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.

O Blessed Virgin

in whose womb was conceived

the only Son of God,

who by such grace

has brought salvation

to our race…

What faith is yours

in God the Father!

What power is upon you

by the Holy Spirit!

What unutterable wonder we find

in your Son!

How is it one of our own number

could give birth

to our Creator?

Such glorious union

with the Godhead

we could never merit

nor discover

except that the Lord

has chosen you –

pray this day

He shall be born in us, too.

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

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

 

“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God

for all they had heard and seen,

just as it had been told to them.”

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

O LORD, what blessing is upon us

this Christmas day! 

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

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

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

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

Direct download: Mary_Mother_of_God_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O eminent Shepherd

of God’s people

who led us from the catacombs

into the light of day

by a blessed peace

with the city of man,

allowing the Lord’s Church

to grow and flourish freely

in its sacraments,

in its worship of the one true God –

pray the Body of Christ

may again prosper in truth

with its divine Head,

that the Light that has come into the world

may be proclaimed to the ends of the earth

and all souls called by the Lord

come to the font of Baptism

and find the fullness of faith

in the holy Catholic Church.

Pray there be no dissension

in the Body

but that all shall be one in Him

who is God Himself.

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, you have revealed yourself to us

in the presence of your only Son –

let us live in the truth that He is God. 

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

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

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

Direct download: Seventh_Day_Oct._C.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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

 

“The world with its seductions is passing away

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, let our hearts be set

on worship of you and your Son

and not on the things of this world.

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

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

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

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

Direct download: Sixth_Day_Oct._C.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O blessed martyr

who died in the cathedral,

murdered by the king of this world

as you defended the Chair of Peter

and the true faith of the Church –

where can we find bishops like yourself;

how shall the Church be led

without holy apostles

willing to give their lives

as Christ,

in whose place they stand?

Pray for us, devout shepherd,

that many will be inspired

by your example

to follow in the footsteps of our Lord

and defend the faith

even unto the shedding of blood,

for what is the shedding of blood in this world

compared with the light of Heaven

you now know in our Savior’s presence?

Pray for us and let us pray with you,

seeking truth and love

in our pilgrimage on this earth.

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

O three holy persons

united as one

in the humble home at Nazareth,

Mary and Joseph

with God’s only Son…

who became your Son,

who became our Son,

who became our Brother

in all things human

and shared with you

the food of your table

and the dust beneath your feet –

you are our model upon this earth;

you we should follow

to find new birth in the Spirit,

to find ourselves sons of the Father,

to be as brother to Christ.

O Holy Family,

what a blessed trinity you form

in the love of God and neighbor;

pray we not fall short of your grace.

Direct download: Dec._30_Holy_Family.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(Sir.3:2-6,12-14;   Ps.128:1-5;   Col.3:12-21;   Mt.2:13-15,19-23)

 

“Let the peace of Christ control your hearts,

the peace into which you were also called in one body.”

 

A man is a man, a woman is a woman, and children are children – this does not change with time or culture.  All are called to be one in the love and sacrifice of Christ; all are one holy family.

Why do we find it necessary to make excuses for Holy Scripture and the “patriarchal family pattern” it reflects and “the subordinationist family ethic of the Biblical culture” (from the commentary of the missal from which I take today’s readings)?  How is it we have lost the beauty of Paul’s words on the complementary nature of the conjugal relationship?  How is it the family has become bereft of Christ?

One would think Paul states, “Husbands, beat your wives,” instead of “Husbands, love your wives, and avoid any bitterness toward them,” by the way his text is avoided like the plague.  Why such ignorance of what is actually present in Scripture?  And if the Scripture is perverted, why do we not “in all wisdom... teach and admonish one another,” instead of casting the wisdom of the Lord from our presence, or rationalizing it away.  Is it a sin for a wife to be submissive, to respect her husband; for children to be obedient toward their parents; for the husband and father to lay down his life for his family?  Is power to be defined by the dictates of the world, or by the cross?  Do we desire to control, or to love?

“Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways!”  Here is the key to our roles, in the exclamation of our psalmist.  “Do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him,” Paul summarizes his teaching.  Hear in his letter the call to “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another,” even as the Lord has done with us.  Be led by the Word of the Lord and His instruction and guidance.  You, husbands, do you reflect Joseph’s obedience to the Word of God brought by the angel?  Do you care for your families as God calls?  Are you mothers like Mary, moving according to the protective hand upon your hearth, your house?  And children, do you honor your father and mother’s authority over you as Jesus, who, though the Son of God, humbled Himself to be the child in this Holy Family?  Let us all be as Christ – honoring, obeying, humbling ourselves… in a word, loving one another as He has loved us.  Then we will be of the family of God.

 

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

 

Music: "Vision of Children" (2nd part) from The Innocent Heart, first album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

 

*******

O LORD, call us out of Egypt to your holy land. 

YHWH, obedient let us be to you, and serve one another.  It is your will that we love one another, that we act with humility and patience, always forgiving and living in peace.  Indeed, let us reflect the life of the Holy Family.

Was not Joseph obedient to your every word, dear LORD?  Did he not have in his soul only to protect your Son and His Mother?  Did he think of himself at all?  O let all fathers lay down their lives in such a complete manner!

And was not Mary obedient to Joseph (who was obedient to you)?  Did she not recognize, O LORD, that your will was being accomplished through his instruction, through the inspiration upon his soul?  Did she stop to question his actions?  Did she think herself better qualified, being the Mother of God?  O let all wives be so respectful of their husbands!

And was Jesus not obedient in all things to Joseph and Mary, He who was Son of God and God Himself?  Did He invoke His superiority over them?  O God, let all children so honor their mother and father!  Let all walk in your ways, in your way of sacrifice, and so be blessed as the Holy Family. 

Direct download: BC-122610-Holy_Family_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O innocent martyrs of the Christ

who gave your lives

from the cradle

for Him who carries the Cross,

who suffered and died in His place

even before His crucifixion,

even as His martyrs would do

after His death on the Tree –

let our hearts cry not

for the evil that has wrought

your violent death;

pray we not fear

the dark wrath of this world’s king

but set our hearts

on the joy of our Lord’s kingdom,

where you now reign with Him

and to which we hope to come

by the laying down of our own lives

in His Name.

And pray for the least among us

who suffer the most this day,

that they who are murdered in the womb

will know the light of Christ’s holy face.

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

*******

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

make us innocent as these children. 

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

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

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

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

O beloved disciple of the Lord

who saw Him

and touched Him,

who believed in Him

with all your being,

who loved Him so

that no love but His

surpassed your own –

speak to us this day

of the Word of life

who has come among us,

died for us,

and been raised from the grave.

Continue to proclaim that love

which alone saves men from sin,

which alone banishes death from our midst;

let us share in your love for Jesus

and join you in proclaiming

Him who has come

in the joy you knew so well.

Point us to Him even this day,

that we too might see

and believe.

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

(1Jn.1:1-4;   Ps.97:1-2,5-6,11-12;   Jn.20:2-8)

 

“He saw and believed.”

 

And “the eternal life that was present to the Father and became visible to us,” which John now proclaims, is Jesus Christ the only Son of God, risen from the dead and present to us now even as He sits with the Father.

John has seen Him.  He has believed in Him.  His “hands have touched” Him and so he “proclaim[s] the word of life” made so real in his midst.  What else could he do but declare that which burns in his heart?  What else could be the Evangelist’s desire but to share the blessing he has known as “the one Jesus loved”?  For brimming with love this apostle is, and only in writing of this joy, only proclaiming it to the world and seeing others enter into such selfsame blessing will make his joy complete.  To this he has been called by the Lord.

“Light dawns for the just,” David declares, as if in his psalm to presage the coming of Christ and John’s own words on the coming of Light to this earth.  And indeed the just shall see Him, and gladness shall be “for the upright of heart.”  For all the just shall “be glad in the Lord… and give thanks to His holy name,” for their souls drink deeply of the salvation in their midst; they know Him whom their hearts love.  They see Him, and believe.

And I note the special significance “the piece of cloth which had covered the head” of Jesus – which was “not lying with the wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself,” as John tells us in his gospel – seems to have as a catalyst to belief.  John had seen the wrappings before entering the tomb, but not this cloth, and it is when he enters he sees and believes.  It is as if the Lord left it neatly rolled up in a place by itself to indicate to them that He had not “been taken from the tomb” by robbers, as Mary Magdalene (another beloved of Christ) seems to fear.  Why would a thief take time to do such a thing?  And so, Jesus’ touch is upon the cloth.

“All peoples see His glory” now, brothers and sisters.  By the witness of John and all the apostles, eyes are opened to His presence.  Let us see Him with John; let us touch Him… and let us know His touch upon our hearts, and so continue to proclaim His glory.

 

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

 

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

O LORD, let us rejoice in the presence of your Christ

with us this day. 

YHWH, let all men see your glory in the presence of your risen Son.  Let all men come to that glory through faith in Him.  Let us hear and believe what John tells us – that He has walked among us in the flesh, that the apostles’ hands have touched Him… that our hearts might be touched by His presence, and so your own.

With our eyes let us look upon your glory, LORD, we who are so blinded by sin and slow of heart to believe.  Let us run to the tomb with your apostles that we may see your Son has been raised from the dead, that death no longer has dominion over us but with Him we have been raised.  Let us rejoice at the light that dawns in our midst.

You are king over all the earth, LORD, and all the heavens proclaim your justice and your truth.  May we join in the choir of your angels and your holy apostles in declaring your glory to the ends of the earth, that all men might be loved by you as was John.

Direct download: St_John_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O first martyr,

model of Christ’s love

and bearer of His Holy Spirit

in wisdom and in truth,

you who spoke as the Lord Himself

and died as He died,

with the forgiveness of your persecutors

upon your lips

and utter trust of the Father

in your heart –

pray that we too

will find the grace and strength

to commend our lives

into the Father’s hands,

never holding bitterness

toward those who destroy the body,

who would chain the Word,

but ever loving every soul

even as you have done.

O let our hearts be set on Jesus!

let them bleed as His own,

that united in Heaven with Him we shall be

with you in the glory of God.

