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.

(Dn.13:1-9,15-17,19-30,33-62;   Ps.23:1-6;   Jn.8:1-11)

 

“Let the man among you who has no sin

be the first to cast a stone at her.”

 

“Then the audience drifted away one by one, beginning with the elders.”  And no one was left to accuse her.

In both our gospel and our first reading a woman is accused of adultery, one justly, the other unjustly.  Yet both are freed.  For under the old law the innocent were to be set free, but under the new, even the guilty.  In the blood of Christ sinners are saved from the fate they deserve; the Lord does not condemn us, and only He has power to do so – for it is always against Him that we sin.

It is curious to note that in both reading and gospel the accused woman is brought before the man against whom she is principally accused of sinning.  In the case of Susanna, it is her husband Joakim to whom the people come with their difficult questions, “because he was the most respected of them all”; and the woman in the gospel is brought before Jesus, the Lord and the bridegroom of us all.  It is only wed to Him that we find salvation, and He does not disappoint the repentant adulteress today.  Nor shall He condemn any of us who stand before Him weeping for our sins against His pure love.

There is a “dark valley” through which we all must walk.  One day we shall all stand before the Judge.  Some will be persecuted only for righteousness’ sake, accused of that which they have not committed; others will stand in the full light of their sin.  But all before Christ might find forgiveness, if they but realize their faults and who it is stands before them.  For the love of God is unimaginable; it is not something we humans can put our fingers upon.  The love of God and the grace and mercy He holds forth will never be deserved by our race.  Yet they are there.  Yet are we washed clean.  Yet the Truth will set us free.

Let no man condemn another; “the angel of God waits” “to receive the sentence from Him” – none of us is able to move His hand.  And so, always we must forgive to find His grace alive in our souls.

 

*******

O LORD, open the gate that we might enter in

and dwell in your presence. 

YHWH, let all hear and heed the voice of your Son, who is the true Shepherd leading repentant souls to salvation.  Send your apostles into every house that all might hear the call of Jesus, be purged in the fire of the Holy Spirit, and come to dwell in your House, beholding your holy face.

Let us be led forth by the Christ to your mountain, O God.  Make us one flock in Him, all as your blessed children.  O let us be as sheep slaughtered for your table, joining your Son on the altar of sacrifice; by His voice let us be cut to the heart and in our repentance become a holy offering to you.

False prophets keep far from us, dear LORD, those who work but for pay, who care nothing for your flock.  In the Spirit send forth disciples to lead to running water those who thirst for you, O living God.

Direct download: BC-041111-M_5_L_AB.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Ez.37:12-14;   Ps.130:1-8;   Rom.8:8-11;   Jn.11:1-45)

 

“I am the resurrection and the life;

whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,

and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”

 

“You shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and have you rise from them, O my people!” says the Lord God through the prophet Ezekial.  “The one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through His Spirit dwelling in you,” says St. Paul.  And our psalm sings of the Lord’s “plenteous redemption,” that “He will redeem Israel from all their iniquities”; and so, “more than sentinels wait for the dawn, let [us] wait for the Lord,” who dispels all darkness, all death, by His Word, by His presence among us.  Let us but believe in Him, and we shall live.

The dawn comes to Bethany, to Martha and Mary, and to Lazarus.  It comes to us all in this powerful sign of the Lord’s conquering of all darkness and death, “that [we] may believe.”  Wrapped in burial cloth is Lazarus, laying in the sealed tomb four days.  The tears of a people are shed for the loved one who has died, and Jesus joins their weeping.  Deeply human is the Lord, and so, “perturbed and deeply troubled” He becomes at the sorrow we all know when death is near.  He longs ever to cry out to us not to mourn, but believe, and now we hear His voice call upon the Father’s name; and now as He “crie[s] out in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’” we see that what He says is true: He is the resurrection and the life.  And so, believing in Him, no longer does the Christian fear death.

Death is of the flesh, but we are “in the spirit.”  “The body is dead because of sin,” but “the spirit is alive because of righteousness.”  And so, as we rise from the graves opened by the powerful word of the Lord, as we rise from our iniquities unto eternal life, we know His Spirit at work within us, the Spirit of Christ that is only life.  In Him let us take refuge; in Him let us believe. He is here with us to keep us from death, to release us from all darkness – to free us all from sin.  Let us remain with Him and so have eternal life.

 

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

 

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

 

*******

O LORD, let us live in your Son and so in you

that we might do your works in this world

and praise you forever in Heaven. 

YHWH, let us be built into and grow as the Body of your Son.  Make us a royal priesthood, a holy nation – your Church.  Into your House let us come and dwell, eternally praising your Name.

Jesus is in you and you are in Jesus, and those who believe in Him and so in you become one with Him, and so with you, dearest LORD and God.  O Father in Heaven, to Heaven let us come, to oneness with you.  Let us do your works on earth and so find our way to your kingdom.

Why should we be troubled when we have the promise from Jesus that He prepares a place for us?  Why should we fear when He is near in the power of the Holy Spirit?  Let us follow closely the way He leads, that indeed we might exult in your presence forever.

Direct download: BC-041011-Su_5_L_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Jer.11:18-20;   Ps.7:2-3,9-12;   Jn.7:40-53)

 

“Let us destroy the tree in its vigor;

let us cut him off from the land of the living,

so that his name will be spoken no more.”

 

With these words “they were hatching plots against” Jeremiah, and in the same way against Jesus.  And so, “like a trusting Lamb led to slaughter,” “like the lion’s prey, to be torn to pieces, with no one to rescue” are they.  But “the malice of the wicked [shall] come to an end.”

“The upright of heart” are ever persecuted.  Even Nicodemus, “one of their own number,” a member of the Pharisees who are seeking the life of the Lord, was “taunted” when he “spoke up to say, ‘Since when does our law condemn any man without first hearing him and knowing the facts.’”  But the Lord “sustain[s] the just” “because of the innocence that is” theirs.  In Him do they “take refuge,” and He will not leave them a prey to their teeth.

Even the temple guards recognize the power of the word that comes from Christ.  “No man ever spoke like that before,” they state as the reason that “no one laid hands on Him.”  “He is the Messiah,” it is sure, and only the hardest of heart are able to blind themselves to the authority that issues forth from His lips.  But the Lord is the “searcher of mind and heart,” of “heart and soul”; He is the just Judge, the just God, and so even as He rescues the innocent from trial, so He “punishes day by day” the evil man. 

Their plots shall come to naught; in vain do they pursue Him.  For though He shall allow them “to apprehend Him,” yet He will be eternally free from their clutches.  Indeed, He will be fixed to a cross.  Indeed, like an innocent lamb He shall not open His mouth to protest or to call upon the angels for assistance.  And they shall think that He is theirs.  But rise from the dead He will, and His Name will be spoken to the ends of the earth.  For nothing can destroy the power of the Word of God. 

 

*******

O LORD, though the innocent man be condemned,

you are there to save him.

YHWH, you save us from every snare of the devil, every plot of the wicked; you do not leave us prey to the lion’s teeth.  Though we be ringed about by our accusers, though with your Son we be crucified, yet we shall not be destroyed – with Him we shall be raised on high.

For you, O LORD, are a just Judge; you look into the hearts of all.  You know who is set upon the doing of your will and who would oppose you and your blessed One.  Let us never be a curse unto you.  Though we be condemned by men, in your sight let us ever be holy.

No man ever spoke like your Son, dear LORD, for no man else is the Word Himself.  He comes from your very heart, and becomes our daily Bread.  In your House with Him let us make our home, though it mean persecution and certain death.  For in Him we shall be protected always, and brought quickly to your side.

Direct download: BC-040911-Sa_4_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Ws.2:1,12-22;   Ps.34:17-21,23;   Jn.7:1-2,10,25-30)

 

“He calls blest the destiny of the just

and boasts that God is His Father.”

 

And for such He shall be persecuted; for such He shall be killed.  For to the wicked “He is the censure of [their] thoughts; merely to see Him is a hardship” for those who stray from the Lord’s commands.  And so, in vain attempt to spare themselves the just judgment of the Lord, in their jealousy they say to one another: “With revilement and torture let us put Him to the test”; and so they “condemn Him to a shameful death,” tempting the Lord God to watch over Him.

Evil are their thoughts and wicked are their ways.  But the one “they want to kill,” the one “they tried to seize,” escapes their grasp, for indeed the Lord “watches over all His bones; not one of them shall be broken.”  And they cannot take hold of Him unless He so wills it; so, frustrated are their efforts “because His hour had not yet come.”

Even when His hour comes and He is delivered into the hands of the prince of darkness, still their violence will not touch Him; yet will He be protected by the Lord, as are all who follow Him.  Yes, David sings of what he knows: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit He saves.”  And so, even in distress, even in death, the Lord is near to His chosen ones.  The Lord shall ever be delivered from the grasp of those whose “wickedness blinded them.”

Jesus stands up in the temple and cries out: “I was sent by One who has the right to send… it is from Him I come.”  He declares openly that He is the Son of God, and for bringing such light the wicked who would hide their sins seek to destroy Him.  But it shall indeed be proven that He is the Son of the Most High, that God is His Father.  The “recompense of holiness” shall be witnessed by all eyes.  In subjection to their evil plots, in dying upon the wood of the cross, and in His subsequent resurrection, Jesus shall utterly destroy all the power of wicked men and reveal the one true light that shines, that cannot be overcome by darkness.

“We know where this man is from,” they say, and so they are blind.  For God the Father is not of this dark earth, and neither is His just Son.

 

*******

O LORD, you care for those reviled by the world;

make us as the Just One sent by you.

YHWH, the wicked cannot know the origin of your Son for they are blind to you and your holy will.  He is sent by you to suffer and die, but the plots of evil hearts shall not succeed, for His life is ever in your hand.  From the dead He shall be raised and draw all just souls to you.

Though the Just One suffer torture and humiliation for His purity, for the truth upon His soul; though those whom He reproaches for their sin seek to put Him to a shameful death; it is so, that none of His bones shall be broken, for you, O LORD, are close to the brokenhearted – those who are crushed in spirit you indeed save.

But those who are proud and envious, those who cannot bear the censure of their thoughts, the chastisement of their evil ways… these, O LORD, shall be destroyed even as you draw your just ones whence your Son has come.

Direct download: BC-0340811-F_4_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Ex.32:7-14;   Ps.106:4,19-23;   Jn.5:31-47)

 

“If you believed Moses you would then believe me,

for it was about me that he wrote.”

 

As Moses wrote, so Jesus speaks.  As Moses wrote, so Jesus is.  The eternal life to which the Scriptures testify is now in our midst.  The Word has come to life; the Law is now fulfilled.  The “form [we] have never seen” now stands before us.  The “voice [we] have never heard” now speaks to our ears.  But do we “have His word abiding in our hearts”?  Do we “believe the one [the Father] has sent”?  “The works the Father has given [Jesus] to accomplish” “testify on [His] behalf.”  Let us exult in their light.

The Lord “had done great deeds in the land of Egypt,” “wondrous deeds” and “terrible things” in the sight of the Israelites through His servant Moses.  But “they forgot the God who had saved them,” “making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it” instead of the living God.  They could not wait for the Word to come to them; their hearts were not set on Moses’ return from the mountain with the Law of God.  And so, for their lack of faith God “spoke of destroying them.”  The fire of wrath the Lord would have “blazed up against them to consume them” – such was the thought of His heart.

But Moses “withstood Him in the breach.”  “Let your blazing wrath die down; relent in punishing your people,” he begs.  And so, because of Moses’ intercession, “the Lord relented in the punishment He had threatened on His people” for their lack of faith in Him.  And now it is Jesus who stands in the breach made by our sins, preventing now our eternal punishment at the hands of a righteous God.  For by all accounts we deserve death for our lack of faith; but in His grace the chasm between us and God He fills by stretching out His arms on the cross.

Brothers and sisters, let us believe in His redemptive sacrifice.  Let it never be said of us, “You do not have the love of God in your hearts,” for such a state would mean the end of our days.  But God has promised: “I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky.”  About this Moses writes, and the words speak of Jesus, He who is our salvation.  Let us not forget the One who saves us in His love, “on whom we have set [our] hopes.”

*******

O LORD, as Moses once stood in the breach

to save your people,

now Jesus would return us to your love –

let us listen to Him.

YHWH, help us to believe in your Son and the work of love He accomplishes in our midst; in Him let us recognize your presence.  Let us not turn from such true worship of you who are the only God to worship of the image of a grass-eating bullock or any of the images of this adulterous age.  Let us have your love in our hearts, set ever upon your Word.

In your Son is eternal life, LORD; in Him all Scripture is fulfilled.  Of Him Moses has spoken, of Him you yourself have given testimony – let us have faith in His glory, which comes only from you.  Let our hopes be set on the testimony He offers of your presence among us.

O LORD, forgive our wayward hearts and minds, which turn so easily to the vain idols of this anxious world.  Punish us not in your wrath but look upon your only Son, who has died for our sins.

Direct download: BC-040711-Th_4_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O chosen one of the Lord,

how well you answered His call,

giving yourself entirely

to the angel’s word

and so conceiving in your womb

the salvation of the world –

pray, O Spouse of the Holy Spirit,

that His voice might inspire in us

your same commitment to the Word of God

and its working in our lives;

pray the Son be conceived in us as well

that we too might serve

to bring His salvation forth

into the light of this day.

How shall we give ourselves

completely to the Lord

without your prayers, dear Mother,

without your blessed intercession…?

O pray we shall follow in your wake

and add our ‘yes’ to your own,

that the Lord may indeed work in us,

that He might make His home in us

and we come to our home in Heaven.

Direct download: March_25_-_The_Annunciation.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(Is.7:10-14,8:10;   Ps.40:7-11;   Heb.10:4-10;   Lk.1:26-38)

 

“Behold, I come to do your will.”

 

Today we celebrate the fact that the Word became flesh, that God became man through Mary and dwells among us to take away our sins.  In this is fulfilled the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The Lord Himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name Him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us!’”  She is the Virgin; He is the Son – we are they with whom He dwells.  Praise God for His grace!

Obediently Jesus takes on the body prepared for Him by the Father for all ages; humbly He bows under the Hand of God. To come among us is His delight.  For He shall fulfill the prescriptions of the old law – as is written, so shall it come to be.  And in His blood poured out for our sakes, in the love He shares with us men, indeed shall be fulfilled the will of God.  No longer need we wait or search in vain, for all that is written is accomplished in Him.

And Mary is, of course, the perfect reflection of the Lord’s obedience; it is she in whom He is formed.  As He says, “Behold, I come,” she says, “Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord.”  As the Lord says, “In the written scroll it is prescribed for me.  To do your will, O God, is my delight,” His Lady says, “May it be done to me according to your word.”  And so by the obedience won from her by the angel, this Blessed Virgin “will conceive in [her] womb and bear a son, and [she] shall name Him Jesus”; and “the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”  She in her innocence and by the fullness of grace at work in her believes the reply to her question, “How can this be?”  She is assured by the miracle spoken of Elizabeth – for which this holy woman must certainly have prayed – and so the words of the angel: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you,” are realized; and she who believes becomes the instrument of our salvation.

Brothers and sisters, “we have been consecrated through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all.”  His coming among us is more than the greatest miracle; it means life for our very souls.  For by His incarnation and by the sacrifice of His flesh for our sakes is effected the cleansing of our sins and the drawing up of our lives unto heaven where He eternally dwells.  As He has dwelt with us, so may we now dwell with Him who has come for this purpose.  Let no fear grip your heart.  Consecrate yourself to Him and to His holy sacrifice.  And give yourself to His Mother, that she may form you in His image, and you may know the blessed obedience which both hold, and which is itself the means of our salvation.

 

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

 

Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

O LORD, make us all as your handmaid,

ready to do your will. 

YHWH, make us as selfless as Mary, as selfless as your Son, offering our bodies to your service, caring only for the salvation of others’ souls.  Freely let us give ourselves to your will, that your Son may work through us.

A Virgin conceives and bears a Son, LORD, and so your Word is fulfilled; your Word now walks among us.  This Virgin you prepared from all eternity to accomplish your will of saving souls.  Your own heart you placed within her, one of selfless sacrifice, and now as the angel comes to her, she is ready to accept your Word.

Upon hearing of her cousin Elizabeth, she is convinced that the angel is from your side, LORD; hearing answer to her sincerest of prayers, she knows you are in this Word.  Did she not perhaps offer her virginity for her cousin’s fertility?  Certainly her purity is blessed with the greatest fruitfulness, even as she who was thought barren prepares to give birth to a son.

Make us so fruitful, dear God.  Let us too lay down our lives, as has your Son, as has His Mother, that we might be of your generation, we pray.

Direct download: Annunciation_2011.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

(Ez.47:1-9,12;   Ps.46:2-3,5-6,8-9;   Jn.5:1-3,5-16)

 

“There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,

the holy dwelling of the Most High.”

 

Brothers and sisters, Jesus is our living water.

In our first reading, Ezekial speaks of his heavenly vision of the river of God which runs from His holy temple.  The water, which increases as it flows further from its source, eventually “empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.”  Along both banks of the river are trees whose “leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail… for they [are] watered by the flow from the sanctuary.”  Their fruit nourishes and their leaves heal.

What is this river and this temple?  What is this sea and who are these fruit trees revealed to the eyes of the prophet?  Brothers and sisters, that Jesus is the river, the healing water, is made poignantly clear in our gospel.  The sick man struggles daily to plunge himself into the healing pool at Bethesda but is never able to find the assistance he needs.  When Jesus asks him if he wants to be healed and the man explains his plight, the Lord immediately states: “Stand up!  Pick up your mat and walk!”  The healing waters have come to him, and he is cured.

Yes, Jesus is the living water, and the cross is as the temple from which His healing blood flows.  Upon us all who have prepared the cross and set it in place by our sins – which have made our water undrinkable – His grace pours to make us whole… and so we are the salt sea made fresh.  And so the trees on the river’s banks, bearing fresh fruit each of the months, do we become, as we walk in the paths of the twelve apostles… who are first to know His redemptive power, and with whom God becomes “our refuge and our strength.”

“Come! behold the deeds of the Lord, the astounding things He has wrought on earth.”  For by the river that flows from His side He has prepared a people and a kingdom.  And all shall see what Ezekial sees; all shall know what the prophet is shown – the water of the Lord flows out now to the ends of the world, making all whole and fruitful by His presence.

 

 *******

O LORD, let us be watered

by the flow from your sanctuary,

healed by your only Son

that we might bear fruit as your holy Church.

YHWH, your Son is the healing water that cleanses us of our sins and makes us whole in your sight.  The blood flowing from His side is the source of our salvation.  May we wash in this river and have our hearts made new that we might bear fruit unto Heaven.

O LORD, may Ezekial’s vision be our own; may we sit with you on the banks of the River in your holy Paradise, where all shall be fed by the fruit of the trees there and healed by the medicine of their leaves.  In your Church, founded on the twelve apostles, let us make our home, for there we shall rest in you, there we shall be as the Body of your Son, His blood flowing through our veins. 

To newness of life let us come, dear LORD, raised from our sickness by a word from your mouth.  Your Temple is with us in your Son who walks among us…  May the healing graces He brings forth increase even to the ends of the earth.

Direct download: BC-040511-Tu_4_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O missionary shepherd

whose love for the truth

was a love for Christ

and a desire for your flock

to know Him

and the way to glorify God,

you who gave yourself

for the Truth that is Christ

and for His Church on earth,

through whom He teaches all men

and brings them into His fold –

may we, too, lay down our lives

and work as hard as you have done

in the name of Jesus,

that all our lives

and the lives of all His flock

might be in accord

with the will of the Lord

and faithful to the Mother

He has left for our care;

let all that is not of God

be cast from our midst

by the Spirit of Truth this day.

Direct download: March_23_Turibio_de_Mogrovejo.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Is.65:17-21;   Ps.30:2,4-6,11-13;   Jn.4:43-54)

 

“You changed my mourning into dancing.”

 

Here in the midst of Lent we find the purpose of all our suffering, the hope to which we all are called.  “At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing.”  And thus does this time of penance and fasting lead to the abundance found in Easter joy.  For what is darkness but the world in which we dwell, and what is the dawn but the coming of Jesus to our hearts, the kingdom of heaven within us?  And even in the midst of this darkness, the light begins to shine.  “Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth,” the Lord says.  And today we hear that reassuring voice speaking to our waiting souls.

In our gospel today we find a marvelous sign of the light that follows the darkness, of the joy that follows sorrow.  A Gentile royal official, a man in darkness for his being apart from the chosen race – and whose darkness is compounded by his position of authority there – comes to the King of the Jews, the Light of God.  In sorrow he mourns the imminent death of his son, and so the darkness is quite complete.  But the man’s son shall not die, and neither shall the Gentile race.  For it is great faith he shows.  Enlightened by the One he seeks, he believes, and so his son is saved by the Son of the Most High, and so he enters the fold of Heaven.  What greater joy could he have hoped to find, for not only is his son “brought… up from the netherworld,” but indeed he (and the race he represents) is “preserved… from among those going down into the pit.”  No greater words of joy could we read than these: “He and his whole household thereupon became believers.”

