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

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

 

“The truth will set you free.”

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

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

to rescue us from the fires of sin;

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

“From heaven He beheld the earth,

to hear the groaning of the prisoners,

to release those doomed to die.”

 

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

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, you have answered our prayers;

let us be released from death

by looking upon your crucified Son.

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

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

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

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

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

 

“Let the man among you who has no sin

be the first to cast a stone at her.”

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, open the gate that we might enter in

and dwell in your presence. 

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

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

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

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

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

 

“I am the resurrection and the life;

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

*******

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

that we might do your works in this world

and praise you forever in Heaven. 

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

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

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

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

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

 

“Let us destroy the tree in its vigor;

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

so that his name will be spoken no more.”

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, though the innocent man be condemned,

you are there to save him.

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

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

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

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

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

 

“He calls blest the destiny of the just

and boasts that God is His Father.”

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

*******

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

make us as the Just One sent by you.

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

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

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

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

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

 

“If you believed Moses you would then believe me,

for it was about me that he wrote.”

 

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, as Moses once stood in the breach

to save your people,

now Jesus would return us to your love –

let us listen to Him.

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

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

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

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

O chosen one of the Lord,

how well you answered His call,

giving yourself entirely

to the angel’s word

and so conceiving in your womb

the salvation of the world –

pray, O Spouse of the Holy Spirit,

that His voice might inspire in us

your same commitment to the Word of God

and its working in our lives;

pray the Son be conceived in us as well

that we too might serve

to bring His salvation forth

into the light of this day.

How shall we give ourselves

completely to the Lord

without your prayers, dear Mother,

without your blessed intercession…?

O pray we shall follow in your wake

and add our ‘yes’ to your own,

that the Lord may indeed work in us,

that He might make His home in us

and we come to our home in Heaven.

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

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

 

“Behold, I come to do your will.”

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission.

 

*******

O LORD, make us all as your handmaid,

ready to do your will. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

the holy dwelling of the Most High.”

 

Brothers and sisters, Jesus is our living water.

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

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

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

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

 

 *******

O LORD, let us be watered

by the flow from your sanctuary,

healed by your only Son

that we might bear fruit as your holy Church.

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

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

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

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

O missionary shepherd

whose love for the truth

was a love for Christ

and a desire for your flock

to know Him

and the way to glorify God,

you who gave yourself

for the Truth that is Christ

and for His Church on earth,

through whom He teaches all men

and brings them into His fold –

may we, too, lay down our lives

and work as hard as you have done

in the name of Jesus,

that all our lives

and the lives of all His flock

might be in accord

with the will of the Lord

and faithful to the Mother

He has left for our care;

let all that is not of God

be cast from our midst

by the Spirit of Truth this day.

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

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

 

“You changed my mourning into dancing.”

 

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

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

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

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

                                                                                               

*******

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

only give us new life in you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

“I am the light of the world.”

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, the innocent Lamb is Himself our Shepherd;

may we find salvation at His side. 

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

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

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

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

 

“As certain as the dawn is His coming,

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, show us your grace

that you might rejoice in our return to you.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, you are rejected, you are killed,

that your inheritance you might share with us. 

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

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

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

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

O righteous man called by God

to be foster-father of His only Son

and protector of His Mother,

you who were obedient to the Spirit,

who took Jesus by the hand

and led Him from the temple

in Jerusalem

to the home in Nazareth

where Mary made a place for Him –

pray that we shall be built

into the house of Abraham,

the man of faith,

into the house of David, your father,

into the House the Holy Spirit builds

for the faithful even this day,

where our Mother waits for us

with you and all the saints;

pray that we too shall hear the words

spoken over you by the Lord:

“Well done, good and faithful servant;

enter into the joy of your Master.”

Pray we shall be righteous

as you.

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

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

Mt.1:16,18-21,24a  or  Lk.2:41-51a) 

“I will be a father to him,

and he shall be my son.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

******* 

O LORD, let us dwell in your House forever.

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

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

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

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

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

O steadfast teacher of the faith

whom exile could not keep

from proclaiming the truths

of Scripture and the Church,

whose pastoral zeal

called souls

to the blessed chamber

of our divine Lord Jesus Christ

that we might unite with Him

who united Himself with us

to draw us unto Heaven –

pray that the shepherds of the Church

shall be just so diligent

and faithful

as you have consistently been

in imparting the Word of God

to waiting ears and hearts,

that all might be nourished well

and so prepared

to meet our King and Bridegroom,

grace upon grace

overflowing in souls

led by the Spirit of Truth.

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

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

 

“What great nation has statutes and decrees

that are as just as this whole law?”

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, though good be repaid with evil,

we shall rise on the third day

if we remain united to the sacrifice of your Son. 

