poured into us?  Do we make ourselves “fresh skins” to receive the wine that is the Lord?  Or do we, too, prefer the old?  The old man under the burden of sin and death must be put away before the new man of grace and life can enter in.

“In Him everything in heaven and on earth was created, things visible and invisible.”  Paul tells us Jesus fills all the universe with His presence, for “all were created through Him and for Him.  He is before all else that is,” and “in Him everything continues in being.”  He is the source of life and life itself.  And He is “head of the body, the Church.”  “Firstborn of the dead,” primacy indeed is His “in everything.”  First to be born, first to die, He is also the first to be raised to new life… and by His power we are all raised to the new life we now find through His sacrifice.  The blood which fills the universe must now fill our beings; we must be filled with His presence, for only by Him does grace come.  Only by Him is the Law fulfilled, the Word made real, and the life of heaven become our own.

And those who are present to Him, those who are present with Him – those who are filled with His Spirit cannot help but rejoice.  The disciples could not fast while Jesus was with them, while the bridegroom to whom they wed themselves was in their midst, and likewise those who come into the presence of the Lord cannot come but with joy.  “Enter His gates with thanksgiving,” our psalm declares.  “Know that the Lord is God; He made us, His we are.”  And as we enter into the blessed Body and Blood of Christ, as we come to know the bridegroom of our soul… as His Spirit fills us what can we do but rejoice in the Lord, “whose kindness endures forever,” who makes us as His own – who redeems our very souls.  Make room for Him in your hearts.  There let His blood flow, that you might have new life.

*******

O LORD, with you we are called to dwell –

let us rejoice!

YHWH, absolute fullness resides in your Son, through whom you made the universe and through whose blood you reconcile all things.  He is your very image, and He calls us all to enter your gates through Him, that we might rejoice forever in your kingdom.

Jesus is the Bridegroom to whom we must be wed if we are to come into your presence and see the face of the One who made us.  His blood is the new wine poured out for our sakes, that which will unite us with Him as we come with pure hearts, with new wineskins, to Holy Communion.  O let us receive Him well, LORD! that we might be filled with the grace He offers forth.

You call us to sing joyfully before you, LORD, in the wedding feast of Heaven.  May we be your faithful flock, gratefully accepting the love that comes to us only through your firstborn Son.

Direct download: BC-090211-F_22_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Col.1:9-14;   Ps.98:2-6;   Lk.5:1-11)

 

“You will multiply good works of every sort

and grow in the knowledge of God.”

 

As Simon Peter and the others “caught such a great number of fish that their nets were at the breaking point,” so shall it be with any Christian who devotes himself to the work and the will of God.  But as the apostles “brought their boats to land, left everything, and became His followers,” so we must dedicate our lives entirely to Him if we are to “attain full knowledge of His will through perfect wisdom and spiritual insight.”   We must leave all else aside and we will become “worthy to share the lot of the saints in light,” becoming ever more fruitful as fishers of men and bringers of that light into the world.

“The Lord has made His salvation known,” and notice from where He chooses “to teach the crowds.”  Looking for a mooring, a place from which to preach, “He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Peter.”  Yes, it is in the barque of Peter and through the barque of Peter that Jesus manifests Himself, that He brings His teaching forth.  In this boat He sits and teaches the nations.  It is this boat He encourages to “put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”  For His blessing is upon this boat and him who steers it, as well as the partners he calls “to come and help,” that is, James and John and all the other apostles – the bishops and priests and all the holy people beckoned by the Lord through the office of Peter to fill His boats to bursting.

“He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of His beloved Son,” Paul, another blessed fisher of men, tells us.  And the forgiveness of the Lord necessary for one to be called to “a life worthy of the Lord” is evident in the repentance of our leader, our first of apostles, Simon Peter, as he “fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me, Lord, I am a sinful man,’” in awe at the presence of God before him.  Only by such humility are we drawn from the darkness of sin, only by recognizing our weakness are we made strong – only by bowing down before the Lord and serving others in His name are we made worthy of the kingdom of light.  Only then with our psalmist will we “with trumpets and the sound of the horn sing joyfully before the King, the Lord.”  Rooted in His Church and its service let us ever grow in knowledge and joy before our God. 

*******

O LORD, let your salvation be fully known

in the lives of all your disciples –

let us leave all things to follow your Son.

YHWH, make us worthy to share the lot of your saints in light.  Bring your salvation to us, free us from the power of darkness, that we might rejoice in your kingdom and sing your praise forever.  It is through Peter and the Church you bring us salvation – let us be caught in his net and so become your disciples, and so become as your only Son.

How shall we attain full knowledge of your will, how shall we find the grace and wisdom we need, if separated from the bark of Peter, if outside the boat in which Jesus Himself has set His feet?  We shall not be able to please you, LORD, if we do not follow in the way your Son marks out for us, if we do not come to you through Peter and the apostles.

Let your salvation be known to the ends of the earth, O LORD.  Into deep water may Peter’s net be cast, that all sinful men may fall at the feet of Jesus.

Direct download: BC-090111-Th_22_OT.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Col.1:1-8;   Ps.52:10-11;   Lk.4:38-44)

 

“And He continued to preach in the synagogues of Judea.”

 

The Word goes forth, bringing healing to the hearts of the faithful.  The Word goes forth, ever growing among the people.  As “the message of truth, the Gospel… has come to [the Colossians], has borne fruit, and has continued to grow,” so “it has everywhere in the world.”  As Jesus has set out “into the open country” to bring “the good news of the reign of God” to all to whom He was sent; as Paul, as Timothy, as Epaphrus – as all the apostles have gone forward bringing the Word forth and planting it in the hearts of all who have ears open to the healing touch of God and making them “like a green olive tree in the house of God,” so that same Word goes forward today through the apostles the Lord has ordained to carry His message of truth; and so we hear of it in our readings of daily Mass, in our daily bread.

Our “love in the Spirit” must ever grow, brothers and sisters; it must ever move forward.  For the Word of God ever moves forward to the ends of the earth bringing the love of God to all, and we must move with it.  There is no stopping and staying long in any place along this path we tread with the Lord.  As He moved on from town to town doing the will of the Father, so our work must ever travel with Him, until it is accomplished in Him.  Here there is no place to stay, no place to lay our heads; here there is only moving forward in the Lord.

And, yes, we are moved “by the hope held in store for [us] in heaven.”  This is the place to which we travel in all our movements, in all our work and prayer.  We know now and it has been openly stated, plainly revealed, that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He makes a place for us in His kingdom.  And by our “faith in Christ Jesus and the love [we] bear all the saints,” we, too, come into that kingdom, into His presence; with Paul, with the Colossians, with all the faithful who “trust in the kindness of God forever and ever,” we find that kingdom being revealed in our very hearts and in our very actions… and so heaven passes through our midst and makes us sons of the Most High.

Let us be healed of all that keeps us from growing to Him, of growing with Him, of moving forward in service of our Lord Jesus Christ.  With our words and in our actions let us preach of the glory of God and so move closer to His kingdom.

*******

O LORD, let all hear the Good News of your reign:

your Son has come into our midst

to heal us of all our sin.

YHWH, may your Word go forth to the ends of the earth, the message of truth everywhere in the world; may it bear fruit and continue to grow in every heart – bless all those who proclaim your NAME to your faithful ones!

As Jesus walked amongst us announcing the Good News of your reign, as He went forth from town to town healing their sick and casting out demons, so today your apostles go out into the open country to bring your love to all peoples, that in your love all may be reborn and grow.  In the way of Jesus let us all walk, dear God, that we might come quickly to you.

In your service let us remain, LORD, ready always to answer your call in bearing your love to all the saints, to all those you send in your NAME.  Let us grow each day into your kingdom until all are cured of their diseases and join your saints in Heaven.

Direct download: BC-083111-W_22_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O great Shepherd,

watchman of the House of God

and protector of His flock,

though in the monastery you would have stayed,

when called to the Chair of Peter

you guided the Church well

through difficult times –

pray that as difficult days continue

a firm hand may continue to be found

at the helm of MotherChurch.

O pray that the faith be strengthened,

that the Rock upon which this House is set

will remain unshakable

and its light, its wisdom,

serve ever as a beacon

calling straying souls

into the Lord’s welcoming arms.

Humility and holiness

may all our leaders embody,

that by the Word of God on their tongues

and His wounds in their hands

all the poor of the earth

will be carried unto Heaven.

Direct download: Sept._3_Gregory_the_Great.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Thes.5:1-6,9-11;   Ps.27:1,4,13-14;   Lk.4:31-37)

 

“Wait for the Lord with courage;

be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.”

 

The Word of the Lord has all “authority and power.”  The Word of the Lord casts out demons.  The Word of the Lord brings light to the soul who seeks Him.  In Him we have no fear.

He comes, brothers and sisters; yes, He comes…  As He entered the synagogue in Galilee and cast out the evil spirit from the man and from the place, so He will come at the end of the age and cast all evil from the face of the earth.  No longer shall the devil have a place here; all darkness will be banished.  This hope should bring us but joy.  We who are of light should long for the day when the Lord who is “our light and [our] salvation” comes to cleanse the world of evil; if we seek “to dwell in the house of the Lord” we must know that only His authority and power, only His sharp voice speaking truth and shaking the powers of this earth will bring “the loveliness of the Lord” our hearts desire to contemplate forever.  As He came to cast out the devil from the man in the synagogue, as He has come to cast all evil from the temple of our bodies, so He must come at the end of the age to cast all sin into hell, that His light and all His children of light might shine in unadulterated glory.

Do not fear.  Do not fear the coming of His kingdom, the power of His Word.  Though we may be “struck with astonishment” and wonder at “His speech,” though the teaching of the Lord leave us “spellbound,” yet we should welcome it and seek to increase its presence in our lives and in this world.  It is His teaching, it is the power of His Word we are called as children of His light to bring into this world.  For, indeed, the world is a dark place, and many there are who fear as the demon the destruction of the darkness in which they have taken what has seemed to them secure refuge.  It must be known that in darkness there is no “security,” in sin there is no “peace”…  Only in Him is true peace and security. 

Let us not be anguished at the passing of the darkness which comes by the just wrath of God.  Let us not slumber into its clutches and so find refuge there.  We must remain vigilant, seeking with eyes of light the coming of Jesus the Christ.  We are destined for salvation in Him.  In Him let us take comfort and upbuild one another, spreading “His renown” in our hearts and “through the surrounding country.” 

*******

O LORD, in Jesus’ Name and in His blood

let us be healed, washed clean

and ready for His coming Day.

YHWH, let us not take refuge in the darkness of this world and in its drunkenness take our peace and security.  Rather, let us live in your light and become children of that light, awake in your presence forever.  Your Son comes to cast all demons of darkness from our midst; let us welcome His powerful Word.

O LORD, you are our light and our salvation; you are our life’s refuge.  And so, why should we be afraid of your Son’s coming, He who brings your salvation to man?  Let us rather long for His return, for His cleansing presence before our eyes.  For how else shall we enter your Temple and gaze on your loveliness if all evil is not driven from our souls?

To the land of the living we long to come, so make us stouthearted as we wait for Jesus to return, LORD.  May your light upon us give us courage for that Day.

Direct download: BC-083011-Tu_22_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(1Thes.4:13-18;   Ps.96:1,3-5,11-13;   Lk.4:16-30)

 

“He comes to rule the earth.”

 

He is coming, and has come.  He set us free from the prison of sin when first He came, and will set us free from death when He comes again and “we shall be with the Lord unceasingly.”

In our gospel we read of His first coming “to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives…”  Fulfilling the words of the prophets, He brought “a year of favor from the Lord,” to heal all those who waited for His coming, who trusted in His word.  And though even as His hometown of Nazareth rejected Him and His truth and led Him to “the brow of the hill” to be cast down, so all would turn their backs on Him and deliver Him up for crucifixion; yet His death was not the end and His life was not fruitless.  In His walking the earth He brought light into the darkness and in His bleeding on the cross provided means for its fulfillment.

And on the day when He comes again, death shall indeed be banished, darkness will be no more, for “God will bring forth with Him from the dead those who have fallen asleep believing in Him” and “we, the living, the survivors, will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.”  This the apostle Paul makes quite clear.  As Jesus “died and rose,” so will all who believe in Him do the same: what was brought to us in His first coming – the light to the nations – will be made complete in His second coming in a year of favor that has no end.

