Daily Readings Audio | Daily Meditation | February 17, 2020 – February 23, 2020

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February 17, 2020

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Optional memorial The Seven Holy Founders of the Service Order

Today’s first reading from the letter of Saint James speaks of the generosity of God, who gives to all ungrudgingly, particularly to those who ask in faith. Through faith, we persevere in our various trials. In today’s Gospel from Mark, Jesus encounters the Pharisees, who argue with Jesus and seek a sign from him, but no sign will be given to their generation.

No sign is needed other than Jesus himself.

Frustrated and saddened by the Pharisees’ doubts, Jesus refuses to offer the Jewish leaders a sign of his divinity or power. Jesus himself is the ultimate sign of God’s presence, and love for us. We can trust and persevere in faith, because God gave all to us, in his Son generously and ungrudgingly. Let us pray for all of us, may we grow in compassion and love through the grace of the Holy Spirit and the example of Jesus. Amen.

Monday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 335

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Reading 1 Jas 1:1-11

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
to the twelve tribes in the dispersion, greetings.

Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters,
when you encounter various trials,
for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
And let perseverance be perfect,
so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
But if any of you lacks wisdom,
he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly,
and he will be given it.
But he should ask in faith, not doubting,
for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea
that is driven and tossed about by the wind.
For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord,
since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways.

The brother in lowly circumstances
should take pride in high standing,
and the rich one in his lowliness,
for he will pass away “like the flower of the field.”
For the sun comes up with its scorching heat and dries up the grass,
its flower droops, and the beauty of its appearance vanishes.
So will the rich person fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

Responsorial Psalm 119:67, 68, 71, 72, 75, 76

R. (77a)  Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I hold to your promise.
R. Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
You are good and bountiful;
teach me your statutes.
R. Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
that I may learn your statutes.
R. Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
R. Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
I know, O LORD, that your ordinances are just,
and in your faithfulness you have afflicted me.
R.    Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
Let your kindness comfort me
according to your promise to your servants.
R. Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.

Alleluia Jn 14:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 8:11-13

The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus,
seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.
He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said,
“Why does this generation seek a sign?
Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”
Then he left them, got into the boat again,
and went off to the other shore.

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For the readings of the Optional Memorial of the Seven Founders of the Order of Servites, please go here.

 

February 18, 2020

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James writes in his letter that God is not the subject of temptation, but the source of every perfect gift. In the Gospel, Jesus warns his disciples to beware the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod. When they misunderstand, he reminds them of when he broke the loaves and fed the crowds and asks them, do you still not understand?

God is the giver of every good gift.

Jesus warns his disciples against the corrupting influence of the Pharisees, including their demand for signs. He reminds them of the signs they have just witnessed, precursors to the Eucharist feast. Do they still not understand? God is the giver of every good gift. May we who have received the mysteries of faith have the gift of understanding? Let us pray for all members of the Church, may they always receive the grace of persevere in the face of temptation. Amen.

Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 336

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Reading 1 Jas 1:12-18

Blessed is he who perseveres in temptation,
for when he has been proven he will receive the crown of life
that he promised to those who love him.
No one experiencing temptation should say,
“I am being tempted by God”;
for God is not subject to temptation to evil,
and he himself tempts no one.
Rather, each person is tempted when lured and enticed by his desire.
Then desire conceives and brings forth sin,
and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters:
all good giving and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.
He willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

Responsorial Psalm 94:12-13a, 14-15, 18-19

R. (12a) Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.
Blessed the man whom you instruct, O LORD,
whom by your law you teach,
Giving him rest from evil days.
R. Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.
For the LORD will not cast off his people,
nor abandon his inheritance;
But judgment shall again be with justice,
and all the upright of heart shall follow it.
R. Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.
When I say, “My foot is slipping,”
your mercy, O LORD, sustains me;
When cares abound within me,
your comfort gladdens my soul.
R. Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.

