Daily Reading and Prayer

August 2020

Aug 31

August 31, 2020

Lk 4:16-30 Jesus tells those listening to him in the synagogue that Isaiah’s prophesy is fulfilled “today” in him, but the question posed about Jesus being Joseph’s son seems to turn the tide from praise and acclaim to suspicion. Jesus likens himself and their rejection of him to two great prophets, Elisha and Elijah, who...
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Aug 30

August 30, 2020

Mt 16:21-27 The first prediction of the Passion is followed by Jesus’ sayings about discipleship. There is great cost though a greater reward. A disciple must be willing to deny everything, including oneself, and set sight only on fulfilling the will of God. Discipleship gives winning and losing a whole new meaning. How can my thinking, my...
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Aug 29

August 29, 2020

Mk 6:17-29 The potential for evil in human nature is revealed in the story. The cast of characters, particularly Herod and Herodias, act out of weakness and vengeful hatred. Through the detailed story of John’s death, Mark prepares his readers for Jesus’s death. May we all rather than succumbing to our sinful nature, find within...
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Aug 28

August 28, 2020

Mt 25:1-13 The bridesmaids are divided into two groups in Matthew’s Gospel, the foolish and the wise. True to form, the foolish bridesmaids are not prepared for the return of the bridegroom. The wise ones have completed their tasks and are at the ready. Consistent watchfulness is an essential part of discipleship. It is so easy to get...
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Aug 27

August 27, 2020

Mt 24:42-51 There are those servants who are vigilant and ready for their Master’s return, and there are those who wile away the hours, mistreating others and wasting time eating and drinking to excess. Jesus tells his disciples to be ready at all times, “For you do not know on which day your Lord will come”. I am thankful for...
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Aug 26

August 26, 2020

Mt 23:27-32 Jesus tells the scribes and Pharisees that they are like whitewashed tombs, again emphasizing the disparity between their interior and exterior. The final “woe” is startling. Jesus accuses them of being descendants, in every sense of the word, of those who murdered the prophets. I pray to always be attentive to my...
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Aug 25

August 25, 2020

Mt 23:23-26 How can you compare judgment, mercy and fidelity with mint, dill and cumin? Clearly that is the point Jesus is making. There is no comparison. These Jewish leaders cannot distinguish between what is really important and what is not. And then Jesus goes on to address the hypocrisy of purity rituals as they relate to inner dispositions...
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Aug 24

August 24, 2020

Jn 1:45-51 Traditionally, Bartholomew has been identified as Nathanial, so for that reason, this passage is the Gospel proclaimed on the feast of St. Bartholomew. Jesus is gathering his disciples. Philip invites Nathanial to join him in following the one prophesied, the son of Joseph. Nathanial’s response is less than gracious, but his...
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Aug 23

August 23, 2020

Mt 16: 13-20 Jesus asks two questions of his disciples, both regarding his identity. The first concerns popular speculation and the second the personal assessment of the disciples. Peter responds by professing his faith in Jesus, who, in turn, blesses Peter and affirms his role as leader. I imagine myself asking, “Who do you say that I am,...
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Aug 22

August 22, 2020

Mt 23:1-12 Jesus is warning his disciples and the crowds gathered about the Jewish leaders. Listen to what they teach but don’t imitate what they do. Their practices are done in such a way as to call attention to themselves. They have no idea what it is to lead with integrity and humility. Dearest Mother Mary, you are a model of faithful...
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Aug 21

August 21, 2020

Mt 22:34-40 Jesus is not being asked to disregard any of the Commandments but rather to summarize the law in a simple statement. This question posed by the Pharisees was not uncommon. Rabbis were often asked to do just that. Sadly, the Pharisees were not asking in earnest. They were trying to trick Jesus, building their case against him. It is...
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Aug 20

August 20, 2020

Mt 22:1-14 Jesus likens the kingdom of God to a wedding banquet. All kinds of people are invited, saints and sinners alike. Being a worthy recipient involves more than just receiving an invitation. It involves a response, acceptance and preparation. Thank you for inviting me to the kingdom from the moment of my baptism through the joys and...
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Aug 19

August 19, 2020

Mt 20:1-16 To understand this parable, it is important to understand justice, not as defined by the world but as God sees it. Jesus presents the kingdom of God in a powerfully counter cultural way. A person who works part of the day is given a full day’s wage. It is completely out of line with human justice, yet absolutely in line with...
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Aug 18

August 18, 2020

Mt 19:23-30 The encounter with the rich young man sets the scene for teachings on wealth and material possessions. The possessions in and of themselves are not the problem. It is a person’s dependence upon things to the point of being unwilling to share, give away or let go. I know that I am weighted down by what I have and concerned about...
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Aug 17

August 17, 2020

Mt 19:16-22 Doing good requires more than following the law in the literal sense. The young man states that he observes all the Commandments. When Jesus invites him to go a step further and let go of all his possessions, he cannot. Jesus is going to the heart of the Jewish law which demands attachment to him and his Father rather than things....
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Aug 16