And of both of these comings our psalm does sing, for both are gloriously triumphant: “Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice, let the sea and what fills it resound…”  All creation glories in the coming of God; in His holy presence it finds its fulfillment.  Forever it has longed to be joined with Him, and when first He came as man, it rejoiced to see Him; and when He comes “from heaven at the word of command, at the sound of the archangel’s voice and God’s trumpet” as the Son of God in all His glory, its joy and its song will know no bounds.  For then “He shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with His constancy”: the world shall never again be moved from His way of truth and light, and neither shall we.  Rejoice at His coming, brothers and sisters, and live in His light. 

*******

O LORD, you come to save us,

and so we should not be afraid –

through all tribulation you lead us home.

YHWH, let us sing you a new song on the day of your coming, on the day of your Son’s return.  For then His glory will fill the sky and all the dead will rise.  O let us be in the number of those who are with you unceasingly!  From all darkness may we forever be set free.

When Jesus came to walk among us, to speak to us your marvelous words, to proclaim liberty to all held captive by sin, then we should have rejoiced at His presence and entered the glory of His reign.  But we crucified Him instead.  He came to bring glad tidings to poor souls, to open our eyes that we might see once again – but we closed our hearts and fixed Him to a cross.  O LORD, let your favor be upon us now especially, that we might be saved from such sin.

We wish to rejoice with your holy ones, O God, to praise your NAME to the heavens.  Let us listen now to the words of your Son and set our hearts on them.

Direct download: BC-082911-M_22_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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

“Humble yourself the more, the greater you are,

and you will find favor with God.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******

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

that you might call us up to you.

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

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

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

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

(1Thes.4:9-12;   Ps.98:1,7-9;   Mt.25:14-30)

 

“Those who have, will get more until they grow rich,

while those who have not, will lose even the little they have.”

 

Again, brothers and sisters, we must always grow in the gifts and graces of the Lord, never looking down upon what He gives us as too little (or too much), but ever putting such talents to use that they might produce an abundant yield and bring us to the joys of heaven.

“Well done!  You are an industrious and reliable servant…  Come, share your master’s joy!”  Do we not wish to hear these words from our gospel today spoken to us on the last day?  Do we not wish to be put in charge of greater matters as we enter the joy of the eternal kingdom?  Are these not the riches we seek?  Then, indeed we must be industrious while here; we must put the Lord’s gifts to good use.  We must heed Paul’s exhortation “to remain at peace and attend to [our] own affairs.”  In this way of working quietly for the Lord we will certainly make “even greater progress,” until we find the victory proclaimed in our psalm.  On that day when “the rivers clap their hands” and “the mountains shout with them for joy,” the Lord “will rule the world with justice and the peoples with equity”; He will surely give those deserving their reward, while they who have been “worthless, lazy lout(s),” those who have not served Him out of a holy fear, out of love, but have held a judgmental disposition toward Him and withheld a generous attitude toward others, shall be cast into “the darkness outside” where they will ever “wail and grind [their] teeth.”

Take hold of what the Lord gives you today: the breath in your nostrils and the beat of your heart are in His hands, and He calls you to employ your mind and body at His affair of bringing the kingdom of heaven and His love to this earth.  Whatever work He puts in your hands to accomplish, be not slack in its fulfillment.  Go forward with faith and a desire to please Him, and He will ever bless and multiply all you have a mind to do; and this work will bring you to the rich fruits of heaven and keep you from the empty darkness of hell.

 

*******

O LORD, you are generous and give to all,

and we must increase your love in the world.

YHWH, you give us each work to do; into every one of your servant’s hands you place talents we must employ.  We have time upon this earth before your Son’s return to bear fruit in your NAME.  Help us each day to love one another and do your will in all things.  For on the Day when your Son comes again, He shall come as judge; and of what worth will our lives have been if we stand empty-handed before Him?  O let us not be cast from your sight!

On the last day the mountains will shout for joy and the rivers clap their hands at the presence of your Son filling the universe with His love.  And we shall join in that holy song if it has been our desire to see Him come, if we have worked with our lives to bring His love to this place.  O LORD, let us enter into your eternal joy!

Direct download: BC-082711-Sa_21_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(1Thes.4:1-8;   Ps.97:1-2,5-6,10-12;   Mt.25:1-13)

 

“God has not called us to immorality but to holiness.”

 

And so, “keep your eyes open” and “make still greater progress” in the path that leads to His kingdom.  Your lights shining brightly as you await His return, be ready to enter His marriage feast.

“It is God’s will that you grow in holiness,” Paul instructs us in our first reading.  “Conduct yourselves in a way pleasing to God” is his message.  For there is a day coming on which the Lord will judge us and all we do; therefore, we must have nothing to do with “immorality” or “passionate desire” or “cheating” – “for the Lord is an avenger of all such things” – and these will find us barred from His kingdom.  Rather, we must stay the path we are on, guarding ourselves “in sanctity and honor” and securing even greater gifts and graces from God that we might keep in store against His judgment, against His wrath to come.  For if “the mountains melt like wax before the Lord,” how strong must we be to stand on that day of His return?

But for those who do stand strong, for those who do acquire “flasks of oil” to keep their torches burning for whatever hour the Lord might come – for them there shall be great rejoicing…  This is the fate of the just.  “Light dawns for the just; and gladness, for the upright of heart,” for their light is a match for His own and so He weds them unto Himself; to rejoice with the king of all the earth is their portion and cup.

Yes, “the ones who were ready went in to the wedding with Him,” but those unprepared were locked outside the doors.  And so we must ask ourselves, does Jesus know us?  Are we ready for the day of His coming?  Do we avoid all stain of sin which detracts from the purity we must maintain as bridesmaids of the Lord?  Or is there yet that which keeps us from standing ready at His gates?  He will come.  He will come again to judge our souls, this Son of God most just, and so we must heed the instruction of the Holy Spirit now to prepare ourselves against that day, ever making progress in His Name.

Let holiness be our treasured possession, brothers and sisters.  Let it be a flaming torch growing ever higher by the breath of the Spirit upon our souls, until it reaches unto Him and His kingdom.  The Lord’s “delay” in coming serves but to weed the evil from the good.  Take this time to increase in faith and in knowledge of God.  Be as His own.

 

*******

O LORD, we must keep ourselves pure

to meet with you who are purity itself.

YHWH, let our eyes be open to see you, our hearts set on fire with your love.  Let our flame not die out before the Day of your coming but ever increase as it rises unto you.  Let your Spirit be upon us to lead us in wisdom every hour of every day.

O LORD, how shall our holiness grow to meet your own that we might be wed to you?  How shall we turn from immorality, from the blindness upon our souls, and come to the glory to which you call us, your glory which you would make our own?  O help us to listen to the instruction of the Spirit that we shall remain just in your sight.

Let your light dawn upon us, dearest LORD; let your gladness fill our souls.  Let us rejoice at your wedding feast, at our union with you in your kingdom.  What need we but holiness?  And so, let us set our hearts on you.

Direct download: BC-082611-F_21_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O witness to the Truth,

to the Light that has come among us,

you gave your very life

and death

for the sake of Christ,

who redeemed us in His blood,

blood you shed with your Savior;

you who were a pillar of iron

against the whole land

and against its king,

you who stood so strong

against the lust of the world,

suffering its persecution so willingly,

fortified even in death

by the Lord and His promise –

how can our meager lives

measure up to your blessed sacrifice;

how can we who are so weak of knee

endure our exile so bravely?

Pray for us, O forerunner of the Christ

both in word and in the giving of your life,

that our blood may be joined to your own

and so to that of our holy Lord.

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

(1Thes.3:7-13;   Ps.90:3-4,12-14,17;   Mt.24:42-51)

 

“Stay awake, therefore!

You cannot know the day your Lord is coming.”

 

And what is it to stay awake, to be ready, but to do as Paul exhorts the Thessalonians in our first reading: to continue to grow in holiness until that day we meet with the Lord.  This is our essential call.

Here we are, having been converted to the Lord, having found faith in God as our foundation and been appointed servants by Christ until He should return.  We are that “faithful, farsighted servant whom the master has put in charge of his household to dispense food at need.”  Certainly our priests dispense the most necessary food of the Word and the Bread of Life, but all Christians the Lord gifts with His store of nourishment for the people; all of us are called to provide spiritual as well as physical nourishment to our brothers and sisters.  We cannot do other than this or we are not Christians, and we will be far from the Lord at His second coming – when He calls to account all His servants.

And each day we must indeed know the Lord’s increase and “overflow with love for one another and for all”; we must always grow in the gifts the Lord gives us, not becoming impatient for the time which passes, but ever taking it as opportunity to strengthen our salvation in Christ.  We must in this way have the vision of God: “A thousand years in your sight are as yesterday, now that it is past, or as a watch in the night,” our psalm declares (expressing the patience Moses and the Israelites needed in their forty years wandering through the desert); and so short should our wait seem if lived in the presence of our God.

And so now as we wait and watch, now as we make ourselves ready for the Lord by the service we perform in His Name, let us entreat the Lord to “fill us at daybreak with [His] kindness,” let us pray for Him to “prosper the work of our hands.”  For all in our hands is our gift from Him to accomplish in His Name and by His grace, and by so numbering “our days aright” in His presence, we shall “gain wisdom of heart” and be awake and ready for His coming. 

My prayer for you, brothers and sisters, is Paul’s own: “May he strengthen your hearts, making them blameless and holy before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His holy ones.”  I pray we shall meet on that happy day.

*******

O LORD, we must serve you each day and every hour;

thus will we be ready for your Son’s coming.

YHWH, let us be ready for the return of your Son, our hearts set on His coming Day.  Make us holy before you, doing your work all our days that we might be acceptable to you.

O LORD, we long for the return of your Son, for the dawn of His light upon us.  For we are in exile here in this dark place and the devil would come and steal our love for you away, tempting us with the passing of time to become impatient for the fulfillment of your promise.

Let us not be led astray.  Let us remember that you are with us always, that a thousand years are as a single day in your sight – let us be blessed with your vision as we serve you, LORD!  All is ever new in your presence.

And let us never cease to serve you, never turn from the joy of joining our lives to your own.  Then our shortcomings shall be remedied, LORD, and we will see you face to face on your holy Day.

Direct download: BC-082511-Th_21_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O shepherd made anew

by Him who is within,

Him who made us all,

the Light above and beyond

every soul

who gave His life,

His flesh as food that we might live –

pray that the Lord and God of all

will break through our deafness

and dispel our blindness,

that He will breathe His fragrant Spirit

upon us

and we too will be created

anew,

saved by His grace from the sin

that has kept us from Him

and thirsting for the wisdom

which became your own,

with which you shepherded His people

apart from the things He created

to His very Beauty itself,

that all souls might rest in Him

who made them.

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

1Thes.2:9-13;   Ps.139:1,7-12;   Mt.23:27-32)

 

“Make your lives worthy of the God

who calls you to His kingship and glory.”

 

God is our Father, and those who preach “God’s good tidings” love us “as a father does his children,” for their message is “not as the word of men” but truly “the word of God at work within [those] who believe.”  Come to the Lord’s table.  Eat of His Body, drink of His Blood.  Become as He is by His holy Word.

Children of light we are called to be, and what is that light but the one which shines in all places at all times and which is inescapable.  “Where can I go from your spirit?” David wonders in our psalm.  Whether we fly to the heavens or “sink to the netherworld,” He is there.  For Him “darkness itself is not dark, and night shines as the day” because He Himself is light, and where He is, light shines – and He is everywhere.

How can we become children of such an awesome God?  How can we enter “His kingship and glory” as Paul exhorts us in our first reading?  The only way is by Jesus and the only way is to follow those who bring Jesus to us, whose conduct is “upright, just, and irreproachable” as is Paul’s – our means of salvation is the Church, its prophets and martyrs, its teaching and sacraments… its grace which comes to us through Jesus Christ to lead us to the Father of all.  On the apostles and their message of the Gospel our faith is set.

In our gospel Jesus again chastises the Pharisees, those who have not been loving and faithful fathers for the people, those from whom care of the kingdom will be taken for the “hypocrisy and evil” within them.  For though they present “a holy exterior,” it is but the bones of the saints they hold within their whitewashed tombs and not their blessed spirit.  Indeed, they shall show themselves murderous as their forefathers, who shed the prophet’s blood – and whom they ascribe to themselves by name – in their giving up the fulfillment of the prophets to crucifixion.  “Full of filth” inside and lovers of the tomb’s darkness, they are not worthy to be called fathers of the Lord’s children.  And Jesus proves that God’s light shines in even the darkest places by exposing their corruption in our gospel today.

Brothers and sisters, beware of following false leaders whose motives are not pure, who do not lay down their lives for the flock.  Remain within the walls of the Church, where the Spirit dwells and where the Father nourishes His people on their way to His kingdom and glory.

 

*******

O LORD, take all falsehood from our souls

and let us toil only for you.

