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

O blessed help of the poor,

slave to widows and orphans

and all those most outcast

and in need,

the least of Christ’s brothers

you indeed gave your life to serve,

completely spending yourself

in their assistance

and leading your own brother priests

to do the same…

and so Christ Himself you waited upon

day in and day out

upon this earth –

pray that we, too, shall be like Jesus,

filled with compassion

for the needs of our neighbors,

sharing their poverty

as we empty ourselves as the Lord has done.

May all our prayers and desires

lead to such charity for the plight of others,

that we might fulfill with you

our Savior’s call to the Cross

and come, therefore, to the riches of Heaven.

Direct download: Sept._27_Vincent_de_Paul.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Zec.8:1-8;   Ps.102:16-23,29;   Lk.9:46-50)

 

“The city shall be filled with boys and girls playing in her streets.”

 

“Even if this should seem impossible in the eyes of the remnant of this people, shall it in those days be impossible in my eyes also, says the Lord of hosts.”  Sometimes we lose sight of the kingdom of heaven.  Sometimes our faith fails because of the difficult circumstances in which we find ourselves.  Or sometimes our pride can be the obstruction, blinding our eyes to the presence of the Lord in our midst, speaking to us in the children who play all around us, who sit at His side… whose angels behold His face always.  Sometimes we lose hope and the promise of eternal life escapes us.

But why?  Do we not know that the Lord “has regarded the prayer of the destitute, and not despised their prayer”?  Have we not experienced His redeeming grace many times in our lives?  Do we not believe Him when He tells His chosen ones: “They shall be my people, and I will be their God, with faithfulness and justice”?  Why are we so forgetful of His love for us and distracted by our situation?  For the Lord does “hear the groaning of the prisoners”; He does “release those doomed to die”; He does look down “from His holy height” and hear the prayers of us His lowly ones, if we but call out to Him.

“I will rescue my people from the land of the rising sun, and from the land of the setting sun.”  At the center of the universe shall we dwell, “within Jerusalem,” with the Lord.  This is our promise.  And this is our call – to bring others within those gates, to invite all His children to enter His holy presence.  Not to look past them in blind ambition, but to set our hearts on serving Him by striving always and only to build up His kingdom even here on earth.

Jesus knows our thoughts, brothers and sisters.  He knows how vain we can be in our ways.  And so He sets a child before us.  He shows us the lowliness we must know to enter the kingdom of heaven.  And He presents us with a challenge to gather His children there.  Indeed, heaven shall be filled with the laughter of children, but will we hear it – and will we find true reward by increasing it always in His Name?  Let your heart not fail or despair of any circumstances, for “the children of [His] servants shall abide, and their posterity continue in [His] presence.”  Ever maintain hope for the glory of Zion and see it rising in your midst. 

 

*******

O LORD, may we be as children before you

in your heavenly kingdom.

YHWH, gather your children together as one in your holy City of Jerusalem.  In the peace of your presence let us dwell all our days.  We are greatly troubled here upon this earth.  Help us to turn and become as children that in innocence and humility before you we might remain.  Hear us as we cry out and look down with pity upon our poor souls.

O LORD, let us be on your side; faithful and just make us, we pray.  O let us serve you in holiness that when you appear in glory we may enter your company and not be kept from you by our foolish pride.  You are our God; let us not be made blind to your presence.

O LORD, let us hear the sound of children playing in your streets, and let us be among them.  If we could but humble ourselves, in your eyes we would find our place secure.  Release those who are doomed to die; with you let us dwell forever.

Direct download: BC-092611-M_26_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O highly honored martyrs

whose tomb drew many pilgrims

and brought about many miracles,

you laid down your lives as one in the Lord,

taking up His bitter and saving cup

of suffering

all for your faith in Him and His Church,

and so, precious in His sight

was your death in His name –

from beyond the grave

pray for us this day,

that the healing blood of Christ our Savior

be poured upon our souls,

that we too might be raised by His sacrifice,

redeemed by the death He endured;

for He has overcome the world,

and you with Him in His blood.

Pray that we who are so weak of faith

may by the Lord’s grace and your intercession

bear witness to Jesus by our own deaths

upon the Cross with Him.

Direct download: Sept._26_Cosmas_and_Damian.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Nm.11:25-29;   Ps.19:8-10,12-14;   Jas.5:1-6;   Mk.9:38-43,45,47-48) 

“Would that all the people to the Lord were prophets!

Would that the Lord might bestow His Spirit on them all!”

There is of course a striking similarity in our first reading and our gospel today.  In one, Joshua, “who from his youth had been Moses’ aide,” comes to his master to inform him that two men who had not gone as instructed to the mountain to receive God’s Spirit were “prophesying in the camp”: “Moses, my lord, stop them,” he zealously proclaims.  And in the other, John, the Lord’s beloved disciple, conveys his message to Jesus: “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us,” he, too, attempting to thwart the Spirit of God which does not go forth in channels that seem proper.  But Moses’ answer above could not be more strongly stated, and Jesus says plainly to His disciples, “Do not prevent them.  There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.”  And so, let goodness go forth, unto the ends of the earth.

Indeed, Moses’ cry is the Lord’s will, and it is this will Jesus has come to realize – that all may embrace what is right and true and so come to the kingdom of heaven.  However, inherent in Moses’ exclamation is also the unfortunate fact that most do not have the Spirit of God; most are not walking in His name.  More often than not the “wanton sin” which James so graphically presents to our eyes and ears is the state of man; and so the horrible miseries he even more graphically represents become their fate.  And so, to accomplish His work of salvation upon the face of the earth, the Christ must necessarily be severe in His speech, in His warning and His instruction: “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off…  If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off…  If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out” – better these measures than the fires of Gehenna… better any pain on this plane than the eternal punishments of the hell wrought by the sins so much a part of all our lives.

With great wisdom David speaks of the precepts of the Lord.  First he recognizes that “the law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul” and “fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever”; then, seeking to endure forever with the Lord of all, he declares to God of His laws: “Though your servant is careful of them, very diligent in keeping them, yet who can detect failings?”  And even wiser is he to cry out, “Cleanse me from my unknown faults!” for he knows only this thorough cleansing will make him any prophet of God; only if he be “blameless and innocent” will he maintain the Lord’s Spirit within himself.  And so the same is true for all the Lord would gather into His arms, all who seek His eternal reward.

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

Music: "Open Air" from Thoroughfare, seventh album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, that all were prophets!

that all would purify their souls in your undying light

and so enter into your kingdom.

YHWH, your Spirit be upon us this day.  Let us turn away from all sin that we might enter your kingdom.

How perfect you are, O LORD, and how perfect is your Law.  Your Word comes to us as a cleansing flame.  But if we turn our hearts from love of you, that flame becomes a devouring fire.  If we attach ourselves to the riches of this world, seeking its treasure by ungodly means, what can we be but separated from you on your holy Day.  For all that is wicked shall be cast into flame, and from it shall not be withdrawn.  But all your children will be refreshed by that flame, purified to stand in your presence.

O let us be innocent and blameless of serious sin, dearest LORD and God!  And let us not lead any astray, that we might not merit condemnation.  It is your will that all come to glory and you cannot but cast aside all who work against the bestowing of your Spirit upon souls.

Direct download: BC-093012-Su_26_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Zec.2:5-9,14-15;   Jer.31:10-13;   Lk.9:43-45)

 

“They shall come streaming to the Lord’s blessings.”

 

The Kingdom is being prepared.  And as bleak as things may seem upon this earth, the glory of the Lord awaits us all.  This is the message of Jeremiah in our psalm and the message given Zechariah by the angel in our first reading.  “I will turn their mourning into joy, I will console and gladden them after their sorrows,” is the word which sustains us.

Zechariah prophesies at the time the Israelites have returned from exile few in number to a rather desolate, broken-down Jerusalem.  But in his vision presented today he sees an angel measuring the great city of peace, apparently for its restoration.  And to this prophet at this difficult time in which hope is hard to hold on to is delivered this reassurance: “People will live in Jerusalem as though in an open country, because of the multitude of men and beasts in her midst.”  The Lord promises to be “the glory in her midst” and an “encircling wall of fire”: “Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day.”

Jeremiah’s message is the same.  “He who scattered Israel now gathers them together, He guards them as a shepherd His flock.”  Yes, even in the darkest moments of our exile here on this fallen earth, there is hope.  For ultimately the Lord’s love will conquer all; in the end we shall “mount the heights of Zion” – our salvation will be fulfilled.

Jesus tries to convey to the apostles the same message.  By telling them, “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of men,” He seeks to have them understand – even “in the midst of the disciples’ amazement at all that Jesus was doing” in teaching and healing the people – that when the time of mourning is brought to bear in their lives, when they see Him offered up for crucifixion… when darkness falls upon the land, then they should be assured that the glorious works they find wrought in their midst by the glorious hand of God shall not be dead at all, but only coming to fulfillment.

Our solace is in our sorrow.  Happy are we who mourn.  For the passing things we are robbed of here, we know will become eternal blessings in heaven.  Taste the pain, my brothers and sisters, the blood at the corners of your mouth, and lift your head to see the nations come streaming to His eternal kingdom. 

 

*******

O LORD, into the hands of men Jesus must be delivered

that He might gather them from far-off lands

into the kingdom of Heaven.

YHWH, your people have been scattered to the four corners of the earth, but from there you gather them together as one in your holy City.  From mourning you deliver your children that they might come in joy into your eternal presence.  O may the nations indeed come streaming to your blessings!  May all be surrounded by your wall of protection, with you at our very center.

The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of men.  This sacrifice is necessary to fulfill man’s redemption.  O LORD, we could not be saved except by His suffering, for blind we were even to our sin until He mounted the wood of the Cross.

But now, dear LORD, what was so concealed from us has been revealed by His blood.  Let us follow closely His message and His way, that we might be found celebrating within the length and breadth of your kingdom.

Direct download: BC-092411-Sa_25_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Hg.1:15-2:9;   Ps.43:1-5;   Lk.9:18-22)

 

“Greater will be the future glory of this house

than the former, says the Lord of hosts.”

 

“Take courage… and work!  For I am with you,” the Lord says through the prophet Haggai to the remnant of the people returned from exile as they prepare to rebuild the temple.  “My spirit continues in your midst; do not fear!”  Of course, we know these words of encouragement are eternal, even as we know that “the future glory” of the temple prophesied by Haggai refers ultimately to the Kingdom Christ now builds for us with His Father in heaven, and in whose construction we participate to this day.  For Jesus is the Temple not made by human hands, and we are His Body here on earth, raising the walls of this holy place.

“And in this place I will give peace, says the Lord of hosts!”  In the former temple, that which relied upon human hands for its construction and could thus be destroyed also by human hands, the peace was necessarily passing.  Though the Lord remained present to His people, the temple in which they dwelt, in which they worshiped, was only temporary.  The future Temple which holds the glory of God come to fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ, to which He leads us and which is, in fact, the Lord Himself – to this Temple there is no end, and its peace is everlasting.  There we shall worship eternally.

And this Temple is present to us now; Jesus is in our midst this day, in His Church, in His Sacraments, with His Spirit, in the Word.  And we learn from the Lord in our gospel today the way that leads to its realization.  Yes, the apostles, in the person of Peter, recognize that Jesus is “the Messiah of God”; but not yet is it to be declared.  There are first “many sufferings” He must endure.  Indeed, He must “be put to death” before being “raised up on the third day.”  In the same manner we have much to endure in this world, filling up what is lacking of His suffering, before we come into the eternal glory of His resurrection.  We shall “go in to the altar of God” and give Him “thanks upon the harp.”  He shall receive our song of joy, as in measure He does this day.  In fullness we shall know Him.  And so, here as we travel toward Him, as we pass through our time of mourning, let us pray with our psalmist:

 

“Send forth your light and your fidelity;

they shall lead me on

And bring me to your holy mountain,

to your dwelling place…”

(where His glory shall be great).

 

                           *******

O LORD, you are the Most High God –

let us enter your House with praise!

 YHWH, you are with us, always with us, dearest LORD, and you call us to be with you; you promise us peace in your holy Temple.  And your Temple has come into our midst.  He has suffered and died for our sakes and been raised on the third day.  Now we must suffer with Him, we must do His work in this world, the work of building up His Temple… and soon we will come to dwell with Him in your eternal presence in your dwelling place.

O LORD, take away our mourning for what we do not have, for the lack of your glory among us.  Let us remember that Jesus is the Messiah, that though we be surrounded by darkness this day, His light is with us leading us forth to your kingdom, which even now is indeed being built up in your Church, in all those who work in His Name.  To greater glory bring us each day till your promise is fulfilled and we dwell in your presence forever.

Direct download: BC-092311-F_25_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O holy priest

who bore the wounds of Christ

in your hands

and in your ministry,

who served the Lord so greatly

in casting out many demons

in your confessional,

and whom He thus blessed

with miracles of the Spirit –

pray for us of lukewarm faith

who falter day to day

in following our dear Jesus’ path.

So close to Him you were

in His suffering and His love;

so far are we

from His Cross and so His grace.

Pray we shall be strengthened to approach Him

and find healing for our weakness,

the frailty of our souls

which keeps us from knowing the Christ

and laying down our lives for Him

as He calls, as you have done…

O pray His blood be upon us!

Direct download: Sept._23_Pio_of_Pietrelcina.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Hg.1:1-8;   Ps.149:1-6,9;   Lk.9:7-9)

 

“He who earned wages earned them for a bag with holes in it.”

 

“Bring timber, and build the house that I may take pleasure in it and receive my glory.”  Rebuild the house of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit you are.  Shore up the breaches in its walls and solidify its foundation, that you might “sing to the Lord a new song of praise in the assembly of the faithful,” that you might be as those who are “glad in their maker…  For the Lord loves His people, and He adorns the lowly with victory.”  Humble yourself before Him, take care to observe the words of His mouth – turn from your selfish ways and your blindness to His presence, and you shall again sing with delight in a house of blessings.

Are you, too, like Herod, perplexed at the identity of Jesus?  Do you, too, question: “Who is this man about whom I hear all these reports?”  Be more than “curious to see Him,” my brothers and sisters; lay down your lives before Him and His teaching and His redemptive sacrifice, and you shall come to know that He is the Son of God – you shall find Him who is the salvation of your soul, which wanders now far from the safety of the walls of His temple.  In His flesh alone will you find your home.  Your vain curiosity is not enough to bring you there.  Your doubts about His glory must be faced and seen for the emptiness they hold – or you risk beheading yourself in the refusal to bow to Him who is Truth and holds all that matters in His redeeming hands.

“Let the high praises of God be in their throats,” our psalmist sings.  To such blessing of fulfillment he exhorts our souls.  This indeed is “the glory of all His faithful”; for to have our souls filled to overflowing with the praises of our Lord and our God, who loves us to overflowing and desires only for us to know His love in its being lived out in all our days and with all our being… in this we find our home in His blessed hands.

All else but God is vain, and its emptiness will rise to your eyes in a time you do not anticipate.  See now that you repair the holes in your very soul, that you might become a temple of His Spirit and find the grace to praise His Name worthily in the assembly of all His chosen ones.

 

*******

O LORD, in your House let us make our home

and to us you will be known.

YHWH, may you receive due glory from all souls, we pray.  May all bless your holy NAME with songs of praise in your Temple.  May all recognize that you are the God of all and that Jesus is your only Son, and so may all rebuild their broken souls by the grace that comes through Him.  O let us all put you first in our lives! as you deserve.

It is our joy to praise you, LORD, to recognize your glory in our midst and so join in that glory you offer through your Christ.  Without you, what are our lives worth?  We remain hungry despite the food on our tables; we remain naked despite the clothing on our backs – we remain empty and poor despite the riches we gather if we remain apart from you in our paneled houses.

O let us set our hearts on serving you, on humbly coming before you as your sons, dear God, and we shall exult in glory.

Direct download: BC-092211-Th_25_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Ezra 9:5-9;   Tb.13:1-4,6-8;   Lk.9:1-6) 

“Turn back, you sinners! do the right before Him:

perhaps He may look with favor upon you, and show you mercy.”

