Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading I 1 Kgs 19:16b, 19-21

The LORD said to Elijah:
“You shall anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah,
as prophet to succeed you.”

Elijah set out and came upon Elisha, son of Shaphat,
as he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen;
he was following the twelfth.
Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak over him.
Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said,
“Please, let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,
and I will follow you.”
Elijah answered, “Go back!
Have I done anything to you?”
Elisha left him, and taking the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them;
he used the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh,
and gave it to his people to eat.
Then Elisha left and followed Elijah as his attendant.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

R (cf. 5a) You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
            I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
            you it is who hold fast my lot.”
R You are my inheritance, O Lord.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
            even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
            with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
            my body, too, abides in confidence
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
            nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R You are my inheritance, O Lord.
You will show me the path to life,
            fullness of joys in your presence,
            the delights at your right hand forever.
R You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Reading II Gal 5:1, 13-18

Brothers and sisters:
For freedom Christ set us free;
so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters.
But do not use this freedom
as an opportunity for the flesh;
rather, serve one another through love.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement,
namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
But if you go on biting and devouring one another,
beware that you are not consumed by one another.

I say, then: live by the Spirit
and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.
For the flesh has desires against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh;
these are opposed to each other,
so that you may not do what you want.
But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Alleluia 1 Sm 3:9; Jn 6:68c

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Speak, Lord, your servant is listening;
you have the words of everlasting life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 9:51-62

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Beyond Mammon

You will remember that just a few days ago, the Gospel for June 18 gave us that famous line from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, “You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Mt 6:24) It’s an easily understood concept. To put it in a more modern vernacular, “How can you expect to ‘get God’ if you’re busy trying to ‘get stuff’?”

Here we are, 2,000 years later, and the world basically runs on the accumulation of “stuff.” We invent stuff, develop stuff, manufacture stuff, grow stuff, buy stuff, sell stuff, collect stuff, service stuff, and dispose of stuff. Cars, electronics, household goods, food, baseball cards, stocks and bonds, money — it’s all stuff, and the emphasis on acquiring it is getting in the way of what we’re really here for: to know, love and serve God in this world so that we can be with him in the next.

The Church in its wisdom ups the ante with today’s Gospel, where Luke tells us about Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, where he will suffer, die and rise — all for us, by the way. It’s not the simple “God or stuff” dichotomy. These are real “punch in the stomach” examples today.

When Jesus tells someone, “Follow me,” the reply is “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” The Lord’s reply is blunt: “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Another person thinks he has it figured out: “I will follow you Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” See, Jesus? I’m leaving them behind for you. Again, Jesus pushes for more: “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Even in requests that seem reasonable to us, Jesus sees the truth. And that truth is this: God first. Always, always, God first. There can be no compromise. Look at it this way: Your father died and must be buried. What if, in your love for and belief in God, you commend your father to God’s mercy, you pray for his soul, you realize that God created him, gave him his life, and knew the moment when it had to end. You thank God for what your father taught you, and you ask God for mercy for yourself, as well. 

What if, instead of saying goodbye to your family before following Jesus, you bring your family with you? You teach them of God’s greatness, His love, mercy and justice, His only begotten Son who became man, taught us, healed us, suffered for us, died for us, rose again, gave His very self to us in the Eucharist. What if you prayed for them, and asked God to help you guide them to communion with Him?

That plow Jesus talks about is the course of your life. If you’re looking back to what was, you’re going to have a pretty crooked row. If you keep your focus up front — on God, your life’s goal — putting Him first and foremost, the plowing might not be any easier, but it will be heading in the only right direction — straight to God, your ultimate joy.

Contact the author

Mike Karpus is a regular guy. He grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, graduated from Michigan State University and works as an editor. He is married to a Catholic school principal, raised two daughters who became Catholic school teachers at points in their careers, and now relishes his two grandchildren, including the 3-year-old who teaches him what the colors of Father’s chasubles mean. He has served on a Catholic School board, a pastoral council and a parish stewardship committee. He currently is a lector at Mass, a Knight of Columbus, Adult Faith Formation Committee member and a board member of the local Habitat for Humanity organization. But mostly he’s a regular guy.

Feature Image Credit: Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz,

St. Pelagius

St. Pelagius

Feast date: Jun 26

St. Pelagius was a thirteen year old Christian who was martyred for refusing to denounce his faith and convert to Islam in Cordoba, Spain in 925.