YHWH, how shall we become true servants of your Word, free of all hypocrisy and evil, not seeking our own gain but the salvation of others?  Purge us of the filth within us and make our conduct irreproachable, that you may be known and all your children follow in your way.

Surround us, O LORD, with your presence this day; let your Word be at work within us.  Let us not whitewash our sin but acknowledge it before your all-seeing eye, and in repentance find our freedom.  Guide us in all things, even in the darkest night, that we may come to know you are ever with us.

For you let us work, LORD, and not for the burying of your light.  Let us toil on this earth only to bring your truth to all souls.  From the tomb let us be raised to dwell in your holy presence.

Direct download: BC-082411-W_21_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O tearful mother

whose persistent cries

for the soul of your son

were heard in time

by the Lord our God

and so led to his conversion,

to his becoming

not only a Catholic Christian

but a bishop and doctor of the Church,

a saint like yourself –

pray for the prayers of all mothers

who cry for their wayward sons;

pray indeed that all souls may turn

and come to know so deeply

the love of our Lord and God

and the blessing upon

His holy Catholic Church.

Pray that all who stray,

many as they are,

shall be raised from the death of sin

and come to the life of Heaven,

where you wait with your son

to welcome all his brothers.

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

(1Thes.2:1-8;   Ps.139:1-6;   Mt.23:23-26)

 

“First cleanse the inside of the cup

so that its outside may be clean.”

 

The Lord rails against the Pharisees again today, calling them from false practice to genuine faith; and in Paul we again see the paragon of true ministry in the Lord’s Name.

In our gospel the Lord calls the Pharisees “frauds,” for they have the appearance of holiness in clothing and posture and minor actions, but inside are “filled with loot and lust.”  In our first reading, it is quite evident that the preaching of Paul “does not spring from deceit or impure motives or any sort of trickery,” as does the work of the Pharisees.  He is not at all guilty of “flattering words or greed under any pretext,” seeking the glory of God rather than “glory from men.”  This, of course, is the central question: do we perform our acts for others to see, from selfish motives of pride and greed and the accolades we might gain from man; or are we laying down our lives for God, giving no thought to our own importance or the opposition we may face?  Does our work and our life spring from truth, or does it spring from lie?

“O Lord, you have probed me and you know me,” David sings in our psalm today.  Truly the Lord is “the tester of hearts.”  He is familiar with all our ways and the motives whence they come.  Indeed, “even before a word is on [our] tongue, behold, O Lord, you know the whole of it.”  Inside and out He sees us, He scrutinizes us, that He may enter into us and renew us.  It is by His grace that the inside of the cup might be made clean and so our work be fruitful in His Name.

And so, what of us, brothers and sisters?  What does the Lord see when He peers within our hearts, when His penetrating gaze pierces our soul?  Do we meet “the test imposed on us by God” as Paul does and live in “justice and mercy and good faith,” or is there but corruption within us which will not allow the Lord’s light to enter, thus making us blind to His grace?

The Lord surrounds us so, that we call out with David, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; too lofty for me to attain.”  Indeed, the Lord is far above and beyond our comprehension and His holiness can seem beyond our ability to attain; but if we have hearts that are open and trusting and loving of His Word, we find that He is “gentle as any nursing mother fondling her little ones,” that He, in fact, shares with us His very life, and so makes us as His own.  The Lord will cleanse the inside of the cup.  Let Him act upon your soul.

 

*******

O LORD, you see clearly the inside of our cup,

and would cleanse it by your gaze.

YHWH, you are the tester of our hearts; you scrutinize all our ways.  And you know us – you know us well.  The greed and deceit within us we cannot hide from your watchful eye.  You are not fooled by empty show.

You surround us with your presence, LORD, and test us by our trials.  You are far beyond us in eternal glory, and yet you come near.  You draw near to us in your Son and so declare to our souls the truth of who we are and what we have done, and what we have failed to do.  But you do this not for our condemnation; it is because you love us as a mother her child that you chastise us.  It is to make us whole.

O LORD, though knowledge of you is too wonderful for us to comprehend, though great fear fills our souls as you come to us with your piercing fire – though your scrutiny may cause us great humiliation, great suffering, you work gently to heal our hearts of all their affliction.

Direct download: BC-082311-Tu_21_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(1Thes.1:2-5,8-10;   Ps.149:1-6,9;   Mt.23:13-22)

 

“You turned to God from idols,

to serve Him who is the living and true God.”

 

Contrast is at the heart of today’s readings again.  The faith of the Thessalonians and the inspired preaching of Paul are in distinct opposition to the empty ways and words of the scribes and Pharisees.

In our first reading Paul praises the Thessalonians, who are “laboring in love, and showing constancy in hope in our Lord Jesus Christ,” telling them, “Throughout every region your faith in God is celebrated.”  In our gospel Jesus condemns the scribes and Pharisees for their blindness to the presence of God.  In contrast to the Thessalonians, they have turned from worship of the true God to idols; their vision set on the gold therein, they are unable to see the temple and how sacred it is – their hearts set on things of this earth and the laws they have contrived, they are blind to the Son of God, who sits upon the throne of heaven, as He stands before them.  And not only are their vain beliefs in contrast to the true faith of the Thessalonians, but their failures in carrying the Word of God forth stand also in sharp contrast to Paul’s fruitful preaching.  Paul’s preaching was “one of power; it was carried on in the Holy Spirit and out of complete conviction,” and so led to the conversion of many nations.  On the other hand, Christ says to the scribes and Pharisees: “You shut the doors of the kingdom of God in men’s faces…  You travel over sea and land to make a single convert, but once he is converted you make a devil of him twice as wicked as yourselves.”

We must be the fruit of the Apostle’s preaching, brothers and sisters, and not the vain teaching of those who set their souls on the gold of this world.  For as the faithful “sing to the Lord a new song of praise,” as they “rejoice in their king” and “praise His name in the festive dance,” even so the voice of the wicked will be silenced: they shall choke to death on all their pride.  So let us be those who “await from heaven the Son [God] raised from the dead – Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.”  With the Thessalonians let us prove our faith in our labor of love, working ever for the coming of the kingdom.  And “the high praises of God [will] be in [our] throats” and the “glory of all His faithful” will be ours.  Turning from all the idols of this blind generation, let us be born now of the Spirit of God.

 

*******

O LORD, we are your own;

let us offer ourselves to you.

YHWH, let high praise of you be in our throats; let us sing for joy in your presence.  O let us worship you who are the living and true God!  Let us turn resolutely from the idols of this vain world and so be made fruitful in your sight.  May the doors of your kingdom open for us and for all souls, we pray.

Jesus is seated upon the throne of Heaven and it is through Him we come to you, O mighty God, that we might be delivered from the wrath to come and be filled with the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit of Truth be upon our hearts and our tongues as we preach the Gospel of Christ with all our lives – thus may we be found worthy to praise your NAME in the assembly of the faithful. 

There is woe in store for those who pervert your words to selfish ends, O LORD, who blind themselves and those they teach to the glory of your presence among us.  O let us labor in love in the Body of your Son!

Direct download: BC-082211-M_21_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O guardian angel of poor children

who formed them in the image of Christ,

an education of body and soul

you provided those most in need,

those most impressionable

and thirsting for the Lord’s care,

and led so many others

in this work for the least of our brothers –

pray we shall become fellow workers

with Jesus in the cause of truth

and teach with deep love,

the greatest patience,

and profound humility,

the souls He places in our hands.

May the desire to see all

attain eternal life

be that which most impels us

and especially those whose responsibility

is the formation of Christian youth,

that all men might rejoice at the straight paths

these walk to the kingdom.

Your zeal despite persecution

may we maintain in our call from the Lord.

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

O loyal subject of the Lord

and of His Church on earth,

though a king

you did not exalt yourself

but listened rather

to the words of your Savior

and chose to serve Him,

doing His work in this world:

the poor you cared for,

your children you raised

in the teaching of Christ,

and for all those in your reign

you sought true justice

and maintained concern

for their spiritual welfare –

pray we poor souls

will emulate your desire

for penance and prayer,

and your faithful obedience

to God and MotherChurch.

May we be blessed as your sons

to have your wisdom in our ears,

a wisdom reflective of Jesus’ own.

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

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

“People will come from the east and the west

and from the north and the south

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, teach us always to do what is right

that we might be as your sons

and enter into your House.

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

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

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

O apostle of the Lamb,

man without guile

led by love to the Lord,

you who declared Jesus Son of God

and King of Israel,

whose eyes of faith were illumined

by angels’ wings –

pray we shall be found by the Christ

under our fig tree

in peace, in prayer,

and carry with you His holy Gospel

to the very ends of the earth.

With you as a foundation stone,

one of the Twelve,

may the Bride of the Lamb

be led to her Husband,

her heart burning with love

for Him alone;

her soul thirsting only for God’s presence,

may her eyes be opened

to see her Lord.

To vision of Heaven pray we all come

by an angelic belief in the Son of Man.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

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

and His holy Bride coming down out of Heaven;

let us have eyes that look for Him,

hearts that long for Him.

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

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

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

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

O penitential soul

whose eyes saw the Lord,

whose ears heard His voice

calling all to the Cross,

obediently you accepted

the afflictions that are necessary

to attain union with God

and His surpassing glory –

pray that fearful souls

like our own,

which turn in complaint

from every torment and trouble,

however small,

may be blessed with a measure

of your selfless devotion,

that the unfathomable treasure

of the Lord’s grace

might be our own

as we endure,

and even desire as you,

the pains that pave the road to Heaven.

Then we shall know Christ even as you

and proclaim His glory to all creatures.

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

(Ruth 1:1,3-6,14-16,22;   Ps.146:2,5-10;   Mt.22:34-40)

 

“Wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge,

your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”

 

How well our readings harmonize this day.  Jesus speaks plainly to the keepers of the law the greatest commandments – total love of God and neighbor – and Ruth puts them into practice for our witness.  And our psalm sings the praises of our great God of love, whose care for “the hungry” and “the strangers,” “the fatherless and the widow,” we are called to imitate.  Alleluia, indeed.

Ruth is a foreigner, from a land which follows other gods; yet she is willing to leave “her people and her god” to follow Naomi and the living and true God unreservedly.  Oh how this mirrors all our call to leave all of this world behind and follow the Lord and His way.  Oh that we had the courage and faith of this Moabite woman who will become the great-grandmother of King David.  How well this illustrates God’s call and blessing to any and all who seek Him, who long to walk in His steps.  And how well His way of compassion and love is shown in His care for this widow Naomi, who came to Moab hungry and leaves now to return to Israel with this blessed daughter-in-law to be with her and serve her without restraint.

The words of the Lord are so true: “Love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, and with all your mind,” and “love your neighbor as yourself.”  They silence even the hardest of hearts with their radiance.  We know that God is love, that through His help we find blessing – that His concern for all those in need extends “through all generations” – and we know that we should be like Him… but how often we fail to practice Ruth’s resolve.

This day let us cast off our reservations, brothers and sisters, and cast ourselves upon the love and grace of the Lord.  Let us resolve never to “abandon or forsake” Him.  Knowing clearly the love of God which comes from the lips of our own Lord of love and our blessed psalmist, and which is embodied by Ruth’s profession of faith and commitment to love, let us vow in this spirit to return the Lord’s boundless love, for in loving we become like Him whom we love and so stand with Him who “shall reign forever” in the eternal kingdom of light and love.  Again I say, now is the acceptable time; today is the day of salvation.  Follow Him unreservedly.

 

*******

O LORD, may we increase in purity daily,

for the hour of your Son’s coming is nigh

and we must be ready to become His bride. 

YHWH, help us to trust entirely in you, to love you with all our heart, and our neighbors as ourselves.  Help us to leave behind our people and anything that keeps us from you.  To you and to your love let us come, and with you make our home.

You provide, O LORD, for all those in need, for the widow and the orphan, and the stranger who draws close to you.  You make no distinction among people: it is those of faith who are acceptable to you and whom you bless.  Those of faith who reflect your great love become as your sons and daughters; these are wed to you.

O let us never abandon or forsake you, LORD!  Let us go wherever you lead, and make your people our people.  With you and with those who follow you let us stay and remain, and we shall dwell securely in your love.  You are our only hope – reign over us forever.

Direct download: BC-081911-F_20_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O Queen of Heaven and earth,

you radiate the glory of God,

for now you stand at His right Hand

in the heavenly kingdom.

Clothed with the sun,

the moon under your feet

and a crown of twelve stars

upon your head,

you give light to all souls

who thirst for the grace

our Lord and King

pours upon us through your intercession.

O how the angels rejoiced,

how the heavens rang with praise

when the Son led you into His presence

clothed in gold

to be forever His Bride!

