Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

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First Sunday of Lent

1st Reading: Deuteronomy 26:4-10
Resp.: Psalm 91:1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15
2nd Reading: Romans 10:8-13 
Gospel: Luke 4:1-13 

Today's Gospel tells us that the three enemies that we have are the flesh, the world and the devil. When the devil tried to tempt Jesus, Jesus would counter that attack with the Scriptures. 

1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that when we are tempted, God provides a way out: that way is the Scriptures, which is again, what Jesus did in the desert. 

This means that not only should we take time to know the Bible but also pray and believe and therefore try to put into practice what we read. We of course should be receiving the Sacraments regularly and take advantage of the sacramentals that the Church provides for us, like the Brown Scapular and blessed medals in order to counter the attacks of evil against us. The holy Rosary should never be ignored. Let us not sin because we chose not to take advantage of the protection that God offers to us through His Church.


The Church asks that we make our Easter Duty each year: 

This means that we should perform this duty between Sunday March 10, 2019 and June 16, 2019.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: Sirach 27:4-7 
Resp.: Psalm 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16
2nd Reading: 1st Corinthians 15:54-58
Gospel: Luke 6:39-45 

In last week's Gospel, the Lord told us not to judge and condemn as if we know everything like He does but in today's Gospel He does give us hints to help us discern.

Good trees don't bear rotten fruit; figs are not picked from thorn-bushes; and grapes are not picked from brambles. In other words, good things do not come from bad things. And if someone is doing harmful things to themselves or to others, it gives us cause to be concerned. 

We therefore have indications but still no way to make definitive judgments. We leave those type of judgments to the Church. She is the one entrusted with this capacity.

But how do we know if or when we should intervene? As long as it is not an emergency, we consult those who are learned and wise, we pray and ask God to let us know. 

This is why we need to be consistent men and women of prayer. We need continuous conversation with God so that we can act immediately at times when it is necessary. Good fruit is not grown in a hurry or automatically. It takes time and proper cultivation. Having a consistent relationship with God will dispose us to this.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: 1 Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13
Resp.: Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 8, 10, 12-13
2nd Reading: 1st Corinthians 15:45-49 
Gospel: Luke 6:27-38 

There are times that we can be tempted to think that God is always ready to get us back for the sins that we commit. This is definitely not true. Otherwise, Jesus would not have come to redeem us. Also, we must be mindful that committing sin is its own punishment. It's like trying to use a toaster to make ice cubes. It doesn't work. In the same way, sinning does not work for us but God knows that we can be easily fooled and that we are weak.

In today's readings we are shown examples of how we can be merciful to others. Since God asks us to be merciful it means that He is merciful. He says it is mercy I desire and not sacrifice. 

It is easy to be good to people we like which is what Jesus says in the Gospel. We have to go beyond that. David could have easily killed Saul but he respected his position and showed him mercy.

When Jesus said not to judge he meant for us not to make judgments about people as if we are God and know everything. We make judgments every day and that is fine when we have the competency to do so — what to wear, what to eat, which route is the best way to the airport. Those are judgments but not the same as those made about the soul of another. As regards others we can't help but notice things. We can make objective judgments but not subjective ones. 

When Jesus says not to condemn others it for the same reason. People are not to be condemned but sin is to be condemned. As is said : hate the sin, not the sinner.

God is love. He is merciful and this is the time for mercy. We should act on this sooner than later because after the period of Divine Mercy, the time for Divine Judgement will be here.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: Jeremiah 17:5-8 
Resp.: Psalm 1:1-2, 3,4, 6 (40:5a) 
2nd Reading: 1st Corinthians 15:12, 16-20 
Gospel: Luke 6:17, 20-26 

Jesus tells us in today's Gospel that there are benefits to doing His Father's Will and of course there are detrimental effects if we choose to go against Him. 

The Beatitudes represented in Luke differ from those listed in Matthew in that while Matthew lists 8, Luke presents them as corresponding to the 4 cardinal virtues and he also includes 4 woes for those who do not help or assist others with their abundance of earthly goods. 

St Ambrose said that the poor exemplify temperance, the hungry - justice, those who weep - prudence and those hated, fortitude. Temperance because the poor do not indulge in excessive pleasures. Justice because the hungry are lowly and give to those who have little. Prudence: those who weep because they see the vanity in temporal things and look to the joys of Heaven and Fortitude: those who have the strength to stay faithful despite persecution.

It is not sinful to be rich but it does depend on how you earn what you have and if you share with others. Again we are all called to share what we have but if we live in such a way that we do not help we condemn ourselves. If we live only for pleasure we are not carrying the Cross.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD 

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-8
Resp.: Psalm 138:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 7-8
2nd Reading: 1st Corinthians 15:1-11
Gospel: Luke 5:1-11 

Jesus asked his disciples to put the boat out into deep water. This is symbolic of putting greater trust in God. Since we are not sea creatures, going further into deep water is more dangerous and uncomfortable. I remember a spiritual director once told me that. My first reaction was no I can't go out into deep water. This was a true statement. Yes, I can't but God and I can.

It is so easy to forget that God is the Author of every good thing in our lives and that we need Him to do good things through us. When I do remember that, I find great comfort and strength. 

When the Lord asks us to keep His Commandments and to live the Beatitudes, He knows that we can't do it all on our own. He wants us to acknowledge this and to specifically ask for His help. Bl. Francisco Palau, OCD says that God wills to give us what we need through prayer, that is, conversation with God. We can become whatever God has called us to be. We can become saints if we trust God.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD
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