The BreadCast
Daily Exposition of the Readings of Catholic Mass, from the book 'Our Daily Bread' by James H. Kurt (now with Chanted Verses, and added text of Prayer for the Day). Additional cast - SaintsCast, entries from the book 'Prayers to the Saints' (also by James Kurt). Both books bear imprimatur.

(Is.6:1-2a,3-8;   Ps.138:1-5,7-8;   1Cor.15:1-11;   Lk.5:1-11) 

“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”

“Whom shall I send?  Who will go for us?” “the voice of the Lord” asks in the presence of the angels and Isaiah.  “Here I am… send me!” is the prophet’s response.  And so this “man of unclean lips” having been purged of his uncleanness by an ember from the altar of God is ready to speak for “the King, the Lord of hosts!”  Grace come through the seraphim prepares his soul to do the will of the Lord.

“By the grace of God I am what I am,” Paul, “the least of the apostles,” declares, having been saved from his persecution of the Church of God and made the great Apostle to the nations, he knows, only by the favor of the Lord Most High.  And now the Gospel he preaches with a mouth anointed by the blood of Christ, the word of God which he speaks, brings salvation to all who “hold fast” to it.

And Peter, too, the first of apostles, we find coming to faith and power in the Lord by His grace-filled call.  A catch of fish is what touches his soul and makes him fall to his knees, “a sinful man.”  And as He has deemed to stoop to the level of Isaiah and Paul, so the Lord reaches out his hand to Peter, lifting him to his feet and speaking to his ear his call of “catching men.”  And so the Rock of the Church is born.

King David sings in truth when he says: “All the kings of the earth shall give thanks to you, O Lord, when they hear the words of your mouth.”  And having heard these words speak clearly to their hearts, so are our prophet and apostles set to proclaim with David “the glory of the Lord” to all who likewise hear.  And certainly the grace given them “has not been ineffective,” for even now a multitude is drawn into “the presence of the angels,” where they “worship at [the Lord’s] holy temple and give thanks to [His] name.”

Alleluia!  Join His call.  Let your nets to the depths descend, to draw up souls redeemed by the Gospel of God, that many might sing “Holy, holy, holy” to our heavenly King.

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

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

*******

O LORD, help us to love our enemies

even as your Son has done for all of us sinners.

YHWH, you are gracious and merciful, but we are weak and sinful.  How shall we be like you?  How shall we bear the image of your Son?  How shall we move from being earthly to heavenly men?  Indeed, it is only by your mercy.

O LORD, we must reflect your great mercy if we are to find the mercy we so desperately need for our own souls.  And sharing in this mercy of yours is mercy itself, is your greatest gift to us, your poor creatures.  What more could we hope for than to be like you?  For what more could we ask than to be of your love?

You it is who pardon all our iniquities, who spare sinful man.  Though our deeds against you deserve death, though for our crimes we merit destruction – though we should be nailed to the ground with one thrust of your spear, we are freed from such a fate by your Son’s sacrifice on the Cross… and we are called to join Him there.  Forgive all who sin against us, LORD, that we might be saved.

Direct download: BC-021013-Su_5_OT_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EST

O proclaimers of the faith

even unto death,

death on a cross,

you who have followed

in the way of our Lord

so completely,

loving your enemies

even as they killed you,

encouraging your brothers

even with your last breath –

may the blood you shed not be forgotten

by those of the nation in which you preached

and by all souls who seek God;

may it nourish the land

and bring it to bear much fruit

unto Heaven.

Pray that we who are so fearful here

may find the faith and courage

you displayed

and so be blessed with the same grace

that imparts the peace of the kingdom.

Direct download: Feb._6_Paul_Miki_and_Companions.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(1Kgs.3:4-13;   Ps.119:9-14;   Mk.6:30-34)

 “He began to teach them at great length.” 

“Who is able to govern this vast people of yours?” Solomon asks in his plea to God for wisdom.  And “upon disembarking Jesus saw a vast crowd” who “were like sheep without a shepherd,” our gospel tells us.  The apostles have just “returned to Jesus and reported to Him all that they had done and what they had taught,” how they had managed to enter into His mission, and now it is time for rest in a deserted place.  But the crowds hasten on foot to fill that deserted place, and what can the Lord do but feed those who thirst so much for His presence and His word.

In our first reading Solomon reflects his father David’s humble obedience before God: “O Lord, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed my father David; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act.”  And so he makes the request for wisdom that so pleases the Lord.  And so God grants his request: “I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one equal to you,” and adds the greatest of riches and glory to it.  Solomon it is who composes proverbs, who judges the most difficult of cases, who is able to answer any question – it is he who rules the great kingdom of Israel in peace.  And all this he is able to do because his soul is as our psalmist’s today; he sings with him, “With all my heart I seek you; let me not stray from your commands,” and, “In the way of your decrees I rejoice, as much as in all riches.”  But when the king strays, he shall lose the great promise which has been so marvelously revealed in his reign.  He, too, shall show that he is but human.

Only the Lord teaches, brothers and sisters!  Only the Lord is able to rule!  All teaching and all governance come only from Him and not our own souls.  As great as the wisdom of Solomon was, apart from the Lord it becomes nothing but vanity.  For it is He who grants it to the king, according to his humble request.  And it is He who can only take it back again, upon separation from Him. 

Let us keep to His words, brothers and sisters.  Let us remain under His Spirit’s tutelage, within the walls of Mother Church.  Here we shall be taught.  By His wisdom we shall come to know.  In His Word we shall find the salvation of our souls.  Come now to your Shepherd and hear His voice imparting the grace of wisdom, the food that sustains you, to your mind and heart.  Enter into His call.

*******

O LORD, teach your poor flock with your wisdom

that we might declare your Word to all.

YHWH, teach us at great length for we are as sheep without a shepherd, we are all as mere youths before you, children not knowing right from wrong.  Only you give us an understanding heart; only by your Word are we instructed in the way we should go.  How lost we would be without your command!

Show favor to your servants, LORD, for we wish to do your will.  Your Son we follow to deserted places that He might satiate our thirsting souls.  All the riches and glory of this world we would leave behind, if you would but give us your wisdom.

Within our hearts we treasure your promise – let us not sin against you!  Let your Spirit be with us to guide us in all truth that we might accomplish your call.  O may your Son feed us with His own Body and Blood!  May we join our sacrifice to His and so find our lives acceptable in your sight, dearest LORD and God.

Direct download: BC-020814-Sa_4_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O good child of God

who gave your life so willingly

for the sake of Christ

and so wore His holy blood

upon your robes,

you who were blessed

to remain ever faithful to the Lord

even as those around you

turned from His presence –

pray for us this day

that our lives too

may be holy and blessed

as your own,

that we too might give witness to the Lord

with the same pure love

you did so readily show.

Pray we shall be wed to the Spouse

you so intimately knew

and thus become one with Him

and all His saints in Heaven.

May our lives also be good,

may they also be godly,

and may we, too, stand as others fall.

Direct download: Feb._5_Agatha.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(Sir.47:2-11;   Ps.18:31,47,50-51;   Mk.6:14-29)

“Herod feared John,

knowing him to be an upright and holy man.”

O how the Lord has given power to His great men.  It is He who “gave great victories to [the] king.”  David “called upon the Most High God, who gave strength to his right arm”; and as David “made sport of lions as though they were kids,” as he “slew the giant” and his “tens of thousands” in battle, so John the Baptist slays the sins of the multitude, even striking great fear into the heart of King Herod by the simple words: “It is not right for you to live with your brother’s wife.”  And though it is John who is beheaded, it is Herod who shakes in his boots long after the Baptist is gone.  As our gospel relates today, “On hearing of Jesus, Herod exclaimed, ‘John, whose head I cut off, has been raised up!’”  This king’s guilt remains, as do the words of the Baptist in his heart.

“He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him,” David declares so knowingly in our psalm today.  Indeed, the Lord’s blessed protection has been continually with his king, who has ever taken Him as his Rock.  Of David, Sirach writes, “With his every deed he offered thanks to God Most High, in words of praise.  With his whole being he loved his Maker and daily had his praises sung.”  What tremendous witness the wise man gives to the Lord’s chosen king.  And perhaps most poignant and most significant is his statement that “the Lord forgave him his sins and exalted his strength forever.”  David does not lose his kingship because of his failures – as does Herod, who is already dead by his wickedness – but in fact has the establishment of “his throne in Israel” fulfilled in the coming of Christ.

The Lord’s power is upon His chosen.  To each He gives the grace needed to offer lives of sacrifice.  As David’s life was “like the choice fat of the sacred offerings” and John’s death a holocaust that rises yet unto God, so all our lives may be enriched and blessed, and made whole in His sight; so will they be as “sweet melody,” if we but entrust them to the Lord our God.  And then none shall be able to stand before the power that is with us, for His holiness conquers all.

*******

O LORD, may all we do be a song of praise

to your holy NAME;

let all evil be overcome by the strength of your Word.

YHWH, as David slew Goliath so John the Baptist slays Herod, even from the grave.  Still this vain king is tormented by the Baptist’s word of truth; still his sin is exposed and his guilt apparent.  Still he lives in fear.  Still John speaks in Jesus his Savior.

O LORD, with David let us sing praise to your holy NAME, for you conquer all evil in this world and the next; you give power to your Son Jesus and His apostles to destroy all wickedness.  Who can stand before your glory?  Before you the dance of lust turns to dust.

You are the shield of all who take refuge in you, LORD.  You are indeed God Most High, and to you we offer thanks and praise.  For there is nothing we need fear; with you at our side we are safe from all our enemies.

Into your kingdom let us come, dearest LORD and God, far apart from this sinful world.  Even here you reassure our hearts of your eternal presence.

Direct download: BC-020714-F_4_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(1Kgs.2:1-4,10-12;   1Chr.29:10-12;   Mk.6:7-13) 

“Yours, O Lord, is the sovereignty;

you are exalted as head over all.”

Solomon begins his reign, and the apostles begin their mission.  But how different is their manner of rule.  Solomon sits in sovereignty upon a throne, while the apostles are sent in poverty to all towns.  Solomon’s reign is of the physical universe, with the riches of the world at his disposal; whereas the twelve apostles rule in the kingdom of heaven, shown by the Lord’s “giving them authority over unclean spirits.”  They go forth with “no food, no traveling bag, not a coin in the purses in their belts,” “preaching the need of repentance,” the dust upon their feet.  Solomon remains within the walls of his palace, well-guarded and with all “riches and honor,” seemingly of “grandeur and power, majesty, splendor, and glory.”

Now let us not think that the riches themselves are evil, for these are a gift from God (rewarding Solomon for his initial desire for wisdom above all else); but it must never be forgotten that, as David declares to God at the time of his son’s anointing: “Riches and honor are from you.”  His always are the majesty and the glory.  If Solomon would remember this, if he would heed the Lord’s words to David’s sons to “remain faithful to [Him] with their whole heart and with their whole soul,” observing always His commands – his kingship would be blessed.  But Solomon, too, shall sin, and worse than his father: he shall turn to worship of other gods.  And the sons that follow shall only continue the decline, necessitating the reign of Christ to enter in.

