News Category: In Step with the Readings

Everyday Stewardship ~ Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

Practicing Graciousness in the Desert

Looking back over my journey of parenthood, I know there were days when I traveled the extra mile for my children. I made their toast the way they like it, let them play in the park an extra ten minutes, or let them go to the movies with their friends and I finished up the chores on my own. And then, it happened: the attitude. The request for the smallest thing from one of them is met with disdain or bewilderment.

Sometimes you can be made breathless with the ingratitude of another person who takes so much and with so little shame, only to scoff at the idea that they, too, give even the smallest amount.

But if we’re being honest with ourselves, we will admit that we do the exact same thing to God. Haven’t we all been the Israelites in the desert at one point or another? God has parted our Red Sea in some way. He’s led us out of some great trial, given us some great blessings. But then we run into a little resistance somewhere along the way and we throw up our hands. How could you do this to us, Lord? How could you ask this of us? No, I can’t go any further. No, I won’t do any more.

Persisting in the blindness to the many ways God continues to protect us is nothing short of a temper tantrum. It robs our Everyday Stewardship of its graciousness, of our ability to accept with joy the trials of life because we are also constantly aware of its blessings.

— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

©LPi

LA CORRESPONSABILIDAD DIARIA ~ RECONOCER A DIOS EN LOS MOMENTOS ORDINARIOS (Everyday Stewardship)

Practicando la bondad en el desierto

Mirando hacia atrás en mi viaje de paternidad, sé que hubo días en los que hice un esfuerzo adicional por mis hijos. Hice su pan tostado como a ellos les gusta, los dejé jugar en el parque diez minutos más o los dejé ir al cine con sus amigos y terminé los quehaceres por mi cuenta. Y luego sucedió: la actitud. La solicitud de la cosa más pequeña de uno de ellos es recibida con desdén o desconcierto.

A veces te puedes quedar sin aliento con la ingratitud de otra persona que toma tanto y con tan poca vergüenza, solo para mofarse de la idea de que ellos también dan la más mínima cantidad.

Pero si somos honestos con nosotros mismos, admitiremos que le hacemos exactamente lo mismo a Dios. ¿No hemos sido todos los israelitas en el desierto en un momento u otro? Dios ha dividido nuestro Mar Rojo de alguna manera. Nos ha sacado de una gran prueba, nos ha dado grandes bendiciones. Pero luego nos encontramos con una pequeña resistencia en algún lugar del camino y levantamos las manos. ¿Cómo pudiste hacernos esto, Señor? ¿Cómo pudiste preguntarnos esto? No, no puedo ir más lejos. No, no haré más.

Persistir en la ceguera sobre las muchas formas en que Dios continúa protegiéndonos es nada menos que una rabieta. Le roba a nuestra corresponsabilidad diaria su gracia, nuestra capacidad de aceptar con gozo las pruebas de la vida porque también estamos constantemente conscientes de sus bendiciones.

Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

©LPi

Live the Liturgy ~ Inspiration for the Week

When we lose our ability to trust, we become afraid. When we are afraid, we may begin to grumble and question whether where we are is where we need to be. For us who have faith, we even question whether God is who God says He is. Trust is so important to our success on our journey. Often, the road of our lives can become a bit treacherous. We may find ourselves feeling more unsettled than comfortable and less fulfilled than we would like to be. As much as we try, the pieces of our puzzle don’t quite fit together as they ought. We wonder if we will ever experience happiness again. Then, something reminds us that God is very much present in this mess we call life. God is still bringing hope out of despair and life out of death. After all, God is the true bread that comes down from heaven to give life. All that is necessary is for us to trust in this truth, even when we may be lacking in some of life’s essentials. The God who gives life is the same God who sustains it. He is also the same God who assures us that we will not perish.

