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.

(Rm.4:1-8;   Ps.32:1-2,5,7,11;   Lk.12:1-7)

 

“Happy is the man to whom the Lord imputes not guilt,

in whose spirit there is no guile.”

 

All our sins shall be taken away by the Lord who watches over us and loves us, if we but believe.

We must lay bare our souls, brothers and sisters.  We cannot hide from the eternal, piercing light of God.  His hand is upon us at all times; His heart is open always for our entering in.  It cannot be otherwise with the Lord of the universe, in whose sight “even the hairs of [our] head are counted.”  And He who surrounds us desires but our love, desires but our faith, desires but that we come into His presence confessing our sins, and He will take them away.  And we shall not be “cast into Gehenna” but drawn into His kingdom.

His kingdom is coming.  Jesus sees it as He gazes out at the dense “crowd of thousands” gathering before Him.  He sees the kingdom coming as men’s hearts turn to Him.  And so He warns His disciples, who shall be the laborers to reap His harvest, “Be on guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy,” for if they should take pride in their mission, if they should find in their deeds “grounds for boasting” and so forget the favor of God by which all are justified, they shall indeed tempt the fires of Gehenna.  “Everything you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight,” for the Lord hears “what you have whispered in locked rooms.”  So, keep your hearts set on Him and His goodness, and the truth of the Gospel will be proclaimed to the world, and you shall save your immortal soul.

Jesus knows, too, that the faith of His disciples and their declaration of His Word to the world will bring persecution.  He sees in this scene, too, the cross set before Him, and He knows those who follow Him shall share in it as well.  And so He reassures His children that the Father is with them, that He treasures them even as He treasures His Son, and so the powers of this age will hold no reign over them, and that they should “not be afraid of those who kill the body and can do no more.”

Yes, our soul is in His hands.  He has power to forgive and to protect, if we but come to Him as children, if we but come to Him in faith.

 

*******

O LORD, all is known to you –

let us confess our sins, and we will be saved.

YHWH, of what can we boast, we who cannot forgive our own sins?  Truly, we are in your hands, and so should fear you.

But in your kindness you readily forgive our transgressions; if we turn to you, our sins are wiped away.  And so, there is nothing we need fear, LORD, as long as our desire is for you.

Help us to confess our faults that you might remove all our guilt.  Inspire us to call upon your NAME, O LORD, and we shall rejoice in your blessings.  If we but have faith in you, your justice will be upon us.

There is nothing of consequence we can accomplish on our own, nothing but sin.  All the good that we do comes from you, and so, what cause have we to be proud?  Let us not be false in our love for you, LORD, but even in the deep recesses of our hearts proclaim your glory continually.  O may all men come to faith and be saved!

Direct download: BC-101411-F_28_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O heroic witnesses

to the faith,

O loyal followers of Jesus

who took up the cup

of torture and death

willingly,

with desire only to join your Lord,

with delight and joy

at the deadly blows…

your offering of body and blood

is unsurpassed

because it was one

with Christ’s own,

done with love for those

who killed you –

pray we shall so completely

embrace our call,

embrace the cross

provided us by the Lord,

that with your same thirst for truth

we shall lay down our lives for our brothers.

Direct download: Oct._19_Isaac_Jogues_John_de_Brebeuf_and_Companions.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Rm.3:21-30;   Ps.130:1-7;   Lk.11:47-54)

 

“This generation will have to account for the blood of all the prophets

shed since the foundation of the world.”

 

And so shall it be with Christ’s own blood, the fulfillment of all the martyrs’ sacrifice; for these same scribes and Pharisees whom Jesus proclaims guilty of the prophets’ murders will indeed devise the murder of the Son of God.  And they prove the truth of His words immediately by their manifestation of “fierce hostility to Him” and their thus giving birth to the plot to crucify Him.

Perhaps most appropriate for today, with regard to Paul’s epistle to the Romans, is the Lord’s admonishment of the lawyers: “You have taken away the key of knowledge.  You yourselves have not gained access, yet you have stopped those who wish to enter!”  It is essentially the same message the Apostle teaches: “The justice of God has been manifested apart from the law… that justice of God which works through faith in Jesus Christ.”  It is not through “observance of the law” that justification comes; the works of the law – circumcision, animal sacrifice, dietary rules – which address the body, are useless in this regard.  God is Spirit and it is spiritual means He uses to redeem us – we must come in faith to Him.  And those who would restrict faith by the imposition of these laws serve only to impede the working of the Spirit and His grace.  Paul states the question succinctly: “Does God belong to the Jews alone?  Is He not also the God of the Gentiles?”  If He is God of all nations, it is not meet to impose Jewish religious practice upon those apart from Jewish tradition.  But these protectors, or rather “possessors” and defilers of the law – defiling it by their greed in seizing it, their pride in assuming it as their own and not God’s – cannot accept that “it is the same God,” that the Gentiles are equal in grace with the Jews… and so to them this teaching is blasphemy.

At the root of the problem is the fact that these leaders are not as the psalmist in our readings today, who sings: “My soul waits for the Lord more than sentinels wait for the dawn.”  Nor do they cry “in supplication” “out of the depths” of their iniquity for God’s forgiveness.  If they had been so disposed, they would have seen who stood before them, they would have recognized His coming, and they would have fallen to their knees and found His grace.

Let us not be so hardhearted, for indeed the blood of Jesus is upon the hands of all who sin, just as His salvation is upon all who repent and believe in Him.  Water alone will not wash us clean; we must recognize the lack of love we have, and find His Spirit working in us.

*******

O LORD, your justice is shown in your mercy,

which you offer to every faithful soul.

YHWH, we have all sinned and fallen short of your glory, and cannot by our own strength find our way back to you.  We cannot justify ourselves but need the grace that comes to us through the blood of your Son to justify our souls, to set us right with you.

But what of those who fail to see they need your forgiveness, who fail to recognize that they, too, are sinners, that they have the blood of Jesus upon their hands?  O LORD, how can these be justified?  How can they come to faith in you if they do not listen to the One you have sent to draw us back to your presence?  They shall but continue in the way of sinning, mounting up the blood of the prophets for judgment day.

Your Son offers His life for our sakes; freely He sacrifices Himself upon the Cross that we might be saved.  Help us to turn to Him, O LORD, to see what we have done, repent, and be redeemed.  You are the God of us all, and to all souls Jesus’ blood does call.

Direct download: BC-101311-Th_28_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O bringer of the Good News,

the light of the Gospel,

to many nations…

a thorough account you have given us

of all Jesus did and taught

and of the Holy Spirit’s work

among His disciples;

and so the Lord’s peace

may enter our homes,

and we embrace Him with Mary –

pray, dear physician,

that the Word of the Lord

may indeed come to our hearts

through the words you declare,

and we be healed by His grace

and illumined by His Spirit;

the glory of the kingdom pray we know.

Though He has been taken from our sight,

let us proclaim His presence

with great joy,

for He yet speaks to all our souls

in the words you have recorded,

in the fire of God that guided your hand.

Direct download: Oct._18_Luke.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(2Tm.4:9-17;   Ps.145:10-13,17-18;   Lk.10:1-9)

 

“The Lord stood by my side and gave me strength,

so that through me the preaching task might be completed

and all the nations might hear the Gospel.”

 

As I read of Jesus’ instruction to the disciples as He “sent them in pairs before Him to every town and place He intended to visit,” and particularly His words to them to “eat what they set before you,” I am reminded of the command given Peter in his dream to “take and eat” of the unclean animals (Acts 10:13), this just before the first Gentile converts came to him seeking the Word of God.  And, of course, similar terminology is present in Jesus’ sending his workers as if into a harvest: in this case, the Lord shall eat of the feast the disciples are sent forth to prepare.

We know our work is our food, that the labor the Lord imparts to us serves as our daily bread.  And we know that the wheat that becomes His precious Body and the Word that is cultivated by His apostles, by His preachers and prophets, is the food that sustains us, that strengthens us for our daily tasks.  All we do must be blessed by Him and be, as it were, a “discourse of the glory of [His] kingdom,” and His kingdom, which is “a kingdom for all ages,” and His dominion, which “endures through all generations,” shall become known in our midst.

It is not easy to eat of this food, to drink of this cup.  We see how alone Paul finds himself in our first reading.  “Everyone abandoned me,” he declares in reference to his trial before the courts of this world.  He pleads with Timothy to join him soon, for many have left his side: “I have no one with me but Luke.”  Indeed, he has nothing but the Word of God.  And most apparent in the Lord’s instruction to His disciples is the utter reliance on God we must find.  Impoverished He sends them forth, dependent only on their preaching and healing to feed themselves.  Yes, He sends them forth “as lambs in the midst of wolves.”  Not a happy prospect.  But they have the Word of the Lord to make them strong and protect them from all evil of this world, and nothing could be more sure than this.

Into so many homes Luke’s gospel has come, bringing its peace to all who abide in the Lord.  The proclamation by this great evangelist that “the reign of God is at hand” comes to our hearts even this day.  Let us make room for this Word within ourselves and it shall feed us on our journey to the kingdom, and by its grace we shall complete our work on this earth.  May the word of the Lord go ever forth.

 

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

 

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

O LORD, send forth your laborers

to declare the glory of your kingdom to all nations. 

YHWH, send forth workers into your harvest, that all might hear your Word preached to their souls and find your peace in their hearts.  Your reign be upon us this day.

O LORD, your kingdom endures through all generations; to your glory there is no end.  O let us share in your holiness, let us share in your glory! and let us share your glory with all souls on the face of this earth.  Though we must stand alone as has Paul, though we might be rejected by those to whom we come, yet let us be faithful to your Word and with great strength and confidence accomplish your will.

You are our strength, O LORD, and you are our peace; send us forth in your Name to preach and to heal.  Let your kingdom come into our midst through your blessed disciples, who speak only of your glory, who find refuge in your might.  Nothing do we need if we have you, LORD.  Please stand at our side.

Direct download: St._Luke_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O wheat of Christ

ground by the teeth of wild beasts

and so made His bread,

His leaven unto Heaven…

by such heroic witness

you became one with the Lord,

joining Him in death

and so in eternal life –

pray we shall find the strength and faith

to follow in your sacrificial footsteps,

that it will also be our sole desire

to die in Jesus’ name,

to be remade in His glory.

Teach us the way,

for it seems so dimmed

by the material things

the devil presents to our vision;

pray for us, blessed victim,

that our thirst for life in Him

will overcome any obstacle

and so our journey to His kingdom

be made straight by His grace.

His flesh and blood be our own this day.

Direct download: Oct._17_Ignatius_of_Antioch.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Rm.1:16-25;   Ps.19:2-5;   Lk.11:37-41)

 

“They stultified themselves through speculating to no purpose,

and their senseless hearts were darkened.”

 

If these words do not refer to modern man most poignantly, then I imagine nothing can be said of anything.  In ancient times, “they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images representing mortal man, birds, beasts, and snakes” and bowed down to statues as if they were gods.  The images man worships today are also the creations of his own hands, sometimes as physical as the idols worshiped before the time of Christ – who does not long to see his own image on one of our television sets, and who is held in greater esteem than those movie stars whom we have never met but know only of their image on a screen? – but perhaps most particularly they are the vain ideas, which reveal their utter absurdity to any mind with a modicum of common sense, but which are propounded as sacred by the elite thinkers of our day.  Their numbers seem endless, and one wonders if man will rationalize himself out of existence, as perhaps he already has philosophically in the declaration that God is dead, and so often done in reality through movements such as Communism and Nazism.

Indeed, how relevant are all Paul’s words today: “They certainly had knowledge of God, yet they did not glorify Him as God or give Him thanks”; “they claimed to be wise, but turned into fools instead”; “they engaged in the mutual degradation of their bodies.”  But “the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against the irreligious and perverse spirit of men who… hinder the truth.”  “These men who exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” cannot but come to naught, for “day pours out the word to day, and night to night imparts knowledge” – the Gospel goes forth “to the ends of the world” and Truth overwhelms all lies.  As Jesus overturned the Pharisees who “cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but within… are filled with rapaciousness,” so shall the mind of modern man be shown for all its absurdity in the clear light of day.

Time.  There is but time to wait.  Time for the Word to go forth and to pray for the conversion of the nations, of all peoples.  And there is hope, hope that men shall turn from their absurdity and their perversity to embrace the light of the Gospel and the true teaching of love it brings.  We pray the senseless will find faith and be led thereby to salvation.

*******

O LORD, openly your Word speaks to all men’s hearts,

calling them to salvation.

YHWH, how shall the senseless mind of man be redeemed?  If it turns from you, the Creator of all, to give praise to senseless creatures, will it not be ever as blind as they?  Trapped in its own contrivances, it shall never see the light of day or hear the Word of Truth.  And so, to these faithless souls the Gospel will be so much foolishness, as in foolishness they die.

Your Word goes forth to the ends of the earth and is revealed in all Creation.  But men who cannot see beyond the flesh quench the Spirit even as they engage in the destruction of their bodies.  For the purity of your Creation they pervert, and so fail to stand in your holy light.  O LORD, let us cleanse the inside of our cup that we might come to your glory!

Your eternal power and divinity help us to recognize, that filled with knowledge of you, O God, we may keep our hearts from being darkened by the false worship of this corrupted age.

Direct download: BC-101111-Tu_28_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O apostle of Christ’s Sacred Heart,

in mystic wonder you beheld Him

and let Him wash you clean

in the streams that flow

from His Heart divine –

pray indeed we shall unite ourselves

to Jesus and His love,

that we shall submerge

our needs and sorrows

in the abyss of His mercy

and seek perfection

in union with His Sacred Heart.

There let us find salvation,

reparation for all our sins;

there let us find heavenly joy,

the peace that surpasses understanding.

With you let us enter His presence,

let us be bathed in His light,

ever progressing toward His kingdom

till we are devoted entirely

to advancing His eternal glory.

