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How to Prepare for the Sunday Readings

Hi, my name is Fr. Mike Schmitz and
this is Ascension Presents.
How am I supposed to get something out of a homily when,
sometimes, I’m not getting anything out of the homily? Good question, camper! First thing is, when it comes to … we’re going to talk about how to listen to a homily, because
I think there’s just as much skill and work sometimes in listening to a homily
as there is in preparing and delivering a homily. It is always easier to be a
critic than to create (I actually made a video about that). It’s always easier to
be a critic than it is to create. So I can sit back and watch the movie, I can
sit back and listen to the homily, or to the talk or whatever the thing is, to look
at the painting and say “Well that’s ridiculous. He should have done this, this,
and this.” To approach Mass with that kind of—to approach the homily part of Mass—with that kind of receptivity (I’m gonna talk about that in a second) but to
approach it with that kind of maybe even humility. I remember when my little
sister was going to school… (right? Was she going to school? I don’t know.)
She was living next to the seminary when I was going to seminary, and so she
got to meet a bunch of my seminarian friends, and when we got to the point
“x” number of years later and we were getting ordained, she knew we were having
to give homilies as deacons. She said “I will never complain
about a homily ever again” because she knew us personally. Until then, she had
only known the priest a little bit, from afar, like “Oh my gosh, this
is all you could do? This is the best you could do?” Then she saw us and
realized “Wow, these men were responding to a call to be a priest, not
because they were like, “You know what I’m good at? I’m good at public speaking. I’m gonna do that.'” What she found was a bunch of guys who just wanted to be holy and
just wanted to help the people of God, and because of that they had to get up
and give talks and they had no idea. We had no idea. We’re just freaking out,
every time. I have to tell you honestly, this is like on Saturday night
or before the first homily of the weekend: I’m always either
literally in tears or virtually in tears. Because I’m like “God I don’t know what you want me to say to your people.” Because it’s a big deal, right? So that’s
one thing. That’s like, OK, damper the judgment … muscle.
But then how do you still get someone to listen then? I would say that
the number one thing I think is so important for the people of God is to read the
Scriptures ahead of time. I think it’s probably essential and it is a massive
game-changer. What I mean by that is, say on Monday you read the readings
for the upcoming Sunday. Not like racing through it, but also not like you have to
dive down deeply and understand or take everything out of it all
at once. But just read through them so you get to have a general sense of what’s
coming that Sunday. Then on Tuesday, spend that Tuesday time of prayer with
the first reading. And then on Wednesday, spend that Wednesday time of prayer with
the second reading. And then Thursday, spend that Thursday time at prayer with
the Gospel reading. On Friday (here’s my invitation), on Friday write down what you
think the Lord God is saying to you from all of those readings. In fact, you could
do that every day. When you write it when you read through on Monday: write down
what’s the one thing that you think “This I should remember the rest of this day.”
On Tuesday when you read through the Old Testament reading or the first reading,
write down what is God saying there and this is what I should carry with me for
the rest of the day. On Wednesday, what’s the one thing I should carry with me for
the rest of the day? Thursday it’s the same thing, and on Friday to be able to just
say “OK. So ultimately, what is God saying about my life? What’s he saying
about how I need to be moved?” Because that’s the thing: so many of us, we go to
to Mass and the Word of God is proclaimed—not even the homily—but the
Word of God is proclaimed, and it goes in one ear and out the other.
So at the end of mass, or even at the end of the homily, I’m like “What was the
reading about? I don’t remember. I can’t quite place it.”
But what if you—you—took the time Monday through Friday and you actually not only
read the readings, but you went into them and asked the question “What’s the one
