Daily Bread

2 Sm 6:12b-15, 17-19; Ps 24; Mk 3:31-35

Then David, girt with a linen apron, came dancing before the Lord with abandon…
Imagine everyone giving with the utter joy and lavishness of David’s sacrifice. While David clearly had wealth to support such extravagance, his offerings to the Lord were generous even for his means. He went beyond offering praise for the Lord, including plentiful provisions for the entire assembly. Everyone shared in David’s grand offering of bread, roast meat and raisin cake. His generosity had less to do with his vast resources than with the great pleasure and enthusiasm of his giving. We may not have David’s wealth, but our financial circumstances should have little effect on our mindset regarding providing for the church and each other. Even if we can't have David’s wealth, nothing holds us back from sharing his attitude.
Generous and cheerful Lord, lovingly accept my gifts as I dance and rejoice in offering all I have to you.

Dn 2:31-45; Lk 21:5-11

“See that you not be deceived.”
Jesus presents a bleak image of the events preceding his return. In addition to forewarning of wars, insurrections, earthquakes, famines and plagues, he cautions against deception in the form of individuals claiming to represent him. So-called Christians who promote nothing remotely Christ-like are easily identifiable. The greater threat lies in those who successfully deceive not only others but themselves into thinking their misleading teachings are righteous. They’re not overtly heretical. Christianity is at the core of their message. Their intentions seem valid, but they use religion to divide, degrade or destroy. Duplicity triumphs when they and their followers see no contradiction in such behavior. When we choose to follow only Jesus’ teachings that advance our personal biases, we’re only fooling ourselves.
Make my words and actions truly representative of you, O Lord.

Rom 12:5-15ab; Lk 14:15-24

We, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another.
I watched a video of a woman on the Isle of Lesbos who was distraught by the thousands of immigrants taking over her small village. In her distress, she said something that struck me: “We are not them.” Writing on my comfortable porch, drinking my coffee, I can muse about how we are all part of one another and, that until all are safe, none are safe. But just last week a friend came over unexpectedly on a morning I had intended to sleep late. I was put out for a day. And this is my good friend, not thousands of strangers asking me to share my food, my goods, my space. So I get it. How do we let go of what we feel is rightfully ours in order to make room for others? Read today’s first reading — over and over again.
Generous God, live in me that I may let go of all else.

Wis 2:23 – 3:9; Lk 17:7-10

We have done what we were obliged to do.
I once asked my mother why we never got rewards, as some friends did, for passing grades. She answered that I shouldn’t expect a reward for simply doing my job. She didn’t expect a reward for doing laundry or cooking, and I shouldn’t expect a gift for doing my job of a student. Doing a job to the best of one’s ability was reward enough. In light of today’s parable, our “job” as baptized Christians is to serve God and one another with love and mercy. And yes, sometimes the work of the kingdom is hard, thankless and boring, but we are called to do it nevertheless, without expectation of praise.
I will bless the Lord at all times, God’s praise always on my lips.

2 Mc 6:18-31; Lk 19:1-10

What he had said seemed to them utter madness.
Today is for two madmen: Eleazar of the Maccabees, 90 years old yet still with enough fight in him to spit out the pork he was forced to eat; and Zacchaeus, “short in stature,” but big enough to stand before Jesus and give away his wealth away in a single burst. Eleazar wants to be a good example to many young people, including, let’s imagine, Jesus, who must have taken his words to heart: “The Lord ... knows full well that, although I could have escaped death, ... I am suffering with joy ... because of my devotion to Him.” Jesus considers Zacchaeus a model, too: “Today salvation has come to this house!”
You, O Lord, are my shield; my glory, you lift up my head!

Wis 3:1-9; Rom 5:5-11; Jn 6:37-40

But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

As I write this, in July, the United States has experienced a terrible week of violence and death, much of it played over and over again on social media. Other parts of the world have had similar experiences. It doesn’t matter what we think of the people who died, the people who protest or the people who carried out various attacks. What matters is what God thinks – and God loves them all. God loves us all. It’s easy to think we live in a God-forsaken world, but we are not God-forsaken. We are God’s beloved, and we are called to live and share God’s love, turning our despair and anger into action for peace and justice.

Surround and sustain us when we need it most, Divine Love.

Rv 7:2-4, 9-14; 1 Jn 3:1-3; Mt 5:1-12a

Blessed are those who mourn.

Of all the Beatitudes, this is the only one that applies to each and every one of us. But why would Jesus say this? How can Jesus say there is any kind of blessing in moments of emotional upheaval, loss and grief? Jesus undoubtedly knew about grief – he saw the broken and the wounded, he encountered parents with dying children, and he himself cried when he learned of Lazarus’ death. And somehow he saw blessing in all of it. As we remember the saints who have gone before us, the cloud of witnesses that surrounds us, we are indeed blessed.

With the saints of all times and places, we sing your praises.