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.

(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: 4:00 PM

(Dt.4:1-2,6-8;   Ps.15:1-5;   Jas.1:17-18,21b-22,27;   Mk.7:1-8,14-15,21-23) 

“Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you

and is able to save your souls.”

Welcome it, yes, and “be doers of the word and not hearers only.”  For how else shall you show that the word of God is planted in you except that you bear fruit?  All that is planted well indeed grows and bears fruit in the light of God.

Brothers and sisters, God “willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of firstfruits.”  “What great nation has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law?”  Indeed the Law of God is whole, the Law of God is perfect – the Law of God gives life.  For this reason Moses instructs the people: “You shall not add to what I command you nor subtract from it,” for the Law is holy as He, and keeping it we prove ourselves to be so holy; keeping it we cannot but “give evidence of [our] wisdom and intelligence to the nations.”  Yes, with the Lord “there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.”  His light is perfect, and His light is eternal, and we must be children of His holy light.

But what of those for whom the washing of hands has become more important than keeping the commandments of God?  What about those over whom Isaiah prophesies: “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me”?  Woe to these, for they have not the word of truth planted in them and so only evil things “come out from within,” and thereby they are defiled.  Oh may the Lord never pronounce over our souls: “In vain do they worship me”!  Oh let us never be producers of the evils of this world!

“Every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights,” and he “who thinks the truth in his heart and slanders not with his tongue” knows the gifts of the Creator and walks in His holy light.  No “great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon Him.”  For His truth is indeed within us and this word comes straight to His ear.  The beat of our hearts is known to our God as we worship in spirit and in truth.  The only food that saves souls is laid upon our table.  The Word of God we consume and so are made His children, caring for “orphans and widows in their affliction” and keeping ourselves “unstained by the world.”

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

Music: "What Is In Your Heart" from Remove the Mask of Lies, second album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, if we walk according to your Word,

we shall be saved.

YHWH, your Word you have planted within us and so call us to follow in your way.  Your Law comes to our ears that we might observe your commandments and so have life.  But if we do not welcome the Word you give, if we do not do as we are commanded, we shall be empty vessels in which corruption may find a home.

O LORD, let us walk blamelessly before you, cherishing the truth in our hearts and guarding our tongues from all evil.  You give us the grace to approach perfection; you are close to us when we call upon you, when you and your glory are our desire.  May we be innocent of all sin, our hands clean from all defilement, and we shall be blessed all our days.

Let your Word live in us and grow in us, dear God.  Let there be no room in us for greed or deceit or any of the wickedness known to man.  With our very lives let us honor you – O let us be truly wise!

Direct download: BC-090212-Su_22_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 4:00 AM

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: 7:00 PM

(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: 4:00 PM

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: 7:00 PM

(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: 4:00 PM

O tearful mother

whose persistent cries

for the soul of your son

were heard in time

by the Lord our God

and so led to his conversion,

to his becoming

not only a Catholic Christian

but a bishop and doctor of the Church,

a saint like yourself –

pray for the prayers of all mothers

who cry for their wayward sons;

pray indeed that all souls may turn

and come to know so deeply

the love of our Lord and God

and the blessing upon

His holy Catholic Church.

Pray that all who stray,

many as they are,

shall be raised from the death of sin

and come to the life of Heaven,

where you wait with your son

to welcome all his brothers.

Direct download: Aug._27_Monica.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(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: 4:00 PM

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: 4:00 PM

O guardian angel of poor children

who formed them in the image of Christ,

an education of body and soul

you provided those most in need,

those most impressionable

and thirsting for the Lord’s care,

and led so many others

in this work for the least of our brothers –

pray we shall become fellow workers

with Jesus in the cause of truth

and teach with deep love,

the greatest patience,

and profound humility,

the souls He places in our hands.

May the desire to see all

attain eternal life

be that which most impels us

and especially those whose responsibility

is the formation of Christian youth,

that all men might rejoice at the straight paths

these walk to the kingdom.

Your zeal despite persecution

may we maintain in our call from the Lord.

Direct download: Aug._25_Joseph_Calasanz.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:05 PM

O loyal subject of the Lord

and of His Church on earth,

though a king

you did not exalt yourself

but listened rather

to the words of your Savior

and chose to serve Him,

doing His work in this world:

the poor you cared for,

your children you raised

in the teaching of Christ,

and for all those in your reign

you sought true justice

and maintained concern

for their spiritual welfare –

pray we poor souls

will emulate your desire

for penance and prayer,

and your faithful obedience

to God and MotherChurch.

May we be blessed as your sons

to have your wisdom in our ears,

a wisdom reflective of Jesus’ own.

Direct download: Aug._25_Louis_of_France.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(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: 4:00 PM

O apostle of the Lamb,

man without guile

led by love to the Lord,

you who declared Jesus Son of God

and King of Israel,

whose eyes of faith were illumined

by angels’ wings –

pray we shall be found by the Christ

under our fig tree

in peace, in prayer,

and carry with you His holy Gospel

to the very ends of the earth.

With you as a foundation stone,

one of the Twelve,

may the Bride of the Lamb

be led to her Husband,

her heart burning with love

for Him alone;

her soul thirsting only for God’s presence,

may her eyes be opened

to see her Lord.

To vision of Heaven pray we all come

by an angelic belief in the Son of Man.

Direct download: Aug._24_Bartholomew.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 1:00 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

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

and His holy Bride coming down out of Heaven;

let us have eyes that look for Him,

hearts that long for Him.

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

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

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

Direct download: St_Bartholomew_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 7:00 AM

O penitential soul

whose eyes saw the Lord,

whose ears heard His voice

calling all to the Cross,

obediently you accepted

the afflictions that are necessary

to attain union with God

and His surpassing glory –

pray that fearful souls

like our own,

which turn in complaint

from every torment and trouble,

however small,

may be blessed with a measure

of your selfless devotion,

that the unfathomable treasure

of the Lord’s grace

might be our own

as we endure,

and even desire as you,

the pains that pave the road to Heaven.

Then we shall know Christ even as you

and proclaim His glory to all creatures.

Direct download: Aug._23_Rose_of_Lima.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(Jos.24:1-2a,15-17,18b;   Ps.34:2-3,9,16-21;   Eph.5:21-32;   Jn.6:60-69) 

“Do you also want to leave?”

How like the questions pertaining to the marriage vows is our Lord’s inquiry of the Twelve, and Joshua’s statement to the Israelites he has just brought out of the wilderness into the Promised Land.  “If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve,” Joshua says, “as for me and my household we will serve the Lord.”  And Jesus seeks to find from His apostles if they will be like “many of His disciples [who] returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied Him” after His teaching on the Bread of Life.

Do you take Jesus to be your husband?  To honor and obey, to love… to “become one flesh” with Him who is “the Holy One of God”?  You are free to leave, or you are free to come unto Him.  Though He knows your heart and your choice, yet you are free to make it as you please.  How shall you answer the Lord?

Paul renders a beautiful account of the love of husband and wife, relating it well “to Christ and the Church.”  “Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies… no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the Church.”  And what can the good wife do when loved “as Christ loved the Church and handed Himself over for her,” bleeding and dying on the cross to wash away all our sins – what can she do when confronted with such utter sacrifice for her sake alone but revere her husband and respect his every wish?  In loving such a man she finds her joy.  (How the wife of Joshua must have beamed to hear her husband’s public declaration that he and his household would follow the Lord!  Who could argue with such blessed authority?)

And now, what of you and I, brothers and sisters, we who have the most faithful husband of all?  Do we “bless the Lord at all times”?  Does our “soul glory in the Lord” as King David’s today?  Do we realize how He “watches over all [our] bones” and makes them pure as His own?  Or will we be fool enough to leave His loving embrace?  The words must come from your mouths as well, and mean them: “We also will serve the Lord, for He is our God.”

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

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

*******

O LORD, to whom else shall we go,

to whom else shall we be wed…

for you alone are God?

YHWH, let us never leave you but be wed to your Son and become as His Body in this world.  O let His Spirit be upon us to bring us to eternal life!  What need we do but be obedient to Him and serve one another in His love?  You will certainly watch over and guide us safely in all things if we are united to Jesus.

He left you, O Father in Heaven, to be joined to us, to save us, to pour out His blood as a cleansing shower to purify us from all sin, that we might be able to join you in Heaven with Him.  In splendor may He present us to you; let us be faithful until the coming of His Day.

Flesh of His flesh and blood of His blood, you cannot but look upon us with favor, dear LORD.  And so, let us praise you all our days, never turning from worship of you, the one true God.  Let all your children serve you alone.

Direct download: BC-082612-Su_21_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 4:00 AM

O Queen of Heaven and earth,

you radiate the glory of God,

for now you stand at His right Hand

in the heavenly kingdom.

Clothed with the sun,

the moon under your feet

and a crown of twelve stars

upon your head,

you give light to all souls

who thirst for the grace

our Lord and King

pours upon us through your intercession.

O how the angels rejoiced,

how the heavens rang with praise

when the Son led you into His presence

clothed in gold

to be forever His Bride!

O pray for us,

dearest Queen and Mother,

that we too shall be led in

among your maiden companions

to stand in God’s glory forever.

Our cause we entrust to your Immaculate Heart.

Direct download: Aug._22_The_Queenship_of_Mary.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(Ruth 2:1-3,8-11,4:13-17;   Ps.128:1-5;   Mt.23:1-12)

“The greatest among you will be the one who serves the rest.”

Today we can contrast the faith of Ruth with the Pharisees’ of Jesus’ time.  In our first reading, Ruth says to her mother-in-law Naomi, “Let me go and glean ears of grain in the field of anyone who will allow me that favor.”  She puts herself at ready service in all humility, despite the potential dangers that come with being a foreign woman working in a place dominated by men who may not have the greatest of respect for women in general and especially for her.  In contrast, in our gospel Jesus says of the Pharisees, “They bind up heavy loads, hard to carry, to lay on other men’s shoulders, while they themselves will not lift a finger to budge them.”  These Pharisees have no heart for service; they are sooner the oppressors of the poor and vulnerable, and are rather concerned for “places of honor at banquets” and “marks of respect in public” than the needs of others.  How stark the contrast is between she who serves and those who are inflated with pride.

And how true are Jesus’ words: “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, but whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”  Indeed, God’s providential hand watches over Ruth as she gleans in the field that “happened to be the section belonging to Boaz of the clan of Elimalech,” her father-in-law, and so a close kinsman.  Not only does Boaz make provision for her safe and fruitful gleaning of his fields – instructing his young men to do her “no harm” and indeed to leave food behind that it will be easy for her to gather – but he seeks diligently to take her to wife… and through their union she (and Naomi) is blessed with a son who will be grandfather to King David.  But what of these Pharisees and their vanity?  From them Jesus will take the keys of the kingdom, the teaching authority on earth which they so misuse for their own gain, and give it to others as He builds His Church on Peter and the apostles.  And so today we hold up Ruth as a model of faith, while these dead men’s bones which walked the earth in whitewashed tombs now find their home rotting in the grave. 

“You shall eat the fruit of your handiwork,” our psalm proclaims.  Those like Ruth who “fear the Lord, who walk in His ways… shall be like a fruitful vine” and their “children like olive plants around” their table.  However, those inflated with pride, serving no one but themselves, shall come to naught.  Let us heed our Lord’s warning today not to exalt ourselves in any work we do, but rather set our hearts on serving others.  Then we shall truly be fruitful, for then we shall know the fruits of heaven.

*******

O LORD, you bless all those who fear you,

who are humble before you.

YHWH, make us humble before you and before others, ever willing to serve in your NAME.  Then we shall be blessed.  Then we shall find our place in your kingdom.  For then we shall be fruitful and our fruits shall raise us to you.