Pray His will and His way be known in us

as we entrust ourselves to His love.

Direct download: Oct._16_Margaret_Mary_Alacoque.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

O mother of the unfortunate

and model of prayer and penance,

completely you gave yourself

to service of the Lord

and neighbor,

chastising your flesh

by constant fast and abstinence

and generously offering

your goods and your time

to all those in need –

pray we shall at least desire

to imitate your thorough devotion,

that our lives will be spent

not on things of this world

but for the reign of Heaven.

All we can do for others

let us do,

and let all be done for God,

that He alone

will rule our hearts and lives

and we will worship

Him alone,

dying to ourselves all the while.

Direct download: Oct._16_Hedwig.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Rm.1:1-7;   Ps.98:1-4;   Lk.11:29-32)

 

“You have a greater than Jonah here.”

 

Greater than any prophet is He.  Wiser than Solomon is the Lord who is the source of all wisdom.  For it is He of whom the prophets speak; it is His promised coming “the Holy Scriptures record.”  The fulfillment of prophets and kings is in our midst.  Our high priest is with us offering the sacrifice of Himself.  Let us thirst for Him as the Ninevites did for Jonah’s preaching and seek Him as the queen of the South for Solomon’s wisdom.  Let us listen to His servant and apostle Paul as he proclaims the Gospel of God and come to “obedient faith” with all the Gentiles “who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ.”  Salvation is upon us as it is all nations.

If Jonah’s preaching was great, the Lord’s is the greater.  If he converted thousands, Jesus turns millions to the love of God.  If Solomon was wise, our Lord is so much the wiser.  For though this great king spoke well of all things of the earth by the grace of God, the Christ comes now with the wisdom of the richness of heaven.  And so now we are all “called to holiness, grace and peace.”  It is these gifts which are imparted to us “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  And by these blessings we become His children, greater indeed than any prophet or king of old.

Yes, the fulfillment has come.  “The Lord has made His salvation known.”  “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God.”  His Word is brought forth even now, even this day to our hearts in the preaching of the Gospel that is Christ Jesus – “His resurrection from the dead” signals the redemption of all mankind.  And so we celebrate.  And so we “sing to the Lord a new song” as we, too, participate in His death and resurrection with the beloved apostle Paul, even as we come to the table set before us by His grace and holiness.

May that same “Spirit of holiness” which made Jesus “Son of God in power” now touch our souls and separate us from all that is unholy.  May we respond in kind with the Ninevites to Jonah’s preaching, that they might not condemn us on the last day for our lack of faith.  May the wisdom which comes to us now by the grace poured forth from His lips sink into our hearts and find a place in our lives.  For no greater than He shall we find; let us not be blind to this sign.

 

*******

O LORD, how blessed are we to hear the Gospel! –

let us repent and reform our lives.

YHWH, you have made your salvation known in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, your Son.  He indeed is our salvation, the very life of those who follow Him, who listen to His preaching and reform their lives – who join themselves to Him and to His Church.  May we not be condemned for our deafness to His call but set our hearts on the wisdom that comes to us through Him and through His apostles, that indeed we might be saved and rejoice in your presence on the day of judgment.  With Him let us be raised from the dead.

May the Name of Jesus be proclaimed to the ends of the earth that His Gospel might be the source of salvation for all souls.  Let peoples come from the furthest corners of the world to hear that your promise has been fulfilled in your Son and the Spirit of holiness is now upon all who are obedient to His call.  For this grace let us sing your praise, O LORD!

Direct download: BC-101011-M_28_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O teacher and Mother

who served to reform your sisters

and the lives of all Christians,

you led all souls

along the way of perfection,

which is Christ Himself –

pray his love may fill our hearts

that union with the Father

we indeed may find;

inspire us by your teaching

to seek Him

who makes His home in us…

and pray we shall have your courage,

your faith in the face of trials,

as we work to bring Him to others

and so suffer under His Cross.

Pray we shall know as you

the joy of such persecution,

which brings us only closer to God,

our spirits wed to His surpassing peace.

O pray, dear Mother,

we shall be entirely forgetful of ourselves

as we remember His presence in our lives.

Direct download: Oct._15_Teresa.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

 (Is.25:6-10;   Ps.23:1-6;   Phil.4:12-14,19-20;   Mt.22:1-14)

 

“On this mountain the Lord of hosts

will provide for all peoples

a feast of rich food and choice wines.”

 

“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.”  It may be equated with “juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines,” with “calves and fatted cattle ready to be eaten.”  A great banquet is the kingdom of heaven!

But, of course, though we speak here of food and eating, we know that it is not this we should thus seek on this earth, for these things are but of the earth and are only used to help us understand the heavenly fruits which are ours in the kingdom of God.  Paul makes this clear in his attitude toward food and the provisions that are of this world: “In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need,” and it truly matters not to him whether he is rich or poor in material things; all that matters is that we “can do all things in Him who strengthens” us – all that matter are the “glorious riches in Jesus Christ.”  Food and feasting are but metaphors for the things that in this world are unseen.

However, it is so that “the feast is ready” even here on this earth.  It is true that the Lord “spread[s] the table before” us even in this world, even “in the sight of [our] foes.”  He does not leave us poor humans alone without real food to strengthen us for our journey.  But this food is spiritual fare; His Body and Blood are not juicy and rich to our taste, to our bellies, but to our souls.  This food nourishes the Spirit He has planted within us, and helps it ever to grow.  Though real as our own flesh and our own blood, yet it truly is of heaven, and lends the glory of God to this bone of His bone.

“God will fully supply whatever you need,” brothers and sisters; have no fear of being in want and no anxiety to build up abundance on this earth.  He indeed is beside you always, giving your soul blessed “repose.”  Make it your aim to “dwell in the house of the Lord.”  Then “on that day” He reveals His kingdom, you will “rejoice and be glad,” saying, “Behold, our God, to whom we looked to save us!”  Then you will enter His presence forever.  Prepare your soul for the wedding feast of heaven.

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

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

*******

O LORD, prepare us well to come into your House,

to enter into eternal life with you,

our God and Savior. 

YHWH, you spread the table before us, a feast of your kingdom.  Rich food and choice wines are ours even this day in the Body and Blood of your Son.  Let us offer you due praise and thanks for all your provisions for our journey to you.

And when we come finally into your kingdom, LORD, where death has been destroyed and we stand in the light of your presence, our hearts shall leap up in absolute joy… and we shall remain with you forever.

But let our wedding garment be prepared this day.  O LORD, let us find the purity we need to stand in your presence and rejoice in your glory.  For yet our hearts are not set wholly on you – forgive our continual rejection of your grace.

You are at our side, dear LORD; you bless and guide us as we walk this dark earth.  Help us to cling to you in trust and faith, and our place beside you will be assured.  Glory to you, O LORD!

Direct download: BC-100911-Su_28_OT_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O slave become Shepherd

of the universal Church,

firmly you defended her teaching

and recognized that all sins

may be forgiven

by the Lord through her;

then after serving faithfully

at the helm of Peter’s bark,

you died and were buried

with your martyr brothers,

whose grave you so treasured –

pray we, too, remain firm

through all the difficult trials

and temptations of this world,

that our death may be as blessed

as your own

and we come to rest safely

in God’s arms.

O that by such incorrupt faith

and unshaken courage

we too shall be raised from the dust,

from our humble origins,

to sit with our Lord in His kingdom.

Direct download: Oct._14_Callistus_I.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jl.4:12-21;   Ps.97:1-2,5-6,11-12;   Lk.11:27-28)

 

“Near is the day of the Lord in the valley of decision.”

 

And so, “blest are they who hear the word of God and keep it.”  For though “sun and moon are darkened and the stars withhold their brightness,” though “mountains melt like wax before the Lord,” “light dawns for the just,” and for them “the mountains shall drip new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk.”  Yes, “the heavens and the earth quake, but the Lord is a refuge to His people.”

Are we His people?  Are our hearts set upon Him?  Are we blest as our Mother with keeping the word of God, of putting it into practice, of giving our yes to all His words, and His commands?  Are these commands sweet as honey, are they the new wine we drink each day?  From Him do we find our daily bread?  Though we are in His Church and have the blessed breasts of this great Mother to nurse us, though we are here where the hills of the Lord “flow with [His] milk” – though we have at our hands the Body and Blood of the Lord and the true teaching, the Word of God, in our ears by His grace upon this House of God, do we truly appreciate these gifts He provides: do we eat and drink unto our salvation and keep His word as an ever flowing stream of life in our souls, at the heart of our beings?  “The channels of Judah shall flow with water,” as now they do.  Do we wash ourselves clean in that water that “issue[s] from the house of the Lord”?  Are we prepared for the day of decision?

Let us rejoice in Him, brothers and sisters.  “Be glad in the Lord, you just, and give thanks to His holy name.”  With the psalmist let us raise our song and proclaim His justice to all the peoples.  For what should we have but joy as we take refuge in His promise, as we come to the table of the New Covenant each day and share even now in the life He offers forth through His holy sacrifice.  And let us pray to our Mother, Mary, that we shall be as she is, that we shall be so true to the Lord and serve as His handmaidens amongst the world.  May she keep us close to the nourishing food the Church holds for all her children; and may our decision be as firm as hers as we give our unfailing yes to the Lord and so know His grace and blessing.

*******

O LORD, if we but keep your Word,

we shall be blessed on the Day Jesus comes.

YHWH, you dwell on Zion, your holy mountain; may we dwell there with our Blessed Mother.

The mountains melt like wax before you, O LORD.  The heavens and the earth quake, but you are a refuge to your people.  Truly blessed are all who make their home in you, who do your will in this world.  And so, as sun and moon are darkened, as this world you reduce to dust, may we be gathered into your arms, to the breast of our Mother.

Let the heavens proclaim your justice, LORD; let all holy souls give thanks to your NAME.  For light dawns through the darkness for the upright of heart, and your children abide forever in your presence even as their enemies are destroyed.

Blessed let us be, O Holy LORD, to follow where your Son does lead, for He leads us only unto you.  O may we hear and keep your Word!  Blessed Mother, pray for us.

Direct download: BC-100811-Sa_27_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jl.1:13-15,2:1-2;   Ps.9:2-3,6,8-9,16;   Lk.11:15-26)

 

“It is near, a day of darkness and of gloom,

a day of clouds and somberness!”

 

And we must be prepared.  We must rend our hearts and not our garments.  We must “spend the night in sackcloth,” repentant of our sins.  We must “proclaim a fast” and “cry to the Lord,” “for near is the day of the Lord.” 

The prophet Joel sounds this alarm several hundred years before Christ, and in truth it proclaims the coming of Christ.  For it is His coming that separates the wicked from the just; it is He who “judges the world with justice” – it is by Him the names of the wicked are “blotted out forever and ever” and those who “declare all [His] wondrous deeds” find their salvation.

The day is coming and is already here, for the Lord declares in our gospel, “The man who is not with me is against me, and the man who does not gather with me scatters.”  He makes clear the works of Satan, which do not bring healing but only sickness and death, and the works of “the finger of God,” which overpower and “cast out devils.”  Here the judgment is come; here it begins.  In the end it shall be fulfilled and the great divide between evil and good will be set for all eternity, but here and in this time the Word of Truth goes forth, calling all souls to leave behind all sin.

But, brothers and sisters, our fasting must be complete; our weeping, our repentance, must be genuine.  We must turn entirely from our sins and make place only for the Lord Jesus Christ to live in the houses of our souls.  If the Lord lives in us, there is no place for darkness.  If the Lord is within us, no devil can dwell there.  But if in hypocrisy we pretend a conversion, we expand the space for the devil’s dwelling in our homes.  For the two are indeed mutually exclusive: the Lord has nothing to do with the devil, and the devil nothing to do with the Lord.  And so if we hope to stand on the day when darkness covers the earth, “spreading over the mountains, like a people numerous and mighty”; if we hope to remain when the Lord returns with His myriad of angels to judge the earth and the thoughts of men’s hearts… we must enter His grace this day – we must now call upon His Name.  There is no other way, my brothers and sisters.  You must be with Him or against Him.  The choice between life and death is presented before you; for the day of darkness is nigh.  Choose His eternal light!

 

*******

O LORD, your Day is at hand –

let us make room in our hearts only for you.

YHWH, your throne is set up for judgment; near is your Day.  Soon you will come to destroy all the wicked, that in your presence the just might shine.  Your Son you have sent to redeem the world, to call every soul from its sin, but failing repentance what shall happen to us on the great and terrible Day of His return?

Forever you are enthroned on high, O LORD, and who can approach your glory?  What hope have we of uniting with you, of looking upon your face, we who have been so sinful?  How shall we come into your House and there find eternal rest if we do not wholeheartedly accept the cleansing Word of your Son?

If there is any pretense in us, we shall not stand with Him.  And so, O LORD, let us fast and pray for all devils to be cast from us that we might forever sing your praise.

Direct download: BC-100711-F_27_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Mal.3:13-20;   Ps.1:1-4,6,40:5;   Lk.11:5-13)

 

“For you who fear my name,

there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.”

 

Both our psalm and first reading make clear the distinction between the blessed and the condemned: “The Lord watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes,” our psalmist declares.  The wicked are “like chaff which the wind drives away,” while the just are “like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade.”  Malachi proclaims the same.  Where the Lord is healing rays of warmth to the just, for the wicked He comes “blazing like an oven… leaving them neither root nor branch.”  For one, His fire is holy and life-giving; for the other, it destroys.

And what is the sign that we “fear the Lord and trust in His name”?  Malachi speaks of “going about in penitential dress” and states, “They who fear the Lord spoke with one another, and the Lord listened attentively.”  Our psalmist tells us the just “delights in the law of the Lord, and meditates on His law day and night.”  We must be repentant of our sins and come humbly before Him.  We must recognize, as Jesus tells us, that we indeed are ones “with all [our] sins.”  This is first.  But most importantly we must trust in Him and turn to Him, and pray in His Name.  For “the heavenly Father give[s] the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.”  He is not remiss in making them His own.  He wishes all to be blessed and come before Him whole.  But we must not fail to seek His will, to seek His way, to beg it of our God.  We cannot be remiss in asking and seeking and knocking, for this persistence proves our love of Him and of His way, and by it we will find Him.