As the Word of the Lord comes to our villages and enters our houses, we must treasure it and heed its warning to turn from our sins.  If we harden our hearts against its grace and mercy, if we fail to recognize our sin in the blessed light it brings, the Word shall leave, shaking the dust from its feet, and we shall be left alone in despair.  But if we turn toward the light it brings and turn from our sins, we shall be saved – we shall be healed of all our afflictions.

How wonderfully Ezra humbles himself before the Lord our God, pouring out his soul and the sins of the people of Israel: “Our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads and our guilt reaches up to heaven.”  For so often have the people sinned, so often have they turned from Him who chose them as His own… and even here, now that they have been returned from exile by the miraculous grace of God working through Persian kings, now that the Lord has given them “new life to raise again the house of [their] God and restore its ruins,” even now they have sinned again.

It is only the love of Jesus, brothers and sisters, and the grace that pours forth through His apostles, which will bring us to the “reign of God.”  Only He can heal our souls and only He can lift us from the mire of this world – only in His kingdom will we find perfection with God our Father.  This alone must we seek.  This certainly we must accept with open arms when it comes to us by the grace of our Lord.  For, indeed, we know that though we have fallen into “the great abyss,” though He may have cast us “down to the depths of the netherworld” for our sins, “He has shown [us] His greatness” and lifted our heads up to look upon His face – He has redeemed our race.

So let us rejoice this day “in the King of heaven” and “speak of His majesty,” for in our guilt the Lord visits us, He sends forth His Word to heal us.  He has given the Twelve and their successors “power and authority to overcome all demons and to cure diseases,” so let us welcome their touch and turn from our sins to receive the favor upon us, to find His mercy at work in our midst.

*******

O LORD, lead me forth in the peace of your presence –

restore our ruined house;

heal all our disease.

YHWH, you grant mercy to our souls.  Though we be cast down to the nether world for all our sins, you send forth your apostles to overcome all demons and cure us of our diseases; you raise our heads to look upon your face.  And so, what should we do but praise you with full voice?

Continually we falter, LORD; repeatedly your people fall back into sin.  But ever you call us to turn from our wickedness that we might find your favor again.  In your Son you make this mercy complete, and we find it now at work in your Church.  Let us receive well the Word that comes to us and so approach your kingdom.

What have you not done for us, O LORD.  Even the hearts of the kings of this earth you have turned to our cause to assist us in rebuilding your Temple.  All is in your hands, Almighty God!  Redeem us from captivity to walk in freedom with you at our side.

Direct download: BC-092111-W_25_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O faithful apostle

who so readily answered

the call of the Lord,

leaving your station in this world

to follow in His footsteps

and so find your place in Heaven,

who even with these first steps

brought others to the Christ

as you opened your heart

as well as your home

to Him and to the least of His brothers –

pray, dear brother through whom the Spirit has spoken,

that we too shall follow Jesus

and so find His grace and mercy,

and so find our way to the Father.

Pray our hearts will ever be

so open to hear His voice

and invite Him in to our table,

where He may eat and speak with us,

feeding us with His presence.

And pray we may be blessed as you

in drawing others to the Word, our God,

till all are one in His Body.

Direct download: Sept._21_Matthew.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(Eph.4:1-7,11-13;   Ps.19:2-5;   Mt.9:9-13)

 

“Through all the earth their voice resounds,

and to the ends of the world, their message.”

 

“Till we become one in faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, and form that perfect man who is Christ come to full stature,” the Word of the Lord shall be carried forth by all His “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers”; indeed, “each of us has received God’s favor in the measure in which Christ bestows it,” and each of us plays a role in bringing to fulfillment the Gospel of our “one Lord.”

“Matthew got up and followed Him.”  He was called, he was chosen, and he answered the Lord’s call without hesitation.  And he brought the Lord in immediately to dine with Him, welcoming Him fully at his table.  And because of his openness to God and His Word, and because of his generous response, we see that it is Jesus who in fact feeds him, that he in turn might feed others with the true teaching, “the one faith” in the “one God and Father of all, who is over all, and works through all, and is in all,” from the least of sinners to the greatest of apostles.  We are all thus called to follow Jesus Christ, to find the mercy He so greatly desires to impart to our sinful lives, that we might be whole and able to serve Him well.

One day we shall come to perfection in Him; in Him it is already fulfilled.  And now insofar as we share His love, insofar as we “live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received, with perfect humility, meekness, and patience,” the Spirit who is indeed the origin of our unity in Him works through us and we, even with the twelve apostles, serve to bring His blessed peace, His divine life of salvation, to the world.  Yes, “day pours out the word to day, and night to night imparts knowledge,” and soon that Word will reach to the ends of the earth; and soon it will come to fulfillment in our sight.

Brothers and sisters, we are called to a great hope, and to a great mission to bring it to light.  Let us keep our hearts set on the Gospel and the promise it contains, and “build up the Body of Christ” until we stand with Him, as Him, in His eternal kingdom which stands in our midst even today through the words of His apostle and evangelist, in the breath of the Spirit upon us and in its message.

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

Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, let us all be drawn as one

into the Body of your Son,

that we poor sinners may become His saints. 

YHWH, you are over all and work through all and in all, and your Gospel message goes out to all the world through your apostles and evangelists.  O let us listen to your voice as it comes to us in the words of Scripture and through your prophets’ preaching!  Let us be quick as Matthew to answer your call, that the Body of your Son might be built up on this earth and soon come to fulfillment in Heaven.

We are all sinners, O LORD; you see this and you know this.  Help us to see this as you do and so come readily to the table Jesus spreads before us, a table of mercy and grace in answer to our repentance.  Let us recognize that only in Him will we find our place with you in the kingdom.  And help us to proclaim your love and your peace with your apostles, that in the one faith all might be baptized and come as your children to praise your Name.

You are our hope, O LORD; let your Spirit go forth.

Direct download: St._Matthew_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O blessed, holy martyrs

who won for yourselves

the crown of salvation

by your undying faith in God,

who cherished well

the prize of persecution

the Lord offered your souls,

who stood fast despite the death

that raged around you –

pray we shall know as you

that all the hairs of our head

are numbered by God

and in His all-embracing providence

He has care over us all,

that we might stand as strong

in our little trials

and sufferings

as you did before the face

of the executioner.

To all people be a witness to the faith

that reaches ever unto Heaven.

Direct download: Sept._20_Andrew_Kim_Paul_Hasang_and_Companions.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Ezra 1:1-6;   Ps.126:1-6;   Lk.8:16-18)

 

“Those that sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.”

 

The Israelites toiled in tears for four hundred years under the yoke of the Egyptians, then rejoiced to finally enter the Promised Land (after wandering forty years in the desert).  For seventy years Judah had been exiled to Babylon, but rejoiced when, remarkably, the king of Persia called them to return to Jerusalem and, with his blessing, to rebuild the temple of the Lord.  And now we wait in exile for our Lord to return.  But sadness should not overwhelm us in this land of exile.  Indeed our lights must shine; for in the shining of these lamps of holiness is the coming of our Lord to this earth.  And the more we shine forth His light to this earth, the more we grow in that light, and so the closer the Lord comes to both us and the universe.

Tears do tend to be our lot here in this world; such is the way of the cross.  We cannot help but mourn the lack of His love and the failure of hearts to come to His peace.  Here where hatred and violence so often enter in by the ignorance of man’s soul to the Word of God and His presence in our midst, what can we do but cry?  But we are not without hope; and it is this hope our readings speak of this day.  For if the Gentiles could return the chosen people to their land of promise with such rich and generous gifts, how can we not take hope that the Lord shall “restore our fortunes” as well?  And so as we ascend the steps to the temple of our Lord in the highest heaven, may the nations say of us, too, “The Lord has done great things for them,” as they look upon our wisdom and grace even in this land where darkness reigns.

“There is nothing hidden that will not be exposed, nothing concealed that will not be known and brought to light.”  And so we take promise in the fact that that which we cherish now in our souls, the Word and the Bread of the Lord which nourishes us on this journey, shall come to their fulfillment in the joy of the kingdom of heaven.  But do not hide that light growing within you, brothers and sisters; shine it forth unashamedly for all to see, and the tears you sow in hope for the salvation of the world shall serve to cleanse your vision to behold the Lord in all His glory.  

 

*******

O LORD, you will repay the faithful soul;

you will repay him to the full – 

the lamp you light in us will never dim. 

YHWH, bring us into the New Jerusalem; return us to our true home with you.  In Heaven let us dwell this day, blessed with all the gifts and graces come from your hands.  Then we shall rejoice.  Then we shall laugh and sing.  Then our tears will be washed away as we join ourselves to you. 

How impossible it seems as we sit here in this dark world, and yet how very likely.  For even here you are present to us as we speak your NAME.  Even now we know your light shining in our minds and hearts.  Yes, LORD, even now we come to Heaven. 

You are with your people even in their exile, and you call even those who are strangers to help them along their way to you.  All the nations know your greatness and shall enter your Church, O LORD.  Let us build your Temple this day.

Direct download: BC-091911-M_25_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O protector of your sheep,

you laid down your life

for them,

giving your blood

for the service of souls

that all might witness

the surpassing love of the Lord

and the glory that awaits

those who die in Him –

pray for shepherds

who feed their sheep,

not lording it over them

or seeking what gain they might find

for themselves,

taking the milk and wool

of their flock

and leaving them naked and lifeless…

but living the call of Christ

as you, dear shepherd, have done.

Pray those who govern God’s Church

will be ready even to die for Him

and the people they serve.

Let all be protected by the blood of the Lamb.

Direct download: Sept._19_Januarius.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Ws.2:12,17-20;   Ps.54:3-8;   Jas.3:16-4:3;   Mk.9:30-37) 

“Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist,

there is disorder and every foul practice.”

And can there be any greater foul practice come from jealousy and selfish ambition than that of which we hear in our first reading from the Book of Wisdom, for here the wicked plot the death of the Son of God – here is spoken of the horrible persecutions which the Messiah and all His followers undergo at the hands of the proud souls: “With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test that we may have proof of His gentleness and try His patience.”  And so the Lamb of God shall endure His “shameful death,” according to the dark threats they breathe.

“The haughty have risen up against me, the ruthless seek my life; they set not God before their eyes,” David cries unto the Lord.  He too knows those who “kill and envy,” who “fight and wage war” against the righteous one because he puts them to shame, because he “reproaches [them] for transgressions of the law,” his justice and truth ever a sign of contradiction against “the passions that make war in [their] members,” from which they refuse to be released.

But it is indeed so, as even their own words condemn the wicked, that “God will take care of [the just one],” that “God will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes.”  “Behold, God is my helper; the Lord sustains my life,” David exclaims in the midst of his trial – for indeed the help of the Lord is ever with us; He shall always “defend [our] cause.”  And the wicked shall ever be put to death for their sins against Him.

And what of the disciples today?  It is true that “they had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest.”  At this point in the journey they still are “arguing about” petty matters which lead but to condemnation, even as Jesus speaks of His imminent death.  But their vain pride shall not last the day.  For even in the Lord’s placing a child in their midst there is a kind of turning point; ashamed they can only be now, and soon, so soon, they will follow their blessed Lord to their own cross of crucifixion. 

Set yourselves on the right path, brothers and sisters.  Be not afraid to ask the Lord of His way and of the help you need to follow.  But do not ask in vain or your evil desires will destroy you, and you shall not know His kingdom.  Let no jealousy rule your hearts, but order your lives according to the Lord’s pure wisdom, and be “full of mercy and good fruits,” as even our “gentle” and “compliant” Lord.  Keep this Child ever before your eyes.

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

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

*******

O LORD, only you will deliver us

from the hands of our foes

and from our own transgressions.

YHWH, your Son was condemned to a shameful death by the haughty hearts of men, but you sustained His life, as you do our own.  If we but set our hearts on serving you and the least of our brothers, if we but keep our arms around those you place in our care – if we but die with your Son and in His love, with Him we shall rise again.

O LORD, let arrogance and pride find no place in our lives.  Let us not be tortured by selfish ambition or torture others because of our impatience with you and your holy will.  If we fight against your goodness, allowing our passions to rule us, what shall we find but death to our souls and blindness to your glory among us?  Your Son let us but follow, even on the path to crucifixion, and your protection will be with us all our days.  Your arms you will keep around us, embracing us as your own dear Child.  In peace we shall remain.

Direct download: BC-092312-Su_25_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(1Tm.6:13-16;   Ps.100:2-5;   Lk.8:4-15)

 

“Keep God’s command without blame or reproach

until our Lord Jesus shall appear.”

 

The Lord’s “kindness endures forever, and His faithfulness, to all generations,” and we must endure with Him, ever showing forth His kindness and faithfulness to the world, until we come to dwell with Him eternally “in inapproachable light.”

When God brings His appearance “to pass at His chosen time” will we stand ready?  Will we persevere in service of truth until that day of which we know not?  Brothers and sisters, “Let everyone who has ears attend to what he has heard.”  Let us not “fall away in time of temptation.”  Let us not have our progress “stifled by the cares and riches and pleasures of life.”  Let us mature.  Let us remain faithful in all adversity.  Let us always grow in His Word.  Let us “hear the word in a spirit of openness, retain it, and bear fruit through perseverance.”  Then we shall “yield grain a hundredfold”; then we shall know the “joyful song” that reverberates eternally in His “everlasting rule.”

Patience.  We must have patience.  And wisdom.  We must know and remember that “the Lord is God; He made us, His we are, His people, the flock He tends.”  Always we must take refuge in Him, living the “noble profession” to which He calls us as His blessed children to whom “the mysteries of the reign of God have been confided.”  And knowing this, knowing Him, how can we turn to anything else?  What can distract or destroy the heart set on God?  It is not possible that anything can overcome us if we stand fast as seed planted by the hand of God and allow His Spirit to perpetually nourish our growth.  We must be as plants which bend ever to His light; the cleansing water of His Word must be cherished and preserved by holy souls.  And we shall grow.

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise.”  This is our destiny; and this is the blessing we find even now as we make continual progress in His Name and rejoice at the gifts and graces He bears us as we struggle ever to bear witness to His glory working in our lives.  Stand fast, brothers and sisters, and persevere till the end.  May His Word remain in you, His Bread nourish you daily, and you will be kept beyond reproach.

 

*******

O LORD, let us keep well your Word

and grow in Jesus’ light,

until He returns and gathers us into His arms.

YHWH, you dwell in unapproachable light; no one has seen you or can see you.  Yet you call us into your presence, you desire us to enter your gates singing praise.  Let us not be deaf to your blessed call but cherish the Word your Son brings us, the Word and Bread He is for us, and so grow always unto your kingdom, until He appears and unites us with you forever.

How empty our hearts can be, O LORD, empty of you and distracted by the world.  There are so many things which take our attention from the glory of your presence here among us this day.  And so, how easily we die, how easily we wither for want of your Word.  Why should we concern ourselves with the passing things of this vain world when your Son stands before us and calls us into your kingdom?  Let us rather give thanks to Him for such kindness; let us rather bless your holy NAME, that we might endure until His coming and bear fruit worthy of Heaven.

Direct download: BC-091711-Sa_24_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O wise doctor

whose intellect served well

in defense of the Church

and her teachings,

who bore well the light yoke of Christ

that leads to eternal life

and shepherded your flock

in following you

along this path of our Lord –

speak to us this day

your words of grace

that the souls of all

within the Church’s gates

might be founded well

on the truths of the faith

and on the love of God.

Pray we shall be wise as you

in knowing the way

the Lord marks out for His sons;

pray we shall have shepherds

so blessed with His light

that all shall be saved from the wolves about

and remain secure in the Father’s arms.

Direct download: Sept._17_Robert_Bellarmine.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Tm.6:2-12;   Ps.49:6-10,17-20,Mt.5:3;   Lk.8:1-3)

 

“Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation, and a trap.”

