May the word of the Lord fill you with love and bring you peace.

Sts. Simon and Jude

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Brothers and sisters: You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

We are one body in Christ, following the foundation He built with the Apostles and the traditions He passed down to us. Are you part of His body? Do you receive His body and blood? If you do you are truly one with Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, being part of the body of Christ is such a joy! Standing with others who believe as I do, who receive you in Mass is a blessing beyond all I could imagine. In Jesus’ holy name I give you thanks and praise, Amen!

Their message goes out through all the earth.

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Brothers and sisters: Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the Devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the Gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must.

Spiritual warfare surrounds us today. We need to arm ourselves against the evil in this world. We are constantly assailed with lies and pressure to abandon the truth that Our Lord teaches and we need to protect ourselves with His armor and with much prayer. Put on the power of God every day and you will be able to stand with God. If you do not, you leave yourself open to the power of the evil one.

Prayer: Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work too may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guide me then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. ~ St. Augustine

Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

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Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’ And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

Many people today think they will end up in heaven just because they are no worse than their neighbor, or they keep all the rules, or they are not “bad people”. They do not realize that purgatory and hell are real, and that God does not want us to go there – but we are the only ones that can prevent us from going there. There is more to following the Lord than these things. The narrow gate means we follow that narrow road of faith, love, joy, service and listening to the Word of God. It takes a lot to get to heaven and we are the only ones who keeps us from getting there.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Heaven and eternal life with you is my goal. Help me stay on the path of salvation in you, when I falter, help me up. When I become prideful, humble me. When I boast, help me to make sure it is only in you. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

The Lord is faithful in all his words.

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Brothers and sisters: Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives  should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the Church, he himself the savior of the Body. As the Church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the Church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the Church, because we are members of his Body.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.

This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church. In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.

Total love. That is what God requires of us, not domination of one over the other. When we love unselfishly, we love as the Lord loves His Church. Where there is total love, there is equality and freedom. When two become one, they know the true meaning of love. Do you know the true meaning of love? Can you love someone more than your life,  just as Jesus loves the Church so much He gave His?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, the closer I get to you, the more I love you. The more I love you, the more I want to give myself to you. Take my life Lord and make it yours. In Jesus’ holy name I offer all I have for you, Amen.

Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

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Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.” The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?” When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated; and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.

What better day to be set free then the Sabbath! We are freed when we go to Mass, ask the Lord to forgive us, receive His Body and Blood in the Eucharist. We are freed from the hold that the evil one has on us. Do we accept it or allow that hold to take us again when we walk out the door? Do you believe that it is really Jesus you receive? If so, allow yourself to be healed and set free.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of the body and blood of Jesus in Mass. You saved me from sin, Lord, and released the evil that held me. May I never forget your gift and always revel in your freedom. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

Behave like God as his very dear children.

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Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. “Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity — greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

How often do you tell God how good you are? You may not brag to others but you tell God all the wonderful things you do and all the laws that you obey? God knows what we do, even if our neighbors do not. We do not have to tell God but we should be asking Him for His grace and mercy for what we have not done.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, have mercy on me when I fail you. In Jesus’ holy name, I give you praise, Amen.

The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

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Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them – do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”

If we do not repent – or produce good fruit – we will perish. We will not attain eternal life, but eternal damnation. What we do in this life must produce the fruit of the Lord’s work. What have you done for the Lord?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, may the work I do for you provide a harvest of souls for your eternal Kingdom. Living with you for eternity is my goal and I pray it is for others too, in Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

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