The BreadCast
Daily Exposition of the Readings of Catholic Mass, from the book 'Our Daily Bread' by James H. Kurt (now with Chanted Verses, and added text of Prayer for the Day). Additional cast - SaintsCast, entries from the book 'Prayers to the Saints' (also by James Kurt). Both books bear imprimatur.

(2Cor.9:6-11;   Ps.112:1-4,9;   Mt.6:1-6,16-18)

 

“Keep your deeds of mercy secret,

and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”

 

 

In the ground, hidden and secret, the seed is planted.  From the womb of the earth it sprouts, and gives its yield.  We plant the seed; God provides the seed.  And it is through His power that anything which we plant grows and increases.  So it is with our generous acts, as well as our prayer and fasting.

“Happy the man who fears the Lord… His generosity shall endure forever.”  For “He who supplies seed for the sower and bread for the eater will provide in abundance; He will multiply the seed you sow and increase your generous yield.”  Trusting in Him, we shall know His blessings; and greater blessings than these shall we know and shall others know, who praise God for the gifts He provides.  Wonderful it is to behold God’s ever-increasing generosity; more wonderful yet to participate in it.  It is a fountain welling up to eternal life, in which we are cleansed and made of light.

But let us take to heart the warning of the Lord this day: “Be on guard against performing religious acts for others to see.”  The world does not see God, it cannot know God.  Thus God is termed “hidden” and “secret.”  And though we are to make God known to the world, we cannot do so unless we exist where He is.  In the recesses of our heart, in the quiet, we shall find Him.  In the center of our being we must place Him.  Closing the doors of our rooms, entering the stillness of our souls… kneeling there we shall find Him.  And He shall hear us, and He shall reward us with the blessing of answered prayer, of fruitful yield in His Name.  If we do not remain with Him there in secret – even in the midst of the city, even among the distractions of this world – all our actions will be in vain.  It does us no good to gain the whole world and lose our souls; and all our good deeds are empty show without Him who is goodness at their core.

“He who sows bountifully will reap bountifully.”  Let us know the blessing of bearing fruit in God.  Let us give generously, knowing that for all the good we do, the Lord will provide yet more seed for us to sow, and we shall reap in abundance His heavenly blessings.  If we do all without fanfare, but quietly, humbly, secretly trusting all to His care – the blessing of His presence we shall keep with us, and we shall see our works and our prayers bear fruit in the kingdom of God.

 

May God bless all humble souls with His bounty.

May He reveal Himself to their hearts.

 

*******

O LORD, let us give all we have,

and give always from the heart,

and we will be giving with you…

and you will increase our yield.

YHWH, let us cheerfully give to you all we have; all we have is from you and so it is but justice that we place all in your hands.  You will multiply our offering if in sincerity we sacrifice it to you.

In secret let us keep our deeds of mercy; hidden in the depths of our soul, let them grow by your Spirit.  In the stillness you reside, and so, there we shall find you.  There you shall hear and bless our prayers.  O LORD, let our prayers rise up to you!

Help us to trust in you, dear God, and in your generous love.  You wish to bless us with all that is good but cannot do so unless we believe in your goodness, unless we reflect your grace and mercy in our lives.  We are called to live with you and remain with you.  Let the light of faith dawn upon us this day.

Then we shall fear nothing; then we shall live in awe of your presence, LORD.  Your glory dwelling in us and shining through us, we shall be greatly blessed.  Then we shall give freely to all!

Direct download: BC-061511-W_11_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(2Cor.8:1-9;   Ps.146:2,5-9;   Mt.5:43-48)

 

“Love your enemies, pray for your persecutors.”

 

Our psalm today begins with praise of God and the proclamation of the happiness of those “whose hope is in the Lord,” for it is He who “gives food to the hungry” and “raises up those that were bowed down.”  Freeing captives, giving sight to the blind, protecting strangers… such is our God and Father.  And in our gospel Jesus tells us, “You are sons of your heavenly Father,” and “you must be made perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  We must be His image, doing the things He does.

Paul presents Jesus, the only Son of the Father, as our model in generosity.  In his gentle reminder he states: “For your sake He made Himself poor though He was rich, so that you might become rich by His poverty.”  He also presents to us the Macedonians, whose “overflowing joy and deep poverty have produced an abundant generosity.”  And Jesus makes clear that our generosity, our “sharing in the service” of God, must extend beyond our friends.  The Father makes no distinction – “His sun rises on the bad and the good, He rains on the just and the unjust” – and so we are challenged “to know the grace of God” completely by giving our love to all, even as Christ’s arms are open to everyone as He hangs on the cross.

How is it that poverty produces such generosity?  And how can we share in both with our God?  The poverty of which the Apostle speaks and which Jesus exemplifies and calls us to follow is the emptying of self of all which is our own, and in the very act of emptying, of giving, is generosity itself.  Whether it be a man of riches handing over his money or a man of great love performing acts of kindness, he who has is divesting himself of that which he has to enrich another.  We remember that when the woman touched the hem of His garment, Jesus perceived power had gone forth from Him (Mk.5:30).  Here is that emptying of love to heal the other.  And on the cross, of course, Jesus emptied Himself completely… and so He died.

Should we be afraid, brothers and sisters, of sharing so completely in Jesus’ love?  Do we think that if we give to others, we will have nothing remaining for ourselves?  Is Jesus hanging on the cross the end of the story?  No, brothers and sisters, we should not be afraid.  We must see, indeed, that the more we give, whether of money or of love, the more we are bound to receive.  Do you think that God does not see your generosity?  Do you not realize that He rewards those who are His children?  Do you think Christ still hangs on the cross? 

Come to the holiness of God, brothers and sisters; there is no greater grace on earth.  Give of yourselves entirely, love even your enemies, and you shall know in ineffable wonder the surpassing love of God for all.  Such is our call and our joy.

*******

O LORD, let us be perfect as you are perfect,

loving as Jesus on the Cross –

we will not know you otherwise.

YHWH, how shall we be made perfect as you are perfect; how shall we love as Jesus on the Cross?  You alone are generous in giving.  You are only of love.  Help us to be unsparing as you who have given us your only Son.

It is you who provide seed, you who provide bread.  We can produce no nourishment for our lives or the lives of others by our own hands.  All is yours, but you will give abundantly to those who seek to love as you.  All we need we will have, O LORD, and more, if we empty ourselves of all we own.

O make us ready to give all over to you, to love as you do!  Let us not be afraid to share our very lives even with those who would kill us.  To them let us give more freely, for they need your love all the more.  You cannot but help love all those in need, LORD, to feed the hungry, to give sight to the blind, to set captives free… and we who hope in you, what else can we do but reflect your eternal glory?

Direct download: BC-061411-Tu_11_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(2Cor.6:1-10;   Ps.98:1-4;   Mt.5:38-42)

 

“When a person strikes you on the right cheek,

turn and offer him the other.”

 

“Now is the acceptable time!  Now is the day of salvation!”  Alleluia!  And how do we know the salvation of the Lord except by the cross.  This is our joy.  These “difficulties, distresses, beatings, imprisonments, and riots”; the “hard work, sleepless nights, and fastings” – these crosses bring us immeasurable joy, for through them we share in the suffering of Christ and so also in His resurrection glory.  Thus the Lord can encourage us not to seek to avoid such suffering; thus He instructs us to be prepared to suffer over and above that which comes to us – for He knows that as we give of ourselves in this ready way, as we lay down our lives without hesitation, we shall find ourselves in the hand of God, we shall come quickly to join Him in heaven.  With Paul, we must “present ourselves as ministers of God, acting with patient endurance amid trials,” and His salvation will be made known in us.  And we will rejoice with Paul in all our sorrows.  And we will be able to exclaim with him, “We seem to have nothing, yet everything is ours!”  For the fullness of Christ will reside with us.

Give.  Give, and do not count the cost.  How hard it is for us to freely give of our possessions, much less of our very lives.  Are we ready to “give to the man who begs” from us?  Are we prepared to care for others’ needs?  Or do we hold tightly to our possessions, calling them our own?  And what of the possession of our pride and the protection of ourselves from injury?  What of our judgment of others?  Are we ready to give these up so completely?  Can we turn the other cheek to those who do us wrong, offering the pain to God and finding great comfort there, or do we need to strike back against the offending party, exacting the retribution due us according to the law?  Do we indeed live by the law, or have we transcended the law: do we now live by the Law of love?  Are we a new creation in Christ?

It is not easy to lay down our lives in such a way as Christ calls us.  The world ever mocks the absurdity of this sacrifice.  But we who are in Jesus should know the absolute truth of Paul’s words and Jesus’ instruction.  If we are to be Christians, we must know the joy and freedom that come from suffering all with Him who is our salvation.  He is all that matters.  If we have Him, we have all things.  Come to this truth, brothers and sisters; leave behind the fears wrought by attachment to the things of this world.  This world is of sin, anyway.  As we lose our possessions for Him, He gives us all the more.  As the body dies, the spirit comes to life.  What the devil would take from us, let us give him, for he cannot touch the life that is Christ: our souls are in the hand of God.  And, as with Job, all will be restored to us, and more, in the day of the Lord.  So, “wielding the weapons of righteousness with right hand and left,” let us learn always to turn the other cheek to our persecutors.

 

*******

O LORD, grant us the grace to endure all trials

in patience and with love,

that we may give witness to your salvation at work in us.

YHWH, your salvation has come to us, and it comes in the form of a Cross; in the suffering and death of your Son we are set free to rejoice in you.  Though we seem to have nothing, though we be beaten and robbed, yet Jesus is with us, and with Him everything is ours.  O let us accept the salvation that He brings this day!  Let us be patient amid all trials and we will know your presence among us.

Help us, dear LORD, to walk with your Son on the way of the Cross.  He is struck repeatedly; He is stripped and forced to carry the burden of our sin.  We beg you not to turn your back on us, though we have turned our backs on Him.  Help us to do what we are unable to do – to give witness to the truth and love of the Christ… to endure all as He has done.

O to be disciples of Him who saves us!  O to know His holy innocence and unending life!  O to sing with joy to you, dear God, in the unbreakable Spirit of your Son.

Direct download: BC-061311-M_11_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O gentle preacher of the Word,

the fire of the Holy Spirit

upon your soul

for the conversion of heretics

and the leading of all  

to God –

hold us in your arms

even as the infant Jesus

who appeared to you

along the way,

and pray that the Word

may be instilled in our hearts

even as it was in your own,

that we shall never go astray

but always have the consolation

of the Spirit of God

and His love and innocence

to lead us through this life

till we find ourselves

at home in the Father’s arms,

where you dwell in peace

with all His blessed saints.

Pray for us, our teacher and brother, this day.

Direct download: June_13_Anthony_of_Padua.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Ez.17:22-24;   Ps.92:2-3,13-16;   2Cor.5:6-10;   Mk.4:26-34)

“They that are planted in the house of the Lord

shall flourish in the courts of our God.”

The imagery today is of trees and plants and the growth and strength of the kingdom of God.  “The just one shall flourish like a palm tree, like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow,” our psalmist rejoices, and adds, “They shall bear fruit even in old age; vigorous and sturdy shall they be.”  In our gospel Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God is like the seed that grows gradually, imperceptibly into ripe grain ready for the harvest, and compares it also to the mustard seed, “the smallest of all the seeds on the earth,” which “springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”

God is the seed from which all is sprung.  Jesus is the “tender shoot” spoken of by Ezekial.  Taken from “the crest of the cedar,” the humble bloom of the house of Israel, He is “planted on a high and lofty mountain” – raised up to the right hand of the Father – and by the power of the Holy Spirit, thence He “put[s] forth branches and bear[s] fruit, and become[s] a majestic cedar”: His apostles and prophets go forth and plant the Word of God in all hearts; and as it grows unto heaven and blossoms forth in the works of every Christian, the Church is made to stand fast in the sight of the Lord.  “Birds of every kind shall dwell beneath it”; everyone who seeks refuge from the heat of the sun that is this world of sin beating down upon the human soul shall find in His Church a place of peace and comfort, a house in which he is nourished and sent on his flight, carrying the love of our God across the heavens to all lands.

Brothers and sisters, let us be “courageous,” as indeed Paul declares we are.  Let us be strong and sturdy lowly trees growing by the grace of God to heavenly heights in all our deeds on earth.  Though “we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord,” though we would today see the kingdom of heaven fulfilled before our eyes, yet as long as we have the flesh of this tree enrobing our souls, let us always “aspire to please Him,” to please our God, to grow closer each day to where He sits on His throne in the kingdom, that when we “all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” we “each may receive recompense” and together “sing praise to… [the] Most High.”

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

Music: "Gradual Heaven" from All One, sixth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, let us dwell beneath the shade of your boughs

when harvest time has come,

when your Son returns.

YHWH, let us be planted in your House and grow by your grace into your kingdom, where you dwell in the highest Heaven.  We are but lowly creatures, weak and prone to sin, but by your Son and by His Word and His blood we are strengthened and rise, we know not how, to your throne, where He sits with you in eternal glory with all the angels and saints who have done your will in this world.

How can we be made worthy of your kingdom, O LORD?  How can we be courageous, believing that we shall be saved from this corruptible flesh and come home to you?  Is it not the lowly one you look upon?  Is it not to save just such as us that you have sent your Son, who has instructed His disciples, who have instructed us, and through whom we are blessed?  O let this Tree be a tree of life growing ever unto your kingdom, all souls entering there with songs of praise to your NAME!

Direct download: BC-061712-Su_11_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(2Cor.5:14-21;   Ps.103:1-4,8-9,11-12;   Mt.5:33-37) 

“The love of Christ impels us who have reached the conviction

that since one died for all, all died.”

How strong is Paul’s “yes” for the Lord.  With what ardor does he cry out: “The old order is passed away; now all is new!”  How purely he is led in the Spirit to call to our very souls, “In Christ’s name: be reconciled to God!”  He has no need to swear by earth or heaven of his conviction that Jesus died for our salvation.  He is indeed a new creation and can but speak of that which he knows to the depths of his soul; driven by the miracle of his own reconciliation to God, he desires naturally – by the supernatural grace at work within him – to draw others to “become the very holiness of God.”

Paul sings out with our psalmist: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all my being bless His holy name.”  He cries out with David: “He pardons all your iniquities, He heals all your ills.”  This is the truth which impels him, which he cannot but preach – that our sins are forgiven in Christ the Lord and we need but to come to Him to be raised up to new life.  This is His ministry of reconciliation; this is the message entrusted to him… and he must appeal for God’s holy will to be accomplished in us.

Let me join in his shout, let me state so unequivocally – let us all be convicted with Paul of the love God has for us, of the death He has died for us… of the new life we have in Him.  Yes, let us indeed shout it from the rooftops, let us cry it out for all to hear.  Many are on the path to destruction, many are dying in their transgressions; all are inclined to the condemnation the devil has wrought in our lives, and all must be encouraged, all must hear the exhortation to turn from their sins.  May we give our “yes” firmly to God and our “no” firmly to the devil, that others might know in our very lives of the holiness of God and the glory to which He calls us.

“Merciful and gracious is the Lord”: this the world must know.  “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He put our transgressions from us”: this the sinful heart wallowing in the darkness of doubt must hear.  The blood of Christ must be shown to all.  Let us not hesitate to speak the great truth of God’s salvation through Christ the Son.  Let us not fail to live His new life every day of our lives.

The Lord calls.  The sound of His voice is unmistakable.  All our sin is dead in Him; through Him we are raised to life.  May this Word go forth to the ends of the earth, and may we help carry it there.

*******

O LORD, by Jesus’ grace let us be reconciled to you –

let us say Yes to Him and No to the world.

YHWH, let us be reconciled to you.  Let us be a new creation through Christ your Son and give our ‘yes’ ever to your will.  Sure of soul let us be, of the salvation you bring in Jesus and His messengers.  He has died for our sakes that we might be raised with Him.  O let our transgressions be far from us this day!

What kindness you show to your wayward sons, O LORD.  None of us has been found worthy of your kingdom, but in Jesus all our sins you wash away that we might stand in your presence.  May all hear the call of the Apostle to our souls and be reconciled to you in Jesus’ Name.  May all know the grace and mercy you offer freely forth.

Make us simple and make us sure; let us in all things do your will, giving our ‘yes’ to you and our ‘no’ firmly to the evil one.  Then to Heaven we will come, LORD, to dwell with you upon your throne – O let us enter the New Jerusalem as your sons and daughters impelled only by your love.

Direct download: BC-061513-Sa_10_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O Sanctuary of the Father,

Temple of the Holy Spirit,

Mother of the Son of God

who carried Him in your womb

and contemplated Him

in your heart –

how shall we find Jesus

within us;

how shall we become

the temples of the Spirit

the Lord calls us all to be

if you do not pray for us,

if we are not formed

in your womb,

in the love

with which you are blessed?

Hold us in your soul, dear Mother,

that our spirits might join with your own

and we might thus become one

with our Lord and brother.

In us also let Him make His home.

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

O son of encouragement

and of consolation in the Holy Spirit,

you who were filled with faith

and lived that faith for the Lord,

giving up all things to bring His Name forth

to the ends of the earth,

calling all souls

and confirming them in the truth

by the authority of the risen Son –

whose footsteps go forth today

as did yours

upon the birth of the Church;

what souls are so blessed

to be set apart by the Spirit

to perform His works

in this dying world,

to bring His light

to those who sit in darkness?

Pray the Lord shall indeed

send out laborers into His vineyard

and they shall with the same faith

be an encouragement to all,

a consolation to Christian souls.

Direct download: June_11_Barnabas.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Hos.11:1,3-4,8-9;   Is.12:2-6;   Eph.3:8-12,14-19;   Jn.19:31-37)

“With joy you will draw water

at the fountain of salvation.”

“Shout with exultation, O city of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel!”  From His pierced heart flow forth the waters of salvation; in Jesus’ blood we find our life.  Oh how wonderful to have a God whose “heart is overwhelmed,” whose “pity is stirred,” who bleeds and dies for us upon the cross to reveal the limitless nature of His love.  Here is “God’s manifold wisdom” made known, here in “the unfathomable riches of Christ” freely given to all, that all might “grasp fully, with all the holy ones, the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love, and experience this love which surpasses all knowledge.”  Such unsurpassable grace can but leave us breathless in praising His name!

“When Israel was a child I loved him,” says the Lord through the prophet Hosea.  His love “like one who raises an infant to His cheeks” does not leave His blessed child; it only grows with time.  Even though “they did not know that [He] was their healer,” yet He did not turn away – He multiplied His love for us in the sacrificial offering of His Son.  Now having been redeemed of our sin in the cleansing shower of His blood, we can only claim to be “confident and unafraid.”  For with Isaiah we fully proclaim: “My strength and my courage is the Lord, and He has been my savior.”  What the prophet knew in shadow we see now in the fullness of the light that is the Son, and so “in Christ and through faith in Him we can speak freely to God, drawing near Him with confidence” and “attain[ing] to the fullness of God Himself” and to His love.

My dear brothers and sisters, let our prayer for one another be joined on this “solemn feast day” with Paul’s desire for the Ephesians: “May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith, and may charity be the root and foundation of your life.”  Then like this blessed Apostle who went from being “the least of all believers,” persecuting the Church of Christ, to being shown “the mysterious design which for all ages was hidden in God” – and indeed “enlighten[ing] all men” of the Father’s love revealed in Christ Jesus – we too will be raised from our lowly state in this world of sin to our place with the Son at the right hand of God.  The fountain of salvation is open now; come to the water and drink fully of His love, of His blood.

