Friday, January 29, 2016

He Explained Everthing

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Minute Meditations

Apostolate of Presence Minute Meditations
Lord, your love is like that of a mother—unconditional, constant, nurturing, wise. Let that love flow through me to my children and all the people you entrust to my care. Thank you for my earthly mother and all the mothers I know. And thank you for the Mother you share with us, who is always ready to strengthen and guide.
—Kimberly Hahn
— from Woman of Strength

Servant of God Brother Juniper
(d. 1258)

"Would to God, my brothers, I had a whole forest of such Junipers," said Francis of this holy friar.

We don't know much about Juniper before he joined the friars in 1210. Francis sent him to establish "places" for the friars in Gualdo Tadino and Viterbo. When St. Clare was dying, Juniper consoled her. He was devoted to the passion of Jesus and was known for his simplicity.

Several stories about Juniper in the Little Flowers of St. Francis illustrate his exasperating generosity. Once Juniper was taking care of a sick man who had a craving to eat pig's feet. This helpful friar went to a nearby field, captured a pig and cut off one foot, and then served this meal to the sick man. The owner of the pig was furious and immediately went to Juniper's superior. When Juniper saw his mistake, he apologized profusely. He also ended up talking this angry man into donating the rest of the pig to the friars!

Another time Juniper had been commanded to quit giving part of his clothing to the half-naked people he met on the road. Desiring to obey his superior, Juniper once told a man in need that he couldn't give the man his tunic, but he wouldn't prevent the man from taking it either. In time, the friars learned not to leave anything lying around, for Juniper would probably give it away.

He died in 1258 and is buried at Ara Coeli Church in Rome.


What can we make of Juniper? He certainly seems to be the first of many Franciscan "characters." No doubt some of the stories about him have improved considerably in the retelling. Although the stories about Juniper may seem a little quaint, his virtues were not. He was humble because he knew the truth about God, himself and others. He was patient because he was willing to suffer ("patience" comes from patior meaning "to suffer") in his following of Jesus.


It is said that St. Francis once described the perfect friar by citing "the patience of Brother Juniper, who attained the state of perfect patience because he kept the truth of his low estate constantly in mind, whose supreme desire was to follow Christ on the way of the cross" (Mirror of Perfection, #85).

Daily Prayer - 2016-01-29


Lord, you are always there
waiting for me. 
May I never be too busy to
find time to spend in your presence.


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 2 Sm 11:1-4a, 5-10a, 13-17

At the turn of the year, when kings go out on campaign,
David sent out Joab along with his officers
and the army of Israel,
and they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.
David, however, remained in Jerusalem.
One evening David rose from his siesta
and strolled about on the roof of the palace.
From the roof he saw a woman bathing, who was very beautiful.
David had inquiries made about the woman and was told,
"She is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam,
and wife of Joab's armor bearer Uriah the Hittite."
Then David sent messengers and took her.
When she came to him, he had relations with her.
She then returned to her house.
But the woman had conceived,
and sent the information to David, "I am with child."

David therefore sent a message to Joab,
"Send me Uriah the Hittite."
So Joab sent Uriah to David.
When he came, David questioned him about Joab, the soldiers,
and how the war was going, and Uriah answered that all was well.
David then said to Uriah, "Go down to your house and bathe your feet."
Uriah left the palace,
and a portion was sent out after him from the king's table.
But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal palace
with the other officers of his lord, and did not go down
to his own house.
David was told that Uriah had not gone home.
On the day following, David summoned him,
and he ate and drank with David, who made him drunk.
But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his bed
among his lord's servants, and did not go down to his home.
The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab
which he sent by Uriah.
In it he directed:
"Place Uriah up front, where the fighting is fierce.
Then pull back and leave him to be struck down dead."
So while Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah
to a place where he knew the defenders were strong.
When the men of the city made a sortie against Joab,
some officers of David's army fell,
and among them Uriah the Hittite died.

