Invest just five minutes a day, and your faith will deepen and grow—a day at a time.
Saturday, Oct 24, 2020 MEMORIAL OF ANTHONY MARY CLARET, BISHOP Let your light shine!
As a young man, Anthony Claret was torn between his talent in the textile business and the emerging call he felt to religious life. Seeing his talent, his father offered to share leadership of the family business with him. Anthony was famously short of stature, and he pointed out that workers likely would resist taking orders from him. His father suggested they could hide Anthony behind a desk to come up with ideas and put a larger man in charge of the workers. That sealed the deal for Anthony—he wasn’t interested in hiding. Thereafter he was a tireless and talented preacher, confessor, author, and publisher in the service of God. Don’t hide your own gifts—they are God-given and the world needs them!
TODAY'S READINGS: Ephesians 4:7-16; Luke 13:1-9 (478). “It may bear fruit in the future.”
Sunday, Oct 25, 2020 THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME Worship the God of glory
Leadership earns public honors, and the best leaders exercise humility in accepting them. Pope Francis began his papacy by donning simple attire and asking for our prayers before offering his first blessing. Genuine leadership recognizes that all authority comes from God. Today is Priesthood Sunday, honoring the multitudes of pastors who did their job this year with passion, grace, and ingenuity under extraordinary circumstances. Pray the Rosary’s Glorious Mysteries for those who lead us to: rise up from despair, lift our gaze upward, encounter the Spirit’s power, give ourselves body and soul, and accept honor with grace.
TODAY'S READINGS: Exodus 22:20-26; 1 Thessalonians 1:5c-10; Matthew 22:34-40 (148). “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
Monday, Oct 26, 2020 Slow down, you’re moving too fast
Too many people work too much. Some have a psychological compulsion to work incessantly. Some work excessively to acquire money and success. Some have no identity outside of their jobs. Some are driven by guilt and fear of being lazy. Some think that an overly busy work life makes them look important. And far too many are forced to work too much in order to make ends meet. None of these reasons are healthy or holy. God wants us to rest and enjoy life too—thus, the sabbath day. Let’s work together to create a just society where all can get some rest.
TODAY'S READINGS: Ephesians 4:32—5:8; Luke 13:10-17 (479). “Ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?”
Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 Console the consolers
Prayerful words from the National Association of Catholic Chaplains, written by NACC member Lisa Ecks: “May the wilderness of this time, and the uncertainty we may feel, strengthen our resolve to lean on your word, abide in your presence, and be guided by your enduring and powerful Spirit.” The NACC helps priests, religious women, and laypeople bring a trained, professional experience to their ministry of caring for the sick. Pray for all hospital chaplains during this Pastoral Care Week. They’re consoling not just COVID-19 patients but medical workers on the front lines.
TODAY'S READINGS: Ephesians 5:21-33; Luke 13:18-21 (480). “Jesus said, ‘What is the kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it?’”
Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 FEAST OF SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES Obscure but still important
Much of what we know about apostles Jude and Simon is who they are not. Simon was called the Zealot—someone passionate, and perhaps revolutionary, about his Jewish faith. Calling him the Zealot also helped to distinguish him from the more famous Simon Peter. We find Jude (along with Judas, variant translations of the name Judah) mentioned in the list of the apostles in Luke and Acts, but he is called Thaddeus in Matthew and Mark, perhaps to distinguish him from the traitor Judas Iscariot. Regardless of their relative obscurity, Jude and Simon were chosen by Jesus to share the Good News and there is every indication they did just that. Even if your life seems quiet and unremarkable to you in some ways, the call to discipleship is your call as well. Saint Jude and Saint Simon, pray for us.
TODAY'S READINGS: Ephesians 2:19-22; Luke 6:12-16 (666). “Jesus called the disciples to himself. . . . Simon who was called the Zealot and Judas the son of James.”
Thursday, Oct 29, 2020 Do the right thing
Even in this day and age, Christians standing up for what is right have been killed for their efforts. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. comes to mind. So does Sister Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN, of Dayton, Ohio, who was murdered in 2005 for defending the poor and protected lands in the Amazon rain forest in Brazil. Would you allow yourself to be inconvenienced (or more) to do the right thing? Look for a way to stand up for a good cause today, even if it feels inconvenient.
TODAY'S READINGS: Ephesians 6:10-20; Luke 13:31-35 (482). “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, . . . how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings.”