 

Today we hear Paul’s famous words: “The love of money is the root of all evil.”  They are oft-quoted, but how well are they understood and practiced in the avoidance of excessive possessions and inflated bank accounts.  Paul tells us, verifiably so, that men “have come to grief amid great pain” because of their passion for money.  And the pain is so much the greater if they had been men of faith, which stands so much in opposition to the things of this world.

One must be “content with a sufficiency,” Paul teaches us.  “If we have food and clothing we have all that we need.”  But how many are satisfied, grateful to God, for having their needs met?  And how many rather thirst for ever-increasing wealth, in which they foolishly believe they shall find peace and comfort?  Indeed, it is as an addiction, and blinds us to the providential hand of God and the humility we should have in His presence.  Our psalm speaks pointedly and graphically of the vanity of those for whom “the abundance of their riches is their boast,” but who, when they die, “shall take none of it”: “He shall join the circle of his forebears, who shall never more see light.”  Indeed, such trust in wealth leads invariably to hell.

“Then what should we do?” you may well ask.  Let us turn to our gospel.  It is brief and seemingly of little significance, but gives a concise picture of the life of the Lord and those who followed him.  In it we hear that Jesus and the Twelve did what Paul exhorts his disciple Timothy to do (in his letter): “Preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.”  This must be our concern.  This must be our desire – to fulfill the will and the word of God in our lives.  We must “fight the good fight of faith,” setting aside all preoccupation with the riches of this earth.  And we shall be cared for even as the women who accompanied Jesus and His apostles “were assisting them out of their means.”  They saw that the Lord and His disciples were clothed and fed.  They cared out of love for their basic needs.  And God will provide such as these to care for the needs of all who devote themselves to His work.

Let us never fall into the devil’s trap and temptation, as he attempts to distract us from the spiritual necessities God demands.  Such a fall is mighty indeed.  Trust in God’s hand and be satisfied with His call.

 

*******

O LORD, you are the Most High God –

let us enter your House with praise!

YHWH, you are with us, always with us, dearest LORD, and you call us to be with you; you promise us peace in your holy Temple.  And your Temple has come into our midst.  He has suffered and died for our sakes and been raised on the third day.  Now we must suffer with Him, we must do His work in this world, the work of building up His Temple… and soon we will come to dwell with Him in your eternal presence in your dwelling place.

O LORD, take away our mourning for what we do not have, for the lack of your glory among us.  Let us remember that Jesus is the Messiah, that though we be surrounded by darkness this day, His light is with us leading us forth to your kingdom, which even now is indeed being built up in your Church, in all those who work in His Name.  To greater glory bring us each day till your promise is fulfilled and we dwell in your presence forever.

Direct download: BC-091611-F_24_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O brothers in Christ,

in death and in life

you gave yourselves as one

for the sake of the flock;

for the cause of the faith

readily you shed your blood

to serve the growth of God’s Church –

pray we today will be zealous as you

in defending the faith with our lives;

by fasting and by prayer,

by standing courageously

before the courts of the world

and offering our flesh in sacrifice,

may we imitate you who imitated Christ

and so come with all our brothers

to His resurrection and life.

Shepherd us well even this day

from where you now stand at the Lord’s side,

that we might be unafraid to speak

and to live the truth in undying love.

O let us lay down our lives with you!

Direct download: Sept._16_Cornelius_and_Cyprian.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Tm.4:12-16;   Ps.111:2,7-10;   Lk.7:36-50)

 

“Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;

prudent are all who live by it.”

 

If “the works of His hands are faithful and just,” as His children living in His Word and as His image, we must “be a continuing example of love, faith, and purity.”  If we do not attend to this duty, “so that everyone may see [our] progress,” how shall we “bring to salvation [ourselves] and all who hear [us]”?  Our love of Him must shine forth in all we do.

And what is the fear of the Lord spoken of in our psalm but the love shown by the woman in our gospel?  As she stands behind Jesus, what is she but fearful, what is she but filled with love?  This passage teaches us what fear of the Lord truly is, and what it isn’t.  Certainly she is struck to the heart.  Certainly in the presence of such purity she is convicted of her lust; certainly in the presence of such faith she is convicted of her lack thereof.  But if she were fearful as the world understands the word, would she presume to touch Him?  If she thought He might strike her to the ground, would she wipe His feet “with her hair, kissing them and perfuming them with oil”?  No, she would die where she stands.  But as it is her tears are sweet, for she knows the forgiveness He holds for her in His sacred hands.

This is the fear of the Lord we all must have; it is this which is the beginning of wisdom.  We must be convicted of our sins, yes; but at the same moment we must be filled with the overwhelming love of our God.  The two go hand in hand, and it is the practice of this fear of God in love of Him and neighbor that is the fulfillment of our duty before Him, that will keep us as a holy example of His presence in the world.  The Pharisee in our gospel lacks this holy fear.  First of all, he does not see his sin, and so he is not moved to love.  Failing to view himself in the light of the One present before him, he fails to find the grace that is the knowledge of our sins – and so he is not moved to love, and so he does not find forgiveness.

Let us not love little, brothers and sisters, for this would not be wise.  Failing to live in holy fear of the Lord, we shorten His hand’s working in our lives.  May we ever, by His grace, be convicted of our sins, and so turn to Him in love to find forgiveness.  We will do this only if we remain ever in His presence, bowed at His sacred feet.  Amen. 

 

*******

O LORD, in your House let us make our home

and to us you will be known.

YHWH, may you receive due glory from all souls, we pray.  May all bless your holy NAME with songs of praise in your Temple.  May all recognize that you are the God of all and that Jesus is your only Son, and so may all rebuild their broken souls by the grace that comes through Him.  O let us all put you first in our lives! as you deserve.

It is our joy to praise you, LORD, to recognize your glory in our midst and so join in that glory you offer through your Christ.  Without you, what are our lives worth?  We remain hungry despite the food on our tables; we remain naked despite the clothing on our backs – we remain empty and poor despite the riches we gather if we remain apart from you in our paneled houses.

O let us set our hearts on serving you, on humbly coming before you as your sons, dear God, and we shall exult in glory.

Direct download: BC-091511-Th_24_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O sorrowful Mother

whose heart was pierced by a sword,

who stood at the foot of the Cross

dying in spirit

as your Son died in the flesh…

Jesus was sent to suffer

and die for our sins,

and how intimately you shared

in the profound pain

He carried about all His life;

how preeminently you filled up

what was lacking in His suffering,

suffering the whole Church must share

with our crucified Lord –

pray we shall indeed enter into

the sacrifice of Christ your Son,

following in your wake,

O Mother of God;

pray we shall meet Him

along His Way of Sorrow

that His blood upon our souls

will carry us to Heaven,

where you stand at His side.

Direct download: Sept_15_Our_Lady_of_Sorrows.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Tm.3:14-16;   Ps.111:1-6;   Lk.7:31-35) 

“God’s wisdom is vindicated by all who accept it.”

“The Church of the living God” is the “pillar and bulwark of truth,” as Paul tells us.  And it is those who live the faith, “professing it” with all their beings, who prove its truth.  “Wonderful, indeed, is the mystery of our faith”; no greater grace or wisdom could we hope to attain.

“He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up into glory…”  “Great are the works of the Lord, exquisite in all their delights…”  How our first reading and psalm sing of the glory of our God!  And how blessed are we to know “the power of His works,” to be recipients of His gift of “majesty and glory,” to be the children of so great a God.  We should indeed praise Him unceasingly for being “mindful of His covenant” with us, for shedding His blood for our salvation, for drawing us into the Father’s presence.  “He has given food to those who fear Him,” and we partake of His glorious meal each day in the Holy Eucharist.

Forget not the blessings the Lord imparts to us, brothers and sisters.  “Know what kind of conduct befits a member of God’s household.”  We must not be as the men of Jesus’ day who like spoiled children sought to form the Lord in the image they desired of Him, refusing to accept Him and His wisdom as it came to them, as it stood before them in the flesh.  How can we presume upon the will of our God and His wisdom?  How can we fail to accept the light and grace of the Gospel?  What folly it is to judge Him who judges the universe.  We must be open to His Word, open to His grace, open to His teaching and the marvelous works known only in adherence to His covenant of absolute truth and love.  He is the foundation upon which the Church is set, and a Church living His wisdom and grace is the vindication, the proof, of its eternal efficacy for the good of all. 

Rejoice in the Lord always, brothers and sisters, that He has blessed you with knowledge of His glory and fed you with His own body and blood.  Eat and drink this food He gives, do all He commands in His eternal wisdom, and with the angels you will behold His face as children of the Most High God.

*******

O LORD, lead me forth in the peace of your presence –

restore our ruined house;

heal all our disease.

YHWH, you grant mercy to our souls.  Though we be cast down to the nether world for all our sins, you send forth your apostles to overcome all demons and cure us of our diseases; you raise our heads to look upon your face.  And so, what should we do but praise you with full voice?

Continually we falter, LORD; repeatedly your people fall back into sin.  But ever you call us to turn from our wickedness that we might find your favor again.  In your Son you make this mercy complete, and we find it now at work in your Church.  Let us receive well the Word that comes to us and so approach your kingdom.

What have you not done for us, O LORD.  Even the hearts of the kings of this earth you have turned to our cause to assist us in rebuilding your Temple.  All is in your hands, Almighty God!  Redeem us from captivity to walk in freedom with you at our side.

Direct download: BC-091411-W_24_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Nm.21:4b-9;   Ps.78:1-2,7,34-38;   Phil.2:6-11;   Jn.3:13-17)

 

“God greatly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him

the name which is above every name.”

 

And why is it that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bend”?  Why does “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord”?  It is because “He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  It is precisely because “He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness” and dying as a cursed criminal, that this innocent dove who was “in the form of God” became the praise of our race and the source of our salvation.

Yes, He and His cross are now the source of our salvation.  By His cross we find the forgiveness of our sins.  Now that “the Son of Man has been lifted up… everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.”  Now that we have been shown both our sins and the love God has for us sinners in the Lord’s being nailed to the cross, we may find the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life.  Just as the Israelites looked upon their sin, recognizing their guilt in the serpents God had sent among them – and finding also its conquering in the serpent’s being bronzed and “mounted on a pole” – so now we who look upon our crucified Lord cannot help but see how we have injured our God, and at the same moment find cleansing for those sins in His blood upon the cross to which we have nailed Him. 

 Do not be afraid to come to His cross, brothers and sisters.  Do not shy away from His love or turn away from the recognition of your guilt.  By it alone will you, too, be exalted with the Lord who has humbled Himself and died for you.  By it alone will you find glory in God eternally.

He loves us so, brothers and sisters.  “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that He who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.”  And so the cross becomes a sign of triumph not only for our Lord, but for ourselves; for indeed by it we are saved – without it we would yet be lost in our sin.  But as it is He “has come down from heaven.”  As it is He has been “lifted up” before our eyes.  As it is He has sacrificed Himself in absolute love to draw us unto Him and His love.  As with the Israelites “He, being merciful, forgave their sin and destroyed them not,” so now He forgives our sins and carries us “up to heaven,” whence He has come.  And so we rejoice in the victory of His holy cross.

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, let us be saved from our sin

by the sacrifice of your only Son. 

YHWH, to be saved from our sin we needed first to recognize our sin and repent of it.  And how could our sin be made clearer to our eyes than in the crucifixion of God Himself, than in the suffering and death of your only Son?  What could better bring us to repentance than to see the effects of our sin so graphically displayed?

And how could we better know your love for us, LORD, than in Jesus’ willingness to undergo all the tortures the sins of men could inflict upon Him, all only that these same men might be saved from the hatred that had taken hold of our hearts?  Your Son has humbled Himself even to the point of death, death on a Cross; and so, what should we do but glorify His Name and the Cross which is the source of our salvation?

Forgive us, O LORD, our bitterness toward you.  Raise us up with Christ, your Son.

Direct download: Triumph_of_the_Cross_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O you of golden tongue,

how well you proved

the Word of God cannot be chained;

how well you revealed

its radiance to our ears and hearts…

unconquered by threats of death

and the sufferings

the world imposes,

you proclaimed the glory of God

and His presence with us

until the very end –

pray, O dear shepherd,

who held your flock

so close to your heart

that they became one body with you

in Christ,

that we all shall be so willing

to lay down our lives,

speaking and walking in

the Word the Lord gives us

to share with all our brothers in light.

Pray indeed God’s will be done

in all His holy children.

Direct download: Sept._13_John_Chrysostom.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Tm.2:1-8;   Ps.28:2,6-9;   Lk.7:1-10)

 

“Offer prayers with blameless hands held aloft.”

 

We must pray.  We must petition the Lord for the good of the world, that the good of our souls, the Lord Jesus Christ, might be known to all.  If we do not intercede, if we do not seek the healing of a people sick with sin, who shall do so?  The Lord desires “all men to be saved and come to know the truth.”  It is our responsibility, it is our call, to bring the love and forgiveness and healing of our Lord forth.

“Hear the sound of my pleading, when I cry to you, lifting up my hands to your holy shrine.”  Our eyes and our hands must be continually lifted up to the temple of the Lord and to His holy presence.  The Lord listens to our prayers, brothers and sisters.  The world depends upon our prayers.  Those for whom the Lord is “strength” and “the saving refuge” are near to Him, and He waits to hear from them.  He longs to hear the petitions of their hearts and is eternally prepared to respond to their pleas.  Should not we who are blessed to be within the walls of the Church, who partake of His Word and His sacraments, who have His teaching upon our hearts and His presence in our midst, be concerned for the good of all; should we not long to see the Lord’s will done on this earth?  Then pray.

And our gospel teaches us that those who disparage the faithful for depending on the intercessions of others, those who think they must always come directly to Jesus to find answer to their petition – those who fail to see the family of God and our connection here on earth with the saints who have preceded us to heaven – are in danger of a vain pride.  Learn from the centurion, who says to the Lord, “I did not presume to come to you myself.”  And why?  “For I am not worthy to have you enter my house.”  And so, first “he sent some Jewish elders to him” (are these not so much like our beloved saints?), and then “sent friends” to deliver the above message of humility.  And for his humility, and for his faith in the intercession of others… and for his realization that the Lord hears petitions offered for others and that He Himself has ministering angels who perform His work at His Word – the Lord holds this centurion in “amazement” and raises him up as a model of faith.

Do we believe?  Do we truly believe in the Lord and in His angels and His saints?  Do we believe His heavenly kingdom is near to us, and His will is for our good?  Then we should not hesitate to lift our hearts and our hands to the Lord in faithful prayer.

Blessed Mother, intercede for us before your Son, Jesus, that we who are not worthy to receive Him into our mortal bodies may be made immortal by His presence within us.  May He bring peace to the world.

 

*******

O LORD, you will repay the faithful soul;

 you will repay him to the full –

the lamp you light in us will never dim.

YHWH, bring us into the New Jerusalem; return us to our true home with you.  In Heaven let us dwell this day, blessed with all the gifts and graces come from your hands.  Then we shall rejoice.  Then we shall laugh and sing.  Then our tears will be washed away as we join ourselves to you. 

How impossible it seems as we sit here in this dark world, and yet how very likely.  For even here you are present to us as we speak your NAME.  Even now we know your light shining in our minds and hearts.  Yes, LORD, even now we come to Heaven. 

You are with your people even in their exile, and you call even those who are strangers to help them along their way to you.  All the nations know your greatness and shall enter your Church, O LORD.  Let us build your Temple this day.

Direct download: BC-091211-M_24_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O Mary, sweetest of creatures,

whose name on our lips

brings joy to our hearts…

inflamed with love toward God

and you

we become

in speaking your blessed name –

pray we shall call your name,

dear Lady,

in our time of need,

that you will be quick to intercede

with your Son

for our salvation.

Washed in the water from His side

and in His holy blood,

pray we shall rise above the sea,

beyond all rebellion,

that obedient as you, His Handmaid,

we shall find favor with the Lord

and enter into Heaven,

our names written beside your own

in the Book of Life,

dearest Mary.

