January 22nd, 2021

The Gospel according to Mark (3:13-19)

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed Twelve whom he also named Apostles that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons: He appointed the Twelve: Simon, whom he named Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

Opening Prayer: Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will. In today’s Gospel you appoint and send out your Twelve Apostles. I know that you have appointed me in the very same way. You have called me, set me apart, and then sent me. Please give me the strength to respond to your call. I wish to do your will and be your apostle. Although I know you will give me the strength, oftentimes I feel the weight of this mission, and I begin to doubt. I want to renew my commitment and my decision to answer your call and your mission.

Encountering Christ:

First off, do you see yourself more like a Disciple OR like an Apostle? Before you read on – stop and think about that question. Have you ever thought about how you are serving Jesus and the kingdom every day?

Google definitions:

  • Discipleship: A personal follower of Jesus during his/her life, especially one of the twelve apostles.
  • Apostle: One of the twelve chief disciples of Jesus Christ.

Both of these definitions sound very similar to you? – They should!

If you are following the “Deacon 5” every day – then I would suggest that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ and further more – you really are an Apostle as well! Are you surprised?? You shouldn’t be. We are all called by our very Baptism (whenever that was) to be part of the body of Christ – a part of His faithful. When we are confirmed and are fully initiated into the church, we are filled with the Holy Spirit, just like the Apostles. We become more that just a follower of Jesus, we become his MESSENGERS! We continue throughout our lives “proclaiming” our Christianity – either in a positive way OR sometimes – not so positive way. It is our choice!

We are called into a deeper relationship every day with Jesus and the Father. How we go about carrying on that dialogue and entering into that relationship takes on many forms. We pray daily, we recite the rosary, we help others, we give support to those in need and we bring Jesus to others through our contact and interaction with others.

You might argue that we aren’t able to be much of a disciple during this pandemic, but to the contrary we have an even more important role in this time of challenge. The pandemic should not be a crutch for us to use to hinder our support of our faith and we can certainly act out our faith by continuing to pray – to maybe call people we haven’t heard from in a while. Perhaps supporting our parish food banks or even delivering needed supplies to a family you know who is restricted to home as a result of COVID.

There are many options to consider. Go to prayer with one of these thoughts and see where Jesus calls you to serve!  Be ready for any surprise AND be open to Jesus setting a challenge squarely in front of you without your help! He wants to have you included in this world needing help.

Today happens to be a day that has been set-aside for prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. Wow! There is a great opportunity for us to be strong disciples of Jesus by praying and speaking out about the sanctity of life. All life and especially the unborn!

Today, while you’re trying to figure out your role in this crazy world, take just a minute to reflect on this: Lord, today by your grace I will reflect on the vocation you have called me to, and see how I can better be with you, preach you, and stand strong against the devil in my life and in the life of others.

If you can do that today – GOOD JOB! If it seems too much – then make that your weekend goal, to figure out a way to be more “Christ Like” as his follower (Disciple and Apostle).

REMEMBER: You can AND will change the world one person at a time, and it begins with yourself. Then you can share the good news of Jesus Christ with others in a renewed way that will be powerful and BOLD!

Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, you have called me to be your apostle. It is a mission well beyond me, and many times I do not understand how to do it well. I have tried to meditate on the reasons you have called me, the reasons you call all of us. Help me to stay close to you always. Help me to preach you fearlessly to everyone that I meet. Keep me strong against the temptations of the devil. 

Action for the Day: Sit and reflect on your Baptism and what that truly means to you in your life today, right now. Then call someone you haven’t spoken to in some time and “check in” on them and renew your connection with them – see where God takes the conversation!

January 20th, 2021

The Gospel according to Mark.

 Again, he entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched him closely to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath so that they might accuse him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up here before us.” Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent. Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death.