©LPi

VIVIR LA LITURGIA ~ INSPIRACIÓN DE LA SEMANA (Live the Liturgy)

Cuando perdemos la capacidad de confiar, nos atemorizamos. Cuando tenemos miedo, podemos comenzar a quejarnos y preguntarnos si dónde estamos es donde debemos estar. Para nosotros que tenemos fe, incluso nos preguntamos si Dios es quien Dios dice que es. La confianza es tan importante para nuestro éxito en nuestro viaje. A menudo, el camino de nuestras vidas puede volverse un poco traicionero. Es posible que nos sintamos más inquietos que cómodos y menos realizados de lo que nos gustaría estar. Por mucho que lo intentemos, las piezas de nuestro rompecabezas no encajan como deberían. Nos preguntamos si alguna vez volveremos a experimentar la felicidad. Entonces, algo nos recuerda que Dios está muy presente en este lío que llamamos vida. Dios todavía está sacando esperanza de la desesperación y vida de la muerte. Después de todo, Dios es el verdadero pan que desciende del cielo para dar vida. Todo lo que necesitamos es que confiemos en esta verdad, incluso cuando nos falten algunos de los elementos esenciales de la vida. El Dios que da la vida es el mismo Dios que la sustenta. También es el mismo Dios que nos asegura que no pereceremos.

©LPi

Gospel Meditation

August 1, 2021
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“You cannot see the forest for the trees” is a widely known saying that can bring wisdom to our understanding of our journey. Often, our sight becomes limited to what is immediately before us. We lose touch with lessons and experiences from the past and promises and hope for the future. As human beings, we have the privilege of being able to choose things. What I like and don’t like, want, and don’t want can be major preoccupations of our minds and hearts. Our preferences and desires begin to define us more than the simple fact of our being. Who we are matters more than what we are or what we have. If we don’t move beyond the external and superficial stuff to what really is of essence, we risk becoming very unsettled, disorientated, angry, and unhappy. We fail to see the bigger picture of hope and promise that lies ahead and the Divine Presence that has sustained and carried us before.

We like it when the “now” time of our lives satisfy us. Even the people who witnessed Jesus feed the five thousand got confused and distracted. It felt good when thousands of people were able to eat. They wanted to know what they could do to get this to happen again! But Jesus quickly reminds them that this is not the point of this sign. As much as the now time of our lives is of concern, it is not what is ultimately important. We need to learn the difference between being and doing, drawing more strength from who we are and who God is rather than what is happening around us and the choices we can make. Jesus is the true bread that came down from heaven. Jesus is the very incarnate presence of God who sustains life and assures us that we will not perish. This is not easy to understand and feel. We have to practice being in the presence of ourselves, others, creation, and God. We are brought to a holy place when we encounter the sacredness of being. This is real prayer.

Then, we learn to trust. It is when we cease trusting that we start to become afraid, uncertain, apprehensive, and doubtful, and overly self-concerned. We even start to grumble. God has our back. That is the essential powerful message of the living bread come down from heaven. God, who is alpha is also omega, the beginning and the end, and has everything in between in his care as well. A woman once remarked that her most powerful God moment happened when she and her husband cuddled with their new baby for a time. Without exchanging words and using only the affection communicated through sight and touch, they rested in being with each other. This brought them to the sacred, where they realized that a greater Being was with them. It was real. They knew that they were part of something bigger, intimate, and profound. When we rest in the Living Source of life, we will find that our souls are no longer hungry or thirsty.

©LPi

MEDITACIÓN EVANGÉLICO (Gospel Meditation)

1 de agosto 2021
18º Domingo del Tiempo Ordinario

Estamos en momentos difíciles de la historia. Mucha gente murmura y se pregunta: ¿Cuándo terminará la pesadilla de la pandemia? ¿Dónde está Dios en todo esto que estamos viviendo? Vivió algo similar el pueblo de Israel que caminaba en el desierto, también sentía la angustia de saber dónde estaría Dios en su experiencia de jornada, después de su salida de Egipto. Ellos basaban su realidad en el hambre, pues recordaban las ollas de carne y de comer pan hasta saciarse.  Con todo esto, Dios dijo a Moisés: “He oído las quejas de mi pueblo. Diles: por la tarde comerán carne y por la mañana se saciarán de pan; así sabrán que yo soy Yavé, el Dios de ustedes” (Éxodo 16:11-12).

El maná que cae del cielo es un alimento que la misericordia de Dios da al pueblo de Israel. Pero, debía ser recogido todos los días, es decir, alimento para cada día que obliga a la gente a confiar en Dios y a darse cuenta que este maná es un alimento para el camino por el desierto. En el Evangelio de hoy, Jesús dice a la gente que lo buscaba: “En verdad les digo: Ustedes me buscan, no porque han visto a través de los signos sino porque han comido pan hasta saciarse” (Juan 6:26-27). Cuando participo en la Eucaristía, ¿busco a Jesús como alimento de vida, o lo busco para saciar mis caprichos? ¿Veo la Eucaristía como alimento de vida que me acerca a Jesús? Recordemos que Jesús es el Pan de vida y el que acude a él con sinceridad de corazón nunca tendrá hambre, y el que cree en él nunca tendrá sed. Pidamos, en la Eucaristía que seamos cristianos que orientamos nuestra vida a ejemplo de Jesús.