Direct download: Sept._12_The_Most_Holy_Name_of_Mary.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Is.50:5-9a;   Ps.116:1-6,8-9;   Jas.2:14-18;   Mk.8:27-35)

“I shall walk before the Lord in the land of the living.”

A simple enough statement made by our psalmist today, or so it seems.  For what does it mean to walk with Jesus along the way of the Almighty God?  What does such travel entail?  Is it but to impart a word of peace and blessing to those in need, and continue merrily along?  Is it but to say, “I have faith in God”?  Words alone will not get us where we expect to be; we must walk in the way of the Lord, and to walk means to work.

And what is this work with which faith cannot dispense; what does it entail?  It could not be more succinctly stated than it is by Jesus to the crowds and His disciples in today’s gospel: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”  It is in the Lord’s steps we must walk, and, yes, those steps lead inevitably to crucifixion.  This cannot be avoided.  Do you not hear the Lord’s rebuke of Peter?  Then how can you begin to explicate a life in Christ without His cross fixed firmly upon your shoulder?  How can you think that “the land of the living” may be found by easy means?  It cannot.

Listen to the words of the Servant spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard.”  This and more the Lord did willingly to reveal the way you must walk – this all the children of Israel, all God’s holy ones, take upon themselves all for the sake of the Gospel.

But lest you lose heart in the face of all you must undergo, all the suffering you must accept to gain the kingdom, let me tell you something else.  All those who take up the cross say also with the Servant, “He is near who upholds my right.”  Do you hear what He says?  “The Lord God is my help”!  Do you understand its significance?  We are with Christ and Christ is with God and so none of the blows of this world can hurt us.  Indeed, they do not touch us, for it is Jesus who suffers all these blows for our sake.  Though the cords may lacerate our skin, they cannot approach our soul, for the Lord indeed takes from us all “distress and sorrow” and saves our very lives.  Thus the psalmist sings, “He has freed my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.”  For He in whose sight we live our lives has already endured all evil, and now preserves us from its clutches.  And so in this cross which seems so dark and foreboding, there is ultimate joy.

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

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

*******

O LORD, help us to lose our lives

for the sake of the Gospel;

if we take up our cross, you will certainly defend us,

and bring us to everlasting life.

YHWH, your work accomplish in us; the path of your Son let us walk.  If we walk with you unto the Cross, we shall walk with you in Heaven.  If from the Cross we turn, where shall we find our salvation?  It is in suffering for the sake of the kingdom we find our freedom – let us lose our lives for you and your Son’s Gospel.

We must not think as men do, dear LORD, but as your Son instructs.  If we wish to come to you, we cannot follow the way of the world.  You are in Heaven and if to Heaven we wish to come then die we must to this empty life.  Let not the darkness of this place encompass us, let it not touch our hearts, but let us take our refuge in the death of your Son and we shall be raised from the nether world.

Buffets and spitting may be our fate in this life, but if we endure all with faith in you, with your Son we will be made strong, and be justified in His Day.

Direct download: BC-091612-Su_24_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(1Tm.1:15-17;   Ps.113:1-7;   Lk.6:43-49)

“Any man who desires to come to me

will hear my words and put them into practice.”

Our psalm today declares that God is “enthroned on high” – “High above all the nations is the Lord; above the heavens is His glory.”  And why is the Lord so glorious, so worthy of our praise…?  Because “He raises the lowly from the dust; from the dunghill He lifts up the poor.”  And Paul tells us the same: he glorifies God as “King of the ages, the immortal, the invisible, the only God” – and why?  Because though he is “the worst” of sinners, the Lord has dealt mercifully with him and made him an example of His great love.

The Lord indeed is great and worthy of all praise.  Though seated far above us, He reaches down to lift us up to Him.  In a word: “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.”  Humbling Himself to walk and die among us, He calls us to eternal life.  But we must answer that call, we must follow His way.  We cannot simply call Him “Lord, Lord”; we must indeed “put into practice” His words.  If we do not, we cannot find the fruit of His sacrifice for us.  Mere words, simple verbal assent, is not sufficient to bring us to the blood of Christ and the redemption it holds.  It is by our actions we are judged and not our words.  Jesus makes this very clear: “Each tree is known by its yield.”  If we do not produce good fruit, how can we claim to be a good tree?  And doesn’t the Lord cut down every tree that fails to bear fruit in His name?

All shall hear His words, all shall know of the glory He offers forth.  But shall all be as the apostle Paul and put His words into practice, suffering for the faith He proclaimed?  Will all make real the teaching of Christ in their lives?  Those who do will find themselves set on a firm foundation – His word will be in their flesh and blood.  They will receive Him into their very beings and find Him at the center of all they think and do.  Without His presence so firmly fixed within themselves by their living it in their actions, salvation will be far away, and their houses shall crumble.  Brothers and sisters, let us not fail to realize the salvation He offers us sinners.  In His goodness, let us produce good from our hearts.

*******

O LORD, it is your mercy

that sets us on a solid foundation

from which we may praise you for your goodness.

YHWH, you are far above all nations, above the heavens and the earth, and yet in your Son you stoop down to us, and raise us from this dunghill.  We are but dust in your sight – we could be no better in relation to you.  And yet you show great patience with us poor creatures; you have mercy on our sinful souls.

Jesus you send to walk among us and show us the way we should walk.  Help us to put into practice what He teaches, in His words and in all He does, and we shall be set solidly in your goodness, LORD, and bear fruit worthy of your NAME.

But if we should be so foolish as to ignore the great gift of the Christ in our midst, if we should fail to listen to Him and act according to His teaching – what hope will there be for us?  For then the great work of saving sinners He has come to accomplish in your glorious NAME, we shall receive in vain, and in our sin ever remain.  Save us from such an evil fate, O Most High God!

Direct download: BC-091011-Sa_23_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(1Tm.1:1-2,12-14;   Ps.16:1-2,5,7-8,11;   Lk.6:39-42)

 

“Remove the plank from your own eye first;

then you will see clearly enough

to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

 

The answer to Jesus’ question to His disciples: “Can a blind man act as guide to a blind man?” is obvious.  No.  It must be a man of sight, of vision, who leads those who are blind, who are without understanding.  Paul has become a prime example of one who is well able to lead others.  In our first reading he speaks to Timothy, his “true child in faith,” whom he has taught and led and who now stands as a bishop of the early Church.  But how did Paul come to be such a profitable apostle?  We see in our reading that he has taken the instruction of the Lord, his teacher, to heart, and first recognized and then removed the plank which once rested firmly in his own eye: “I was once a blasphemer, a persecutor, a man filled with arrogance.”  Indeed, this great Apostle of the Lord was once an egregious persecutor of the Church; and indeed we all have or have had great sins in our lives which have set us in opposition to God – but Paul has faced his sin, found “the grace of our Lord… in overflowing measure,” and served to remove innumerable specks from others’ eyes.  What of us?  Do we see our sins?  Have we removed them?  Do we see clearly enough to “remove the speck from [our] brother’s eye?”

“Every student when he has finished his studies will be on a par with his teacher.”  Paul has humbled himself before Jesus and absorbed the lessons the Lord imparts by the Spirit.  Timothy has proven himself a true student and son of Paul.  Who is our teacher?  Where do we get our knowledge?  Whom do we imitate?  And whom do we lead?  Are we falling into ditches following blind men’s leads?  Are we leading others astray with any false philosophy?  Or is it the Lord who “counsels” us as He does David in our psalm?  Do we say with him, “O Lord, my allotted portion and cup, you it is who hold fast my lot,” and, “I set the Lord ever before me”?  Is it His “grace, mercy, and peace” we seek always; or in arrogance do we set about doing the business we think fit? 

The teaching of the Lord would lead us to set aside any sin within ourselves, to cleanse our hearts and purify our souls in order to have clear vision.  For it is by this holy vision His Church is led forth, and we must be part of this procession. 

*******

O LORD, in Christ Jesus let us grow in faith and love

by the forgiveness of our sins.

YHWH, remove the sin from our lives that we might be filled with your vision and serve to help you call others to faith.  On our own we remain blind, but we can bring light to others with you at our side.

O Jesus, teach us of the ways of God, and open our hearts and minds to listen to your voice and act upon your words.  We are worth nothing apart from you, but if we follow in your way we may become like you who see and know all things by love and lead all souls to salvation.

Have mercy on us, dear LORD, for without your grace upon our souls we shall die in our unbelief.  Who can come to you unless you call him?  And apart from you, indeed we die in sin.

Open our eyes to your glory; let us set you ever before us.  Let your counsel sink deeply into our hearts that we might live at your right hand and lead others to your glory.

Direct download: BC-090911-F_23_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O slave to the slaves,

to those who came in chains

to the new world,

those whose dark skin

made them seem to eyes of flesh

less than men…

to you these were children of God,

souls to be saved by His love

and through His Church,

and so the thousands

baptized by your hands

celebrate your glorious sacrifice

this day in God’s presence –

pray for us, dear brother,

that the shackles of racial prejudice,

the pride that exalts man above man,

shall fall from our hands,

our tongues and our hearts,

and that all of the Lord’s holy people

will work so diligently

as you, His blessed slave,

for the care of the weakest among us

and the salvation of all souls.

Direct download: Sept._9_Peter_Claver.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Col.3:12-17;   Ps.150:1-6;   Lk.6:27-38)

“Whatever you do, whether in speech or in action,

do it in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

“Sing gratefully to God from your hearts in psalms, hymns, and inspired songs.”  Such is our speech and action when dedicated to God.  Our lives indeed become a symphony of His grace when we “let the word of Christ, rich as it is, dwell in [us].”  The “blast of the trumpet… with lyre and harp… with timbrel and dance… with strings and pipe… with sounding of cymbals,” which our psalm exhorts in praise of God, are the litany of virtues we are called in both our first reading and our gospel to practice with our Christian lives.

Paul conducts us to “clothe [our]selves with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”  He invokes “Christ’s peace,” “thankfulness,” and “wisdom made perfect” upon us, and states: “Over all these virtues put on love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect,” making love the key to this hymn we sing and play with our lives, the note to which we continually return and which is ever present at the heart of our melody.  And what a perfectly marvelous, heavenly song this is when sung in sincerity and truth.

The sincerity and truth to which we are called is made unmistakable in the Lord’s teaching in our gospel.  Here we have the greatest challenge to our virtue of love, and its greatest moment.  Here the magnum opus is sounded.  Jesus has for us a litany of virtues Himself: “Be compassionate… do not judge… do not condemn… pardon… give,” and assures us that “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over” will be ours if we live by His word.  But the love which is the sum of all virtues is most poignantly accentuated in the command which sets the Lord and His grace apart from all others and their teachings, which makes Him so clearly the Son of God.  “To you who hear me, I say: Love your enemies,” He proclaims to His disciples, and then makes explicit the call to a Christian life: “Do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you, and pray for those who maltreat you.”  And more specifically, “When someone slaps you on the cheek, turn and give him the other; when someone takes your coat, let him have your shirt as well.”  Who can hear these words?  Who can heed these commands?  Who can live them in speech and action, as has our Lord upon the cross?  It is this sacrifice of love to which we are called, and only this will raise our song unto heaven.  We must act always out of love.

*******

O LORD, how shall we love as you who are Most High

when we cannot even love as humans? –

if we really are your chosen ones

we will die on the Cross with Jesus.

YHWH, let us praise you with all our lives; may all our words and all our actions be a song of praise to you.  Christ’s peace reigning in our hearts, help us to love one another, even our enemies, forgiving any wrong done to us and praying for the salvation of all souls.  As Jesus let us be in our compassion, desiring never to see others condemned but hoping always for their conversion in your blessed mercy.  Then our song shall reach to you and the angels will shower your graces upon us.

To what great love you call us, LORD! to be even as your only Son, even as you are in your infinite mercy.  If we could but hear your call, if we but answered Jesus’ instruction with the sacrifice it entails, how blessed we would be?  Help us to lay down our lives with Him, even for those who kill us.  Alleluia!

Direct download: BC-090811-Th_23_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O Virgin who bore the Son of God,

who became the divine dwelling place

for the Creator of us all,

should we not celebrate your birth

this day,

the blessing of the generation

of you who signal our salvation?

Pray for us, dear Mother,

pray for all your children,

all who would call themselves

sons of God

and brothers of our Lord Jesus Christ...

pray that all generations

will call you blessed,

that all will hail you

as Mother of our Savior

and glorify the Lord

who has filled you with His grace.

You are one of us, dear Virgin Mary,

one of the human creation,

yet in you God deigns to dwell;

pray we shall all be made worthy

to be such a temple for the Lord.

Direct download: Sept._8_The_Nativity_of_Mary.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(Mic.5:1-4 or Rm.8:28-30;   Ps.13:6,Is.61:9;   Mt.1:1-16,18-23

Note:  I shall treat of both first readings)

 

“It is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived this child.”

 

“God is with us,” brothers and sisters, and how has He chosen to come among us but through a woman, but through a virgin found with child?  And this Virgin daughter of Israel from “Bethlehem-Ephrathah, too small to be among the clans of Judah” – she the humblest of the chosen people, the meekest servant of our race – has been thus greatly blessed “according to His decree,” for she is the first whom God “predestined to share the image of His Son.”  She is the first of Christians prepared and called by the Lord, and now “in turn glorified” in His presence.  It is her birth, it is her role in our salvation we celebrate today, for by her complicity with the will of God “now His greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth; He shall be peace.”

The fact that “God makes all things work together for the good of those who have been called” is evident both in the situation of Mary’s life as Mother of the Lord and in the very fact of her call itself.  First of all, God chooses this woman, this humble creature of the chosen race of His most humble creation to participate with Him in bringing His Son and His salvation into the world.  The lengthy genealogy at the start of our gospel also bears witness to the very human nature of Jesus, whose “family record” can indeed be traced so precisely, and among whose ancestors are many who were far less perfect than He – including a prostitute, an adulterer, and evil kings.  God chooses to come through man, through a woman, to make quite real His redemptive power over the sins of our race, to put flesh to the eternal Word of the Father.

And in the particular situations of Mary’s life, we see how difficulties, how “bitterness,” if you will, is turned to sweetness, too, for we note that Joseph was prepared to divorce his yet-to-be wife when found with child, and we know that the prophet tells us a sword shall pierce her heart as well as her Son’s; but that notwithstanding, and indeed through that cross she bears with Him, she shall find the glorification promised all children of the Most High.  She certainly shares now in the fruits of His redemption.

And we also share in these same fruits, brothers and sisters.  We are likewise predestined and called and justified and glorified if we make ourselves as obedient as our Mother in the faith.  He “whose origin is from of old” is with us now, too, and so we should “sing of the Lord, ‘He has been good to me’” as we “rejoice in [His] salvation” at work within us, a salvation whose coming was prepared in the birth of the Immaculate Virgin Mary and by the power of the Holy Spirit brought to us through she who shares our own flesh.

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

Muisc by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, through the Blessed Virgin Mary

you have sent your only Son to save us from our sins –

may He be always with us.

YHWH, your Son has come among us through the Virgin Mary, to be with us and save us from our sins.  May we welcome Him into our lives as has Mary, as has Joseph, and so find ourselves led to glory with you.  In you do we trust; let us sing of your salvation.

So humbly Jesus has come to us, through a humble virgin, a child called by you to share His image, to encompass Him with devotion that she might bear Him to us – and He has allowed Himself to be made so humble, to be found in her womb as a child of our race.  He has come to this place, O LORD, as the leaven of peace and truth that the darkness which surrounds us might be dispelled by His majestic presence.  O let His glory reach to the ends of the earth!

By the Holy Spirit, Mary has conceived and served to bring Christ to us.  Prepare us, O LORD, as you have prepared her to fulfill your Word among us.

Direct download: Birth_of_Mary_2011.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

(Col.2:6-15;   Ps.145:1-2,8-11;   Lk.6:12-19)

 

“Coming down from the mountain with them,

He stopped at a level stretch where there were many of His disciples.”