Anyone to whom you lead us, let us serve, dear LORD.  Guide our steps to the field where we shall glean grain for food that will sustain us all our days.  You alone are our nourishment, and fed by your hand we shall have abundance.

But if into pride we fall, exalting ourselves above others, assuming the place reserved for you and your Son, how we shall be cast down!  Our hearts and our hands will be empty as our deeds: our vanity will spell our end.  No fruit of any worth shall we bear, and so our souls shall starve for want of love.  O LORD, let us be truly humble!  Let us be like you.

Direct download: BC-082011-Sa_20_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O simple priest

who became Shepherd

of the universal Church

and defended her with courage

against the errors of the age,

you did not waver before the powers

that would dilute the purity

of the teaching of our Mother

but stood strong against the tide

attempting to wash her away –

are we not yet threatened

by falsehood and sin

being held up as good,

and so do we not yet need

your spirit and your prayers?

Though the tide may be turning,

returning to the solid rock of faith,

yet certainly we need your help

to see the Spirit of Truth

regain and maintain

His place in this House.

Pray indeed all priests and people

be simple and true as children before God.

Direct download: Aug._21_Pius_X.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, may we increase in purity daily,

for the hour of your Son’s coming is nigh

and we must be ready to become His bride. 

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-081911-F_20_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O great light of the Church

who by word and work

inspired your brothers

and so many others

to a life of virtue,

to peace and unity with one another

and an abiding love

for our Lord and His Mother –

teach us this day, O blessed preacher,

of the way in which Jesus calls us,

of the life and love God offers

if we but respond in kind

in our weak and limited manner.

To all souls in His holy Church

and throughout the world

you brought the Word of God,

you imparted the light of His wisdom;

please pray, dear father in the faith,

that our lives may be conformed

to the loving will of the Lord

and we become children of His light

and bearers of His Good News to the nations,

till we stand with you in His surpassing glory.

Direct download: Aug._20_Bernard.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

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

 

“You have made a vow to the Lord.

Do with me as you have vowed.”

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

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

then we will be fit to enter your presence. 

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-081811-Th_20_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O priest of Jesus and Mary

so dedicated to the Hearts

of our Lord and Lady

and the formation of your fellow priests,

how well you preached

of our need to be one

with Christ our Head;

with what zeal you cared

for the poorest among us –

pray that priests and indeed all Christians

will have hearts and souls

beating and breathing as one

with the Lord,

in union with our Blessed Mother;

may all serve and glorify the Father

by using all their faculties

as if they were His alone.

O that we might indeed

belong to the Son of God

and be ruled by Him,

His own eternal life

coursing through our very veins,

His breath upon our tongue!

Direct download: Aug._19_John_Eudes.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

*******

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

are first in your eyes,

for you love all souls, but despise sin.

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-081711-W_20_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

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

 

“Go with the strength you have and save Israel

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

********

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

and we will be blessed.

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-081611-Tu_20_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

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

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

and did not follow their example of obedience

to the commandments of the Lord.”

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

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

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

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

*******

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

you who alone love us?

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-081511-M_20_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O faithful king,

loyal son of MotherChurch

and just ruler of your people,

in peace and piety,

humbly and honorably

you executed your duties,

never showing favor to anyone

but always respecting all

and maintaining above all the faith

and the Church which propagates

that faith in Christ –

where is true Christian profession today,

where those in positions of power

truly dedicated to right service

of the Lord and His people?

Do pray for us, dear king,

that others shall follow in your footsteps

as has your son

so that all shall become

faithful followers of our Lord

in whatever position He grants them.

Pray especially for leaders

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

Direct download: Aug._16_Stephen_of_Hungary.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(Prv.9:1-6;   Ps.34:2-7;   Eph.5:15-20;   Jn.6:51-58) 

“Amen, amen, I say to you,

unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink of His blood,

you do not have life within you.”

Wisdom “has spread her table”; “she has dressed her meat, mixed her wine.”  And now she sends out “her maidens,” calling “from the heights out over the city… ‘Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed!’”  Let the simple hearts, those who seek understanding and refreshment, “turn in here.”  Here is bread that He gives “for the life of the world.”  Yes, His “flesh is true food, and [His] blood is true drink.”  Jesus, the only Son, has come “down from heaven” and now spreads the table before us, in fulfillment of the Scriptures, in answer to all prayers.

Are not our priests His maidens calling souls forth to the altar where we feed?  Is the Church not His city where His voice resounds, where His blood is outpoured?  And so we should heed the instruction of Paul today and “watch carefully how [we] live, not as foolish persons but as wise,” seeking the precious bread that opens all eyes.  “Do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery”; rather, “be filled with the Spirit” that comes to you in this wine made holy, in His sacred blood.

Brothers and sisters, let us “address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in [our] hearts, giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.”  For what greater joy could there be than this Blessed Sacrament?  And so, “glorify the Lord with me, let us together extol His name,” that we may indeed be “radiant with joy, and [our] faces may not blush with shame.”  For the wise come to this table and eat, and so have life everlasting.  For the Lord is here in our midst, in flesh and blood.  Here is the house with “seven columns” in which His children ever dwell.  The foolish may fall by the wayside, but the wise receive eternal life.

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

Music: "Love, the Meaning of" part c. "Love" from Loving Spirit, third album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking His blood,

we gain understanding, we come to eternal life…

and so our mouths are filled with praise!

YHWH, feed us with the flesh and blood of your only Son, this spiritual bread and wine that nourishes us to eternal life.  The days are evil and the food the world offers brings man only death – give us wisdom to see the emptiness, the foolishness of feasting on such corrupted fare, and come to your table today.

O LORD, we praise you for your goodness to us, for when we sought you, when we recognized our lack of understanding and turned to you and to your Son, our shame you took from us and made us radiant with joy.  May Wisdom remain with us always; your Spirit ever sing in us of your surpassing glory.

To the banquet let us come, to the feast Jesus prepares for us by His sacrifice.  Let us eat His Body and drink His Blood and live forever in your heavenly kingdom.

Direct download: BC-081912-Su_20_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 4:00 AM

O soldier of the Immaculate Virgin

and martyr for our Lord,

well you spread the fame

of the Mother of all graces,

calling all souls to repentance

that she might apply her Son’s blood

to save the straying among us;

and well you heeded our Savior’s call

to lay down your life for others –

pray this day we have such strength,

such conviction and determination

in serving our Lord and Lady,

in publishing the Good News

of salvation,

that by our dedication

we too may serve well upon this earth

in the army of the faithful,

also leading souls

through the Immaculate Heart of Mary

to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

that peoples and nations may be converted

and so learn in turn to serve

the surpassing glory of God.

Direct download: Aug._15_The_Assumption.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 1:00 PM

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

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

that we might join Mary at your Son’s side

in the kingdom. 

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

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

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

Direct download: Assumption_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 7:00 AM

O soldier of the Immaculate Virgin

and martyr for our Lord,

well you spread the fame

of the Mother of all graces,

calling all souls to repentance

that she might apply her Son’s blood

to save the straying among us;

and well you heeded our Savior’s call

to lay down your life for others –

pray this day we have such strength,

such conviction and determination

in serving our Lord and Lady,

in publishing the Good News

of salvation,

that by our dedication

we too may serve well upon this earth

in the army of the faithful,

also leading souls

through the Immaculate Heart of Mary

to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

that peoples and nations may be converted

and so learn in turn to serve

the surpassing glory of God.

Direct download: Aug._14_Maximilian_Mary_Kolbe.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

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

 

“I gave you a land which you had not tilled

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

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

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

and just so we should remain faithful to one another –

your promise should be our own.

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

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

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

 

Direct download: BC-081211-F_19_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O brothers united in faith

and in offering the ultimate sacrifice

for the sake of that faith,

for the sake of God’s Church –

pray nothing shall separate

Christ’s brothers

one from another,

but that all members of His flock

and all those who lead His flock

will remain ever united

in His blood

under the See of Peter.

O pray that His Body

not be divided

but that it be healed,

made whole

by His Cross.

Into His arms

may we all offer our lives

and so join our Lord

in His kingdom.

Direct download: Aug._13_Pontian_and_Hippolytus.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(Jos.3:7-11,13-17;   Ps.114:1-6;   Mt.18:21-19:1)

 

“My heavenly Father will treat you in exactly the same way

unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”

 

The forgiveness of sins and the crossing of the Jordan into the Promised Land is our theme today.  Both are very much one and the same.

In our gospel Jesus tells the parable of the merciless servant in order to teach Peter and the apostles of the office of forgiveness which is theirs through his intercession.  When one of a king’s officials is unable to pay his debt, he “prostrates himself” before the king and begs for time.  “Moved with pity,” the master lets the official go and writes off the debt.  (In just the same way the apostles are to forgive those who repent of their sins.)  But the same servant who is forgiven then demonstrates no forgiveness to a fellow servant, demanding from him all that is owed and throwing him in jail.  When the king gets wind of the servant’s lack of mercy, he removes the forgiveness of his debt and seeks to extract every penny from him.  The parable illustrates Jesus’ central teaching: we must forgive to be forgiven.  And it indicates the power of forgiveness Jesus, the King, gives to His apostles, the officials, the servants – evident in its being prompted by Peter’s question regarding forgiveness.  The Lord reminds them (and us) of the forgiveness they have received from Him, and that they should carry this gift to others.

A metaphor of this power is presented in our first reading.  Joshua, Moses’ successor, leads the people across the Jordan River into the Promised Land at the instruction of the Lord.  Notice what causes the waters of the Jordan to “halt in a solid bank,” allowing the people to pass over on dry land (much as the previous generation had done at the Red Sea).  The waters cease flowing “when the soles of the feet of the priests carrying the ark of the Lord… touch the water of the Jordan.”  Much as Christ and His apostles stand in the breach interceding for the forgiveness of our sins and thus drawing us into the heavenly kingdom, so “the priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord remained motionless on dry ground in the bed of the Jordan until the whole nation had completed the passage.”  Of old the priests led by Joshua found their power of intercession in the ark of the covenant which held the Ten Commandments; today our priests, led by Peter, find their power of forgiveness in the cross of Christ.

Brothers and sisters, let us all forgive one another from the heart.  Let us flee in fear like the “Jordan turned back” on its course the danger of holding a grudge or failing to share the blessings we have received from Jesus.  Let us cross the Jordan to the Promised Land ourselves and serve to draw others into the heavenly kingdom.  Let us not disappoint our Father and so know His wrath; let us shine His loving mercy forth till all have crossed on dry land.

*******

O LORD, without forgiveness in our heart,

we shall never cross over into the Promised Land.

YHWH, how shall we pass into the Promised Land if you do not go with us; and how shall you go with us if we are burdened by sin?  We need you to go before us, and we need your forgiveness, or we shall be left on the banks of the Jordan.

And how shall we be forgiven our sins and find your presence among us if we fail to forgive those who are indebted to us?  O LORD, how can a man with a hardened heart come before you who are mercy itself?  He has no place in your kingdom, and so the waters which would have cleansed him of his sins drown him instead.

Send us your priests, dear LORD, to lead us in your stead.  May Peter be at the head of your people to bring them as has Joshua, as does Jesus, into your Promised Land.  And may we thus be freed from sin that we might follow them.

Direct download: BC-081111-Th_19_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O tireless worker for the Lord

who when cut off from everything

dearest to you

gave yourself completely to God,

you who have shown the way

of the martyrdom of love,

of dying entirely to self

and serving our Savior

in the sick and the poor,

in whose guise He comes –

pray our lives shall not wallow

in mediocrity

or sin;

pray we shall have

the same thirst for love as you,

that by our love we may die

and so overcome death

to live forever

in the presence of our Redeemer.

Visit us this day in our weakness

that our hearts, too, might be strong

and our lives be laid down

in the blood of the only Son.

Direct download: Aug._12_Jane_Frances_de_Chantal.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

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

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

that I would give to their descendants.”