Responsorial Psalm PS 51:3-4, 5-6a, 6bcd-7, 10-11

R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
"Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight."
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
I have done such evil in your sight
that you are just in your sentence,
blameless when you condemn.
True, I was born guilty,
a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness;
the bones you have crushed shall rejoice.
Turn away your face from my sins,
and blot out all my guilt.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Alleluia See Mt 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds:
"This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come."

He said,
"To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade."
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

- - -

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • Whenever we think of a 'miracle', what comes to mind is an instant miracle. But there's also a slow-motion miracle -- the miracle of growth. This may not be a one-off event that is being concluded before our eyes -- but over time it's still a real happening. And God's hidden hand is giving it direction.
  • My life is God's 'project'. I must leave God free to stay working on me. Then I'll be 'God's work of art'.


Conversation requires talking and listening.
As I talk to Jesus may I also learn to be still and listen.
I picture the gentleness in His eyes
and the smile full of love as he gazes on me.
I can be totally honest with Jesus as I tell Him of my worries and my cares.
I will open up my heart to Him as I tell Him of my fears and my doubts.
I will ask Him to help me to place myself fully in His care,
to abandon myself to Him,
knowing that He always wants what is best for me.


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: Mark 4:26-34

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3rd Week in Ordinary Time

Scatter seed on the land. (Mark 4:26)

Have you ever planted seeds from a packet and sat back to see what would happen? With very little attention—just a little water and some sunshine—you soon see little sprouts popping up through the soil. It's like watching a miracle!

This is similar to what the sower in today's parable does. His method may not be the best in terms of growing a food crop, but it does illustrate an approach to evangelization that probably feels more natural to us.

Sometimes, when we feel the Spirit nudging us to reach out to someone, we can overthink it: "What will I say? What will I do? What if he asks a question I can't answer?" But that wouldn't be the situation if we were to sow the seeds of the gospel as liberally as this farmer. Perhaps there are ways to reach out and bless people without it feeling forced or uncomfortable.

Start by thinking about your personality. Are you an encourager? Or maybe you find little ways to help a co-worker who always seems overworked. Or you might love spending time with people, or you like to bring people little gifts that make them happy: a cup of coffee on a cold morning or a plate of cookies for an afternoon snack at the office.

Guess what? These are all "seeds" you can sow. They are much more than kind gestures; they are signs that you are actively going out of your way to bless the people around you.

Now, imagine that a prayer is behind every seed, a prayer that your gesture will help draw that person a little closer to Christ. What power could be released!

As you go about your day, don't worry about how to talk to someone about your faith. Just live your life with a focus on the people around you. That's the secret to evangelization. Your witness may come through words, but it may come through consistently loving and caring for someone who needs it. Don't be discouraged if you don't see fruit right away. Today's parable reassures us that the seeds are growing and sprouting, almost of their own accord. Your job is just to scatter as many of them as you can.

"Lord, teach me to be a scatterer of seeds that will draw people to you!"