Brothers and sisters, the Lord has made us to be a people of “rejoicing and happiness.”  He tells us so today through the prophet Isaiah: “I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people a delight.”  This is our destiny; this is our call.  If we must suffer for a time in this land of darkness, in this time of penance, let us be assured of the fullness of joy that comes Easter morning: “No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there, or the sound of crying.”  Yes, how particularly marvelous it is to hear of this light before us even as we stand in the midst of the darkness; what even greater joy do we feel! 

The Lord conquers all.  He wishes only life for our soul.  And that life is upon us even this day.  At the wedding feast we shall dance: “sing praise to the Lord, you His faithful ones, and give thanks to His holy name.”

                                                                                               

*******

O LORD, no sign should we need of your love for us;

only give us new life in you.

YHWH, what sign need we that you love us and desire to save us from the darkness and death that envelop this fallen world?  For your Son has come and walked among us, and so your mercy is now near.  Create your new heavens and your new earth, we pray; remake us in His image.

O LORD, we wish to weep and cry no more; no more would we see our children die or our own lives cut short – let us never be separated from you, never come to the nether world, but let your dawn be upon us and our mourning be driven away.

Let the fever depart from us, Lord GOD, that we might not burn in unholy fire but be redeemed from all our iniquity and enter your presence with rejoicing and happiness, living as you created us, to be a delight in your sight.

Rejoice in Jerusalem, dear LORD, and let all the nations round about find the salvation that is upon your House; let all come to believe in you and praise your Name forever.

Direct download: BC-040411-M_4_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(1Sm.16:1b,6-7,10-13a;   Ps.23:1-6;   Eph.5:8-14;   Jn.9:1-41)

 

“I am the light of the world.”

 

And by that light alone we see.  By this light which comes from God we who were born blind, who were born into sin, have our eyes opened.  And so having escaped the darkness we “live as children of light.”

When David was presented before Samuel, immediately the prophet’s eyes were opened to the one on whom God’s favor rested.  His eyes which had first “judge[d] from… appearance,” now with the Lord look “into the heart.”  How clearly he hears the Lord speak to him, “There – anoint him, for this is the one!”  And how readily he takes “the horn of oil in hand” and anoints the new king.  And how wonderfully “from that day on, the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David.”

Here is our own baptism in the Lord foretold.  Here is our own anointing with the oil of Christ presaged.  And as “Jesus made clay and anointed [the] eyes” of the blind man, so in our baptism we find our own anointing, an anointing which washes us clean of original sin, an anointing which prepares our hearts to receive Him – an anointing which opens our eyes to His light.  The eyes of our heart now see.  Our souls cry out from their depths of the light which has entered in and made them clean.  And so we say with the blind man in the presence of Jesus, “I do believe, Lord,” and we, too, worship Him as our “cup overflows” with “the goodness and kindness” of God.

“Christ will give you light.”  For this He has come into the world, “that those who do not see might see.”  In the words of Scripture, Paul entreats us today: “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead.”  The Lord has come to give us light.  As long as we say, “‘We see,’ so [our] sin remains”; we must be blind, we must recognize sin’s darkness encroaching upon our souls… and then we would “have no sin,” for then Jesus would remove from us our sin – then He would bring us light.

“Everything exposed by the light becomes visible,” and so we must bring our sins before Him, and from the dead we shall rise… and with His light we shall shine.  May the Lord anoint us all with the oil of Christ, and may we be faithful to that anointing.

 

(Note: In Confession as in Baptism we are washed clean of our sins by Christ, and light is thus brought to our eyes.  Constant recourse we have to this preservation of our souls.)

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

Music: "Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder" (second part) from Listening to the Lamp, ninth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, the innocent Lamb is Himself our Shepherd;

may we find salvation at His side. 

YHWH, let us enter into your presence through your only Son, who is the true Shepherd guiding us to you.  May we follow in His steps.  Even though it lead to the Cross, may we remain near Him, ready to give our lives as He has, as the innocent Lamb for our salvation.  Though we are cut to the heart by the truth He speaks in His Word and through His apostles, let us turn to Him in repentance and find His comfort and peace – let us thus find ourselves in your holy arms.

O LORD, let our ears be open to hear His voice and His voice alone.  Let us not be led astray by false shepherds, false prophets who seek only their own gain and not the welfare of your sheep.  It is to sacrifice you call us, not to selfishness, and by laying down our lives, by entering the wounds in His flesh, we shall find eternal rest in your House.  Let us be washed clean in His blood and so be saved from corruption.

Direct download: BC-040311-Su_4_L_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Hos.6:1-6;   Ps.51:3-4,18-21,Hos.6:6;   Lk.18:9-14)

 

“As certain as the dawn is His coming,

and His judgment shines forth like the light of day!”

 

It is night.  There is darkness.  In this world of sin we are afflicted on account of our guilt, for our failures to love God.  And so David cries out in our psalm, “Have mercy, O God, in your goodness”; and so the tax collector in our gospel “beat[s] his breast and say[s], ‘O God, be merciful to me, a sinner’”; and so with all the afflicted, in the words of Hosea, we should “return to the Lord, for it is He who has rent, but He will heal us.”

Brothers and sisters, we must “strive to know the Lord,” for “He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain that waters the earth” to cleanse us of our sin and make us fruitful again.  To us the Lord will “be bountiful… by rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.”  He will grant us a place for worship and again “be pleased with due sacrifices, burnt offerings, and holocausts.”  Our prayers shall again come before Him.  But if our piety is not to be “like a morning cloud, like the dew that passes early away,” we must come to know and love God.  And the first step to knowing God and showing our desire for His love is the recognition of our own sinfulness before Him, for “he who humbles himself shall be exalted.”

Yes, brothers and sisters, “in the greatness of [His] compassion [He will] wipe out [our] offense.”  “He will revive us after two days; on the third day He will raise us up.”  But first we must die.  We must die to the sinful pride that afflicts our souls and leads us from the light that shines, that awaits all our coming to Him in blessed humility.  For He desires to show us mercy, but mercy we must have.  He longs to bring us light, but light we must seek to find.  His judgment, which is just, must be our desire, and it will come to us and wash us free of all our sin.  And we shall know Him.  And His love shall be our own.  And only light will shine in our souls.

It is night, brothers and sisters.  There is darkness.  Our sins are with us still.  But the Lord is coming: the light is upon us.  Turn to it now, and live.

 

*******

O LORD, show us your grace

that you might rejoice in our return to you.

YHWH, your kindness and compassion are without end, your forgiveness deeper than the ocean and higher than the sky, for you are beyond our ability to understand – your love is ever abiding.  But we, O LORD, are so limited, in our comprehension and in our love.  We think only of ourselves, whereas you reach out to us.

Help us, dear LORD, to be more like you; help us to share in your kindness and mercy.  Your goodness please make our own, that in your presence we might always remain.

So dark is our sin, dear God, so far have we run from your face, so foolishly removed ourselves from your embrace, from your loving arms and secure protection…. Bring us back into your House, welcoming us as sons again; our guilt remove forever.  And let us rejoice as others enter, for then we will be like you, who care more for our redemption than that honor be shown to you.

Direct download: BC-040211-Sa_3_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Hos.14:2-10;   Ps.81:6-11,14,17;   Mk.12:28-34)

 

“Hear, O Israel!  The Lord our God is Lord alone!”

 

“There is no other than He,” and so what should we do but “love the Lord [our] God with all [our] heart, with all [our] soul, with all [our] mind, and with all [our] strength”?  What promise the Lord makes to us if only we would return to Him and love Him: “If only my people would hear me, and Israel walk in my ways, I would feed them with the best of wheat, and with honey from the rock I would fill them.”  Indeed, then we would be “not far from the reign of God,” even here on earth.

Brothers and sisters, we “have collapsed through [our] guilt.”  We have had “strange god[s]” among us and said, “‘Our god,’ to the work of our hands.”  Why should we continue so blind?  Why should we continue stumbling as sinners – why do we find the straight paths of the Lord so difficult to walk?  He will “forgive all iniquity” and strengthen us in justice; if we turn to Him, He will “heal [our] defection” and “love [us] freely.”  “In distress you called, and I rescued you,” He says in the words of our psalmist, and His words are true.  Turning away His wrath, He shall become “like the dew for Israel.”  And with His living water to nourish us, we “shall blossom like the lily… blossom like the olive tree.”  We “shall dwell in His shade and raise grain,” our “fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.”  We must but love God and our neighbor, and we shall “bear fruit.”

“Let him who is wise understand these things; let him who is prudent know them.”  There is no God in all the world but the Lord, and it is He in whom “the orphan finds compassion.”  Why should you continue in your vain pursuits when love awaits your turning to Him?  What refuge can you find in your false gods?  In them and in your pride you indeed will find yourself orphaned, cut off from the love that only the Father holds.  But He loves the orphan, brother, and so He calls to your soul to return to Him with all your heart.  In this is true wisdom; in Him you will find strength.

 There is no further question when the love of God is known.  When His presence is revealed we fall silent, for nothing can be said in the face of Truth.  Listen, brothers and sisters; but listen – and then do.

 

*******

O LORD, you are rejected, you are killed,

that your inheritance you might share with us. 

YHWH, though we reject your Beloved Son, dragging Him out of the vineyard to kill Him, yet His blood becomes salvation for us, release from slavery to sin.  As Joseph who was sold to the Ishmaelites became ruler in the land of Egypt, so has the One who has died on a cross become the cornerstone of your kingdom.  And all who come to Him this day, under Him become a holy nation.

There is a great famine upon this land, O LORD, and we would quickly die for lack of nourishment if to us you did not send your only Son to provide for all our needs.  Let us show our gratefulness to you for such rich blessing by giving due honor to the One you have sent and producing abundant fruit in His Name.

O LORD, let all jealous souls be gathered into your harvest, redeemed from the blood upon their hands by our Savior’s sacrifice.  Such marvels you would perform for us at no cost but the abandonment of our greed and envy.

Direct download: BC-04011-F_3_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O righteous man called by God

to be foster-father of His only Son

and protector of His Mother,

you who were obedient to the Spirit,

who took Jesus by the hand

and led Him from the temple

in Jerusalem

to the home in Nazareth

where Mary made a place for Him –

pray that we shall be built

into the house of Abraham,

the man of faith,

into the house of David, your father,

into the House the Holy Spirit builds

for the faithful even this day,

where our Mother waits for us

with you and all the saints;

pray that we too shall hear the words

spoken over you by the Lord:

“Well done, good and faithful servant;

enter into the joy of your Master.”

Pray we shall be righteous

as you.

Direct download: March_19_Joseph_Husband_of_Mary.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(2Sm.7:4-5,12-14a,16;   Ps.89:2-5,27,29,37;   Rom.4:13,16-18,22;

Mt.1:16,18-21,24a  or  Lk.2:41-51a) 

“I will be a father to him,

and he shall be my son.”

It is through Joseph that Jesus is a son of David and so fulfills the promise to the king made by God: “Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever,” for He is the heir “raise[d] up” after David “who shall build a house for [His] name.”  “In heaven [the Lord has] confirmed [His] faithfulness,” and on earth He has made it known.  And so Jesus says of God, “You are my Father, my God, the Rock, my Savior!” and we of faith join His refrain.

As with Abraham, Joseph is made foster father of Jesus not merely by physical descent from David but “through the righteousness that comes from faith.”  For as Abraham believed and so became “the father of many nations,” so Joseph believed that it was “through the Holy Spirit that [Jesus] ha[d] been conceived” and “did as the angel commanded him and took Mary into his home,” thus becoming a father to Him who would “save His people from their sins.”  Like Abraham “he believed, hoping against hope,” and like Abraham he is blessed.

But, of course, Jesus is more than the Son of Joseph; in fact, this is the great sacrifice Joseph makes.  For truly he cares for Him who is more Son to the Father in heaven and Son of Man, born for all the human race.  Evident this is when He is found by Joseph and Mary in the temple after three days and He asks them (a question much like those He might have been putting to the teachers of the faith): “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” and in the curious fact that His parents waited a day before journeying back to Jerusalem to look for Him, for they were “thinking that He was in the caravan” – so much a part of His people had He become.

Jesus is Son of God and Son of Man, yet “obedient to them” – Joseph and Mary – He ever was.  And they were ever obedient to the dictates of the Father, that they should care for His only Son.  And so Joseph, husband of Mary, a simple carpenter, fulfills in simple fashion all the Lord had set out for him.  May we, too, by faith fulfill all the care we must take for Jesus, His mother, and His people.

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

Music composed and performed by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

******* 

O LORD, let us dwell in your House forever.

YHWH, your Son is known as the Son of David, the Son of Joseph the carpenter.  And truly He is the fulfillment of your promise to the king that his son shall ever sit upon the throne.  But He is conceived by the Holy Spirit: He is the Son of God.  Give us the faith of Joseph that we might believe this and take Him into our home.

In our houses He would dwell, in our very souls.  Thus would He make them your House, dear Father, as is the soul of His Mother, and the soul of the righteous man we celebrate today.  Your Church let us be, dear God; in faith let us ever remain.

Your kindness to us is indeed great, O LORD; your very life you would share with us this day.  In your kingdom let us make our home – your sons and daughters let us be.  Jesus sits upon the throne now, for He is the Christ.  And so, your Covenant stands firm forever: all who believe in Him will be blessed.

O LORD, make us righteous in your sight, even as the humble Joseph.  In our lives let your will be done…  In your Son let us make our home.

Direct download: March_19_-_St_Joseph_Husband_of_Mary_2009.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O steadfast teacher of the faith

whom exile could not keep

from proclaiming the truths

of Scripture and the Church,

whose pastoral zeal

called souls

to the blessed chamber

of our divine Lord Jesus Christ

that we might unite with Him

who united Himself with us

to draw us unto Heaven –

pray that the shepherds of the Church

shall be just so diligent

and faithful

as you have consistently been

in imparting the Word of God

to waiting ears and hearts,

that all might be nourished well

and so prepared

to meet our King and Bridegroom,

grace upon grace

overflowing in souls

led by the Spirit of Truth.

Direct download: March_18_Cyril_of_Jerusalem.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Dt.4:1,5-9;   Ps.147:12-13,15-16,19-20;   Mt.5:17-19)

 

“What great nation has statutes and decrees

that are as just as this whole law?”

 

“He has proclaimed His word to Jacob, His statutes and ordinances to Israel.”  The Lord in His grace “sends forth His command to the earth; swiftly runs His word!”  And as the snow and the rain come down to nourish the land, to bring life to the earth, so His Word is food and life to all who listen to it.  By His Word He “strengthen[s] the bars of [our] gates,” giving us protection against the tribulations of this world, and by it He “bless[es] [our] children within” us, making fruitful all our endeavors.  By fulfilling and teaching His commands, we find life eternal in the kingdom of God; by breaking them and leading others to do so, we court death.

And so why should the Word be withheld from the ears of the flock?  By his silence does not a priest give credence to the breaking of the law?  And then are not the results upon his soul?  Has the devil so blinded his eyes to the truth that he cannot see the life-giving water the Word of God is, that His commands are not burdensome but bring release from labor under the weight of sin?  By withholding such nourishment does he hope to increase his flock?  Oh but it is so hard to open my mouth, you say, so difficult to speak the truth.  Better you die to self now than to find your soul dead to the kingdom of heaven.

Brothers and sisters, it is fulfilling “the smallest letter of the law… the smallest part of the letter,” that brings us to perfection, that brings us to the life that is our God.  Ignorance shall not bring you there.  As Moses instructs of the commands of the Lord, “Observe them carefully, for thus you will give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations.”  For they are a great gift made known to souls; they are the fountain of life, fulfilled in the flesh of Jesus.  So neither practice them in vain “nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,” for they hold life, and should you lose them, you shall lose the Christ.

Do you desire holiness?  Do you wish to be whole?  Do you long for the presence of God, thirsting for His truth?  Then follow the Word He speaks in your presence today and teach others to do so: Abortion is wrong.  Contraception is wrong.  Euthanasia is wrong.  Premarital sex is wrong.  Love of money and goods is deadly.  We have the word in our Church – our mouths must speak it, or we shall die.  By our Baptism we are all made priests in the sight of God and are called to live and to preach the Word of God.  “What great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon Him” or whenever we come to His table of sacrifice to receive Him?  In love make His Word and presence known.

 

*******

O LORD, though good be repaid with evil,

we shall rise on the third day

if we remain united to the sacrifice of your Son. 

YHWH, though persecutions come, as they must, we trust ourselves into your hands knowing that your protection is with us, knowing that as your Son was raised on the third day, our suffering shall soon come to an end and we stand with you in your kingdom.  Give us faith and strength in your abiding presence, despite the whisperings of the crowd.

The people plotted to take the life of your prophets and your Son.  A pit is dug for all your faithful, LORD.  But that pit is shallow as this passing world; only your eternity remains.  And so, let us not fear as we drink the cup Jesus offers us, the cup He Himself drank upon the Cross; for as we lay down our lives in this world, sharing in the sacrifice of Christ, so we shall be blessed to know the glory to which you call all your faithful servants.

Our trust is in you, O LORD, for you are our God.  Save us from the snares of the devil.

Direct download: BC-033011-W_3_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O great apostle to the nations

who gave up your birthright of freedom

for the benefit of others,

who went forth in faith,

Christ ever above you and before you

and all around to protect you

who were brought through trial

to do His will

in bringing God to unbelievers,

you who never doubted –

pray that we, too, shall spend ourselves

for the sake of the Gospel

and all souls

yet to be gathered to the Lord,

that indeed from east and west

men shall come

and sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

in the kingdom of our God,

that from the ends of the earth

one people shall be drawn to Him…

and let us do all

without concern for persecution,

with the heart of a shepherd you had. 

Direct download: March_17_Patrick.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Dn.3:25,34-43;   Ps.25:4-9;   Mt.18:21-35)

 

“With contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received.”

 

The Lord “guides the humble to justice, He teaches the humble His way,” and so it is the prayer of these He receives; upon them He showers His mercy.  For His mercy is His justice and it is known by those who humbly share the same.

Azariah makes his prayer for mercy for his people Israel who suffer the purgatorial fires of their exile from the Promised Land, even as he himself stands in the quite literal fire of the furnace of the King of Babylon for his faithfulness to the living God.  He begs the Lord: “Do not let us be put to shame, but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy,” and as he comes humbly and with great faith interceding for others and not himself, and thus exhibiting the mercy he desires of the Lord, he is well protected from the flames by the angel of God.  The Lord’s justice is known to him who “follow[s] [Him] with [his] whole heart.”

And Jesus makes quite clear the great mercy God holds for all who humble themselves before Him – “seventy times seven times,” eternally, He forgives.  His reign is like the king who “wrote off the debt,” though it was “a huge amount,” of his servant who begged His mercy.  For the Lord is “moved with pity” at our contrition for our sins.  But the same forgiveness we must offer to others if we are to prove that His blood runs in our veins.  The master tells his wicked servant: “I canceled your entire debt when you pleaded with me.  Should you not have dealt mercifully with your fellow servant, as I dealt with you?”  And indeed the fires of hell and purgatory await those who break their bond of justice and mercy with the Lord by failing to manifest the same grace that has been revealed to their souls.  We are sinners and must see ourselves so.  The Lord forgives and we must accept His grace.  Others seek our mercy and we must grant it to them.  This is how the kingdom works.  Those who do not follow the Lord’s way of compassion do not enter there.

Brothers and sisters, we must be as Azariah, who “stood up in the fire and prayed aloud.”  For all, we must humbly intercede before our merciful God even in this dark world.  And for the contrition we show for our sins and those of others, the Lord holds an eternal reward.  As our priests, as Peter, as God Himself, let us forgive one another; if we receive one another humbly and mercifully, the Lord will receive us in His grace, in His justice.

 

*******

O LORD, let us be humble and just in your sight

that we might be saved from our sin

and enter your kingdom.

YHWH, our sins are red as crimson, but you would make them white as wool if we but listened to your Word and put it into practice.  If our worship of you were genuine, then we would be truly blessed.  But as it is we speak in vain when we call upon your Name.  For who among us lives the way Jesus teaches, the way He walked?  His chastisement let us treasure, that we might be saved from empty sacrifice.

There is so much pride within our hearts, O LORD, and in our words and actions.  We desire to be exalted in the sight of others.  Oh if it were but our desire to serve you!  If we but sought to be humble and true, then you would raise us to be with you, in the heavenly kingdom.

O let us listen to you, LORD?  Let us heed your command, your word of instruction.  Let us do what is right and just in your sight and with our neighbor, and your cleansing grace we shall find.

Direct download: Bc-032911-Tu_3_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(2Kgs.5:1-15;   Ps.42:2-3,43:3-4;   Lk.4:24-30)

 

“There is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.”

 

“There is a prophet in Israel,” brothers and sisters, and this prophet is God.  Jesus Christ has come, salvation from the Jews.  Do you recognize Him?  Will you accept Him?

It is only in “the waters of Israel” that we are made clean.  As wonderful as may be the waters of our native land, it matters not, for it is these alone that are blessed; these alone will make our flesh again “like the flesh of a little child.”  For a little child has come through these waters, has been baptized in this River, and it is His blood which baptizes us all and makes us clean as the flesh of God.

