Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Reading I Ex 32:15-24, 30-34

Moses turned and came down the mountain
with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands,
tablets that were written on both sides, front and back;
tablets that were made by God,
having inscriptions on them that were engraved by God himself.
Now, when Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting,
he said to Moses, “That sounds like a battle in the camp.”
But Moses answered, “It does not sound like cries of victory,
nor does it sound like cries of defeat;
the sounds that I hear are cries of revelry.”
As he drew near the camp, he saw the calf and the dancing.
With that, Moses’ wrath flared up, so that he threw the tablets down
and broke them on the base of the mountain.
Taking the calf they had made, he fused it in the fire
and then ground it down to powder,
which he scattered on the water and made the children of Israel drink.

Moses asked Aaron, “What did this people ever do to you
that you should lead them into so grave a sin?”
Aaron replied, “Let not my lord be angry.
You know well enough how prone the people are to evil.
They said to me, ‘Make us a god to be our leader;
as for the man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt,
we do not know what has happened to him.’
So I told them, ‘Let anyone who has gold jewelry take it off.’
They gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and this calf came out.”

On the next day Moses said to the people,
“You have committed a grave sin.
I will go up to the LORD, then;
perhaps I may be able to make atonement for your sin.”
So Moses went back to the LORD and said,
“Ah, this people has indeed committed a grave sin
in making a god of gold for themselves!
If you would only forgive their sin!
If you will not, then strike me out of the book that you have written.”
The LORD answered, “Him only who has sinned against me
will I strike out of my book.
Now, go and lead the people to the place I have told you.
My angel will go before you.
When it is time for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”

Responsorial Psalm 106:19-20, 21-22, 23

R.     (1a)  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
    and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
    for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R.     Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
    who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
    terrible things at the Red Sea.
R.     Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
    but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
    to turn back his destructive wrath.
R.     Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

Alleluia Jas 1:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Father willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 13:31-35

Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
that a person took and sowed in a field.
It is the smallest of all the seeds,
yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
It becomes a large bush,
and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”

He spoke to them another parable.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast
that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch was leavened.”

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.
He spoke to them only in parables, 
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:

    I will open my mouth in parables,
    I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Sts. Joachim and Anne, Parents of Mary, Friends Who Love You

I was thinking today how wonderful it would have been to live next door to Saints Joachim and Anne, listening to each other’s stories, crying and laughing with them. It would have been a great blessing. But wait! We kind of had that with our next door neighbors of 21 years. When they moved in next to us, the wife was having their second son and eventually had a daughter. Along the same path, we had five boys and three girls. It was life changing for my wife. And for me. My wife and our neighbor became soul mates and loved each other dearly. If you have friends that love you for who you are, you have a great treasure.

We now live hundreds of miles apart but still keep in contact. We missed those days. But they all prepared us for being better Christians later in life. We have done things that we never thought we would do. God is good! So, what am I trying to say?? The people we hang out with have a major impact on our own spiritual life. Some of you have a great support system. It could be members of your family or extended family, or friends from church or neighbors. 

If you say that those are not the kind of friends you have, but would like to; I would think that being involved in your Church would be a great start. Currently all our friends are from the three parishes that I am a Deacon in. All these parishes have different personalities, but we all have common goals.

Anne and Joachim remind me of the Holy Family. They had to be pretty holy to birth a daughter like our Blessed Mother. Ann Catherine Emerick said that when our Blessed Mother was brought to the temple, Joachim wept copious tears. Perhaps tonight you can meditate on that event, bringing Mary to the temple to be raised and educated there. If it sounds like a radical quest by the Lord, it’s probably true.

Serving with joy.

Contact the author

Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They are the parents of eight children and twenty-nine grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

Featured Image Credit: Beth Macdonald, https://unsplash.com/photos/cAZKcDUEf1k

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading I 2 Kgs 4:42-44

A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing to Elisha, the man of God,
twenty barley loaves made from the firstfruits,
and fresh grain in the ear. 
Elisha said, “Give it to the people to eat.” 
But his servant objected,
“How can I set this before a hundred people?” 
Elisha insisted, “Give it to the people to eat.” 
“For thus says the LORD,
‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.’” 
And when they had eaten, there was some left over,
as the LORD had said.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18

R. (cf. 16) The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
    and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
    and speak of your might.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
The eyes of all look hopefully to you,
    and you give them their food in due season;
you open your hand
    and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
The LORD is just in all his ways
    and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
    to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.