Friday, Oct 30, 2020 A time for healing
One of the comforting takeaways from our experience of church during the pandemic is that people are more important than rules. The obligation to physically participate in Sunday Mass has been dispensed during the pandemic by our bishops. We are given the opportunity to make a “spiritual communion” instead. We don’t have to go to Confession to be absolved of our sins. A sincere Act of Contrition and a resolve to celebrate the sacrament when it once again becomes available is sufficient. Just as Jesus set aside the sabbath commandment in order to heal, so too our bishops set aside the precepts so that we may be healed. Let’s pray today for our bishops, and for a time of healing.
TODAY'S READINGS: Philippians 1:1-11; Luke 14:1-6 (483). “The one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it.”
Saturday, Oct 31, 2020 Meal ministry
One of the many things to be longed for during this extended time of physical distancing is the free and easy sharing of meals with family and friends, in groups large and small. Shared meals hold a special place in family life, and in Catholic life as well. It’s no mystery why meals are central. Something magical happens at mealtime, the communion among people is palpable. And in Catholic life, Communion is sacred. Pray we may safely gather again without appointment or extra precautions in the not distant future and freely share the mysteries of our faith in the bread and wine, the Body and Blood. Until then, let us raise a glass in remembrance of Christ.
TODAY'S READINGS: Philippians 1:18b-26; Luke 14:1, 7-11 (484). “On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully.”
Sunday, Nov 01, 2020 SOLEMNITY OF ALL SAINTS Get in the ring
Catholic activist Mary “Mother” Jones famously urged: “Pray for the dead—and fight like hell for the living.” She did both, especially fighting for miner’s rights and against child labor at the turn of the 20th century. Called the “most dangerous woman in America” for her clout with the laboring class, she spoke for those who weren’t heard. Mother Jones won’t ever be a saint on the books, but she did as saints do: listened carefully to the concerns of her times, then went in punching for the needs of the oppressed. Who needs your voice—and maybe your boxing skills?
TODAY'S READINGS: Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12a (667). “They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Monday, Nov 02, 2020 COMMEMORATION OF ALL THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED (ALL SOULS’ DAY) It is well with my soul
This year, as we mourn the scores of those in our country and around the world who are dead from the pandemic, All Souls’ Day has a uniquely terrible gravity. We are not only grieving the loss of so many human lives but also the loss of what our lives were like before, and we are doing it without the same emotional support we might have had in physically closer times. Today is an opportunity to pray and remember, and acknowledge the deep sadness that is so important to the healing process. Invite the God of hope to wipe away your tears.
TODAY'S READINGS: Wisdom 3:1-9; Romans 5:5-11 or Romans 6:3-9; John 6:37-40 (668). “Everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life.”
Tuesday, Nov 03, 2020 MEMORIAL OF MARTIN DE PORRES, RELIGIOUS Create healing and harmony
After the summer we’ve had, Martin de Porres is the perfect intercessor for the United States today, on Election Day. This famously humble Dominican friar, born of poverty and mixed racial background, is the patron saint of race relations and social justice. Plus, he trained as a doctor to hide an ability to perform miraculous cures. Ask for his help and healing to end our time of pandemic and social division. And ask to have a heart like his: “Everything, even sweeping, scraping vegetables, weeding a garden, and waiting on the sick could be a prayer, if it were offered to God.”
TODAY'S READINGS: Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 14:15-24 (486). "Bring in here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame."
Wednesday, Nov 04, 2020 MEMORIAL OF CHARLES BORROMEO, BISHOP Be bread for the world
During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, bishops dispensed Catholics from their Sunday obligation to attend Mass. While there were worries about the future of the Eucharist, some leaders found ways for parishioners to be the church in the world, helping the needy, feeding the hungry, and even doing such things as sending baked goods to local hospitals. During the plague of 1576, Cardinal Charles Borromeo took to the streets of Milan to feed the hungry, going into personal debt to do so. Patron saint of cardinals, seminarians, and catechists, Saint Charles pray for us until the day when it is safe for all to gather again to share in the Eucharist.
TODAY'S READINGS: Philippians 2:12-18; Luke 14:25-33 (487). “Every one of you who does not renounce all . . . possessions cannot be my disciple.”