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

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

“They proved no match for the wisdom and spirit

with which he spoke.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, by your power we escape death

and find your glory. 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

*******

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

and so let us offer you due praise.

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

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

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

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

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

 

“Today in the city of David 

a savior has been born for you

who is Christ and Lord.”

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

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

and so let us offer you due praise. 

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

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

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

Direct download: Midnight_Mass_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

(2Sm.7:1-5,8-12,14,16;   Ps.89:2-5,27,29;   Lk.1:67-79)

 

“Your house and your kingdom will endure forever.”

 

The Lord builds a house for us; He is that House.

“Forever will I confirm your posterity and establish your throne for all generations,” the Lord promises David, and accomplishes His word by Himself entering the line of the king.  Thus “He has visited and ransomed His people.  He has raised a horn of saving strength for us in the house of David His servant” in the Person of Jesus the Christ.  And so we shall find “freedom from [our] sins” and “the kindness of our God” shall remain upon us.

“To guide our feet into the way of peace,” Jesus has come.  To bring “salvation from our enemies and from the hands of all our foes,” He stands among us.  Zechariah’s joy at the birth of John, his son, is really the joy in the coming one, for whom John but “prepare[s] straight paths.”  The Spirit inspires this old priest to sing primarily of the fulfillment of the promise long held by his people, the promise of Abraham, the promise of David – the promise of finding fulfillment as God’s chosen ones, held in His hand, in His temple, in His house, and protected from all harm while worshiping Him in spirit and in truth.  This Jesus accomplishes.

And so, “we should serve Him devoutly, and through all our days, be holy in His sight,” for no greater gift have we than this opportunity for holiness in the one true Son of God and in the House He establishes.  Should not the Church be our home?  Has not the Lord provided for the building of its walls?  Has He not provided His own flesh and blood to be spread upon its altar?  Has He not “fix[ed] a place for [His] people Israel… that they may dwell in their place without further disturbance”?  Has He not said, “My kindness is established forever,” and “in heaven… confirmed [His] faithfulness”?  And should we not enter His house, enter His heaven, and praise His holy Name?

Here we stand, with His Word, with His Body and Blood.  Here we have His teaching and His food.  What more need we?  And this day the Child who is the House of God approaches.  Are we ready now for His coming?

 

*******

O LORD, guide our feet in the way of peace;

fulfill your promise and make us your sons.

YHWH, we sit in darkness waiting for the coming of your Son; open our eyes to see His light and our mouths to sing of His glory.  Let us enter into His way of peace.  Deliver us from the enemy, O LORD, from the sin upon our souls.

How shall we be made free of our sins, LORD, except that you come to us and fulfill your Covenant with us, that you shall be our Father and we your children?  And how shall you accomplish this except by the birth of your Son in our midst?  We would have remained ever blind and dumb had Jesus not come to open our eyes and loose our tongues, had you not had such mercy on our souls.

A House you established for David, a place we all may dwell.  And the birth of this House is upon us now.  May we enter in and serve Him, LORD, that with Him we might stand firm forever.  

Direct download: Adv._II_Dec._24.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O holy teacher of the faith

and pastor of Christ’s flock

who instructed with wisdom

and led by kindness and humility

those in your care

and all those around you –

teach us today

not only to know our faith

but to practice it by holiness of life

as you have done,

so simply,

so thoroughly as a child of the Lord.

Pray for us

and pray for our priests,

for whom you are a model of perfection.

All yourself you have given

in imitation of Jesus;

may the Lord God

be in our hearts and on our lips

just so truly

as He has been

with you,

good teacher.

Direct download: Dec._23_John_of_Kanty.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Mal.3:1-4,23-24;   Ps.25:4-5,8-10,14,Lk.21:28;   Lk.1:57-66)

 

“His name is John.”

 

Yes, “the hand of the Lord [was] upon him,” whose name signifies the grace of God, who comes at the end of the age to turn men’s hearts back to God, who prepares the way we must walk to find the instruction and purgation of the Lord.

We must be purified by “the refiner’s fire.”  We must be purged of all dross “like gold or like silver that [we] may offer due sacrifice to the Lord,” that we might be called children of the One God.  The Day is coming; the Lord is returning to the temple, and we must be prepared to welcome Him – and so John is born, sent in the spirit of Elijah the prophet to cry out the way in the wilderness of this world.  By the Spirit of the Lord, he “shows sinners the way; he guides the humble to justice,” leading them to the Son who stands ready in Truth to teach and to save.  Well do the people do to wonder at the birth of this holy child, for well will they do to follow his exhortation, and come to praise of the living God.

This John leads us to something new, as even the originality of his name among his relatives signifies; he assists us in making the turn, the conversion to the New Covenant in the blood of Christ.  From the Old and as a prophet of old, he leads us to the dawn of new light in this world.  Jesus he comes to proclaim.  Without this grace of God to be washed in the river of our sins, how could we stand on “the great and terrible day” of the Lord’s coming?  How could we bear His light, His fire?

“All the paths of the Lord are kindness and constancy toward those who keep His covenant and His decrees.”  Praise God we have the instruction of the Lord with us now to guide us to life everlasting; and thank God we have been made ready by “the messenger of the covenant” to stand in the light of that wisdom.  The Lord teaches us now, brothers and sisters; the Lord is with us to instruct us in His way and, “like the fuller’s lye,” to make us white.  Let us not make the grace of forgiveness John has wrought by the hand of God among us come to naught – let us listen closely now to the Word of God to which his voice has led us.

 

P.S.  Re the Bible, the Word of God – a quote by St. Hippolytus from today’s Office: “Sacred Scripture is God’s gift to us and it should be understood in the way He intends: we should not do violence to it by interpreting it according to our own preconceived ideas.”

 

*******

 O LORD, you brought John to birth

to prepare the way of your only Son –

let us walk that path to you. 

YHWH, your hand was upon John for our good, to prepare the way for your Son, that we might be prepared to receive the glory of His presence among us.  This day may our hearts be ready for His coming.

Sinners you show the way, O LORD; you mark out the path we all should tread if we wish to be cleansed of all evil and turn our hearts to you.  You are our Father, and all we should desire is to love you – O LORD, lead us in the way to you.

Your Son is the way, dear LORD.  It is by Him on His terrible Day that we are purged of all dross in the fire of the Holy Spirit and so made pure to stand before you.  O holy God, let us be refined like silver or gold that we might shine so brightly in your presence.  By your grace only is this accomplished; let all be made new by your hands.

Direct download: Adv._II_Dec._23.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Is.7:10-14;   Ps.24:1-7,10;   Rm.1:1-7;   Mt.1:18-24)

 

“God is with us.”

 

How shall we “ascend the mountain of the Lord”?  How shall we scale the heights and come to know Him as He is, He who “founded [the earth] upon the seas and established it upon the rivers”?  Only by the Son, who “will save His people from their sins,” are we made ready to stand in His presence.  “For it is through the Holy Spirit this child has been conceived,” and we are made holy by the blessing of His presence among our kind.

He is one like us.  Can you believe it?  Can you understand it, understand its significance and the grace it is as a gift from God?  Joseph struggled, certainly, to believe, to understand, to accept the greatness of this gift to him and to his people.  The angel of the Lord had to come to him to convince him to receive such great grace into his life, into his home.  But he did.  He did believe, and he did fulfill his role in the coming salvation.

And, yes, what of us?  We “are called to belong to Jesus Christ… called to be holy.”  Paul answered the call from God to be His apostle and “bring about the obedience of faith”; again, what of us?  Do we answer the call to holiness?  Do we reflect that obedience?  The time is upon us now.  The great sign has been fulfilled in our midst.  Jesus has been born and stands with us now to lead us to the purity of the Father – are we prepared to make this Child our own?

What greater truth can be proclaimed than that God is with us?  What greater grace can we receive than the forgiveness of our sins, than the preparation of our hearts for heaven?  Jesus accomplishes these blessings now for all who desire to enter the presence of God, for He is the presence of God among us; He Himself is divine grace.  His mercy is upon us.

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” brothers and sisters.  The power of the Lord be upon your souls.  May the “Spirit of holiness” establish you with the Son as a child of the Father.  Be of “the race that seeks for Him,” and you shall find Him present, dwelling in your homes.

 

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

 

Music: "Vision of Children" (1st part) from The Innocent Heart, first album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

 

*******

O LORD, you call us to be holy;

let us indeed be as the Virgin Mother of your Son.

YHWH, you are with us now in your only Son, who has been born of the womb of the Blessed Virgin.  All the earth is yours, and now this Child comes into the world to save it from its sins, from the destruction that is upon it for having turned from you.  O let us welcome Him into our homes!

O LORD, let us belong to Jesus and so become one with you.  May your grace and peace be upon us this day and all the days of our lives.  Make us pure as His Mother that your holy mountain we might ascend and gaze upon your face with all your saints.  Obedient to your call as Joseph let us be; let us listen to the voice of your angel.

You desire us all to stand with you, but our hands must be sinless and our hearts clean.  May the Virgin Mary, she who has conceived and borne your Son, pray the Spirit upon us, that our obedience shall be like her own, and so her blessing also.  Be with us this day, dear God, and let us be with you.

Direct download: BC-121910-Su_4_Adv_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O great defender of the faith,

of the clear waters,

the wellspring of salvation

that flows from the Sacred Heart

of our Savior

into His holy Church,

thus to nourish the world

and fill it with truth

and wisdom

and love…

you whom the Lord inspired

with apostolic zeal

to teach and lead souls

along His holy way –

teach us today

by your gracious intercession

to be faithful,

to be obedient to the voice of Jesus

and the Spirit speaking in the Mother

the Lord God provides His pilgrim people.

Let us not be separated from His Word

and His precious Body and Blood,

but come together as one in His presence.

Direct download: Dec._21_Peter_Canisius.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Sgs.2:8-14 or Zep.3:14-18;  Ps.33:1-3,11-12,20-21;   Lk.1:39-45)

 

“Let me see you, let me hear your voice,

for your voice is sweet, and you are lovely.”

