The BreadCast (Daily BreadCasts)
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.

(Acts 15:1-6;   Ps.122:1-5;   Jn.15:1-8)

 

“I am the vine, you are the branches.”

 

And within Him we must remain; nurtured by the Church He has planted we must always be.  We must have His blood flowing in our veins and His Word inspiring our souls.  There can be no separation from Him and from His teaching if we are to bear fruit abundantly, as is the Father’s desire.

Paul and Barnabas bear fruit abundantly.  As “the church saw them off… they made their way through Phoenicia and Samaria, telling everyone about the conversion of the Gentiles as they went.”  And to each branch of the vine they went, “their story caused great joy among the brothers.”  Here is the vine’s growth evident, the blood of the Lord coursing through its veins.  “When they arrived in Jerusalem they were welcomed by that church,” too, and there they “reported all that God had helped them accomplish” to the apostles.  Why have they come here to Jerusalem?  Because “in it are set up judgment seats.”  As great as their work had been, yet they knew the necessity to be obedient to the structure of the vine the Lord tends by His hand.  And so when a controversial question arises, Paul and Barnabas “go up to see the apostles and elders in Jerusalem” to find answer.

Why Jerusalem?  Because the Church, the New Jerusalem, is “built as a city with compact unity,” and still at this time the Rock, Peter, and the foundation stones, the twelve apostles, reside in this place.  If one separates oneself from the roots of this vine, one effectively separates oneself from Jesus and becomes “like a withered, rejected branch, picked up to be thrown in the fire and burnt.”  “No more than a branch can bear fruit of itself apart from the vine, can you bear fruit apart from me,” Jesus instructs His disciples.  And Paul and Barnabas know the order that must be preserved if the vine is to remain whole, if their work is to be truly fruitful.  So here as to the question of circumcision, the first major controversy in the early Church, “the elders accordingly convened to look into the matter.”

“If you live in me, and my words stay part of you, you may ask what you will – it will be done for you.”  The Lord’s promise is great.  But to receive such grace we must keep our feet firmly planted within the gates of the New Jerusalem, in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church He has founded.  We should rejoice to “go up to the house of the Lord,” for there we shall find Jesus, there we shall find His vine spreading faithfully to the ends of the earth – in it we shall always be nourished by truth. 

 

*******

O LORD, may your Church bear much fruit

in you and in your Son;

with you let us be one.

YHWH, to your House let us come; in your City let us dwell – in the New Jerusalem let us make our home and we shall ever remain united to your Son and bear fruit in His Name.  Apart from Him we can do nothing, and if we separate ourselves from the Church He founded, we separate ourselves from Him… and His blood does not course through our veins.

O LORD, let us display the obedience of Paul and Barnabas to the rightful authority you set up to stand in the stead of your Son.  If we listen to these, we listen to Him, and thus your will is done.  If we take matters into our own hands, what hope have we of salvation, for what does man make but destruction?  Let us not be unfruitful branches fit for the fire but be pruned of all uncleanness of heart by the Word your Son speaks through the apostles and elders of holy Church.  Only in this way will we be one with one another and with you.

Direct download: BC-052511-W_5_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 14:19-28;   Ps.145:10-13,21;   Jn.14:27-31)

 

“We must undergo many trials if we are to enter into the reign of God.”

 

“With this instruction” Paul and Barnabas “gave their disciples reassurances, and encouraged them to persevere in the faith.”  Their apostolic journey has been a witness that the road to the Lord is wrought with difficulties, but that it bears great fruit.  These apostles are pursued from towns in which they have preached by those who would destroy them and their word.  Paul is stoned, seemingly unto death.  But their trials do not dissuade these apostles from retracing their steps through the very towns from which they have been ejected and installing elders, priests, in each one, “commend[ing] them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith.”  And so they arrived again at the place “where they had first been commended to the favor of God for the task they had now completed.”  Now they are able to relate in joy “all that God had helped them accomplish, and how He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles,” perhaps the greatest feat of the growing Church, the Body of Christ on earth.

Of course, Jesus’ words to His disciples are the same as Paul’s: “‘Peace’ is my farewell to you, my peace is my gift to you,” Jesus says, and adds, “I do not give it to you as the world gives peace.”  For the peace Jesus gives is deeper and abides eternally; it remains through any trial of the world for it is not dependent on the consolations that come from earthly things.  And so He can assure them, “Do not be distressed or fearful.”  He can freely invite them into the peace He possesses and to which He returns, as He retraces His steps back to the Father from whom He has come, whence He had first been commended to the favor of God for His mission.  He knows they will suffer, even as He is about to suffer death at the hands of “the Prince of this world.”  But He knows the devil’s power “has no hold” on Him, and would have us know Satan has no power over us either.  For we are with Jesus; we are with the Father in heaven.  And though we be as Paul in his persecutions, though we be stoned and “dragged… out of town” and left for dead, the Lord’s angels will surround us as Paul’s disciples surrounded him – as they come to Jesus in the tomb – and like Paul, and like our Lord, “before long” we shall get up and return to our call; and ultimately we shall rise from the dead to eternal life with Jesus, coming to the home He now prepares.

“I go away for a while and I come back to you,” Jesus assures His disciples, and asks them to be joyful that He returns to the greatness of the Father, whose “dominion endures through all generations.”  And so, brothers and sisters, may our “mouth[s] speak the praise of the Lord” all our days; “may all flesh bless His holy name forever and ever.”  Let us do as He commands and “discourse of the glory of [His] kingdom and speak of [His] might,” and that power will enable us to endure all things, and we shall be brought at last into His reign.

 

*******

O Lord, though it mean we must die,

let us be obedient to your command,

that we might enter your reign.

YHWH, let us discourse of the glory of your kingdom; let us carry your Word to the ends of the earth.  Let us not fear the trials that must come to all who enter your reign but hold the peace Jesus offers ever in our hearts.  Let us, too, come to you in Heaven.

Though we be stoned and left for dead, we shall rise up again, for you, O LORD, are with your disciples, surrounding them with your grace and protection.  As Paul returned even to the towns from which he had been cast out, so let us be ready to enter every battle this world presents, knowing the power you give us is greater than any of this earth, for it overcomes even the Prince of darkness.

Let us give you thanks, O LORD, in all the works we do and so make known to all men your glory.

Direct download: BC-052411-Tu_5_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 14:5-18;   Ps.115:1-4,15-16;   Jn.14:21-26)

 

“May you be blessed by the Lord,

who made heaven and earth.”

 

“Anyone who loves me will be true to my word, and my Father will love him; we will come to him and make our dwelling place with him.”  Thus are we blessed, by keeping the word of the Lord.  Thus we know His love, for thus we accept the love He offers by His instruction and by His presence.

It is this blessing of “the living God, ‘the one who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in them’” that Paul and Barnabas would bring to the hearts of the Gentiles to whom they preach.  It is in the name of Jesus, Paul brings healing to the lame man who “used to sit crippled, never having walked in his life.”  Indeed, the same healing he would bring to all the pagans before him who also have been crippled all their lives by the folly of worshiping “idols [that] are silver and gold, the handiwork of men” and the products of human imagination.  Never have they walked in the true light of the Lord.  In fact, their limitations are most evident in their desire to sacrifice to Barnabas and Paul themselves, as Zeus and Hermes; “even the priest of the temple of Zeus… wished to offer sacrifice to them,” and Barnabas and Paul must shout at them “frantically”: “We are bringing you the Good News that will convert you from just such follies as these”!

“Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name give glory” is our psalmist’s refrain today, and the same is exclaimed by Barnabas and Paul: “We are only men, human like you.”  Worship the living God! is their exhortation.  And Jesus Himself speaks in the same humility and with the same deference to the Father: “The word you hear is not mine, it comes from the Father who sent me.”  All comes from the Father and must return to Him; and so we are all encouraged to make our home with Him alone.

“Our God is in heaven; whatever He wills, He does.”  He wills to love all, to bless all, to make His home with all.  To find our homes with Him, to know the blessed love the living God has for all His creatures, we must listen to the instruction of His Son, to the Holy Spirit the Father now sends in His name, and to the ones who are sent to preach the truth of the living God.  May the light of His face shine upon you.

*******

O LORD, let us keep your commands

and so live in your surpassing love.

YHWH, you come to all who love your Son and keep the Word He imparts to us.  It is this Word that brings us love, and all who cherish love, cherish it, and so find your presence.  May you be revealed to all souls in your only Son.

Help all wayward people to turn from vain worship to know you, O living and true God.  May all your creatures give you due praise, turning resolutely from the work of their hands.  Glory abides with you alone; may we find that glory by obedience to your call to love.

Let us dwell with you, O LORD; come, we pray, to dwell in us.  Help us indeed to keep your commands, which are but life for our souls.  Your Spirit be with us this day to lead us to all truth in your Son’s Name, that we might do your will in strength, proclaiming the Good News of salvation to all men.  O let us rise from the dust to live in your Heaven!

Direct download: BC-052311-M_5_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 13:44-52;   Ps.98:1-4;   Jn.14:7-14)

 

“I have made you a light to the nations,

a means of salvation to the ends of the earth.”

 

In the preaching of Paul today is fulfilled the words of our psalm, “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God.”  Rejected by the Jews to whom he comes, he “now turn[s] to the Gentiles,” and – fulfilling the words of our psalm which read, “Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands, break into song; sing praise” – our first reading tells us “the Gentiles were delighted when they heard this and responded to the word of the Lord with praise.”  Thus does the light of the Lord’s salvation go out to the ends of the earth.

And our gospel makes clear just how salvation comes to all.  First Jesus declares with wonderful clarity the oneness of the Son and the Father.  When asked by Philip, “Show us the Father,” Jesus responds, “After I have been with you all this time, you still do not know me?”  Notice that Philip’s request refers to the Father but Jesus’ response refers to the Son, as if to ask of one is to ask of the other.  The Lord then states the truth of His oneness with the living God in plain terms: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”  There is no separation here, and all that Jesus does is done by the Father, so the living Lord of the universe is at work in absolute fashion through the Son’s words and works.  In Him the Father’s will of love, His desire to save His children from sin and death, is accomplished.

But more than this is made evident of the working of salvation, for the Word must reach to the ends of the earth.  How is this accomplished?  The Lord again declares with absolute clarity the oneness now of Himself and His disciples.  In order “to glorify the Father in the Son,” He makes them the solemn promise, “The man who has faith in me will do the works I do.”  And the oneness of Jesus and His disciples is made more poignant in His definitive statement: “Anything you ask me in my name I will do.”  Who does these works of the Lord?  Who brings His salvation forth?  We do the works, do we not?  We are those still on this earth with flesh and bone and voices.  Yet He says “I will do” them to show how He works through us in all we do, to reveal our oneness with Him and the Father.

Our first reading tells us, “Almost the entire city gathered to hear the word of God” when Paul and Barnabas were in Antioch in Pisidia.  In this simple line is shown both that the salvation of the Lord is going forth to all, and that it is occurring through His disciples.  For it is indeed “the word of God” that Paul the apostle speaks and not his own, and this Word is irresistible in its truth and love to all hearts open to hear the voice of Him who speaks, for this Word brings only joy.

*******

O LORD, looking upon your Son we see you;

when others look at us may they see Jesus.

YHWH, you live in your Son, accomplishing your works, and He in His turn works through us.  What grace and blessing you grant all your disciples, that we might share in your very life and work!  Alleluia!

And this grace and blessing extends to all throughout the earth; all may know the salvation wrought in men by the only Son.  And so, what can we do but sing to you in joy, for your light is with us even in the persecution your Word brings.

O let us be one with you, dear God, even as Jesus is one with you.  To your side let us, too, come; this is your will now that you have revealed yourself to us in your Son.  May we say in truth, He is in us and so we in you.  No separation let us know from your surpassing glory.

I pray, O LORD, even the words on this page be spoken not of myself but by you, that your work be accomplished in this poor servant.

Direct download: BC-052111-Sa_4_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 13:26-33;   Ps.2:6-11;   Jn.14:1-6)

 

“You are my Son;

this day I have begotten you.”

 

This same verse appearing in both our first reading and our psalm is spoken also by Jesus in our gospel when He says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me,” for such is the Son begotten of the Father.

How comforting are Jesus’ words in our gospel, and how enlightening Paul’s speech.  The disciples’ hearts are troubled at the Lord’s speaking of His imminent departure; that He must die begins to sink in to them.  But the only Son tells them, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places,” and, “I am indeed going to prepare a place for you.”  Not only this, He also promises, “I shall come back to take you with me, that where I am you also may be.”  The words come like a river of peace, like a wind of love breathing upon them, and upon us.  And the same message is spoken by Paul to “the children of the family of Abraham and [all] others who reverence our God.”  His is “this message of salvation,” that though the rulers condemned Him to death and “laid Him in a tomb,” “yet God raised [Jesus] from the dead.”  And now His witnesses, those to whom He appeared thereafter, declare the Good News of His resurrection, and our own.  “The words of the prophets which we read sabbath after sabbath” and “what God promised our fathers He has fulfilled for us, their children, in raising up Jesus.”  This is the word Paul brings to the waiting ears of his Jewish brothers, and which should be heard by us all.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled,” brothers and sisters.  The Lord is near and is calling us to His home.  Even as we speak He is preparing a place for us.  The death that you experience day to day is passing away, and all that will be known is the truth, the life of God the Father.  The Lord declares, “I myself have set up my king on Zion, my holy mountain,” and Jesus is that King for all ages and all peoples.  With His truth He shatters kings, and so death itself, “like an earthen dish”; He takes “the nations for an inheritance and the ends of the earth for [His] possession.”  He has died, but He is risen, and now all must “serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice before Him.”  There is no breaking in to the place He prepares for us to dwell.

The devil has been defeated by the Son begotten of the Father; his house has come crumbling down.  We need but follow the way Jesus is to find our home in the New Jerusalem.  Death no longer holds dominion, for the Son is now come.

 

*******

O LORD, you have begotten Jesus

and raised Him from the grave we have made

that we might be saved,

that we might dwell with you forever – Alleluia!

YHWH, may we come to you through Jesus your Son; may we follow in His way, for His way is truth and leads to life, and leads to you.  O may we be resurrected from the dead with Him that we might come to new life with you who are Life itself.

Let us not be troubled, LORD, by the death Jesus had to die, and the death we too must know.  What is this world and the things of this world in comparison with you?  What can this world do to us if we have Jesus as our guide?  For He shatters the powers of evil like an earthen dish and raises all the faithful from the tomb.  Let us come to the dwelling He prepares for us in your heavenly kingdom.

Though He has died, He has been raised, and we shall be raised with Him, all according to your will, Father God.  And on Zion we shall find our home with your eternal King.

Direct download: BC-052011-F_4_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 13:13-35;   Ps.89:2-3,21-22,25,27;   Jn.13:16-20)

 

“He who accepts anyone I send accepts me,

and in accepting me accepts Him who sent me.”

 

And who is this Jesus who sends apostles like Paul forth traveling from Syria to Cyprus to Asia Minor?  Who is He of whom Paul rises to speak in this distant synagogue?  Two quotes I offer for your consideration.  First is the Baptist’s declaration, “I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of His sandals”(Lk.3:16).  The second is the mere statement of fact that He “washed the feet of the disciples.”  And so with two questions I will tell you who He is: Tell me, who is worthy to unfasten His sandals?  Then tell me, whose feet does He not wash?  Mary washed His feet with her tears and her hair and knew herself nothing but unworthy to touch Him (Lk.7:38).  Jesus stoops to cleanse the feet of even Judas, His betraying apostle, who will kiss Him on the cheek, but to whom He shall turn the other one.  He heals lepers; children come to Him – none is beyond His humble reach.  Yet this man with the towel around His waist is none other than the Son of God.

The Israelites awaited His coming.  Hundreds of years they expected Him.  Paul tells us that “God testified, ‘I have found David son of Jesse to be a man after my own heart who will fulfill my every wish,” and in this Son of David the Father’s every wish is indeed fulfilled.  Here is the “Savior for Israel.”  It is of this Christ the Lord speaks when He says, “With my holy oil I have anointed Him, that my hand may be always with Him, and that my arm may make Him strong.”  And He in turn says of the Lord, “You are my Father, my God, the Rock, my Savior.”  So obedient is Jesus to the Father that there is none for whom He will not die; for all He shall drink the cup the Father offers, that the whole world might know the Father’s love.  Here is the great “I AM”, “the fulfillment of Scripture,” the WORD made flesh, the image of the living God: Jesus, Son of David, Son of God – God Himself dwelling among us.  And as He was Chosen, so He now chooses, instructing men to go forth.

Do “you know all these things”?  Do you see who He is and hear the words He speaks?  Then “blest will you be if you put them into practice.”  For in humble service of the Name of God, with Him you shall “be exalted.”  Bring forth His message of love.

*******

O LORD, obedience to the Church

is obedience to your Son,

and obedience to your Son is obedience to you –

may we all be as faithful as Jesus. 

YHWH, may we be men after your own heart, men formed in the image of Jesus and so reflecting your glory – may we be worthy to be called your sons.  O let us never raise our heel against you but ever put into practice your humble love.

O LORD, you call us to serve as you called David; you anoint us with oil even as your only Son.  Let us, too, be sons of David, calling you our God, our Rock, our Father – in the image of Jesus let us indeed be formed.

None is worthy to unfasten the sandals of our Savior.  None of your poor creatures could even touch your Son.  Yet He comes to wash our feet, to touch us with your merciful love.  Help us, O LORD, to imitate Him; help us to reveal your glory in the service we show one another.  Help us ever to declare your faithfulness, made known in your only Son.

Direct download: BC-051911-Th_4_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 12:24-13:5;   Ps.67:2-6,8;   Jn.12:44-50)

 

“Set apart Barnabas and Saul for me,

to do the work for which I have called them.”

 

These words came to the Church at Antioch “while they were engaged in the liturgy of the Lord and fasting”; spoken by the Holy Spirit, they show how intimately the Church and her apostles are connected to the Lord Jesus and His Father.

In John’s gospel, Jesus proclaims, “The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to speak.”  Jesus is sent by the Father.  He is the image of the Father: “Whoever looks on me is seeing Him who sent me.”  In the same way, Barnabas and Saul are “sent forth by the Holy Spirit” through the ministry of the Church, who “imposed hands on them and sent them off” to proclaim the word of God.  Jesus is sent by the Father.  Jesus speaks in the Holy Spirit the words of everlasting life.  Hearing these words His children, His Church, go forth to the ends of the earth.  There is absolute unity in the Church and all its members, as long as we are as obedient as Jesus, our Head, who declares, “Whatever I say is spoken just as He instructed”; as long as we are as faithful to the Spirit’s prompting as Jesus is to the Father’s will, we shall reflect His glory as He reflects the Father.

And what is the glory of the Son of God but to bring light to this dark world: “I have come to the world as its light, to keep anyone who believes in me from remaining in the dark.”  The words He speaks, the instruction He offers and the sacrifice He makes, indeed bring spirit and life to those who listen and obey.  He is true when He says He has not come to condemn but to save, for the world is already condemned by its sin and His words would bring it to life.  And so, if we reject His words, we reject the lifeline He provides, and what hope can there be for us?  If instead of asking that “He let His face shine upon us” and celebrating in joy the salvation that comes “among all nations” – if we do not seek the holy light of God, where else shall we find eternal life?  “His commandment means eternal life”; all other words lead to destruction.  We must follow the Lord and His way.

Brothers and sisters, it should be obvious to us that we are called even as Barnabas and Saul and the first Christians in the city of Antioch.  The Spirit of God remains upon the Church, and He would send us forth in Jesus’ name to do the work and will of the Father.  Do not reject His call upon your soul; put faith in Jesus and in Him who sent Him, and the Spirit will lead you forth.

 

*******

O LORD, you speak through your Son

and call His apostles to proclaim your Word

to the ends of the earth – Alleluia!