O pray for us,

dearest Queen and Mother,

that we too shall be led in

among your maiden companions

to stand in God’s glory forever.

Our cause we entrust to your Immaculate Heart.

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

(Jgs.11:29-39;   Ps.40:5,7-10;   Mt.22:1-14)

 

“You have made a vow to the Lord.

Do with me as you have vowed.”

 

As with the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is blessed not so much for giving birth to Jesus – or consecrating herself to God as a virgin – as for hearing and doing the word of God, being the handmaiden of the Lord extraordinaire… so the Lord delights not in “sacrifice and oblation,” per se, but in “ears open to obedience.”  In accepting the sacrifice of her fertility (the greatest sacrifice a woman could make, though it may be difficult to realize in these days of abortion and contraception), Jephthah’s daughter demonstrates the obedience required of all the redeemed.

“Happy the man who makes the Lord his trust; who turns not to idolatry or to those who stray after falsehood,” David proclaims in our psalm today.  “The spirit of the Lord” upon him, Jephthah defeats severely the Ammonites, a nation which practiced the sacrifice of their children to their god, Molech.  The Lord thus shows disdain for them and their ways.  Thus also it should be evident that Jephthah would not do in the spirit of the Lord that which is directly opposed to His will.  The sacrifice of Jephthah’s daughter is of her fertility – it is her virginity she mourns and not her death.  And Jephthah maintains his vow by consecrating her wholly to God, knowing that his generation will cease, since he has no other sons and daughters to bear his name, and thus making a great sacrifice himself.  If it were her life itself he offers God, he would be no better than those he destroyed and certainly no son of Abraham, who was taught the truth against such sacrifice so many years before.

This aside, we turn to our gospel.  It is clear that Jesus is telling the chief priests and elders of the people that they do not have the obedience required of the redeemed.  “In the written scroll it is prescribed” that all must do the will of God, but these who know the Scriptures so well, know nothing of them at all… and so the Word goes out to draw the whole world into the kingdom prepared by God.  But to these, too, Jesus has a warning: “The invited are many, the elect are few.”  If we are “not properly dressed for a wedding feast,” if we have not aligned our lives with the will of God, we too shall be thrown “out into the night” with the man who had to “wail and grind his teeth.”  And this wailing shall not come as holy sacrifice unto the ears of God; it shall not demonstrate our obedience to Him, but rather be the inflicting of judgment upon our souls.

Let us be obedient to the will of God in all things, brothers and sisters.  Let us hear His voice alone and follow where it leads.

 

*******

O LORD, let us offer ourselves as a holocaust to you;

then we will be fit to enter your presence. 

YHWH, how shall we give true worship to you and offer you the sacrifice you are due?  Only complete obedience to your will shall bring us into your presence; it is our very lives you desire of us.  For you know that only this will make us joyful – only union with you and your Son will fulfill the longing of our hearts.

To your wedding feast let us come, O LORD, and there let us remain, ever praising your glory with full voice, happy to be among those you have saved.  And so, in purity let us come, single-hearted let us be, and we shall not be cast out into the night but live in your holy light.

Your Spirit you send upon those who call upon you, who devote themselves to your will.  Let us fulfill our vows to you, LORD; let us turn from all idols and trust in you alone, and we shall be blessed forever in your House.

Direct download: BC-081811-Th_20_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O simple priest

who became Shepherd

of the universal Church

and defended her with courage

against the errors of the age,

you did not waver before the powers

that would dilute the purity

of the teaching of our Mother

but stood strong against the tide

attempting to wash her away –

are we not yet threatened

by falsehood and sin

being held up as good,

and so do we not yet need

your spirit and your prayers?

Though the tide may be turning,

returning to the solid rock of faith,

yet certainly we need your help

to see the Spirit of Truth

regain and maintain

His place in this House.

Pray indeed all priests and people

be simple and true as children before God.

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

(Jgs.9:6-15;   Ps.21:2-7;   Mt.20:1-16)

 

“The last shall be first and the first shall be last.”

 

Jesus, the Son of God and true King, who is first, has made Himself last, and so for His humility will be exalted forever; Abimalech, rebellious son of Gideon, who is least of all his brothers, has made himself first, and so will be humbled for his vain pride.

In our first reading Jotham curses his brother Abimalech from the mountaintop as this least of the trees is anointed king after having murdered all other of his brothers.  (There were seventy sons of the judge Gideon – who himself refused kingship.)  The people of Shechem have fallen by pride in this son of their own city and so they, too, are cursed for taking refuge in his dark shadow.  Abimalech’s thorns shall pierce them and shall prove a bitter medicine of purgation for these wayward Israelites.  They shall indeed be the death of one another.

In contrast to this false king, in David’s psalm we hear of the blessings the true king receives from God, in whom he rejoices and to whom he gives all glory for victory:  “O Lord, in your strength the king is glad.”  It is not by his own will that this king reigns, but by the will of the Father, and so his place is assured and he is exalted and made “a blessing forever.”  David, too, was the least of his brothers, but unlike Abimalech, who took matters into his own jealous and bloody hands, he trusted always in the Lord and humbled himself before the God of all, and so, “great is his glory in [the Lord’s] victory.”

And, of course, we know that it is the Son of David, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is the King of kings and the Lord of lords: in Him is the blessed kingship of God fulfilled.  And, of course, it is His great humility which has made Him so exalted.  Did He not take the crown of thorns upon His head?  Was He not pierced by the pride of man’s rebellion?  Did He not accept the bitter wine as He died upon the cross?  And so should not all trees bow down to this sanctifying tree, this true vine?  Is it not by the fruit of this buckthorn that we are purged from our sins against Him who is Most High?  He who has been raised on the cross is indeed King of us all, and all others mere pretenders. 

Brothers and sisters, it is only in Christ and in the shadow of the tree that is the cross that we shall find blessing, that we shall find glory, that we shall be exalted and receive “a crown of pure gold.”  Follow no other, for false gods abound and their fall is great.  Toil only in the vineyard of the Lord and regardless of the length or breadth of your labor you shall receive your recompense, which is oneness with Him who is eternal and whose generous reign knows no bounds.  And be not envious of others’ entering in if it is you who must toil long – your service of God should be your joy and a source of great humility. 

*******

O LORD, those who are least in the eyes of the world

are first in your eyes,

for you love all souls, but despise sin.

YHWH, you have sent us a great King, before whom all others must bow, in whose light all other reigns pale.  For He is the only true King, the only King whose reign endures.  And only in Him is true justice; and only in Him is true charity.  Only in Jesus will all be cared for, will all be united with you.

Let us serve your Son well, dear LORD.  Let us enter His vineyard and do the work set before us by His gracious concern.  He seeks to draw us into His realm that we might be blessed by Him; let us not be idle or jealous of His goodness toward all, but treasure every hour we toil in His presence.

There are false gods enough to lead any soul astray, but only you are LORD and only on your Son do your majesty and splendor rest.  Let us take our refuge, Father, in the shadow of His Cross.

Direct download: BC-081711-W_20_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O great light of the Church

who by word and work

inspired your brothers

and so many others

to a life of virtue,

to peace and unity with one another

and an abiding love

for our Lord and His Mother –

teach us this day, O blessed preacher,

of the way in which Jesus calls us,

of the life and love God offers

if we but respond in kind

in our weak and limited manner.

To all souls in His holy Church

and throughout the world

you brought the Word of God,

you imparted the light of His wisdom;

please pray, dear father in the faith,

that our lives may be conformed

to the loving will of the Lord

and we become children of His light

and bearers of His Good News to the nations,

till we stand with you in His surpassing glory.

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

(Jgs.6:11-24;   Ps.85:9,11-14;   Mt.19:23-30)

 

“Go with the strength you have and save Israel

from the power of Midian.  It is I who send you.”

 

The world is at enmity with God.  The kingdom of heaven is not as the kingdom of this earth, thus Jesus tells us that “the last shall come first.”  For though we pray the Lord’s kingdom come now to this earth, it shall not be fulfilled until “the new age when the Son of Man takes His seat upon a throne befitting His glory.”  We must therefore not judge with the mind of the world but continually struggle against it and its power.

In our gospel Jesus calls the apostles to give up all things for the sake of the kingdom.  As He instructs them of the danger of the riches of this world, they are “completely overwhelmed.”  Judging with an earthly mind, they think riches should be of assistance; but the Lord wishes to teach them of the mind of God, upon which the world is set in opposition.  The apostles indeed “have put everything aside to follow” Jesus, and for this they shall receive their reward.  But their only reward on this earth will be persecution; it is in heaven their glory shall come.

Yes, the Lord “proclaims peace to His people” and “justice shall walk before Him, and salvation, along the way of His steps”; and though the Lord blesses and guides us in our fight against evil now – imparting to us a share of His Spirit – yet we know “His benefits” shall only be fulfilled in heaven; this is the land which “shall yield its increase.”  As in our first reading the meat and cakes of Gideon are laid upon a rock, not consumed by the mouth for the sake of the belly but consumed by the fire of the Lord to feed his faith, so it is that the Lord and His angels and all those who follow Him are of the Spirit and not the flesh.  And so it is that the Lord chooses those who are least in the eyes of the world, as is Gideon: “My family is the meanest in Manassah, and I am the most insignificant in my father’s house,”  and places His power upon them, to show us not only that “for God all things are possible,” but more so to instruct us not to put faith in the passing things of this world but in the eternal “justice and peace” of His heavenly kingdom.

We must indeed struggle continually against this world and its power with the strength God gives us, brothers and sisters.  In the riches of this life we must never take our ease.  For these are set in opposition to God in enmity.  God is Spirit and we must be as He is, taking our places in His heavenly glory with the apostles who have laid down their lives and so now judge in righteousness with Jesus the king.  Go forth now in His Name.

 

********

O LORD, let us follow in the way you mark out for us,

and we will be blessed.

YHWH, you come to those who are lowly, who place their trust in you.  Those who set their hearts on you and give up the things of this world will be blessed in your kingdom. 

Call us forth in your NAME to do your will, O LORD.  Without you, we are nothing, the meanest creatures on this earth.  But with the strength that comes from you, we can conquer all our enemies.  It is from you all blessings come; only through you will our land yield its increase, will we be fruitful here and in Heaven.

Why should we desire the riches of this world when you are the only treasure worthy of our time, when it is only your glory that passes not away?  O LORD, accept the offering of our lives.  Increase our faith in your protection, in the angel you send to call us to you, and we shall live ever in your peace.

Direct download: BC-081611-Tu_20_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O priest of Jesus and Mary

so dedicated to the Hearts

of our Lord and Lady

and the formation of your fellow priests,

how well you preached

of our need to be one

with Christ our Head;

with what zeal you cared

for the poorest among us –

pray that priests and indeed all Christians

will have hearts and souls

beating and breathing as one

with the Lord,

in union with our Blessed Mother;

may all serve and glorify the Father

by using all their faculties

as if they were His alone.

O that we might indeed

belong to the Son of God

and be ruled by Him,

His own eternal life

coursing through our very veins,

His breath upon our tongue!

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

(Jgs.2:11-19;   Ps.106:4,34-37,39-40,43-44;   Mt.19:16-22) 

“They were quick to stray from the way their fathers had taken,

and did not follow their example of obedience

to the commandments of the Lord.”

It is not long before the Israelites break their vows to the Lord, mingling with other nations and worshiping their idols.  As soon as the generation which has known Joshua dies out, their children begin to stray.  And though the Lord “raised up judges to deliver them from the power of their despoilers,” to save them from their enemies when He heard their cry of affliction, repeatedly “when the judge died, they would relapse and do worse.”  Thus it shall also be with the interminable series of good and evil kings which shall lead to their exile, and thus the necessity of the eternal King, Jesus Christ, under whose reign there is no faltering backward – for He lives forever to intercede.

So evil had the Israelites become that they “sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons.”  And one must ask, should the Lord God not punish such deeds?  Does He not hold justice in His right hand?  Should such action be allowed to transpire?  Although the Lord holds compassion in His left hand and always has regard for our affliction when we cry out to Him, He does not, He cannot, allow sin to go unpunished.  If He did so it would but grow more grave and the peril to the soul would be greater, and thus He would fail in compassion not only to the victims of oppression but to the soul of the oppressor.

How difficult this is to hear in the materialistic age in which we dwell, where the body is king and possessions take the place of the spirit.  How like the young man in our gospel many are when they hear the call to perfection, when they are challenged to give up their possessions, for our souls have become one with our material wealth, and to lose it we think spells death.  But it is not death but life to which Jesus calls us, life in the Spirit, which is life itself.  And whether we own things or not we must not own them; we must know that all belongs to God, or we shall not belong to God but to the false idols of the nations around us and the death and defilement their evil practices bring.  For do we not today sacrifice our children on the altar of abortion in the name of ease and luxury.

