Christ’s Universal Love / El Amor Universal de Cristo

Several months ago, I had the privilege of serving as Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion for the first time at a Sunday Mass. Although I had jumped in a time or two to help out during daily Mass, this still felt like a “first” for me. I was a little nervous about leaving my little ones in the pew, since my husband often has to go to the back with our toddler, but I knew my 10 year old could handle it. I had been asked personally to step up, since there was a need for volunteers and I felt called to serve. 

As the faithful came up to receive the Body of Christ, one by one, I was touched by their prayerful demeanor and devout reverence. But even more than that, I was drawn to their hands. As each communicant extended them toward me to receive Our Lord, I noticed how distinct each set of hands was. Some were wrinkled and twisted from age and arthritis. Some were dirty and rough from toil and labor. They were all different shapes, colors, sizes and textures, yet they all shared one thing in common. They held the Savior of the world. 

It was so beautiful to realize once again that God invites each and every one of us to His table. No matter what we look like, or how old we are, or where we come from, we are all invited. We are all called. We are all welcome. 

What a great reminder to all of us during this season of Lent, since, as Catholics, we are called to be universal in our love and hospitality, even to the point of loving our enemies. 

In today’s Gospel, we hear the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Jesus told it in response to the scribes and Pharisees who were complaining saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” They were not universal in their love and hospitality. In fact they were rather picky. And we can be too. It is easy to be kind to our friends and family that we get along with, but what about those parishioners or family members who try our patience? Would they be able to say that they feel loved by us? Not likely. 

This Lent, I invite you to add one more resolution to your fasting and prayer. Consider a few ways that you could show Christian hospitality to someone you have never shown love to before. Then, choose one and do it. This is just one small way we can follow Christ’s example of eating with sinners and welcoming back the prodigals.

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Hace varios meses, tuve el privilegio de servir como Ministro Extraordinario de la Sagrada Comunión por primera vez en una Misa dominical. Aunque había intervenido una o dos veces para ayudar durante la Misa diaria, esto todavía se sentía como una “primera vez” para mí. Estaba un poco nerviosa por dejar a mis hijos en el banco, ya que mi esposo a menudo tiene que ir atrás con la pequeña, pero sabía que mi hijo de 10 años podía cuidarlos. Me habían pedido personalmente que ayudara, ya que se necesitaban voluntarios y me sentí llamada a servir.

Cuando los fieles se acercaron para recibir el Cuerpo de Cristo, uno por uno, me conmovió su conducta de oración y su devota reverencia. Pero aún más que eso, me sentí atraído por sus manos. Mientras cada comulgante me las extendió para recibir a Nuestro Señor, noté cuán distinta era cada par de manos. Algunos estaban arrugados y retorcidos por la edad y la artritis. Algunos estaban sucios y ásperos por el trabajo duro. Todos tenían diferentes formas, colores, tamaños y texturas, pero todos compartían una cosa en común. Llevaban al Salvador del mundo.

Fue tan hermoso darme cuenta una vez más que Dios nos invita a todos y cada uno de nosotros a Su mesa. No importa cómo nos veamos, ni nuestra edad, ni de dónde venimos; todos estamos invitados. Todos estamos llamados. Todos somos bienvenidos.

Qué gran recordatorio para todos nosotros durante esta temporada de Cuaresma, ya que, como católicos, estamos llamados a ser universales en nuestro amor y hospitalidad, incluso hasta el punto de amar a nuestros enemigos.

En el Evangelio de hoy escuchamos la parábola del hijo pródigo. Jesús lo contó en respuesta a los escribas y fariseos que se quejaban diciendo: “Este recibe a los pecadores y come con ellos”. No fueron universales en su amor y hospitalidad. De hecho, eran bastante particulares. Y nosotros también podemos serlo. Es fácil ser amable con nuestros amigos y familiares con los que nos llevamos bien, pero ¿qué pasa con aquellos feligreses o familiares que ponen a prueba nuestra paciencia? ¿Podrían decir que se sienten amados por nosotros? No es muy probable.