“Bring me to your holy mountain, to your dwelling-place,” our souls should sing with our psalmist as they seek “the running waters” of “the living God” that alone will satisfy all our needs.  Oh to “behold the face of God,” to “go in to the altar of God” in “gladness and joy”!  How we should search for His grace and His presence!  Like Naaman who came from a distant land upon the word of a servant girl, so should we obediently seek the grace that comes only from God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ.  He is our dwelling place, the Temple of God.

“No prophet gains acceptance in his native place,” Jesus proclaims to those of His hometown.  And His prophecy is true.  For though salvation is from the Jews and they are Jews who serve as its foundation stones, yet the Church shall be constituted greatly by those of other lands.  The Jews who follow Him shall be greatly persecuted by their own, and the Word shall bear fruit to the ends of the world before the eyes of the Chosen shall be opened to the living water, the healing grace, in their midst.

Come in faith, brothers and sisters, to this holy mountain where the Lord does dwell, to find the cleansing of your sins.  Through none else does salvation come; in no one else is the Word made known.  The flesh of God is Jesus alone.

*******

O LORD, let us not turn away

from your Word to our souls

but be compassionate as you. 

YHWH, you are a compassionate God calling us to your mercy and love.  Forgive us all our transgressions against you that we might know your favor.  Though we have sinned and done what is evil in your sight, though we have rebelled against you and your command, refusing to listen to the Word of truth you utter in our midst, hear our cry for deliverance from the prison into which our sins have cast us.  Save us in your love!

O LORD, if we do not judge we shall not be judged.  If we do not condemn we shall not be condemned.  If we but forgive others their transgressions against us, you will forgive our transgressions against you.  And we shall return to your pasture.

Help us to give, O LORD, to give as you give, to give as your Son gives… to lay down our lives for the sake of others – to seek pardon for their sins.  Jesus stands in the breach to reconcile us to you and one another; may we join Him in His mission of love.

Direct download: BC-032811-M_3_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Ex.17:3-7;   Ps.95:1-2,6-9;   Rom.5:1-2,5-8;   Jn.4:5-42)

 

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;

but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst.”

 

What is this “spring of water welling up to eternal life” but the Holy Spirit come upon us, the Truth of God in our midst through the blessed sacrifice of the Son for us “while we were still sinners.”  Brothers and sisters, “the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us,” even as Jesus’ words of spirit and truth are poured into the ears of the Samaritan woman.  Do we know His grace?  Do we hear His voice and leave our water jar at the old well as we go to tell others about the Christ?

In our readings today is the juxtaposition of the physical and the spiritual, and the call to enter into the Spirit of God.  In our first reading, the Israelites “in their thirst for water” while wandering in the desert cry out against God and Moses and long to return to their slavery in Egypt, that they might but be able to eat and drink.  The Lord would teach them to depend on Him, to trust in the Spirit and His love, and He will provide for all their needs, as He does this day, but they are blinded to the Hand of God.  “Though they had seen [His] works,” they continually tested Him, unable to find rest in Him, and for their hardness of heart virtually none shall themselves enter the Promised Land.  And the source of their lack of faith is ever their bellies.

In our gospel twice we see the inability to understand the Spirit speaking because of the belly’s grumbling.  The Samaritan woman confuses the life-giving water of which Jesus speaks with the passing water she came to draw from Jacob’s well: “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming to this well.”  And the disciples think someone else has brought the Lord something to eat when He says, “I have food to eat of which you do not know,” at their urging Him to eat the food they have in hand.  But as He speaks to the woman of the Holy Spirit, He speaks to them of our daily bread – “to do the will of the one who sent [us] and to finish His work.”  Indeed, as He awaits the return of the sinful woman with her Samaritan neighbors, He prepares them for the mission that must now go forth even to “foreigners.”  It is the Spirit of God He desires them to eat that they might be fortified for their call.  And it is the Spirit found in the Body and Blood He has shed for our sakes of which we all must partake to slake our thirst and find the strength to do the work which leads us to the kingdom of God.  His is a kingdom for all; and it lasts forever.

  

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

  

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

 

*******

O LORD, let us believe that your Son

is the Savior of the world,

and so have eternal life in Him. 

YHWH, give us to drink of the water of the Spirit.  Let us listen to the voice of your Son and so be filled with your Word.  It is you who feed us; it is you who satisfy our thirst.  Let us not set our hearts on the food of this earth but seek only the streams of living water which come to us by the sacrifice of Jesus the Christ.  Yes, let us listen to His voice and be converted to His way, and we shall be saved, and we shall worship you in truth.

O what joy would be ours if we could but set aside the jar we use to carry the water of this world and run to tell others of the glory in our midst in your only Son!  O what grace would course through our veins and be proclaimed by our tongues if the Spirit we welcomed into our hearts!  Dear LORD, let us turn to you and not to our stomachs.  Let your river in Heaven brim over and pour upon all your faithful children.

Direct download: BC-032711-Su_3_L_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Mic.7:14-15,18-20;   Ps.103:1-4,8-12;   Lk.15:1-3,11-32)

 

“While he was still a long way off,

his father caught sight of him and was deeply moved.”

 

“He ran out to meet him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him.”  Amen.  Such is the forgiveness of the Lord, that even while we are far from Him, yet while we are sinners, He sees our hearts turn to Him and welcomes us into His embrace.

We have all “sinned against God,” brothers and sisters.  We are all as the Prodigal Son who has “squandered his money on dissolute living.”  But oh the forgiveness of our God, who “with kindness and compassion” “redeems [our] life from destruction,” who in “pardon[ing] all [our] iniquities” raises us from the death of sin to sit with Him in heaven.  Does not the father in our parable say as much of the sinner? “This son of mine was dead and has come back to life.”  Is it not so that when we were still sinners Jesus died for us, to raise us with Himself to new life?

“Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of His inheritance?” the prophet Micah asks in our first reading, wondering at the infinite grace of our Father.  “As the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is His kindness toward those who fear Him,” sings David in our psalm.  And so, how joyous we should be, how our souls should “bless the Lord… and forget not all His benefits.”  For indeed, “not according to our sins does He deal with us, nor does He requite us according to our crimes.”  Rather, even though we deserve damnation, even though the most we could hope for is to be treated as one of His hired hands, yet does He remember His love for us.  Beyond all human reason, He graces us with “the finest robe” and calls us in to “eat and celebrate” at the heavenly banquet, where there shall be “music and dancing” to the Name of our God, where all the gifts of the Spirit poured forth through the blood of Christ are ours as we become one with the Father, as we return to Him “in good health.”  Is there anything more remarkable?

And let us not sin as the elder brother.  Let us not begrudge God, the loving Father, His infinite generosity to all His sons.  Let us not presume to stand in judgment against those the Lord deigns to forgive, but share His forgiveness and His grace toward all.  Then truly the father’s words to the elder son (which are a noticeably kind word to the Pharisees, whom this son represents) will be our own: “You are with me always, and everything I have is yours.”  Let us know the truth of this, God’s will for all our souls, and accept the gracious forgiveness which brings us to it as we come “to [our] senses” and turn to Him with all our hearts this day.  He is calling us home. 

 

*******

O LORD, show us your grace

that you might rejoice in our return to you. 

YHWH, your kindness and compassion are without end, your forgiveness deeper than the ocean and higher than the sky, for you are beyond our ability to understand – your love is ever abiding.  But we, O LORD, are so limited, in our comprehension and in our love.  We think only of ourselves, whereas you reach out to us.

Help us, dear LORD, to be more like you; help us to share in your kindness and mercy.  Your goodness please make our own, that in your presence we might always remain.

So dark is our sin, dear God, so far have we run from your face, so foolishly removed ourselves from your embrace, from your loving arms and secure protection…. Bring us back into your House, welcoming us as sons again; our guilt remove forever.  And let us rejoice as others enter, for then we will be like you, who care more for our redemption than that honor be shown to you.

Direct download: BC-032611-Sa_2_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gn.37:3-4,12-13,17-28;   Ps.105:5,16-21;   Mt.21:33-43,45-46)

“They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.”

“The stone which the builders rejected has become the keystone of the structure.”  Hear what Scripture says.  As he who was “sold as a slave” by his brothers became “lord of [the king’s] house and ruler of all his possessions,” so He whom the elders of the people could call “our brother, our own flesh,” whom they “seized… dragged… outside the vineyard, and killed,” has become the very foundation of the New Jerusalem.

How parallel are our first reading and gospel today.  Jacob, Israel, sends the son he loves best, he who is “the child of his old age,” to the brothers who are tending their father’s flock, to bring them food to nourish them in their labor.  The Father in heaven sends Jesus, His beloved Son – who is Child of His old age both in His existing with Him before time and in His coming here at the end of the age to His brothers – to those whom He has entrusted the care of His vineyard, through whom He feeds all the people, with the greatest of nourishment to sustain them unto heaven itself.  For their jealousy over the favor granted their brother, Israel’s sons strip Joseph of his long and princely tunic and cast him into a cistern “which was empty and dry” as their souls.  Out of the same jealousy and in the desire for His inheritance, the chief priests and Pharisees will soon arrest the Lord and see that He is stripped and nailed to a cross.

And, brothers and sisters, the outcome of each story shall be the same.  As his brothers must come on their knees to their brother to find grain to keep themselves from dying of famine on the parched earth once Joseph has taken his place as ruler of the king’s possessions, so the elders of the people and all of us who bear responsibility for the death of Christ by our continual sins against Him shall have to come on our knees before Him who sits on the throne of heaven robed in glory, to find nourishment for our journey here in His sacred Body and Blood, and to find a place at table in the kingdom to come.

There is much to be pondered in the rejection of Jesus, as is so with the betrayal of Joseph.  It is not only the Pharisees – who answer so well the Lord’s question regarding the fate of the tenant farmers, yet have not the faith to match the words God puts on their lips – who must look inside themselves and recognize their anger and jealousy and greed.  The Lord invites each of his brothers to examine his conscience this day, in this time.  In particular, are we showing ourselves to be the nation the Lord has given the kingdom of God?  Do we “yield a rich harvest” for Him who was sold for thirty pieces of silver?  Or have our souls gone bankrupt?  May from us the Lord “obtain His share of the grapes.”

*******

O LORD, you are rejected, you are killed,

that your inheritance you might share with us. 

YHWH, though we reject your Beloved Son, dragging Him out of the vineyard to kill Him, yet His blood becomes salvation for us, release from slavery to sin.  As Joseph who was sold to the Ishmaelites became ruler in the land of Egypt, so has the One who has died on a cross become the cornerstone of your kingdom.  And all who come to Him this day, under Him become a holy nation.

There is a great famine upon this land, O LORD, and we would quickly die for lack of nourishment if to us you did not send your only Son to provide for all our needs.  Let us show our gratefulness to you for such rich blessing by giving due honor to the One you have sent and producing abundant fruit in His Name.

O LORD, let all jealous souls be gathered into your harvest, redeemed from the blood upon their hands by our Savior’s sacrifice.  Such marvels you would perform for us at no cost but the abandonment of our greed and envy.

Direct download: BC-032511-F_2_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jer.17:5-10;   Ps.1:1-4,6,40:5;   Lk.16:19-31)

 

“He is like a tree planted beside the waters,

that stretches out its roots to the stream.”

 

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord.”  For he shall be like the tree “that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade.”  He shall never be “like a barren bush in the desert” or “like chaff which the wind drives away.”  Never shall he know the “place of torment,” for “the heat when it comes” shall do him no harm.  This man “follows not the counsel of the wicked nor walks in the way of sinners,” but rather “meditates on [God’s] law day and night.”  His faith and his hope are the roots that stretch out to the living water of the living God who nourishes all by His Word and in His flesh.

Brothers and sisters, we must never “trust in human beings” as do the Pharisees, or be as the rich man who “seeks his strength in flesh,” “dressed in purple and linen and feast[ing] splendidly every day.”  This earth itself holds not our food.  Notice that it is to the Pharisees Jesus addresses His parable in our gospel today.  How closely the rich man parallels these leaders of the people.  The bounty of God’s wisdom is bestowed upon them, but they use it to feed their bellies rather than to shepherd those in need.  They claim Abraham as their father and the Law of Moses as their guide, but they neither have the faith that makes Abraham the father of all, nor do they follow the instructions Moses conveys.  Only in the flesh are they Abraham’s sons; and though they see him from the hell to which they come, they cannot touch him, they cannot reach past him to the Father in heaven, who gives Abraham his blessing.  Dwelling but in their “father’s house” as the rich man who gorged himself on the pleasures of the flesh, they come not to the Father’s House on high, for their roots penetrate not to the living water that is found in faith, and now Lazarus cannot even “dip the tip of his finger in water to refresh [their] tongue.”  Dead as the stone upon which the commandments were written do they become. 

Notice, too, brothers and sisters, the connection between thoughts and actions, between faith and works, between the word and the flesh in our first reading, and present throughout Scripture: “I, the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart, to reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds.”  Only the Lord, who is Himself the living water, knows if His Word of life dwells in a man, and that faithful spirit is reflected directly in the just man’s deeds – for by these the Lord judges.  And Jesus is the just man; He is the Word made flesh in whom the Spirit dwells, in whom all find life.  He is the undying tree, one with the Father, whom all must imitate.  His words are living water; His flesh is food we eat: He alone is perfect in word and deed, for in Him spirit and flesh meet.  Let our hearts be set on Him, and we, too, shall be blessed; and we shall know that He is risen from the dead. 

 

*******

O LORD, let us be saved from torment

by walking in the way of your risen Son. 

YHWH, let us not be wayward souls, separating ourselves from you and the nourishment you offer; for we shall but wilt and fade if we put our trust in the passing things of this earth – we shall but die if we fat our bellies and become bereft of your Spirit.

Jesus let us follow, LORD, for upon your will alone He set Himself.  Your Word let us meditate upon both night and day that we shall remain in your presence always and walk ever in your ways.  You reward the faithful soul with the blessings of your House but can only cast the wicked man far from your table of grace.

Let us not be rich in the things of this world nor turn our sights to what is evil.  Upon your love let us set our sights, that our hearts might be purged of all insolence, of all sin against your goodness.  And let us reach out a helping hand to those in need of your water, that all might have life this day in the Holy Spirit.

Direct download: BC-032411-Th_2_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jer.18:18-20;   Ps.31:5-6,14-17;   Mt.20:17-28)

 

“Can you drink of the cup I am to drink of?”

 

Do you know what He asks, brothers and sisters?  And do you know where it leads?

In our gospel today, Jesus is very deliberate in His instruction to His apostles.  As He starts out “to go up to Jerusalem,” where the chief priests and scribes “will condemn Him to death” and the Romans crucify Him, He takes “the Twelve aside on the road” to speak clearly to them of the fate which awaits Him.  (So objective are His words that He refers to Himself in the third person.)  Of course, the apostles are yet far from understanding His message, as shown by their soon dissembling into jealous indignation regarding the question of the power and importance of each.  And the Lord must teach them again that He has come “to give His own life as a ransom for many”; He “has come, not to be served by others, but to serve,” and that those who “aspire to [the] greatness” that is His must necessarily “serve the needs of all.”

We know that Peter is the first among equals “for whom it has been reserved by [the] Father,” as the Lord has indicated earlier, and not James or John – though both of these shall have prominent place in drinking of the cup of Christ: James as the first apostle martyred and John, the beloved, whose martyrdom shall be white, coming in the endurance of a long life – but all of us who seek to follow Jesus indeed share in the selfsame cross, and so shall receive of the selfsame blessings of Him who is raised up “on the third day.”  All are called to drink of the cup of suffering and service in Jesus’ stead.  We must be clear on this essential point of faith.

And does not Jeremiah’s persecution at the hands of the citizens of Jerusalem show that the cross of Christ extends even to the time before He had come in the flesh?  Do not the words spoken against the prophet: “Let us destroy him by his own tongue; let us carefully note his every word,” echo exactly the plottings of the Pharisees against Jesus, whom they repeatedly sought to entrap?  And all this though He does “speak in their behalf, to turn away [the Father’s] wrath from them.”  And David in our psalm chants the same refrain: “They consult together against me, plotting to take my life.”

Brothers and sisters, as it was for David and Jeremiah and Jesus, following in the ways of the Lord will bring us persecution.  You may well ask, Must good be repaid with evil? but the Lord will answer, “Let it be for now.”  For “from the clutches of [our] enemies and [our] persecutors” He rescues those who trust in Him.  Take heart that the humbled shall be exalted as you drink deeply of His cup. 

*******

O LORD, though good be repaid with evil,

we shall rise on the third day

if we remain united to the sacrifice of your Son.

YHWH, though persecutions come, as they must, we trust ourselves into your hands knowing that your protection is with us, knowing that as your Son was raised on the third day, our suffering shall soon come to an end and we stand with you in your kingdom.  Give us faith and strength in your abiding presence, despite the whisperings of the crowd.

The people plotted to take the life of your prophets and your Son.  A pit is dug for all your faithful, LORD.  But that pit is shallow as this passing world; only your eternity remains.  And so, let us not fear as we drink the cup Jesus offers us, the cup He Himself drank upon the Cross; for as we lay down our lives in this world, sharing in the sacrifice of Christ, so we shall be blessed to know the glory to which you call all your faithful servants.

Our trust is in you, O LORD, for you are our God.  Save us from the snares of the devil.

Direct download: BC-032311-W_2_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Is.1:10,16-20;   Ps.50:8-9,16-17,21,23;   Mt.23:1-12)

 

“To him that goes the right way

I will show the salvation of God.”

 

“Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good.”  For it is only following in the way of the Lord we shall be saved; for mere words, vain pretense, the Lord has no patience.

Indeed it is so, what Isaiah proclaims: “Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow.”  Forgiveness is offered forth generously by the Lord to the nation that goes astray.  But we must be “willing, and obey” the word “the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”  If we “hate discipline and cast [His] words behind” our backs, if we but “recite [His] statutes” as the Pharisees whose “works are performed to be seen,” whose mouths profess the covenant but whose deeds are far from Him, how is it we shall find salvation?  For the Lord is not blind and deaf as we to the heart of man; and unlike our own, His word is true, and His command must be followed – we must serve Him and our neighbor.  We must humble ourselves in His sight if we hope to be exalted to His kingdom.

“Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.”  Over and over we hear from the mouth of the prophet and the psalmist and the Son Himself – the Lord has compassion on the poor and lowly, and we must do as He calls… we must be His arms and legs in this world.  Unlike the Pharisees who “will not lift a finger” to carry even the lightest burden, whose “deeds are few,” we must take up the full weight of the cross.  It is not “places of honor” and “marks of respect in public” for which we hunger; but when we teach and as we serve, our hearts must be set on the salvation of souls, which can only be accomplished by living the way of the Messiah, by following His example.

What has Jesus not done for us?  What teaching has He left lacking flesh and blood?  And so, rightly is He called “Rabbi”; and so, truly is He the only Son of the one Father in heaven.  Brothers and sisters, we must go the way He leads – we must follow the humble path to the kingdom.  In this our sins shall become “white as wool,” washed in the blood of the Lamb.

 

*******

O LORD, let us be humble and just in your sight

that we might be saved from our sin

and enter your kingdom. 

YHWH, our sins are red as crimson, but you would make them white as wool if we but listened to your Word and put it into practice.  If our worship of you were genuine, then we would be truly blessed.  But as it is we speak in vain when we call upon your Name.  For who among us lives the way Jesus teaches, the way He walked?  His chastisement let us treasure, that we might be saved from empty sacrifice.

There is so much pride within our hearts, O LORD, and in our words and actions.  We desire to be exalted in the sight of others.  Oh if it were but our desire to serve you!  If we but sought to be humble and true, then you would raise us to be with you, in the heavenly kingdom.

O let us listen to you, LORD?  Let us heed your command, your word of instruction.  Let us do what is right and just in your sight and with our neighbor, and your cleansing grace we shall find.

Direct download: BC-032211-Tu_2_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O patient and loving soul

who cared for both

the physical and spiritual needs

of the poor and the sick,

who with a gentle word

would rebuke sins

and heal division

and with a gentle touch

bind the wounds

and smooth the beds

of the ill

in your home and in hospital,

who saw that remedies for the soul,

the Bread of life and holy Confession,

were available, too,

through the hands of a priest –

who cares as deeply and fully

for the needs of souls

this day?

Increase their number;

pray the Lord touch all souls

with your same patient affection,

with the love only He knows.

Direct download: March_9_Frances_of_Rome.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Dn.9:4-10;   Ps.79:8-9,11,13,103:10;   Lk.6:36-38)

“Deliver us and pardon our sins for your name’s sake.”

It is a cry for forgiveness our psalmist makes to our compassionate God.  “Remember not against us the iniquities of the past,” he begs, seeking release from sin’s prison for himself and his people.  And Daniel does the same; acknowledging with full throat the sins of Judah and all Israel, he seeks the merciful hand of the Lord upon the people, interceding in their stead.  Though he himself is an upright man, he cries out, “We have sinned, been wicked and done evil,” praying thus for the rebellious nation which has been scattered to “all countries” for their failure to heed the command of the Lord.

