Wednesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Gal 2:1-2, 7-14

Brothers and sisters:
After fourteen years I again went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas,
taking Titus along also.
I went up in accord with a revelation,
and I presented to them the Gospel that I preach to the Gentiles–
but privately to those of repute–
so that I might not be running, or have run, in vain.
On the contrary,
when they saw that I had been entrusted with the Gospel to the uncircumcised,
just as Peter to the circumcised,
for the one who worked in Peter for an apostolate to the circumcised
worked also in me for the Gentiles,
and when they recognized the grace bestowed upon me,
James and Cephas and John,
who were reputed to be pillars,
gave me and Barnabas their right hands in partnership,
that we should go to the Gentiles
and they to the circumcised.
Only, we were to be mindful of the poor,
which is the very thing I was eager to do.

And when Cephas came to Antioch,
I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong.
For, until some people came from James,
he used to eat with the Gentiles;
but when they came, he began to draw back and separated himself,
because he was afraid of the circumcised.
And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him,
with the result that even Barnabas
was carried away by their hypocrisy.
But when I saw that they were not on the right road
in line with the truth of the Gospel,
I said to Cephas in front of all,
“If you, though a Jew,
are living like a Gentile and not like a Jew,
how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 117:1bc, 2

R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
Praise the LORD, all you nations,
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.

Alleluia Rom 8:15bc

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You have received a spirit of adoption as sons
through which we cry: Abba! Father!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 11:1-4

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name,
your Kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”

– – –

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.

Mercy / La Misericordia

“And fear nothing, dear soul, whoever you are; the greater the sinner, the greater his right to Your mercy, O Lord.” 

Today is, quite possibly, one of my favorite feast days – the Feast of Saint Faustina Kowalska, who said the beautiful quote above (one of my favorites). Why is St. Faustina so amazing and why do I love her feast day so much? It’s quite simple actually: mercy. 

This humble Polish nun became one of the greatest messengers of God’s mercy and especially for our modern times. The news of God’s great mercy is nothing new to us – it’s a grace that goes all the way back to the beginning pages of Scripture, when Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden. In His mercy and from that very moment, God planned to send His Son to save us from our sins and open up the gates of heaven and eternal life to us. 

However, we hear more about Divine Mercy now thanks to St. Faustina, as she wrote down the many revelations she received on this topic from the Lord. It is through her that we have the Image of Divine Mercy, the beautiful devotion of the Divine Mercy Chaplet and so much more. 

When I was a high school student, our youth group had a devotion to Divine Mercy. As a retreat team, we’d consecrate ourselves and our retreat weekend to Divine Mercy, beginning every team meeting with the chaplet. That’s stuck with me for the past decade-plus. Since becoming a youth minister myself, I’ve taken the opportunity to share about the devotion and teach about St. Faustina several times now. 

Why was Divine Mercy so significant to me back then and still so impactful to me right now? Because it serves as a simple and beautiful reminder to me that, no matter how far away I may stray from God as a result of sin and my own failings, He still loves me and welcomes me back with open arms, every single time. Not only is it a message of mercy and love but it is one of hope for all of us. 

In honor of Faustina’s feast day today, I encourage you to take a moment and examine your conscience. Have you fallen short lately? Are you in need of God’s mercy? If so, take advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He is waiting for you, to shower you with His love and mercy. 

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“Y no temas nada, querida alma, quienquiera que seas; mientras mas grave el pecador, más derecho tiene a Tu misericordia, oh Señor.”

Hoy es, muy posiblemente, uno de mis días de fiesta favoritos: la fiesta de Santa Faustina Kowalska, quien dijo la hermosa frase anterior (una de mis favoritas). ¿Por qué Santa Faustina es tan asombrosa y por qué me encanta tanto su fiesta? Es bastante simple: por la misericordia.

Esta humilde monja polaca se convirtió en una de las más grandes mensajeras de la misericordia de Dios y especialmente para nuestros tiempos modernos. La noticia de la gran misericordia de Dios no es nada nuevo para nosotros: es una gracia que se remonta a las primeras páginas de las Escrituras, cuando Adán y Eva cayeron en el Jardín del Edén. En Su misericordia y desde ese mismo momento, Dios planeó enviar a Su Hijo para salvarnos de nuestros pecados y abrirnos las puertas del cielo y la vida eterna.

Sin embargo, ahora escuchamos más acerca de la Divina Misericordia gracias a Santa Faustina, ya que ella escribió las muchas revelaciones que recibió sobre este tema del Señor. Es a través de ella que tenemos la Imagen de la Divina Misericordia, la hermosa devoción de la Coronilla de la Divina Misericordia y mucho más.