Esta Cuaresma, te invito a agregar una resolución más al ayuno y la oración. Considera algunas formas en las que podrías mostrar hospitalidad cristiana a alguien a quien nunca antes le has mostrado amor. Luego, elige una cosa y hazlo. Esta es sólo una pequeña manera en que podemos seguir el ejemplo de Cristo de comer con los pecadores y dar la bienvenida a los pródigos.

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Feature Image Credit: Clay Banks, https://unsplash.com/photos/blue-and-white-brick-wall-YrYSlTuBvBA


Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works full time, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

Saturday of the Second Week of Lent

Reading 1 Mi 7:14-15, 18-20

Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock of your inheritance,
That dwells apart in a woodland,
in the midst of Carmel.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead,
as in the days of old;
As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt,
show us wonderful signs.

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins;
You will show faithfulness to Jacob,
and grace to Abraham,
As you have sworn to our fathers
from days of old.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12

R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Verse Before the Gospel Lk 15:18

I will get up and go to my father and shall say to him,
Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.

Gospel Lk 15:1-3, 11-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable.
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”‘
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.'”

– – –

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.

St. Agnes of Prague


St. Agnes of Prague

Feast date: Mar 02

St. Agnes was born in Prague in the year 1200, and probably died in the year 1281. She was the daughter of Ottocar, King of Bohemia and Constance of Hungary, who was a relative of St. Elizabeth. At an early age she was sent to the monastery of Treinitz, where she was educated in the hands of the Cistercian religious, who would eventually become her rank.

She was betrothed to Henry, son of the Emperor Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, but when the time arrived for the solemnization of the marriage, they backed out of the agreement. Ottokar then planned for Agnes to marry Henry III of England, but this was vetoed by the Emperor, who wanted to marry Agnes himself.

She then dedicated herself to the resolution of consecrating herself to the service of God in the sanctuary of the cloister. Emperor Frederick is said to have remarked: “If she had left me for a mortal man, I would have taken vengeance with the sword, but I cannot take offence because in preference to me she has chosen the King of Heaven.”

The servant of God entered the Order of St. Clare in the monastery of St. Saviour at Prague, which she herself had erected. She was elected abbess of the monastery, and through this office became a model of Christian virtue and religious observance for all. God favored her with the gift of miracles, and she predicted the victory of her brother Wenceslaus over the Duke of Austria.

The exact year of Agnes’ death is not certain, but 1281 is the most probable date. She was beatified in 1874 by Pope Pius IX and canonized by Pope John Paul II on November 12, 1989.

St. Angela of the Cross


St. Angela of the Cross

Feast date: Mar 02

St. Angela of the Cross is the Foundress of the Institute of the Sisters of the Company of the Cross.

Born on January 30, 1846 in Seville, Spain, and given the baptismal name “Maria of the Angels” Guerrero Gonzalez, the future Saint was affectionately known as “Angelita”. Her father worked as a cook in the convent of the Trinitarian Fathers, where her mother also worked doing the laundry. They had 14 children, with only six reaching adulthood.

Angelita was greatly influenced by the teaching and example of her pious parents, and was taught from an early age how to pray the Rosary. She could often be found in the parish church praying before the image of “Our Lady of Good Health”, while her mother prepared a nearby altar. In their own home, a simple altar was erected in honour of the Virgin Mary during the month of May, where the family would recite the Rosary and give special honour to Our Lady.

Angelita made her First Communion when she was eight, and her Confirmation when she was nine. She had little formal education, and began work as a young girl in a shoeshop. Her employer and teacher of shoe repair, Antonia Maldonado, was a holy woman; every day the employees prayed the Rosary together and read the lives of the Saints. Canon José Torres Padilla of Seville was Antonia’s spiritual director, and had a reputation of “forming saints”. Angelita was 16 years old when she met Fr. Torres and was put under his direction.

Angelita’s desire to enter religious life was growing, and when she was 19, she asked to enter the Discalced Carmelites in Santa Cruz but was refused admission because of her poor health. Instead, following the advice of Fr Torres, she began caring for destitute cholera patients, because a cholera epidemic was quickly spreading among the poor.

In 1868 Angelita tried once again to enter the convent, this time the Daughters of Charity of Seville. Although her health was still frail, she was admitted. The sisters tried to improve her health and sent her to Cuenca and Valencia, but to no avail. She left the Daughters of Charity during the novitiate and returned home to continue working in the shoeshop.