Well do our Old Testament figures embody Jesus’ teaching in our gospel, summed up simply: “Be compassionate, as your Father is compassionate.”  For they “do not judge” or “condemn” those individuals primarily responsible for the apostasy and so the destruction of the kingdom and the covenant, but rather seek earnestly to heal the rift that has come by giving generously of themselves and their love for God and others, in Christlike fashion standing in the breach.  And so they earn the titles of prophet and psalmist of God; and so they foreshadow the heavenly compassion Jesus calls all His followers to pour forth in His name.  (And so we can be assured their compassion has been “measured back” to them by the Lord.)

Jesus on the cross dies for the sins of all people, and this is His central call to all our souls: to imitate Him is our blessed goal.  For insofar as we die for God and others, insofar as we lay down our lives in His truth, thus far we shall find His “compassion quickly come to us” and so live in the heavenly glory which is now His place.  To us all He calls this day to pardon and forgive, for in doing so we shall find the reconciliation of the Lord even with our enemies, and secure for ourselves a room in His heavenly home.

He who knew no sin was made sin for our sake.  He has humbled Himself to carry the sins of the nation…  Let us, brothers and sisters, die with Christ on the cross, that all sin might be taken away in His Name.

*******

O LORD, let us not turn away

from your Word to our souls

but be compassionate as you.

YHWH, you are a compassionate God calling us to your mercy and love.  Forgive us all our transgressions against you that we might know your favor.  Though we have sinned and done what is evil in your sight, though we have rebelled against you and your command, refusing to listen to the Word of truth you utter in our midst, hear our cry for deliverance from the prison into which our sins have cast us.  Save us in your love!

O LORD, if we do not judge we shall not be judged.  If we do not condemn we shall not be condemned.  If we but forgive others their transgressions against us, you will forgive our transgressions against you.  And we shall return to your pasture.

Help us to give, O LORD, to give as you give, to give as your Son gives… to lay down our lives for the sake of others – to seek pardon for their sins.  Jesus stands in the breach to reconcile us to you and one another; may we join Him in His mission of love.

Direct download: BC-032111-M_2_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O servant of love

whom the angels knew

to be of God

for your blessed care

of the poor and the sick

and all the needy pilgrims

who came to you in abundance

that you might be the greater blest

by what you did for the least

of Christ’s brothers,

you who turned from the world

to absolute service of the Lord

and complete trust in His providence –

please pray that our hearts

may be enlarged

and we find the grace

to lay down our lives so freely

for the needs of others,

for their well-being,

that as we welcome all who come to us

we might ourselves be welcomed

in our misery

into the loving arms of Jesus. 

Direct download: March_8__John_of_God.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Gn.12:1-4a;   Ps.33:4-5,18-20,22;   2Tm.1:8b-10;   Mt.17:1-9)

 

“Rise, and do not be afraid.”

 

Here in the midst of the darkness we drink in during this Lenten Season comes a light shining to assure our hearts of the promise that is ours.  The Lord’s Transfiguration is presented to us this day to lead us through all the tribulations of the cross to the resurrection, which is our holy goal.

“Beloved: Bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God,” Paul says to his special child Timothy, and so the Lord speaks to us all, reminding us that “He saved us and called us to a holy life.”  It is “up a high mountain by themselves” Jesus leads His principal disciples Peter, James, and John, to reveal to them the glory to which they are called – thus signifying the cross we must all carry along the rough terrain of this world to reach our place in heaven.  In seeing that “His face shone like the sun and His clothes became white as light” and then hearing the voice of the Father overshadowing them, they are overawed… but the hand of the Lord touches them, and strengthens them for the road ahead.

Our call is like that of Abraham, the father of all those of faith: “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.”  We all must leave behind the security this world holds and go according to God’s word, to travel in a land foreign to our souls.  But His assurance is with us, His blessing is upon us, and so the darkness of the night should not make us afraid.  For “the eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear Him, upon those who hope for His kindness, to deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine.”  And so, however difficult the walk, however steep the climb, our hearts should never waver; for we have always at our side “our Savior Christ Jesus, who destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

And so, brothers and sisters, as we travel through the heart of the sacrifice this Lenten time invites us to share, let it be that “our soul waits for the Lord, who is our help and our shield,” and let our prayer be as David’s: “May your kindness, O Lord, be upon us, who have put our hope in you.”  For Jesus is before us to lead us to our home.

 

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

 

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

 

*******

O LORD, let your eyes be upon us

to guide us by your holy light,

and let our eyes look up and meet your own. 

YHWH, let us go as you direct us; let us follow your Son wherever He leads.  Though it be up a high mountain, though the path be rough and darkness overshadow us, let us not hesitate.  Let us listen to His voice speaking to our souls: “Rise, and do not be afraid.”

O LORD, you deliver us from death and preserve us despite any trial of this world.  To Heaven the way of the Cross does lead, so let us not be afraid.  Let us put our hope and our trust in you, knowing that you are always at our side, that your Spirit is with us ever to guide us to your eternal kingdom.  Let us know and remember that we will rise with Jesus.

All your works are trustworthy, dear God, and so let us be obedient to your call, that our lives, too, might be formed by your hand.  Grant us vision that we might see our way through the darkness of this world by the light of your beloved Son.

Direct download: BC-032011-Su_2_L_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O blessed martyrs

who willingly and happily

suffered a cruel death

by the teeth of beasts

and the point of a sword,

all for love of Jesus –

how can we match your faith;

where shall we find the strength

you displayed

in ecstasy at tortures

devised by the wicked of this earth,

and can we call ourselves Christian otherwise?

Pray for us, dear martyrs,

that the Lord will bless us

with such favor

as you have known

and we, too, will be enabled

to stand in joy

even in the face of the severest persecution,

even at the time of our death…

even then may Heaven be with us.

Direct download: March_7_Perpetua_and_Felicity.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Dt.26:16-19;   Ps.119:1-2,4-5,7-8;   Mt.5:43-48)

 

“You will be a people sacred to the Lord, your God.”

 

The promise made to the Israelites through Moses is also a command, and is fulfilled in the command of Jesus.

In our first reading Moses tells the people the Lord will raise them “high in praise and renown and glory above all other nations,” but makes it clear that this shall be so only as long as they “walk in His ways and observe His statutes, commandments, and decrees” – only if they “hearken to His voice.”  For His law is as food to the body and light to the mind and must be observed carefully, “with all [our] heart and with all [our] soul,” to maintain the presence of God in our lives.  If “He is to be [our] God,” we must do as He commands.

Thus our psalmist sings of the happiness of those “who observe His decrees, who seek Him with all their heart.”  Thus does he cry out in longing, “Oh, that I might be firm in the ways of keeping your statutes!” for he knows in them is life.  To “walk in the way of the Lord” is his joy.

And that joy is made complete, our life is made whole, by the new command of love Jesus imparts to our soul.  The Lord fulfills the Law of Moses, which gave light to the people, by commanding us not to love only our “countryman” but all: “Love your enemies, pray for your persecutors.”  Here is His challenge for us to “prove that [we] are sons of our heavenly Father,” to love as He loves, to know the greatness of His glory, therefore, in our very lives.  If the psalmist cried out in such joy at the blessing found in following the Law of Moses, what indescribable joy is ours when we follow Jesus’ words.  What greater call can we have than to “be made perfect as [our] heavenly Father is perfect”?  What greater merit and blessing could there be?  None.  For He is Life itself, and here we are called to live with Him.

“His sun rises on the bad and the good, He rains on the just and the unjust.”  Nothing dims God’s holy light or stems the blessings He showers upon all.  In absolute light, in absolute love, the Father dwells, in the heavenly kingdom; and if we can love as He loves, as Jesus has loved, we shall know such blessing.  Love even those who hate you and you will be as the Father, who knows only love, and you will become sacred to Him – you will be saints in His kingdom.

*******

O LORD, if we follow your way with our whole heart,

we shall come to where you are, in Heaven.

YHWH, what can we be but blessed if we heed your commands and walk in your way, for then we will be like you, who are most blessed of all?  O to be a people sacred to you!  O to love as you love!

What greater blessing can we know, O LORD, than to love as you love, to love all, even our enemies?  What blessing it would be to know such absolute love, to live such absolute love – then we would be living with you; then we would be living in you.  You shine like the sun upon all creatures…  Let us live in your light this day.

Your Word is light to us, LORD; your commands are truth.  And by them you would lead us to all truth, to all love – by them you would lead us to yourself.  And your greatest command is to love our enemies, a command your Son embodies.  Let us join with Him in keeping this Word and so live in your heavenly presence.

Direct download: BC-031911-Sa_1_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Ez.18:21-28;   Ps.130:1-8;   Mt.5:20-26)

 

“Settle with your opponent while on your way to court with him.”

 

We are all on our way to court, brothers and sisters.  The judgment of the Lord awaits us all on the Last Day, and the Last Day is upon us here at the end of the age.  There is no time to lose; we must be “reconciled with [our] brother”; we must turn from sin today and find the Lord’s grace.  “With the Lord is kindness and plenteous redemption; and He will redeem Israel from all their iniquities” – but “out of the depths” we must cry to Him “in supplication” to find His blessed forgiveness; and from sinful paths we must turn our feet to know His salvation.

“If a wicked man, turning from the wickedness he has committed, does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life.”  It is a great promise that comes to us through the prophet Ezekial, that none of our crimes shall be remembered by God when we return to Him.  For the Lord does not “derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked,” He “rather rejoice[s] when he turns from his evil way that he may live”; for the Lord wishes life for us all, wishes Himself, who is Life, for every soul, and gives it freely, and quite naturally, when we follow His ways.

It is really rather simple: as when a wicked man turns to good things he is no longer wicked but good and so lives in the Lord, so “when a virtuous man turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die.”  Evil brings death, and righteousness and justice (goodness) brings life.  The Lord desires life for us all and so He calls us to repentance, to repentance from even what might seem to our minds the smallest of sins – for so greatly does He wish life for us.  And clearly does He know that which we cannot see, that death holds sway over us by every sin on our soul.

Let us avoid the fires of hell and the pains of purgatory, brothers and sisters.  Let us call out to the Lord this day and find His “plenteous redemption” even as we turn from our sins.  And there shall be no prison into which we are thrown, as we forgive one another, and the Lord forgives us, our sins.

*******

O LORD, let us be released from all bondage to sin

that we might walk with you in righteousness

and so find life.

YHWH, forgiveness is with you, for it is your great desire to see us turn from our sin that you might have mercy on our souls.  And if we do so, if we leave behind our wickedness – even our wicked thoughts and words – we shall find your goodness; you shall gather us into your arms.  For then we shall be of goodness itself, and so, united with you.

But turning from the right path, what can we find but death in our separation from you, LORD?  What can we know but condemnation in leaving you behind?  For then you will not be with us, and without you there is no life.

O LORD, you are generous in redeeming us from all our iniquities.  Let us follow your way as your Son does call, purging all hatred from our lives.  Help us to be perfect as you are perfect – in love, in forgiveness, in grace… and we shall thus enter your kingdom, where only perfection exists.  No evil in our hearts let us desire; cast all iniquity from us this day as we love even our enemy.

Direct download: BC-031811-F_1_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Est.C:12,14-16,23-25;   Ps.138:1-3,7-8;   Mt.7:7-12)

 

“My Lord, our King, you alone are God.

Help me, who am alone and have no help but you.”

 

In our gospel we have today a few of our Lord’s most famous words: “Ask, and you will receive.  Seek, and you will find.  Knock, and it will be opened to you.”  Jesus encourages us to faithfulness in prayer, assuring all that our “heavenly Father [will] give good things to anyone who asks Him.”  How beautiful are His words, and how true.

And how well Queen Esther illustrates the faithful prayer of one who has “recourse to the Lord.”  She comes to the Lord in all humility as an obedient child before her father and opens her heart before God with a sincere plea for her fellow Jews, threatened with extinction by the enemy.  She says of her forefathers, proclaiming herself a daughter of Abraham, “You fulfilled all your promises to them,” and comes now seeking the same answer from the “King of gods and Ruler of every power.”  Such prayer for salvation before the God she recognizes “know[s] all things” cannot but be answered by the loving Father.  He will give her the food she desires.

In our psalm we hear David’s song of thanksgiving for the prayers the Lord has been faithful in answering for him: “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth,” thus proving the truth of Jesus’ exhortation to His disciples, and indicating that Esther will also find answer to her prayer – and so, that we all should have assurance of God’s loving desire to heed all our sincere pleas.  David, too, acknowledges the greatness of God: “You have made great above all things your name and your promise,” and so comes to the place where the “kindness and [the] truth” of the Lord will be known to him.  And his faith in the Lord’s promise to be with him and hear him lasts for perpetuity: “The Lord will complete what He has done for me.”

Praise the Lord, who answers all prayers.  Praise the loving God who knows all things.  It is in His heart to feed us with the best of wheat, and this He does each day for those who “worship at [His] holy temple and give thanks to [His] name.”  “Forsake not the work of your hands,” dear Lord.  Be with us always to hear our humble prayers, that we might witness always your loving faithfulness to all who call upon you in truth.

 

*******

O LORD, forsake us not, for we are your children

and have no one but you to help us;

thank you for your mercy. 

YHWH, you readily give good things to those who ask them of you, for it is your will to give what is good to all.  You are goodness itself and would share yourself with all your children if they but desired your presence in their lives.  Let us turn to you and call upon your Name with faith that you hear all our prayers.

We need but seek you, LORD, and your hand at work in our days.  We need but a tiny seed of faith, and you will nourish us with your Word and see that we are protected from our enemies and have all we need to live forever with you.  In your kingdom we shall find our home if we but knock upon its door.

Your Name let us ever praise, O LORD our God, and we shall remain in your truth, and we shall remain in your light, ever growing unto your heavenly presence.  We would need fear nothing at all if we but trusted in you and the love you hold for all your people.  Your kindness be upon us this day as we raise our hearts to you.

Direct download: BC-031711-Th_1_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O patron of the impoverished

who though son of a king

counted yourself among

the poor in spirit,

you whose love abundantly flowed

to all in need,

who sought the purity

of our Blessed Mother,

who thirsted for our Lord

in the Blessed Sacrament,

who devoted yourself

to prayer

and constant works of charity –

teach us this day to be pure

and set our hearts

on serving the poor

that we too might come

to share the kingdom

with all God’s children,

all those who empty themselves

of the things of this world

to find the grace

of Heaven.

Direct download: March_4__Casimir.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jon.3:1-10;   Ps.51:3-4,12-13,18-19;   Lk.11:29-32)

 

“At the preaching of Jonah they reformed.”

 

Let us learn from the people of Ninevah, who heeded the message of repentance given Jonah.  At Jonah’s cry they “believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.”  Even the king “laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes” in hopes of averting the destruction he knew God held in hand for his wayward city.  He decrees that “every man shall turn from his evil way” and “call loudly to God.”  Such utter repentance!  Such turning from sin!  And this from a pagan king and a pagan nation.

If Ninevah has so believed in God, if it has so recognized its sin before Him and turned so dramatically back to Him, pleading for His mercy, what should we not do, brothers and sisters, in this time of Lent set aside for the cleansing of our sins, we who have Jesus’ preaching now ringing in our ears and calling to our hearts?  Indeed, we must again and continually cry out to God with David for His mercy to come upon us.  Ever with “a contrite and humbled heart” we must sit before Him recognizing our sin.  For always our sin is with us, however much we might be ignorant of our guilt as we live our lives in vain.  “Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me,” must be our eternal plea, for we are in continual danger of going away from Him.

Let us not be afraid to humble ourselves before God and man.  Let us seek nothing else but the wisdom of Christ, the call of the cross to our souls.  In humility, in sackcloth and ashes, let us prostrate ourselves before the true king who will come at the judgment to discern the worth of all souls.  Perhaps He will have mercy.  Perhaps He will “withhold His blazing wrath.”  Perhaps the punishment we deserve He may avert and “we shall not perish.”  Upon the soul He finds His cross inscribed, He shall take pity, my friends.

O Lord, we have sinned and done what is evil in your sight.  In your infinite mercy look upon our broken hearts, and help us to reform our lives.  For you alone are God.

*******

O LORD, your Son is greater than any prophet or king;

let us listen to Him as He calls us to repentance.

YHWH, let us be humble before you and your Word.  Let us repent at the preaching of your holy ones.  May your Son be a sign for us that we shall not forget – you are calling us to your kingdom, and to find our way there we must turn away from all sin.

O LORD, let us not fail to take this time to reform our lives; let us not be deaf and blind to the grace you offer forth to all men.  May we know true contrition for the wrongs we have done – O let our hearts be circumcised!  You desire to forgive us, if we would but leave off our evil ways.

We shall all indeed be destroyed if we do not heed your saving Word.  May your prophets cry out the message of the Gospel, and may all your holy ones cover themselves in sackcloth and sit in the ashes… may all fast from the poisonous food this world offers.  Then our spirits shall be renewed.  Then no judgment will come upon us.  Then we shall live forever with you.

Direct download: BC-031611-W_1_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O mother to the poor

and disadvantaged,

missionary to those in your own country

isolated from their neighbors

because of the color of their skin,

some who lived upon the land

long before those who oppressed them,

others brought to this land

in chains…

you who sought to break the chains

of ignorance and poverty,

who gave your treasure

and the riches of your soul

that those without

might find a home –

pray for souls still disadvantaged

by poverty or ignorance;

pray that those with

and those without

might meet as one,

as brothers before the Lord

here on earth

and in the heavenly kingdom.

Direct download: March_3__Katharine_Drexel.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Is.55:10-11;   Ps.34:4-7,16-19;   Mt.6:7-15)

 

“Give us today our daily bread.”

 

Our daily bread comes from the mouth of God; it is His Word that nourishes us.  His Word “water[s] the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats.”  By His Word our spiritual lives are anointed with holiness; the breath of His mouth makes us whole, and so we become fruitful in His Name.

Yes, we are sharers in His Word; it is His Word the just speak in their time of need.  “Crushed in spirit” before Him like holy seed, their cry comes to His ears and the rain He sends upon them saves them from all sin, “deliver[s] [them] from all fears.”  Jesus, the Word made flesh, is true, and His words are true: “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him”; and so the Father is quick to hear when we enter into His Word and call upon His Name in all humility.  It is this humility which makes us fertile earth, this trust in His will that lifts our faces toward His light, that we “may not blush with shame.”  “Look to Him that you may be radiant with joy,” O sinner.  “Glorify the Lord” and “extol His name,” for with you He shares His Spirit; in you He plants the Word that grows to eternal life.

Father in heaven, you alone are holy, and your Name is life to us.  Let “your kingdom come,” let “your will be done,” for apart from you we wither and die.  Make our earth your heaven; bring to us all the blessings you know we need to live ever in your light.  Feed us with your bread, feed us with your Word – your Son is all the food we need.  And for all “the wrong we have done,” as He has taught us, let us find our forgiveness by releasing from all bondage those who have done wrong to us, by loving our enemies.  In the end we pray, O Lord, that temptation be taken from our path; though we treasure your chastising Hand, let us not falter anymore – “deliver us from the evil one” who lurks in this world seeking the ruin of our souls.

O Lord, our lives are in your hands.  Our hearts are given life by you.  In our prayer let us not imitate the vain words of the pagans, but let us join in the Spirit with your Son and become one in the Word with you.  (Help me to remember your Name.)

 

(I witness here that however many times I speak the Lord’s Prayer, as however many times I attend Holy Mass, by the grace that comes through the Spirit, it is ever new and alive with the blessings that come from above.  These words are a gift to us we must cherish in our souls.)

 

*******

O LORD, may the grace of your forgiveness

flow upon us and through us

and so bear the fruit of salvation. 

YHWH, your Word be upon us to bless us and nourish us this day that our words might be fruitful as your own.  With your Son and by the words He has instructed us to pray, let us come to you and find your presence upon us, saving us from sin and leading us to your kingdom.  From the grasp of the evil one let us be released as we call upon your Name.

How shall we be fed this day, O LORD, if not by your hand, if not by the Spirit you send forth from your holy throne?  From on high you shower down upon us cleansing rain that we might be made whole and fruitful in your sight, that we might be as your Son on this earth, bringing your kingdom to bear on this plane.  O let us be as your sons and daughters, shining your light in this dark place!

Hear us as we call to you, LORD.  Deliver us from all distress and affliction.  Let our poor souls be blessed by you that we might ever praise your holy Name.  O Father in Heaven, let us be with you this day.

Direct download: BC-031511-Tu_1_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Lv.19:1-2,11-18;   Ps.19:8-10,15,Jn.6:63;   Mt.25:31-46)

 

“As often as you did it for one of my least brothers,

you did it for me.”

 

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Such is the golden rule and the second of the greatest commandments, which is like unto the first: Love God.  And the union of the two is made evident by Jesus in our gospel today; He makes clear that what we do to others we do to Him, and so to love God and neighbor become one and the same.  So tied is the Lord to His creation by the incarnation of His Son.

And how blessed are all His commands to us, all of which are summed up in love, and all of which give us life.  “Refreshing the soul… giving wisdom to the simple… rejoicing the heart… enlightening the eye… enduring forever” – such is the Word of God to the obedient soul.  All He speaks is just and all He speaks is holy and brings life, for all He speaks is of the Spirit of love.  And of that Spirit we must be, if we hope to attain to eternal life where He sits in glory.

“Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you, O Lord, my rock and redeemer,” is David’s prayer after extolling the virtues of the law of the Lord in his psalm today.  And such should be our prayer.  For if our hearts are set upon Him, and if our mouths speak truth, we can be assured that our actions will follow and we will please the Lord in all we do.  For being of the Lord, we can only feed the hungry; seeking His will, we can only welcome Him and all His children into our lives.  If we are founded upon this Rock, all will find in us the love of God.

For He is love, brothers and sisters, and all He asks of us is love.  Love does “not steal.”  Love does “not lie.”  Love does “not defraud” or “curse the deaf” or “act dishonestly” in any way.  In a word, if you are of love as He is love, “you shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart.”  And all are our brothers, even the least of these; the Lord has made this known.  All are our neighbor and so none can “stand by idly when [his] neighbor’s life is at stake.”  All are called by love to lend their hand, His hand, to others in need.  For then we help Him.

Would we not help the Lord if we saw Him wanting?  Is it not our desire to ease His pain?  We have opportunity ever to do this in those around us.  When we do, we fulfill His command and find life for our souls, for then we are holy as He. 

*******

O LORD, may your Word bring us to everlasting life;

let us be obedient to your call to compassion.

YHWH, let your Word be upon us that it might reprove us, that it might teach us and guide us in the way we should go… that it might refresh our souls.  We know not the way we should walk but tend toward selfishness and sin.  Speak to our hearts this day that our eyes might be opened and we be corrected and come to be holy like you.

Your Son tells us in no uncertain terms that condemnation awaits those who hate their brother, who turn their backs on their fellow man.  He lets us know that in doing so we turn our backs on you, O LORD.  And thus spurning your love and the practice of that love in our lives, what can we be but separated from you who are love and life?

But the righteous shall be blessed.  This He tells us, too.  If our hearts are set on fulfilling your commands and especially your command to love (which is all you command), then with you we shall ever dwell in eternal light and life.  May all men listen to your Son and live as He does.

Direct download: BC-031411-M_1_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gn.2:7-9,3:1-7;   Ps.51:3-6,12-14,17;   Rm.5:12-19;   Mt.4:1-11)

 

“Just as through the disobedience of the one man

the many were made sinners,

so, through the obedience of the one,

the many will be made righteous.”

 

And what obedience Jesus shows in His temptations.  For He was weakened, “He was hungry” after His forty-day fast in the desert, and the devil came at Him with all his power.  But He does not falter as did the first man; He remembers the Word of God and His command.  And by His faithfulness the sin of Adam is washed clean.

See how the Lord atones for our sins; see how directly His temptations parallel those presented to Eve.  As she is shown the goodness of the food before her, that it is “pleasing to the eyes,” so the devil tempts Jesus with bread that will sustain His life.  As Eve ventures to take the food despite the command of God, listening to the serpent’s words: “You certainly will not die!” so Satan would lead Jesus to cast His weakened body down from the parapet of the temple, with the encouragement that the angels will protect Him.  And as Eve is seduced by the devil’s promise, “You will be like gods,” so he tries the same promise of power over “all the kingdoms of the world” with Jesus.  In the first two temptations Jesus struggles as He will later under the weight of the cross, sweating and bleeding under the devil’s test; but in the third, perhaps with understanding that the end of the temptations is at hand, He now exclaims, “Get away, Satan!” apparently revived – and His words are a most cutting blow to the prince of darkness: “The Lord, your God, shall you worship and Him alone shall you serve”; for it is the great sin of Satan to presume to be as the Almighty God.

And so the prayer of David, found so poignantly in our psalm: “Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense,” is answered  And so the sin that has been “before [us] always,” since Adam fell in the garden, is now to be cleansed from our souls.  For now the angels do come to minister to Him; and now He begins the ministry that leads directly to the cross and the redemption of mankind in His sacrifice.  Now the die is cast for the salvation of our race.  Soon the devil will hold no dominion.

 

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

 

Music: "The Chicken or the Egg: The Devil's Riddle" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

 

*******

O LORD, lead us out of the desert of sin;

save us from temptation. 

YHWH, we have sinned and would drown in our sin except that you come to help us; your Son stands in our stead for redemption as once Adam stood in our place for rebellion, and so by His suffering the temptations we could not endure, cleanses us of all transgression.  And so, life comes now to our souls.

O LORD, by your compassion wipe out our offense.  Death has reigned among us because of the sin of our ancestor, but more powerful and wonderful is your grace, for it brings acquittal of our sin, removing our condemnation and so making it as if we had never sinned, as if death had never been.  Such is the gift your Son imparts.

Sustain your Holy Spirit within us, dear God, that we might remain in your grace and never again turn away from your Word.  Cast Satan far from us that we might stand with you, fed always by your Breath of life.

Direct download: BC-031311-Su_1_L_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Is.58:9-14;   Ps.86:1-6,11;   Lk.5:27-32)

 

“Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you,

“restorer of ruined homesteads.”

 

“Levi gave a great reception for Jesus in his house,” but it is Jesus who invites him, and all sinners, “to a change of heart” and to join Him in the home He makes for us all in heaven.  As Levi (or Matthew) has done, so must we all: we must leave our “customs post,” that which roots us to this world – we must stand up and follow Him.

“You, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.”  David makes his prayer in our psalm, coming to the Lord as one “afflicted and poor,” begging the Lord’s pity upon his soul.  And there is confidence that his cry is answered, that his soul is gladdened; for the promise has been made through Isaiah that “He will renew [our] strength,” that we “shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails.”  All that He has broken down in His anger against us and against our sins shall be raised up again: “The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake, and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up.”  As we turn to Him and “call the sabbath a delight… not following [our] ways, seeking [our] own interests, or speaking with malice,” we shall indeed “delight in the Lord” and in His inheritance; He shall indeed “nourish [us] with the heritage of Jacob” – the food He gives us will far surpass the bread upon the table at Levi’s banquet.  For it is upon His own Body we shall feed, and so find ourselves renewed in spirit and strengthened for the kingdom of heaven.

The Lord comes to invite all “sick people” to His healing grace.  All who turn from their sins shall be acceptable to Him.  And in His House they shall find a place, and be nourished well.  “Even on the parched land” they shall find the water of life, for His grace extends to all places and all peoples.  And with the bread we bestow on the hungry we ourselves shall be fed, for by this labor we shall unite with Him.  “The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”  Let us find the mercy His words desire for us.

 

*******

O LORD, help us to recognize our sin

and call upon you for healing,

that your House might be rebuilt. 

YHWH, teach us to turn from our sin, from following our own ways, that we might follow your Son where He leads, that we might come to Him for healing this day.  Let us come into your light and there remain.

You will renew us, LORD, if we do well, for it is your desire to share your mercy with us and make us as your own again.  Though in ruins our lives stand, though all seem lost because of our sin, when we call out to you, you hear us and gladden our souls with your refreshing love.

When Jesus comes to us, O LORD – as He shall come to all to heal us of all illness – when He stands before us and invites us to follow Him, may we be as Matthew and leave all of this world behind and set our hearts on obedience to His voice.  May we invite Him in to the table of our bodies and our souls that He might feed us always with His Word and with the Bread He is, and that we might thus feed others.  O let us be nourished well and be as a watered garden!

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

(Is.58:1-9;   Ps.51:3-6,18-19;   Mt.9:14-15)

 

“Would that today you might fast

so as to make your voice heard on high!”

 

Brothers and sisters, in this day of fasting and penance, first we must “acknowledge [our] offense” as David in our psalm.  We must cry out to our God: “Against you only have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight.”  This is our leaven of truth.  “A contrite spirit, a heart contrite and humbled” the Lord cannot resist.  It is this heart the Lord answers; it is prayer of this soul He hears – to this “cry for help… He will say: Here I am!”

“When the day comes that the groom is taken away, then they will fast.”  We “go in mourning” when Jesus is no longer in our midst.  What does this then say of our fast?  For though the Lord may be with us always in the power of the Spirit, yet He is physically taken from us now till the end of time.  Our fast must therefore be a permanent condition all the while we walk this earth.  And so true is this if we understand the Lord’s definition of a fast as revealed in our first reading from Isaiah: “This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly… sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless, clothing the naked… and not turning your back on your own.”  And what sense it makes that this be our fast now that Jesus is gone, for are we not His children here, called to carry out His mission in this world?  Are not these the very things He instructs us to do in His stead for the least of His brothers who suffer now?  On this earth here at the end of the age we should be engaged in fasting always.

And if we pray with a sincere heart, and if we do the will of the Lord in all things, what promise He makes to us: “Your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed…  The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.”  All we ask shall be given us; all we seek we shall find in Him.  And so, what shall our fasting be for us but pure joy, even as we become one with the Lord our God?

A blessed call is upon us now, one which makes our voices known to Him.  Let us “remove from [our] midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech.”  Let us denounce any “quarreling and fighting” that keeps us from Him, and see that His will is done in our lives.  Then indeed He shall hear us; then by this death to sin we shall come to the glory of our God.

 

*******

O LORD, what can we do but fast

now that your Son has been taken from us? –

let us do His work, stand in His stead,

laying down our lives for all in need. 

YHWH, your Son has been taken from us, and so, on this day we fast.  He no longer walks among us, and so we must be as His presence.  We must free the oppressed and feed the hungry, doing the works He did while He was in our midst.  And if we do this, we shall be pleasing in your sight, as He was, and so be blessed.

With a contrite heart let us come to you, O LORD, recognizing our faults and failures to serve you as we ought.  Instead of laying down our lives in humble service of those in need of your Word and your Bread, we have spoken ill of our brother and been oppressors ourselves.  And so, any offering we have made has been in vain.  And so we have but served to separate ourselves from you and your compassion.

O LORD, let us not continue blind to our wickedness but seek each day to convert our hearts to your call to be as your Son and live His way of sacrifice for the sake of others.

Direct download: Fri._after_Ash_Wed.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Dt.30:15-20;   Ps.1:1-4,6,39:5;   Lk.9:22-25)

 

“The Lord watches over the way of the just,

but the way of the wicked vanishes.”

 

In our first reading, Moses makes clear the choice we all must face: “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse.”  “By loving the Lord… heeding His voice, and holding fast to Him,” the Israelites will be blessed with “long life” in the Promised Land; they “will live and grow numerous” by “loving Him and walking in His ways.”  This will be life for them.  “If, however, [they] turn away [their] hearts and will not listen… [they] will certainly perish.”  The promise to them will soon die if they walk “in the way of sinners.”

Life and death.  The blessing and the curse.  The just and the wicked.  To the Israelites the promise that they would be “like a tree planted near running water” if they followed the commandments of the Lord referred quite literally, quite physically, to the blessing of long life and enjoying the fruits of the earth.  It showed itself in the numbers of people in the nation and the land they were given to occupy.  When they were cursed, their kingdom was torn down and the land taken away from them.  They became “like chaff which the wind drives away” when they were forced into exile from the lands of Judah and Israel.

What is the land we must so treasure today, brothers and sisters?  What place are we called to preserve by following in the way of the Lord?  For now he “who gains the whole world” will likely “destroy himself in the process.”  Now our sights, our hopes, can no longer be set on the physical universe.  Jesus has come.  The Son of Man walks in our midst.  And His presence, His flesh, makes the heavenly homeland our desire – it is this which is now our Promised Land.  It is the number born into this kingdom which now causes our hearts to rejoice.  It is this blessing that now comes to him “who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on His law day and night.”

And the Lord makes clear what “the way of the just” now entails.  Our gospel tells us “Jesus said to all” – not just to His disciples, but to all who would find the blessing, would find life – “Whoever wishes to be my follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in my steps.”  And His steps include enduring “many sufferings,” being “put to death” and then being “raised up on the third day.”  Now it is death that leads to life.  Now this world must be left behind.  Now, though we love all – even our enemies – and everything upon it, we must leave the earth we have held so dear.  The command is the same (to renounce all sin and love God), but now the prize is much greater, and so the way there much more narrow.  But the Lord blesses our every step toward Him. 

 

*******

O LORD, let us remain in you and in your Son,

walking the way of His Cross

that we might not lose our souls

but gain the life of Heaven. 

YHWH, may we find not only long life on the land but eternal life in your heavenly kingdom by our turning away from all sin and following your Son on the way of the Cross.  Let us be dead to all the distractions of this wicked world that we might dwell with you alone.

Death comes to the wicked, LORD, death that spells the demise of his soul, of his life in you who are Life itself.  And so, how shall he live anymore if apart from you?  And so, what is his life then worth?  It is indeed like chaff driven away by the wind.

But those who take their refuge in you, who meditate on your Word and the Word that is your Son, these you prosper in all they do, for all they do is in your will and so cannot but receive your blessing, the blessing of your living presence, LORD.

Let us choose this day to live in you and never to turn our backs to your call to love.  Laying down our lives, O LORD, may we be carried by your angels.

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

(Jl.2:12-18;   Ps.51:3-6,12-14,17;   2Cor.5:20-6:2;   Mt.6:1-6,16-18)

 

“Even now, says the Lord,

return to me with your whole heart,

with fasting, and weeping, and mourning.”

 

“We implore you, in Christ’s name: be reconciled to God!” Paul exclaims; and the people of God today raise a cry, rending their hearts, begging His forgiveness… turning from their sins to find His healing grace.

The trumpet is blown in Zion; the people are gathered as one.  Now “let the bridegroom quit his room, and the bride her chamber.  Between the porch and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep.”  For now is the time of mourning, now is the time of prayer… now is the time to cry with David, “Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me.”  For now as we “acknowledge [our] offense” we find how “gracious and merciful is He”; now “the joy of [His] salvation” returns to us as “a clean heart” He creates for us, as His Holy Spirit He instills in our souls.  Yes, “Now is the acceptable time!  Now is the day of salvation!”  And so let us cry out to our Lord: “Spare, O Lord, your people!”

The Lord will hear us, brothers and sisters; He will be quick to respond, as long as we are careful “not to receive the grace of God in vain.”  As Jesus said to His disciples, so He says to us: “Be on guard against performing religious acts for people to see.”  Only such vanity will prevent our finding the “recompense from our heavenly Father.”  Yes, we must give alms.  Yes, we must pray.  Yes, we must fast.  But listen to the Lord’s instruction to “keep your deeds of mercy secret,” to “pray to your Father in private,” and to make sure “no one can see you are fasting but your Father who is hidden.”  For then indeed “your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you” for your sacrifice.  But if your offering is one to impress the eyes of man, be sure the eyes of God do not look upon it and it shall find no blessing in His sight.

The time has come, the time of great mercy.  As we call upon our God, “in the greatness of [His] compassion [He will] wipe out [our] offense.”  In Jesus and in His sacrifice for our sin we might now “become the very holiness of God.”  May we find now the Lord “stirred to concern for His land and [taking] pity on His people.”  May we find His grace at work in our souls as now we give ourselves to Him.

 

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

 

Music: "The Sackcloth Song" from Remove the Mask of Lies, second album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

 

*******

O LORD, you see what is hidden;

let there be in our hearts no sin

but only your heavenly presence. 

YHWH, against you we have sinned, against you and your love.  We have turned our backs to you and our guilt is with us always.  But you are merciful and offer opportunity for repentance.  You are good and kind and allow us to return to you.  Help us to rend our hearts and weep in your presence, that we might know the healing touch of your forgiving hand.

Wash us thoroughly from our fault; let it no more be known in your sight, O LORD.  Now is the acceptable time for repentance – in Jesus you will hear our pleas.  O let His sacrifice be fruitful in your sight that we might be holy in Him this day!

And let our offering be acceptable to you as well.  May our fasting and praying and almsgiving bring down your blessings upon us.  Make us sincere, dear LORD, in our love for you and one another.  Let us lay down our lives with your Son and know your presence in our souls.  Spare us this day, O God; let us know the greatness of your mercy.

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

(Jas.4:1-10;   Ps.55:7-11,23;   Mk.9:30-37) 

“In the city I see violence and strife;

day and night they prowl about upon its walls.”

The violence this world holds is known most poignantly, of course, in “the Son of Man… [being] delivered into the hands of men who… put Him to death,” but exists most pervasively and fundamentally in our own bodies, insofar as they are conformed to the spirit of the world.  For as James asks so pointedly, “Where do the conflicts and disputes among you originate?  Is it not your inner cravings that make war within your members?”  It is indeed the evil desire in our bones, the “envy,” the “love of the world [that] is enmity to God” which causes us to “quarrel and fight,” which is the source of all sin, and so death, and so war.

That “the spirit He has implanted in us tends toward jealousy” is evident even in the apostles, whom we find in today’s gospel “arguing about who was the most important.”  Even these, who have yet to receive the “greater gift” – the Holy Spirit of God who serves to cleanse His children of the evil in them – even these are divided by the cravings that make war in our members.  Even these contribute to the crucifixion of Christ.

Brothers and sisters, if you would “find shelter from the violent storm and the tempest” at work in you and about you, you must “cast your care upon the Lord, and He will support you.”  “Submit to God; resist the devil and he will take flight.”  “Purify your hearts” of all that is not in conformity with the Spirit of God and you will find safe haven from the violence of this world and the violence of your own hearts.  For “never will He permit the just man to be disturbed.”

And both James and the Lord teach what it is to be just, what it is to excel before God.  If you desire the goodness of the Lord, rend your hearts; “be humbled in the sight of God and He will raise you on high.”  You cannot raise yourself, for you are but dust; and dust you must be if you desire holiness in the presence of the Most High: “If anyone wishes to rank first, he must remain the last one of all and the servant of all,” as is Jesus, the suffering Son crucified for the sins of each of us.

Brothers and sisters, let our hearts be so docile as to welcome His children openly – as His humble children we ourselves must be.  For then we shall welcome Him; for then we shall be sons of the Father, free from sin and so no longer subject to the violence known in the city that is this world of sin.  May our own members and all the members of the Church be cleansed of all strife by the power of the Holy Spirit.

*******

O LORD, help us to be humble before you,

that you might raise us up from our sin.

YHWH, should we not be as children before you?  Is your Son not like a Child, O LORD?  Is He not the humblest of all?  O let us be like Him, and you!

Is there some other image in which we should be made, LORD, than your own?  What of this world should beguile our soul?  To whom should we aspire but our heavenly Father, and how shall we find you except through your Son?  Does He not show us the way by His death on the Cross?

O LORD, let us not be deaf to your speaking to us in His words and actions, for He reveals to us who we must be.  Help us to leave the example of the world behind, to abandon all hatred and jealousy, all the sinful pride and insatiable greed wrought into our fallen nature, and come to you even this day that we might be redeemed by your Son’s sacrifice and our sharing therein.

O help us to be humble, LORD, to find the humility only you know.  With all our hearts let us serve you, and your glory will be ours.

Direct download: BC-022112-Tu_7_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jas.3:13-18;   Ps.19:8-10,15;   Mk.9:14-29) 

“The command of the Lord is clear,

enlightening the eye.”

What is the wisdom of which James speaks in our first reading but this enlightening of the eye and the mind by following the command of the Lord?  It is the words and the wisdom of Jesus, reflected clearly in the Lord’s own life, James relates to the waiting ear this day.  What does he instruct but to practice “a humility filled with good sense” and to “cultivate peace,” not to “nurse bitter jealousy in [our] hearts” but to “refrain from arrogant and false claims against the truth”?  We must be as “innocent” as the Lamb of God, and as forgiving.  Then we will realize that “the decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple,” for “wisdom from above” will then fill us, and lead us by its sacred light.

How clear the command of the Lord is in our gospel, and how powerfully it enlightens the eye.  As He comes down from the mountain where He has been transfigured before His principal apostles, “a large crowd… on catching sight of Jesus” is immediately “overcome with awe.  They [run] up to greet Him.”  Being presented with the boy possessed by a spirit that often “throws him into the fire and into water,” Jesus “reprimanded the unclean spirit by saying to him, ‘Mute and deaf spirit, I command you: Get out of him and never enter him again!’”  And the boy is healed; he is freed from bondage to the devil, and now in his right mind, he can see.

Though perhaps not always so dramatic, every command of the Lord casts out just such darkness which pervades our souls.  Coming in faith before Him as the father who trusts in God and in His Son, the same healing do we know.  Following His words, our eyes and ears are opened, too, and we discover that indeed “the law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.”  So, brothers and sisters, let us pray with David today: “Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer,” that we might remain ever in His enduring purity and light.

*******

O LORD, if we but lived lives of prayer in all humility,

never could we be separated from you

and always you would work through us.

YHWH, how shall our words and thoughts match those of your Son, who commands and the devils flee, whose heart is set always on your will… who sacrifices His life for our sakes?  Help our unbelief, our lack of trust in you and in your power, that we might by your grace come to share in that power with Jesus, even as we share in His humility.

How can we live in your perfect innocence, LORD, we who are such a faithless lot, we who lack prayer in our heart?  O how easily we are overcome!  But you are our hope.  You come down from the mountain, from the glory on high, to dwell with the likes of us and save us from the devil’s grasp, which has such a dire hold upon us and upon our children.  Only by the grace of your presence will this generation be saved – leave us not till your work is accomplished.