Brothers and sisters, there is nothing more important or more powerful than prayer.  It is our way of coming to Him and becoming one with Him.  It is at the heart of the distinction “between him who serves God, and him who does not serve Him.”  For all that we do will come to naught if not done in His presence, and it is only by prayer we enter the presence of His holy light.  First and always we must have faith, yes.  First and always we must believe.  But now and ever we must seek Him; forever we must ask His grace to come into our lives.  And He will hear.  He will “give [His] children good things.”  So neglect not to remain in the presence of God and your reward will be assured, and you will know the blessed light of His face.

*******

O LORD, give to us the Holy Spirit,

that in all things we might follow along the way

of your Son.

YHWH, we ask for your grace and mercy, your compassion upon our souls, that we might not be burned up with the wicked on your holy Day but stand blessed in the light of your face.  Let us be healed of all sin and come to serve you with all our hearts, leaving behind all doubt of your glory and trusting in your goodness toward us.  For you have made us and we are your own if we but have faith in you and come humbly before you with our petitions.

Yes, let us ask you for what we need, for all good things, those in accord with your will.  If our hearts are set on serving you and others, what will you not give us?  For then we will truly be your sons.  But, O LORD, if we should turn our sights upon the advancement of our own name, seeking to prosper by doing evil, the wind shall indeed drive us away, and we shall perish in unholy fire.

Direct download: BC-100611-Th_27_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jon.4:1-11;   Ps.86:3-6,9-10,15;   Lk.11:1-4)

 

“Your kingdom come.”

 

“You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, rich in clemency, loathe to punish.”  How beautifully Jonah speaks of God’s blessed compassion on His people.  And how poorly he is able to accept and live that grace.  The Lord’s forgiveness extends now to the ends of the earth; let us not be loathe to offer it unto all.

In our first reading, Jonah is angry with God for His mercy in forgiving Ninevah, the pagan empire and enemy of Israel.  But the Lord teaches Jonah that He watches over these, too, not only Israel, signaling His universal call to salvation (which shall be fulfilled in the teaching of Christ).  By comparing the city of Ninevah to the plant “that grew up over Jonah’s head, giving shade that relieved him of any discomfort,” the Lord instructs us that not only does He care for all nations, but indeed that all nations have a holy call, a blessed purpose, in which God Himself takes pleasure and comfort.  He has raised all the nations and each is called as a member of His kingdom.

This word should give us great understanding of the graciousness of our God, and great joy in knowing that we are called by Him: “You, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.”  We can join with David in his prayer, knowing that God will “attend to the sound of [our] pleading” even as He does this blessed king of Israel; even as He listens to His chosen people, so He listens now to us, for the walls of division have been cast asunder and His love now extends to all.

But we must not be as Jonah shows himself to be today.  We must “forgive all who do us wrong” or the Lord will not hear our prayer to “subject us not to the trial.”  If we harbor anger, it will mean our death; and the Lord will send “a burning east wind” and a sun to beat down upon us, too, to draw us from the hardness of our hearts and the condemnation we breathe in our souls.  Our vision must be that of God, who sees that sinners “cannot distinguish their right hand from their left,” or as Jesus says from the cross, “They know not what they do.”  And so we, too, must forgive.

Let us join in prayer today, brothers and sisters, that the Lord’s kingdom may come to earth.  Let us rejoice that His reign extends to all.  For it is the Lord’s desire to “forgive us our sins,” and it is His will that all find refuge in the shade of His presence.  And so we partake of “our daily bread” here in His Word and in His Sacrament; and so we live the kingdom of God.

 

*******

O LORD, let our prayer rise up to you, the Most High,

who are merciful and kind and forgiving toward all

and hear us when we cry out to you.

YHWH, you are abounding in kindness toward all, a gracious and merciful God desiring to show clemency to sinners, to lead them from the death upon their souls to a holy life in you.  For this what can we do but praise you?  What can we do but say: let thy will be done!

But how often we keep your mercy from others, dear God; how often we expect it for ourselves yet refuse to share it with those who seek it from us.  This is not your will.  In this your kingdom does not come.  For where forgiveness is withheld, your love does not exist; and where your love does not exist, you are not present.

Let us not die in desolation, O LORD, beneath a scorching wind and a burning sun.  Open our hearts to share your compassion and we shall find relief from all the trials we bring upon ourselves by our lack of pity, by our condemnation of others.

Direct download: BC-100511-W_27_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jon.3:1-10;   Ps.130:1-4,7-8;   Lk.10:38-42)

 

“He repented of the evil that He had threatened to do them;

He did not carry it out.”

 

Ninevah is spared.  Because “they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth,” because they repented of their sin and called “loudly to God,” He did not punish them for their iniquity but forgave them and withheld “His blazing wrath.”  And so this pagan city finds God’s mercy through the preaching of Jonah. 

We are all called to repent.  We are all called to turn to the Lord and seek His forgiveness and grace to overcome and be spared of punishment for our falling short of His glory.  Our psalm declares, “Let Israel wait for the Lord, for with the Lord is kindness and with Him is plenteous redemption.”  And so to find His mercy we must have faith and we must be patient.  We must be as Mary in our gospel today, seated at His feet, listening to His words.  We cannot remove ourselves from this place and hope to find salvation for our souls any more than the Ninevites could have taken a break from their sitting in sackcloth and ashes to have a snack and yet hoped to find the forgiveness they so desperately needed.  Our fast must be total, our obedience complete.  Do you think Mary had a mind to rise as she listened to her Lord?  Do you think she was distracted by anything?  Certainly not.  And we in our prayer and in our work and in our lives must find the commitment she embodies if we hope to know the grace of God truly working in our hearts.

Indeed, the Lord “will redeem Israel from all their iniquities.”  Indeed, He hears the voice of all who cry to Him “out of the depths” of their sin.  He will come and wash us clean; He will come and make us new.  If we choose “the better portion,” we “shall not be deprived of it” and its reward.  But it must be our whole hearts that turn to the Lord, that are set on His word… that heed His preaching as it comes with its grace to our ears.

If we are short of prophets today, listen more closely, brothers and sisters.  If it is difficult to find the Word preached with the power and blessing of Jonah, open your Bibles and turn to your hearts.  Sit still before Him in silence and He will fill your soul with His light.  And fail not to come into His presence where the people gather for Mass.  The Word shall indeed fill you; His Bread shall indeed nourish you.  And your soul shall be saved according to your commitment to Christ.

 

*******

O LORD, let our hearts be set on you

and your presence;

may our ears be open to hear your voice.

YHWH, let us turn to you with all our heart that we might find forgiveness of our sins and peace in your presence.  If in sackcloth and ashes we cry out to you in repentance, you will look kindly upon our souls; if in silence we sit at your feet, what shall we not be taught?  All is ours if we make ourselves your own.

O LORD, all nations you call to yourself.  There is no one for whom you do not care, whom you would not save in your mercy.  And so you send your prophets forth even to the ends of the earth, and so your Word goes out to all places and times – and so all who listen to your voice find redemption for their souls and enter your holy Temple.

Your ears listen for our voice calling out to you; your heart longs for us to set aside all things and worship you.  O LORD, let your gracious will be done in all our lives that none shall perish in separation from you.

Direct download: BC-100411-Tu_27_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O caretaker of souls

who sought so diligently

and with wisdom and love

to reform the Church

and all her members,

beginning with those in higher office,

and so were persecuted

by men who would not be healed

of their disease –

pray that all will be taught

the true doctrine of the faith,

from early childhood

to adult vocation;

may all know to what they are called

as Christians in this world.

And may that Word go forth

to the ends of the earth,

that the faith will be propagated

in all lands and in all hearts

and the Lord’s holy discipline

serve as treasured guide

for all who would come

to the kingdom of Heaven.

Direct download: Oct._9_John_Leonardi.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

O shepherd of a faithful people,

you shed your blood

with your brothers

as a holy offering unto the Lord

after drawing many souls

into His fold;

beheaded for your success

as Christ’s evangelist,

still you lead faithful souls

to God –

pray we shall be so ready

to lay down our own lives

for the propagation

of the Word of God,

and that on our journey

we shall be protected

from all the snares of the devil,

that nothing shall prevent

our standing at Jesus’ side

both in this world

and the next.

Direct download: Oct._9_Denis_and_Companions.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jon.1:1-2:1,11;   Jon.2:2-5,7-8;   Lk.10:25-37)

 

“A Samaritan who was journeying along came on him

and was moved to pity at the sight.”

 

First let me note that the book of Jonah is not a parable, not an imaginary story, as popular scholarship would have us believe.  How do I know this?  I have faith, yes, which those who would explain away any miracle of God so sorely lack; but I know it, too, by Scripture itself.  For elsewhere the Lord compares Himself to Jonah, and states explicitly that the people of Ninevah – who had the faith to repent at the preaching of Jonah – will rise on the day of judgment and condemn those of Jesus’ time, and us, for our failure to repent at the words of the Son of God.  It is not possible that imaginary people could condemn others’ souls (the very idea is absurd, of course, but such are our minds in this “enlightened” age), and this comparison would suggest that Jesus Himself is but imaginary, which seems not against the belief of the vain prophets of our day.

In today’s gospel we have a parable: The Good Samaritan.  It begins as the universal story all parables are – “There was a man…” (“a man,” any man, every man), and its express purpose is to impart a lesson.  And the lesson today is God’s universal love.  The dreaded “Samaritan” represents nothing but faithlessness and sin to the Jewish mind, but Jesus demonstrates that it is sinners He calls – and that those thought of as sinners indeed often show the greatest faith.  We see this not only in our gospel, but also in our reading from Jonah, for notice how quickly the pagan mariners turned to their gods, who are no-gods, to seek deliverance from the “breakers” and “billows” which pass over them.  Indeed, it is they who arouse Jonah, who has fallen asleep in the despair of his separation from the will of God, to pray to his Lord.  And what horror overwhelms them when they hear how he has disobeyed the Lord’s command – “How could you do such a thing!”  Who has the faith here?  Who convicts whom of sin?

Though Jonah is clearly different from Jesus in this his sin, he is like Him in a crucial way – he sacrifices his life for those in danger of death.  Notice his words: “Pick me up and throw me into the sea, that it may quiet down for you.”  And so it does when he is finally cast forth (after remarkable, faith-filled prayer by these pagans); and so also these men “offered sacrifice and made vows” to the Lord, coming it seems to faith in God following Jonah’s laying down of his life.  And, of course, as Jesus will spend three days in the belly of the earth, so Jonah spends three days in the belly of the whale; and as the Lord will rise on the third day, so Jonah is “spewed upon the shore.”

Brothers and sisters, the Lord heard Jonah’s prayer from “the midst of the netherworld,” “from the belly of the fish.”  Do not doubt and test the Lord as the lawyer who seeks “to justify himself” in his pride.  In your moments of darkness, come to the Lord as the humble servant He calls you to be, and He shall assuage your doubts, He shall be moved with pity looking upon you, and teach you of the love and compassion only He knows.

 

*******

O LORD, how shall we be saved from the pit

into which we cast ourselves

if we do not have compassion for the plight of others?

YHWH, we have fallen into the pit, beaten and left for dead by robbers, by the demons, for our sin.  The breakers and billows pass over us and we are doomed to drown in the dark of the deep.

But you are merciful, LORD, truly compassionate to all in need.  And so you look upon our troubled state and send us help when we cry out to you – our prayer, even from the midst of the nether world, reaches your holy Temple, and you have pity on our poor souls.  For this let us ever praise you!

And to what do you call us but to be compassionate as you, to love you and to show that love by loving our neighbor as ourselves.  For we are all one in you and so if we are in you we will see that helping others we indeed help ourselves, and please you greatly by our love, by such awareness of our oneness in you.  May all our being worship you, O LORD!  Let us live your will of love and compassion.

Direct download: BC-100311-M_27_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

 (Is.5:1-7;   Ps.80:9,12-16,19-20,Is.5:7;   Phil.4:6-9;   Mt.21:33-43)

 

“The kingdom of God will be taken away from you

and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”

 

“Let me now sing of my friend, my friend’s song concerning his vineyard.  My friend had a vineyard on a fertile hillside; he spaded it, cleared it of stones, and planted the choicest vines; within it he built a watchtower, and hewed out a wine press.  Then he looked for the crop of grapes, but what it yielded was wild grapes.”  Of course, this “vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are His cherished plant; He looked for judgment, but see, bloodshed! for justice, but hark, the outcry!”  And so the Lord promises to “take away its hedge, give it to grazing, break through its wall, let it be trampled!  Yes, [He] will make it a ruin.”

Jesus’ parable in our gospel today echoes precisely Isaiah’s “song”: “There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.”  But now the prophecy is brought to fulfillment; now the rotten grapes come to maturity, and so the ruin of the vineyard will be complete.  For in their rejection of the Son the hope of Israel is lost: none further has the Father to send them; herein they utterly spurn His love.  How shall they be turned to producing good fruit if He who is the source of all goodness they destroy in their souls?  There is nothing left but to remove the vineyard from them.

“A vine from Egypt [the Lord] transplanted; [He] drove away the nations and planted it.”  But for its unfaithfulness He has “broken down its walls.”  Indeed, in a scant few years after the crucifixion of the Messiah the temple in Jerusalem will be utterly destroyed – the worship upon which the faith of the Lord’s people is founded will be no more.  And it shall not return.  But even as this temple built by hands the Lord lays waste, He yet answers our psalmist’s plea to Him: “Look down from heaven, and see; take care of this vine, and protect what your right hand has planted.”  For as He destroys, so He builds; as Christ is killed, so His Church is planted.  And it shall grow unto eternity.