Thursday, Nov 05, 2020 Keep the conversation going
Have you ever had to rethink your life? Vocation is an ongoing conversation between you and God about how best to use your gifts, and sometimes a “reset” is necessary. Saint Paul refers to the years he spent persecuting the church as a loss in today’s first reading. He thought he was doing the right thing when he pushed to have Christians flogged. But he listened to God through dramatic events in his life and discerned that his calling was to join the Christians, eventually becoming their lead evangelizer. Keep the conversation between you and God going!
TODAY'S READINGS: Philippians 3:3-8a; Luke 15:1-10 (488). “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people.”
Friday, Nov 06, 2020 No more scarring the Earth
Today marks the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War. Just as human life is impacted and threatened by war, so too is our Earth. In 2003, archbishop of Dublin spoke with the U.S. bishops on today’s challenge of peace, saying: “The pursuit of peace—lasting peace based on justice—ought to be an environmental priority because the Earth itself bears the wounds and scars of war.” The bishops call the church to “help build bridges among the peace, justice, and environmental agendas and constituencies.” How can we do this in our own neighborhoods? How can we avoid war and bring justice and peace to the local environment in which we live?
TODAY'S READINGS: Philippians 3:17—4:1; Luke 16:1-8 (489). “Prepare a full account of your stewardship.”
Saturday, Nov 07, 2020 OPTIONAL MEMORIAL OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY Dare to love
In his papal letter “The Joy of Love,” Pope Francis speaks of the “tender gaze” with which Jesus looks on all. He might have learned this from Mary. In marriage, spouses learn to look at each other this tenderly, marveling at goodness even when youth and attractiveness fade, as Francis notes. Negotiating conflicts, seeing challenges as resolvable, and appreciating the “large nest” of extended family must have been skills Jesus gained by spending most of his life in such a setting. The pope suggests turning off mobile devices, creating conversation around the dining table. Can you and your loved ones take the challenge?
TODAY'S READINGS: Philippians 4:10-19; Luke 16:9-15 (490). “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones.”
Sunday, Nov 08, 2020 THIRTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME Prudence is my co-pilot
Some of us can still recite the four Cardinal Virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. They’re good not just to recite but also to practice. Virtues are good habits; i.e., things we don’t have to surrender for Lent. Cardinal, meanwhile, means “hinge.” Put together, the four hinge virtues swing open the door to a life well lived. Prudence is called the pilot of the virtues because it enables us to discern the good and how best to accomplish it. When a decision is important, reflect on it through the lens of scripture. How is God inviting you to proceed?
TODAY'S READINGS: Wisdom 6:12-16; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13 (154). “Wisdom ‘is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her.’ ”
Monday, Nov 09, 2020 FEAST OF THE DEDICATION OF THE LATERAN BASILICA Open the door and look at all the people
Why would there be a feast day for a church? Because it’s the “mother of all churches,” one that all Catholics can call their own, and so we all celebrate its dedication in the year 324. Christianity had only recently been legalized in the Roman Empire, and the Lateran Basilica—full name: Cathedral of the Most Holy Savior and of Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist in the Lateran—was the first church in Rome and, to this day, remains the pope’s church as the bishop of Rome. Keep passing on the faith of the Mother Church that has been passed down to you through the centuries.
TODAY'S READINGS: Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12; 1 Corinthians 3:9c-11, 16-17; John 2:13-22 (671). “His disciples recalled the words of scripture, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’”
Tuesday, Nov 10, 2020 MEMORIAL OF LEO THE GREAT, POPE, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH The great pope who did good things
Leo the Great was the first pope to be called “Great.” His diplomacy kept Attila the Hun from attacking Rome. His authoritative teaching solidified the role of the bishop of Rome as Saint Peter’s successor. And his eloquent prose—detailing the two natures of Jesus Christ, both human and divine—was key to defeating heresy at the Council of Chalcedon. “Peter has spoken through Leo,” marveled the bishops of Chalcedon. "The infancy of the Babe is exhibited by the humiliation of swaddling clothes,” wrote Leo, while “the greatness of the Highest is declared by the voices of angels.”
TODAY'S READINGS: Titus 2:1-8, 11-14; Luke 17:7-10 (492). “We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.”