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

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

*******

O LORD, Jesus was pierced for our sins;

His blood pours upon us for our salvation.

YHWH, you are our healer.  Your Son is the fountain of our salvation; in His blood we are cleansed of our sins.  May we make our home in His Sacred Heart.

We praise you, LORD, for your love, for the care you have shown to your little ones.  To us you have sent your only Son to die on the Cross that we might live.  Though it is our lance that has pierced His Sacred Heart, yet His unfathomable love pours upon us and bestows on us the great riches of your glory.  For this gift what can we do but praise your holy Name?

O LORD, may your Christ dwell in our hearts through faith in Him; may charity be the root and foundation of our lives, that by the love of your Son we may draw near to you yourself, dear God.  No longer is your mysterious design hidden from men’s eyes – O let your great wisdom be known and all souls glorify your ineffable NAME through Jesus who speaks to us ever of your mercy!

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

(2Cor.3:15-4:1,3-6;   Ps.85:9-14;   Mt.5:20-26) 

“See the splendor of the gospel showing forth the glory of Christ.”

Today the gospel is preached: Jesus, the image of God, has come among us, “glory dwelling in our land,” and removed the veil from our understanding so that now we “are being transformed from glory to glory into His very image by the Lord who is the Spirit.”  The words of life are spoken by the Lord; the Holy Spirit comes amongst us as light to illumine our minds and lead us beyond the bounds of the law to the kingdom of God itself.  And we must live in that light, we must make it our own, becoming children of the light of the Spirit of God, “that we in turn might make known the glory of God shining on the face of Christ.”  He has indeed come amongst us, salvation is at hand, and we must become perfect as the Father is perfect, as Jesus who is the pure reflection of the Father is perfect – we must allow the Spirit to remove any taint of darkness from our souls.

Jesus tells us, “Unless your holiness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees you shall not enter the kingdom of God.”  Here He means that the law may lead us out of Egypt, it may serve to release us from the bonds of this world of sin, but this guard we have while treading this earth is not enough to bring us into the promised land, into the heavenly kingdom to which we are called.  And as long as we concern ourselves only with fulfilling the minimal requirements of the law  (not to murder, not to commit adultery…), we will continue to suffer; we will remain unfulfilled.  Jesus calls us to greater than that: He calls us into His very light of perfection in the presence of the Father.  This call is implanted upon the soul of each one of us, and as long as we ignore it, as long as we veil our minds to the depth and the breadth of this call to perfection with Christ… as long as we say, “Well, I haven’t killed anyone,” and stop there… so long we will remain unsatisfied, so long will the fires burn – so long will we be in prison paying the last penny.

Jesus is calling you now, brothers and sisters; Paul and all the true preachers of Holy Church are calling you now to remove the veil from your eyes, to come into the Lord’s light – to cease to make excuses for your sins, however small they may seem – to seek perfection in Christ… to find the kingdom of God.  The Spirit will aid you in your journey; He will be with you every step of your walk on the way of perfection, be assured of this.  The Lord does not call us to Himself and then leave us alone to struggle vainly.  He is with us through all our trials.  But we must come to Him and live in His light of purity, and shine that light for others to see.

 *******

O LORD, your kingdom comes

by the power of the Holy Spirit,

who purges us of sin

and makes us shine with His radiance.

YHWH, your glory shines now in our midst in the face of Christ, and He calls us to that same glory by the Spirit that is within us.  Let your light shine in the darkness of this world; let us make known your glory by our words and actions.

In the way of salvation we walk, insofar as we follow the commands of your Son and His love.  He calls us to dwell with you, O LORD, to reconcile with one another and be perfect as you are perfect – to find our holiness fulfilled.  We fall short as long as we limit ourselves to the principles of the law; your glory is far beyond the basics of the law, and it is to your glory and your love Jesus calls us.

What a gift is ours in Christ!  Union with you, dear Father in Heaven!  Let us not be blinded by the god of the present age, by unbelieving minds, but let the veil be lifted from our faces to gaze upon the glory of your Son and so be transformed into that glory by the Spirit upon us.  Alleluia!

Direct download: BC-061313-Th_10_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O harp of the Holy Spirit

whose song rose up to Jesus

and in honor of the Virgin Mary,

whose heart was set on Heaven

and the eternal light therein,

and who served so well to defend the faith

when from contemplation you came –

pray we too shall have a song

dedicated wholly to the Lord

welling up in hearts

set on His presence,

on the kingdom that passes not away;

and pray, too, the teaching of the Church

shall always be true,

shall always be rooted

in the Spirit,

expressive of the love of God.

What is this world as it passes away,

and who are we apart from God

and His House?

O how we long for Heaven!

Pray, dear brother, with our Blessed Mother,

that we shall come to dwell where you are.

Direct download: June_9_Ephrem.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(2Cor.3:4-11;   Ps.99:5-9;   Mt.5:17-19) 

“Not the smallest letter of the law,

not the smallest part of a letter,

shall be done away with until it all comes true.”

Jesus comes to fulfill the law and the prophets.  The law watches over us while we are here in this world.  It guards us and puts to death the sin that is inherent in our earthly nature.   There is great glory in this blessed protection, as is witnessed in our psalm today – “Holy is the Lord, our God” – because it acquaints us with God’s justice and, as said, watches vigilantly over us to maintain our standing in the presence of God.  But the law does not bring us to the fullness of God’s love; it does not bring us into the heavenly kingdom and “the glory that endures.”  Moses brings the Israelites to the banks of the Jordan, but he does not cross over with them.  He looks out over the Promised Land from his place on the mountaintop, but does not enter therein.  It is Joshua who leads the people into the land promised through Moses (as even he does in today’s Office of Readings).  And so it is Jesus who brings us to the heavenly kingdom by His law of love.

In speaking elsewhere of the glory of love (1Cor.13:8), Paul tells us that prophecy shall fail and tongues shall cease but love is eternal, favored well beyond any other gift.  Prophecies speak of earthly matters and the law is for our earthly nature, but love speaks of God and heaven.  We must be very careful to heed the words of Christ and realize that as long as we are in this world and subject to the sin that our flesh brings, the law has a prominent place in our lives and cannot be jettisoned prematurely – as many advocate by their lack of diligence to its precepts, presuming heaven before its time – yet we must always remember that it is the glory of heaven and not of earth to which Jesus calls us, and that there the law will be fulfilled; there we shall be made perfect in the light of God.

The law is “destined to pass away” only insofar as it is fulfilled, and therefore it never really passes away but is subsumed by a greater law.  Let us continue to glory in the chastising hand of God and in the service of purification the law provides us.  Let us come by its means to the flesh of Christ, and by the grace of God enter fully into Him. 

Jesus is our Promised Land, brothers and sisters; with the law as our guide, but above all with faith in our hearts, let us come into His holy, eternal, loving presence.  We have the manna of the Eucharist to share this day; tomorrow we shall feast in fullness on the Bread of Life that is Jesus Christ.  

*******

O LORD, your commands must be fulfilled

or they shall remain, along with our sin.

YHWH, you are holy and your glory surpasses all that is of heaven and earth.  Though we are your creation and you are present to us, though you are with us even in the law you gave to Moses, and though we need your law to purge us of all evil, to put to death the deeds of the flesh… yet in such death we are not fulfilled.  We must come to join you in your glory; we must find life in you.

And so, O holy LORD, your Son walks among us, not to destroy the law or contradict the prophets who call us from our wayward path, but to fulfill their voice by the very presence of the Word.  Now your holiness has taken flesh, and so at your mountain we can worship in Spirit and in truth.  Now we may enter your kingdom.

It is in Jesus we are saved from the death the law brings; it is through Him we find the ministry of the Spirit and so the glory that passes not away.  This glory is your very presence speaking to us and shining upon us, dear LORD.  O let us call upon your NAME and dwell with you forever!

Direct download: BC-061213-W_10_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(2Cor.1:18-22;   Ps.119:129-133,135;   Mt.5:13-16) 

“God is the one who firmly establishes us.”

“Light of the world” and “salt of the earth” – this is what we are by the power of God.  It is by Him we are “set on a hill” to give “light to all in the house”; it is we who preserve the integrity of creation.  It is a holy call and a demanding one, and we should not waver in our resolve to follow the Lord and fulfill His work and His will; for it is indeed His will that we show His goodness before the eyes of men, and so “He who anointed us and sealed us” will always strengthen us for our task – by Him who holds the entire world in His palm, our own work will be made light.

But heed the words of our readings: we must always give our “yes” to God.  Having put our hand to the plow, we cannot turn back.  In fact, we should say with the psalmist, “I gasp with open mouth in my yearning for your commands”; so great should be our love for God and for His life-giving words that ever do we thirst more greatly for the love and the light He brings us through our walking in them.  His discipline is redeeming and freeing; and as we drink in its light, as we find ourselves becoming one with Him and with His Son who has shown us clearly and completely the way of perfection, we become the light He is.  And we cannot but shine that same light to others, directing them to Him who establishes all holy souls in His blessed kingdom.

What joy should be ours as we find ourselves becoming one with God as His children of light.  What absolute exhilaration is evident in Paul’s preaching to the Corinthians, as well as in our psalm.  The source of such excitement is his firmness in faith; the Spirit is speaking in his heart and he is not afraid.  Indeed, he takes his very life, his daily bread, in proclaiming it.

Have we such faith in our hearts, or have we somehow gone flat?  Can we proclaim our unwavering trust in the Lord, or is our light still shaded by doubts and fears?  If our love for God is true and our love for one another is real, we shall be firmly established – our light shall go forth.

Let us pray to Him that from the light of His words we shall not be distracted.  The light of His presence is all that matters.  Shine forth His light to the world. 

*******

O LORD, may the Spirit of Truth be with us

to guide us by His holy light.

YHWH, your promises have been fulfilled in Jesus and in Him you firmly establish our place before you, the Holy Spirit in our hearts.  You call us to be salt and light to this world, to be the disciples of your Son.  Help us to be steadfast in that call, that the light of the Spirit might go out to the ends of the earth.

We are anointed with the Christ and have His life within us.  He it is who walks before us, making our footsteps firm.  We must follow in His way and give our ‘yes’ entirely to you.  O LORD, let us not waver in our weakness but ever keep your commands and so radiate your goodness to all men.  Make our witness sure and true; let us ever remain in the light of your presence.

O LORD, let all praise be given to you from hearts filled with your glory.  With open mouth let us ever yearn for your Word.  In wonder let us stand before you, worshiping ever in your kingdom as your holy children.  Let your countenance shine on your servants; transform us into your light.

Direct download: BC-061113-Tu_10_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(2Cor.1:1-7;   Ps.34:2-9;   Mt.5:1-12) 

“Blessed are those persecuted for holiness’ sake;

the reign of God is theirs.”

Here is the core teaching of our faith.  Here are the beatitudes, the call to sweet humility which flows like blessed honey from the lips of our Savior.  And that teaching is that the humbled shall be exalted, that those who mourn and sorrow for the lack of love we find in this tainted world and who strive to bring that love to the hard heart of man shall be blessed, are blessed, for they share in the sufferings of Christ, who wept for the sins of His people, who, looking out upon them from the cross cried: “My God, why have you forsaken me?”  Why has this world made in the image of Christ turned so against Him, and when shall it return to the love of God?  And we who cry with Christ, even for our enemies, even for the most despicable criminal, we shall know the joy He finds – like the repentant thief, we shall be this day with Him in paradise.

“Just as you share in the sufferings, so you will share in the consolation,” St. Paul so concisely states.  One can hear him brimming with joy as he speaks of the comfort we find in the Lord in all our afflictions, and the grace of sharing that consolation with others.  This is our great possession.  This is the kingdom of God within us: to see through all trouble and affliction, to conquer it in Jesus’ Name – to find such strength even while here on earth to overcome all evil and come to heaven.  “Blest are you when they insult you and persecute you…  Be glad and rejoice.”  How marvelously the Lord exhorts us to come to the glory of heaven, to overcome the dark with light.  For light it is where we dwell, and this light is unconquerable.

Let us make room for Him in our hearts, brothers and sisters; let us give place to Him in our lives.  Let us even in the simplest ways show heaven’s glory here on earth.  If we are lowly and we are true, our light cannot help but shine.  And for those who seek it our lamps will shine, and we shall illumine one another.  Let sweet humility be your treasure and the Lord’s peace your goal in life. 

The angel of the Lord is around us to save us.  Nothing of this earth shall touch us.  Let us lay down our lives to destroy death’s bonds.

*******

O LORD, it is the cross of suffering with Christ

that brings us great joy.

YHWH, blessed are we when persecuted because of our love for you, because of our desire to be as your Son, for enduring all the sufferings this world brings we find great joy in your presence.  You console the afflicted who call out to you, for you are the refuge of all who suffer for your sake.

O LORD, let us be holy as you are holy; let us be made whole in your Son.  If we must sorrow and mourn to be conformed to your Son, to be purged of all sin and join Him in your kingdom, let it be so.  Let us take our strength in you; in you we find refuge.  Reward in Heaven is all we desire – to you let us come by way of the Cross of your only Son.

Bless you, LORD, for the goodness you show to us, for the joy you bring us in our suffering for you.  You deliver us from every danger, and so we stand firm in hope, consoled by the promise in the words of Jesus.  Let us remain ever blessed as we set our hearts on serving you.

Direct download: BC-061013-M_10_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O preacher of the Word of God

and model of the Gospel,

you embraced poverty and penance

in accord with the way of Christ

and His teaching

and called your brothers

to do the same,

that the Church might be renewed,

that she might be holy

even as the Father is holy –

pray all souls

might indeed find holiness of life

even as within

cloister walls;

pray all might embrace

the poverty of Christ,

living the faith pronounced

in sacred Scripture.

And pray that they may be led

along this narrow path

to the kingdom of the Lord

by faithful priests and bishops,

shepherds like yourself.

Direct download: June_6_Norbert.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Ex.24:3-8;   Ps.116:12-13,15-18;   Heb.9:11-15;   Mt.14:12-16,22-26) 

“The cup of salvation I will take up,

and I will call upon the name of the Lord.” 

The blood of sacrifice, the blood that seals all covenants with God, is upon all our readings today.  In our first reading, on the altar Moses has “erected at the foot of the mountain” where he received the commandments of the Lord – an altar surrounded by “twelve pillars for the twelve tribes” – “young men of the Israelites… offer holocausts and sacrifice young bulls as peace offerings to the Lord.”  Half of the blood of the bulls Moses “splashed on the altar”; the other half he “sprinkled… on the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words of His.’”  And so the people promise to heed the Lord’s commands; and so the first covenant is instituted.

Our psalm tells us, “Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His faithful ones.”  And our second reading informs us just how precious is the death of the Lord’s Faithful One.  Yes, “Christ came as high priest”; as “mediator of a new covenant” He entered the “perfect tabernacle not made by hands… not belonging to this creation,” and offered not “the blood of goats and bulls” but rather “His own blood.”  His “death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant.”  And so does “the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished before God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.”

And in our gospel, in anticipation of His crucifixion, on the feast of Passover – when the lamb was sacrificed and its blood used to anoint the houses of the Israelites to thus save them from death – Jesus institutes the New Covenant with His disciples.  First “He took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take it.  This is my body.’”  Then with the cup He said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.”  It is, of course, this New Covenant we celebrate this day, as we come to the table where all the disciples of the Lord have eaten, where all His faithful have been washed clean in His blood.  Here we share not only with our minds – for then why should it be necessary to eat and drink (one does not eat and drink a symbol, but feasts with eyes alone) – but with our very bodies, with the fullness of our beings; and our very human nature is transformed by His sacrificial presence.  Brothers and sisters, the Lord gives Himself entirely for us; let us here lay down our lives in His flesh and blood.  Let us take up the cup of salvation and each day call upon His Name.

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

Music: "Blood in My Palate" from Loving Spirit, third album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, is Jesus not our inheritance;

do we not eat the Body and Blood

He has given up for our salvation?

YHWH, the blood of the New Covenant be upon us for good, the blood of Christ upon our lips; and let us fulfill our vows before you, serving as the Body of your Son.  O let us be blessed with all the graces of Heaven as they pour upon us in the blood of Jesus, our Lord!

How can we make return to you, dear God, for all the good you have done for us, for your giving us your only Son to serve as sacrifice for our sins, as food for our journey to you?  You, O God, have come among us in His flesh and remain with us in the Sacrament – how can we grasp such a gift?  How can we thank you for your love toward us revealed in the blood of Jesus the Christ? 

Let us but take up the cup you offer and call upon your holy Name.  Let us but serve you with all our lives, worshiping you in all things, O living God, and the promised eternal inheritance will be ours.  O let us drink of the fruit of the vine with your Son in the kingdom!  Prepare our hearts to receive your Lamb.

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

O apostle of the faith

called out from monastery walls

to travel into the world,

laboring and suffering

even to the shedding of blood

as you steered Christ’s ship

pounded by waves

but kept on course,

spreading out upon the face of the earth

by the sacrifice of shepherds

like yourself –

pray the bishops of today

will unceasingly teach the faith,

defending the Church from all assaults,

never silent in the face of danger,

never turning from their call

but preaching the Gospel

in season and out of season

that in all seasons

Christ’s flock might increase

and be strengthened.

Let us rather die

than give in to the impending darkness.

Direct download: June_5_Boniface.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Tb.12:1,5-15,20;   Tb.13:1-2,6;   Mk.12:38-44) 

“Almsgiving saves one from death.”

We must give alms, yes; and the greatest of alms is the gift of ourselves to God.

In our gospel we hear of perhaps the most famous example of almsgiving: the poor widow who gave her two copper coins to the temple treasury; and in our first reading we complete the Book of Tobit, he who is himself a great biblical model of almsgiving, and who is here instructed by the angel Raphael on the merit of giving alms.  Yes, the widow gives generously all her money, without hesitation and without a thought.  Unlike those who give from their surplus, “she gave from her want, all that she had to live on.”  She holds back nothing.  And at the prompting of Tobit, Tobiah offers half of all the many riches gained from his journey to his guide, Raphael (not realizing he is an angel with no need of these things). 

As Raphael reveals himself to Tobit and his son, he extols the great merit of almsgiving, which he states is better even than prayer and fasting.  He wishes to tell them of the value of almsgiving, it is true, but he wants Tobit to know that his generosity has been witnessed by God and that it has saved him from the death he had asked for.  Raphael lets Tobit know, too, that he has been tested by God (in being stricken with blindness) to prove that his generosity is genuine.  It must be shown that his virtue is not vain as the scribes’, who “recite long prayers for appearance’ sake” to cover the fact that they “devour the savings of widows.”  Does he have the heart of the poor widow in his generosity, or does he just like to parade around in the robes of such virtue?