YHWH, send us forth in the Holy Spirit; in the Name of your Son let us preach to the nations.  Let us be a reflection of Him as He is the pure reflection of you.  He brings your light to us by His presence among us – may we be His presence in this world that your light might shine unto all.

In your Son we see you, O LORD.  Though you are hidden from all human eyes, Jesus gives us new vision.  He indeed is Light itself and looking upon Him we see anew: our minds are illumined to look upon you by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Alleluia!

For this great gift let us praise you, LORD.  By this great blessing to us you are made known.  Help us to declare to all what you reveal to us, to make you known even to the ends of the world.  Your salvation come to all nations.

By faith in your Son we are saved and brought into your presence.  Your Spirit be with us even this day to accomplish your mission.

Direct download: BC-051811-W_4_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 11:1-18;   Ps.41:3,42:2-3,43:3-4;   Jn.10:1-10 or Jn.10:11-18)

 

“God has granted life-giving repentance even to the Gentiles.”

 

In his vision Peter sees “an object like a big canvas… lowered down to [him] from the sky by its four corners.”  Upon it he discerns “four-legged creatures of the earth, wild beasts and reptiles, and birds of the sky.”  Like Noah’s ark it seems to contain all the animals upon it.  But these animals he sees are not for the good Jew to eat: they are unclean.  And so Peter protests when instructed to “slaughter, then eat.”  But he is assured (and three times), “What God has purified you are not to call unclean,” even as “the canvas with everything in it was drawn up again into the sky.”

What is this shepherd to do – he who has been told by the Lord, “Feed my sheep”?  When the uncircumcised come to him seeking salvation, how can he turn away?  And so, as the canvas which came from the sky and returned to the sky, we learn that everything comes from God and returns to Him, and He calls whom He will.  And so the Gentile man whose home Peter enters by the Spirit’s direction is “saved, and all [his] household.”  “As [Peter] began to address them the Holy Spirit came upon them,” for they, too, “believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Yes, even these thirst for God “as the hind [who] longs for the running waters,” and so are led to the Lord’s “holy mountain, to His dwelling place”; even these “go in to the altar of God.”  For these unclean creatures are made as the pure and obedient sheep of Israel, heeding the Good Shepherd’s voice.  Here are “the other sheep that do not belong to this fold” of which Jesus speaks, whom He leads, too, by His loving word.

All that He calls shall come to Him who lays down His life for the sake of the fold, by whom all “have life and have it to the full.”  All living creatures are His own, for it is He who is the living God; and all who live, live for Him and through Him alone.  The Son has come from the Father that we might know Him as He knows Him, and so that we might indeed have life.  As good sheep let us follow in His way, and lead those behind us also to salvation.  Let us all “go and behold the face of God” as we turn from anything that makes us unclean in His sight and listen for His voice leading our pure hearts.

 

*******

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-051611-M_4_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 6:1-7;   Ps.33:1-2,4-5,18-19,22;   Jn.6:16-21)

 

“The eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear Him,

upon those who hope for His kindness.”

 

Alleluia.

As the apostles set out to cross the lake, “it was dark, and Jesus had still not joined them; moreover, with a strong wind blowing, the sea was becoming rough.”  As they struggled to row and keep afloat, “they sighted Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water.”  They had not expected their prayers for assistance and their wishes that Jesus was with them to be answered so remarkably, and so they must have wondered if He was a ghost.  But He assures them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”  (And these eternal words of comfort and peace come to rest upon His Church.)  The disciples of the Lord now were ready “to take Him into the boat, but suddenly it came aground on the shore they had been approaching.”  He is with you, brothers and sisters, be assured, and will bring you to the home you seek, despite the storms you may face.

In our first reading, the eyes of the widows must have been looking to the Lord, wishing that He were with them to provide for them.  In this case, “the Twelve assembled the community of disciples,” and though they do not enter the boat themselves, do not “wait on the tables” to address the tumult that had arisen between the factions, they provide what is needed to calm the winds and see this boat ashore by laying hands on “deeply spiritual and prudent” men chosen from their own.  And so, “the word of God continued to spread” through the apostles’ concentration “on prayer and [their] ministry,” “while at the same time the number of the disciples in Jerusalem enormously increased.”  So the widows are fed as the Word is spread; so the boat comes aground on the land it approaches.

Jesus is with us, brothers and sisters.  In all things He is there, working.  He ministers to us always as the head of His Church through the hands and hearts and voices of all His disciples.  And each to his own call, and this ship shall find its port assured.  And all shall sing His praises as they see in us and we know in Him that “upright is the word of the Lord, and all His works are trustworthy.”  His eyes are upon us.  Do not be afraid.

 

*******

O LORD, let us live and act

as if we believe in your Son;

let us do the things He has done.

YHWH, you have loosed our bonds and raised us from death by the sacrifice of your Son, and in His Name all are now saved from their sins and consecrated to you.  Help us to believe the words He speaks, to be of the Spirit and life and not the flesh.  O let us come to you!

O LORD, let our faith not be shaken by the demands of your Son, by the challenge He offers us to believe and so come to life in His Name.  Let your Church flourish and grow in fear of you and the consolation of the Spirit.  Yes, let all be converted to love of you and serve to do your will in this world, till all come to dwell eternally in your kingdom.

This day we take up the cup of salvation and declare your praise, O LORD.  This day let us fulfill our vows to you, that in your sight our death might be blessed and we be raised to life with you.

Direct download: BC-051411-Sa_3_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 9:1-20;   Ps.117:1-2,Mk.16:15;   Jn.6:52-59)

 

“My flesh is real food and my blood real drink.”

 

And “the man who feeds on this bread shall live forever.”

The truth is simply stated to those who wonder at His words today in our gospel.  As the Israelites in the desert asked, “What is this?” when presented with manna as their food, so now the Jews say, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”  For those who do not believe, it is impossible; but for those who believe, it is the gift of God.

Here is the Bread of Life in our midst, as real as the Light which shone around Saul and knocked him off his horse; as real as the voice which spoke aloud to his soul.  This bread and wine on the table of the Lord, this great grace upon His altar of sacrifice, is indeed that which feeds us, that which sustains us – that which makes Him most present to us.  Our first reading says of Saul that “his strength returned to him after he had taken food.”  For three days he had fasted in darkness, experiencing the absolute blindness of his life as persecutor of the Church.  Then Ananias laid his hands on him and he recovered his sight.  Then he was baptized.  Then he could come to the table of the Lord our God and gain the strength “to proclaim in the synagogues that Jesus was the Son of God.”  Yes, the Scripture refers in fact but to ordinary food, but indeed it indicates the “real food” Saul shall soon come to know and find his spirit through.

“The man who feeds on me will have life because of me.”  He will become one with the Son as He is with the Father.  And he, too, the Lord will be speaking of when He asks, “Why are you persecuting me?”  By this Bread we become so one with our God, and with Him we suffer for His Name.  “I myself shall indicate to him how much he will have to suffer for my name,” Jesus says to Ananias.  And so the disciple is convinced that this man who has done nothing but harm to God’s holy people is truly being called to come to the Lord of all.  It is through such suffering that discipleship comes, as it is through His sacrifice we have this food upon our table.

Eat His Body, dear brothers and sisters.  Drink His Blood.  Let us share together this day this gift of oneness with our God.  And let us be strong; and let us bleed with Him upon the cross, to bring His Name to all.  “The fidelity of the Lord endures forever,” and He shall never leave us orphaned.  He shall feed us forever.

*******

O LORD, feed us with the Bread that is your Son,

that we might have strength to do your will. 

YHWH, how shall we come to see that your Son is the Bread of Life and we must eat His flesh and drink His blood to have life in us, to be united with Him as He is to you?  We have scales upon our eyes and upon our hearts – how shall they fall away and our souls open to receive your Word?  Send your disciples forth to lay their hands on all blinded men.

There are those still who persecute your Church, thinking they are acting in your Name, O LORD.  There are many who cannot but harden their hearts to your gracious gift to them.  Help all souls to accept your Son and see that it is His Body that acts in your Name.  Help all come to the table of sacrifice and eat His flesh and drink His blood, that they too might proclaim Jesus as your Son.

From our horses we all need to fall; your light we need to shine about us.  Let us hear your voice, O LORD, and be obedient to its commands, and so live in your presence forever.

Direct download: BC-051311-F_3_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 8:26-40;   Ps.66:1,8-9,16-17,20;   Jn.6:44-51)

 

“No one can come to me

unless the Father who sent me draws him.”

 

How evident it is in our first reading that the Father draws all believers unto Himself.  For though it is clear that the Ethiopian eunuch is in search of God, has a desire for God, and welcomes God – He is coming from pilgrimage to Jerusalem, is reading Holy Scripture, and “invite[s] Philip to get in and sit down beside him” – which is necessary for belief as well, it is most certain that the Lord is leading him to Himself.  The angel of the Lord directs Philip to the Ethiopian.  The Spirit specifically instructs him to approach his carriage, and then inspires His disciple to speak to the eunuch of the Word of God and lead him into the waters of baptism (snatching him away immediately upon the completion of his task).

Also evident in our first reading is Jesus’ quotation of the prophets: “They shall all be taught by God.”  For indeed it is God that, through Philip, enlightens the Ethiopian eunuch regarding the Suffering Servant spoken of by Isaiah, and all of Scripture, “telling him the good news of Jesus.”  It is “not that anyone has seen the Father,” for the Father is not visible to our human vision.  But the Father has sent the Son, “the one who is from God,” and “He has seen the Father,” and He knows Him.  And now through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Son sends His disciples forth as His own flesh and blood, with the same Spirit that inspires Him, to reveal the Father’s love to a waiting world.

“The bread I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.”  We are those who have heard His Word, who have been instructed in His way, and who have received His Body and His Blood.  And so, having eaten “the bread that comes down from heaven,” we indeed become flesh of His flesh, bone of His bone.  Wed we are to the Son of Man by the power of His Word and the blessing of His Sacrament.  We have responded to the Lord’s call; He who draws all to Himself and to the Father has become our “living bread,” our life-giving water.  And now at His command we must draw all men to the Son, who brings all to the Father.

The Light of the world shines in our midst, and we are drawn as moths to this flame, to Him who “is deprived of His life on earth.”  And though we die in our turn as this Sheep who “was led to the slaughter,” yet “of His posterity,” and so our own, all the world will speak… and be drawn to Him who has been lifted up from the earth upon a cross, to Him who dwells with the Father in heaven.

 

*******

O LORD, your Son is the living Bread

come down from Heaven;

let us seek Him and listen to Him,

and rejoice in Him. 

YHWH, let us be taught by you; let us be drawn to you and receive the Bread that is your Son.  Let us be baptized in His Name, with you and the Holy Spirit, and so let us come to eternal life in your kingdom.  May all souls praise you for your goodness toward us!

What can we do but rejoice when we hear your voice speaking to us in the depths of our souls, when your Word is revealed to our ears and our hearts – when Jesus stands before us in the flesh and offers Himself to us for our salvation?  And so, let all indeed come to Him, and so to you, LORD, and loudly sound your praise.

You stand before us in the flesh of your Son, O LORD our God, and this Good News goes forward by the power of the Holy Spirit upon His Church.  We who eat the Bread He offers become His Body; let your Word now extend from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. 

Direct download: BC-051211-Th_3_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 8:1-8;   Ps.66:1-7;   Jn.6:35-40)

 

“Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you,

sing praise to your name!”

 

And why should there be such exultant joy among all the peoples of the earth?  What should cause all men to “shout joyfully to God”?  It is Jesus’ profession that “everyone who looks upon the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life.”  Nothing but life everlasting can bring such absolute joy, and we have the assurance from the Lord’s own lips that He “shall lose nothing of what [the Father] has given” Him, that all who come to Him He “will raise up on the last day.”  Alleluia!  Let us come to Him.

How evident the universal call of the Lord is in our first reading.  Upon the persecution which follows the death of Stephen, Philip, a Greek-speaking Jewish Christian “goes down to the town of Samaria” – where the Jews intermarried with the pagans of the land – “and there proclaimed the Messiah.”  And we are told that “without exception, the crowds that heard Philip and saw the miracles he performed attended closely to what he had to say” and that “the rejoicing in that town rose to fever pitch.”  Here we see the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy to the woman at the well, that all who worship Him will worship in spirit and in truth and not in any particular place; here we see the realization of the Lord’s parable of the Good Samaritan, that all men truly are our neighbors.  For now all are called into His holy fold.  All now come to know the glory of the Lord.  And, of course, he who leads the persecution against the growing Christian community, he who “entered house after house, dragged men and women out, and threw them into jail”… this same Saul we hear of today will soon become the great Apostle Paul, who travels to all the nations of the world converting waiting souls.

Yes, brothers and sisters, “He has changed the sea into dry land; through the river they passed on foot.”  As the Israelites passed through the Red Sea, so now all God’s children pass through holy Baptism and have the way made straight before them.  “The glory of His name” is upon us all, upon all who believe in His Son, and now we who were “paralytics or cripples” – who were unable to move for not having heard of His Name or who had had our limbs disjointed for having forgotten His Law – all, Gentile or Jew, are now welcomed into the Father’s eternal home.  For “no one who comes will [the Son] reject.”  In Him all find their dwelling, and so what should we do but “rejoice in Him” and “proclaim His glorious praise”? 

*******

O LORD, let us be raised with your Son

on the last Day – Alleluia!

YHWH, O how persecution brings great joy!  For even as the disciples are hunted down and thrown into prison, many go out to new lands to proclaim the kingdom of God to waiting souls, souls who welcome the Word with shouts of joy.  And, of course, it is looking upon Jesus on the Cross and believing in Him that brings us to eternal life.  Alleluia!  May the Word of God go out to the ends of the earth and all souls sing for joy at their salvation.

Jesus has assured us that He will lose nothing of what you, Father, have given Him; no one who comes to Him will He reject, but He will gather all your faithful children into your eternal presence.  Let us but long to look upon Him whom you have sent.  Let us but set our hearts on the love that passes not away.  Let us but come to Him to find your surpassing glory, and all our sickness will be taken away, and we shall never thirst again.

Direct download: BC-051111-W_3_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 7:51-8:1;   Ps.31:3-4,6-8,17,21;   Jn.6:30-35)

 

“No one who comes to me shall ever be hungry,

no one who believes in me shall thirst again.”

 

“I myself am the bread of life,” Jesus declares, and it is in this Bread we take refuge.  It is by this Bread we are fed.

Do you think that Stephen is at all hungry as he lives again the trial, way of the cross, and crucifixion of the Lord in our first reading today?  No, even in this time, and perhaps especially in this sacrifice, the Lord feeds him with Bread from heaven.  Even as he is stoned to death, the Lord God hides him “in the shelter of [His] presence from the plottings of men.”

Yes, in our first reading we have Jesus again chastising the elders and indeed all the people for their betrayal and murder of the Word of God.  Here we have again Jesus being dragged “out of the city” and killed at the hands of those “who received the law through the ministry of angels [but] have not observed it.”  And here again we have forgiveness offered with His last breath.  Here is the persecuted Church found in the person of Stephen; here is Jesus.  Recall Jesus’ words to Saul upon his conversion: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me”(Acts 22:7)?  And here is that same Saul overseeing this first “act of killing,” this first martyrdom of the Body of Christ.

But all the while Jesus is there, not only in the persecution, but quite evidently in His glory.  “I see an opening in the sky, and the Son of Man standing at God’s right hand,” Stephen exclaims.  And notice that it is not until this moment, not until they hear this declaration – despite their “shouting aloud, holding their hands over their ears” – that the people are moved “as one man” to destroy that voice.  Stephen’s chastisement “stung [them] to the heart” and made them “ground their teeth in anger,” but it is this Truth of the presence of the Lord which they simply cannot stand.  And what is the significance of Stephen’s vision being the impetus for his own death?  It does bring his stoning, but simultaneously it prepares him for such martyrdom, for now truly the Lord is with him.  Before this he would not have been able to bear so completely this cross.  And without this Bread he would not have been killed.

“God’s bread comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”  That bread of life is in Stephen’s trust in the Lord and in his echoing the words of David’s psalm, which are Jesus’ own: “Into your hands I commend my spirit.”  For even as he dies, he is most alive.  It is this same faith we need, brothers and sisters, and we shall never be hungry, and we shall never be without the Lord, but shall declare His love and His truth to all, happy to be called His own.  The Lord’s “face shine[s] upon [His] servant[s],” and they always have the Bread they need.

*******

O LORD, give us the Bread from Heaven, your Son,

to be with us even unto death,

and help us to proclaim His Name. 

YHWH, into your hands let us commend our spirit, and we will be protected.  Though stones rain down upon our heads, vision of you will light our way, and we shall come into your presence.  At your right hand with Jesus let us stand.

In your Son let us take our refuge, O LORD, in Him and in His Cross.  Let us be as He was, revealing His image to this fallen world.  Let us proclaim the truth in His Name, let us accept the persecution it brings… and let us forgive those who kill us, those who would destroy your Word this day.

Jesus is our Bread from Heaven; it is in His flesh we find our home.  Let us be His Body in this world, crucified and rising on high.  O LORD, O faithful God, out trust is in you alone, and in your Son – in our lives let your will be done.

Direct download: BC-051011-Tu_3_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 6:8-15;   Ps.119:1,23-24,26-27,29-30;   Jn.6:22-29)

 

“This is the work of God:

have faith in the One whom He sent.”

 

It is this faith that moves Stephen; it is this work upon which he sets his heart.  And so he was unmoved when “the people, the elders, and the scribes… confronted him, seized him, and led him off to the Sanhedrin” and “brought in false witnesses” against him.  Surely the words of our psalm are fulfilled in him as they had been in the Lord: “Though princes meet and talk against me, your servant meditates on your statutes.”  Thus it is that throughout his persecution, “Stephen’s face seemed like that of an angel” – through it all it is the voice of the Lord to which he listens.  And one wonders if the members of the Sanhedrin had not “stared at him [so] intently” because they had seen that face of an angel not long before in the One whom they had crucified, the One who stood before them like a sheep before its shearers.  And this one, too, they would sacrifice.

“You should not be working for perishable food but for food that remains unto life eternal, food which the Son of Man will give you.”  It is this food, which those who persecute him cannot see, that Stephen eats.  If he were seeking to get his “fill of the loaves” which satisfy the stomach, he would not suffer the trial upon him, and not in such peace.  Only Jesus gives this food, brothers and sisters.  It is nourishment the world cannot touch, and to it there is no end.  We need eat nothing else to sustain ourselves.

“Yes, your decrees are my delight; they are my counselors.”  O Lord, what voice can compare with thine own?  What word can stand where yours is spoken?  For yours is “the way of truth,” and the truth cannot be shaken, cannot be changed over time.  It is not subject to the corrupting forces present in our flesh; it is of the spirit.  And so, in the Spirit let us be, called before your throne.  Though we stand accused before the tribunals of this barren land, may your food be ever within us to sustain us – in your presence ever let us rest.

On this unshakable foundation we shall remain, even as the world passes away.

*******

O LORD, let us have faith in your Son

and your work shall be done in us. 

YHWH, let us meditate always on you and your wondrous deeds; let us eat of the food of the Spirit that passes not away, that we might come to dwell with you forever.  We should not be concerned with the things of the body, with filling our bellies or even with whether we live or die.  Like Stephen we should face all persecution with the patience of an angel, knowing you are at our side.  And then we shall never die.

O LORD, if only it were eternal life upon which our hearts were set, then we would be truly blessed.  Then we would have all we need, for then we would have you dwelling in our souls.  You are Life itself, dear LORD, and this is what Jesus would give to us.  This is what all His disciples preach, for they, too, would share what has been given them.

Teach us your ways, dear God; let us walk in your truth.  And all wisdom will be ours, and we too will witness to your Holy One.

Direct download: BC-050911-M_3_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 6:1-7;   Ps.33:1-2,4-5,18-19,22;   Jn.6:16-21)

“The eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear Him,

upon those who hope for His kindness.”

