THE DAILY GOSPEL AND READINGS 27 JANUARY 2021

Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 319

Reading I

Heb 10:11-18

Every priest stands daily at his ministry,
offering frequently those same sacrifices
that can never take away sins.
But this one offered one sacrifice for sins,
and took his seat forever at the right hand of God;
now he waits until his enemies are made his footstool.
For by one offering he has made perfect forever
those who are being consecrated.
The Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying:

This is the covenant I will establish with them
        after those days, says the Lord:
    “I will put my laws in their hearts,
        and I will write them upon their minds,”

he also says:

Their sins and their evildoing
        I will remember no more.

Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer offering for sin.

Responsorial Psalm

110:1, 2, 3, 4

R.    (4b)  You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand
    till I make your enemies your footstool.”
R.    You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The scepter of your power the LORD will stretch forth from Zion:
    “Rule in the midst of your enemies.”
R.    You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
“Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor;
    before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you.”
R.    You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD has sworn, and he will not repent:
    “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”
R.    You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

Mk 4:1-20

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
“Hear this!  A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots. 
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
He answered them,
“The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that

    they may look and see but not perceive,
        and hear and listen but not understand,
    in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.

Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no roots; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”

THE DAILY GOSPEL AND READINGS 26 JANUARY 2021

Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, bishops

Lectionary: 520/318

Reading I

2 Tm 1:1-8

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God
for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am grateful to God,
whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did,
as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.
I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears,
so that I may be filled with joy,
as I recall your sincere faith
that first lived in your grandmother Lois
and in your mother Eunice
and that I am confident lives also in you.

For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

OR:

Ti 1:1-5

Paul, a slave of God and Apostle of Jesus Christ
for the sake of the faith of God’s chosen ones
and the recognition of religious truth,
in the hope of eternal life
that God, who does not lie, promised before time began,
who indeed at the proper time revealed his word
in the proclamation with which I was entrusted
by the command of God our savior,
to Titus, my true child in our common faith:
grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our savior.

For this reason I left you in Crete
so that you might set right what remains to be done
and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you.

Responsorial Psalm

96:1-2a, 2b-3, 7-8a, 10

R.    (3)  Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
    sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
    among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
    give to the LORD glory and praise;
    give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
    he governs the peoples with equity.
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.

Alleluia

See Mt 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

Mk 3:31-35

The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house.
Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him.
A crowd seated around him told him,
“Your mother and your brothers and your sisters
are outside asking for you.”
But he said to them in reply,
“Who are my mother and my brothers?”
And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother.”

THE UNBROKEN WORD

There are few times in my life when the specter of fear has been more evident than during the past year. Our most recent experiences with the Capitol Riot and the self-examination that accompanies it cause us to look into the deepest places in our psyche and soul.

I don’t intend to dive deeply into the happenings further here but rather examine its impact on our spiritual disposition. Richard Rohr, Franciscan Friar, and author makes this insightful observation.

“Brain studies have shown that we may be hardwired to focus on problems at the expense of a positive vision. The human brain wraps around fear and problems like Velcro. We dwell on bad experiences long after the fact, and spend vast amounts of energy anticipating what might go wrong in the future. Conversely, positivity and gratitude and simple happiness slide away like cheese on hot Teflon.” Rohr, Richard. The Universal Christ (p. 63). The Crown Publishing Group.

Rohr notices that we tend to hang onto the negative problems and let them accumulate like Velcro in our hearts and minds. Indeed, this explains why we often have a visceral response to this issue as they continue to “work within us” until we decide to let them go and clean them out.

This same observation was made by the Desert Fathers such as John Cassian in the 3rd century that we let these things go and not collect like “dirt” in our minds. His strategy was to “squash those thoughts like a bug” and move to something positive. However, that, as we know, can be hard to do.

So we need to connect the psychological reaction to negative thoughts and problems and our spirituality. If we go back to the Velcro for a moment and see it works.

“Velcro works by having two strips of material, one with lots of tiny hooks, and one with lots of thinner loops that the hooks can cling to when the two elements are pressed together. This mechanism of sticking was inspired by the way tiny hooks on the seeds of burdock, known as burrs, attach to animal fur and human clothing.” Source: sunny skyz

So when we hang onto each element of those negative thoughts and problems, we limit our ability to think positively or involve God in the process of resolution or letting them go. Each small hook links up to its neighbor hook, making it more difficult to release them. When fastening something it is a good thing, when trying to let go of negative feelings and problems, less so.

The following image found on the beach recently in CA, sums up some of the issues, at least from my perspective. The universal Christ, who is with us, is always surrounded by the world’s actions, many of which seem to be trying to obliterate his message. Let us spend this next week seeing this message front and center and letting go of the mass of negative Velcro thoughts we have amassed and seem unwilling to release.

For it is only in this release that we can let the true nature of God shine. And, it shines from within us!

The Cosmic Christ

The Cosmic Christ