The key to the merit of all our almsgiving is found in Raphael’s initial response to Tobiah’s offer:  “Thank God!  Give Him the praise and the glory.”  All our good works must be done for the praise of God as witnesses to His glory.  “Before all men, honor and proclaim God’s deeds, and do not be slack in praising Him,” the angel exhorts us all.  And it is this praise of God we must give first before any treasure of the world.  This praise of God and telling of His Name is the greatest of almsgiving.  Do you think it is the two coins which save the widow, or can you see the heart for God from which they are offered?  Do you think the widow is giving her coins for show, or is it obvious to you that it is her love of God which drives her to this act?  We can easily surmise that this woman’s life is one of prayer to God, a genuine prayer unlike the vanity of the scribes, and it is this which most pleases God and saves her very soul; for she is empty of all else but Him.  And of all the many acts of kindness Tobit has performed, all the dead he has buried and offerings he has given, perhaps none is above his obedience to the angel’s final command:  “Write down all these things that have happened to you.”  For by his laying down of his life and the Lord’s marvelous grace working in it, more than two thousand years later, we still receive the spiritual gifts contained therein; his praise of God with “full voice” still comes to our ears and gives us hope that we too might be raised up from any vanity in our own generosity and see the face of God.

Let us praise the Lord with all our lives and give all our selves to Him. 

Let us live to praise the Lord.

*******

O LORD, let us praise you with full voice;

let us give all we have to you.

YHWH, you call us to give alms that our souls might be saved.  By our generosity you shall know us, if it is in union with you.  For all must be done in your NAME and for your praise, or all is quite worthless.  Indeed, a little with righteousness is better than abundance with wickedness; and so, whatever we give without giving glory to you is given in vain, but if we give a penny (which is all our lives are worth) in praise of your goodness toward us, how blessed we shall be!

LORD, all you do is for our good, whether you scourge us or raise us up in your mercy, for all is done to bring us closer to you.  Until all our lives are in your hands, your angel you send to test us and to heal us, to turn us back to you – all empty show be taken forever from our souls that we might dwell humbly with you in glory.

Let us not care for the riches of this world even should they increase, but set our hearts on praise of you alone… and the doing of your will with all we have and are.

Direct download: BC-060813-Sa_9_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Tb.11:5-15;   Ps.146:2,7-10;   Mk.12:35-37)

“The Lord gives sight to the blind.”

Now in His teaching Jesus truly begins to open the eyes of the people.  We have witnessed this week His fielding their questions regarding theology and the law, but He now takes a step further, revealing to them and to us the Truth itself – that He Himself is the Son of God.  “The majority of the crowd heard this with delight.”  Many eyes begin to open, many hearts begin to see… but will they remain so joyful when Jesus reveals Himself to them completely (on the cross)?

And of course, our first reading speaks principally about the opening of Tobit’s eyes, as he who has been blind these four years is healed by the fish gall acquired through the intercession of the angel Raphael.  But the reading is really about more than this: it shows the love of his parents in their longing for Tobiah’s return.  Notice that as his eyes are opened, Tobit exclaims, “I can see you, son, the light of my eyes!” as he weeps with his arms around him.  And at the very beginning of the reading we find Anna, his mother, “watching the road,” looking desperately – she has been there for weeks – for Tobiah to return from his journey.  When she sees him, she, too, throws her arms around him, and says, “Now that I have seen you again, son, I am ready to die!” as she sobs aloud…  It is not so much the fish gall that has cured Tobit’s blindness, for the light of his eyes, that which causes them to see, he himself ascribes to Tobiah his son.  And it is not so much seeing Tobiah that brings such absolute joy to his mother, as it is being with him again, knowing that he is alive – for she had seriously feared him dead.

Brothers and sisters, are we like Anna and Tobit?  Do we watch vigilantly for the return of the only Son of God?  We proclaim that our eyes have been opened to know Him as our Savior, but is He truly the light of our eyes?  Even today do we make seeing Him and knowing Him the life that brings breath to our souls and makes our hearts beat?  Are we the “oppressed,” the “hungry,” the “captives” – those who are “bowed down” of whom our psalm speaks – who will thus know His “justice,” His “food,” His “freedom”… His “resurrection”?

We must love dearly our Holy Catholic Church, for it is essential here on this earth, where it is the keeper of the Father’s vineyard; but we must remember Jesus goes beyond religion, beyond theology and laws.  For He is more than these.  He is what sets us apart from any other religion, for He is a person, the second Person of the Trinity – God.  Let us open our eyes and our hearts and follow Him with our lives, knowing He is our only Son, our hope, the light of our eyes.  For He who is the Son of Man is also the Son of God.

*******

O LORD, open my eyes

that I might praise you forever.

YHWH, it is you who give sight to the blind, you who set captives free.  Your Son is indeed light to our eyes and salvation for our very souls.  Give us new life that we might praise you all the day.

You keep faith with us, O LORD, for though we wait many days, though we must hope even in the darkness, you do not disappoint our expectations – you do not take back your Word.  Your Son has come among us now and revealed your glory to our eyes.  He who lived before us has been born into our midst and died for our sakes.  Now His enemies become His footstool.  Now His reign has begun.  And those who have longed for His coming rejoice in praise of your holy NAME.

O may He return soon to us!  For blindness besets us yet while we dwell upon this plane.  Send your angels to bring Him back to us, O LORD, that forever we might look upon His face.  Give us courage now; raise up the souls that are bowed down.  Alleluia!

Direct download: BC-060713-F_9_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O modern martyrs for Christ

who gave your lives even as the early Christians,

under torture by the emperor,

who remained steadfast as these

despite sword or fire

come by the power of the king…

a new age indeed you ushered in,

one of mighty suffering,

a time for the blood to mount up on this earth –

pray, brothers in the faith,

that your sacrifice not be in vain,

that we shall join you in loyal service

and so find the Church blessed

with new growth in the Spirit.

Though new to the faith yourselves

when you bled and died for the Word,

deeply was your foundation laid,

unshaken by the threats of the mighty.

Should we not be the same;

should we not follow in your way,

we who profess to love the Lord?

Direct download: June_3_Charles_Lwanga_and_Companions.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Tb.6:11,7:1,9-14,8:4-7;   Ps.128:1-5;   Mk.12:28-34) 

“Love the Lord your God”

and

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

On these two great commandments rest all the Law and the Prophets.  By them we shall be “not far from the reign of God.”  In them the Lord leads us into His bridal chamber, where we shall be made one with Him in glory forever. 

Here on earth we dimly mirror the love of the Lord for His Church in our marriage of husband and wife; in this, love of neighbor is known in its most intimate and complete way.  But always love of God must precede love of any creature, for it is “those who fear the Lord” who are happy, who “eat the fruit of [their] handiwork” and see their children prosper.      

Tobiah has such love.  Such strength of love does he have in his heart for Sarah that he hesitates not at all even in the face of death.  Seven have died before him, but he gives fear of this not a thought.  And it is not in his lust that he takes such great strength; he is not led foolishly by his eyes and his loins.  It is indeed his fear of the Lord, the love for his God and his desire to keep His commands, in which he finds unwavering hope.  Even from his marriage bed does he rise to invoke the name of God, demonstrating his “noble purpose.”  He recognizes that God first must be praised, and that it is He who gave Adam his Eve.

Jesus loves us just so, brothers and sisters, and even greater than this is His love for His bride.  He heeds fully the command of God regarding His Church: “Take her and bring her back safely to your father.”  He comes to us, as it were, on a long journey, the angels of the Lord blessing His steps, and seeks without fear His rightful wife, who has languished so long surrounded by death.  This death He takes upon Himself, facing it with faith and prayer alone to show us the love God has for us, and that we must have for one another.  And wedding us unto Himself, He redeems us from the death we have known and makes us so fruitful in His Name.  Yes, brothers and sisters, we must love the God who has loved us so, and love one another the same.

May God bless all marriages;

May they witness to the love the Lord has for His Church.

Amen.

*******

O LORD, if we but love you and our neighbor,

all will be well;

we will approach the kingdom of Heaven.

YHWH, you are love and love is stronger than death; so those who love you shall conquer death and live forever in your love.  O let us but love!

The demons are ever round about, dear LORD, working to take the life from us, the life that is rooted in you and blessed by you – the life which you yourself are.  Let us have your angels to guide us through the darkness of this earth to your unending light; teach us to love you with all our being, to keep nothing back from you.  By our trust and in our prayer may we be saved from all evil.  If we but praise you with all our heart, you will certainly hear our plea.

No lust let there be in any marriage bed, O LORD, but may every husband take his wife with you and your purpose in mind.  Then shall all be blessed; then shall all creation praise you… then shall love be known to the ends of the earth.  Then shall all the devils flee and your kingdom come to be present in all souls.  Let us take our place in Heaven with you and your Son!  To Him let us be wed.

Direct download: BC-060613-Th_9_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O blessed martyrs for the Lord,

in your catacombs the faith flourished,

upon your tomb the Church was built…

your blood is the seed

planted in the ground

that has caused the growth

of the tree of life;

joining in the sacrifice of Christ,

His great joy you knew –

pray that such grace  

will be known to us this day,

that we will give ourselves in faith

to the Holy One by whom we are saved

and so find union with Him in Heaven.

How far His consolation is

from our souls this day,

for how little love we show;

have our hearts not become as a tomb?

Though cold and lifeless,

by your prayers

may our faith flourish once more, dear saints.

Direct download: June_2_Marcellinus_and_Peter.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Tb.3:1-11,16-17;   Ps.25:1-9;   Mk.12:18-27) 

“He is the God of the living, not of the dead.”

Rich readings.  First of all, we see the striking similarity between the story woven by the Sadducees to thwart the wisdom of the Lord and the situation in which Sarah finds herself.  In both cases, seven – the number representing fullness – husbands have died.  In one the wife has also died; in the other, she wishes for death.  And in both there have been no children, no fruit, no new life.  Death in its fullness is throughout today’s readings, as even Tobit begs to die.

In addition to death, our readings are also clearly about prayer.  In our first, Tobit and Sarah pour out their hearts in tears before the Lord whom they so love.  Our psalm is the lifting up of the soul in prayer to God by the humble.  And the Sadducees questioning of Jesus is also a kind of prayer, though one which comes from a hardness of heart, inauthentic and insincere.

And what has the Lord to say of death; what is the answer to these prayers?  We often hear that God always answers our prayers, though often in ways we do not expect.  Such is the case here.  Neither Tobit nor Sarah will get the death they seem to seek; instead, Raphael – the angel whose name means “to heal” – “was sent to heal them both.”  And the Sadducees, “who hold there is no resurrection,” will not find confirmation for their creed which clings to death as the end of all.  Yet all will be answered according to the disposition of their hearts, and in this sense all receive exactly what they seek, for the Lord looks upon the heart.  The prayer of Tobit and Sarah is not really to die but “to be delivered from such anguish” – it is healing they seek, and this they shall find.  And the Sadducees, who do not really seek an answer of the Lord regarding resurrection, whose hearts are closed to the life-giving power of God, will likely not hear the words of Christ… and so by their ignorance come to adhere more firmly to their creed of death. 

We do get what we ask for.  As our psalm tells us, the Lord “teaches the humble His way.”  The compassion and kindness which are synonymous with God are known to those who trust in Him; but “those shall be put to shame who heedlessly break faith,” for the compassion of our Lord finds no place in them.  For them there is no hope, no life, no resurrection from the dead… and they shall not know how God answers prayer.

Brothers and sisters, let us pour out our hearts before our Lord and God, and know His healing grace, and find His everlasting life.    

*******

O LORD, though we wish to die

when amidst the persecutions of this race,

let us be resurrected with you.

YHWH, hear our prayer and save us from the insults of your enemies.  Let us not be overcome by darkness or by sin.  You are our God and you answer all our pleas; let us not be put to shame.

You look upon the heart, O LORD, and listen to our true desires.  Every prayer you cannot help but answer according to the faith by which it is offered.  You give us what we ask for, not in our words but by our intention.  And so, you thwart the insincere prayer of the wicked, but are merciful to those who are humble before you.

And you protect us, LORD, from every attack of the devil.  Those who break faith heedlessly shall not triumph over your righteous ones; they shall be turned back by the power of your Word.  For in life alone you dwell – in you there is no death – and so those whose hearts desire life in your presence shall rejoice… even as those who do not believe fall helplessly into the earth.

Direct download: BC-060513-W_9_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O prophet of the Lord

who spoke in His defense

even before the bench of death,

who professed the wisdom of the Cross

over the intelligence of our race

and all the ideas

it could conceive,

who chose true worship

of the One God

even over life itself

and taught us also

His way in His Church –

pray we shall merit with you

the name of Christian,

the name above every other name,

upon our lips and hearts,

that we shall follow in His steps

seeking always the truth

and His love;

pray we shall worship Him

who deserves all worship and praise

and serve Him and His Church

even with our last breath on this earth.

Direct download: June_1_Justin.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Tb.2:9-14;   Ps.112:1-2,7-9;   Mk.12:13-17)

 

“The heart of the just man is secure,

trusting in the Lord.”

 

Today in our reading and gospel we find just men put to trial and testing.  Our Lord is steadfast before the devious inquiry of the Pharisees and Herodians, answering them with a wisdom greater than Solomon’s; for what can Jesus, who is Himself the Word made flesh, do but take refuge in the Father with whom He is one.  And so wisdom is His to answer His foes, and He is unmoved, indeed moving with “amazement” those who would trap Him.

The heart of Tobit does not remain as secure.  We see in his anger that his trust in the Lord has been shaken.  He has always been just, generously giving to those in need, taking the plight of his people to heart.  Indeed, it is after performing a good work – “fatigued from burying the dead [I] went to sleep next to the wall of my courtyard” – that his trial comes upon him.  Here is a man who has done all he could to help his fellow Jewish exiles suffering persecution at the hands of the Ninevites, and now he is stricken with blindness.

But the Lord does not leave him alone; He does not cast him out.  For two years his needs are cared for by Ahiqar, and then his wife is able to work to meet their expenses.  And successful she is over and above expectations.  Yet he is prodded into anger by her good reward.  His response (in the words of St. Dorotheus, from today’s Office of Readings) “breaks the cover on the passionate anger within him,” an anger, an unease, he has likely been harboring for some time.  It is an anger, we can surmise, that comes from the helplessness his blindness has brought upon him.  He is no longer in control of his fate, but must depend on others for survival.  And though the Lord provides, he finds it too difficult to trust in this provision.  (He may indeed be particularly resentful that it is now his wife who provides for him, taking the role he believes in his heart he should play.)

We can certainly understand Tobit’s frustration over his condition.  Few but Jesus would stand up well to such trial.  But Jesus is our ideal.  It is to be like Him that we are called.  We shall always need to do battle against the sins that are ever with us, but as St. Dorotheus says of the Christian, “The more perfect he grows, the less these temptations will affect him.  For the more the soul advances, the stronger and more powerful it becomes in bearing the difficulties that it meets.” 

Let us set ourselves to trust in the Lord and so ever find security in Him. We must place all in His hands, even unto death, and then we shall be free. 

 

Let not the things of Caesar weigh upon you;

you belong to God and not the world.

 

*******

O LORD, only you can make us secure –

let us trust in you and not in money.

YHWH, with the things of this earth let us not be concerned; let us know that we are in your hands.  To you let us trust our very lives, and we shall not be disturbed.

The forces of the world close in on us, enticing us to fear and anger.  But if we stand strong in the faith, the Spirit will be with us to save us.  In you, O LORD, let us remain.

The just man delights in your commands; the upright shall ever be blessed.  Let us indeed remain steadfast, LORD, that we might look down upon our foes.

And though persecuted for righteousness’ sake, if afflicted for doing what is right let us not resent our fate, but continue to look to you to cure our blindness.  Your Son, O LORD, has suffered the Cross though innocent – why should sinners like us complain?

It is hard, LORD, and we do often break, but help us to return to you this day and stand before our accusers with the same faith your Son so peacefully displayed.  Let us give ourselves entirely to you.

Direct download: BC-030811-Tu_9_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O Mother of our Lord,

who are we

that you should visit us?

Over hills you came

to see your cousin Elizabeth

and the child she conceived

so miraculously;

to her you brought the Child

who brings us all salvation.

Yes, to us all you bring Jesus…

all holy souls you visit with His grace.

John the Baptist proclaims this Savior

whom he has known first

in your voice,

and all hearts leap up

at your approach;

for the Lord is with you,

even in your blessed womb:

how blessed is this fruit you bear!

Visit us this day, dear Mother,

with Jesus our Redeemer,

that even this day

we may rejoice in His Name.

Direct download: May_31_The_Visitation.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(Zeph.3:14-18  or  Rom.12:9-16;   Is.12:2-6;   Lk.1:39-56)

 

“Sing praise to the Lord for His glorious achievement;

let this be known throughout all the earth.”

 

How can we capture the joy of this day?  For here is the sign of our promised salvation; here we find the first apostolic act in Mary’s bringing the Word of God, so recently conceived in her womb, to Elizabeth, and to her son John the Baptist.

“Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!  Sing joyfully, O Israel!” Zephaniah encourages the holy nation.  And for what does Zion, and indeed the whole world, rejoice but that which we celebrate this day?  Here in these simple, lowly women we find all of Israel rejoicing as she brings to birth her Savior.  Yes, even now “the Lord, [her] God, is in [her] midst,” even in her womb; and already He begins to bring salvation forth.  Already we find a kind of first Pentecost as first, “Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and cried out in a loud voice: ‘Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb’…  and then Mary said: ‘My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my savior?”  And already the Baptist in the womb of his aged mother has been inspired by the presence of the Son of God; already he has “stirred in [her] womb for joy,” just at the sound of Mary’s voice touching the ears of his mother, even as Jesus is but days old in Mary’s blessed womb.

And how does all this joy come but through humility.  “For He has looked upon His servant in her lowliness; all ages to come shall call [her] blessed.”  Yes, Mary is raised “to high places,” is become the Mother of God, because of her great humility before Him.  It is this lowliness she proclaims in her canticle today; it is this lowliness Elizabeth exudes when she asks, “Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” – and it is this same lowliness which is required of all the children of Israel, of all Abraham’s descendants, if we are to know that “the Lord has removed the judgment against [us],” if we are to “shout with exultation” for “the Holy One of Israel” in our midst.

Let us heed Paul’s instruction to the Romans to “put away ambitious thoughts and associate with those who are lowly” that we might “rejoice with those who rejoice.”  As our holy women today, these models of faith, let us “look on the needs of the saints as [our] own” and “be generous in offering hospitality.”  “Be fervent in spirit; He whom you serve is the Lord.”  For it is He who comes under your roof this day.  It is His holy name you should proclaim in all you do and say.  And the blessing of salvation shall be upon you.

 

Mother of God, bring to us this day our Savior,

that we might rejoice with you in heaven.

 

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, you have looked upon us in our lowliness

and sent your Son to dwell among us –

may we praise you always for your glory!

YHWH, let us praise your holy NAME this day, for you have come into our midst and raised us poor creatures from the dust to dwell with you in your Temple.  Praise you, LORD!  Visit us this day in your love, through the intercession of the Blessed Mother.

O LORD, make us humble and lowly as she who carries your Son to us, humble and lowly as Israel your Chosen one – humble and lowly as Jesus Himself.  In Mary’s womb with Him let us dwell and so hear your voice calling to our hearts through all she speaks unto our poor ears.  In darkness we remain, in the cave of this world; but you bring us light and life – for such grace let us praise you!

Dispel all fear from our hearts, LORD, at the sound of your Mother’s voice, and so with her let us proclaim your greatness, and the salvation you have wrought in your mercy.  We are nothing, nothing but simple souls waiting on your Word…  Speak to us this day and awaken us to your glory, that our hearts might exult in your presence all our days. 

Mother of God, pray for your poor children.