So, humbly do the disciples of the Lord go forth, though with the greatest of power.  They call for the repentance of all proud souls, possessed of the throne of this unholy world.  The Twelve “expelled many demons, anointed the sick with oil, and worked many cures,” thus bringing the kingdom of God to this world; and we are called to follow them, in the same poverty.  None of this can we do if our hearts are set upon the riches of this world.  Empty must we be of the desire for the food of earthly security – into the Lord’s hands we must utterly place our lives.  Only then will we be rich in Him “from eternity to eternity.” 

Splendor awaits us all, brothers and sisters, in the cross we carry upon this dusty earth.

*******

O LORD, if we follow in the way of your Son,

we shall share in His power.

YHWH, yours are grandeur and power, majesty, splendor, and glory.  You are exalted over all and have dominion over all.  Yet your sons go out with nothing, nothing but the Cross.  In this alone do they find your authority and power; in Christ alone are all men saved.

It is not upon the throne of this world your Son sits, with gold rings and a royal crown.  No, His crown is of thorns and He is stripped of even His clothes.  And just so naked must His disciples be, bereft of all attachments to this place, trusting entirely in your grace.  O LORD, let us go forth strengthened by faith!

How shall we find our blessing, dear God, the blessing of your presence in our hearts and in our souls?  How shall we become your very temples in this world?  Write your NAME upon our souls, that no evil spirit will have power over us, that we might do your will in all things and so find your eternal blessing.

Direct download: BC-020212-Th_4_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O bringer of light

to many nations,

you who struggled on

for the souls placed in your care

that all might know the Christ

for whom you toiled,

endlessly seeking

to convert obstinate hearts –

may your zeal

inspire missionaries this day

to go forth selflessly

proclaiming the Gospel to all,

bearing witness to the Lord

in the cross they bear

in season and out of season;

whether producing much fruit

or being rejected,

may their hearts be set on the Word

and the love of God

for His children.

Pray especially those lands you led to Christ

will turn again

to the one true light.

Direct download: Feb._3_Ansgar.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EST

O shepherd whom we invoke

for the healing of throats,

you who suffered torments

for the sake of the Name

and embraced death

as leader of His flock –

open our throats

to speak of Jesus,

to declare His goodness and glory,

the salvation that comes

only through Him.

Let us not fear

our persecutors

nor shrink from the threats

of the mighty

but stand fast

in the Lord’s healing grace,

confident that His every blessing

will keep us well

and on the path

that leads only to Heaven.

Pray all sickness flee from us

this day and forever.

Direct download: Feb._3_Blaise.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(2Sm.24:2,9-17;   Ps.32:1-2,5-7,   Mk.6:1-6)

“I acknowledged my sin to you;

my guilt I covered not.”

The Lord can heal only those who believe in Him, who turn to Him in their guilt to be saved.

David has sinned against the Lord once again.  His kingdom had been blessed by the Lord and was flourishing in His sight.  Rather than accept the blessings the Lord poured upon him and so find their increase, the king sought control over that which should have been left in the hands of God by numbering the people who had been the Lord’s gift to him.  And so now their number shall be decreased in his sight.

But David regrets his sin, acknowledging it before the Lord and begging His pardon: “I have sinned grievously in what I have done.  But now, Lord, forgive the guilt of your servant, for I have been very foolish,” and he throws himself on the mercy of God.  The Lord does destroy some seventy thousand in the kingdom, but relents at David’s intercession for the sheep under his rule who have done no wrong – the king entreats, “Punish me and my kindred,” and then offers an appeasing sacrifice to God.

David’s sin is severe and has serious consequences, but the Lord is faithful in forgiving him when he calls out to Him.  However, when “Jesus went to His own part of the country,” as shown in our gospel, their hearts were closed against Him and He could share no grace.  Were they any less sinners than David?  Had they any less need of His forgiveness, of His healing?  Their hardness of heart itself proves otherwise, but, sadly, “they found Him too much for them”; and “their lack of faith,” which distressed the Lord, prevented them from knowing the mercy found by their ancestor David.  Ironically, it is their own closeness to Him and His human family that keeps them from recognizing the greatness of the grace which works through Him.  Would they disown David, him whose sons they claim to be, if he had come to them in such a way?  And yet Jesus they reject. 

Brothers and sisters, our sights must be set on heaven and the mercy that falls from there through the Lord.  We have all sinned as David in our foolishness.  We must acknowledge it as he has, with faith that the Lord can heal us, that He walks amongst us as a brother to cure all our ills and teach us the way to love.  If we listen without acceptance of Him in faith, “no miracle” will be worked in our lives – and it is a miracle we most need, for we simple servants must lay down our lives.

*******

O LORD, let us not question the wonders

you work in our midst;

let us rejoice at the presence of your saving Son.

YHWH, forgive the guilt of our sin, that we have turned our backs on you and not believed in your providence, and not accepted your Son.  How could we be so blind to your hand at work among us, and why should you be so kind as to stay the angel of death?  We deserve to die for our sins against you, yet to our poor souls you offer forgiveness.

The teaching of Jesus is clear, His wisdom is of your perfect light, yet we question His miraculous presence in our midst.  Holding to the earth we can see, we fail to recognize the glory we cannot see, the joy you bring us in being in the number of your holy ones.  Staring too closely at what is at our hands, your transcendent Hand we miss, O LORD, even when He stands before us.

The burden of our guilt take from us, LORD, that we might be free of the punishment we deserve, that by your angels we might be blessed.

Direct download: BC-020112-W_4_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

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

“Suddenly there will come to the temple

the Lord whom you seek.”

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

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

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

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

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

Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, your Son has come into our midst

and united Himself to us;

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

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

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

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

Direct download: Feb_2_-_Presentation_of_the_Lord_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EST

(2Sm.15:13-14,30,16:5-13;   Ps.3:2-7;   Mk.5:1-20) 

“Many are saying of me,

‘There is no salvation for him in God.’”

Today David’s sins rise to his neck, and he is persecuted for them.  But in accepting the persecution as chastisement from the hand of God, David regains his kingly stature, becoming once again humble and obedient to the Lord.

David’s son Absalom has successfully led a rebellion against him among the Israelite nation under David’s command.  The king is forced to flee, and as he leaves, his son will lie with the wives and concubines he has left behind upon the same roof where David first spied the bathing Bathsheba.  How his sins come to visit him!

But it is in mourning David flees Jerusalem and climbs the Mount of Olives – the hill upon which Christ’s own passion shall begin in the garden where He is taken by the sword.  David “wept without ceasing.  His head was covered and he was walking barefoot.”  Repentant is the king in remembrance of his sins and the punishment now come upon him.  And his sincerity he exhibits profoundly again, for as Shimei curses and stones him, though he is surrounded by soldiers he does not exact retribution or seek to stop him.  Despite the fact this kin of Saul has no right to act toward the king in this way, yet David is struck to the heart by the truth of his words: “Now you suffer ruin because you are a murderer,” and leaves all in the hands of God, responding to his soldier, “Suppose the Lord has told him to curse David; who then will dare to say, ‘Why are you doing this?’”  Open is David about the fact that even his own son is seeking his life, and so what standing can he expect to have with his enemies.  As he endures his trial, he hopes only it shall be purgatorial: “Perhaps the Lord will look upon my affliction and make it up to me with benefits for the curses he is uttering this day.”  And so he does not “fear the myriads of people arrayed against him on every side,” for he rediscovers his faith in God.

And as the Lord casts out the legion of demons from the possessed man of Gerasene, so He shall purge David of his sin.  To whatever extreme our afflictions have grown, the Lord is present to save.  For if this man who could not be secured with chains, who “uninterruptedly night and day amid the tombs… screamed and gashed himself with stones,” could be found by a word from the Lord “sitting fully clothed and perfectly sane,” what have we to fear of all the devils who accuse us of our sins?  Jesus is mightier than them and there is no telling “how much the Lord in His mercy” can do when we fall on our faces before Him in homage.  True repentance brings salvation to all sinful souls.

*******

O LORD, let us come from dwelling among the tombs

to sit at your feet in peace.

YHWH, though our adversaries be arrayed against us on every side, you are there to rescue our souls.  Though the devils press upon us and accuse us of our sins, you grant forgiveness… and bring us to our right minds.  O let us proclaim what you have done for us!  Though we have merited death, new life is ours in you.

How great is the attack of our foes in this dark world, dearest LORD.  Do not sin and death rule in this forsaken place?  Does Satan not have great power to harm your servants?  Yet so much greater is your power, for you look with pity upon our afflictions and cross the sea to come to save us.  It is our sins that cause us to weep and mourn – but our sins you take from us and so free us from the chains of the evil one.

The stones that shower down on our heads we accept as chastisement from your hand, knowing they shall bring cleansing of our guilt and that of others.  O LORD, we beg you to stay with us.

Direct download: BC-013012-M_4_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O teacher and father

of the children in your care,

in whose hands

they were not abandoned

but held in patience

by Christ’s love –

teach us, too,

to have that same patience,

to have that same love

for those the Lord places

in our care,

that anger shall be banished

from our hearts and our minds,

that the wisdom of Christ’s sacrifice

you taught and lived

we too might embody,

and so serve

in raising the kingdom of Heaven

among the children of this earth.

And pray that we, too,

may know the Lord’s gentle word and touch

upon our own souls

 and so grow into His likeness.

Direct download: Jan._31_John_Bosco.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(Jer.1:4-5,17-19;   Ps.71:1-6,15,17;   1Cor.12:31-13:13;   Lk.4:21-30) 

“I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.”

When God calls Jeremiah to prophesy “against Judah’s kings and princes, against its priests and people,” He tells him to “gird [his] loins” and commands: “Be not crushed on their account.”  For though his people “will fight against” him, they shall “not prevail over” him.  The Lord makes Jeremiah “a fruitful city, a pillar of iron, a wall of brass” able to stand against attacks of any in “the whole land”; He preserves His prophet’s life despite any danger or threat.

In our gospel Jesus is likewise protected by God from any harm His people would inflict upon Him.  Here in the synagogue of Nazareth, Jesus is called to prophesy against the faithlessness of the people; and though before He spoke His harsh word of truth they had “all spoke[n] highly of Him,” now “filled with fury” they drive Him “out of the town, and lead Him to the brow of the hill… to hurl Him down headlong.”  But the deliverance promised Jeremiah and sung of so beautifully by our psalmist is with the Lord’s only Son as it had been with His prophet, and “Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.”  Though they would not accept the deliverance He brings, He is delivered from them.

“O my God, [you] rescue me from the hand of the wicked”; you indeed are “my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety.”  O Lord, “let me never be put to shame,” but “in your justice rescue me, and deliver me.”  For you are “my rock and my fortress,” “my hope” who never fails to save.  May I walk through all the difficulties of this world, all the darkness of sin and temptation and suffering, with you at my side, therefore with nothing to fear.  Make me strong as your prophet, as your Son, for my life is in your Hand.

Brothers and sisters, soon all persecution will pass away with all the imperfect trappings of this desolate earth, and only God’s love will remain.  Let us be as He who “endures all things”; let us be of love.  And nothing of this world shall touch us as we pass through its midst, shielded by the Word of God, guarded by His eminent love.

