Saint MonicaThe Mission of St. Monica Parish is to build a welcoming community of faith, making God's love visible through service to others.

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Catholic Daily Reflections

July 15, 2020
Wednesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today

Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor—Memorial

“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.”  Matthew 11:25

Life is complicated.  Or is it?  That’s a good question.  At times things can seem very complicated.  Situations we find ourselves in, relationships with family and friends, our future, our past, etc., can all seem burdensome and complicated at times.  But the truth is that it doesn’t have to be.  The truth is that God’s answers to the most “complex” questions in life are often simple enough for a child to understand.

In the passage above, Jesus affirms that the Father reveals His answers and wisdom to those who are childlike.  Interestingly, He also states that the Father has “hidden these things from the wise and learned.”  So this begs the question…is it better to be “wise and learned” or “childlike?”  Obviously the answer is that it’s better to be childlike.

This may seem confusing at first.  It can seem strange to say that it’s not good to be “wise and learned.”  But what that means is that it’s not good to be a person who thinks they have it all figured out.  It’s not good to be arrogant and a know-it-all.  It’s not good to be so filled with pride that we think we have all the answers.

The ideal is to have certain characteristics of a child.  In particular, it’s good to be one who is open, curious, and willing to learn.  It’s good to look at life in the simplest of ways and to stick to the basics.  Sure, it’s good to grow in wisdom and knowledge of the things of God.  But true wisdom and knowledge always maintain a certain innocence and simplicity.  They maintain a basic goodness and acceptance of right and wrong.  Life does not have to be complicated, it needs to become exceptionally simple.

Reflect, today, upon how ready and willing you are to turn to God for the simple and clear answers to life’s most difficult questions.  Reflect upon how willing you are to turn to God in trust and hope knowing that God has all the answers to your life.

Lord, once again I turn to You in trust.  Help me to realize that all wisdom comes from You rather than myself.  Help me to always turn to You as a child would and help my life to remain simple as You desire.  Jesus, I trust in You.

More Gospel Reflections

Divine Mercy Reflections

All Saints/Feasts

Saint of the Day – Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor—Memorial

Mass Reading Options

Image: Christ Blessing Little Children by Charles Lock Eastlake

July 14, 2020
Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time
Readings for Today

Saint Camillus de Lellis, Priest—Optional Memorial
(In the United States this memorial is transferred to July 18)
Or:
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin—USA Memorial

Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!”  Matthew 11:20-21a

What an act of mercy and love on the part of Jesus!  He rebukes those in the towns of Chorazin and Bethsaida because He loves them and He sees that they continue to hold on to their sinful lives even though He has brought them the Gospel and performed many mighty deeds.  They remain obstinate, trapped, confused, unwilling to repent, and unwilling to change their ways.  In this context, Jesus offers a wonderful form of mercy.  He chastises them!  After the passage above He goes on to say, “I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.”

There is a wonderful distinction here that should help us hear what God may be saying to us at times, as well as help us know how to deal with those around us who habitually sin and cause hurt in our lives or the lives of others.  The distinction has to do with Jesus’ motivation for chastising the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida.  Why did He do that?  And what was the motivation behind His actions?

Jesus chastises them out of love and out of a desire that they change.  They did not immediately repent of their sin when He offered an invitation and powerful witness of His miracles, so He needed to take things to a new level.  And this new level was a strong and clear rebuke out of love.

This action of Jesus could at first be perceived as an emotional outburst of anger.  But that’s the key distinction.  Jesus did not rebuke them strongly because He was mad and lost control.  Rather, He rebuked them because they needed that rebuke to change.  

The same truth can be applied to our lives.  At times we change our lives and overcome sin as a result of the gentle invitation of Jesus to grace.  But, at other times, when sin is deep, we need a holy rebuke.  In this case we should hear these words of Jesus as if they were directed at us.  This may be the specific act of mercy we need in our lives.

It also gives us great insight as to how we deal with others.  Parents, for example, can learn much from this.  Children will regularly go astray in various ways and will need correction.  It certainly is proper to start with gentle invitations and conversations aimed at helping them make the right choices.  However, at times this will not work and more drastic measures need to take place.  What are those “more drastic measures?”  Out-of-control anger and vengeful yelling is not the answer.  Rather, a holy wrath that comes from mercy and love may be the key.  This may come in the form of a strong chastisement or punishment.  Or, it may come in the form of laying down the truth and clearly presenting the consequences of certain actions.  Just remember that even this is love and is an imitation of Jesus’ actions.  This is what we commonly refer to as “tough love.”

