This Week’s Mass Warm-Up!
Nope, we’re not passing the collection plate for these. Although you can hit that donate button anytime!
These are not the only free things on the site, just where our weekly Free Thing is that everybody talks about.
We WOULD love it if you gave us your email address so we can notify you each week when the next Free Thing is available (are you really gonna remember to check each week? 83% of our downloaders don’t!).
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Jesus comes with His message for ALL people, even those whom we think don’t deserve it, or are different from us.
In reality, we are all the same, human beings, sinners, who need a Savior.
Read on to learn how we can support, live and share in the mission of Christ, spreading the Good News to all people.
Beth and Kristofer explain what This Week’s Free Thing is all about.
Focus is difficult in our over-stimulating society. Focus on Jesus can be even more difficult. In order to focus on Jesus, we have to either be very disciplined to ignore the distractions, or remove the distractions. This week’s readings give us insight into the amazing ways Jesus will work in our lives if we focus on Him.
The Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ our Lord is an annual feast in its own right.
We also hear this Gospel account on the Second Sunday of every Lent.
So twice a year we are given an opportunity to reflect on Jesus’ Divine nature that He invites us to share in.
How can we respond to this invitation?
What does that mean to us?
Holy Owned and Operated has several reflections to help answer these questions and more!
King Solomon asked the Lord for an understanding heart, that he might govern his people wisely.
When we pray, are we asking the Lord for understanding?
Most of us want to understand the Lord, we certainly ask for Him to tell us what we want to know…but do we seek to UNDERSTAND?
Can we answer as the Apostles do to Christ’s question, “Do you understand all these things?”
Kind Justice can be summed up pretty easily in the Golden Rule.
How well do we practice it?
What can we do better?
How is Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross connected to the Golden Rule?
When God forgives us out of love, He shows the ultimate kind justice.
Can we do similarly?
Jesus loves to teach in parables.
When we hear this week’s parable, we also get to hear Jesus explain it to the Apostles.
Let’s all learn how to become the good soil that allows the Word of God to grow and produce fruit!
If Jesus’ yoke is easy, why is life so hard?
This week, we explore that with a little help from Father Richard Simon – The reverend Know-It-All – and dig into the details of this passage that we hear three times this month (this is the second time).
So, it must be important!
We take a walk through the readings for this week’s Mass, focusing not on ourselves, but on Jesus’ yoke that others are carrying.
And we discover why ours is harder than it needs to be in the process.
This week we hear that in order to receive our reward, we must receive His apostles, Himself and His Father, His prophets, and righteous people. What does that look like today?
Invite someone in ministry over for dinner or lunch or just to hang out for a while. Thank them for their answer to God’s call to be an Apostle. Invite them to tell their vocation story.
This week’s readings are mostly prayers and answers.
“Lord, in your great love, answer me” (Psalm 69:14).
Think of how we pray and ask for God’s power to take away our fears and hardships.
Do we pray with confidence and praise?
Or pitiful pleading and anxiousness?
Let’s take a page from Scripture and pray with trust and confidence in God’s goodness and answers.
Have you ever contemplated your baptismal priesthood?
What is it, from where does it come?
How does it make a difference in our lives?
And how is it different from the Ministerial Priesthood – those men who are ordained to the priesthood in the Sacrament of Holy Orders?
This week let’s dive into these questions as God calls each of us to the priesthood.
Jesus Christ is real.
And He gave us the Eucharist so that we could be with Him physically, because He knows we, as human beings, need to feel His presence.
There is no better or real presence of Jesus Christ in our lives than receiving His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity at Mass.
This week, we celebrate an entire Solemnity – the highest form of celebration in the Catholic faith – at Mass to give glory to God for this miracle of the real presence of Our Lord at every Mass.
Read and learn about it, and the special celebration that you just might see walking down Main Street this weekend!
Each Liturgical Year on the Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, also known as “Trinity Sunday”.
This lesson teaches why we celebrate this feast and the significance of it.