The fulfillment of all prophecy, the New Jerusalem, is in our midst now.  In the Catholic faith the worship at Jerusalem comes to maturity.  And though many would see it removed – and perhaps by man’s reason one might say for its sins it should be – though many come in their presumption to build anew… there is no call from the Lord for any of this, and these man-made structures will also fall to ruin.  What God builds now He builds on a foundation which lasts forever, against which even the gates of hell shall not prevail.  Only on the day of judgment, only when the kingdom has come, will this House be needed no more – for then all that will be will be His Church.

So, “brothers and sisters, have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, make your requests known to God.”  Truly does the Lord’s “face shine upon us” in this holy Temple, and it shall not be moved.  See that you not remove yourselves from it but “keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen” in its confines.  Listen to His Word spoken to your hearts, and receive well the broken Bread of this holy sacrifice and the Blood of this heavenly vine.  And bear fruit in His name.

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

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

*******

O LORD, restore this vine

that we might bear your fruit in peace. 

YHWH, the vineyard you planted in Israel had to be broken down, the temple in Jerusalem destroyed, but the Church you have built in the blood of Christ shall endure till the end of time.  Let us make our home in its confines.

The peace of the New Jerusalem is ours, O LORD, by the grace wrought by your Son; the New Covenant let us embrace that we might flourish as your vine.  O let us bear fruit in your sight!

Break not down the walls of this House, LORD; let us not be disobedient to your call.  Though we have killed Jesus on a cross, let us now turn back to you.  For you will have mercy on your people and restore us in your love.  Give us new life and we will call upon your Name, never forgetting your presence in our midst.

O LORD, may your House be built this day even unto the heavens; in your presence let us make our home, serving you faithfully at all times.  The Body and Blood of your only Son as our food and drink, let us be grafted to your vine.

Direct download: BC-100211-Su_27_OT_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O Mother of prayer

and of this prayer

in which we meditate on the life

of our Lord and Savior

through your blessed intercession,

it is through you

we gain victory in Christ;

His life, death, and resurrection

become fruitful in you,

and united with you,

and so with Jesus,

we repel our enemies.

O dear Lady,

our saving Lord comes not to us

except through you:

He is born in you,

He dies with you at His side,

and He raises you to life

but to draw us all unto Himself,

that we might walk in light with Him

even in this world –

pray, yes, pray for us!

you through whom all Christians come.

Direct download: Oct._7_Our_Lady_of_the_Rosary.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Bar.4:5-12,27-29;   Ps.69:33-37;   Lk.10:17-24)

 

“He who has brought disaster upon you will,

in saving you, bring you back enduring joy.”

 

That enduring joy which comes to us after this time of trial is our theme today.  Not only does Baruch come to it in his exhortation for the people to “fear not” anymore but to turn to God and be glad, but it is David’s song as well: “You who seek God, may your hearts be merry!” he exclaims as he assures us that “God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah,” which were once “left desolate” “for the sins of [her] children.”  Yes, as Baruch encourages Israel, “Fear not, my children; call out to God!” so David confirms that “the Lord hears the poor.”  And from all their sins He shall save them.

And does not our gospel tell us the same.  In it we are told that “Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit” and gave the Father “grateful praise,” saying, “What you have hidden from the learned and the clever you have revealed to the merest children.”  To His children, to the humble, to the poor, He reveals Himself.  And what can those who are blessed so, to see “what many prophets and kings wished to see” – what can we do but rejoice in His Spirit?  For He has given us “power to tread on snakes and scorpions and all the forces of the enemy, and nothing shall ever injure” us.  For sin no longer holds sway in our lives as it once did when we turned in the hardness of our hearts from the face of God and so were “handed over” to our foes.  Though once we “forsook the Eternal God,” we now return to Him; and so the “mourning and lament” suffered because of our sin now become joy in His eternal presence.

“Nevertheless, do not rejoice so much in the fact that the devils are subject to you as that your names are inscribed in heaven.”  We should rejoice not so much in the gift as in the giver, not so much in the power we have as in Him who gives the power.  For great and wonderful as the overcoming of evil in this life certainly is, its entire purpose is to bring us into communion with the Lord in the New Jerusalem, in His heavenly kingdom.  “Those who love His name shall inhabit it,” so let us join with Jesus in the Holy Spirit to praise the Name of the Father and the great blessing of life He imparts to us.  And we shall find redemption from the punishment of our sins and rejoice as children in His presence forever.  Amen.

 

*******

O LORD, the Son has made you known,

and we may see Him, and we may hear Him –

let us turn from our sins!

YHWH, great mourning has come upon us because of our sins, but great hope we have in you who desire our salvation.  Great joy is ours as we turn now from our sins and seek you ten times the more.  You are ours as we come before you on our knees, and the joy you bring us will last forever.

O God, you are eternal, dwelling in unending light.  And as that light comes to our eyes, what can we do but rejoice with your Son that your poor ones you bring to glory?  In Heaven our names are written by your loving hand, in the blood of your merciful Son; all He has He has given to us, revealing even your presence, dear Father.

What power has Satan over your faithful ones, those whom you bless with your power and love?  The Spirit has set us free from all bonds that we might walk with you, eternal LORD.

Direct download: BC-100111-Sa_26_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O crown of contemplation

whom none excels

in solitude,

in knowing the presence of the Lord

alone in a cell,

apart from the world –

a simple chapel pray we find

in the chambers of our heart

that we might chant His praises

all the time

in the quiet,

in His sight.

Let us ever work

to discover

His breathing in our souls,

that one with Him

and with our brothers

ever we might remain.

Obedience is all we need

and He will lead us there;

then no questions will persist

as we dwell in perfect peace.

Pray such grace upon all souls.

Direct download: Oct._6_Bruno.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Bar.1:15-22;   Ps.79:1-5,8-9;   Lk.10:13-16)

 

“We have been disobedient to the Lord, our God,

and only too ready to disregard His voice.”

 

Woe is upon us for our sin.  We “have sinned in the Lord’s sight and disobeyed Him,” and so “the evils and the curse which the Lord enjoined upon Moses… cling to us even today.”  And if we do not recognize our sin, as Baruch does so beautifully in our first reading today, if we do not admit our failure to “heed the voice of the Lord,” realizing and repenting of our going “after the devices of our own heart” rather than following in His holy way – if we do not accuse ourselves of “evil in the sight of the Lord,” He will accuse us on the day of the judgment, as He does with Chorazin and Bethsaida in our gospel… and the woe upon us then shall be interminable, as we are “hurled down to the realm of death” with the cursed Capernaum.  But if we turn to Him, if we cry out to Him as does Baruch, as does our psalm this day, declaring the evil and destruction that has come upon us for our sin, that same “reproach of our neighbors” which has “laid Jerusalem in ruins” will be removed from us – the Lord will “remember not against us the iniquities of the past,” and we shall preserve our souls on the day of judgment.

“They have poured out their blood like water round about Jerusalem”: great is the suffering which has come upon the Lord’s wayward children.  It seems at times the Lord will be angry forever for the sins committed by the perverse heart of man.  But we know that His “compassion [will] quickly come to us,” that His anger lasts but a moment, it is only for a time, and that He shall indeed “deliver us and pardon our sins.”  This has He done in Jesus, in His sacrifice, and word of it now is preached to the nations.  If we accept it, we save our souls from destruction, from eternal damnation; if we reject the word of the Gospel, we reject Jesus, and we reject Him who holds the world in His creating hand – and so what hope of life have we, who have cast Life aside so wantonly… and so “burn like fire” forever only can the wrath of the Lord, our God.

Let us reject sin while there is time.  As His Word is still in our hearing, let us come to it and bare our souls before its truth “in sackcloth and ashes.”  The condition of this world of sin does not change, and it mounts up its punishment for judgment day.  Let us come out of the world, humbly professing our sin, and listen now to the voice that leads us to forgiveness and grace, to exaltation “to the skies,” standing at His side forever.

 *******

O LORD, let us not reject you!

but come rather on our knees seeking forgiveness.

YHWH, the gravity of our sin overwhelms us: our blood is poured out like water, our corpses given as food to the beasts of the earth.  How shall we make amends for our wicked deeds if even the presence of your Son and His sacrifice do not move us to repentance?  O save us from being hurled down to the realm of death!  Let us not reject the Word come from Jesus.

O LORD, let us heed your voice.  Though we have been disobedient, though the evils that fall upon us are but just punishment for turning our hearts from you, help us, please, to avoid the grave, to be preserved from the fire that is coming upon the earth.  Remember not our iniquities; let them be of the past.  Let your compassion come quickly to us to raise us from our lowly state.  In sackcloth and ashes let us bow humbly before you that we might find pardon for your NAME’s sake.

Direct download: BC-093011-F_26_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O apostle of mercy,

the mercy of Christ

poured freely upon all souls

for the salvation of the whole world,

especially the worst of sinners…

you suffered with our divine Lord

that souls might indeed be saved;

with His Passion you were intimate,

blessed with fellowship with Jesus

and His Mother

and vision of their presence –

pray a measure of your penitential devotion,

a drop of our Savior’s holy blood,

might fall upon our hearts

and make us fruitful as you in His cause;

pray we shall be blessed

with deeper awareness of our wretchedness,

our misery,

that we might know

the infinite majesty of the Lord

and immerse ourselves and all souls

in His measureless mercy.

Let all sins be atoned for in Him!

Direct download: Oct._5_Maria_Faustina.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Neh.8:1-12;   Ps.19:8-11;   Lk.10:1-12) 

“They understood the words that had been expounded to them.”

What a blessed day we hear of in our first reading.  And what a blessed reception the Word of God finds in the hearing of the people!  For “the whole people gathered as one man” and “listened attentively to the book of the law” of Moses as “Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that had been made for the occasion” and “read out of the book from daybreak until midday.”  And we know that all the people indeed understood the wonder of what was read to their humble, obedient hearts, “for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law.”  They wept for the truth of these words, and for the fact that they as a people were so long without their instruction.  The truth of God’s Word brought repentance to their hearts, as it should to all.

But ultimately the Word of God caused them, as all, “to celebrate with great joy.”  Certainly this is its ultimate goal.  For as David sings so well of in our psalm today: “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul; the decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.”  And the rightness of this wisdom brings “rejoicing [to] the heart.”  For as rich as the food and sweet the drinks the people were encouraged to consume that day as celebration of the glory of God, none could compare with the commands of the Lord, which “are more precious than gold, than a heap of purest gold; sweeter also than syrup or honey from the comb.”  This bread of life is that which sustains us.

And it is this bread of peace and life the Lord sends the disciples to bring to the cities before Him in our gospel today.  He tells them that as they declare peace to any house or town along the way, “If there is a peaceable man there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will come back to you.”  And woe to those who do not welcome the reign of God these disciples bring in Jesus’ name.  Indeed, we hear that “the fate of Sodom will be less severe than that of such a town.”  If the Israelites were so open and welcoming to the Word of God read in their midst from the book of the law by Ezra the scribe, how much more welcoming should these people who have the emissaries of Christ Himself, sent to “cure the sick,” be to receive the reign of God at hand.  And how much more should we be open to receive His Word, who now know of the Lord’s resurrection to glory and have the Holy Spirit in our midst by the authority given to His Church on earth.  Brothers and sisters, we must hear and understand as well as they of Nehemiah’s time, else what hope have we for celebration in Christ’s glory?  May His sweet words be in our ears and in our mouths, and so may we bleed with Him unto glory.

*******

O LORD, your Word brings the sweetest tears

of blessed repentance.

 YHWH, how sweet your Word should be to our ears, to our hearts – O how we should welcome it!  Though it bring knowledge of our sin, that knowledge is sweet, for that knowledge brings us to repentance and refreshes our souls.  Though we weep, though we cry for our transgressions, how sweet are our tears!  For it is these tears, this turning from our sins, that brings us into your presence, that brings your reign into our midst.

O how we should welcome your Word, LORD!  Once it came only through words in a book; once it had to be read aloud and interpreted for our simple hearts to understand.  But now it comes in flesh and blood in your only Son and in the apostles He sends out to proclaim your glory among men.

Indeed, your reign, O God, is at hand.  Your grace has come to us as a Man.  And so let us rejoice this day, for it is thus made most holy.

Direct download: BC-092911-Th_26_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O image of Christ,

simple, humble, and pure,

indeed you bore the marks of Jesus

in your own body

and in your own soul;

wed to lady poverty,

you embraced loving chastity

and boasted of nothing

but the Lord alone –

pray, dear brother,

for all children of God,

for all your wayward brothers

distracted by the wealth of this world,

that we may be so blessed by the Spirit

to serve the Lord and our neighbor

as completely as you have done.

May our lives, too, be prayers

rising as a fragrant offering

unto the Lord our God

as we reflect His image in this world.

Pray our hearts be set upon Jesus

that we might follow

in His blood-soaked footsteps in joy.

Direct download: Oct._4_Francis_of_Assisi.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Neh.2:1-8;   Ps.137:1-6;   Lk.9:57-62)

 

“How could we sing a song of the Lord in a foreign land?”

 

Our home is in heaven.  “The foxes have lairs, the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head,” the Lord tells him who would follow His way in our gospel today.  Our home is in heaven, and only there do we find joy.  And only finding our place there should possess our hearts.

We have a sign of the devotion we must have for the Lord and His Kingdom in our psalm and first reading.  Even as the psalmist hangs up his harp and weeps “by the streams of Babylon” for his exile from Jerusalem – “May my tongue cleave to my palate if I remember you not, if I place not Jerusalem ahead of my joy” – so, too, Nehemiah is most “sad at heart” for his separation from and the ruination of “the city where [his] ancestors are buried.”  And as the king takes pity on his servant and sends Nehemiah to help rebuild Jerusalem, so, too, does the Lord look upon those who seek in ardent desire their true home with Him in heaven.  He knows we are sad at our separation from the kingdom of God; He knows only there we shall find peace in our hearts, and so He calls us along the way He walks.

