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.

Welcome!

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 Steve Hillmann, Deacon Paul Machuca, Deacon George Mora and Deacon Chuck McDaniels

January 15th, 2021

The Gospel according to Mark (2:1-12)

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way?  He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’ But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth” –he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, please open my heart and my mind to the lessons you have for me as I reflect on this Scripture. I know you always want the very best for me and that you meet me in these moments of quiet so that I can get to know you better and trust you more.

Encountering Christ:

Jesus was just beginning his public ministry and already crowds encircled his home until there was no room for them. This crowd–these individual souls–were of utmost importance to Jesus; they were the very reason he came to earth. With all eyes on him, Jesus did not choose at first to work an astounding miracle. He chose to preach the word. Even when the paralytic was brought before him, Jesus was intent on working an “invisible” miracle—the forgiveness of his sins. Only to convince the doubters did Jesus perform a physical healing. Jesus has one priority—that we listen and obey the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church, and seek forgiveness of our sins when we fail to do so. This is a matter of eternal life or death.

I think sometimes we often look for the sensational in our lives rather than the ordinary. Isn’t that human nature? OR is that often times our downfall? 

This gospel begins with Jesus teaching in the ordinary way to all that had gathered around him and in his home. He surely spoke to them about the kingdom and yet this gospel points out a couple of other interesting or “sensational” points. First, the scene is of overcrowding and the need of the people to hear what Jesus was talking about that day. But then the story shifts and begins to tell of the four men and the paralytic that wanted to see Jesus for healing. How did those five men come together? Which of them had faith enough to decide to bring the paralytic to be cured, was it them OR was it the paralytic himself? In any event we know that as the paralytic was lowered into the room his sins were forgiven AND he was healed. Who wouldn’t be excited to get the two for one deal!

Jesus showed ALL gathered that day that he was the son of God, yet sadly the scribes had to be the ones to continue to spread doubt and test Jesus. Why? We should spend some time thinking about that!

So how does this gospel challenge us today? Our pandemic and political world brings us to a point that we might begin to doubt that God really IS in charge and that maybe he is taking a break from watching over the world.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. If we look hard enough into our daily lives we find the gift of life each morning we wake up and even come to read this daily posting. We are blessed in so many ways that we often just assume it will continue – health, family, job, etc. Do we ever take the time to look deep within ourselves and ask the question “do I truly believe, recognize and give praise to God for what he has done for me?” OR how about do we sit and reflect and give thanks for each gift we are graciously given by God? Are we responsible stewards of those gifts? Do we see ourselves like the paralytic man – asking for physical healing rather than spiritual healing? Jesus was so generous that day. He gave the paralytic both! What a blessing!

Take today and spend some time in prayer amidst your busy day and surrounded by distractions and think about how significant Jesus is to you. How has he blessed you and how has he answered your prayers. When we recognize the gifts from God we then become his living witnesses to the truth of God’s great care and love for each of us. Be that person today that will astound others around you by your positivity and love of God. Be bold, be Catholic and be the voice of Jesus – spreading his love.

Closing Prayer: Loving Father, I thank you for every blessing you shed upon me. Help me be a better servant for you and your kingdom. Give me the grace to persevere thru my times of doubt, personal pity and moments of feeling abandoned. Let me have faith that you will restore me, just like the paralytic man. I offer myself completely to you this day AMEN

Action for the Day: Sit for ten minutes this morning OR evening in quiet prayer and list the blessings that God gave you today. Then list the opportunities you had to share those blessings with others. When you have done that – now ask yourself…. Did I share or hoard what God entrusted to me.

January 14th, 2021

The Gospel according to Mark (1:40-45) 

A leper came to him [and kneeling down] begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

Opening Prayer: Lord, I know that I need healing. I can see my flaws and infidelities. I come to you with my hands open, asking for your touch. Come to me now and help me to see how I can be fully restored in you.

Encountering Christ: Some if not all of us have felt the sting of being an outcast.  Someone who is not welcome because you are (fill in the blank). I know how it feels to question one’s value when pushed away. It is a lonely place that, although can be overcome, may linger for a lifetime.  Can you imagine what it must have been like for the leper in today’s Gospel.  Not just pushed away but feared, destitute, hated, completely cut off from family, friends, and everything that provides meaning and purpose to life.