 

“Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” – she who comes bearing the Christ child, she whose very voice magnifies the presence of the Lord.  Listen to the witness of Elizabeth: “The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby stirred in my womb for joy.”  Mary carries the Son of God not only in her womb, but in her soul; the Spirit working within her serves to inspire him who shall go before the Lord, and so she paves the road the forerunner of Jesus shall tread.

How one are mother and child!  Never so evident has it been than in this passage from Holy Scripture.  For Mary’s voice carries the very presence of Jesus, and Elizabeth’s ears convey that presence to her child.  Here is that relationship of love depicted in our reading from the Song of Songs exemplified most clearly; here is the oneness of lover and beloved.  And the loveliness of the lover becomes the loveliness of the beloved; the blessing of the Child becomes the blessing of the Mother – and in this love the earth brings forth its fruit.

“The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.”  “The Lord, your God, is in your midst,” and He blesses all with His presence.  He calls to your soul to come forth and know His love.  “Springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills,” He hastens to your side.  He visits you.  He visits you, speaking to your heart, calling you to arise and join Him.  As Mary visits Elizabeth, “proceeding in haste into the hill country,” to bring her Son to the son of Elizabeth and so producing joy in this unborn child’s heart – so she brings her sweet Jesus to us this day, her voice speaking of His glory to the ears of Mother Church.

And so she becomes our Mother; and so she becomes our lover, for she bears the great lover of all souls to wed Himself to us as He is so perfectly wed to her.  His sweetness comes to us through His “beautiful one,” causing our hearts to rejoice at the sound of her voice and leading us to sing songs of praise to His holy name.  Let us raise the joyful shout to our God!

 

*******

O LORD, in joy with Mary,

help us to bring Jesus to every waiting soul.

YHWH, should we not rejoice at the coming of your Son?  He comes to us across the hills in the womb of His Mother: should His approach not fill us with expectation and wonder, with joy in the Holy Spirit?  And should we not cry out that joy with the Baptist and his mother?

She who secluded herself for five months is now in her sixth, and now your Son comes to her.  And what has lain dormant within her womb springs to life at the sound of the voice of His Mother.  O LORD, are we not just so in need of your Spirit to awaken in us the love that has been dormant these many days?  Do we not begin to doubt your gifts to us as we long to see them fulfilled, as we sit this day in darkness?  And will you not come to us in your Son, in His Mother who carries Him to our side – she who is your perfect Bride?

You desire to rejoice over us, O dearest LORD and God, and so our misfortunes you take away, and so the darkness of winter you dispel.  Even we who are aged in sin you find beautiful.  May our loveliness match your own.  May our voice be pleasing to you. 

Direct download: Adv._II_Dec._21.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Is.7:10-14;   Ps.24:1-7,10;   Lk.1:26-38)

 

“Blessed are you among women.”

 

“The virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and shall name Him Immanuel because ‘God is with us.’”  “The virgin’s name was Mary.”  And she has given birth to the Savior.

“Who may stand in His holy place?” King David sings in our psalm.  “Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord?”  Clearly Jesus is He.  But as clear is that we are all called to be as He, and that she has been, she who is so like Him – she that is indeed His Mother.  It is she who “seeks the face of the God of Jacob,” she “whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain…” and so she “receive[s] a blessing from the Lord,” the greatest blessing: the Son of God.

Fearful is she in her great humility in the awesome presence of the Lord.  Questioning is she in the perfect innocence of her consecrated virginity.  But obedient only is she as she hears of the answer to her devout prayer for the pregnancy of her kinswoman, and so assumes the role most native to her, the one she has promised to fulfill: “the maidservant of the Lord.”

O glorious Virgin Mary!  You who worship so perfectly, so completely, the One who owns “the earth and its fullness, the world and those who dwell in it,” and so bring that very fullness to us all, teach us to be like Jesus your Son, whom you imitate so absolutely, so naturally.  Teach us to be as He who is flesh of your flesh.  Be our Mother as well, that we might be brother and sister and mother to the Lord.  Aid us in giving our total consent to the will of God.  “O highly favored daughter!  The Lord is with you.”  Pray He be with us now, too.

“With that the angel left.”  Upon receiving her wholehearted acceptance of her call, his mission is finished, and so he goes.  Brothers and sisters, may the angel leave our presence so satisfied that the call of the Lord for our lives will be so well answered.  Take heart that “nothing is impossible with God” and that as blessed as she is, so blessed does the Lord call you to be – if you but say yes to His word burning in your soul and lay down your life as has the Mother of God.  Give the Lord your “yes” this day.

*******

O LORD, may the Blessed Virgin Mother of your Son

pray for us this day that we shall be pure as she,

and so, able to stand in your presence.

YHWH, she whom you call to be Mother of your Son is indeed sinless in your sight.  Because her heart is clean, she can accept your Word and give birth to our Savior.  O may we be of her race!  May we with all our souls seek your face and so find the blessing that is upon her.  O let us know your only Son in our midst!

The blessing you give us we could not imagine – it is beyond our ability to conceive.  Yet, LORD, you come to us; you prepare a Virgin from among us that your Son might be with us and so we with you for all ages.  O let all be done according to your will!  Let us all follow the obedient path of our dear Mother.  Let us be her children, O LORD, and so your own.

O Mother of our Lord, blessed among women, most blessed of our race, pray for us this dark day that we will hear the Word of God spoken to our hearts.  Pray our hearts be pure as your own, that they might receive our Creator. 

Direct download: Adv._II_Dec._20.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jgs.13:2-7,24-25;   Ps.71:3-6,8,16-17;   Lk.1:5-25)

“From my mother’s womb you are my strength.” 

How the above line from our psalm is reflected both in Samson and in John, and how parallel are the lives of these two great men.  Of John it is said, “He will be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb”; of Samson, “This boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb” and “The Spirit of the Lord began to be with him.”  The birth of both is announced by an angel of the Lord.  Both will be born of women who were barren.  Both will be nazirites, who shall “never drink wine or strong drink,” and whose head “no razor shall touch.”  Both come for the deliverance of the people, though Samson only from “the power of the Philistines” while John comes to “prepare for the Lord a people well-disposed,” that we might have eternal salvation.

Of course, Jesus, too, will have His birth announced by the angel of the Lord; He will be born of a woman from whom it seems no child could come – a consecrated virgin – and this of the Holy Spirit, who is with Him even before time.  His is a new testament, however, signified by His birth of a woman of youth and not old age.  Though hailed by the old, He brings the newness of God into our midst.  His birth fulfills all the births and words and wisdom of the prophets and judges and kings of the Old Testament.

But, returning to our psalm and its universal call in the voice of Christ (words which apply to all in their quest for God), we should remember today that for all, God is our “rock of refuge” on whom we “depend from birth.”  “You have taught me from my youth,” the psalmist declares to the Lord, and so it should be true with us all that from the womb “till the present [we] proclaim [His] wondrous deeds.”  He works in all our lives, brothers and sisters; He has brought us all to birth and is acting now, His Spirit upon us, to see that we are born into His kingdom.

The great figures of the Old Testament, and especially John, are models from whom we can all learn, holy men whom we can certainly admire.  But as our Lord has stated clearly, none of those born of woman can compare with those born into the kingdom of heaven.  And so, let us take our strength for our journey from His prophets and from His Word; from His Spirit let us receive what we need in this life for our journey to His paradise.  As strong as were Samson and John, so much stronger can we now be by His Body and His Blood, our holy food on this earth, and by His Spirit upon us.

*******

O LORD, it is you who give us life

and make us strong –

your Spirit be with us.

YHWH, your power is upon the mothers of both Samson and John, and so upon their sons.  They are born by your will to bring deliverance to the people.  As they trusted in you from the womb, so let us be blessed to know you, LORD; let us be blessed to do your will.

Strength we should all take in you, O LORD, for you teach us from our youth to this day: the moment we turn to you, you come to us, and from our souls you would never take your leave.  O let us trust in you, that in our lives your works might be done.

How hard it is for our wounded hearts to believe the glory you bring into our midst, dear LORD.  Your presence is overwhelming to us and so difficult to bear.  But you would make it easy, if we had but faith.  Turn our hearts to the call to serve you, that we might be ready to receive you.  O let us speak in your Name!

Direct download: Dec._19_Adv._II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jer.23:5-8;   Ps.72:1,7,12-13,18-19;   Mt.1:18-24)

 

“He will save His people from their sins.”

 

Each of our readings today mentions the salvation of our Lord.  The above quote is from our gospel; our psalm states, “The lives of the poor He shall save”; and in our first reading it says, “In His days Judah shall be saved.”  The very name “Jesus” – as given to Joseph by the angel of the Lord – means “God saves”.  The great God of the universe, the living God who has brought us all to birth, comes among us, “is with us” (“Emmanuel”) to save us, to redeem us, to bring us back to our “own land”… to be again with the Father.

And this “righteous shoot to David,” this king who “shall reign and govern wisely,” who “shall do what is right and just in the land,” is born from above, not below.  As the angel also tells Joseph, “It is by the Holy Spirit that [Mary] has conceived this child.”  The Virgin is with child!  Alleluia!  A greater sign, a more complete love from the Father we could not imagine.  And so we sing with our psalmist: “Blessed forever be His glorious name; may the whole earth be filled with His glory.”  Indeed, all nations, not only Judah, shall be saved by this Blessed Child.

“The days are coming,” brothers and sisters, and are already here.  The Lord walks among us.  The Child has been born, and is being born in each of us; and as a people He comes to us.  Mary “bore a son”; Joseph named Him “Jesus”, as instructed, and Jesus He is – His salvation has come forth.  You must receive Him into your home with the Mother who bore Him.  You must have faith that He is from above.  Let Joseph be your model in care for the Savior, and He shall care for you for all eternity.  Like Mary, nourish the Lord every day of your life.

His love is growing in us all.  His presence is becoming known.  The promised of the ages dwells with us with His justice, and His kingdom is being built as we speak.  No more will our sins condemn us.  No more will we hide our faces from the Lord.  We shall be free once more, and this time forever, for the Lord has heard the cry of the poor.

*******

O LORD, since your Son is with us,

we may now make our home in you –

praise you for your justice!