 

In our gospel, the Lord has gone “to the mountain to pray, spending the night in communion with God.”  Then at daybreak He chose His twelve apostles.  On His way back down the mountain He comes upon those who have been waiting for Him, and He takes pity on this “large crowd of people” and reaches out His hand to heal them.

Yes, He in whom “the fullness of deity resides in bodily form,” as Paul tells us in our first reading, has come down from on high, from His union with the Father, to walk amongst us, to dwell with us – to “pardon all our sins.”  He “who is head of every principality and power” has bent down to the level of the humble creature dead in sin and circumcised him with the circumcision “which strips off the carnal body completely.”  He has accomplished this by taking the claim against us, our debt for our sins, and “nailing it to the cross.”  And baptized into Him and His cross we are “not only buried with Him but also raised to life with Him.”  The grace that comes from this sacrifice, the healing we find in the touch of His hand and by the power of His word and His blood, we must now treasure.  And so Paul tells us we must “be rooted in Him and built up in Him, growing ever stronger in faith,” lest we make His sacrifice void.

“The Lord is good to all and compassionate toward all His works,” sings David in our psalm today; and how can this be greater shown than in His coming down from heaven to teach us and to heal us, and to fulfill this teaching and healing in dying on the cross?  What more could He do for us than to die for us to save us?  What greater love could our God impart?

Do not be deceived, brothers and sisters, by “any empty, seductive  philosophy… based on cosmic powers rather than on Christ.”  Avoid any teaching that does not recognize Jesus as the Son of God, as God Himself “in bodily form.”  Without Jesus there is no salvation, and failing to recognize “the fullness of deity” in Him, we cannot “share of this fullness” to which we are called.  Rather, let us sing with David, “Every day will I bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever.”  Always in the Lord Jesus let us take our refuge, and in His love; let us ever wait for His coming down from the mountain to touch and heal our hearts.  Alleluia.

 

*******

O LORD, power goes out from your Son

to heal us of all our sins – 

let us come to Him, and remain with Him. 

YHWH, your power resides in Jesus, He who is God in bodily form.  He it is who took our sins and nailed them to the tree that we might have new life in company with Him in your eternal presence.  In the fullness of His power we now share, with all His apostles and disciples; let us ever grow in faith and strength before you. 

How compassionate you are, O LORD!  And how that compassion is revealed in your only Son, He who died for our sins, He who came down from Heaven to heal us of all our ills.  And how He provides for us whom He loves by appointing His apostles, that indeed we might all become His disciples, anointed by His blood. 

Let us join Jesus our Savior in His union with you.  In prayer let us enter your presence and there remain.  O let us praise your NAME forever and ever, never ceasing to bless you for the glory you share with poor creatures such as us.  O LORD, in Jesus let us live and thrive.

Direct download: BC-090611-Tu_23_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Col.1:24-2:3;   Ps.62:6-7,9;   Lk.6:6-11)

 

“We admonish all men and teach them in the full measure of wisdom,

hoping to make every man complete in Christ.”

 

It is Paul’s desire to see the nations “enriched with full assurance by their knowledge of the mystery of God – namely Christ – in whom every treasure of wisdom and knowledge is hidden.”  It is his desire for us all to be filled with this wisdom that is Christ, for it is his call from Christ to bring His Gospel forth to the eyes and ears of the whole world, to “fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His body, the Church.”  And it is our call to join Him in such sufferings in Jesus’ name, that indeed His Word might come to its fullness, that indeed in such suffering we might find with Paul the joy of knowing “the mystery hidden from ages and generations past but now revealed to His holy ones.”  This “glory beyond price” is ours as we listen to His Word, as we follow in His ways.

Jesus shows Himself to be the model teacher, the teacher of teachers, the Word itself, in our gospel today.  “On a sabbath Jesus came to teach in a synagogue where there was a man whose right hand was withered.”  For Jesus the synagogue was hostile territory, for the scribes and Pharisees “were on the watch” to “find a charge against Him,” to catch Him in His teaching.  Jesus does not turn away from the danger before Him but confronts them with the limitations of their interpretation of the teaching perhaps most dear to them – the command to keep the sabbath holy.  He would teach them the full meaning of this command; He would fulfill this wisdom before them, showing them that God does not preclude the doing of good for others on the sabbath, that this day made for rest is thus truly a day made for healing and that this day is therefore the best to come to Him for healing – for what does He wish for us but our healing, our salvation?  But being blind to the love of God and His desire for good and the good of all, they do not perceive His lesson, and make it instead a cause to “destroy” the Son of God.

It is difficult to understand how these leaders of the people could become “frenzied” at the healing of one of their flock – how can this be evil to do on the sabbath?  But we must remember that blindness to the will of God is not the sole possession of these scribes and Pharisees.  It is a foolishness which is part of us all in our all-too-human thoughts and actions.  It is this blindness which the Lord calls us from; it is this wisdom known in Christ to which Paul would direct us all.  Let us join with him, with Jesus, in the “work and struggle” to bring God’s healing word forth to the hands and hearts of all.  “God is our refuge.”  Let us firmly “trust in Him” and in His wisdom, and we shall be made whole. 

 

*******

O LORD, let us be whole in your sight

by the sacrifice of your Christ.

YHWH, in your Son every treasure of wisdom and knowledge is hidden.  In Him let us take our refuge, that we might be taught in fullness of your goodness, of your love for us, and come to share in that love with all your holy ones.

O LORD, let us not harden our hearts against your work in our midst, against your Son come among us to lead us to you.  Let us not rather stay the path we travel in our blindness but recognize before the great mystery you reveal to us in the presence of your Son that we fall short of His glory because of our limited vision, and embrace the wisdom He holds out to us.

O let us stretch forth our withered hands! that we might be healed of all the wickedness in our hearts and come to serve you and your Church as you call us.  In suffering for the sake of your kingdom may we find our joy with Christ; ever strengthened and united in His love, let us take our refuge in the glory He bears us.

Direct download: BC-090511-M_23_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

          O lover of the poor

          and of the unborn,

          in whom you saw

          the face of Christ,

          by whom you held Him

          close to your heart

          and so comforted His thirst

          for souls –

          pray for us who are so blind

          to the presence of Christ

          in the least among us

          or even in those

          beside us.

          Pray, dear Mother,

          that we will hear their cry,

          which is Jesus’ cry

          from the Cross,

          and that we shall not fear

          the darkness

          as we enter beneath the shadow

          of His loving arms,

          where we shall find

          true light.

Direct download: Teresa_of_Calcutta._Sept._5.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Is.35:4-7a;   Ps.146:2,6-10;   Jas.2:1-5;   Mk.7:31-37) 

“He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

The Lord makes all whole.  He “sets captives free” from all their afflictions as He redeems us from all our sin.  “Here is your God, He comes with vindication; with divine recompense He comes to save you.”  This is He who “has done all things well”; this is the Lord Jesus Christ.

“And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.”  By a word: “‘Ephphatha!’ – that is, ‘Be opened!’” the deaf mute is healed by Jesus, causing all to be “exceedingly astonished.”  And in their astonishment their eyes are opened, for “the Lord gives sight to the blind.”  And so He who sustains “the fatherless and the widow” and “gives food to the hungry” stands before the eyes of all now; and so indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared…  Then the tongue of the dumb will sing.”  And so streams “burst forth in the desert” and “the lame leap like a stag,” for He comes – He comes to heal all nations.

Brothers and sisters, God chose “those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that He promised to those who love Him.”  He chose the blind; He chose the lame; He chose the deaf and the mute – He chose the hungry and oppressed.  He chose you and me in all our sin, in all our weakness before Him, and came to release us from all fear.  Making no distinction except to favor the soul who thirsts for Him, He came bringing “springs of water.”  And these waters heal.  And these waters set us free.  And these waters remove our “shabby clothes” and don us “with gold rings and fine clothes” spun by the hand of God.

Brothers and sisters, “adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.”  For He is glorious indeed, and coming into His assembly with all your imperfections purged from your soul, you shall know such glory and not be able to withhold yourself from proclaiming such glory.  Yes, you shall be one with “the Lord [who] shall reign forever.”  He shall be “your God, O Zion, through all generations,” and with tongue loosened and renewed you shall sing “Alleluia” to the Lord forevermore.  Know now His power upon you.

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

Music: "Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder" (2nd half) from Listening to the Lamp, ninth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, open our ears that we might hear your voice

and follow in your way.

YHWH, you chose the poor to inherit your kingdom.  The deaf, the blind, the lame – to these you bring your healing touch.  You come to those who recognize their need for you and take them to yourself.  In your Son you fulfill your will for the good of all who desire you.  For this we can but praise you.

O LORD God, you keep faith forever, you eternally offer forth love to us, the rivers of grace known in the work of Jesus.  You can but love us; you can but desire our good.  For you are all good, you are all love, and so you look with pity upon those in need, upon fallen man so separated from your love.

O may we all be cleansed of our sin!  O may we all be made whole in your sight!  Let the touch of your Son be upon us, dear LORD, that we might sing of your glory forever.  O let our hearts be open to your love!

Direct download: BC-090912-Su_23_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Col.1:21-23;   Ps.54:3-4,6,8;   Lk.6:1-5)

 

“Hold fast to faith, be firmly grounded and steadfast in it.”

 

“The Son of Man is Lord,” Lord of the universe, Lord “even of the sabbath.”  He is the Word through whom all things have come and it is He who has “achieved reconciliation” for all with God, the Father.  We must be presented to God “holy, free of reproach and blame.”  We must bow before His Majesty, trust all things to Him, and He will defend our cause.  But if we continue to nourish hostility in our hearts against the Lord of all, if we refuse to recognize Him as our God and Savior, if we remain stubborn in our blindness and our sins against His glorious presence… what hope have we?  We can only then be shaken in our weakness.

Such is the case so often with the Pharisees, who repeatedly harden their hearts against the Word of God and His presence amongst them.  Repeatedly He tries to teach them of truth and the necessity of holding to it, that their rules alone will not sustain them; but continually it seems their hearts are closed.  They cannot seem to understand because they cannot seem to bow before Him; and so they see only with their eyes and not with the wisdom that comes through fear of God.  And the bedrock foundation, the cornerstone of the Church, they cast aside as they concern themselves with its ornaments.

But we must hold to the faith, to the heart’s core of existence itself and the life that is God: Jesus Christ and His holy Gospel must be that which speaks in the depths of our soul.  Then we will know and sing with David, “The Lord sustains my life,” as we praise His name “for its goodness.”  Then we will be “unshaken in the hope promised… by the Gospel,” for the Gospel will be as the blood coursing through our veins and the food we eat; from it and from the Lord we will draw our life as a man draws water from a fountain.

Such light let us pray we maintain in our lives.  Such wisdom and strength which comes only in truth let us make our own.  He is happy to give us this life – for this He has died – let us not turn in blindness from His face but ground ourselves in Him who is the foundation of eternal life.

 

*******

O LORD, your Son gives His life to save us

and lead us unto Heaven.

YHWH, how your Son has saved us!  He who is Lord of the Sabbath, Lord of the universe, who is One with you and so holds every soul in His all-powerful hand – this same Christ has come amongst us not only to teach us of His glory in you, but to join us to that glory by dying for us.  Reconciliation He has achieved for us in His mortal body by dying, by allowing Himself to be nailed to a cross; and now His blood does redeem us from our sin and offers us the promise of eternal life with you in Heaven.

In our hunger we cried to you, dear God, and you hearkened to the words of our mouth.  You sent us help in Jesus your Son and we were released from all evil in our hearts, all the wicked thoughts that controlled our lives by an empty pride.  Help us now to bow down before your Son, to treasure His Word in us – make us firm in faith and unshaken in the hope of entering your House.  For even now your food is upon our table in the flesh of Christ.

Direct download: BC-090311-Sa_22_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O great Shepherd,

watchman of the House of God

and protector of His flock,

though in the monastery you would have stayed,

when called to the Chair of Peter

you guided the Church well

through difficult times –

pray that as difficult days continue

a firm hand may continue to be found

at the helm of MotherChurch.

O pray that the faith be strengthened,

that the Rock upon which this House is set

will remain unshakable

and its light, its wisdom,

serve ever as a beacon

calling straying souls

into the Lord’s welcoming arms.

Humility and holiness

may all our leaders embody,

that by the Word of God on their tongues

and His wounds in their hands

all the poor of the earth

will be carried unto Heaven.

Direct download: Sept._3_Gregory_the_Great.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Col.1:15-20;   Ps.100:1-5;   Lk.5:33-39)

 

“New wine should be poured into fresh skins.”

 

“The blood of His cross” is poured forth for us; it becomes the new wine we drink this day, that which makes us new men by its grace.  The scribes and Pharisees refuse this new wine, saying, “I find the old wine better,” so they cannot see “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creatures,” standing before them this day.  Do we see Him?  Do we hear His teaching?  Do we allow His Word and His presence to be poured into us?  Do we make ourselves “fresh skins” to receive the wine that is the Lord?  Or do we, too, prefer the old?  The old man under the burden of sin and death must be put away before the new man of grace and life can enter in.

“In Him everything in heaven and on earth was created, things visible and invisible.”  Paul tells us Jesus fills all the universe with His presence, for “all were created through Him and for Him.  He is before all else that is,” and “in Him everything continues in being.”  He is the source of life and life itself.  And He is “head of the body, the Church.”  “Firstborn of the dead,” primacy indeed is His “in everything.”  First to be born, first to die, He is also the first to be raised to new life… and by His power we are all raised to the new life we now find through His sacrifice.  The blood which fills the universe must now fill our beings; we must be filled with His presence, for only by Him does grace come.  Only by Him is the Law fulfilled, the Word made real, and the life of heaven become our own.

And those who are present to Him, those who are present with Him – those who are filled with His Spirit cannot help but rejoice.  The disciples could not fast while Jesus was with them, while the bridegroom to whom they wed themselves was in their midst, and likewise those who come into the presence of the Lord cannot come but with joy.  “Enter His gates with thanksgiving,” our psalm declares.  “Know that the Lord is God; He made us, His we are.”  And as we enter into the blessed Body and Blood of Christ, as we come to know the bridegroom of our soul… as His Spirit fills us what can we do but rejoice in the Lord, “whose kindness endures forever,” who makes us as His own – who redeems our very souls.  Make room for Him in your hearts.  There let His blood flow, that you might have new life.

 

*******

O LORD, with you we are called to dwell –

let us rejoice!

YHWH, absolute fullness resides in your Son, through whom you made the universe and through whose blood you reconcile all things.  He is your very image, and He calls us all to enter your gates through Him, that we might rejoice forever in your kingdom.

Jesus is the Bridegroom to whom we must be wed if we are to come into your presence and see the face of the One who made us.  His blood is the new wine poured out for our sakes, that which will unite us with Him as we come with pure hearts, with new wineskins, to Holy Communion.  O let us receive Him well, LORD! that we might be filled with the grace He offers forth.

You call us to sing joyfully before you, LORD, in the wedding feast of Heaven.  May we be your faithful flock, gratefully accepting the love that comes to us only through your firstborn Son.

Direct download: BC-090211-F_22_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Col.1:9-14;   Ps.98:2-6;   Lk.5:1-11)

 

“You will multiply good works of every sort

and grow in the knowledge of God.”

 

As Simon Peter and the others “caught such a great number of fish that their nets were at the breaking point,” so shall it be with any Christian who devotes himself to the work and the will of God.  But as the apostles “brought their boats to land, left everything, and became His followers,” so we must dedicate our lives entirely to Him if we are to “attain full knowledge of His will through perfect wisdom and spiritual insight.”   We must leave all else aside and we will become “worthy to share the lot of the saints in light,” becoming ever more fruitful as fishers of men and bringers of that light into the world.