On Pentecost Sunday two thousand years ago, the Apostles received an amazing gift – the Holy Spirit.
Jesus kept His promise and sent the Advocate and amazing works have been done ever since through Him.
How He works in our lives is just as important as how He worked in the lives of the Apostles.
And the gift and work is all connected to the Sacraments.
The Second Sunday of Easter is also called Divine Mercy Sunday. We reflect on and ask for Jesus’ Divine Mercy which poured forth from Him as He died on the Cross, symbolized in the blood and water that came out of His side when it was pierced with a spear. His sacrifice made the mercy of God complete. We are able, through the saving work of Jesus Christ, to receive the ultimate in mercy – God’s Divine Life in us.
Palm leaves, red vestments, processions, and the story of Christ’s Passion and death.
This is what awaits us this Sunday at Mass.
How can we take it all in and be present for all the messages that God has for us in the liturgy?
Many of us that have heard this story every year can tune out and forget what the whole point is.
We allow ourselves to be distracted or bored, missing the essential beauty and love that Jesus offers us in His Passion.
Let us all be mindful of what’s going on this week at Mass, allowing ourselves to be transformed by Jesus’ suffering and the salvation He brings about through it.
The glory of God is real, and all around us every day, and is manifest in our own resurrection as promised by Him and shown in the resurrection of Jesus.
All of that is shared with us this week in each reading during Mass.
So why do we still fail to fully believe?
The Israelites did, and so did the early Christians.
Even the Apostles failed in their belief.
So, we are in good company.
And God knows that…
How close to being “perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:48) would we be if we saw ourselves and others the way He sees us?
This week God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit get in on the lessons from the readings, showing us how He, God, sees us and how He desperately wants us to see others the same way.
The Living Water that Jesus offers is so much more than just a drink to quench our thirst.
Our encounter with Jesus Christ, son of the Living God, who takes away the sins of the world is at the heart of this week’s message.
How do we respond to His invitation to drink the Living Water He provides?
What is it that we must do to live the life He desires for us?
As we continue through Lent, let us reflect on the merciful love and salvation that Christ brings to each of us.
Have you ever contemplated what God’s design is for your life?
This week we are invited to reflect on His Divine Plan, and how we can accept and become part of it.
It’s more than just believing, though that is a start.
Let us take time to dive in and find out what it means to live “according to his own design”.
Lent is a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
It is also a time to reflect on our spiritual health and journey.
The readings for the first Sunday tell us the stories of the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the temptation of Jesus in the desert.
Adam and Eve were tempted in their abundance. Jesus was tempted in his need.
They responded very differently,
Read on to learn why and how we can be like Jesus and resist temptation.
Perfection is a tall order for us – or is it?
This week, Jesus is wrapping up the Sermon on the Mount, and He sums it up, well, perfectly.
He is not calling us to an impossible task, and in this week’s TWMWU, we discuss that and offer some tips on how to discuss it with your family.
The Ten Commandments we may not know by heart, but they are on our heart.
They are naturally known to us; instinctive.
Yet we can legalize them to the point of thinking they do not apply to us.
After all, very few of us will murder somebody.
And looking at inappropriate pictures is not adultery, right; or using a computer at work to check our social media account or read the news is not really stealing…is it?
Well, Jesus tells us differently.
He tells us what we already know.
This week it is hard lessons learned in a loving way as Our Lord continues His Sermon on the Mount, preparing us for Lent by helping us bare our innermost sinful nature so that we may be true Christians.
Have you ever been in the dark and turned on a small light?
Light shines in the darkness.
And it’s not a candle or flashlight – it is us, the believers and faithful of God:
Christians following our call to holiness.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus is quite clear about who will go to heaven, so we explore what it means to be poor in spirit, and it has nothing to do with our bank accounts!
God provides through Scripture the exact meaning of what it is to be poor in spirit, and the encouragement we all need to have that attitude as we grow closer to Jesus and learn, from Him, who the Father is.
This week we think about how our families, parishes, communities, and world would be different if we all lived up to our baptismal vocation.