“There is One who is good.  If you wish to enter life, keep His commandments.”  If you wish for death, continue to stray.

*******

O LORD, how shall we give ourselves entirely to you,

you who alone love us?

YHWH, save us from following the false gods that surround us and close in.  Easily we go astray without your shepherds to lead us.  May your Son be present to us this day in your Church that we might be kept from falling into the power of our enemies by the sins we commit.

Why should we abandon you, LORD?  Why should we fall under the devil’s sway and give ourselves to the service of the empty things of this world?  Look upon our weakness.  Help us rather to abandon our passing possessions and put our trust in your unfading glory.  Help us keep to your Word and your way and find the goodness, the perfection, only you hold.

Your Son calls us this day away from the vain pursuits of this corrupted place.  May we heed His voice and turn from the evil sacrifices of wanton nations to join ourselves to His Cross.

Direct download: BC-081511-M_20_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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

“Though I am afflicted and poor,

yet the Lord thinks of me.”

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, lift us up from the pit

and baptize us with your fire.

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

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

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

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

(Jos.24:14-29;   Ps.16:1-2,5,7-8,11;   Mt.19:13-15)

 

“We will serve the Lord, our God, and obey His voice.”

 

Like children we must come before the Lord and extol His holy Name.  “Completely and sincerely” we must serve Him and He will place His hands upon our heads and bless us.  And we will sing with David of the “fullness of joys in [His] presence, the delights at [His] right hand forever.”  We indeed will be as children, and He will be our God.  Listen to the words of Jesus: “Let the children come to me…  The kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”  Oh to know the blessing of being in the Lord’s presence forever!

“My Lord are you.  Apart from you I have no good,” cries David to his God.  Indeed, how our psalm sings the praises of the Lord and the blessing of our refuge in Him.  How well it illustrates the fruit of the covenant the people enter into with God at Shechem under Joshua’s leadership.  The Promise having been fulfilled, Joshua calls the Israelites to renew their commitment to the Lord.  And though their fidelity to Him will only be for a short time and the stone set up shall soon be a witness against them, yet their vows are those we must all make in sincerity and in truth.  Obeying His voice is indeed our salvation.  As David sings, “I bless the Lord who counsels me; even in the night my heart exhorts me.”  The Lord is ever there for those who trust in Him, who give their lives to Him, who serve Him – who come to Him as a humble child in innocence and love.  What greater blessing can we know than to love the Lord who is “a holy God” and so become one with Him?  This is our “allotted portion,” this is our “cup” – this is the reign of God upon us to which we are called.

“I set the Lord before me,” our psalm states, “with Him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.”  If we but set our hearts on Him, brothers and sisters, there can be nothing that will move us.  If we but take our vows in the Spirit of Truth, He will be ever with us.  Let us not be afraid.  Let us not be afraid that we will fall, that He will leave us.  Let us pursue Him with heart and soul; let us give our lives over to Him.

To serve Him and to love Him is our blessed joy.  Let us be as children before Him and reap this joy unto life eternal.  Let our covenant with Him be written upon our hearts and evident in all our lives, and we shall stand in His presence forever.  Set aside all false gods; listen to His voice.  Alleluia!

 

*******

O LORD, may you be our God

and we be your children! 

YHWH, lay your hands upon our heads that we might be blessed, that we might have the strength to worship you alone.  Let us be resolved to serve only you, to put all false gods far from us.  It is you who are our allotted portion and cup, you who hold fast our lot – in you let us take refuge this day.

You alone are holy, LORD; you alone are exalted far above all gods.  In you alone we find our salvation, and so, to you alone should we come for blessing.  Let us be as children, with hearts set on loving only you, and the kingdom of Heaven shall be ours, for you will then be at our side. 

Forgive our transgressions, O LORD, our turning away from you… our breaking the covenant we made to serve you alone.  Let our vows be renewed this day, and let them be set in stone before you.  Help us by your grace not to waver, not to fear, but to know your innocence in our souls and remain humbly at the feet of your Son.

Direct download: BC-081311-Sa_19_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O faithful king,

loyal son of MotherChurch

and just ruler of your people,

in peace and piety,

humbly and honorably

you executed your duties,

never showing favor to anyone

but always respecting all

and maintaining above all the faith

and the Church which propagates

that faith in Christ –

where is true Christian profession today,

where those in positions of power

truly dedicated to right service

of the Lord and His people?

Do pray for us, dear king,

that others shall follow in your footsteps

as has your son

so that all shall become

faithful followers of our Lord

in whatever position He grants them.

Pray especially for leaders

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

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

(Jos.24:1-13;   Ps.136:1-3,16-18,21-22,24;   Mt.19:3-12)

 

“I gave you a land which you had not tilled

and cities which you had not built, to dwell in.”

 

All of our lives come to us by the grace of God, “for His mercy endures forever.”  It is never by our own hands that anything good is accomplished.  As the Lord says to the Israelites, “It was not your sword or your bow,” by which they conquered the nations – emphasizing that it was He who destroyed them – so we must know, too, that it is the Lord who goes before us and brings us to the land He has prepared for us; and it is by His hand that all our enemies, all obstacles, are conquered.

Our first reading and our psalm speak particularly of the Lord’s finally bringing the Israelites safely into the Promised Land.  Joshua, who has by God’s grace accomplished the work commissioned upon him through Moses, now seeks to remind the people of the blessings God has bestowed upon them in giving them this fruitful land, that they might not forget their God and the praise due Him.  As Moses prepared the people with his speech before they entered the Promised Land, so Joshua exhorts them now that they have attained their goal; and the focus of both addresses is that they not forget their God who provides them with all things.

In our gospel Jesus teaches us of the blessing of chastity, of the sanctity of marriage and the godly call to celibate life.  Of what does He speak but of the Promised Land become quite real in the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem.  We are told throughout the letters of especially St. Paul that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and that sins against their purity and integrity are the gravest of offenses, for in these the sin is so real, so present, even to our flesh.  In these temples we dwell.  These temples we must keep holy, we must keep pure.  “It is so difficult,” you might say.  Then remember the Lord’s words to the Israelites; remember that it is He who “slew powerful kings” before them, that it is by His power they conquered, and you will be able to say with them that it is the Lord who “freed us from our foes.”

Jesus says of celibacy, perhaps the greatest gift of God and the closest to Him we can come, “Not everyone can accept this teaching, only those to whom it is given to do so,” and this is our key to attaining its grace, and indeed the grace of any form of chastity: we must know it is He who works in us and we must seek His blessing “for the sake of God’s reign”; and then He will make us steady and strong in the fields of His Promised Land as we call upon and praise His Name. 

*******

O LORD, there is no separating what you have joined;

you do not leave us but in your mercy bless our way,

and just so we should remain faithful to one another –

your promise should be our own.

YHWH, all good comes to us at your command, and so we praise and thank you for your merciful love, for your rescuing us from the land of Egypt and bringing us into your kingdom.  We cannot leave sin behind and enter into union with you except by your word and your will; and so, join us together, we pray – never let us be separated from you.

It is then we shall know your goodness fully, LORD, when, one with your Son, we renounce all of this world for the sake of your reign and find your grace at work in our lives.  Only then will we enter the Land you promise to your faithful children.

You make all our enemies flee before us, LORD; it is you who conquer all kings of sin.  For your mercy cannot be bound, and those who cry out to you, you save. 

Direct download: BC-081211-F_19_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O glorious Virgin Mary,

preserved from sin

from the moment of your conception

and now raised with your Son unto Heaven,

blessed are you among women,

most blessed of all God’s creatures;

kept from all corruption,

you His lowly servant

now reign with Jesus in His kingdom –

pray all generations will call you blessed

that all may indeed share in your blessing

and come by the grace of the Lord

to stand at His side

in the Father’s presence.

Above the choirs of angels,

where poor mortal man is called

to take his place

in union with the immortal Godhead,

you precede us, O Immaculate Mother,

by virtue of your eternal union with the only Son.

Pray we shall truly follow you to perfection,

conquering death by the Cross

and entering the light of the Lord.

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

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

that we might join Mary at your Son’s side

in the kingdom. 

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

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

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

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

O soldier of the Immaculate Virgin

and martyr for our Lord,

well you spread the fame

of the Mother of all graces,

calling all souls to repentance

that she might apply her Son’s blood

to save the straying among us;

and well you heeded our Savior’s call

to lay down your life for others –

pray this day we have such strength,

such conviction and determination

in serving our Lord and Lady,

in publishing the Good News

of salvation,

that by our dedication

we too may serve well upon this earth

in the army of the faithful,

also leading souls

through the Immaculate Heart of Mary

to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

that peoples and nations may be converted

and so learn in turn to serve

the surpassing glory of God.

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

(Dt.34:1-12;   Ps.66:1-3,5,8,16-17,20;   Mt.18:15-20) 

“This is the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

that I would give to their descendants.”

The promise is coming to fulfillment; Moses looks out on the land the Lord so long ago vowed to give the great patriarchs.  And though he shall not enter in and dwell there with the people, yet he has confidence that the promise shall be fulfilled.  And though after forty years of struggle he will die here at the border, we know he has a greater reward stored up for him in heaven.

What is this Promised Land now?  Where do we find it today but in the Church founded by Jesus upon his apostles and living in the hearts and lives of all His disciples?  This is the Promised Land, the heavenly Jerusalem at work in the world even now.  Notice that Joshua “was filled with the Spirit of wisdom, since Moses had laid his hands on him.”  And “the Israelites gave him their obedience, thus carrying out the Lord’s command.”  In the same way the power of the Holy Spirit coming from Peter and the apostles is passed down to this day in the Lord’s Church: the power is indeed from Jesus and His Spirit, but their power works invariably through the deeds of men so ordained.  And by that power Joshua will lead the Israelites to the Promised Land even as Peter and his successors lead the Church to our heavenly homeland, insofar as we give obedience to them at the Lord’s command. 

Jesus in our gospel outlines the special place the Church holds both in judging offenses and offering prayers.  He repeats the Church’s power to bind and loose from fault, a power that begins with Peter but extends to all His disciples so ordained, and reminds them also of the great strength they take when together they call upon His name: “If two of you join your voices on earth to pray for anything whatever, it shall be granted you by my Father in heaven.”  The Lord does not work in a vacuum but accomplishes great and wondrous things through those He lays His hands upon.

What great works were accomplished by Moses: “He had no equal in all the signs and wonders the Lord sent him to perform.”  Oh “the might and terrifying power that Moses exhibited in the sight of all Israel.”  Do you think this power dies with Moses?  Do you think it has come to an end?  No.  For his successor Joshua parts the Jordan River by the same power; and now in Jesus and through His Church that power comes to fulfillment.  Tremendous are the Lord’s “deeds among men.”  If we but “appealed to Him in words,” what wonders would we know.  Wars would cease and this world would look much more like the heavenly kingdom He has promised us all.  Let us pray with one voice, as one Church, in His Name.

*******

O LORD, what greater gift could you give

than the power upon your priests

to forgive men’s sins?

YHWH, what power you give to those who serve you; what tremendous deeds are wrought by your disciples.  For what equal had Moses in the signs and wonders you worked through him?  And what greater work can there be than the forgiving of men’s sins, which you accomplish by your priests this day?

Upon your Church you place your power, LORD; where two or three are gathered all prayers are answered.  And even judgment you give to Church leaders, the power to discern right from wrong.  As your lawgiver had clear vision till the end of his days, to see and know your will and teach the people of your ways, so this day is fulfilled in your Son and in those upon whom He lays His hands the grace of wisdom and understanding to lead souls into the promised land of Heaven.  Let us listen to the words they speak to us, let us be obedient sons.

Direct download: BC-081011-W_19_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O brothers united in faith

and in offering the ultimate sacrifice

for the sake of that faith,

for the sake of God’s Church –

pray nothing shall separate

Christ’s brothers

one from another,

but that all members of His flock

and all those who lead His flock

will remain ever united

in His blood

under the See of Peter.

O pray that His Body

not be divided

but that it be healed,

made whole

by His Cross.

Into His arms

may we all offer our lives

and so join our Lord

in His kingdom.

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

(Dt.31:1-8;   Dt.32:3-4,7-9,12;   Mt.18:1-5,10,12-14)

 

“It is the Lord who marches before you;

He will be with you and never fail or forsake you.”

 

“Do not fear or be dismayed,” little ones, the Lord is with us and watches over us.  Just as it was He who led the Israelites into the Promised Land, so it is He who leads us now into His “heavenly reign.”