Direct download: Visitation_2011.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

(Dt.4:32-34,39-40;   Ps.33:4-6,9,12,18-20,22;   Rom.8:14-17;   Mt.28:16-20) 

“You must know now, and fix in your heart,

that ‘the Lord is God in the heavens above and on earth below,

and that there is no other.’”

“Did a people ever hear the voice of God speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live?” Moses asks the Israelite nation.  “Did any god venture to go and take a nation for Himself” with the great “signs and wonders” that accompanied Israel’s release from Egyptian bondage?  No.  For the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the God of heaven and earth, the one true God.  For “by the word of the Lord the heavens were made; by the breath of His mouth all their host.”  Yes, “He spoke, and it was made, He commanded and it stood forth.”  None is great as the Father in heaven.

And of the power of the Father, Jesus, the Son, shares: “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” He declares in truth.  It is He who suffers and dies for us; it is He who thus reveals God’s love – it is He whom all nations adore in the holy court.  The words of the Father He brings to our ears; His commands, which bring life and “deliver… from death,” He speaks in our hearing.  Here is the Word by which all comes to be made flesh in our sight.

And we, “we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” – to this “the Spirit Himself bears witness,” speaking in our souls the NAME of God.  Yes, “those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God,” and the Spirit is now with us to lead us, to help us “keep His statutes and commandments,” that we might “have long life on the land which the Lord, [our] God, is giving [us] forever.”  And now so on fire with the Spirit of God, Jesus present with us always in body and soul, and standing as holy children of the Father… we must “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that [the Lord has] commanded.”

“Our soul waits for the Lord, who is our help and our shield.”  His presence is upon us always for good, and we long now to know the fullness of the Trinity.  He whose “works are trustworthy” we seek to make our own, that we might be one with Him who is One.  “Of the kindness of the Lord the earth is full.”  May He who “loves justice and right” be known in His fullness by all.

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

Music: "Speaking of God" (second half) from The Whole Whale, eighth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, let us remain in your NAME

and in your power,

and carry our cross unto Heaven.

YHWH, you are God of Heaven and earth; there is none beside you.  By your Word all came to be, and all is held together by your love.  We can but hope for your kindness, LORD, to preserve us from the death we deserve.  We can but be baptized in your NAME and pray to be as your children.

O LORD, let us be your heirs with Christ.  Let us suffer with Him that we might be glorified by the Spirit and come to dwell as one with you in the kingdom.  To this earth bring your Word and let us be remade in His image.  For He is one with you and the Spirit, worthy of all our worship; and as we worship Him, the Spirit inspires us to cry out, “Abba, Father!” with your only Son.

O LORD, what great grace and mercy you have shown us!  You have taken us from the midst of darkness and sin and brought us into your marvelous light by the sacrifice of your Son.  In the fire of the Holy Spirit you speak to us and guide us on our journey to you.  Help us, LORD, to keep your commands that we might prosper and have eternal life with you in Heaven.

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

          O lover of the Church

          for whom you offered your life,

          defending the saving truths of the faith

          against the evil tide

          engulfing humanity,

          proclaiming the Gospel of Christ

          and the light of the Lord

          to the ends of a desolate world

          drowning in a thousand false notions

          of love

          as man makes himself God

          and so knows only emptiness

          inside –

          pray that we will extricate ourselves

          from the embrace

          of the culture of death

          and find a civilization of love;

          pray especially the smoke of Satan

          will be blown by the Spirit

          from this House you love

          that She may be evangelized anew                           

          and come to contemplate

          the glory of God.

Direct download: Paul_VI_May_29.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Sir.51:12-20;   Ps.19:8-11;   Mk.11:27-33)

 

“When I was young and innocent, I sought wisdom.

She came to me in her beauty,

and until the end I will cultivate her.”

 

Oh how Sirach speaks of his love, of the wisdom that is the light of his life!  He is “resolutely devoted to her” and does “never weary of extolling her.”  To his teacher he gives “grateful praise,” for he treasures her sweetness above all things.

“I will ask you a question.  If you give me an answer, I will tell you on what authority I do the things I do.”  So does wisdom speak.  So does the Lord inquire as to what is in the hearts of the scribes and Pharisees and priests.  But there He does not find wisdom’s radiant beauty; there He finds nothing, for these leaders are so empty, so pitifully vain.  Rightly do they say, “We do not know,” for there is no light in them – only the dark connivings of the world’s greed and pride.

And can wisdom answer him who has no ears?  Can she speak to those who do not listen to her voice whispering in their souls?  She does not engage in useless activity and cannot wed herself to those whose spirits are impure, whose hearts are not set on her fruits.  “In cleanness I attained to her,” Sirach happily declares, for he “purified even the soles of [his] feet” to find her.  But these men who weary so easily of her “great instruction,” who would so readily look upon the riches of this world, how can they taste her sweetness?  How can they gaze upon her infinite beauty…?

And so the Lord turns away from them.  He cannot tell them “on what authority [He] do[es] the things” they see displayed so powerfully before their eyes, for their eyes are blind and their hearts are turned against Him.  They do not wish to know the answer to their question; they do not truly seek wisdom.  And she does not come to those who do not desire “her secrets.”

“The decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.”  In silence, in obedience, in humility and purity you will hear the Lord speaking.  And He will guide you to all His grace; and His name alone you will bless and praise.  What great profit you shall find if from your innocence you cultivate wisdom until the end of time. 

 

*******

O LORD, open our eyes and minds to your light,

that by the power of the Spirit

we might be formed by wisdom

into the image of your Son.

YHWH, send your wisdom upon us; let her make her home in us.  May we be distracted by nothing of this world as we seek her diligently and with a whole heart.  You will be faithful in giving her to us if it is she we truly desire.

The Pharisees could not know your wisdom, LORD, because your wisdom they did not really want.  They cared only for their positions and their goods and what people would say or do to them, and not at all for the truth.  And so the truth escaped them.  Wisdom will settle in with none who do not have an open heart.

O LORD, we recognize the authority of your Son, that all wisdom and power are with Him; indeed, that He is your only Son.  Let us delight in His words and give Him grateful praise for all He has taught and done for us.  More precious than gold is the light He brings to our eyes and to our minds, and the love that through Him makes its home in our spirits.

Direct download: BC-030511-Sa_8_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Sir.44:1,9-13;   Ps.149:1-6,9;   Mk.11:11-26)

 

“They are as though they had not lived,

they and their children after them.”

 

This line from Sirach could refer well to the Jewish nation symbolized by the fig tree “withered to its roots.”  For “never again shall anyone eat of [its] fruits”; its temple now destroyed shall never be rebuilt.  And yet Sirach speaks not of those who have perished in sin, and so are never to be known again in the sight of God, but of “godly men” of Jewish ancestry who, though “there is no memory” of the particulars of their actions in time – as there is with the great patriarchs and prophets of old – yet are of the race of those “whose virtues have not been forgotten”: the memory of their goodness lives on in the heart of God, and “through God’s covenant with them their family endures.”

The covenant is removed from the hands of the Jewish people.  This is indicated clearly in our gospel today not only in the withered fig tree, but in Jesus’ driving out those who had made their station in His Father’s temple.  These shall be replaced by the Lord’s appointed servants, and the Church shall be built where the temple once stood.  But this does not mean that the godly deeds of the godly men under the covenant of old are forgotten now that the New Covenant has been instituted; nor does it mean those in His Church are beyond reproach.

Let us look more closely at the Lord’s interaction with the fig tree, for it can teach us much.  First, Jesus “felt hungry” – He desires our souls.  Then He saw “a fig tree some distance off” – far removed are we from His sacred presence.  He is attracted by its “foliage” – it has the appearance of fruit and life.  But “when He reached it He found it had nothing but leaves…”  There is no fruit upon it to satisfy His hunger; and so for its uselessness He curses it to dust.  As He has done with the faithless Jews, so will He do with the faithless among us.

But “it was not the time for figs,” you say, as if to justify your emptiness.  My brothers, in the Lord’s kingdom it is always time for figs – we in His Church are ever called to bear fruit in His name, in season and out of season: our souls are required of us this very day.  And if we satisfy not God’s hunger for our fruits of prayer and charity, if we too have polluted His house with acts of “buying and selling” instead of the worship demanded of us… if we have gilded the temple to attract the eye but are utterly barren within, what shall He say when He enters our temple area?  What action shall He take against those who serve as thieves of His love?  They shall indeed be blotted from His Book of Life.

But those who “put [their] trust in God,” those who serve Him in spirit and in truth, shall not be forgotten by the Lord, whether their names are known in this world or not.  “For the Lord loves His people, and He adorns the lowly with victory.”  It is not the “acclamations from the crowd” in which Jesus puts His heart, but in doing the will of God.  And so all who are like Him shall secure with Him their place in heaven.  “Let the children of Zion rejoice in their King,” for none “in the assembly of the faithful” is forgotten.

 

*******

O LORD, let us trust in you and rejoice in you…

let us bear fruit in your NAME.

YHWH, we pray that we shall be remembered by you, that we shall not be cast out of your Temple for making it a den of thieves, for failing to worship you as we ought.  Though we not be remembered by the world, though we perform no great deed worthy of history, yet let us find room in your memory, in your heart – in your Book of Life.

The humble you look upon with favor, LORD.  The godly of any age you bless.  You will not remove your favor from any who remain faithful to your Word.  But those who abuse their power, who take for granted your grace upon their souls, these you cannot but cast from your presence as you overturn the tables in which they trust.

Let us bear fruit for you, dear LORD, fruit that will last unto Heaven.  May our prayer be made in fidelity and sincerity that we may come to praise you in your kingdom with all those of holy heart.  May our glory never be blotted out.

Direct download: BC-030411-F_8_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O converter of peoples,

called from the quiet

of cloister walls

you went obediently over seas

to preach to the souls

to whom you were sent,

and the Lord worked

through your obedience,

spoke through the words

you uttered to the nations…

and so the light of holy faith

banished the darkness of error

and souls indeed were gathered

into Christ’s fold –

pray, O shepherd,

obedience shall be ours, too,

and all whom the Father

would hold unto His breast

shall come indeed to that sacred place

and there find their rest.

May God’s will be accomplished

in His Church

and we bear fruit in His name.

Direct download: May_27_Augustine_of_Canterbury.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Sir.42:15-25;   Ps.33:2-9;   Mk.10:46-52)

 

“As the rising sun is clear to all,

so the glory of the Lord fills all His works.”

 

“How beautiful are all His works! even to the spark and the fleeting vision!”  “Can one ever see enough of their splendor?”  Yet how blind is man to their glory!  How much we need to receive the Lord’s vision.

“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made; by the breath of His mouth their host”; “at God’s word were His works brought into being.”  And so, bathed in His grace what can heaven and earth be but a wonder to behold?  Then why is it we see only darkness?  Why are our eyes so blind to His presence in all the creatures He has made only for good?  Is it not that we say “I see”?  Is it not that we tell ourselves, “There.  Now I have God in my hands.  Now His ways I understand”?

My poor friends, you can never plumb the depths of God’s works, for “even God’s holy ones must fail in recounting the wonders of the Lord.”  It is He alone who “plumbs the depths and penetrates the heart; [your] innermost being He understands.”  And He sees as He looks into your soul that you are blind, that you do not see Him as He is… and He longs to call you up closer to Himself.  “The Most High possesses all knowledge”: He remembers the past, He sees the future – the moment is in His hand.  And you yourself He would hold in His hand and move according to His will, if only you would let Him.

Come to the Lord like the blind man you are; do not let the scolding of the world hinder your plea to His compassionate heart.  “You have nothing whatever to fear from Him!” for He eternally asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” seeking always to grant you sight.  Then when you feel His touch upon your eyes, be as Bartimaeus and “immediately… follow Him up the road.”  For on that road your vision will ever be increased.  On that road you will learn to “pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness”; you will share in His wisdom and wonder as you “sing to Him [your] new song.”  On the road our Savior trod you will find “the strength to stand firm before His glory.”

Rise and walk with Him in faith this day.  “He gathers the waters of the sea in a flask”; “not a single thing escapes Him” – and so He is certainly not blind to your needs.  To His glory He calls you: shine with Him now more brightly than the sun.

*******

O LORD, give us the vision to see

the beauty of all your works,

your presence in everything.

YHWH, how blind we are to your glory shining in our midst!  How we fail to recognize Jesus on the road He travels to you.  Why do we not cry out?  Why do we hesitate to proclaim our blindness?  Are our hearts not made for your glory?

No one can recount all your wonders, O LORD; we cannot penetrate the heart of all being.  But if we but trust in you, if we but ascribe to you the awesome power and almighty wisdom that are yours alone, then the beauty of your works will become known even to our poor eyes… and we will be able to sing your praise with the stars and the sea and all you have created.

At your Word, by the Breath of your mouth, all was made: you spoke and it came to be.  Let us but call out to your Son for pity, LORD, and the glory of your Creation we shall live and see.

Direct download: BC-030311-Th_8_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O priest of joy

whose song of service

rises unto the Lord

until this day,

whose delight in sacrifice

inspires others

to give themselves in freedom

to the work of Christ –

pray all God’s priests

and people

will give themselves so completely

in the love of the only Son

that indeed a holy song

might rise unto the heavens

until He returns from there

to carry us home forever.

May the Lord’s healing graces

be poured forth

through your generous intercession

that all souls might be prepared

to unite with their Creator and Redeemer,

with the Spirit who inspires the Church

even here with His glorious presence.

Direct download: May_26_Philip_Neri.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Sir.36:1,5-6,10-17;   Ps.79:8-9,11,13;   Mk.10:32-35)

 

“Take pity on your holy city,

Jerusalem, your dwelling place.”

 

The prayer of the wise man is good, but I see that the same answer the Lord gave James and John when they asked to sit “one at [His] right hand and the other at [His] left” in His glory, could be given to Sirach: “You do not know what you are asking.”  For neither knows the implication of their request – neither can see that it will only be fulfilled in a painful death.

In our gospel Jesus is leading the disciples “on the road going up to Jerusalem,” a crowd following behind.  There He will “fulfill the prophecies spoken in [His] name.”  There He will “fill Zion with His majesty, [His] temple with [His] glory.”  But the keepers of the keys of the temple “will condemn Him to death”; they will thereby destroy the Temple itself.  In this way only will the “prophets be proved true.”  In this way only He will “deliver us and pardon our sins.”  In this way only will He “with [His] great power free those doomed to death.”  For the prophets have said that the Servant must suffer.  The prophets have said that the Son must die.  There is no other way that “three days later He will rise.”  There is no other way for Him to redeem those condemned to die.

This must sink into our hearts; this we must understand, we who run so freely from the cross, who think it is a facile thing to “inherit the land.”  The Lord will indeed have pity on our souls; He will indeed answer “the prisoners’ sighing” and forget “the iniquities of the past.”  But Heaven is attained only by those who drink from His cup; the glory of God is known only by those who share in Jesus’ “bath of pain.”  No other way will we be cleansed of our sins.  No other way will we be made ready.  The cross is the path to the New Jerusalem, and we must walk it with our Lord.

And so, be not lazy about the work He has set before you; fail not to “serve the needs of all.”  If you think of yourself and some vain reward, you will never find the blessing which awaits “those for whom it has been reserved.”  His “compassion come[s] quickly to us” if we but share in His blood.

*******

O LORD, your Son has come to die

that we might be freed from the death of sin;

on this path of sacrifice let us join Him.

YHWH, you are the eternal God.  We are but sinful men.  And so, how shall we come into your kingdom?  Only by the bath of pain, only by drinking from the chalice of your Son – only by His death on the Cross.

He will be condemned to death.  He will be spit upon and mocked.  He will indeed be crucified.  It is we who lead Him there, we who by our sin and selfishness push Him along the road to Calvary.  O LORD, have mercy on our souls!

Hear our sighing in this dark prison; let us live in exile no more.  Bring us back to your holy dwelling place… your glory may we somehow know.  We call out to you from the ends of the earth, LORD; have compassion on our cries.

Your prophets will be proved true: your Servant will suffer a terrible death.  Give us the courage to walk with Him, LORD, to share in the sacrifice He makes.

Direct download: BC-030211-W_8_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O humble soul

whom the Lord blessed

with mystical elevations

to His heavenly presence,

you who remained so faithful

through all trials

and encouraged others

to seek such perfection as well –

pray that this proud age

which leans so distinctly

from the truth,

from the love of God,

will be consumed as you were

by the Holy Spirit,

by desire for the Lord’s overtaking

of our lives,

that all souls will turn

from the false gods at their hands,

idols that overshadow their spirits,

and toward the humility

known only in our Savior’s blood.

Only in Him is life eternal;

pray all souls will come to His love.

Direct download: May_25_Mary_Magdalene_de_Pazzi.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:10pm EDT

O Shepherd and Father,

defender of the faith

and of holy MotherChurch

against those who would rob her

of her freedom,

those who would rape her,

stealing away her purity,

those who would deny

her singleness in the sight of God

as the House which He has founded –

those who would destroy the faith

and bring to naught

the Church, our Mother,

and Peter, our Holy Father,

do not relent in their efforts…

and so we need still

your prayers and your courage

to aid us in standing strong

against the tide

the evil one stirs up in this world.

Pray indeed, O Father,

that all our shepherds and all God’s people

will tirelessly defend the truth in love.

Direct download: May_25_Gregory_VII.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

O learned master

whose life itself was as a monastery,

consumed as you were

by study and teaching and writing

and prayer,

who till the very end

spoke the name of the Lord

in all your words

and deeds –

pray that the incense of your life

will rise unto the throne of God

and intercede for us here below

who are so far from His presence,

from knowledge of His providence

and remembrance of His sacrifice.

How will we find ourselves

one with the Lord of Creation

and ascend to His glory

if you do not pray for us,

O blessed soul

so united to His will,

so held within His Hand

and breathing forth His name?

Direct download: May_25_Bede_the_Venerable.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm 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

        O Holy Tabernacle,

        preeminent member and model of the Church

        to whom you gave birth…

        as you are Mother of the Head,

        so, too, Mother of the Body,

        of all those redeemed

        by the Blood of your Son,

        with whom you shared such intimate union –

        pray that we be made fruitful

        by your intercession,

        children of the Lord Most High

        and your children,

        conceived of the Spirit that overshadowed you

        and for whom you waited

        with the apostles in the upper room.

        Pray we make our home in you

        as in the Church

        born from the side of Jesus

        pierced upon the Cross

        beneath which you stood.

        Dear Mother, pray we follow you

        into glory.

Direct download: Mary_Mother_of_the_Church__Mon._after_Pent.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm 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

(Acts 2:1-11;   Ps.104:1,24,29-31,34;   Gal.5:16-25;   Jn.15:26-27,16:12-15)

“The time for Pentecost was fulfilled.”

A driving wind comes from the sky.  It fills the house.  Tongues of fire come to rest on the disciples, and they speak in tongues of every nation.  The gathered crowd of “Jews from every nation under heaven” ask in wonder, “How does each of us hear them in his native language?”  How is such perfect communication possible?  How could such light fall upon mankind?  How can we be made one?

“The Advocate comes.”  “The Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father,” sent by the Son to “guide [us] to all truth,” declares the glory of God in our midst, fulfills the Word among us, making us brothers and sisters in the light of the Lord.

