Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

Provincial Blog

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Presentation of the Lord

Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay
1st Reading: Malachi 3:1-4
Resp. Psalm Psalm 24:7, 8, 9, 10
2nd Reading: Hebrews 2:14-18
Gospel: Luke 2:22-40

Jesus was presented in the Temple in accord with the law of God. Everything was done according to the law because Jesus came to fulfill the law. He asks us to be obedient to His laws because He is obedient to His Father. He shows us the way to be good.

Sometimes we can get tired trying to be good. Sometimes it seems too hard for us. When this happens hopefully we will remember to do a few things: meditate even for a moment on the passion Our Lord. Acknowledge that God will never ask us to endure anything that we cannot handle. Also, it is Christ who suffers in us and for us. He just asks us to share it with Him. Also making an Act of Faith or an Act of Hope will help.

While Simeon and Anna were able to see Jesus they did not actually see His mission fulfilled on the Cross and the establishment of His Church. The same may be true for us who have prayed a long time for our loved ones to convert or to see the dethronement of certain sins in the world. As long as we pray as we can, may the Lord console us as He did Simeon and Anna. Maybe we won't see the answers to our prayers but once said, God will fulfill them in His time.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

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1st Reading: Isaiah 8:23- 9:3
Resp. Psalm Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14
2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17
Gospel: Matthew 4:12-23

If Jesus is truly our Lord then there can be no division in our hearts or among Christians. While in another place in the Scriptures Jesus said that He came to bring a sword for division, that was for those who choose not to serve Him. In our own selves if division exists there is sickness. The body and mind are not whole. And this affects our thoughts and actions.

Since we all are members of the Church, the Body of Christ, there can be no dissension. On earth it unfortunately exists but if we want to go to Heaven we must work at it now. St Paul mentions this in the second reading. It's easy to become devoted to this or that person but we must let God help us to overcome this so that it doesn't become what St Paul warned us about. All human relationships on earth will end but God has something better in store for us in Heaven!

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD


Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
1st Reading: Isaiah 49:3, 5-6
Resp. Psalm Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9,10
2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:1-3
Gospel: John 1:29-34

Now that Jesus has been baptized, John the Baptist continues to witness to Him. We see clearly that God chooses to communicate with us through His prophets before He actually carries out His Will.

Since God prepares us ahead of time to accept the changes He asks us to endure, it is clear that we must participate in this preparation for change as well. The major change that we all will be making is the transition into eternity. We are all citizens of Heaven Saint Paul tells us. Since this is true we need to spend our lives getting to know God and His ways.

Archbishop Sheen once said our heaven or hell begins here on earth and this is based on how we choose to live our lives. Everything we choose to do here matters, especially to God to Whom we will render an account. Only Someone Who loves us makes this effort on our behalf.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

Baptism of the Lord

1st Reading: Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7
Resp. Psalm Psalm 29:1-2, 3-4, 9-10
2nd Reading: Acts 10:34-38
Gospel: Matthew 3:13-17 

In the second reading St Peter makes it clear that anyone who fears God and acts uprightly is acceptable to Him. Your past or where you come from or anything else do not matter. We only need to strive to be like Jesus who was pleasing to His Father.

It's best that we try to be like Jesus little by little. It is the devil who tempts us to try to do big things. We should only do big things when God asks us to but otherwise follow the example of St Therese who did the ordinary things of life extraordinarily well as if they were being done directly for Jesus himself. Doing big things tend to be self-serving and temptations to pride and it's hard to keep up the pace.

Jesus's baptism in the Jordan gave water the property to wash away Original Sin when used properly. As the Fathers of the Church state, Jesus made the waters sweet. He was baptized because He wants us to be baptized and to follow His example. At baptism we are/were made righteous. Despite sinning at least 7 times a day as the Old Testament states, we can continue to be righteous by going to Confession regularly. If we do the most we must expect the most. If we only do the minimum, we must expect the minimum. Our final end be it Heaven or hell will be no surprise— to ourselves.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

Epiphany Sunday

1st Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6 
Resp. Psalm Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
2nd Reading: Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6
Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12

The Light that has been awaited is now here! Unfortunately there are many who do not want to see the light, Jesus Christ, because now this necessitates change.

It's one thing to change when we feel like it but quite another issue when we are forced by certain circumstances like when the doctor tells us to or when tragedy strikes. But God is always with us helping us through these times and at every time. It's easy to forget this.

When God says stay put and keep on doing what you're doing we need to heed this. But, when He says to change it's easy to get flummoxed. We now have the manifestation of His birth to the world, the epiphany, to announce this news to us. It's time.

We need to be men and women of prayer to be able to accept all this. The Magi apparently knew God well enough to heed His warning. Again, God will take care of every detail of our lives to help us to avoid the Herods in our lives too.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD
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