thing from this that the Lord God wants me to carry with me for the rest of the
day?” Because the next step is the question “How does God want to move me?”
Whenever Scripture is proclaimed, it’s always meant to move and
change the people of God. It’s either to move us up towards the Lord, to change our
behavior, to enlighten our mind so we can know him more clearly,
to enlighten ourselves so we can know his truth more profoundly. But
he always wants us to move in some way, shape, or form. So we could ask the
question “OK, how is God wanting to move me in this moment?” When it comes to
proclaiming the first readings—you know the First Reading, the psalm response, and the
Second Reading—we sit down. And for the Gospel we stand. But that sitting down
does not mean we’re in a position of passivity. It means we’re in a position
of receptivity. This is a very important difference: to be passive is
just like “Yeah, I’m just kind of whatever, just wash over me” kind of a
thing. But to be receptive means I’m ready to move. That’s why I like standing
for the Gospel, because it does literally have that I’m-ready-to-move-ness
about it. But how many times do we stand there, hands heavy on the
pew in front of us, kind of leaning on all fours essentially,
our feet and our hands, instead of saying “OK, I’m ready to move.”
An example I love to give is of the two dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
You probably know this dance duo of the 19th century (20th century?). I remember
hearing someone say once that Fred Astaire was an incredible dancer. And yet,
Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and
in high heels. So she was incredible as well. And Ginger Rogers was
Fred Astaire’s favorite dance partner. Interesting note: I heard that Ginger
Rogers was not a professional dancer. She was an amateur. But that’s the reason
why Fred Astaire loved dancing with her. Because he was the professional; she was
the amateur. And so, as the professional, he got to lead. And as the amateur, she
let him lead her. So if he wanted to go this way, she’s right there. She wouldn’t fight
him on this like “I know better than you.” She would just let him lead. Because of
that, she was his absolute favorite dance partner, and because of that when you get
to watch them you see it’s just like the phrase poetry in motion—it’s
beautiful. This is us when it comes to the Lord’s proclaiming his word to us.
He’s the master and we’re the amateurs. He is the leader, we’re the followers. So
when we hear the word of Scripture, the Word of God proclaimed, do I just stand there
and say “No, no. no. We’re going this way or we’re going that way.” Or do I say “OK Lord, speak. Your servant is listening. Lord lead me, I will follow
you. Lord, how is it you want to move me?” So that’s what I invite you to do the next time you come to Mass to be able to listen to a homily really well, is first, I’m not a critic because it’s easier to critique than it is to create.
I have this humility of “I’m just gonna trust that the priest cares about
me and he’s doing his best, but also, I showed up prepared, I showed up ready. Why?
Because I read the Scriptures Monday through Friday. I even wrote down “Here is what
God is saying to me” so that even if the homily the priest gives is bad, I wrote
my own homily. It was in those notes every day Monday through Friday when the
Word of God spoke to me and said here is how I want you to move, here’s where I
want you to go, here’s what I want you to carry with you for the rest of this day.
My guarantee is this: if you and I do this, the Word of God will have all
the power that it’s meant to have. The Word of God is living and effective,
sharper than any two-edged sword and the Word of God does not does not come down
from heaven and return there void, but always accomplishes the works or the
will for which it was intended. You can be that soil, I can be that soil, that’s
ready to grow, that’s ready to bring forth fruit. That’s the kind of person that’s
ready to move. Only if I show up prepared. From all of us here at Ascension Presents, my
name is Father Mike. God bless and “like”, subscribe, comment and please, like
seriously, do this thing. Read the scripture. Write down what the Lord’s
saying to me. Where is he wanting me to move… You know what I’m saying? Okay, thanks! OK, I’m
done. I’m done. I’m done. I’m done. Peace!