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, what greater gift could you give

than the power upon your priests

to forgive men’s sins?

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

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

Direct download: BC-081011-W_19_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O bride of Christ

whose poverty matched His own,

whose humility made Him known,

whose love indeed approached

His throne

and the embrace of His holy arms –

pray all souls will gaze into the mirror

that is our Lord

born in a manger,

dead upon a Cross,

risen unto Heaven.

Pray we shall be driven on

through the death we all must die,

through His marvelous poverty,

His wondrous humility,

to the indescribable delights

of those who remain at His side.

O that we might be poor as you were poor,

as He is poor

for the sake of every soul,

that we might come to embrace

His blessed sacrifice

and so know the glories of His kingdom.

Direct download: Aug._11_Clare.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

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

 

“It is the Lord who marches before you;

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

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

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

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-080911-Tu_19_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O generous soul,

you gave your life freely

to the poor

and your death completely

to the Lord;

a grain of wheat fallen to the earth,

you have indeed produced much fruit,

so closely have you followed Christ –

pray for us miserable souls

who cannot seem to draw near

your thorough sacrifice,

made without fear of the fire

ignited by your torturers,

made in joy of uniting

your death to Jesus’ own.

How shall we approach your love,

your blood so closely mingled

with that of our crucified Lord;

how shall we match your generosity

in serving His blessed call?

Pray we will find the courage

to give everything over to God

and know we are in His arms.

Direct download: Aug._10_Lawrence.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 1:00 PM

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

 

“The just man shall be in everlasting remembrance.”

 

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

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

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

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

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, if we serve you,

we will be where Jesus has been

– fixed to a cross –

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

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

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

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

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

Direct download: St._Lawrence_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 7:00 AM

O sacrificial victim

seeking to bring peace

to a dark world,

you found your wisdom in love,

in the love of Christ

and in His Cross,

and died three times for His sake:

once in entering His Church,

once in taking His habit,

and once in laying down your life

at the hands of the enemies of His peace –

pray, O blessed teacher

and sister to all men,

that the death of this life

be something we shall not fear

but embrace with the same grace

with which the Lord blessed you.

Why should we hold

to the things of the earth

when Jesus waits to embrace us

in His loving arms

and carry us unto Heaven?

Pray we shall be ready to answer His call.

Direct download: Aug._9_Teresa_Benedicta_of_the_Cross.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(1Kgs.19:4-8;   Ps.34:2-9;   Eph.4:30-5:2;   Jn.6:41-51)

“Strengthened by that food he walked forty days and forty nights

to the mountain of God, Horeb.”

As the forty days and forty nights Noah found himself protected from the rains by the Lord; as the forty years the Israelites were guided through the desert; as the forty days Jesus found strength in the Word of God while fasting in the wilderness… as Elijah is fed for his journey, so we for the fullness of our days feed upon “the bread of life” as we travel to the heavenly kingdom of our Lord.  Here is our ark; here is our manna – here is all the strength and protection we need.  He is our food.

“His praise shall be ever in my mouth,” for His food is ever on our altar, and this Sacrament fills us with nothing but joy.  If we had not this food, indeed “bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling” would come from our mouths so poisoned by the fruit of the world.  But as it is “Christ loved us and handed Himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma,” and thus we “taste and see how good the Lord is” and cannot but “glorify the Lord” and “extol His name.”

That “the angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him and delivers them” is illustrated clearly in the trials of Elijah.  Overwhelmed by “all [his] fears,” the “afflicted” prophet “prayed for death, saying, ‘This is enough, O Lord!  Take my life.’”  But “from all his distress [God] saved him,” for an “angel of the Lord… touched him, and ordered, ‘Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!’”  And Elijah “got up, ate, and drank” the food and water the Lord provided, and made it safely to the mountain where the Lord God would speak to him.

“This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.”  All strength and blessing come from the Lord through His only Son.  And being drawn to Him and so discovering the Father of all, what can our faces be but “radiant with joy,” the joy of His eternal, loving presence?  Let us come this day to the holy mountain of God, our Lord Jesus Christ.

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

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

*******

O LORD, you give us the flesh of your Son

that we might live,

and you send your angels to guard us.

YHWH, your Son has given His flesh as a sacrificial offering that we might eat of this Bread and be strengthened for our journey to eternal life on your holy mountain.  Help us to walk with you, to walk with Him as your beloved children, your angel at our side, your Holy Spirit within us to bless us and keep us faithful to you until the Day of redemption is fulfilled.  O let us be taught by you!  Let us come to your Son and be fed with His Body and Blood, with the Word He is, offered for our salvation.

Why should we murmur among ourselves, dearest LORD?  Why should we doubt and fear your presence among us and your care for us?  Why do we court death in our despair?  You are near!  You hear the afflicted man when he calls out – you have delivered us from death by sending us your Son.  Let us glory in the gift you give us.  Let us taste your goodness this day.

Direct download: BC-081212-Su_19_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 4:00 AM

O humble preacher

who walked in poverty

with Christ your King

and spoke in power

to destroy lie by truth,

you gathered men around you

to be bearers of the grace of God,

to be men of the Gospel

inspired by love divine –

pray we shall be taught well

the faith

and walk with you in Jesus’ way,

that all we do

will be for the salvation of souls,

our lives even as our Savior’s.

May His Word

and deep love for others

lead us in all our work on earth

that always and in all things

we may beseech the Lord

to be with all His brothers.

Pray our hearts be set on His will

and we serve as His apostles.

Direct download: Aug._8_Dominic.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(Dt.6:4-13;   Ps.18:2-4,47,51;   Mt.17:14-20)

“Praised be the Lord, I exclaim,

and I am safe from my enemies.”

      In our first reading we hear the Shema, the great Commandment of the Mosaic Law – the Lord is God and we must love Him with all our being.  Moses exhorts the people “not to forget to the Lord,” who brought them out of slavery in the land of Egypt and is about to bless them abundantly in the Promised Land.  Quite graphic is he, and are their practices, in encouraging remembrance of the Lord’s command.  His words are to be drilled into the children, bound at wrists and on foreheads, and written “on the doorposts of… houses and on… gates.”  And David’s psalm mightily extols the love we should have for our Lord: “My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!” the great king of the Israelites exclaims in his overflowing praise for his saving Lord, in whom he finds his strength.  Indeed, the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is our life and our salvation.

And it is the faith at the heart of our praise of God which saves us from our enemies, which redeems us from our sins.  Jesus demonstrates this clearly in our gospel today.  “What an unbelieving and perverse lot you are!” the Lord declares in chastisement of His disciples and all those who would seek His graces, His healing, for they have not the faith to rescue the possessed boy from the grip of the devil.  Where is their praise of the Lord’s Name?  Where is their surpassing love of Him?  How is it their belief in the Lord’s power to deliver from the bonds of slavery has been so easily shaken?  Is it not “the Lord alone” who is God?  “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you would be able to say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move.  Nothing would be impossible for you.”  Let these words be inscribed upon our hearts, that we will never forget the abundant glory of God which we possess by our faith in Him. 

Glorious are you, O Lord, beyond all creatures, beyond all existence!  Far above us do you sit, and yet how close to our hearts do you remain.  There is none who compares with you; there is nothing in the heavens or on earth greater than you, for you have created all that is.  Strengthen our failing love, let it match the glory of your presence, that we might be delivered from all sin and conquer all evil in your divine Name.  Give us faith and trust in you, and we will praise you forever.  Safe from our enemies, we will glory always in your everlasting love.

*******

O LORD, let us praise your NAME

and so find safety from all our enemies.

YHWH, give us the grace to love you with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, you who alone are God, you who alone are good.  It is you alone who care for us, who provide for our every need.  May your blessing remain upon us as we praise your holy NAME.

Where shall we find faith, O LORD, even the size of a mustard seed, we who are such a perverse and unbelieving lot?  How can we learn to trust in you and in your power to do all – and to do all through us weak vessels.  It is you alone who have all power; by your Word the entire universe came to be and is sustained….  Help us to take refuge in that Word and not in the world of passing things.

We love you, LORD, our Rock, our shield, the sword of our salvation!  But we are indeed weak and forgetful souls in need of healing.  Increase our faith in you and in your Son, that we might serve you alone.

Direct download: BC-080611-Sa_18_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O reformer of the Church

and leader of her priests and people,

calling all to live the Gospel,

to give their hearts

in the service of Christ,

who alone can save men’s souls –

pray that your love for the Lord

and His holy Church

will be known in all

the members of His Body,

and so that apostles will be sent forth

to preach and to heal

even this day.

Pray we shall be one

with Him who made us,

eating His Body and drinking His Blood

and living according to the Word

He speaks to our souls

through MotherChurch

and all her faithful servants.

It is the Lord alone

who must be our concern;

pray we, too, shall walk in His footsteps.

Direct download: Aug._7_Cajetan.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:05 PM

O martyrs of the faith

ordained by the Lord

to shed blood for His sake

and the sake of His Church,

to give witness to the glory of Christ

and so win the crown

of eternal life…

it is in your blood

and by your sacrifice

the Church has grown

and become strong –

pray it shall always stand firm

in confessing the faith

despite any threat

from the powers of this world;

pray every soul

shall give his life in joy

and so emerge victorious

in the spiritual combat.

Handed over to death for Jesus’ sake,

may we, too, come to life eternal.

Direct download: Aug._7_Sixtus_II_and_Companions.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

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

 

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

accompanied by His angels.”

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, your greatness is revealed to all;

let us dwell in your light.

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-080511-F_18_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

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

Mt.17:1-9 – Mk.9:2-10 – Lk.9:28b-36

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, how great is your power,

how bright your light,

and yet you make yourself known to our mortal eyes. 

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

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

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

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

Direct download: Transfiguration_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 7:00 AM

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

 

“They forgot the God who had saved them.”

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, if only we had faith!

we would never be afraid –

we would certainly be saved.

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

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

Direct download: BC-080311-W_18_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O priest exemplar,

O preacher and confessor extraordinaire,

healer of souls

who by prayer and penance

was made holy unto God

and brought others

to that same holiness

before the Lord and Maker

of all poor souls –

pray indeed this day

that our hearts will be set on Heaven,

that our longing will be for the Lord,

and so that by prayer

we shall come to union with Him.

Pray all your fellow priests

will be filled with your same zeal

for the salvation of their flock

and so serve to bring them

to blessed union

with the God of all.

Pray the Lord send out holy priests

to labor in His vineyard

as diligently, as tirelessly, as you.

Direct download: Aug._4_John_Mary_Vianney.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(Jer.30:1-2,12-15,18-22;   Ps.102:16-23,29;   Mt.14:22-36) 

“His assembly before me shall stand firm.”

The words of the prophet Jeremiah are fulfilled in the Apostle Peter and in the Church, for upon this Rock we have our firm foundation.

“The Lord looked down from His holy height, from heaven He beheld the earth”; and when the time had come, He sent His only Son.  And that Son, in all His wisdom, chooses those who would follow Him, making certain thereby that indeed “the children of [His] servants shall abide, and their posterity shall continue in [the Father’s] presence,” thus fulfilling the word of the Lord: “You shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

Yes, Jeremiah declares of the New Jerusalem, the “city [that] shall be rebuilt upon [the] hill”: “His leader shall be one of his own, and his rulers shall come from his kin.”  Jesus is of our kind, a man like each of the Lord’s children, and so is the apostle He chooses – and all who likewise follow.  All bishops and priests, all the descendants of Peter and the apostles in the ministry of the Word and the ministry of the flesh of Christ, all come from our midst and are our very brothers.  And the Church is ruled by them in the power of the Holy Spirit.