Teach us, O LORD; give us your wisdom, that your peace might be ever in our souls and we might serve you with all our thoughts and words.  Save us, dear God, from all darkness.

Direct download: BC-022012-M_7_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O disciple of John

and shepherd who drank deeply

of the cup of Christ’s suffering,

you who bore both

the burden of a long life

and the pain of a violent death

yet remained faithful

till the end –

pray that the fire into which we are cast

we may also endure

as the sacrifice of Jesus

and so find it fruitful,

and so find it blessed…

and so rejoice in the witness

we are granted to give

in the name of our Savior.

May the offering of our lives

join with your own and all the saints’

in rising as holy incense

to the throne of God

and serve as witness,

to the eyes that behold us,

of the Lord’s great power and love.

Direct download: Feb._23_Polycarp.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

 (Lv.19:1-2,17-18;   Ps.103:1-4,8,10,12-13;   1Cor.3:16-23;   Mt.5:38-48)

 

“Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.”

 

In the Book of Leviticus God says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” and this is good.  But in the gospel Jesus adds, “Love your enemies” – and this is better.  In the old law we are commanded, “Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people”; but in the new we hear, “Offer no resistance to anyone who is evil,” and even, “Pray for those who persecute you.”  For now it is revealed that all are God’s children, and so all must be loved as brothers.

“Is this wise?” you say, to love our enemies.  “Is this not foolishness?”  Indeed the wisdom of the world would call it so, but we are called to “become a fool, so as to become wise” in the eyes of God.  For what the Lord calls us to in this is no less than to be like Him, to become the very “temple of God” where “the Spirit of God dwells.”  “Merciful and gracious is the Lord,” and so are we called to be.  “Not according to our sins does He deal with us,” and so we should not deal with others according to theirs.  Our “Father has compassion on His children,” and we must have the same for all.

Has any of you put the words of the Lord into practice?  Has anyone sought to discover such love?  If you have then you know the glory it holds, the glory of a love which surpasses all.  And though justice is not wanting for those who reject it, His love cannot but be poured upon all.

O the happiness of the soul that receives such grace!  Oh the joy of him who knows the blessing of such utter sacrifice!  What greater blessing can there be than to “be perfect, just as [our] heavenly Father is perfect”?  With David the soul alight with God’s love sings: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all my being, bless His holy name.”  With Mary the Mother of God our soul proclaims His greatness as we come to know “all His benefits” in the service of His love.  And our transgressions are put far from us; and the Lord’s grace abounds within us – and like His Son do we become, who upon the cross forgave even those who nailed Him to this tree. 

Brothers and sisters, no greater love will we ever find.  It is this gift of holiness our Lord calls us to this day.  Let us love as He.

 

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

 

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

 

*******

O LORD, how shall we be holy as you are holy

if we do not love as you love? 

YHWH, you have redeemed our lives from destruction; you have not judged us according to our sins but looked upon us with compassion, offering forgiveness for our crimes, for you are love and mercy itself.  And you call us to be like you.

If we are to be your Temple, O LORD, if we are to reflect your glory, then we must go beyond the desire to strike those who strike us, to answer evil with evil.  We must learn to listen to the blessed words of your Son and love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us… for only then will we come to know you, to be like you, who love us as we strike you repeatedly on the cheek, who ever open your arms to all your prodigal sons.  We must transcend our own minds to find the surpassing grace and wisdom only you know.

Blessed be your holy NAME, O LORD!  Let us be holy as you are holy!  Let us heed the wisdom of your Son, who calls us to eternal love.

Direct download: BC-022011-Su_7_OT_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O Rock of the Church,

leader of God’s people

to whom the Father has revealed

the divinity of His Son

and on whom the Son has therefore

built His Church,

giving you the keys to the kingdom,

the power to bind and loose

both on earth and in Heaven,

that the ship you steer

might conquer all Satan’s power

by the power of the Spirit

with which you serve your brothers,

secure in the blessed protection

and guidance of the Lord –

pray the Church you do yet lead

shall fulfill the call

the Christ has placed

upon every soul

and that we shall come to our heavenly home

in the light of the Messiah.

Pray we shall indeed be strong

and give faithful witness to our Savior. 

Direct download: Feb._22_Chair_of_Peter.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(1Pt.5:1-4;   Ps.23:1-6;   Mt.16:13-19)

 

“On this rock I will build my Church.”

 

And Simon’s name is changed to “Peter”, which means “Rock”, to signify that here is the chief shepherd of the Church, upon whom the Church on earth rests.  It is he to whom Jesus gives “the keys to the kingdom of heaven.”  Though all the apostles are given the power to bind and loose, it is Peter who leads – “a fellow elder” among all the elders and yet the one who speaks for all.

It is not by man’s decision that Peter is the Rock of the Church, but by the word of the Lord Himself.  Just as “no mere man ha[d] revealed” to him that Jesus is “the Messiah… the Son of the living God,” so no mere man works through him today as our Pope guides the ship that is the Church by the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is led by the Church and its teachings we are guided “in right paths.”  It is as we dwell in this “house of the Lord” that we are protected from all harm.  “The Lord is my shepherd,” and the Shepherd of all, and into the hands of Peter and the apostles He places care for His flock.

How well this first among equals instructs his fellow shepherds today in his letter: “God’s flock is in your midst; give it a shepherd’s care.”  How well does Peter answer the Lord’s call to strengthen his brothers, to see that His sheep are fed.  The key pitfalls of “coercion” and “shameful profit” and “lording it over those assigned” to them, he warns them clearly against, and reminds them of “the unfading crown of glory” that awaits them.  It is they who must give “courage” to the flock, they who anoint heads with oil to make the cup of the Church overflow, even here on earth… and as they are faithful, they are Christ’s own special children.

To those who still doubt the primacy of Peter and its absolute necessity, I invite you to read again Scripture and notice how often and always Peter speaks for the whole and acts for the whole body as he does today.  It is to all the apostles Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?” and though all may have faith, only one speaks up and answers in no uncertain terms.  As he does at the first council at Jerusalem, as he did in coming to the Lord on the water, Peter speaks and leads in the power of the Spirit.  The Church is one in Christ, and it has one rock it is set upon.

 

Written, read & chanted, and produced by Carie Fortney.

 

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

O LORD, as long as we remain in your House

we shall be secure,

for the faith of Peter will strengthen us. 

YHWH, the keys of the kingdom of Heaven you entrust to Peter; he is the Rock upon which your Church is set, the chief Shepherd leading all the rest.  Though your Son alone be the cornerstone, the true foundation of this House, it is into the hands of Peter you entrust your flock by his confession of faith.

You are at his side always, ever assisting him in leading the ewes with care.  It is by your Spirit he rules this House, generously giving his life in union with Jesus, our Savior.  And so, in verdant pastures your sheep make their home.  In your presence we are blessed to remain by your grace upon our souls, dearest LORD.

O living God, bless this day all your bishops and priests, and especially the Holy Father.  You indeed bless them by revealing yourself to them and strengthening them for the work they must accomplish.  With them may we all walk in the footsteps of your Son, laying down our lives for all, that we might come to eternal rest in the glory of your kingdom.

Direct download: Chair_of_St._Peter_2011.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O blessed reformer of the Church

who by a holy austerity

cleansed your soul

of the corruption of this world

and served by example

to lead others to a religious life –

teach us this day

of the chastising hand of God

and the suffering which leads

to joy,

that in the will of the Lord

we might all be purged

of our dross

and come to the kingdom of Heaven.

Pray that we, too, might realize

and so benefit from

the blessing upon us

when our souls are lashed

with pains

that threaten sorrow,

for He does but wish to lift us

from the sinfulness of this passing earth

to the consolation of His presence.

Direct download: Feb._21_Peter_Damian.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jas.2:14-24,26;   Ps.112:1-6;   Mk.8:34-9:1) 

“Faith without works is as dead as a body without breath.”

How dead indeed is a body without breath; how short a time we can go without breathing before dying.  And so how much is our faith dependent on works to remain alive.

Brothers and sisters, we are human, we have bodies – of the earth, of flesh and bone, we are.  We are not angels.  And having bodies we must use what God gave us, what we are: it is in such action we prove the worth of our salt.  We cannot sit by idly while another suffers and call ourselves Christian; we cannot prove our faith other than by actions.  We must work out our call.  We must “take up [our] cross and follow in [Christ’s] steps.”  Sitting by the side of the road will get us nowhere.  Just as Abraham showed His belief in God by taking his son to be sacrificed, so must we move as the Lord calls.

And He calls us to service, He calls us to love.  He calls us to lay down our lives for the sake of others.  And this not just in thoughts or words, but in deeds.  We must be as He who “dawns through the darkness, a light for the upright” and conduct our “affairs with justice.”  If we are ashamed of Jesus and the doctrine of the cross He preaches, if we hide our light under a bushel basket afraid to speak or act in His name, He makes quite clear that He will be “ashamed of [us] when He comes with the holy angels in the Father’s glory.”  Profession of faith alone is not sufficient to enter “the reign of God established in power”; we must practice what is preached.

Was not Jesus of flesh and bone?  Did He not perform great works in our midst?  And does He not still perform great works through us His Church; or are we now angels flying at heaven’s gate?  Flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone we must be, or we are nothing worth.  We eat His body and drink His blood and shoulder His cross to find “the wealth and riches [that] shall be in His house,” that will live eternally.

(It occurs to me that the quote could be reversed to be phrased more literally: “Faith without works is dead as breath without a body,” wandering aimlessly; but it would not get across the dire need for works quite so forcefully.)

*******

O LORD, man and woman are one

and are brought together in your will;

in our covenants let us reflect your mercy

and faithfulness.

YHWH, give us your patience in enduring all things.  You are kind and merciful; let us be like you.  Help us to practice your compassion in our marriages and in all our relationships – let us be ready as you to forgive.  Yes, let all our sins be put far from us.

If we endure with you, O LORD, shall we not be blessed?  If with you we practice patience and kindness when put to the test, will we not share in your reward?  Let us be so joined to you, LORD, that we may indeed be called your Body in this world.

O my LORD, let us never be divorced from love of one another or love of you.  Let our covenants be sure as your own; for you have promised to be with us even till the end of the age, and so, should we abandon one another?  Would this not be an abandonment of you?

Let our ‘yes’ be ‘yes’, O LORD, and let us therefore live forever in your eternal Word, in the truth and love only you hold.

Direct download: BC-021712-F_6_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jas.2:1-9;   Ps.34:2-7;   Mk.8:27-33) 

“You are not judging by God’s standards but by man’s!”

This is a most important statement Jesus makes; it really cuts to the heart of His teaching, and to His sacrifice for our sins.

He has just finished asking His apostles, “Who do you say that I am?” and for perhaps the first time heard their belief that He is the Messiah.  This is a critical moment.  But there is no time to sit back and enjoy it, for “He then began to teach them that the Son of Man had to suffer much, be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, be put to death, and rise three days later.”  He knows they will not understand.  He knows they will not hear “rise three days later” but “suffer” and “death” and be appalled that the Son of God should be treated so.  The sacrifice is here beyond their comprehension.  And He knows, too, that Peter does not only speak for all when he declares Jesus the Messiah, but also when he “remonstrates with Him.”  And so the Lord turns around from where Peter had led Him privately, and makes a point of “eyeing the disciples”; for in His reprimand of Peter as “Satan”, He reprimands them all.  Their minds must be utterly changed; they must see things as God – they must look upon heaven and not earth.

James, of course, speaks of the same matter in his discourse condemning favoritism or the judging of others by appearance.  For if we favor the rich man with the gold rings, we are showing our preference for the mark of the beast “who blaspheme[s] that noble name which has made us God’s own.”  If we judge against the faith of the poor in favor of the wealth of the rich and powerful, what are we saying?  That we desire the riches and power of this world and not the treasure God holds in store for us in heaven.  We are indeed “as judges who hand down corrupt decisions,” for we are nothing but false to the faith we profess.

Again we must ask ourselves what our hearts are set upon.  The Lord’s challenge to our souls is severe.  Is it Satan’s realm we prefer, or are we as “the lowly” of whom David sings, who find salvation in glorifying the Lord.  It is a clear choice with which we are presented: to judge as God or to judge with the limited and ultimately deadly vision of man fallen under the sway of Satan.  It is from just such judgment the Lord has come to release the apostles, and all His Church, in His Name.

*******

O LORD, let us not be plunged in the sea

or herded into the nether world,

but let us set our hearts and minds on you

and so find life everlasting.

YHWH, let us be poor, poor in spirit, poor to this world and its deadly passions.  Let us put no hope in the riches that rot, or we shall rot with them.  Let us seek, rather, the riches of your kingdom by giving our poor cup of water for the upbuilding of your Church.

Take from us, LORD, all that keeps us from you.  Let us not steal or walk in the paths of the unrighteous or look with lust upon anything or anyone.  Take hand or foot or eye from us instead; keep us from all sin.  Let our salt not rot, our lives not be worthless, but let us bear fruit in your NAME.

LORD, our God, take especially from us our foolish pride, our belief that we can do anything of ourselves.  O let us not trust in ourselves or in the things of this world but only in you and help rather than hurt the just man you bless in your holy will.  Let all souls be led to your kingdom.

Direct download: BC-021612-Th_6_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jas.1:19-27;   Ps.15:1-5;   Mk.8:22-26) 

“Jesus laid hands on his eyes, and he saw perfectly.”

What is it to see perfectly but to be as “the man who peers into freedom’s ideal law and abides by it”?  For to see perfectly is to see as God sees, not looking upon the surface of things – that which is reflected in a mirror – but to see the light of God reflected off the souls of His children.  And not merely to speak of such things, but, as James states so forthrightly, to “act on this word,” to let the Lord’s light take “root in you”… to “humbly welcome the Word,” and then to “put it into practice.”

Does Jesus not put the word of God into practice in our gospel today?  James says we should be  “looking after orphans and widows in their distress,” and Jesus shows this concern for the poor and needy by taking “the blind man’s hand and [leading] him outside the village,” there to anoint his eyes and grant him vision to “see everything clearly.”  With all His life Jesus gives example of how we must put flesh to the word of God, for He Himself is the Word made flesh.  If we have not flesh to the laws we hold, to the teaching we receive, we have not Christ, and our faith is worthless.  “He who walks blamelessly and does justice,” he it is that is acceptable in God’s sight.

“Can you see anything?” Jesus whispers to all of us as He works to illumine our vision.  “Do you know my touch upon your eyes?”  If we see people “like walking trees,” He will touch us again, for He does not tire of serving our needs.  And must we not be the same?  Must we not never harm but always help our “fellow man”?  Must we not be men as Jesus?  He is the mirror in which we see ourselves.

And oh to gaze into His face when we awake!  Oh to even now know His flesh in our bones and His blood flowing through our veins!  Oh to be a Christian!  A Christian!  A man living as Christ…  What joy is ours as He gives light to our eyes and we see ourselves walking with Him!  Let it be so for all eternity.

*******

O LORD, let us be for you,

living perfectly in your will.

YHWH, let us be with you; let us give our lives to you, doing your work in accord with your will and not following the vain path our own desires mark out for us.  Let us be your own; let us be your own, your disciples in this world.

How can we do anything if you do not bless it, LORD?  Where shall we end if apart from you?  For we indeed are as vapor that quickly vanishes, and empty are all our plans.  But with you and in your NAME, miracles we can perform.  Great works we may accomplish if in humility we follow your way; for you are great and all powerful, and we become as you are when we walk with you.

O LORD, we do not know what tomorrow may bring.  Even this day is a mystery to us.  Let us but place this day into your hands, and tomorrow will care for itself in your will.  Let us not die seeking the vain riches of this earth but come to life by your saving grace.

Direct download: BC-021512-W_6_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jas.1:12-18;   Ps.94:12-15,18-19;   Mk.8:14-21) 

“He wills to bring us to birth with a word spoken in truth.”

But how deaf we are to His speaking.

The disciples exhibit a remarkable degree of ignorance in our gospel today.  It would be comical were it not so usual, were it not such a defining trait of us humans.  Preoccupied with their forgetfulness to bring bread for their journey, when the Lord mentions the word “yeast” in a chastising instruction, their minds go immediately to the bread they now lack by their negligence.  Able to go no deeper than the surface of the words, and able not to see beyond their immediate concerns, they are as blind to the truth Jesus would teach them as so often we weak humans are.  For those still struggling with the text at hand, Jesus is telling us that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.  Has not the Lord shown this quite directly by feeding the thousands by virtue of a blessing spoken upon a few loaves?

Our hearts should not be set on the bread of this world as are the Pharisees’, whose yeast is a pride in self that rises to condemnation.  It is pride that blinds us and concern for the body that produces ignorance.  “Keep your eyes open!” the Lord commands.  Do not let your minds be darkened by the cares of this world – the body is useless!  It is the spirit that gives life.  Open your hearts to the teaching of the Spirit, the great gift that Jesus imparts.  “Happy the man whom you instruct, O Lord, whom by your law you teach,” our psalmist sings, and so should all blessed to hear the Word of the Lord join his chorus.

James tells us in our first reading that God does not tempt us to sin.  “Rather the tug and lure of his own passion tempts every man”; only “genuine benefit comes from above, descending from the Father of the heavenly luminaries.”  Do we seek His gifts that are worthwhile, or are our hearts fixed on things below?  It may be hard to listen to His Word, to be brought to birth by His truth, but “happy the man who holds out to the end through trial!”  “The crown of life awaits… those who love” the Lord, and He is near to sustain us as we climb.

Brothers and sisters, once the Spirit fell upon the apostles, no longer did they experience such ignorance.  Is not the life-giving Word at work within us this very day?  Then our eyes should be open to His light.

*******

O LORD, help us to be humble before you,

that you might raise us up from our sin.

YHWH, should we not be as children before you?  Is your Son not like a Child, O LORD?  Is He not the humblest of all?  O let us be like Him, and you!

Is there some other image in which we should be made, LORD, than your own?  What of this world should beguile our soul?  To whom should we aspire but our heavenly Father, and how shall we find you except through your Son?  Does He not show us the way by His death on the Cross?

O LORD, let us not be deaf to your speaking to us in His words and actions, for He reveals to us who we must be.  Help us to leave the example of the world behind, to abandon all hatred and jealousy, all the sinful pride and insatiable greed wrought into our fallen nature, and come to you even this day that we might be redeemed by your Son’s sacrifice and our sharing therein.

O help us to be humble, LORD, to find the humility only you know.  With all our hearts let us serve you, and your glory will be ours.

Direct download: BC-021412-Tu_6_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O seven men

who lived as one

in service of the Lord

under the mantle of Our Lady,

you who left everything of this world,

all you bought and sold,

that you might discover the riches

of Heaven:

to the mountain you went

to find perfection –

to the mountain let us come

to live with God.

Led by the prompting of our Lord and Lady,

let us, too, be fruitful on this plane,

founded in humility and love and poverty,

living as one in the Body of Christ,

freely giving our lives

and so knowing the blessing

of the virtues upon which you fed.

Pray for us through our Mother

that we too follow the call of her Son.

Direct download: Feb._17_Seven_Founders_of_the_Order_of_Servites.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jas.1:1-11;   Ps.119:67-68,71-72,75-77;   Mk.8:11-13) 

“Count it pure joy when you are involved in every sort of trial.”

How well James explicates the wisdom of the cross.  First he encourages us to “realize that when [our] faith is tested this makes for endurance,” and then to “let endurance come to its perfection so that [we] may be fully mature and lacking in nothing.”  This is the wisdom of our suffering on earth; this is the blessing of the cross.

It is the same wisdom our psalmist propounds when he sings, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statutes.”  If the Word of the Lord and the promise He offers is “more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces” to us, then we must undergo many afflictions to prevent our going astray into the vain things of this world.  For these flowers of the field droop and die under the scorching heat of the sun, but what is of the Lord lasts forever, and thus to join Him we must be trained to endure.

How different is the wisdom found in suffering beneath the cross; how different is this school from the one found in this world.  The exact antithesis is our King to those who rule here in vainglorious power.  For this King preaches death, and dies for us in humble poverty – this would be the shame of the one who finds his teaching in the seeking of riches and fame.  And this is why the Pharisees cannot see Jesus and the sign He is before their eyes.  Their minds are closed to the cross and its wisdom, for their hearts are set on the vain illusions of earthly life.  But He is heavenly and all the sign we need; following in the shadow of His cross will lead us to all our hearts do seek.

Brothers and sisters, be not like the Pharisees, seeking some momentous occurrence to tantalize your eyes.  The Word is within you, it is of you; and shouldering His cross you will find it growing all your life.  Hold the wisdom of the cross, ask it in faith of the generous God who will give all to you, and find the beauty of His way as you are afflicted, and comforted again.  The Lord chastises those whom He loves, and His love is pure joy, while those who would stray He leaves to die, following their sinful ways.  Come to Him and His cross, and live.

*******

O LORD, if we but lived lives of prayer in all humility,

never could we be separated from you

and always you would work through us.

YHWH, how shall our words and thoughts match those of your Son, who commands and the devils flee, whose heart is set always on your will… who sacrifices His life for our sakes?  Help our unbelief, our lack of trust in you and in your power, that we might by your grace come to share in that power with Jesus, even as we share in His humility.

