01 February 2015

"Your Words Are Spirit and Life"

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of Bernadette Farrell's "Your Words Are Spirit and Life":

Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions for February

The Holy Father’s prayer intentions for February are:

Universal Intention (Prisoners): “That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.”

Evangelization Intention (Separated Spouses): “That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.”

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Deuteronomy 18:15-20, 1 Corinthians 7:32-35, and Mark 1:21-28. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 95 (Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9).

For one version of the Responsorial Psalm set to music, please visit:

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 95 "If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts"

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Then they came to Capernaum, and on the sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.

In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are - the Holy One of God!”

Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.

All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 1, 2015)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflection: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 1, 2015)

Msgr. Charles Pope: A Portrait of Powerful Preaching - A Homily for the 4th Sunday of the Year (31 JAN 15)

The Deacon's Bench: Homily for February 1, 2015: 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (1 FEB 15)

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: Authority over Demons

Word on Fire: Greater than the Greatest Prophet (Cycle B * Ordinary Time * Week 4)

Dr. Scott Hahn: The King's Authority (February 1st 2015 - Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

CWR Blog: Prophets and Demons (31 JAN 15)

Spirituality of the Readings: Hard Heart (4th Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

The Word Embodied: Expressions of the Call (4th Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

Historical Cultural Context: Authority and Honor (4th Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by John Henry Newman (4th Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You encourage us to focus on maters pertaining to You and Your Kingdom.

Msgr. Pope on Living Simpler and Slower

"We have more than ever. Not just more things, but more options, more capacity, and more ability. Several hundred years ago a young peasant living in Europe seldom ventured more than a few miles from where he was born; longer journeys were rare and for serious reasons only. Much of a person's life was 'decided' by the place he was born. Even the person whom he married was decided by others, or at least limited to a very few candidates in his little village or section of town. The life of the average peasant was very circumscribed and he had limited knowledge of what was even a hundred miles away, let alone across the ocean.

"Today, most people, even those of moderate means, can get on a plane and by the end of the day be thousands of miles from where they woke up that morning. Most do not live where they were born and most have virtual access to the entire world via the Internet. It is quite reasonable to know people from all over the world, or at least to know those who have been all over the world. Most people travel frequently to distant cities and sometimes to other countries and continents. Our options, though not limitless, are practically so, since most of us could never exhaust all the possibilities that modernity offers.

"Are we happier? Probably not. I would argue that we are less happy. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the need for adherence to the scientific method and on the appropriate roles of tradition and science.

To access Msgr. Pope’s complete post, please visit:

Msgr. Charles Pope: Less is More - As Seen in a Cartoon (30 JAN 15)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"A credible witness to truth and to the values of the Gospel is urgently needed."- Pope Francis

31 January 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the inspiration You give us through the lives of Your saints.

Fr. Longenecker on the Little Way Through Middle Earth

"'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.' Tolkien admitted that he wrote these words absentmindedly on the back of an exam paper he was marking.

"Such spontaneous inspiration suggests the work of the subconscious mind, and if the subconscious mind, then a more mysterious source of inspiration may well be at work. Peter Kreeft has suggested that The Lord of the Rings is a divinely inspired work, and in the broadest sense this has to be true. Inspiration comes from earthly experience just as much as from heavenly guidance, and Tom Shippey has shown how the very word 'hobbit' emerged from the context of Tolkien's lifelong interest in words and language.

"The idea of little people who turn out to be the greatest would also have sprung from Tolkien's devout Catholic faith. Not only does the gospel say that we have to be little to get into the kingdom, (Matthew 18:4) but the apostle John constantly refers to the faithful as 'little children'. (e.g. I John 2:28) Furthermore, Tolkien would have been well aware that one of the Catholic saints most in the ascendant during his lifetime was the apostle of the 'little way.' Thérèse of Lisieux teaches that, 'To be little means recognising one's nothingness, expecting everything from the good God, as a little child expects everything from its Father.'

"Now Tolkien was not writing a book about saints and going to heaven. Apart from a minor character saying grace before a meal, there is nothing in The Lord of the Rings which is remotely religious in the conventional sense of the word. Nevertheless Tolkien was clear that his Christian faith provided the underlying matrix for the story. In 1953 he wrote that The Lord of the Rings, 'is of course; a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.'"

In a commentary written some months ago, Father Dwight Longenecker (parish priest at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Greenville, SC) reflected on how Frodo's humility and obedience, like these virtues as reflected in the life of Saint Thérèse, are "an inspiration to every soul who attempts the little way."

To access Fr. Longenecker’s complete post, please visit:

Standing on My Head: The Little Way Through Middle Earth

Background information:

Dwight Longenecker - Catholic priest and author