Into the Deep

A blog by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff about practical faith for ordinary daily life.

Celebrating the Assumption of Mary

"The Assumption of the Virgin" (detail) by Guido Reni

On August 15th of each Liturgical Year, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the United States, the Assumption is a Holy Day of Obligation unless it  falls on a Saturday or Monday, in which case the precept to attend Mass is abrogated: “Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, […]

Elijah and the Lord—Lessons for Living!

"The Prophet Elias" (detail) by Daniele da Volterra

Here’s a quick test for you!  You didn’t know there was going to be a pop quiz, did you?  I thought one might be in order to celebrate the start of the coming school year. Yes?  No? Seriously!  Here’s the question… “Who was the famous prophet in today’s first reading?” The prophet is none other than Elijah!  In his ministry, he […]

Food That Endures For Eternal Life

Photograph Copyright © by Deacon Michael Bickerstaff

Today’s Gospel is taken from St. John and continues our short five-week break from Mark’s Gospel that we’ve been hearing during this liturgical year. The focus of the passages during these five weeks is the Eucharist and the Lord’s abundant love for each of us. So much power and promise are contained in the sixth chapter of John’s gospel, that […]

The Eucharist in John’s Gospel

"Mulitplication of the Loaves and Fishes" (detail) by Très Riches Heures

During this Liturgical Year (Year B), the gospel readings at Mass on Sundays are taken primarily from the Gospel of Mark. However, beginning this weekend, we will spend five consecutive Sundays hearing from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John and the focus will be on the Eucharist. To set the scene, we need to look back to last […]

Receive, O Lord. I am all Yours!

"King David in Prayer (detail)" by Pieter de Grebber

There is a great old popular jazz standard written by Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons titled All of Me that is one of my favorite tunes.  I particularly like the rendition performed by Louis Armstrong and another done later by Willie Nelson. The song is about a fellow who lost his heart to a girl who left him, so he […]

Finding Peace for a Troubled Heart

"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch

Are you at peace or is your heart troubled? “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare […]

Blessed Are You

"Ezekiel" (detail) by Michelangelo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The scripture readings during Holy Mass for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Tine (Year B) are Ezekiel 2:2-5; Psalms 123:1-2, 2, 3-4; Second Corinthians 12:7-10; Mark 6:1-6. Use the player to listen to the homily or download the mp3 audio file. Jesus said, “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my […]

Do not be Afraid to Touch Jesus

"The Raising of Jairus' Daughter" (detail) by Repin

The Gospel for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) comes from Mark 5:21-43 and consists of the accounts of two miracles Jesus performed. Jairus, a synagogue official desperate to save the life of his daughter, seeks out Jesus. On His way with Jairus to restore his daughter, Jesus encounters the woman with a hemorrhage. Mark frequently interrupts one story to […]

“Have you been saved?”

"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo

Have You Been Saved? In Acts 4, St. Peter delivers a powerful sermon. He concludes by saying, “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” I have written before in these pages of the time when I was growing up in the […]