"The deeds you do may be the only sermon some people will hear today." — St. Francis of Assisi
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"Avoid worrying, then, about anything else for your children except whatever may contribute to bringing them up virtuously. For the rest, having entrusted them to God, try to see what His will for them is, to help them along the path in life He has chosen for them. Never be afraid of relying too much on Him, but rather seek always to increase your trust more and more, for this is the most pleasing homage you can pay Him and it will be the measure of the graces you will receive. Little or much will be given you according as you have expected little or much." — St. Claude De La Columbiere, p.46 AN EXCERPT FROM Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence
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Martha, Mary and their brother Lazarus were evidently close friends of Jesus. He came to their home simply as a welcomed guest, rather than as one celebrating the conversion of a sinner like Zacchaeus or one unceremoniously received by a suspicious Pharisee. The sisters feel free to call on Jesus at their brother's death, even though a return to Judea at that time seems almost certain death.
No doubt Martha was an active sort of person. On one occasion (see Luke 10:38-42) she prepares the meal for Jesus and possibly his fellow guests and forthrightly states the obvious: All hands should pitch in to help with the dinner.
Yet, as biblical scholar Father John McKenzie points out, she need not be rated as an "unrecollected activist." The evangelist is emphasizing what our Lord said on several occasions about the primacy of the spiritual: "...[D]o not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear…. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness" (Matthew 6:25b, 33a); "One does not live by bread alone" (Luke 4:4b); "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness…" (Matthew 5:6a).
Martha's great glory is her simple and strong statement of faith in Jesus after her brother's death. "Jesus told her, 'I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?' She said to him, 'Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world'" (John 11:25-27).
Scripture commentators point out that in writing his account of the raising of Lazarus, St. John intends that we should see Martha's words to Mary before tLazarus was raised as a summons that every Christian must obey. In her saying "The teacher is here and is asking for you," Jesus is calling every one of us to resurrection—now in baptismal faith, forever in sharing his victory over death. And all of us, as well as these three friends, are in our own unique way called to special friendship with him.
"Encouraged by so great a cloud of witnesses, we may run as victors in the race before us and win with them the imperishable crown of glory through Christ our Lord" (Roman Missal, Preface of Saints I).
Patron Saint of:
Housewives Waiters, waitresses
Sacred Space (stop, slow down, breathe, we're about to receive the Word of God) Daily Prayer - 2016-07-29
God is with me, but more, God is within me, giving me existence. Let me dwell for a moment on God's life-giving presence in my body, my mind, my heart and in the whole of my life.
Lord, may I never take the gift of freedom for granted. You gave me the great blessing of freedom of spirit. Fill my spirit with Your peace and Your joy.
How wonderful it is to be able to enter into your presence Lord. No matter what time it is. No matter which land I am in. I need only to speak your name.
In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, king of Judah, this message came from the LORD: Thus says the LORD: Stand in the court of the house of the LORD and speak to the people of all the cities of Judah who come to worship in the house of the LORD; whatever I command you, tell them, and omit nothing. Perhaps they will listen and turn back, each from his evil way, so that I may repent of the evil I have planned to inflict upon them for their evil deeds. Say to them: Thus says the LORD: If you disobey me, not living according to the law I placed before you and not listening to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I send you constantly though you do not obey them, I will treat this house like Shiloh, and make this the city to which all the nations of the earth shall refer when cursing another.
Now the priests, the prophets, and all the people heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the LORD. When Jeremiah finished speaking all that the LORD bade him speak to all the people, the priests and prophets laid hold of him, crying, "You must be put to death! Why do you prophesy in the name of the LORD: 'This house shall be like Shiloh,' and 'This city shall be desolate and deserted'?" And all the people gathered about Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 69:5, 8-10, 14 R. (14c) Lord, in your great love, answer me. Those outnumber the hairs of my head who hate me without cause. Too many for my strength are they who wrongfully are my enemies. Must I restore what I did not steal?
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me. Since for your sake I bear insult, and shame covers my face. I have become an outcast to my brothers, a stranger to my mother's sons, Because zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me. But I pray to you, O LORD, for the time of your favor, O God! In your great kindness answer me with your constant help.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Alleluia Jn 8:12 R. Alleluia, alleluia. I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 11:19-27
Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died]. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise." Martha said to him, "I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" She said to him, "Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ I am the resurrection and the life. Jesus is Lord of both our physical and spiritual life. But the greatest miracle of Jesus was not in restoring Lazarus to physical life. No, the greatest miracle lies in Jesus' power to give endless spiritual life to us who believe in him.
▪ 'Those who trust entirely in God let God himself act and...to them nothing is impossible. The faith that Jesus wants from us is a totally trusting attitude which enables God to manifest his power in our lives. And this faith is not reserved for certain exceptional people. It is possible for all believers.' - Chiara Lubich
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. .
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: John 11:19-27
Saint Martha (Memorial)
Even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you. (John 11:22)
"Super Jesus! Come rescue me!"
We all know what it's like to plead with God for a miracle as Martha and Mary did in today's Gospel. They sent him a message, hoping that he would come and save Lazarus' life, only to have to wait and wait for his arrival—four days too late.
How do you think they felt? Frustrated? Sad? Rejected?