Reading II Eph 4:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace:
one body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

Alleluia Lk 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has risen in our midst.
God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 6:1-15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. 
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. 
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples. 
The Jewish feast of Passover was near. 
When Jesus raised his eyes
and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip,
“Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” 
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do. 
Philip answered him,
“Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.” 
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?” 
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” 
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. 
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. 
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted. 
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
“Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted.” 
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments 
from the five barley loaves
that had been more than they could eat. 
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
“This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” 
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king,
he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Hearing Anew

Spend any amount of time in the Scriptures or attending Mass, and you may be tempted to let your mind drift during the readings with the misleading rationale, “I’ve heard this all before.” While that is likely (and hopefully) true, do you take into account that each time hearing the Word of God, you are not the same person who heard it the last time? With every passing of each day, especially if we take to heart the call for daily conversion, we are a new creation in Christ. Between the first time you heard this passage in John’s Gospel until today, many things happened, skewing how you perceive the message. You are older, perhaps wiser, and experienced many simple and profound moments that continue to shape you and your relationship with Jesus.

Look with renewed eyes at John’s Gospel. Ask for wisdom and grace to hear and discern what wisdom or blessing God has for you today. Here are a few passages from John 6:1-15 to contemplate:

  • “Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples.” When a Rabbi sat down, his students knew to gather near because he was about to teach, as a Rabbi always taught from a seated position.
  • Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Jesus’ instructions for the people to recline placed them in a posture that prepared them to receive God’s blessings. Here the blessing would soon be bread and fish to satisfy the hunger of all present and a powerful prefiguration of the True Food; He will come to satiate far more than our physical hunger.
  • “Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining.” During the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes, we hear what should be familiar words to the faithful. The taking, blessing, and breaking of bread all with a heart of thanksgiving to God—a formula we see again when Jesus institutes the Eucharist.
  • When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” The disciples filled twelve wicker baskets with the remnants. All those present, reclined, and trusting were satisfied with still an abundance left over. Truly, God’s generosity cannot be matched or depleted.
  • “Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.” Jesus, though indeed King, withdrew to avoid the people’s actions because His Kingdom is not of this world. The people wanted Him to attend to their physical needs; however, He desired a far more critical calling to care for their spiritual well-being. Again and again, we see Jesus withdraw to make time for prayer, quiet contemplation, and time along with the Father, an example we can also learn from and emulate.

What new things did you notice in reading today’s Gospel? What words or actions touched your heart or intrigued you? Where do you see God speaking to you, teaching you, maybe even challenging you? Are you willing to come closer, recline, listen, and be fed by Jesus? 

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Allison Gingras works for WINE: Women In the New Evangelization as National WINE Steward of the Virtual Vineyard. She is a Social Media Consultant for the Diocese of Fall River and CatholicMom.com. She is a writer, speaker, and podcaster, who founded ReconciledToYou.com and developed the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (OSV).   

Feature Image Credit: Elmer Cañas, https://unsplash.com/photos/QIm1tLnDNHo

The views and opinions expressed in the Inspiration Daily blog are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Diocesan, the Diocesan staff, or other contributors to this blog.

Saturday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I Ex 24:3-8

When Moses came to the people
and related all the words and ordinances of the LORD,  
they all answered with one voice,
“We will do everything that the LORD has told us.”
Moses then wrote down all the words of the LORD and,
rising early the next day,
he erected at the foot of the mountain an altar
and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. 
Then, having sent certain young men of the children of Israel
to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice young bulls
as peace offerings to the LORD,
Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls;
the other half he splashed on the altar.
Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people,
who answered, “All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do.”
Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying,
“This is the blood of the covenant
that the LORD has made with you
in accordance with all these words of his.”

Responsorial Psalm 50:1b-2, 5-6, 14-15

R.     (14a)  Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
God the LORD has spoken and summoned the earth,
    from the rising of the sun to its setting.
From Zion, perfect in beauty,
    God shines forth.
R.    Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
“Gather my faithful ones before me,
    those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
And the heavens proclaim his justice;
    for God himself is the judge.
R.    Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
“Offer to God praise as your sacrifice
     and fulfill your vows to the Most High;
Then call upon me in time of distress;
     I will rescue you, and you shall glorify me.”
R.    Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.

Alleluia Jas 1:21bc

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 13:24-30

Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.
“The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man
who sowed good seed in his field.
While everyone was asleep his enemy came
and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.
When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.
The slaves of the householder came to him and said,
‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?
Where have the weeds come from?’
He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’
His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds
you might uproot the wheat along with them.
Let them grow together until harvest;
then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters,
“First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning;
but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

That’s His Job

“To some God and Jesus may appeal in a way other than to us: some may come to faith in God and to love, without a conscious attachment to Jesus. Both nature and good men besides Jesus may lead us to God. They who seek God with all their hearts must, however, some day on their way meet Jesus.” 

-Heinrich Weinel and Alban G. Widgery, Jesus in the Nineteenth Century and After

Last Sunday, in the Old Testament reading, we heard God’s promise to a suffering people that he would take care of them. God’s fulfillment of that promise is Jesus, his very Son. 