10th century Cordoba was the most powerful and glorious time in the world for the muslim caliphates and they boasted the largest mosque outside of the Caaba in Mecca.

Pelagius, as a ten year old boy, was taken hostage by the Moors of Cordoba during a rampage in a Christian town. He was in captivity for three years and nobody had made any attempt to ransom him.

The Emir of Cordoba offered him his freedom if he would convert to Islam. The boy refused and the Emir had him tortured and killed. He is said to have endured six hours of constant excruciating pain until he died.

Saint Pelagius is venerated in Leon, Cordoba, and Oviedo, where his relics have been kept since they were transferred there in 985.

St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer

St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer

Feast date: Jun 26

On June 26, the Catholic Church commemorates the life of Saint Josemaría Escrivá, priest and founder of The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei.

He was born in Barbastro, Spain on January 9, 1902 into a pious family. When he was young, he one day saw bare footprints left in the snow by a monk. The small sign left a great impression of holiness on the young man that would begin to guide his life and foster a vocation to the priesthood.

He developed a prayer life intensely centered on the Eucharist during his priestly studies in Logroño, and also cultivated deep devotion to Mary. “The Blessed Virgin has always helped me to discover her Son’s desires,” he said, and would often pray for her to ask God to reveal his will to him.

On March 28, 1925, Josemaría was ordained to the priesthood. During his early ministry, he worked among a variety of people, including children, students, artists, and workers, while also teaching law to help support his mother and sister.

Three years later, while on retreat, Josemaría saw the mission God intended for him, that of opening up a new spirituality and vocational path for the laity in the form of Opus Dei (“the work of God”). This prelature would become the central focus of his life, serving many of the unmet spiritual needs of lay people at the time.

The young movement began to grow quickly, attracting in particular university students. In the late 1930’s, the Spanish Civil War brought great hardships for the Church while Josemaría continued his work. His reputation for holiness, and thus his movement, began to grow in this time.

In 1946, Josemaría moved to Rome to obtain papal recognition of his movement from Pope Pius XII, which was granted the following year. Even as successive popes sent their blessings and affection, the work involved in expanding Opus Dei took a toll on Josemaría. Nonetheless, he is said to have never stopped smiling.

Josemaría welcomed Pope John XXIII’s calling of the Second Vatican Council. His work in expanding the way to holiness for lay persons was seen by the Council Fathers seen as a precursor to Vatican II’s renewed focus on the life of the laity. He worked swiftly to implement the Council’s decisions into the life and worship of Opus Dei.

In the latter years of his life, Josemaría traveled throughout the world to catechize his organization, often drawing crowds of thousands.

On June 26, 1975, Josemaría died in his workroom of a heart attack. The last thing he ever looked upon was an hanging icon of Our Lady. At his death, Opus Dei was present on all inhabited continents, numbering over 60,000 people from more than 80 nationalities.

St. William of Vercelli

St. William of Vercelli

Feast date: Jun 25

Image courtesy of William Hart McNichols via Fine Art America.

William was born in 11th-century Italy to a noble family. He was orphaned as an infant and raised by relatives. At the young age of 14, he made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, and decided to devote his life to God as a hermit.

He returned to Italy and lived as a hermit for two years at Monte Solicoli, where he was credited with healing a blind man. At Monte Vergiliano, his reputation for holiness attracted many disciples, and in 1119, he established a monastery with a Rule based on the Benedictines.

Five other houses were formed during his lifetime, but only the original survives today. He died June 25, 1142 of natural causes.

Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Reading I Lam 2:2, 10-14, 18-19

The Lord has consumed without pity
all the dwellings of Jacob;
He has torn down in his anger
the fortresses of daughter Judah;
He has brought to the ground in dishonor
her king and her princes.

On the ground in silence sit
the old men of daughter Zion;
They strew dust on their heads
and gird themselves with sackcloth;
The maidens of Jerusalem
bow their heads to the ground.

Worn out from weeping are my eyes,
within me all is in ferment;
My gall is poured out on the ground
because of the downfall of the daughter of my people,
As child and infant faint away
in the open spaces of the town.

In vain they ask their mothers,
“Where is the grain?”
As they faint away like the wounded
in the streets of the city,
And breathe their last
in their mothers’ arms.