But also He warns that all else must be set aside if we are to discover that which our hearts desire.  “Whoever puts his hand to the plow but keeps looking back is unfit for the reign of God.”  Does love for the New Jerusalem truly possess us as did love of the old for these exiles in Babylon?  Do we, too, recognize our own exile, our own homelessness, and seek with all our souls only the song that is sung in the kingdom of God?  Are we prepared to leave this land of exile, this foreign land in which we find ourselves, to come to Him to build with the wood He provides the new walls which will be our shelter and our place of worship even in this life?  Or do we look back to this world of sin and find ourselves drawn into its sad state?

The Lord awaits the turning of all toward Him and His kingdom.  He desires greatly our returning to His side.  The thought of our heart to give up all for Him He confirms with His blessing and love.  But we must be clear that this commitment is total, that nowhere else we shall find our joy but at His side in heaven. 

*******

O LORD, let us not be separated from you

but give all our lives to following in your way,

even to the Cross.

YHWH, let us set our hearts on you alone and our coming into your kingdom.  Why should anything else possess our souls?  Of what else should we sing?  Should we not proclaim your glory with full voice and so find your reign upon us?  We cannot make our home in any place but Heaven; help us to overcome the sadness of dwelling in this dark place, in this land of exile.  Bring us quickly into your presence.

Your House let us rebuild, O LORD, your House and your City.  Let your favoring hand be upon us this day as we seek to accomplish your will.  All else let us be ready to leave behind in order to do your work upon this plane.  For only in you will we find our joy – hear us as we pray to you.

Let us not be dead, O LORD, dead to your presence in our midst.  Let our hearts burn with love for you!  Let us remember your NAME forever.

Direct download: BC-092811-W_26_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Zec.8:20-23;   Ps.87:1-7,Zec.8:23;   Lk.9:51-56)

 

“Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”

 

God is with us, brothers and sisters.  And though all upon earth turn their faces from Him now, though in ignorance they reject Him and our preaching of His Word – there shall come a day when all nations find their home in Him.  In that day the Lord shall reign.

As Jesus sets His face toward Jerusalem and His coming death at the hands of His own people, He passes through many towns and sends harbingers of His drawing nigh.  In today’s gospel we read of the Samaritans’, the dreaded “half-breed” of Israelites, rejection of His presence among them: “The Samaritans would not welcome Him because He was on the way to Jerusalem.”  And for this should they not be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah? request the sons of thunder, James and John.  But it is “only to reprimand them” that Jesus makes answer to such an idea.  Indeed, they reject the Son of God, but in this moment they certainly know not what they do.  Should they be any different than the Jews who will offer Him up for crucifixion or the apostles who will abandon Him?

From the gospel we must take solace, brothers and sisters, when our words fall on deaf ears, when the Word of God seems not to take root in souls.  We are only emissaries of His Word, and that Word will bear fruit only in His time.  But, of course, at the same moment we mourn rejection, we must be buoyed by the vision delivered by Zechariah in our first reading and confirmed so wonderfully in our psalm, for in it is the Truth of the resurrection that follows the Lord’s crucifixion.  We are told that “the inhabitants of one city shall approach those of another and say, “Come!  Let us go to implore the favor of the Lord,” and that “in those days ten men of every nationality, speaking different tongues, shall take hold, yes, take hold of every Jew by the edge of his garment and say, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”  Not only will they hear the Word of God, they will beg its presence in their lives!  For the Lord shall draw them inextricably to His mountain.  “And of Zion they shall say: ‘One and all were born in her; and He who has established her is the Most High God.’”

Brothers and sisters, we dwell now in Zion; Holy Church is the New Jerusalem.  And hearts shall turn to her with longing – she shall find her treasured place here at the end of the age.  We need not fear or be anxious, for the day of the Lord shall come, when “all shall sing, in their festive dance: ‘My home is within you.’”  Continue on to every town, bearing His love.

 

*******

O LORD, all who desire the salvation wrought by Jesus

 will be welcomed into your House.

 

 YHWH, in Jerusalem let us make our home, in your holy Church.  To this House all nations shall come, for it is here you dwell on earth.  Heaven is indeed in our midst: you are with us.  And it is for you the heart of every man longs – O let us be born into your kingdom!

Toward Jerusalem the face of your Son is set; it is always to this place He comes.  Here He dies and here He is raised, and here He dwells unto eternity….  In His blood let us be reborn.  In Him your glory is known among us, O LORD, for you have established Him forever as our Home. 

Let us all come to Jesus in the New Jerusalem to implore your favor, O Most High God.  And let us bring all souls to these gates, that in glory they might enter in and find their place in Him.  His messengers let us be until the end of the age.

Direct download: BC-092711-Tu_26_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O messengers of God

sent to protect and guide

we poor humans

on our way to the heavenly kingdom,

you whom He in His grace and wisdom

has appointed to carry us home,

lest we dash our foot against a stone –

keep us ever in the way of the Lord;

stay close to us,

remaining always at our side,

for we are but weak and sinful men

so prone to be led astray.

We entrust ourselves into your hands:

bring us to look upon the Father’s face.

For you behold Him always,

you stand loyally in His light,

and we, how shall we gaze upon Him

without your hand to guide?

Cover us with your wings,

protect us from the heat of day

and temptation’s sway

till we stand with you

in the Lord’s eternal reign.

Direct download: Oct._2_The_Guardian_Angels.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Zec.8:1-8;   Ps.102:16-23,29;   Lk.9:46-50)

 

“The city shall be filled with boys and girls playing in her streets.”

 

“Even if this should seem impossible in the eyes of the remnant of this people, shall it in those days be impossible in my eyes also, says the Lord of hosts.”  Sometimes we lose sight of the kingdom of heaven.  Sometimes our faith fails because of the difficult circumstances in which we find ourselves.  Or sometimes our pride can be the obstruction, blinding our eyes to the presence of the Lord in our midst, speaking to us in the children who play all around us, who sit at His side… whose angels behold His face always.  Sometimes we lose hope and the promise of eternal life escapes us.

But why?  Do we not know that the Lord “has regarded the prayer of the destitute, and not despised their prayer”?  Have we not experienced His redeeming grace many times in our lives?  Do we not believe Him when He tells His chosen ones: “They shall be my people, and I will be their God, with faithfulness and justice”?  Why are we so forgetful of His love for us and distracted by our situation?  For the Lord does “hear the groaning of the prisoners”; He does “release those doomed to die”; He does look down “from His holy height” and hear the prayers of us His lowly ones, if we but call out to Him.

“I will rescue my people from the land of the rising sun, and from the land of the setting sun.”  At the center of the universe shall we dwell, “within Jerusalem,” with the Lord.  This is our promise.  And this is our call – to bring others within those gates, to invite all His children to enter His holy presence.  Not to look past them in blind ambition, but to set our hearts on serving Him by striving always and only to build up His kingdom even here on earth.

Jesus knows our thoughts, brothers and sisters.  He knows how vain we can be in our ways.  And so He sets a child before us.  He shows us the lowliness we must know to enter the kingdom of heaven.  And He presents us with a challenge to gather His children there.  Indeed, heaven shall be filled with the laughter of children, but will we hear it – and will we find true reward by increasing it always in His Name?  Let your heart not fail or despair of any circumstances, for “the children of [His] servants shall abide, and their posterity continue in [His] presence.”  Ever maintain hope for the glory of Zion and see it rising in your midst.

 

*******

O LORD, may we be as children before you

in your heavenly kingdom.

YHWH, gather your children together as one in your holy City of Jerusalem.  In the peace of your presence let us dwell all our days.  We are greatly troubled here upon this earth.  Help us to turn and become as children that in innocence and humility before you we might remain.  Hear us as we cry out and look down with pity upon our poor souls.

O LORD, let us be on your side; faithful and just make us, we pray.  O let us serve you in holiness that when you appear in glory we may enter your company and not be kept from you by our foolish pride.  You are our God; let us not be made blind to your presence.

O LORD, let us hear the sound of children playing in your streets, and let us be among them.  If we could but humble ourselves, in your eyes we would find our place secure.  Release those who are doomed to die; with you let us dwell forever.

Direct download: BC-092611-M_26_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O little flower of Jesus,

with great innocence and humility

you loved the Lord

and prayed for His Church

and especially His priests;

in all the little things of your day

you gave yourself to God’s service,

and so your work reached

to the ends of the earth –

shower roses upon us from above,

where you now sit with Jesus;

teach us to walk your little way

that we might join you

with our Savior.

Pray we too might find His love

and live in His heart

as deeply as you;

pray all souls shall indeed be saved

by the blood He shed for our sake.

And pray that families

will be blessed as your own

with children who heed so well

the call of the Lord.

Direct download: Oct._1_Theresa_of_the_Child_Jesus.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

 (Ez.18:25-28;   Ps.25:4-9;   Phil.2:1-11;   Mt.21:28-32)

 

“Tax collectors and prostitutes

are entering the kingdom of God before you.”

 

Why?  How can it be that such sinners gain such privilege, such grace?  Is it for their sins?  Shall we all become as they?  We should be like them, but not in sin – in repentance.  For it is because they have “turned away from all [the] sins that [they] committed” that they are saved; it is because they are “tax collectors and prostitutes” no more.  And so we are all called to turn away from the sin which each of us surely has.

David sings beautifully of this in our psalm: “The sins of my youth and my frailty remember not,” as he begs the Lord for His kindness.  For all that we have done in our ignorance and our weakness we should seek the Lord’s mercy, for He assures us throughout our readings that “He shows sinners the way” when they come humbly before Him.

When the first son in Jesus’ parable responds to his father’s request for him to work in the vineyard, “I will not,” what does this son do but sin against his father? – just as each of us sins against our heavenly Father when we turn from His will to blindly follow our own.  But what did the son show when he “afterwards changed his mind and went” but his contrition and repentance at his insubordination, thus illustrating the manner in which our consciences should lead us from our own disobedience?  And as Jesus makes clear, it was this son who “did his father’s will” and so will be blessed by him.

Our reading from Ezekiel makes this theme of turning from sin and finding blessing even clearer.  It states in certain terms of the wicked man that “if he turns from the wickedness he has committed, and does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life.”  With such assurance, why should we delay our own conversion, which must be effected day to day?

St. Paul presents the attitude we must have before others and God in order to find the Lord’s grace.  He states: “Humbly regard others as more important than yourselves,” and then gives the clear example of the most humble of all, the Lord Jesus Christ, who “emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness.”  He so “humbled Himself” that He became “obedient even unto death, death on a cross.”  And so should we be proud?  Should we harden ourselves in our sin, or rather turn and empty ourselves of all that is not of Him?  The salvation repentance finds is indicated also in the fact that, because of Jesus’ humility, “God exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every other name.”  So let us not hesitate to join the tax collectors and prostitutes among us who bend the knee before Him; let our “tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,” and we shall know His reward.

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

Music: "Where's My Brother?" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, turning away from all our sins

and humbling ourselves before you,

let us but do your holy will. 

YHWH, help us to turn from our sins and do your holy will.  May we be obedient as your Son, who gave His life to save others.  Let all souls repent of their wickedness and walk in His way, that all might find salvation in His Name.

If we could but be humble before you, LORD; if we could but admit our failings, our selfishness and pride, our blindness to your call for our lives… then we would be blessed by you and become your faithful sons.  Break our hardened hearts that we might love, that we might look upon you who are love itself.

O let us be empty, LORD, of all we would possess, of all that we would grasp with our own hands.  Let us indeed be blessed to recognize our sinfulness and find your mercy and forgiveness.  You but want for us to turn to you that you might embrace us as your own.  May your compassion be known in our hearts this day.

Direct download: BC-092511-Su_26_OT_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O great interpreter of holy Scripture,

seeking the wisdom and power of God

you listened

to what the Lord says

in His Word

and so served to dispel

ignorance of Christ;

from your hermitage you came

to serve the Church just so,

to enlighten the minds of the faithful –

pray the Lord shall send forth today

the light of His wisdom and grace

upon those who turn to the pages

of the Word of God in prayer,

that He may be understood in truth,

that Jesus may walk amongst us again…

that knowing the Christ

we may become more like Him

and live according to His instruction,

as a lamp burning brightly in this world

to draw all men to the Lord

and the salvation of their souls,

which He so deeply desires.

Direct download: Sept._30__Jerome.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Zec.2:5-9,14-15;   Jer.31:10-13;   Lk.9:43-45)

 

“They shall come streaming to the Lord’s blessings.”

 

The Kingdom is being prepared.  And as bleak as things may seem upon this earth, the glory of the Lord awaits us all.  This is the message of Jeremiah in our psalm and the message given Zechariah by the angel in our first reading.  “I will turn their mourning into joy, I will console and gladden them after their sorrows,” is the word which sustains us.

Zechariah prophesies at the time the Israelites have returned from exile few in number to a rather desolate, broken-down Jerusalem.  But in his vision presented today he sees an angel measuring the great city of peace, apparently for its restoration.  And to this prophet at this difficult time in which hope is hard to hold on to is delivered this reassurance: “People will live in Jerusalem as though in an open country, because of the multitude of men and beasts in her midst.”  The Lord promises to be “the glory in her midst” and an “encircling wall of fire”: “Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day.”

Jeremiah’s message is the same.  “He who scattered Israel now gathers them together, He guards them as a shepherd His flock.”  Yes, even in the darkest moments of our exile here on this fallen earth, there is hope.  For ultimately the Lord’s love will conquer all; in the end we shall “mount the heights of Zion” – our salvation will be fulfilled.

Jesus tries to convey to the apostles the same message.  By telling them, “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of men,” He seeks to have them understand – even “in the midst of the disciples’ amazement at all that Jesus was doing” in teaching and healing the people – that when the time of mourning is brought to bear in their lives, when they see Him offered up for crucifixion… when darkness falls upon the land, then they should be assured that the glorious works they find wrought in their midst by the glorious hand of God shall not be dead at all, but only coming to fulfillment.

