Day 21 – January 21

Today’s Readings:

Genesis 43-45
Matthew 14:1-21
Psalm 20

In the book of Genesis today, we learn a valuable lesson about God and how he uses human tragedy for his design. Joseph, the son of Israel (Jacob) and Rachel was sold into slavery by his brothers due to jealousy. Many years pass, his family assumes he is probably dead, when his brothers come to Egypt looking for food. When Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers, he comforts them from their fear. He tells them, “…do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life…God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God.”

We see in Joseph the attitude of one whose heart is set on God alone. He finds strength and endurance in faith. This attitude gives him the strength to accept hardships with faith. This acceptance that God allowed it for a reason, opens his heart to forgive his brothers wholeheartedly.

Let us ask the Lord to grant us a faith like Joseph in the face of hardship, to see beyond the moment and trust that God has this in his control.

May God bless you!

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Day 20 – January 20

Today’s Readings:

Genesis 41-42
Matthew 13:31-58
Psalm 20

Today we hear Jesus teaching in parables about the kingdom of Heaven. In his parable of the treasure hidden in the field, it begs us to ask what was the man doing in the field? I imagine he was going about his daily routine, perhaps working in the field, digging furrows for crops or digging deep to find water. It was in this daily activity/work that he came across the treasure.

This parable, while applied to the Kingdom of Heaven, is also a lesson for us to consider the effects of prayer. We can go ‘looking’ for the treasure (Jesus) in churches, and making visits to the Blessed Sacrament is a splendid. But we can also find our Lord by being mindful of Him in our daily, ordinary tasks, and building a habit of faithfulness in our prayer. Like the man in the field, he found the treasure because he was turning over stones, of his diligence to his task, we too can uncover the treasure of faith by turning over the stones of our prayer to God.

The question is: will we sell all we have to possess it?

May God bless you!

Day 19 – January 19

Today’s Readings:

Genesis 39-40
Matthew 13:1-30
Psalm 19

In today’s Gospel reading we hear the parable of the seed, and how the sower indescriminately pours out the seed on the terrain. The seed represents God’s Word, but it can also be seen as a sign of God’s abundant outpouring of grace. It falls on all of us, irregardless of our deserving it or not. Then, if God is pouring out his grace upon all of us, why do we not make great strides toward perfection in the Christian life? Why do we not see more conversions to faith?

Many times we inadvertantly walk around with invisible umbrellas over our heads shielding us from the downpour of grace. We are not receptive to the gift of grace because of the hardness of our hearts; like the path in the parable that is hard and the seed (grace) cannot penetrate it.

What is the state of your soul’s receptivity to grace? Is it like the trodden path? Is it weak like that among the thorns? Is it like the rocky ground where it can’t get rooted in the Word? Or, is it rich soil that is receptive to God’s working in your life?

Let us ask the Lord to soften our hearts that they may become receptive to His outpouring of grace, and be transformed more into His likeness.

May God bless you!

Day 18 – January 18

Today’s Readings:

Genesis 36-38
Matthew 12:24-50
Psalm 18

Today’s reading from Genesis focus on the sons of Jacob. The story is familiar to us; movies and musicals have been made to tell the story. Jacob gives his second to youngest son a unique tunic which fuels the flame of envy in the older brothers. It would be good here for us to distinguish the differences between jealousy and envy.

Jealousy is seeing something someone else has, and wishing you had it too. Could be a car, a house, a family, etc. Usually with jealousy you do not wish harm upon the person who has what you desire; in fact, it can drive you to strive for that item on your own. If applied to the case of Joseph’s brothers, their jealousy would have driven them to work on their relationship with their father, and to be glad that their brother Joseph has such a relationship.

Envy, on the other hand, is seeing something someone else has, wanting it for your own, and wishing bad things would happen to that person and/or that object coveted would be taken away from him/her. It is clear that Joseph’s brothers had a very bad case of envy. Genesis 37:4 states, “…they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him.”

And worse, envy steals our joy; it leaves no room for love to grow. One who suffers from envy must strive toward charity, or brotherly love if they are to free themselves of the burden that weighs us down from envy.

Let us ask the Lord to help mold our hearts after His Sacred Heart, which is perfect charity, and through this virtue overcome any obstacle that separates us from our neighbor, and ultimately, from God.

May God bless you!

Day 17 – January 17

Today’s Readings:

Genesis 33-35
Matthew 12:1-23
Psalm 17

And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath?” so that they might accuse him.

The Pharisees were looking for ways to trap Jesus so they might have reason to put Him to death. When the moment presents itself they pose their question to Jesus and watch. They want to catch him in the act of…what exactly? Of restoring a person to wholeness? Showing mercy? This phenomenal healing by Jesus didn’t even register with the Pharisees, their eyes were too fixed upon finding fault to condemn him that they miss the working of God in their midst.

Sometimes we can be like the Pharisees and miss the point of God working in our lives as we settle for the rules. Now rules in themselves are good, but when we are so stringent in our observance that we don’t see the needs of those around us, we may need to readjust our focus, with lenses of compassion and mercy.

Let us ask the Lord to assist us today, to see the needs around us and to act with compassion and mercy, like Jesus.

May God bless you!