In the beginning of our gospel today we find Jesus much as He was the night before choosing His apostles – “He went up on the mountain to pray, remaining there alone as evening drew on.”  John the Baptist has been killed and the time has come now for our Lord’s mission to increase, and so He prepares Himself for this next step in His ministry.  And so it becomes His primary concern to be sure that when the time comes for Him to die, His successor shall be readied.  And so the test and teaching He brings His Rock, Peter.

“When I summon him, he shall approach me; how else should one take the deadly risk of approaching me? says the Lord.”  Again Jeremiah’s prophecy is fulfilled, for Peter does not come to Jesus on his own, but first states, “Lord, if it is really you, tell me to come to you across the water,” and waits for the Lord to exclaim: “Come!”  And what happens now, what miracle?  “Peter got out of the boat and began walking on the water, moving toward Jesus.”  Yes, our Rock walks miraculously with the Lord!  Then why does he begin to sink? you say.  It is the Lord’s will to teach our leader, and all of us, of our dependence on Him alone and our need to cry out, “Lord, save me!”  (Oh how sweet and instructive are the words Jesus whispers loudly into the apostle’s ears – “Why did you falter?”)

O may the Lord ever bless His Church with the firmness of faith found only in Him!  May we ever stand in His presence, unshaken by the winds of the world and our own human weakness.  Yes, may we be His children.

*******

O LORD, let us stand in assembly before you,

healed of all our wounds.

YHWH, make us your people that you may be our God.  Call us to you, for how shall we approach your majesty except at your invitation?  If we have not word from you, surely we shall sink in the sea, for our hearts are terribly afraid of the winds of this world and the prospect of your punishment.  But trusting in you, we may follow Peter walking on the water; we may become as your children by the grace of your Son.

How great is your mercy toward us, dearest LORD, for you hear us as we cry out to you; from the darkness of this prison you release our souls.  Even in the night you come to us, well aware of the troubles we encounter in doing your will.  Great pity you have for us as you look down from your holy height, and to the heights of Mount Zion you would draw us, that we might join your Son in prayer and praise of your NAME.  By you alone shall we be glorified, and remain in your presence always.

Direct download: BC-080712-Tu_18_OT_IIBC.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and you shall live in His paradise.

*******

O LORD, let us not complain against your providence;

may we never harden our hearts

but come to your table and eat.

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-080111-M_18_OT_I_BC.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O priest of the Blessed Sacrament,

you gave your life in sacrifice

at the altar of the Lord

and in all the trials of this earth;

you suffered all for Jesus

and desired only to bring souls,

all the children of God,

to receive Him and His grace

in the Sacrament of Communion,

in oneness with our Lord –

pray, O priest of Christ,

that our very lives

shall also be offered in sacrifice,

especially in the holy sacrifice

of the Mass

and in reception of His Body and Blood

in the Blessed Sacrament.

Pray particularly that our priests will know

the profound call upon their souls

to make Him present in this world

and be as inspired with holy devotion

as were you, dear saint.

Pray our hunger for His Presence increase.

Direct download: Aug._2_Peter_Eymard.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:05 PM

O vigorous defender of the divinity of Christ,

you who suffered exile

for your work for the faith,

you who had a true shepherd’s heart

and cared so deeply

for the priests and people

the Lord placed in your hands –

pray the shepherds of the Church today

will strive with your same selfless zeal

to bring the love of the Son of God

and the blessed demands of His call

to every soul in their care,

that the faith might increase

and be known in all its fullness

even to the ends of the earth.

Pray and weep, O steadfast apostle,

for all the members of Christ’s holy flock,

that we shall be protected

from false and specious claims,

from wolves in sheep’s clothing

who would enter and steal the faith

of this holy Catholic Church

founded by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Direct download: Aug._2_Eusebius_of_Vercelli.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(Ex.16:2-4,12-15;   Ps.78:3-4,23-25,54;   Eph.4:17,20-24;   Jn.6:24-35) 

“Do not work for food that perishes

but for food that endures for eternal life,

which the Son of Man will give you.”

Their bellies rumbling in the desert, “the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron,” calling out for food to satiate their hunger.  How they long to be beside their “flesh pots” in Egypt, where they “ate [their] fill of bread” – even if they should die there.  Their great concern is for the food which perishes.

And in our gospel, too, Jesus upbraids the crowd who follow Him, saying, “You are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled,” the Lord having just fed the five thousand.  They, too, seek the satiation of their physical hunger while remaining blind to the spiritual food Jesus is.

This lack of comprehension of the life in the Spirit the Lord would impart is exemplified in the name the Israelites give the bread from heaven God has provided for their pilgrimage.  “Manna” they call it, after the question they “asked one another, ‘What is this?’ for they did not know what it was.”  And how little do those who question Jesus understand of “the bread of God… which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”  Even as they say, “Sir, give us this bread always,” they do not see that He stands before them, and that they have already partaken of the bread He is.  And so, most will turn away, their hearts more set upon the belly than the spirit.  And so, with the belly many will perish.

Brothers and sisters, “You should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way of righteousness and holiness of truth.”  Listen to your brother Paul, for he speaks of Jesus and the new life He brings.  Here on our altar is “the bread of angels”; and would you turn to eating rotting flesh?  The Lord calls you into the heavenly kingdom; and would you choose slavery in the land of sin instead?  “Abundance” of food in “His holy land” is now set before us by the Son of Man – partake of this bread of everlasting life, the flesh and blood of Christ.

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

Music: "The Spirit Rules the Body" from Breath, the Apple Rises, fifth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, let us eat the Bread you give us,

the food that endures to eternal life.

YHWH, let our minds be renewed, our hearts set on you, on the Bread from Heaven you give us in your Son.  Why should we be concerned for the things of the belly and the corruption it brings?  Let us be men of the Spirit eating the Bread of angels, not of beasts.

If it is upon the flesh we set our sights, if we desire the food that perishes, we will perish with it.  But if, O LORD, we long for the food that endures to eternal life, eternal life will be ours by the grace at your hand.  O let us do your works and not those of the devil!

If we come to your Son, O LORD, He will feed us with His Body.  If we but believe in Him, He will quench our thirst.  We shall never be in want again if we but embrace the One you have sent.

O Jesus, let us look for you and we shall find the truth you are and no longer live in futility but have abundance in your Father’s holy land.

Direct download: BC-080512-Su_18_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 4:00 AM

O patron of moral theologians

and servant of the poor,

how blessed was your loving wisdom,

your understanding of God

and His love for us,

made perfectly known

in His only Son

whom you loved so much

with His Mother and the Church,

and whom you call us all to love

through your blessed words –

pray the redeeming love

of Jesus our Savior

flow in all our veins,

that we might unite our wills

to the Father’s

as perfectly as His only Son

and so be as encompassed by grace and love

as only He could be.

Pray indeed that we shall be saved,

that we will come to the Lord on our knees

and so find His presence filling us

unto eternity.

Direct download: Aug._1_Alphonsus_Liguori.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, there is a land

to which you call us to return,

and this heavenly homeland is all that matters.

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

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-073011-Sa_17_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O strong and holy apostle,

soldier for the Lord Jesus

and defender of His Church,

you gathered together an army

to labor in mission fields,

to educate the masses,

to serve and die as loyal sons

of the Christ and His Pope –

teach us this day

to follow in the way of Jesus,

to meditate on His life

and be fruitful in His works.

Pray your own sons

and all the children of MotherChurch

not waver in the faith

which sustains them on this earth

but that in all truth

steadfast Christ’s disciples shall stand

and proclaim in strength the salvation

that comes only through Jesus

and the Vine He has planted,

through whose teaching and sacraments

His very Spirit and blood flow.

Direct download: July_31_Ignatius_of_Loyola.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

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

 

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

sacrifices and libations, as prescribed for each day.”

 

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

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

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

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

*******

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

and we shall be blessed.

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-072911-F_17_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O you of golden words,

of angelic tongue,

of sermons refined

seven times

by the Spirit of God…

O how you made present on earth

the invisible Creator

even as He was made for us

in the womb of the Virgin,

so tangible had His grace become

through the preaching the Lord inspired

in your soul –

pray we shall indeed be vivified

by the eternal grace of God,

by the gift of His becoming Man,

to become like Him,

heavenly spirits in His reign.

How could we comprehend such blessing;

how could such surpassing joy

these earthen vessels hold?

Let us come close to Christ our Savior,

close to Him as now you stand

in His radiant glory.

Direct download: July_30_Peter_Chrysologus.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

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

 

“The cloud covered the meeting tent,

and the glory of the Lord filled the Dwelling.”

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, we pray we shall not be cast out

but be gathered into your dwelling,

and in your presence make our home.

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-072811-Th_17_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O servant of the Lord

who welcomed Him

into your home,

fulfilling all the duties

of hospitality,

and yet realized

as He taught

that it is He

who serves us poor creatures,

who is the resurrection and the life…

in whose House we make our home –

pray that even as we fulfill the duties

of our station in life

we too shall come to believe

Jesus is the Christ,

the Son of God

who comes to us

to serve us in His need,

allowing Himself to be fed by us

that He might feed our souls

with everlasting life,

with the Spirit that passes not away

with the body.

Direct download: July_29_Martha.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

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

 

“The skin of his face had become radiant

while he conversed with the Lord.”

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, holy are you,

and holy are those who seek your face.

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

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-072711-W_17_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

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

 

“The angels will hurl them into the fiery furnace

where they will wail and grind their teeth.”

 

It is the justice of God which is our theme today.  And though it is absolutely certain that the mercy of God far surpasses our merit and He does not “requite us according to our crimes,” yet it is equally so – and Jesus could not make it more explicit than He does in His explanation in our gospel today – that God’s will is not for “declaring the guilty guiltless,” and that “the followers of the evil one” shall be punished.  It is this invariable necessity of God’s justice I highlight today because of its general ignorance in this age.

“Merciful and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger and abounding in kindness,” David declares in our psalm.  “The Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.”  Yes, “surpassing is His kindness toward those who fear Him.”  But what if we should not fear Him?  What if we should not give Him the love and honor and respect which is rightfully His?  It cannot but be that we pervert His kindness and compassion and, by our own will, turn it into the flaming punishment it thus becomes.  This is the justice of God: it reaches down “for a thousand generations”; it covers the earth with its forgiveness.  But turning from it we inevitably cast ourselves into hell, for there is no place to hide our hardened hearts from His merciful love.  Thus our refusal to accept His surpassing kindness is that which provides the kindling for the everlasting flames.  And if we deny the existence of hell, we deny the presence of God’s love, and our own free will in choosing it or not.

In our first reading there is quite a jump, better than a chapter, in the scene.  In the first half Moses is in the tent of meeting where he would serve as judge for the people; in the second half he is on Mount Sinai, where God has led him to receive the Ten Commandments (a second time).  The Lord has also promised to reveal His back to Moses – no one can see His face and live – and it is this scene that is spoken of in our gospel.  Moses speaks the Lord’s silent NAME, “YHWH”, and God comes in power, crying to him of His infinite mercy and absolute justice.  As the Lord passes by in this way, Moses is overwhelmed and begs God to remain with him and the people, recognizing that they will not be able to take a step without Him.  And in His great kindness, but not without appropriate punishment, the Lord will remain with Moses and the Israelites through their desert journey.

“The saints will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom.”  The angels shall gather the good seed unto their just reward.  And there shall be great rejoicing as the mercy of God thus comes to fulfillment.  But none of this can be until “all who draw others to apostasy and all evildoers” are cast out from His presence.  Just as the faithless were not permitted to enter the Promised Land but died in the desert, so only those whose hearts burn with the love of God will shine in His kingdom.  For the rest only the fires of torment await.

 

*******

O LORD, the weeds must be burned

that those whom your Son has redeemed

might shine brightly before you.

YHWH, to Moses you spoke face to face, proclaiming your NAME to him, and he bowed down in your wondrous presence as your power passed before him.  Your merciful ways you made known to him, your mercy and your justice, for you put away the sins of those who fear you, but the wicked shall know punishment.