Fr Torres believed that God had a plan for Angelita, but this plan was still a mystery. On 1 November 1871, at the foot of the Cross, she made a private vow to live the evangelical counsels, and in 1873 she received the call from God that would mark the beginning of her “new mission”. During prayer, Angelita saw an empty cross standing directly in front of the one upon which Jesus was hanging. She understood immediately that God was asking her to hang from the empty cross, to be “poor with the poor in order to bring them to Christ”.

Angelita continued to work in the shoeshop, but under obedience to Fr Torres she dedicated her free time to writing a detailed spiritual diary that revealed the style and ideal of life she was being called to live. On 2 August 1875 three other women joined Angelita, beginning community life together in a room they rented in Seville. From that day on, they began their visits and gave assistance to the poor, day and night.

These Sisters of the Company of the Cross, under the guidance of Angelita, named “Mother Angela of the Cross”, lived an authentically recluse contemplative life when they were not among the poor. Once they returned to their home, they dedicated themselves to prayer and silence, but were always ready when needed to go out and serve the poor and dying. Mother Angela saw the sisters as “angels”, called to help and love the poor and sick in their homes who otherwise would have been abandoned.

In 1877 a second community was founded in Utrera, in the province of Seville, and a year later one in Ayamonte. Fr Torres died that same year, and Fr José María Alvarez was appointed as the second director of the Institute.

While Mother Angela was alive, another 23 convents were established, with the sisters edifying everyone they served by their example of charity, poverty and humility. In fact, Mother Angela herself was known by all as “Mother of the Poor”.

Mother Angela of the Cross died on 2 March 1932 in Seville. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 5 November 1982.

With her characteristic humility, she once wrote these words:  “The nothing keeps silent, the nothing does not want to be, the nothing suffers all…. The nothing does not impose itself, the nothing does not command with authority, and finally, the nothing in the creature is practical humility”.

Rejected but Redeemed / Rechazado Pero Redimido

Both the story of Joseph and the parable of the vineyard tell us that God prepares our good works ahead of time and that no matter what happens, our experiences are not wasted. Unless we choose to waste them.

At the end of Joseph’s story in Genesis, he tells his brothers, “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, (Genesis 50:20). All of Joseph’s experiences prepared him to become a man who was honored and respected by many while following God. His life and belief in the mercy of God gave him the grace to forgive, as he had been forgiven and treated mercifully. That is what God asks us to do in our own life. Recall the mercies he has poured out on you, the times you wanted to give up but, with his grace, kept moving forward, trusting, and holding onto faith.  Like Joseph’s story, others may reject us, but God never will. 

In the Gospel, we read how the wicked tenants do not uphold their responsibilities and, in anger, repeatedly hurt and kill the vineyard owner’s servants. When I read that, guilt rises up in me as I question how often I have done the same, not paid attention to God, and turned from him instead of listening and amending my life. 

I have rejected Truth. In his mercy, when I go back to God, he forgives me. This season of Lent is a time set apart to turn back fully to God to ask for forgiveness and mercy for all that we have done wrong. It is also a good time to forgive others like Joseph forgave his brothers. 

Look at a crucifix and pray, giving thanks that you are redeemed by the Son of the Father. You are redeemed both from and for love. And as Jesus says, the Kingdom of God will be given to people who will produce its fruit. Redemption needs a response. A response from the soul that begins with gratitude. In thanksgiving for our redemption, our response is to share this Good News with others. That is how we bear fruit for the Kingdom. 

Let us not reject what God wants to teach us or where he leads us. Pray to reject the false truths of the world. Pray to allow the grace of our redemption to breathe life into our souls and compel us to witness that redemption to the world.

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Tanto la historia de José como la parábola de la viña nos dicen que Dios prepara nuestras buenas obras con anticipación y que pase lo que pase, nuestras experiencias no son en vano. A menos que decidamos desperdiciarlos.

