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Daily Reading and Prayer

February 2020

Feb 29

Feb. 29, 2020

Lk 5:27-32 The Pharisees criticize Jesus for his association with tax collectors, considered disreputable because of their dishonest practices. To complicate matters, Jesus and his disciples join Levi and associates for dinner. This is problematic in and of itself since the tax collectors were associated with gentiles and were therefore ritually...
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Feb 28

Feb. 28, 2020

Mt 9:14-15 Again, Jesus is challenged about his compliance with Jewish religious practices. This time John’s disciples question him. Since fasting was typically a sign of mourning, Jesus responds to them by telling them that this is a time for joy. He, the bridegroom, is with them. He goes on to say that the time for fasting will come when...
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Feb 27

Feb. 27, 2020

Lk 9:22-25 In the first of three predictions, Jesus tells the disciples that he, the Son of Man, will be rejected, will suffer and be killed. This stands in stark contrast to the Messiah anticipated by the Jewish people. He goes on to tell them that they too and all who follow him must be willing to let go of their lives and rely solely on God....
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Feb 26

Feb. 26, 2020

Mt 6:1-6, 16-18 Jesus’ teaching is about three essential religious practices, almsgiving, prayer and fasting. These deeds are to be performed to bring honor to God, not attention to self. He cautions the disciples about the behavior they are to avoid and the proper attitude they must have when giving alms, praying and fasting. Staying...
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Feb 25

Feb. 25, 2020

Mk 9:30-37 It is clear that the disciples neither understand Jesus’ dire prediction about his fate nor do they want to question him about what he has told them for a second time. Even more telling is their subsequent argument with one another. He tells them that ambition has no place in their life as his followers. Rather look to the...
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Feb 24

Feb. 24, 2020

Mk 9:14-29 This long and detailed story of healing in Mark’s Gospel highlights Jesus’ miraculous power but also points to the importance of having faith in him. It is the boy’s father’s profession of his faith, along with his acknowledgment that it is not perfect, that carries the profound message. I know that my faith is...
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Feb 23

Feb. 23, 2020

Mt 5:38-48 In this final antithesis in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus tells them that being a disciple demands that they not only love family, friends, those who love them, but that they love their enemies. God created all people called to love as God loves. It is an inclusive, unconditional and generous love. I may not like what others do or how...
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Feb 22

Feb. 22, 2020

Mt 16:13-19 From popular speculation to personal opinion, Jesus invites his disciples to assess his identity. It is Peter who responds with his confession of faith. Jesus is the Messiah. With that Jesus reveals Peter’s leadership role in God’s Church. I look to Psalm 23 when considering my response to your question if posed to me....
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Feb 21

Feb. 21, 2020

Mk 8:34—9:1 Jesus is speaking not only to the disciples but to the crowd gathered around him. There is only one way to follow Jesus. It involves self-denial and an acceptance of the cross that each must carry. They are to give themselves to God in total trust. No one ever said discipleship would be easy. I do my best to follow you knowing...
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Feb 20

Feb. 20, 2020

Mk 8:27-33 Jesus’ teachings and the healings have led to this moment when he asks his disciples who they think he is. It is Peter who responds on behalf of all with a profession of faith. This exchange is followed by Jesus’ first prediction of what is ahead. I am incapable of thinking or acting in any way other than human but for...
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Feb 19

Feb. 19, 2020

Mk 8:22-26 The healing of the blind man is as remarkable as any other however there is a difference in that Jesus heals the man in stages. Could it be that this special detail in Mark’s Gospel carries an underlying message about becoming a disciple? Spiritual transformation does not necessarily happen all at once. It is gradual with steps...
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Feb 19

Feb. 19, 2020

Mk 8:22-26 The healing of the blind man is as remarkable as any other however there is a difference in that Jesus heals the man in stages. Could it be that this special detail in Mark’s Gospel carries an underlying message about becoming a disciple? Spiritual transformation does not necessarily happen all at once. It is gradual with steps...
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Feb 18

Feb. 18, 2020

Mk 8:14-21 The disciples completely misunderstand Jesus’ criticism of the Pharisees. Their concern about not having enough to eat on their journey adds to Jesus’ frustration with them. It’s ironic because they have just witnessed Jesus miraculously feed a crowd of four thousand. How often have you said to me, “Do you...
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Feb 17

Feb. 17, 2020

Mk 8:11-13   Jesus’ relationship with the Pharisees is so strained at this point that there is absolutely nothing he can do or say that will open their hearts to him. Their arguing causes him to react in a very human way, by sighing “from the depths of his spirit.” Is this generation today any different? Even the most...
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Feb 16

Feb. 16, 2020

Mt 5:17-37 Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. He brings light to the law through his authoritative interpretation. Through the six antitheses, Jesus contrasts the scribes’ literal and superficial understanding of holiness with the deeper and true meaning of God’s law. Teach me and help me to rightly discern the truth,...
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Feb 15

Feb. 15, 2020

Mk 8:1-10 Jesus feeds the crowd a second time in Mark’s Gospel. There is no doubt that this is extremely important to Mark and his community. Jesus’ compassion for the physical needs of the people is clear but more important are their spiritual needs thus the Eucharistic overtones. It is by your Word and Sacrament that I live with...
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Feb 14

Feb. 14, 2020

Mk 7:31-37 Like the Syrophoenician woman, this man is not Jewish. Jesus willingly crosses that boundary and heals him. The man’s new ability to hear and to speak makes him not only a hearer but also a bearer of the Good News. I am blessed with the ability to see, to hear and to speak but what good is it if my heart is closed. Open my...
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Feb 13

Feb. 13, 2020

Mk 7:24-30 It is no wonder that this non-Jewish woman would crouch at Jesus’ feet given the social and religious mores of the time. Jesus is touched by the humility and great faith in her persistent pleading and with a word cures her possessed daughter. You are the Creator, Sanctifier and Redeemer of all people from the beginning of time...
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Feb 12

Feb. 12, 2020

Mk 7:14-23 The beginning of today’s Gospel is a powerful summation of Jesus’ criticism of the Pharisees in the previous passages. The disciples have no idea what Jesus is talking about and so he goes on to help them understand that it is not what you put into your body that is evil but rather what comes from your heart. I pray this...
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Feb 11

Feb. 11, 2020

Mk 7:1-13 The Pharisees have turned the Commandments into a static document. They hold up their extensive list of “do’s and don’ts,” mostly having to do with the requirements for purification, over God’s law, the law that concerns his love for his people. I ask your forgiveness, for those times that I have paid lip...
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Feb 10

Feb. 10, 2020

Mk 6:53-56 Wherever Jesus goes, he is recognized, and the people gather bringing the sick to him. Their faith in his ability to heal is such that a touch of his cloak results in the hoped-for miracle. The attitude of the disciples and more so the Pharisees stands in contrast to enthusiasm of the crowds. How beautiful it is to see those who are...
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Feb 9

Feb. 9, 2020

Mt 5:13-16 Salt is used to improve flavor and preserve the life of food. The light of a lamp provides visibility. In the same way the disciples are called to invite others to a rich and enduring spiritual life by shining the light on Jesus through the darkness in the world. The world is so dark. It is sometimes difficult to see you. Let your...
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Daily Reading and Prayer

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A spiritual reflection on the daily readings that help cultivate a pattern of daily prayer and a deepening relationship with God


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