We are indeed stiff-necked, O LORD, and deserving of your fiery wrath.  But help us now to turn to you that we might be preserved from destruction at the end of the age.  Your good seed let us be, sown by Jesus and His love.  By His sacrifice He prepares the ground for a bountiful harvest.

O LORD, let us shine like the sun in your kingdom on the Day of your Son’s return.  And so, now let our ears be open to hear of your mercy; upon our hearts inscribe your NAME that we might remember your love.

Direct download: BC-072611-_Tu_17_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

(Ex.32:15-24,30-34;   Ps.106:1,19-23;   Mt.13:31-35) 

“Eventually the whole mass of dough began to rise.”

 The kingdom of God comes gradually, grows imperceptibly; from the smallest of seeds it becomes “the largest of plants,” and “the birds of the sky come and build their nests in its branches.”  Indeed, this yeast is kneaded into our hearts, and by its grace we rise gradually unto the form heaven would make us – and so the glory of God becomes ours, and with others we share His grace within us. 

See that it is the people’s impatience which has led them into sin: “Make us a god to be our leader,” they say to Aaron, “as for the man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what happened to him.”  Moses is gone to the mountain forty days to receive the commands of God upon the tablets of stone, but this time is too long for the Israelites to wait, and so when he returns with the “tablets that were made by God, having inscriptions on them that were engraved by God Himself,” he finds that they have “exchanged their glory,” present so really, so physically, in the Law he carries in his hands, “for the image of a grass-eating bullock.” 

They could not wait.  The God they sought in vain image was coming to them in truth with His Law written in stone, but they did not perceive His approach; and so, taking matters into their own hands, they crafted their condemnation.  For now it is but chastisement that awaits them; this, too, comes gradually, and is unavoidable.  As the Lord says to Moses, “When it is time for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”

“So grave a sin” the Israelites commit.  It is only because “Moses, His chosen, withstood Him in the breach, to turn back His destructive wrath,” that the people were not struck out of the book the Lord has written.  Indeed, though they shall all die in their sin in the desert, their generation shall maintain the promise.  But it shall not be until Christ Jesus stands in the breach for all, that we who are so prone to evil shall be saved entirely.  Only He makes the absolute atonement for the sin of the people, which Moses prefigures in our first reading today.

And now that the Son has come, now the seed is planted in our hearts, now the yeast begins to rise in our souls – now the kingdom of God is nigh.  From the desert we are thus led, the angel of God going before us.  We have but to listen to the word He speaks to us in His blessed parables and apply its truth to our lives, and thus staying the path set before us we will come in time to the kingdom that awaits us.  We shall yet see the Lord descend from on high, not carrying tablets in His arms, but carrying us and our salvation in full bloom.  And on that holy day we shall eat of the bread He has caused to rise in our hearts and in our lives.

*******

O LORD, may your kingdom grow ever in our midst,

and may we patiently await its coming.

YHWH, your Son comes to stand in the breach, to reveal to us your holy kingdom.  For it now we must but wait, and allow your will to be accomplished.

We have sinned gravely against you, LORD.  Our hearts have all turned from your glory to the idols of this age.  We have been blinded by the gold the world so persistently offers.

Give us patience to wait on your goodness, LORD.  Give us the wisdom we need to know the coming of your reign.  For it rises in our midst this day, if we but have eyes to see what your Son reveals.

From the mountaintop let your Word come down, O LORD, to instruct us in your ways.  For without your Law to guide us here, quickly we become depraved. 

O punish us not in your rage, dear God; strike us not out of your Book.  Let our hearts embrace the words of your Son.

Direct download: BC-072511-M_17_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O parents of the Virgin Mary,

grandparents of the Lord our God,

you who gave birth

to our Blessed Mother,

through whom we are blessed

for all ages…

O you through whom the promise to David

came to be fulfilled,

you whose virtues

found favor with the Lord,

you whom He chose

to bring forth His Mother

and the Mother of all the redeemed –

pray our posterity shall endure

even as your own,

that we shall bear fruit

even in our old age

and see our children’s children

in a happy Jerusalem.

Pray we shall know the Virgin

as intimately as you

and so come to know our Lord

in the kingdom where He reigns.

Direct download: July_26_Joachim_and_Anne.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(2Kgs.4:42-44;   Ps.145:10-11,15-18;   Eph.4:1-6;   Jn.6:1-15) 

“They shall eat and there shall be some left over.”

O Lord, “the eyes of all look hopefully to you, and you give them their food in due season; you open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”  You are He who is “just in all His ways and holy in all His works,” and eating the food you offer, we become holy as well.

Brothers and sisters, if we “live in a manner worthy of the call [we] have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of spirit through the bond of peace,” what shall not be ours?  Will the cup upon our table not overflow?  For then we shall be holy as He is holy.  And what does it mean to be holy but to be perfect, to be complete?  Did not those reclining on the grass eat as much bread “and also as much fish as they wanted”?  Is it not true that they “had their fill”?  And will those who come to the table of the Lord today, to partake of the sacrifice offered on His altar, be found wanting?  No, certainly not.  For as far as Jesus’ miracle of feeding the five thousand with five loaves surpasses Elisha’s feeding the hundred with twenty loaves, thus far and more does Jesus’ feeding our bodies and souls with His Bread and Wine surpass the miracle we hear of today in our gospel.  For now billions eat.  Now all who come are fed.  Without limit souls are satisfied, and satisfied unto heaven.

Two notes I would make regarding our readings today.  The first is that when Jesus performed this miracle of feeding the five thousand, “the Jewish feast of the Passover was near.”  The Evangelist does not state this in vain: it is on the feast of the Passover Jesus shall offer Himself as the new Lamb of whose flesh all must partake – it is this day He shall institute the Eucharist.  And note, too, Elisha’s immediate words upon being offered the twenty barley loaves as a gift: “Give it to the people to eat.”  What is given him he offers to all, and so prefigures our Lord’s generous sacrifice of Himself – and so exemplifies the attitude we all must have to whatever the Lord provides.  For then it is we show faith in our God’s providential hand; and it is then we participate in the abundant outpouring of His gifts upon all who await His blessing.  “One body and one Spirit” are we all, and to this oneness there is no limit.

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

Music: "The Whole Whale" (first third) from The Whole Whale, eighth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, it is by your hand we are fed –

let us look not upon the things of this earth.

YHWH, in our hunger our eyes look hopefully to you, and you do not disappoint our longing; you feed us by the hand of your only Son – upon His Body we feast.  For He gives Himself to us that we might never hunger again, for to the abundance of this food there is no end.  All who desire shall eat, and there shall be some left over.

We need not fear that the food you provide shall run short and we be left alone in a desert place.  No, to all who call upon you in truth you are very near, O LORD, very ready to answer our pleas.  How much closer could you be to us than in the flesh and blood of your only Son?  What more could you give us to eat than His presence?

We are one in you, O LORD, one in body and one in spirit through your Son; we are all your children, dear God and Father, and in the love of Jesus that oneness is fulfilled.  And so we praise your surpassing glory.

Direct download: BC-072912-Su_17_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 4:00 AM

O martyred apostle,

first to endure the death of Christ,

you have indeed drunk of His cup,

fully accepting the sacrifice

to which all are called,

and so blazed the path of service

for others to follow –

pray all God’s children,

all those blessed to be called as sons,

as brothers of the Lord,

will have the courage and strength

that comes from the Spirit

to lay down their lives

as a ransom for many

and so find a place

beside our Savior Jesus

in His heavenly kingdom.

Pray the blood of Christ

in which you shared so intimately

pour upon His Church

and all souls be blessed

to drink thereof

unto the world’s salvation.

Direct download: July_25_James.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 1:00 PM

(2Cor.4:7-15;   Ps.126:1-6;   Mt.20:20-28)

 

 “Continually we carry about in our bodies the dying of Jesus,

   so that in our bodies the life of Jesus may also be revealed.”

 

In His apostles the death and resurrection of Jesus are most clearly shown.  It is particularly their place to suffer persecution, to be “afflicted” and “crushed”, “constantly being delivered to death for Jesus’ sake”; and it is particularly their grace to show forth the glory of the resurrection.  In this selfless service of the Lord, what comes through them is the preaching of the Word; “the spirit of faith” prompts them to speak, and though it bring their death, they do not hesitate: “We believe and so we speak, knowing that he who raised up the Lord Jesus will raise us up along with Jesus and place both us and you in His presence.”  Paul speaks here for all the apostles, and for the grace which comes to us as well through their service.

The Son of Man has come “to give His life as ransom for the many,” and James truly moves quickly “to drink of the cup” of which the Lord partakes.  As the first apostle martyred for the faith, he leads all the apostles forth to such sacrifice, in which they shall all soon join him.  Once the Spirit is upon them, speaking through them, they will have the unquestioned faith necessary to confront without fear, but indeed with holy joy, the death to which each is called.  They “possess a treasure in earthen vessels” and the vessels must be broken for the “surpassing power” of God to come to fulfillment in them and through them.  Willingly do they lay down their lives once the Spirit inspires them, once their faith has been strengthened – once they have lost entirely any preoccupation with honors and attachments of this life, they come preaching and serving, facing the death the world inflicts therefore without a thought to run and hide, but knowing the joy it shall bring deep inside.

“Those that sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.”  We are taken as captives from this world, our hands tied behind us.  But upon returning from this exile, after this death we suffer, we know our mouth will be “filled with laughter, and our tongue with rejoicing.”  So surpassing is the peace which awaits us, the troubles of this life of mission in His Name are as nothing.  Let us pray to the Lord that we shall always speak freely in His Name.  Let us pray to imitate James and all the apostles in their selfless service of Christ.  May we have always that Spirit of faith that led them forth, that in the death of our bodies, we, too, may know and reveal the life of Jesus Christ. 

 

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

 

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

O LORD, may the sacrifice of the apostles

bring many souls into the gates of your kingdom. 

YHWH, let us be ready to be delivered even to death for the sake of your Name and in union with your Son and the blood He has shed for our sakes.  All persecution let us gratefully endure, knowing it shall but lead to great joy in your kingdom.  Crushed in union with the sacrifice of Christ, let us rejoice for the blessings to come.

Let our hearts be set on service of you, O LORD, and not on the honors of this world.  Only those who lay down their lives for the sake of your Name shall find union with you in Heaven.  And so, let us drink of the cup of your Son that your glory may be known among all.

Though speaking of you bring our end in this world, we shall still continue as has James, for then we shall be raised up with him at Jesus’ side.  All power comes only from you, LORD.  We pray you work in all our lives that even our mortal flesh shall serve as a holy sacrifice.

Direct download: St._James_2011.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 7:00 AM

O solitary prayer,

alone with the Lord

in the Blessed Sacrament

you offered your life

for the salvation of souls;

in penance you lived,

and so a light shone

even from your tomb

to show the presence of Christ

and His miraculous powers

at work in the world –

pray all souls

seek perfection in prayer,

the perfection of being with Jesus,

of remaining always in His presence

with a heart of love

poured out for our fellow man.

Pray even now

for the salvation of all,

for what else matters

but that we come to dwell

with you in the light of our Lord,

adoring Him forever?

Direct download: July_24_Sharbel_Makhluf.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(Ex.20:1-17;   Ps.19:8-11,Jn.6:69;   Mt.13:18-23)

 

“What was sown on good soil

is the man who hears the message and takes it in.”

 

“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul…  The command of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eye…  More precious than gold” and “sweeter also than syrup or honey from the comb” is the word of God.  How beautifully our psalm speaks of the words of everlasting life which issue forth from the mouth of God, the Law of the Lord embodied in Christ Jesus.  And those who follow the command of God shall bear a mighty yield, for “the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.” 