Reflect, today, on whether or not you need a rebuke from Jesus.  If you do, let this Gospel of love sink in.  Reflect also upon your responsibility in correcting the faults of others.  Don’t be afraid to exercise an act of divine love that comes in the form of a clear chastisement.  It may just be the key to helping those you love to love God all the more.

Lord, help me to repent daily of my sin.  Help me to be an instrument of the repentance of others.  May I always receive Your words in love and offer them in the form of love that is most effective.  Jesus, I trust in You.

More Gospel Reflections

Divine Mercy Reflections

All Saints/Feasts

Saints of the Day –

Saint Camillus de Lellis, Priest—Optional Memorial
(In the United States this memorial is transferred to July 18)
Or:
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin—USA Memorial

Mass Reading Options

Image – Woe unto You, Scribes and Pharisees by James Tissot

July 13, 2020
Monday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today

Saint Henry—Optional Memorial

Jesus said to his Apostles: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.”  Matthew 10:34-36

Hmmm…was this a typo?  Did Jesus really say this?  This is one of those passages that can leave us a bit baffled and confused.  But Jesus does this all the time so we shouldn’t be surprised.  So what does Jesus mean?  Does He really want to bring the “sword” and division rather than peace?

It’s important when reading this passage that we read it in light of everything else Jesus has ever written.  We must read it in light of all His teachings on love and mercy, forgiveness and unity, etc.  But with that said, what was Jesus talking about in this passage?

In large part, He was speaking about one of the effects of the Truth.  The Truth of the Gospel has the power to deeply unite us to God when we fully accept it as the Word of Truth.  But another effect is that it divides us from those who refuse to be united to God in the Truth.  We are not intending this and we ought not do so by our own will or intention, but it must be understood that by immersing ourselves in the Truth, we are also putting ourselves at odds with everyone who may be at odds with God and His Truth.

Our culture today wants to preach what we call “relativism.”  This is an idea that what is good and true for me may not be good and true for you but that, in spite of all having different “truths,” we can still all be one happy family.  But that’s not the Truth!

The Truth (with a capital “T”) is that God has established what is right and what is wrong.  He has set His moral law over all of humanity and this cannot be undone.  He has also set forth the truths of our faith and those cannot be undone.  And that law is as true for me as it is for you or anyone else.

This passage above offers us the sobering reality that by rejecting all forms of relativism and by holding onto Truth, we also run the risk of division, even with those in our families.  This is sad and this hurts.  Jesus offers this passage especially to strengthen us when this happens.  If division happens as a result of our sin, shame on us.  If it happens as a result of the Truth (as offered in mercy), then we should accept it as a result of the Gospel.  Jesus was rejected and we should not be surprised if that happens to us, too.

Reflect, today, upon how fully you are ready and willing to accept the full Truth of the Gospel no matter the consequences.  The full Truth will set you free and will also, at times, reveal the division present between you and those who have rejected God.  You must pray for unity in Christ, but not be willing to compromise so as to bring about a false unity.  

Lord, give me the wisdom and courage I need to accept all You have revealed.  Help me to love You above all things and to accept whatever the consequences are of me following You.  Jesus, I trust in You.

More Gospel Reflections

Divine Mercy Reflections

All Saints/Feasts

Saint of the Day – Saint Henry

Mass Reading Options

Image:  Jesus and his Disciples on the Sea of Galilee by Carl Oesterley

July 12, 2020
Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A
Readings for Today

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.  Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore.  Matthew 13:1-2

This is not a common experience.  It is clear that people were in such awe of our Lord that they were drawn to Him with a holy and divine attraction.  The crowds were mesmerized by Jesus and they hung on His every word.  They were so drawn to Him that they crowded along the shore to listen as Jesus spoke from the boat.

This Gospel story should pose a question to you on a personal level.  Are you drawn to Jesus in a similar way?  There are many things we find ourselves drawn to.  It may be some hobby, or a personal interest, perhaps it’s your job or some other aspect of your life.  But what about our Lord and His holy Word?  How drawn to Him are you?

Ideally, we should discover within our hearts a burning desire to be with Jesus, to know Him, love Him and encounter His mercy more fully in our lives.  There should be a tug on our hearts that is placed there by Jesus Himself.  This tug becomes a divine attraction that becomes the central motivation for our lives.  From this attraction we respond to Him, listen to Him and give our lives more fully to Him.  This is a grace given to those who are open and are ready and willing to hear and respond.