“O Lord, my God, you are great indeed!”  What wonders you work before the eyes of man!  What glorious speech you bring to our ears!  So far are your ways above our ways; so little of the truth can we weak human beings bear.  But you strengthen us.  You give us your Word.  You anoint us with your Spirit to destroy this sinful flesh and prepare our hearts to receive the grace that comes only by your power.  We praise you, Lord, for the glory you impart to our souls.

“May the glory of the Lord endure forever,” and we endure forever in Him.  Let us never be separated from the blessing which comes from the One who never dies, the One who brings life to every creature upon the face of the earth, and in the heavens above.  “Brothers and sisters, live by the Spirit” now.  Hold closely to the gifts He offers freely and powerfully forth this holy day and every day of your lives.  In no other way will you be fulfilled; by no other means will you come to heaven.  The Spirit is the source of all truth and only by His guidance you will hear of the glory of God.  And only by His power will you keep it.

In the Church now the Spirit dwells, teaching all her children.  From the four corners they come to receive the bread of life.  Let us be fed well for the time is at hand when all the Lord’s words will be fulfilled, when the Son shall return again.  Our refuge now is the Spirit.  In Him let us place our trust.

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

Music: "There Is No End to Life" (final part) from Thoroughfare, seventh album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, let us be baptized in your Spirit,

renewed for the proclamation of your love.

YHWH, comes the driving wind from Heaven, the Spirit Jesus breathes upon His apostles, and so we are made your sons, dear Father, and declare your glory unto all.  May your Church with one voice offer you due praise and teach the nations of your eternal call.

We must leave our sins behind and accept the gifts of the Holy Spirit, living as one with the Son of God.  If we keep His commandments, we shall dwell with you forever, O Father God.  For He is with you and through Him you send the Spirit; all who desire to be your children you bless with purging fire this holy day.

Now the promised gift of the Spirit falls upon our immortal souls and we are refreshed and made new creatures, formed in the image of Jesus, your Son.  One you make us in Spirit and Body, free from all the works of the flesh.  Your Son stands in our midst and offers us His peace; the Advocate now testifies to all Truth… Come and make your dwelling in us, O glorious LORD and God.

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

O saint of the impossible

whose union with Christ

in His Passion and His glory

serves to grant favors

to those in great need,

you whose great thirst

to be one with our Bridegroom

brought the help of the saints yourself –

pray we poor souls

shall fulfill our vocation,

that through the din of this world

we shall hear and answer

the call of the Lord

and give ourselves in His service

in the manner He desires.

Pray our hearts be so set

on union with Him

that no obstacle shall stand in our way,

that all help we need

to find our path to Him

will be provided through your prayers.

How shall we come to dwell in Heaven?

Invoke God’s blessing upon us.

Direct download: May_22_Rita_of_Cascia.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 28:16-20,30-31;   Ps.11:4-5,7;   Jn.21:20-25)

 

“I wear these chains solely because I share the hope of Israel.”

 

The hope of Israel indeed wears chains.  The Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior of the nation, is fixed to a cross.  This is the call of all who follow Jesus – to die.

But, Peter is prompted to ask as he walks with Jesus and the Lord explicates his dual call to serve as leader of the Church and to die for his faith, “What about him?”  What about John, who follows them?  The question pertains not simply to whether or not John also must suffer a martyr’s death, but principally – as the principal call of Peter is to feed the Lord’s flock – to why Jesus does not call John to serve as His first of priests, standing in His stead, for it is clear to all that John is “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”  Jesus responds, “Suppose I want him to stay until I come,” suppose He does not want John to pour himself out as a libation on His holy altar… that should be of no concern to the Rock of the Church.  Jesus calls whom He wills to what He wills for His blessed purpose.  And John is not called to die, or to lead.

John is, in fact, the only one of the Twelve who does not suffer a martyrdom of blood.  He does remain until a very old age.  His martyrdom is white, that of suffering a long life.  And in several ways he remains ever with the Church on earth, in a sense, as the Christ’s beloved Church.  It is he to whom the Blessed Mother is entrusted, she who is with us always to nurture us here on our journey.  And in our gospel today, the principal call of John is most evident: he is called to “witness to… the things that Jesus did” and to “record them.”  “It is he who wrote them down,” he who is the great Evangelist – he whose words remain with us even today as we read his gospel throughout the most blessed season of Easter.  And, of course, it is he who, in his old age, while exiled on the island of Patmos, will receive the great vision that has become the Book of Revelation, thus telling us so thoroughly not only of Jesus’ life on earth, but also of His life in heaven.

In our first reading, Paul is “allowed to take a lodging of his own.”  Though “a soldier was assigned to keep guard over him… with full assurance, and without any hindrance whatever, he preached the reign of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.”  What Paul does in earthly chains for two years – for soon he, too, shall be martyred for the faith – John does, in a sense, endlessly, or at least until its natural end.

“The Lord is in His holy temple…  His searching glance is on mankind.”  He calls all to the martyrdom He chooses.  Let us each wear the chains He provides, each find the place in the kingdom to which He leads us, knowing always that “the upright shall see His face.”

 

*******

O LORD, however much we speak of you,

there is more to tell;

you far surpass our poor witness, O hope of Israel.

YHWH, if we must stay here in rented lodgings, let us witness to you with our lives.  If today we must die, let our blood be shed upon your altar of sacrifice.  Whatever we do, whether we live or die, let it be done for you.

We do not know how long we shall dwell upon this earth, O LORD.  We do not know when we shall die and come with you to Paradise.  But we know that your call is upon our souls, that while here we wear your chains and before us is set your Son’s Cross.  And we know the source of both the chains of this life and the death we must die is the hope we bear in our souls, the hope of entering into your reign.  And we know that your reign is alive in us even this day.

Peter is the first of priests, sacrificing himself in the place of your Son upon your holy altar.  John, your beloved, witnesses to you with his love and in the words he speaks to us.  If we must stay and write, O LORD (vision of you upon our souls), or if we must bleed and die, let all be done for you who dwell on high… and let us join you in your Temple.

Direct download: BC-061111-Sa_7_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O sacrificial sheep,

priests of the Lord

who offered your lives

even as you offered Mass,

in union with Christ and His Church

for the sake of your homeland:

you prayed for its peace

even as violence was done to you;

you celebrated the Mass

and baptized your flock

even when it became a crime,

even when it cost your lives –

such union with Christ

pray all souls,

and especially our priests,

shall know to the depths of their heart;

let none be afraid

to shed their blood

as one with His redemptive sacrifice.

The Cross pray we follow where it leads,

despite the world’s persecution.

Direct download: May_21_Christopher_Magallanes_and_Companions.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 25:13-21;   Ps.103:1-2,11-12,19-20;   Jn.21:15-19)

 

“When you are older you will stretch out your hands,

and another will tie you fast and carry you off against your will.”

 

And so the Lord “indicate[s] the sort of death by which Peter was to glorify God.”  And by his laying down of his life, this leader of the apostles shall indeed feed the Lord’s sheep.

After “they had eaten their meal,” when there was nothing to distract them – as the apostles gazed at the wonder of the risen Christ before their eyes – the Lord quietly speaks to Peter in the hearing of all.  Three times Jesus inquires of His blessed Rock, calling him by his earthly name to assume the name heaven has assigned him.  Three times the risen Lord asks, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” and three times Peter must publicly declare his love for God above all things, three times negating his previous denials.  It is a simple scene, but beautiful, and remarkably weighty.  Not only does Jesus place the care of the Church into this poor apostle’s hands, but He speaks clearly of the sacrifice His Rock must make, teaching him what love of God and care for His people entail… nothing less than death.

And of Paul’s death for the Lord we continue to read.  Though the Apostle does not himself appear in our first reading, he is spoken of clearly.  Two things we learn of him: first, he is a “prisoner” “kept in custody”; second, the reason for his arrest – he differed with the Jewish leaders “about a certain Jesus who had died but who Paul claimed is alive.”  In his imprisonment is Paul’s death and in his profession of the risen Lord he shows his love for God and the people.  Here he clearly follows in the steps of Jesus, fulfilling his call from the Lord.

And, brothers and sisters, the call to death, the call to love of the Lord and care for all His children, is all our own.  What the Lord speaks to Peter He speaks indeed to all the apostles seated there on the shore in Galilee; and He speaks the same in our hearing today, calling all who would follow Him in the same way.  And follow Him we must.  It is only by this same sort of death that any of us will come to life; it is only sharing in His cross that we will find the resurrection.  We cannot see the risen Lord, nor rise ourselves, if we are not willing to die for Him and with Him.

But do not fear: “The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.”  Neither Festus nor Felix nor King Agrippa nor the Jewish elders can judge Paul, for he is only in God’s hands.  And so, though we be dragged to certain crucifixion, the world holds no sway over our souls – the life the Spirit provides and the strength He instills cannot be destroyed.  Let us stretch out our hands freely to embrace our blessed Lord and “all His benefits” receive through our sharing in His sacrifice of love.

 

*******

O LORD, may we declare our love for you

by laying down our lives for you who are above all.

YHWH, you rule over all from your throne in Heaven, and so, though brought before the rulers of this world, what need we fear?  Though to death you call us all, we have your blessing to protect us and your Church to feed us along the way.  With your Son’s Body and Blood you feed us, and so, again, what need we fear?

It is a blessing to witness to your Name and your Son’s resurrection before the powers that be in this world, for then by your grace we serve to bring your kingdom forth to take its place amongst all.  Thank you, O LORD, for this gift you give us, to share in the work of your Christ.

And thank you, LORD, for your call to Peter and His obedience in laying down His life, His following in the path upon which Jesus leads us, that we might know the way we should travel and have the Church’s protection, the food you give us at the hands of the apostles all through our earthly life.

Direct download: BC-061011-F_7_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O apostle of the holy name of Jesus

who proclaimed God’s loving mercy

to those in darkness

that the light of faith

might save souls

and make them children

of the light of Christ,

radiating His splendor,

the splendor of truth,

to the ends of the earth –

where is such zeal today,

where apostles

with the preaching of Paul;

and so, how shall souls be saved,

how shall false beliefs flee,

infidelity be consumed

and the truth appear as a great candle

lighting the whole world with its brilliant flame,

if you do not intercede?

Pray that we may not lack

knowledge of and devotion to Jesus,

that His name shall not be suppressed

but preached without cease to waiting hearts.

Direct download: May_20_Bernadine_of_Siena.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 22:30,23:6-11;   Ps.16:1-2,5,7-11;   Jn.17:20-26)

 

“I set the Lord ever before me;

with Him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.”

 

Yes, “the Lord appeared at Paul’s side” at night, in prison, after his testimony and the near riot it caused in Jerusalem.  He comes to encourage him, to strengthen him for further trials; and through all Paul shall remain strong.

“Keep me, O God, for in you, I take refuge,” David prays, and sings of the confidence his heart and soul find in the Lord, his “allotted portion and cup… who hold[s] fast [his] lot.”  He knows deep in his spirit that the Lord “will not abandon [his] soul to the netherworld, nor will [He] suffer [His] faithful one to undergo corruption.”  And certainly, the same faith Paul exhibits; the same trust in the Lord, Paul holds in his own spirit.  He, too, is not disturbed, though he finds himself “on trial now because of [his] hope in the resurrection of the dead.”

And whence comes such confidence?  How can a man so attacked, a man so beaten and cursed, be so without fear?  Does not Jesus answer this question in His prayer to the Father, which we are all blessed to hear?  Here He prays that we be one in Him even as He is one with the Father.  Here He asks that our “unity may be complete.”  And if our unity is complete with the Father and with the Son, as well as with one another, what, brothers and sisters, have we to fear?  If the love of God which the Father “bore [the Son] before the world began” is in our hearts now, what can disturb them?  “That your love for me may live in them, and I may live in them” is Jesus’ prayer to the Father for us all – and do you think the Father does not listen, does not answer His Son?  He would have us in His company where He is, gazing upon His glory – and this is where Paul dwells.  And so he cannot be moved.

“You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.”  The Spirit brings us now that of which David sings, that which Paul knows, that all might know the glory of God, that all might be one in Him, and so, safe from all harm.  As Jesus is resurrected from the dead, so shall we all be.  What have we to fear?  We must but set Him before us always. 

*******

O Lord, let your love live in us

that we might make your Name known

with faith and courage.

 

YHWH, in you we take our refuge, and so we pray that you keep us ever close by – with you at our right hand we shall not be disturbed.  Please answer your Son’s prayer that we be in His company where He is, with you in eternal glory.  You will not abandon our souls to the nether world, and so, encourage us as you have Paul, with your presence at our side.  In your Spirit may we find confidence to bear witness before all.

Jesus has been resurrected from the dead and with Himself He would bring us to your glorious presence.  What need we fear with His power upon us?  Why should we be afraid when His Spirit is with us, showering on us your love?  In you we should but rejoice for the eternal protection you give us in your holy NAME.  To life we shall come even this day, O LORD, for we have believed in your Son and so share in the glory of His resurrection.

Direct download: BC-060911-Th_7_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 20:28-38;   Ps.68:29-30,33-36;   Jn.17:11-19)

 

“O Father most holy,

protect them with the name you have given me.”

 

In our gospel today Jesus prays to the Father, “who rides on the heights of the ancient heavens,” to “guard [His disciples] from the evil one.”  And the parallels continue between His and Paul’s parting words, as the Apostle warns his own disciples, “When I am gone, savage wolves will come among you who will not spare the flock,” and therefore exhorts them to “be on guard.”

It is the Lord’s earnest desire of the Father that we His disciples “be consecrated in truth.”  If truth be with us, if the Holy Spirit He promises to send be ours, the “careful watch” Jesus has kept “as long as [He] was with [us]” will continue.  In fact, Paul’s instruction to the elders of Ephesus to “shepherd the Church of God, which He has acquired at the price of His own blood” – blood the Lord is about to shed in our gospel – will be realized, and His apostles will become themselves those who care for the safety of the people of God.  “I consecrate myself for their sakes now,” Jesus says, offering Himself, His blood, as sacrifice for the Church; and Paul commends his disciples to this same Lord, “to that gracious word of His which can enlarge [them], and give [them] a share among all who are consecrated to Him.”  In His name all are saved.

“Awesome in His sanctuary is God, the God of Israel; He gives power and strength to His people.”  David sings mightily of the majesty of God, whose “voice resounds, the voice of power,” and calling all to “confess the power of God!” indicates how we share in that great power.  In declaring of the Father, with Jesus and with Scripture, “Your word is truth,” that truth in essence becomes our own; we are thereby consecrated to it.  And so Paul can exhort those he has placed in positions of power: “Keep watch over yourselves, and over the whole flock the Holy Spirit has given you to guard,” for he knows as long as (like Paul) they do not “set [their] hearts on anyone’s silver or gold,” as long as they work tirelessly to “help the weak,” to serve the Church, they shall indeed be sharing in the power and authority of God.

Brothers and sisters, we “do not belong to the world” but to God and to His truth.  His Spirit is with us to guide us and protect us here on our journey through death to life.  As we humble ourselves in prayer before Him, He hears and answers all our needs.  Remain in Him this day.

 

*******

O LORD, shepherd your flock in the truth;

keep all falsehood from us.

YHWH, let us be consecrated in your Word, in your Word of truth, that we might share in your might and power, that we might be protected by your Name.  As your Son sends His apostles forth, so these apostles send others forth, all sharing in the power that comes from you by the Spirit upon your Church.  May we all be one with your Son as He is one with you, and so may we all do your will despite the persecutions of this world.

We do not belong to the world, O LORD, but to the One who has left this world to come to you in your kingdom.  Help us to follow where He leads by your power from on high.  Your Spirit fall upon us this day to give us strength to accomplish the work you set before us.  From your sanctuary come to us and with us here remain, that we shall never turn from you along this narrow way.  From generation to generation let your Word go forth till all your children are consecrated in your truth.

Direct download: BC-060811-W_7_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O faithful Shepherd

who laid down your life

for the sake of true teaching,

who was killed by one

set against God’s Word…

though deprived of food

and so of this life,

you were given instead

the life of Heaven

and serve as a holy example

of what should be sacrificed

for love of truth and right –

pray that the flock

shepherded this day by the apostles

will be led by the same loyalty,

led by genuine pastors

whose love for the sheep

would lead them to lay down their lives

that the Church might be blessed

by a radiant faith

which shines the light of Christ

even to the ends

of this dying earth.

Direct download: May_18_John_I.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 20:17-27;   Ps.68:10-11,20-21,33;   Jn.17:1-11)

 

“Father, the hour has come!

Give glory to your Son that your Son may give glory to you.”

 

A day of departures.  A day of final words and commendations.  Paul bids farewell to the leaders of Ephesus, declaring his faithfulness to them; and Jesus prays to the Father in the hearing of the disciples, calling the Lord’s blessing upon them.

“The Holy Spirit has been warning me from city to city that chains and hardships await me,” Paul confesses as he makes his way to Jerusalem; Jesus now has the cross directly before His eyes, having supped for the last time with His disciples.  “Never did I shrink from telling you what was for your own good, or from teaching you in public or in private,” Paul reminds his disciples; while Jesus states to His Father: “I have made your name known to those you gave me out of the world.”  “I have never shrunk from announcing to you God’s design in its entirety,” Paul declares; “I have given you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do,” Jesus says to the Father.  And as Paul hopes, “If only I can finish my race and complete the service to which I have been assigned by the Lord Jesus, bearing witness to the Gospel of God’s grace” –  not caring for his own life or any suffering ahead –  Jesus’ only concern as He moves toward His own death and His return to the “glory [He] had with [the Father] before the world began” is that the Father will bless His disciples, for, as He says, “It is in them that I have been glorified.”  These who remain in the world, as has Paul, are those who bring His glory forth, even as Jesus has revealed the glory of the Father.

The hour of death has come but “God, who is our salvation… controls the passageways of death” because He “bears our burdens.”  The Lord Jesus Christ has borne, and will bear, all the temptations the devil can mount – the greatest of these illusions being death – and has conquered them all.  And now His disciples follow in His footsteps, like Paul, who has “served the Lord in humility through the sorrows and trials that came [his] way.”  By this sacrifice the Lord “restored the land when it languished,” and now all are called to “repentance before God and… faith in our Lord Jesus” to know that redemption.  This life that comes from His death is the glory of the Lord that goes now forth.

*******

O LORD, we must leave this world to come to you,

but you control the passageways of death –

let all be done in your Name.

YHWH, what do you desire of us but sincere repentance and faith in our Lord Jesus?  We glorify you by glorifying Him, by keeping faith in Him and witnessing His Gospel to all.  May we ever preach the kingdom as has the Apostle Paul and so complete our mission here in union with your Son.

O may we come to eternal life!  May we truly know you and your Son.  May we share in your glory as He has prayed.  O LORD our God, may we make your Name known to all, never shrinking from your call upon our souls, and leave this place blessed by you.  Keep us ever in your truth and love until the day we join you in Heaven.

The hour has come, O LORD.  Your Son has been glorified by you, returning to the glory He had from before time began.  And now in us He seeks to be glorified, to continue the work of eternal life here on this earth.  Death is not far from any of us; may we die in you and so be freed from all the chains of this world.

Direct download: BC-060711-Tu_7_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 19:1-8;   Ps.68:2-7,33;   Jn.16:29-33)

 

“You will suffer in the world.

But take courage!  I have overcome the world.”