YHWH, your Son saves us from our sins.  For this you have sent Him among us; for this He has been conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary – it is for this He has been born a Man.  O let be accomplished that for which He has come!

From Egypt you rescued your enslaved sons.  From the land of the North you brought them back to their home.  From all sin you now deliver all men, beginning with the Jew.  O LORD, you hear us when we  cry out – let us cry out to you that this day we might be saved.  Let us welcome your Son into our home, that in Him we might find our eternal union with you.

O LORD, let the earth be filled with your glory!  This is your will, this is your desire… this is the goal to which all your Creation is straining.  Speak to us this day that we might know the way you would lead us, and let us follow the angel’s word to freedom in the reign of Jesus.

Direct download: Adv._II._Dec._18.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gn.49:2,8-10;   Ps.72:3-4,7-8,17;   Mt.1:1-17)

 

“May He rule from sea to sea,

and from the River to the ends of the earth.”

 

Since “the scepter shall never depart from Judah,” the reign of Jesus, His descendant, His fulfillment, is without end – He is King forever.  And so, “tribute is brought to Him, and He receives the peoples’ homage,” which is in itself their salvation.

Who is this Lion of Judah, fulfillment of Jacob’s prophetic blessing of his son?  What sort of king have we?  It is in the words of our psalm we find His kingship revealed: “He shall defend the afflicted among the people, save the children of the poor.”  For Jesus, though fierce as a lion in His judgment – for there is nothing untrue in Him – reveals primarily the love of God the king must embody.  In His reign, “the mountains shall yield peace for the people, and the hills justice.”  First is the love He brings to this generation; second, its complement, justice.

And of what worth is the “family record of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham,” we find in our gospel today?  Be not overly bored by it, my brothers and sisters, for in its mundaneness it holds the key to our salvation.  For it reveals how very real Jesus is, that He is part of our human family; and should this not make us rejoice, that the Son of God is also Son of Man?  And though the forty-two or so names may not be familiar to our ears, we should know at least that there are all kinds in this family tree of Jesus, from great men and women of faith humble before their God, to wicked kings and a prostitute.  There is thus hope for us all.

Jesus is indeed the fulfillment of the promised son of Abraham, and son of David, the king who sits on the throne forever.  It was of Mary He was born, and Mary’s husband was Joseph.  And since husband and wife are one – and though there’s was only a spiritual communion, it is in the spiritual communion unity is truly found – we trace His line through this humble man.  And we pray we shall enter into communion with the Lord ourselves and live in the reign of this King in whom “all the tribes of the earth shall be blessed.” 

Today we praise our brother in the flesh and pray to be made one in His Spirit.  May He indeed rule over all.

*******

O LORD, because your Son judges justly,

peace shall reign to the ends of the earth –

for this He has come among us.

YHWH, your Son rules over all; from sea to sea and to the ends of the earth His rule extends, for He has been born into our midst, He has become part of our generation, and so all in our midst, every generation, is under His reign.  Alleluia!

All the tribes of the earth should rejoice in Him, O LORD.  Though David’s Son and so of your Chosen people, yet your prophets have foretold that every people shall bow down before Him, even as all David’s sons.  This Lion of Judah shall govern all with justice, shall bring peace to all who call upon His Name.  Alleluia, LORD!  For this grace we thank you.

Truly the Name of Jesus shall remain as long as the sun – forever His Name shall be blessed in our midst.  For He has come among us to save us; He is indeed one of us and brings divine blessings in His wake.  O LORD, in every heart let Him reign!

Direct download: Dec._17_Adv._II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Nm.24:2-7,15-17;   Ps.25:4-9;   Mt.21:23-27)

 

“A star shall advance from Jacob,

and a staff shall rise from Israel.”

 

And the light of that star is reflected in the eyes of Balaam, who, though a pagan, is gifted by God with the clear vision to see the beauty and wonder of “Israel encamped, tribe by tribe,” “like gardens beside a stream,” “like the cedars planted by the Lord.”  And as He is seen in the nation of Israel blessed by the Lord, so His glory is reflected in the heart and words and actions of everyone who believes and proclaims in truth that Jesus is that star, that Jesus is the Son of God.

Those who remain close to the teaching of Jesus, and to His ways, “shall have the sea within reach.”  There shall be an abundance of wisdom at the ready for those who are graced with ears to hear His words.  “He teaches the humble His way,” yes, and guides us on straight paths which lead directly to the Most High.  And “with eyes unveiled” we shall gaze not only on His reflection in the fields of this earthly existence, but on Him Himself as He is in heaven.

The teaching of Jesus is divine and He Himself is divine, above whose authority there is no other.  But His light can only be seen, His words can only be understood by those whose hearts are open to truth and willing to walk the path He sets.  If the “chief priests and elders of the people” closed themselves off from Him in a political quandary, we must not do so.  Instead we must be as His apostles, in whom the tribes of Israel are truly aligned perfectly, and have as ready a response as we know Peter had on the shores of Galilee, as Thomas had when He appeared in their midst: He is our Lord, our God.  This we must see.  This we must know.  And this we must proclaim.

The star has risen in our midst; the Savior has come.  Now we await the fulfillment of that light and must bring it to bear in this generation.  Now we must follow that star where it leads.

*******

O LORD, let our eyes see the coming of your Son,

and our hearts put faith in His authority.

YHWH, let our eyes not be blind, blind to the glory that stands before us in your only Son.  Let our eyes be open to vision of your kingdom, the kingdom He brings to this earth.  Let our tents be set in line with your will, O LORD; let our hearts be humble before you.

LORD God, you show the humble your way; you bless them with your presence in their souls and your light shining in their lives.  Teach us this day the way we should walk, the way marked out for us by your Son.  Upon Him your authority rests – let us not question His divinity but believe in His power and so in your own.  May His Word transform our souls.

The wisdom of the ages comes to us this day in Jesus and in His words.  Here is the ocean at our hands, before our eyes, that all we might know of your goodness, LORD.  Let us honor Him as our King who has come and follow in the way He leads.

Direct download: BC-121310-M_3_Adv.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Is.35:1-6,10;   Ps.146:6-10,Is.35:4;   Jas.5:7-10;   Mt.11:2-11)

 

“Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand.”

 

Hope.  What hope have we.  And so we should “be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord.”  Indeed, we must endure “the early and the late rains” – having been converted to the Lord we shall be purged of all sin on the last day – but, though “hardship” be with us now, our hope should be firm in Him who comes, in Him who “is standing before the gates” even now.

Jesus is the fulfillment of the vision given Isaiah and the salvation sung of by our psalmist.  By Him, “the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.”  Should not He who has power over all maladies, and even death, bring us hope in the kingdom to come?  Should not our seeing these wonders wrought by Jesus instill great faith in our hearts?  Should we not even rejoice now in our suffering, knowing well that “sorrow and mourning will flee away” when He comes, that the very suffering we experience now will then be no more?  Patience.  Indeed, patience brings us hope, enables us to endure all, even joyfully.

And does Jesus not seek to encourage greater hope, greater faith in our hearts by His words about John the Baptist?  “What did you go out to the desert to see?” He asks the crowds, addressing their longing for truth, their desire for hope, and confirms that the prophet they sought was indeed greater than all “among those born of women.”  But He does not stop there.  How much farther He leads them: “The least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”  Remarkable.  What hope have we, to be greater than the Baptist.  For the Baptist is himself a man, who himself suffers and struggles, inquiring if Jesus is “the one who is to come,” and must himself be assured by the Lord.  But in heaven no question will remain.  This desert in which we seek the Lord will come to full bloom “with abundant flowers.” 

Keep the faith in joy, brothers and sisters.  We have every reason for hope; we have firm witness of His grace, at work in us even now.

 

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

 

Music:"Hold On, Here We Go" from Bearing the Birth Pangs, tenth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

 

*******

O LORD, come with your Word to heal our souls

that we might enter your kingdom.

YHWH, the coming of your Son is close at hand, when all your children will dance and sing for joy.  Though He has come once to open our eyes, to clear our ears, yet in some measure we remain blind and deaf, waiting for the day when your kingdom shall be fulfilled in our midst.  And so, we thank you for the release from sin Jesus has wrought, and we wait in hope for His return.  Give us the patience we so desperately need.

John was the greatest of men, the greatest of prophets, who prepared the way for your only Son, O LORD.  To this parched earth, this desert wasteland, he proclaimed a baptism of repentance that brought healing to our souls.  Yet all he has done is but a shadow when compared to the glory of the eternal kingdom to which the Christ does carry us.

Strengthen our hands, dear LORD; make firm our weak knees.  Let all sorrow and mourning flee from us as we humbly await Jesus’ return and our becoming one with you.

Direct download: BC-121210-Su_3_Adv._A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O mystical doctor –

help us by way of the Cross

to find wisdom and knowledge of Christ

and union with God;

let us desire to enter

the suffering of the Lord,

that by this means

we may draw closer

to His glorious presence

and there remain in joy.

Let us fear not

the dark night the soul must endure

but bear it well,

that we might be purged of all blindness;

pray the Lord will shine upon us

His holy light

and we might soon look upon

His face

with you.

May the Lord’s Cross overshadow all

and anoint every soul

with the peace that surpasses understanding,

with His undying love.

Direct download: Dec._14_John_of_the_Cross.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Sir.48:1-4,9-11;   Ps.80:2-4,15-16,18-19;   Mt.17:10-13)

 

“Like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah

whose words were as a flaming furnace.”

 

Elijah has come, to “restore everything.”  The word has fallen like fire from heaven to prepare a path for the Lord to tread.  The Baptist has cried out as a voice in the wilderness for us to make our hearts ready for the coming of the Lord.

But, sadly, “they did not recognize him and they did as they pleased with him.”  They rejected the voice crying to them and attempted to cover over the way the word had cleared before them.  He who came “to turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons, and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob,” was himself turned back; and they cast him into prison and beheaded the great prophet.

