Readings 20150115

The following reflection is courtesy of (c) 2015. Their website is located at


“Encourage one another daily while it is still ‘today,’ so that no one grows hardened by the deceit of sin.” —Hebrews 3:13
If we don’t get regular, even daily, encouragement, we may grow hardened by the deceit of sin and of the culture of death (Heb 3:13). Encouragement often will not find us if we don’t try to find it. Many of us miss the opportunity to receive or give encouragement. Here are some ways we can pursue and find encouragement:

We need to place ourselves in a position to receive encouragement, for example, by not skipping Mass (Heb 10:25). Frequent Mass, even daily if possible, keeps us in position to receive encouragement and is a great help against not being hardened. Daily Mass equals daily encouragement.
Your presence and faithfulness encourages others; likewise, your absence can discourage others. Be present to others.
Don’t put off giving encouragement; do it “today” (Heb 3:13).
Give the Lord a chance to encourage you by your daily routine: daily Mass, daily Bible reading (see Rm 15:4), daily Rosary, daily prayers, such as the Liturgy of the Hours.
Most important, we need to encourage others daily, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ, so that they do not grow hardened in heart. Make the most of the opportunity to encourage others every day (Eph 5:16). Encourage “them all to remain firm in their commitment to the Lord” (Acts 11:23).
Be sons and daughters of encouragement (see Acts 4:36). Give encouragement a chance.

Prayer: Father, may I spend my life building up the Body of Christ. Holy Spirit, give me the gift of encouragement (Rm 12:8). Promise: “People kept coming to [Jesus] from all sides.” —Mk 1:45 Praise: Martha begins each day by uniting her heart to the intentions of the Sacred Heart. (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at
Do you seek the Lord Jesus with expectant faith? No one who sought Jesus out was refused his help. Even the untouchables and the outcasts of Jewish society found help in him. Unlike the people of Jesus’ time who fled at the sight of a leper, Jesus touched the leper who approached him and he made him whole and clean. Why was this so remarkable? Lepers were outcasts of society. They were driven from their homes and communities and left to fend for themselves. Their physical condition was terrible as they slowly lost the use of their limbs and withered away. They were not only shunned but regarded as “already dead” even by their relatives. The Jewish law forbade anyone from touching or approaching a leper, lest ritual defilement occur.
This leper did something quite remarkable. He approached Jesus confidently and humbly, expecting that Jesus could and would heal him. Normally a leper would be stoned or at least warded off if he tried to come near a rabbi. Jesus not only grants the man his request, but he demonstrates the personal love, compassion, and tenderness of God in his physical touch. The medical knowledge of his day would have regarded such contact as grave risk for incurring infection. Jesus met the man’s misery with compassion and tender kindness. He communicated the love and mercy of God in a sign that spoke more eloquently than words. He touched the man and made him clean – not only physically but spiritually as well.

How do you approach those who are difficult to love, or who are shunned by others because they are deformed or have some defect? Do you show them kindness and offer them mercy and help as Jesus did? The Lord is always ready to show us his mercy and to free us from whatever makes us unclean, unapproachable, or unloving towards others.

Lord Jesus, inflame my heart with your love and make me clean and whole in body, mind, and spirit. May I never doubt your love nor cease to tell others of your mercy and compassion.”