Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

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Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jul 12, 2020
Readings:
1st Reading: Isaiah 55:10-11
Resp. Psalm: Psalm 65:10, 11, 12-13, 14
2nd Reading: Romans 8:18-23
Gospel: Matthew 13:1-23

In the first reading the prophet Isaiah said that God's Word has an effect. Just as water from Heaven in the form of rain makes the earth fertile and makes plants and trees grow and bear fruit, listening and acting on God's Word will make us grown in the faith, and help the faith of others to grow. God's Word always has this effect. However, on those who choose not to listen, they are like the trees and plants that have worms or attacked by mold and viruses. So in the Gospel, Jesus makes mention of the seed that falls on the different types of soils. If we listen to God's Word and try to do what He says through prayer and receiving the Sacraments regularly and doing good things, we will be the type of seed that falls on the fertile soil. We all come from a Good and Perfect Father, God, and He doesn't make any one of us bad in any way. Unfortunately, we can have bad experiences in life, bad upbringing, but worst of all, we have all contracted Original Sin.

Now Original Sin can be taken away from us if we are baptized, but we still will have problems. Think about having a sore muscle. Even though you may have taken medicine and have used heat and cold to soothe the muscle, it will still be sore and hard to use while it is healing. The same is true for us with Original Sin. Even though we have been baptized, we still are attracted to sin. But the more we pray and receive the Sacraments and do good works, the power of sin will be lessened and even to the point of avoiding sin, at least serious sin as a first result. If we are lukewarm towards God or stray away from the faith we will become ensconced or comfortable with sin.

So let us choose the fertile soil of the Faith and worship of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is a decision that we make at some point and need to affirm quite often.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jul 03, 2020

Readings: 
1st Reading: Zechariah 9:9-10
Resp. Psalm: Psalm 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13-14
2nd Reading: Romans 8:9, 11-13
Gospel: Matthew 11:25-30

In this time when we hear so much about injustice which has been going on for centuries, we need to remember that we have the remedy: Jesus! In the first reading from Zechariah, we heard that Jesus is a Just Savior and, we also heard a forecast: He will enter Jerusalem on Palm Sunday: riding on a colt – in meekness. This means that what is coming is a time of mercy, (and we are still living in this time of mercy) because Jesus is riding on a colt. So, now is the time to change our lives for the better and pray for the help to do so. The imagery in the first reading is very different from another Book of the Bible: the angels of judgement in the Book of Revelation (at the end of the world) will come riding on full-grown horses and condemn those who have persecuted the good people and done things which God has said are evil, throughout their lives. If we want peace and justice in the world, we must begin with ourselves – we must imitate Jesus and live our lives as the Gospels tell us. It is really that simple.

In the second reading, St Paul's Letter to the Romans reminds us not to live according to the flesh. This means that we need to do what Jesus asks of us in order that we go to Heaven at the end of our lives. Jesus said not to fear the one who can destroy the body, but the one who can destroy both body and soul. This means that if we listen to the devil and do what he says, we will have eternal death in the torment of hell. Hell is real – please Lord, may no one of us end up there.

Some people may think that what God is asking of us is to hard to do. Yes, it is. In the Gospel Jesus said to take my yoke upon you and learn from me. Here are the definitions of a yoke from the dictionary: 1) A wooden frame or bar with loops or bows at either end, fitted around the necks of a pair of oxen, etc. for harnessing them together. 2) A device symbolizing a yoke, as an arch of spears under which the conquered were forced to pass in ancient times b) any mark or symbol of bondage or servitude 3) Something that binds unites and connects [the yoke of matrimony] And there are about three other definitions.

None of these sound pleasant. A yoke hurts, but we need to realize that we need God's guiding force to help us into Heaven and to keep us from hell. In other words, we need to forego the sinful pleasures of the world in order to live the joys of Heaven at the end of our lives. God asks us to do things that are too hard for us to do on our own so that we will ask Him for the help we need. Yes, Jesus asks us to take up the cross, but not on our own. Even though we may be alone, we are never on our own – our guardian angels are there and of course, so is God. He will always provide. He just wants us to trust Him.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jul 01, 2020
Readings: 
1st Reading: 2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16
Resp. Psalm: Psalm 89:2-3, 16-17, 18-19
2nd Reading: Romans 6:3-4, 8-11
Gospel: Matthew 10:37-42

God always knows what we need before we do. We read that the Prophet Elisha helped the family that provided for him. God is always willing to help us and especially those that provide for His Church and His ministers. He established His Church on earth to give us a home, a place of spiritual nourishment and refuge and protection from evil. Additionally the Church is to instruct and admonish all of us when necessary. We have the Holy Scriptures and the solemn teachings of our Church throughout the centuries to guide us through the perilous times today when the Truth is challenged and ridiculed.

It may be difficult to see but a great reward that God gives us is what St. Paul mentioned in the second reading. If we have been baptized in Christ then we can receive the graces that we need to begin to stop living sinful lives. Eventually we will be dead to sin so that while it may tempt us, it will not overcome us as in times prior.

Doing the things like those that are listed in the Gospel are what will facilitate the promises made to us by Jesus. He's shown us the way — let's keep on following.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD
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