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

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

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

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

O great apostle to the nations

who gave up your birthright of freedom

for the benefit of others,

who went forth in faith,

Christ ever above you and before you

and all around to protect you

who were brought through trial

to do His will

in bringing God to unbelievers,

you who never doubted –

pray that we, too, shall spend ourselves

for the sake of the Gospel

and all souls

yet to be gathered to the Lord,

that indeed from east and west

men shall come

and sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

in the kingdom of our God,

that from the ends of the earth

one people shall be drawn to Him…

and let us do all

without concern for persecution,

with the heart of a shepherd you had. 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

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

that we might be saved from our sin

and enter your kingdom.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, let us not turn away

from your Word to our souls

but be compassionate as you. 

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

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

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

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

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

 

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;

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

 

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

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

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

  

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

  

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

 

*******

O LORD, let us believe that your Son

is the Savior of the world,

and so have eternal life in Him. 

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

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

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

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

 

“While he was still a long way off,

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, show us your grace

that you might rejoice in our return to you. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, you are rejected, you are killed,

that your inheritance you might share with us. 

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

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

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

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

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

 

“He is like a tree planted beside the waters,

that stretches out its roots to the stream.”

 

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

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

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

 

*******

O LORD, let us be saved from torment

by walking in the way of your risen Son. 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, though good be repaid with evil,

we shall rise on the third day

if we remain united to the sacrifice of your Son.

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

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

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

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

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

 

“To him that goes the right way

I will show the salvation of God.”

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

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

that we might be saved from our sin

and enter your kingdom. 

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

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

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

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

O patient and loving soul

who cared for both

the physical and spiritual needs

of the poor and the sick,

who with a gentle word

would rebuke sins

and heal division

and with a gentle touch

bind the wounds

and smooth the beds

of the ill

in your home and in hospital,

who saw that remedies for the soul,

the Bread of life and holy Confession,

were available, too,

through the hands of a priest –

who cares as deeply and fully

for the needs of souls

this day?

Increase their number;

pray the Lord touch all souls

with your same patient affection,

with the love only He knows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******

O LORD, let us not turn away

from your Word to our souls

but be compassionate as you.

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

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

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

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

O servant of love

whom the angels knew

to be of God

for your blessed care

of the poor and the sick

and all the needy pilgrims

who came to you in abundance

that you might be the greater blest

by what you did for the least

of Christ’s brothers,

you who turned from the world

to absolute service of the Lord

and complete trust in His providence –

please pray that our hearts

may be enlarged

and we find the grace

to lay down our lives so freely

for the needs of others,

for their well-being,

that as we welcome all who come to us

we might ourselves be welcomed

in our misery

into the loving arms of Jesus. 

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

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

 

“Rise, and do not be afraid.”

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

*******

O LORD, let your eyes be upon us

to guide us by your holy light,

and let our eyes look up and meet your own. 

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

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

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

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

O blessed martyrs

who willingly and happily

suffered a cruel death

by the teeth of beasts

and the point of a sword,

all for love of Jesus –

how can we match your faith;

where shall we find the strength

you displayed

in ecstasy at tortures

devised by the wicked of this earth,

and can we call ourselves Christian otherwise?

Pray for us, dear martyrs,

that the Lord will bless us

with such favor

as you have known

and we, too, will be enabled

to stand in joy

even in the face of the severest persecution,

even at the time of our death…

even then may Heaven be with us.

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

*******

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

we shall come to where you are, in Heaven.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

*******

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

that we might walk with you in righteousness

and so find life.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

*******

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

and have no one but you to help us;

thank you for your mercy. 

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

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

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

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

O patron of the impoverished

who though son of a king

counted yourself among

the poor in spirit,

you whose love abundantly flowed

to all in need,

who sought the purity

of our Blessed Mother,

who thirsted for our Lord

in the Blessed Sacrament,

who devoted yourself

to prayer

and constant works of charity –

teach us this day to be pure

and set our hearts

on serving the poor

that we too might come

to share the kingdom

with all God’s children,

all those who empty themselves

of the things of this world

to find the grace

of Heaven.

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

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

 

“At the preaching of Jonah they reformed.”

 

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

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

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

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

*******

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

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

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

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

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

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

O mother to the poor

and disadvantaged,

missionary to those in your own country

isolated from their neighbors

because of the color of their skin,

some who lived upon the land

long before those who oppressed them,

others brought to this land

in chains…

you who sought to break the chains

of ignorance and poverty,

who gave your treasure

and the riches of your soul

that those without

might find a home –

pray for souls still disadvantaged

by poverty or ignorance;

pray that those with

and those without

might meet as one,

as brothers before the Lord

here on earth

and in the heavenly kingdom.

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

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

 

“Give us today our daily bread.”

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

*******

O LORD, may the grace of your forgiveness

flow upon us and through us

and so bear the fruit of salvation. 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

you did it for me.”

 

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

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

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

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

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

*******

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

let us be obedient to your call to compassion.

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

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

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

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