English Español Mary Immaculate
Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA


Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

It is difficult to be truly present to another. We speak of putting in an appearance or showing up. Even when we arrive, we are often distracted. We think ahead, or we review an unsettled past. Nonetheless, we are at our best when we truly show up. We are most fully ourselves when we are absorbed in something worthy of us: creative work, good conversation, prayer. In these instances we are wholly ourselves and wholly outside ourselves. Elijah knew this kind of engagement. He was one of God’s great prophets. In today’s first reading, he follows God’s command to journey to that most holy place, Mount Horeb. And there in great silence, Elijah encounters God. As for Peter and the apostles, they discover the presence of God after the storm at sea. They and the sea and the winds are stunned into silent reverence.

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Let’s Reflect on God’s Word

“And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?”.” (Mathew 14: 29-33)

The normal thing in life is to go through moments of doubt, times in which it seems that God is away from us, if He does exist. They are the critical moments, the moments when our faith is put to the test. We would like the Lord to always answer rapidly, that we never had the sensation of loneliness, that God solved our problems when they overwhelm us.

On the other hand, illness, deception, failure, make us feel with all its crudeness the weight of the cross which Christ carried on his shoulders and which led him to ask the Father why he had abandoned him.

To come out of this situation there is nothing like remembering the gifts received in the past, the proof of his existence which God has given us on so many occasions and his love for us. From there we have no alternative but to put ourselves in his hands and, asking that he help us, do as Peter; throw ourselves into the lake to do the impossible, walk on water with the help of God. And if we feel ourselves sinking, we are lacking faith, don’t doubt in asking for help as did St. Peter, although the Lord scolds us for our little faith. To walk on water, is a symbol of understanding the plan of God, is not possible for us. The same way that nature doesn’t allow us what it allows the fish, our intelligence is limited in understanding the plan of God. But having faith is possible. Belief, without understanding, accepting the mystery, accepting that God is greater than us, is within our reach, with his grace.

Intention: When you have a problem and it seems that God doesn’t help you, remember past moments. Be patient and don’t forget that God writes straight with crooked lines.

Living God’s Word

Those moments arise for each of us when we come face to face with death or the possibility of real failure. Then it is no longer so easy or so enticing to step off the roller coaster platform, for suddenly the ride is no longer carefree or without risk. Yet through the risk, it is possible that life in God may be found.

Readings for the Week

Monday: Ez 1:2-5, 24-28c; Ps 148 (147):1-2, 11-14; Mt 17:22-27
Tuesday: Ez 2:8 — 3:4; Ps 119 (118):14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131; Mt 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
Wednesday: Ez 9:1-7; 10:18-22; Ps 113 (112):1-6; Mt 18:15-20
Thursday: Ez 12:1-12; Ps 78 (77):56-59, 61-62: Mt 18:21 — 19:1

  • Vigil: 1 Chr 15:3-4, 15-16; 16:1-2; Ps 132 (131):6-7, 9-10, 13-14; 1 Cor 15:54b-57; Lk 11:27-28
  • Day: Rv 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab; Ps 45 (44):10-12, 16; 1 Cor 15:20-27; Lk 1:39-56

Saturday: Ez 18:1-10, 13b, 30-32; Ps 51 (50):12-15, 18-19; Mt 19:13-15
Sunday: Is 56:1, 6-7; Ps 67 (66):2-3, 5, 6, 8; Rom 11:13-15, 29-32; Mt 15:21-28

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Monday: St. Clare
Tuesday: St. Jane Frances de Chantal
Wednesday: Ss. Pontian and Hippolytus
Thursday: St. Maximilian Kolbe
Friday: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Saturday: St. Stephen of Hungary; Blessed Virgin Mary

“The most deadly poison of our time is indifference. And this happens, although the praise of God should know no limits. Let us strive, therefore, to praise him to the greatest extent of our powers.” ~ St. Maximilian Kolbe

Treasure from Our Tradition

Over the last several weeks, the history of confirmation has been set out as a rite following baptism and preceding First Communion. Eucharist was a sacrament of spiritual maturity, attuned to the legal age of majority, which was considered to be fourteen years or so. Medieval bishops were often generous, if not especially pious, in seeing to it that children were confirmed before adulthood. A pattern more familiar to us surfaced in the Diocese of Toulon in France in 1748, where it was decreed that “children are to be confirmed only after receiving First Communion.” This was an amazing shift in practice that undermined centuries of theology and tradition by which confirmation was seen as a bridge between font and table. The innovation swept through France and across Europe, despite constant complaints from Rome. French-trained bishops like Cheverus of Boston and Carroll of Baltimore, founders of the American church, established the practice here. The order of the sacraments was thus disrupted in France and in the United States, and remained an eccentric exception to the rule until big developments in 1910.

The Assumption of Mary

The last of the Marian dogmas approved was that of the Assumption of our Mother, in body and soul, to Heaven. This dogma is related to two of the previous dogmas: that of her divine maternity and that of her immaculate nature. Any mother, when becoming one, establishes a unique relationship with her son, a relationship that is not only affective, but above all corporal: a body has been formed from hers, though the contribution of a male has been necessary and even though that new body, endowed with a new spirit, is not the body of the mother nor an appendage or continuation of such. The corporal relationship between mother and son, enriched with the affective relationship, is the strongest of nature, the true spine of the world –thus the huge severity of abortion—and it is so precisely because of that specific type of bond established by the fact that one flesh is born of another. That is why Mary could not die, her flesh could not know of the corruption of the tomb, since she had to continue practicing her maternal mission, towards Jesus and not only towards us men. If Jesus, as we have seen in the first Marian dogma, needs his Mother, His Mother’s love, She needed to continue to be of body and soul at the same time, in order to fully maintain the maternal bond uniting her to her Son. The third dogma, that of the Immaculate conception, is also involved here, since she who was not corrupted by sin could not and would not know of the corruption of the tomb. And if such arguments were insufficient: if any son would –if he could—avoid the death of his mother, why not think that Jesus, who could do so because he is God, would act differently? Why not believe that he did not do for his Mother that which the greatest sinner among men would do for his mother? He could. She deserved it. He, therefore, did. But, what are the consequences, for us, deriving from the fact that, as the dogma teaches us, the Virgin is in Heaven, body and soul? Why must we give thanks to God for this? Because, thanks to that, as has been stated, Mary may continue to practice her maternity fully. Firstly, as has also been stated, for her Son; but also, for each and every one of us. We have a Mother in Heaven that does not cease to work for our good, for our sanctification. We have a advocate, an intercessor. She is alive and that is one of the greatest gifts that God has given us. Let us thank Him, every day and at all times, for this.

Intention: Let us thank God because with the Assumption of our Mother, He ensures us that she will always intercede for us, and let us turn to Mary to seek that intercession.