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Daily Reading and Prayer

February 2018

Feb 28

February 28, 2018

Matthew 20:17-28 In this most detailed prediction, Jesus will suffer at the hands of both the Jews and the Gentiles.  Crucifixtion is specifically named as the model of death.  Status in the kingdom was brought up previously by the disciples.  This time it is a mother who asks on behalf of her sons.  Jesus makes it very clear...
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Feb 27

February 27, 2018

Matthew 23:1-12 Jesus tells the disciples and the surrounding crowd to listen to what the Pharisees say, but not to do what they do. They speak the truth but do so for all the wrong reasons. They do not care that they put unnecessary burdens on the people. They want nothing more than to draw attention to themselves. This passage speaks to me in...
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Feb 26

February 26, 2018

Luke 6:36-38 In three short verses, Jesus emphasizes the importance of human relationships at their best. The best is attained by emulating his Father. Do not judge or condemn. Be merciful, give, and forgive. Do all this without counting the cost. It’s all about relationship, my relationship with you and with my neighbor, whether friend or...
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Feb 25

February 25, 2018

Mark 9:2-10 Peter, James, and John accompany Jesus up the mountain. They have heard his unsettling prediction of his passion. Now they are given the gift of seeing him in his glory. God speaks and repeats the words spoken at Jesus’ baptism but now adds, “Listen to him!” Dearest Saint Peter, I understand why you wanted to hold...
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Feb 24

February 24, 2018

Matthew 5:43-48 In this final antithesis in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus tells the disciples that following him demands that they not only love family, friends, and those who love them, but that they love their enemies. God created all people, and they must love as God loves. God’s love is an inclusive, unconditional, and generous love. I...
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Feb 23

February 23, 2018

Matthew 5:20-26 Jesus goes deep unpacking the meaning of the Commandments. His teaching of the law and the prophets is far more radical than the scribes’ understanding. He tells them, for example, that there are steps that lead to murder and that, since anger is the root of the sin, it is sin in and of itself. This is the first of the six...
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Feb 22

February 22, 2018

Matthew 16:13-19 Two questions are posed, the first about popular speculation and the second with a very personal, face to face, heart to heart interest. Peter responds with words that reflect a heartfelt belief. Despite his foibles, he knows who Jesus is and proclaims the truth. St. Peter, the rock upon which the Church was built, pray for us,...
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Feb 21

February 21, 2018

Luke 11:29-32 Jesus’ frustration is evident. The people do not recognize his spiritual authority. He tells the crowd that he is the sign for the people, like Jonah was the sign for the Ninevites. There will be no other sign, and at the end of time, the Ninevites, who reformed their lives, will stand in judgment of this generation. What...
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Feb 20

February 20, 2018

Matt 6:7-15 The disciples have seen Jesus pray and want to learn. He begins the instruction by cautioning them about “babbling” as a means to draw attention to oneself. The Father knows their needs. Jesus gives them a prayer, perfect in that it begins with an invocation and continues...
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Feb 19

February 19, 2018

Matthew 25: 31-46 At the final judgment, the Son of Man is likened to a shepherd who will separate all humanity into two groupings. The sheep are those who have loved and cared for all in need. The goats have not shown compassion and love to the “least.” St. John of the Cross reminds us that we will be judged according to how much we...
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Feb 18

February 18, 2018

Mark 1:12-15 Though brief when compared with Matthew and Luke, Mark’s account of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry preceded by his temptation in the desert is very direct. Jesus is led by the Spirit into the desert and for 40 days is tested by Satan. With his Father’s protection, he withstands the test and is ready. We pray...
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Feb 17

February 17, 2018

Luke 5:27-32 The Pharisees criticize Jesus for his association with tax collectors. They were a disreputable bunch well known for their dishonest practices. To complicate matters, Jesus and his disciples join Levi and his associates for dinner. This is problematic since the tax collectors were associated with Gentiles and were therefore ritually...
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Feb 16

February 16, 2018

Matthew 9:14-15 Again, Jewish religious practices are held over Jesus, this time by John’s disciples. Since fasting was typically a sign of mourning, Jesus responds to them by telling them that this is a time for joy. He, the bridegroom, is with them. He goes on to say that the time for fasting will come when he is no longer with them. Do...
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Feb 15

February 15, 2018

Luke 9:22-25 In the first of three predictions, Jesus tells the disciples that he, the Son of Man, will be rejected, will suffer, and will be killed. This stands in stark contrast to the Messiah anticipated by the Jewish people. He goes on to tell them that they and all who follow him must be willing to let go of their lives and let God. We pray...
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Feb 14