If all of us lived the Gospel and witnessed to Christ crucified, what would change?
Would the divisions among us be healed?
Would we be more understanding of one another?
Would we be able to live a life of virtue more easily?
When we think of servants, we typically picture people who are oppressed or in positions that powerful people take advantage of.
God has a different idea of what a servant is, and He calls us to this way of life and shows us through His only Son, how being a servant is actually one of the most honorable positions one can take.
He uses His servants to bring His light and message of Salvation to all the nations.
Dive deeper into this idea of sharing God’s light and salvation as His servant…
The Feast of the Epiphany of The Lord is the celebration of the revelation of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles (non-Jews).
Learn more about what this means to us Catholics and other Christians, and what we should do to evangelize the Good News to our neighbors – hint, it doesn’t require words!
It’s as simple as leaving the lights on for them…
Have an epiphany, and be an epiphany! And watch a really cool video with ALL of the verses of “We Three Kings.” We provide the lyrics, too!
Mary had a little lamb…
Though this rhyme refers to St. Mary, this does not mean she is a sheep.
Mary gave birth to the Lamb. This means she is the Mother of God.
As confusing as that is to our non-Catholic brethren, we as Catholics understand it and accept it.
Just as Mary and Joseph accepted this great honor and responsibility.
How do we share in Mary’s motherhood?
This week, we explore her example and how it blesses and encourages us to be Brothers and Sisters of and in Christ.
Jesus came on Christmas Day as the fulfillment of the promises of God, to show His glory to all people, to be the light in the darkness, to redeem us from sin and death.
Do we realize the connections Christmas Day has with the prophesies of the Old Testament?
Or with our own personal journey of faith today?
It is the connection point between both!
How often do we ignore or take for granted the signs that God places in our paths that show God is with us?
In this time of waiting for Christ to come at Christmas, there are signs everywhere! T
he sign of the coming of Christ was foretold hundreds of years before He came, in order for the Chosen People to know how to identify Him.
Are we looking? What do we see?
How often do we truly think about how we are saved through the blood of Jesus Christ?
And how does the promise of the kingdom of heaven bear on our current lives and choices?
The Church calls us to contemplate how He comes to save us this week as we continue our Advent journey up the mountain and along the Way of Christ Jesus.
“Prepare the Way of The Lord” is an urgent call not unfamiliar to us. But how do we do that? What exactly is “the Way”? Is this something we do on our own?
We look into this familiar yet mysterious calling we all receive from John the Baptist in this week’s Mass readings, and we recognize the call in the first reading from Baruch, Psalm 126, and Paul’s letter to the Philippians – so it must be important!
And it is most appropriate to look into this as Advent gears up. The Lord is coming, and amidst the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas, this is the time for a gut-check to learn how to prepare the way of The Lord all year, and to kickstart that renewed effort now.
Life is a journey.
That’s nothing new.
But why and how do mountains give us such clarity in what that journey is like?
As we constantly strive for heaven, that summit is clear, but the valleys, hills, and crooked paths and steep cliffs stand between us and the goal.
The One on the mountain is also with us.
This week as we begin a new liturgical year at Advent, we explore these challenging readings and discover something about ourselves:
Heaven is no hill, at least for a climber!
How does our view of superheroes affect our relationship with Christ?
Do we want Jesus to swoop in and “save the day”?
Or do we even ask Him for help when we need it?
Or rather looking to our own self-reliance, or escaping from the problems at hand in some unhealthy way?
Jesus came to save us, but it takes more than just passive reception to receive the Salvation He offers.
Jesus is Coming!
This week the readings are all about that; like blazing headlines!
So, we discuss when he is coming, and how we know it is happening.
The Second Coming is in process as we speak!
That’s no surprise to Catholics when we understand what the end times are, and our role in them.
This day has been anticipated since before Jesus came the first time, and we get to be in on the VIP pre-party!
And hopefully the eternal after-party…
“He is not God of the dead, but of the living!”
Our witness to God’s life in us is what sets us apart, it is what makes us a target, and also a magnet.