Alleluia.

As the apostles set out to cross the lake, “it was dark, and Jesus had still not joined them; moreover, with a strong wind blowing, the sea was becoming rough.”  As they struggled to row and keep afloat, “they sighted Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water.”  They had not expected their prayers for assistance and their wishes that Jesus was with them to be answered so remarkably, and so they must have wondered if He was a ghost.  But He assures them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”  (And these eternal words of comfort and peace come to rest upon His Church.)  The disciples of the Lord now were ready “to take Him into the boat, but suddenly it came aground on the shore they had been approaching.”  He is with you, brothers and sisters, be assured, and will bring you to the home you seek, despite the storms you may face.

In our first reading, the eyes of the widows must have been looking to the Lord, wishing that He were with them to provide for them.  In this case, “the Twelve assembled the community of disciples,” and though they do not enter the boat themselves, do not “wait on the tables” to address the tumult that had arisen between the factions, they provide what is needed to calm the winds and see this boat ashore by laying hands on “deeply spiritual and prudent” men chosen from their own.  And so, “the word of God continued to spread” through the apostles’ concentration “on prayer and [their] ministry,” “while at the same time the number of the disciples in Jerusalem enormously increased.”  So the widows are fed as the Word is spread; so the boat comes aground on the land it approaches.

Jesus is with us, brothers and sisters.  In all things He is there, working.  He ministers to us always as the head of His Church through the hands and hearts and voices of all His disciples.  And each to his own call, and this ship shall find its port assured.  And all shall sing His praises as they see in us and we know in Him that “upright is the word of the Lord, and all His works are trustworthy.”  His eyes are upon us.  Do not be afraid.

*******

O LORD, give us our bread this day,

that we might come with your Son

to the farther shore.

YHWH, from death you deliver us; you preserve us in spite of famine.  By your own hand you feed us, through your apostles; and them you watch over always as they guide your boat.  And so we need not fear – we should but praise your faithful care for our souls, and bodies.

Your Son comes to us across the waters, O LORD, walking steadily though the sea be rough.  He is unafraid of the trials and tribulations of this world, caring only that our lives are preserved, seeking always to bring us to our home in you.

O let your Word go forth, dear God, bless those who serve as the ministers of your Church.  Our hope in your kindness shall not be disappointed…  All shall hear of the blessings upon those who put their trust in you.  May all answer that call.

Direct download: BC-042112-Sa_2_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 5:27-33;   Ps.34:2,7,9,17-20;   Jn.3:31-36)

“The One whom God has sent speaks the words of God;

He does not ration His gift of the Spirit.”

And thus it is that Peter and the apostles, sent by the Lord to speak His words, can boldly proclaim to the Sanhedrin’s chastisement for continuing “to teach about that name”: “Better for us to obey God than men!”  In no way do they ration the Spirit as they testify that God “has raised up Jesus whom [they] put to death,” that it is “He whom God has exalted at His right hand as ruler and savior,” that He is “to bring repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”  The praise of God and of His Son is “ever in [their] mouth,” for indeed they know the happiness of “the man who takes refuge in Him.”

And they know, too, the folly of those who deny the Truth of God’s presence in Jesus the Christ.  For as He Himself says to Nicodemus in our gospel, “Whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure the wrath of God,” and as David states in his psalm, “The Lord confronts evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth,” so the blessed Rock and his fellow apostles convey to the high priest and the Sanhedrin as they are persecuted by their hands.  Their declaration that not only do they testify to Jesus as the Messiah but “so too does the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those that obey Him,” is a clear indictment of those to whom they speak, those who are deaf to the Spirit’s words.  And it is for this implication that they lack the truth that the Sanhedrin “were stung to fury and wanted to kill them.”

But it is they who shall be killed.  It is their rule which shall not last, which shall be overcome by the Just One and the Spirit of Truth upon Him and His own.  It is Peter, who speaks for all the apostles, who shall lead the New Jerusalem, the holy Church of God.  Such chastisement the leaders cannot bear, save perhaps for Nicodemus; the testimony of “the One who comes from heaven” they cannot accept, and so they fail to “certif[y] that God is truthful.”  What then shall be left to them?

Brothers and sisters, though the just man find himself “brokenhearted,” “crushed in spirit,” and with many “troubles,” know that “out of them all the Lord delivers him.”  And He shall deliver you, if you but speak His truth.  Find strength in the witness of the apostles, in the saints and martyrs of all the ages, and in the Lord Himself.  He is with the one He sends and so will bless him as he speaks the truth without fear.  “The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to Him,” and He, in turn, gives to those whom the Spirit inspires.  Trust in Him with all your lives.

*******

O LORD, by your risen Son

the evil are confronted and the just lifted up –

let your Spirit be upon us.

YHWH, your Spirit is upon the one who believes in your only Son, for He is from Heaven and so the Spirit is upon Him.  Let us be as He is; let us live and speak the truth, despite all threats of persecution, knowing well that you will save us as we cry out to you and for you. 

O LORD, let us never disobey you or your Son.  For what life can he have who turns from your will?  How can the Spirit rest upon him?  Let us not be afraid to admit our guilt, that we have put to death our Savior and are responsible for His blood, and so let that blood pour over us for the forgiveness of sins as we repent of what we have done.

Let our hearts not be hardened, LORD, by the chastisement of your Son and those who follow Him.  Let us accept their testimony, let us thirst for such truth.  For only this will bring us from our earthly bonds to new life in your kingdom – let your Spirit be upon the brokenhearted to carry them to your presence.

Direct download: BC-041912-Th_2_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 5:17-26;   Ps.34:2-9;   Jn.3:16-21)

“He who acts in truth comes into the light,

to make clear that his deeds are done in God.”

Jesus is “the light [that] came into the world,” and “happy the man who takes refuge in Him.”  None shall fear anymore who love the Lord, for He shall answer all his cries.  And newness of life shall be ours.

The Sadducees, who do not believe in the resurrection of the dead, “arrested the apostles and threw them into public jail.”  They attempt to hide the truth in darkness, to kill the light of the Spirit.  “During the night, however, an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the jail [and] led them forth,” telling them to preach again in the temple “about this new life.”  And so, “they went into the temple at dawn and resumed their teaching.”  Do you see the resurrection at work here, brothers and sisters?  Do you see how the Word is rescued from the darkness of night, from the prison into which the world would cast it, and brought into the clear light of dawn?  The Truth cannot be chained and death shall never overcome life.

And what do the apostles preach but the words Jesus whispers into the waiting ears of Nicodemus in the middle of the night – bringing him, too, out of the darkness into the Lord’s marvelous light: “Yes, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him may not die but may have eternal life.”  Eternal life!  This is the Word come from God through His only Son begotten in love for us all.  The high priest and the Sadducees would hide this; but here one of the leaders listens.  He does not question anymore how this can be.  And so the seed of eternal life is planted in his heart.

That seed must be planted in all hearts, and so the apostles repeatedly return to preaching, unafraid of the consequences.  For how clearly it has been shown them that “the angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them.”  How well they believe their own words, that in Jesus is found eternal life.  In their hearts burns the faith, and so, openly they speak.  And though they shall see just how much “men loved darkness rather than light,” yet they shall seek the salvation of all: unto death they shall stand in the light of truth, confident in the resurrection to follow.

May all believe “in the name of God’s only Son” and thus avoid condemnation.  May all stand confidently in the Light of the new day, for the darkness of sin and death is banished when we call upon His Name.

*******

O LORD, by faith in your Son and His resurrection,

may we be freed from all condemnation

and come into your light.

YHWH, in the morning light the apostles preach in the temple of the new life found in Jesus, your Son.  From the prison of darkness they would rescue all souls, as they themselves have been rescued.  Your angel delivers all who love you from death and fear; may our souls glory in the salvation found in your only Son.

That we might not die you sent Jesus into the world as the Light that conquers all darkness, and those who believe in Him come into the light and so find eternal life.  There is no power that can chain or imprison your Word, O LORD, for it is your will that it go out to the ends of the earth.

May the Name of Jesus be proclaimed to all men that all who seek the salvation of their souls, all who would be released from their afflictions, might find the freedom of your sons and daughters and do all in you and in your light, O LORD our God.

Direct download: BC-041812-W_2_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 4:32-37;   Ps.93:1-2,5;   Jn.3:7-15)

“The community of believers were of one heart and one mind.”

This oneness is itself of heaven, is itself the sign that they are “begotten of the Spirit.”  And this oneness is reflected in a very real manner in the fact that “none of them ever claimed anything as his own; rather, everything was held in common.”  This sharing of goods, of “lay[ing] them at the feet of the apostles to be distributed to everyone according to his need,” is but an earthly thing.  It is easy to see; it is easy to know, for it deals indeed with the things of the earth.  But if like Nicodemus this earthly matter is beyond our comprehension, if we say such living as one on this plane is impossible, how far short we will fall of understanding the oneness that exists on the heavenly plane.  For do you not see that one not only reflects the other, but in fact leads to the other?  How can one be as the wind which “blows where it will,” how can one’s origin and destination be said to be unknown if one is unduly placed, indeed rooted, in the houses, in the property of this earth?  And so Barnabas is indeed a “son of encouragement,” because by selling his entire farm and laying the money derived therewith at the apostles’ feet he is saying: I no longer live here on earth.  My home is in heaven.

How tied we can be to earthly things.  How blinded by them.  And yet they can be a means to heaven, if one gives them to the Lord.  For then already here in this world we will begin to see and know the life of heaven.  Even now the Spirit shall move within us and our eyes will be opened to see “that all who believe may have eternal life” in Jesus.  Yes, by the giving up of our goods, by dying to self in this real way, we may transcend this earthly plane.

“Holiness befits your house, O Lord, for length of days.”  Do you not understand this matter, brothers and sisters?  Do you not see that you are called here on earth during your limited length of days to live as though in heaven?  Do you not know that it is but this which will lead to the unlimited number of days lived in holiness in heaven?  Do not think that one is somehow separated from the other, as if heaven can be kept apart, as if its power is not all-encompassing.  Here you must begin; even here you must find yourself on that eternal road.  For such has Jesus been lifted up, to show you the emptiness of your earthly self.  To such oneness with Him and His disciples does He call you – to be a child of heaven.  Let us walk together in the Spirit of the Lord and love one another with the love that comes only from God.

*******

O LORD, let us be as the wind,

moved by your holy will alone.

YHWH, in Heaven with you we find our home, not in the things of this earth.  And so as we give the things of this earth over to you and your apostles, we draw closer to you and your kingdom.  Help us to be born of you, to have life in you and in your Spirit, and not put trust in any possession.

You are King, O LORD, in splendor robed, and holiness alone befits your House.  Thus, if we would dwell with you, we must indeed be holy.  And to be holy we must be purified of any attachment to this world.  As Jesus is lifted up on the Cross, we must be lifted up with Him; as He stands empty of all things, so must we be, if we are to be ready for Heaven – if we are to be raised in glory with Him.

It is in the resurrection of Jesus we take our life, dear God, but to find His resurrection we must first die; to dwell with you in Heaven we must lay down our lives.  O may we live here as His disciples!

Direct download: BC-041712-Tu_2_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 4:23-31;   Ps.2:1-9;   Jn.3:1-8) 

“No one can see the rule of God

unless he is begotten from above.”

“Princes conspire together against the Lord and against His anointed,” we are told in our psalm as well as our first reading.  But their rule shall be shattered “like an earthen dish” by the power of the Spirit and God’s anointed One, to whom He gives “the nations as an inheritance.”  And in the Book of Acts we see the apostles begin to collect such inheritance “in the name of Jesus,” the “holy Servant” of the Sovereign Lord, the King He has set up “on Zion, [His] holy mountain.”  All stream to Him upon seeing the “cures and signs and wonders” worked through them by the Holy Spirit.

In our gospel, it is these undeniable signs of God’s presence which lead a member of the princes who will crucify the Christ to seek understanding from Jesus.  And how sad is the question Nicodemus whispers in the night to our Lord: “How can a man be born again once he is old?”  It is sad not only because of the futility of his interpretation to “return to his mother’s womb,” but mainly because this is all he can see.  He is so of the flesh he cannot understand anything but the flesh; and this sense extends even to the Pharisees’ grasp of the law, which has become as an empty shell void of meaning – bereft of the Spirit as they are.  There is hope Nicodemus will hear the words of Jesus; there is possibility other leaders of the people will come to life.  But first they will have to leave their vain pursuits behind.

“The wind blows where it will… but you do not know where it comes from, or where it goes.” So it is with the disciples as by the powerful wind of the Holy Spirit “the place where they were gathered shook as they prayed”; and so, filled within with the Holy Spirit they “continued to speak God’s word with confidence.”  They are born from above.  They have new life in the name of Jesus.  All their lives are sacrificed with Him to the will of God.  And so the princes have no power over them, but to make them rejoice at the persecution they find at their empty hands.

“You must all be begotten from above,” brothers and sisters.  None is to be left behind with the carcasses that gather beneath the eagles’ circling flight.  Take refuge in the Lord of Life; be born now in His Spirit.

*******

O LORD, may the house we are in

be shaken by the Holy Spirit, that in Jesus’ Name

we might proclaim the truth before kings.

YHWH, let us be born of the Spirit, let us take life in the Spirit, in the power of the Spirit come through your only Son.  In His hands is the inheritance of the nations; in Him all take refuge.  Through Him and through His blood we find the strength to proclaim your praise in the face of persecution.  Be with us in the power of the Holy Spirit!

Though the Gentiles rage and the kings of this earth conspire against your anointed One and all His children, their violence is in vain because you, O LORD, protect your chosen and give them power over every evil.  By a word they are saved; by speaking your Name and declaring your glory, great signs and wonders are worked at their hands, for they are new creatures who take life in you. 

O let us be born from above, begotten by your Spirit, O God!

Direct download: BC-041612-M_2_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 4:13-21;   Ps.118:1,14-21;   Mk.16:9-15)

 

“Go into the whole world

and proclaim the good news to all creation.”

 

How faithfully Peter and John accomplish the Lord’s command, and with what strength, so much so that our first reading tells us, “The priests and elders were amazed as they observed [their] self-assurance” – for these “were uneducated men of no standing.”  “How can this be?” they must have queried inside.  “Then they recognized these men as having been with Jesus.”  And so the answer had come: it is from Him all power derives.  In His Spirit all God’s disciples “declare the works of the Lord.”

And how wonderfully silenced the leaders of the people are: “When they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them, they could think of nothing to say.”  For the works of the Lord speak for themselves, and the power of the Spirit cannot be denied.  And though these priests of the Old Covenant attempt to silence the glory of God, telling Peter and John “that under no circumstances were they to speak the name of Jesus or teach about Him,” these first of apostles declare confidently, “We cannot help speaking of what we have heard and seen.”  Indeed, “a remarkable show of power [takes] place in them.”

And what have they heard and seen?  Our gospel tells us: “Jesus rose from the dead early on the first day of the week.”  From Mary Magdalene, to whom He first appeared, “they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her.”  And the same “good news” is announced to them by the two disciples who had sojourned to Emmaus.  And though “they refused to believe it,” and though when “Jesus was revealed to the Eleven,” when they saw His risen presence for themselves, He chastised them “for their disbelief and their stubbornness” – though the doubt from human corruption still clings to them, it shall no longer be so (as evidenced by Peter and John) when Pentecost has come.  In the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, the Word shall be preached and believed in strength and power.

“The right hand of the Lord has struck with power.”  “The joyful shout of victory in the tents of the just” has come now in fullness to all His children who hear and see and declare that the Lord is risen.  “My strength and my courage is the Lord, and He has been my savior,” sing all the redeemed.  As the psalmist “give[s] thanks to the Lord” and the people who had witnessed the great work wrought through the apostles “were praising God for what had happened,” so joy is unbounded for all who enter the “gates of justice” and know in their bones the power of the Spirit at work through the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.  Brothers and sisters, let your joy be known by all; declare the good news to all the earth, that light may come to a world in darkness.

 

*******

O LORD, let the Good News of your Son’s resurrection

be proclaimed to all believing souls. 

YHWH, your right hand has struck with power, and what can we do but declare the glory of your risen Son by the Spirit that is now upon us?  Though we be uneducated men of no standing in this world, yet you make us instruments of your salvation as we proclaim what we have heard and seen and believed – Jesus is indeed raised from the dead and in His Name all souls are raised with Him.

And so, let us enter your House and praise your glory, O LORD our God.  Let us not stand outside the gates doubting the Word that comes to us or even persecuting the bearers of such Good News.  Let us believe!  Let us believe because it is Truth, undeniable, standing before us in the light of day and burning in our hearts.

May all who seek your kingdom be delivered from death and come to you in joy, LORD, by the power of the Spirit Jesus imparts to us.

Direct download: BC-043011-Sa_Oct._E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 4:1-12;   Ps.118:1-2,4,22-27;   Jn.21:1-14)

 

“Jesus is ‘the stone rejected by you the builders

which has become the cornerstone.’”

 

What Peter has proclaimed to the people, he now proclaims even more boldly to their leaders: “There is no other name in the whole world given to men by which we are to be saved.”  Jesus, whom they crucified, is the Messiah.  And the same quote Jesus offered the Pharisees after making it clear to them they would lose dominion over God’s vineyard – over His people, over His Church – Peter invokes before the high-priestly class today… for here standing before them is the new authority on earth.  

And so, here the Church is gathered, under Peter and the apostles.  This day of preaching in Jesus’ name by the power of the Holy Spirit has brought about five thousand children to God, and there shall be no stopping the power of the Word which goes forth to draw in all believers.  On the Church goes “proclaiming the resurrection of the dead in the person of Jesus.”

Our gospel today is the perfect parallel to our first reading, and reveals just from where the power of the apostles’ preaching comes.  First, it shows Peter as the clear leader.  He says among the seven – the number of fullness – disciples assembled: “I am going out to fish.”  And they reply: “We will join you.”  All night they toil in vain.  Why?  Because they lack the cornerstone who comes to them in the morning.  (Notice in our first reading Peter and John are put in jail for the night to await their trial in the morning. But, ironically, this night is less of a prison than the one spent toiling in vain on the sea… for this day they have been most fruitful; for by this time they have been anointed by the Spirit.)

In the morning Jesus stands upon the shore and instructs them where to cast their net, much as He did when first He called His fishermen apostles.  And like that morning, their catch is overwhelming.  John cries, “It is the Lord!” and Peter jumps into the water to swim to His Jesus as the others tow the net and fish behind him.  Once all have come to land, it is Peter who goes “aboard and haul[s] ashore the net loaded with sizable fish” and drops it at the Lord’s feet.  But it is the single fish Jesus has prepared which is most important, with which they must begin their feast.  For Jesus is that fish Himself, the cornerstone upon whom the tallest of buildings stands.  And see how He feeds them as at the Eucharistic table: “Jesus came over, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.”  Here the Bread of Life is distributed to those who shall impart it to all others.

One hundred and fifty-three (the number of Hail Marys in a full Rosary, pre-Mysteries of Light) fish are gathered by the disciples in a net beyond the point of breaking.  Five thousand men are drawn into the fold by Peter and John’s fearless speaking.  God’s Church is here built up on the cornerstone that is Jesus; and so we exclaim with our psalmist today: “O Lord, grant salvation!  O Lord, grant prosperity!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; we bless you from the house of the Lord.  The Lord is God, and He has given us light.”  Amen. 

*******

O LORD, by the resurrection of your Son

and the power of the Holy Spirit upon His apostles

may your Church be filled to overflowing

with believing souls.

YHWH, the stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone of your Church, and we are built upon Him and upon the Rock He has set in place as the first of His apostles.  From the hands of the leaders of the Jews divine power has been wrested, for now Peter is your high priest and John your scribe.  Now only in the Name of Jesus is salvation to be won, and all who come to Him and eat at His table enter into your House.

