Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

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Welcome to the Provincial Blog.


Here, we feature posts by our Friars and by other contributors from the Carmelite family. Our goal is to provide you with content relevant to Carmelite spirituality and life in the Province of St. Therese.

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Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time



Readings:
1st Reading: Numbers 11:25-29
Resp.: Psalm 19:8, 10, 12-13, 14 (9a)
2nd Reading: James 5:1-6
Gospel: Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 


This Sunday's readings remind us that we live for the next world, not for this one. What does it matter if we don't have things in our lives the way we would prefer? If we suffer these losses for the sake of God's Kingdom, that is, which also to help us go to Heaven, so much the better. We need God's grace to accept this.

This world is what not what God originally wanted us to have. But because Adam and Eve sinned, despite having greater strength to avoid sin then we have, we all have to suffer death. Jesus uses hyperbole to stress the fact that we should avoid sin to the point of losing our eyes or feet, etc. God knows that we are weak sinful creatures who despite our best efforts fail from time to time.

We are either with God or against Him. We glean this from what Moses said in the first reading regarding those prophesying who were outside the gathering and from what Jesus said in today's Gospel. No one can do a mighty work in Jesus's Name and at the same time speak ill of Him. We have to choose sides. May we choose God and consistently reaffirm that choice.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD
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Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time



Readings: 
1st Reading: Wisdom 2:12, 17-20
Resp.: Psalm 54: 3-4, 5, 6-8(6b)
2nd Reading: James 3:16-4:3
Gospel: Mark 9:30-37

The reading from St James tells us a lot about what has been happening during the life of the world. So many times we ask for what we think we need but actually don't need those things. He says "You do not possess because you do not ask. You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." So we should always pray for God's Will to be done in our lives and in the lives of others. It is that simple.

It is these passions left unchecked, then and now, which led Jesus to the Cross. St. Alphonsus Liguori says in the Stations of the Cross attributed to him that our passions make us despise Christ. To despise means to regard as worthless or distasteful. This is what our passions do to us which is what we have inherited from Adam and Eve. It is called concupiscence. Without the Sacraments and prayer and all things Catholic, we will succumb to what is evil and base.

It is the passions that caused the disciples to argue about who is the greatest among them. Jesus showed them a child. Not that he wants us to be childish but childlike. We must serve everyone and this is not easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it. 

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD
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Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time



Readings:
1st Reading: Isaiah 50:4c-9a
Resp.: Psalm 116:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9 (9) 2nd Reading: James 2:14-18
Gospel: Mark 8:27-35


In today's readings, Jesus is helping us to understand that we live in this world to determine where we will live for eternity. We must follow Jesus as we know, all the way to the Cross. This means that life on earth will be fraught with trials and adversity and unfortunately tragedy for some.

We also can have a tendency to want to make our lives on earth a type of utopia. It's not that we should try to make things bad for ourselves but we do have the examples of the saints who not only accepted their trials but even sought out times to suffer for God and for the sake of His Kingdom.

This really goes against the grain. The world tells us to vacation, have a good time, etc., to excess. We are entitled to vacations, sure, and there is nothing wrong with enjoying life as long as this does not involve sin. But Jesus reminds his disciples that he came into this world to die. Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ but doesn't like that Jesus will suffer greatly and die. Peter had to be corrected. No one of us can change the fact that to follow Jesus means that we will suffer for being good as He did. But we too will rise at the end if we lose our lives for the sake of the Gospel.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD


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Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time



Readings:
1st Reading: Isaiah 35:4­7a Resp.: Psalm 146:7, 8­9, 9­10(1b) 2nd Reading: James 2:1­5 Gospel: Mark 7:31­37


During baptismal ceremonies the minister says to the one being baptized ephphatha or be opened. God wills that the ears of the person be opened to hear the word of God, the Scriptures. Being open to the Scriptures is a result of being cleansed from sin. Hearing is important because we are responsible for responding to what we have heard. Do we choose to follow God or not?


We receive grace when we receive the Sacraments. Water is a symbol of grace. In the first reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah we read that streams will burst forth when our God comes to us with vindication and divine recompense for all that we have suffered in His Name.

And what is the blessing we will receive? We will see and hear among other things who God is. We will be made whole. Even though we may seem foolish, outmoded and cast aside by the world, we will be triumphant in the Lord.

This is what really counts.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD


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Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time



Readings:
1st Reading: Deuteronomy 4:1­2, 6­8 Resp.: Psalm 15:2­3, 3­4, 4­5 (1a)
2nd Reading: James 1:17­18, 21b­22, 27 Gospel: Mark 7:1­8, 14­15, 21­23


Too many times we can be concerned with what we and other people see. In today's readings God is letting us know that what is on the inside is most important. As a people, we face a crisis in being. For instance when you take a plane trip and have a conversation with the person sitting next to you, are you asked who you are or what do you do? Many people tend to think that what we do, what we say, what we wear, and what we look like defines who we are when it is really the other way around. The old saying never judge a book by its cover is certainly apropos.

The Pharisees wanted to know why the disciples didn't wash their hands. Jesus calls the Pharisees hypocrites. They are only concerned with appearances —doing things for show, not out of love for God.

What defiles us is not what happens to us but what we freely choose, that is, what comes out of the heart. Similarly when we choose the right thing according to God's Will, we are blessed. In order to sin I have to be able to make a choice. Sin is in the choosing.

As the reading from St James says, be doers of the word not just hearers. Unfortunately, the easiest person to fool us is ourselves. This is why we need each other and of course God in our lives.

May God help us to know what we are doing. May we be filled with the Holy Spirit to know and to do the right thing despite how it looks.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD
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