Cuando yo era estudiante de secundaria, nuestro grupo de jóvenes tenía una devoción a la Divina Misericordia. Como equipo de retiro, nos consagraramos a nosotros mismos y nuestro fin de semana de retiro a la Divina Misericordia, comenzando cada reunión del equipo con la coronilla. Eso se quedó conmigo durante la última década y más. Desde que me convertí en ministro de jóvenes, he aprovechado la oportunidad para compartir sobre la devoción y enseñar sobre Santa Faustina varias veces.

¿Por qué la Divina Misericordia fue tan importante para mí en ese entonces y todavía me impacta tanto ahora? Porque me sirve como un recordatorio simple y hermoso de que, no importa cuán lejos me aleje de Dios como resultado del pecado y mis propias fallas, Él todavía me ama y me recibe con los brazos abiertos, cada vez. No sólo es un mensaje de misericordia y amor, sino también de esperanza para todos nosotros.

En honor a la fiesta de Faustina hoy, los animo a que tomen un momento y hagan un examen de conciencia. ¿Te has quedado corto últimamente? ¿Necesitas de la misericordia de Dios? Si es así, aprovecha el Sacramento de la Reconciliación. Él te está esperando para colmarte de su amor y misericordia.

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Erin is a Cleveland native and graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville. She is passionate about the Lord Jesus, all things college sports and telling stories and she is blessed enough to get paid for all three of her passions as a full-time youth minister and a freelance sports writer.

Feature Image Credit: Angie Menes, cathopic.com/photo/13303-la-misericordia-de-dios

The Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi / El Memorial de San Francisco de Asís

The readings today mention three disciples of Christ: St.Paul, Mary and Martha. This is fitting as the Church celebrates St. Francis of Assisi. Each of these very different individuals had to find his or her own unique path to follow Jesus.

In the First Reading St. Paul briefly speaks about his early life as a Jew and his conversion to Christianity. Paul had no intention of becoming a follower of Christ Jesus. He was “a zealot for [his] ancestral traditions.” His conversion to the Way allowed him to proclaim and instruct the Gentiles throughout Arabia, Cilicia, Damascus, and Syria. St. Paul’s writings and witness continue to lead many to Christ.

St. Paul was an educated man. St. Francis was brought up in an educated, wealthy family. He led a carefree life, enjoyed friends, parties and had little to worry about. He wanted to be a knight. Francis was captured on his first campaign as a cavalry soldier, imprisoned, and became ill. He was held captive for a year and read about the lives of the saints.

When Francis returned home he was not the same person. His spirit was troubled. Things he used to enjoy just didn’t make him happy the way they used to. He took time to pray and heard Christ speak to rebuild His Church.

St. Francis did not have an easy life once he chose to follow his Heavenly Father. He made mistakes, faced many challenges and accomplished much in his own ‘little’ journey to learn Jesus’ Way. He made changes in how he dealt with life events. He prayed and fasted while in service to others. Francis went about his life by doing what God gave him to do; to live the Gospel moment by moment, day by day.

In the Gospel, Martha wanted Jesus to direct Mary to assist with the serving. Jesus did not do so, telling her that Mary had chosen the better part. He told Martha she was anxious and worried about many things.

I have been told by my spiritual director, a priest and a deacon and a few others as well, that I too, have been worried and anxious about things I cannot control, or situations that I have chosen for myself. I need to remember to go through my day one moment at a time, without making assumptions or worrying about the outcome of any situation.

Francis prayed this prayer frequently before the Crucifix where he heard God speak during his early discernment and ministry. I find much comfort in it; please pray with me.

“Most high and glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me, Lord, a correct faith, a certain hope, a perfect charity, sense and knowledge, so that I may carry out Your holy and true command.” Amen.

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Las lecturas de hoy mencionan a tres discípulos de Cristo: San Pablo, María y Marta. Que apropiado ya que la Iglesia celebra hoy a San Francisco de Asís. Cada uno de estos individuos tan diferentes tuvo que encontrar su propio camino único para seguir a Jesús.

En la Primera Lectura, San Pablo habla brevemente sobre su vida de joven como judío y su conversión al cristianismo. Pablo no tenía intención de convertirse en un seguidor de Cristo Jesús. Era “un fanático de [sus] tradiciones ancestrales”. Su conversión al Camino le permitió proclamar e instruir a los gentiles por toda Arabia, Cilicia, Damasco y Siria. Los escritos y el testimonio de San Pablo continúan guiando a muchos a Cristo.