Today, we hear the parable of the Sower of the Good Seed. It was a smack-my-head moment, one of those, why didn’t I ever see this before moments of clarity. I spend way too much time focusing on the wrong part of the job. We love to see the fruits of our labors. Our society values those who complete a process, those who “bring home the bacon”, who reap what they sow.  But the reaping, bringing in the crops, just plain isn’t my job. I don’t get to decide what (or who) is good and truly beautiful. I don’t make the call as to what (or who) is worthy of the Kingdom of God. I am not called to harvest the crop and everytime I become more concerned with how it all turns out, I am off task. I am not called to harvest the crop, I am called to sow the crop. Jesus will handle the harvesting, that’s His job, that is the fulfillment of the Old Testament promise. 

It isn’t my job to worry about what people do after they meet Jesus. My job is to live my life in such a way, that each and every action I take is a sowing of good seed. The more good seed I sow, the more likely the people I encounter will have the opportunity of encountering Jesus through me. Jesus doesn’t deal with people the way we do. When Jesus encounters someone, he leaves them changed forever. But before that can happen, the seeds have to be planted. They have to blossom and be like the sunflower gardens that invite you to get lost in the beauty and eventually to look up beyond the flowers and see the sun itself.

So for today, I am going to let go of my vision of what things should be like, and I am going to put my effort into the part of the Kingdom God has placed in my care. I am going to sow seeds of love and acceptance. I am going to stand for those who have no one else to stand for them. I am going to go outside of what makes me comfortable to give comfort to others. Then, just maybe, they will get lost in the beauty and look beyond this world and see the Son himself.

He’ll bring them home, that’s His job. I just need to sow the seeds. 

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Sheryl O’Connor delights in being the number 1 cheerleader and supporter for her husband, Tom who is a candidate for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Kalamazoo. They are so grateful for the opportunity to grow together in this process whether it is studying for classes, deepening their prayer life or discovering new ways to serve together. Sheryl’s day job is serving her community as the principal for St. Therese Catholic School in Wayland, Michigan. Since every time she thinks she gets life all figured out, she realizes just how far she has to go, St. Rita of Cascia is her go-to Saint for intercession and help. Home includes Brea, a Bernese Mountain dog and Carlyn, a very, very goofy Golden Retriever.

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Friday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I Ex 20:1-17

In those days:
God delivered all these commandments:

    “I, the LORD, am your God, 
    who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.
You shall not have other gods besides me.
You shall not carve idols for yourselves 
    in the shape of anything in the sky above 
    or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; 
    you shall not bow down before them or worship them.
For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, 
    inflicting punishment for their fathers’ wickedness 
    on the children of those who hate me, 
    down to the third and fourth generation; 
    but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation 
    on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain.
For the LORD will not leave unpunished 
    him who takes his name in vain.

“Remember to keep holy the sabbath day.
Six days you may labor and do all your work, 
    but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God.
No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, 
    or your male or female slave, or your beast, 
    or by the alien who lives with you.
In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, 
    the sea and all that is in them; 
    but on the seventh day he rested.
That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother, 
    that you may have a long life in the land 
    which the LORD, your God, is giving you.

“You shall not kill.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, 
    nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, 
    nor anything else that belongs to him.”

Responsorial Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R.    (John 6:68c)  Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
    refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
    giving wisdom to the simple.
R.    Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
    enlightening the eye.
R.    Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
    enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
    all of them just.
R.    Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
They are more precious than gold,
    than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
    or honey from the comb.
R.    Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

Alleluia See Lk 8:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 13:18-23

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Hear the parable of the sower.
The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the Kingdom
without understanding it,
and the Evil One comes and steals away
what was sown in his heart.
The seed sown on rocky ground
is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.
But he has no root and lasts only for a time.
When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
he immediately falls away.
The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word,
but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word
and it bears no fruit.
But the seed sown on rich soil
is the one who hears the word and understands it,
who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Good Soil

In today’s Gospel we hear Christ’s explanation of a parable that I’m sure we’re all familiar with: the Parable of the Sower. 

He explains that the four different types of soil are representative of four different types of people. The seed that falls on that path but is stolen away is the person who does not understand the Gospel so the Evil One steals what was taking root in the person’s heart. The seed that falls on rocky soil but is scorched by the sun because it has no roots is the person who hears the Gospel and is blessed with great joy but soon falls away because of persecution. The seed that falls among the thorns is the person who hears the Gospel but is preoccupied by worldly things and does not live or share the Word. The seed that falls on good soil is the person who hears the Gospel, understands, lives it, and shares it with others. 