©LPi

A Longing for Fulfillment

For Sunday, August 1, 2021
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Lord gives bread from heaven.

Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15
Ephesians 4:17, 20-24
John 6:24-35

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” (John 6:35)

How many times do you use or hear the word “want” during the day? What do you want to be when you grow up? What do you want for dinner? I want to watch something else. Where do you want to be in 25 years?

We live in a culture that is governed by wants. Sadly, this endless desire for more is only intensified by countless advertising campaigns and the belief that the only things worth having are those that are new and novel.

As we continue our reading of the sixth chapter of John’s gospel this Sunday, we get a sense that this was also the perspective of the crowds who had gathered around Jesus after he fed a great number with only a few loaves and fish. “Jesus answered them and said, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.’” Even though Jesus had satisfied their physical hunger, they still wanted more.

Like so many people in our world today, the crowd that day was really only looking for something perishable, for temporary satisfaction to an immediate want. Whether this was an opportunity to see Jesus perform another miracle — or because they were hoping for more to eat than just bread and fish — they were hoping for something else. They wanted just one more thing.

St. John tells us, however, that Jesus recognized their misguided desires and reminded them — and us — that if we are to be truly filled (and fulfilled), we have to recognize and honor those hungers, hopes, and needs that are deep within us. We must recognize, in a special way, that common and very human need to be known and loved. These are the hungers and needs that Jesus addresses in this Gospel passage when he says to the crowds, “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”

No amount of money, power, influence, sex, or material goods can ever bring true satisfaction and fulfillment. However much we might have in life, those fundamental desires that are deep within us will never be satisfied without the love of God and the care and support of a community. Pope Francis spoke to this when he reflected:

“[The crowd] had given more meaning to that bread than to its donor. God himself is both the gift and the giver. Thus from that bread, from that gesture, the people can find the One who gives it, who is God. He invites them to open up to a perspective which is not only that of the daily need to eat, dress, achieve success, build a career. Jesus speaks of another food. He speaks of a food which is incorruptible and which is good to seek and gather… That is to say, to seek salvation, the encounter with God.”

In the end, we know that only God can truly provide the nourishment and fulfillment that will bring us lasting peace and joy and that will satisfy these deeply rooted needs and desires. But we also recognize that we have been given the great gifts of the Scriptures and the Eucharist — the Bread of Life — to nourish and strengthen us as we journey through life.

As Pope Benedict XVI reminded the bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean in 2007“Every Eucharist is a personal encounter with Christ. Listening to God’s word, our hearts burn because it is he who is explaining and proclaiming it. When we break the bread at the Eucharist, it is he whom we receive personally.”

To receive the Eucharist is not to get something but to encounter someone. Because in the Eucharist, we enter into a communion with Jesus himself. It is in this communion that the deepest desires and longings of our hearts find lasting fulfillment.

Br. Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

Why do we do that? Catholic Life Explained

Question: What can I do to help our family practice our faith each day?

Answer:  Some families practice their religion together as just another event on their schedule: go to church, observe Lent, help at the parish picnic, go to a meeting, volunteer time, make your confession, use your envelope… But the focus needs to be on who we are—God’s people, in relationship with him, loved, forgiven, and redeemed, and called to live and proclaim the Gospel. Our awareness of God’s presence and our sense of mission are supported by the daily rituals, celebrations, and traditions that help us stay focused. Sharing our faith strengthens us and clarifies the beliefs and values of Christian living.

Daily family practices include time for prayer—before meals, before bed, before important meetings and activities. Attend Sunday Mass together and discuss the homily afterward. Create family celebrations for holy days and holidays. Make religion a regular part of your discussions. Include others, especially the elderly and the less fortunate, in your activities and charitable efforts. By applying the virtues of faith, hope, and love to each day, faith becomes part of who your family is. It influences how you act towards others, what you value, and how mindful of God you are. Faith is the leaven of life that helps all of us rise to our calling and dignity as God’s people.

©LPi