Yet the way remains open to us.  He whom the prophet hailed has come into our midst, and His presence cannot be taken away – even to the end of the age (which is upon us).  And we must join with our psalmist today in calling upon Him to “come to save us,” to “look down from heaven, and see,” to “take care of this vine” planted by His right hand.  “Give us new life, and we will call upon your name,” must be our prayer, especially in this Advent season, for we must awaken and enliven the path to God the Baptist has served to blaze in our hearts.  We must know now Him whom he has hailed.

And, yes, with this Elijah and with the Son of Man, we too will suffer at the hands of those who would silence the Word, who would extinguish the fire set upon the earth.  But the fire is eternal and its light and power cannot be dimmed, much less extinguished.  It will purify those who seek the face of God and destroy those who turn from Him.  It cannot be otherwise.  Now that the Lord has come, His angels wait in expectation to purge the world.  Once more only the prophet Elijah will appear and the flaming furnace his words prepare will be fulfilled in God’s eternity by the return of the Son of Man.  In absolute glory the Lord will reign. 

*******

O LORD, Elijah has come

and the way of the Cross has been prepared;

your Son is now present to save us. 

YHWH, rouse your power and come to save us; purge us in the fire your Son has set upon the face of the earth.  The Baptist has come in the spirit of Elijah – the way of the Savior is now prepared in our midst.

But we must walk this way of fire; we must be sanctified by the Holy Spirit, if we are to walk in the way of your Son.  If our hearts are to be turned to you, LORD, we must have faith in the One to come.

And this path is one of persecution; it is one that reduces us to straits.  For nothing unholy can enter your presence, and so we must be prepared along the narrow way.  O LORD, make us strong in following you this day!

The Son of Man is now among us, He who has suffered and died for our sake.  May the fire of the Spirit He sends, LORD, make us ready to share in His death, and so His glory.

Direct download: BC-121110-Sa_2_Adv.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O bride of our Lord Jesus Christ,

in your virginity

and in your dying

you have given yourself

entirely

to the Lord of Heaven and earth.

O how like Him you were

in your purity

and in your suffering!

and so how close to Him

you must be

in Heaven –

pray that a ray of His light

might come to us

who sit in darkness,

we whose hearts

are not as strong

as your own.

His heavenly light

we wish to enter;

by your prayers

may we see

His glory.

Direct download: Dec._13_Lucy.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Is.48:17-19;   Ps.1:1-4,6,Jn.8:12;   Mt.11:16-19)

“Time will prove where wisdom lies.”

No doubt it lies with God.  It lies with the Son of Man, come for our salvation.

“I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go.”  Is it not our essential call to obey His Word, to listen for His voice and follow in His way?  Are they not happy who hear the Word of God and keep it?  Is this not wisdom, to walk in the way of our Creator, with the One who loves us above all?  Does not all our misery stem from disobedience to His sacred commandments?  Do we not in this way of our own making not simply lose all love in our hearts?  Does this not bring our death?

If we would but follow the Lord, our “prosperity would be like a river,” no doubt.  Our “descendants would be like the sand,” for “like a tree planted near running water” we would flourish with the wisdom which comes from the font of life which is the Lord, and one would we become with all the children of His eternal kingdom.

We cannot expect the Lord to dance to the tune we pipe or wail to the dirge we sing.  It is the height of foolishness for the creature to attempt to impose its will on the Creator.  But such is our pride, the source of our wickedness.  And so, deaf, blind, and empty are we when we seek to turn the order of the universe back upon our God.  For “like chaff which the wind drives away” our own foolish counsels can all but come to naught.  The branch cannot grow apart from the vine, nor can the tree bear fruit without the water which gives it life.

“Happy the man who… delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on His law day and night.”  For then the nourishing waters are upon him; then the light of wisdom fills him – then he shall bear fruit a hundredfold and never taste of death.  For the Hand of God will be upon him to lead him to the eternal kingdom, where His wisdom will be proven true.

*******

O LORD, let us follow your Wisdom, your Word,

your way to eternal life. 

YHWH, let us follow in your way, in the way you call us to walk.  Let us not follow in the way of the wicked, the way which vanishes, but walk with you, meditating on your Word, and we will come to life, to life everlasting with you.

If we do not listen to your Word, what fools we are, O LORD!  If we seek our own designs and to impose them upon you – what greater foolishness can there be?  O let us recognize you as God and not ourselves!  And may obedience to your voice be our salvation.

John appeared neither eating nor drinking to show us the path of sacrifice that leads to you, that enables us to overcome this world and find your kingdom.  Jesus ate and drank for He is of your kingdom and calls all to your table on high.  O let us witness to your Wisdom at work in all things! a wisdom we cannot gainsay or deny, a wisdom we must accept to find its light.  There in your Wisdom let us make our home, dear LORD, and we shall prosper unto eternity.

Direct download: BC-121010-F_2_Adv.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Is.41:13-20;   Ps.145:1,8-13;   Mt.11:11-15)

 

“I will make you a threshing sledge,

sharp, new, and double-edged.”

 

A “worm” and a “maggot” are we.  We are “the afflicted and the needy [who] seek water in vain, [our] tongues… parched with thirst.”  But holding our right hand, the Lord speaks to us: “Fear not, I will help you.”  “I will open up rivers on the bare heights…  I will turn the desert into a marshland, and the dry ground into springs of water.”  And has not John the Baptizer come, into the desert, into the wilderness, and there poured the water of God’s compassion upon us for the forgiveness of sins?

Lush trees now grow in the desert: we who were once empty are now filled with God’s grace.  And yes, “the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.”  For all these wonders accomplished in our midst are but to “make known to men [His] might and the glorious splendor of [His] kingdom.”  Indeed, we now “thresh the mountains and crush them, to make the hills like chaff,” but all this is done in His power.

And how then do we understand Jesus’ words: “From John the Baptizer’s time until now the kingdom of God has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force”?  We know that John spoke boldly in the name of God; unafraid of his oppressors, he called all to repentance.  We should all learn from the power of God he displayed in crying out in the wilderness.  We know also that at the time Jesus spoke the above words, John was imprisoned in Herod’s dungeon, suffering genuinely the violence of this generation.  We know Jesus Himself will be crucified.  We know all the apostles (save John) will be martyred for the faith – all His children suffer under the weight of the cross imposed by the violent of this world.

But we know also that this very cross is the means God has chosen to most poignantly reveal His powerful hand at work.  For the nails which fix our hands to the wood have no power over us, and so by the humble acceptance of the violence of this age we do most dramatically destroy, crush into dust, the mountains of this world.  And we upon whom the greatest violence is inflicted indeed effect the greater violence upon our oppressors, for by this sacrifice wickedness is destroyed and the righteous enter the kingdom of heaven.  Let us act with such strength from God, brothers and sisters, for the sake of the kingdom. 

*******

O LORD, let there be springs of water

in the desert of this world,

that we poor souls might not die

but enter into your kingdom. 

YHWH, Elijah has come as a threshing sledge preparing the way for your Son – and now all souls may enter your kingdom!

To the desert of our lives you have brought your water, O LORD.  We who were parched and lifeless have heard the Baptist’s call to repentance and known the grace that comes to us thereby.  Your Son, your very Son has come among us and opened the gates of Heaven; in His sacrifice you show your great compassion, and now this tree of life flourishes in our midst.

To the Cross we must all be nailed, dear LORD; all the evil in us must die.  But what blessing such violence brings!  For joining ourselves to your Son’s sacrifice, the glorious splendor of your reign is revealed to our eyes.

Though we must die, LORD, you live in us and remain in us until the end of time.  And so for such grace we bless you; so this day we heed your Son’s voice.  Let us be washed clean in the water from His side and come quickly to eternal life.

Direct download: BC-120910-Th_2_Adv.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O Patroness of the Americas

and Protectress of the Unborn,

look upon our troubled state,

where lust and greed abound,

where thousands are killed in the womb

every day,

where the poor and the rich

are separated by steel walls

and thirsting souls

die in the desert –

help us, dear Mother,

to discover life,

to find your guidance

in this land of opportunity

and broken dreams,

in these hearts that have grown so cold

that more are sacrificed

on unholy altars

than when you first came

to turn our hearts to the Lord!

Pray for us, Our Lady,

or we shall surely die

in a soulless pride.

Direct download: Dec._12_Our_Lady_of_Guadalupe.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

 (Zec. 2:14-17;   Lk.1:46-55;   Lk.1:29-47)

“Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD!

for He stirs forth from His holy dwelling.”

And His own stirring forth causes John the Baptist to stir forth, to “leap for joy” – thus is opened the mouth of the one who will proclaim His way.

On this the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe we celebrate the Lord’s stirring forth in astounding fashion in the Americas.  As the Lord looked upon His humble servant Mary to bring forth the only Son of God, so He smiles upon the humble Juan Diego, to bring the conversion of a continent.  His Mother comes humble and with child to bring new birth to a land in darkness…  And how that land sits in darkness now, awaiting renewal by the graces from His hand. 

“He has looked upon His handmaid’s lowliness” once, and again; let us pray a humble spirit He shall once more find in this place and on this earth, that indeed “the hungry shall be filled with good things,” that He who has “lifted up the lowly” will remember them now that they are trodden down, now that the most humble are destroyed in the womb.

“Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day.”  And many have.  But how sincere is their commitment to Him?  Are they truly “His people,” and so will “He dwell among” them?  Have we cause to “sing and rejoice,” to be as she who “proclaims the greatness of the Lord” – or to cry tears of sorrow for the land to which we have come?  For the womb is barren; the spirits are proud – and in these the Lord takes no joy.

Silence before Him we must find once again, that He might turn to us and bring new birth to this land.

“Stir forth, O Lord, from your holy dwelling,”

     and renew our languishing souls.

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

Music by Roger and Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, may our hearts stir to life

at the sound of Mary’s voice,

at the approach of your Son. 

YHWH, you sent the Mother of your Son to a land in darkness, to a barren place, that the people might be converted to the faith, that the blood upon their hands might be washed away.  May she come again to this continent and this world that unholy sacrifice might again be stopped by her humble presence.  O LORD, bring us new life!

LORD, we would rejoice in you and in your presence in our midst.  We would see all the nations gathered into your arms.  But how can you come to a place that despises life, that kills its children in the womb?  Have pity on us, dear LORD, and send Mother Mary to prepare the second coming of your Son.

