Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain

SAINT LAWRENCE, DEACON AND MARTYR (FEAST)   Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain.    When a seed is planted, it doesn’t just grow bigger and stronger.   It actually disintegrates and gives way to a whole new plant filled with amazing potential.   It may seem illogical, but that’s exactly what happens. Similarly, by likening himself to a dying grain of wheat buried in the ground, Jesus makes it clear that...

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The vision . . . will not disappoint; . . . it will surely come.

SAINT DOMINIC, PRIEST (MEMORIAL)   The vision . . . will not disappoint; . . . it will surely come.    Human beings are willing to endure great suffering if they can see a purpose to it.   Parents will work exhausting hours and withstand sleepless nights to provide for their children.   Soldiers will risk their lives to defend their homeland.   But without a clear purpose, suffering is very difficult to bear. In today’s first reading (Habakkuk...

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See, upon the mountain there advances the bearer of good news.

SAINT SIXTUS II, POPE, AND COMPANIONS, MARTYRS (OPTIONAL MEMORIAL)   See, upon the mountain there advances the bearer of good news.    What is the “good news” Nahum is proclaiming?   The defeat of Judah’s archenemy, Assyria. We may have trouble understanding why the prophet is so happy about “the many slain, the heaping corpses, the endless bodies to stumble upon.”   For centuries, however, this “bloody city” had terrorized the Middle East,...

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We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven.

THE TRANSFIGURATION OF THE LORD (FEAST)   We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven.    Think of the number of times a court case has been won because of compelling eyewitness testimony.   Or think about how someone’s personal story about their faith has stirred your own faith.   Clearly, eyewitnesses carry a lot of weight! In today’s second reading, Peter offers his eyewitness testimony about the Transfiguration so that his readers could...

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O woman, great is your faith!

THE DEDICATION OF THE BASILICA OF SAINT MARY MAJOR (OPTIONAL MEMORIAL)    woman, great is your faith!    Why would Jesus treat this Canaanite woman so harshly?   How could he ignore her, brush her off, even call her names?   That doesn’t sound like something a loving God would do. But perhaps Jesus was acting in love—both for this woman and for his disciples.   Maybe he was trying to highlight the way his disciples were looking at her.   To...

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It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles the man

SAINT JOHN VIANNEY, PRIEST (MEMORIAL)   It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles the man; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one.    What is Jesus saying here?   Maybe he’s challenging his opponents’ obsession with ritual cleanliness and table manners.   Or he might be encouraging us to clean up our language.   While both may be true, Jesus is also addressing something much deeper.   Underlying his statement is the truth that...

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