The Invitation

Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious
January 4, 2023

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/010423.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we celebrate the Feast of St. Elizabeth Anne Seton, the first American born saint.

Elizabeth Seton was born on August 28, 1774, of a wealthy and distinguished Episcopalian family. She was baptized in the Episcopal faith and was a faithful adherent of the Episcopal Church until her conversion to Catholicism.

She established her first Catholic school in Baltimore in 1808; in 1809, she established a religious community in Emmitsburg, Maryland. After seeing the expansion of her small community of teaching sisters to New York and as far as St. Loius, she died on January 4, 1821, and was declared a saint by Pope Paul VI on September 14, 1975. She is the first native born American to be canonized a saint.

(from CatholicCulture.org)


Jn 1_39

In our Gospel, we find the first disciples encountering Jesus. They are curious about him because the Baptist has just described him as “the Lamb of God”.

The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
“What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher),
“where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.

John 1: 37-40

We can picture Andrew and his unnamed buddy trailing behind Jesus, watching him, listening to him. Finally they hazard a question, “Rabbi, where do you live?”

It’s kind of a loaded question. What it might really mean are things like these:

  • Where did you come from all of sudden?
  • How could you possibly be the Messiah if you’re walking around looking just like us?
  • Do you go back to heaven at night or are you really one of us?
  • Can we just hang out and find out more about you?

Their faith is tentative, hopeful and maybe just a little bit suspicious. Does your faith ever feel like that? 


When we pray, are we convinced that God hears us? When we suffer, do we believe God abides with us? When we choose, act or respond, do we trust that God cares about our actions? Do we believe, in these and all circumstances, that the power of God is present in our lives?

To have that kind of faith, we have to “learn” Christ, to become as close and comfortable with him as with an intimate friend. In our Gospel, Jesus tells us how to do that: “Come and see.” 

In other words:

Spend time with me.
Talk with me about ordinary things.
Watch sunsets and sunrises with me.
Tell me your secrets.
Let me tell you mine.
Laugh with me.
Be silent with me.
Trust that you are never separate from me.

If we do these things, even slowly and steadily as the first disciples, we will eventually say with Andrew, “l have found the Messiah” – and he is living right within my life!


Poetry: the calling of the disciples – Lucille Clifton

some Jesus
has come on me

i throw down my nets
into the water he walks

i loose the fish
he feeds to cities

and everyone calls me
an old name

as i follow out
laughing like God’s fool
behind this Jesus

Music: Come and See – Bob Bennett

Extraordinary!

January 10, 2022
Monday of the First Week in Ordinary Time


Introduction to “Extraordinary” Time


Today, we freshly begin a new cycle in our spiritual lives - the liturgical season of Ordinary Time 2022.
It is a perfect moment to wake ourselves to the truth that nothing is “ordinary” about being alive in God.
The extraordinary reality is that we have been given the gift of life!
Each day we are given a new portion of grace to deepen in God!

So let’s decide not to get used to:
  • to waking up in the morning
  • to the people in our lives
  • to the work we have to do
Each one of these “extraordinary” gifts holds a particular secret for us to be enriched by God’s lavish mercy and love. May we never fail to appreciate that every moment is a new invitation to love.

Our daily scriptural prayer offers us a good way to unwrap these gifts by drawing on the revelation of God.

For this “Ordinary Time 2022”, I hope to focus our reflections on the “hidden extraordinary” - a word, thought, or challenge in each day’s readings that we might otherwise have taken for granted.

May God give us the graceful appreciation to unwrap these gifts!

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we awaken to these extraordinary gifts revealed in our readings:

Love – Welcome – Gratitude


On this first “ordinary” Monday, we begin a month of readings from the Books of Samuel. These are wonderful stories with memorable characters and life-changing choices!

In our first reading today, we meet Hannah, mother of the prophet Samuel. Other than in the first two chapters of 1 Samuel, she is never again mentioned in the Bible. Yet she is also considered to be a prophet, and her song of thanksgiving a foreshadowing of the Magnificat.

In today’s reading, Hannah is given “a double portion” of good because she is so loved by her husband.

When the day came for Elkanah to offer sacrifice, he used to give a portion each to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters, but a double portion to Hannah because he loved her, though the LORD had made her barren.

1 Samuel 1:4-5

Extraordinary love!


In our Gospel, Jesus invites the curious disciples to share his life, just as He invites us:

Jesus said to them,“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Mark 1: 14

Extraordinary welcome!


And our beautiful Responsorial Psalm offers us a way to pray our thanks for these immeasurable gifts:

How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.

Psalm 116: 12-13

Extraordinary gratitude!


Through our scripture-nourished prayer, may we open the gifts of extraordinary love, extraordinary welcome, and extraordinary gratitude wrapped in our own ordinary lives this day.


Poetry: NO ONE KNOWS HIS NAME – Francis of Assisi (The “extraordinary” often may be hidden from us!)

No one knows his name
— a man who lives on the streets
and walks around in rags.
Once I saw that man in a dream.
He and God were constructing
an extraordinary temple.

Music: Well, I wouldn’t exactly call it “music”, rather kind of a rap… but the words are perfect.