In our first reading we find the great Law written on stone, our Ten Commandments – the blessed guide of man’s walk through this world of sin.  They give light to our steps, teaching us ever the way we should go.  But great as these words are and necessary as they may be to keep our steps from faltering, to prevent our eye from entering darkness, so much greater is He who sums them up and brings them to completion in His flesh and blood.  The love of God and neighbor commanded so clearly to Moses on Mount Sinai here shines in a light beyond our human comprehension.  Indeed, to hear its call, to become good soil, we must be made as He is, walking in the grace of divine perfection.  Only then will the Word which stirs our souls – in whose light we long to cleanse our hearts and by which we hope to enter God’s reign – only through the intercession of Jesus the Son of God, the eternal Word of the Father, will we come to know the realization of the call of God to His children, rendered in His commands.

Thirst for the Word, brothers and sisters.  Our souls must indeed have a deep hunger for His presence, for the light that comes only by following Him.  Our worship must not be in vain, and we must not be distracted by the allure of this world.  Standing fast through any suffering, we must take in deeply the Word spoken to our hearts, ever making greater place for Jesus in our lives.  We must put flesh to the words of everlasting life, we must be as the Law walking the face of the earth – we must be as our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Then it is we shall know His blessing; then we shall labor with Him and yield a great harvest.  Then we shall share in the sweetness of the glory of Him who commands us to walk rightly by His side.

Today let us rejoice in the Lord and in His Law; let us find the light it brings and become children of that light.  With Jesus and all His saints in heaven let us hear the Word whispered deeply in our spirits and become doers of that word of God.  Then we shall bear fruit unto eternal life.

 

*******

O LORD, let nothing take us from you;

in your Word let us make our home.

YHWH, let us hear and heed your commands, for you have the words of everlasting life and by your instruction we are saved and produce fruit in your holy NAME.

To Moses you gave your Law, O LORD, that we might remember to love you always and so to love our fellow man.  In this is our joy, you know, dear God, and so you lead us on right paths that we might be blessed by you.

And your Son you send to speak clearly to our souls of the way which leads to life.  Of the dangers He tells us, LORD, that we might not be separated from the light of your face.  If it is your Word we desire, we shall be enlightened and walk with Him along the way of perfection.

Let us not lose your grace and blessing, LORD, but prepare good soil to receive your Word, that we might grow ever unto Heaven and become a fragrant offering to you.

Direct download: BC-072211-F_16_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O seer of the Passion

of our Lord Jesus Christ,

of the scourges and the nails,

of the blows and mockery

He endured,

of the blood which covered

His face and all His skin…

O you who have witnessed

all His suffering

and sought so diligently

to share in it with Him –

pray that we who are so blind

to the pain and anguish

our Savior bore

under the weight of the Cross

we build by our sin

may by His grace

have our eyes opened,

and so turn from our own condemnation

to the blood of redemption

He has shed for our sakes

and take refuge in the penance

that leads all souls to the kingdom.

Direct download: July_23_Bridget.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(Ex.19:1-2,9-11,16-20;   Dn.3:52-56;   Mt.13:10-17)

 

“Blest are your eyes because they see

and blest are your ears because they hear.”

 

Jesus tells us today, “Many a prophet and many a saint longed to see what you see but did not see it, to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”  How blessed are we, for the light of His face now shines upon us, for His teaching is now in our ears.

With fear and trembling the Israelites came to Mount Sinai to witness the presence of God.  They wished not to be there as He revealed Himself in mighty signs: “There were peals of thunder and lightning, and a heavy cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled.”  What an astounding scene!  For “the whole mountain trembled” and “the trumpet blast grew louder and louder, while Moses was speaking and God answering Him with thunder.”  Here is the revelation of  God in all His majesty as He communicates Himself to His people.  Our psalm, too, sings of the glory of the Lord and the praise due Him: “Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,” “on the throne of your kingdom,” “in the firmament of heaven.”  The Lord is indeed “exalted above all for all ages.”

But overwhelming as the Lord is and difficult as it may be to find Him, we must never close our hearts to His presence.  Yes, there must always be proper fear for the awesome glory of God, but our eyes must yet be open to see Him and our ears open to hear Him.  He comes now to us not in thunder, not in earthquakes – but in a still, small voice… in the gentle presence of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  And though this pregnant silence radiating the Word of God may be just as fearful to the heart darkened by the cares of the world, though the refining fire it is may bring a greater pain to the soul being cleansed of its sin, we must not turn away as did the ancient Israelites, as did many of Jesus’ time: we must not allow our hearts to be “sluggish” to understand.

He stands before us now, present here at Mass and in all His holy sacraments.  Indeed, He comes to us speaking through the people and all the things around us.  He is ever calling to our hearts, ever shining His light upon our minds.  Do we open ourselves to Him?  Do we seek to grow in the Spirit each day, every day…?  Blessed are we now that Jesus has come and on the third day been raised from the dead.  The Lord instructed Moses: “On the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai before the eyes of all the people.”  That day is now fulfilled in our sight; let us cleanse our hearts, that we might be prepared to see Him.

 

*******

O LORD, what we see and hear,

what we taste and touch,

each day at your altar!

YHWH, how can we look upon you who are so far beyond our understanding, who are exalted above all for all ages, we who are so sluggish of heart?  The ancient Israelites trembled at your glorious presence revealed to them at Mount Sinai.  How could they bear the trumpet blasts, your voice speaking in peals of thunder, the fire, the smoke covering the mountain…?  Would not any soul die at such display?  How shall we approach your mountain?

Yet you look into the depths in which we dwell in our misery, in our darkness and our fear, and you come to us gently in the presence of your Son.  Our fears you understand, LORD, and so seek to allay them; yet our blindness remains.  Even to Jesus we close our hearts, though He comes only in love and bearing blessed truth to save our souls.

O let our eyes look gladly upon His face and our ears hear expectantly the words from His lips!    Let us turn to Him, LORD, and find healing for our hardened hearts.  Let us be at peace in your presence.

Direct download: BC-072111-Th_16_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O woman of great love

whose heart burned

with desire for the Lord,

whose soul thirsted for the living God…

the tears you cried

became the source

of the greatest joy

as from your sins the Christ released you,

as your eyes beheld

your blessed Teacher –

pray for us this day, O Mary,

that our hearts shall be set aflame

with faith and love

as we hear the news you bring us:

that our Lord is no longer in the tomb,

that He lives

and so we with Him,

that He is ascending to the Father

and we shall join Him there.

O pray His love

dispel the coldness of our hearts

that we shall be like you,

remaining with Him forever.

Direct download: July_22_Mary_Magdalene.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

Ex.16:1-5,9-15;   Ps.78:18-19,23-28;   Mt.13:1-9)

 

“I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.”

 

He gives us bread to eat; He gives us wine to drink.  All our food comes from His hand.  He provides for our every need.  It is not by our own strength we are fed.  It is not by our own strength we produce fruit to feed others.  All our grain is from His hand and grows only with His blessing.

The Israelites find themselves in a barren desert and begin to fear for their empty bellies.  “Can God spread a table in the desert?” they ask in doubt, and begin to dissemble before the Lord.  But it is God’s will to teach them a lesson, to show them from whom their sustenance comes, for even when in Egypt their “fleshpots” were provided by Him.  But they are a blind and ignorant race, and so He must show them the power of His grace, of His providence.  He thus gives them a food they have never seen before, whose very name, “manna”, reveals its mystery.  And so they partake of this food of the angels; “even a surfeit of provisions He sent them,” though their flesh shall not be long satisfied with this heavenly food.

And we, do we realize all our food comes from the Lord?  Do we see His hand at work in all things?  Or do we go blindly along through this desert as well, listening too carefully to our grumbling stomachs while ignoring His Word in our hearts and presence in our midst?  Do we, too, forget all He has done for us?  Or do we turn faithfully to Him for His heavenly provisions and find ourselves satisfied with the food from His hands?  And thus, do we ourselves yield grain from the good soil He sets us on, increasing “a hundred- or sixty- or thirty-fold” His word in our hearts, that others might be fed too by our God?  Jesus sits before us today and calls us to such fruitfulness in His name.  Let us not be choked by the cares of this world or fail to have depth of faith within our souls, but let us take the blessed food He provides in His Word and in His Body and His Blood and so be nourished well to provide for others.

The desert in which we find ourselves, by which the Lord tests our faith, can seem to overwhelm us at times.  May it never cause us to act as the Israelites, who “tempted God in their hearts by demanding the food they craved.”  Let us remember that only the “heavenly bread” rained upon us by Him will save us from the temptations and emptiness of this life.  I pray He fill you with His bread of eternal life. 

 

*******

O LORD, you give us bread to eat;

yes, you provide holy seed –

and we must produce fruit unto Heaven.

YHWH, our trust in you increase this day; let us know it is by your hand we are fed.  And what food is ours by your grace!  Even the Body and Blood of your Son.

Bread from Heaven you give us, LORD, feeding us with the flesh of Christ.  As once you gave the Israelites bread in the desert, so now you open the doors of Heaven and provide for us our daily food.

Plant your Word in our souls, dear God, that it might grow and nourish us well, that we might bear fruit a hundredfold in the Name of Jesus.  Our ears open to hear His voice, let us be faithful to His call.

All the distractions of this world take from us; save us from the rumblings of our belly.  Let us understand that you care for all our needs if we but trust in the Word you send us.

Direct download: BC-072011-W_16_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O great preacher of the Word of God,

you who were entrusted

with this angelic office

to bring light to Christian minds

and dispel the darkness

of sin and error –

pray all souls this day

may be blessed with hearing

the Word of God you spoke so well,

that all hearts might turn in faith

to the Lord

purged by its cleansing fire.

O blessed teacher,

pray men of every tongue

be told of the truth,

that all might live

by the Spirit of God

in grace,

that the renewal of the Church

and every soul

might be made complete

and the ranks of the New Jerusalem

be filled to overflowing.

Direct download: July_21_Lawrence_of_Brindisi.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(Ex.14:21-15:1;   Ex.15:1,8-10,12,17;   Mt.12:46-50)

 

“Thus the Lord saved Israel on that day

from the power of the Egyptians.”

 

The Lord fought for the Israelites, His people.  Working great wonders, He brought them forth from the land of Egypt.  Indeed, “the Israelites marched into the midst of the sea on dry land, with the water like a wall to their right and to their left.”  So great was His love for His chosen ones that He saved them in this miraculous fashion, casting their enemies into the sea.  Them “the earth swallowed,” but His people crossed unharmed.

Here is the prefigurement of the Lord’s saving us from sin by His death and resurrection; through the waters of Baptism we now come to “the mountain of [the Lord’s] inheritance,” our enemies dying in that same water which saves us.  In the dark of night, in the death of Christ, we enter the realm of the sea; at dawn we see our enemies lying dead on the shore.  But it is no longer those who are related to the Lord by flesh and blood who are brought through the waters to His sanctuary.  The chosen ones are no longer of a particular race.  “Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is brother and sister and mother to me.”  It is a spiritual kingdom to which we are now called, and it is in the Spirit His children are now born.

Shocking this word must have been to the ears of those so used to judging the blessings of the Lord by bloodline.  Here is the beginning of Christ’s teaching that any and all are called to the table of the Lord.  How shocked even Peter was when directed to go to the Gentile people, when instructed to eat, as it were, of the unclean food (Acts 10:13-14).  But the Lord makes all clean by His blood.  His death and resurrection open the gates of heaven to all who would enter there.  To anyone who would follow in His footsteps, the Lord leads on dry land to the promised glory.  But do not think, as I so often hear, that there are no casualties in this new exodus.  Do not hold so foolishly to the idea that the God of the Old Testament was harsh in His destruction of the Egyptian army but the God of the New effects no such punishment.  See that the casualties in this battle suffer a fate worse than drowning in the sea: eternal condemnation awaits those who now harden their hearts against the word of Christ.  The warfare is now spiritual rather than physical, and the judgment Jesus passes on the evil generation is now far worse than any before His time had come.  As He Himself has said elsewhere, “It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea, than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin” (Lk.17:2).