This is the day you, LORD, have made.  Let us rejoice in the blessings now upon us in your Son.  For now we are raised from the dead; now we share in His glory… now we know your merciful love and are given strength to do your work in this world.

On the flesh of your Son let us feed, O LORD; His Body let us be.  Led by Peter may we come to Him who waits for us upon the shore – in the morning light let us praise your glory!

Direct download: BC-042911-F_Oct._E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 3:11-26;   Ps.8:2,5-9;   Lk.24:35-48)

 

“In His name, penance for the remission of sins

is to be preached to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

 

And so Peter begins the preaching at the temple: “When God raised up His servant, He sent Him to you first to bless you by turning you from your evil ways,” he announces clearly to the Jews, those first to hear of the Savior, Jesus.  And again he speaks boldly and repeatedly of their sin: “You disowned the Holy and Just One…  You put to death the Author of life,” for it is absolutely essential that they recognize their guilt if they are to find their salvation.  How can they repent of what they do not see?  How can “a season of refreshment be granted” through Jesus if they do not know that they are despoiled?  And brothers and sisters, it is certainly no different for us.  We must recognize our own complicity in the Lord’s death or we shall have no place with Him in life.  Hear the message of His apostle: “Reform your lives!  Turn to God, that your sins may be wiped away!”  If you have nothing to reform, how are you a hearer of the Good News?  And if your repentance falls short of knowing the blood of Christ upon your hands, how ineffective it will be.

“All the prophets… have announced the events of these days.”  “God has brought to fulfillment by this means what He announced long ago: that His Messiah would suffer.”  What Peter proclaims, Jesus confirms in His own teaching to the disciples, “It is written that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,” as “He opened their minds to the understanding of the Scriptures.”  What must be has been, and now is – Jesus has died and risen.  “Look at my hands and my feet; it is really I,” He says to His incredulous apostles.  And so in “flesh and bones” the Truth has become known, and this same flesh we eat each day.

The disciples same “sheer joy and wonder” we should share, brothers and sisters.  For what is theirs is ours, too.  Though “out of ignorance” we crucified Him, in grace we now know Him.  And so should we not cry out, “O Lord, our Lord, how glorious is your name over all the earth!”  Should His blessed care for this sinful man not make us incredulous with joy?  For though man is guilty of the Lord’s own death, yet He has “made him little less than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor.”  How little we deserve the Messiah, now glorified in heaven, to be with us; but oh how generous He is.  No “power or holiness of our own” has brought us to life – it is His forgiveness that has made us whole. 

*******

O LORD, let us proclaim the Name of your risen Son

to all men.

YHWH, how wonderful is the Name of your Son throughout all the earth, for by it all men are healed – all are raised up from their sin and made whole again.  With what wonder we should look upon Him risen from the dead; and with what faith we should believe in Him.

O LORD, in the Name of Jesus let penance for the remission of sins be preached to all nations.  Beginning at Jerusalem and going forth to the ends of the earth, let it be known that the Messiah has suffered and died and been raised on the third day.  May all souls be taught by the apostles you send forth – may we come to understanding of the Scriptures and turn from our sin.

O let us all rejoice in the newness of life He brings! the season of refreshment upon us in His Name.  O LORD, let us reform our lives and turn to you that with Him whom you have glorified we might be one.

Direct download: BC-042811-Th_Oct._E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 3:1-10;   Ps.105:1-9;   Lk.24:13-35)

 

“The Lord is risen!  It is true!”

 

And how it is proven this day!  The two disciples find their “hearts burning inside” as He “explain[s] the Scriptures” to them on the road to Emmaus, and then they come “to know Him in the breaking of bread.”  “The Eleven and the rest of the company” of disciples rejoice in Jerusalem because “He has appeared to Simon.”  And the crippled beggar at the Beautiful Gate is pulled up by Peter “in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarean,” and he goes “into the temple with [Peter and John] – walking, jumping about, and praising God.”  “Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord!”

Brothers and sisters, the Church is as this crippled beggar at the temple gate; it is as these confused disciples sojourning for answers to their deepest questions and fears – it is the whole company assembled and astounded and declaring with joy the truth of God’s presence among us.  To the beggar the Lord says with Peter, “Look at us!”  To those on the road to Emmaus He says, “How slow you are to believe!”  And to all He appears in the breaking of the bread.  The beggar He heals; in the seeker He instills faith; and to us all He leaves His Blessed Sacrament, the greatest proof of His presence.

“Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds.”  And as great as His healing may be, as wonderful as His teaching is, the greatest of these is the table He sets before us and the Body and Blood with which He nourishes us.  Here is His love most known, here where we “give thanks to the Lord” and “invoke His name.”  For in this we are healed, in this His teaching is made real – until the end of time this shall stand as proof of His presence… in this is ever declared, “The Lord is risen!”

“He remembers His covenant which He made binding for a thousand generations.”  Never shall this blessing leave us, brothers and sisters.  Always we have His Word at work within us, and always we share His Body and His Blood.  Here He remains “powerful in word and deed in the eyes of God and all the people.”  Let us not fail to declare all He has done for us; let us never be afraid to proclaim His truth.  For then all shall be “struck with astonishment”; then all shall know the Risen Lord.

*******

O LORD, in our astonishment let us rejoice

at Jesus’ risen presence among us.

YHWH, your Son has been raised and for this we praise you, for it means our salvation – we who were once crippled by sin, by His death and resurrection are made whole again, and so the words of your prophets are fulfilled.  May we recognize Him each day in the breaking of the Bread, and may we live with Him now and forever.

O LORD, let us invoke the Name of your only Son and we shall know His salvation, we shall know the grace and mercy that pour forth from His sacrifice.  He had to suffer and die at the hands of His own people that His people and all who would come to Him might be saved from their sin.  For this blessing He has imparted to us let us dance and sing on this holy day.

Jesus is the One who sets all men free; dear LORD, let us know His risen presence in our midst this very hour and always.

Direct download: BC-042711-W_Oct._E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 2:36-41;   Ps.33:4-5,18-20,22;   Jn.20:11-18)

 

“Let the whole house of Israel know beyond any doubt

that God has made both Lord and Messiah

this Jesus whom you crucified.”

 

Brothers and sisters, we are all as Mary Magdalene who “stood weeping beside the tomb,” and like the Jews who were “deeply shaken” by the words of Peter.  Though it is to the Chosen people “that the promise was made,” it extends “to all those still far off whom the Lord our God calls.”  To all sinners, to all who ask His apostles, “What are we to do, brothers?” the Lord responds: “Reform and be baptized… in the name of Jesus Christ, that your sins may be forgiven”; indeed, then we “shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” – then our eyes shall be opened to His presence among us as we turn to Him in tears.

“She turned around and caught sight of Jesus standing there,” this greatest of sinners become most faithful disciple.  And as He speaks the name of her who cares only for Him – “Mary!” – so He calls “each one” of us who come to Him in our desperation by name; so He cares for all sinners who love Him and seek Him with all their heart.  And the same joy that she has known shall also be ours; we shall declare, “I have seen the Lord!” to all who wait to hear of Him.

“Save yourselves from this generation which has gone astray,” Peter urges his fellow Jews on Pentecost day, and “some three thousand” accepted his message and were baptized.  Here is where the Church begins to grow, here among those who crucified the Lord – here among His own brothers in the flesh.  And though the message is primarily to them this day, indeed it is for all who would be grafted to this tree of life, to this race of whom Jesus is come.  For, indeed, it is so that all are sinners, that all bear the guilt of His crucifixion; and so to all who hear His call for repentance, forgiveness may come, and the Spirit follow.

“The eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear Him… to deliver them from death.”  What was sung of under the Old Covenant is even more true today; and so let what was true of those faithful under the Old be so with us now.  Let it be that “our soul waits for the Lord.”  Let us declare, “Upright is the word of the Lord,” and the Word in its fullness shall be ours, and the tears we cry shall be answered quickly by our Lord and Savior who calls us each by name.

 

*******

O LORD, let us ascend to where your Son is,

far from this world of sin,

even to your side.

YHWH, baptized in tears we cry out to you that we might see your only Son, that we might know He is risen from the dead and sits now at your right hand.  Leave us not alone in this world with our sins and weakness, but let your Word please strengthen us; in your mercy deliver us from death.

We have crucified the Holy One; we have killed our Lord.  The Messiah has come to save us from our sins, to reunite us with you, O God, and we have turned away from Him and laid Him in a tomb.  And what are we to do now?  What can save us now that our very life we have murdered?

O LORD, let us be truly repentant of our sins and baptized in the Name of the One you have raised from the dead.  To Him let us cling this day, to Him who has ascended on high.  In Jesus may we be blessed to make our home, freed from the darkness of the tomb.

Direct download: BC-042611-Tu_Oct._E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 2:14,22-33;   Ps.16:1-2,5,7-11;   Mt.28:8-15)

 

“You will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,

nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.”

 

“It was impossible that death should keep its hold on Him.”  And so “the paths of life” we now walk; “joy in [His] presence” is ours – “in confidence” we abide forever.  For God has “raised Him up again,” this Jesus, our Lord.  Let us be witnesses of His truth to the ends of the earth.  Like Peter, our Holy Father, let us be faithful to the Word at work within us. 

As the women “ran to carry the good news to [Jesus’] disciples” that He, the Lord, was no longer in the tomb, in the belly of this earth, the guards ran to the chief priests, who concocted a lie.  See how the ways diverge between truth and lie.  And see today the power with which Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, stands up even amongst those who had Jesus crucified, and proclaims the truth of the risen Lord.  And God is with Him.  He has heard the Lord’s words: “Peace!” and “Do not be afraid!”  He knows full well that his soul will never be abandoned to the netherworld; he has life at work in him, the life that comes from “the resurrection of the Messiah.”  And so he witnesses in strength, as do our popes to this day.

Let us “live on in hope,” brothers and sisters, “half-overjoyed and half-fearful,” though only with the fear of God which overwhelms our souls, and He will be before us always, speaking words of peace; and we will see Him walking in the places He was wont to walk on earth… and we will see Him walking everywhere we walk.  For by our side will He be constantly in the power of the Spirit to lead and guide us always unto Life, the life that is already with us and will never leave us. 

The Lord is risen, alleluia!  The powers of death and hell shall never touch us, for in Him alone do we “take refuge,” He alone is our “allotted portion and cup” – in Him alone do we believe, and so we “shall not be disturbed” even by the darkness of night.  The Light has dawned; in Him let our souls rejoice.

 

*******

O LORD, let us take refuge in your Son,

who was not abandoned to the nether world

but lives and goes before us this day. 

YHWH, in your Son we find the path to life, the path upon which the Spirit guides us.  In His resurrection we are preserved from death and take eternal refuge.  Nothing shall disturb us now that Jesus has been raised from the dead, for death no longer has power over us.  Let us have but faith in Him and in His reassuring presence among us.

O LORD our God, our hope is in you and in the One who sits upon your throne.  He is the Son of David who has conquered death and in whom there is no corruption.  And if we believe that He is the One, to the grave we shall not come.  For in Him we enter life.

The lies of this world let us leave far behind, O LORD.  In truth alone let us make our home and the Spirit of Truth will be upon us to free us from death’s bitter pangs.  He has died that we might live; let us find our peace in Him.

Direct download: BC-042511-M_Oct._E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Is.50:4-9;   Ps.69:8-10,21-22,31,33-34;   Mt.26:14-25)

 

“The Son of Man is departing, as Scripture says of Him.”

 

Of Him in Scripture we read, “Morning after morning He opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back.”  Even as death approaches, even as His betrayer goes forth (perhaps especially at this dark time), He sets His face “like flint” to confront those who oppose Him, those who would destroy Him.  In His own voice He speaks to us in the first reading and the psalm of His trial and His resolve: “I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard,” though “they put gall in my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”  And He stands alone before such blasphemy – “I looked for sympathy, but there was none; for comforters, and I found none.”

Though only one of the Twelve betrays Him, all abandon Him in His brokenness; none stands by His side as He “bear[s] insult” in the Name of God.  But the Father does not desert Him: “See, the Lord God is my help.”  “For the Lord hears the poor, and His own who are in bonds He spurns not.”  And when He cries from the cross, it is not His fate He bemoans, but our own, whose dark separation from God He takes upon Himself as our guilt He bears.

Yes, He must depart in this way; He must suffer at our hands.  But that it is written so, and that by this our souls are made whole, in no way nullifies that we have sinned – sin remains the evil it is.  As for Judas, yet it would have been “better for him if he had never been born,” for the fires of hell are real; and as for the souls who abandon Him, as for all His disciples, it is only through similar darkness that we shall come back to His light.

Tears will fill our eyes as we look upon Him whom we have pierced.  Yet, fear not, for the Lord hears the cry of the “lowly ones… who seek God”; and Scripture speaks just as faithfully of the third day.

 

*******

O LORD, zeal for your House consumes your Son,

and so He is betrayed by one of His own

for thirty pieces of silver. 

YHWH, your Son is betrayed by one who sits at table with Him, and by all He will be abandoned, left alone to die upon a cross.  Yet He goes as you call Him; freely He accomplishes your will, with complete faith in your protection, with the strength found only in your love.  O help us to be as He is! to bear all with patience, to so freely offer our backs for beating and our faces for spitting upon.

O how shall we go from putting gall in His food to being fed at His table in the kingdom if you do not help us, O LORD our God?  We have no hope if you have no mercy on our poor souls.  Let us find the strength He takes in you.

Only one of the Twelve betrays Him, only one hands Him over for crucifixion, but we all line the path He must tread – we are all cause for His shame.  Dear LORD, in His sacrifice may we find freedom from such sin.

Direct download: Holy_Week_Wed._2011.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Is.49:1-6;   Ps.71:1-6,15,17;   Jn.13:21-33,36-38)

 

“I am made glorious in the sight of the Lord,

and my God is now my strength!”

 

The Lord is with His servant, with Israel, with Jesus, the Son of David, the Son of Man, the Son of God: “From my mother’s womb you are my strength…  O God, you have taught me from my youth.”  And to this “sharp-edged sword” the Lord had concealed “in the shadow of His arm,” to this “polished arrow” He has hidden in His quiver, God says: “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”  He who was called from birth, given His name in His mother’s womb, prepared before all the ages, now comes to reveal the glory of God.

And how is it “the Son of Man [is] glorified and God is glorified in Him”?  We see in our gospel the moment the glorification begins; we see in our gospel the path by which it comes.  At table at the Last Supper Jesus grows “deeply troubled,” for the time of His betrayal has come.  Judas eats the morsel of food dipped in the dish and “immediately after, Satan entered his heart.”  Then, “no sooner had Judas eaten the morsel than he went out,” and, we are told, “It was night.”  And immediately upon Judas’ leaving, the Lord proclaims His glorification has begun.

Here begins the Passion.  Here begins the first of the three days Jesus will spend in the belly of the earth.  How unlike the days the Servant spent in His mother’s womb these days shall be!  And yet it is precisely these days and in this way that what God has prepared for Him and for all creation shall come to its fulfillment.  Now shall the arrow be sharpened fully and shot forth to pierce all men’s hearts with truth – even as the nails pierce His hands and the sword His side.  Through the depths of such absolute darkness, light shall shine forth, and this light shall in time reach to the ends of the world.

Now the time has come.  Now all shall abandon Him.  Now by the Suffering Servant shall all be saved.

*******

O LORD, make us glorious in your sight,

even as your Son has been glorified by His sacrifice. 

YHWH, now the darkness falls upon your Son and He is prepared to be glorified.  In the death He must endure He will be revealed as the light of the world.  Though we cannot follow Him now, let us soon follow where He leads.  Help us, dear God, to lay down our lives with Him that we might come to Heaven.

He has been hidden for all ages, concealed in the shadow of your arm, LORD; but now this arrow is shot forth, this sword unveiled for all eyes to see.  Now is the time for all to be justified by His holy sacrifice.  O let us join with Him!  Let us not fear the darkness which sets upon this corrupted earth but suffer its betrayal with the patience of the Son of Man.

In Him let us take our refuge, LORD; let us be one with your Servant.  To this world help us bring His light, you who have been our trust from our Mother’s womb.

Direct download: Holy_Week_Tues._2011.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Is.42:1-7;   Ps.27:1-3,13-14;   Jn.12:1-11)

 

“I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people,

a light for the nations.”

 

He has come “to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who dwell in darkness.”  “He establishes justice on the earth,” and this justice is His bringing light to our darkness.  But He could not release us from the dungeon unless He Himself had entered the dungeon.  How else could light penetrate the darkness?  And so He not only enters the veil of flesh, humbling Himself to be born as a man, but also gives Himself up to the death we all must die – in our own form He pays the wages of our sin, that we might be released from its prison.

How could we “be stouthearted” “when evildoers come at [us] to devour [our] flesh,” we who are so weakened by the scourges of sin, if He had not strengthened us by standing in our stead?  How could we truly say with David, “Though war be waged upon me, even then will I trust,” if He had not defeated the enemy which comes against us?  We can say, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?” only because Jesus has brought God’s justice into our very midst, to our flesh and to our bone, by entering into the world of darkness we have created and taking upon Himself the death we deserved.

Lazarus, who sits at table with Jesus a week before His own death, is a sign of our release from the dungeon, from the tomb of our sin.  As “Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in Him on account of Lazarus,” so should all be drawn to the promise of new life which the Lord shall fulfill now in His death and resurrection.  And as we enter Holy Week, as we prepare ourselves for the great mysteries of our faith, how appropriate for Jesus to sit at table “in the land of the living” with this dead man.  See that He will sit with us all just so in the kingdom of heaven.

Now the light comes; now justice is done.  The aromatic fragrance of His holy sacrifice fills this house, and darkness shall be banished forever.

 

*******

O LORD, your Son is the light

which saves us even from death;

let us die and rise with Him.

YHWH, as Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, so all who believe will be raised with Him and sit at His table in Heaven.  As He defended Mary from Judas’ attack, so He will advocate for us all against the accusations of the evil one, so we will be protected from all condemnation and come into the light of your presence.  Though we dwell as if in a dungeon here, release we shall soon find in the offering of your Son.  From all our enemies we shall be saved; let us stand fast with Jesus.

The fragrance of the Spirit fills our souls even as darkness closes in.  O LORD, your promise to us is sweet indeed and gives us courage in this world.  For what victory has our Savior not won, what power has withstood His justice?  And so, even death He tramples underfoot as in a tomb He is laid.

Direct download: Holy_Week_Mon._2011.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Ez.37:21-28;   Jer.31:10-13;   Jn.11:45-57)

 

“My sanctuary shall be set up among them forever.”

 

Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise to “gather [His people] from all sides to bring them back to their land”; He is the “one prince for [us] all” by whom God makes complete the “everlasting covenant” with us: “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”  It is He “who make[s] Israel holy,” who makes us all one in Himself.  And so, “no longer shall [we] defile [our]selves,” but we “shall live by [His] statutes and carefully observe [His] decrees” now written upon our hearts by the power of the Spirit upon His flesh and blood.

In our gospel the Sanhedrin fear the loss of the Jewish nation on earth when they say, “The Romans will come and sweep away our sanctuary and our nation” because of the wonders Jesus performs and the power He has over all people.  So when Caiaphas asks, “Can you not see that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed?” it is of the protection of the temple and its worship he speaks and which is his concern.  But, of course, he unwittingly prophesies the salvation of all in the eternal, heavenly Temple of the New Jerusalem, where Jesus “gather[s] into one all the dispersed children of God.”

Yes, “Jesus would die for the nation”; He would give Himself that all might live.  The plan “to kill Him” He shall allow to bear fruit; though all are on the lookout to apprehend Him, yet He shall come to the feast to offer Himself as the spotless Lamb of Passover, to purge the nation of its sins and protect it from final damnation.  And so, “He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together, He guards them as a shepherd His flock.”  And so we should “come streaming to the Lord’s blessings: the grain, the wine, and the oil” – so we should come now and consume His Body and His Blood.  For the New Covenant is now set in place; His sanctuary is here among us.  And forever He is seated in the heavenly kingdom to make intercession for us and for the purging of our sins, to draw into the presence of the Father all His holy children.