Reynold King

100 Replies to “How to Prepare for the Sunday Readings”

  1. You can also listen to Jeff Cavins (also on Ascension Presents) who covers the following Sunday's readings in the middle of the week.

  2. My pastor who gives homilies is very gifted at it. He often puts in jokes like he milked a joke full of puns about working at a cemetery at Easter Vigil. The message was what good we fail to do dies with us when we die.

  3. Usually my journal entries are " I have no idea what God is saying to me in the gospel" but Im confident that at some point in the future I will know what He is saying to me or saying through me to another.

  4. When you gather to study you should learn about the 2 commandment that was written in stone, which your institution has removed to serve her own purposes!

    You will also come to find if you open up your kjv Bible how clear Prophecy had declared that the papacy was to โ€œthink to change times and laws.โ€ Daniel 7:25. This work it was not slow to attempt. To afford converts from heathenism a substitute for the worship of idols, and thus to promote their nominal acceptance of Christianity, the adoration of images and relics was gradually introduced into the Christian worship. The decree of a general council (see Appendix) finally established this system of idolatry. To complete the sacrilegious work, Rome presumed to expunge from the law of God the second commandment, forbidding image worship, and to divide the tenth commandment, in order to preserve the number.

  5. Jordan Peterson said that it is helpful for a person to go to church every week because it gives them the ability and opportunity to reflect on their lives every week. Compared to a person who doesn't go to church and continually live their lives living only for the moment.

  6. I just started watching Jeff's videos and I also get emails from priest from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. So that helps me to know what the word of God is going to be. Or even videos of Homilies. But reading the bible would be better. But I do what I can so I can understand.

  7. Love this. Thanks, Father Mike. People might think y'all have it easy, but It's not even like that. Now that Lent and Holy Week have passed, people should ask a priest how tired they are. They accepted this calling out of love for God. Pray for priests.

  8. I read the readings ahead and it does make a big difference. I've even been known to right reflections too. You're 100% right, it makes the mass that much richer!

  9. What a good idea, Fr Mike! Yes, I WILL start doing that.
    I just finished a Lenten study group where we did something similar, and I liked it a lot.

  10. Father Schmitz, you just reminded me to purchase the daily missal. Thank you so much! And one more thing, you make me laugh so much when I watch some of your joyous videos! Thank you for that! It truly lifts me up! โค๏ธ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

  11. Fellow Fr. Mike-azoids. I need your prayers. My 27-year old son just entered rehab and is searching for his higher power. He is a huge fan of "The Office". I sent him a copy of Fr. MIke's Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica. video. Please pray that this seed that has been planted takes root. Thank you. God Bless.

  12. RCIA trained me to read the readings every week and it has benefited my understanding of mass. ๐Ÿ‘ด๐Ÿป

  13. Great idea. In my effort to listen, I take the time to read through the missal while it is spoken. Then when it comes to the homily, I thoroughly enjoy learning the deacon or priestโ€™s perspective. Usually, they say that the homily or the entire event at mass is inspired by the Holy Spirit. So, when there is something that I do not agree with or if there is a mistake, I forgive. If there is something really horrible about the homily, I would kindly inform the deacon or priest. I try to be as involved as I can be in the body of Christ.

  14. Thank you for the great advice! This is exactly what I need. I recently got into the habit of reading scriptures daily.

  15. I like your suggestions Fr. Mike but I am terrible so far at establishing good habits of reading scripture through the week. It is something I need to work on but I am easily distracted and have a chaotic mind a lot of the time.

    As a former atheist I just passed my one year mark since baptism. I am wondering if some expect too much from every Mass? (Or are disappointed when they don't feel enough? I am not sure…) I'd been attending with my wife regularly for over a year before starting RCIA and spent two years in RCIA. I didn't get profound insight from every Mass. I still don't. But boy when I did, as cliche as it is to type it here, it was and continues to be like our priest or deacon was aiming at me with a laser pointer. Deep and uplifting moments. In a way I can be thankful that I am a "new" Christian because I didn't have a lifetime as a young person to set a pattern of shutting down or brushing off religion. I am still enchanted by this new discovery and since I am old enough to appreciate it I take it far more seriously.

    My wife and I love your videos. As an aside, I am pretty sure our Pastor lifted one of your anecdotes for a homily a couple weeks back which made us both laugh. ๐Ÿ˜‰ God bless.

  16. Let's work on Gospel for next Sunday, 08.04.2018

    John 20, 19-31

  17. Hey THANK YOU Fr. Mike! Very thought provoking and enlightening!! I have TWO uncles who were priests, (now deceased) and several current friends who are also priests…Don't think I'll look at a "simple" homily quite the same way again! God Bless!!

  18. There is no way you can put subtitles in Portuguese always, I'm Brazilian, I'm learning English, but I still can not understand the subtitles in English, if you can always get the subtitles in Portuguese, no doubt I subscribe to the channel. May all have a holy and blessed day! Grace and peace from Christ Jesus our Lord.

  19. Great idea. I will try that out. I really like the idea of being an active participant in the mass. Where do I find the list of readings for each Mass?

