Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Of The One

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Minute Meditations

Work of a Lifetime In the end, the legal system does not really address discrimination, or betrayal, or the hurt and anger they give rise to: There's a higher law that does—the healing power of love—and practicing it is the work of a lifetime. 
In the end, the legal system does not really address discrimination, or betrayal, or the hurt and anger they give rise to: There's a higher law that does—the healing power of love—and practicing it is the work of a lifetime.
— from Stumble

St. Cyril of Jerusalem

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The crises that the Church faces today may seem minor when compared with the threat posed by the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ and almost overcame Christinity in the fourth century. Cyril was to be caught up in the controversy, accused (later) of Arianism by St. Jerome (September 30), and ultimately vindicated both by the men of his own time and by being declared a Doctor of the Church in 1822.

Raised in Jerusalem, well-educated, especially in the Scriptures, he was ordained a priest by the bishop of Jerusalem and given the task of catechizing during Lent those preparing for Baptism and during the Easter season the newly baptized. His Catecheses remain valuable as examples of the ritual and theology of the Church in the mid-fourth century.

There are conflicting reports about the circumstances of his becoming bishop of Jerusalem. It is certain that he was validly consecrated by bishops of the province. Since one of them was an Arian, Acacius, it may have been expected that his "cooperation" would follow. Conflict soon rose between Cyril and Acacius, bishop of the rival nearby see of Caesarea. Cyril was summoned to a council, accused of insubordination and of selling Church property to relieve the poor. Probably, however, a theological difference was also involved. He was condemned, driven from Jerusalem, and later vindicated, not without some association and help of Semi-Arians. Half his episcopate was spent in exile (his first experience was repeated twice). He finally returned to find Jerusalem torn with heresy, schism and strife, and wracked with crime. Even St. Gregory of Nyssa, sent to help, left in despair.

They both went to the (second ecumenical) Council of Constantinople, where the amended form of the Nicene Creed was promulgated in 381. Cyril accepted the word consubstantial (that is, of Christ and the Father). Some said it was an act of repentance, but the bishops of the Council praised him as a champion of orthodoxy against the Arians. Though not friendly with the greatest defender of orthodoxy against the Arians, Cyril may be counted among those whom Athanasius called "brothers, who mean what we mean, and differ only about the word [consubstantial]."


Those who imagine that the lives of saints are simple and placid, untouched by the vulgar breath of controversy, are rudely shocked by history. Yet it should be no surprise that saints, indeed all Christians, will experience the same difficulties as their Master. The definition of truth is an endless, complex pursuit, and good men and women have suffered the pain of both controversy and error. Intellectual, emotional and political roadblocks may slow up people like Cyril for a time. But their lives taken as a whole are monuments to honesty and courage.


"It is not only among us, who are marked with the name of Christ, that the dignity of faith is great; all the business of the world, even of those outside the Church, is accomplished by faith. By faith, marriage laws join in union persons who were strangers to one another. By faith, agriculture is sustained; for a man does not endure the toil involved unless he believes he will reap a harvest. By faith, seafaring men, entrusting themselves to a tiny wooden craft, exchange the solid element of the land for the unstable motion of the waves. Not only among us does this hold true but also, as I have said, among those outside the fold. For though they do not accept the Scriptures but advance certain doctrines of their own, yet even these they receive on faith" (Catechesis V, Cyril).

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 think of the love and the grace that God showers on me, creating me in his image and likeness, making me his temple....


Everything has the potential to draw forth from me a fuller love and life.

Yet my desires are often fixed, caught, on illusions of fulfillment.

I ask that God, through my freedom may orchestrate

my desires in a vibrant loving melody rich in harmony.


I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God.

I trace out these links, giving thanks for the life that flows through them.

Some links are twisted or broken: I may feel regret, anger, disappointment.

I pray for the gift of acceptance and forgiveness.