Opening Prayer: Almighty ever-living God, who governs all things, 

both in heaven and on earth, mercifully hear the pleading of your people

and bestow your peace on our times. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,

for ever and ever. Amen

Encountering Christ:  How many times have you went ‘out’ of your way to avoid someone walking near you that was noticeably living on the streets? If we were honest with ourselves, your answer would not be the same as Jesus. You need to ask yourself, “How did they get to this point in their lives?” How many people in our community is one step away from being in this same place? It is such, that

it seems to be overwhelming. Where does the healing begin? It starts with the simple acknowledgment of the person as a human being, created by God.  

Jesus always taught before he healed. Healing was the physical part of his teaching. Jesus asked the man to stretch out his hand, and the hand was healed. Christ had no reason to ask the man to stretch out his hand. Healing wasn’t dependent on the man’s participation. Christ was teaching all who were present that the very thing which caused the man to be detested from society was a metaphoric sign of belonging. Jesus saw a man with a need, not a needy man. 

Jesus was never frightened by any of his encounters with those perceived as outcasts of society. Jesus often said, “Do not be afraid!” He welcomed the man, not the opportunity to outshine the Pharisees as “Teacher of the Law.” 

Closing Prayer: May God, the source and origin of all blessing, grant you grace, pour out His blessing in abundance, and keep you safe from harm, today and

throughout the year. Amen

Action for the Day: Seek out those in need in your own parish by asking who needs help. There are safe ways to help others, even in this time of this horrific pandemic. There are many programs that offer a multitude of ways you can help. Check with your parish office to find out how you can help the healing of the human spirit.

January 19th, 2021

Tuesday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time                  January 19, 2021

The Gospel according to Mark (2:23-28) 

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain. At this the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry? How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

Opening Prayer: Loving Jesus, help me to always keep in mind that your love is not about following rules to the exclusion of showing love and mercy to others in my life.  Let me be Your instrument today in sharing your love, in whatever way I am called to do so. Amen.

Encountering Christ:

The religious leaders of Jesus’ time, the Pharisees, knew all about the religious law of Judaism.  We see throughout the Gospels of how Jesus points out how the Pharisees seem to have their priorities misaligned – they focus on not missing one of the hundreds of laws, not on charity toward their fellow human beings.  If we view our faith only in terms of meeting our obligations, we are also a bit off course, and we are depriving ourselves of the grace that God really wants to give to each one of us!

Jesus’ statement that “the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath” turns the priorities of the Pharisees on their head, as what Jesus basically says to them is that it is enough to be His follower and not about if anyone follows or does not follow this rule or that rule.  In essence, Jesus says that our faith is about our actions and how they demonstrate God’s love.  God loves each of us the same, no matter how good or not so good we may be.  If we live out that love, others will see it and will be drawn toward it.  That is what we are called to do as followers of Jesus.

A second lesson from today’s Gospel is that we should strive to know more and more about what our faith teaches.  None of us ever have complete knowledge of our faith – only God has that level of knowledge!  Many folks who have been Catholic their entire lives learned their faith starting when they were very young.  Now, that gradual process of learning the faith is very good and effective, but the perspective of a child and the ability to understand the faith at a young age is certainly different from learning about our faith as an adult.  The point is that we should never stop learning about the faith.

We can do that by studying the readings that will be proclaimed at mass, reflecting on them and asking God to show us something new in our faith through those inspired words.  We can also look for ways to grow more in the faith, perhaps through joining RCIA to refresh our faith, or other opportunities that we may find.  If we put a little effort into learning the faith, God will greatly bless that effort and will draw us ever closer to Himself.  How can we take even small steps to deepen our faith?  One very practical thing that we can all do is to dedicate even just ten minutes to prayer each day.  During that time, we can settle our hearts, recognize that God is present, and listen for His voice in our hearts.  Maybe we won’t hear God’s actual voice speaking, but we will undoubtedly be changed by the effort we make and God will reward us and help us to be even stronger followers of His Son.

Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath

Closing Prayer: Jesus, you love me and all of Your disciples.  Help me to go beyond the rules of my faith and live it from my heart, seeking to love all of Your Father’s children, including the “least ones”, who have no one to love them.  Let me be a vessel of Your love today and every day.  Amen.

Action for the Day: Spend ten minutes in quiet prayer, asking God for how He wants you to show His love to those who are closest to you.

January 18th, 2021

Monday the Second Week of Ordinary Time               January 18th, 2021

The Gospel according to Mark (2:18-22)

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to Jesus and objected, “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

Opening Prayer: Lord, I come to you in these moments seeking to know your ways. Quiet my heart. Bring my focus onto you, the Bridegroom who loves your Church and her people. Open my heart and soul to receive your love in this time with you.

Encountering Christ: Today we live in a world that people call the “New Normal”. We live in a world where opposing opinions are quite strong and sometimes violent. We live in a world where we can’t socialize, or get close, or hug. We live in a world when we pass by a stranger, it’s impossible to give a smile because we are wearing a mask. Us humans have to learn to adapt, we have to be able to accept change. Change happens to us all the time. Some of it we accept without notice and the other we have a hard time adapting to. Say for example, smart phones. Many of us objected to the use of these phones but eventually we had to give in and accept them because we were forced to use them due to the type of technology that is out there … change. Another example is the use of computers, and I’m referring to those who really didn’t know how to use a computer but because of this pandemic, those folks I’m referring to now watch live-streamed masses or they ZOOM to see their families … change.

I have to accept change because I am getting older (old wineskins) but I have to accept the new wineskins that comes with change and with life. I have to be able to “let go” so I can encounter something new. When, I think of old cloaks it reminds me of those old t-shirts that I love to wear because they are soft, and they just feel good. These shirts I have had for years so they have holes or stains and some even have patches of sort. But then it comes to my dismay when I am cleaning the house (such as polishing the furniture), and I find that I am cleaning with one of MY FAVORITE SHIRTS! (I wonder who grabbed my shirt … HMM??). At any rate I have to accept the change and learn to adapt in my own way.

The Lord calls us to accept the newness in our faith. He wants us to keep our eyes, ears and heart open and be aware of the new wineskins that surround us. He wants us to all stay together as one family so we can embrace the love of one another. He created us in the image and the likeness of himself so we too can become the co-creator while we unfold His Divine plan.

As we open our hearts to this joyful reality, we are slowly transformed into new beings, radiating his love and beauty. Our willingness to be transformed (change) is essential. In this passage, Jesus calls us to joyful celebration in his presence. He is calling us to be open to radical transformation so that we can receive him and, with his grace, reflect his love to others. 

No one said it was going to be easy, but I guarantee you that it will be fulfilling.

Closing Prayer: Lord, I offer you everything I do today, as once again you renew your sacrifice in the Eucharist. Please unite me to your Sacred Heart and convict me of the joyful reality that you love me. I know that apart from you, I can do nothing. Let your love transform me so that, with your grace, I can become the person you created me to be. 

Closing Prayer: My Lord, talk plainly to me. Please send me your peace, give me the consolation of your presence, and strengthen me to persevere when I run into trouble.

Action for the Day: Identify the change in your life over the past few months. Are you driving to work different? Are you more compassionate or not? Are you praying different? What else?

             “The CHANGING of the Weather”                                                    Sedona, AZ.


We are glad that you found us, the DEACON-5! Here, we will be posting daily Gospel reflections, Mondays through Fridays, each day written by a different permanent deacon in our group. We pray that you find inspiration and a touch of God’s love for sharing some time with us. Please feel free to leave a comment or a prayer request for us!

Blessings to you all!
Deacon Ray Gallego, Deacon Mike Hidalgo, Deacon Paul Machuca, Deacon George Mora, Deacon Carlos Porras, Deacon Ray Emnace and Deacon Chuck McDaniels