Alleluia Jn 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord;
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 8:14-21

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread,
and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.
Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out,
guard against the leaven of the Pharisees
and the leaven of Herod.”
They concluded among themselves that
it was because they had no bread.
When he became aware of this he said to them,
“Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember,
when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?”
They answered him, “Twelve.”
“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”
They answered him, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

 

February 19, 2020

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The passage from the letter of James gives practical advice to Christians concerning everyday living. He advises them to be slow to anger, and doers of the word of God. In the Gospel, Jesus restores the sight of a blind man in Bethsaida.

We put our faith into action by caring for others.

An active prayer life is certainly essential in order to follow the will of God in our lives, but today’s readings make it clear that Christian living is about prayer and action. The letter of James exhorts Christians to be doers of the Word, and in the Gospel Jesus heals a blind man. Christians are called to prayerfully seek ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the world. Let us pray for all those who have died in the peace of Christ, may God grant them eternal rest and peace. Amen.

Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 337

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Reading 1 Jas 1:19-27

Know this, my dear brothers and sisters:
everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger
for anger does not accomplish
the righteousness of God.
Therefore, put away all filth and evil excess
and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.

Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer,
he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror.
He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets
what he looked like.
But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres,
and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts;
such a one shall be blessed in what he does.

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue
but deceives his heart, his religion is vain.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this:
to care for orphans and widows in their affliction
and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Responsorial Psalm 15:2-3a, 3bc-4ab, 5

R. (1b)  Who shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord?
He who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. Who shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord?
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
By whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. Who shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord?
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. Who shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord?

Alleluia Eph 1:17-18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to his call.
R. Alleluia, alleluia

Gospel Mk 8:22-26

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida,
people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.
He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.
Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked,
“Do you see anything?”
Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.”
Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly;
his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.
Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.”

 

February 20, 2020

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In the first reading, Saint James instructs the community to show no partiality between rich and poor when ministering to them. In the Gospel, Jesus asks his disciples, who do people say that I am? And who do you say that I am? After Peter acknowledges that he is the Christ, Jesus foretells of his passion, death and resurrection.

See the world as God sees it, and accept help to do so.

Sometimes it can be hard to see exactly what is in front of us, at least with full understanding, without another set of eyes or a good counselor by our side. In the Gospel, Peter knows that Jesus is the Christ, but he does not yet understand what that means. Through Christ, he will learn. In the community to which Saint James writes, they are failing in their Christian duty by showing preference to the rich over the poor. So James advises them on how to make corrections. Both readings urge us to see the world as God sees it, and not to be afraid when we might need others’ help in doing so. Let us pray for all who lead the Church, may the power of the Spirit provide them the graces they need in their ministry. Amen.

Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 338

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Reading 1 Jas 2:1-9

My brothers and sisters, show no partiality
as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.
For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes
comes into your assembly,
and a poor person with shabby clothes also comes in,
and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes
and say, “Sit here, please,”
while you say to the poor one, “Stand there,” or “Sit at my feet,”
have you not made distinctions among yourselves
and become judges with evil designs?

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters.
Did not God choose those who are poor in the world
to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom
that he promised to those who love him?
But you dishonored the poor.
Are not the rich oppressing you?
And do they themselves not haul you off to court?
Is it not they who blaspheme the noble name that was invoked over you?
However, if you fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture,
You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well.
But if you show partiality, you commit sin,
and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

Responsorial Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

Alleluia John 6:63c, 68c

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 8:27-33

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

 

February 21, 2020

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Optional memorial Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

In the first reading, James asks: what good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? He notes that faith without works is dead. Jesus says to the crowd and his disciples that all who wish to follow him must take up their cross daily.

True faith is faith-in-action

Today’s readings call us to take our faith very seriously, not as a list of beliefs that we rattle off, but as the very center of our lives. We are called to live this faith in action for all children of God, laying our lives down for Jesus and his Gospel. Let us pray for world leaders, may the Spirit guide their efforts as they work to provide for all people especially the most vulnerable. Amen.