One of the most compelling depictions of this moment is in a scene from the series The Chosen. Having read and heard this account hundreds of times I watched with new eyes and heart.  The turmoil and emotion visible in the leper, Jesus, and the apostles who witness this miracle were deeply inspiring.  Yet the miracle should not be our focus or take away from what is at the heart of all of Jesus’ miracles.  At the core of his mission and purpose was to restore us from the destruction of sin.

The leper came with a contrite heart asking to be healed.  This is an irreplaceable component to the process of reconciliation. We must first acknowledge and be remorseful for our choice to separate ourselves from God and our faith family.  We too can approach God with a humble heart full of desire to return to relationship and ask, “If you wish you can make me clean.”  In every Liturgy of the Mass, in every moment of prayer and most especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation we can receive the gift that transforms lives through the forgiveness of our sins.

What is keeping us from asking?  Rest assured, as we read in Paul’s letter to the Romans in chapter 8, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Closing Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your patience and mercy while we work through anything that may keep us from approaching you with a humble and contrite heart.  May we, like the leper, ask you to make us clean so that we may serve you and others with the love born of the sweet fruit of forgiveness.

Action for the Day: In the Liturgy of the Mass, reception of Holy Eucharist, in personal or communal prayer, or the Sacrament of Reconciliation ask God to relieve you of all that separates you from Him.  Then, with the grace of God, seek out another who needs to hear the words “I do will it.”

January 13th, 2021

The Gospel according to Mark 1: 29-39

 On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.

Opening Prayer: Attend to the pleas of your people with heavenly care, O Lord, we pray, that they see what must be done and gain strength to do what they have seen. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the Unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Encountering Christ: Jesus entered Peter’s home and immediately healed his mother-in-law, who was seriously ill to the point of death. Peter had witnessed Christ’s miracles already, but this healing under his own roof of a member of his family must have moved him deeply. Not only was she completely restored, but also she began to wait on them, as we can imagine she had before she got sick. In our own lives, we can read about Christ, share insights with others, and even preach about him, but our souls change forever and irrevocably when Christ touches us personally. We can delight in the truth that Our Lord wants family intimacy with each of us. He wants to “make it personal.” 

I personally have been blessed by several encounters with Christ, starting several years ago, through the Eucharist. I have continued to have these close experiences with Christ when I am on the alter during mass.

No sooner had Jesus cured Peter’s mother-in-law than the whole town showed up for healing or exorcism. Jesus had become a very popular preacher. He taught with authority. He showed great compassion. And he had powerful healing gifts. His ministry was moving forward with great momentum and he was entering the dynamic, busy, interpersonal, exhausting yet exhilarating period of public ministry. For three years, Jesus would work tirelessly, often not even stopping to eat (Mark 3:20). When our ministry is tiring, when we have given all we have, when we’re so exhausted we’re tempted to discouragement, we can learn from Jesus. Although he tired, his heart was constantly “moved with pity,” or “moved by compassion,” so that he never ceased to do the Father’s will, which was to bless, heal, restore, and redeem mankind. In our limited way, we are called to do the same in the short time we have to give to Jesus, remembering that we do our best work when we rely on Jesus, not on our own strength. 

The crowds had come to Peter’s house after sunset for healing, likely staying until very late, and still Jesus got up “before dawn” to pray in a deserted place, a haven of silence and solitude. Do we need any further encouragement to set our alarms so that we have time to pray, each morning? I take the first part of my day when my mind is free and clear and not cloudy from the day’s work and the day to day struggles with life to pray and share my thoughts and hopes and disappointments with Jesus. Whatever in our lives prompts us to start the day; Our Lord is calling us clearly to begin beforehand with prayer. Notice, he didn’t rouse his disciples to join him at that early hour. He wants us to make a decision out of love to rise in time for prayer. 

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 throughout the year. Amen.

Action for the Day: Each night examine your conscience on the day that has ended. Ask God for the grace and wisdom to see where you missed His presences.