“The Lord has made His salvation known,” and notice from where He chooses “to teach the crowds.”  Looking for a mooring, a place from which to preach, “He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Peter.”  Yes, it is in the barque of Peter and through the barque of Peter that Jesus manifests Himself, that He brings His teaching forth.  In this boat He sits and teaches the nations.  It is this boat He encourages to “put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”  For His blessing is upon this boat and him who steers it, as well as the partners he calls “to come and help,” that is, James and John and all the other apostles – the bishops and priests and all the holy people beckoned by the Lord through the office of Peter to fill His boats to bursting.

“He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of His beloved Son,” Paul, another blessed fisher of men, tells us.  And the forgiveness of the Lord necessary for one to be called to “a life worthy of the Lord” is evident in the repentance of our leader, our first of apostles, Simon Peter, as he “fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me, Lord, I am a sinful man,’” in awe at the presence of God before him.  Only by such humility are we drawn from the darkness of sin, only by recognizing our weakness are we made strong – only by bowing down before the Lord and serving others in His name are we made worthy of the kingdom of light.  Only then with our psalmist will we “with trumpets and the sound of the horn sing joyfully before the King, the Lord.”  Rooted in His Church and its service let us ever grow in knowledge and joy before our God. 

 

*******

O LORD, let your salvation be fully known

in the lives of all your disciples –

let us leave all things to follow your Son.

YHWH, make us worthy to share the lot of your saints in light.  Bring your salvation to us, free us from the power of darkness, that we might rejoice in your kingdom and sing your praise forever.  It is through Peter and the Church you bring us salvation – let us be caught in his net and so become your disciples, and so become as your only Son.

How shall we attain full knowledge of your will, how shall we find the grace and wisdom we need, if separated from the bark of Peter, if outside the boat in which Jesus Himself has set His feet?  We shall not be able to please you, LORD, if we do not follow in the way your Son marks out for us, if we do not come to you through Peter and the apostles.

Let your salvation be known to the ends of the earth, O LORD.  Into deep water may Peter’s net be cast, that all sinful men may fall at the feet of Jesus.

Direct download: BC-090111-Th_22_OT.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Col.1:1-8;   Ps.52:10-11;   Lk.4:38-44)

 

“And He continued to preach in the synagogues of Judea.”

 

The Word goes forth, bringing healing to the hearts of the faithful.  The Word goes forth, ever growing among the people.  As “the message of truth, the Gospel… has come to [the Colossians], has borne fruit, and has continued to grow,” so “it has everywhere in the world.”  As Jesus has set out “into the open country” to bring “the good news of the reign of God” to all to whom He was sent; as Paul, as Timothy, as Epaphrus – as all the apostles have gone forward bringing the Word forth and planting it in the hearts of all who have ears open to the healing touch of God and making them “like a green olive tree in the house of God,” so that same Word goes forward today through the apostles the Lord has ordained to carry His message of truth; and so we hear of it in our readings of daily Mass, in our daily bread.

Our “love in the Spirit” must ever grow, brothers and sisters; it must ever move forward.  For the Word of God ever moves forward to the ends of the earth bringing the love of God to all, and we must move with it.  There is no stopping and staying long in any place along this path we tread with the Lord.  As He moved on from town to town doing the will of the Father, so our work must ever travel with Him, until it is accomplished in Him.  Here there is no place to stay, no place to lay our heads; here there is only moving forward in the Lord.

And, yes, we are moved “by the hope held in store for [us] in heaven.”  This is the place to which we travel in all our movements, in all our work and prayer.  We know now and it has been openly stated, plainly revealed, that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He makes a place for us in His kingdom.  And by our “faith in Christ Jesus and the love [we] bear all the saints,” we, too, come into that kingdom, into His presence; with Paul, with the Colossians, with all the faithful who “trust in the kindness of God forever and ever,” we find that kingdom being revealed in our very hearts and in our very actions… and so heaven passes through our midst and makes us sons of the Most High.

Let us be healed of all that keeps us from growing to Him, of growing with Him, of moving forward in service of our Lord Jesus Christ.  With our words and in our actions let us preach of the glory of God and so move closer to His kingdom.

*******

O LORD, let all hear the Good News of your reign:

your Son has come into our midst

to heal us of all our sin.

YHWH, may your Word go forth to the ends of the earth, the message of truth everywhere in the world; may it bear fruit and continue to grow in every heart – bless all those who proclaim your NAME to your faithful ones!

As Jesus walked amongst us announcing the Good News of your reign, as He went forth from town to town healing their sick and casting out demons, so today your apostles go out into the open country to bring your love to all peoples, that in your love all may be reborn and grow.  In the way of Jesus let us all walk, dear God, that we might come quickly to you.

In your service let us remain, LORD, ready always to answer your call in bearing your love to all the saints, to all those you send in your NAME.  Let us grow each day into your kingdom until all are cured of their diseases and join your saints in Heaven.

Direct download: BC-083111-W_22_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(1Thes.5:1-6,9-11;   Ps.27:1,4,13-14;   Lk.4:31-37)

 

“Wait for the Lord with courage;

be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.”

 

The Word of the Lord has all “authority and power.”  The Word of the Lord casts out demons.  The Word of the Lord brings light to the soul who seeks Him.  In Him we have no fear.

He comes, brothers and sisters; yes, He comes…  As He entered the synagogue in Galilee and cast out the evil spirit from the man and from the place, so He will come at the end of the age and cast all evil from the face of the earth.  No longer shall the devil have a place here; all darkness will be banished.  This hope should bring us but joy.  We who are of light should long for the day when the Lord who is “our light and [our] salvation” comes to cleanse the world of evil; if we seek “to dwell in the house of the Lord” we must know that only His authority and power, only His sharp voice speaking truth and shaking the powers of this earth will bring “the loveliness of the Lord” our hearts desire to contemplate forever.  As He came to cast out the devil from the man in the synagogue, as He has come to cast all evil from the temple of our bodies, so He must come at the end of the age to cast all sin into hell, that His light and all His children of light might shine in unadulterated glory.

Do not fear.  Do not fear the coming of His kingdom, the power of His Word.  Though we may be “struck with astonishment” and wonder at “His speech,” though the teaching of the Lord leave us “spellbound,” yet we should welcome it and seek to increase its presence in our lives and in this world.  It is His teaching, it is the power of His Word we are called as children of His light to bring into this world.  For, indeed, the world is a dark place, and many there are who fear as the demon the destruction of the darkness in which they have taken what has seemed to them secure refuge.  It must be known that in darkness there is no “security,” in sin there is no “peace”…  Only in Him is true peace and security. 

Let us not be anguished at the passing of the darkness which comes by the just wrath of God.  Let us not slumber into its clutches and so find refuge there.  We must remain vigilant, seeking with eyes of light the coming of Jesus the Christ.  We are destined for salvation in Him.  In Him let us take comfort and upbuild one another, spreading “His renown” in our hearts and “through the surrounding country.” 

*******

O LORD, in Jesus’ Name and in His blood

let us be healed, washed clean

and ready for His coming Day.

YHWH, let us not take refuge in the darkness of this world and in its drunkenness take our peace and security.  Rather, let us live in your light and become children of that light, awake in your presence forever.  Your Son comes to cast all demons of darkness from our midst; let us welcome His powerful Word.

O LORD, you are our light and our salvation; you are our life’s refuge.  And so, why should we be afraid of your Son’s coming, He who brings your salvation to man?  Let us rather long for His return, for His cleansing presence before our eyes.  For how else shall we enter your Temple and gaze on your loveliness if all evil is not driven from our souls?

To the land of the living we long to come, so make us stouthearted as we wait for Jesus to return, LORD.  May your light upon us give us courage for that Day.

Direct download: BC-083011-Tu_22_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(1Thes.4:13-18;   Ps.96:1,3-5,11-13;   Lk.4:16-30)

 

“He comes to rule the earth.”

 

He is coming, and has come.  He set us free from the prison of sin when first He came, and will set us free from death when He comes again and “we shall be with the Lord unceasingly.”

In our gospel we read of His first coming “to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives…”  Fulfilling the words of the prophets, He brought “a year of favor from the Lord,” to heal all those who waited for His coming, who trusted in His word.  And though even as His hometown of Nazareth rejected Him and His truth and led Him to “the brow of the hill” to be cast down, so all would turn their backs on Him and deliver Him up for crucifixion; yet His death was not the end and His life was not fruitless.  In His walking the earth He brought light into the darkness and in His bleeding on the cross provided means for its fulfillment.

And on the day when He comes again, death shall indeed be banished, darkness will be no more, for “God will bring forth with Him from the dead those who have fallen asleep believing in Him” and “we, the living, the survivors, will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.”  This the apostle Paul makes quite clear.  As Jesus “died and rose,” so will all who believe in Him do the same: what was brought to us in His first coming – the light to the nations – will be made complete in His second coming in a year of favor that has no end.

And of both of these comings our psalm does sing, for both are gloriously triumphant: “Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice, let the sea and what fills it resound…”  All creation glories in the coming of God; in His holy presence it finds its fulfillment.  Forever it has longed to be joined with Him, and when first He came as man, it rejoiced to see Him; and when He comes “from heaven at the word of command, at the sound of the archangel’s voice and God’s trumpet” as the Son of God in all His glory, its joy and its song will know no bounds.  For then “He shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with His constancy”: the world shall never again be moved from His way of truth and light, and neither shall we.  Rejoice at His coming, brothers and sisters, and live in His light. 

 

*******

O LORD, you come to save us,

and so we should not be afraid –

through all tribulation you lead us home.

YHWH, let us sing you a new song on the day of your coming, on the day of your Son’s return.  For then His glory will fill the sky and all the dead will rise.  O let us be in the number of those who are with you unceasingly!  From all darkness may we forever be set free.

When Jesus came to walk among us, to speak to us your marvelous words, to proclaim liberty to all held captive by sin, then we should have rejoiced at His presence and entered the glory of His reign.  But we crucified Him instead.  He came to bring glad tidings to poor souls, to open our eyes that we might see once again – but we closed our hearts and fixed Him to a cross.  O LORD, let your favor be upon us now especially, that we might be saved from such sin.

We wish to rejoice with your holy ones, O God, to praise your NAME to the heavens.  Let us listen now to the words of your Son and set our hearts on them.

Direct download: BC-082911-M_22_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O witness to the Truth,

to the Light that has come among us,

you gave your very life

and death

for the sake of Christ,

who redeemed us in His blood,

blood you shed with your Savior;

you who were a pillar of iron

against the whole land

and against its king,

you who stood so strong

against the lust of the world,

suffering its persecution so willingly,

fortified even in death

by the Lord and His promise –

how can our meager lives

measure up to your blessed sacrifice;

how can we who are so weak of knee

endure our exile so bravely?

Pray for us, O forerunner of the Christ

both in word and in the giving of your life,

that our blood may be joined to your own

and so to that of our holy Lord.

Direct download: Aug._29_Martyrdom_of_John_the_Baptist.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

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

“Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you

and is able to save your souls.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, if we walk according to your Word,

we shall be saved.

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-090212-Su_22_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O shepherd made anew

by Him who is within,

Him who made us all,

the Light above and beyond

every soul

who gave His life,

His flesh as food that we might live –

pray that the Lord and God of all

will break through our deafness

and dispel our blindness,

that He will breathe His fragrant Spirit

upon us

and we too will be created

anew,

saved by His grace from the sin

that has kept us from Him

and thirsting for the wisdom

which became your own,

with which you shepherded His people

apart from the things He created

to His very Beauty itself,

that all souls might rest in Him

who made them.

Direct download: Aug._28_Augustine.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Thes.4:9-12;   Ps.98:1,7-9;   Mt.25:14-30)

 

“Those who have, will get more until they grow rich,

while those who have not, will lose even the little they have.”

 

Again, brothers and sisters, we must always grow in the gifts and graces of the Lord, never looking down upon what He gives us as too little (or too much), but ever putting such talents to use that they might produce an abundant yield and bring us to the joys of heaven.

“Well done!  You are an industrious and reliable servant…  Come, share your master’s joy!”  Do we not wish to hear these words from our gospel today spoken to us on the last day?  Do we not wish to be put in charge of greater matters as we enter the joy of the eternal kingdom?  Are these not the riches we seek?  Then, indeed we must be industrious while here; we must put the Lord’s gifts to good use.  We must heed Paul’s exhortation “to remain at peace and attend to [our] own affairs.”  In this way of working quietly for the Lord we will certainly make “even greater progress,” until we find the victory proclaimed in our psalm.  On that day when “the rivers clap their hands” and “the mountains shout with them for joy,” the Lord “will rule the world with justice and the peoples with equity”; He will surely give those deserving their reward, while they who have been “worthless, lazy lout(s),” those who have not served Him out of a holy fear, out of love, but have held a judgmental disposition toward Him and withheld a generous attitude toward others, shall be cast into “the darkness outside” where they will ever “wail and grind [their] teeth.”

Take hold of what the Lord gives you today: the breath in your nostrils and the beat of your heart are in His hands, and He calls you to employ your mind and body at His affair of bringing the kingdom of heaven and His love to this earth.  Whatever work He puts in your hands to accomplish, be not slack in its fulfillment.  Go forward with faith and a desire to please Him, and He will ever bless and multiply all you have a mind to do; and this work will bring you to the rich fruits of heaven and keep you from the empty darkness of hell.

*******

O LORD, you are generous and give to all,

and we must increase your love in the world.

YHWH, you give us each work to do; into every one of your servant’s hands you place talents we must employ.  We have time upon this earth before your Son’s return to bear fruit in your NAME.  Help us each day to love one another and do your will in all things.  For on the Day when your Son comes again, He shall come as judge; and of what worth will our lives have been if we stand empty-handed before Him?  O let us not be cast from your sight!

On the last day the mountains will shout for joy and the rivers clap their hands at the presence of your Son filling the universe with His love.  And we shall join in that holy song if it has been our desire to see Him come, if we have worked with our lives to bring His love to this place.  O LORD, let us enter into your eternal joy!

Direct download: BC-082711-Sa_21_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O tearful mother

whose persistent cries

for the soul of your son

were heard in time

by the Lord our God

and so led to his conversion,

to his becoming

not only a Catholic Christian

but a bishop and doctor of the Church,

a saint like yourself –

pray for the prayers of all mothers

who cry for their wayward sons;

pray indeed that all souls may turn

and come to know so deeply

the love of our Lord and God

and the blessing upon

His holy Catholic Church.

Pray that all who stray,

many as they are,

shall be raised from the death of sin

and come to the life of Heaven,

where you wait with your son

to welcome all his brothers.

Direct download: Aug._27_Monica.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Thes.4:1-8;   Ps.97:1-2,5-6,10-12;   Mt.25:1-13)

 

“God has not called us to immorality but to holiness.”

 

And so, “keep your eyes open” and “make still greater progress” in the path that leads to His kingdom.  Your lights shining brightly as you await His return, be ready to enter His marriage feast.

“It is God’s will that you grow in holiness,” Paul instructs us in our first reading.  “Conduct yourselves in a way pleasing to God” is his message.  For there is a day coming on which the Lord will judge us and all we do; therefore, we must have nothing to do with “immorality” or “passionate desire” or “cheating” – “for the Lord is an avenger of all such things” – and these will find us barred from His kingdom.  Rather, we must stay the path we are on, guarding ourselves “in sanctity and honor” and securing even greater gifts and graces from God that we might keep in store against His judgment, against His wrath to come.  For if “the mountains melt like wax before the Lord,” how strong must we be to stand on that day of His return?

But for those who do stand strong, for those who do acquire “flasks of oil” to keep their torches burning for whatever hour the Lord might come – for them there shall be great rejoicing…  This is the fate of the just.  “Light dawns for the just; and gladness, for the upright of heart,” for their light is a match for His own and so He weds them unto Himself; to rejoice with the king of all the earth is their portion and cup.

Yes, “the ones who were ready went in to the wedding with Him,” but those unprepared were locked outside the doors.  And so we must ask ourselves, does Jesus know us?  Are we ready for the day of His coming?  Do we avoid all stain of sin which detracts from the purity we must maintain as bridesmaids of the Lord?  Or is there yet that which keeps us from standing ready at His gates?  He will come.  He will come again to judge our souls, this Son of God most just, and so we must heed the instruction of the Holy Spirit now to prepare ourselves against that day, ever making progress in His Name.