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

Music: "Is This Your World?" from Remove the Mask of Lies, second album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, you rescue us from the hand of the wicked;

from our mother’s womb you are our stronghold.

YHWH, it is you who deliver us from all harm, from the fury of this world, from the anger of those unable to bear your truth.  In chastising us you would show us the greatest love; but who is of love as are you, and so who is able to rejoice in your truth?

Few there are, O LORD, who desire to know their sins that they might turn from them and be saved.  Few there are who trust in you from birth even unto death – who can place his whole life in your hands?  Yet if we do not take refuge in you alone, we shall surely die.  If we open not our hearts to your love, to your Word of truth that would redeem our souls, we will perish in our sin.

The hardened heart of man would hurl your Son to the ground from the hill He builds His town upon.  Break our pride, LORD, that we might be saved.  Open our hearts to your Chosen One, to the love He brings to us, that we might see you face to face.

Direct download: BC-020313-Su_4_OT_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EST

(2Sm.12:1-7,10-17;   Ps.51:12-17;   Mk.4:35-41)

“I have sinned against the Lord.”

David is the man who “took the poor man’s ewe lamb and made a meal of it for his visitor.”  To feed his lust he has feasted on another man’s wife.  And he sees the injustice of this; he recognizes his guilt when his sin is exposed.  But why has he done it?  “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this merits death!”  And so David, too, has need of the true King and His cross to redeem him.

What does the Lord say to David as he “lie[s] on the ground clothed in sackcloth,” praying for the dying child he has conceived by his sin?  We know what he says to God, for we have Psalm 51 to eternally express the misery of this sinner, and all sinners.  We know he cries out: “Free me from my blood guilt, O God, my saving God.”  But how does God respond?  Is He with him?  We know the Lord forgives David – Nathan tells him so – but yet “the sword shall never depart from [his] house,” and he shall have his sin later exposed in broad daylight by his own son, Absalom, who lies with David’s wives in the public eye.  Much woe remains with David long after his fall, and really throughout the history of Judah and Israel.  He is assured: “You shall not die,” but though his house remain and is fulfilled in the coming of Christ, what pain must be with the king in this time.

If he had called upon the Lord, as He rebukes the wind and the sea in our gospel: “Quiet!  Be still!” so would God have calmed his lust upon a word from his mouth.  But he “utterly spurned the Lord.”  How is it such a humble and obedient king could do such a thing?  How is it the disciples are so “lacking in faith” at the specter of the violence of the sea?  Why do they become so “terrified”?

Would not we all, brothers and sisters?  Have we not all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God?  Do we not all become awed by Him whom “the wind and the sea obey”?  Yet we must come to Him.  Yet we must beg His pardon.  Yet we must seek the strength of His Spirit, of His Word within us.  Yet we must fall to our knees before our priest and cry out to our God – “A clean heart create for me, O Lord, and a steadfast spirit renew within me.”  Thus we all have need of cleansing this side of heaven; we have all brought forth children unto death.

*******

O LORD, let us be obedient

as the wind and the sea to your command,

or we shall be overwhelmed by the waves of this world.

YHWH, why should we be so terrified at the wind and the waves?  Why should we fear the prospect of death?  Do you not hold both the sea and death in your hands, and are you not faithful in saving us when we call to you?  Why are we then so lacking in faith?

O LORD, we are not as you.  We are weak and sinful men.  How can we be strong when we look out and see the depth of our sin?  How can it not overwhelm us?  You are all good and we have sinned against you.  You are only of love, and we are but selfish.  How can we stand before you in our misery?

Help us to remember how gracious you are, dear God.  Help us to maintain your Spirit within us.  You desire our salvation, you desire our good; help us to desire it ourselves, and to act upon that desire.

O LORD, let us not go astray.  Cleanse our hearts and our hands from all our guilt and let us stand strong with you.  Forgive us our sin and all the effects of our sin.

Direct download: BC-012812-Sa_3_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(2Sm.11:1-10,13-17;   Ps.51:3-7,10-11;   Mk.4:26-34)

“The seed sprouts and grows without his knowing how it happens.”

Jesus in our gospel tells us of the kingdom of God and of its gradual growth without our knowing.  Seed is scattered, the Word is sown in our souls, and as we “[go] to bed and [get] up day after day,” remaining in the presence of the Lord, good fruits little by little reveal themselves in our lives – till finally at the time of judgment we are gathered into the heavenly reign.  Though small and humble seed, once we are sown in the Lord’s grace, we “become the largest of shrubs, with branches big enough for the birds of the sky to build nests in its shade.”  And so this man made of dust may find life eternal in Jesus.

In our first reading there is another kind of gradual growth evident: the sin of David.  It is the time of year “when kings go out on campaign” with their armies, but David remains at home – and so in this sin of sloth is sown that which will grow into adultery and murder.  For one evening as the king “[rises] from his siesta and stroll[s] about on the roof of the palace,” he sees the beautiful Bathsheba bathing, and lets his look linger upon her.  Lust having taken hold of him, he takes her to his bed and has relations with her, despite her being another man’s wife.  In a vain attempt to cover his sin, he recalls the husband from battle that he might go in to his wife and believe the child David has conceived is his own.  But the man is more faithful to the troops in battle than David is to his position as king, and remains apart from his home.  Finally, David resorts to arranging for Uriah’s death in battle.

O how sin has grown in the great king!  From a small seed tremendous guilt is born.  And now, what can the prince of the people do but seek the mercy of the Lord.  In his famous psalm of repentance David begs God, “Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my guilt.”  He calls out, “Thoroughly wash me from my guilt, and of my sin cleanse me.”  Recognizing his plight as a member of the fallen human race: “In guilt I was born, and in sin my mother conceived me,” the king shows genuine humility, and so finds the forgiveness of God – but now the sword shall be upon his house.  Though there shall be peace in the time of the son he will later conceive with the wife of Uriah, it shall not remain.  Only in Christ will God’s blessing truly return again.

Brothers and sisters, from small seeds indeed great trees come.  We must be ever diligent about the seed we sow, remaining always in the light of the Lord and nourished by the Spirit.  When “the time is ripe for harvest,” all we have done shall be exposed; until then, let us trust in His presence alone.

*******

O LORD, let us grow into your kingdom,

not into sin.

YHWH, let your kingdom grow among us and within us.  Let not our sin grow in its place, that we shall not come unto death but new life in you.

We are sinful men, O LORD.  All of us fall short of your glory; all of us have done evil in your sight.  But you are good and forgiving and there is no sin from which you cannot cleanse us.  David your servant has been guilty of adultery and murder.  He has acted out of sloth and lust and selfish pride, yet when he calls out to you, you look upon him with pity.  When he acknowledges his sin before you, you forgive.  What good is beyond your power to do?

And in the place of our sin you plant the seed of your kingdom, LORD.  Where once was but parched and fallow land, you bring fruitful growth.  Though this seem impossible in our sight, you accomplish it in your will.  Though we cannot see, though we do not know how, you work to raise us to your glory.  Turn your face from our sins and let us dwell with you.

Direct download: BC-012712-F_3_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O wise doctor of the Church

who ate the bread of angels

in your long hours

of prayer and study and writing

and shared with us

the knowledge you gained

of the sublime truth of God,

shedding the light of reason

upon the faith we hold so dear –

teach us this day

to know God

that we might better love and serve Him,

that we might not be blind

to His presence in our midst,

to the holiness to which He calls us.

Pray we shall enter into

His Cross, His love, His obedience;

pray we, too, might have knowledge,

true knowledge of His grace

and the everlasting life

which is ours in Him…

and pray the Lord send us holy teachers

to fill your shoes.

Direct download: Jan._28_Thomas_Aquinas.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(2Sm.7:18-19,24-29;   Ps.132:1-2,3-5,11-14,Lk.1:32;   Mk.4:21-25) 

“If your sons keep my covenant and the decrees which I shall teach them,

their sons, too, forever shall sit upon your throne.”

Yes, “the Lord has chosen Zion; He prefers her for His dwelling.”  His blessings are upon His Church and its people, for “the Lord swore to David a firm promise from which He will not withdraw: ‘Your own offspring I will set upon your throne,’” and Jesus completes that promise by establishing the New Jerusalem in His Name.  But we must exhibit the “anxious care” David has shown for the preservation and promotion of the house which is ours through this Son of David and fulfillment of God’s promise.

If “the eye is the lamp of the body,” as Jesus has said elsewhere in the gospels (Mt.6:22), then we must say with David: “I will give my eyes no sleep, my eyelids no rest, till I find a place for the Lord.”  Always our light should be shining forth; always we should be looking to “make our call and election permanent” (as Peter has elsewhere stated – 2Pt.1:10) – always we must seek to serve Him, if ever we wish to dwell with Him.  For as Jesus says so poignantly to the crowd today: “Is a lamp acquired to be put under a bushel basket or hidden under a bed?  Is it not meant to be put on a stand?”  Thus He encourages us to bring our light “out into the open,” to let it shine forth for all to see.  For then it shall be blessed.

“Listen carefully” now to what the Lord says further: “In the measure you give you shall receive.”  Here is a golden rule which must be understood and practiced.  For it is so that the more we share the gifts the Lord places in our hearts and at our hands, the greater these blessings grow.  As we share our faith, more faithful do we become.  As we speak of Him, the more do we understand of Him.  In giving ourselves away for others and the sake of the kingdom, we find ourselves present in His light.  And so do we grow.  And so is our place in His house assured.  And so we shall dwell with Him forever.

Let us pray with David in our first reading, brothers and sisters: “Bless the house of your servant that it may be before you forever,” that what the Lord has promised each of us through the Son of David may come to light.  As David simply asks the Lord to accomplish what He has graciously vowed to do – “Confirm for all time the prophecy you have made concerning your servant and his house” – let us beg the Lord to grant the same to His Church for the salvation of all souls who worship Him in truth and serve Him in strength.  Alleluia.

*******

O LORD, dwell in us as you have promised

that we might shine your light forth.

YHWH, who are we that you bless us with a place in your kingdom, that you shine your eternal light in our eyes?  How can we know you, how can we even approach you, we who are but useless servants….?  And yet you make us your sons.  Let us cherish the blessing you give us and shine the light you provide.

Your House is a house for all peoples, LORD, and all peoples you would draw into your sanctuary.  The promise you made to David comes to us all through the Son you place upon his throne.  Now that Jesus is with us, help us to be as generous as you and serve to extend your blessing to all men.  O what a blessing it is to share your love with others!  Let us not be afraid or hide your light away.

All we have let us give, O LORD, for all we have is a gift from you and it is increased only when we give it to others.  May all come into your presence.

Direct download: BC-012612-Th_3_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O holy virgin

and spiritual mother

to the poorest of girls,

whom you protected and guided

in wisdom and love,

keeping them from the snares

of the world

and raising them in Christ;

you who fulfilled so well

the twofold call

to love God and save souls –

pray for those

who so easily go astray

this day

in a world of great corruption,

where souls are in danger

of being captured

by the wiles of Satan and sin;

and pray, too,

that there shall be many

who desire as you have,

with the living love of God,

to bring them into His fold.