 

“An hour is coming – has indeed already come – when you will be scattered and each will go his way, leaving me quite alone.”  Yet the Father is always with Jesus, even as He faces His imminent execution, and Jesus is with us by the power of the Spirit through all the trials we face.

“In me you may find peace,” the Lord assures us, bearing out the words of David’s psalm: “The father of orphans and defender of widows is God in His holy dwelling.  God gives a home to the forsaken; He leads forth prisoners to prosperity.”  Such the Father does for the Son, who is brought from being utterly forsaken and alone upon the cross to the absolute fruitfulness and glory of heaven; and so the Son does for His sons, as from His place in the kingdom He delivers us the same grace of salvation and prosperity in His name.

In the Lord Jesus, Paul finds his peace and his inspiration, fearlessly defending the Gospel in all synagogues “with persuasive arguments”; and this same fire of the Holy Spirit he imparts to the disciples by Baptism “in the name of the Lord Jesus” and by laying his hands on them.  In these, as in us all to this day, God’s grace and power go forth: “The Holy Spirit came down on them and they began to speak in tongues and utter prophecies.”  More than just repentance for sins, this Baptism in the Spirit prepares all to do the work of the Lord despite any difficulties in the world.  It convinces us of the divinity of Christ and causes us to declare in truth to our Lord, “There is no need for anyone to ask you questions.  We do indeed believe you came from God.”  And it enables us to prove such complete faith and trust in the One the Father has sent.

When the Baptism of the Lord comes upon us, God’s “enemies are scattered”; all doubt and fear are driven from us “as smoke is driven away… as wax melts before the fire.”  And though we need be refined in the crucible that is our earthly life, yet at every moment God is near to preserve the grace and peace He has planted in our souls, to see that our faith does grow.

 

Lord, be with us always.  Send your Spirit forth.

Let the ends of the earth be convinced of your loving presence

and the salvation it brings to all hearts.

 

*******

O LORD, let us be baptized in the Name of Jesus

and receive the Holy Spirit

that even in this world we shall live in your peace.

YHWH, when the Holy Spirit comes down upon us, our enemies are scattered, driven away like smoke, and we conquer the world.  His fire burns up every evil and we can but rejoice in your presence, singing praise to your Name.  O let that holy fire be upon us even this day!

In the world there are indeed many troubles, many temptations which would cause us to be scattered, separated from you.  But Jesus has indeed overcome the world, O LORD; by His death He has put to death all the wiles of the devil, and so in Him we may take great strength.  Through belief in Him the power of the Holy Spirit is upon us.

Dearest LORD, let us not be scattered but indeed by your Word upon us scatter all those who hate you.  Help us fearlessly defend your kingdom that all poor souls might make their home with you.

Direct download: BC-060611-M_7_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts1:15-17,20a,20c-26;   Ps.103:1-2,11-12,19-20;   1Jn.4:11-16;   Jn.17:11b-19) 

“As you sent me into the world,

so I sent them into the world.”

Jesus sent the apostles forth, and “none of them was lost except the son of destruction”; and Judas was lost only “that the Scripture might be fulfilled,” that the betrayal of the Christ might be accomplished.  Otherwise, those whom He sent He also protected, He also guarded well from the evil one, that what must be accomplished in them should likewise be brought to fulfillment – that they be one with Jesus in the Father and bring His holy Name to the world, that all might be gathered together as one in God’s truth and His love.

To begin the accomplishment of this mission after the departure of the Christ, the principal soul whom Jesus sends stands up in the midst of all his brothers and calls for the replacement of Judas, that Scripture – “may another take his office” – continue to be fulfilled.  Matthias is chosen by the Lord to become the twelfth “witness to His resurrection,” and so “the apostolic ministry” is now in place; and so the army of God can now go forth to reveal that “His kingdom rules over all.”

And what is His kingdom, brothers and sisters, but a kingdom of love?  Our beloved John ever makes this clear, ever emphasizes this essential word of truth, and we must declare in truth his essential word of God’s love: “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.”  His proclamation must be our own.  We must see and know how the Lord guards us, how He protects us from the snares of the world and preserves us in His love by putting “our transgressions [far] from us,” that we might praise His name in faith even unto heaven.  We must say with John, “We have seen and testify that the Father sent His Son as savior of the world.”  In genuine recognition of this basic truth we shall find the love of God living in us.

And “if God so loved us” by sending His only Son to us, “we must love one another” by heeding His call to be sent to others.  Like Matthias and the apostles, we too have a blessed vocation in Christ to bring His love and His truth to this dying world.  To this let us consecrate ourselves as freely as has our Jesus, as freely as the Twelve… “that we might share [the Lord’s] joy completely.”  We “do not belong to the world any more than [He] belong[s] to the world”: let us find our place in His kingdom.

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

Music: "Can You Love?" (part B of "Liars Don't Love, Lovers Don't Lie") from Loving Spirit, third album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, keep us in your Name

from the evils of the world

that we might remain in your love.

YHWH, send us forth in your Name and that of your Son; you are God and Father of all and Jesus shares in your glory.  May we come to share in that same glory by the love you have shown us in sending your Son, and may we share that love with all.

Your Word of truth take not from our souls, dear LORD, but let it be spoken in our every breath.  Your love dwell ever in us that we might dwell ever in you and do your will in all things.  O let us be consecrated to you with your Son!  Let us be made sacred in your sight, that indeed we might be your children, your apostles of love and truth.

Count us among your disciples, LORD, you who are mighty and rule over all, that freed from our sins your love might be perfected in us and we become one with you in Heaven.  For us has Jesus laid down His life in perfect love – may we acknowledge His Sonship and so share in your love.

Direct download: BC-052012-Su_7_E_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O farmer of God’s green earth

who cultivated the faith

even as you cultivated the ground,

whose simple and humble life

should serve as inspiration

to all toiling on this plane –

pray that we shall follow your example,

sharing our food with the hungry

as we work for the salvation of souls.

Pray that all the work we do

will bear fruit in God’s kingdom,

that with you and your wife

we may be found worthy

of those blessed words

come from our Savior’s mouth:

“Well done, good and faithful servant.

Enter into your Master’s joy.”

Pray according to your own blessing

from the Lord

that this earth He has given us

to care for

may be saved from the greedy hands of corrupted man

and serve as source of nourishment for all.

Direct download: May_15_Isidore_the_Farmer.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 18:23-28;   Ps.47:2-3,8-10;   Jn.16:23-28)

 

“He went about establishing from the Scriptures

that Jesus is the Messiah.”

 

In our gospel today, Jesus again assures the disciples, “Whatever you ask the Father, He will give you in my name,” He tells them of the time when He will no longer speak to them “in veiled language,” but “shall tell [them] about the Father in plain speech.”  A most fascinating quote is His statement, “I do not say that I will petition the Father for you.”  So great is our oneness with Jesus because we “have believed that [He] came from God,” that now as He returns to the Father, we go there with Him; and since we are thus with the Father through Him, He need not ask for us of the Father, but we ask ourselves.  When Jesus declares, “The Father already loves you, because you have loved me,” He is telling us that we are indeed one with Him in the Father’s love, and so, of course, the Father hears all our prayers.

In our reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear of Apollos, who was “a man full of spiritual fervor.  He spoke and taught accurately about Jesus.”  His love for the Lord is most evident in His “express[ing] himself fearlessly in the synagogue,” in his “vigorous” preaching of Jesus as the Messiah.  He also shows himself to be a humble man, very acquiescent to Priscilla and Aquila, who “took him home and explained to him God’s new way in greater detail.”  As strong as he was, and as much as “he greatly strengthened those who through God’s favor had become believers,” he was very willing to learn of his weakness.  And so he becomes a model of faith and of the oneness with God we find in the Spirit through the love of Christ.  And so his words are like prayers which never fall short of the glory of God.  And so the Father answers all he has in his heart.

“He is supreme,” brothers and sisters.  The Lord Jesus now sits on the throne of God in the highest heavens.  And we who believe in Him become one with Him, and so, one with the Father of all.  And thus do we find all our prayers answered; thus do we find all our work blessed.  Thus do we find ourselves moving as one with the will of God by the love the Father shares with all of us through our faith in His Son.  As great as Apollos and Paul and all the apostles are, we can be, if we but believe that Jesus is God and so share in the Father’s love, and so hear the Holy Spirit speaking plainly to our hearts.

*******

O LORD, Jesus is your Christ;

He reigns with you over all the nations –

thank you for sending Him to us

that we might be united to you.

YHWH, you are King of all the earth, reigning in highest Heaven, and Jesus is the Messiah you send, one with you and born for us that we might be one with both of you through the power of the Holy Spirit.  As your Son returns to you, He brings us with Himself; insofar as we love Him and believe in Him, you love us and so unite us with yourself.  What can we say of so great a gift but, Alleluia!  Praise you, LORD!

May the Name of your Son be preached with zeal to all towns, to every soul that longs for salvation, that none shall be left without instruction but all realize the glory to which we are called in you.  With you, O Most High God, may we be joined by the grace found in your Son.

All we desire may we ask for this day in the Name of your Son.  And so, O LORD, all shall be as you desire – all will be gathered together as your children.

Direct download: BC-060411-Sa_6_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O chosen apostle,

destined to serve the Church

as witness to the resurrection

of our Lord Jesus Christ,

you who walked with Him

from the beginning

even until He was taken

from our sight

yet were not appointed by the Spirit

as one of the Twelve

until a place was made desolate

by the traitorous one –

pray that the call upon the soul

of all God’s children

will be fulfilled

according to His will

and we all shall come to be

witnesses to Jesus

and His eternal glory

wrought in our midst

by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let none shy away from the Lord

but assume their rightful place in His presence.

Direct download: May_14_Matthias.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(Acts 1:15-17,20-26;   Ps.113:1-8;   Jn.15:9-17)

 

“It was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit.”

 

Since “the saying in Scripture uttered long ago by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of David was destined to be fulfilled in Judas” and he “went the way he was destined to go,” now the word of the Lord must be accomplished: “May another take his office.”  And though “Peter stood up in the center of the brothers” and declared the need expressed in Scripture, and though the one hundred and twenty brothers gathered together “nominated two,” the prayer of the disciples, as well as their actions, makes clear by whom Matthias is chosen: “O Lord, you read the hearts of men.  Make known to us which of these two you choose for this apostolic ministry.”  As Judas is destined for perdition, so Matthias is chosen by the Lord to take his place, for all is indeed in the hands of God.

And what loving hands these are, brothers and sisters; and what loving hands all His disciples are called to employ.  The words of the Lord in today’s gospel breathe the very love of God upon His apostles.  “Love one another as I have loved you” is His command to them.  “Live on in my love.”  Our “fruit must endure,” and it can only endure, we can only bear fruit, sharing in the love of Father and Son.  For then the Holy Spirit is upon us, who brings all to life.  And the way in which we share in divine love the Lord makes clear as well: “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  And it is this laying down of his life to which Matthias is called today; and it is the same service in His name that makes us all friends of Jesus.

“From the rising to the setting of the sun is the name of the Lord to be praised,” for indeed “high above all nations is the Lord; above the heavens is His glory.”  His ways are certainly far above our own, and it is His ways to which we must come, obediently following His command, His command to love.  Today He reaches down and “raises the lowly from the dust… to seat [Matthias] with princes, with the princes of His people.”  Today His choice is made of who will follow the Son.  None but He knows the ones He chooses, the way we must walk, for none is “like the Lord, our God, who is enthroned on high and looks upon the heavens and the earth below”; and our joy is made complete only in going forth as He leads, for, simply put, none can compare with His love.

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

Music By Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, you choose those whom you send forth –

let us live in your love.

YHWH, help us to love one another as your Son has loved us that we shall live ever in His love and bear fruit in His Name.  May we take our place with Him and all His apostles in your kingdom this day.

O LORD, as you chose Matthias to take the place of Judas, to sit with your princes, so let us know that we, too, are chosen by you to do your will in this world as the friends of Jesus.  We take no honor unto ourselves but all honor you bestow upon those you call to your side.  The greatest honor you would give to all – to be formed in the image of your Son.

Let us be faithful to that call, O LORD; let us give you due honor, you who are enthroned on high, far above heaven and earth.  We are but dust, dear God, but you sit above all Creation, and this dust you would raise up to dwell in your eternal presence.  In all your children let your will be done.  Let us give witness to your Son’s resurrection and so join Him at your side.

Direct download: St._Matthias_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O marvelous Wonder,

O Lady who shines

like the sun,

who brings the Light

into our midst

and calls us to repentance

that we might be saved,

that the whole world

might turn to the Lord

and be preserved

from destruction…

you come at the end of the age

to lead us back to your Son

before He comes again

and finally –

pray we shall hear and heed

your warning to our souls

and, with the faith of the children

whose eyes beheld you,

offer ourselves

in union with the Cross of Jesus

for the salvation of all

and the renewal of the Church and the world.

Direct download: May_13_Our_Lady_of_Fatima_Feast.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 1:1-11;   Ps.47:1-3,6-9;   Eph.1:17-23  or  Eph.4:1-13  or  Heb.9:24-28,10:19-23;

Mt.28:16-20  or  Mk.16:15-20  or  Lk.24:46-53)

 

“God mounts His throne amid shouts of joy;

the Lord, amid trumpet blasts.”

 

Three events are the subject of today’s readings.  The key of these is certainly the Lord’s ascending into heaven and taking His place at the right hand of the Father.  Without this the other two could not follow.  And so we celebrate the Lord’s Ascension in particular; but we also hear of the coming Pentecost and the apostles’ call to go forth to the ends of the world.

“As they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him from their sight.”  Now He goes to heaven, returning to the Father, as He has said, to enter into glory.  And as He has asked, we should be joyful, we should “shout to God with cries of gladness.  For the Lord, the Most High, the awesome, is the great King over all the earth,” and now Jesus, our Savior and our brother, is with Him, and so brings us to Him.  His glory becomes our own, and so His now assuming His throne in heaven should cause us to “sing hymns of praise” to Him who now “reigns over the nations.”

And from His place seated “at the right hand of God” “upon His holy throne,” the Lord keeps “the promise of the Father about which [we] have heard [Him] speak.”  For “in a few days [we] will be baptized with the Holy Spirit”; Pentecost will be here, and Jesus’ words to His disciples as He prepares to ascend will be our own: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”  It is from this Holy Spirit that the Church takes its strength, through whom we are all made one in “faith and knowledge of the Son of God,” and by whom we attain to “the full stature of Christ.”  He it is who inspires all, and He could not come except that our high priest has entered the sanctuary of heaven – opening for us the way to enter there – and from there delivered unto us the grace which through Him comes.

And what does this inspiration, this absolute strength we take in the Spirit call us to do but to heed the Lord’s words and “go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature,” knowing as He has said, “I am with you always, until the end of the age”?  And so, apostles and prophets and evangelists and all His children go forth empowered by His Spirit that “hearts [may] be enlightened,” that all might know “the hope that belongs to His call… the riches of glory in His inheritance… and what is the surpassing greatness of His power” – that all might believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Jesus is now seated at the Father’s right hand in heaven, “far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come.”  All things are “beneath His feet,” for “King of all the earth is God,” and Jesus is God.  But though the Son has joined the Father, remember He is with us always, suffering with us still and bringing us to His side by the power of His Spirit.  Wait now on His Word.

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

Music: "There Is No End to Life" (1st half) from Thoroughfare, seventh album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, may the cloud

which took Jesus from our sight

soon bring Him back to us

and keep Him with us forever.

YHWH, your Son mounts His throne of glory, He ascends to you in Heaven, drawing us up into your presence and giving us the power to proclaim your glory and baptize all in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit – with you, O God, let us be made one!

And let us go, O LORD, even to the ends of the earth, your Son working through us by the power of the Spirit upon us.  As we wait now for your promise to fall upon us and be fulfilled in us, let us with faith set our hearts on your surpassing presence.  From the bonds of this earth let us be freed, that by the power of the Spirit we might indeed join Jesus at your right hand.  O let thy kingdom come!

Soon your Son shall return to us and we will sing in unending joy.  But even now we are the Body of Christ, united with Him in Heaven.  O LORD, send your Spirit forth that we might find the strength to call all souls unto your glory.

Direct download: BC-060211-Ascension_Thursday.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O child of courage,

though but a boy

you gave your life

as the strongest of men,

proving thus your love for Christ,

a love that steels souls

even in the face of death,

even in the youthful breast –

if but a young child like yourself

could die so freely for the faith

and show the face of Jesus

to the whole world,

how much more should we,

so graced by the Lord

with years of devotion,

be ready to give

for the name of God?

Pray your innocence

may renew our hearts

and your strength

fortify our commitment

to give our lives for Christ

and His Church.

Direct download: May_12_Pancras.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

O brave soldiers,

the world could not take

Christ from your hearts;

though it tried to expunge Him

from the army in which you served,

your allegiance to the holy One of Israel,

our Lord and God,

remained firm,

and so death you preferred

to life without Jesus –

pray for us who are so weak in faith,

that our stale complacency

might be invigorated

by the blood of our Savior,

the blood you yourselves shed

as you filled up what was lacking

in the sufferings of Christ.

Pray we shall not turn

from the sacrifice to which the Lord calls us

but embrace with joy the cross we must bear,

and which bears us unto Heaven.

Direct download: May_12_Nereus_and_Achilleus.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 17:15,22-18:1;   Ps.148:1-2,11-14,Is.6:3;   Jn.16:12-15)

 

“It is He ‘who gives’ to all life and ‘breath’ and everything else.”

 

“His majesty is above earth and heaven,” brothers and sisters.  And so our psalmist today encourages all in the heavens and all on earth to “praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted.”  “From one stock He made every nation of mankind to dwell on the face of the earth,” and it is “in Him we live and move and have our being.”  And so should we, “His faithful ones,” not offer Him praise?

Brothers, be not ignorant as the men of Athens who thought “the God who made the world and ‘all that is in it,’ the Lord of heaven and earth,” as “something like a statue of gold or silver or stone, a product of man’s genius and his art.”  Could man with all his intelligence make the sun or wind?  Then how can it be that he might contrive the Creator of these?  Such groping in darkness for the God who is “not really far from any of us” shall not be tolerated forever.  For the time has come to turn on the lamp which lights the room and let all shadows flee.  He who is going to “judge the world with justice” is among us now; it is He whom God “has endorsed in the sight of all by raising Him from the dead.”  And it is faith in Him to which we must come.

Jesus promises the disciples that “the Spirit of truth… will guide [them] to all truth.”  It is He who “will not speak on His own, but will speak only what He hears.”  He receives from Jesus, who possesses “all that the Father has,” all that He announces to us.  And Paul is His mouthpiece today, speaking not what he has invented by his erudite learning and fanciful imagining, but rather proclaiming the truth he hears the Spirit inspiring in his soul and burning in his heart.

We shall not get to heaven on stairs we make with our soiled hands; they cannot but crumble under the pressure of time and the weight of truth.  Only by obedience to the Spirit who inspires all, shall all find the presence of the “God Unknown” to hearts of stone and minds as fleeting as a wisp of smoke.  “He calls on all men everywhere to reform their lives,” for their scoffing at truth shall bring them alone to a dark room, where there shall be no breath of the Spirit.  But we who know all wisdom comes from God, living in its light are made His children.

*******

O LORD, may we know your glory in the Word

announced to us by the Spirit Jesus sends.