February 14, 2018

Matthew 6:1-6 In the third major part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ teaching concerns three essential religious practices. Almsgiving, prayer, and fasting are to be done to honor God, not to bring attention to self. He cautions the disciples about behavior they are to avoid and the proper attitude they must have when giving alms,...
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Feb 13

February 13, 2018

Mark 8:14-21 Though they had a loaf of bread, the disciples are disheartened, apparently thinking that one loaf is not enough. Had they forgotten so quickly what Jesus had done with seven loaves? Through a series of questions, he tries to get them to understand because their hearts are hardened. They are not receptive. We pray for those who...
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Feb 12

February 12, 2018

Mark 8:11-13 Have there not already been enough signs? No doubt Jesus’ relationship with the Pharisees is already strained. In this brief encounter his frustration is palpable, and his response terse. They do not deserve any more than that. We pray for “this generation,” not unlike the generation Jesus referred to in the...
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Feb 11

February 11, 2018

Mark 1:40-45 The man with leprosy humbly approaches Jesus and begs him to cure him. Jesus responds with words and a touch that heals. He knows that the man must show himself to the priest for the Mosaic cleansing ritual but warns him to say nothing about the circumstances of the healing. The man does not understand the implications of...
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Feb 10

February 10, 2018

Mark 8:1-10 We know how important the Eucharistic gatherings were to the early Church. There are two accounts of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes in Mark and Matthew and one each in Luke and John. In this account Jesus is moved with pity for the people.  They have come a great distance, which likely means there are gentiles among...
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Feb 9

February 9, 2018

Mark 7:31-37 Jesus travels on to a Gentile part of Palestine. A man who is deaf and has a speech impediment is brought to him by the people. Jesus uses his spittle, touch and command to heal the man. “Ephphatha!” (“Be opened!”). This same word is used today with the Elect at the Preparation Rites on Holy Saturday morning...
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Feb 8

February 8, 2018

Mark 7:24-30 The Syrophoenician woman has a lot working against her, yet she persists. Jesus acknowledges her persistence, her faith, and heals her daughter. There is an important message not to be missed in this Gospel. This woman is a Gentile, an outsider. Thus far Jesus’ ministry has been focused on the Jewish people. Through this...
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Feb 7

February 7, 2018

Mark 7:14-23 The Gospel reading today picks up from yesterday’s. The disciples still don’t understand. Jesus uses a short parable to go deeper into the understanding that dietary laws have nothing to do with what is in a person’s heart. It is not how or what a person eats that makes them clean or unclean. What is most important...
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Feb 6

February 6, 2018

Mark 7:1-13 Jesus cleverly turns the question of the Pharisees and scribes back on them. Jesus challenges their false piety. They are critical of the disciple’s lack of attention to the purification rituals. He calls them hypocrites, more attached to their own traditions than to God’s law. You might have been talking to me. I do...
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Feb 5

February 5, 2018

Mark 6:53-56 The enthusiasm of the crowds stands in sharp contrast to the disciples’ hardened hearts in the previous passages and the increasing conflict with the Pharisees to follow. Mark draws the reader to focus on faith in Jesus’ loving, healing touch. St. Agatha, with you we pray for all women who suffer from breast cancer. May...
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Feb 4

February 4, 2018

Mark 1:29-39 In the previous passage Jesus cast out the demon by his word. He touches Simon’s mother-in-law, and she is cured, immediately and completely. By evening, the whole town has gathered. In the morning he rises early and goes off to pray before continuing to preach and teach throughout Galilee. Lord, you live out your ministry...
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Feb 3

February 3, 2018

Mark 6:30-34 The Apostles thought they were going to get away after their exhausting yet fruitful mission. No rest for the weary on the journey with their Lord. The crowds found their way to Jesus and the Apostles, and Jesus responded to the needs of the people. I am reminded that the “interruptions are the work.” I pray to be open...
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Feb 2

February 2, 2018

Luke 2:22-40 As Jewish parents of a firstborn son, Mary and Joseph faithfully fulfill what the law prescribes. Jesus is consecrated to the Lord. They hear amazing things about their son as revealed by the Holy Spirit to Simeon. He also tells Mary that Jesus’ mission will not be without suffering. Jesus, you were destined for greatness but...
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Feb 1

February 1, 2018

Mark 6:7-13 Christ’s mission does not end with Jesus’ rejection by his own people. He goes on to towns and villages, preaching and teaching, all the while preparing the twelve. He tells them that there is little they will need. It is on his Spirit they must rely. Jesus sends them out to continue his mission. I hear that voice in my...
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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