Direct download: Jan._27_Angela_Merici.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(2Sm.7:4-17;   Ps.89:4-5,27-30;   Mk.4:1-20)

“Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;

your throne shall stand firm forever.”

David seems intent on establishing the Lord’s presence forever by building a permanent house in which He might dwell, but how well our God answers the great king’s thoughts with the promise of making “his posterity endure forever.”  It is the Lord who establishes all, and so He states, “I will fix a place for my people Israel; I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place without further disturbance,” to show that He thinks of us and loves us first.  Though He approves and blesses our desires to care for Him and make Him known, as He shows by revealing to David that his son “shall build a house to [His] name,” He cannot be outdone in His love for us.

Solomon will build the temple of the Lord, yes, and it will be a great house in which all shall worship God and through which all shall find blessing from God.  But the true Son of David upon whom the Lord’s favor rests eternally is Jesus Himself.  It is His kingdom which truly “stands firm” forever.  It is through Him the Lord will “destroy all [our] enemies” and grant us peace round about.  He is the seed of David come to full growth, the promise of the king come to fulfillment.  This is He whom the Israelites truly sought when first they asked for a king – this is God’s blessed answer to their request for one of their own to rule them.

It is clear that David is as the seed “sown on good soil” which “yield[s] thirty- and sixty- and a hundredfold.”  Satan shall not come to carry off what is sown through him, nor shall he “wither for lack of roots” or be choked off by the cares of this world.  For as the Lord says of him, “I have been with you wherever you went”; and so His nourishment, the Spirit of the Lord which rushed upon David from his first anointing, remains, too, upon this chosen king.  And though he shall sin, and though his sons shall turn away from worship of the true God, yet the Lord’s blessing remains.  And in the enduring of the Lord’s correction “with the rod of men and human chastisements,” Jesus, the Son of David, the Son of God, by His crucifixion and death opens the way for all children of David, all children blessed by God, to return to the Lord of all and remain with Him forever.  The kingdom of Jesus is now established; let us come to this Temple and be saved.

*******

O LORD, let us take to heart your Word

and align ourselves with your will

that we might reign forever with your Son. 

YHWH, a House you make for us in the Person of your Son.  His throne endures forever, and we with Him.

O LORD, make us fruitful in your NAME, in the flesh and blood of Jesus.  We are worth nothing without your grace, without your blessing upon our race – without your help all our words and deeds would fall to dust.  Maintain your kindness toward us, keep the teaching of your Son in our hearts, or we shall be cast from your presence.

How shall we hear the Word you wish to impart to poor souls?  How shall we learn the lesson of obedience and realize it is you who establish us, who give us a House in which to dwell?  You are our Father, our God, our Rock and Savior.  In your Son we are made your children and so endure forever in the light of your face.  Be with us now and remain with your faithful.  Let us be good soil and produce fruit for you.

Direct download: BC-012512-W_3_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O blessed disciples of Paul

and shepherds of the Church

who imitated so well

your father in the faith

who imitated only

the Lord Jesus Christ

and thirsted for His Cross –

pray this holy Apostle

be our father, too,

and you with him,

that we too might embrace the Cross;

teach us the sound doctrine

handed on to you

that we may hand it on

and all souls

might fight the good fight

and run the race with Jesus

unto eternal life.

Pray for all the shepherds of the Church

that they be faithful as you have been

to rightful authority.

Direct download: Jan._26_Timothy_and_Titus.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(2Sm.6:12-15,17-19;   Ps.24:7-10;   Mk.3:31-35)

“Lift up, O gates, your lintels;

reach up, you ancient portals,

that the King of glory may come in!”

In our first reading David leads all the Israelites in, “bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and to the sound of the horn.”  “Dancing before the Lord with abandon,” he brings the ark into Jerusalem and sets it within its tent or tabernacle.  All celebrate this day as they surround the ark on its journey and as David “offers holocausts and peace offerings before the Lord,” the ark having come to its place in the city of David.  The Lord is in their midst, and so all the people rejoice.

In our gospel the ever present crowd of people is assembled, seated “in a circle” around Jesus.  They surround the Lord as once the Israelites surrounded the ark – and how their hearts must celebrate at His presence in their midst.  And how indeed their hearts must leap up to hear what is said of them: “These are my mother and my brothers.”  For thus the Lord gathers them into His arms; thus He feeds them better than with the meat of any holocaust – thus they are protected forever by His holy presence.

“Who is this King of glory?  The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle.”  He blesses and protects all His children; He makes all who worship Him His own.  And what need we do but celebrate; what need we do but shout for joy?  For He is present before us.  For He enters into us, into the New Jerusalem in which we dwell.  Here in His Church we have His Blessed Sacrament to feed us on our way to Him.  In this He is already with us, as He is in His teaching and in His priests and in all His brothers and sisters and mothers – “whoever does the will of God” becomes one with Him.

We love you, Lord our God, for your presence among us!  We praise you, dearest Jesus, for your presence within us!  O brothers and sisters, make room for His entry into your hearts and minds, bodies and souls, that you might enter in with Him to His heavenly kingdom.  He stands and knocks at the door even now.  Will you open and welcome Him into your home?

*******

O LORD, let us rejoice before the ark of the Covenant

come into our midst in Jesus our King and Brother.

YHWH, come into our homes, into our hearts, that we might be your House, one with your Son.  He is truly your Temple; let us open wide our gates that He might enter in and make His home with us.

Mother and brother and sister of Jesus let us be, O LORD, surrounding Him as His holy family.  Let us rejoice at His Word and so follow your will in all things.  May He look upon us with mercy and give us of Himself to eat.

What should we do but dance and sing and praise your holy NAME for your presence in our midst, for your entering our poor souls and remaining ever with us?  O let us offer ourselves to you in sacrifice! that indeed your will might be done in our lives.  Come and make your home in us, dearest LORD and God.

We feed upon your Word, O LORD, and on His body and blood.  May He serve as King over us that we might enter your reign.

Direct download: BC-012412-Tu_3_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O you who persecuted

the Church of God

but then preached the faith

in earnest,

you upon whom

abundant mercy fell,

whose weakness became strength

as each day in bearing

extraordinary torments

you grew closer to God –

show us the way

to Heaven.

Pray we fall continually

from our horse,

from our pride,

and allow the Lord

to change our lives.

Pray repentance

be our constant food,

that the love of Jesus

and His forgiveness

we shall ever know

in greater measure.

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, help us to believe

and so turn to your Son to be saved.

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

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

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

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

O most devout spiritual guide,

great pastor of your flock

and of all souls,

you who speak to us

even this day

with your words of wisdom

and blessed direction –

pray every branch

of Jesus’ vine

may aspire to His perfection;

in whatever state we find ourselves,

let us set our hearts

on loving the Lord

and serving Him and neighbor

prayerfully.

Teach us to pray faithfully,

to offer our lives

in all situations,

all for the glory of God.

Our call may we hear

and heed by your intercession,

following the Christ and carrying His Cross

as He leads.

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

(Neh.8:2-4a,5-6,8-10;   Ps.19:8-10,15;   1Cor.12:12-30;   Lk.1:1-4,4:14-21) 

“He opened the scroll so that all the people might see it.”

These words are spoken of Ezra the scribe who “brought the law before the assembly” of all Israel as he stood above them preparing to read the word of God, but it surely more distinctly refers to Jesus the Christ, the Incarnate Word of God, who reveals Himself to the souls in the Nazareth synagogue today.  As “Ezra read plainly from the book of the law of God, interpreting it so that all might understand,” so the Word is perfectly read and interpreted for us in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus came “into the synagogue on the sabbath day.  He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.  He unrolled the scroll and found the passage” in Isaiah which speaks of Him: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me…”  Thus is “fulfilled in [the people’s] hearing” the salvation promised from all time; the presence of the Word is with us in flesh and bone.

Brothers and sisters, the eyes of all are filled with vision of His light, of His glorious being in our midst; all ears are filled with the sound of His voice, like gently rolling thunder soothing our hearts.  And so we see.  And so we hear.  And so His Church has eyes and ears of the Lord, for we become “Christ’s body and individually parts of it.”  Our feet now walk with Christ and our hands serve Him, and all for the blessing and honor and upbuilding of the whole.  If I write this to you now and you hear, do I write for myself alone?  Is it even I who write at all?  Are not all things in the Body in the Lord, taking strength from Him and nourishing in turn all its parts?  What are we apart from the Body – we could not stand alone!  Does the Lord not reveal these things to us in the opening of Scripture before our eyes?  Is He not whole and one with all?

In our first reading all wept at the words come from the mouth of Ezra, and all celebrated together this day of feasting.  All stood as one when the book was raised, and all were prostrate as the name of the Lord was praised.  The Body is one, as St. Paul tells us, and none go off on their own: “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.”

Brothers and sisters, “the ordinances of the Lord are true, and all of them just.”  Let us live as one in the WORD of the Lord, “the words of [our] mouth and the thoughts of [our] heart find[ing] favor before” our God, that the world might see the truth and the light of Christ alive in His Body.

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

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

*******

O LORD, your Spirit be upon us

to accomplish your will in Jesus’ Name.

 YHWH, your Law is perfect and is perfectly revealed in the presence of your Son.  He it is who fulfills in our hearing, in our sight, the glory of your Word.  Here is the Word made flesh for us to taste, and so to become as His Body.

High above us Jesus stands to shine the light of your wisdom upon all souls.  By His presence in our assembly all eyes are enlightened, for by Him your command is made clear.  And what gifts are thus given to your Church, O LORD, by the Spirit upon us now.

How shall our eyes take in the vision you share with us in Him?  How shall we hear of the joy He proclaims?  How shall we come out of our prisons and embrace the grace of His message, dear LORD, we who have dwelt so far from your will?

Refresh our souls this day, dear God, with the flesh and blood of your Son.  Let us become one with Him and declare your truth to the world.

Direct download: BC-012713-Su_3_OT_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EST

(2Sm.1:1-4,11-12,19,23-27;   Ps.80:2-7;   Mk.3:20-21) 

“They mourned and wept and fasted until evening

for Saul and his son Jonathan.” 

For David’s leading his men in mourning for Saul, it might have been said of him what was said of Jesus: “He is out of His mind.”  But even to the end David proves himself sincere in his respect for God’s anointed, even slaying the man who claims to have dispatched the king upon Saul’s request (after he had dealt himself a mortal wound).  David is not anxious to claim the throne for himself, as so many around him suppose he should be.  Like Christ, he does not grasp at what is his, but continually humbles himself before his Lord and God, and waits and accepts the will of the Father.

And so David weeps and fasts for the man who forever sought his life.  And so he is given “tears to drink in ample measure.”  And so he cries with the Israelites, “fed with the bread of tears” at the death of their king.  Jonathan, David truly loved.  He was indeed better to him than any brother or any lover.  For him his tears are understandable.  Jonathan repeatedly saved David’s life, to the point of provoking the wrath of his father against himself.  But there is no explanation for his love of Saul, other than the Lord loved him and had blessed him.  And so, David’s love is as the love of God.  His tears fall from on high.