YHWH, the light of wisdom you alone shine by the Spirit of Truth come through your Son.  You are exalted above earth and Heaven, and we cannot approach you by our minds or the work of our hands – only by faith will we come to know your surpassing glory.

O LORD, let your glory be announced to all that all might praise you in whom we live and move and have our being, that all might thus come to know themselves by realizing we are your offspring.  If we do not see you, how blind we remain to everything, hopelessly groping in the dark for truth and light.  We cannot make truth, we cannot make you, for it is you who have made us. 

May we heed your call to reform our lives, dear LORD, that we might come to understanding, that guided by the Spirit we might come to faith in you and praise your Name forever with all your children in the heavenly kingdom.

Direct download: BC-060111-W_6_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 16:22-34;   Ps.138:1-3,7-8;   Jn.16:5-11) 

“Immediately all the doors flew open

and everyone’s chains were pulled loose.”

“Your right hand saves me,” David sings unto the Lord this day in our psalm.  Mighty indeed is His power, and so we should “worship at [His] holy temple, and give thanks to [His] name,” for He has “built up strength within [us]”; by the power of the Holy Spirit He has set us free from our prisons, from the chains of sin.

“When I called you, you answered me,” David sings.  And how the Lord answers Paul and Silas as they call unto Him in song of their own.  “After receiving many lashes they were thrown into prison, and the jailer… put them in maximum security, going so far as to chain their feet to a stake.”  Yet what do we find these apostles doing in the deep of the night? – “praying and singing hymns to God as their fellow prisoners listened.”  And God hears their prayers; they bring “a severe earthquake [which] suddenly shook the place, rocking the prison to its foundations” and setting all those inside free of their chains.

Can we have a clearer sign of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power than this?  Well, yes, because as wondrous as earthquakes are, the truest sign of the Spirit came this night when the jailer “and his whole household were baptized.”  The earthquake and the flying open of prison doors may have opened his heart to hearing the word of God, but his wholehearted acceptance of “his newfound faith in God” is the Spirit’s great work.  For what is of greater importance, the stone and steel of a prison cell shaken and cast to the ground, or the salvation of the eternal soul of man?

The Lord Jesus has promised to send the Spirit as Advocate to plead our cause and prove us right about our faith in the One who saves from sin.  In justice and in truth He goes to the Father, and from His exalted throne He sends forth the Paraclete to prove His presence with us still; and by the grace and power of the Holy Trinity at work in our midst, “the prince of this world has been condemned” and the prison he built to contain us destroyed.

“I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with all my heart.”  Let us sing to Him, brothers and sisters.  Let us join with David and Silas and Paul, and all the redeemed of the Lord, and “joyfully celebrate with [our] whole family,” with all the children of our God, our everlasting faith in the Father, Son, and Spirit.  From prison we have been released; with the Savior we are risen.  His Spirit is upon us now.

*******

O LORD, may we believe in your Son

and so be saved from our sin,

entering your House with songs of praise.

YHWH, you have saved us from certain death, death at our own hands because of our sins.  To our very foundation you have shaken us and served to make us new men.  May all be baptized in your Name!

Send your Spirit forth, O LORD, to shake this place in which we dwell, that we might be released from our prisons, from dwelling in our self-made hell.  The chains of this world are easily broken by your power come from above; let us turn quickly from our sin and acknowledge your power and might, and we shall be saved – we and all our household.

No fear let us have of the world’s efforts to chain your Word, O God.  Despite all, let us sing your praise, knowing the devil has been condemned, and the Spirit will never die in us.  And whatever darkness may surround us this day shall soon pass, and with your angels we shall sing your praise in your eternal kingdom.

Direct download: BC-053111-Tu_6_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

     O leper with the lepers,

     you united yourself

     so thoroughly

     with those you served

     that you became one of them,

     one of the frightful and rejected souls

     abandoned by the world

     but redeemed by the blood of Christ

     through your intercession.

     To them you brought the consolation

     of government support

     and the love of the Lord,

     and so, many were inspired

     to drag themselves

     into your chapel –

     pray we join them there,

     listening attentively to the Word of salvation

     and finding healing for the disease

     that eats away at our souls;

     help us to embrace the cross

     the Lord provides

     to lead us on the narrow way

     to Heaven.

Direct download: Damien_de_Veuster_May_10.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 16:11-15;   Ps.149:1-6,9;   Jn.15:26-16:4)

 

“You must bear witness.”

 

The Spirit will come and call to your hearts to speak of the name of Jesus and His salvation.  As He prompts you, you must speak the truth in love, you must go as He calls – you must bear witness.  And sometimes the word you speak, and you yourself, will be accepted with the faith and great hospitality as known in Lydia (who is said to be “one who listened,” for “the Lord opened her heart to accept what Paul was saying,” and who generously invited Paul and his companions, foreigners traveling to distant lands, to “come and stay at [her] house”); and other times those who “know neither the Father nor [the Son]” will “expel you from synagogues,” will cast you violently from their midst, and “anyone who puts you to death will claim to be serving God!”  It does not matter.  The Word must go forth, in season and out.

How few true witnesses there seem to be today, for in the time and place in which I stand certainly the Word of God is out of season.  False witnesses with strange gospels abound, but the tongue of the apostles is tied, and what is spoken seems to land upon deaf ears.  Those who have no conception of the Holy Spirit and so know neither Father nor Son are emboldened to speak as messengers of Jesus, though the Jesus they know is not the Christ and what they speak but serves to lead the sheep astray.  And where is His Church?  Will no one stand to speak of His love?

Today instead of “sing[ing] for joy upon [our] couches… the high praises of God… in our throats,” the houses in which we dwell seem to swallow our souls, and we are left mute in the face of destruction.  And it is hard to say that our faith is shaken, for who can find any faith at all?  Neither persecution nor glad acceptance do we find, for we speak no word to challenge the world.

Let us pray to the Lord, brothers and sisters, that He will send laborers forth, that even in this time of lethargy upon His Church, new life is beginning to grow.  For until the end of time the Word must go forth; before then it shall not have reached its goal.  However well the devil may fool us into complacency, we must know that it is always time to preach the Word, for ever will hearts be seeking Him – and ever hands seek to destroy Him.  “The Lord loves His people, and He adorns the lowly with victory.”  This call to the humble must be heard by all.

*******

O LORD, let us stand strong in doing your will,

praising your Name, come what may. 

YHWH, help us to go forth in the Name of your Son, to speak His Word to the world, to bear witness to truth as He has.  For though we be persecuted and even killed for serving you, there will be those who will listen and be saved.

Ready our hearts for what may come, O LORD, that we shall not fear in the hour of darkness, on the day the power of the evil one asserts itself.  Help us to realize his power is as nothing and those who do his bidding shall pass like the fading grass.  Only those who hear and heed your voice will stand on the last Day.

The faithful will rejoice in you, LORD, and sing a new song to your glory come into our midst by the grace of Christ and the power of the Spirit.  We shall praise you forever in your eternal House.  Even now in prayer we come to dwell with you.

Direct download: BC-053011-M_6_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 10:25-26,34-35,44-48;   Ps.98:1-4;   1Jn.4:7-10;   Jn.15:9-17)

“This I command you: love one another.”

 And so we hear the Lord’s essential instruction: love.  If we keep His commandments we will love, and if we love we will keep His commandments.  His commandment is to love.

But what is love?  John gives us the simple answer, of course: “God is love,” but also indicates further the nature of love, corroborated by the Lord Himself.  It is “not that we have loved God, but that He loved us.”  Love comes not from us but from God, because, as we have said, God is love; we are not love.  It is God the Father who has sent His Son to reveal His love by dying for our sins; without this sacrifice we would not know love, could not comprehend the love that is God, that is willing to lay down His very life for the sake of His children.  Apart from this love we remain in the dark about love – any love separated from this offering is not love at all.

And as it is not we who love but He who gives love, who is love, so it is not we who choose Him but He us.  We did not contrive the sacrifice of the Son: we could never have imagined it.  We have, in fact, great difficulty in simply accepting it, so beyond our concept of love it is.  But there it is.  There He is, calling us to His love, to this love, to the sacrifice of our own selves for one another, that we might thoroughly share in the gift of love.  We need but respond to know love.

And who may share in this love?  Let us come to Peter’s realization: “In every nation whoever fears Him and acts uprightly is acceptable to Him.”  There is none from whom the Spirit can be withheld, for, as John confirms, “Everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.”  So we need but love.  We need but put our hope in Him and in His love.  We need but keep His command, and His love shall be our own, and we shall find ourselves “speaking in tongues and glorifying God”; whomever we are and wherever we come from, we know “the salvation by our God” by living in the love of the Spirit and being “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.”

Alleluia!  There is not much else to say.  Alleluia!  Praise the Lord!  Let us forever live in His love.  Let us forever die for one another.

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

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

*******

O LORD, thank you for sending us your Son,

for sharing with us your love –

may we also share Him with others.

YHWH, help us to love one another, to die for one another, that we might find the love you offer us in the sacrifice of your Son, that we might live ever in your love.

What more could we want than to be begotten by you and know you by living in your love?  What greater call can there be for our lives than to be united with you who are love?  O LORD, all who fear you and act uprightly, all who love you and love their neighbor, all who desire you and your love you come to in your Son – may all be baptized in His Name!

Pour out your Spirit upon all souls, dear LORD, that all might be conformed to your will and made in the image of your Son.  As Jesus let us all be, laying down our lives for one another in the Spirit of love.  We are all but men, LORD, but your Son calls us His friends as He draws us into union with you and your love.  Alleluia!

Direct download: BC-051312-Su_6_E_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Acts 16:1-10;   Ps.100:1-3,5;   Jn.15:18-21)

 

“I chose you out of the world.”

 

What is the world but heartache and sin; from this the Lord would release us.

Jesus tells His disciples: “You do not belong to the world,” and yet, as is most evident in the journeys of Paul, to all the world do the apostles go.  The Master tells them, “You [will] find that the world hates you”; even so, they preach to a world which has no respect for the name they proclaim, who “know nothing of Him who sent” them.  The inevitable persecution they do not fear, the death their work brings they do not flee, but face all in complete readiness.

Indeed, Paul is our example of the commitment we all must have to doing the Lord’s will in this world.  With great fervor he travels from land to land and, praise God, “through all this, the congregations grew stronger in faith and daily increased in numbers.”  He transmits the Lord’s Gospel message to all waiting ears and perseveres through all trials.  For there are those throughout this earth who will listen to the Word that “the Lord is God; He made us, His we are,” and that Jesus is His Son – and Paul cannot help but strain forward to find these hearts which long to “come before Him with joyful song.”  So great is Paul’s desire to bring the word of the Lord to those who have never heard it before that he must be restrained by the Holy Spirit.  Twice today in our first reading he is prevented from entering and preaching to lands for which it is not time, finally being called in a vision to those who awaited him.  Paul and the apostles’ readiness to do the Lord’s will is related clearly in Luke’s statement, “After the vision, we immediately made efforts to get across to Macedonia, concluding that God had summoned us to proclaim the Good News there.”

We must go where we are called and move as we are led by the Spirit of Jesus the Christ.  Into the world He leads us all to bring His light forth.  Though never of the world, we must encourage all the world to “sing joyfully to the Lord,” to “serve the Lord with gladness.”  By our words and by our lives we must show that we are “His people, the flock He tends,” and others will be drawn from the clutches of a world that hates the truth and into the protecting arms of God.

*******

O LORD, let your Word go forth to all the world

that all might be saved from the world

and come to you.

YHWH, should we not rejoice that the world hates us, that it persecutes us and the Word we speak, for does this not show that we are of Jesus, that we are one with Him in following in His way?  And is this not the path by which fruit is born, fruit that will last unto Heaven?  Is this not the way souls are saved and come to rejoice in your kingdom?

Help us to remember this, LORD, to remember and desire only to do your will, to follow in the way Jesus leads and bring His Word, His Spirit, to the ends of the earth.  Make your apostles as zealous as Paul to bring the Gospel to all who are open to receive salvation, to know the blessing of being your children.

May all souls be grafted onto the tree of your Chosen people.  Let your Church increase in faith and numbers, LORD, until the return of your Son.

Direct download: BC-052811-Sa_5_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 15:22-31;   Ps.57:8-12;   Jn.15:12-17)

 

“There is no greater love than this:

to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

 

Do not Judas and Silas fulfill the Lord’s command to “love one another”; do not they lay down their lives for the Lord when they bring word “to the brothers of Gentile origin in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia” of the apostles’ decision regarding those who have “upset [them] with their discussions and disturbed [their] peace of mind”?  Do they not carry the love of the Lord in their persons as well as in the letter in their hands?

And are these not made friends of the Lord even as the apostles and elders, even as those who come to them?  Jesus says to His disciples in our gospel, “I call you friends, since I have made known to you all that I heard from my Father.”  And now in the same way these disciples “go forth and bear fruit” as the Lord has commanded by making known to the children of the nations “the decision of the Holy Spirit,” the whole Truth of God’s love, thus drawing them into the friendship of Christ.

The apostles and elders, who call themselves “brothers” of those of Gentile origin, “have unanimously resolved to choose representatives and send them” to witness of the Lord’s love for them; Paul and Barnabas are called by the apostles, those “who have dedicated themselves to the cause of our Lord Jesus Christ” – there is left no doubt of the strength of the decision that is made and the authority by which it comes.  And so “there was great delight at the encouragement [the letter] gave,” for it and those who read it hold indeed the love of God, the absolute truth of the Holy Spirit, by whose power they have been freed from the burdens being imposed upon them and brought into the fold and friendship, the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Alleluia!

“I will give thanks to you among the peoples, O Lord, I will chant your praises among the nations.”  With David, the Gentile disciples “sing and chant praise” to the living God who is “exalted above the heavens” and “above all the earth.”  The Spirit of the Lord is upon them now by the love that has been laid down before them, and now they too are called to lay down their lives in the Lord’s love, as are we all, that friends of Jesus, sons of the Father, may ever be drawn into His holy fold.

 

*******

O LORD, your love is all we need –

help us to worship you with our very lives.

YHWH, let us all live in your love and rejoice in the blessing of the Holy Spirit; let us dwell with you in the glory that is above all the earth.  Obedient to your Word, to the rightful authority of your Church, we follow in the way of the Spirit and find ourselves as friends of your Son.

You do not make the way difficult for us, but quite simple.  You simply call us all to love.  To lay down our lives for one another, even as Jesus has done, may seem impossible to our corrupted hearts – but in you all is made very easy, for your yourself are love.  O LORD, help us to walk in the footsteps of your Son and so bear the fruit of eternal love.

It is clear, dear God, that you desire all to share in your great blessings.  You long to give us all we ask for.  You wish for us peace of mind and heart, and you know this is found only in doing your will, for your will is only love.  Let us heed your command to love, and so chant your praises in the kingdom.

Direct download: BC-052711-F_5_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Acts 15:7-21;   Ps.96:1-3,10;   Jn.15:9-11)

 

“We are saved by the favor of the Lord Jesus.”

 

We are told of the Council of Jerusalem, convened to determine if the Gentiles need be subject to circumcision and the Mosaic Law, “After much discussion, Peter took the floor,” and that after he had finished speaking, “the whole assembly fell silent.”  What is there to say after the Rock of the Church has spoken?  And how marvelously his declaration mirrors Jesus’ own simple command to His disciples, “Live on in my love.”

I am certain that before he stood to speak in the midst of the din of argument that pervaded this first assembly of God’s people, Peter heard the words of Jesus speaking to his heart: “Simon, son of John, feed my sheep.”  He remembers his call and the Spirit the Lord has placed upon him as keeper of the keys of heaven.  He remembers, too, the vision the Savior of mankind brought to his mind, instructing him not to discriminate in his sharing of the Word of God.  He therefore reminds his brothers that God “reads the hearts of men,” and particularly of how “He showed His approval [of the Gentiles] by granting the Holy Spirit to them,” just as He had done to those gathered in this assembly.  God “made no distinction… but purified their hearts by means of faith also.”  And would they then place undue burden upon what God has wrought by His own hand?

Yes, Peter in his pronouncement sings of the “new song” of the Lord and by doing so encourages all to “sing to the Lord; bless His name.”  He hereby “announce[s] His salvation,” that His glory might be told “among the nations; among all peoples, His wondrous deeds.”  Here he demonstrates how the Lord “governs the peoples with equity.”  The righteous judgment that James makes, now shared in harmony by all assembled, is none other than the judgment Peter has proclaimed – which is none other than Jesus’ own word for all to keep the commandment to live in the Father’s love that all our “joy may be complete,” that all may be gathered into the Father’s kingdom.

Scripture says of the House the Father builds here on earth, of Jerusalem, His Church: “From its ruins I will rebuild it and set it up again, so that all the rest of mankind and all the nations that bear my name may seek out the Lord.”  What was the house of David now shelters all the nations – the old Jerusalem has become the new City of Peace held in God’s own hand, His Holy Spirit breathing upon its members and giving them life.  By the favor of Christ has this been accomplished; let no man shorten the arm of the Lord.

 

*******

O LORD, may all peoples be saved

by the love your Son bears to us.

YHWH, it is by faith you have purified our hearts, and it is to love you call us.  It is by the Spirit we are saved and drawn into your holy kingdom.

O let the favors of your Son be upon us, dear God!  His love beat in our hearts and course through our veins.  Yes, let us live in His love and so remain in your joy forever.

Your commandments are not burdensome, O LORD, but lead only to freedom, absolute freedom in the light of your presence.  Help us not to take unnecessary burdens upon our shoulders, burdens that would keep us from you and your love.  Let us never quench your Spirit at work in our lives.

Work your wonders in our midst, dear LORD, and may we cooperate fully with them, that forever we might sing your praise and bless your holy Name with all our brothers and sisters.  In faith may all souls seek your face, and so find it by your grace.

Direct download: BC-052611-Th_5_E.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(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

O holy apostles of the Lord

upon whom the Church is established,

your words go out to the ends of the earth,

bringing the Gospel to all nations.

You who were near to Jesus Himself,

who were with Him all the time

He walked among us…

there is no greater witness

to the way and the truth and the life

of our God, our Savior –

please pray for the Church in the world

this day,

that it shall be led by the Spirit of Truth

and we shall all be as brothers of the Lord,

living in His love

and revealing the Father.

As you have performed the works of the Son,

so let us join in the work of redemption,

that all the earth will come to see

that Jesus is in the Father

and we are made one in Him.

Direct download: May_3_Philip_and_James.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(1Cor.15:1-8;   Ps.19:2-5;   Jn.14:6-14)

 

“The man who has faith in me will do the works I do.”

 

What is the message the apostles preach “to the ends of the world”?  What is “the glory of God” that “the heavens declare” and “the firmament proclaims”?  It is none other than Jesus’ words to Thomas: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me”; it is His answer to Philip: “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.”  The Father “lives in [Jesus] accomplishing His works,” and Jesus lives in His apostles continuing the great work of God.

Here is the Gospel in short, which Paul preaches to the Corinthians in our first reading: “Christ died for our sins in accord with the Scriptures… He was buried and, in accord with the Scriptures, rose on the third day.”  He has appeared to all the apostles who preach His Name, who declare His salvation to all men; and He is known to us this day in His Spirit, in His Church, in His Sacraments and in His Word.  And indeed it is so that knowing Him we know the Father; filled with His Spirit we cannot but proclaim the majesty of the grace at work in Him through His Church.  Standing on the solid foundation the apostles have set, what can shake our faith or keep us from His glorious presence?