He is “likely to come to the feast,” brothers and sisters, for the feast would be nothing without Him.  It is His sacrifice alone which “turn[s] our mourning into joy,” which “shall make [all] merry and dance” in the sanctuary of God’s love. 

*******

O LORD, by the blood of your Son

gather into one all your dispersed children. 

YHWH, your feast is prepared and we are called now to enter in to the dancing and joy of your kingdom.  Your sanctuary is set up in our midst, your Son has come into our presence, and so we become one holy nation in Him.  Though He must die to save us and unite us, He shall face such a fate openly, and so lead us to the heights of Zion.

Up to Jerusalem Jesus comes with all the people for the Passover feast.  The Temple you have set up comes now to the temple made by human hands; and though the latter shall soon be destroyed, the former shall never pass away but be set up forever as our dwelling place.  O let us worship you, LORD, in your holy Temple!

Jesus is indeed our salvation and the New Covenant founded in His Body and Blood is now among us.  O LORD, let your sacrificial Lamb be prince over us that we may come streaming to His blessings.

Direct download: BC-041611-Sa_5_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jer.20:10-13;   Ps.18:2-7;   Jn.10:31-42)

 

“He has rescued the life of the poor

from the power of the wicked.”

 

As Jeremiah’s persecutors surround him on every side but are “put to utter shame” when he calls out to the Lord, so as the Jews “again tried to arrest Him,” Jesus again “eluded their grasp.”  And so when “the breakers of death surged around [us], the destroying floods overwhelmed [us]...” so when our sins seemed to have conquered our souls, the Lord came to save us.

Evil is all around.  Always there is “terror on every side!” and those who would shout, “Denounce!  Let us denounce him!” because of our missteps, because of our stumbling into sin.  Ever the devil is on the watch to trap us with his wiles and cast our souls into “the netherworld.”  But always, too, the Lord is present, and when to Him we entrust our cause, saying with David, “O Lord, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer,” whenever we call upon His name, He hears and saves us from “the snares of death.”  “Praised be the Lord, I exclaim, and I am safe from my enemies,” David sings.  “Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord,” Jeremiah echoes, and he, too, is safe.  All who call upon Him He hears, and affords them His salvation.

“The Jews reached for rocks to stone Him,” but still He called to their hearts: “Many good deeds have I shown you from the Father.  For which of these do you stone me?”  Still He invites them to look upon the good works He has done in His Father’s name to see that He is indeed the Son; still He desires their salvation.  The signs He performs are recognized by many people who thus “come to believe in Him,” but the hardness of heart of these the leaders continues to blind their eyes to the truth of what John the Baptist said and what He is.  This ignorance shall find its ultimate expression soon in the crucifixion of the Son of God; but even from this the Lord shall deliver Him – and by this sacrifice we shall all be saved.  And many more will come to know thereby that He is God. 

The Lord rescues all our souls when we cry out to Him.  Let us put all trust in His saving grace.

*******

O LORD, thank you for hearing our cries;

from death you have delivered us

by the grace of your Son 

YHWH, let us come to believe that Jesus is your Son, one with you and the source of our salvation.  You rescue from the power of the wicked all who put their trust in Him; even from death we are preserved by taking our refuge in Him.  And so, why should we doubt His divinity?

In our distress you looked upon us, dear LORD, and heard us as we called out to you; and so you sent your only Son to answer our deepest prayers.  We were enmeshed in the snares of death but from the netherworld you saved our souls, giving us safety in the blood of Jesus, the Christ.  We thank you and we praise you, O God, for your grace upon us.

O let us ever praise your Name, our LORD and God, and we shall be ever safe from our enemies.  Let us take our refuge in the flesh of your Son and nothing shall ever harm us.  May our cry always come to your ears.

Direct download: BC-041511-F_5_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gn.17:3-9;   Ps.105:4-9;   Jn.8:51-59)

 

“Before Abraham came to be, I AM.”

 

Abraham is a great man, the blessed patriarch, to whom God made the promise: “I will maintain my covenant with you and your descendants after you throughout the ages as an everlasting pact, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”  So Abraham becomes “the father of a host of nations,” not just by lineage, but by faith in the promise God has given him and the keeping of the covenant with Him.  Abraham is father to all who believe in the one God: the sons of Israel, the Jews; the sons of Ishmael, the Muslims; and all who worship the living Lord and “seek to serve Him constantly.”

Yet as great as Abraham is, as fertile as he has become, Jesus is the greater and the more prosperous, for He Himself is the Lord our God, from whom Abraham receives his promise and so his greatness.  “Abraham rejoiced that he might see [Jesus’] day.  He saw it and was glad.”  For here come to us is the only Son of the God before whom he “prostrated himself”; here is the Lord of all the nations of whom Abraham is father.

Jesus is equal with the Father, coeternal and all-powerful.  He does not make Himself so but receives such glory from the Father, with whom He is always.  How hard it is for the Jews to hear this.  Though according to their faith they have been waiting for just such arrival of the Holy One, of the Messiah, yet their hearts are unable to accept such divine wonder.  And so “they picked up rocks to throw at Jesus” upon His solemn declaration of His divinity.

Is it not just so hard for all of us who call ourselves believers to come to terms with the awesome majesty of Jesus our God?  It seems something so far beyond our belief, that God could walk in our midst.  And yet HE IS; and so we must see how much greater than any man He is.  For though fully a man born in time and murdered upon a cross, yet He is God, living forever as Lord of all.  So great a gift, so wonderful a presence, is all that assures us that we “shall never see death” but be as He is, alive in the kingdom as He has promised.  Keep His word, and the Word of Life will be with you. 

 

*******

O LORD, a greater than Abraham we have in your Son,

for He is God with you –

let us live forever in Him. 

YHWH, your Son is God with you, dear Father, the great I AM; and He would bring us where you are, to a life that passes not away.  How could we die if we were with you?  For you are Life itself, and your Son with you.

Abraham is the father of many nations; many lives came to be through him and all of faith find a father in him who was of the greatest faith.  But you are the Father of Abraham, dear LORD, and Jesus is your Son – and so Jesus Himself is as Abraham’s Father, coming before him and giving life to him as He does.

O may He give us life, too, Father on high.  In your Name let Him speak to us of your surpassing glory, a glory He shares with you and which He would share with us (as He has shared it with Abraham) if we would but listen and believe.  Be our God forever, LORD, as you promised Abraham.

Direct download: BC-041411-Th_5_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Dn.3:14-20,91-92,95;   Dn.3:52-56;   Jn.8:31-42)

 

“The truth will set you free.”

 

Sin binds.  Like the cords with which “the strongest men in [Nebuchadnezzar’s] army bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,” sin fetters our souls and casts us “into the white-hot furnace.”  “Everyone who lives in sin is the slave of sin.”  But for those like these three faithful servants who “will not… worship the golden statue that [the king of this world] set up,” there is freedom.  For the Lord who is “praiseworthy and exalted above all forever,” who sits “on the throne of [His] kingdom… in the firmament of heaven,” “can save us from the white-hot furnace and from [the king’s] hands.”  For those who “yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God,” sin holds no sway.  And so we find them “unfettered and unhurt, walking in the fire,” the angel of God at their side.

God sits on His “throne upon the cherubim,” but He “look[s] into the depths.”  And so He sends His Son to walk among us and set us free from slavery to sin.  As Jesus says, “I come forth from God, and am here.”  Here is the Son; here is the true reflection of the Father.  Here, indeed, is Truth itself, by whom we are all set free.

How Jesus strove to bring the truth to “those Jews who believed in Him” but struggled in their acceptance.  But the Lord does not pull punches; He does not gloss over the truth, however harsh it may seem.  He tells them plainly, “You are trying to kill me,” and so they do the works of Satan – and so do they sin.  In their pride they deny their sin, and the envious plots in their hearts: “Our father is Abraham,” they argue, and not the evil one.  “We are no illegitimate breed!”  But the truth is that they are, and though it mean His death, Jesus must deliver this truth unto them… for it is all that will set them free.

How little it seems the truth is brought to the people today, and so, how few it seems are set free.  As sin goes merrily along, the devil sits laughing…  But God is still God, and the Son is still the Son, and all who give themselves to Him and not the idols of this earth will still find themselves set free.  Brothers and sisters, “if the Son frees you, you will really be free.”  Confront your own sin, and entrust all to Him. 

*******

O LORD, from your throne on high you send your Son

to rescue us from the fires of sin;

let us love His words and put faith in Him and you. 

YHWH, you alone are God, exalted above all on your glorious throne.  This is truth.  And so, you alone should we worship with heart, mind, and soul.  You alone we should praise.  In you alone we should trust – you alone should be our Father.

But how easily we lie and become children of the father of lies; how readily we harden our hearts against your Word, against your truth, LORD, bowing down before the golden statue and going so far as to kill the One who bears your truth to us.  Jesus would convict us of our sins.  He would reveal to us the truth of our fallen nature that we might be saved, that we might be set free from the sin that binds us and casts us into the white-hot furnace.  But our pride will not be broken, and so, trapped within it we remain.

O LORD, let us show the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  Let us trust our very lives into your hands.  Even in this furnace let us praise your Name, and your Son will come to us to set us free. 

Direct download: BC-041311-W_5_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Nm.21:4-9;   Ps.102:2-3,16-21;   Jn.8:21-30)

 

“From heaven He beheld the earth,

to hear the groaning of the prisoners,

to release those doomed to die.”

 

As the Lord has said to the Pharisees: “You belong to what is below; I belong to what is above.”  And truly, how could we come to where He is unless He reached down to lead us there?

The Israelites show just how much they are of this world below when they reject the food of the heavens in utter bitterness: “We are disgusted with this wretched food!” they say of the manna the Lord has provided.  And punishment comes to them in the form of a serpent for their cursing the hand of God.

And the Pharisees are the same.  They have the living bread from heaven standing before them, teaching them, yet they cannot grasp what He says and with mockery ask, “Who are you, then?” when He tells them, “I AM.”  And so they too “will surely die in their sins” for their rejection of the great I AM.

But yet there is hope.  For the Israelites, Moses “make[s] a serpent and mount[s] it on a pole,” and those who gaze upon it are healed from the serpent’s deadly bite.  And, of course, Jesus Himself will mount the wood of the cross and be fixed there – and the Pharisees and we who gaze upon our sins (which, as with the serpents, have caused this punishment), we who see what we have done and repent thereof, shall be healed, restored, forgiven.

“When you lift up the Son of Man, you will come to realize that I AM,” says the Lord.  And now we look up at Him who has died for us and pray He will take us where He has gone, that our cry will come to Him, that He will regard “the prayer of the destitute” and lift us up to heaven with Him as we share in His cross. 

*******

O LORD, you have answered our prayers;

let us be released from death

by looking upon your crucified Son.

YHWH, we are doomed to die; apart from you there is no life, and we have separated ourselves from you by our sin, by our complaining against your goodness toward us.  How can one come to your presence on high if he desires but the world below, where is but dust and death?  May we hear the call of your Son, who by His Cross would lead us to your kingdom.

Jesus will die.  On the Cross He will be lifted up, crucified by sinful hearts.  But His death means only life for us, for He is Life itself, O LORD, He is one with you; and that life is more powerful than the imposter death, which fades to nothing before His glory.

Your Son cannot but be raised on high, dear LORD, for He is one with you and dwells ever in surpassing light, to which He would draw all souls.  May we indeed recognize He is the great I AM and come to life with Him, separated far from our sin and the poison it brings.  Hear our prayer and save us.

Direct download: BC-041211-Tu_5_L.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Dn.13:1-9,15-17,19-30,33-62;   Ps.23:1-6;   Jn.8:12-20) 

“Judgment of mine is valid because I am not alone.

I have at my side the One who sent me, the Father.”

“It is laid down in [the Mosaic] law that evidence given by two persons is valid.”  Thus does the assembly condemn Susanna to death, because the two elders testify as one against her.  But then “God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel,” and so we find a better pair of witnesses – the Spirit and Daniel – to refute the lies of the wicked elders.  And so Daniel, empowered by the Spirit, separates these evil men; and so the lack of integrity and unity in their testimony is exposed; and so “an angel of God shall receive the sentence from Him and split [them] in two” – the “fine lie” they have told will cost them their heads.

And can there be any truer witness of two than that which is known in the Father and the Son, both of whom testify, in the Spirit, that Jesus is “the light of the world”?  This great truth cannot be hidden, and so those whose witness is most perfect must speak it, that “no follower of [His] shall ever walk in darkness” but “shall possess the light of life.”  This is the will of God, whose Word is true; and this revelation shall be accomplished despite any deceptions devised by those who walk in darkness.

Brothers and sisters, be comforted that the Lord is “at [your] side, with [His] rod and staff that give [you] courage.”  With Him and with His Spirit you shall be saved from all evil.  Be as Susanna in your time of trial: “Through her tears she looked up to heaven, for she trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly,” and He will strengthen you and “spread the table before [you] in the sight of [your] foes.”  Taking Him as your witness, you cannot be denied.  And the same justification she has known will be your own.

All wicked men shall meet their end, for lies cannot stand and the “past sins” of the false judges shall “come to term.”  There is but one Judge whose verdict is true and lasting, and all those who find refuge in Him and His Father shall stand as He does unto eternity.

*******

O LORD, your testimony is true as is that of your Son

for the Holy Spirit is upon Him.

YHWH, your Son is the light of the world; to this you testify in His every word, in His every action.  He is one with you, O God, and looking upon Him we see your face.  Father in Heaven, your Spirit is upon Jesus to speak the truth – may we know Him well that we might know you.

If in you we trust, dear LORD, we shall be saved from every trial.  If we keep our eyes up and looking to Heaven, even through our tears you shall answer our prayers.  None is left alone who calls upon your Name; help comes quickly to those who recognize their need.

And so, in your kindness you have sent us Jesus; the Spirit goes forth in His wake.  To your table we are drawn, LORD, where our heads are anointed with holy oil.  No judgment comes upon the soul who trusts in Christ, for He walks only in light… and so it is with those who follow in His way.

Direct download: BC-041111-M_5_L_C.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm 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.

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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.

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Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Is. 49:8-15;   Ps.145:8-9,13-14,17-18;   Jn.5:17-30)

 

“Just as the Father possesses life in Himself,

so He has granted it to the Son to have life in Himself.”

 

Here the great mystery of the unity of Father and Son is revealed, and so also our salvation.

God is life.  The Father is the great I AM, He who will be what He will be and do what He will do – He who holds the world and all its wonders in His creating Hand.  And Jesus is as He is.  He shares absolutely in the Life that is the Father.  “Speaking of God as His own Father, [He is] thereby making Himself God’s equal.”  And this perfect union is most clearly evident in the fact that “the Father has given over to Him power to pass judgment.”  For who can judge the soul of man but God, and so, who is Jesus but God Himself?

And this union of Father and Son in the absolute love that gives proof of the Spirit’s presence, and thus completes the Holy Trinity, is the key to our readings today.  Thus, though the thrust of the Word is our own salvation from sin and death, this is only effected in the love of the Father for the Son – for it is in our own union with Jesus and in His washing us clean from sin by standing in our place upon the cross that we find union with the Father, that we find the Life to which we all are called… in whom we find our home of love.

The Lord says, “I will cut a road through all my mountains and make my highways level.”  Jesus the Son is that road by which the Father “comforts His people and shows mercy to His afflicted” by leading them back to Him, guiding them “beside springs of water” that “they shall not hunger or thirst” but “find pasture” in His arms.  For “can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?”  Greater than any mother’s love is the Lord’s love for us, and this He makes known through His only Son.

Brothers and sisters, “the dead shall hear the voice of God’s Son, and those who have heeded it shall live.”  Even now the Lord is “saying to the prisoners: Come out!  To those in darkness: Show yourselves!”  Out from the tombs He calls us, for He is “compassionate toward all His works” and desires in His perfect will that all share in His holiness, in His Life.  Let us do right in Him, and as His Son we, too, shall live. 

*******

O LORD, from the tombs let us come forth

at the sound of your Son’s voice.

YHWH, you are kind and merciful and so you send your only Son to reveal your loving will, to draw all unto you and so to eternal life.  Let us heed His voice and so your own; let us thus come to your kingdom.

On your holy mountain let us make our home, dear LORD.  Though desolate we may be, seemingly abandoned by you, far from your grace… yet you call us back to you and assure us of your loving kindness in the word and the Person of your Son.  You do not forget us; let us not forget the wonders of your love you show us in Jesus.

Your Son shall judge all men’s souls.  To Him you have given this power, O LORD.  For He is One with you and does only your will, and so His judgment is your own.  May we be so united with your will and your judgment in Jesus your Son that we shall ever know your surpassing love and come to dwell with you in Heaven.

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Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm 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.

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Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm 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.

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Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm 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.

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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.

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Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jer.7:23-28;   Ps.95:1-2,6-9;   Lk.11:14-23)

 

“They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts

and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.”

 

The Lord calls His people to “listen to [His] voice,” to “walk in all [His] ways,” that they “may prosper.”  But with whom is there obedience?  How many harden their hearts against Him!

Of the people of Jeremiah’s time the Lord says, “Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech.”  They, as all, should “bow down in worship” and “kneel before the Lord who made us,” but they, as we, do not recognize that “He is our God, and we are the people He shepherds, the flock He guides.”  They pay no heed to the voice of the prophet.

And this hardness of heart is fulfilled in the opposition of the faithless to Jesus.  In our gospel He casts out a devil that a dumb man may speak and some say, “It is by Beelzebul, the prince of devils, that He casts out devils.”  Indeed, the hardness of heart does not get any greater than this.  (And so for this sin against the Holy Spirit and His ways there can be no forgiveness.)  They call good “evil” and presume that the evil they speak is a good – but they are utterly lost in darkness.  “The reign of God is upon” them, and they desire to dwell in the realm of the devil who is being cast from their midst.  What can save such a soul?  For all prayers the Lord answers.

Brothers and sisters, it is a dark world and a difficult age in which we dwell.  But the response of our hearers is not our concern; we must speak as called regardless of the reaction – we must live our vocation despite any opposition.  Note the Lord’s words to Jeremiah: “When you speak all these words to them, they will not listen to you either; when you call to them, they will not answer you.”  For as with all the prophets, and as with ourselves, he speaks to “the nation which does not listen to the voice of the Lord, its God, or take correction.”  To these it is our duty to call; to darkness we must bring light.  And realize, too, the fate of Jesus, who will die on the cross for His work to bring salvation to the world.  It is this same cross to which we are all called, for it is by this same cross we have been called; and those who are yet to be gathered in must hear our voice.  Let us stand with the Lord and gather in His grain, despite the stiffened necks we might find.  There shall be others like us who hear the cry of Jeremiah and cling to the saving power of Jesus.  Test Him not with your own hardness of heart. 

*******

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.

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Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm 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.

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Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm 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.

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Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm 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.

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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.

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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.

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Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm 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.

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Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm 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

(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

(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

(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

(Sir.35:1-12;   Ps.50:5-8,14,23;   Mk.10:28-31)

 

“The just man’s sacrifice is most pleasing,

nor will it ever be forgotten.”

 

Peter is moved today to voice his fear that all that he and his fellow apostles have offered, even their very lives, will not be enough to secure the kingdom of God.  But Jesus reassures all who serve Him: “I give you my word, there is no one who has given up home, brothers or sisters, mother or father, children or property, for me and for the Gospel who will not receive in this present age a hundred times as many… and persecution besides – and in the age to come, everlasting life.”  None should fear that their sacrifice will be wasted, “for the Lord is one who always repays,” and repays in full, multiplying whatever gifts we offer beyond our expectations.