2 Samuel 11:1-10, 13-17
Psalm 51:3-7, 10-11

He Explained Everything

The 5minutos said today:
  "The stoplight turned yellow when he was going to cross in his car, he made the correct: he stopped at the line for pedestrians.  The woman behind him was furious.  She heard someone knock on her side window.  It was a police officer looking at her seriously.  The official ordered her to get out of her car with her hands up and they arrested her.  After a couple of hours, the police came to her cell and opened the door: "Ma'm, I'm sorry there's been a mistake" explained the police. "I ordred you to get off while I found you honking strongly wanting to run over the car in front of you, cursing, yelling and saying profanities.  While I observed, I realized that your rearview mirror hung a rosary, on your bumper a sticker that said "What Would Jesus Do?" and your plate border says "Choose Life" and another sticker says "Follow me Sunday to Church" and finally, a Christian fish symbol.  How can you hope then, I supposed that the car was stolen.  The Kingdom, the faith, is lived among the simple things of our daily lives, where we "demonstrate" how our faith goes on growing and giving fruits."
It is a day of reckoning.  Today, the truth is shown, King David sins, even to the point of ordering a murder.  Funny how we try to cover up our dirty secrets, only to be exposed in truth forever!  Is it right and just?  Is it right that even if you don't confess, the truth comes out anyways?  This week, I learned that one of our field workers had a mishap at work and they never told anyone, as much as I pleaded monthly at meeting for them to report (confess) near misses and such, they choose to hide instead, perhaps out of fear, perhaps to not lose their pride, perhaps to seem....perfect.  The look on his face when I approached him about it was a stone cold bucket of water..."who told on me? It was so and so wasn't it?".  This is the kind of reaction I usually get.  It's never an immediate "I'm sorry", it's always a pointing of finger and trying to wash down and play down the event as if no big deal.  It was actually worse on him than if he had fessed up.  He was sent home for the day.  I said, "had you let me know immediately, we could've worked things out, investigated thoroughly and perhaps avoid another accident.  But once you hide, you want to hide again, and again, until the Lord asks "where are you?"  Our actions have ramifications.  For the good, or worse.
We pray today "Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned. Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me."  I'm remembering a spanish song that praises God that goes:
Que seria de mi si no me hubieras alcanzado  - What would have been of me, had You not reached me?
Donde estaria hoy si no me hubieras perdonado - Where would I be today, had You not forgiven me?
Tendria un vacio en mi corazon vagaria sin rumbo sin direccion- I'd have an empty void in my heart, I'd wonder without direction.
Si no fuera por tu gracia y por tu amor- If it weren't for your grace, and your Love
Si no fuera por tu gracia y por tu amor- If it weren't for your grace, and Love

Coro: (chorus)
Seria como un pajaro herido que se muere en el suelo - "I'd be like a wounded bird that dies on the ground"
Seria como un ciervo que brama por agua en un desierto- "I'd be like a deer that moans for water in the desert"

Si no fuera por tu gracia y por tu amor- If it weren't for you grace and your Love
Si no fuera por tu gracia y por tu amor.- If it were not or Your grace and Your love.

I recorded that song, but I need to sing it more.  It's very meditative, and very inspiring.  Why?  What would we be without God's mercy?  Where would we be?  This is the greatest gift.  Mercy was hung on the cross.  Mercy was set on a lampstand.  Mercy sprouted from there, a tree stump, to give new life where life was not thought possible. (by the way the young field worker is still working today, that day there was no work).
Our Lord compares the Kingdom of Heaven to seeds today.  I read earlier this week that the Lord sows sparingly, just throws seeds everywhere no matter where it lands, He just throws seeds and sows seeds everywhere imaginable.  For us, the message is to do the same.  Scatter seeds of virtue: The four cardinal virtues, from ancient Greek philosophy, are prudence, justice, temperance (meaning restriction or restraint), and courage (or fortitude). The three theological virtues, from the letters of Saint Paul of Tarsus, are faith, hope, and charity (or love).  These are the seeds that are given to a faithful soul.  The seeds of evil are many, but its favorite?  Procrastination.  Putting things off for later.  That is the favorite of the devil.  As if to say "wait up on prudence, temperance, courage, love, hope and faith."  The time though is today and now.  The time to surrender to God is now and not tomorrow, and yesterday is no more.  This is the living, this is the opportunity.  "Be upfront about things" I would tell people in meetings yesterday.  My problem perhaps is of being too blunt and not have the right words to ease the truth into your life.  But the aim is to get a reaction.  A reaction of life.  A reaction that grows from the ground.  A reaction of a small fertilized seed that storms out of the ground and grows to Heaven.  This is the reaction God seeks in our lives, to grow to Him, strong in virtues and giving the same seeds.  It only comes from the small, the smallest of seeds, those who are least, the meek that shall inherit the earth.  This is the Kingdom of God...

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