And what shall we say of our gospel today?  Jesus and His disciples are so pressed upon by the crowds of people, they made it “impossible for them to get any food whatever.”  We should remember this situation when we consider the Lord’s family coming to “take charge of Him.”  We should understand their concern for His health when we interpret their statement that “He is out of His mind.”  They mean not that He is insane, but that He needs someone to look after His temporal needs, lest He tax Himself overmuch.

But the Lord’s strength, like David’s love, also comes from on high – it is not earthly.  And His work is His food, and the Father will take care.  His mourning and weeping and fasting and dying for us is blessed by His Father, and will bear fruit unto His kingship in heaven.  If He did not live by the standards of heaven, there would be no hope for our salvation, for why should He die for sinners such as us, other than it is the Father’s love?

*******

O LORD, your love for us goes beyond reason,

beyond the death we deserve for our sin.

YHWH, your Son must be out of His mind for loving us as intensely as He does.  Why should He so forget Himself for those who have betrayed Him, those who have sought His life?  We ask this day: Why did David mourn over Saul, and why does Jesus die on the Cross?

He spends Himself for our sakes, obedient to your will in all things, sacrificing Himself for those you would save.  And He cares not that those for whom He prays, those whom He heals by a word from His mouth, shall turn upon Him on the day you have assigned.  He desires only what you desire, dear God: that your wayward children shall not perish.

As for a brother He gives Himself; members of your family He would make us.  With us He has been fed with the bread of tears, and from these He comes to rescue our souls.  O LORD, let us not drown in the surrounding sadness!  Let us rise from our fall with Him.

Direct download: BC-012112-Sa_2_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O martyr of the Lord extraordinaire

who suffered unspeakable torture

but was not bowed

by such savagery,

who spoke of great faith,

singing of God’s glory

even as your limbs

were crushed,

even as all the brutality

the world could inflict

sought to break

your spirit –

help us to conquer the world

as you have done,

as the Lord has done in you,

not to be afraid

but rather to serve

our Savior and His Cross

in joy

as His blessed disciples;

pray we, too, shall enter the heavenly gates

open to those in whom the Spirit speaks

even unto death.

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

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

“Sovereignty over Israel shall come into your possession.”

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, though your justice is beyond our reach,

in your mercy make us your disciples. 

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

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

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

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

O holy virgin martyr,

O innocent child

who offered your life

more freely than a bride

to her husband,

more courageously than a warrior

in battle,

who though lacking in years

was not lacking in faith

nor desire to honor

your only Spouse…

you who were honored

by the Fathers of the Church

and are remembered to this day

as a holy offering,

a lamb of God sacrificed in flames

yet professing ever

your love for Christ –

but a small measure of your courage

would save our souls.

Pray but a drop of His blood

we may know

falling from our veins.

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

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

“Saul has slain his thousands,

and David his ten thousands.”

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, we press upon you with our afflictions, 

and by your Son’s intercession we are saved. 

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

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

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

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

O soldier for Christ

who sought with such courage

to embrace His Cross,

to die a death

worthy of such a Lord,

you whose heart

was so set

on imitating the suffering

only He knew

and so were rewarded

with the crown of martyrdom –

where is our courage;

where is our strength?

Pray for us,

O warrior of our Lord and God,

that our lives

may bear witness

to approach your own,

that we shall not shrink

from the Cross before us

but with your same zeal

seek to make it our own.

Pray the blood of Christ upon us.

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

O Holy Father of the Church,

Pastor of the sheep of our Lord

who have given your life freely

for the name of Christ

and its spreading

throughout the earth,

you whose blood was shed

by the persecutors

of the body

but whose soul

was ever in the Hand of God –

pray our lives

shall be lived in integrity

and our death correspond,

that a blessed witness

we too shall give

to the glory of God

and His Son Jesus Christ,

and so lead others

to that same glory.

May none of the flock

or their shepherds

fear the sacrifice of their lives.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******

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

as with Jesus. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Does the Lord so delight in holocausts and sacrifices

as in obedience to the command of the Lord?

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

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

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

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

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

******* 

O LORD, make of us new wineskins 

that we might bear your Word within ourselves.

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-011612-M_2_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O father of monks

and all who would give themselves

completely to the Lord,

you who have been so obedient

to the word of God,

to His call

to sell everything,

to renounce all possessions

and follow Him –

how we need your prayers

this day,

when love for material things

possesses our very bodies

and souls,

when prayer and penance

seem things of the distant past.

Make present to us

the blessed call of the Lord,

the renunciation of the world,

that we too might find

the riches of Heaven

you knew so well.

Pray we give up all for God.

Direct download: Jan._17_Anthony_the_Abbot.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(Is.62:1-5;   Ps.96:1-3,7-10;   1Cor.12:4-11;   Jn.2:1-11) 

“As a bridegroom rejoices in his bride

so shall your God rejoice in you.”

“There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.  Jesus and His disciples were also invited to the wedding.”  And it is here Jesus “revealed His glory”; here the beginning of His signs would take place in His changing water into wine.

But why?  Why here at a wedding?  And why this transformation as His first miracle?  He would have begun His ministry some twenty years prior, in the temple at Jerusalem at the age of twelve.  Would this not have been a more appropriate place, and a more marvelous age?  But His Blessed Mother drew Him from there then, and He was obedient to the wisdom she offered by gift from her Spouse, the Spirit.  She would teach Him of our human condition, and lead Him to bear His own patiently, that our high priest might be able to sympathize with our nature.  Indeed, to all He seemed an ordinary man.

And now it is she who leads Him to accept His station as the Son of Man.  Here at that most blessed, most cherished of human events – one which St. Paul tells us mirrors Christ’s own union with the Church, one spoken of repeatedly by the prophets of old (as does Isaiah today) to demonstrate the Lord’s great love for His people, and one which at the end of time (a time so marvelously depicted by John in his Book of Revelation) will be fulfilled in our midst in the descent of the New Jerusalem, the Bride, the Holy Church, from Heaven to earth… here at this feast so human and yet so divine, He simply changes water into wine.  As Eve the wife of Adam once offered her husband the apple he would consume to produce our fall, so here the “Woman,” Mary, the Mother of the Lord and Spouse of the Spirit, offers Jesus His ministry, which will lead to the death that redeems us all.

And the water becoming wine indicates the transformation we all undergo, baptized in the Spirit of the Lord, wed unto heaven.  And this transformation produces in the Church the “spiritual gifts,” the outpouring of knowledge and prophecy and healing St. Paul speaks of today: our marriage to God cannot help but produce blessed fruit in us, even as God’s espousal of Mary has produced the only Son.

And, of course, each day we drink the spiritual wine, the wine become blood, poured forth upon our table, upon the altar of the Church.  And this primarily feeds our spirits, sustains us human beings with food from heaven, not of earth.  One with the Lord do we become by the consumption of this sacred fruit; in this Sacrament our Bridegroom rejoices in us His Bride and calls us to rejoice in Him, to “sing to the Lord a new song” of the purest love as we “worship [Him] in holy attire,” in the finest, the purest of wedding garments – in His flesh and blood.  Sing alleluia to our God!

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

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

*******

O LORD, no longer forsaken,

we rejoice and sing praise

at the revelation of your Son.

YHWH, we should sing as at weddings for your Son has revealed your glory to us here on this earth.  You rejoice in us as a bridegroom in his bride, and should we not rejoice all the more at this great grace you bestow upon us?  You make us as your own and place your Spirit within us.  O make your Spouse fruitful in your sight!

In holy attire let us worship you, O LORD, clothed by the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Pure and spotless let us be that we shall be desolate no more but know the blessing of your presence among us and partake of your surpassing wine.  The hour has come to join ourselves to you by uniting ourselves to the flesh of your Son, and to proclaim such a wonder to all peoples.

Give us wisdom, O LORD, the wisdom to know that we are your own and to do your will in all things.  Let us forever praise your NAME by the power of the Spirit upon us.

Direct download: BC-012012-Su_2_OT_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, Jesus you have made King over us 

that we might be saved from sin

and rejoice in your presence forever.

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

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-011412-Sa_1_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

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

“We have never seen anything like this!”

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

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

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

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

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

*******

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

you alone are our strength. 

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

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

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

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

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

“Our souls are bowed down to the dust;

our bodies are pressed to the earth.”

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

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

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

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

*******

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

make us no longer the laughingstock of the nations.

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

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

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

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

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

O shepherd and doctor

of God’s holy Church,

is this not what you would declare

with all your breath

to the ends of the earth:

“Jesus is the Son of God

and God Himself”?

Would you not proclaim

the true light of Scripture

and the Word, the Light,

become flesh in our midst?

Know, O saint of the Lord,

that your words reach our ears

and our hearts

even to this day,

and this day we proclaim you holy

and your words true –

continue to speak to us;

please intercede for us,

that the Truth you declared

so fearlessly

will be taken up again

by those in His stead today.  

Direct download: Jan._13_Hilary.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, let your Good News be proclaimed

that all might hear and be healed

and ready to answer your call.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******

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

in Jesus your Son.

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-011012-Tu_1_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

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

“Hannah was childless.”

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

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

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

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

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

We are no longer childless.

*******

O LORD, call us to yourself

that we might be childless no more. 

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-010912-M_1_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

(Is.40:1-5,9-11;   Ps.104:1-4,24-25,27-30;   Ti.2:11-14,3:4-7;   Lk.3:15-16,21-22) 

“Heaven was opened

and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him

in bodily form like a dove.” 

“Beloved: The grace of God has appeared.”  Here we see its clear evidence in the Baptism of our Lord.   Here He who “baptize[s] [us] with the Holy Spirit and fire” has the Spirit descend upon Himself.  In our stead He places Himself (as He shall on the cross), and by the Spirit’s presence upon Him, we ourselves are made clean.  This Jesus, this Son of God, shall “save us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” the Spirit which is united with His own, which is His own.

And so does He who “rules with a strong arm” enter our midst.  And what does He say?  “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated.”  He who is “clothed with majesty and glory,” who has “constructed [His] palace on the waters” and made “the clouds [His] chariot”; He who “travel[s] on the wings of the wind” and “make[s] the winds [His] messengers, and flaming fire [His] ministers”… He comes begging the prophet: “Give comfort to my people.”  O brothers and sisters, “the kindness and generous love of our God [has] appeared” and our souls have been “justified by His grace.”  And now we are “heirs in hope of eternal life,” life that is in His gentle hands alone.

O Lord, “when you send forth your Spirit, [we] are created and you renew the face of the earth.”  And so this day you send your Spirit forth; upon your Son your Spirit rests, and remains.  His prayer – which is no other than our own – you answer, and witness to us that He is the Chosen One.  Upon us, too, let your Spirit rest.  As “in [your] arms” you gather “the lambs,” so let us be gathered with your Holy Lamb and know the Spirit’s power upon us, that to us, too, heaven will be opened, and we may enter there in the wake of our Lord.  Let the waters of heaven pour upon us.  Alleluia!

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

Music is "Audio Track 8" by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, be pleased with us as you are with your Son

that we might be blessed with the Spirit as He.

YHWH, send forth your Spirit and renew the face of the earth.  The Spirit has descended upon your Son and through Him has come to all who are cleansed in His blood.  By His grace we are made whole; because of your love, all our crooked ways are made straight, every valley filled in and every mountain made low, and we are called into your kingdom with your beloved One.  O let be fulfilled in us the Good News you bring this holy day!