Wednesday, Nov 11, 2020 MEMORIAL OF MARTIN OF TOURS, BISHOP Half of what I have is yours
Fourth-century Bishop Martin of Tours was not born to the faith but chose it for himself as a young man. He followed his father into the Roman army but found that he could not remain a soldier; Martin is one of the earliest documented conscientious objectors. Yet it was while serving as a soldier that perhaps the most famous episode of Martin’s life occurred. Coming upon a naked beggar, Martin took out his sword, cut his own cloak in two, and shared it with the poor soul. Martin was a founder of monasteries, a popularly acclaimed bishop, destroyer of pagan shrines and builder of churches, and most of all, he inspires us to share what we have with those most in need.
TODAY'S READINGS: Titus 3:1-7; Luke 17:11-19 (493). “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”
Thursday, Nov 12, 2020 MEMORIAL OF JOSAPHAT, BISHOP, MARTYR Draw courage from Josaphat
Books of saints have long been filled with the gore of martyrs, but the story of Josaphat is shocking even in that bloody context. Josaphat, a Polish Byzantine priest and archbishop, was embroiled in controversy for much of his life because of his emphasis on reforming lax practices within the church and striving for unity among Christians. After years of wrangling, his enemies mobbed him, killed him, and tossed his beaten body into a river in 1623. With Josaphat’s courage as a model, take a step today to support the ongoing reform efforts in the church, including efforts to end sexual abuse in the church we love.
TODAY'S READINGS: Philemon 7-20; Luke 17:20-25 (494). “No one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the kingdom of God is among you.”
Friday, Nov 13, 2020 MEMORIAL OF FRANCES XAVIER CABRINI, VIRGIN Do likewise
What would we do if a saint of God rose in our midst today and instructed us in the proper care of people who are immigrants and refugees at our borders? Would that saint’s halo give us any more certitude to stand behind every effort to protect the lives of women, men, and children seeking a safe home? Just over 100 years ago we had such a saint showing us the way. Frances Xavier Cabrini was called by Pope Leo XIII to tend to the many immigrants landing on the shores of the United States in the late 1800s. She built schools, orphanages, and hospitals to tend to them. Though she met resistance, she persisted, and her legacy lives on in each of us and our ancestors, for the most part immigrants. How do we honor this legacy in our own treatment of immigrants and refugees today?
TODAY'S READINGS: 2 John 4-9; Luke 17:26-37 (495). “Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for.”
Saturday, Nov 14, 2020 OPTIONAL MEMORIAL OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY Let your soul proclaim greatness
Take an opportunity today to celebrate Mary, who found her voice in difficult circumstances so that we might follow her voice and find our own in these difficult times. Read her “Magnificat” (Luke 1:46-56) for a canticle to the power of trust. Imagine how she waited years to understand her son’s calling, grieved his inconceivable death, and then, in the many years of her grief, nurtured the early Christian community. That’s greatness!
TODAY'S READINGS: 3 John 5-8; Luke 18:1-8 (496). “Will [God] be slow to answer them?”
Sunday, Nov 15, 2020 THIRTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME Believe in magic—your own!
We each have a little something special we can call our own. Maybe it’s school smarts or street smarts. Maybe you know your way around the halls of power or around the kitchen. Some are good with kids, others with elders, still others with sick or dying people. You might be great with people, or math, or words, or research. You could be physically strong or have that dogged ability to keep at a task when everybody else gives up. Do an assessment of your gifts and skills. Whatever your special magic is, put it at the disposal of grace.
TODAY'S READINGS: Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; Matthew 25:14-30 (157). “Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.”
Monday, Nov 16, 2020 MEMORIAL OF GERTRUDE THE GREAT, VIRGIN Mystic mysteries
Me, a mystic? Yes, you! Intimate union with Christ is called “mystical” because it participates in the mystery of Christ through the sacraments, the catechism says, and “God calls all of us to this intimate union with him . . .” But, you may be thinking, I don’t have visions or experiences of ecstasy, and I definitely don’t have stigmata, like a saint we remember today, Gertrude the Great, German Benedictine mystic of the 13th century. No matter, the catechism says, “The special graces or extraordinary signs of this mystical life are granted only to some for the sake of manifesting the gratuitous gift to all.” Enjoy your slice of the mystery
TODAY'S READINGS: Revelation 1:1-4; 2:1-5; Luke 18:35-43 (497). “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”
Tuesday, Nov 17, 2020 MEMORIAL OF ELIZABETH OF HUNGARY, RELIGIOUS Love the one you’re with
As a young queen, Elizabeth of Hungary was so moved by the love of Saint Francis of Assisi that she took care of the sick and poor herself, tending to them like a servant in her own castle. Equally notable, though, is the loving relationship Elizabeth had with her husband, King Louis of Thuringia. Growing up together, their mutual affection was exceptionally deep as friends and confidants—long before they married and became parents. Most notably, they championed each other in the practice of their Christian faith. Today, pray gratefully for loved ones who have nurtured your own faith.