Al final de la historia de José en Génesis, él les dice a sus hermanos: “Ustedes pensaron hacerme mal, pero Dios cambió ese mal en bien” (Génesis 50,20). Todas las experiencias de José lo prepararon para convertirse en un hombre honrado y respetado por muchos mientras seguía a Dios. Su vida y su creencia en la misericordia de Dios le dieron la gracia de perdonar, tal como había sido perdonado y tratado con misericordia. Eso es lo que Dios nos pide que hagamos en nuestra propia vida. Recuerda las misericordias que ha derramado sobre ti, las veces que quisiste rendirte pero, con su gracia, seguiste adelante, confiando y aferrándote a la fe. Como en la historia de José, otros pueden rechazarnos, pero Dios nunca lo hará.

En el Evangelio leemos cómo los malvados labradores no cumplen con sus responsabilidades y, enojados, hieren y matan repetidamente a los sirvientes del dueño de la viña. Cuando leo eso, la culpa surge en mí al preguntarme con qué frecuencia he hecho lo mismo, no he prestado atención a Dios y me he alejado de él en lugar de escuchar y enmendar mi vida.

He rechazado la Verdad. En su misericordia, cuando vuelvo a Dios, él me perdona. Esta temporada de Cuaresma es un tiempo apartado para volvernos plenamente a Dios y pedirle perdón y misericordia por todo lo que hemos hecho mal. También es un buen momento para perdonar a los demás como José perdonó a sus hermanos.

Mira a un crucifijo y reza, dando gracias porque eres redimido por el Hijo del Padre. Eres redimido tanto por amor como para el amor. Y como dice Jesús, el Reino de Dios será dado a las personas que producen su fruto. La redención necesita una respuesta. Una respuesta del alma que comienza con el agradecimiento. En acción de gracias por nuestra redención, nuestra respuesta es compartir esta Buena Nueva con otros. Así damos frutos para el Reino.

No rechacemos lo que Dios quiere enseñarnos o hacia dónde nos lleva. Reza para rechazar las falsas verdades del mundo. Reza para permitir que la gracia de la redención infunda vida en nuestras almas y nos obligue a ser testigos de esa redención ante el mundo.

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Deanna G. Bartalini, M.Ed.; M.P.A., is a certified spiritual director, writer, speaker and content creator. The LiveNotLukewarm.com online community is a place to inform, engage and inspire your Catholic faith. Her weekly Not Lukewarm Podcast gives you tips and tools to live out your faith in your daily life.

Feature Image Credit: James Coleman, unsplash.com/photos/close-up-photography-of-crucifix-LdZJH6SxFV0

Friday of the Second Week of Lent

Reading 1 Gn 37:3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28a

Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons,
for he was the child of his old age;
and he had made him a long tunic.
When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons,
they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.

One day, when his brothers had gone
to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem,
Israel said to Joseph,
“Your brothers, you know, are tending our flocks at Shechem.
Get ready; I will send you to them.”

So Joseph went after his brothers and caught up with them in Dothan.
They noticed him from a distance,
and before he came up to them, they plotted to kill him.
They said to one another: “Here comes that master dreamer!
Come on, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here;
we could say that a wild beast devoured him.
We shall then see what comes of his dreams.”

When Reuben heard this,
he tried to save him from their hands, saying,
“We must not take his life.
Instead of shedding blood,” he continued,
“just throw him into that cistern there in the desert;
but do not kill him outright.”
His purpose was to rescue him from their hands
and return him to his father.
So when Joseph came up to them,
they stripped him of the long tunic he had on;
then they took him and threw him into the cistern,
which was empty and dry.

They then sat down to their meal.
Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead,
their camels laden with gum, balm and resin
to be taken down to Egypt.
Judah said to his brothers:
“What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood?
Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites,
instead of doing away with him ourselves.
After all, he is our brother, our own flesh.”
His brothers agreed.
They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 105:16-17, 18-19, 20-21

R. (5a) Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
When the LORD called down a famine on the land
and ruined the crop that sustained them,
He sent a man before them,
Joseph, sold as a slave.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
They had weighed him down with fetters,
and he was bound with chains,
Till his prediction came to pass
and the word of the LORD proved him true.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
The king sent and released him,
the ruler of the peoples set him free.
He made him lord of his house
and ruler of all his possessions.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.

