Blessed Peter Gonzalez
St. Paul had a conversion experience on the road to Damascus. Many years later, the same proved true for Peter Gonzalez, who triumphantly rode his horse into the Spanish city of Astorga in the 13th century to take up an important post at the cathedral. The animal stumbled and fell, leaving Peter in the mud and onlookers amused.
Humbled, Peter reevaluated his motivations (his bishop-uncle had secured the cathedral post for him) and started down a new path. He became a Dominican priest and proved to be a most effective preacher. He spent much of his time as court chaplain, and attempted to exert positive influence on the behavior of members of the court. After King Ferdinand III and his troops defeated the Moors at Cordoba, Peter was successful in restraining the soldiers from pillaging and persuaded the king to treat the defeated Moors with compassion.
After retiring from the court, Peter devoted the remainder of his life to preaching in northwest Spain. He developed a special mission to Spanish and Portuguese seamen. He is the patron of sailors.
Peter Gonzalez died in 1246 and was beatified in 1741.
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
Dear Lord as I come to you today
Lord, may I never take the gift
In God's loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment.
The Word of God
What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word? I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to 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.
Meditation: Isaiah 42:1-7
Monday of Holy Week
He shall bring forth justice to the nations. (Isaiah 42:1)
Here we are at the beginning of Holy Week, a time when we focus our attention on Jesus' suffering and death. Now, it's entirely possible for us to relate to these events simply as onlookers, but we know that we are more than that. Each of us is personally involved in the events of this week since everything Jesus suffered was for our sake.
Today's first reading is one of the four Songs of the Suffering Servant that appear in the Book of Isaiah. While the servant's identity is somewhat mysterious, Christians from the very first generation have seen in him a foreshadowing of Jesus, the Messiah. The mission, even the very character, of this servant can give us so many insights into who Jesus is and why he suffered and died for us.
Key to the servant's mission is the call to bring justice to the world. Of course, we can imagine this kind of justice as focusing on revenge, anger, and violence—a kind of vigilante justice. But that's not the justice of God. His justice combines tenacity and strength with gentleness and compassion. It's focused on caring for the weakest and hurting among us. He is concerned not so much with holding each of us to account for every fault as he is with restoring to all of creation what was lost through sin. So in God's justice, we are the prisoners who are set free; we are the blind whose eyes are opened; we are the poor hearing the good news. All because the Lord has freed us from the bonds of sin.
So take your place in the drama this Holy Week. You're not an onlooker; you're a participant. Jesus is about to take your sin upon him and restore you to your place as a beloved child of the Father. Take the words of this servant with you this week. Rejoice that your Savior is gentle and full of care. His eyes are fixed on the "bruised reeds" and "smoldering wicks" in your life. He is mighty to save—to save you!
May the Lord make his salvation the central story not just of Holy Week but of our whole life!
"Lord, thank you for the salvation that you have won for me through your death and resurrection."
Psalm 27:1-3, 13-14; John 12:1-11
In the first Holy Scripture, the prophet Isaiah speaks of the Messiah, and spoke of how humble He would be. We've much to learn if we are to truly be true followers of Christ. Judas, the traitor, noticed a woman using expensive oil on the feet of Jesus and made a big deal about it. Keep that in mind as we recall Luke 7:38: " Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment." She cried and cried and bathed the feet of Jesus, all the while the Pharisee would say "if Jesus only knew what kind of woman this was he wouldn't let her touch him". Yet the pharisee was talking about himself, for we point the finger and the rest point back. Judas pointed the finger and the rest pointed back at the thief. It reminds me of us who look down on other sinners, and it reminds me of those that don't tithe or give to the poor and yell at the Vatican for having so many "riches" that could be sold and given to the poor. The Holy Church is the bride, the woman that bathes the feet of Jesus with the richest of oils and gold, and people who don't give don't know better. People give from the heart, either good, or bad.
What nobody knew when Jesus was saying what He did, is that He was about to die for all of them, for Lazarus who was raised from the dead not long ago, for Mary anointing and blessing God, for Judas the so called "friend" and "follower" of Christ. Who am I? The one brought to life? The one blessing God for His Mercy? Or the so called "friend and follower" of Christ who will betray Him?
On Holy Thursday, we will wash the feet of one another in Holy Mass, this after Jesus gives us the Last Supper, the institution of priesthood and the first day we are given Life in Eucharist, in thanksgiving to the Father. That day, Jesus will say "Do This In Rememberance of Me". Do what? Serve and take His body and blood? Yes. Wash each other's feet? Yes. What does all this mean? It means that if you are true, when you receive Him, you will serve and love one another, become Christ to the world, and not look down on the others, unless you are giving them a hand to pick them up. The chief priests didn't believe in the resurrection of Lazarus and plotted to kill him (make him die again) along with his savior Jesus. Nowadays, there are people who do not believe in the resurrection, yeah Jesus was nice and stuff, but not God they say, and this is an evil heresy that lived the day the Jews wanted to kill Jesus. The culmination of making oneself as god started with Adam and Eve and it came again when the Jews rejected God. This has always been the fall of man, when we make ourselves greater than Him, fooling and lying to each other, with the first lie coming from hell, the devil itself. Think about it.
The reason Judas said what he said was because of evil in his heart. The reason the Pharisee thought bad of the crying woman was because of evil. Jesus opens our eyes to the fact that we are His. He opens our hearts to reach out to "them". He opens tombs, He opens eyes, He opens ears, and opens eternity by what He did. If one drop of blood of His body was enough heal the world, He gave His whole body. If one minute on earth was enough, He gave 33 years. How much is enough for Him? The world is not enough for us to offer Him because He offered it first. Therefore, what He wants, we won't give...our whole lives, our whole minds, our whole strength, our whole will, our everything we could give freely ...but won't. I believe earnestly, that this is reaching the eyes of saints to be, and hearts of God's angels. I believe what He says to believe. I believe I am a sinner, but more than that, a child of God that is being led to openness to the truth and the truth is pure. I believe there are few that read this, but more who will be affected by it...by the love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