To what can I liken or compare you,
O daughter Jerusalem?
What example can I show you for your comfort,
virgin daughter Zion?
For great as the sea is your downfall;
who can heal you?

Your prophets had for you
false and specious visions;
They did not lay bare your guilt,
to avert your fate;
They beheld for you in vision
false and misleading portents.

Cry out to the Lord;
moan, O daughter Zion!
Let your tears flow like a torrent
day and night;
Let there be no respite for you,
no repose for your eyes.

Rise up, shrill in the night,
at the beginning of every watch;
Pour out your heart like water
in the presence of the Lord;
Lift up your hands to him
for the lives of your little ones
Who faint from hunger
at the corner of every street.

Responsorial Psalm 74:1b-2, 3-5, 6-7, 20-21

R. (19b) Lord, forget not the souls of your poor ones.
Why, O God, have you cast us off forever?
Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?
Remember your flock which you built up of old,
the tribe you redeemed as your inheritance,
Mount Zion, where you took up your abode.
R. Lord, forget not the souls of your poor ones.
Turn your steps toward the utter ruins;
toward all the damage the enemy has done in the sanctuary.
Your foes roar triumphantly in your shrine;
they have set up their tokens of victory.
They are like men coming up with axes to a clump of trees.
R. Lord, forget not the souls of your poor ones.
With chisel and hammer they hack at all the paneling of the sanctuary.
They set your sanctuary on fire;
the place where your name abides they have razed and profaned.
R. Lord, forget not the souls of your poor ones.
Look to your covenant,
for the hiding places in the land and the plains are full of violence.
May the humble not retire in confusion;
may the afflicted and the poor praise your name.
R. Lord, forget not the souls of your poor ones.

Alleluia See Lk 2:19

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is the Virgin Mary who kept the word of God
and pondered it in her heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 2:41-51

Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
and when he was twelve years old,
they went up according to festival custom.
After they had completed its days, as they were returning,
the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem,
but his parents did not know it.
Thinking that he was in the caravan,
they journeyed for a day
and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,
but not finding him,
they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions,
and all who heard him were astounded
at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him,
they were astonished,
and his mother said to him,
“Son, why have you done this to us?
Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
And he said to them,
“Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
But they did not understand what he said to them.
He went down with them and came to Nazareth,
and was obedient to them;
and his mother kept all these things in her heart.


– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

The Spotless Heart

Catholics use a lot of language that is particular to us, for many reasons – it may come from Latin or Greek or theology or the ancient Church, and has been passed on and continually used. Some examples are words like “pope,” “eucharist,” “devotion,” “communion,” “benediction,” etc. These words, like non-Church words, can be used so much that we might forget to think about what they actually mean.

“Immaculate” is one of those words. We use it to describe both Mary’s origin and the state of her being: the Immaculate Conception and the Immaculate Heart. What does this mean? The word literally means “without spot/stain.” She was born without the stain of Original Sin, and she preserved her absolute “spotlessness” throughout her entire life, something 100% of us are not able to do!

In every situation of her life, in every moment, she chose God instead of herself. She understood her absolute dependence on God for everything and she lovingly trusted in God for everything.

Was she tempted? Yes. But she never succumbed to sin.

Did she suffer? Yes. Deeply. But she knew how to suffer fruitfully.

At the Annunciation, the angel calls her “full of grace.” Full, because there was no selfishness or sin taking up space where grace could abide. He says, “the Lord is with you,” because she opened herself fully to Him always and invited Him into every moment of the day, every thought, word, and act. This young girl’s response to the angel’s invitation is the profound response of a soul who knows her position in the universe and in the Heart of God clearly: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me as you have said.” It is the confident response of an immaculate heart that trusts, a free heart that can make a way for the Word to become Flesh, a bold heart that can stand at the pivot of history and change humanity’s course, a generous heart that can say YES to God in a new way and begin to unravel all the NO.

This Immaculate Heart never wavered from that YES, through uncertainty and danger, poverty and loss, maternal bonding and letting go, all the way to the Cross and beyond. And this Immaculate Heart was a steady beacon for the early Church, from the tomb to the ascension, through the prayerful waiting for the Spirit at Pentecost, to the missionary preaching and sacraments. And when her work here was done, God lifted her to Himself, body and soul, to be near her Son eternally.

The Church situates this Memorial the day after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to help us see the closeness – the communion – of these Two Hearts, of Mother and Son. In Heaven, there are two human hearts beating as one before the Father, and they beat with love for you and for me.