TODAY'S READINGS: Revelation 3:1-6, 14-22; Luke 19:1-10 (498). “Half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor.”
Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020 MEMORIAL OF ROSE PHILIPPINE DUCHESNE, VIRGIN Pray always
One of Rose Philippine Duchesne’s (1769-1852) biographers noted that she was born with a strong and dauntless will. She ignored family wishes and joined a French convent, intent on ministry to Native American peoples. Not until the age of 49 did she set sail for St. Louis, where her ministry of opening schools and orphanages remained much the same as in her native France. After many years of ministry, at the age of 72 Rose was asked to live among the Potawatomie Indians in Sugar Creek, Kansas. It was a short-lived assignment—her health was failing—yet Rose’s ministry of prayer was recognized by the Potawatomie, who called her Woman-Who-Prays-Always. The witness of Saint Rose reminds us that where there is a will—our own and God’s—there is a way. Ask for the grace today to seek and embrace God’s will.
TODAY'S READINGS: Revelation 4:1-11; Luke 19:11-28 (499) or for the Dedication, Acts 28:11-16, 30-31; Matthew 14:22-33 (679). “’Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’ He replied, ‘Well done, good servant!’”
Thursday, Nov 19, 2020 The Omega point
These days Catholic laity and leaders don’t typically dwell on the so-called “end times.” Modern Catholics tend to be engaged in questions of how to live here and now for the common good and our personal salvation. Pope Francis frequently urges us on in righteous living. That is the context as our year moves toward its own “end times.” The year 2020 has been hard around the world. We can hope and pray that 2021 will be gentler and promote that outcome in our own interactions with others in this contentious age. Put your trust in God, the Alpha and Omega.
TODAY'S READINGS: Revelation 5:1-10; Luke 19:41-44 (500). “[Jesus] saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If this day you only knew what makes for peace.’ ”
Friday, Nov 20, 2020 Feed the children
Today is World Children's Day. It marks the anniversary of the 1959 signing of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child. A fundamental right of every child is to live and grow. But a 2018 study by UNICEF found that more than 3 million children in the world die from malnutrition every year. Some people ask why God allows this to happen. But that misses the point. God commands us to feed the hungry, and Catholics have a serious obligation to do just that. Log on to Catholic Relief Services (.org) and find out how you can help feed the starving children of the world.
TODAY'S READINGS: Revelation 10:8-11; Luke 19:45-48 (501). “Yes, your decrees are my delight; they are my counselors.”
Saturday, Nov 21, 2020 MEMORIAL OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY Your presence is requested
Celebration of Mary’s presentation at the temple—a story from time-honored tradition rather than directly from scripture—took place as early as the sixth century in Jerusalem. The Eastern Church ran with it right away, but the West was slow to follow. At times the feast seemed to disappear entirely from the calendar, but finally in the 16th century it took its place as a universal feast. Though the feast points to Mary's lifetime of preparation for her sacred role in salvation, it also invites each of us to ponder for a moment: Suppose Jesus came knocking right now to bring you to the heavenly temple. Would you be prepared? If you feel a bit sloppy or unkempt, spiritually speaking, now is a great chance to do what is necessary to become a bit more presentable!
TODAY'S READINGS: Revelation 11:4-12; Luke 20:27-40 (502). “Then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, ‘Come up here.’”
Sunday, Nov 22, 2020 SOLEMNITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE You decide
The church year ends this week. Along with that we’re invited to consider another ending: our mortality. What goes on in eternity, anyway? Thomas Aquinas declares that God and eternity are the same. When we go from here, we go to God. How we experience the Divine Presence depends on whether our lives have become fully compatible with Love. Francis de Sales envisions Jesus saying to us: “Be it done as you desire; and because of what you have done, come, enjoy eternity.” The desire of my heart will be answered: Will the choice be a life of love?
