Catholic Readings for Today February 23 2019: Memorial of Saint Polycarp

Catholic Readings for Today February 23 2019 – Memorial of Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 340

1st Reading – HEB 11:1-7

Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen.
Because of it the ancients were well attested.
By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God,
so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.
By faith Abel offered to God a sacrifice greater than Cain’s.
Through this, he was attested to be righteous,
God bearing witness to his gifts,
and through this, though dead, he still speaks.
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death,
and he was found no more because God had taken him.
Before he was taken up, he was attested to have pleased God.
But without faith it is impossible to please him,
for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists
and that he rewards those who seek him.
By faith Noah, warned about what was not yet seen,
with reverence built an ark for the salvation of his household.
Through this, he condemned the world
and inherited the righteousness that comes through faith.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 145:2-3, 4-5, 10-11

R. (see 1) I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Generation after generation praises your works
and proclaims your might.
They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty
and tell of your wondrous works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.

Alleluia – SEE MK 9:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The heavens were opened and the voice of the Father thundered:
This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 9:2-13

Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
then from the cloud came a voice,
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, the disciples no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.
Then they asked him,
“Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
He told them, “Elijah will indeed come first and restore all things,
yet how is it written regarding the Son of Man
that he must suffer greatly and be treated with contempt?
But I tell you that Elijah has come
and they did to him whatever they pleased,
as it is written of him.”

Catholic Daily Reflections

Catholic Audio Gospel Reflections

The Road to Virtue – Living Between the Extremes

Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr

Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Mark 9:5-6

This passage comes in the midst of the glorious event of the Transfiguration. Peter, James and John went up a high mountain with Jesus, and Jesus was suddenly transfigured before them. He was radiant white with light shining forth and He was speaking with Moses and Elijah.

These three Apostles witness this miraculous event and they are so overwhelmed and excited that Peter says something that seems a bit silly. As the Scripture points out, “He hardly knew what to say.” But, nonetheless, he suggests that they build three tents, one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah. Of course, Jesus doesn’t respond to this offer, because He knew Peter was so excited that he couldn’t think straight. Moses and Elijah certainly did not need tents.

One subtle truth of the spiritual life to take from this passage is that, at times, when we have a powerful experience of the presence of God, we can be tempted to go to what we may call a “holy extreme.” Peter was instantly so excited that he wanted to stay right there on the mountain. Of course, this was not practical and not rational. It wasn’t a big deal that he had this reaction, but it is worth noting and learning from.

At times, we can find ourselves feeling very close to God and deeply inspired in one way or another. When this happens, we may find that the emotional response we have is, in a sense, to go overboard. Not overboard in our love of God, that’s not possible, but overboard in a zeal that is more based in our emotions than it is in the will of God. This is the classical example of having a “spiritual high.” Yes, we must strive to be deeply intimate with our Lord, but we must always make sure that even good emotions do not lead us down the road of our own will rather than the will of God.

Reflect, today, upon any tendency you may have in this regard. The goal of a virtuous life is true balance between the extremes. Though we must be 100% committed to God and His will, we must make sure that we are not drawn to one side of the road or the other. Pray that our Lord will keep you firmly on the path that leads to Him and His holy will.

Lord, I do desire to be totally Yours in every way. I desire to love You and serve You with my whole mind, heart, soul and strength. Help me to always follow Your will and Your will alone. Help me to never be deterred from the path You have set before me. May I live between the extremes I am drawn to so that I may live a true life of virtue. Jesus, I trust in You.

Our Audio Catholic Daily Readings are sourced from USCCB and the Daily Reflections are adapted from My Catholic Life

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About Laban Thua 1019 Articles
I am a Commissioned Liturgy Minister and also a Lector at Assumption of Mary Catholic Church. Am also a Commissioned Catholic Men Association (CMA), Member and a Lover of the Catholic Church and its teachings. My passion is disseminating the Catholic Daily Readings and Reflections, Bible Verse of the Day, Catholic Quote of the Day and Catholic Saint of the Day Information every day to all Catholic Faithfuls throughout the world.