You can see Martha's mixture of emotions pour out when she leaves her guests and runs to greet Jesus. You can imagine her rehearsing her rebuke as she went: "How could you abandon us like this?" But once she was in Jesus' presence, her sorrow and anger melted into trust and surrender. Just being with Jesus brought Martha the comfort and strength she needed to place her life, and her brother's fate, in God's hands.
The painful truth is that sometimes Jesus doesn't sweep down and respond to our prayers of intercession. Sometimes this leads us to wonder, "Does he even care?" But Jesus does care; he is fully aware of each and every tragedy, and he shares in our sadness.
Pope John Paul II addressed this challenge in an early apostolic letter On Human Suffering (1984). The Holy Father taught that all sickness and suffering come as the result of sin—never from God. He went on to say that our heavenly Father never intended us to be sick or to suffer. Of course, Jesus healed many people during his earthly ministry, but he himself suffered terribly, as did great saints like Paul and Thérèse of Lisieux (2 Corinthians 12:7-8). As far as John Paul II saw it, how we deal with sickness, the loss of a loved one, or any other kind of suffering is what matters. In fact, it can be one of the clearest paths to holiness.
We may never know why God allows suffering and death. We may never know why some people are healed while others are not. But that shouldn't stop us from running to Jesus as Martha did and pouring out our hearts.
"Lord, help me to put my whole trust in you, in bad times as well as in good times. Help me to trust that you are always with me."
We heard the Word of the Lord today "... speak to the people... who come to worship in the house of the LORD; whatever I command you, tell them, and omit nothing. Perhaps they will listen and turn back, each from his evil way". Perhaps we will listen and turn back to life.
We prayed today " Lord, in your great love, answer me" Here in this world, we have one cry, and it is continuous, and I will never stop praying the most beautiful prayer, "Lord, have mercy". And this in the year of Mercy. Where the killers are killing themselves, where the poor are being revealed, the poverty of having no life with Christ...both now...and forever.
In comes the Lord of our Lives, the Lord of LIFE, the Lord of love of Life: ""I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" Do you believe in ME? asks the Lord. Do you believe this truth? Even if you die, you shall live, those who believe. Then, is the opposite true, those that do not believe will not live? Yes, mortal sin is mortal death and worse...spiritual death, the opposite of life. And so the beauty is the fact that we believe and we have life...as of now. We have a life with Christ. We have a life with our Savior and this is life in full, that we participate with Him to bring life to the world, from conception to baptism, to death, all entries into life, from mortal, to spiritual...to forever. I don't know why, but I was thinking yesterday at a 10 year old boy's funeral Isaiah Paul, who suffered much and most of his life and died during our cursillo, the grandson of the director for the cursillo, left in tears and with our prayers on the 3rd day of the cursillo to see the grandson's last moments of life; but I was thinking for a moment at the funeral: ' let us suppose that everyone is going to Heaven' and as I looked around, at all the strangers faces, and thought "then I have nothing against a single soul but to help them and love them". Then, I thought, "let us suppose no one is going to Heaven but a few", in this case, the case is more fragile of meeting every soul, even more help and love for them is needed, and loving them to Heaven, is to help them to Heaven, to the Lord our Father. This was the case minutes before the funeral, of helping one in need. Me and my wife had decided to eat a late lunch. I was starving, and I ordered a fish plate that was so good, and my wife couldn't eat all her chicken steak fingers that were real good too. As we walked towards the door I told the waitress "My compliments to the chef!" and as I heard her tell the chef, I walked out the door, whereupon immediately at the door was a homeless black man, not too old, not too skinny, perhaps my age. As we kept walking he called to us and motioned trying to speak spanish as if trying to eat "comer" (eat), as if asking for something to eat. I told him I had no cash, I pay with credit cards, sorry. As I opened the door for my wife, I said "ah, maybe we should give him our to-go plate we are carrying (second guessing I didn't say anything else)". I shut the door and we took off. We were going to be late to the funeral if we held up any longer. Light after stoplight I carried that man's need in my heart. I never turn anybody down if I can help it. I finally tell my wife, "I know we're gonna be late, but I'm turning around, going to an ATM to get that man some money" then I said "it will be a miracle if he's still there because most often these opportunities vanish (an opportunity to help Jesus). What seemed 3 times as long to return to the restaurant, and upon arriving, he was still there, as if waiting. I took the plate of food and offered it, as he took it, I gave him the money and asked for his name, he said "Montgomery". He seemed very surprised that I had returned. After some small talk (showing some love), I shook his hand again and left. I had my wife smiling and pondering because I was letting her in on all my thoughts throughout the whole ordeal "most people would say he just needs to get a job, or he wants money for drugs, or tell him how to spend his money. I am going to him and let him do as he pleases and bless him and pray for him, but this reaction time is what is really getting to me, look how long it took for me to react to give to him from the moment he asked!" Sure, in anger we react fast, but in love? Super slow poke.
The reaction to God's love and His word is what makes the difference. From the first scripture, He demands a reaction. We pray with a reaction. And Martha reacts in great faith. And the measure we pour out is measured out to us. Let this measure of love, known as faith, let it be great and instantaneous. After all...it is our Lord we are dealing with!!!