“But offer no bribes, these He does not accept!”  You will never be able to extort graces from the Lord, and so should always come without expectation of return.  Make all your sacrifices as “freewill gifts,” for only that which is given “generously” and “in a spirit of joy” does He smile upon.  Bring your gifts to the altar expecting nothing but the cross, in this find your return, and the glory of the resurrection shall indeed be yours.  You must learn from those whom the Lord rebukes, though their “holocausts are before [Him] always” – only “he that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies” the Lord, and so you must find joy in your cross.

Oh how “the just man’s offering enriches the altar and rises as a sweet odor before the Most High.”  “He who observes the commandments” and “gives alms,” he who performs “works of charity,” who “refrain[s] from evil” and “avoid[s] injustice”… oh how this man “pleases the Lord”!  For his life is as a “sacrifice of praise,” an offering of peace and an atonement for sin, which cannot but reach to the throne of God.  Yes, “to him that goes the right way [the Lord] will show the salvation of God.”  Of this you can be assured.

 

*******

O LORD, the more we give you our lives,

the more we are blessed,

for the more we are of you.

YHWH, what is it you desire from us but to be generous as you are, to share all your gifts with others?  None is more generous than you; none could give a greater number of blessings here on this earth and in the heavenly kingdom.  Yet, do we trust in you and in your generosity, in the great wealth that only you possess?

All things are in your hands, O LORD.  Let us learn this simple lesson.  All things are in your hands and you give them freely and abundantly to those who serve you faithfully.  Though there be a cross we must bear in this world, how light it is made by the graces you pour upon us, by the love you share with all your disciples.

And so, let us give alms, let us be just, and let us do all with a cheerful countenance; and we shall reflect your glory in this world and carry even now your presence in our souls.  LORD, to the end let us follow in your way and offer ever a sacrifice of praise, and your blessings will be forever upon us.

Direct download: BC-030111-Tu_8_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Sir.17:19-27;   Ps.32:1-2,5-7,11;   Mk.10:17-27)

 

“Jesus fixed His gaze on them and said,

‘For man it is impossible but not for God.’”

 

With these incisive words and particularly with this intent look, Jesus “encourages those who are losing hope.”  His disciples are “completely overwhelmed” at His statement: “It is easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God,” and to keep them from falling into despair at the impossibility of such a proposition, He seeks to teach them that “with God all things are possible.”  For truly none can be saved but by the grace of God.

“As Jesus was setting out on a journey a man came running up, knelt down before Him and asked, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to share in everlasting life?’”  How like “the penitent [for whom] He provides a way back” is this man on his knees before the Lord today.  And even after the Lord seems to rebuff his advance, how he persists, begging further word from the Master with the reply to Jesus’ listing of certain commandments, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my childhood.”  Please tell me more, he seems to cry out.  And so “Jesus looked at him with love,” a love that is beyond the bounds of this world and beyond the bounds of the law – a love that makes all things possible, even the attainment of the kingdom of God, even for us wretched sinners.  “How great the mercy of the Lord, His forgiveness of those who return to Him!”  “Happy is he whose fault is taken away, whose sin is covered”; for among the dead we would be if not for His divine mercy.

But oh “how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God.”  Though wrought with the Lord’s grace, how difficult it is to accompany Christ on His journey.  For our hearts are not on His love but on the things we must give up, and so, how readily we turn away in sadness.  It is indeed out of love Jesus calls the rich man from his possessions to His side; this is indeed an immeasurable grace pouring forth from the heart of God… but who among us can accept it?  Who among us truly seeks everlasting life?

“God watches over the host of highest heaven, while all men are dust and ashes.”  While “the thoughts of flesh and blood” are obscure, as the wise man tells us, and his possessions of even less consequence; while the sun itself “can be eclipsed” and all things of the earth are passing… yet the kingdom of the Lord endures and holds promise of shelter for the contrite spirit of a humble man.  For dust may pass easily through the eye of any needle, and we can be united with the vision of God; for us too all things are made possible, if we humble ourselves in the ashes – if we fall sincerely at the feet of the Lord, and accept His word. 

*******

O LORD, help us freely renounce all of this world.

YHWH, please help us to inherit eternal life; though we must die first, though we must give up all things of this world, let us not look at what is lost but what is gained, being forever with you in Heaven.

Why should we prefer the riches of this life to life everlasting; why should we not want to be at Jesus’ side even here where we stand?  It is a fool who desires passing things to those that last; LORD, give us the wisdom and courage to do what is right.

You would let nothing stand in our way to you, LORD; all blindness and sin you would drown in the sea.  You would not remember our transgressions against you or our failure to heed your call… let us turn again and kneel before your Son.  Then we shall praise you with all the living on high.

It is not death we should fear or the renunciation of our goods.  Let us rather fear disobedience toward you and the loss of the kingdom.  O LORD, truly let us be cleansed of the guilt of our sin, that with clear eyes and open hearts we might follow you.

Direct download: BC-022711-M_8_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Sir.17:1-15;   Ps.103:13-18;   Mk.10:13-16)

 

“Let the children come to me

and do not hinder them.”

 

O how the Lord “looks with favor upon [our] hearts, and shows [us] His glorious works”!  And because “His majestic glory their eyes beheld, His glorious voice their ears heard,” so the “people were bringing their little children to Jesus to have Him touch them,” so they were offering their precious loved ones into the arms of the Savior.  And should we not all come to Him, should we not all run into His arms… are we not all His children?

Brothers and sisters, “the Lord from the earth created man, and in His own image He made him.”  Do you hear that?  In His own image we are made, as His sons and daughters.  “He endows [us] with a strength of His own…  He forms our tongues and eyes and ears, and imparts to [us] an understanding heart.”  He makes us as Himself, and then fills us with His presence!  And should we not come to Him, should we not come to His only Son, our own dear brother, the perfection of our race, that all disfigurement might be taken from us and we might radiate the light of God, that we might be remade in His image?

The Lord is only love and “His eyes are ever upon [our] ways” to guide us to His love.  He is “as a father [who] has compassion on his children.”  Yes, “the kindness of the Lord is from eternity to eternity toward those who fear Him,” and those who fear Him are His children.  But this fear, this overwhelming awe at the love the Maker of the universe has toward His simple creatures, is not one which makes us run from Him, but which moves us to leap into the arms of our Redeemer, into the arms of Him whose arms are always open to receive us, always open to embrace His children.

We know our blessed brother John has told us with holy affection that “we are God’s children now” (1Jn.3:2).  Of this grace at the hands of our Lord he has spoken most eloquently, most simply – most lovingly.  And it is so for all who love Him.  And so we should not hinder our hearts from coming to Him, from embracing Him as He embraces us… from giving ourselves to Jesus (particularly in the Sacrament), that we might be formed in His image.  Come to Him who is one with the Father, and one with the Father you shall become.

 

*******

O LORD, only your children come to you; 

welcome us into your kingdom. 

YHWH, let us come to you as children, trusting in your love.  And you will embrace us, and you will bless us… and we will come into your kingdom on high. 

We are but dust, O LORD, and our days pass like those of the grass.  A breath from your mouth and we are gone.  But it is your Breath that gives us life, that makes us wise, that makes us holy – that causes us to share in your glory.  You have created us from the earth but have endowed us with a spirit like your own.  Let us know your kindness upon us that we may endure unto eternity. 

LORD, let us remain in awe of you, ever grateful for the gifts that you give us, for the wonder that is upon us every day of our lives.  Let us not be separated from you but always be as your children, innocent and obedient and humble as you.  To your Son let us run and so find a home in His flesh and blood, and so be adopted into your love. 

Direct download: BC-022611-Sa_7_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Sir.6:5-17;   Ps.119:12,16,18,27,34-35;   Mk.10:1-12)

 

“They are no longer two but one flesh.”

 

How much more clearly could the Lord speak of the unity found in marriage and so the respect due this sacrament?  How better could He get His point across to you that marriage is indissoluble, that it is not to be played with, that you commit adultery as you consider divorcing your spouse?  “At the beginning of creation God made them male and female.”  And by this Jesus does not mean that two separate creatures were made – He means that every one of God’s human beings is both male and female, and that in marriage one finds his wholeness in the sight of God.

When Adam was formed of the dust of the earth, Eve was already present within him, in his very body.  She was not created apart from him, but taken from him, “from man” – which is the meaning of “woman.”  Adam when he was first made held both male and female in himself, and when woman was taken from him, built of his rib, the two did not cease to be one.  Thus does he recognize Eve as flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone.  Thus the two are inseparable.  In marriage this inherent unity returns, is fulfilled.  “Therefore, let no man separate what God has joined.”

And if “a faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; [and] he who finds one finds a treasure,” how much more of a shelter is a spouse in whose body one makes his home – how much more valuable a treasure?  A friend and more is made by the marriage vow, for truly the spouses become one with one another, and one with the Lord.  And so, “when you gain a friend, first test him, and be not too ready to trust him.”  Know that you are joining yourself to this spouse body and soul, and such commitment is not to be taken lightly or falsely, with an eye toward leaving “when sorrow comes.”  Beware, lest you find “a friend who becomes an enemy,” or that you yourself are not a trustworthy mate.  For once joined you cannot be separated, try in vain as you will.  One might as well cut off a healthy limb as seek divorce, so grotesque is the proposal.  Worse than this, it is as cutting out one’s heart, for how can one divide blood that is commingled?

But you who are faithful of heart, know what blessing awaits you, for “a faithful friend is a life-saving remedy, such as he who fears God finds.”  And if you seek “discernment, that [you] may observe [God’s] law and keep it with all [your] heart,” your spouse shall serve as savior to you, who are united with her to Christ.  In her you will find your life, even as the two become one.

 

*******

O LORD, may we take refuge in your friendship.  

YHWH, bless all marriages this day; may there be true, lasting friendship between all who vow their love for one another.  May they understand the commitment they make and the grace that comes to those faithful to it. 

Let us not think that we can separate at will, O LORD; help us to realize the bond that comes even from you in this holy sacrament.  Let us not harden our hearts against your loving will but sacrifice our desires to find union with that love.  Let us never be adulterous in our relationships with one another or with you. 

You would make a sturdy shelter for all those who marry in your NAME and in the blood of your only Son.  LORD, what could be of greater worth to us than a faithful friend, a faithful husband or wife, and a marriage founded in your surpassing love?  Open all eyes to the wonders you hold for those who love as you command.  Write your NAME upon our hearts and upon our wedding promises. 

Direct download: BC-022511-F_7_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Sir.5:1-8;   Ps.1:1-4,6,40:50;   Mk.9:41-50)

 

“Mercy and anger are alike with Him;

upon the wicked alights His wrath.”

 

“The way of the wicked vanishes.”  It must vanish.  It cannot but vanish, for there is no place for wickedness in the kingdom of God.  And so, what is wicked must “be thrown into Gehenna”: what is to “enter life” must be purified.  Thus does the Lord command – Cut off your hand!  Cut off your foot!  Tear out your eye!  Remove even with violence whatever causes you to sin to preserve your life unto heaven.  For it is indeed better that you “enter life maimed” or “crippled” or “with one eye,” than to have your whole body cast into the fires of hell.

Do you fear being “plunged into the sea with a great millstone fastened around [your] neck”?  Does this seem a terrible fate?  The fires of hell are infinitely worse, and those of purgatory approach them.  Know that “everyone will be salted with fire”; everyone must be purified of sin.  And you can refuse this truth and so find yourself in the place “the worm does not die and the fire is never extinguished,” you can delay your purgation and suffer a measure of these flames in the state of purification after death – or you can remove the sin from your soul by the grace of God now, while there is yet time and His mercy is yet abundant.

“Great is His mercy; my many sins He will forgive,” you say, and you are not wrong.  But do you know how the mercy of God affects the sinful soul?  Do you think it a pleasant experience to be cleansed, to be refined as by fire?  Do you not understand that the Lord’s love and justice, His mercy and anger, are one for the wicked.  Yes, “the Lord will exact the punishment” that brings refreshment and renewal.  He must.  How else shall you be purged and purified for heaven?  All the sins upon your blackened soul are removed only by the chastising flames of His love.

So, “delay not your conversion to the Lord, put it not off from day to day.”  Be not a fool “adding sin upon sin,” for every transgression must be accounted for.  But the Lord’s blood will wash me clean, you may say, if you have some sense of His redemptive sacrifice.  Yes, but it is still your soul that must be cleansed, and you shall own the purgatorial fires.  And so, hasten this day to the confessional; turn resolutely from your sin.  Then pray for the Lord’s indulgence, and you may be spared even temporal punishment for your transgressions (and even serve in the Lord’s stead to release others from the pain of purgatorial flames). 

*******

O LORD, we will all be salted with fire – 

may our souls be preserved from your wrath. 

YHWH, let your wrath not suddenly flame forth to destroy our lives; the way of the wicked let us not walk that the unquenchable fire we shall never know.  You cannot but be angry with those who persist in sin – you cannot pretend that such evil does not exist or look past the hardened heart.  All will know your purgatorial flames, but may they be redeeming for every soul. 

Why are we so foolish, O LORD?  Why do we not turn to you this day, this hour, and delight in the Law you offer for our salvation?  Should we not walk the way of love your Son has set forth for us and seek to soothe His desire for our love by meditating on your Word and serving those who bring it to us? 

Let us not be cast into the sea with a millstone around our necks, LORD, but drink in the running water that comes from your Church, from the side of Christ.  Only this will quench the fires of your wrath. 

Direct download: BC-022411-Th_7_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Sir.4:11-19;   Ps.119:165,168,171-172,174-175;   Mk.9:38-40)

 

“Those who serve her serve the Holy One;

those who love her the Lord loves.”

 

Such is wisdom, she who “instructs her children and admonishes those who seek her,” she under whose counsel we become the children of God.

And I cannot help but think as I contemplate this personification of wisdom, how well and how appropriately she is embodied by our Blessed Mother, she who was immaculately conceived, she under whose mantle even Jesus our Savior “advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man” (Lk.2:52).  “To Jesus through Mary” is the motto of the fortunate souls who have consecrated themselves to the Virgin (even as St. Louis De Montfort most wisely instructs), and it is through her intercession that we find God’s graces and favors lovingly bestowed upon us.  She is our dear Mother, and instructs us as she has her Son.

Indeed it is His beloved disciple John whom the Lord must admonish today, teaching him that those who do the Lord’s work serve Him, and these He blesses; and, of course, it is this same disciple to whom Jesus will entrust His Blessed Mother – and she to him – even while dying on the cross: “He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son.’  Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’  And from that hour the disciple took her into his home” (Jn.19:26-27).  And now as she has taught Him, so she shall teach His beloved, shall teach all His Church, how to follow the Holy One.  And certainly the home into which John gathered the Virgin Mary was more than an earthly domicile: even “from that hour” he took her into his heart.

And she is with us still; she is with him who remains (see Jn.21:20-23), with the Church here on earth, serving as our Mother, guiding us in all wisdom.  And, my brother, my sister, do not be discouraged if “at first she puts [you] to the test… and tries [you] with her discipline,” for she only seeks to learn that your “heart is fully with her,” and so, fully with her Son; she only longs to teach you wisdom.  She will come back “to bring [you] happiness and reveal her secrets” to you.  And as long as you remain with her, she will hold you in her loving arms as no other mother, and form you in the divine image of her blessed Son.

O Lord, “those who love your law have great peace,” for in your wisdom all question and doubt flee.  Discipline me by your Word and form me in the womb of your Blessed Mother.  “Let my soul live to praise you,” for I would be in your company forever.  May your wisdom and grace keep me from “the hands of despoilers.”

*******

O LORD, your wisdom transcends Heaven and earth;

let us listen to your instruction.

YHWH, let us never be against you, never fail in our embrace of the wisdom and grace that pour forth from your throne.  Into your glory let us come, obediently following in the way of your Son, listening ever to His words of instruction.  If we serve Him and love Him we will know the blessings that are upon Him through you and the Spirit.

Let us not be forgetful, O LORD, forgetful of the blessings we have known or the ones which are yet promised us if we continue along the path your precepts mark out for us in this dark world.  Because the world is dark, you must sometimes hide your face from us, you must sometimes seem dark to our minds, which are clouded over by sin and the inclination to sin.  But if we reach out to you, if we seek your will, trusting in your love, we will indeed come soon to sing your praise in the surpassing light of your kingdom.

Let us fear no discipline, LORD, but rather rejoice in carrying our cross with your Son.

Direct download: BC-022311-W_7_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Sir.2:1-11;   Ps.37:3-5,18-19,27-28,39-40;   Mk.9:30-37)

“My son, when you come to serve the Lord,

prepare yourself for trials.”

Is Jesus not “teaching His disciples in this vein” when He speaks of His imminent death, a death they shall share, and calls them to “remain the least one of all and the servant of all,” even as He is?  Their arguing about importance reveals that they have not understood who they are, and so He would remind them that “in fire gold is tested, and worthy men in the crucible of humiliation.”

A kind of humiliation is upon the Lord’s disciples today as they fall silent in shame for “arguing about who was the most important, as Jesus stands a humble, silent child “in their midst” and calls them to embrace him, even as He has.  They must make themselves lower than even this “little child,” they must be even more “sincere of heart and steadfast,” if they are to find the reward which awaits them.  Yes, they must “cling to Him” even as He clings to them – even as He clings to this child – and “thus will [their] future be great”; thus will they come through the Son to the Father in heaven.

“Crushing misfortune” awaits the Lord’s disciples, for soon He shall be taken from them, and they will understand what His death means.  But as long as they continue to “fear the Lord… [their] reward will not be lost”; for “three days after His death He will rise,” and those who give their lives as He has done, even as the least of all, shall also know what His resurrection means.

Oh brothers and sisters, “the Lord watches over the lives of the wholehearted; their inheritance lasts forever,” and we must be counted among their number.  The Lord “forsakes not His faithful ones”; there is no one who has “hoped in the Lord and been disappointed.”  So let our hope be in Him and our service be for Him, and He will help us to endure “whatever befalls” us.  If He is our “refuge in time of distress,” we shall know our salvation, for whoever stands with Him in times of trial will also stand with Him in glory.  Let us but remain humble before Him, as a child; let us but accept the children He would place in our arms… and the birth pangs we find will but lead us to our home in heaven.

To His house the Lord leads us, even in this life.  Let us listen to His teaching.

*******

O LORD, even in times of crushing misfortune

you are with us,

if we but turn to you in humility.

YHWH, you are more humble than a little child, and if we could but trust in you and be as you, you would care for us in all things.  Make us as your children, as humble souls in your holy hand, that into your image we may be molded.

Your Son would lead us to you, LORD.  By His death He would show us the trust we must have in your love.  We must give all things over unto you, even our very life’s breath, to find how faithful you are, to find the life that is in you.  After three days Jesus did rise, and if we but trust our own death to you, we shall rise with Him.

O LORD, let us not fear trial or distress, but in such humiliation increase our faith.  This is your gift to us; this would bring us closer to you.  And what more should we desire than to be more like you, who are more humble than a speck of dust, whose days are without end.

Direct download: BC-022211-Tu_7_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Sir.1:1-10;   Ps.93:1-2,5;   Mk.9:14-29)

 

“There is but one, wise and truly awe-inspiring,

seated upon His throne: It is the Lord.”

 

“The Lord is King, in splendor robed,” and He alone knows “wisdom’s root” and all “her subtleties”; for it is He who created her and “poured her forth upon all His works.”  And so He alone, whose “throne stands firm from of old,” He alone understands all things, and can answer any question.  And should we not be awestruck by His presence?  

That the Lord is robed in splendor as King over all we have seen only recently.  Even today He descends from the mountain on which He was transfigured; and though His face no longer shines more brightly than the sun, yet “immediately on catching sight of Jesus, the whole crowd was overcome with awe” and rushed up to Him, for still His glorious presence overwhelms.  At the base of the mountain the crowd and the disciples are engaged with the scribes “in a lively discussion” about the condition and fate of a poor child horribly possessed by a demon.  Their words are empty wind, but the one with all answers approaches.  And with a measure of faith from the boy’s father and those surrounding, He casts out the devil which even the disciples could not command, and which the scribes could not comprehend.