Let holiness be our treasured possession, brothers and sisters.  Let it be a flaming torch growing ever higher by the breath of the Spirit upon our souls, until it reaches unto Him and His kingdom.  The Lord’s “delay” in coming serves but to weed the evil from the good.  Take this time to increase in faith and in knowledge of God.  Be as His own.

 

*******

O LORD, we must keep ourselves pure

to meet with you who are purity itself.

YHWH, let our eyes be open to see you, our hearts set on fire with your love.  Let our flame not die out before the Day of your coming but ever increase as it rises unto you.  Let your Spirit be upon us to lead us in wisdom every hour of every day.

O LORD, how shall our holiness grow to meet your own that we might be wed to you?  How shall we turn from immorality, from the blindness upon our souls, and come to the glory to which you call us, your glory which you would make our own?  O help us to listen to the instruction of the Spirit that we shall remain just in your sight.

Let your light dawn upon us, dearest LORD; let your gladness fill our souls.  Let us rejoice at your wedding feast, at our union with you in your kingdom.  What need we but holiness?  And so, let us set our hearts on you.

Direct download: BC-082611-F_21_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(1Thes.3:7-13;   Ps.90:3-4,12-14,17;   Mt.24:42-51)

 

“Stay awake, therefore!

You cannot know the day your Lord is coming.”

 

And what is it to stay awake, to be ready, but to do as Paul exhorts the Thessalonians in our first reading: to continue to grow in holiness until that day we meet with the Lord.  This is our essential call.

Here we are, having been converted to the Lord, having found faith in God as our foundation and been appointed servants by Christ until He should return.  We are that “faithful, farsighted servant whom the master has put in charge of his household to dispense food at need.”  Certainly our priests dispense the most necessary food of the Word and the Bread of Life, but all Christians the Lord gifts with His store of nourishment for the people; all of us are called to provide spiritual as well as physical nourishment to our brothers and sisters.  We cannot do other than this or we are not Christians, and we will be far from the Lord at His second coming – when He calls to account all His servants.

And each day we must indeed know the Lord’s increase and “overflow with love for one another and for all”; we must always grow in the gifts the Lord gives us, not becoming impatient for the time which passes, but ever taking it as opportunity to strengthen our salvation in Christ.  We must in this way have the vision of God: “A thousand years in your sight are as yesterday, now that it is past, or as a watch in the night,” our psalm declares (expressing the patience Moses and the Israelites needed in their forty years wandering through the desert); and so short should our wait seem if lived in the presence of our God.

And so now as we wait and watch, now as we make ourselves ready for the Lord by the service we perform in His Name, let us entreat the Lord to “fill us at daybreak with [His] kindness,” let us pray for Him to “prosper the work of our hands.”  For all in our hands is our gift from Him to accomplish in His Name and by His grace, and by so numbering “our days aright” in His presence, we shall “gain wisdom of heart” and be awake and ready for His coming. 

My prayer for you, brothers and sisters, is Paul’s own: “May he strengthen your hearts, making them blameless and holy before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His holy ones.”  I pray we shall meet on that happy day.

*******

O LORD, we must serve you each day and every hour;

thus will we be ready for your Son’s coming.

YHWH, let us be ready for the return of your Son, our hearts set on His coming Day.  Make us holy before you, doing your work all our days that we might be acceptable to you.

O LORD, we long for the return of your Son, for the dawn of His light upon us.  For we are in exile here in this dark place and the devil would come and steal our love for you away, tempting us with the passing of time to become impatient for the fulfillment of your promise.

Let us not be led astray.  Let us remember that you are with us always, that a thousand years are as a single day in your sight – let us be blessed with your vision as we serve you, LORD!  All is ever new in your presence.

And let us never cease to serve you, never turn from the joy of joining our lives to your own.  Then our shortcomings shall be remedied, LORD, and we will see you face to face on your holy Day.

Direct download: BC-082511-Th_21_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O guardian angel of poor children

who formed them in the image of Christ,

an education of body and soul

you provided those most in need,

those most impressionable

and thirsting for the Lord’s care,

and led so many others

in this work for the least of our brothers –

pray we shall become fellow workers

with Jesus in the cause of truth

and teach with deep love,

the greatest patience,

and profound humility,

the souls He places in our hands.

May the desire to see all

attain eternal life

be that which most impels us

and especially those whose responsibility

is the formation of Christian youth,

that all men might rejoice at the straight paths

these walk to the kingdom.

Your zeal despite persecution

may we maintain in our call from the Lord.

Direct download: Aug._25_Joseph_Calasanz.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

O loyal subject of the Lord

and of His Church on earth,

though a king

you did not exalt yourself

but listened rather

to the words of your Savior

and chose to serve Him,

doing His work in this world:

the poor you cared for,

your children you raised

in the teaching of Christ,

and for all those in your reign

you sought true justice

and maintained concern

for their spiritual welfare –

pray we poor souls

will emulate your desire

for penance and prayer,

and your faithful obedience

to God and MotherChurch.

May we be blessed as your sons

to have your wisdom in our ears,

a wisdom reflective of Jesus’ own.

Direct download: Aug._25_Louis_of_France.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

1Thes.2:9-13;   Ps.139:1,7-12;   Mt.23:27-32)

 

“Make your lives worthy of the God

who calls you to His kingship and glory.”

 

God is our Father, and those who preach “God’s good tidings” love us “as a father does his children,” for their message is “not as the word of men” but truly “the word of God at work within [those] who believe.”  Come to the Lord’s table.  Eat of His Body, drink of His Blood.  Become as He is by His holy Word.

Children of light we are called to be, and what is that light but the one which shines in all places at all times and which is inescapable.  “Where can I go from your spirit?” David wonders in our psalm.  Whether we fly to the heavens or “sink to the netherworld,” He is there.  For Him “darkness itself is not dark, and night shines as the day” because He Himself is light, and where He is, light shines – and He is everywhere.

How can we become children of such an awesome God?  How can we enter “His kingship and glory” as Paul exhorts us in our first reading?  The only way is by Jesus and the only way is to follow those who bring Jesus to us, whose conduct is “upright, just, and irreproachable” as is Paul’s – our means of salvation is the Church, its prophets and martyrs, its teaching and sacraments… its grace which comes to us through Jesus Christ to lead us to the Father of all.  On the apostles and their message of the Gospel our faith is set.

In our gospel Jesus again chastises the Pharisees, those who have not been loving and faithful fathers for the people, those from whom care of the kingdom will be taken for the “hypocrisy and evil” within them.  For though they present “a holy exterior,” it is but the bones of the saints they hold within their whitewashed tombs and not their blessed spirit.  Indeed, they shall show themselves murderous as their forefathers, who shed the prophet’s blood – and whom they ascribe to themselves by name – in their giving up the fulfillment of the prophets to crucifixion.  “Full of filth” inside and lovers of the tomb’s darkness, they are not worthy to be called fathers of the Lord’s children.  And Jesus proves that God’s light shines in even the darkest places by exposing their corruption in our gospel today.

Brothers and sisters, beware of following false leaders whose motives are not pure, who do not lay down their lives for the flock.  Remain within the walls of the Church, where the Spirit dwells and where the Father nourishes His people on their way to His kingdom and glory.

 

*******

O LORD, take all falsehood from our souls

and let us toil only for you.

YHWH, how shall we become true servants of your Word, free of all hypocrisy and evil, not seeking our own gain but the salvation of others?  Purge us of the filth within us and make our conduct irreproachable, that you may be known and all your children follow in your way.

Surround us, O LORD, with your presence this day; let your Word be at work within us.  Let us not whitewash our sin but acknowledge it before your all-seeing eye, and in repentance find our freedom.  Guide us in all things, even in the darkest night, that we may come to know you are ever with us.

For you let us work, LORD, and not for the burying of your light.  Let us toil on this earth only to bring your truth to all souls.  From the tomb let us be raised to dwell in your holy presence.

Direct download: BC-082411-W_21_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O apostle of the Lamb,

man without guile

led by love to the Lord,

you who declared Jesus Son of God

and King of Israel,

whose eyes of faith were illumined

by angels’ wings –

pray we shall be found by the Christ

under our fig tree

in peace, in prayer,

and carry with you His holy Gospel

to the very ends of the earth.

With you as a foundation stone,

one of the Twelve,

may the Bride of the Lamb

be led to her Husband,

her heart burning with love

for Him alone;

her soul thirsting only for God’s presence,

may her eyes be opened

to see her Lord.

To vision of Heaven pray we all come

by an angelic belief in the Son of Man.

Direct download: Aug._24_Bartholomew.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

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

and His holy Bride coming down out of Heaven;

let us have eyes that look for Him,

hearts that long for Him.

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

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

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

Direct download: St_Bartholomew_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O penitential soul

whose eyes saw the Lord,

whose ears heard His voice

calling all to the Cross,

obediently you accepted

the afflictions that are necessary

to attain union with God

and His surpassing glory –

pray that fearful souls

like our own,

which turn in complaint

from every torment and trouble,

however small,

may be blessed with a measure

of your selfless devotion,

that the unfathomable treasure

of the Lord’s grace

might be our own

as we endure,

and even desire as you,

the pains that pave the road to Heaven.

Then we shall know Christ even as you

and proclaim His glory to all creatures.

Direct download: Aug._23_Rose_of_Lima.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(1Thes.1:2-5,8-10;   Ps.149:1-6,9;   Mt.23:13-22)

 

“You turned to God from idols,

to serve Him who is the living and true God.”

 

Contrast is at the heart of today’s readings again.  The faith of the Thessalonians and the inspired preaching of Paul are in distinct opposition to the empty ways and words of the scribes and Pharisees.

In our first reading Paul praises the Thessalonians, who are “laboring in love, and showing constancy in hope in our Lord Jesus Christ,” telling them, “Throughout every region your faith in God is celebrated.”  In our gospel Jesus condemns the scribes and Pharisees for their blindness to the presence of God.  In contrast to the Thessalonians, they have turned from worship of the true God to idols; their vision set on the gold therein, they are unable to see the temple and how sacred it is – their hearts set on things of this earth and the laws they have contrived, they are blind to the Son of God, who sits upon the throne of heaven, as He stands before them.  And not only are their vain beliefs in contrast to the true faith of the Thessalonians, but their failures in carrying the Word of God forth stand also in sharp contrast to Paul’s fruitful preaching.  Paul’s preaching was “one of power; it was carried on in the Holy Spirit and out of complete conviction,” and so led to the conversion of many nations.  On the other hand, Christ says to the scribes and Pharisees: “You shut the doors of the kingdom of God in men’s faces…  You travel over sea and land to make a single convert, but once he is converted you make a devil of him twice as wicked as yourselves.”

We must be the fruit of the Apostle’s preaching, brothers and sisters, and not the vain teaching of those who set their souls on the gold of this world.  For as the faithful “sing to the Lord a new song of praise,” as they “rejoice in their king” and “praise His name in the festive dance,” even so the voice of the wicked will be silenced: they shall choke to death on all their pride.  So let us be those who “await from heaven the Son [God] raised from the dead – Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.”  With the Thessalonians let us prove our faith in our labor of love, working ever for the coming of the kingdom.  And “the high praises of God [will] be in [our] throats” and the “glory of all His faithful” will be ours.  Turning from all the idols of this blind generation, let us be born now of the Spirit of God.

 

*******

O LORD, we are your own;

let us offer ourselves to you.

YHWH, let high praise of you be in our throats; let us sing for joy in your presence.  O let us worship you who are the living and true God!  Let us turn resolutely from the idols of this vain world and so be made fruitful in your sight.  May the doors of your kingdom open for us and for all souls, we pray.

Jesus is seated upon the throne of Heaven and it is through Him we come to you, O mighty God, that we might be delivered from the wrath to come and be filled with the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit of Truth be upon our hearts and our tongues as we preach the Gospel of Christ with all our lives – thus may we be found worthy to praise your NAME in the assembly of the faithful. 

There is woe in store for those who pervert your words to selfish ends, O LORD, who blind themselves and those they teach to the glory of your presence among us.  O let us labor in love in the Body of your Son!

Direct download: BC-082211-M_21_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O Queen of Heaven and earth,

you radiate the glory of God,

for now you stand at His right Hand

in the heavenly kingdom.

Clothed with the sun,

the moon under your feet

and a crown of twelve stars

upon your head,

you give light to all souls

who thirst for the grace

our Lord and King

pours upon us through your intercession.

O how the angels rejoiced,

how the heavens rang with praise

when the Son led you into His presence

clothed in gold

to be forever His Bride!

O pray for us,

dearest Queen and Mother,

that we too shall be led in

among your maiden companions

to stand in God’s glory forever.

Our cause we entrust to your Immaculate Heart.

Direct download: Aug._22_The_Queenship_of_Mary.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

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

“Do you also want to leave?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, to whom else shall we go,

to whom else shall we be wed…

for you alone are God?

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-082612-Su_21_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O simple priest

who became Shepherd

of the universal Church

and defended her with courage

against the errors of the age,

you did not waver before the powers

that would dilute the purity

of the teaching of our Mother

but stood strong against the tide

attempting to wash her away –

are we not yet threatened

by falsehood and sin

being held up as good,

and so do we not yet need

your spirit and your prayers?

Though the tide may be turning,

returning to the solid rock of faith,

yet certainly we need your help

to see the Spirit of Truth

regain and maintain

His place in this House.

Pray indeed all priests and people

be simple and true as children before God.

Direct download: Aug._21_Pius_X.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

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

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, you bless all those who fear you,

who are humble before you.

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-082011-Sa_20_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O great light of the Church

who by word and work

inspired your brothers

and so many others

to a life of virtue,

to peace and unity with one another

and an abiding love

for our Lord and His Mother –

teach us this day, O blessed preacher,

of the way in which Jesus calls us,

of the life and love God offers

if we but respond in kind

in our weak and limited manner.

To all souls in His holy Church

and throughout the world

you brought the Word of God,

you imparted the light of His wisdom;

please pray, dear father in the faith,

that our lives may be conformed

to the loving will of the Lord

and we become children of His light

and bearers of His Good News to the nations,

till we stand with you in His surpassing glory.

Direct download: Aug._20_Bernard.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, may we increase in purity daily,

for the hour of your Son’s coming is nigh

and we must be ready to become His bride. 

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-081911-F_20_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O priest of Jesus and Mary

so dedicated to the Hearts

of our Lord and Lady

and the formation of your fellow priests,

how well you preached

of our need to be one

with Christ our Head;

with what zeal you cared

for the poorest among us –

pray that priests and indeed all Christians

will have hearts and souls

beating and breathing as one

with the Lord,

in union with our Blessed Mother;

may all serve and glorify the Father

by using all their faculties

as if they were His alone.

O that we might indeed

belong to the Son of God

and be ruled by Him,

His own eternal life

coursing through our very veins,

His breath upon our tongue!

Direct download: Aug._19_John_Eudes.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

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

 

“You have made a vow to the Lord.

Do with me as you have vowed.”

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

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

then we will be fit to enter your presence. 

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-081811-Th_20_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

*******

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

are first in your eyes,

for you love all souls, but despise sin.

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-081711-W_20_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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

 

“Go with the strength you have and save Israel

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

********

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

and we will be blessed.

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-081611-Tu_20_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O faithful king,

loyal son of MotherChurch

and just ruler of your people,

in peace and piety,

humbly and honorably

you executed your duties,

never showing favor to anyone

but always respecting all

and maintaining above all the faith

and the Church which propagates

that faith in Christ –

where is true Christian profession today,

where those in positions of power

truly dedicated to right service

of the Lord and His people?

Do pray for us, dear king,

that others shall follow in your footsteps

as has your son

so that all shall become

faithful followers of our Lord

in whatever position He grants them.

Pray especially for leaders

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

Direct download: Aug._16_Stephen_of_Hungary.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

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

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

and did not follow their example of obedience

to the commandments of the Lord.”