In our first reading the Israelites stand poised to attain that which they have been so long promised.  Centuries after God’s call to Abraham and at the end of forty years wandering in the desert, the time has come for them to enter in and take possession of the land the Lord has set aside for them.  As they look toward their heritage on the other side of the Jordan River, Moses encourages them: “It is the Lord, your God, who will cross before you.”  “The Lord alone was their leader,” brothers and sisters; and now it is Jesus alone who shepherds us into the kingdom we look upon with bated breath, for which we patiently prepare ourselves.  It is He who has crossed before us in His death and resurrection and now faithfully guides us into His Father’s reign.

And just as Moses commissions Joshua to lead the Israelites: “You must bring this people into the land which the Lord swore to their fathers He would give them,” encouraging him to be brave and trust in God… so Jesus commissions His disciples to lead His sheep, and especially those who are lost or straying, into the kingdom of God – encouraging them to remain humble always, to make themselves lowly like a little child.  And His commission extends, of course, to us today; in these readings we hear His voice.

As for “these little ones” of whom Jesus tells us, “I assure you their angels in heaven constantly behold my Father’s face,” are we not they of whom He speaks?  Are we not His innocent doves in need of the Church’s wisdom and guidance to find our place in the Lord’s kingdom?  And certainly even those who lead the flock are members of the flock themselves, for ultimately it is always the Lord who leads, and all must come unto His presence.  Let us be assured, little flock, let us take blessed comfort in the Lord’s care for His people.  “It is no part of your heavenly Father’s plan that a single one of these little ones shall ever come to grief.”  So let us be as children before Him, beholding the face of God.  This is His will for all our souls; let us walk confidently with Him, knowing His love and His blood will never fail us.  The kingdom awaits our coming. 

*******

O LORD, only as a child will we enter Heaven,

for only as a child can we stand in your presence.

YHWH, make us humble and innocent as little children that you might lead us by your mighty hand into the land you promise all your lowly ones.  How shall we behold your face if we are not obedient to you, if we do not seek your glory by humbly doing your will?  Bless your people with your presence.

Send us leaders, LORD, to guide us to your kingdom, to shepherd us to your holy mountain.  Your power be upon those you send to stand in the place of your only Son, that all might find salvation.  Help us to have faith in you, to know that as you have been with us until this day, so forever you will remain, destroying our enemies before us, setting us free from all sin.

Let none of your children be lost, dear LORD, but come quickly to their heritage in you.  O let us be brave and steadfast! remembering ever it is you who go before us.

Direct download: BC-080911-Tu_19_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O tireless worker for the Lord

who when cut off from everything

dearest to you

gave yourself completely to God,

you who have shown the way

of the martyrdom of love,

of dying entirely to self

and serving our Savior

in the sick and the poor,

in whose guise He comes –

pray our lives shall not wallow

in mediocrity

or sin;

pray we shall have

the same thirst for love as you,

that by our love we may die

and so overcome death

to live forever

in the presence of our Redeemer.

Visit us this day in our weakness

that our hearts, too, might be strong

and our lives be laid down

in the blood of the only Son.

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

Dt.10:12-22;   Ps.147:12-15,19-20;   Mt.17:22-27)

 

“In His love for your fathers the Lord was so attached to them

as to choose you, their descendants, in preference to all other peoples.”

 

The Israelites are the chosen race, and Jesus the Chosen One of that race.  Upon them the blessing rests, and in the Son it is fulfilled.

Our first reading tells us that the Lord is a great God, “who has no favorites, accepts no bribes; who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and befriends the alien, feeding and clothing him.”  And the Israelites are called to be made in the image of their Father, showing His might in this way of compassion and truth.  “And now, Israel, what does the Lord, your God, ask of you but to fear the Lord, your God, and follow His ways exactly,” declares Moses.  And so he enjoins upon the people the Lord’s word, “His statutes and ordinances,” which “He has not made known” to other nations, and which serve as their guide to maintaining His light in their lives.  “He has strengthened the bars of your gates…  He has granted peace in your borders,” our psalm confirms: by the grace of God’s law their children are blessed and become “numerous as the stars of the sky.”

And in our gospel we see again the fulfillment of the Father’s blessing and of His law in the Person of Jesus and the sacrifice He, and we, are called to make.  First Jesus makes clear that He is the Son of God exempt from the temple tax – how can the temple pay tax unto itself, or, better yet, how can the temple be paid tax by Him who made it?  Jesus is the Chosen One, the chosen of the chosen sons.  And His new Law, His new way – which again is but the fulfillment of the law laid out by Moses – is the cross.  Moses tells us of the compassion and justice of the Father, who cares for widows and orphans and aliens, and Jesus embodies that love and truth by being “delivered into the hands of men who will put Him to death” for our sin and to show the love God has for us in such utter sacrifice.

Brothers and sisters, allow me to note here that there is no distinction between the love and the justice of God: they are inseparable, the one ever complementing the other.  It is out of both love and a sense of justice that the Lord defends the widows and orphans, saving them from their oppressors and gathering them into His arms.  His love breeds justice and His justice love.  This is the way of God; and this must be our way as His children. 

Yes, God loves the world and so He sends His Son to make atonement for our sin.  We have sinned and atonement must be made; it cannot be otherwise.  And it cannot be otherwise but that God makes that atonement by His love.  Let us join to Him as sons in His holy sacrifice.  This is our special, blessed call.

 

 *******

O LORD, though in His love He made Himself

an outcast for our sakes, for our lack of love,  

Jesus is your only Son.

YHWH, you are the great God, mighty and awesome, your glory far above us and our ways.  Yet you bless us with your presence, you proclaim your Word to our hearts – you send your Son into our midst as the Temple in which we may worship you and so join ourselves to your surpassing glory.  For this grace let us never cease to praise you; let us never fail to follow in your way.

Your Son shows to us the way we must walk; the way of love He marks out for us in perfectly fulfilling your will, in freely going to the Cross.  Here your surpassing love for your poor creatures you reveal to us.  And this same love you call us to – this same glory is ours, O LORD, by the mercy He bears.

To this Temple let us come.  In your Son let us make our home.  He who humbles Himself for our sakes, who joins Himself to us for our salvation, let us follow unto glory.  Your Word be fulfilled in our midst.

Direct download: BC-080811-M_19_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O bride of Christ

whose poverty matched His own,

whose humility made Him known,

whose love indeed approached

His throne

and the embrace of His holy arms –

pray all souls will gaze into the mirror

that is our Lord

born in a manger,

dead upon a Cross,

risen unto Heaven.

Pray we shall be driven on

through the death we all must die,

through His marvelous poverty,

His wondrous humility,

to the indescribable delights

of those who remain at His side.

O that we might be poor as you were poor,

as He is poor

for the sake of every soul,

that we might come to embrace

His blessed sacrifice

and so know the glories of His kingdom.

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

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

“You also must be prepared, for at an hour

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, our hope is in you;

may we patiently await the coming of your kingdom.

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

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

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

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

O generous soul,

you gave your life freely

to the poor

and your death completely

to the Lord;

a grain of wheat fallen to the earth,

you have indeed produced much fruit,

so closely have you followed Christ –

pray for us miserable souls

who cannot seem to draw near

your thorough sacrifice,

made without fear of the fire

ignited by your torturers,

made in joy of uniting

your death to Jesus’ own.

How shall we approach your love,

your blood so closely mingled

with that of our crucified Lord;

how shall we match your generosity

in serving His blessed call?

Pray we will find the courage

to give everything over to God

and know we are in His arms.

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

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

 

“The just man shall be in everlasting remembrance.”

 

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

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

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

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

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, if we serve you,

we will be where Jesus has been

– fixed to a cross –

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

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

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

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

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

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

O sacrificial victim

seeking to bring peace

to a dark world,

you found your wisdom in love,

in the love of Christ

and in His Cross,

and died three times for His sake:

once in entering His Church,

once in taking His habit,

and once in laying down your life

at the hands of the enemies of His peace –

pray, O blessed teacher

and sister to all men,

that the death of this life

be something we shall not fear

but embrace with the same grace

with which the Lord blessed you.

Why should we hold

to the things of the earth

when Jesus waits to embrace us

in His loving arms

and carry us unto Heaven?

Pray we shall be ready to answer His call.

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

(Dt.4:32-40;   Ps.77:12-16,21;   Mt.16:24-28)

 

“The Son of Man will come with His Father’s glory

accompanied by His angels.”

 

The Lord God came to “take a nation for Himself from the midst of another, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, with His strong hand and outstretched arm, and by great terrors.”  As He came with power to rescue the Israelites from the bonds of Egypt, so He will come at the end of time, and is come now, to save us from this world of sin.  Indeed, the Son of Man shall come fully into His Kingship on the last day and “repay each man according to his conduct.”

How shall we secure a place in His kingdom?  Moses tells the Israelites, in his final address to them before they enter the Promised Land, “You must now know, and fix in your heart, that the Lord is God in the heavens above and on earth below,” and that they “must keep His statutes and commandments.”  Then they will be blessed and prosper.  Jesus tells us in our gospel, “If a man wishes to come after me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and begin to follow in my footsteps.”  As it was then, it is now, only the road is more straitened for the goal is more blessed: now it is even unto death we must be obedient to His ways; but now we find not only life on the land, but glory everlasting.

“Among the people you have made known your power,” proclaims our psalm today, and indeed our first reading recounts the “wonders of old” the Lord wrought in the midst of His people: with their eyes they saw His “great fire,” and with their ears they “heard Him speaking out of the fire.”  It is, of course, the presence of Jesus we see before us now and hear speaking in our hearts by the fire of the Holy Spirit.  He makes His power known to us now in a far surpassing way.  And if we wish to know the glory of God burning in our midst and leading us to the eternal kingdom of light, we must be made holy by its power.  “O God, your way is holy,” our psalm states, and if we wish to follow in His way, we must be holy as He.

The Lord is coming with His holy angels.  He shall soon be here in all His glory.  Now He has left us a blessed cross to place upon our shoulders; it is this most wonderful of signs by whose testings we are led in power to the eternal reign of our Savior.  As intimately as you know His humble cross, as closely as you follow His sacrificial path, so well will you know His Father’s glory.

 

*******

O LORD, your greatness is revealed to all;

let us dwell in your light.

YHWH, how great were your deeds in bringing your chosen people out of Egypt!  What wonders you worked among them.  To them you showed that you are LORD and there is no other.

But how much greater is the presence of your Son among us this day and the deeds He has wrought for our salvation.  How much more clearly you speak to us now, LORD, through the wonders He works – and how perfectly your glory will be known when He returns accompanied by His angels!  There will be no greater deeds to be worked when that Day comes.

But until that Day let us walk with you here; let us take up our cross and follow in the way of Jesus, keeping your Word that we may prosper in good deeds ourselves and come finally to the Land you promise, to eternal life, our eyes looking upon your surpassing glory.

Direct download: BC-080511-F_18_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O humble preacher

who walked in poverty

with Christ your King

and spoke in power

to destroy lie by truth,

you gathered men around you

to be bearers of the grace of God,

to be men of the Gospel

inspired by love divine –

pray we shall be taught well

the faith

and walk with you in Jesus’ way,

that all we do

will be for the salvation of souls,

our lives even as our Savior’s.

May His Word

and deep love for others

lead us in all our work on earth

that always and in all things

we may beseech the Lord

to be with all His brothers.

Pray our hearts be set on His will

and we serve as His apostles.

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

(Nm.20:1-13;   Ps.95:1-2,6-9;   Mt.16:13-23)

 

“‘You are the Messiah,’ Simon Peter answered,

‘the Son of the Living God!’”

 

With this response, because of this faith come from the “heavenly Father,” Jesus declares to Peter, “You are ‘Rock’, and on this rock I will build my Church.”  He entrusts to him the keys of the kingdom of heaven, with power to bind and loose.  As from the rock Moses struck, “water gushed out in abundance for the community… to drink,” so through Peter and the Church Christ has founded we are nourished by the sacraments and true teaching.  So the Son of the Living God is with us.

“Let us acclaim the Rock of our Salvation…  Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the Lord who made us.  For He is our God, and we are the people He shepherds, the flock He guides.”  By the hand of Peter the Lord guides the Church born of His blood.  Indeed, as Moses led the Israelites through the desert, so Peter leads us now to the gates of heaven.  Let us declare our faith with him; let us echo his words to the Lord, giving Him due praise and “joyfully sing[ing] psalms to Him.”  He is our God, He is our Savior, and in this Rock we take refuge. 