How can we live in your perfect innocence, LORD, we who are such a faithless lot, we who lack prayer in our heart?  O how easily we are overcome!  But you are our hope.  You come down from the mountain, from the glory on high, to dwell with the likes of us and save us from the devil’s grasp, which has such a dire hold upon us and upon our children.  Only by the grace of your presence will this generation be saved – leave us not till your work is accomplished.

Teach us, O LORD; give us your wisdom, that your peace might be ever in our souls and we might serve you with all our thoughts and words.  Save us, dear God, from all darkness.

Direct download: BC-021312-M_6_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

 (Sir.15:15-20;   Ps.119:1-2,4-5,17-18,33-34;   1Cor.2:6-10;   Mt.5:17-37)

 

“Oh, that I might be firm in the ways

of keeping your statutes!”

 

The clear theme of today’s readings is the need to “exactly observe” the commands of the Lord, to keep His law “with all [our] heart.”  It is this walking “in the law of the Lord” that makes us blessed in His sight.

It is popular to believe that Jesus’ coming somehow nullifies the law and makes it unnecessary for our lives.  The Lord makes it quite clear the opposite is true: “I have not come to abolish but to fulfill.”  In fact, He could not make the point more certain than His saying, “Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law.”  Indeed, He does not say only that killing subjects one to judgment, but even anger at one’s brother.  Not only is committing adultery wrong, but “everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Simply because forgiveness is greater in the presence of Jesus does not mean punishment is less; it is in fact greater as well, and more than greater – eternal.  Now “the Spirit scrutinizes everything.”  Now even the smallest of sins is exposed to the all-encompassing light of Christ and to the “all-seeing… eyes of God.”  The sins being more greatly exposed, of course the forgiveness is greater, for there is that much more for the all-compassionate God to forgive.  But by the same token, for those who do not come to Jesus to receive His grace and mercy, for those who choose death over life… the punishment is certainly all the greater; for more they see upon their souls about which to gnash their teeth.  And now the choice that is made by the will of man is no longer temporal: it is made eternal by the Son of Man.  There is no release from Gehenna, and Jesus comes to usher us into Heaven or cast our souls into Hell.  And further warning is found in the saints, who have said that most must pay “the last penny” in the fires of Purgatory before entering the heavenly gates.

The Lord gives no one “license to sin.”  All shall be responsible for their actions against Him and against His wisdom and love.  All are commanded to act justly before Him, if we hope to come into His kingdom.  “Yes” is “yes” with the Lord, and “no” is “no”: no deception will stand before Him.  We must pray each day for the wisdom to follow Him, and so find His everlasting grace upon our souls even as we journey through this world.

 

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

 

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

 

*******

O LORD, let us resolve to walk in your wisdom

that we might find eternal life. 

YHWH, help us to follow in your ways with our whole heart, to seek ever to fulfill your commandments, to be obedient to your Word and that of your Son.  Then we shall be blessed, for then we shall be perfect even as you are perfect.

Now your Spirit reveals all your truth through the teaching of Jesus.  Now light is fully shed on the wonders of your Law.  Now we are called to love as you love – not to be angry with our brothers, not to have lust in our heart… not to let our eyes wander or our tongue speak anything but your truth.  The way to Heaven your Son makes clear to us: O LORD, let us heed His Word and walk in His holy way!

How holy we must be to enter your presence, how detached from all sin.  Nothing of darkness can approach your glory, and so to the letter we must follow your Word.  Indeed, we must wholly live in your love.  To see as you see, O LORD, to transcend our blindness… to come to what is beyond our minds, we must give ourselves over to the Spirit and be purified of every stain of sin. 

Direct download: BC-021311-Su_6_OT_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(1Kgs.12:26-32,13:33-34;   Ps.106:4,6-7,19-22;   Mk.8:1-10)

“Whoever desired it was consecrated

and became a priest of the high places.”

For this sin “the house of Jeroboam… was to be cut off and destroyed from the earth.”  Not only will their king be so punished, but the whole Israelite nation will find the wrath of the Lord for such idolatrous action.  Not learning from their forefathers, whom the Lord had a mind to wipe entirely from His book of life and the promise He had given Abraham, again “they exchanged their glory for the image of a grass-eating bullock.”  Led by Jeroboam, who from selfish anxiety for the power the Lord had given him made two calves of gold and set them up for the people to worship – by the ministration of priests not chosen by God – they sinned grievously; as Solomon had done, they broke the most essential command to love God above all else.  And this sin will stain the nation for perpetuity and lead in time to their exile.

Only those so ordained by God may serve at His temple.  Only in the place He assigned is sacrifice and worship to be offered.  And only He is to be worshiped and adored.  No man, no king, can take any of this in his own hands.  Trust in God and obedience to His will is necessary.  All must go up to Jerusalem.

It is clear that our gospel today is a foreshadowing of the Mass, wherein Jesus’ Body is the bread we eat.  After teaching the people at length, the Lord desires to share with them food that will nourish them for their journey home.  But the disciples had but seven loaves of bread.  Yet in an action foretelling the consecration of the Holy Eucharist, “taking the seven loaves He gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to His disciples to distribute.”  And the leftovers of this miracle reach down to us this day; from “the seven wicker baskets” the disciples gathered after four thousand had eaten, we yet feed.  And it is a wonderful paradox that the more we eat of the Lord’s blessed Body, the more there is for others to share.

But this feast is not eaten under every green tree.  None can build high places and make priests for themselves.  Only those ordained by Christ distribute His bread.  And so we must come up to the Church He has founded to receive Him, the Church within whose walls His sacred body rests each day.  Only this Temple is our Jerusalem.

*******

O LORD, you provide us Bread

at the hands of your apostles;

let us worship in your House alone.

YHWH, why are we so inclined to exchange the glory you give us for the image of a grass-eating bullock?  Why do we turn to the work of our own hands and worship the golden calves we make rather than you, the one true God?  How shall we conquer our pride?

It is you who feed us, dearest LORD, your hand alone that provides for all our needs.  You alone love your children, for you are a faithful Father.  Yet we put our faith in molten idols.

Your wondrous deeds you have made plain to our eyes; your own Son you have sent into our midst.  All we ask for He gives in His grace.  He would teach us all we need to know… yet how soon we forget His presence among us.  Help us, O LORD, to turn back to you.

All as one we assemble before you this day in your holy Church, dear God, and pray that by those you have ordained you will feed all your people with the Body and Blood of your only Son.

Direct download: BC-021112-Sa_5_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O brothers in the faith

who brought that same faith

to the peoples

entrusted to your care,

who extended the reach of the Church,

gathering in lands

under her holy roof

and into her blessed arms…

faithful you were unto death

in proclaiming the word of God –

please pray that we, too,

shall be holy brothers of Christ,

offering our work, our lives,

for the sake of the nations

yet to be called

into His fold,

for the sake of peoples

unfamiliar with His Word,

that the heavenly kingdom

may come to fulfillment

and all be made one in God’s presence.

Direct download: Feb._14_Cyril_and_Methodius.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Kgs.11:29-32,12:19;   Ps.81:9-15;   Mk.7:31-37)

“My people heard not my voice,

and Israel obeyed me not;

so I gave them up to the hardness of their hearts.”

The Lord has said, “There shall be no strange god among you nor shall you worship an alien god,” but the people did not listen.  Led by their corrupted king, “they walked according to their own counsels” and took to themselves the perverse gods worshiped by the nations of the world.  And so it is that the prophet must remove his “new cloak” and tear it “into twelve pieces,” one for each of the tribes of Israel.  How sad that the great kingdom which had so recently been united and so greatly been blessed by peace round about under the reign of the wise Solomon, now is to be torn asunder.  Only a remnant will be left to David, out of respect for the Lord’s promise to him; and now, we are told: “Israel went into rebellion against David’s house to this day.”

“If only my people would hear me, and Israel walk in my ways…”  The psalmist’s words come as a lament for the deafness of the nation.  If they would but listen and turn to Him, their amazement would go “beyond all bounds,” as does that of the people who brought Jesus “a deaf man with a speech impediment and begged Him to lay His hand on him.”  They, too, would exclaim, “He has done everything well!  He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak!”  For Israel is this deaf man.  All of us are this man impeded in his speech.  All need desperately to turn to Him, to have Him pray over us – to seek the words of His lips.  And so all will know the blessing that comes thereby: “At once the man’s ears were opened; he was freed from the impediment, and began to speak plainly.”

Hear the voice of the Lord, brothers and sisters.  Listen to it in the deep recesses of your heart.  This voice comes to heal, like light to the very drums upon which the vibrations beat.  Such purity could be yours.  Such grace could be known in all the world, healing the rifts that divide nations and peoples, if all would but come to Jesus in the same faith as this deaf man and his friends.  And then would we speak plainly of what the Lord has done.  No deceit upon our lips, we would declare Him Lord… and the amazement at the peace He brings would extend to the corners of the world.  Let your ears “be opened!” to His voice; with a soft heart turn to Jesus the Christ.

*******

O LORD, you make the deaf hear and the mute speak;

heal our brokenness – let us worship you alone.

YHWH, open our ears that we might hear your voice calling us to worship you alone.  Let us turn from strange gods and walking in our own ways and be obedient to you.  We are deaf and we are dumb; may your Son touch us and pray over us that we might declare your glory to all.  O let us be healed!

Why are our hearts so hardened against your loving embrace?  Why do we turn so readily from the radiance of your face to look upon the corruption of this unholy place?  You alone are LORD and God, your Son alone can save us – O let us heed your call, dear LORD!  From our sin may He redeem us.

From rebellion let us come, we who are our own worst enemy.  Save us from ourselves, dear God, and our disobedience.  Take us far from the crowds and give us your attention, that somehow our hearts might open to your loving voice.

Direct download: BC-021012-F_5_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(1Kgs.11:4-13;   Ps.106:3-4,35-37,40;   Mk.7:24-30)

“It is not right to take the food of the children

and throw it to the dogs.” 

Jesus speaks these words to a foreign woman, a pagan Greek, who “beg[s] Him to expel the demon from her daughter.”  They seem harsh.  Some may interpret them so.  After all, in our gospel we find Jesus traveling to the northernmost part of Israel where “He retired to a certain house and wanted no one to recognize Him.”  And here comes this foreign woman to beg at His table…  Can He find no peace?  But though the Lord may be weary, He is not angry.  He but tells the truth: He has come for the lost sheep of Israel; it is only after He is gone that His followers will bring His salvation to the ends of the earth.  First, “the sons of the household” must be fed.  All in proper order.  Notwithstanding this, the woman’s great faith prevails upon the Lord – and probably greatly heartens Him – and her prayer is answered.

It is in the application of the quote to King Solomon that it becomes harsh, for is this not what David’s son has done?  Has he not taken the greatest of blessings the Lord has heaped upon or will heap upon any man, and turned them over to the devil?  Solomon, the wisest and richest of all kings, “did evil in the sight of the Lord,” and that unreservedly – and that without compunction.  It is only for the sake of his father David that the Lord does not wrest all His gifts from him that very day.  You say, “But didn’t David sin greatly in committing adultery and murder?”  Yes, the servant of the Lord did sin.  But this king humbled himself ever before his God.  He repented with a whole heart, and did not return again to his sin.  Solomon recognizes no sin.  Scripture says nowhere he is sorry; his repentance is lacking.  And his sin is of the most grievous, the most deeply rooted kind: he turns to worship of other gods.  In his reign and by his leadership, the people “sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons,” taking thus the very flesh and blood of the children of Israel and throwing it to the dogs.

For this “the Lord grew angry with His people, and abhorred His inheritance.”  For they perform abhorrent acts under him who had become a most abhorrent king.  This king who had received six hundred and sixty-six gold talents a year in regular payment showed himself comfortable with the mark of the beast unto whom he had turned his heart.  “His foreign wives who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods” he preferred to the love of the Lord; and so it is he who is cast from the Lord’s presence.

Our psalm says of the Israelites, “They mingled with the nations and learned their works”; the great works of sin known in the darkness of this world became their own.  But in our gospel it is a foreign woman who humbles herself before the True King.  What of us, brothers and sisters?  Where does our allegiance lie?  For His Word does now travel to the ends of the earth; one can now no longer hide.

*******

O LORD, cast the demons from our midst

that we might find a place in your kingdom.

YHWH, your chosen ones lose their blessing when they turn from you to the worship of demons; and those who were far from your favor have demons cast from themselves when they beg your grace at the feet of your Son.  It is but a crumb from His table we need to find our salvation.  May He turn His attention to our need.

The children of the promise lose their inheritance when they sacrifice their sons and daughters on altars built to the idols of the nations.  Led by Solomon in their disobedience, they are deprived of the kingdom you bestowed on them.  And now, by your great mercy, O LORD, those who had been enslaved to demons now may enter your presence and find your favor; those with whom your Chosen had mingled and so lost their way now have their inheritance blessed as they humble themselves before you.  O let us be in their number!

Direct download: BC-020912-Th_5_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(1Kgs.10:1-10;   Ps.37:5-6,30-31,39-40;   Mk.7:14-23)

“The mouth of the just man tells of wisdom

and his tongue utters what is right.”

Today in our readings we have a passage to illustrate the great extent of the wisdom and riches of King Solomon.  “The queen of Sheba, having heard of Solomon’s fame, [comes] to test him with subtle questions.”  She had not believed the report she’d heard of him, but having “witnessed Solomon’s great wisdom” in the answers he gave to every one of her questions – “nothing remained hidden from him that he could not explain to her” – and having seen “the palace he had built” and all the amenities that surrounded him… “she was breathless.”  And rightly does this pagan queen attribute the blessings Solomon enjoys to the Lord, who “has made [him] king to carry out judgment and justice.”

How true it is that the Lord blesses him who holds “the law of God in his heart.”  And rightly does David declare in our psalm that if we “commit to the Lord [our] way… He will make justice dawn for [us] like the light.”  We shall shine “bright as the noonday,” bright as Solomon’s temple, if we “trust in Him.”  If Solomon’s servants were happy, how much happier should we be to “stand before [the Lord] always and listen to [His] wisdom.”  For having eaten at the table of such grace and glory, what could come from our mouths but the same?  And what shall we be called then but wise men?

But the same mouth which utters wisdom may also utter evil.  For though the good man from the treasure of his heart speaks only good, it is also so that “wicked designs come from the deep recesses of the heart” as well.  Here one may find murderous plots and malicious intent.  We shall find soon that Solomon’s heart will change and that what “emerges from within” him will bear little likeness to wisdom.  And so, should we not all heed the Lord’s words of warning in our gospel today and take care what comes from within our hearts, that we ourselves are not rendered “impure”?  Let the wisdom of the Lord and His holiness always issue forth from our hearts in all our words and actions.  Then we shall know the blessings of the eternal King.

*******

O LORD, make us pure;

make us wise according to your ways.

YHWH, what comes from our heart?  Does it condemn us or show us wise?  Do we trust in you and so commit our way in keeping with your own, or do we follow the wiles of this wicked world?  We need all look within ourselves to see if you are present there.

Be with us, LORD; let us be blessed by you.  It is from you we find anything of worth.  At your hand we receive our food, and it is your mouth that teaches us.  Help us to hear the words of your Son, the chastisement He brings to our souls.  Let us eat this day of His Body and His Blood.  Only this food will sustain us.  Only His words give us life.  Help us open our hearts to the wisdom He utters and so find our place at His table.

You are our salvation, LORD, delivering us from all evil.  Let us speak of your glory to all with ears.  May our lives be pleasing to you this day. 

Direct download: BC-020812-W_5_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O lovely Lady who appeared to Bernadette,

Mary, Blessed Virgin and Mother of our Lord –

let our eyes, too, see your beauty

and hear your voice

calling us to pray for sinners,

calling us to come to you with our prayers

and to wash ourselves clean

in the water you provide

through Jesus your Son.

O Immaculate Conception,

so pure, so full of grace,

cleanse all our sickness from us;

let us be immersed

in the bath of purity

that washes us of sin,

that makes us whole

in the sight of God.

If we but had innocent hearts

we would see you,

we would remember the blessing you are

to all faithful souls…

O let us come to you

and find the grace we need this day.

Direct download: Feb._11_Our_Lady_of_Lourdes.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Kgs.8:22-23,27-30;   Ps.84:2-5,10-11;   Mk.7:1-13) 

“Can it indeed be that God dwells among men on earth?”

Well does Solomon do in stating, “If the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain you, how much less this temple which I have built!”  For though the Lord will heed Solomon’s prayer and “listen to the petitions of [His] servant and of [His] people Israel which they offer in this place,” He indeed will only “keep [His] covenant of kindness with [His] servants who are faithful to [Him] with their whole heart.”  When they do as the Pharisees and “disregard God’s commandment and cling to what is human tradition,” when they hold fast only to the walls of the temple and neglect to keep His Word, the blessing He provides through the temple they built shall be removed from their midst – the walls themselves shall crumble (as even they do, not many generations from Solomon’s time).

The Pharisees indeed sin by clinging to the walls, by a scrupulous observance of care for the body even as the soul rots.  They carefully wash hands and food and “cups and jugs and kettles” but forego the cleansing of their hearts within.  And so they “nullify God’s word in favor of the traditions [they] have handed on”; they ornament the walls of the temple, but God is not within.  They indeed fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy: “This people pays me lip service but their heart is far from me.”

Brothers and sisters, do we pray in truth?  Do our “heart and [our] flesh cry out for the living God”?  Can we say with our psalmist, “My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord,” for His holy presence?  If it is so that we treasure the Lord above all, then we shall be as “the sparrow [who] finds a home, and the swallow [who has] a nest in which she puts her young” – then we shall dwell happily in the house of God and He shall hear our prayers.  For in truth the Lord Jesus has come to dwell among men on earth; the true Temple walks among us.  No longer need we be separated from God or anxiously fear the loss of His presence.  The temple walls and the traditions developed to protect us from uncertainty no longer must be clung to, for here are the temple walls in the flesh of Christ, and here is the cleansing we need in the shedding of His blood.  And His Church now is alive in the Spirit of God and is moving everywhere.  Let us enter its eternal walls and find true reverence there.  In this place He shall answer all our prayers.

*******

O LORD, we cry out to you:

let us look upon the face of your anointed

that we might be cleansed of our sin.

YHWH, make us faithful to your Word with our whole heart; let us worship you in spirit and in truth.  Let us not merely cling to traditions men have devised, let us not set our sights on the walls of the temple but enter inside and there find you present in your Son.  O let us dwell in your House forever!

Jesus is the Temple where you dwell, O LORD our God.  For Him our souls thirst, for it is you, the living God, our hearts desire.  And so, let us not be distracted by the gleam of the stones erected in your NAME.  Let us find in these houses of prayer a place to offer you fitting sacrifice, a place where you indeed dwell and where you listen to our cries…  But let us know all the while that even the highest heavens cannot contain you, that you transcend our thoughts and all the works of our hands.

Make us, O LORD, as your temple – in your presence let us remain.

Direct download: BC-020712-Tu_5_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O innocent soul,

pure as an angel,

meek as a lamb,

from slavery you were taken

to the house of God,

where freedom you found

in faith in the Lord –

pray for the freedom of all slaves

chained in soul or body,

that they shall be released

from the snares of this world

to walk at liberty with Jesus.

Pray His goodness reign

in all His children,

in all who would be

gentle as this Lamb;

may all those in need of His grace

hear His Word proclaimed,

and in His blood

be redeemed.

And pray His Mother watch over

all who are near or far from Him,

till they enter His presence.

Direct download: Feb._10_Scholastica.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Kgs.8:1-7,9-13;   Ps.132:6-10;   Mk.6:53-56)

“Let us enter into His dwelling,

let us worship at His footstool.”

“Advance, O Lord, to your resting place, you and the ark of your majesty.”  Yes, in our first reading, “the elders of Israel and all the leaders of the tribes” come to bring the ark of the Lord into the temple Solomon has built in Jerusalem.  “For the occasion [they] sacrificed before the ark sheep and oxen too many to number or count.”  When the ark was in its place in the holy of holies, “the Lord’s glory… filled the temple” in the form of a cloud.  The Lord’s presence had come to rest in this “princely house.”  But this shall not be a dwelling “where [He] may abide forever,” as Solomon says; for the eternal Temple is Jesus.

In our gospel “crowds scurried about the adjacent area and began to bring in the sick on bedrolls” when the Lord and His disciples tied up their boat in Genessaret.  Here as everywhere He went “they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged Him to let them touch just the tassel of His cloak.”  Mark tells us, “All who touched Him got well.”  Here is the true Temple at work, a place where prayers are answered, where healing is known.  As the ark was placed “beneath the wings of the cherubim in the sanctuary,” so the Father has the angels spread their wings over His Son, guarding and blessing His every step.  As when the ark is brought in to the holy of holies, the Lord’s glory fills the temple, so when He comes to us, when we but touch Him, we are filled with His presence and made whole.  As the Israelites crowded into the temple to offer sacrifice, so now all in need surround the Lord to share in the holy sacrifice of His Body and Blood.