We are brothers and sisters of the Lord, my friends, and so He saves us from the day of judgment.  As long as we do His will, His blessing shall be ours.  Let us rejoice this day in the justice of God, that He cares for all those who love Him, even as He casts their enemies into the sea.

 

*****

O LORD, let us live according to your will

that we might be saved,

that we might be one with Jesus in Heaven

even as all our enemies perish.

YHWH, your servant Moses did your will; through Him you revealed your glory to the people, and they triumphed over their enemies.  May we serve you as has Moses and so become brother and sister and mother to Jesus, and so become as your children.

May your Son extend His hands toward us and bless us with His sanctifying Word, that all sin may flee from our midst and we become as your chosen.  Through the sea let us pass on dry ground, LORD, the water like a wall to our right and to our left.  Through Baptism we are redeemed by the power of your hand; to Jesus let us be configured.

Horse and chariot you cast into the sea – it is not by our own strength we are saved.  It is by the grace and blessing that come from you, LORD, and by our joining ourselves to your will.

In fear shall our enemies retreat from your glance, O LORD, for you fight for your lowly ones.

Direct download: BC-071911-Tu_16_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O suffering shepherd

severely persecuted

for your work of evangelization,

you ever continued to preach the faith

and convert multitudes

despite all the tortures

the ravenous beasts of this earth

could muster;

a true apostle you proved to be,

martyred even as Christ’s Twelve –

how shall we find

a measure of your conviction,

of your persistence

in spreading the Gospel of the Lord?

Pray for us, blessed shepherd,

that we who are weak of will

and so fearful

of the slightest disturbance

to our comfort and ease

shall learn by God’s grace

to give our lives

as freely as you

in the service of man’s salvation.

Direct download: July_20_Apollinaris.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(Ex.14:5-18;   Ex.15:1-6;   Mt.12:38-42)

 

“The Lord Himself will fight for you;

you have only to keep still.”

 

 But the scribes and the Pharisees cannot keep still, cannot hold faith firmly in their hearts, but are anxious for a sign.  But it is “an evil and unfaithful age” that is “eager for a sign,” and so no sign will bring it salvation.  Jesus indeed will die and rise again, but it will be of no avail to those whose hearts are closed, to those who blindly fight by their own power.  Indeed, a sign was not needed by either the queen of the South or by Ninevah; the wisdom and the preaching that come from the Lord were enough for them to bend the knee and to repent.  These pagans, these foreigners, had hearts open and seeking the word of the Lord – and so shall be saved thereby.  But these scribes and Pharisees who hear the wisdom and truth pouring forth from the lips of Christ are deaf to its significance, and so shall be condemned.

The Lord indeed it must be who fights for us, and not we ourselves.  We must sing with Moses, “My strength and my courage is the Lord, and He has been my savior.”  Knowing we can do nothing by our own power, let us shout to our God, “Your right hand, O Lord, has shattered the enemy.”  Is it Moses’ staff and “hand outstretched” which part the Red Sea, or is it indeed the Lord’s power?  Is it we who save ourselves from the pursuit of sin marching like Pharaoh’s army against us, or is it God who hurls “Pharaoh’s chariots and army… into the sea”?

“Fear not!  Stand your ground, and you will see the victory the Lord will win for you today,” brothers and sisters.  As He saved the Israelites from the relentless pursuit of the Egyptians, so He will save your soul from the onslaught of sin upon your soul.  You must but trust in Him.  Take not refuge in signs and wonders, which you might forget upon their passing, but be still and wait for the Lord, listening for His voice, remaining steady in the faith He instills in your heart, and you will not be shaken by the temptations and distractions and fears brought by the world and its blinded mind.  “They sank into the depths of the sea like a stone,” Scripture tells us: so it will be with your sins and the temptations which surround you.  “These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again.”  Have but faith in your hearts.

 

Jesus, may we simply know that you are with us

and follow in your footsteps each day.

Fight for us, O Lord,

for the battle is always yours.

 

*******

O LORD, greater even than Moses

is your Son Jesus Christ;

should we not listen to Him and reform our lives?

YHWH, Jesus has drowned our sins in the sea, buried them in the belly of the earth, and we have been raised up with Him, saved from the pursuit of evil.  In glory is He covered now; may we indeed stand with Him on the far shore.

Slaves of the Egyptians never let us be again.  To fear of the march of Pharaoh’s army never let us return.  O let us be filled with trust in you, LORD!  Let us indeed be still and allow you to work for us.  For it is only by your right hand, by your magnificent power, that we are saved from the pursuit of the enemy – only by the sacrifice of your Son are we preserved from sin and death.  Let us today reform our lives that we might escape condemnation.  Let us put our faith in the wisdom of your Son.

We need no sign beyond the presence of your Christ in our midst.  O LORD, let us go forward through the sea with Him at our side.

Direct download: BC-071811-M_16_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

(Jer.23:1-6;   Ps.23:1-6;   Eph.2:13-18;   Mk.6:30-34) 

“I myself will gather the remnant of my flock

from all the lands to which I have driven them

and bring them back to their meadow.”

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  In verdant pastures He gives me repose.”  How true to Isaiah’s prophecy are King David’s words; and how true is Jesus as the “righteous shoot to David” who “shall reign and govern wisely,” who shepherds the people of God.  And how blessed “the house of the Lord” in which we dwell “for years to come.”

Brothers and sisters, is not that shore onto which Jesus disembarks in our gospel today the place where He “refreshes [our] soul”?  Does He not make these “restful waters” for all who are “like sheep without a shepherd”?  For is He Himself not the ocean in which we are cleansed and so find our peace; does His teaching not shepherd our wayward hearts into secure pastures?

“He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.”  Is Paul not true in his preaching when he claims that through Jesus all “have access in one Spirit to the Father”?  Though before there may have been Gentile and Jew and a “dividing wall of enmity” between the two, though still division may persist in the nations of man, yet the Son has come “that He might create in Himself one new person,” that He might reconcile both with God.”  And so all are one in His peace which He offers “through the cross.”

“This is the name they give Him: ‘The Lord our justice,’” for He does “what is just and right in the land.”  To this land He has come; upon this earth He has disembarked.  And now “moved with pity” He teaches us truth; “He guides [us] in right paths for His name’s sake.”  And faithful is He in His promise to “appoint shepherds” to lead us in His grace.  Already in our gospel we see the apostles rejoice in “all they have done and taught” by His authority.  And so, peace we should find now in the walls of His Church, our daily bread offered at His pulpit and upon His altar.

Thank you, Lord, for fulfilling your promise in our midst each day.

Thank you for shepherding us to eternal glory.

 

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

Music: "We Are God's Breath" (first half) from Breath, the Apple Rises, fifth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

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O LORD, in Jesus we find our peace this day,

for He shepherds our souls with care.

YHWH, we are like sheep without a shepherd, scattered to the four corners of the earth, but your Son comes to gather us into His arms and make us one in His flesh.  For He looks upon our lost souls with pity and leads us kindly to your House.  In His blood let all be anointed, that we might find peaceful repose with you.

How blessed are those whom you look upon in your goodness, LORD; how blessed those who seek your Son.  For they shall find Him ready to bless them with His presence and the Word from His sacred lips.  And no longer shall we be wanting for anything – if we have Him we are indeed at peace.

To restful waters let us come with Him, He whom you raise up to do your will.  Then our souls shall be refreshed, LORD, and in security we shall ever dwell.  O the justice that rains down upon us by His presence in our midst!  Through His Cross, from all enmity we shall be set free.

Direct download: BC-072212-Su_16_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 4:00 AM

O servant of the sick

whose compassionate heart

melted at the sight

of every suffering soul,

who constantly visited Christ

as He lay in hospital…

how deep was your charity,

how complete your love and dedication

to the poor –

pray that we too shall leave

the cares of the world behind

and have only concern

for serving Christ

and our fellow man;

pray the hard hearts of this age

will be saved by the Lord’s grace

even as they look upon Him

in the face of those in need.

How shall we match your stature,

which was so like Jesus’ own;

how shall we find perfect charity,

taking the Lord into our homes?

Pray our hearts be set on Him alone.

Direct download: July_18_Camillus_de_Lellis.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(Ex.12:37-42;   Ps.136:1,10-15,23-24;   Mt.12:14-21)

 

“All the Israelites must keep a vigil for the Lord

throughout their generations.”

 

After four hundred and thirty years, as one man the Israelites left the land of Egypt.  More than a million people all told were “rushed out of Egyptand had no opportunity even to prepare food for the journey.”  And so the exodus from sin we all must make is here prefigured.  And in thanks for such grace from the Lord, whose “mercy endures forever,” who “freed us from our foes,” we keep constant vigil.  Knowing the manner of our first release from slavery, we watch now for His return.

“Many people followed Him and He cured them all.”  All those who walk in the wake of the Lord know His saving power.  For He is endowed with the Spirit of God; of Jesus, the prophet writes: “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, my loved one in whom I delight.”  And so those who approach Him know the “mighty hand” and “outstretched arm” of God in the healing of all their ills.  Yet mighty as is His work, so gentle is its coming forth.  For it is not in great fanfare but rather great humility that Jesus has come into our midst to save us.  Though His works are great, His person is meek.  Much as the silent NAME shared with Moses, much as the “still, small voice” which spoke to Elijah, so is this WORD of God made flesh.  “He will not contend or cry out, nor will His voice be heard in the streets.”  For His is a voice which does not pass away with the dimming of its sound; His voice is not a clanging gong, empty of substance, but is filled to bursting with love and mercy, and goes forth in the silence of a pure heart.  It is for this silence we listen.  It is for His love we keep vigil.

“He sternly ordered them not to make public what He had done.”  We must join Him in silence.  In telling no one, all will know.  It is by faith all is done.  Indeed, our light shines forth from this quiet heart.  Shshsh… (listen for the voice of God).

The Israelites moved at once from the land of bondage.  The Lord has set us free now from our sins, brothers and sisters, and one day He will come again – He is knocking at the door even now – and take us to the presence of God.  Are we watching for His coming?  Are we ready to leave all behind?  Do we follow Him with such abandon even this day?  If we do, the word shall go forth from our lives.  If we do, we make Him known, and so we can be sure, “In His Name, the Gentiles will find hope.”  As we keep vigil for the Lord, His Word goes forth to the ends of the earth and shall lead all souls out of slavery to the mountain of God.  Watch, and listen.  The time is nigh.

 

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O LORD, come to save us –

your mercy is our only hope.

YHWH, in your Son we find our hope for release from this place of slavery.  His justice our hearts cherish, for in His justice is shown your mercy.  O let us be prepared for departure from the land of Egypt, from bondage to sin and death; may every night be a night of vigil for Jesus’ return.

All at once you will take us from the darkness of this world into your presence, O holy LORD.  You will stretch out your hand as you have done once and again, and lead us through the midst of the sea on dry ground.  As Pharaoh and his force you drown in your mighty wrath, your children shall enter the Promised Land, freed from all their enemies.

May your Spirit be upon us as it is on your Son; come in silence to our hearts this day and assure our wounded souls of your salvation, which waits on the horizon.

Direct download: BC-071611-Sa_15_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

(Ex.11:10-12:14;   Ps.116:12-13,15-18;   Mt.12:1-8)

 

“The Son of Man is indeed the Lord of the sabbath.”