“What an unbelieving lot [we] are!  How long must [the Lord] remain with [us]?  How long can [He] endure” our lack of wisdom and grace?  Brothers and sisters, why do we so lack faith?  Why do we say to the Lord, “If you can”?  Do we not know that “everything is possible to a man who trusts”?  Do we think the Lord’s power is somehow cut short?  Yes, we are weak and pitiable creatures, blind to the glory which surrounds us, but He is not!  He is that glory, and that glory He shines for us.  We need but come to Him with the awe the crowd shows today, and He will do all things for us.

“All wisdom comes from the Lord and with Him it remains forever”; and for us “fear of the Lord is glory and splendor,” for by fear of the Lord are we graced with His wisdom.  And then what shall we lack of His power?  Indeed, we shall by holy fear come to know the “holiness [that] befits [His] house” and so dwell with Him who is “from everlasting.”  Do you believe this, my brother, my sister?  Come to the One who is seated far above us, and you shall do His work here on earth with the wisdom His Blessed Mother imparts to all her blessed children. 

*******

O LORD, in your wisdom and majesty  

you save us from all evil;

let us stand with you in holiness.

YHWH, shine your wisdom upon us like holy light; let us grope in darkness no more, blind to your presence.  Jesus your Son has come down from the mountain to remain with us – may we run to Him for healing.

If wisdom had not been revealed to us, how would we know your majesty, LORD?  If the Christ had not come to us, what would we know of your glory?  But as it is, He has come, and in Him all things are ours to know.  As it is, the Spirit now breathes upon us. 

May we be blessed with fear of you, O LORD our God, that all demons may be cast from our hearts and we might stand in strength with your only Son.  O let us have faith in Him and the power at His command!  Let us know that we are the work of your hands and to holiness in your House you call us.  In awe let us come before you. 

Direct download: BC-022111-M_7_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Heb.11:1-7;   Ps.145:2-5,10-11;   Mk.9:2-13)

 

“Rabbi, how good it is for us to be here.”

 

In yesterday’s gospel Jesus promised, “Among those standing here there are some who will not taste death until they see the reign of God established in power.”  And today we witness the keeping of that promise, as upon “a high mountain” Jesus is transfigured before the eyes of Peter, James, and John.  In all His glory does the Christ appear, with Elijah and Moses standing near and the voice of God the Father speaking of the blessing of His only Son.  Indeed, how good it is for these apostles to be here!

But what these favored apostles see is not for their eyes alone; through them all shall come to believe and so find vision of our glorious Lord.  Through them and their witness, faith is strengthened in all our hearts, faith which enables us to “perceive that the worlds were created by the word of God, and that what is visible came into being through the invisible.”  Yes, the invisible is made known to all our eyes by the power of God, and all the Lord’s disciples join Peter, James, and John on Mount Tabor, basking in the vision of the glorified Son.

Know first though, brothers and sisters, that “anyone who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who seek Him.”  Indeed, first one must have faith, or to one’s eyes nothing will be revealed.  Have faith and know that God is a loving God, that He desires greatly to share His glory with all His children of faith; even as He has with Peter, James, and John; even as He has with Abel, Enoch, and Noah; even as He has with Moses and Elijah.  But it is only “because of faith the men of old were approved by God,” only because of faith His apostles were able to see His Light shining – and only by your faith that you too will come into His presence.  Have you their “confident assurance” burning in your souls?  It is not far from you.

O Lord, “let all your faithful ones bless you.  Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might.”  Let all proclaim the favor with which you have deigned to grace their lives.  Now that you have “risen from the dead,” now that our cause for faith is made complete, now that its firm foundation is set… open our mouths to declare your glory.  We know that you had to “suffer much and be despised” and that with Elijah, with the Baptist, “they did entirely as they pleased,” but we do not fear the persecution which must come – only let us be where you are.

 

*******

 

O LORD, make visible to us your invisible presence

and let us live in the light of your glory.

 

     YHWH, if we had but faith in you, what might our eyes not see? What awe might we know in your presence if our hearts were but set on worship of your glorious majesty.

     And why should we not have faith, LORD? Are there not signs of your glory everywhere, and most of all within our souls? Can we not hear you speaking to us if we but listen? Could we not see you if we but opened our eyes?

     Why should we need the proof this world requires when the proof you give is so much greater? Are we not living in your Word, O LORD? Are you not hope itself? Then let us but live and we shall know you, and such knowledge will be undeniable.

     Reveal to us your glory, LORD. Let us know what your apostles know; let us be witness to your majesty. Now that Jesus is risen let all the ends of the earth declare that your glory has come among us.

Direct download: BC-021911-Sa_6_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gn.9:1-13;   Ps.102:16-23,29;   Mk.8:27-33)

 

“The children of your servants shall abide,

and their posterity shall continue in your presence.”

 

In our first reading from Genesis, God remakes the world.  As once He sent forth Adam and Eve upon their creation, so now He blesses Noah and his sons with the same words: “Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth.”  Here we are reminded that “in the image of God has man been made,” and once again God calls man to “abound on the earth and subdue it,” giving him power over all its living creatures.  And now a promise is added, a covenant is made “between [God] and the earth,” sealed with the sign of the rainbow – “never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth”…  We shall endure on the land He has made for us.

And the Lord works to remake His people in our gospel as well, as “on the way He ask[s] His disciples… ‘Who do you say that I am?’”  He is the new Creation, He is “the Messiah,” and in Him all children shall be remade in the image of God, shall become as His only Son.  And these truly shall endure, their posterity shall continue forever in the presence of Him who never dies.  Even after the final destruction of this earth and those who cling to it by the fire of God, even beyond the covenant made with Noah, which shall so soon pass with the dust from which we were made… eternally we shall remain in the new heavens and the new earth, the ones which themselves will never pass away.  For God’s promise to Noah is only for as long as the earth endures, but the earth is indeed passing away: only the covenant Jesus is bringing to His disciples and their posterity is one which is lasting as Heaven.

But to achieve this covenant, to found it firmly in the soul of Peter and his brothers and all us children of these servants, death must come to the only Son, and so surely to us all.  The paradox seems difficult to comprehend, but with the vision of God, who “look[s] down from His holy height,” it is easy to see: as long as the earth endures and we upon it, so long shall sin also endure.  (This is what the Lord sees when “from heaven He [beholds] the earth.”)  Thus the only way to “release those doomed to die” by their imprisonment to sin is for the corrupted vessel in which we dwell to pass from the Lord’s sight.  Thus does Jesus Christ die.  This must He do in the place of evil man and all his abominations that the world now in the hands of Satan might be destroyed, and the Spirit of God come to life.  And so His sacrifice brings our salvation, brings us new life in the New Jerusalem, where the servants of the Lord increase and multiply.  In the domain He has prepared by His blood, let us ever remain.

 

*******

O LORD, look down and save us from destruction

by the sacrifice of your only Son.

     YHWH, what do you see as you look down on us from your holy height? Can you be pleased with your creatures if they do not follow your ways? You desire to give us the earth and all it holds, but we are not worthy of such a gift. And so you send your only Son to redeem us, to remake us in your image, that we might be pleasing to you and that we might inherit not just this world but eternal life in Him who dies for us. Praise you for your kindness toward us! Let us come to Him and follow in His way.

     Jesus dies for us, LORD. In flesh He comes and offers His life that all the corruption upon us might be taken away, that it might die with Him on the Cross. And should we not follow Him to the Cross? Should we not see that all that is evil in us dies with Him that we might rise unto your heavenly kingdom? O let it be so! Let us come to the place where we shall never be destroyed. Look down upon us and hear our prayer.

Direct download: BC-021711-Th_6_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gn.8:6-13,20-22;   Ps.116:12-15,17-19;   Mk.8:22-26)

 

“Noah then removed the covering of the ark

and saw that the surface of the ground was drying up.”

 

A return to earth, the flood waters having ceased.  A new day dawns in this “the first month, on the first day of the month.”  The world is made anew, and it shall last, and man shall last upon it, until the last day comes.  Here is the second Creation, the first re-creation… the new generation extending from Noah.  After the cleansing rain, a soft white glow is upon the earth, a radiance of God’s presence.

Gradually it comes to us, this vision of new life that is the Lord Himself.  Three times Noah sent the dove forth from the ark before the blessed moment came when “it did not come back,” when all could rejoice that the waters had subsided.  And twice the Lord touched the blind man’s eyes before “his sight was restored and he could see everything clearly.”  Just as first the dove came back quickly, then with a “plucked-off olive leaf” in its bill (showing that the tops of trees were visible), before finding a place to make a home; so first the man sees people “like walking trees” before the Lord touches Him again and perfect vision becomes his own.  It is only gradually – day by day, week by week, year by year – that we come to full awareness of the Lord and with Him make our home.

And once out of the ark, “Noah built an altar to the Lord.”  And how pleased the Lord is with the “sweet odor” of the sacrifice he offers.  Here is the beginning of the sacrifices at the heart of Jewish worship which shall find their place in the temple at Jerusalem, “in the courts of the house of the Lord,” and know their fulfillment in the eternal sacrifice of the only Son.  Of course, it is not the odor alone which pleases the Lord, but what it signifies: Noah thinks first of Him who always thinks of us first, and so engages God in a marvelous mutual love.  Here our second human father reveals to the Lord that the goodness He has planted in us is not gone, that it is not necessarily so that “the desires of man’s heart are evil from the start,” that he is capable of love… though this truth shall not be known in full until the redemptive offering of Christ on the cross.

“As long as the earth lasts, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease,” and mankind shall not be struck again from the land.  “How shall [we] make a return to the Lord” for this special blessing?  And how shall we repay Him for “the cup of salvation” we now “take up,” the cup which holds the blood of the Son?  For Noah’s sacrifice is indeed made complete in our midst, before our eyes, and the waters that once threatened to overwhelm us now recede as we discover our home in the heavenly kingdom.  We must show that the fullness of God’s love exists in us and join our lives to our Savior’s holy sacrifice.

 

*******

O LORD, open our eyes

that we might know your presence among us

and offer you due praise in the sacrifice of our lives.

     YHWH, may our sacrifice be acceptable in your sight. May it come from a sincere heart and express our gratitude for saving us from the overwhelming waters of our sins. May it be joined to the sacrifice of your Son and so be fruitful, and so serve to keep us from all harm and bring us to your kingdom.

     Our blindness we beg you cure, LORD, by the grace at the hands of Jesus. May He take us aside and place us in your presence that we might be healed of all that keeps us from knowing you and praising you for your goodness. Help us to have faith that you are leading us to the land you promise, to the new heavens and new earth. For this grace let us ever call upon your NAME.

     And help us to make return to you, O LORD, you who alone deserve our worship and love. A holy offering may we lift up even as we lay down our lives with your only Son.

Direct download: BC-021611-W_6_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gn.6:5-8,7:1-5,10;   Ps.29:1-4,9-11;   Mk.8:14-21)

 

“The voice of the Lord is over the waters,

the Lord, over vast waters.”

 

“Mighty” indeed is the voice of God, but who can hear it?  Who listens to its “majestic” ringing in their ears?

In the time of Noah the Lord’s “heart was grieved,” for He “saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth, and how no desire that his heart conceived was ever anything but evil.”  So great was the Lord’s grief over man’s disobedience that He uttered the saddest words we could hear: “I am sorry I made them,” and resolved to “wipe [them] out from the earth.”  If we have not pleased our Father, what hope have we of life?  If we have not listened to His voice, what can we hear but a sentence of condemnation?

It seems Jesus’ heart is grieved, too, today at His disciples’ ignorance of His instruction.  Here in a boat upon the waters His voice chastises their slowness to comprehend His call to wakefulness in the Spirit: “Are your minds completely blinded?  Have you eyes but no sight?  Ears but no hearing?” and finally, “Do you still not understand?”  And though He seems eminently frustrated by the fact that their vision is still trained so stubbornly on the bread of earth rather than the Bread of heaven, though they so quickly forget the miracles He has worked and the power He has revealed, yet He shall not remove them from His sight, but continue in patience with their schooling. 

For just as “Noah found favor with the Lord” and thus served to salvage our race from utter destruction, so the Lord’s apostles have found favor with Him.  And Jesus knows that as “Noah did just as the Lord had commanded him,” putting complete faith in God’s word, so these disciples will also in strength and in faith carry out His mission after His own death and resurrection, after His ascension into heaven… and with the Holy Spirit’s power upon them.  As in Noah’s ark God keeps man’s “issue alive over all the earth,” preserving them from the flood, so now in the barque of Peter “all the [Lord’s] household” takes refuge from the fiery destruction that is coming upon the world in these the last days.

Like the “one loaf” the disciples hold in their hands is the Church of the Lord – it is all that is needed for food in this world.  And so as we sail along to the farther shore, let us listen to God’s mighty voice speaking through Her.  As the end approaches, be sure to heed the Lord’s instruction: “Keep your eyes open!”  Beware the hypocrisy and pride of the powers that be.

 

*******

O LORD, how shall we be just in your sight

and begin to understand your majesty and glory?

YHWH, you are majestic, exalted far above earth and sea and every living creature.  But we are deaf and blind to your ways, and so, beset by wickedness.  How shall we hear your mighty voice calling to us over the waters, calling to us in your Son?  How shall we heed the thunder of your glory and praise you in your Temple with full voice?  How do we begin to understand what is far beyond our poor minds?

Send your Spirit upon us, LORD, that we might know and eat the Bread that is your Son, that we might be saved from the destruction that is coming upon all living things.  Into your Ark let us come, into your holy Church; with your apostles let us dwell, enlightened by your teaching and sharing in your food.

The Bread of Heaven make our own, LORD, that we might rise above the earth to where you dwell enthroned in glory and majesty with your only Son.

Direct download: BC-021511-Tu_6_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gn.4:1-15,25;   Ps.50:1,8,14,16-17,20-21;   Mk.8:11-13)

 

“Sin is a demon lurking at the door:

his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.”

 

Thus does the Lord encourage Cain not to hang his head at his failures in worship but to learn from his errors and be strong.  Here already in Scripture we see how redemption is possible, how God gives us power to conquer sin.  But Cain does not fight off the demon at his door but instead attacks his brother Abel, killing him who has overcome sin.  The jealous demons write their name in Abel’s blood, by the hand of Cain his brother.

And the Pharisees are the same as Cain.  It is they of whom our psalmist sings, they who “recite [the Lord’s] statutes, and profess [His] covenant with [their] mouth,” but whose hearts are far from Him and who “hate discipline and cast [His] words behind” themselves.  It is they who “sit speaking against [their] brother,” for indeed they come to “argue with Jesus,” to “test” Him who is most especially their brother, who is their Messiah.  And it is they who will shed their brother’s blood, who will conspire to kill their own “mother’s Son.”  And though Jesus Himself “correct[s] [them] by drawing [their sin] up before [their] eyes,” yet, like Cain, they refuse to see the evil taking hold of them, and so will be unable to turn from it.  And their punishment shall be greater than that of Cain, for so much greater is their sin.  As Cain is banished from the soil which had been his own, so the covenant which the Lord had given into the Chosen people’s possession shall be taken from their leaders’ hands, and they shall be left empty – except for the hope of turning to Him and cleansing themselves in Jesus’ blood.

The sign the Pharisees seek is essentially one they would make with their own hands, one which they would find at their command.  But “no such sign will be given” them, for then truly would they be condemned.  They must come to the sign Jesus is and accept it as the Lord God offers – their attempts to control the Father’s will are perhaps the most tragic of transgressions.  They say, as does Cain, that God must accept matters their way and are not humble to His Son’s teaching.  And so, sadly for them, “He left them” there on the shore alone, burning in their jealousy.

Fight the demons, brothers and sisters.  Ward off sin in all its forms.  The Lord promises we shall have the strength, if we are willing to turn from our sins and accept His chastising word… and wash ourselves in His cleansing blood.  But if we remain “resentful” and so “deaf” to the Lord’s correction, what shall save our souls?  And with Cain we will wander restlessly the earth, avoiding the glorious presence of the Lord. 

*******

O LORD, we are a jealous race;

forgive our shedding the blood of our Brother.

YHWH, how sinful we are!  How we turn our hand against our brother, inflicting upon him the punishment for our guilt.  In condemning others we seek to rid ourselves of the condemnation we deserve; but this only brings the punishment on our own heads.  Help us to admit our sin and turn away from it!

Killing our Brother will not free us from the death upon our souls.  O LORD, how can we be so blind, so hardhearted, as to think such wickedness is our salvation?  Jesus comes to us as our Brother, as the one closest to us and most concerned for our well-being… but we cannot bear to hear His voice speaking of our need to turn away from sin, and so, what can we do but kill Him?  O set us free from bloodguilt!

Accept the sacrifice of a pure heart, dear God; make our offering to you sincere.  Our very hearts let us give in the service of our brother.

Direct download: BC-021411-M_6_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gn.3:9-24;   Ps.90:1-6,12-13;   Mk.8:1-10)

 

“You are dust,

and to dust you shall return.”

 

Because of the fall we come face-to-face with this truth: our own mortality, our own humility, that we are but a creature made from the dust of the earth.  And this truth we must understand.  Because we have “eaten from the tree of which [God] had forbidden [us] to eat,” “thorns and thistles” the earth brings forth for us and “by the sweat of [our] face shall [we] get bread to eat,” until we learn our place – for our own sakes – before our Creator, or “until we return to the ground, from which we were taken.”

“Cursed be the ground because of you!” the Lord God exclaims to the man.  The womb of the woman, like the earth for man, shall bring her pain in bearing children, in bearing her fruit… and the serpent shall eat dust “all the days of [his] life.”  If now we should eat of the tree of life, to what state would we be condemned!  How shall we be saved from such a fate, wherein our own flesh brings upon us such pangs – how shall we escape ourselves?  And how shall we look upon God again?

“Teach us to number our days aright,” our psalmist cries, “that we may gain wisdom of heart.”  And what is he asking but that we realize, as God would teach us, that though He is “from everlasting to everlasting,” that though for Him “a thousand years are as… a watch of the night,” we are “like the changing grass, which at dawn springs up anew, but by evening wilts and fades.”  So passing is our life.  This indeed we must comprehend, for this is truth, and failing to understand it we shall not find answer to our prayer: “Return, O Lord!  How long?  Have pity on your servants!”  But knowing our limitations before our God, He comes quickly to remedy our weakness.

See how Jesus looks upon those who “were without anything to eat,” those whose bodies fainted before His eyes.  Listen to the thought of His heart: “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd.  By now they have been with me three days and have nothing to eat.  If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way.  Some of them have come a great distance.”  Oh how the Lord has pity on us!  Oh how He knows our plight – that we are but fading grass, having been far removed from His sight!  And how He wills to feed us, to nourish those who come to Him, who share the “three days” of His trial.  For though they toiled not, “the people in the crowd ate their fill” in the most peaceful of fields.  The Lord had come to save them!  And now eternal life is upon them.

Brothers and sisters, we need no longer fear our dying flesh, for the Lord feeds us with Bread that does not fail, that brings life eternal to the lowly body that eats it.  And so, no longer are we dust alone, though to dust our body may return.  But we become eternal souls in the hand of our Savior, eating from the tree of life He is.  In all humility let us receive His gift, His saving presence among us.  And to God we shall return, and now forever.

 

*******

O LORD, feed us with the Bread of life

that we might lie in the dust no more.

YHWH, have pity on our weakness, for our flesh is like the changing grass – we do but wilt and fade.  Weak in body and in spirit we find ourselves separated from you by our sins, by our disobedience to your command.  You care only for our good; let us come to you and remain with you till you take pity on our souls.

You give us food to eat, O LORD, even the body of your only Son.  Let us not prefer the food of this world or that which the devil offers.  If our eyes are opened unto death, if we but see our weakness, our nakedness before you, without realizing your eternal love… to what end shall we come?  We shall but return to dust.

