Kingdom of Truth, Love, Justice, & Peace

Feast of Christ the King

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Old Testament: Ezekiel 34:11–12, 15–17

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will look after and tend my sheep.
As a shepherd tends his flock
when he finds himself among his scattered sheep,
so will I tend my sheep.
I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered
when it was cloudy and dark.
I myself will pasture my sheep;
I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD.
The lost I will seek out,
the strayed I will bring back,
the injured I will bind up,
the sick I will heal,
but the sleek and the strong I will destroy,
shepherding them rightly.

As for you, my sheep, says the Lord GOD,
I will judge between one sheep and another,
between rams and goats.

Responsorial Psalm: 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

New Testament: 1 Corinthians 15:20–26, 28

Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through man,
the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
but each one in proper order:
Christ the firstfruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
then comes the end,
when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father,
when he has destroyed every sovereignty
and every authority and power.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
When everything is subjected to him,
then the Son himself will also be subjected
to the one who subjected everything to him,
so that God may be all in all.

Gospel: Beatitudes, Matthew 25

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”

Colloquy, Divine Intimacy, p 1129

“You, my God are an eternal King, and Yours is no borrowed kingdom. … When the Credo says: ‘of Your Kingdom there shall be no end’ this phrase nearly always makes me feel particularly happy. Yes, I praise You, Lord, and bless You, for Your Kingdom will endure forever” (Saint Teresa of Avila, The Way of Perfection, 22)

“O Divine King, most amiable Jesus, my Redeemer, my Savior, my Spouse, my Master and model, I renew today the total consecration of my being to You, begging You to take absolute dominion over me. Be my Sovereign, my Ruler, my Guide. Direct and govern me entirely, so that everything may turn to Your greater glory. Be King of my memory, of my intellect, of my will, of my emotions; I wish all to be completely subject to You and I invite You to reign in me.

“Your Kingdom is a Kingdom of Truth, of Love, of Justice, and of Peace.

“Grant that Your reign of Truth may be established in my mind, destroying all error, deceit, and illusion. Enlighten me by Your divine Wisdom.

“Grant that Your reign of Love may be completely established in my will, to move it, draw it, and direct it always, so that I may no longer be moved by self-love, or by creatures but by Your Holy Spirit alone. Make this weak, mean, rebellious will of mine strong, generous, constant; make it grow stronger by the persevering exercise of virtue, and by the gifts of Your Spirit.

“Grant that Your reign of Justice may be established in all my actions, so that all I do, having this characteristic, may be a work of holiness, accomplished with purity of intention and with the greatest fidelity in order to give You pleasure and accomplish Your holy will.

“Grant that Your reign of Peace may be established, not only in my soul but also in my sensibility, so that in harmony with the superior part of my soul, it may give You glory and neither retard me nor be an obstacle to union with You” (Sister Carmela of the Holy Spirit, OCD)

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While the water was yet still

Morning Reflection

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Prayer of the Day

May your soul be as peaceful as water that perfectly reflects the sky at dawn.

Scripture: Isaiah 42:16

I will lead the blind on a way they do not know;
by paths they do not know I will guide them.

I will turn darkness into light before them,
and make crooked ways straight.

These are my promises:
I made them, I will not forsake them.

LORD, bless us with your peace

Prayers from the June 8, 2014 Invocation for Peace

Prayer of Nahman of Breslav

Lord of Peace,
Divine Ruler, to whom peace belongs!
Maker of Peace, Creator of all things!
May it be Your will to put an end to war and bloodshed in the world,
and to spread a great and wonderful peace over the whole world,
so that nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.
Help us and save us all,
Let us merit to cling tightly to the virtue of peace.
Let there be a truly great peace
between every person and his fellow, and between husband and wife,
and let there be no division among people not even in the heart.
Let every person love peace and pursue peace
Always in truth and integrity
Let us never cling to division
Not even when it comes to those who do not agree with us.
Let us never shame any person on earth, great or small
And may we merit to truly keep the commandment
to “love your neighbor as yourself,”
with an entire heart, body, soul and possessions.
And let what is written be fulfilled in us:
“I will grant peace in the land,
and you shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid;
I will remove dangerous animals from the land,
and no sword shall go through your land.”
God who is peace, bless us with peace!

Prayer for Peace from the Daily Service

Grant peace, goodness, blessing, grace, lovingkindness, and mercy;
on us and all your people Israel and on the world.
Bless us all as one by the light of Your countenance our Father.
For by the light of Your countenance,
You have given us O Lord our God, a Torah of Life, loving kindness,
and righteousness and blessing and mercy and life and peace.
May it be Your will to bless us all with Your Peace.

Scripture of the Day

If this day you only knew what makes for peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. — Jesus’ lament as he makes his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Luke 19:42

Quote of the Day

But without regular water, without electricity, and the big problem is the economic situation; there are no jobs and 80% of the people are without a job. … Work is dignity. … we have lost our dignity; everybody has become poor and asking for food aid to live.

…I think the West has lost faith in God and in Christ so it is not able to have the sensitivity to respect the other; everything is power, everything is finance, everything is strategies and there is no future for these politics.