Our salvation is at hand, for Jesus has come to John at the Jordan and made clean the waters in which we find rebirth.  Now with the Holy Spirit and fire we are baptized.  And coming up from the waters we hear your voice, O Father in Heaven, calling us to your side, calling us to share your glory with your only Son.

O let us give thanks to you, dear God, for paving our way to eternal life!  Though you are clothed in majesty, to us poor creatures you come to pour your Spirit upon us through Christ our Savior.  Alleluia!

Direct download: Baptism_of_the_Lord_Year_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EST

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

 

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

to recognize the One who is true.”

 

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, let us remain in you

and rejoice at the coming of your Son. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

“Whoever possesses the Son possesses life.”

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, let all men know

that Jesus Christ is the Son of God

and eternal life to all who believe in Him. 

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

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

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

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

O redeemer of captive slaves,

those enslaved to sin

and those enslaved

by the clutches of the world –

preach to us this day

the freedom found

under the Cross of Christ

and in the repentance of heart

blessed by the grace

upon the Church.

Teach us well

the path to Heaven,

which is wrought not in comfort and peace

but in struggle against sin,

in the laying down of our lives

before our persecutors.

Ransom us from wayward

thoughts and actions,

and from the snares

of the adversary

who waits for our misstep.

In Christ alone

may we find our rest.

Direct download: Jan._7_Raymond_of_Penafort.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, Jesus is the Christ;

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

let us declare His praise. 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

and His love is brought to perfection in us.”

 

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

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

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

*******

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

how can we recognize His glory in our midst;

how can we love as He has loved? 

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

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

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

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

O shepherd who walked

in the humble stead

of your flock,

who worked so diligently

among those in your care,

speaking to their hearts;

you who gathered into schools

the little ones,

who saw to the education

of the children…

and all this in a foreign land –

pray for the country in which you ministered,

that its lambs

once again be raised

in the faith

and its strangers

be once again shepherded

by one as anxious as you

for their well-being.

Here let us find the grace of Christ

to redeem

the lowly

and the lost.

Direct download: Jan._5_John_Neumann.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(1Jn.4:7-10,   Ps.72:1-4,7-8,11;   Mk.6:34-44)

 

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

till the moon be no more.”

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, you sent your Son

to shepherd all afflicted and fainting souls;

may we be nourished by His love. 

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

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

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

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

O mother through marriage

and religious Mother,

who indeed became mother of many,

many sisters whom you led

in the faith

and many children whom you taught

in your schools –

in your wisdom

teach many still

the path of Christ,

the way of charity He has trod,

that renewed will those be

who call you Mother,

and instructed well

those in their classrooms

throughout the land.

What should we teach our children,

dear Mother?

Have we not forgotten the lesson of Christ?

Pray for us, I beg,

this day,

that the way and the truth

we shall follow.

Direct download: Jan._4_Elizabeth_Ann_Seton.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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

 

“Every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh

belongs to God.”

 

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, all those who seek the truth

come to your Son,

and you make them your children. 

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

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

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

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

(Is.60:1-6;   Ps.72:1-2,7-8,10-13;   Eph.3:2-3a,5-6;   Mt.2:1-12)

 

“They were overjoyed at seeing the star,

and on entering the house

they saw the child with Mary His Mother.”

 

And so our prophecy of Isaiah and our psalm of David come to pass: “Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you… the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.”  And “the kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts; the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.  All kings shall pay Him homage, all nations shall serve Him.”  And so we have the revelation made known to the Apostle Paul and all His holy ones: “The Gentiles are now coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”

Yes, the Light of Jerusalem has come, and it draws the ends of the earth by its radiance.   Here is the star which rises in our midst; here is the true light which shines upon all men.   And all men are drawn to it – none can deny its brightness before us, its truth and its glory.  And who is this king but the One of “justice” and “profound peace”?   Who is He but the One who “shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; the lives of the poor He shall save.”   And so all must make themselves poor before Him, laying their gifts at His blessed feet.

Today we celebrate the coming of Light to the nations, the manifestation of Jesus Christ to this world covered in darkness.  And we find our hope and our joy in Him as did the magi two thousand years ago.   For He continues to reveal Himself to our hearts.  He continues to show His peace and justice to all who look for His coming.   Let our eyes be raised to the heavens and our hearts be diligent in seeking Him, and we will be led to His crib.   There the Mother holds Him in her arms; there before such beauty we should empty our souls in adoration of His blessed presence, like these magi who “prostrated themselves and did Him homage.”   Then we shall rise fulfilled.

 

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

 

Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

O LORD, lead us by your light

to lay down our lives before you.

YHWH, into this world of darkness you have sent a great light and now all nations desirous of truth, desirous of light, follow that light to find you, dear Father in Heaven.  As the magi followed the star to find the Baby Jesus with Mary His Mother, so all poor souls follow your Son to find you who have created us all; for He is in you, and looking upon His innocent face we see you, our LORD and God, and the light is ours.

There is no division in your House, O LORD; all souls are called into your presence.  Your star you make obvious for all to see that none may be left by the wayside but all keep to the road that leads to life.  Help us, O LORD, to empty ourselves of all that keeps us from gazing at your light, all that makes our eyes blind to your glory.  May we with the magi prostrate ourselves before your Child, offering all we have to Him and so to you.  He is the King that shall rule us all – let us embrace His coming.

Direct download: Epiphany_of_the_Lord_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EST

O bishops and doctors,

O brothers so united in Christ,

united in your desire

to find His wisdom

and live His virtue,

for you what mattered

but to be like Christ?

All you would have given up

to find His way;

nothing of this world

did you wish

but to leave it behind.

One in heart and mind,

one in word and work

and in the food of which you partook…

how blessed it is

when men live as brothers,

when nothing they desire

but the other’s good –

teach us this way of union

in the love of God.

Direct download: Jan._2_Basil_the_Great__Gregory_Nazianzan.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(1Jn.2:22-28;   Ps.98:1-4;   Jn.1:19-28)

“Remain in the Son and in the Father.”

In our gospel John the Baptist tells the priests and Levites sent by the Pharisees, “There is… one who is to come after me – the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to unfasten.”  This Messiah has come, “The Lord has made His salvation known: in the sight of the nations He has revealed His justice,” David proclaims in our psalm, and continues to invite us to sing praise of Him.  It is the anointing that comes from Jesus that John, in our first reading, encourages us to hold on to, for it is true and leads invariably to the Father of all.

We must come to the Father; we must find ourselves in the presence of all truth, in the hands of our Creator, who loves us beyond all telling.  And the way to the presence of the Father, in whom we find our true home, is Jesus the Christ.  He is the Son and the only one who can lead us to the Father, for He and the Father are inextricably one.  We cannot deny the Sonship of Jesus, His oneness with the Father – that He is the Christ, upon whom all true anointing rests – and come to know God.  Jesus is the means the Father provides to come to Him; it is through Him alone we find the promise of eternal life.  We must “remain in Him,” that we may “not retreat in shame at His coming.”

Those who do not believe in Jesus, who do not recognize Him as the only Son and so only way to the Father, are not to be persecuted – but they are not to be believed.  Jesus is all.  Those who know Him know this; they indeed have His anointing in their hearts.  This “anointing teaches [us] about all things and is true.”  It is this knowledge of His salvation, of His glory, which John instructs us to remember: His Word grows in our hearts.  But again, this Word is not a weapon for the persecution and destruction of others – it is the means for the manifestation of light.

Remain in Jesus, brothers and sisters, and eternal life with the Father will be assured you.

*******

O LORD, help us always

to proclaim Jesus as the Christ. 

YHWH, we must indeed acknowledge Jesus as the Christ, as your only Son, as God Himself, and rejoice that your saving power has come to us through Him.  And His anointing will rest upon us, the Holy Spirit will be with us to guide us in all things – we will be one with you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

John has prepared His way and in the sight of the nations His glory has been revealed.  None can deny His divinity, except he be a liar.  And to these we must not listen, LORD, but only to the teaching of your Church.  For upon your apostles rests the anointing that is from above, and if we are to find our way to eternal life, no other voice should we heed.

John has indeed cried out the way we all must follow if we are to meet your Son and so you, Father.  O LORD, let us listen to the Spirit that is upon him.

Direct download: _January_2.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

O Blessed Virgin

in whose womb was conceived

the only Son of God,

who by such grace

has brought salvation

to our race…

What faith is yours

in God the Father!

What power is upon you

by the Holy Spirit!

What unutterable wonder we find

in your Son!

How is it one of our own number

could give birth

to our Creator?

Such glorious union

with the Godhead

we could never merit

nor discover

except that the Lord

has chosen you –

pray this day

He shall be born in us, too.

Direct download: Jan._1_Mary_Mother_of_God.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EST

(Nm.6:22-27;   Ps.67:2-3,5-6,8;   Gal.4:4-7;   Lk.2:16-21)

 

“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God

for all they had heard and seen,

just as it had been told to them.”

 

The blessing of God, His holy Son, was upon the shepherds, and it is upon us all.  For “God sent His Son, born of a woman” that His “way be known upon earth,” “that we might receive adoption as sons.”  And what greater blessing could man know than to fulfill his call as son of the living God?

We are blessed, brothers and sisters, and we should proclaim it as the shepherds.  The blessing invoked upon the people by Aaron has been realized in the birth of the Son.  Through Him “the Lord let[s] His face shine upon [us]” – this is His grace come.  And how else but in haste should we travel to Him?  How quickly we should arrive at His side.  And how amazed all should be upon hearing the blessings we have known, at the hand of our God.

Mary is she who is truly blessed, and we honor especially today she “who kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”  For so obedient was she to God’s will that He was “conceived in [her] womb” and made flesh in our sight.  So, let us thank her today for the blessing she has brought into our midst.  As we are now sons of the Father with the Spirit of the Son “crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’” in our hearts, so we are sons of Mary, too, for the Lord’s divinity cannot be separated from His humanity – the two meet as one in Jesus Christ.  This is our great blessing.

From “an infant lying in the manger” shall come the salvation of our race, and the Mother of this renewed race, consecrated to God in Him who is “named Jesus,” we commemorate with our hearts and our voices in praise this holy day.  May she now be the instrument by which “the Lord bless[es]” and “keep[s]” us; may she pray this day that “His face shine upon [us].”  And may all her children be one in the blessing of Christ, her Son.  Amen.

 

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

 

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

O LORD, what blessing is upon us

this Christmas day! 

YHWH, we are your sons now because Jesus has become our Brother.  Born of the Virgin, His blessing is now upon our race – He it is who shines the light of your face.  Let us glorify you for your blessing.

Now we may call you “Father!” now that the Spirit of your Son is with us.  For in Him we are adopted as your sons, LORD, and so through Him you are our Father.  Let the light of your face shine upon us all our days.

It is you who rule all nations, LORD; all the earth is in your hands.  Yet you come to us as a little child, poor and lying in a humble manger.  Let us ponder this wonder with Mary; let us keep your will and your Word ever in our hearts, that we might see unfold the revelation of your presence among us.