Friday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 339

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Reading 1 Jas 2:14-24, 26

What good is it, my brothers and sisters,
if someone says he has faith but does not have works?
Can that faith save him?
If a brother or sister has nothing to wear
and has no food for the day,
and one of you says to them,
“Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,”
but you do not give them the necessities of the body,
what good is it?
So also faith of itself,
if it does not have works, is dead.

Indeed someone might say,
“You have faith and I have works.”
Demonstrate your faith to me without works,
and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.
You believe that God is one.
You do well.
Even the demons believe that and tremble.
Do you want proof, you ignoramus,
that faith without works is useless?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works
when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar?
You see that faith was active along with his works,
and faith was completed by the works.
Thus the Scripture was fulfilled that says,
Abraham believed God,
and it was credited to him as righteousness,

and he was called the friend of God.
See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
For just as a body without a spirit is dead,
so also faith without works is dead.

Responsorial Psalm 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (see 1b)  Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord’s commands.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord’s commands.
Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
R. Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord’s commands.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just man shall be in everlasting remembrance.
R. Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord’s commands.

Alleluia Jn 15:15b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I call you my friends, says the Lord,
for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 8:34–9:1

Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the Gospel will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
What could one give in exchange for his life?
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words
in this faithless and sinful generation,
the Son of Man will be ashamed of
when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

He also said to them,
“Amen, I say to you,
there are some standing here who will not taste death
until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.”

For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Damian, please go here.

 

February 22, 2020

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The Chair of Peter the Apostle – Feast

Saint Peter exhorts the officially appointed leaders of the community to tend their flock as God would have it. In the Gospel, Jesus blesses Simon Peter and bestows upon him the key to the kingdom of heaven.

Today we celebrate the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter.

In Scripture, a chair is often used as an image for the ministry of teaching. Today, we celebrate the ministry given to Peter and his apostolic successors of sharing with God’s people the fullness of the Gospel, and guiding them to the truth. Let us pray for our pope, who now occupies the chair of Peter, may God continue to bless him and sanctify him in his ministry. Amen.

https://reginamag.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Petri1.jpg

Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle
Lectionary: 535

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Reading 1 1 Pt 5:1-4

Beloved:
I exhort the presbyters among you,
as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ
and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed.
Tend the flock of God in your midst,
overseeing not by constraint but willingly,
as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly.
Do not lord it over those assigned to you,
but be examples to the flock.
And when the chief Shepherd is revealed,
you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Responsorial Psalm 23:1-3a, 4, 5, 6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Alleluia Mt 16:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church;
the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 16:13-19

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

 

February 23, 2020

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In Leviticus, the Lord declares his statutes to Moses to the Israelites, calling them to holiness and love. In our second reading, Paul instructs the Corinthians, calling them to holiness and temples of the Spirit. In the Gospel Matthew, Jesus preaches a new standard of love and justice, calling his followers to love their enemies.

Strive to perfection in love.

Jesus expands on the law that his followers knew well. As God loves all people without partiality, the bad and the good, the just and the unjust, so are all who follow him to do. Certainly this can be difficult, but it is not impossible. For by Christ’s sacrifice, we have been made children of the Father. With his help, and God’s grace, we are capable of striving for the perfection in love to which we are called. Let us pray for all of us, may Jesus strengthen us as we seek to build God’s kingdom here on earth. Amen.

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 79

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Reading 1 Lv 19:1-2, 17-18

The LORD said to Moses,
“Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them:
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.

“You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart.
Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen,
do not incur sin because of him.
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the LORD.”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 103:1-2, 3-4, 8, 10, 12-13

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,
heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
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.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Reading 2 1 Cor 3:16-23

Brothers and sisters:
Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

Let no one deceive himself.
If any one among you considers himself wise in this age,
let him become a fool, so as to become wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God,
for it is written:
God catches the wise in their own ruses,
and again:
The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
that they are vain.

So let no one boast about human beings, for everything belongs to you,
Paul or Apollos or Cephas,
or the world or life or death,
or the present or the future:
all belong to you, and you to Christ, and Christ to God.

Alleluia 1 Jn 2:5

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever keeps the word of Christ,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 5:38-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand over your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”