We will all encounter each type of soil, each type of person in our lives. Perhaps we will even act as the sowers and talk to each type of person about the faith. But we will also encounter each type of person within ourselves. 

How many times have we heard something in Scripture, in a homily, or in a talk and not understood it? Do we ask someone more knowledgeable than us to help us understand or do we forget it and not give it a second thought? That’s the seed falling on the path.

How many times have we gone on a retreat and been so on fire with the Holy Spirit and for our faith while we’re there, but then as soon as we return to our ordinary, daily lives and to our routines and the fire dies out a little bit? That’s the seed falling on rocky soil.

How many times have we been afraid to share our faith at work or in our communities? Or how many times have we not paid attention in Mass because something else was on our minds? That’s the seed falling among the thorns. 

But how much joy do we find in sharing the Gospel with others? How often do we find great joy and peace in participating in the Sacraments? What does it feel like when we recognize Christ in others? That’s the seed falling on good soil. 

We are all capable of throwing seed on the path and of being the rocky, thorny, or good soil. If we acknowledge that we don’t understand everything, recognize what our thorns are, and when we have a tendency to shy away from the faith because of persecution, then we are able to overcome those obstacles and replace the thorns and rocks with good soil. 

Today is the feast of St. Bridget of Sweden and I encourage you to read about her life! May we, following the example of St. Bridget, pray for Christ to do His will through us and pray that we may sow seeds of faith in good soil in which the faith is planted.

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.

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Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene

Reading I Sgs 3:1-4b

The Bride says:
On my bed at night I sought him
whom my heart loves–
I sought him but I did not find him.
I will rise then and go about the city;
in the streets and crossings I will seek
Him whom my heart loves.
I sought him but I did not find him.
The watchmen came upon me,
as they made their rounds of the city:
Have you seen him whom my heart loves?
I had hardly left them
when I found him whom my heart loves.

OR: 

2 Cor 5:14-17

Brothers and sisters:
The love of Christ impels us,
once we have come to the conviction that one died for all;
therefore, all have died.
He indeed died for all,
so that those who live might no longer live for themselves
but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Consequently, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh;
even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh,
yet now we know him so no longer.
So whoever is in Christ is a new creation:
the old things have passed away;
behold, new things have come.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

R. (2) My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
You are my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
your right hand upholds me.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Tell us Mary, what did you see on the way?
I saw the glory of the risen Christ, I saw his empty tomb.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 20:1-2, 11-18

On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.” 

Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken my Lord,
and I don’t know where they laid him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
“Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew,
“Rabbouni,” which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her,
“Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he told her.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Stay with Me

Mary stayed. There are some lines in Scripture that speak so much louder than their few words. When we read today’s Gospel slowly, we see it was a busy morning for Mary Magdalene. 

First, she rises, before dawn, and goes to the tomb. Upon seeing the stone rolled away, she returns (can’t you see her flying down the path, disregarding decorum as she sprints to the apostles?) to the disciples to tell them. She then turns around and runs back with some of them who wish to see for themselves. 

After seeing the empty tomb, the disciples must have returned, confused and feeling lost. What could have happened? Why? Mary, exhausted at this point, stays. She weeps for the one she has lost, twice now it would seem. 

In her sorrow, Mary doesn’t turn inward, as many of us are tempted to do when we are hurting. The disciples were hurting and in their sorrow, they walked away. Even if it was only to the outside of the garden, they still left the place of pain. Mary chose a different path. Though she was full of grief and was openly weeping, the Gospel also shows us that she wasn’t completely consumed with sorrow. She still had hope that something was not yet finished. 

How do we know Mary maintained her hope in the midst of this terrible moment? The next verse tells us that she “bent over into the tomb.” She looked again! This small action is what sets in motion John’s Resurrection story. Mary sees the angels, who engage her in conversation and turn her attention to the resurrected Jesus, standing before her. 

Even in the midst of her sorrow, Mary found the hope God placed in her, the hope He places in all of us. From that hope, she drew enough courage to look into the tomb. 

All of us will encounter suffering. Many of us are suffering at this present moment. Life is a challenge and things do not often go as planned. We go through times of pain, of sorrow, of grief, of anger, of disappointment. The disciples of Jesus felt these same things. They wished things were different, that it wasn’t so hard. 

The lesson Mary Magdalene taught them, and what she can teach all of us, is to not lose the hope we have been gifted by God. There is always a way forward, we have to trust that God’s plan is more marvelous than we could plan. We also have to trust that God’s timing may not be our timing. This is why we wait, as Mary did, in patient hope, for God to reveal Himself to us.

Contact the author

Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at DailyGraces.net.

Feature Image Credit: Meruyert Gonullu, https://www.pexels.com/photo/formation-of-rough-dry-cave-in-daytime-6243312/