  20. Thanks father Mike I love your videos God is Good I was a gang member for 14 and God called me now I'm here serving the Lord.GOD IS ALIVE AND HE WILL CUT ANY CHAINS ONE'S YOU OPEN THE DOOR OF YOUR HEART GOD BLESSED EVERY ONE

  21. Dear Father, Son and Holy Spirit please enlighten each and every Priest in what they should share in their homilies each and every day. Inspire them and ignite them on fire with your love and in proclaiming your word to touch the hearts, minds and souls of the faithful. Give them what they need in all ways to serve you and your people.

  22. Fr.Mike , you teaching on preparing for mass was superb idea to know more about the word of God
    But why is that many times sunday readings differ from one printed on catholic calendars ????

  23. Why do Catholics celebrate Mass on Sunday when in the Bible it says the Sabbath is on the 7th day which is Saturday?

  24. Yeah… this is new for me… i love the whole holy mass.. and this idea is beautiful… i wanna start do it.. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ thank you Fr Mike ๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ”ฅ

  25. Fr Mike, your videos are everything! Please make a video on Tithes and how we should do it and if we MUST, if it unlocks any financial blessings God might have for us etc

  26. Here you see the protestantization of the Catholics. You having people going to mass for a "homily" and not for the Holy Eucharist. It clearly shows the destruction of the faith in the real presence. That's the very reason protestants go to their "churches".

  27. Fr Mike, this is an example of clear preaching! Practical, straightforward, easy for all to benefit! And powerful! Keep the guidance coming! Thank you!

  28. Thank you for this, father! You really hit me hard when you said about leaning my hands on the pew in front of me when standing. I've been doing that many times!

    Anyways, is it okay if in a future video you could talk about adapting native culture to the Mass?

    I am from Sabah, Malaysia. So in my diocese, we wouldn't chant gregorian often but rather sing the hymns and psalms in our own traditional tune. And instead of ringing bells during the eucharist, we hit the gong as the gong is an important instrument in my culture. Instead of an organ, sometimes we use traditional bamboo isntruments in our choir. And so on.

    I'm sure different parts of the world celebrate mass in a slightly different variation based on their local culture. But I don't see it portrayed often in the mainstream media.

    The thing is, I've been reading a lot of people saying that this is an "abomination of the mass". But is it really?

    Thank you!

  29. Hey, I am a Catholic kid who is loosing faith in god. I have been since I was about 14. I am now 16 ( age 17 april 22 ) The internet says stuff like "there is no proof the Jesus existed" and stuff about the big bang, evolution and it looks like the bible is wrong ect. I want to belive in god, I still do subconsciously but how to I overcome this hurdle to become christian again.

  30. This is so interesting to me because I notice that the confidence of my priest falters when they do this. His whole tone changes and he seems nervous. I have just started going to church this past January and I don't know all the right words for what I am seeing, so I didn't know about a Homily.

    I always thought they were just stories that would help us connect what's in the Bible with what we experience day-to-day. So I like the Homily actually, because it shows me how the priest interprets real life situations and connects them with the word of God. I suppose I can tell when it's 'bad' but usually that just means it's a little cheesy. I always appreciate and love this part of mass, it's kind of like getting comfortable with each other.

  31. What makes me upset about what you said is that I didnโ€™t think of doing this. I am going to do this and I know it will help me get a bigger impact on the homily I hear on Sunday. Thanks.

  32. Thank you God for a priest/human/angel/follower of your making. I love the videos he makes, because he gives unfogs your listening and clears your understanding of so much.

  33. It's more important to fix your intentions for the offertory and make a worthy Communion than to understand the readings.

  34. Im not a catholic but this is a great idea my church has the scripture of what the sermon is talking about and i think reading it each day would be a great way to keep it in my head and heart and also love these videos.

  35. Fr. Mike! I was confirmed this past Easter (I've been Catholic for a whole week now!!) And your videos and podcast have been such a huge part of my growth in Christ as I have strived to follow His call to be Catholic. I can't wait to keep hearing your homilies and videos and let Jesus teach me through you and your ministry. I'm so excited for this path that lies before me, this new, fully sacramental life in Christ. Thanks for everything.

  36. Father, can you do a apologetics video on our Marian Dogmas especially why we venerate her and the theology behind it? I would greatly appreciate I find it hard to explain to others of different denominations.