August 16, 2020

Mt 15:21-28 For a second time this month, we hear this Gospel proclaimed. It is no less perplexing and perhaps even disturbing than the first time. However, it seems that we are called to focus on the woman’s tenacious faith. She approached Jesus against all odds. Deep down she must have known that this man she had heard about could help...
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Aug 15

August 15, 2020

Lk 1:39-56 What a beautiful encounter. Two women related by blood we believe, but now having more in common than imagined. Elizabeth is blessed and honored by Mary’s visit and her child within her womb knows well whose presence he is in. Dearest Mother, you led your life with great humility and trust. You reign now in heaven, Mother of...
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Aug 14

August 14, 2020

Mt 19:3-12 Jesus cites the book of Genesis in response to the challenge about marriage posed by the Pharisees. God’s intention for marriage is that it be indissoluble. Jesus assumes his role as authoritative interpreter of the law, which raises the ire of the Jewish leaders. I give thanks to you, Lord God, for your love and especially for...
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Aug 13

August 13, 2020

Mt 18:21—19:1 Peter, the disciples’ spokesperson, wants to know how many times they are to forgive the offenses of others. Perhaps he feels the number he offers is generous but Jesus’s correction points to that fact that as God’s mercy cannot be limited or restricted nor should theirs. Jesus illustrates this point with a...
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Aug 12

August 12, 2020

Mt 18:15-20 Jesus tells his disciples that reconciling a sinner among them is the responsibility of the community. To bring an erring member back, there are steps that need to be taken beginning with a one-on-one discussion. If that does not work, then witnesses are brought in. If necessary, then the conversation is held before the entire...
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Aug 11

August 11, 2020

Mt 18, 1-5, 10, 12-14 What do children have to do with a sheep that wanders from the flock? To be great in the eyes of God one must focus less on self and more on the other especially those most vulnerable. And like the good shepherd in the parable, be willing to go to great lengths to recover those who are lost. Even at my worst I am not lost...
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Aug 10

August 10, 2020

Jn 12:24-26 Jesus talks to his disciples about self-sacrifice, his own and theirs, by using the metaphor of the grain of wheat dying in order to bear fruit. He enjoins them to himself and tells them, if they are to follow him, they must let go of whatever it is that binds them to the world. I can be a very selfish person, often hard pressed to...
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Aug 9

August 9, 2020

Mt 14:22-33 Jesus demonstrates his command over the powerful waters for a second time. He offers the same power to Peter who attempts to walk but fails. His love of the Lord is not enough to overcome his weak faith, but he is a work in progress. I know you love me in spite or maybe because of my faltering attempts. I too am a work in progress,...
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Aug 8

August 8, 2020

Mt 17:14-20 The father of the boy possessed by a demon goes first to Jesus’ disciples seeking healing for his son. They have so little faith they fail to heal the boy. Jesus rebukes his disciples by telling them that even faith the size of the smallest of seeds can move mountains. Thank you for that seed of faith. I pray that my...
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Aug 7

August 7, 2020

Mt 16:24-28 This Gospel passage follows Jesus’ first prediction of his passion. Discipleship comes with both cost and reward. A disciple must be willing to deny everything, including him or herself, and set sight only on fulfilling the will of God. “Let go and let God,” they say. “That’s easier said than...
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Aug 6

August 6, 2020

Mt 17:1-9 Peter, James and John are given insight into the glory of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In a sense, it balances the earlier prediction of his passion, death and resurrection. Jesus instructs them not to share what they have seen and heard because they don’t fully understand and won’t until he has risen. All too often,...
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Aug 5

August 5, 2020

Mt 15:21-28 Jesus rebuffs this gentile woman. His mission thus far has been to the children of Israel. Her persistence and remarkable faith causes him to listen to her and grant her appeal to him to heal her daughter indicative of the widening of Jesus’ mission to include all people. Oh, to have the tenacious faith of the Canaanite woman....
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Aug 4

August 4, 2020

Mt 14:22-36 Jesus is alone in prayer while his disciples are at sea. Because of the rough waters, they are not faring well. Jesus comes to their rescue, walking across the water. He calls to Peter, who gets out of the boat but does not last on the surface very long. His ardent love is great but his faith is weak. When in the midst of the chaos...
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Aug 3

August 3, 2020

Mt 14:22-36   The disciple’s fear of the turbulent waters caused by the storm is heightened by the appearance of Jesus walking toward them on the water. He calms their fears and the storm and, at the same time, challenges their lack of faith.    When in the midst of the chaos of life, feeling battered and worn from the...
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Aug 2

August 2, 2020

Mt 14: 13-21 Jesus’ need to be alone to grieve for John did not stop him from compassionately attending to the needs of the people who followed him. At the end of the day, the disciples urge Jesus to move on and let the hungry crowds fend for themselves. They should have known he would attend not only to their spiritual needs but to their...
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Aug 1

August 1, 2020

Mt 14:1-12 John confronts Herod about his marriage, which leads to the prophet’s demise. His death heralds the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Herod is made aware of Jesus’ activity in and around Nazareth, which causes him to wonder if Jesus is John returned to life. There is always a risk in challenging one who has lost sight of...
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Daily Reading and Prayer

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A spiritual reflection on the daily readings that help cultivate a pattern of daily prayer and a deepening relationship with God


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