Too wonderful for us is the grace you bring, LORD; yet let us live as your sons, born of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Direct download: Mary_Mother_of_God_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EST

O eminent Shepherd

of God’s people

who led us from the catacombs

into the light of day

by a blessed peace

with the city of man,

allowing the Lord’s Church

to grow and flourish freely

in its sacraments,

in its worship of the one true God –

pray the Body of Christ

may again prosper in truth

with its divine Head,

that the Light that has come into the world

may be proclaimed to the ends of the earth

and all souls called by the Lord

come to the font of Baptism

and find the fullness of faith

in the holy Catholic Church.

Pray there be no dissension

in the Body

but that all shall be one in Him

who is God Himself.

Direct download: Dec._31_Sylvester_I.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(1Jn.2:18-21;   Ps.96:1-2,11-13;   Jn.1:1-18)

 

“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”

 

And we must dwell with Him, remaining in His light, walking in His way.  “Through Him all things came into being,” and we who have come into being by Him, “who believe in His name,” must “become children of God.”

In our first reading, John warns against the antichrists who come in this “final hour” to lead astray all those not founded in truth.  Elsewhere he warns against anyone who does not recognize Jesus as the Son of God, as the Christ come among us.  Certainly there are more than a few antichrists today, looking to distract believers from “the Holy One.”  But as John says, “All knowledge is yours”: if we believe in Jesus, we have the truth written within us.  Yet we must beware of faltering, for “no lie has anything in common with the truth.”  Remain in His Church.

Our psalm of David encourages us to “exult before the Lord,” to “sing to the Lord; bless His name.”  And well we should this holy day to know of the Christ that has come “to rule the world with justice.”  The Word has become flesh and left His flesh and His Spirit with the Church He has founded on the apostles – great is the joy of those who find their home there.

And in our gospel we hear John’s beautiful and clear explication of the divinity of Jesus, the Word ever in God’s presence from the beginning, the Word that is “God.”  There are pseudo-religious that change the evangelist’s words  to say that the Word was “a god”; such is the work of the antichrists spoken of by Paul.  For only in the clear recognition of Jesus as “God the only Son,” only in the unequivocal proclamation of His divinity – that He is God – is salvation found.   For this is Truth, Truth brings light, and the light has no discourse with the darkness of lies. 

Come to Him who has come unto you, brothers and sisters.  Seeing Him you see God and know God.  And knowing God you “know the truth” and so exult in the joy of His presence in His Word, in His Sacraments, in His Church… in His love.  Praised be the Lord and His dwelling among us.

 

*******

O LORD, you have revealed yourself to us

in the presence of your only Son –

let us live in the truth that He is God. 

YHWH, thank you for the truth you have given us, the glory you have revealed through your only Son.  Your Word has become flesh and so your very light shines now in our midst – may we embrace Him and His love.

Though surrounded by the darkness of lies, we find our way to your truth, O LORD, by your Son and the Holy Spirit with whom we are anointed through Him.  Now we know the truth and are gifted with all knowledge therefore – let us exult in the gift of life you provide.

Whoever does not acknowledge your Son does not know you, Father, and does not have the Holy Spirit.  Let us know well Him whom you have sent and bless His Name among ourselves.  Praise and glory belong to Him alone for He alone reveals your glory.  O let this light shine in the hearts of all men, of all who would rejoice in your presence.

Direct download: Seventh_Day_Oct._C.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 9:00am EST

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

 

“The world with its seductions is passing away

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

 

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, let our hearts be set

on worship of you and your Son

and not on the things of this world.

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

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

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

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

Direct download: Sixth_Day_Oct._C.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 9:00am EST

O blessed martyr

who died in the cathedral,

murdered by the king of this world

as you defended the Chair of Peter

and the true faith of the Church –

where can we find bishops like yourself;

how shall the Church be led

without holy apostles

willing to give their lives

as Christ,

in whose place they stand?

Pray for us, devout shepherd,

that many will be inspired

by your example

to follow in the footsteps of our Lord

and defend the faith

even unto the shedding of blood,

for what is the shedding of blood in this world

compared with the light of Heaven

you now know in our Savior’s presence?

Pray for us and let us pray with you,

seeking truth and love

in our pilgrimage on this earth.

Direct download: Dec._29_Thomas_Becket.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

(1Jn.2:3-11;   Ps.96:1-3,5-6,11;   Lk.2:22-35)

 

“The way we can be sure we are in union with Him

is if one who claims to abide in Him

conducts himself just as He did.”

 

“The darkness is over and the real light begins to shine,” and we must live in that light. 

“My eyes have witnessed your saving deed displayed for all peoples to see,” declares Simeon in his prophecy over the Christ child.  “In accord with the dictate in the law of the Lord,” though He Himself is God, Mary and Joseph dutifully bring Jesus to the temple to be “consecrated to the Lord” as every first-born male must.  And there the “just and pious” Simeon who so patiently “awaited the consolation of Israel,” the coming of “the Anointed of the Lord,” takes the child “in his arms” and blesses God for His gift, His mercy.

Learn from these the attitude all must have.  In their faithful observance of the commands of God and the inspiration of the Spirit, they fulfill His Word.  And so light dawns for us and we know of its presence in our midst.  Now we must continue to “announce His salvation, day after day tell His glory among the nations; among all peoples, His wondrous deeds.”  Our deeds must mirror His deeds; His light, “a revealing light to the Gentiles, the glory of [His] people Israel,” we must shine.  The sign has come; the new commandment which has been of old must now be realized in each of us.  As a sword has pierced the heart of the Blessed Mother, so it shall pierce the heart of everyone who unites himself to the Blessed Child, who follows in the steps of our blessed Lord.

“The thoughts of many hearts [shall] be laid bare.”  There will be no hiding from this light that has come.  If you think you can claim to know Him “without keeping His commandments,” without conducting yourself “just as He did,” you must know that your lie will be exposed.  “The man who continues in the light is the one who loves his brother.”  Only this will save you, for only love is of light; hatred is only of darkness, and in the Lord there is no darkness.

Let us join with Simeon in proclaiming His salvation.  Let us join with David in singing of the “splendor and majesty” of the Lord.  “Praise and grandeur are in His sanctuary.”   And let us do this principally with our very lives, becoming as the temple of God who is presented to us this day.

 

*******

O LORD, let the light of your Son

be revealed to our eyes, and in our actions.

YHWH, your light be revealed in us this day as it was revealed in your Son to the eyes of Simeon.  May Jesus live in us and we shine His glory forth, that your Word may indeed be fulfilled in all our lives.

We are in darkness, LORD.  As we keep not your Word, your Law, your command to love, we stray from right paths and become blind to your presence.  If we do not live your presence, if we do not do your will, how can we claim to be of you?  How can we say we are your disciples if we do not do the things your Son has done?

Take us from the shadows, LORD, and reveal to our eyes the presence of Christ in our midst.  Dispel all the dark of hatred and doubt and error by this unending light you shine upon us.  And let us truly be transformed by the light of our Savior that we might announce His salvation every day of our lives until our last breath on this earth.  Then let us live with you forever.

Direct download: Fifth_Day_Oct._C.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 9:00am EST

O innocent martyrs of the Christ

who gave your lives

from the cradle

for Him who carries the Cross,

who suffered and died in His place

even before His crucifixion,

even as His martyrs would do

after His death on the Tree –

let our hearts cry not

for the evil that has wrought

your violent death;

pray we not fear

the dark wrath of this world’s king

but set our hearts

on the joy of our Lord’s kingdom,

where you now reign with Him

and to which we hope to come

by the laying down of our own lives

in His Name.

And pray for the least among us

who suffer the most this day,

that they who are murdered in the womb

will know the light of Christ’s holy face.

Direct download: Dec._28_Holy_Innocents.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EST

(1Jn.1:5-2:2;   Ps.124:2-5,7-8;   Mt.2:13-18)

 

“The blood of His Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.”

 

And as martyrs of the Church, these innocent children slaughtered by Herod participate in the pouring forth of the blood of Christ.

“Out of Egypt I have called my son.”  What does the prophet mean but that by the only Son all shall be redeemed of their sins – that out of sin all are called, all are drawn by the Lord?  “Broken was the snare, and we were freed” when the child was born, when He died upon the cross.

And that death is begun already in the slaughter of the holy innocents, whom indeed we commemorate as martyrs this day.  In their sacrifice the cross is already known, though the Child Jesus be but a boy.  No greater evil, no greater act of sin could be than Herod’s cruel decree to “massacre all the boys two years and under in Bethlehem and its environs.”  And in the “sobbing and loud lamentation” rising from the town where Jesus was born we hear presaged our own cry, our own beating of our breasts as we gaze upon the crucified body of God’s Holy One.

It is sin that brings the slaughter of the innocent children, and it is sin that causes Christ’s crucifixion.  And we are participants in that sin, brothers and sisters.  “If we say, ‘We have never sinned,’ we make Him a liar and His word finds no place in us.”  For He has come because of the sin which encompasses mankind, to redeem us from its sentence of death.  And the blessed apostle John makes clear that we are indeed all participants in sin, and if we deny this fact we make His sacrifice null for our lives and continue to walk in darkness.  We must all bewail our sins and the horrors they have wrought, and from their snare we shall be released – else the “raging waters” will overwhelm us.

The souls of the innocents slaughtered by the evil king have been preserved, for their “help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”  Our souls, too, shall be redeemed “if we acknowledge our sin,” our complicity in evil.  For “He who is just can be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrong” if we are but able to see we are not innocent as He, or they.

 

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

 

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

 

*******

O LORD, take from us our weeping for our sins;

make us innocent as these children. 

YHWH, what horrors our sins have wrought?  Are we not complicit in the slaughter of these little ones, as indeed we are complicit in the crucifixion of your Son?  Should we say, “We are free of the guilt of sin”?  Should we deceive ourselves about the darkness in which we find ourselves?  If we should, we would make void the sacrifice of Christ for the cleansing of our souls.  For what would then need to be cleansed, and why should He have died?

The truth is we are surrounded by sin and it would overwhelm us without the blood shed by Jesus.  It is He alone who breaks the snare that holds us, and His martyrs share in His sacrifice.  And we are called by you, O LORD, to share in this holy offering with them.

Out of Egypt you call us, LORD, far from the darkness of sin.  And if we admit our sin before you, in such light of truth we can be assured of your forgiveness.  To Jesus let us come; at the foot of His Cross let us remain, and we shall never be separated from His cleansing grace.

Direct download: Holy_Innocents_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EST

O beloved disciple of the Lord

who saw Him

and touched Him,

who believed in Him

with all your being,

who loved Him so

that no love but His

surpassed your own –

speak to us this day

of the Word of life

who has come among us,

died for us,

and been raised from the grave.

Continue to proclaim that love

which alone saves men from sin,

which alone banishes death from our midst;

let us share in your love for Jesus

and join you in proclaiming

Him who has come

in the joy you knew so well.

Point us to Him even this day,

that we too might see

and believe.

Direct download: Dec._27_John.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EST

 

O three holy persons

united as one

in the humble home at Nazareth,

Mary and Joseph

with God’s only Son…

who became your Son,

who became our Son,

who became our Brother

in all things human

and shared with you

the food of your table

and the dust beneath your feet –

you are our model upon this earth;

you we should follow

to find new birth in the Spirit,

to find ourselves sons of the Father,

to be as brother to Christ.