Reflect, today, upon the merciful Heart of our Lord calling you to turn to Him with all the powers of your soul.  Allow Him to draw you in and respond by giving your time and attention to Him.  From there, He will lead you where He desires you to go.

Lord, my life is Yours.  Please draw me into Your most merciful Heart.  Help me to be mesmerized by Your splendor and goodness.  I give to You all the powers of my soul, dear Lord.  Please take me and lead me according to Your most holy will.  Jesus, I trust in You.

More Gospel Reflections

Divine Mercy Reflections

Saints/Feasts for Today

Mass Reading Options

Image: Jesus Preaches in a Ship by James Tissot

NEW!

Thoughts on Aging:
From an Aging Priest

365 short, faith-based thoughts on aging that you can ponder each day of the year throughout the day!

July 11, 2020
Saturday of the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time
Readings for Today

 Saint Benedict, Abbot—Memorial

“Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.”  Matthew 10:26b

This is either a very consoling thought, or very frightening depending upon what you may have “concealed” or what you hold “secret” within your heart.  What is there, in the depth of your conscience?  What is hiding that only God sees for now?  There are two extremes into which people can fall in this regard, and many places between the extremes.

The first extreme is that person who lives a phony public persona but secretly lives a very different life.  These are those who fall into the sin of hypocrisy, or are what we may call “two-faced.”  This is a frightening situation to be in.  It’s frightening because those living this sort of life are never truly at peace.  They are completely caught up in what others think and what their public image looks like.  Interiorly, they are filled with much sorrow, anxiety and fear.  This person struggles greatly with any and every form of true humility, honesty and integrity.

But with that said, there is also another form of person who lives a hidden life.  This is the hidden life of the saint! Take, for example, the Blessed Virgin Mary.  She was seen as a fornicator early in her life and this “public image” of her was never corrected in this world.  How else would she have gotten pregnant with Jesus? many thought.  But the truth was that her soul was the most beautiful, pure and holy creation God ever made.  And now, the beauty of her interior life is manifest before the angels and saints and will be made manifest for all eternity!

The promise of the Scripture above is that everything within our heart and conscience will be made manifest for all eternity.  Therefore, those living truly holy, humble and sincere lives of virtue now will be seen in this light for eternity.  Those living hidden dark lives will have those lives visible for eternity in some way in accord with God’s mercy and justice.

Again, this will most likely be either consoling or frightening, depending upon our hearts.  But what we should take from this, more than anything, is the importance of striving for a truly holy and pure heart here and now.  It doesn’t matter if no one sees your holiness, only God needs to see it.  The goal is to allow God to form a beautiful interior life for you and to allow Him to make your soul beautiful to Him.

Reflect, today, on how well you do this.  How well do you daily allow God to treat your heart and conscience as His possession, making it a place of true beauty that gives His heart, and yours, much delight.

Lord, please come and make my heart Your dwelling place.  Make my soul pleasing to You in every way.  May Your glory be made manifest there and may You allow this glory to be made manifest for all eternity.  Jesus, I trust in You.

More Gospel Reflections

Divine Mercy Reflections

All Saints/Feasts

Saint of the Day –  Saint Benedict, Abbot—Memorial

Mass Reading Options

 

Image – Transfiguration by Titian

NEW!

Thoughts on Aging:
From an Aging Priest

365 short, faith-based thoughts on aging that you can ponder each day of the year throughout the day!

Weekly Schedule

The church will be open during the day from 8 am – 7 pm for personal prayer and Eucharistic adoration time.

How to watch Mass online

Tickets are required to attend any weekend Mass. Tickets are available at the church office M-F 9a to 5p and Wed & Thu evening 5-7p in church foyer.
 

Saturday

5:30 PM - English

Sunday -

7:30 AM - English

10:00 AM - English (also streamed on Facebook Live)

1:00 PM - Spanish (also streamed on Facebook Live)

7:00 PM - Spanish

Monday through Saturday Daily Mass

8:15 AM - English Mass

Letter on Public Masses for St Monica

Saturday. 3:30 PM - Reconciliation

Wednesday 6:00 PM - Reconciliation

St Monica Parish COVID-19 Outreach

As a parish community, we want to be in communication with those who need encouragement or assistance during this crisis.

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