Verse Before the Gospel Jn 3:16

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son;
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

Gospel Mt 21:33-43, 45-46

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them,
thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
They answered him,
“He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?

Therefore, I say to you,
the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables,
they knew that he was speaking about them.
And although they were attempting to arrest him,
they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.

– – –

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.

St. David of Wales


St. David of Wales

Feast date: Mar 01

Among Welsh Catholics, as well as those in England, March 1 is the liturgical celebration of Saint David of Wales.

St. David is the patron of the Welsh people, remembered as a missionary bishop and the founder of many monasteries during the sixth century.

David was a popular namesake for churches in Wales prior to the Anglican schism, and his feast day is still an important religious and civic observance.

Although Pope Benedict XVI did not visit Wales during his 2010 trip to the U.K., he blessed a mosaic icon of its patron, and delivered remarks praising St. David as “one of the great saints of the sixth century, that golden age of saints and missionaries in these isles, and…thus a founder of the Christian culture which lies at the root of modern Europe.”

In his comments, Pope Benedict recalled the saint’s dying words to his monastic brethren: “Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things.” He urged that St. David’s message, “in all its simplicity and richness, continue to resound in Wales today, drawing the hearts of its people to renewed love for Christ and his Church.”

From a purely historical standpoint, little is known of David’s life, with the earliest biography dating from centuries after his time. As with some other saints of sixth-century Wales, even the chronology of his life is not easy to ascertain.

David’s conception is said to have occurred as a result of rape – a detail that seems unlikely to have been invented by later biographers, though it cannot (like almost all of the traditions surrounding his life) be established with certainty. His mother Saint Nonna, or Nonnita, has her traditional feast day on March 3.

David appears to have been the cousin of his contemporary Saint Teilo, another Welsh bishop and monk. He is described as a pupil of the monastic educator Saint Paulinus, who was one of St. Teilo’s teachers as well. There are doubts, however, about the story which holds that David and Teilo traveled to Jerusalem and were ordained together as bishops.

It is clear that David served as the Bishop of Menevia, an important port city linking Wales and Ireland in his time. His leading role in two local councils of the Church is also a matter of record.

Twelve monasteries have their founding ascribed to David, who developed a reputation for strict asceticism. His monks modeled their lives on the earliest desert hermits – combining hard manual labor, silence, long hours of prayer, and a diet that completely excluded meat and alcohol.

The monks did not use animals to take care of their fields, and lived off of only bread, vegetables, and water.

One tradition places his death in the year 601, but other writers believe he died in the 540s. David may well have survived to an advanced age, but evidence is lacking for the claim (made by his 11th-century biographer) that he lived to the age of 147. Pope Callistus II canonized St. David of Wales in 1120.

God’s Lavish Ways / Las Maneras Abundantes de Dios

When God does things, he does them lavishly. The book of Genesis opens with the stunning array of all creation being poured forth from God’s hands in his limitless love. And here, in the familiar story of the rich man and Lazarus, we see two accounts of lavish living. The rich man clothed himself in fine linen and dined sumptuously, extravagantly, lavishly. 

On the other hand, we see Lazarus taken up to the bosom of Abraham, which means sitting in a place of honor at a banquet. One of my favorite illustrations of God’s lavish feast-giving is penned by the prophet Isaiah: 

“On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples A feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines. He will destroy death forever. The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces; The reproach of his people he will remove from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken.” (Is. 25:6, 8).

These words often bring tears to my eyes. There are so many who are suffering under burdens that weigh them down, crushing burdens mostly not of their own making. They are afraid to lift their eyes to this feast of rich food that “the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples.” 

God is telling you, however, “I want you at this banquet. Don’t make banquets of your own. Don’t hoard riches on this earth for yourself. Don’t give up hope when you are not wealthy. Trust entirely in my lavish love for you.”

The riches of God’s grace are not able to be measured, and they will be lavished on us for all eternity. In fact, it will take eternal ages for God to show us the riches of his grace through the kindness shown to us in Christ Jesu, his Son. 

There in the “bosom of Abraham,” like Lazarus, our tears will be wiped away, we will finally rest in the security of God’s provision and loving protection. We will be home in our God who can never be outdone in his lavish kindness.