O Holy Family,

what a blessed trinity you form

in the love of God and neighbor;

pray we not fall short of your grace.

Direct download: Dec._30_Holy_Family.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00am EST

(1Sm.1:1:20-22,24-28;   Ps.84:2-3,5-6,9-10;   1Jn.3:1-2,21-24;   Lk.2:41-52) 

“Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 

If Hannah says of Samuel, “As long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the Lord” even as she leaves her son with Eli in the temple, should not Jesus be equally dedicated to God, being His true Son?  If as John rightfully says of all those who live in God’s love and follow His commandments, “We are God’s children now,” how much greater a child of God is He who serves to make us children?  And so, where should He be but the temple of the Lord?

But Jesus’ parents do not look for Him there, indeed are “astonished” to find Him there – and thus perplexed at His answer to them – because they have no word that He will be like Samuel, that they are to leave Him in “the midst of the teachers.”  Surely Mary knows of her own kinship with Hannah, for this is indicated clearly in her Magnificat, which mirrors so closely Hannah’s own canticle of praise upon conceiving her son.  But that Jesus should be separated from them at this time, that He should in essence begin His ministry, begin plying the leaders of the people with revelatory questions so that “all who heard Him were astounded at His understanding and His answers,” now, at twelve years of age, is not known to them.  Thirty is the customary age for the start of one’s ministry, is it not?  And their Son has not even reached His bar mitzvah yet!

It must be noted that Jesus gives place to the customs of the race.  We are told “He went down with [Joseph and Mary] and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.”  Though certainly the Son of God is prepared to teach even as He begins to talk, yet He does not remain in the temple at this time.  He is obedient.  And obedient particularly to Mary, who shall indeed indicate to Him the start of His ministry, at Cana.  And He shall be obedient there to her, too, even though He says then that it is not His time.

The Son must be in the Father’s house, for more than any of God’s children His “soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord.  [His] flesh and [His] heart cry out for the living God.”  His heart is ever “set upon the pilgrimage,” for in the temple is His home.  But the truly Beloved Child of God remains among us in our mundane lives, taking the cross of earthly existence upon Himself, enduring all for the sake of God’s children.  And through His Mother’s intercession even “Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.”  So may we all.  So may we all be so obedient, so prepared for the Father’s House.

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

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

*******

 O LORD, remain in us and let us remain in you. 

YHWH, your Spirit you give us to make us your children, to make us even your very temples.  Let us remain in your House always!

One with the Holy Family let us become, blessed as Joseph and Mary, and your Son Jesus, blessed to be called your own – blessed to be one with all your chosen ones in the heavenly kingdom.  O LORD, remain in us!

If we must leave our earthly family behind, so be it, LORD.  If we must leave the caravan of our relatives and friends to enter your Temple, to remain with you, let us freely answer such a blessed call and dedicate ourselves to you alone.  And if we must return to the house of our mother and father, let us be obedient to them in your Name.  But wherever we are and whatever we do, let our lives be a holy offering to you. 

Our souls yearn for your courts, O LORD; our heart and our flesh cry out for you.  O let us dwell in your House!  Let our prayer come to your ears that we might be your beloved children, pleasing you in all things and growing unto your kingdom.

Direct download: BC-123012-Holy_Fam._C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EST

O first martyr,

model of Christ’s love

and bearer of His Holy Spirit

in wisdom and in truth,

you who spoke as the Lord Himself

and died as He died,

with the forgiveness of your persecutors

upon your lips

and utter trust of the Father

in your heart –

pray that we too

will find the grace and strength

to commend our lives

into the Father’s hands,

never holding bitterness

toward those who destroy the body,

who would chain the Word,

but ever loving every soul

even as you have done.

O let our hearts be set on Jesus!

let them bleed as His own,

that united in Heaven with Him we shall be

with you in the glory of God.

Direct download: Dec._26_Stephen.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EST

(Acts 6:8-10,7:54-59;   Ps.31:3-4,6-8,17,21;   Mt.10:17-22)

“They proved no match for the wisdom and spirit

with which he spoke.”

The world cannot stand up to the Word of God; even death has no power over those who trust themselves to His Spirit.

A model of faith is Stephen.  A perfect trust in the Lord made this martyr shine before the persecution of men.  He made the Lord his “rock of refuge” and so the Lord did “lead and guide” him even unto heaven, hidden in “the shelter of [His] promise from the plottings of men.”

It is this trust Jesus speaks of in our gospel when He warns His apostles beforehand of the persecution which awaits them.  He tells them that when they are dragged before rulers to “give witness… on [His] account”: “Do not worry about what you will say or how you will say it… the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you.”  And it is this trust, even unto death, that Stephen exemplifies so perfectly.

David echoes Jesus’ words on the cross in our psalm: “Into your hands I commend my spirit,” and Stephen lives them in our first reading.  While being stoned to death he prays, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (and proceeds to forgive those who kill him).  And so this feast of our first martyr follows our celebration of the birth of our Lord, for it is in this world we are handed over to death, and it is in this world we must suffer in love.  Entirely we must trust ourselves to the care of God to find the vision of heaven – “I see an opening in the sky, and the Son of Man standing at God’s right hand” – which becomes Stephen’s own.

The words we speak, if they are blessed by God, will bring us inevitably unto heaven.  If it is the Spirit who works in us, what need we fear?  For what is more powerful than He?  Where is greater truth to be found?  And so, to whom else should we turn?  “Whoever holds out till the end will escape death,” brothers and sisters.  Though “hated by all” for our love of Jesus, if we continue ever to love even those who hate us, His Spirit will lift us unto Him and provide all we need, in words and works, to conquer the evil of this world. 

May the sweet blood of Jesus cover all His children and bless their witness to Him.

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, by your power we escape death

and find your glory. 

YHWH, let us take refuge in you, in your Son, and in the Spirit, and we shall never die but be raised to life in glory with you forevermore.  May your Spirit speak through us and we lay down our lives with your Son.

A crown awaits those who love as you love, dear LORD, who follow in the way your Son has marked out for us.  If we speak your truth, if we trust in you and do your will, you will protect us even from death – you will save us from the plotting of men, and we will stand at your right hand even as the stones rain down upon our heads.

St. Stephen, pray for us this day that we will be led by the Spirit of God and be unafraid of speaking before the rulers and kings of this world.  May our blood be joined with your own and so we, too, be one with our Savior.

Direct download: St.Stephen_Dec._26.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EST

(Is.52:7-10;   Ps.98:1-6;   Heb.1:1-6;   Jn.1:1-18)

 

“You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.”

 

The coming of the One prophesied by Isaiah and hailed by John these many days is fulfilled in our midst at this blessed moment in time.  And so in our dark world, the light that is God now shines.

“Hark!  Your sentinels raise a cry, together they shout for joy, for they see directly, before their eyes, the Lord restoring Zion.”  To “all the ends of the earth” He makes “His salvation known: in the sight of the nations He has revealed His justice.”  For the Lord God walks among us now as man; He “who is the refulgence of His glory, the very imprint of His being,” is now revealed, is now made flesh; “full of grace and truth,” He appears in our midst.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  And He through whom “all things came to be,” who brought life, “the light of the human race,” now shines – and now we come to know Him; now we hear the Word spoken to our ears… now we can say, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”  The Word no longer hidden, God no longer speaks “in partial and various ways,” but now “through the Son” the fullness of truth, the blessing of peace, is upon us.

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him,” for He comes “announcing peace… announcing salvation.”  No longer need we wander in darkness, wondering, Where is our God?  He is here.  He is Jesus.  He washes all darkness from our minds, He accomplishes “purification from sins,” and He sits “at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” giving power to be like Him, “to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, “who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.”  Come, see and know the transcendent glory standing in our midst.

And so, what have we to do but rejoice?  Though “no one has ever seen God,” though He has seemed to us beyond understanding, yet “the only Son… has revealed Him.”  So let us “sing joyfully before the King, the Lord” “with the harp and melodious song.”  Let us “break into song” and “sing praise.”  For He whom “all the angels of God worship” has come for our salvation, and our Christmas should only be merry. 

God be with you, brothers and sisters.  Jesus love you.

 

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

 

Music: "Baby Being Born" from The Innocent Heart, first album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

 

*******

O LORD, your glory is revealed to us this day,

and so let us offer you due praise.

YHWH, your Son is born in our midst and so reveals your glory to us.  His light now shines in this dark world, and so men are saved from their sins.  O let us worship Him who is the very imprint of your Being! who is one with you.  You are with us this day in your Son, and what should we do but rejoice.

Glory to you, LORD and GOD, for now the feet of Jesus walk among us and peace is proclaimed to the ends of the earth; salvation is ours by the grace and truth He brings to this land.  Let all eyes behold the salvation He has wrought in our midst.  Let all souls break out in song in praise of His glory.

It is our joy to worship you, O LORD, and the only Son whom you have sent.  For you are our life; in you we are born – by you all Creation comes to be.  And now you are with us in the flesh of your Son; now your dwelling is among us.  To us this day please bring your peace.

Direct download: Christmas_Day_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EST

(Is.9:1-6;   Ps.96:1-3,11-13;   Ti.2:11-14;   Lk.2:1-14)

 

“Today in the city of David 

a savior has been born for you

who is Christ and Lord.”

 

Here is the “infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger”; here is He who saves all from sin, born into our humble humanity.

Yes, “a child is born to us, a son is given us,” and “upon His shoulder dominion rests.”  This little one wrapped in our own flesh is indeed named “Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.  His dominion is vast and forever peaceful,” for He rules all the earth with His loving justice.  And so what should we do but “announce His salvation, day after day”?  What can we who are overwhelmed with the joy of His presence in our midst do but “tell His glory among the nations; among all peoples, His wondrous deeds.”  For He has come for all nations and all people, to live in their hearts this day.

“Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice”; and let all mankind join the angels in their song of praise: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.”  The Lord has come “to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people as His own,” to bring His surpassing peace to all souls set on His goodness and His glory.  So, let us be “eager to do what is good,” that we might be as He is, that we might share in His eternal peace.

To Bethlehem the Virgin came at the time of the census.  There “the time came for her to have her child,” He who is our Bread of Life.  For He is enrolled among our number now; God has been made man – and nothing could give life to waiting souls like this miracle of new birth in our midst.  And so, let us know the humble shepherd’s awe; let us hear the word the angel brings, for he “proclaim[s] to [us] good news of great joy that will be for all people.”  Jesus our Savior is with us today.

 

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

 

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

O LORD, your glory is revealed to us this day,

and so let us offer you due praise. 

YHWH, your Son is born in our midst and so reveals your glory to us.  His light now shines in this dark world, and so men are saved from their sins.  O let us worship Him who is the very imprint of your Being! who is one with you.  You are with us this day in your Son, and what should we do but rejoice.

Glory to you, LORD and GOD, for now the feet of Jesus walk among us and peace is proclaimed to the ends of the earth; salvation is ours by the grace and truth He brings to this land.  Let all eyes behold the salvation He has wrought in our midst.  Let all souls break out in song in praise of His glory.