Our solace is in our sorrow.  Happy are we who mourn.  For the passing things we are robbed of here, we know will become eternal blessings in heaven.  Taste the pain, my brothers and sisters, the blood at the corners of your mouth, and lift your head to see the nations come streaming to His eternal kingdom. 

*******

O LORD, into the hands of men Jesus must be delivered

that He might gather them from far-off lands

into the kingdom of Heaven.

YHWH, your people have been scattered to the four corners of the earth, but from there you gather them together as one in your holy City.  From mourning you deliver your children that they might come in joy into your eternal presence.  O may the nations indeed come streaming to your blessings!  May all be surrounded by your wall of protection, with you at our very center.

The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of men.  This sacrifice is necessary to fulfill man’s redemption.  O LORD, we could not be saved except by His suffering, for blind we were even to our sin until He mounted the wood of the Cross.

But now, dear LORD, what was so concealed from us has been revealed by His blood.  Let us follow closely His message and His way, that we might be found celebrating within the length and breadth of your kingdom.

Direct download: BC-092411-Sa_25_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O mighty messengers of the Lord,

ministers of His will,

bringing His word and His power

to all poor souls on earth,

you serve to lead us unto Heaven…

you who do the bidding of God,

you who are first among those

who stand around His throne

and sing His praise,

you who are so faithful

in defending His Kingship

and keeping us from harm –

cast the devil from our midst,

instill the word of Jesus’ coming

in our hearts,

bring His healing to the lost sheep,

and see that we join you

on His holy mountain on high;

carry us in your arms

to the place the Savior prepares for us

with you and all your army in His presence.

Direct download: Sept._29_Michael_Gabriel__Raphael.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(Dn7:9-10,13-14 or Rv.12:7-12;   Ps.138:1-5;   Jn.1:47-51

I shall treat of both first readings)

 

“You shall see the sky opened and the angels of God

ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

 

And who shall see such visions?  He whose own vision is pure, he who is as Nathanael – he who has “no guile in him.”  Such is the case both with Daniel and John the Evangelist, of whose visions we hear in either first reading.  The angels are with them, indeed, and they lift them up to look upon the Most High God and His Anointed One.

Both first readings reveal vision of Jesus the Son, whose “dominion is an everlasting dominion” and by whom “salvation and power have come.”  In Daniel is shown the Ancient One, the Father, from whom all power comes as “surging streams of fire” from His throne; and in Revelation, John presents the defeat of Satan, who would presume to be like God but is “driven out” and “hurled down to earth” by the archangel Michael (whose name tells us that none is like God) before “the reign of our God” comes.  In Revelation is included, too, our own participation in “the blood of the Lamb,” that the Church, “by the word of their testimony,” will share in the Lord’s dominion.

And David’s psalm sings today: “Great is the glory of the Lord.”  His voice joins with the “thousands upon thousands… ministering to Him, and myriads upon myriads” attending Him.  “In the presence of the angels I will sing your praise,” he declares, and finds himself “worship[ing] at [His] holy temple” Him whose name is “great above all things.”  Is not the vision promised Nathanael and witnessed to by Daniel and John shared here with David, too; does he not glimpse, and share with us who long for the presence of the Lord, the ladder which reaches to heaven made known to Jacob in dream?  Is not Jesus, His Lord, with him even in this time before His coming?  It is one Jesus the eyes of all the pure of heart see and shall see.  And did not the Old Testament prophet see that which was to come?  Was not the eternal vision of heaven revealed to his eyes, as well as John’s?  And how can this be, that they see what we would call the future, except that it has always been?

Brothers and sisters, we must declare with Nathanael, “You are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel,” but we must do so as He does – in absolute honesty and utter faith.  We must believe without guile and declare without hesitation that Jesus is Lord.  To do so and to see the angels ascending and descending upon Him, our hearts and our eyes must be pure.  Let us pray that we shall come now to vision of heaven, where His angels and His saints do reign.

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

Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, give us eyes to see your angels

ministering to you,

and hearts to receive their blessed help.

YHWH, like flames of fire your angels surround you and your holy throne.  These myriads of spirits attend you, ministering to you day and night in the place where there is no night, where light shines seven times as brightly as the sun.  O may we join them in singing your praises and in doing your will upon this earth!  With eyes unveiled let us look upon your glory and unite with your angels in Heaven.

If only we had hearts without guile, O LORD; if only we were your true sons and daughters.  Then we would declare freely that Jesus is your Son and our King, He whose dominion is everlasting, whose glory is one with your own.  Then would the devil be cast from our souls, driven out from among us by your power at work in your angels.  Then would we worship in joy in your holy Temple all our days and become children of your blessed light.  O may your angels be with us always!

Direct download: Sept._29_-_Sts._Michael_Gabriel_Raphael_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O simple and devout layman,

husband and father and clerk,

suddenly you were forced to flee

your homeland and family

with your missionary companions,

but death for the faith

each one of you met

without wavering

upon disembarking in a foreign land –

pray, O blessed martyrs,

our faith shall be strong as your own,

that should we be called

to witness even with our lives

to the faith which gives us life,

we will be ready

to enter eternity

with Christ our Lord and Savior.

If tortures threaten our bodies, too,

intercede for us for grace,

that the face of Jesus alone

we shall look upon that day.

Direct download: Sept._28_Lawrence_Ruiz_and_Companions.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

O faithful ruler

whose devotion served

to bring your death,

though you loved all your subjects,

caring especially for the poor,

and loved God and His Church above all,

your care and your faith

caused you to be killed

by those so jealous and selfish –

pray for us, good king,

and for the rulers in our midst,

that they will be inspired as you

with a self-effacing humility

and a desire for the truth of God’s way,

giving their lives in service

of the Lord and His people,

not seeking their own gain.

Pray the Mother of God

guide all leaders

and they turn to her in obedience,

that the will of the Father shall be done

and to this world His kingdom come

by the blood of His only Son.

Direct download: Sept._28_Wencelaus.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Hg.1:1-8;   Ps.149:1-6,9;   Lk.9:7-9)

 

“He who earned wages earned them for a bag with holes in it.”

 

“Bring timber, and build the house that I may take pleasure in it and receive my glory.”  Rebuild the house of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit you are.  Shore up the breaches in its walls and solidify its foundation, that you might “sing to the Lord a new song of praise in the assembly of the faithful,” that you might be as those who are “glad in their maker…  For the Lord loves His people, and He adorns the lowly with victory.”  Humble yourself before Him, take care to observe the words of His mouth – turn from your selfish ways and your blindness to His presence, and you shall again sing with delight in a house of blessings.

Are you, too, like Herod, perplexed at the identity of Jesus?  Do you, too, question: “Who is this man about whom I hear all these reports?”  Be more than “curious to see Him,” my brothers and sisters; lay down your lives before Him and His teaching and His redemptive sacrifice, and you shall come to know that He is the Son of God – you shall find Him who is the salvation of your soul, which wanders now far from the safety of the walls of His temple.  In His flesh alone will you find your home.  Your vain curiosity is not enough to bring you there.  Your doubts about His glory must be faced and seen for the emptiness they hold – or you risk beheading yourself in the refusal to bow to Him who is Truth and holds all that matters in His redeeming hands.

“Let the high praises of God be in their throats,” our psalmist sings.  To such blessing of fulfillment he exhorts our souls.  This indeed is “the glory of all His faithful”; for to have our souls filled to overflowing with the praises of our Lord and our God, who loves us to overflowing and desires only for us to know His love in its being lived out in all our days and with all our being… in this we find our home in His blessed hands.

All else but God is vain, and its emptiness will rise to your eyes in a time you do not anticipate.  See now that you repair the holes in your very soul, that you might become a temple of His Spirit and find the grace to praise His Name worthily in the assembly of all His chosen ones.

 

*******

O LORD, in your House let us make our home

and to us you will be known.

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-092211-Th_25_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O blessed help of the poor,

slave to widows and orphans

and all those most outcast

and in need,

the least of Christ’s brothers

you indeed gave your life to serve,

completely spending yourself

in their assistance

and leading your own brother priests

to do the same…

and so Christ Himself you waited upon

day in and day out

upon this earth –

pray that we, too, shall be like Jesus,

filled with compassion

for the needs of our neighbors,

sharing their poverty

as we empty ourselves as the Lord has done.

May all our prayers and desires

lead to such charity for the plight of others,

that we might fulfill with you

our Savior’s call to the Cross

and come, therefore, to the riches of Heaven.

Direct download: Sept._27_Vincent_de_Paul.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Ezra 9:5-9;   Tb.13:1-4,6-8;   Lk.9:1-6) 

“Turn back, you sinners! do the right before Him:

perhaps He may look with favor upon you, and show you mercy.”

As the Word of the Lord comes to our villages and enters our houses, we must treasure it and heed its warning to turn from our sins.  If we harden our hearts against its grace and mercy, if we fail to recognize our sin in the blessed light it brings, the Word shall leave, shaking the dust from its feet, and we shall be left alone in despair.  But if we turn toward the light it brings and turn from our sins, we shall be saved – we shall be healed of all our afflictions.

How wonderfully Ezra humbles himself before the Lord our God, pouring out his soul and the sins of the people of Israel: “Our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads and our guilt reaches up to heaven.”  For so often have the people sinned, so often have they turned from Him who chose them as His own… and even here, now that they have been returned from exile by the miraculous grace of God working through Persian kings, now that the Lord has given them “new life to raise again the house of [their] God and restore its ruins,” even now they have sinned again.

It is only the love of Jesus, brothers and sisters, and the grace that pours forth through His apostles, which will bring us to the “reign of God.”  Only He can heal our souls and only He can lift us from the mire of this world – only in His kingdom will we find perfection with God our Father.  This alone must we seek.  This certainly we must accept with open arms when it comes to us by the grace of our Lord.  For, indeed, we know that though we have fallen into “the great abyss,” though He may have cast us “down to the depths of the netherworld” for our sins, “He has shown [us] His greatness” and lifted our heads up to look upon His face – He has redeemed our race.

So let us rejoice this day “in the King of heaven” and “speak of His majesty,” for in our guilt the Lord visits us, He sends forth His Word to heal us.  He has given the Twelve and their successors “power and authority to overcome all demons and to cure diseases,” so let us welcome their touch and turn from our sins to receive the favor upon us, to find His mercy at work in our midst.

*******

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

restore our ruined house;

heal all our disease.

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-092111-W_25_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O highly honored martyrs

whose tomb drew many pilgrims

and brought about many miracles,

you laid down your lives as one in the Lord,

taking up His bitter and saving cup

of suffering

all for your faith in Him and His Church,

and so, precious in His sight

was your death in His name –

from beyond the grave

pray for us this day,

that the healing blood of Christ our Savior

be poured upon our souls,

that we too might be raised by His sacrifice,

redeemed by the death He endured;

for He has overcome the world,

and you with Him in His blood.

Pray that we who are so weak of faith

may by the Lord’s grace and your intercession

bear witness to Jesus by our own deaths

upon the Cross with Him.

Direct download: Sept._26_Cosmas_and_Damian.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

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

 

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

supported by the message of the prophets.”

 

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

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

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

*******

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

according to your Word,

that we might be His brothers and sisters,

that we might enter His House.

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

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

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

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

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

 

“Those that sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.”

 

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, you will repay the faithful soul;

you will repay him to the full – 

the lamp you light in us will never dim. 

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

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

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

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

 (Is.55:6-9;   Ps.145:2-3,8-9,17-18;   Phil.1:20-24,27;   Mt.20:1-16)

 

“You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.”

 

Our readings today reveal that the Lord is near, merciful, and just, and that these three qualities are one in God.  For the Lord’s justice is shown in His mercy, and His mercy in His nearness to us.  And so we should “praise [His] name forever.”

Isaiah conveys to us that the Lord’s thoughts and ways are “as high as the heavens are above the earth” with respect to our own thoughts and our own ways.  As David proclaims, “His greatness is unsearchable.”  But the prophet also encourages the faithful to “seek the Lord while He may be found, [to] call Him while He is near”; and the king declares, “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.”  And is not the closeness of our great God – made most evident in the presence of Jesus among us – illustrated in the Lord’s parable?  Does not the landowner go out at all times of day to draw laborers into his vineyard?  Even to the final hour He invites us into His kingdom, coming to us always with the hope of making us fruitful workers upon His land.

And why does the Lord remain so near?  Why does He call to us so incessantly?  Is it not because He is so “generous and merciful,” because He is “good to all and compassionate toward all His works”?  Is it not that we should turn from our idleness and the wickedness of our thoughts and ways that He ventures into the marketplace to find us?  Does Jesus not come to redeem us from this world of sin?  And should we not therefore “turn to the Lord for mercy, to our God who is generous in forgiving,” whose calling us to work in His vineyard is more that He should be able to give us all we need than that we might labor for Him? 

And is His mercy not proven by His form of justice?  For does He not give all a full day’s pay, even those with Him but an hour?  Do not all who come to His kingdom know the blessings He pours forth?  This is His way, this is His justice – the way of mercy and love.  And it is by this love He remains so near us who may now proclaim with Paul: “Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death,” for His love is inseparable from us who believe, who have entered into His vineyard and share in His blood.

And should we not be merciful as He?  Should His justice not become our own?  We should not be as those servants who “grumbled against the landowner” for His generosity, courting envy in our hearts, but allow the Lord to be “free to do as [He] wish[es] with [His] own money.”  Should we not wish the same joy upon all souls as we ourselves have been blessed to know?  Though we may have had to bear “the day’s burden and the heat,” should this limit our generosity to others who have come late?  We should rather with our Lord desire all to enter His vineyard, to be close to us, that all might receive the benefit of His merciful justice.  We should thank Him that His ways are not our own, for then never would He have come near to us, and empty and idle we would be standing still.