Let us lift our eyes from our own wealth, however great or small it may be, and rest our gaze on the riches of God given to us even now in Christ Jesus: to live in communion with God through the sacraments in ever closer intimacy and unending joy.

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Cuando Dios hace las cosas, las hace abundantemente. El libro de Génesis comienza con la asombrosa variedad de toda la creación derramada de las manos de Dios en su amor ilimitado. Y aquí, en la conocida historia del hombre rico y Lázaro, vemos dos relatos de una vida lujosa. El hombre rico se vistió de lino fino y cenó suntuosamente, extravagante y profusamente.

Por otro lado, vemos a Lázaro llevado al seno de Abraham, lo que significa sentarse en un lugar de honor en un banquete. Una de mis ilustraciones favoritas del banquete espléndido de Dios está escrita por el profeta Isaías:

“En el monte Sión, el Señor todopoderoso preparará para todas las naciones un banquete con ricos manjares y vinos añejos,con deliciosas comidas y los más puros vinos. El Señor destruirá para siempre la muerte, secará las lágrimas de los ojos de todos y hará desaparecer en toda la tierra la deshonra de su pueblo. El Señor lo ha dicho.” (Isaías 25, 6 y 8).

Estas palabras a menudo me hacen llorar. Hay muchos que están sufriendo bajo cargas que los agobian, cargas aplastantes que en su mayoría no han sido creadas por ellos mismos. Tienen miedo de levantar los ojos hacia este banquete de comida rica que “el Señor todopoderoso preparará para todas las naciones”.

Sin embargo, Dios te está diciendo: “Quiero que vengas a este banquete. No hagas tus propios banquetes. No acumules riquezas en esta tierra para ti mismo. No pierdas la esperanza cuando no seas rico. Confía enteramente en mi abundante amor por ti”.

Las riquezas de la gracia de Dios no se pueden medir y nos serán prodigadas por toda la eternidad. De hecho, pasarán edades eternas para que Dios nos muestre las riquezas de su gracia a través de la bondad que nos muestra en Cristo Jesús, su Hijo.

Allí, en el “seno de Abraham”, como Lázaro, nuestras lágrimas serán secadas y finalmente descansaremos en la seguridad de la provisión y la protección amorosa de Dios. Estaremos en casa con nuestro Dios, quien nunca podrá ser superado en su abundante bondad.

Levantemos la vista de nuestra propia riqueza, por grande o pequeña que sea, y posemos la mirada en las riquezas de Dios que nos han sido dadas ahora en Cristo Jesús: vivir en comunión con Dios a través de los sacramentos en una intimidad cada vez más cercana y una alegría interminable.

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Sr. Kathryn J. Hermes

Sr. Kathryn James Hermes, FSP, is an author and offers online evangelization as well as spiritual formation for people on their journey of spiritual transformation and inner healing. Website: www.touchingthesunrise.com My Books: https://touchingthesunrise.com/books/
Public Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/srkathrynhermes/ HeartWork Spiritual Formation Group: https://touchingthesunrise.com/heartwork/

Feature Image Credit: Giani Pralea, pixabay.com/photos/mountains-birds-silhouette-sunset-100367/

Thursday of the Second Week of Lent

Reading 1 Jer 17:5-10

Thus says the LORD:
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings,
who seeks his strength in flesh,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a barren bush in the desert
that enjoys no change of season,
But stands in a lava waste,
a salt and empty earth.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose hope is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters
that stretches out its roots to the stream:
It fears not the heat when it comes,
its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress,
but still bears fruit.
More tortuous than all else is the human heart,
beyond remedy; who can understand it?
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.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6

R. (40:5a) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so, the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Verse Before the Gospel See Lk 8:15

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

Gospel Lk 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
Abraham replied, ‘My child,
remember that you received what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing
who might wish to go from our side to yours
or from your side to ours.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him
to my father’s house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said,
‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded
if someone should rise from the dead.'”

– – –

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.

St. Oswald


St. Oswald

Feast date: Feb 29

St. Oswald was a king of Northumbria from 634 until his death and is venerated as a saint.

Oswald spread the Christian faith throughout Northumbria. He had a cult following, and was generous with the poor.

There are many legends surrounding his reign.