 

“There is something greater than the temple here,” greater than the Passover and all the feasts of the Lord, greater than the Law… for Jesus and His mercy subsume all these by His holy sacrifice, by His very presence amongst us.  And now on the new sabbath day, the words of the psalmist are fulfilled: “The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the Lord,” as we offer now even daily the “sacrifice of thanksgiving” – the Holy Eucharist – as each day becomes a “memorial feast” for us.  Here we remember and partake of the Lamb “without blemish”; here the blood of the firstborn Son slaughtered for our sakes is applied to the temples our bodies become by its anointing, by our raising of the cup.  And heeding Christ’s words to be on watch, we are made ever ready for flight from this world of sin and into the arms of our God.

It is an ominous night, that first Passover.  The darkness upon the land, the cries of mothers for their firstborn sons foreshadows the horror of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, and the piercing of our consciences which comes thereby.  By His sacrifice we cry for our sins; but by this death are we released from bondage to that same sin.  By it His mercy is poured upon us from age to age until the end of all time.  For now the Passover is made complete; now the sacrifice is truly whole.  And all of the old is made new as it is brought to fulfillment in the only Son.

“You have loosed my bonds,” O Lord.  Each day you prepare my soul for flight from this world by the cup of thanksgiving, the sharing in your sacrifice, you offer to us each day at the hands of your priests.  As it is raised and as we “call upon the name of the Lord,” you come to us with your merciful anointing, and all guilt we may have incurred is cleansed thereby.  O Lord of the Sabbath, O Son of the Most High, O Temple of God and perfection of the Law, see the Lamb we eat at your Command; see the blood which marks our houses, and pass over us in the Day of Judgment – bring us freely into the celebration of your eternal feast in heaven.

As we come to the altar today, brothers and sisters, let us remember the merciful sacrifice the Lord has made for our blessed protection and fulfillment of the hunger we have for His presence.  Freely let us partake now of His Body and Blood and so become one with Him who is Lord of all and master of our souls.  And let us share His merciful love with the waiting world.  Let us enter now the eternal Sabbath.

 

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O LORD, feed us in our hunger;

your mercy be upon us this day –

free us from our slavery to sin and to our ways!

YHWH, your Son is the Temple where we are called to dwell, the Lamb of sacrifice of which we must partake.  It is His blood that washes us clean of sin, that keeps us free from your executing judgment.  With Him and in Him we shall not die, we shall not be condemned, but live forever to praise your NAME.

Our bonds you have loosed, O LORD; from all hunger and thirst you have saved us by the feast before us even this day, by the Body and Blood we receive at the hands of the priests you have ordained in Jesus’ Name.  Perpetually we may now receive your graces.  Forever we shall take up this Cup of salvation.  Now that you have visited us with your mercy, what more could we need?

Thank you, LORD, for the sacrifice your Son has made for our sakes.  By it may we leave this land of darkness and come to dwell with you.

Direct download: BC-071511-F_15_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O Mother of contemplation

who heard the Word of God

and kept it,

pondering its wonder

in your heart,

you who were so faithful

to His call

and remain ever in His presence –

how shall we know our Lord

if you do not pray for us,

if you do not intercede

for souls so blinded

by the distractions

and temptations

of a fallen world?

Our prayers are with you, dear Mother,

who pray as one with our dear Lord,

who are so one with Him

in body and soul,

who stand at His side this day

in the kingdom of Heaven

There on His holy mountain

help us to make our home.

Direct download: July_16_Our_Lady_of_Mt_Carmel.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(Ex.3:11-20;   Ps.105:1,5,8-9,24-27;   Mt.11:28-30)

 

“My yoke is easy and my burden light.”

 

I AM has come and led His people “up out of the misery of Egypt,” up out of slavery.  The heavy yoke of sin He breaks from our necks, and in its place we find His gentle presence.

How this world can make us weary!  How the Israelites suffered under the iron hand of the Pharaoh.  But the Lord says to them, “I am concerned about you and about the way you are being treated in Egypt.”  And He says to us the same: “Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you.”  To Moses as proof of His presence He even gives His NAME, the silent WORD – “YHWH” – which speaks volumes of His being here and everywhere always: “I AM WHO AM.”  That gentle, all-present Spirit, that WORD that is Life, is made known to us now in Jesus, the WORD made flesh, He who is “gentle and humble of heart.”  And so salvation is fulfilled: release from slavery ultimately comes in the gentle yoke of the Son of God.  Let us place it upon our shoulders.

I repeat, this world can be burdensome.  As it works its way into our hearts and souls, it brings terrible chains which bind us.  As the culture of death which surrounds us in this land of exile finds inroads into our homes and penetrates our minds, it can bring a slavish weight to bear.  But though the prince of this world and his subjects might harden their hearts against the emancipating Word of God, though they might refuse to allow us to worship our God freely and with all our beings and belongings… yet the Lord “remembers forever His covenant”; from age to age His word is true.  And He shall not be lacking for “wondrous deeds,” “portents,” and “judgments” to assure His people’s freedom, to assure their coming gently and wholly into His sacred presence.

“I will stretch out my hand,” the Lord tells us.  He will stretch forth His hand and break the yoke from our backs with a word from His mouth.  And rest shall be ours.  Eternal rest in His sacred presence, in the light of His holy face, is inevitably ours as we follow in His humble ways. 

Come, brothers and sisters.  Fear not Pharaoh.  The evil upon us is passing away; only what is real, only what is of His Word – only I AM shall remain.  Take His yoke upon you, and be led gently forth.

 

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O LORD, by your NAME and by the Cross

we are unburdened of words,

unburdened of thoughts and fears –

let us walk with you!

YHWH, our burden you wish to remove, for our plight in this world you see, and take pity.  And so, wondrous deeds you work in our midst, wondrous deeds in the sight of the nations, that all might know that you are God, in whom all find their rest.

Your NAME you gave to Moses, LORD, to reassure his heart and show yourself to Him.  Knowing you, he could find faith in your goodness, in your eternal presence, and in your call upon his soul.  And so, in peace he could face all the difficulties that lay before him; so he could face the king of Egypt without fear.

And your greatest gift you give to us, dear God, in the coming of your Son, in the complete revelation of your goodness He is to us.  Does He not tell us that you are near, that you are always here to refresh our souls and make us whole?  And so, the burden of His Cross is light upon our shoulders.

Direct download: BC-071411-Th_15_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

O good doctor

who taught the way to God

by death to things outside the Cross,

by resting with Christ

in the tomb

that we might pass

from this world to the Father –

pray our passions

indeed be silenced

that the fire of God

will carry our soul

to Him who is beyond

the operations of our mind;

pray our surrender to Him

may be complete

and the Holy Spirit lead us

in loving flame

to the kingdom.

Where is the longing of our soul

for God,

and who will assist us on the journey?

Speak to our hearts this day, good teacher,

from your place in His radiant presence.

Direct download: July_15_Bonaventure.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 7:00 PM

(Ex.3:1-6,9-12;   Ps.103:1-4,6-8;   Mt.11:25-27)

 

“An angel of the Lord appeared to him

in fire flaming out of a bush.”

 

The Lord appears to Moses.  “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob,” reveals Himself on Horeb, the mountain of God.  He comes to him who, as we are told elsewhere, is the humblest of men, calling him – much as He will later call Peter, James, and John from their nets to be fishers of men – from “leading the flock across the desert” to lead His people out of slavery, out of Egypt, through the desert and to the Promised Land.

In our gospel, Jesus tells us that the Father reveals Himself “to the merest children,” not to “the learned and the clever.”  And so He has come here to Moses, a man whose speech is weak but whose heart is indeed humble as a child, to call him to be the greatest, most godly of men, and to this great task set before him.  Like John the Baptist after him – who will be the greatest of men born of woman – he is entirely deferential to the Lord.  Here he hides his face, “afraid to look at God,” and questions sincerely: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of Egypt?”  Such as these the Lord calls; to such as these He reveals Himself.  These are they “to whom the Son wishes to reveal” the Father.

“Merest children.”  Only to these does the Lord reveal Himself.  Only to those whose hearts are pure, who take no pride in themselves.  In a word, “humble” must we be.  “He has made known His ways to Moses, and His deeds to the children of Israel.”  To them He will show that “the Lord secures justice and the rights of all the oppressed.”  And as their lives are redeemed from destruction, they will “bless His holy name.”  Of the kindness of the Lord the earth is filled, but only those who come as children before Him will know “all His benefits.”  Only those who humble themselves before Him will be raised up to see His glory and live in the light of His presence.

O Jesus, we pray that you will reveal the Father to us.  We pray that our hearts will be circumcised and that we will ever bow before the glory that is God.  Bring the fire of the Holy Spirit upon us to purge all our iniquity and prepare us to hear your voice, O Word of God.  Call us forth to do your will and lead us ever to your holy mountain, that always we might be in your presence, that forever we might worship you in spirit and in truth, as merest children, as sons and daughters of your eternal light.  May we never be consumed by sin or the vestiges of our pride, but be brought to life by the grace and power of God.  Show us your face and let us indeed live in the light of its holy fire.

 

*******

O LORD, you reveal yourself to us through your Son

that we might be saved from our sin. 

YHWH, make us humble, humble as children; meek as Moses, innocent as your Son, we shall see your face.  Reveal yourself to us, we pray, though we deserve not such kindness and mercy.

To your light let us come, to the fire burning in our midst, that fire ignited by Jesus, that we might see you, LORD, that indeed we might know you who look upon our misery, who desire so to save us from the slavery of sin.  Lead us out of this desert to your holy mountain by the grace that comes to us only through your Son.

O dear Jesus, how can we stand in the presence of your Father, we who have become so corrupted by iniquity, we who are blinded by the evil upon our souls.  Only you can make us as children again, pure and innocent in the sight of the LORD, pure and innocent as you are.  Let us be united to you in all humility that we might come before the Father and praise His holy NAME.

Direct download: BC-071311-W_15_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 4:00 PM

(Ex.2:1-15;   Ps.69:3,14,30-31,33-34;   Mt.11:20-24)

 

“I drew him out of the water.”

 

Moses was drawn from “the watery depths” by Pharaoh’s daughter and nursed by his own mother.  Into the river all male Hebrew children were ordered cast, but by the providential hand of God, this “Moses” is saved.  And it is through him his people shall be drawn out from amongst the Egyptians and the slavery put upon them; and it is by the Law spoken through him that those who believe are kept from “the abysmal swamp where there is no foothold,” that one finds release from the bonds of sin.

But now Moses’ zealous concern for his people has caused him to slay an Egyptian, so now he must flee from the face of Pharaoh who seeks to kill him for his sin.  And what irony is there that having fought one day for a Hebrew oppressed by an Egyptian, the next day he finds two Hebrews fighting!  And what apparent lack of appreciation for his concern for their plight – he who has no fear of being enslaved, living in Pharaoh’s palace as he does – do the Hebrews show.  How similar is this lack of appreciation to the cities which Jesus reproaches for “their failure to reform” at His preaching and at the miracles He has worked among them.  Here is an even greater than Moses, the very Son of God, coming to heal them of all their ills and bring them eternal salvation, but they refuse even to turn from their sins that they might find such blessing.  What hope is there for them?  If the power of God cannot convince them, then indeed the flood shall overwhelm them and they “shall go down to the realm of death,” for they refuse to be drawn up out of their sins.

Oh that this not be said of us, brothers and sisters!  We indeed have been drawn out of the water.  Baptized by the Spirit who moves upon the waters and nourished at the breast of holy Mother Church, eating the Lord’s own Body and Blood and ever finding forgiveness for our sins by his priests’ commission, we have been graced with all we need to be led from the darkness of this world, from the abysmal swamp where there is no foothold.  We must be ever mindful not to slip back into the watery mire of sin to which this world would draw us and lose the blessing the Lord has provided us to maintain us for the day of judgment.  Great miracles the Lord has worked in us; great miracles He works for us this day.  Let us never fail to reform our lives and conform ourselves to His grace.  Our own death sentence has been removed, washed from us by the blood of Christ; let us not fall again into the swamp of sin, but ever rise to the glory of God.

 

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