Mary, help us to love as you love, and to give a ready YES to God!

Contact the author

Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including Father Rob), and four grandchildren. She is President of the local community of Secular Discalced Carmelites and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 30 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE, and as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio. Currently, she serves the Church by writing and speaking, and by collaborating with various parishes and to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is

Feature Image Credit: Grant Whitty,

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Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Reading I Ez 34:11-16

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will look after and tend my sheep.
As a shepherd tends his flock
when he finds himself among his scattered sheep,
so will I tend my sheep.
I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered
when it was cloudy and dark.
I will lead them out from among the peoples
and gather them from the foreign lands;
I will bring them back to their own country
and pasture them upon the mountains of Israel
in the land’s ravines and all its inhabited places.
In good pastures will I pasture them,
and on the mountain heights of Israel
shall be their grazing ground.
There they shall lie down on good grazing ground,
and in rich pastures shall they be pastured
on the mountains of Israel.
I myself will pasture my sheep;
I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD.
The lost I will seek out,
the strayed I will bring back,
the injured I will bind up,
the sick I will heal,
but the sleek and the strong I will destroy,
shepherding them rightly.


Responsorial Psalm Ps 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6.

R (1)    The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
            In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
            he refreshes my soul.
R The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
            for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
            I fear no evil; for you are at my side
with your rod and your staff
            that give me courage.
R The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
            in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
            my cup overflows.
R The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
            all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
            for years to come.
R The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Reading II Rom 5:5b-11

Brothers and sisters:
The love of God has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
For Christ, while we were still helpless,
died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person,
though perhaps for a good person
one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us
in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood,
will we be saved through him from the wrath.
Indeed, if, while we were enemies,
we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son,
how much more, once reconciled,
will we be saved by his life.
Not only that,
but we also boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Alleluia Mt 11:29ab

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Take my yoke upon you, says the Lord,
and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Jn 10:14
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord,
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 15:3-7

Jesus addressed this parable to the Pharisees and scribes:
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,           
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.”


– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

The Great Feast of the Sacred Heart: An invitation to Encounter the Love of Christ

Jesus’ Most Sacred Heart is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

“The designs of his heart shall endure from age to age, to rescue our souls from death and nourish us in our hunger.”- Entrance Antiphon (Ps 32: 11,19)

The Feast of the Sacred Heart is a beautiful opportunity to seek out new graces and renew our love for Christ. Jesus continuously offers us His eternal love that is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This great Feast of the Sacred Heart is celebrated the Friday after the Second Sunday of Pentecost or 19 days after Pentecost. 

This feast day is a personal favorite of mine as it is a sweet reminder of what the authentic love of Jesus looks like. We learn in Holy Scripture, the attributes of faithful love are patience, kindness, forgiveness and slowness to anger, and that “it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13). This holy love is perfectly displayed in the Heart of Jesus. For Jesus is love, and He is offering us His Heart as a reminder of this love.

The Gospels tell us that the Good Shepherd is willing to leave the fold to find the lost sheep and rejoices over finding it. We read, “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” Let us turn to the Heart of Jesus asking for new graces so that we can return to His Most Sacred Heart and invite others to do so as well. When we encounter this loving Heart we can not help but be filled with gratitude and want to spread His Kingdom of love to others. 

One of the greatest blessings of being a Catholic is understanding that we can honor the Heart of Christ and seek out His graces to perform loving acts of reparation for those who have offended the Lord. These acts of reparation serve as a way to show Christ that we love Him through our willingness to offer our sacrifices to make up for the transgressions of others. A powerful way to do this is to say the Daily Offering. When we pray this prayer we offer up the daily “thoughts, works, joys, and sorrows” of our lives to Jesus.  

The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus reminds us of how Christ loves us, renews our love for Him and re-commits us to practicing this Devotion. 

Contact the author

Emily Jaminet is a Catholic author, speaker, radio personality, wife, and mother of seven children. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mental health and human services from the Franciscan University of Steubenville.  She is the co-founder of and the Executive Director of The Sacred Heart Enthronement Network She has co-authored several Catholic books and her next one, Secrets of the Sacred Heart: Claiming Jesus’ Twelve Promises in Your Life, comes out in Oct. 2020. Emily serves on the board of the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference, contributes to Relevant Radio and Catholic

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