TODAY'S READINGS: Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17; 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28; Matthew 25:31-46 (160). “These will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Monday, Nov 23, 2020 MEMORIAL OF BLESSED MIGUEL AUGUSTÍN PRO, PRIEST, MARTYR ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Mexican Jesuit priest Miguel Pro was executed on fabricated charges in 1927 by a fiercely anti-clerical government. Pro had served the persecuted church by secretly celebrating the sacraments. He was killed by firing squad while holding a rosary in one hand and a crucifix in the other, his arms stretched out in imitation of the crucified Christ, shouting “Long live Christ the King!” His death energized the resistance. We may not be called to such dramatic sacrifice, but can we give up some comfort and convenience to fight for the greater good?
TODAY'S READINGS: Revelation 14:1-3, 4b-5; Luke 21:1-4 (503). “This poor widow put in more than all the rest.”
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2020 MEMORIAL OF ANDREW DŨNG-LẠC, PRIEST, AND COMPANIONS, MARTYRS Holiness in high numbers
Nine times in the liturgical lineup of feast days we memorialize a canonized person or two “and companions.” All were martyrs and many had been foreign missionaries. Today’s memorial honors Andrew Dũng-Lạc, a Vietnamese priest beheaded in 1839 for promoting Christianity instead of the official state religion; he’s joined by another 117 killed in Vietnam, tortured and martyred during the 18th and 19th centuries. Just as we began this month with the feast of All Saints—honoring a multitude of holy unknowns—may every instance of “and companions” encourage us to call to mind the “great cloud of witnesses.”
TODAY'S READINGS: Revelation 14:14-19; Luke 21:5-11 (504). “Reap the harvest, for the time to reap has come."
Wednesday, Nov 25, 2020 MEMORIAL OF CATHERINE OF ALEXANDRIA, VIRGIN, MARTYR Raise your voice
Christian tradition holds that Catherine of Alexandria (287-305) was an eloquent young Christian convert who challenged the Emperor Maxentius’ persecution of Christians. That faithful courage led to her own martyrdom. The United Nations has declared today the Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, asking the world to recognize that “violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent, and devastating human rights violations in our world today.” We honor the courage of Saint Catherine by paying attention to the violence that others endure, speaking up in defense of the voiceless, and adding our prayers for those whose suffering too often goes unnoticed.
TODAY'S READINGS: Revelation 15:1-4; Luke 21:12-19 (505). “They will seize and persecute you . . . they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name.”
Thursday, Nov 26, 2020 THANKSGIVING DAY Give thanks, indeed
This Thanksgiving won’t be celebrated the way many of us hoped and imagined back when the pandemic started. And yet, we are alive. Most of us reading these words can breathe freely. The virus has reminded us to never again take these simple matters for granted. One of our wisest teachers about prayer, Dominican priest Meister Eckhardt (1260-1329), said: If the only prayer you ever said in your entire life is thank you, that would suffice. Even amid hard times, giving thanks to God is appropriate. Let it be your prayer today.
TODAY'S READINGS: Revelation 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9a; Luke 21:20-28 (506). “But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”
Friday, Nov 27, 2020 Turn the page
The “Book of Life” is mentioned several times in the Bible. A bit like the contact list you keep on your phone, the Book of Life is the figurative expression of how God is said to keep track of those heading for heavenly repose united with the Divine. According to Jewish tradition, God opens the Book of Life on Rosh Hashanah and leaves it open for 10 days, until Yom Kippur. During those days, believers spend time repenting of their sins and amending their lives in order to be written into the Book of Life. If there’s something you need to repent, today is a good day to turn the page.
TODAY'S READINGS: Revelation 20:1-4, 11—21:2; Luke 21:29-33 (507). “Then another scroll was opened, the Book of Life. The dead were judged according to their deeds.”
Saturday, Nov 28, 2020 OPTIONAL MEMORIAL OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY Call forth your best self
Perhaps you’ve heard that Jesus’ life was foreshadowed in passages from the Hebrew scripture that predated him. But were you aware that Mary’s life and role in salvation history might have been as well? The prophet Isaiah (7:14) speaks of a young woman (sometimes translated as a “virgin”) who will give birth to a son she will name Emmanuel, meaning “God with us.” Mary has been “going ahead” of us for generations, a role model beckoning us to live our best lives, regardless of how improbable, even miraculous, that might turn out to be.
TODAY'S READINGS: Revelation 22:1-7; Luke 21:34-36 (508). “These words are trustworthy and true.”