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

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

*******

O LORD, how our envy would kill us –

let us rejoice in your mercy toward all,

counting ourselves blessed to do your will. 

YHWH, truly you are generous in forgiving, gracious and merciful to all, coming even at the eleventh hour to save us from our sin and share with us all the blessings of your kingdom.  Let us set to work for you this day, this hour, rejoicing always that we might labor for you.

O LORD, we thank you that your ways are far above our ways, for where we would condemn, you would forgive, and so we would ourselves be condemned without your mercy.  It is indeed your desire to save all souls and we need but turn our desire to you to find you present to us.  Help us to leave the ways of this world behind and follow in the way of your Son, embracing the Cross as though it held all treasure for us, as if it is the greatest gift you give… as if it were the way to Heaven, which it is.

O LORD, why should we complain against your generosity, your mercy?  Should we not rather seek to be like you?  Then we would share in all the riches of your kingdom with nothing to keep us from praising your Name.

Direct download: BC-091811-Su_25_OT_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O holy priest

who bore the wounds of Christ

in your hands

and in your ministry,

who served the Lord so greatly

in casting out many demons

in your confessional,

and whom He thus blessed

with miracles of the Spirit –

pray for us of lukewarm faith

who falter day to day

in following our dear Jesus’ path.

So close to Him you were

in His suffering and His love;

so far are we

from His Cross and so His grace.

Pray we shall be strengthened to approach Him

and find healing for our weakness,

the frailty of our souls

which keeps us from knowing the Christ

and laying down our lives for Him

as He calls, as you have done…

O pray His blood be upon us!

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

(1Tm.6:13-16;   Ps.100:2-5;   Lk.8:4-15)

 

“Keep God’s command without blame or reproach

until our Lord Jesus shall appear.”

 

The Lord’s “kindness endures forever, and His faithfulness, to all generations,” and we must endure with Him, ever showing forth His kindness and faithfulness to the world, until we come to dwell with Him eternally “in inapproachable light.”

When God brings His appearance “to pass at His chosen time” will we stand ready?  Will we persevere in service of truth until that day of which we know not?  Brothers and sisters, “Let everyone who has ears attend to what he has heard.”  Let us not “fall away in time of temptation.”  Let us not have our progress “stifled by the cares and riches and pleasures of life.”  Let us mature.  Let us remain faithful in all adversity.  Let us always grow in His Word.  Let us “hear the word in a spirit of openness, retain it, and bear fruit through perseverance.”  Then we shall “yield grain a hundredfold”; then we shall know the “joyful song” that reverberates eternally in His “everlasting rule.”

Patience.  We must have patience.  And wisdom.  We must know and remember that “the Lord is God; He made us, His we are, His people, the flock He tends.”  Always we must take refuge in Him, living the “noble profession” to which He calls us as His blessed children to whom “the mysteries of the reign of God have been confided.”  And knowing this, knowing Him, how can we turn to anything else?  What can distract or destroy the heart set on God?  It is not possible that anything can overcome us if we stand fast as seed planted by the hand of God and allow His Spirit to perpetually nourish our growth.  We must be as plants which bend ever to His light; the cleansing water of His Word must be cherished and preserved by holy souls.  And we shall grow.

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise.”  This is our destiny; and this is the blessing we find even now as we make continual progress in His Name and rejoice at the gifts and graces He bears us as we struggle ever to bear witness to His glory working in our lives.  Stand fast, brothers and sisters, and persevere till the end.  May His Word remain in you, His Bread nourish you daily, and you will be kept beyond reproach.

 

*******

O LORD, let us keep well your Word

and grow in Jesus’ light,

until He returns and gathers us into His arms.

YHWH, you dwell in unapproachable light; no one has seen you or can see you.  Yet you call us into your presence, you desire us to enter your gates singing praise.  Let us not be deaf to your blessed call but cherish the Word your Son brings us, the Word and Bread He is for us, and so grow always unto your kingdom, until He appears and unites us with you forever.

How empty our hearts can be, O LORD, empty of you and distracted by the world.  There are so many things which take our attention from the glory of your presence here among us this day.  And so, how easily we die, how easily we wither for want of your Word.  Why should we concern ourselves with the passing things of this vain world when your Son stands before us and calls us into your kingdom?  Let us rather give thanks to Him for such kindness; let us rather bless your holy NAME, that we might endure until His coming and bear fruit worthy of Heaven.

Direct download: BC-091711-Sa_24_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, you are the Most High God –

let us enter your House with praise!

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

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

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

O faithful apostle

who so readily answered

the call of the Lord,

leaving your station in this world

to follow in His footsteps

and so find your place in Heaven,

who even with these first steps

brought others to the Christ

as you opened your heart

as well as your home

to Him and to the least of His brothers –

pray, dear brother through whom the Spirit has spoken,

that we too shall follow Jesus

and so find His grace and mercy,

and so find our way to the Father.

Pray our hearts will ever be

so open to hear His voice

and invite Him in to our table,

where He may eat and speak with us,

feeding us with His presence.

And pray we may be blessed as you

in drawing others to the Word, our God,

till all are one in His Body.

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

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

 

“Through all the earth their voice resounds,

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, let us all be drawn as one

into the Body of your Son,

that we poor sinners may become His saints. 

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

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

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

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

O blessed, holy martyrs

who won for yourselves

the crown of salvation

by your undying faith in God,

who cherished well

the prize of persecution

the Lord offered your souls,

who stood fast despite the death

that raged around you –

pray we shall know as you

that all the hairs of our head

are numbered by God

and in His all-embracing providence

He has care over us all,

that we might stand as strong

in our little trials

and sufferings

as you did before the face

of the executioner.

To all people be a witness to the faith

that reaches ever unto Heaven.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******

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

restore our ruined house;

heal all our disease.

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

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

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

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

O protector of your sheep,

you laid down your life

for them,

giving your blood

for the service of souls

that all might witness

the surpassing love of the Lord

and the glory that awaits

those who die in Him –

pray for shepherds

who feed their sheep,

not lording it over them

or seeking what gain they might find

for themselves,

taking the milk and wool

of their flock

and leaving them naked and lifeless…

but living the call of Christ

as you, dear shepherd, have done.

Pray those who govern God’s Church

will be ready even to die for Him

and the people they serve.

Let all be protected by the blood of the Lamb.

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

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

 

“He who walks in the way of integrity

shall be in my service.”

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

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

according to your Word,

that we might be His brothers and sisters,

that we might enter His House.

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

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

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

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

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

 

“Offer prayers with blameless hands held aloft.”

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, you will repay the faithful soul;

 you will repay him to the full –

the lamp you light in us will never dim.

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

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

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

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

O wise doctor

whose intellect served well

in defense of the Church

and her teachings,

who bore well the light yoke of Christ

that leads to eternal life

and shepherded your flock

in following you

along this path of our Lord –

speak to us this day

your words of grace

that the souls of all

within the Church’s gates

might be founded well

on the truths of the faith

and on the love of God.

Pray we shall be wise as you

in knowing the way

the Lord marks out for His sons;

pray we shall have shepherds

so blessed with His light

that all shall be saved from the wolves about

and remain secure in the Father’s arms.

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

 (Sir.27:30-28:9;   Ps.103:1-4,8-12;   Rom.14:7-9;   Mt.18:21-35)

 

“Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,

as I had pity on you?”

 

How like the Lord’s own wisdom is that of Sirach; how like His teaching.  For have we not heard the Master say, “Forgive your neighbor’s injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven,” in His instruction to His disciples on how to pray?  And does He not impart this same lesson by parable today?

“Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight.”  Oh the woe of the unforgiving heart!  “Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the Lord?”  How can we “refuse mercy to another” and “seek pardon for [our] own sins”?  Do we not know that anger is itself a deadly sin, mortally wounding our anxious souls?  Do we who sit in judgment think in our hearts that we are without sin, that we are perfect as He who is Most High?  If indeed “we are the Lord’s” then we will act as the Lord and look with “kindness and compassion” upon others.  Instead of condemnation we would practice divine forgiveness, for indeed mercy is the Father’s defining trait in His relationship with His children.

But no, rather than putting “wrath” and “enmity” and “hate” as far from our hearts as the Lord has “put our transgressions from us,” we cherish these abominations, setting them as trophies in our corrupted souls.  Again, what woe there is for the unforgiving soul!  For the same torture we would inflict upon others for their sins against us shall be the torture we ourselves shall face – then we will know what justice is!  Then we will know the wrath of God!  Then He who alone has power and wisdom and love to judge rightly shall inflict His punishment on all His wicked servants.

My brothers and sisters, fellow servants of the Lord in both life and in death, the Lord cannot emphasize enough to us the need for forgiveness.  We must first and always recognize and remember the sinners we have been and the grace we have received at our Lord’s hands.  And with this ever in mind and heart we must come to others with that same mercy.  It is this He desires of us, and He will accept nothing less.

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

Music: "It Takes One To Know One" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

  *******

O LORD, surpassing is your kindness toward us;

help us to transcend our vengeful hearts

and forgive as you have done.

     YHWH, have mercy on our souls by helping us to show mercy toward others; even your own mercy let us share. Then how blessed we shall be to be like you, O compassionate God! Then your mercy shall pour forth like a refreshing stream and become an overflowing torrent.

     But your kindness and compassion are far from us, LORD, so long as our sins remain near. So long as we cherish anger, we choke our souls and so cannot breathe in the light of your glory. If only we would turn and forgive, freely and without limit, then we would fully know the great blessing of your forgiveness, and find our sins put far from us.

     Why should we wish to live or die except in you? Why would we separate ourselves from your loving presence? O let us rather die to the wrath we hold! Let us set all vengeance aside. Then we shall rise to where you are, LORD, to where your Son would lead us.

Direct download: BC-091111-Su_24_OT_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O brothers in Christ,

in death and in life

you gave yourselves as one

for the sake of the flock;

for the cause of the faith

readily you shed your blood

to serve the growth of God’s Church –

pray we today will be zealous as you

in defending the faith with our lives;

by fasting and by prayer,

by standing courageously

before the courts of the world

and offering our flesh in sacrifice,

may we imitate you who imitated Christ

and so come with all our brothers

to His resurrection and life.

Shepherd us well even this day

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

that we might be unafraid to speak

and to live the truth in undying love.

O let us lay down our lives with you!

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

(1Tm.1:15-17;   Ps.113:1-7;   Lk.6:43-49)

“Any man who desires to come to me

will hear my words and put them into practice.”

Our psalm today declares that God is “enthroned on high” – “High above all the nations is the Lord; above the heavens is His glory.”  And why is the Lord so glorious, so worthy of our praise…?  Because “He raises the lowly from the dust; from the dunghill He lifts up the poor.”  And Paul tells us the same: he glorifies God as “King of the ages, the immortal, the invisible, the only God” – and why?  Because though he is “the worst” of sinners, the Lord has dealt mercifully with him and made him an example of His great love.

The Lord indeed is great and worthy of all praise.  Though seated far above us, He reaches down to lift us up to Him.  In a word: “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.”  Humbling Himself to walk and die among us, He calls us to eternal life.  But we must answer that call, we must follow His way.  We cannot simply call Him “Lord, Lord”; we must indeed “put into practice” His words.  If we do not, we cannot find the fruit of His sacrifice for us.  Mere words, simple verbal assent, is not sufficient to bring us to the blood of Christ and the redemption it holds.  It is by our actions we are judged and not our words.  Jesus makes this very clear: “Each tree is known by its yield.”  If we do not produce good fruit, how can we claim to be a good tree?  And doesn’t the Lord cut down every tree that fails to bear fruit in His name?

All shall hear His words, all shall know of the glory He offers forth.  But shall all be as the apostle Paul and put His words into practice, suffering for the faith He proclaimed?  Will all make real the teaching of Christ in their lives?  Those who do will find themselves set on a firm foundation – His word will be in their flesh and blood.  They will receive Him into their very beings and find Him at the center of all they think and do.  Without His presence so firmly fixed within themselves by their living it in their actions, salvation will be far away, and their houses shall crumble.  Brothers and sisters, let us not fail to realize the salvation He offers us sinners.  In His goodness, let us produce good from our hearts.

*******

O LORD, it is your mercy

that sets us on a solid foundation

from which we may praise you for your goodness.

YHWH, you are far above all nations, above the heavens and the earth, and yet in your Son you stoop down to us, and raise us from this dunghill.  We are but dust in your sight – we could be no better in relation to you.  And yet you show great patience with us poor creatures; you have mercy on our sinful souls.

Jesus you send to walk among us and show us the way we should walk.  Help us to put into practice what He teaches, in His words and in all He does, and we shall be set solidly in your goodness, LORD, and bear fruit worthy of your NAME.

But if we should be so foolish as to ignore the great gift of the Christ in our midst, if we should fail to listen to Him and act according to His teaching – what hope will there be for us?  For then the great work of saving sinners He has come to accomplish in your glorious NAME, we shall receive in vain, and in our sin ever remain.  Save us from such an evil fate, O Most High God!

Direct download: BC-091011-Sa_23_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O sorrowful Mother

whose heart was pierced by a sword,

who stood at the foot of the Cross

dying in spirit

as your Son died in the flesh…

Jesus was sent to suffer

and die for our sins,

and how intimately you shared

in the profound pain

He carried about all His life;

how preeminently you filled up

what was lacking in His suffering,

suffering the whole Church must share

with our crucified Lord –

pray we shall indeed enter into

the sacrifice of Christ your Son,

following in your wake,

O Mother of God;

pray we shall meet Him

along His Way of Sorrow

that His blood upon our souls

will carry us to Heaven,

where you stand at His side.

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

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

 

“Remove the plank from your own eye first;

then you will see clearly enough

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

 

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

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

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

 

*******

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

by the forgiveness of our sins.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

“God greatly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him

the name which is above every name.”

 

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

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

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

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

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, let us be saved from our sin

by the sacrifice of your only Son. 