The Word of God


Reading 1 Is 49:8-15

Thus says the LORD:
In a time of favor I answer you,
on the day of salvation I help you;
and I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people,
To restore the land
and allot the desolate heritages,
Saying to the prisoners: Come out!
To those in darkness: Show yourselves!
Along the ways they shall find pasture,
on every bare height shall their pastures be.
They shall not hunger or thirst,
nor shall the scorching wind or the sun strike them;
For he who pities them leads them
and guides them beside springs of water.
I will cut a road through all my mountains,
and make my highways level.
See, some shall come from afar,
others from the north and the west,
and some from the land of Syene.
Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth,
break forth into song, you mountains.
For the LORD comforts his people
and shows mercy to his afflicted.

But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me;
my Lord has forgotten me."
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 145:8-9, 13cd-14, 17-18

R. (8a) The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.

Verse Before the Gospel Jn 11:25a, 26

I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord;
whoever believes in me will never die.

Gospel Jn 5:17-30

Jesus answered the Jews:
"My Father is at work until now, so I am at work."
For this reason they tried all the more to kill him,
because he not only broke the sabbath
but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.

Jesus answered and said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own,
but only what he sees the Father doing;
for what he does, the Son will do also.
For the Father loves the Son
and shows him everything that he himself does,
and he will show him greater works than these,
so that you may be amazed.
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life,
so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.
Nor does the Father judge anyone,
but he has given all judgment to the Son,
so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.
Whoever does not honor the Son
does not honor the Father who sent him.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word
and believes in the one who sent me
has eternal life and will not come to condemnation,
but has passed from death to life.
Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here
when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God,
and those who hear will live.
For just as the Father has life in himself,
so also he gave to the Son the possession of life in himself.
And he gave him power to exercise judgment,
because he is the Son of Man.
Do not be amazed at this,
because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs
will hear his voice and will come out,
those who have done good deeds
to the resurrection of life,
but those who have done wicked deeds
to the resurrection of condemnation.

"I cannot do anything on my own;
I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just,
because I do not seek my own will
but the will of the one who sent me."

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    Watch a video reflection


Jesus you speak to me through the words of the gospels. May I respond to your call today.Teach me to recognise your hand at work in my daily living.


I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.


Catholic Meditations

Meditation: John 5:17-30

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Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

For this reason, they tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but he also called God his own father. (John 5:18)

Smart phones and tablets have become increasingly popular for everything from doing online research or taking photographs to holding a video conference with someone on the other side of the world. But if you went back two hundred years and showed people a smart phone, how do you think they would react? If nothing else, you'd cause quite a sensation!

This may be a good analogy for what happens in today's Gospel reading. What began as a justification for a healing on the Sabbath turned into a profound revelation of Jesus' unity with the Father. Talk about explosive! The Jews wanted Jesus to explain why he thought he could ignore their laws, and Jesus answered by saying that he was one with God the Father.

None of us is shocked by the statement that Jesus is God's Son or that this eternal, immortal Son of God actually died. After all, we have two thousand years of history, theology, and experience behind us. We are comfortable saying that we are children of God; that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three Persons in one God; and that we have been brought to share in the life of this Trinity. While these ideas were absolutely revolutionary to the Jews of Jesus' day, we run the risk of taking them for granted.

Brothers and sisters, the gospel is explosive! Take just one of its truths, and spend some time pondering it. Think about the fact that in Confession every sin is wiped away—forever! It's not just a nice sentiment. It's not just something we say to our children to help them get to the sacrament. It's the gospel truth. Nothing you have done is too big for God to forgive and forget. He will never hold it against you. He will never look at you as "that person who did that horrible thing." He will only continue to love you, embrace you, and offer you more and more of his transforming grace.

Let this explosive truth, or maybe another one, roll around in your mind today. Let it lift you up and fill you with joy.

"Holy Spirit, your truth is living and active. Bring that truth to life in me today!"