The Baptist awoke and leapt in his mother’s womb when Mary brought his Savior to him.  O let us awake this day, dear God, awake from our slumber in such darkness and come into the light of your day.  Let us be humble and lowly as she who bore your Son, and we shall be lifted with her to your side.  Save us, O LORD our God.

Direct download: Our_Lady_of_Guadalupe_2009.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O bishop of Rome

who guided the bark of Peter

through difficult waters,

who kept her on the course

set for her by the Lord

even as she grew in this world

from a Church of the blood of martyrs

to one entering the light of day,

of acceptance by the city of man…

you who sought so diligently

to preserve the memory of the martyrs

lest it should pass away,

and the Cross of Christ

with it –

pray that today, too,

the Church will remember its root,

the root of Jesse and His sacrifice,

and that as she grows

our Mother on earth

will be well understood

by those called into her walls.

Pray the martyrs pray for us,

that in their blood we always find our growth.

Direct download: Dec._11_Damasus_I.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Is.40:25-31;   Ps.103:1-4,8,10;   Mt.11:28-30)

“My yoke is easy and my burden light.”

How we do become “weary and find life burdensome.”  How we can “faint and grow weary,” “stagger and fall” from the burden of sin and our inherent weakness.  But oh how “He gives strength to the fainting; for the weak He makes vigor abound.”   For indeed He is the creator of the universe – “by His great might and the strength of His power” all things come to be – and His Son is the redeemer of our souls.  “The Lord is the eternal God” and “they that hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar as with eagles’ wings.”  Trust in Him who “pardons all your iniquities” and “heals all your ills.”

What a promise Jesus holds forth for those who come to His “gentle and humble” heart: “Your souls will find rest.”  We know that the great St. Augustine has told us that only in God do our souls find rest.  How we wander aimlessly in trackless wastes seeking comfort for our souls, rest for our weary bodies, taking refuge in the various attractions of the world and the vain promise they hold.  How late in life all of us come to the fulfilling promise of Jesus, for any time spent apart from Him is but wasted.

And thank the Lord that He is “merciful and gracious.”  Thank Him that “not according to our sins does He deal with us.”  For what hope would we have then?  But this great God who has no equal, who holds the world in His hand, “redeems your life from destruction, He crowns you with kindness and compassion” despite your sins, if you but come to Him as He calls.

How patiently Jesus waits for each of us, this only Son of God, this image of the Father and embodiment of His love.  How gracious He is toward us poor creatures.  Will you not take His “yoke upon your shoulders and learn” from Him?  Will you not find refreshment from all your sins and forgiveness of all your crimes?  Will you continue to turn your face away from Him who watches over all and weigh yourself down with anxiety?  Or will you come to Him, your only hope?  Take the light burden of His gracious Word upon your souls and do His will in this world.

*******

O LORD, how shall your compassion come

to dwell in our hearts,

and your strength renew our own? –

let us be blessed in Jesus your Son. 

YHWH, you make our burden light by the Cross of your only Son.  He takes our sins upon Himself and carries them away, and we need but turn to Him and walk with Him to find rest for our souls.

How great is your announcement to us, O LORD; how great your blessing!  For you who are Creator of Heaven and earth promise your own strength to those who believe in you, who turn to your grace and mercy.  Our sins you remember not, our iniquities you pardon; and finding no condemnation at your hands, we are free to soar as with eagles’ wings – for what punishment can there be if it comes not from you?

O LORD, for all your benefits let all men bless you and your holy NAME.  Let us come this day to your only Son and share the blessings upon Him.  He will carry our burden in this world and so our yoke will be light.  Deep in our souls let us know your compassion, and we shall soar on your heights.

Direct download: BC-120711-W_2_Adv.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Is.40:1-11;   Ps.96:1-3,10-13,Is.40:10;   Mt.18:12-14)

 

“Like a shepherd He feeds His flock;

in His arms He gathers His lambs.”

 

His is the voice which “speak[s] tenderly to Jerusalem.”  It is He who “give[s] comfort to [His] people.”  For “it is no part of [the] heavenly Father’s plan that a single one of these little ones shall ever come to grief.”

Like a shepherd He leads us.  With great concern He watches over His flock, careful that none is led astray.  And diligent is He in finding the one who “wanders away.”  This is indeed “good news.”  These are indeed “glad tidings,” which make even “the trees of the forest exult.”  For He cares about each one of the many of His creatures, and shall bring all back to Him by the sound of His gentle voice.

And of His sweet voice we must cry out.  “Sing to the Lord; bless His name; announce His salvation day after day.”  For all the earth must know that “He shall rule the world with justice and His peoples with constancy.”  And so “a voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord!”  May all hearts be ready to meet Him.  When “every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low… then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all mankind shall see it together.”  O that that glorious day might come!

“Though the grass withers and the flower wilts, the word of our God stands forever.”  And so He stands behind us, whispering into our ears of the way we should walk.  And so He calls to our hearts, carrying us “in His bosom” with care.  And so His eternal presence ever comes to our tired bodies, our fading souls, and gives them life, and brings them back from their straying paths upon this dying earth.  And so it is that all “exult before the Lord, for He comes; He comes to rule the earth.”

It is only in His eternity that we shall find a home, brothers and sisters.  And into these arms He now gathers us.  And with His food He now feeds us.  Let us partake of His presence in Word and in Sacrament as we await His coming.

 

*******

O LORD, we praise you

for the merciful justice and peace

you have brought into our midst

through your Son Jesus. 

YHWH, truth has sprung out of the earth, for justice has looked down from Heaven and our redemption has come – Jesus has been born among us.  He is the holy way, the way that leads to the splendor and glory of your kingdom.  He is as the stream in the desert that cleanses our souls of all sins and so prepares us to dance and sing with Him in your eternal presence.  We who were lame now leap like a stag for the blessing we have received from our Savior; yes, we have been forgiven, and are now crowned with everlasting joy.

O let your splendor come to us this day, dearest LORD and God.  May we hear these blessed words from the mouth of your Son: “Your sins are forgiven.”  O let us rise and walk with Him to our heavenly homeland!  The parched land cries out to you; let your water pour down upon us that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might blossom forth with His gifts.  Strengthened by such grace let us do your holy will in all things.

Direct download: BC-120710-Tu_2_Adv.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O humble child of the Lord

whom our Lady blessed

with her presence,

to whom she gave

roses in winter –

pray for us who are not humble as you,

whose obedience is cold

and grown so weak,

that she might come to us, too,

that she might speak a word to our hearts

and we might as children

listen

and do as she directs,

she who directs us only to Jesus,

only to His love.

Pray this continent be once again

renewed

by the grace of God;

may Our Lady’s image

be upon our hearts

that we too might proclaim

the glory of the Lord

and His love for His children.

Direct download: Dec._9_Juan_Diego.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

O pure Mother,

you are she who is full of grace;

it is you who have found the Lord’s favor.

Preserved from all sin from the womb,

overflowing with all His blessings,

you are the hope of our race,

the one created soul most like to God –

pray for us this day, dear Mother,

that we might be kept from the snares of the world,

from the enticements of the devil.

O help us be pure as you,

obedient to the will of the Father,

bringing His Son into this world

by the Holy Spirit’s power.

You who now reign in Heaven

with the Lord, your only Son,

intercede for us who toil on earth

that we too might enter God’s presence;

you who are blessed to be one with Him,

pray the Church you bear be so well founded.

Hail, Full of Grace!

Your name be blessed forever

by all generations.

Direct download: Dec._8_Immaculate_Conception.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(Gn.3:9-15,20;   Ps.98:1-4;   Eph.1:3-6,11-12;   Lk.1:26-38)

 

“He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world,

to be holy and without blemish before Him.”

 

And she is the sign of such preservation from evil.

 “Hail, full of grace!  The Lord is with you.”  And so the Virgin Mother is greeted by the power of the Most High.  So she is called – “full of grace” is her title.  She whom all generations will call blessed is revealed in this simple greeting as having “found favor with God.”  And so, “the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God,” the Son of her who has been preserved by grace.

“In accord with the favor of His will, for the praise of the glory of His grace,” this has been done – she has been immaculately conceived, kept from the stain of sin.  Not that she herself might be worshiped is the Virgin kept pure, but indeed she does “exist for the praise of His glory.”  “My soul magnifies the Lord,” she has proclaimed… and it is so.  She is but the sign that “His right hand has won victory for Him”; she is the instrument through which “the Lord has made His salvation known.”

How wonderfully this is expressed in her own words of consent to His call: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.”  Here in this blessed obedience she sets in motion the cleansing of our sin of disobedience she shall bring by the fruit of her womb, a disobedience painfully recounted for us in our first reading – a disobedience which has caused us to hide from the face of God.  But no longer will we be trapped in this hell.  No more will we flee from the presence of Him who is our Creator, for by her humble obedience, and our own, in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we will have our nakedness covered over and become holy as He.

The Virgin is our Mother.  She who has “no relations with a man” has brought about the salvation of all men “in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of His will.”  And so the curse is removed from us.  And so we might “sing joyfully to the Lord,” for “in the sight of the nations He has revealed His justice”; through this simple virgin He has brought us His grace.  And now we may be pure as He.

 

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

Music By Carie Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

O LORD, the serpent comes to Eve, and we fall;

the angel comes to Mary, and we rise –

in selfish disobedience we do the devil’s work;

in selfless obedience we serve you…

O let us be your children! 

YHWH, full of grace is the Mother of your Son; by your will you have made her pure that she might carry Him who is perfect into this world.  We praise you for your goodness to her, for it means goodness to us – it means our salvation has come!

With every spiritual blessing in the heavens you have showered us by your grace and mercy, O LORD, by the love you offer us in Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord.  And so we might stand holy and without blemish before you; and so we might be even as Mary our Mother, even as Jesus her Son.  O let us be incorporated into your glory, dear God!

Our sin has been grievous.  We have turned away from you.  Our disobedience has wrought your just punishment, LORD.  But salvation you bring to us this day by the word of the angel.  And so we praise you for your faithfulness in saving us; and so we offer our lives with Mary your handmaiden – in our lives let your Word be accomplished.