The life we live on earth either takes us closer to God or further from Him.
Choices we make now have eternal consequences.
This week, let us learn from the witnesses who went before us – the saints – how to witness to others and live the life God created us to live!
God’s constant love and mercy abounds!
They are present everywhere and every time, every place and every moment.
This week’s readings are all about seeing, recognizing, and experiencing His constant love and mercy.
Our discussion helps us see that, and our activity gives us the opportunity to knowingly, actively participate in it!
Sometimes the simplest is the most effective, and the Jesus Prayer helps us understand that.
This week, we learn about humility and self-righteousness, and that we all have the capacity to grow in the former and eliminate the latter.
Learning how to apply the readings of Mass to our lives – they are the Word of God, after all! – is integral to growing in our quest for perfection, in relationship with the Lord.
This week, we get a terrific example of how to do that, and a simple one we can apply every day!
What is Sacred Scripture? What makes it so special?
This week we get it from the horse’s mouth: Paul, while writing Sacred Scripture which he does not know will be Sacred Scripture, provides Timothy with the reasons and purposes for Sacred Scripture.
At that time Paul could only be referring to Old Testament scripture. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote a lot of the New testament, unknowingly. But can it be denied as Sacred?
The Holy Spirit guides the Catholic Church, and has since Pentecost, before Paul came into the picture – so He was guiding and inspiring Paul.
Understanding and applying Sacred Scripture is simple, but is not something to be done alone. The Holy Spirit has led the Catholic Church through 2000 years of first writing the last Sacred Scripture and then understanding it.
This week we explore how to understand Sacred Scripture, what’s so important about it, why we should know it, and how we can know it. It’s pretty simple!
“Thank you, Lord, for a good day.” Our family ends the day with this prayer, without fail.
Some days it is VERY hard to give thanks to God for that, after everything that happened that day:
Death. Sickness. Pain. Broken hearts. Unruly children, and hurt that our children suffer that we cannot do much to salve.
Recognizing God’s infinite Goodness and thanking Him for it is also very hard to remember to do. In our fallen state, we tend to think how wonderful we are when we accomplish or experience something good.
How often do we thank God for this stuff?
Maybe one in ten times, like the lepers in the Gospel. Maybe it takes seven experiences like Naaman in the Jordan.
Shouldn’t we always be thankful, even in our suffering?
This week we read of these and Paul’s suffering, and learn why bad things happen to good people.
And there’s some wisdom in here that deals with that question directly Why does a Good God make bad things happen?
See if you know the answer…
This week we hear a familiar psalm and a familiar analogy from Jesus.
Does that familiarity breed content or contempt?
Does it increase our faith?
We may be so used to the words of healing from Our Lord that we inadvertently block them from being more than words. Jesus has the words of everlasting life, but we often choose to be deaf to them.
Too busy? Too distracted? Too turned on by politics, news, social media, 15-second videos, even being helpful? Too worried and concerning ourselves about things happening in the world that we can do nothing about? Then our heart is hard.
The mustard seed is all the Lord encourages us to have and give, yet He knows we might only attain a faith the size of a crumb of salt of the earth.
And yet do we aspire to give him even that because of the hardness of our hearts?
This week is all about re-setting, refocusing, and recommitting. Let’s stay focused at Mass, and go forth, living the Gospel by our life!
This allows us to welcome Jesus into our hearts, soften them, and rely on him when we cry out for help – and hear His answer and see His help!
If you missed one or more of This Week’s Free Thing! then just click here to find it. Everything from last month all the way back to the beginning in March 2020 is available. And don’t forget to sign up to receive TWFT straight to your inbox so you won’t miss it again!
Community is an essential, basic part of the Catholic faith. Click here to get to our community area of the web site, which we are building and set to fully launch on April 10. Or you can get on our general contact list with the form on the right and we will personally let you know when it is ready. This will be perfect for parents, catechists, and religious educators to engage, learn from each other, ask questions, and realize the wonderful universal nature of our Church!