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

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

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

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

*******

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

you who alone love us?

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-081511-M_20_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O glorious Virgin Mary,

preserved from sin

from the moment of your conception

and now raised with your Son unto Heaven,

blessed are you among women,

most blessed of all God’s creatures;

kept from all corruption,

you His lowly servant

now reign with Jesus in His kingdom –

pray all generations will call you blessed

that all may indeed share in your blessing

and come by the grace of the Lord

to stand at His side

in the Father’s presence.

Above the choirs of angels,

where poor mortal man is called

to take his place

in union with the immortal Godhead,

you precede us, O Immaculate Mother,

by virtue of your eternal union with the only Son.

Pray we shall truly follow you to perfection,

conquering death by the Cross

and entering the light of the Lord.

Direct download: Aug._15_The_Assumption.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

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

that we might join Mary at your Son’s side

in the kingdom. 

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

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

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

Direct download: Assumption_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O soldier of the Immaculate Virgin

and martyr for our Lord,

well you spread the fame

of the Mother of all graces,

calling all souls to repentance

that she might apply her Son’s blood

to save the straying among us;

and well you heeded our Savior’s call

to lay down your life for others –

pray this day we have such strength,

such conviction and determination

in serving our Lord and Lady,

in publishing the Good News

of salvation,

that by our dedication

we too may serve well upon this earth

in the army of the faithful,

also leading souls

through the Immaculate Heart of Mary

to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

that peoples and nations may be converted

and so learn in turn to serve

the surpassing glory of God.

Direct download: Aug._14_Maximilian_Mary_Kolbe.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

(Jos.24:14-29;   Ps.16:1-2,5,7-8,11;   Mt.19:13-15)

 

“We will serve the Lord, our God, and obey His voice.”

 

Like children we must come before the Lord and extol His holy Name.  “Completely and sincerely” we must serve Him and He will place His hands upon our heads and bless us.  And we will sing with David of the “fullness of joys in [His] presence, the delights at [His] right hand forever.”  We indeed will be as children, and He will be our God.  Listen to the words of Jesus: “Let the children come to me…  The kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”  Oh to know the blessing of being in the Lord’s presence forever!

“My Lord are you.  Apart from you I have no good,” cries David to his God.  Indeed, how our psalm sings the praises of the Lord and the blessing of our refuge in Him.  How well it illustrates the fruit of the covenant the people enter into with God at Shechem under Joshua’s leadership.  The Promise having been fulfilled, Joshua calls the Israelites to renew their commitment to the Lord.  And though their fidelity to Him will only be for a short time and the stone set up shall soon be a witness against them, yet their vows are those we must all make in sincerity and in truth.  Obeying His voice is indeed our salvation.  As David sings, “I bless the Lord who counsels me; even in the night my heart exhorts me.”  The Lord is ever there for those who trust in Him, who give their lives to Him, who serve Him – who come to Him as a humble child in innocence and love.  What greater blessing can we know than to love the Lord who is “a holy God” and so become one with Him?  This is our “allotted portion,” this is our “cup” – this is the reign of God upon us to which we are called.

“I set the Lord before me,” our psalm states, “with Him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.”  If we but set our hearts on Him, brothers and sisters, there can be nothing that will move us.  If we but take our vows in the Spirit of Truth, He will be ever with us.  Let us not be afraid.  Let us not be afraid that we will fall, that He will leave us.  Let us pursue Him with heart and soul; let us give our lives over to Him.

To serve Him and to love Him is our blessed joy.  Let us be as children before Him and reap this joy unto life eternal.  Let our covenant with Him be written upon our hearts and evident in all our lives, and we shall stand in His presence forever.  Set aside all false gods; listen to His voice.  Alleluia!

 

*******

O LORD, may you be our God

and we be your children! 

YHWH, lay your hands upon our heads that we might be blessed, that we might have the strength to worship you alone.  Let us be resolved to serve only you, to put all false gods far from us.  It is you who are our allotted portion and cup, you who hold fast our lot – in you let us take refuge this day.

You alone are holy, LORD; you alone are exalted far above all gods.  In you alone we find our salvation, and so, to you alone should we come for blessing.  Let us be as children, with hearts set on loving only you, and the kingdom of Heaven shall be ours, for you will then be at our side. 

Forgive our transgressions, O LORD, our turning away from you… our breaking the covenant we made to serve you alone.  Let our vows be renewed this day, and let them be set in stone before you.  Help us by your grace not to waver, not to fear, but to know your innocence in our souls and remain humbly at the feet of your Son.

Direct download: BC-081311-Sa_19_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O brothers united in faith

and in offering the ultimate sacrifice

for the sake of that faith,

for the sake of God’s Church –

pray nothing shall separate

Christ’s brothers

one from another,

but that all members of His flock

and all those who lead His flock

will remain ever united

in His blood

under the See of Peter.

O pray that His Body

not be divided

but that it be healed,

made whole

by His Cross.

Into His arms

may we all offer our lives

and so join our Lord

in His kingdom.

Direct download: Aug._13_Pontian_and_Hippolytus.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

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

 

“I gave you a land which you had not tilled

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

 

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

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

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

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

*******

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

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

and just so we should remain faithful to one another –

your promise should be our own.

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-081211-F_19_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O tireless worker for the Lord

who when cut off from everything

dearest to you

gave yourself completely to God,

you who have shown the way

of the martyrdom of love,

of dying entirely to self

and serving our Savior

in the sick and the poor,

in whose guise He comes –

pray our lives shall not wallow

in mediocrity

or sin;

pray we shall have

the same thirst for love as you,

that by our love we may die

and so overcome death

to live forever

in the presence of our Redeemer.

Visit us this day in our weakness

that our hearts, too, might be strong

and our lives be laid down

in the blood of the only Son.

Direct download: Aug._12_Jane_Frances_de_Chantal.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, without forgiveness in our heart,

we shall never cross over into the Promised Land. 

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-081111-Th_19_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O bride of Christ

whose poverty matched His own,

whose humility made Him known,

whose love indeed approached

His throne

and the embrace of His holy arms –

pray all souls will gaze into the mirror

that is our Lord

born in a manger,

dead upon a Cross,

risen unto Heaven.

Pray we shall be driven on

through the death we all must die,

through His marvelous poverty,

His wondrous humility,

to the indescribable delights

of those who remain at His side.

O that we might be poor as you were poor,

as He is poor

for the sake of every soul,

that we might come to embrace

His blessed sacrifice

and so know the glories of His kingdom.

Direct download: Aug._11_Clare.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

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

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

that I would give to their descendants.”

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, what greater gift could you give

than the power upon your priests

to forgive men’s sins?

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

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

Direct download: BC-081011-W_19_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O generous soul,

you gave your life freely

to the poor

and your death completely

to the Lord;

a grain of wheat fallen to the earth,

you have indeed produced much fruit,

so closely have you followed Christ –

pray for us miserable souls

who cannot seem to draw near

your thorough sacrifice,

made without fear of the fire

ignited by your torturers,

made in joy of uniting

your death to Jesus’ own.

How shall we approach your love,

your blood so closely mingled

with that of our crucified Lord;

how shall we match your generosity

in serving His blessed call?

Pray we will find the courage

to give everything over to God

and know we are in His arms.

Direct download: Aug._10_Lawrence.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

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

 

“The just man shall be in everlasting remembrance.”

 

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

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

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

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

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

*******

O LORD, if we serve you,

we will be where Jesus has been

– fixed to a cross –

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

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

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

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

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

Direct download: St._Lawrence_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

O sacrificial victim

seeking to bring peace

to a dark world,

you found your wisdom in love,

in the love of Christ

and in His Cross,

and died three times for His sake:

once in entering His Church,

once in taking His habit,

and once in laying down your life

at the hands of the enemies of His peace –

pray, O blessed teacher

and sister to all men,

that the death of this life

be something we shall not fear

but embrace with the same grace

with which the Lord blessed you.

Why should we hold

to the things of the earth

when Jesus waits to embrace us

in His loving arms

and carry us unto Heaven?

Pray we shall be ready to answer His call.

Direct download: Aug._9_Teresa_Benedicta_of_the_Cross.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

Dt.10:12-22;   Ps.147:12-15,19-20;   Mt.17:22-27)

 

“In His love for your fathers the Lord was so attached to them

as to choose you, their descendants, in preference to all other peoples.”

 

The Israelites are the chosen race, and Jesus the Chosen One of that race.  Upon them the blessing rests, and in the Son it is fulfilled.

Our first reading tells us that the Lord is a great God, “who has no favorites, accepts no bribes; who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and befriends the alien, feeding and clothing him.”  And the Israelites are called to be made in the image of their Father, showing His might in this way of compassion and truth.  “And now, Israel, what does the Lord, your God, ask of you but to fear the Lord, your God, and follow His ways exactly,” declares Moses.  And so he enjoins upon the people the Lord’s word, “His statutes and ordinances,” which “He has not made known” to other nations, and which serve as their guide to maintaining His light in their lives.  “He has strengthened the bars of your gates…  He has granted peace in your borders,” our psalm confirms: by the grace of God’s law their children are blessed and become “numerous as the stars of the sky.”

And in our gospel we see again the fulfillment of the Father’s blessing and of His law in the Person of Jesus and the sacrifice He, and we, are called to make.  First Jesus makes clear that He is the Son of God exempt from the temple tax – how can the temple pay tax unto itself, or, better yet, how can the temple be paid tax by Him who made it?  Jesus is the Chosen One, the chosen of the chosen sons.  And His new Law, His new way – which again is but the fulfillment of the law laid out by Moses – is the cross.  Moses tells us of the compassion and justice of the Father, who cares for widows and orphans and aliens, and Jesus embodies that love and truth by being “delivered into the hands of men who will put Him to death” for our sin and to show the love God has for us in such utter sacrifice.

Brothers and sisters, allow me to note here that there is no distinction between the love and the justice of God: they are inseparable, the one ever complementing the other.  It is out of both love and a sense of justice that the Lord defends the widows and orphans, saving them from their oppressors and gathering them into His arms.  His love breeds justice and His justice love.  This is the way of God; and this must be our way as His children. 

Yes, God loves the world and so He sends His Son to make atonement for our sin.  We have sinned and atonement must be made; it cannot be otherwise.  And it cannot be otherwise but that God makes that atonement by His love.  Let us join to Him as sons in His holy sacrifice.  This is our special, blessed call.

 *******

O LORD, though in His love He made Himself

an outcast for our sakes, for our lack of love,  

Jesus is your only Son.

YHWH, you are the great God, mighty and awesome, your glory far above us and our ways.  Yet you bless us with your presence, you proclaim your Word to our hearts – you send your Son into our midst as the Temple in which we may worship you and so join ourselves to your surpassing glory.  For this grace let us never cease to praise you; let us never fail to follow in your way.

Your Son shows to us the way we must walk; the way of love He marks out for us in perfectly fulfilling your will, in freely going to the Cross.  Here your surpassing love for your poor creatures you reveal to us.  And this same love you call us to – this same glory is ours, O LORD, by the mercy He bears.

To this Temple let us come.  In your Son let us make our home.  He who humbles Himself for our sakes, who joins Himself to us for our salvation, let us follow unto glory.  Your Word be fulfilled in our midst.

Direct download: BC-080811-M_19_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

O humble preacher

who walked in poverty

with Christ your King

and spoke in power

to destroy lie by truth,

you gathered men around you

to be bearers of the grace of God,

to be men of the Gospel

inspired by love divine –

pray we shall be taught well

the faith

and walk with you in Jesus’ way,

that all we do

will be for the salvation of souls,

our lives even as our Savior’s.

May His Word

and deep love for others

lead us in all our work on earth

that always and in all things

we may beseech the Lord

to be with all His brothers.

Pray our hearts be set on His will

and we serve as His apostles.

Direct download: Aug._8_Dominic.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

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

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

to the mountain of God, Horeb.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, you give us the flesh of your Son

that we might live,

and you send your angels to guard us.

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

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

Direct download: BC-081212-Su_19_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

O reformer of the Church

and leader of her priests and people,

calling all to live the Gospel,

to give their hearts

in the service of Christ,

who alone can save men’s souls –

pray that your love for the Lord

and His holy Church

will be known in all

the members of His Body,

and so that apostles will be sent forth

to preach and to heal

even this day.

Pray we shall be one

with Him who made us,

eating His Body and drinking His Blood

and living according to the Word

He speaks to our souls

through MotherChurch

and all her faithful servants.

It is the Lord alone

who must be our concern;

pray we, too, shall walk in His footsteps.

Direct download: Aug._7_Cajetan.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

O martyrs of the faith

ordained by the Lord

to shed blood for His sake

and the sake of His Church,

to give witness to the glory of Christ

and so win the crown

of eternal life…

it is in your blood

and by your sacrifice

the Church has grown

and become strong –

pray it shall always stand firm

in confessing the faith

despite any threat

from the powers of this world;

pray every soul

shall give his life in joy

and so emerge victorious

in the spiritual combat.

Handed over to death for Jesus’ sake,

may we, too, come to life eternal.

Direct download: Aug._7_Sixtus_II_and_Companions.mp3
Category:Saints -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

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

“Praised be the Lord, I exclaim,

and I am safe from my enemies.”

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, let us praise your NAME

and so find safety from all our enemies.

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

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

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

Direct download: BC-080611-Sa_18_OT_I.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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

Mt.17:1-9 – Mk.9:2-10 – Lk.9:28b-36

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Music by Carie Fortney; used by permission.

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O LORD, how great is your power,

how bright your light,

and yet you make yourself known to our mortal eyes. 

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

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

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

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

Direct download: Transfiguration_2010.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

(Nm.20:1-13;   Ps.95:1-2,6-9;   Mt.16:13-23)

 

“‘You are the Messiah,’ Simon Peter answered,

‘the Son of the Living God!’”

 

With this response, because of this faith come from the “heavenly Father,” Jesus declares to Peter, “You are ‘Rock’, and on this rock I will build my Church.”  He entrusts to him the keys of the kingdom of heaven, with power to bind and loose.  As from the rock Moses struck, “water gushed out in abundance for the community… to drink,” so through Peter and the Church Christ has founded we are nourished by the sacraments and true teaching.  So the Son of the Living God is with us.

“Let us acclaim the Rock of our Salvation…  Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the Lord who made us.  For He is our God, and we are the people He shepherds, the flock He guides.”  By the hand of Peter the Lord guides the Church born of His blood.  Indeed, as Moses led the Israelites through the desert, so Peter leads us now to the gates of heaven.  Let us declare our faith with him; let us echo his words to the Lord, giving Him due praise and “joyfully sing[ing] psalms to Him.”  He is our God, He is our Savior, and in this Rock we take refuge. 

But let us remember, too, not to judge “by man’s standards but by God’s.”  His ways are not our ways, as both great leaders had to learn.  It seems to our human minds unfair that Moses should be deemed unfit to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land; it is they, after all, who continually tempted him with their grumbling, plotting even to take his life.  And why is the Lord so harsh toward Peter, even calling him “Satan”?  He is only concerned for Jesus’ life, is he not?  The Lord does not judge as we judge.  He wishes to teach Moses to deepen his love and concern for the people, that anger is never justified in the care of those in one’s charge – the Lord does not act in the rashness of anger and anxiety, and neither should we.  And to Peter He must show the necessity of the sacrifice of this life, that we must be “put to death” to be “raised up on the third day” – it is the laying down of this life which brings glory.

Really, in both cases the Lord is calling His leaders to lay down their lives for the people, to do as He does and take the people’s sins upon themselves.  And this is, of course, the call of us all – to be like Him, to join with our Savior, the Son of the Living God, in His sacrifice.  What is more against the standards of man than the cross of Christ, as Paul has told us elsewhere, “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (1Cor.1:23) – and yet the source of our salvation.  For to come to the Living God we proclaim as our own, this world and its passions must be left behind.  The Father dwells in highest heaven and His ways must become our own.  Take refuge now in the Rock of Christ and in His Church; this shall lead you to His presence.

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