Direct download: Immaculate_Conception_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

(Is.40:1-5,9-11;   Ps.85:9-14;   2Pt.3:8-14;   Mk.1:1-8)

 

“Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;

he will prepare your way.”

 

And so, “John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”  And so comes “the voice of one crying out in the desert,” in the desert that is our fallen lives: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths.”

Turn from your sins, brothers and sisters.  Repent.  It is the Lord’s will that “all should come to repentance,” that all should be “found without spot or blemish” on the day of His coming, on the day all “the elements will be dissolved with fire.”  With the fire of the Holy Spirit does the Lord Jesus come now to baptize, that what John has cleansed from our souls might be gone forever – that the new person we become by this baptism of water might be made complete, might become hardened and lasting in the furnace of His love.

God “proclaims peace to His people.  Near indeed is His salvation to those who fear Him.”  Hear what His prophet says, for he cries “out at the top of [his] voice” that indeed all hearts might listen: “Here is your GOD!  Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by His strong arm.”  Yes, “the mouth of the Lord has spoken,” and now the WORD is in our midst, walking amongst us as our shepherd and “leading the ewes with care.”  The “justice [that] shall walk before Him, and prepare the way of His steps,” has come, and now the level highway that leads to His kingdom we must tread – there is no denying the road that is set before us.

Christ is coming, brothers and sisters, and Christ has come.  The Baptist has prepared His path, and He, the Son of God, has walked it.  And now we await His return in glory.  And “the Lord does not delay His promise”; His return is sure.  Already we see the “glory dwelling in our land.”  He waits for you to come now to Him.  In patience He looks for you to turn.  Turn to Him now in earnest; with all your soul cry out His Name.  “Jesus Christ the Son of God” dawns on the horizon.  Embrace His love; walk His sacred path.

 

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

 

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

 

*******

O LORD, may all souls come from this desert of sin

to your holy mountain.

YHWH, let us be gathered into your barn, into your reign of peace, where, the viper having been defanged, all your creatures live in harmony, glorifying you as God and Father.  In your Son let us make our home.

Jesus comes into our midst endowed with your justice and judgment, O LORD.  And the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire, but His wheat He will draw into His heart.  With fire shall all men be baptized – may that fire be for us a purging light for entering your kingdom.

The Spirit that was upon John shall anoint all who hear his voice, who seek your way, O LORD and God.  And so we must make straight our paths to you, following closely in the footsteps of your Son.  O let there be fruit upon our trees! to prove our repentance genuine.

Your NAME shall be blessed forever, dear God; in peace shall all your children dwell.  May we be covered with knowledge of you, and so live always in the light of your glory. 

Direct download: BC-120510-Su_2_Adv._A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O good bishop

and wise doctor of the Church –

pray for us,

that the water that is Christ

might pour upon our souls,

especially His chosen apostles,

your fellow bishops,

and fill all with wisdom from on high,

leading us away from all lies

to the truth that is Jesus.

Pray our hearts shall be filled

to overflowing

with this Word,

that the Gospel might be preached

by lips anointed

with the Body and Blood of our Lord;

may the darkness of error

be dispelled

and God’s pure light

shine in our midst.

Pray for us, good doctor,

pray for us;

lead us indeed to the truth that is Christ.

Direct download: Dec._7_Ambrose.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Is.30:19-21,23-26;   Ps.147:1-6,Is.30:18;   Mt.9:35-10:1,6-8)

 

“On the day the Lord binds up the wounds of His people,

He will heal the bruises left by His blows.”

 

“Cure the sick, raise the dead, heal the leprous, expel demons.”  With these words Jesus sends His disciples forth proclaiming, “The reign of God is at hand!”

The prophecy of Isaiah has been fulfilled.  The Savior has come.  The Teacher is at our side now speaking into our ears, “This is the way; walk in it.”  And of all our sins He cleanses us; from all our sickness He heals us.  Indeed, “as soon as you call He will answer you,” for He is ready to wipe all tears from your eyes.

And what must be our response to a Lord who “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  We must be the same as He.  We must go forth as He has, teaching, proclaiming “the good news of God’s reign,” and curing “every sickness and disease.”  It is our call to make others whole in heart, mind, soul, and body; and so, to whatever need is present – and there are many or the Lord would not ask us to “beg the harvest master to send out laborers to gather His harvest” – we must apply the grace of God.  He will do the work that is needed, but He needs us to work through.

To what glory all are called; what a wonderful message we have to bring forth!  Isaiah, the great prophet, only touches upon it when he cries out that the Lord “will give rain for the seed that you sow in the ground” (see how He will bless your work!) and when he proclaims: “The light of the moon will be like that of the sun and the light of the sun will be seven times greater.”  This vision is for all who turn to the Lord for healing.

We have been bruised, brothers and sisters.  No doubt, our sins have brought wounds to our souls.  But the Lord will bind up all these; in His surpassing pity He will raise us all from death as He “rebuilds Jerusalem.”  Let us bring this message forth.

*******

O LORD, heal us of all ill and teach us

to walk in the way that leads unto Heaven.

YHWH, we lie prostrate from exhaustion, do we not?  We thirst for your presence; we hunger for the Bread you provide.  Come to us.  Send your laborers to teach us and to heal us of every disease, to bring us your grace.  Have pity on your sheep, O LORD!

We are broken, but when we cry out to you, O LORD, you hear our voice and quickly answer our prayers.  And what promise you make to our waiting hearts!  Abundance of blessing shall be ours as you heal the wounds of our sin and bring us into your glorious presence.

Seven times greater than the light of the sun will be your light on that Day, O LORD.  Streams of running  water will fill our thirst for you and by your teaching we will be led in our every step.  Come, LORD, fulfill your promise in our midst.  Let all men know your reign is at hand.

Direct download: BC-120410-Sa_1_Adv.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O bishop of Myra,

shepherd of the Lord’s sheep

who has with a generous heart

cared so well

for His little ones…

all became as your children,

for you loved your flock

with the love of Christ Himself;

their needs were your own –

pray our hearts will be like yours,

that just so generously

we will give to those in need,

provide for those in our care.

I pray you will see us now

as your children here

and beg the bearer of all good gifts

to provide for all those most in need,

that in joy all souls

may welcome His coming,

ready for the joys of Heaven.

May our love be one

with the love of our Good Shepherd,

now and in eternity.

Direct download: Dec._6_Nicholas.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Is.29:17-24;   Ps.27:1,4,13-14;   Mt.9:27-31)

 

“The eyes of the blind shall see.”

 

O “that I may gaze on the loveliness of the Lord and contemplate His temple.”  That out of “gloom and darkness” I might be taken, and come “to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”  That I could feel His hands touch my eyes, that I might have the faith to believe they shall be open to His glory…

Brothers and sisters, we are blind.  All of us.  All of us lack understanding.  All of us falter in faith.  For who among us is there that gazes continually upon the Lord’s presence?  Who among us has entered His glory?  Who among us possesses no arrogance and has “nothing to be ashamed of”?  If yet we toil upon this earth, groaning as we await the redemption of our bodies, then yet do we continue in a measure blind.  Yet do we seek His face.  And if yet seeking “to see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living,” then yet have we to find it in its fullness; and so, yet do our eyes lack of the light that is the Lord, our salvation.

But certainly we are not without hope.  Most certainly His hand is upon us even now.  Most certainly His presence comes to us each and every day.  Clearly His light shines in our midst in the Sacrament we receive and in the Word we hear, and so we can with confidence heed the exhortation of the psalm of David: “Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.”  For He comes, and we know this.  We are catching up to Him, and this is our joy.  Yes, today do we know we shall see Him, for our eyes do glimpse Him even now.

In the meantime, brothers and sisters, as we wait, as the light that has dawned upon the world rises to our eyes, as He comes to fill our vision, let us strive to avoid speaking any word which “condemns a man.”  Let us know that indeed we “err in spirit” and need the Lord’s light to guide us, and we shall become free of that which blinds us.  And we shall be the lowly who are raised to His presence. 

*******

O LORD, let us gaze upon your loveliness always! 

YHWH, take us out of gloom and darkness that we might gaze upon your face; save us this day from all evil that into your Temple we may come.  You are our very light, O LORD – let our eyes be filled with vision of your presence.

O LORD, let us never cease pursuing you till we catch up with you and you turn to us to heal us.  So far short of your glory do we fall, so far short.  Yet you draw us forth as you walk on ahead of us; yet if we keep calling out to you, you shall answer.  Never let our hearts be discouraged as we seek the light of your face.

O LORD, let us keep your NAME holy; in awe let us reverence you always.  Let us remember your love for us and the understanding your Spirit brings.  O let our minds be filled with your light as we wait steadfastly for you to come!

Open our ears, O LORD; open our eyes.  Cast from our midst all arrogance, all condemnation from our tongues.  Let us not be condemned ourselves but come to contemplate your glory forever.

Direct download: BC-120310-F_1_Adv.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Is.26:1-6;   Ps.118:1,8-9,19-21,25-27;   Mt.7:21,24-27)

 

“Trust in the Lord forever!

For the Lord is an eternal rock.”

 

Sand or rock?  Upon which do we build our house?  If we “take refuge in the Lord” and enter “the gates of justice,” we shall find salvation in the Lord’s kingdom; if we “trust in man” and “princes,” we shall be leveled with the dust – our house shall collapse and we be “completely ruined.”

The choice is set before us.  “Those in high places” will be humbled to the ground; those who find refuge in the empty things of this world will find no protection on the day of His coming.  But for the “nation of firm purpose,” which “comes in the name of the Lord,” “He sets up walls and ramparts to protect.”  And they shall “give thanks to the Lord” as they enter the gates of His holy city.

Jesus states clearly, “Only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” will enter His kingdom: the one “who hears my words and puts them into practice” is he who is wise.  And the putting into practice is key.  Jesus has come in the flesh, and flesh there must be to our deeds.  He is real, and we must be as real as He in our love.  Otherwise we deny Him.  We deny His coming if we do not live His way.  God is not across the ocean or in the sky; He walks upon this earth now and must be in our lives.  Only this will bring us strength.  Only this will enable us to stand when the torrents come and the winds blow and buffet our house – for these have no power over those who are set in the Hand of God, who do His bidding.

“Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it” (Lk.11:28).  We cannot but think of these challenging words from our Lord, referring greatly to the Mother of God – whose service to the Lord we particularly celebrate in these days of preparation – and cannot but hope to abide by them and become the handmaiden Mary has shown herself to be, that the eternal blessings of God might be ours as well.  In Him let us trust.  In Him let our faith be set.  And let us do His will. 

*******

O LORD, let us dwell in your House,

built on the Rock that is you.

YHWH, how shall our city be strong if we do not trust in you?  How shall we stand on your Day if we are not your children, if we have not done your will in this world?  How can we enter your House and there dwell in peace if we have not the key to your kingdom, if we live not as your Son?

O LORD, we shall but fall to the dust and be trampled underfoot if we have only words to offer you.  If we have lived our lives in vain, then we have built our house on sand, and it shall but collapse when you stand before us on your holy Day.  There is no hope for those who do not come to your Son and put His words into practice.

But for those who trust in you and serve you, the gates of justice open up and they enter in and dwell in your presence – these stand strong whatever may come for they stand with you who are the eternal Rock, the foundation that cannot be shaken.  Let us enter your House and give thanks to you, O LORD, for you are our Savior and in you we take our refuge.

Direct download: BC-120210-Th_1_Adv.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O blessed teacher of the faith –

may the nourishing waters of our Mother,

of the true teaching of our Church,

flow upon all souls,

calling them to the Lord

from whom they emanate;

like the waters trickling from the temple

in Ezekiel’s vision,

may they grow and increase

as they travel to the ends of the earth,

making all whole,

pure in the light of God.

Pray that the Mother of Heaven,

through whom flow these waters,

these graces pouring forth

from the Cross of Christ…

will pray for us here on earth

and see that we are nourished well

by the faith

brought to us by the holy apostles

and still fostered

by the shepherds of the Church.

May the Lord keep us in His way.

Direct download: Dec._4_John_of_Damascus.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Is.25:6-10;   Ps.23:1-6;   Mt.15:29-37)

 

“The hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain.”

 

And He will heal us.  And He will lead us.  And He will feed us.

Jesus went up onto a mountainside along the Sea of Galilee and sat down to teach and to heal.  The sick were laid at His feet.  Isaiah says, “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples.”  This mountain is the Lord.  It is Jesus who reaches out His hand to heal those lying at His feet.  It is Jesus who raises the bread for blessing and gives all to eat.  And it is He who “will destroy death forever.”   “This is the Lord for whom we looked.”

And it is through His Church Jesus works; through the blessing of the priest who raises the bread and the cup, Jesus gives us His Body and Blood – this is our “feast of rich food and choice wines” envisioned by Isaiah.  It is He who forgives our sins, He who removes “the reproach of His people,” wiping away “the tears from all faces” in the confessional.  He anoints us with the oil of the Spirit in Baptism; He joins us as one in holy Matrimony…  He shepherds us with the Word of His teaching, leading us “in right paths,” “beside restful waters,” to “dwell in the house of the Lord” forever.

“Let us rejoice and be glad that He has saved us!”  If “only goodness and kindness” follow us all our days, what have we to do but rejoice?  If we have a Lord who looks with such pity upon our hunger, what need we fear?  If it is He who “spread[s] the table” before us, even here in this world, “in the sight of [our] foes,” where sin besets us… what can we lack?  If “cripples, the deformed, the blind, the mute, and many others” were healed of their maladies, what sickness of ours is beyond His redemption?

In this world we “walk in the dark valley.”  In this world we hunger.  Here “the veil that veils all peoples” is upon us.  But here, too, He is with us to refresh our souls and feed us with His Body and Blood in the New Jerusalem.

 

*******

O LORD, feed us on the holy mountain

which is your Son

with His own Body and Blood. 

YHWH, you are He for whom we have looked, and you come to us in your only Son, who gives to us His Body and His Blood that we might feast upon your presence even in this world.  Let us not be afraid but remember that you are with us.

How glorious is your kingdom, LORD, where all are made well, where all are fed by your hand.  Though we have so little to offer, you take it and bless it and multiply it that we might have an abundance.  And so, even in the valley of death through which we must pass, you are with us to guide us, for your Son has gone there before us.

On your mountain let us make our home, O LORD our God; in the Word and Bread your Son offers let us take our refuge.  He is the mountain on which we must dwell – in Him all death is dispelled and we are made whole in your sight.  Let us remain ever on this mountain.  

Direct download: BC-120110-W_1_Adv.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O holy apostle of the Lord,

model of faith in God

and love of the Church,

has there been a soul

to match your zeal

for the salvation of the world?

Convict us of our laziness,

of our sloth,

of our distraction by the things

not of the kingdom of God;

of what worth are our lives

if not spent in service of the Lord

and of neighbor?

O missionary of missionaries,

by your prayer

let the Church on earth,

which flounders so in empty illusion,

be renewed by a living faith

that reaches to the ends of the world

and banishes all darkness

from the hearts and minds of men.

Pray God’s kingdom come

and reign amongst us.

Direct download: Dec._3_Francis_Xavier.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Is.11:1-10;   Ps.72:1,7-8,12-13,17;   Lk.10:21-24)

“The earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord,

as water covers the sea.”

And so, “there shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain,” says the Lord.

The vision is sure: “The wolf shall be the guest of the lamb… the lion shall eat hay like the ox… the child shall lay his hand on the adder’s lair,” for all shall live as one in the Spirit of the Lord.  “Justice shall flower in His days, and profound peace” – such is the vision to which all hearts aspire.

Jesus is the fullness of that peace.  And so He says to His disciples, “Blest are the eyes that see what you see,” for what “prophets and kings wished to see,” what Isaiah prophesies for us today, is present there before them.

And He is present before us.  But we can only see and hear Him if we are as “merest children,” else His presence will be hidden from our eyes.  He wishes to reveal Himself, desires to lead us to the Father whom He alone knows, to whom He alone can lead us – but to find such fullness of vision, to gaze upon the face of God, to be filled with His wisdom and knowledge as is His Son, we must first fear Him, as He does, and seek to abide by the words and the commands that come to us by “the breath of His lips.”  All must be slain that is wicked in us, and His justice and faithfulness shall be ours.

“May His name be blessed forever; as long as the sun His name shall remain,” for He Himself is light, and indeed His dwelling is glorious.  With judgment and justice He is endowed, and in the light of His wisdom and grace we stand eternally blessed.  But are our eyes open to Him?

Now should we pray for the Lord’s light to fill us, for His knowledge to cover us, that our eyes may be open to see Him, that we shall not miss Him as He comes.

O Lord, prepare our hearts to see you,

and the blessing of your presence, your peace,

among us.

*******

O LORD, open our eyes and ears

to your glorious presence among us.

YHWH, your Son is our justice; our hope for peace is in Him – open our eyes to see His presence, to see your presence among us.

Upon Jesus your favor rests, O LORD, and that favor you would share with all of us; that favor He would share with us if we would but turn to Him with the heart of a child.  May we be truly humble, O LORD, truly loving and truly kind, that your justice might be upon us for good, and to your salvation, to your holy mountain, we shall be called.

In awe of you let us stand, LORD, our eyes and ears filled with your glory alone.  O how shall we bear such blessing?  How shall we come to know such surpassing peace?  How shall we come to stand in your presence and live in your perfection?  Only if your Son reveals to us your glory; only if we are sustained by His grace will we be filled with knowledge of you, our only God.

Direct download: BC-113010-Tu_1_Adv.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Is.2:1-5 or Is.4:2-6;   Ps.122:1-9;   Mt.8:5-11

I shall treat of both first readings)

 

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!”

 

For it shall come.  “The mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain….  All nations shall stream toward it,” and there the Lord will give judgment.  And His judgment will cause the banishment of war, for all shall be one in Him, and to all He shall grant “shelter and protection,” by night and by day.

The coming peace and unity all find on the holy mountain of Jerusalem prophesied by Isaiah is signaled in our gospel passage today as the Gentile centurion approaches Jesus with a request made in great faith.  His surpassing faith prompts the Lord to reveal the truth of the coming kingdom: “Many will come from the east and the west and will find a place at the banquet in the kingdom of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”  For it is faith that brings us to Him and to His blessings.

Certainly the serving boy for whom the centurion intercedes receives healing from the Lord; and certainly all those who “go up to the house of the Lord” in faith shall themselves be gratefully received.  I pray we all remain in Zion, remain in “her place of assembly,” and so find refuge from “storm and rain” and from the “heat of day.”  The New Jerusalem we know is the Catholic Church, is the faith handed down by Jesus through His apostles and blessed by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  We know that within these walls we shall always find peace and protection, and we pray for all to stream toward the truth and the glory found in this House.  There all shall find cleansing from their sins; “with a blast of searing judgment,” the Lord has created this Virgin Bride.  So, “let us walk in the light of the Lord!” 

As Jesus remarks to His followers, “I have never found this much faith in Israel,” He is calling them to an increase in their faith.  He calls us, too, brothers and sisters, to act more readily upon His commands.  Let us not fall short in our service to Him, and the peace of Jerusalem shall just as readily be ours.

 

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O LORD, may all souls come to your holy mountain

and find there a home of peace. 

YHWH, peace reigns in your House, and all those of faith find a place there.  From every corner of the earth, men shall stream toward Jerusalem, where you dwell, where you teach the nations.  Draw all souls into Holy Church.

You are the refuge and protection for all who are purged from their sin; all who come to you for cleansing of the blood from their hands find in you a place of peace and forgiveness, LORD.  May all swords be beaten into plowshares – the war come from men’s hearts be banished forever.

All nations you call, O LORD, and all those of faith you accept into your kingdom.  Let us be obedient in serving you that we might find your peace within our hearts and dwell on your holy mountain forever.

Direct download: BC-112910-M_1_Adv.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT