Monday, July 21, 2014

At The Preaching

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Minute Meditations

Part of a Community
God saves the world by undoing Babel, which happened when a people became just people, all doing their own thing. They did not love each other so they did not love God. They did not love God, so they did not love each other. Babel babbles—no communication because no community.
— from Believing in Jesus

St. Lawrence of Brindisi

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At first glance perhaps the most remarkable quality of Lawrence of Brindisi is his outstanding gift of languages. In addition to a thorough knowledge of his native Italian, he had complete reading and speaking ability in Latin, Hebrew, Greek, German, Bohemian, Spanish and French.
He was born on July 22, 1559, and died exactly 60 years later on his birthday in 1619. His parents William and Elizabeth Russo gave him the name of Julius Caesar, Caesare in Italian. After the early death of his parents, he was educated by his uncle at the College of St. Mark in Venice.

When he was just 16 he entered the Capuchin Franciscan Order in Venice and received the name of Lawrence. He completed his studies of philosophy and theology at the University of Padua and was ordained a priest at 23.

With his facility for languages he was able to study the Bible in its original texts. At the request of Pope Clement VIII, he spent much time preaching to the Jews in Italy. So excellent was his knowledge of Hebrew, the rabbis felt sure he was a Jew who had become a Christian.

In 1956 the Capuchins completed a 15-volume edition of his writings. Eleven of these 15 contain his sermons, each of which relies chiefly on scriptural quotations to illustrate his teaching.

Lawrence's sensitivity to the needs of people—a character trait perhaps unexpected in such a talented scholar—began to surface. He was elected major superior of the Capuchin Franciscan province of Tuscany at the age of 31. He had the combination of brilliance, human compassion and administrative skill needed to carry out his duties. In rapid succession he was promoted by his fellow Capuchins and was elected minister general of the Capuchins in 1602. In this position he was responsible for great growth and geographical expansion of the Order.

Lawrence was appointed papal emissary and peacemaker, a job which took him to a number of foreign countries. An effort to achieve peace in his native kingdom of Naples took him on a journey to Lisbon to visit the king of Spain. Serious illness in Lisbon took his life in 1619.


His constant devotion to Scripture, coupled with great sensitivity to the needs of people, present a lifestyle which appeals to Christians today. Lawrence had a balance in his life that blended self-discipline with a keen appreciation for the needs of those whom he was called to serve.


"God is love, and all his operations proceed from love. Once he wills to manifest that goodness by sharing his love outside himself, then the Incarnation becomes the supreme manifestation of his goodness and love and glory. So, Christ was intended before all other creatures and for his own sake. For him all things were created and to him all things must be subject, and God loves all creatures in and because of Christ. Christ is the first-born of every creature, and the whole of humanity as well as the created world finds its foundation and meaning in him. Moreover, this would have been the case even if Adam had not sinned" (St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Doctor of the Universal Church, Capuchin Educational Conference, Washington, D.C.).
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.


I pause for a moment
and reflect on God's life-giving presence
in every part of my body, in everything around me,
in the whole of my life.



I will ask God's help,
to be free from my own preoccupations,
to be open to God in this time of prayer,
to come to know, love and serve God more.


How do I find myself today?
Where am I with God? With others?
Do I have something to be grateful for?
Then I give thanks.
Is there something I am sorry for?
Then I ask forgiveness.

The Word of God

Reading 1 mi 6:1-4, 6-8

Hear what the LORD says:
Arise, present your plea before the mountains,
and let the hills hear your voice!
Hear, O mountains, the plea of the LORD,
pay attention, O foundations of the earth!
For the LORD has a plea against his people,
and he enters into trial with Israel.

O my people, what have I done to you,
or how have I wearied you? Answer me!
For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
from the place of slavery I released you;
and I sent before you Moses,
Aaron, and Miriam.

With what shall I come before the LORD,
and bow before God most high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
with myriad streams of oil?
Shall I give my first-born for my crime,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
You have been told, O man, what is good,
and what the LORD requires of you:
Only to do the right and to love goodness,
and to walk humbly with your God.

Responsorial Psalm ps 50:5-6, 8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23

R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Gather my faithful ones before me,
those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice."
And the heavens proclaim his justice;
for God himself is the judge.
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
no goats out of your fold."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?"
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Gospel mt 12:38-42

Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus,
"Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you."
He said to them in reply,
"An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign,
but no sign will be given it
except the sign of Jonah the prophet.
Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights,
so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth
three days and three nights.
At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah;
and there is something greater than Jonah here.
At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon;
and there is something greater than Solomon here."



What is stirring in me as I pray? Am I consoled, troubled, left cold? I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side and share my feelings with him.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.

Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Micah 6:1-4, 6-8

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Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest and Doctor of the Church

You have been told ... what is good, and what the Lord requires of you. (Micah 6:8)

Through the prophet Micah, God let it be known that he had a bone to pick with his people. The situation was so serious that he called on the mountains and the foundations of the earth as witnesses. "O my people, what have I done to you, or how have I wearied you? Answer me!" (Micah 6:3). God was distressed by the way his people were clinging to the rituals and sacrifices of the Law, but still ignored the cry of the poor and needy.

Perhaps some of the people were puzzled by God's accusation of negligence—"We've been offering God his sacrifices, haven't we? What more does he want?" But Micah explained that God wasn't mainly interested in sacrifices. He wanted them to demonstrate their love by living justly, kindly, and humbly (Micah 6:8).

Justice, kindness, humility—that doesn't sound so difficult, does it? Try it for a little while. Tell yourself that from this moment on, you will respond to each situation today in a just, kind, and humble manner. It's not so easy after all, is it?

Here's the good news: God never intended for you to do all this by your own strength. From the moment he breathed life into you, he has wanted to give you his Spirit and the grace you need to say yes to him. Now, because of Jesus' victory on the cross, the Holy Spirit has been poured out on all who believe and are baptized. This Spirit is not just a reserve tank that we switch on when we reach the end of our resources. No, he is meant to be the source of all our efforts at justice, mercy, and love.

Choose one challenging situation today, and ask the Spirit to guide you toward the right choice or to help you speak the right words. Let him show you the path of justice and godliness. He won't necessarily take away the challenge, but he will help you be more peaceful and spiritually alert. Remember, God wants your heart, not just your sacrifices.

"Lord, I don't want to try to serve you on my own power. I need your Spirit. Give me power and wisdom so that I can walk in justice, kindness, and humility."


Psalm 50:5-6, 8-9, 16-17, 21, 23; Matthew 12:38-42

Allow me to translate today's 5minutos:
"Choose love...instead of hatred
Choose the smile...instead of the frown
Choose to build...instead of destroying
Choose to persevere...instead of abandonment
Choose to accomplisment...instead of crticism
Choose to heal...instead of wounding
Choose to give...instead of receiving
Choose gratitude...instead of complaining
Choose faith...instead of doubt
Choose confidence...instead of the fear
Choose to act...instead of leaving for later
Choose to forgive...instead of damning
Choose prayer...instead of anguish
Choose excellence...instead of mediocrity
Because this way, when you decide to love, sonreir, build, persevere, praise, heal, give, appreciate, have faith, trust, act, forgive, pray, be excellent, it is because you are putting God FIRST and above all.  You don't need to be asking for miracles, you attitudes and your works show that you are praising the miracles that God gives every day and are capable of appreciating them, putting yourself in His hands and be His hand of providence for your brother/sister.
Where there is faith, there is love.
Where there is love, there is peace.
Where there is peace, there is God.
Where there is God, nothing is missing. "
  This is normally where I put in something about my life to share with you and where I get on my high horse as some may take it.  Some great and spectacular story of what's going on in the faith of a cursillista, a Catholic Christian.  Normally, yes.  But it is an abnormal day, when the norm does not include God.  And so the normal miracles of God's love disappear.  Poof!  There is no sign of God anywhere naturally when I am really not with Him.  Sure we can be "mechanical Mikes" or "ritual Ritas", living life as if it were just mine, sitting back relaxing with margaritas.  And so the wonders of God's love can not be seen, they are hidden.  Not because God took them away, but because we looked away.  Away from the glance of Christ.  The glance that changes lives and saves souls.  Years ago a cousin asked me what are the miracles I claim to have witnessed, perhaps so that he could believe.  Fast forward 5 years or so, I believe my cousin still has not witnessed or believed.  We went to Mass yesterday, a young man on the guitar sang the "Amen" after the consecration of the Eucharist, but he sang "Amen, I Believe".  Basically it means the same.  Amen means what?  In point of fact St. Matthew attributes it to Our Lord twenty-eight times, and St. John in its doubled form twenty-six times. As regards the etymology, Amen is a derivative from the Hebrew verb aman "to strengthen" or "Confirm"   Yet the word in Spanish has two meanings, first the normal meaning we pray with, but if you change the accent to the A, it means "you are to love".  So if you are "confirming", then you are to love.  Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind.  We read our Lord saying today "an evil and unfaithful generation seek a sign".  In Spanish it reads more like "this perverted and adulterous generation demands a sign".  Sounds harsher, but who is being harsh?  The Lord, or me?  When I look away from He that loves with all his heart, soul, and mind, who is the one being harsh?  Most of my songs sing to this effect.  Who is the one taking a step back?  Surely not the Lord.  "To the Upright, I WILL SHOW the saving power of God" we pray the Psalms today.  He DOES manifest Himself more often than you care to imagine.  Keep that in mind.  Because I am about to let you go.  He reveals Himself to His. 

"Gather my faithful ones before me,

those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice."


You have been told, O man, what is good,

and what the LORD requires of you:

Only to do the right and to love goodness,

and to walk humbly with your God.


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