Isaiah 49:8-15
Psalm 145:8-9, 13-14, 17-18

Of The One

Some of the most consoling words I read in the bible are things like today when God says in the Word ""The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me." Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you."  If we've forgotten to love, God hasn't. 
As a matter of fact, when everyone forgets you when you're dead, God doesn't.  As a matter of FACT, Jesus came so that you might have life.  Such strange words right?  So you just "MIGHT" have life?  Why would they say that?  Simple answer, it's ours for the taking, life is ready.  A song wanted to come into my head this morning as I got ready to come to work, and it said something like God asking you like a lover would in the most engulfing romanticism of ways and He says "Hey...what are you doing for the rest of your life?".  AWW Man!  I don't know!?  Are you proposing Lord?  Proposing a life with you forever and ever?  YES!  YES "I AM!"  Now we are leading to the Gospel. 
But first, the psalms pray "The Lord is gracious and merciful".  I read a line by Fr. Robert Barren of the Catholicism series and Word on Fire this morning in his lenten reflection at one point said "What flows from our fear of death? The spiritual masters all agree that what flows is sin and division in all its forms. I lash out in violence and retribution because I'm afraid to die. The same fear causes me to turn in on myself, becoming self-absorbed as you become an enemy. The fear of death is like a dark cloud that broods over human life. Therefore, when God's warrior arrives, the ultimate enemy he comes to face is death itself. And he engages the enemy at close quarters."
In comes the Lord, at close quarters with what would be the enemy, those who would persecute Him to death.  Why does He love them and is merciful until death?  Because He knows the devil is at hand, and as if an act of "you can't hurt me", He lays down His life beaten, battered and bruised for our offenses, the lashings caused out of turmoil and fear are unleashed unto Him.  Jesus had said "My Father is at work UNTIL now".  Boy this raised up the fires of hell and fury.  Yet the same language is used with the Blessed Virgin Mary when she was said not to have had relations  with Joseph UNTIL she bore her child Jesus.  Boy this raises up the fires of hell nowadays with people unleashing the fury of darkness onto her by saying she was never a virgin, and all because of that word "UNTIL".  Why do so many things hinge on one word?  Why is it so valuable?  For God, Until means forever now, because for Him, it is all FOREVER and Now.  "Until the end of time" is something Jesus said after He rose and a bunch of dead rose from their tombs to declare the God of life.  Jesus says in Mt 28:20 "...And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."  Until now God is waiting for your heart to open up to Him and His truth.  Does it bother you the things I say?  Am I saying you haven't fully opened up?  Is that what's bothering you?  I know it is for me.  Question then becomes, "how can I open up?".  How can I accept the truth?  Because this is the exact same dilemma the Jews faced with Jesus.  They had figured exactly who Christ would be, and this didn't fit in their way of thinking.  Because this Christ they wanted would be a strong deliverer that would free them from just the Romans or other oppressors.   Little did they know that God sent this Christ to deliver them from all death and all sin.  In other words, we become short sided, like the Jews.  We want menial things instead of great things.  It's like the story of the father who gave his daughter a pearl necklace and asked for her fake necklace as a trade and the little girl didn't want to trade.  This is God giving until now, and remember Until means forever, because He is forever now.  Until means in the old language that something don't stop and something else starts.  This means a big difference.  This means God has never stopped anything and we are talking about His Love, grace, and mercy.  It is proof in Jesus.  The way He fought the enemy as a true warrior is so rare.  Just stood there taking a beating like a Giant Lover.  Truth is, He was not hurt the way the devil wanted to hurt Him.  Truth is, He defeated the tactics and fears of the devil that exist but not to the point they used to go to.  No longer shall we fear death or the devil.  We shall fear the Lord who is stronger.  That's why it is a sin to think your sin is greater than God's mercy.  Jesus is the judge and He says "I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me."  So there's much more going on than we can imagine or dare to try to imagine.  When we hear our judgement, we will know it was just.  And that word "just" is a whole other word we can take off on.  So much hinges on just one word Jesus says!  But we are left consoled with Him, and the way is to do what He the will of the one who sent us into the world...Our Father who is in Heaven

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