— Bishop Audo of Aleppo, Syria

One Minute for Peace – June 8

At his Wednesday audience today, Pope Francis invited all to pray for one minute for peace tomorrow, June 8, at 1 p.m. Rome time (7 a.m. EDT). The event commemorates a June 8, 2014, meeting among Pope Francis, the late Israeli President Peres, and Palestinian President Abbas, during which the three men prayed together for peace in the Middle East.

Quotes of the Day

Pope Francis’ Wednesday Audience

Dear Brothers and Sisters:  In our continuing catechesis on Christian hope, we now consider the source of that hope in the fatherhood of God.  When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he taught them to call God Our Father.  Here we see the great religious revolution introduced by Christianity: taught by the Saviour’s command, we dare to speak to the transcendent and all-holy God as children speak, with complete trust, to a loving father.  In the parable of the merciful father, who welcomes his prodigal son with supreme forgiveness, Jesus speaks to us of the Father’s unconditional love.  In his Letters, Saint Paul twice repeats the original Aramaic word used by Jesus in his prayer: “Abba” (cf. Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6).  As God’s adoptive sons and daughters in the Holy Spirit, we share in the intimate relationship between Jesus and the Father, and this is the basis of our sure hope in God’s saving help.  Each day, as we pray the Lord’s Prayer, may we be confirmed in the knowledge that, in his merciful love, our heavenly Father will watch over us, respond to our petitions, and never abandon us.

— Pope Francis, June 7, 2017 general audience

Excerpt from 2014 Invocation for Peace

Lord, God of Abraham, God of the Prophets, God of Love, you created us and you call us to live as brothers and sisters. Give us the strength daily to be instruments of peace; enable us to see everyone who crosses our path as our brother or sister. Make us sensitive to the plea of our citizens who entreat us to turn our weapons of war into implements of peace, our trepidation into confident trust, and our quarreling into forgiveness.

Keep alive within us the flame of hope, so that with patience and perseverance we may opt for dialogue and reconciliation. In this way may peace triumph at last, and may the words “division”, “hatred” and “war” be banished from the heart of every man and woman. Lord, defuse the violence of our tongues and our hands. Renew our hearts and minds, so that the word which always brings us together will be “brother”, and our way of life will always be that of: Shalom, Peace, Salaam!

Amen.

— Pope Francis, June 8, 2014, Vatican Gardens address at the invocation for peace

Some Prayers for Peace

To God of Peace (Catholic)

O LORD,
God of peace,
You have created us
and poured out Your love on us
so that we might share Your glory.

We praise You and we thank You
for sending us Jesus,
Your beloved Son.
Through the Paschal Mystery
You have made Him
the Architect of all salvation,
the Source of all peace,
and the Bond of all fraternity.

We thank You
for the desires, efforts, and accomplishments
that Your Spirit of peace
has effected in our day,
to replace rancor with love,
distrust with understanding,
and indifference with solidarity.

Open our minds and hearts even more
to the concrete requirements
of the love of our brothers and sisters
so that we may be ever better workers for peace.
Remember, O Father of mercy,
all who are laboring, suffering, dying
to create a more fraternal world.

May Your Kingdom of justice, peace, and love
come for all people of every race and tongue.
And may the earth be filled
with Your glory.

— Pope Paul VI

For Peace Among All Peoples (Jewish tradition)

We pray for all people.
They are divided into nations and races,
but all are Your children.
They draw life and being from You,
and are commanded to obey Your laws,
according to each person’s capacity
to know and understand them.

Put an end to hatred and conflict,
that lasting peace may pervade the earth
and all people may be blessed with the fruit of peace.
Thus the fraternal spirit among people
will manifest their faith
that You are the Father of all.

— Saint Joseph Prayer Book #609

 

Receive the Holy Spirit

Pentecost Sunday
Lord, Send out your spirit and renew the face of the earth

Pentecost is a day of transformation. Transformation is work that the Lord God does. May God send out his Spirit to enlighten our minds and lead us into the truth that Jesus is the Son of God and he paid the price for our sins, opening to us The Way to God our Father.

In the first reading, people are amazed by these Galileans, who are able to communicate with Jews and Christian converts from other nations. The pslam and the epistle both echo that the work is the Lord’s and the glory is the Lord’s, and the power comes from God. We are God’s instruments when we cooperate with the inspirations of His Spirit.

The reading from John’s Gospel is foreshadows what will happen on the day of Pentecost. Jesus appears to his disciples after his Resurrection and before his Ascension, and breathes his Spirit into them to empower them to do the reconciling work of God.

Scriptures of the Day

Early Church: The Spirit enabled them: Acts 2:1–11

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.”

Psalm: Renew the face of the earth: 104: 1, 29–30, 31, 34

Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
How manifold are your works, O Lord!
the earth is full of your creatures;

May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD be glad in his works!
Pleasing to him be my theme;
I will be glad in the LORD.

If you take away their breath, they perish
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.