Here is the Temple not made by human hands, brothers and sisters.  Here is the Lord’s eternal dwelling place.  Here is Jesus, the Son of God.  In all the tabernacles of all the churches throughout the world He rests, His presence abides.  Let us flock to Him.  Let us receive Him into our hearts and bodies.  Let us know His healing touch upon our souls.  Let us pray with our psalmist, “May your priests be clothed with justice; let your faithful ones shout merrily for joy.”  For here is His holy presence; here is the glory of the Lord.  Here He hears our prayers as we call upon His Name and worship before Him each day.  Here He enters in and makes His home with us, and so we, too, become temples of the Lord.

*******

O LORD, may we but touch your Son and be healed,

your cloud of glory filling our souls.

YHWH, your Word has become flesh; the Law you inscribed on the two tablets of stone now walks among us in the Person of Jesus.  Here is the true Temple, your dwelling where you abide forever.  To Him should we come in praise and worship to find healing that we might rest with you.

O LORD, make us holy as He is holy; let us enter your sanctuary, the wings of your angels spread above us for protection.  Yes, let us become as the Body of your Son as we partake of His Word and Sacrament here in your House.  To your Temple let us come that we might be temples ourselves.

What should we not sacrifice to your glory?  What should occupy us but finding your Presence in our midst?  Should we not lay our sick souls at Jesus’ feet; should we not seek to enter His tabernacle?  O let us enter your dwelling place and make our home in His flesh and blood!

Direct download: BC-020612-M_5_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

“Your light must shine before others,

that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”

 

And how shall “your light break forth like the dawn” except that you “share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own.”  Indeed, you must “remove from your midst oppression, false accusation, and malicious speech,” for only “the man who is gracious and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice,” only for him “light shines through the darkness” – as he is thus light being brought to this world of darkness and sin – only “he shall not fear,” for “his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.”  And he shall stand on the last day, when the light comes to its fullness.

This emptying oneself of all that is evil and finding oneself in all that is just by “lavishly [giving] to the poor,” by feeding all those in need, is as Paul comes to the Thessalonians: “I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling.”  “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”  “Not with persuasive words of wisdom” does he come “but with a demonstration of Spirit and power.”  Embracing the cross he empties himself entirely of all selfishness, of all that is not of God, and thus the light that shines through him is entirely of the Lord, and serves as genuine food to the hungry soul.

Brothers and sisters, to whom is the Lord speaking in our gospel but to us?  Who is “the light of the world,” what is the “city set on a mountain” but the Church?  If we are not “the salt of the earth,” bringing out the flavor of justice and love from the flesh of the Body, who shall be?  And what shall become of us and the world, therefore, but “to be thrown out and trampled underfoot”?  Sometimes we look to others – to government, to business, to science – to lead the way.  But all that need be is that we light the lamp that is in our grasp by the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the house shall be illumined; we shall no longer fear or worry for the fate of those in need, for we shall be present to serve them.  But if “under a bushel basket” we place the light that is ours, what can the world be but dark; and what can the people do but suffer?  Brothers and sisters, we are called to shine the love of God.  The time has come to do so.

 

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

 

Music: "Removing the Log from My Eye" (2nd part) from Listening to the Lamp, ninth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

 

*******

O LORD, let us trust firmly in you

and so shine your light

even as your Son, Jesus. 

YHWH, help us to be the light you call us to be, the light we must be if the world is to be saved from darkness.  Your Son has come as the true light to illumine the hearts of all men, to save them from their sin, and we must now carry that light forth, for who else shall do so?

Bless your Church, O LORD. with the sacrificial Spirit of your only Son.  Instill in our hearts the love only He knows.  Help us to be generous, to lay down our lives for others, that the hungry might be fed and the naked clothed with your glory.  O may our light indeed break forth like the dawn in this dark world that all souls might be drawn to your kingdom!

No fear have we, dear LORD, but the fear of failing to serve you, failing to reveal the face of Jesus in all we do.  Let us not hide His light; let our spirits not be corrupted and we be trampled underfoot for turning from your call.  Rather, let us do good, let us do your will, that your glory may be ever with us.

Direct download: BC-020611-Su_5_OT_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O innocent soul,

pure as an angel,

meek as a lamb,

from slavery you were taken

to the house of God,

where freedom you found

in faith in the Lord –

pray for the freedom of all slaves

chained in soul or body,

that they shall be released

from the snares of this world

to walk at liberty with Jesus.

Pray His goodness reign

in all His children,

in all who would be

gentle as this Lamb;

may all those in need of His grace

hear His Word proclaimed,

and in His blood

be redeemed.

And pray His Mother watch over

all who are near or far from Him,

till they enter His presence.

Direct download: Feb._8_Josephine_Bakhita.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

O soldier for the Lord

and servant of the poor

who trusted in God alone

and gave your life

for those in need –

may we, too, become friends of the one Lord,

purified of all dross

by the trials we endure

and by doing His will

in this world.

His children let us become

as we care for the children

most in need,

those who seem abandoned

by Him.

His hands and His heart

let us be,

that in such love

we shall be free

of all fear and separation

from the Father

and so dwell with those we serve

in the peace of Heaven.

Direct download: Feb._8_Jerome_Emiliani.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

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

 “He began to teach them at great length.” 

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, teach your poor flock with your wisdom

that we might declare your Word to all.

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

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

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

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

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

“Herod feared John,

knowing him to be an upright and holy man.”

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

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

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

*******

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

to your holy NAME;

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

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

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

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

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

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

O proclaimers of the faith

even unto death,

death on a cross,

you who have followed

in the way of our Lord

so completely,

loving your enemies

even as they killed you,

encouraging your brothers

even with your last breath –

may the blood you shed not be forgotten

by those of the nation in which you preached

and by all souls who seek God;

may it nourish the land

and bring it to bear much fruit

unto Heaven.

Pray that we who are so fearful here

may find the faith and courage

you displayed

and so be blessed with the same grace

that imparts the peace of the kingdom.

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

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

“Yours, O Lord, is the sovereignty;

you are exalted as head over all.”

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

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

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

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

*******

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

we shall share in His power.

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

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

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

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

O good child of God

who gave your life so willingly

for the sake of Christ

and so wore His holy blood

upon your robes,

you who were blessed

to remain ever faithful to the Lord

even as those around you

turned from His presence –

pray for us this day

that our lives too

may be holy and blessed

as your own,

that we too might give witness to the Lord

with the same pure love

you did so readily show.

Pray we shall be wed to the Spouse

you so intimately knew

and thus become one with Him

and all His saints in Heaven.

May our lives also be good,

may they also be godly,

and may we, too, stand as others fall.

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

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

“I acknowledged my sin to you;

my guilt I covered not.”

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

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, let us not question the wonders

you work in our midst;

let us rejoice at the presence of your saving Son.

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

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

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

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

(2Sm.18:9-10,14,24-25,30-19:3;   Ps.86:1-6;   Mk.5:21-43)

“Hearken, O Lord, to my prayer,

and attend to the sound of my pleading.”

Today in our readings we hear of desperate pleas made to the Lord.  In our gospel there are at least two “earnest appeal[s]”: Jairus “fell at [the] feet” of Jesus and begged Him to heal his dying daughter; and without words the woman “who had been afflicted with a hemorrhage for a dozen years” makes her appeal by working her way through the crowd simply to “touch His clothing” and be well.  The woman is healed “immediately” and hears from the Lord, “It is your faith that has cured you.”  Her He sends in peace, but peace and the same faith He does not find as He approaches Jairus’ house after having been told his daughter is dead.  There is “the noise of people wailing and crying loudly on all sides.”  Theirs seems to be a kind of pleading, but the Lord’s answer to such prayer they reject and mock, and so must be put out of the house – only those of faith can know of healing.

And so Jesus takes only Peter, James, John, and the girl’s parents into the room where the child lies, for they are able to heed His teaching: “Fear is useless.  What is needed is trust.”  And so when He reaches out His hand to the little girl and speaks to her, “Talitha koum,” she indeed rises and walks about.  The prayer of a true heart is always answered in the power of God.

What can we say of David’s “weeping and mourning for Absalom” in our first reading?  Again a father cries out for his child.  But here it is not an innocent “child of twelve” for whom the prayer rises up, but for a son who has rebelled against his father “with evil intent,” seeking indeed to overthrow David’s kingdom and put him to death.  David’s cry, “My son, my son Absalom!  If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!” stands in opposition to what is expected of him as he is informed of the “good news” that his enemies have been defeated and their leader killed.  But here again the king knows it has been his own sin which has led to such disruption in his house.  And so it is as much for himself he cries as for the child of his loins.  And though Absalom shall not be raised from the dead, perhaps the Lord hears the sorrow of David’s heart and will later comfort him. 

“To you I call all the day,” O Lord.  “I am afflicted and poor,” but “you, O Lord, are good and forgiving.”  Heal me as I cry out to you.  Look upon my weeping and mourning with your kindness; raise me from the dead by your word and feed me with your Body and Blood.

*******

O LORD, why do we wail at the prospect of death –

why do we not trust in you?

YHWH, you hear our cry, you answer our pleading and send your Son to die in our place.  We have rebelled against you, we have deserved death, but Jesus dies in our stead that we might be saved from the grave.  And so our amazement is complete at the love you bear for us.

Have pity on us, LORD, we are afflicted; we have been tormented many years.  Give us the faith to come to Jesus on our knees to find His salvation, to be healed of all our ills.  He cannot but hear us as we call to Him – His heart cannot but turn to us in our need.  For He carries your compassion and cannot but witness to your undying love for your poor creatures.

Speak to us, dear LORD.  Whisper in our ears with your sweet voice, inviting us to rise and walk with you.  Let us answer to your call that we might come from death to life in you.  Let us weep no more.

Direct download: BC-013112-Tu_4_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O bringer of light

to many nations,

you who struggled on

for the souls placed in your care

that all might know the Christ

for whom you toiled,

endlessly seeking

to convert obstinate hearts –

may your zeal

inspire missionaries this day

to go forth selflessly

proclaiming the Gospel to all,

bearing witness to the Lord

in the cross they bear

in season and out of season;

whether producing much fruit

or being rejected,

may their hearts be set on the Word

and the love of God

for His children.

Pray especially those lands you led to Christ

will turn again

to the one true light.

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

O shepherd whom we invoke

for the healing of throats,

you who suffered torments

for the sake of the Name

and embraced death

as leader of His flock –

open our throats

to speak of Jesus,

to declare His goodness and glory,

the salvation that comes

only through Him.

Let us not fear

our persecutors

nor shrink from the threats

of the mighty

but stand fast

in the Lord’s healing grace,

confident that His every blessing

will keep us well

and on the path

that leads only to Heaven.

Pray all sickness flee from us

this day and forever.

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

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

“Many are saying of me,

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

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, let us come from dwelling among the tombs

to sit at your feet in peace.

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

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

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

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

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

“Suddenly there will come to the temple

the Lord whom you seek.”

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

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

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

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

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

Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, your Son has come into our midst

and united Himself to us;

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

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

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

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

Direct download: Feb_2_-_Presentation_of_the_Lord_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

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

“I have sinned against the Lord.”

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, let us be obedient

as the wind and the sea to your command,

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

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

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

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

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

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

O teacher and father

of the children in your care,

in whose hands

they were not abandoned

but held in patience

by Christ’s love –

teach us, too,

to have that same patience,

to have that same love

for those the Lord places

in our care,

that anger shall be banished

from our hearts and our minds,

that the wisdom of Christ’s sacrifice

you taught and lived

we too might embody,

and so serve

in raising the kingdom of Heaven

among the children of this earth.

And pray that we, too,

may know the Lord’s gentle word and touch

upon our own souls

 and so grow into His likeness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, let us grow into your kingdom,

not into sin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, dwell in us as you have promised

that we might shine your light forth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

your throne shall stand firm forever.”

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, let us take to heart your Word

and align ourselves with your will

that we might reign forever with your Son. 

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

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

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

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

O wise doctor of the Church

who ate the bread of angels

in your long hours

of prayer and study and writing

and shared with us

the knowledge you gained

of the sublime truth of God,

shedding the light of reason

upon the faith we hold so dear –

teach us this day

to know God

that we might better love and serve Him,

that we might not be blind

to His presence in our midst,

to the holiness to which He calls us.

Pray we shall enter into

His Cross, His love, His obedience;

pray we, too, might have knowledge,

true knowledge of His grace

and the everlasting life

which is ours in Him…

and pray the Lord send us holy teachers

to fill your shoes.

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

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

“Lift up, O gates, your lintels;

reach up, you ancient portals,

that the King of glory may come in!”

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

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

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

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

*******

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

come into our midst in Jesus our King and Brother.

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

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

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

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

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

O holy virgin

and spiritual mother

to the poorest of girls,

whom you protected and guided

in wisdom and love,

keeping them from the snares

of the world

and raising them in Christ;

you who fulfilled so well

the twofold call

to love God and save souls –

pray for those

who so easily go astray

this day

in a world of great corruption,

where souls are in danger

of being captured

by the wiles of Satan and sin;

and pray, too,

that there shall be many

who desire as you have,

with the living love of God,

to bring them into His fold.

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

(2Sm.5:1-7,10;   Ps.89:20-22,25-26;   Mk.3:22-30) 

“Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven.”

How different are the scribes who come to Jesus from the Israelites who come to David to crown him king.  “The tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said: ‘Here we are, your bone and your flesh.’”  So united would they be to him whom the Lord had said would “shepherd [His] people Israel,” so well do they remember his leadership in war, that they wholeheartedly invite him to rule over them.  They believe what God has said of His chosen king: “I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him,” and they confirm his anointing among them.

But the scribes would drive Jesus from their midst.  And as the Jebusites vainly threatened David before he took the stronghold of Zion and began his reign in Jerusalem, so these blind leaders of the people vainly attack Jesus before His entering and taking hold of the New Jerusalem.  If David was anointed by God, how much more is the Father’s anointing upon His only Son?  If David’s deeds in war deserved respect and praise, how much more Him who came to teach and heal the nation?  And if these scribes should not only reject Jesus but designate the holy deeds He has worked among them as coming from the prince of demons, what hope have they but to join the prince of demons in eternal damnation?  For if they call the good evil, how shall they come to accept the goodness of God and enter His reign?  Shall they not rather fling themselves toward the fires of hell, as even they do here, taking the evil for good, led astray as they are by their pride and jealousy?

The Lord’s hand is always with His Chosen One, “that [His] arm might make Him strong.”  It is in that strength we take refuge; it is in the blessing upon Him we find life.  We must invite Him who is good to rule over us – His works must be our own.  If we do not recognize the truth of His words and the grace in His deeds, what hope will we have of finding the fountain that washes us clean of our sins and prepares us for the holiness of paradise?  What can these scribes do but “carr[y] the guilt of [their] sin without end,” for they utterly reject Him.

Brothers and sisters, we choose life or we choose death.  We choose to side with the good or turn to become one with the evil.  Wickedness has no place with the grace of God and His goodness allows no evil to enter in.  Jesus destroys evil: speak only the truth of this Word.  The Spirit knows nothing of lies.

*******

O LORD, may your Son rule over us all

and make us strong.

YHWH, Jesus shall shepherd your people Israel; the blind leaders cannot prevent Him from taking hold of the holy City.  For your anointing is upon Him, and it is your arm that makes Him strong.  O let us enter Jerusalem with Him, bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh!

May the house of Satan be plundered by Him who is stronger than he; let his property be despoiled, all the accusations with which he would attack your holy ones.  O let the Holy Spirit be upon us! the truth that cannot be denied.  Your goodness be upon our souls, O LORD, to lead us to all light.

David was your servant, LORD, the figure of Christ, your Son.  From his youth you blessed him with your grace and power, with the anointing of your Spirit.  Now that Jesus has come to fulfill this blessing among us, let us welcome Him into our homes, that we might be welcomed into your House, your forgiveness in our hearts.  Let none turn away from your truth.

Direct download: BC-012312-M_3_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O blessed disciples of Paul

and shepherds of the Church

who imitated so well

your father in the faith

who imitated only

the Lord Jesus Christ

and thirsted for His Cross –

pray this holy Apostle

be our father, too,

and you with him,

that we too might embrace the Cross;

teach us the sound doctrine

handed on to you

that we may hand it on

and all souls

might fight the good fight

and run the race with Jesus

unto eternal life.

Pray for all the shepherds of the Church

that they be faithful as you have been

to rightful authority.

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

 (Is.8:23-9:3;   Ps.27:1,4,13-14;   1Cor.1:10-13,17;   Mt.4:12-23)

 

“Light has arisen.”

 

“Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness: for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.”  Yes, “a light has shone”; Jesus has come.  No longer do we walk in darkness.  So we should proclaim with David: “The Lord is my light and my salvation”; we should long to dwell in the Temple He has built, “gaz[ing] on the loveliness of the Lord.”  Here in His House we “see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living.”  Here in His Church we come to the paradise He has come to establish in this land of darkness.

The light dawns as Jesus calls His disciples to His side.  Here are the beginnings of His Church, the coming of light to this earth.  The Lord calls Peter and Andrew, and James and John, and they respond, and they follow the light.  And the light goes forth as He goes “around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.”  Do you see how the light grows?  Do you know the light reflected in the disciples’ eyes, which shall take root and become known to all the world?  Here indeed is the Church begun, the holy House of God – the New Jerusalem.  And nothing shall disturb its growth; nothing shall dim or block the light that has come.

Yet what division is upon the Church Christ has founded here on the shores of Galilee.  How has it come to be that we are so disobedient to Paul’s instruction “that there be no divisions among [us], but that [we] be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.”  How many more rivalries have we than the Corinthians.  Not only do those separated from the Church declare their peculiar allegiance to various people or nations, saying, “I belong to Luther,” or “I belong to Calvin,” or “I belong to England” – and now there are some 360 different denominations, one for every day of the year, it seems – but within the Catholic Church deep divisions arise between “liberal” or “conservative” theologians, thus bringing darkness upon God’s people.  The Church remains, and nothing shall overcome it, but what a poor sign it is to the world as the devil has his day in its division.

The Lord has come bringing “abundant joy and great rejoicing” for those who remain in His light.  The unbroken flame rises up from these first apostles Jesus called on this one morning by the Sea of Galilee.  The net extends from their hands and draws in all who truly seek to dwell in the presence of God.

 

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

 

Music: "Mirror of Knowledge" (2nd part) from Listening to the Lamp, ninth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

 

*******

O LORD, may the Gospel be proclaimed

in strength this day

in your Son’s holy Name. 

YHWH, your light has dawned upon this dark world; in Jesus your Son our salvation has come, and now we may dwell in your House with Him.  Beginning on the shores of Galilee, your Word goes forth, calling all men to your kingdom.  May we repent of our sin that we might enter there.

Today your Son calls the first apostles from their boats to dry land that they might be fishers of men.  And so He works through His apostles even to this day.  A great light shines upon those who walked in darkness – we who were sinners now come to your Temple, LORD, there, we pray, to remain all our days.

Let there be no division in your Church, dear God, but let us be united in the flesh of your Son and preach His Gospel with one voice (His own) to the ends of this dark earth.  O let your holy light now shine through all He calls to be His disciples!  The yoke of sin that has enslaved us be smashed, we pray, that we shall no longer be afraid, that we shall no longer walk in darkness.

Direct download: BC-012311-Su_3_OT_A.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O you who persecuted

the Church of God

but then preached the faith

in earnest,

you upon whom

abundant mercy fell,

whose weakness became strength

as each day in bearing

extraordinary torments

you grew closer to God –

show us the way

to Heaven.

Pray we fall continually

from our horse,

from our pride,

and allow the Lord

to change our lives.

Pray repentance

be our constant food,

that the love of Jesus

and His forgiveness

we shall ever know

in greater measure.

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, help us to believe

and so turn to your Son to be saved.

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

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

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

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

O most devout spiritual guide,

great pastor of your flock

and of all souls,

you who speak to us

even this day

with your words of wisdom

and blessed direction –

pray every branch

of Jesus’ vine

may aspire to His perfection;

in whatever state we find ourselves,

let us set our hearts

on loving the Lord

and serving Him and neighbor

prayerfully.

Teach us to pray faithfully,

to offer our lives

in all situations,

all for the glory of God.

Our call may we hear

and heed by your intercession,

following the Christ and carrying His Cross

as He leads.

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

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

“Sovereignty over Israel shall come into your possession.”

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, though your justice is beyond our reach,

in your mercy make us your disciples. 

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

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

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

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

O lover of the least,

the most wretched of society,

whom you embraced

when no one else would;

how like St. Francis you were

in your care for the lepers,

in your living the Gospel

as an image of Christ:

He was hungry and you fed Him,

thirsty and you gave Him drink,

naked and you clothed Him

and cared for Him when He was sick –

pray our hearts will burn

with the same sacrificial love

you bore so well

for those most abandoned,

that truly we shall see Christ in them

and welcome Him

into our homes…

may their suffering be our own.

How else shall we become holy?

How else shall we be welcomed

into the kingdom with you?

Direct download: Marianne_Cope_Jan._23.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

O martyr of the Lord extraordinaire

who suffered unspeakable torture

but was not bowed

by such savagery,

who spoke of great faith,

singing of God’s glory

even as your limbs

were crushed,

even as all the brutality

the world could inflict

sought to break

your spirit –

help us to conquer the world

as you have done,

as the Lord has done in you,

not to be afraid

but rather to serve

our Savior and