San Pablo era un hombre educado. San Francisco se crió en una familia rica y educada. Llevaba una vida sin preocupaciones, disfrutaba de amigos, fiestas y tenía poco de qué preocuparse. Quería ser caballero. Francisco fue capturado en su primera campaña como soldado de caballería, fue encarcelado y se enfermó. Estuvo cautivo durante un año y leía sobre la vida de los santos.

Cuando Francis volvió a casa no era la misma persona. Su espíritu estaba turbado. Las cosas que antes disfrutaba simplemente no lo hacían feliz como solían hacerlo. Tomó tiempo para orar y escuchó a Cristo pedirle reconstruir Su Iglesia.

San Francisco no tuvo una vida fácil una vez que eligió seguir a su Padre Celestial. Cometió errores, enfrentó muchos desafíos y logró mucho en su propio “pequeño” viaje para aprender el Camino de Jesús. Hizo cambios en la forma en que lidió con los eventos de la vida. Oraba y ayunaba mientras estaba al servicio de los demás. Francisco vivió su vida haciendo lo que Dios le pidió hacer; vivir el Evangelio momento a momento, día tras día.

En el Evangelio, Marta quería que Jesús dirigiera a María a ayudar con el servicio. Jesús no lo hizo, diciéndole que María había escogido la mejor parte. Le dijo a Martha que estaba ansiosa y preocupada por muchas cosas.

Me ha dicho mi director espiritual, un sacerdote y un diácono y algunos otros también, que yo también he estado preocupada y ansiosa por cosas que no puedo controlar, o situaciones que he escogido. Necesito acordarme de pasar mi día un momento a la vez, sin hacer suposiciones ni preocuparme por el resultado de ninguna situación.

Francisco oraba esta oración con frecuencia ante el Crucifijo donde escuchaba a Dios hablarle durante su discernimiento y ministerio. En ella encuentro mucho consuelo; les invito a rezarla conmigo.

“Dios altísimo y glorioso, ilumina las tinieblas de mi corazón y dame, Señor, una fe recta, una esperanza cierta, una caridad perfecta, sentido y conocimiento, para que pueda cumplir Tu santo y verdadero mandato.” Amén.

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Beth Price is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She is a Secular Franciscan (OFS) and a practicing spiritual director. Beth shares smiles, prayers, laughter, a listening ear and her heart with all of creation. Reach her here bprice@diocesan.com.

Feature Image Credit: pixabay.com/photos/umbria-assisi-basilica-st-francis-3662398/

St. Faustina, Virgin


St. Faustina, Virgin

Feast date: Oct 05

On October 5, the church celebrates the Memorial of St. Mary Faustina Kowalska, virgin.

St. Faustina was born Helena Kowalska on August 25, 1905 to a poor but devout Polish family in 1905. At the age of 20, with very little education, and having been rejected from several other convents because of her poverty and lack of education, Helen entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. There, she took the name Sr. Faustina and spent time in convents in both Poland and Lithuania.

Throughout her life, Jesus appeared to Sr. Faustina. He asked her to become an apostle and secretary of his mercy, by writing down his messages of Divine Mercy for the world in her diary. Jesus also asked Sr. Faustina to have an image painted of his Divine Mercy, with red and white rays issuing from his heart, and to spread devotion to the Divine Mercy novena.

Even before her death on October 5, 1938, devotion to Divine Mercy began to spread throughout Poland.This little nun and Jesus’ message of Divine Mercy impacted Karol Wojtyla greatly, which became obvious to the world when he was elected Pope.

“It is truly marvelous how her devotion to the merciful Jesus is spreading in our contemporary world and gaining so many human hearts! This is doubtlessly a sign of the times — a sign of our twentieth century. The balance of this century, which is now ending, in addition to the advances which have often surpassed those of preceding eras, presents a deep restlessness and fear of the future. Where, if not in the Divine Mercy, can the world find refuge and the light of hope? Believers understand that perfectly,” Pope St. John Paul II wrote.

On April 30, 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized St. Faustina in what he was widely reported as saying was “the happiest day of my life.”

“Today my joy is truly great in presenting the life and witness of Sr. Faustina Kowalska to the whole Church as a gift of God for our time. By divine Providence, the life of this humble daughter of Poland was completely linked with the history of the 20th century, the century we have just left behind. In fact, it was between the First and Second World Wars that Christ entrusted his message of mercy to her. Those who remember, who were witnesses and participants in the events of those years and the horrible sufferings they caused for millions of people, know well how necessary was the message of mercy,” the Pope said in his homily that day.

It was also on this day, the Sunday after Easter, that Pope John Paul II instituted the Feast of Divine Mercy, which Jesus had asked for in his messages to Sr. Faustina.