Epistle: Jesus is Lord: 1 Corinthians 12:3b–7, 12–13

Brothers and sisters: No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

Gospel: Shalom: John 20:19–23

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Blessings of the Day

May God the Father of lights, who was pleased to enlighten the disciples’ minds by the outpouring of the Spirit, the Paraclete, grant you gladness by his blessing and make you always abound in the gifts of the same Spirit.

May the wondrous flame that appeared above the disciples, powerfully cleanse your hearts from every evil and pervade them with its purifying light.

And may God who has been pleased to unite many tongues in the profession of faith, give you perseverance in that same faith and, by believing, may you journey from hope to clear vision.

Quote of the Day: You are loved

Once again, we find ourselves experiencing pain before which words seem insufficient. I have previously addressed victims of terrorist acts; I have addressed their families; I have even addressed those who may have had an opportunity, even in some small way, to advocate for or support those most vulnerable. This time however, I feel a need to address those who perpetrate these crimes.

You are loved. The violent and deadly crimes you perpetrate are abhorrent and detestable, but YOU are loved.

You are loved by God, your Creator, for He created you in His Image and according to His Likeness, and placed you on this earth for much greater things, according to His plan for all humankind. You are loved by me and millions like me, not because of what you do, but what you are capable of as that wonderful creation of God, Who has created us with a shared humanity. You are loved by me and millions like me because I, and we, believe in transformation.

Transformation is core to the Christian message for throughout history we have seen many transformed from being those who persecuted Christ Himself and Christians, to those who went on to live with grace. We believe in transformation because, on a daily basis, we are personally transformed from a life of human weakness and sinfulness to a life of power and righteousness. We believe in transformation because the whole message of the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is to take humanity from the bonds of sin and death to a liberation in goodness and everlasting life. Our world is certainly suffering from the brokenness of our humanity, but it is our responsibility, personally and collectively, to encourage and inspire ourselves, and all those whom we meet along our path, to a life of virtue and holiness, and the love and forgiveness of all.

— Bishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Church of the United Kingdom, May 27 response to terror attacks

Prayer of Pope Francis on Pentecost Sunday

The Holy Spirit is the fire of love burning in the Church and in our hearts, even though we often cover him with the ash of our sins.  Let us ask him: “Spirit of God, Lord, who dwell in my heart and in the heart of the Church, guiding and shaping her in diversity, come!  Like water, we need you to live.  Come down upon us anew, teach us unity, renew our hearts and teach us to love as you love us, to forgive as you forgive us.  Amen.”

More about Pentecost

Question of the Day

Has the Holy Spirit empowered you to proclaim “Jesus is Lord”? Has the Spirit strengthened you to proclaim “Jesus is Lord,” not just in your mind and heart, but also in the public square?

Do you desire to have the power of the Holy Spirit at work in your life? If yes, then pray:

Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly
radiance of your light.

Come, father of the poor,
come, giver of gifts,
come, light of the heart.

Greatest comforter,
sweet guest of the soul,
sweet consolation.

In labor, rest,
in heat, temperance,
in tears, solace.

O most blessed light,
fill the inmost heart
of your faithful.

Without your grace,
there is nothing in us,
nothing that is not harmful.

Cleanse that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.

Bend that which is inflexible,
fire that which is chilled,
correct what goes astray.

Give to your faithful,
those who trust in you,
the sevenfold gifts.

Grant the reward of virtue,
grant the deliverance of salvation,
grant eternal joy.

Peace I leave with you

Feast Day of Saint Margaret of Cortona and Saint Simon Stock

The peace you seek is found in Christ

So many people say they want peace, yet do not turn to the only source: the Prince of Peace. The peace of Christ is not of this world; it is found in doing God’s will and loving the Father; it is found in dying to self and living for God and following God’s plan rather than our own.

In the first reading from Acts, the Jews stone Paul and leave him for dead, which was their plan. But the early Christians prayed and fasted and put their faith in God, and God’s plan was that Paul would live and continue his missionary work, which allowed God to open the door of faith for the Gentiles.

In the Gospel, Jesus tells us he loves the Father. When we love we do not follow our own will, but rather the will of the one we love.

Scriptures of the Day

Early Church: Proclaim the Good News: Acts 14:19–28

In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium
arrived and won over the crowds.
They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city,
supposing that he was dead.
But when the disciples gathered around him,
he got up and entered the city.
On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

After they had proclaimed the good news to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and,
with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord
in whom they had put their faith.
Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.
After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia.
From there they sailed to Antioch,
where they had been commended to the grace of God
for the work they had now accomplished.
And when they arrived, they called the Church together
and reported what God had done with them
and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
Then they spent no little time with the disciples.

Psalm: Bless the Lord and Give Thanks: 145:10–11, 12–13AB, 21

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.

Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.

May my mouth speak the praise of the LORD,
and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Gospel: I love the Father: John 14:27–31A

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming.
He has no power over me,
but the world must know that I love the Father
and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”

Prayer of the Day

May God fill us with his Spirit of Peace. Through our prayer and fasting, may God open the door of faith to those who live in unbelief. May our flesh bless the holy name of God, and may God keep us and deliver us from the ruler of the world. May we, through Jesus Christ, know and love Our Father in heaven.