Your punishments are good, LORD; your chastisements are what heal our tortured souls.  Let our suffering be joined to Jesus’ own, that we shall hunger for you alone, and in our humility you will be quick to feed us and return us to your fold.

Direct download: BC-021211-Sa_5_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gn.3:1-8;   Ps.32:1-2,5-7;   Mk.7:31-37)

 

“The eyes of both of them were opened,

and they realized that they were naked.”

 

How different this opening of the eyes of Adam and Eve is from the opening of the deaf man’s ears in our gospel; for our first parents’ eyes were opened unto blindness, but the deaf mute’s ears and tongue only to light.

Why this difference?  Why such contrast in the freeing of the senses to receive their signals?  Why is one evil and the other good?  The opening of the eyes of the man and the woman brings their downfall because they are not prepared for what they see.  They seek to be “like gods who know what is good and what is bad,” but they have not the skins to hold such wine of wisdom.  And so they burst.  And so they died before the glorious light suddenly before them… and so “the man and his wife hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden,” for they could not show their faces of dust before His Face of Majesty.  (Indeed, the woman first erred when she “answered the serpent,” when she responded to his enticement, not realizing she was no match for his “cunning”… much as she failed to understand she is no match for God’s wisdom.)

On the other hand, the opening of the deaf man’s ears and the loosing of his tongue is prepared by Jesus Christ, He in whose presence we are able to see light itself, He who provides the new wineskins for our becoming like God, enabling us to stand before the wonder of His Holy Face.  Notice how “Jesus took him off by himself away from the crowd” before healing the deaf-mute; see how this contrasts with Adam and Eve’s hiding from God.  Where they would avoid the glance of the Lord, Jesus brings the man closer to Him by drawing him away from the crowds; and there, more perfectly in His presence, He heals him.  And the man is healed, of course, because he himself does not hide: he is brought openly by his friends to Jesus.  In this way he “acknowledged [his] sin” before God; his “guilt [he] covered not” (as the man and woman covered their nakedness with fig leaves).  No, in his “spirit there is no guile,” and so his “fault is taken away”; and so, paradoxically, he who “confess[es] his sin to the Lord,” as the humble King David, finds that by the Lord his “sin is covered” – he is forgiven.

Brothers and sisters, let us learn to open our tattered souls to our Lord and God, never to hide; for to hide is hell and the Lord calls us to Him in the light of heaven.  And He will prepare our eyes to see, and He will make our ears ready to hear, and our tongues shall be loosed to praise His name and exclaim our amazement at His grace… for we shall be released from the blindness of sin and be as His Son, who alone can answer the devil.

 

*******

O LORD, let us hear your voice calling us

to confess our sins and return to you this day.

YHWH, how terrible it is when we transgress your Word, when we rebel against your loving will!  We are blinded by our sin even as our eyes are opened to our weakness… and so we hide from your glory, which we cannot contain.

We have bodies, LORD.  You have made us so.  We are not like you, pure Spirit and perfect Light.  And how weak our bodies can be when we lack your secure protection, when we lose your presence with us by our failing to love you.  Who can save us from such travail?  Who can open our ears again to hear and heed your holy Word?

O LORD, as we confess our faults to you, as we come before your Son to seek His healing – He who comes to show us that we are like you (for He is like you and we like Him), He who would restore us to our place as your children, blessed to be in your image… then our nakedness is covered; it is taken away as we reveal our weakness before you.  Let us listen only to you!

Direct download: BC-021111-F_5_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gn.2:18-25;   Ps.128:1-5;   Mk.7:24-30)

 

“A man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife,

and the two of them become one body.”

 

And Jesus leaves His Father’s side and His mother’s care, and takes to wife His chosen people.  From His side indeed we are born, and become His holy family.

To the “sons of the household” Jesus comes; among the Israelites He walks, calling them to His table to eat the food of eternal life, of eternal union with Him and His Father.  Those who were conceived by God, who were taken as a rib from His own side and formed as His special bride, Jesus seeks to bring to full nuptial blessing in Him.  For this He would even die (as any man should for his wife).  But one “approached Him and crouched at His feet” who was not among those called to the “table first,” who was not of the family of the Chosen.  Unfazed by His rebuff she continues begging, not for “the food of the children” but just for their “leavings,” their crumbs, knowing even this will be enough to join her to His banquet, believing only a word from His mouth will save her own daughter from the devil’s clutches and bring her to His sacred presence.

And moved is He by her who is unmoved by His rebuke.  And so, “when she got home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.”  And so she finds herself and her family wed to Jesus the Christ.  Why?  Because she is one who does indeed “fear the Lord,” who does in fact “walk in His ways”; crawling on her knees before Him, she finds herself “happy” and “favored,” eating “the fruit of [her] handiwork.”  She knows she is not one of the “wild animals” or of the “birds of the air”: she is made in God’s image, a human being, and is inextricably drawn to His side, the side from which she has been born… and thus she finds her life and becomes with her daughter (with all us Gentile people) one of the “olive plants around [His] table,” grafted onto His “fruitful vine.”

Let man love woman as his own flesh, and let all men love one another as fellow children, for our Father in heaven loves us all much more greatly and draws us all to be wed to Him through our Bridegroom, His only Son.  As His side is opened by the lance and so we His Church are born in His blood, washed clean by His holy water, so let husbands give themselves for their wives, knowing they are “taken from” their own sides.  Yes, let us all die for one another that the love of God might extend to “the recesses of [His] home,” from which no soul is excluded.  In His blessed marriage feast let us all shout for joy!

 

*******

O LORD, blessed are those

who humble themselves before you;

they shall be joined to you.

YHWH, flesh of your flesh we are; flesh of your flesh let us be, wed to you through the flesh of your only Son.  One with you let us dwell forever, for from you our very lives taken.

And help us thus to love one another, LORD.  If you love us so much to give us yourself, let us then reflect your love and so give ourselves for the sake of others.  Let husbands love their wives and all souls serve the needs of others, finding great joy and blessing in thus serving your will.

To your table let all come, LORD, that they might share the food of your children, the Bread that is Jesus your Son, the Word that is your Spirit.  May all souls recognize the greatness and the goodness of Him who walks among us, and may we be hidden with Him in you and so become your fruitful children.  In faith let us be born and live in you and with you forever; let none be alone or apart from you.

Direct download: BC-021011-Th_5_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gn.2:4-9,15-17;   Ps.104:1-2,27-30;   Mk.7:14-23)

 

“The Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground

and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,

and so man became a living being.”

 

In addition, “out of the ground the Lord God made various trees grow that were delightful to look at and good for food.”  These would feed the body of the man.  But only spirit feeds the soul. 

Body and soul.  They meet in man and become one, yet one is the cause of life while the other passes.  When God formed man out of the clay of the ground, what He held in His hands was the body, and at the time it was dead.  Not until He breathed into him did man become alive: in this breath he found his soul.  And the time shall come when this form does rot, but not the soul.  Only in heaven will we have bodies that live eternally with our spirits (though certain saints – as did our Blessed Mother – may know this holy union even here on earth.)

And so does Jesus tell us “that nothing that enters a man from outside can make him impure,” and, to make this point graphically clear, adds, “It does not penetrate his being, but enters his stomach only and passes into the latrine.”  What is of the body is just so passing, and therefore of no consequence.  It is “what emerges from within a man” that “makes him impure.”  For sins such as “acts of fornication, theft, murder,” etc. are not the result of the food we eat, but of the thoughts in “the deep recesses of the heart.”  These are what make a man impure – or, by contrast, which will make him pure.  It is the soul that is capable of good or evil, not the body.  And even though it is eating of the fruit of “the tree of the knowledge of good and bad” that causes man’s downfall, this is not the result of the fruit itself, but of the covetousness and pride of man’s disobedience.  It is the ‘eating,’ the desire of the eye and the heart and the act which follows, which constitutes the sin, and not the fruit eaten.

Our psalmist speaks of the body and soul as well.  It is so that by the Lord we are “filled with good things,” that He gives us “food in due time,” food we need for our survival; but as the psalmist says of the soul, “If you take away their breath, they perish and return to the dust.”  How quickly we would die, in a moment or two, without the breath of God in our nostrils, without His Word to give us life.  And what great care we should take of the spirit that enters our beings.  May our souls ever be set upon our God and His teaching.  May our every thought and word and action be of Him, that we shall never be disobedient.  O Lord, “when you send forth your Spirit, [we] are created, and you renew the face of the earth.”  Give us your divine breath of life in our nostrils this day.

 

*******

O LORD, you make us of the clay of the earth,

but it is not the body that is of consequence

but the Spirit breathing within us –

let it be your own.

YHWH, it is you who make us of the clay of the ground and you who breathe the breath of life into our nostrils.  It is you who feed us in both body and spirit – you are our LORD and God.

It is you who care for us each day, O LORD, you who send your Son to take away our sins.  He reveals to us that it is not the flesh that gives life but the Spirit that is within; and He would cleanse us of all iniquity that we might stand as your sons always.

Though Jesus comes in the flesh and gives us of His flesh to eat, this food is not the passing kind but that which lasts unto eternal life.  And so, LORD, we pray that we shall embrace Him and the Word, the Spirit, He imparts to us.  Thus will we  be raised from the dust of death, from the chains that bind us to this earth, and rise with Him unto Heaven.

  Feed us with your Word, LORD, that we might be renewed and live forever in your Garden.    

Direct download: BC-020911-W_5_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gn.1:20-2:4;   Ps.8:2,4-9;   Mk.7:1-13)

 

“God created man in His image;

in the divine image He created him.”

 

At God’s word “the water teem[s] with an abundance of living creatures… birds fly beneath the dome of the sky,” and “the earth bring[s] forth all kinds of living creatures,” too.  And “God saw how good it was.”  Then God conceived the crown of His creation and said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”  And so, “little less than the angels He made him” and gave him “dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.”  And all this was “very good” in God’s eyes.  Alleluia!

But what does man do with this ultimate blessing from His Creator: he takes the freedom and power placed in his hands and makes himself a slave to “cups and jugs and kettles,” forever trying to wash his hands clean of the sin upon them.  God gives man “rule over the works of [His] hands, putting all things under his feet,” and all man can do is trample upon them as he forgets the God who made him.

“How accurately Isaiah prophesied about [us] hypocrites when he wrote…  ‘Empty is the reverence they do me because they teach as dogmas mere human precepts.’”  Placing our traditions and practices above God’s commandments we lose sight of the glory upon us, of the majesty of God’s works around us, as we lock ourselves in a dark and empty room of our own making.  And all the creatures God has placed in our unclean hands suffer too, as our hearts turn from their stewardship to our selfish plottings.  And so, though we are crowned by God “with glory and honor,” we crown Him with thorns.

O Lord, “what is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him?”  Lord, come and restore us to our former glory.  Father, let us give you true honor.  May your Word be made fruitful in our lives and we become as your Son.  Let all be blessed and made holy again in your sight.  In Jesus’ blood please wash our hands, that we might help you build your peaceful kingdom.

 

*******

O LORD, may your Word be fulfilled in us;

may we who were created in your image

be recreated in the image of your Son,

washed clean in His blood.

YHWH, you place all things in our hands, and we but corrupt them.  Your glory and majesty you reflect in your creation, and especially in man, but he cares not well for your gift and abuses his dominion.  His hands are not subject to your will but soiled by his own, and so creation with them.

In your image you create us, LORD: what greater blessing could there be!  Like gods we are made to reflect your presence on this plane – why have we gone so astray?  And how shall we return to you?  Only by heeding the chastising word of your only Son, who speaks with your own authority.  Listening to Him we heed your commands; turning from Him we can only be condemned.

Thank you for all your blessings, LORD, for the beauty and goodness of your creation.  Most of all, we thank you for making us in your image.  Let us not nullify your word and remove ourselves from your presence, but honor you in all we do.

Direct download: BC-020811-Tu_5_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gn.1:1-19;   Ps.104:1-2,5-6,10,12,24,31,35;   Mk.6:53-56)

 

“How manifold are your works, O Lord!

In wisdom you have wrought them all.”

 

It is the Lord who “fixed the earth upon its foundation not to be moved forever,” and “with the ocean, as with a garment [He] covered it” – “the earth is full of His creatures.”  By the Word of His mouth all comes into being, and is sustained, sustained in the goodness of God.

Here as we read the beginning of sacred Scripture, we might do well to quote St. Bonaventure from the day’s Office of Readings.  In speaking of knowledge of Christ as “the main source of a firm understanding of the truth of all sacred Scripture,” He states: “It is impossible, therefore, for anyone to achieve this understanding unless he first receives the gift of faith in Christ.  This faith is the foundation of the whole Bible, a lamp and a key to its understanding.”  But how many read God’s Word as though in a dark room.

The prevailing lack of faith and so blindness to the truth of Scripture is evident again today in the commentary of my missal, which says of the Creation prophecy in Genesis, “The story is divided artificially,” giving as example the fact that “the sun is created after light.”  How indeed we grope in darkness without the light of the Spirit; without childlike faith we shall never understand God’s Word, never enter His kingdom.  Is the light of God dependent upon the sun or the stars?  When our psalmist sings of the Lord “robed in light as with a cloak,” is it sunlight of which he speaks?  Does the light of the Lord not necessarily precede the limited light of the sun – which the Lord has but made “to govern the day” for a time – even as it shall be all by which we see when the sun and the moon and the stars pass away?  Where is your faith, where is your understanding… why is the Lord’s light not in you, my brother?

Brothers and sisters, as the people of Gennesaret upon seeing Jesus “immediately recognized Him” and “scurried about” to bring all their sick to Him, so we must be drawn by the light of God to the Truth that is Christ the Lord.  He is in every page of Scripture.  He is at work with the Father in Creation.  He is the all-powerful Word which brings all into being by its eminent wisdom made flesh before our eyes; and we shall never know the wonder of God’s works and the wonders He has wrought in our own soul unless we come to faith in Him.  In Jesus are all God’s works revealed.  He is the light of the universe.  (And though His radiance extends beyond our sight to infinite galaxies, it is here in this dome between clouds and sea we dwell, the earth from which we have been formed solidly beneath our feet.)

 

*******

O LORD, you created the world and all it holds

and redeemed us by your Son –

let your light be upon us this day.

YHWH, by a word from your mouth you have created the heavens and the earth and given us light to guide our way.  It is you in whom all glory and majesty dwell, yet you have made this world as a reflection of your beauty.  For this we should ever praise you.

But how we have disfigured your Creation, LORD!  How we have lost our way.  Still, you do not leave us alone in the darkness we have made – to us you send your only Son, Word made flesh, Light of the world.  And as we recognize in Him your glory in our midst, as we reach out to Him for healing, we are made well again, whole in your sight.

Let us dwell, O LORD, in the place you have made for us; in your goodness let us remain.  Through the ministry of your Son let us be fed by your hand, that we might be led one day to your Promised Land.

Direct download: BC-020711-M_5_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Heb.13:15-17,20-21;   Ps.23:1-6;   Mk.6:30-34)

 

“The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want.”

 

All things are cared for by the Lord; our work and our rest are in His hands.  Nothing need we fear.  No good desire goes unfulfilled – His sheep He loves.

Brothers and sisters, “through Christ may [the God of peace] carry out in you all that is pleasing to Him.”  Let Him guide you “in right paths” for the accomplishment of His will.  In “good deeds and generosity,” in obedience to superiors, in every intention of the heart, “continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which acknowledge His name,” for this thanksgiving He desires before all deeds and in all deeds; such praise will ensure His blessing, and lead to greater praise, and so greater blessing!  Have every confidence that the Lord “will furnish you with all that is good, that you may do His will,” and rejoice always in all you accomplish by His grace.

See in our gospel that when “the apostles returned to Jesus and reported to Him all that they had done and what they had taught,” “He said to them, ‘Come by yourselves to an out-of-the-way place and rest a little.’”  They have done His work faithfully, and now He would give them rest; now He would refresh and renew their souls.  “Beside restful waters He leads me”: in a “boat by themselves” He takes them.  “In verdant pastures He gives me repose”: “to a deserted place” the boat goes.  And though upon arrival at their destination the people wait “like sheep without a shepherd” and so their work must resume, this does not distract from the promised rest which awaits the finishing of our work in this world, and indeed but emphasizes that our rest shall be complete only in heaven.

For now the Lord watches over.  Now He cares for us like needful sheep.  Now He takes upon Himself all our fears and burdens, and calls us to do the same for all.  What should we want?  What do we need when we do the Lord’s will?  In this laying down of our lives all is provided; in our work we take our rest, we eat our bread.  For He is with us with His “goodness and kindness”; He remains at our side even in darkness…  We become one with our Shepherd, and no further grace we desire.

 

*******

O LORD, in you alone we take our rest,

through the blood of your only Son.

YHWH, through Jesus may we carry out your will; washed in His blood may we be raised from the dead.  In Him let us take our refuge, and nothing shall be wanting to us.

In your Son all our needs are met, and this to overflowing.  For He has pity on all our weakness – O LORD, let us be obedient to our Shepherd!

LORD our God, let us praise you in all things, your NAME ever on our lips.  In all our work may we be blessed and brought into your heavenly presence.

You would give us rest, dear God; you call us to an out-of-the-way place to be with you.  May we find repose in your eternal kingdom after these days of toil are passed.

But even here you are with us, LORD, even in this dark place.  Your Son is the Shepherd who walks amongst His sheep, leading us ever to your side.

Direct download: BC-020511-Sa_4_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Heb.13:1-8;   Ps.27:1,3,5,8-9;   Mk.6:14-29)

 

“I will never desert you, nor will I forsake you.”

 

A series of parallels we have today between our first reading and our gospel.  Paul instructs us in his letter to the Hebrews not to “neglect to show hospitality” to our “fellow Christians,” since we may be “entertain[ing] angels” thereby; but it is not angels Herod entertains at his birthday banquet, and a false sense of hospitality leads him to grave sin, as when Herodias’ daughter requests the Baptist’s head on a platter, “because of his oath and the presence of his guests,” he “dispatch[es] an executioner.” 

Paul also tells us to “be mindful of prisoners as if [we] were sharing their imprisonment”; and it seems almost against himself Herod indeed sympathizes with John.  We are told, “When he heard him speak he was very much disturbed; yet he felt the attraction of his words.”  He knows John is the angel he should better entertain, but denies the voice speaking to his heart.  And so Paul’s warning, “You may yet suffer as they do,” proves true with Herod, who is clearly imprisoned by his own fear that John has been raised from the dead to haunt his soul.

Of course, the central cause of all Herod’s problems is his breaking the command Paul expresses distinctly: “Let marriage be honored in every way and the marriage bed be kept undefiled,” for it is “on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married,” that John chastises Herod, that the king has the prophet imprisoned, and that he is cornered into murdering him.  And so now he knows very deeply the extent to which “God will judge fornicators and adulterers.”  Indeed, his adulterous relationship and his niece/daughter’s dance of lust stand as examples comparable to the profligate lands of Sodom and Gomorrah for their immorality, for their opposition to the Father’s love.

It is the Father’s love and our trust therein which rises above the immorality and violence so present in our gospel.  At the heart of Paul’s letter is his paraphrase of today’s psalm: “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?”  Indeed the faith in God David sings of so confidently – “Though an army encamp against me… though war be waged upon me, even then will I trust” – is what the Baptist holds in his own spirit, even as he extends his neck for the executioner’s blade.  He knows well that the Lord “will hide [him] in His abode in the day of trouble,” and so no trouble does his death cause him: the Lord will certainly “set [him] high upon a rock,” keeping him untouched by the lust and destruction which surround him in Herod’s dank prison.  It is Herod upon whom darkness shall fall.

“Your presence, O Lord, I seek.  Hide not your face from me.”  Through all things let me remain in your light.  And as John’s life ended, this greatest of “leaders who spoke the word of God” to us, so let my own, in faith in you, O Lord, who are with us forever.

 

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