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

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

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

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

O you of golden tongue,

how well you proved

the Word of God cannot be chained;

how well you revealed

its radiance to our ears and hearts…

unconquered by threats of death

and the sufferings

the world imposes,

you proclaimed the glory of God

and His presence with us

until the very end –

pray, O dear shepherd,

who held your flock

so close to your heart

that they became one body with you

in Christ,

that we all shall be so willing

to lay down our lives,

speaking and walking in

the Word the Lord gives us

to share with all our brothers in light.

Pray indeed God’s will be done

in all His holy children.

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

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

 

“Set your heart on what pertains to higher realms

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

 

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, let us set our hearts on your kingdom

and let this world and its sin pass away.

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

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

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

O Mary, sweetest of creatures,

whose name on our lips

brings joy to our hearts…

inflamed with love toward God

and you

we become

in speaking your blessed name –

pray we shall call your name,

dear Lady,

in our time of need,

that you will be quick to intercede

with your Son

for our salvation.

Washed in the water from His side

and in His holy blood,

pray we shall rise above the sea,

beyond all rebellion,

that obedient as you, His Handmaid,

we shall find favor with the Lord

and enter into Heaven,

our names written beside your own

in the Book of Life,

dearest Mary.

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

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

 

“Coming down from the mountain with them,

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, power goes out from your Son

to heal us of all our sins – 

let us come to Him, and remain with Him. 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

hoping to make every man complete in Christ.”

 

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, let us be whole in your sight

by the sacrifice of your Christ.

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

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

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

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

 (Ez.33:7-9;   Ps.95:1-2,6-9;   Rom.13:8-10;   Mt.18:15-20)

 

“O wicked one, you shall surely die.”

 

The Lord declares to the prophet Ezekiel: “You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel.”  He is to “speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way,” that the sinner might not “die for his guilt” and that the prophet himself might not be “responsible for his death” by his silence.

As the Lord calls Ezekiel, so He requires all the Church to “warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way.”  We must be diligent with all those in our care, all those we find in need, not in order to deliver condemnation upon souls but to invite all to “bow down in worship” and “kneel before the Lord who made us.”  How can someone know this great glory if there is sin upon his soul?  And how will he know to turn from his sin if those the Lord gives words to speak hold their tongues as the sheep goes astray?  And what shall become of this soul who has not offered the word of loving wisdom, but rather determined in himself that there is no hope for the sinner he sees?

Brothers and sisters, when we are called to declare: “‘You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,’ and whatever other commandment there may be,” it is out of love for the soul we see straying that we speak.  For love is “the fulfillment of the law”; it sums up all its precepts, and so all its precepts are expressed in love.  Do not think the law is opposed to love – love and justice are one in God; and the Lord does not call us to ignorance or acceptance of sin, but to truth and salvation.

“Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault’”; do not pretend the fault does not exist, but confront him, for his sake and your own.  For “if he listens to you, you have won over your brother” – you will have brought him back to the fold.  However, “if he doesn’t listen,” the Lord calls us further: “Take one or two others along with you.”  Bring objective witness to sway your loved one from evil.  And “if he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church.”  Ah, the Church!  The keeper of the Spirit of Truth and the flame of wisdom which no man can deny.  What teaching the Lord has left with Her!  And what power: “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  For here are those “gathered together in [Jesus’] name,” and He indeed is “in the midst of them.”  And if the soul “refuses to listen even to the Church,” what hope has it of finding salvation?  But at least you have done all you can.

All must be done in justice and in love to save the soul straying in this land.  This is why the Lord has left us the Church; this is why He has left His Spirit – and we are called to speak His Truth, that salvation might come to all.

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

Music: "No Paranoia" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, help us to love one another,

to bring one another to repentance

that all might sing your praise.

YHWH, help us to love others as we should, to speak the truth to them; let our concern be the salvation of souls, as it is for your Son.

LORD, you institute the Church to be your representative on earth, and you call each member to reflect your love and your glory; your justice must be the desire of every soul.  And we must show that desire in our relations with others, in our concern for their welfare.  Who could stand by and let his brother perish if he truly loves him?  And will not sin cause the death of any who will not repent?  And so, what should we do but speak out in your Name?

Let our tongues not be silent as we see others fall.  Especially your pastors we pray for this day, that they not be afraid to chastise their flock, to warn them against wayward paths.  And let their words be heeded, LORD – save souls from dying in their sin, that all might praise your holy NAME.

Direct download: BC-090411-Su_23_OT.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O slave to the slaves,

to those who came in chains

to the new world,

those whose dark skin

made them seem to eyes of flesh

less than men…

to you these were children of God,

souls to be saved by His love

and through His Church,

and so the thousands

baptized by your hands

celebrate your glorious sacrifice

this day in God’s presence –

pray for us, dear brother,

that the shackles of racial prejudice,

the pride that exalts man above man,

shall fall from our hands,

our tongues and our hearts,

and that all of the Lord’s holy people

will work so diligently

as you, His blessed slave,

for the care of the weakest among us

and the salvation of all souls.

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, your Son gives His life to save us

and lead us unto Heaven.

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

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

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

O Virgin who bore the Son of God,

who became the divine dwelling place

for the Creator of us all,

should we not celebrate your birth

this day,

the blessing of the generation

of you who signal our salvation?

Pray for us, dear Mother,

pray for all your children,

all who would call themselves

sons of God

and brothers of our Lord Jesus Christ...

pray that all generations

will call you blessed,

that all will hail you

as Mother of our Savior

and glorify the Lord

who has filled you with His grace.

You are one of us, dear Virgin Mary,

one of the human creation,

yet in you God deigns to dwell;

pray we shall all be made worthy

to be such a temple for the Lord.

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

(Mic.5:1-4 or Rm.8:28-30;   Ps.13:6,Is.61:9;   Mt.1:1-16,18-23

Note:  I shall treat of both first readings)

 

“It is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived this child.”

 

“God is with us,” brothers and sisters, and how has He chosen to come among us but through a woman, but through a virgin found with child?  And this Virgin daughter of Israel from “Bethlehem-Ephrathah, too small to be among the clans of Judah” – she the humblest of the chosen people, the meekest servant of our race – has been thus greatly blessed “according to His decree,” for she is the first whom God “predestined to share the image of His Son.”  She is the first of Christians prepared and called by the Lord, and now “in turn glorified” in His presence.  It is her birth, it is her role in our salvation we celebrate today, for by her complicity with the will of God “now His greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth; He shall be peace.”

The fact that “God makes all things work together for the good of those who have been called” is evident both in the situation of Mary’s life as Mother of the Lord and in the very fact of her call itself.  First of all, God chooses this woman, this humble creature of the chosen race of His most humble creation to participate with Him in bringing His Son and His salvation into the world.  The lengthy genealogy at the start of our gospel also bears witness to the very human nature of Jesus, whose “family record” can indeed be traced so precisely, and among whose ancestors are many who were far less perfect than He – including a prostitute, an adulterer, and evil kings.  God chooses to come through man, through a woman, to make quite real His redemptive power over the sins of our race, to put flesh to the eternal Word of the Father.

And in the particular situations of Mary’s life, we see how difficulties, how “bitterness,” if you will, is turned to sweetness, too, for we note that Joseph was prepared to divorce his yet-to-be wife when found with child, and we know that the prophet tells us a sword shall pierce her heart as well as her Son’s; but that notwithstanding, and indeed through that cross she bears with Him, she shall find the glorification promised all children of the Most High.  She certainly shares now in the fruits of His redemption.

And we also share in these same fruits, brothers and sisters.  We are likewise predestined and called and justified and glorified if we make ourselves as obedient as our Mother in the faith.  He “whose origin is from of old” is with us now, too, and so we should “sing of the Lord, ‘He has been good to me’” as we “rejoice in [His] salvation” at work within us, a salvation whose coming was prepared in the birth of the Immaculate Virgin Mary and by the power of the Holy Spirit brought to us through she who shares our own flesh.

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

Muisc by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, through the Blessed Virgin Mary

you have sent your only Son to save us from our sins –

may He be always with us.

YHWH, your Son has come among us through the Virgin Mary, to be with us and save us from our sins.  May we welcome Him into our lives as has Mary, as has Joseph, and so find ourselves led to glory with you.  In you do we trust; let us sing of your salvation.

So humbly Jesus has come to us, through a humble virgin, a child called by you to share His image, to encompass Him with devotion that she might bear Him to us – and He has allowed Himself to be made so humble, to be found in her womb as a child of our race.  He has come to this place, O LORD, as the leaven of peace and truth that the darkness which surrounds us might be dispelled by His majestic presence.  O let His glory reach to the ends of the earth!

By the Holy Spirit, Mary has conceived and served to bring Christ to us.  Prepare us, O LORD, as you have prepared her to fulfill your Word among us.

Direct download: Birth_of_Mary_2011.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

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

 

“You will multiply good works of every sort

and grow in the knowledge of God.”

 

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, let your salvation be fully known

in the lives of all your disciples –

let us leave all things to follow your Son.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

*******

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

your Son has come into our midst

to heal us of all our sin.

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

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

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

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

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

 

“Wait for the Lord with courage;

be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.”

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, in Jesus’ Name and in His blood

let us be healed, washed clean

and ready for His coming Day.

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

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

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

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

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

 

“He comes to rule the earth.”

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, you come to save us,

and so we should not be afraid –

through all tribulation you lead us home.

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

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

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

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

O great Shepherd,

watchman of the House of God

and protector of His flock,

though in the monastery you would have stayed,

when called to the Chair of Peter

you guided the Church well

through difficult times –

pray that as difficult days continue

a firm hand may continue to be found

at the helm of MotherChurch.

O pray that the faith be strengthened,

that the Rock upon which this House is set

will remain unshakable

and its light, its wisdom,

serve ever as a beacon

calling straying souls

into the Lord’s welcoming arms.

Humility and holiness

may all our leaders embody,

that by the Word of God on their tongues

and His wounds in their hands

all the poor of the earth

will be carried unto Heaven.

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

 (Jer.20:7-9;   Ps.63:2-6,8-9;   Rom.12:1-2;   Mt.16:21-27)

 

“Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,

holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.”

 

Paul says the same as Jesus when the Lord calls us to “take up [our] cross,” to lose our lives for His sake.  And as Paul instructs the Romans: “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,” so Jesus teaches Peter, and all His apostles and disciples, when He insists he think as God and not as man.

Why?  Why is the Lord so harsh with this Rock of the Church (and, as I say, with us all)?  The answer is spoken clearly in our reading from Jeremiah.  In it the prophet declares in near desperation: “The Word of the Lord has brought me derision and reproach all the day.”  He goes so far as to say the Lord has “duped” him, making evident that he had not expected to become “an object of laughter” upon taking on the mantle of prophecy.  “Everyone mocks me,” he cries; and yet he “must cry out” still the way of the Lord.  Yet he must call the people from their sins and warn them of the “violence and outrage” that is near them.  He cannot remain silent, though he would greatly wish to, because the Word of the Lord is “like fire burning in [his] heart, imprisoned in [his] bones,” and he can do nothing but shout it from the rooftops, though it bring him scorn.

And what has this to do with Peter?  Peter has just declared that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, and it is his voice above all that will cry out this truth to the ends of the earth; thus he and his fellow apostles must know clearly that to which they are called.  As the Lord “must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly… and be killed,” so must they walk the same path of persecution.  This they must see.  The contradiction of the cross they must realize, even as they preach it in this hostile world.  For to it they must give themselves completely.

How?  How can it be that the Christian take up such foolishness in the eyes of the world?  How can it be that we die so freely, that we suffer such mockery, such persecution at the hands of sinners?  Is it not that our “flesh pines and [our] soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless, and without water” for the living God?  And is it not because we know that “as with the riches of a banquet shall [our] soul be satisfied”?  The key is in this gospel quote: “The Son of Man will come with His angels in His Father’s glory.”  The key is believing on the third day He was raised.  If we have this faith it becomes easy to deny the pleasures of the flesh, for even in this we find the eternal life of the Spirit.  Because our “soul clings fast” to God and to the hope that is only in Him, we are able to cling fast to His cross and so “discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”  And so we die with Him to live.

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

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

*******

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

that you might call us up to you.

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-082811-Su_22_OT_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, you are generous and give to all,

and we must increase your love in the world.

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, we must keep ourselves pure

to meet with you who are purity itself.

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

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

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

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

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

 

“Stay awake, therefore!

You cannot know the day your Lord is coming.”

 

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

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

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

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

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

*******

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

“Make your lives worthy of the God

who calls you to His kingship and glory.”

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, take all falsehood from our souls

and let us toil only for you.

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

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

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

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

O witness to the Truth,

to the Light that has come among us,

you gave your very life

and death

for the sake of Christ,

who redeemed us in His blood,

blood you shed with your Savior;

you who were a pillar of iron

against the whole land

and against its king,

you who stood so strong

against the lust of the world,

suffering its persecution so willingly,

fortified even in death

by the Lord and His promise –

how can our meager lives

measure up to your blessed sacrifice;

how can we who are so weak of knee

endure our exile so bravely?

Pray for us, O forerunner of the Christ

both in word and in the giving of your life,

that our blood may be joined to your own

and so to that of our holy Lord.

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

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

 

“First cleanse the inside of the cup

so that its outside may be clean.”

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

*******

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

and would cleanse it by your gaze.

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

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

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

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

O shepherd made anew

by Him who is within,

Him who made us all,

the Light above and beyond

every soul

who gave His life,

His flesh as food that we might live –

pray that the Lord and God of all

will break through our deafness

and dispel our blindness,

that He will breathe His fragrant Spirit

upon us

and we too will be created

anew,

saved by His grace from the sin

that has kept us from Him

and thirsting for the wisdom

which became your own,

with which you shepherded His people

apart from the things He created

to His very Beauty itself,

that all souls might rest in Him

who made them.

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

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