  37. That is an amazing teaching – simple effective and practical something easily included in our daily lives. Thank you Fr Mike. You are truly guided by the Holy Spirit and Our Blessed Mother

  38. Father Mike, I've got a question. I've searched my heart and prayed about this issue for a long time now, to no resolve. The question I have for you is, why do you look so much like Mike Rowe, the Ford and Dirty Jobs guy? Are you related?

  39. #askfrmike

    Father Mike,

    What would you say to a woman whose husband has announced they feel transgender and want to pursue life full-time as a woman?

    When both people want to stay together as a family, can't imagine their lives with anyone else, they want raise their four children together in the faith they've promised to raise them into…

    Help, please.

  40. So beautiful, during Eastertide! Praying 3 Hail Marys for Fr. Mike. We are totally blessed!! Besides talking with my beloved parents today (ages 79 & 83) — this is the highlight of day. Dear Ones here — brace yourself when you reach out to the LORD our God, when you do the "new thing" that turns your heart of stone to a heart of flesh . . . the crumbs that we offer, in our broken states, is enough for the Holy Trinity. I pray for all of you, how the Holy Spirit will heal and enliven your immortal souls. . . Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

  41. Father Mike, I can hear you all day.
    The light on your face is very bright.
    Your Love for Our Lord is Very Contagious.
    God Bless you,
    Best wishes from Beirut.

  42. I found your old video when I need it spiritually. Then I watched your videos one by one.
    Before I found the video, I asked God to give me a sign that would guide me.
    Your videos were a guide. Please continue to put your videos. Thank you for everything you got me. Always be on the light of God.
    As you said we are loved, you are loved. Always and forever. Again thank you for everything.

  43. Thank you father i had goosebumps the scenario of ginger rogers and fred astaire is such a beautiful example of how to let go of everything on Gods dancefloor

  44. Does anyone know if Father Mike has a video posted about if cussing is a sin or not? I have always wondered this aha Strange question I know. Iโ€™m not sure if it is so I donโ€™t do it lol

  45. Father Mike has such wonderful information that speaks to my heart and soul. I feel honored to listen to and watch his videos.

  46. Love it Fr. Mike, I love to learn n church is one if the best places. I do believe that humility is key, because it's not what God can do for us is what we can do for him, He did it all, we need to believe n pay back to him instead of battling it out. ๐Ÿ™„

  47. Hello father Mike, could you maybe make a video about dealing with the loss of a loved person. Would really help me because you always find the right words or could anyone recommend passages in the scripture that could help.

  48. Hi another great Vid.. Father, what is the best online source for the daily readings…? ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿพ

  49. I usually get there early enough to go over the readings before Mass starts. I am going to start me a Mass journal. I was just baptized at the Easter vigil. It was the one of the best days of my life. I am so happy to be a Catholic.

  50. I hear "Homily", but I canโ€™t help but think of hominy. I just ate pozole, so… yeah. (Sorry for any possible spelling errors, people of the internet.)

  51. 4:17 where I go to Catholic mass and there's Sunday reading they say sometimes familiar word to what happens and problems of people or what's going on in July and I can't really change by that you're right Father mike

  52. Thank you Fr. Mike. This video will definitely be a life changer in many lives. Lots of love and prayers from India.

  53. Brothers of Christ Jesus is my father – Heavenly Jerusalem is my mother So that you know Jesus has a son that he has placed waiting in the family of father Abraham and Mother Sarah by his Promise.

    I have neither brother nor sister nor a son as of yet.

    Let all the brothers and sisters of Christ know that just in case anyone tries to kill me and takes my wife. My life is hidden in my father Jesus.

    REMEMBER Jesus is not ashamed to call you brothers and sisters.

  54. I am not Catholic and struggle to understand some of the words that you use. However I love learning tips from you

  55. today iโ€™m gonna try to take notes during the homily in my bible and pray on it. the priest says sooo many important and motivational things and i always forget!!

  56. What are you catholics parents doing with your babies and small children? When are they allowed to attend the mass? Can you ( one of the parents) stay outside in the yard with them ( when is good weather) and enter the church only for communion, after the other parent come out, or one of you stay home one week and the other one go to church, and Next week you change? If you stay outside you can hear the mass, there is any kind of audio sistem?

  57. This is awesome !!
    Mass is really cool and sometimes it's hard to pay attention to the readings but this helped a lot!:)

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