But let us remember, too, not to judge “by man’s standards but by God’s.”  His ways are not our ways, as both great leaders had to learn.  It seems to our human minds unfair that Moses should be deemed unfit to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land; it is they, after all, who continually tempted him with their grumbling, plotting even to take his life.  And why is the Lord so harsh toward Peter, even calling him “Satan”?  He is only concerned for Jesus’ life, is he not?  The Lord does not judge as we judge.  He wishes to teach Moses to deepen his love and concern for the people, that anger is never justified in the care of those in one’s charge – the Lord does not act in the rashness of anger and anxiety, and neither should we.  And to Peter He must show the necessity of the sacrifice of this life, that we must be “put to death” to be “raised up on the third day” – it is the laying down of this life which brings glory.

Really, in both cases the Lord is calling His leaders to lay down their lives for the people, to do as He does and take the people’s sins upon themselves.  And this is, of course, the call of us all – to be like Him, to join with our Savior, the Son of the Living God, in His sacrifice.  What is more against the standards of man than the cross of Christ, as Paul has told us elsewhere, “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (1Cor.1:23) – and yet the source of our salvation.  For to come to the Living God we proclaim as our own, this world and its passions must be left behind.  The Father dwells in highest heaven and His ways must become our own.  Take refuge now in the Rock of Christ and in His Church; this shall lead you to His presence.

 

*******

O LORD, your ways are so far above our own,

 and how shall we attain to them,

except by faith and the grace that comes to us

 through your holy Church?

YHWH, how could we even begin to put you to the test?  How could we be so foolish as to ask you any question, as to doubt your goodness toward us, your presence among us?  What of this world should lead us to such blindness to your love?  Should we not be ready even to die for you?

It is you who have the power and grace to put us to the test, and so your Son asks, “Who do you say that I AM?”  Do we really believe He is the Messiah?  Do we really believe you have sent Him to us to die for our sins that we might be raised up with Him?  Or do we indeed doubt the greatness of your love?  O LORD, help us to judge as you judge, to see as you see, and so to know your glory.

It is not in this desert we shall find our home; it is not the food of this world that is our fare.  It is to Heaven we must come, and in your Church we shall find a way there.  Help us, O LORD, to show forth your sanctity, to join in the sacrifice of your Son and worship Him alone.

Direct download: BC-080411Th_18_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O reformer of the Church

and leader of her priests and people,

calling all to live the Gospel,

to give their hearts

in the service of Christ,

who alone can save men’s souls –

pray that your love for the Lord

and His holy Church

will be known in all

the members of His Body,

and so that apostles will be sent forth

to preach and to heal

even this day.

Pray we shall be one

with Him who made us,

eating His Body and drinking His Blood

and living according to the Word

He speaks to our souls

through MotherChurch

and all her faithful servants.

It is the Lord alone

who must be our concern;

pray we, too, shall walk in His footsteps.

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

O martyrs of the faith

ordained by the Lord

to shed blood for His sake

and the sake of His Church,

to give witness to the glory of Christ

and so win the crown

of eternal life…

it is in your blood

and by your sacrifice

the Church has grown

and become strong –

pray it shall always stand firm

in confessing the faith

despite any threat

from the powers of this world;

pray every soul

shall give his life in joy

and so emerge victorious

in the spiritual combat.

Handed over to death for Jesus’ sake,

may we, too, come to life eternal.

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

(Nm.13:1-2,25-14:1,26-29,34-35;  Ps.106:4,6-7,13-14,21-23;  Mt.15:21-28)

 

“They forgot the God who had saved them.”

 

But He did not forget them.  Though He curses them in our first reading for their lack of faith, and though they shall indeed all – except for Joshua and Caleb – die in the desert over forty years, their children shall enter and take the Promised Land from the five tribes which inhabit it; and despite their repeated faltering in following His word, He shall come to redeem them from their exile once again, and in a full way, in the Person of Jesus Christ.

The Israelites grumbled against Moses and against God in the desert.  Fearful at the report of the “giants” in the land they were called to seize as their own, they failed to remember the Giant who fought for them, “who had done great deeds in Egypt.”  “They waited not for His counsel,” nor trusted in His protection, and so they dissembled at what their eyes saw and their ears heard, having not the heart of faith, remembering not the word of the Lord.  The people of the land may have been giants, but the Lord towers over all the earth.  We must always remember His surpassing power.

And in our gospel we find one of the descendants of those who had made the Israelites so fearful to enter the Promised Land groveling at the feet of the Lord, this Son of David, indeed as a dog before its master.  How fortunes have changed.  Jesus says to this Canaanite woman, “My mission is only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  See God’s love for His people.  See how He has kept the word of His covenant not to forget them.  See how He yet chooses them from among the nations, sending His Son in the flesh as one of them.  And yet, shall they recognize the grace that walks amongst them?  Will their hearts be open to accept Him now, or hardened to His call and blind to His presence will they remain?

This question is asked of each one of us, brothers and sisters, for we are the spiritual descendants of the Israelite people.  Will we remember Him and His Word amongst us?  Do we recall all He has done for us?  This Canaanite woman who begs crumbs from the Lord’s table is greatly blessed.  She has the faith required for the kingdom of heaven.  Again in Scripture it is a Gentile, a foreigner, who exhibits the faith the “sons and daughters” should have.  The Lord uses such as these to shame His chosen ones and show them how far His love does spread, how great His grace truly is – that it can capture even these giants in its net.  And so, should it not capture the Jew?  And so, should we not be taken in it as well?  Now that His salvation has extended to the ends of the earth, shall His chosen be forgotten?  Will they continue to forget their place in His land?  I pray it shall not be so for you and I, brothers and sisters, but that we will always remember His Name. 

*******

O LORD, if only we had faith!

we would never be afraid –

we would certainly be saved.

YHWH, why are we so forgetful of you and your power to save?  Why are we who know you, who have seen your hand at work, who have been blessed by your abiding presence – why are we so blind to your unending love for our poor souls?  Those who do not know you, who are so far away from you, come on their knees before your Son begging His grace and forgiveness, begging His blessed protection… and these receive answer to their prayers, even as those of your own household wither and die in the hardness of their hearts, in their lack of faith.

Forgive us, LORD, our crimes against you; let us not die in this desert of sin.  Send your Chosen One to help us, to save us from the condemnation we deserve for our wicked ways.  We are as mere grasshoppers before you, O Giant!  Have pity on your faithless sons and gather us into the land you have promised.

Direct download: BC-080311-W_18_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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

Mt.17:1-9 – Mk.9:2-10 – Lk.9:28b-36

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, how great is your power,

how bright your light,

and yet you make yourself known to our mortal eyes. 

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

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

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

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

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

(Nm.11:4-15;   Ps.81:2,12-17;   Mt.14:13-21) 

“Israel I would feed with the best of wheat.”

But the best of wheat they despise, and seek to satiate their appetite with meat.  The blessed food from heaven, come from the hand of God, the Israelites soon grow tired of as they travel through the desert.  Their stomachs cry out for earthly flesh.  As our psalm tells us, the people “heard not” the voice of God but preferred “their own counsels,” so He “gave them up to the hardness of their hearts.”  He will give them the meat they desire, and it will bring plague upon them for their lusts against God.

Yet the Lord ever continues to call His people, and in the presence of Jesus that call is fulfilled.  In our gospel we see Jesus taking it upon Himself to feed the hungry masses, caring for their needs, and though some will seek to follow Him just to feed their bellies, others will recognize in His feeding of the five thousand the blessing of God’s providence and His loving care for His children; and their hearts will be open to partake of the spiritual food, the Body and Blood of Christ, which shall be offered forth at the table of the Lord after His death and resurrection.  The sacrificial love of Jesus Christ will thus become their own as they unite with Him in flesh and blood, in word and deed – in partaking of the best of wheat.  He is the food that sustains us.

The fragments left us in the twelve baskets come down to us this day through His twelve apostles and the Church founded by them in His Name.  The fragments we find upon our altar today as our priest prays the blessing over them.  And we are fed.  And we have life.  And we are kept from grumbling against the Lord for all that is not ours in this world, and all the vain things our hearts would otherwise desire… and we endure any suffering that comes to us on our pilgrimage to His Promised Land by the grace of the food offered forth through His holy sacrifice.  And we thus become like Him.

If there were no food upon our table, if this sacrifice upon our altars were not the Body and Blood of Christ – if His presence were not real in this best of wheat, this holy manna – we would faint in the desert of this world and be consumed by our own lusts.  But as it is the Lord provides the nourishment we need, and body and soul are kept alive even unto paradise.

Eat His Body and drink His Blood, brothers and sisters,

and you shall live in His paradise.

*******

O LORD, let us not complain against your providence;

may we never harden our hearts

but come to your table and eat.

YHWH, how can we complain against you and your providence?  Do we not see the food you give us to eat and the blessing it is for our lives?  Why do we so easily harden our hearts?

And what does such rebelliousness do but cause us to be separated from you?  What does it bring but our own death?  To us you give even the flesh of your Son to eat, and yet we turn away from this finest of wheat.  O LORD, what hope is there for souls as blind as we?

Your Son takes pity on our plight.  He looks on us with healing grace.  No need of ours would He leave unmet; yet will we come to His table to eat?  O LORD, in His hands let us find our home!  Let us trust in His blessing of our lives.  Let us not be a burden to Him or His apostles, but join them in carrying your Bread to the world.

Direct download: BC-080111-M_18_OT_I_BC.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O priest exemplar,

O preacher and confessor extraordinaire,

healer of souls

who by prayer and penance

was made holy unto God

and brought others

to that same holiness

before the Lord and Maker

of all poor souls –

pray indeed this day

that our hearts will be set on Heaven,

that our longing will be for the Lord,

and so that by prayer

we shall come to union with Him.

Pray all your fellow priests

will be filled with your same zeal

for the salvation of their flock

and so serve to bring them

to blessed union

with the God of all.

Pray the Lord send out holy priests

to labor in His vineyard

as diligently, as tirelessly, as you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******

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

united to the glory of your only Son.

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

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

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

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

(Lv.25:1,8-17;   Ps.67:2-5,7-8;   Mt.14:1-12)

 

“It is really the number of crops he sells you.”

 

The earth is the Lord’s; it is not our own.  And it is only by His grace that we share the fruits of the land.  “The earth has yielded its fruits; God, our God, has blessed us,” our psalm declares.  These fruits may be bought and sold, but the land is God’s own.

“In this year of jubilee, then, every one of you shall return to his own property.”  “This fiftieth year you shall make sacred by proclaiming liberty in the land for all its inhabitants.”  The jubilee year delineated in our first reading makes clear that we are God’s and not our own or anyone else’s.  While we tread this earth, in the forty-nine years leading to the jubilee, land is bought and sold, even slaves are made and taken.  But come the jubilee the trumpet is blown and all return whence they came: in this moment we go back to our homes and find the truth – that we are God’s alone.  All that is bought and sold is only temporary; these crops are consumed and pass away.  The land from which they come is in God’s hands and does not pass away.  To it we must return.  For He is our portion and cup.

“May all the ends of the earth fear Him!”  Indeed, we should fear Him who holds the earth and all its peoples in His creating hand.  We should not presume upon God’s mercy and “deal unfairly” as we buy and sell in this world with all that He provides.  In our gospel Herod is gripped by fear because he knows he abuses the power given him; he is struck to the heart by John’s preaching because his sin is exposed to the light.  But instead of proclaiming liberty, instead of returning to the Lord, he hardens his heart against Truth, presumes license and not liberty, and has “John arrested, put in chains, and imprisoned.”  But, of course, the Word of God cannot be chained; and Herod is not entirely wrong when he claims John has been “raised from the dead” in the person of Jesus, for the same Spirit which worked in this most fruitful of men comes forth fully in the Son of God.  Good reason has Herod to fear.

And it must be noted that the beheading of John does not bring his end, but his beginning.  It returns him to the land whence he has come.  It is as his jubilee, his time to “return to his own property” – to enter the kingdom of God.  For his body buried by his disciples is but as the crops bought and sold (and a more fair and abundant dealer in the fruits of this earth the world has not known); it is, of course, his eternal soul which finds liberty now in the land of the Lord.

This world cannot hinder the fruits that are of the Lord.  In faith let us remain in Him, producing an abundant yield in His Name, that the way of the Lord “be known upon earth,” and that we may come to His salvation at the time of Jubilee.  (We shall hear the trumpets resound through the halls of heaven.)

 

*******

O LORD, there is a land

to which you call us to return,

and this heavenly homeland is all that matters.

YHWH, the earth is yours and all that it holds, and you call us ever back to you.  Let us not be possessive of the gifts you give us but remember that the yield of the land is in your hands.