Brothers and sisters, on days such as this – and indeed on all days – our hearts should burn intensely with the love of the Lord.  Our souls should join with the blessed spirit of these holy apostles and declare aloud the silent Word that “imparts knowledge” to the minds of all.  So should our “voice[s] resound” of the glory of God and the grace He has poured forth in our spirits.  Let the earth be filled with His light!

 

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

 

Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

 O LORD, you are seen in your Son;

let Him be seen in us.

YHWH, let us do your works; let us believe in you and bring your Gospel to the ends of the earth.  Let us declare with your holy apostles that your Son has died for our sins, and that He is now risen.

Dear LORD, open our eyes to see that Jesus is in you and you are in Him.  Truly He is the way, the truth, and the life – by His presence amongst us, we are saved and drawn into life.  Let us follow in His way and so become one with you and with the Spirit.

With confidence may your apostles speak, LORD, that your voice might go out to all the world and all hearts might declare that Jesus is God, and that in Him alone we are redeemed.  O let us all speak for Him as He comes to us this day!

Make us His brothers in the faith, dear Father, those who see you and know you and do your will.  Strengthen us today to do your work, and so find glory in your Name. 

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

O defender of the faith

in the divinity of Christ,

bulwark of the Church

of the One

who is true God and true Man,

upholder of the way

in the face of all persecutions –

pray that the shepherds of the Church

will today be so staunch in the faith,

never afraid to defend the truth

from attacks from within

and outside her walls.

So many souls

are led so astray

by the teaching of false prophets;

pray indeed that the Lord

will raise up leaders,

prophets of His true teaching,

of His narrow way,

which leads through the body He assumed,

the death He took upon Himself

for our sins,

to His divine presence in Heaven.

Direct download: May_2_Athanasius.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Acts 9:26-31;   Ps.22:26-28,30-32;   1Jn.3:18-24;   Jn.15:1-8) 

“Let the coming generation be told of the Lord...”

Let the vine that is Christ continue to grow; let its branches extend to the ends of the world.  Anointed by the Spirit, let all His children proclaim the name of Jesus, that “all the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord,” that in our midst the call upon the Church of God shall be fulfilled.

Brothers and sisters, we should all be like Paul, who “spoke out boldly in the name of the Lord.”  Though it brought him the threat of death, he did not mind; his sole concern was for greater growth of the people of God – that all might become branches of the vine of Jesus.  And so, by apostles like Paul, “with the consolation of the Holy Spirit [the Church] grew in numbers” and spread to the four corners of the world, and “a people yet to be born,” including ourselves, have heard of the salvation that comes only by the Lord.

And so this growth must continue.  Those who are still yet to be born, whether because they are still in their mother’s womb or because their hearts have not been touched by the Spirit of God, must also come to be grafted upon the holy vine.  And so, can we fail to speak of Jesus our God?  Can we fail to perform the deeds to which our Father calls us?  Would you see any deprived of the blessing of “the true vine”?  “By this is [the] Father glorified, that [we] bear much fruit and become [His Son’s] disciples,” bringing others to that same discipleship, that the house of the Lord might be filled to overflowing.  “The lowly shall eat their fill,” hearts hungry for the word of God shall find their joy, only if we “fulfill [our] vows before those who fear the Lord,” only if we do the will of Him who sends us forth.

Brothers and sisters, let us “remain in Him, and He in [us]”; let “the Spirit He gave us” preserve us in His love…  Let it be His blood which courses through our veins as we drink His cup.  And let us call all souls to share in this cup, that we might be assured all our “descendants shall serve Him.”  Lord, let your Church be built up in your truth and your love.  May all believe in your name.

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

Music: "Branch of the Vine" from Loving Spirit, third album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, let your Spirit be with us to strengthen us

to speak out in the Name of your Son.

YHWH, let us go out to the ends of the earth preaching your Name fearlessly among the nations.  Let us be true branches of the holy vine that is your Son Jesus.  If in truth we live before you, then we shall be blessed with doing your will.

Help us, O LORD, to love one another, to believe in your Son and be as He was.  If we live in Him, He shall live in us and we shall bear fruit in His Name.  Let us never be separated from Him, becoming branches fit for the fire, but ever have His blood coursing through our veins.

Yes, let your Church be built up now, LORD, in the power of the Holy Spirit; let all be well fed on your Word, that every soul might bow humbly before you.  We ask in the Name of your Son that your glory become known in us all.

Direct download: BC-050612-Su_5_E_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O humble laborer in God’s House

who served to build up His Temple

by the sweat of your brow

and your careful concern

to follow His will –

pray that we shall embody

the same obedience

to the Word of God

and His call to our souls,

that we too will consecrate ourselves

and our daily labor

to service of the Lord

and the upbuilding of His Church,

and that we, too,

might be built into the House

wherein He makes

His eternal dwelling.

We are but poor creatures,

simple and weak;

pray the Lord our God

and His Son for whom you cared

will bless us with your dignity,

O righteous man of God.

Direct download: May_1_Joseph_the_Worker.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm 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

O Shepherd of the Church

who led her through

a difficult time,

seeing to her reform

in faith and morals,

in teaching and prayer,

that the foundation once established

by the Lord Jesus Christ

might be confirmed

and strengthened,

kept from decay –

pray this day, too,

MotherChurch will be blessed

by the nourishing food

of the Spirit,

that she might be fed

at the Lord’s table

and all might be encouraged to enter

the gates of Heaven

she guards and opens

to all souls in communion

with the Savior and His way…

May Peter lead us unto His Day.

Direct download: April_30_Pius_V.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm 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

O wise and holy virgin

whose love for God

was matched by a great love

for the Church

and a great desire

to see her pure and holy

as He…

peace you brought to peoples

and to MotherChurch,

for peace you held

within your blessed soul,

held as you were

in the hand of God –

pray the light of the Lord

will be shed upon the Church

and all souls

this day,

and that reconciliation shall come

and we stand as one

in that surpassing light

and peace of the Trinity.

May holiness be all men’s desire,

to live in accord with the will of God.

Direct download: April_29_Catherine_of_Siena.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm 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

O apostle of Mary

and so of our Lord Jesus Christ,

to the Lord you drew souls

through devotion to His Mother.

How perfectly you have spoken

of this grace upon the Virgin

and the role she plays

in the salvation of the world –

pray this day

that her sweet protection

and most blessed intercession

will be with all the children

who turn in faith to the one

chosen by the Father

to be Mother of His Son.

May this Spouse of the Spirit

lead us into God’s presence

where with you

and all the heavenly saints

we shall find ourselves one

with the Most Holy Trinity

and sing forever the praises

of our Lord and God.

Direct download: April_28_Louis_Mary_de_Montfort.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

O great missionary,

you served to convert

a land and a people

that had never heard

of our blessed Savior,

and though killed for your work,

you loved those to whom you were sent

and toiled tirelessly

for their salvation –

pray the same kind heart you showed

we shall also know

in serving souls

placed into our care;

and pray the name of our Lord

shall go forth in freedom

to the very ends of the earth

this day.

What are our lives

compared with the service of Christ

and the salvation of souls

in faith in His name?

Let us live with your same zeal

the love that is Jesus and His Cross.

Direct download: April_28_Peter_Chanel.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm 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 11:19-26;   Ps.87:1-7,117:1;   Jn.10:22-30)

 

“Of Zion they shall say:

‘One and all were born in her.’”

 

“I tell of Egypt and Babylon among those that know the Lord; of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia,” sings our psalmist today.  Yes, “when the peoples are enrolled” in the kingdom of heaven, when it is noted: “This man was born there,” it shall not be to the soil of Jerusalem to which the angels refer, but to birth in the spirit of the place, in the Holy Spirit Himself, who leads all into the New Jerusalem.  For all nations are called, and it matters no more the land of your origin.

This impotence of place and importance of the Spirit is made clear in Jesus’ words to “the Jews gathered around Him” “in the temple area, in Solomon’s portico.”  To those here in the heart of the city of Jerusalem He says, “You are not my sheep.”  They “refuse to believe” that He is the Messiah and so they prove that they are no sons of Abraham, that they have no faith.  Only those of faith hear the voice of the Shepherd, and only these are admitted into the kingdom.  This He tells them plainly.  For what is He saying when He declares, “The Father and I are one” but that He dwells with the Father in heaven, and not upon this earth.  The earth to which they cling shall pass away, but the kingdom shall last forever.

“My sheep hear my voice,” Jesus says, and how that voice does work among all souls.  (For this let us praise the Lord!)  We are told in our first reading that at first “the community who had been dispersed by the persecution that arose because of Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, making the message known to none but Jews.”  Here, even though the Word is spread far, it is kept for those born of the land of Zion.  But then the change occurs, and the truth of the Word, which goes beyond all borders, becomes known, for “some men of Cyprus and Cyrene among them who had come to Antioch began to talk even to the Greeks, announcing the Good News of the Lord Jesus to them.”  The church in Jerusalem, the protector of the faith – whose seat is now in Rome – sends Barnabas to investigate.  He finds “the evidence of God’s favor” and rejoices to realize the Lord’s sheep come from near and far.  Here “in Antioch the disciples were called Christians for the first time.”  Here it becomes clear that there is a new Church being formed, one that finds “eternal life” in following Jesus.

“The gates of Zion” “the Lord loves,” and to this holy mountain He brings all, through the Gate that is Jesus.  And “no one shall snatch them out of [His] hand,” for this mountain cannot be shaken, this Temple cannot be torn down.  It is of the life of heaven “all shall sing, in their festive dance” when they proclaim: “My home is within you.”  And this land shall endure forever.

*******

O LORD, let us be found in your Hand,

filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith,

living as your Son.

YHWH, into your House all faithful souls are called; in your Church all find a home.  We are born into the New Jerusalem by virtue of our Baptism, and so become assimilated to Christ.  And as He dwells with you as your Son, so we become as your holy children, wherever we may come from.

Jesus is one with you, dear Father, and we are called to be one with Him.  Though from the Jews He comes, He goes out to all the earth, bringing the light of salvation.  And when by the Spirit we are reborn in Him, when His sacrifice bears fruit in us and we come to eternal life, we become as your City, O God, our names written in Heaven.

You establish your Church, O LORD; the New Jerusalem is built up in your Name.  And all who long for truth and love hear the Good News of your risen Son and fly with Him unto your kingdom, where they rejoice all the day.

Direct download: BC-051711-Tu_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

O proclaimer of the Word of God,

we know of our Lord

who suffered and died

that we might rise with Him

on the third day

because the Spirit inspired you

to tell us of this Good News.

Faithful you were to the Lord

and to His blessed apostles,

and so became an apostle yourself,

carrying the Gospel

to men of every nation –

pray that the Word

which you have served

to impart to us

may be remembered

and cherished in the hearts

of all believers,

and that we, too, shall work,

inspired by the Spirit,

to build up the Body of Christ,

making it ready for His return

to dwell with us forever.

Direct download: April_25_Mark.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(Acts 4:8-12;   Ps.118:1,8-9,21-23,26,28-29;   1Jn.3:1-2;   Jn.10:11-18)

“There is no salvation through anyone else.”

Do not “trust in princes” or in any man; it is by Jesus alone “we are to be saved.”  Though “the builders rejected” Him, though the princes of this age saw fit to crucify the Lord – yet “God raised [Him] from the dead” and exalted Him above every power on earth and in heaven.  And so He is indeed now the foundation of our salvation, the only shepherd who will lead us to the Father… the one who “lays down His life for the sheep.”

Many wolves there are who fat themselves, scattering the sheep to desolate places.  Their care is for the “pay” they receive and not the welfare of the flock they fail to tend.  Only Jesus cares for the human race; only the Christ serves His sheep in love – only He dies that we might live, that we might indeed become members of His flock.

And so, “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”; “what love the Father has bestowed on us” in Jesus, His only Son, for now we can be like Him – now we are God’s holy children.  Taking “refuge in the Lord” by His Son, we come at once to our salvation.  Oh what glory is ours following in our Savior’s wake!  Listen to what our Good Shepherd states: “I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.”  Realize to what union with the Father of all you are called by the Child He has borne to us for our redemption.  Oh how “wonderful in our eyes” this should be!  And consider if you will that one day we His children “shall see Him as He is.”  How shall our souls bear such blessing?

Brothers and sisters, like the cripple seemingly doomed to a life of incapacity are we all.  But what Peter has effected by a word in Jesus’ name is now ours by that same name and through the ministry of His apostles.  How? you say.  How shall I discover such salvation?  How shall this lame man leap like a stag?  Faith.  Faith in the Son draws the Father's mercy from above.  And if I must tell you further, I shall, you wayward soul.  Confess your sins!  Kneel before the priest the Lord has ordained as His instrument of salvation and bare your heart to God on high.  What graces are yours if only you have faith in the Lord and the Church He alone has founded.  Turn from the wolves that besiege you, and come to Him who “is good.”

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

Music: "Souls at a Carnival" from All One, sixth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, your Son has died that we might be saved;

let us listen to His voice and follow Him.

YHWH, your Son lays down His life for us that we might be as He is, that we might be your children.  In His Name all are healed from their sins, raised from the dust to be seated with Him.  Help us to take refuge in Him and so in you; let us trust in this stone the builders have rejected.

Jesus dies for us; for the sake of your sheep He is crucified, O LORD.  Yet He takes up His life again, and thus we are raised with Him.  He does not run from the sacrifice you call Him to make, but knowing well it is the only way we shall be saved, fully embraces your command.  O let us be as He is! willing to lay down our lives.  Then truly we shall be your children.

There is no other name by which we are to be saved; there is no other way.  In the Cross let us find our life this day, dear God.  May your Son shepherd us to your kingdom.

Direct download: BC-042912-Su_4_E_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O charitable and zealous soul

who gave your life

that others might know

the true and abiding Catholic faith,

you who cared for the sick and the dying,

those who were ailing in body

and diseased in spirit –

how shall we learn

to sacrifice all as you have done,

to stand in the face of opposition

and speak the truth

though those we would help

would devour us instead

of listening to the words

come from the Savior’s mouth?

Penance and prayer

are so far from us this day,

and who really cares

to show others Christ’s way?

Pray this ship shall be strengthened

by holy souls

eager for the salvation of all

and confirmed in the truth and love of the Spirit.

Direct download: April_24_Fidelis_of_Sigmaringen.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm 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

O persecuted shepherd

whose flock repeatedly drove you

from their midst

but who accomplished

great work of conversion

among them…

to these indignant souls

you repeatedly returned,

ever spreading Christ’s net further –

pray for us, apostle to nations,

that in God’s Church today

His Word may go boldly forth

to convert hearts

so hardened by sin,

that the acquired ignorance

of peoples returning to paganism

will be thoroughly dispelled

by truth.

Forth let all souls journey,

humbly proclaiming the Gospel

till all have heard and understood

the glory to which they are called

by our Savior.

Direct download: April_23_Adalbert.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

O courageous soldier

in the army of our Lord,

you gave up the ranks

of this passing world

for the kingdom

wrought by Jesus Christ,

dying willingly

for such a just cause

and showing us the path

we must tread

to be found worthy

to stand with our God –

pray that we may be strengthened

in the battle of earthly life,

that our weak limbs

may not be disjointed,

that we might not tremble in fear

at the threats of the mighty

but take our refuge

in the Almighty

and fight for Him who fights for us

until we are wrapped in His arms,

until we cling to His breast.

Direct download: April_23_George.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm 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

O sublime teacher

and defender of the Church

and her freedom,

the joy of Heaven

you sought

in your spiritual life,

and for the autonomy of MotherChurch

you fought

in your call as shepherd –

pray that we

who remain so blind

to the presence of God

will have our eyes opened

and draw closer

to Him who is our life,

in whose light

we alone find peace;

and pray, too,

that we shall fulfill our call

as disciples of truth

and defend with your same strength

the life of our Mother,

despite the persecutions that come.

Direct download: April_21_Anselm.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm 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 3:13-15,17-19;   Ps.4:2,4,7-9;   1Jn.2:1-5a;   Lk.24:35-48)

“He is expiation for our sins.”

Brothers and sisters, “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.”  For us this Savior has come; for our sins He has died on the cross.  Even as it is written of Him in Scripture, so all has been accomplished in His Name.

And so we need fear no more.  We need not be “startled and terrified” at the sight of Him in our midst.  He has come to us and has taken His place among us, even as He sits at the right hand of God.  And His place among us is the cross, even as God announced – “that His Christ would suffer” – and by His sacrifice He has been greatly blessed, and we greatly blessed with Him.  Now His blood, once shed by our own hands, pours upon us for “the forgiveness of [our] sins.”

David once cried, “When I call, answer me, O my just God, you who relieve me when I am in distress,” and so in Christ his prayer is answered; for in this Jesus, our greatest distress – that inflicted by our transgressions – has been washed clean from our murderous souls.  He lives.  He lives now, brothers and sisters, to make intercession for our sins “and for those of the whole world.”  Let us all come to Him in truth and find “the light of [His] countenance shin[ing] upon us!”

The light the Lord is, the salvation He affords to each of our souls, must “be preached in His name to all the nations”; all must come to know the blessing embodied in the risen Christ: all must see Him, that in His redemptive wounds all might take refuge.  It is the will of God that all sins “be wiped away,” that all hearts be converted to truth and light, that all might live before Him in eternal peace.

Do not delay your repentance in His sight; freely forgiveness pours from His side.  For this alone He has died, but to receive His mercy you must reform your lives.

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

Music: "Wish I'd Never Done It" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, may the blood of your Son cleanse us of sin,

and may our own death glorify you.

YHWH, Jesus was killed by being hung on a tree, but you preserved Him from among those going down into the pit, you brought Him up from the netherworld, and with Him all those obedient to His Word.  Now in glory He sits with you upon the throne, and the angels and all creatures in Heaven and on earth and under the earth praise His holy Name.  And, yes, those who follow Him here unto death shall come to such glory with Him in Heaven.

To the Lamb who was slain belong all honor and glory and blessing; and to His disciples, to those who lay down their lives that His sheep might be fed, comes the blessing that rests upon Him.  O LORD, make us fruitful in your sight!  May we help turn the mourning of mankind into dancing and singing before your throne.  Forever let us give you thanks for having been found worthy to suffer dishonor here for the sake of your Name.

Direct download: BC-042212-Su_3_E_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am 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 5:34-42;   Ps.27:1,4,13-14;   Jn.6:1-15)

“I believe that I shall see the bounty of the Lord

in the land of the living.”

Seeing the vast crowd following Him up the mountain as He seeks to sit with His disciples, Jesus asks the one without guile, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat.”  In honesty Philip answers, essentially, “It is impossible.”  Ah, but nothing is impossible with God.

Brothers, is it not their seeing “the bounty of the Lord” that causes the apostles to leave the Sanhedrin and the whipping they received at their hands “full of joy that they had been judged worthy of ill-treatment for the sake of the Name”?  And is not this bounty revealed most clearly here “in the land of the living” in the Bread of Life Jesus provides for us at His Eucharistic table?  And so should we not rejoice every day in this miracle?

“Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.”  Are not David’s words the ones Jesus speaks to His children in the feeding of the five thousand?  Should the apostles not but sing, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?” as they stand each with one of the “twelve baskets full of pieces left over” from the miracle brought about at the Lord’s hands?