O LORD, you proclaim liberty to all the inhabitants of the land; you call all back to yourself, from whom we come and in whom we find our freedom.  Your call to our hearts to glorify you we must heed, if we are to find your blessing.

But if like Herod we harden our hearts against your truth, LORD, if like him we seek to chain your Word with our corrupted hands… if to death we put your call, what shall be left within us?  Then in what fear we shall tremble!

Your Prophet comes and walks amongst us; your power is upon Him for good.  The trumpet resounds throughout the earth, calling all men to their ancestral homes.  To you let us come with nothing but exultant joy at your presence.

Direct download: BC-073011-Sa_17_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O priest of the Blessed Sacrament,

you gave your life in sacrifice

at the altar of the Lord

and in all the trials of this earth;

you suffered all for Jesus

and desired only to bring souls,

all the children of God,

to receive Him and His grace

in the Sacrament of Communion,

in oneness with our Lord –

pray, O priest of Christ,

that our very lives

shall also be offered in sacrifice,

especially in the holy sacrifice

of the Mass

and in reception of His Body and Blood

in the Blessed Sacrament.

Pray particularly that our priests will know

the profound call upon their souls

to make Him present in this world

and be as inspired with holy devotion

as were you, dear saint.

Pray our hunger for His Presence increase.

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

O vigorous defender of the divinity of Christ,

you who suffered exile

for your work for the faith,

you who had a true shepherd’s heart

and cared so deeply

for the priests and people

the Lord placed in your hands –

pray the shepherds of the Church today

will strive with your same selfless zeal

to bring the love of the Son of God

and the blessed demands of His call

to every soul in their care,

that the faith might increase

and be known in all its fullness

even to the ends of the earth.

Pray and weep, O steadfast apostle,

for all the members of Christ’s holy flock,

that we shall be protected

from false and specious claims,

from wolves in sheep’s clothing

who would enter and steal the faith

of this holy Catholic Church

founded by our Lord Jesus Christ.

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

(Lv.23:1,4-11,15-16,27,34-37;   Ps.81:2-6,10-11;   Mt.13:54-58)

 

“Offer as an oblation to the Lord holocausts and cereal offerings,

sacrifices and libations, as prescribed for each day.”

 

Our first reading and our psalm speak and sing of the honor due our God.  The Lord outlines for Moses “the festivals of the Lord” which must be celebrated “at the proper time with a sacred assembly,” and our psalmist exhorts us to “blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our solemn feast” in honor of the one true God.  We should worship no god but Him and “hold a sacred assembly and do no sort of work” on His sabbaths and on the days He sets aside for celebrating His Name.  Due honor and praise must be given our God.

But when Jesus comes into the midst of His people, due honor is withheld.  Though they cannot deny His teaching, the wisdom and grace He imparts, yet they are blind to His presence before them.  They do not know whence He comes.  They cannot see that He is of God.  And so because of their limited vision, their “lack of faith,” He cannot touch them or heal them as He passes by.  Here He stands in their synagogues, but the shout of joy does not go up from their midst because their hearts are shut tight to the divine presence of the Lord.  The due praise they are moved to is thus denied, and they break the Law of God.

It is sad when justice is not done to our God.  We are the ones who would benefit most from offering due sacrifice and oblation – He has no need of our holocausts – yet we commit this kind of suicide by reserving the honor due Him, resisting thus truly entering His marvelous presence and becoming one with the One who created us and saved us.  He invites us to the feast, to the glorious celebration, but we turn down His invitation to join Him at the table of His Body and His Blood.  Each day it is prescribed for us to give our souls to Him; in every place the cup of salvation is raised unto the glory of God: here the festival of the Lord is fulfilled in our midst.  But how many say they see but bread and wine, they hear but empty phrases.  Their hearts are not set on His coming.

We are Jesus’ brothers and sisters; we are His mother.  We are those who recognize His presence and give glory to His Name.  The world cannot see Him; the world does not know Him.  But we know Him.  Let us “take up a melody, and sound the timbrel, the pleasant harp and the lyre,” and with all the music our lives can produce give Him glory in our celebration… with all the work we do and all the rest we take each day in Him.  Now is the acceptable time.  Today is the day of salvation.  Here the feast begins.  Let us come into His presence singing for joy.

*******

O LORD, let us believe in you and worship you,

and we shall be blessed.

YHWH, let us worship you as is due; let us give praise to your NAME and each day celebrate your glory in our midst.  Every day a sacred assembly we may now hold, now that Jesus has walked among us, now that He is present to us upon your holy altar; and so, let us welcome Him into our house and sing praise for the blessing He is to this place.

To the teaching of your Son let us listen, LORD; He has come in the flesh with your wisdom and power.  Let us not question His origin but know He is from you, as He shows with all He says and does.  Why do our corrupted souls condemn the Man who comes only to save?  Why do we not see that God is here with us?

Remove our weakness, LORD, the blindness of our human eyes, that we might with all our hearts keep your festival at the proper time, for the day of atonement is upon us.

Direct download: BC-072911-F_17_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O patron of moral theologians

and servant of the poor,

how blessed was your loving wisdom,

your understanding of God

and His love for us,

made perfectly known

in His only Son

whom you loved so much

with His Mother and the Church,

and whom you call us all to love

through your blessed words –

pray the redeeming love

of Jesus our Savior

flow in all our veins,

that we might unite our wills

to the Father’s

as perfectly as His only Son

and so be as encompassed by grace and love

as only He could be.

Pray indeed that we shall be saved,

that we will come to the Lord on our knees

and so find His presence filling us

unto eternity.

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

(Ex.40:16-21,34-38;   Ps.84:2-6,8,11;   Mt.13:47-53)

 

“The cloud covered the meeting tent,

and the glory of the Lord filled the Dwelling.”

 

The Dwelling is the Tabernacle of God, the place in which the ark of the covenant holding the Ten Commandments was housed; and so it was God’s dwelling-place.  And when this cloud lifted from the Tabernacle, the Israelites would set forth; and when the cloud stopped, so would they.  In this we see clearly that the Israelites were led by God and by His Law.  “In the daytime the cloud of the Lord was seen over the Dwelling; whereas at night, fire was seen in the cloud by the whole house of Israel in all stages of their journey.”

Our psalm extols the glory of God and His place of dwelling.  It is for Him and to be in His house we yearn.  “Happy they who dwell in your house!” the psalmist exclaims.  So far surpassing is the glory of the Lord that “I had rather lie at the threshold of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”  For “even the sparrow finds a home” at the altar of God, and so, how blessed shall we be in His presence.

And in our gospel Jesus completes His parables on “the reign of God,” the kingdom of heaven – the House in which we long to dwell eternally.  And, of course, here before us stands the new ark of the covenant in the Person of Jesus.  Here the new and fulfilling Law of love is housed, by which we are now led.  The Spirit descended upon Him as a dove, thus anointing Him with God’s glory, and it is this “cloud,” this Spirit of Truth, which descends upon us now and by which we walk with God.  The Old Covenant and Law are certainly not to be discarded, for “every scribe who is learned in the reign of God is like the head of the household who can bring from his storeroom both the new and the old”; but the Old is indeed subsumed by the New, for the Person of God – Word made flesh, God made man – far exceeds and truly completes the first dwelling, which was but made by human hands.  Now the Law has found a new and lasting home.

It is well we understand all that the Lord would teach us.  It is necessary that that teaching be complete, or we shall fall short of what our “heart” and “flesh cry out for.”  “The living God” awaits us; His glory He would give us.  Let us be covered by His cloud and be led forth in His Word of Truth to His eternal reign.  From “strength to strength” let us go, until we dwell with Him forever, His Word written on our hearts.  Amen. 

*******

O LORD, we pray we shall not be cast out

but be gathered into your dwelling,

and in your presence make our home.

YHWH, in your Dwelling let us make our home, your cloud ever upon us; in the flesh of your Son we must live, led by the Holy Spirit.  What is old and what is new help us understand, that we might be good stewards of your love and all souls may enter your kingdom.

At the end of the age your angels shall separate what is good from what is evil, for the evil have no place with the good.  Only what is good may come into your House; what is evil will be burned in the furnace.  And so our souls cry out for you, dear God, that you might make a place for us in Heaven.

To your threshold let us come, by the teaching of your only Son; His Spirit upon us to lead us to you, let us be obedient to His words.  Let us do all you command, O LORD, for only then shall we be blessed.  As your servant Moses let us be – in the new Moses let us make our home.

Direct download: BC-072811-Th_17_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O strong and holy apostle,

soldier for the Lord Jesus

and defender of His Church,

you gathered together an army

to labor in mission fields,

to educate the masses,

to serve and die as loyal sons

of the Christ and His Pope –

teach us this day

to follow in the way of Jesus,

to meditate on His life

and be fruitful in His works.

Pray your own sons

and all the children of MotherChurch

not waver in the faith

which sustains them on this earth

but that in all truth

steadfast Christ’s disciples shall stand

and proclaim in strength the salvation

that comes only through Jesus

and the Vine He has planted,

through whose teaching and sacraments

His very Spirit and blood flow.

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

(Ex.34:29-35;   Ps.99:5-7,9;   Mt.13:44-46)

 

“The skin of his face had become radiant

while he conversed with the Lord.”

 

His face shining like the pearl of great price, with whom he speaks, Moses comes down from the mountain carrying the Ten Commandments.  Here is a great treasure in His hands, which he has given up all to find.  But, of course, the greater treasure is the Word of God from which it takes its meaning and of which Moses converses with the Lord; and the greatest treasure is certainly God Himself, who makes us shine as stars in the night that is this world.  “Holy is the Lord, our God.”

And so, of course, the greatest treasure we can find here on earth, hidden in this ground from which our bodies are formed, is our Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the very image of God, God Himself, the WORD made flesh in our presence.  And thus as the Israelites had the Ten Commandments as the heart of their covenant, so we have a surpassing covenant founded in the Body and Blood of our Lord, in which His presence truly abides.  Still we have His words of Truth, still they illumine our faces.  But now they are spoken by the incarnate mouth of God; now the veil has been removed from the face of the One who inspires all souls, and our hearts burn with the pure light of His wisdom – and now we have that flesh and blood which make the words so real at our fingertips and upon our lips… and so, one we become with His holiness.

Radiant is the splendor of God.  He alone is worthy of our praise.  It is He alone we should strive to possess in this life.  He is buried here in our hearts; He is waiting deep within our souls for us to uncover our faces, to uncover our minds from the veil which conceals His light.  Indeed, He is waiting for us to shine as the pearl of great price, to give light to the world as He does, that all might come to converse with Him with unveiled faces.  But we must give up all else to find such grace: this pearl must remain unmixed with baser matter.  As Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights, neither eating nor drinking, so we must come to Him so utterly, leaving all of this world behind, to find the riches which await us in the heavenly kingdom. 

Jesus is the way to that kingdom.  In his Word, His Body and His Blood, we find the pearl of great price.  And so shall our faces shine radiantly white as we converse with the Lord in His presence for all eternity.  Praise Him, brothers and sisters, for His grace at work in your life.

 

*******

O LORD, holy are you,

and holy are those who seek your face.

YHWH, holy are you, and we are called to be holy as you are holy, to have our faces shine as radiantly as Moses’ – to come into your presence. 

O let us converse with you, dear LORD!  For now we have Jesus who speaks with us, who tells us clearly of the glory of your kingdom and how we are called to give up all to enter there.  How the pearl of great price is made evident in His flesh!  To Him let us come and we shall be one with you, and we shall be holy.

Before us on the altar shines the pearl of great price, the Body of Christ given to us that we might see and know your holiness, O LORD, that we might become as His Body in the world.  Let us worship Him in the Sacrament, here on your holy mountain.

In the field that is your Church we find hidden in this Bread all we need for the salvation of our souls, for discovering holiness in your presence, LORD.

Direct download: BC-072711-W_17_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O you of golden words,

of angelic tongue,

of sermons refined

seven times

by the Spirit of God…

O how you made present on earth

the invisible Creator

even as He was made for us

in the womb of the Virgin,

so tangible had His grace become

through the preaching the Lord inspired

in your soul –

pray we shall indeed be vivified

by the eternal grace of God,

by the gift of His becoming Man,

to become like Him,

heavenly spirits in His reign.

How could we comprehend such blessing;

how could such surpassing joy

these earthen vessels hold?

Let us come close to Christ our Savior,

close to Him as now you stand

in His radiant glory.

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

(Ex.33:7-11,34:5-9,28;   Ps.103:6-13;   Mt.13:36-43)

 

“The angels will hurl them into the fiery furnace

where they will wail and grind their teeth.”

 

It is the justice of God which is our theme today.  And though it is absolutely certain that the mercy of God far surpasses our meri