God is the one who will be there for us! God is the one who is concerned and cares for us! God is the one who, as we pray in Psalm 34, hears the cry of the poor!
-from The Last Words of Jesus
"Our true worth does not consist in what human beings think of us. What we really are consists in what God knows us to be." — St. John Berchmans
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"It is by endurance that you will secure possession of your souls (Luke 21:18). The possession of a soul means the undisturbed mastery of oneself, which is the secret of inner peace, as distinguished from a thousand agitations which make it fearful, unhappy, and disappointed. Only when a soul is possessed can anything else be enjoyed. Our Lord here meant patience in adversity, trial, and persecution. At the end of three hours on the Cross, He would so possess His soul that He would render it back to the Heavenly Father." — Fulton J. Sheen, p. 322 AN EXCERPT FROM Life of Christ
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Saint Mary Ann of Jesus of Paredes
Saint of the Day for March 6
(October 31, 1618 – May 26, 1645)
Mary Ann grew close to God and his people during her short life.
The youngest of eight, Mary Ann was born in Quito, Ecuador, which had been brought under Spanish control in 1534. She joined the Secular Franciscans and led a life of prayer and penance at home, leaving her parents' house only to go to church and to perform some work of charity. She established in Quito a clinic and a school for Africans and indigenous Americans. When a plague broke out, she nursed the sick and died shortly thereafter.
She was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1950.
Francis of Assisi overcame himself and his upbringing when he kissed the man afflicted with leprosy. If our self-denial does not lead to charity, the penance is being practiced for the wrong reason. The penances of Mary Ann made her more sensitive to the needs of others and more courageous in trying to serve those needs.
The Liturgical Feast Day of Saint Mary Ann of Jesus of Paredes is May 28. + Come, bride of Christ, and receive the crown, which the Lord has prepared for you for ever, alleluia.
Heavenly Father, through virginal chastity and penance You were pleased to have Saint Mary Ann grow like a lily amid the thorns of the world's allurements. Through her intercession may we be kept from vice and strive after perfection.
The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the whole assembly of the children of Israel and tell them: Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.
"You shall not steal. You shall not lie or speak falsely to one another. You shall not swear falsely by my name, thus profaning the name of your God. I am the LORD.
"You shall not defraud or rob your neighbor. You shall not withhold overnight the wages of your day laborer. You shall not curse the deaf, or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but you shall fear your God. I am the LORD.
"You shall not act dishonestly in rendering judgment. Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty, but judge your fellow men justly. You shall not go about spreading slander among your kin; nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor's life is at stake. I am the LORD.
"You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. Though you may have to reprove him, do not incur sin because of him. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 15 R. (John 6:63b) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life. The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple. R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart. The command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye. R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; The ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just. R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life. Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Verse Before the Gospel 2 Cor 6:2b Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Gospel Mt 25:31-46
Jesus said to his disciples: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.' Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy. (Leviticus 19:2)
Have you ever heard of lenticular images? They are 3D images that are used on trading cards or posters. Lenticular images transform as you walk past them and see them from different angles. You can tilt them back and forth and watch the images change.
If you read today's first reading from Leviticus carefully, you'll discover a "lenticular image" of sorts as well. At the beginning, you see a list of "thou shalt nots" that God was giving the people of Israel. But if you read to the end, you'll notice the language shifting to "love your neighbor as yourself." Do you see it? From one angle, godliness is a list of rules, but from the other, it's self-emptying love.
God wants to transform our understanding of what holiness is, just as this reading gives two complementary images of it. The best way for us to experience this change is to encounter his love. Yes, God is the model of holiness: pure, powerful, majestic, perfect. Yet underpinning all of these attributes is the deepest, most selfless love you can imagine. From the moment of creation to the giving of his only Son to right now, God's relationship with us is one of pouring himself out, holding nothing back.
While we may initially think of holiness as following a set of commandments, something much bigger happens as we encounter God's love. We start to be changed from the inside out. You've probably seen it in your own life. When you experience God's mercy in Confession, your heart becomes more tender toward people around you. When you spend time in adoration, you become more patient and gentle. Don't be discouraged if you aren't always perfectly loving. Growing in holiness is about letting God's love shape you over time, just as the lenticular image gradually shifts.
Today, let God's love shape your relationships. Invite him into your marriage, your relationship with your co-workers or your boss or your neighbors. Ask him to show you one way that you can love these people better today. As you go about your day, pray this simple prayer: "Lord, use me." Then watch how he nudges you, here and there, little by little, to give more of yourself to the people around you. That's how he makes you holy!
"Lord, use me."
Psalm 19:8-10, 15 Matthew 25:31-46
The Lords speaks "You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD." John 15:13 " Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are My friends if you do what I command you.…"
We pray "Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart. The command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye."
Yesterday in a community faith sharing called "Be My Witness" being launched by Renew International in our Diocese asked us a question "what are you willing to do, to know Jesus?". In Spanish it sounded more like "what are you daring to do?" How much are you willing to give? I responded that, it is the example of Lent, how much are we sacrificing? We will receive in proportion to what we give. What ratio? God knows, because He rewards even a glass of water to the thirsty, and Jesus was thirsty on that cross, but not for what the world offered, bitter vinegar. No, He thirsted for living waters for our lives...Himself.
One of the Spanish reflections I read said "A saint like Teresa of Calcutta said that the gospel can be summarized in the five words of this text: "you did it to me." SHe felt so much love and gratitude for Jesus that she wanted to serve Him continually. These words told hher how to do it: "you did it to me". I can read again a part of the Gospel today, asking for that love that goes from God to the brothers and brothers to God." Imagine this truth: Jesus is in the heart of every human being. Now recall the words: You Did It To Me. Think of the unborn. Think of the forgotten. Think of the abandoned. You did it to Me.
Now that you thought about them, read again the Holy Gospel. Will it now move you to act on these thoughts? Because we move on evil thoughts, but, why not on good thoughts? I told the group yesterday that our bodies many times do not want to go to church things. Our minds fight it, even though the spirit wants, or is enticed. Pontius Pilate was lured, and so was King Herod, but they decided they didn't want all the truth and followed the material, temporal thoughts and whims, and disposed of the truth...the Lord. You Did It To Me. And so the loudest cries in Hell are those that screech "I should've known!" "I should have". Why didn't we? Why was it so hard? Is it all my fault? And that thought perplexes me. Who goes to hell? Because the Lord is speaking today about it " 'Depart from me, you accursed,into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels". If the thought of hell doesn't scare you to do good, then what ever will?
So, how do we attain salvation? Love Jesus more than your heart can fathom. Then, you will see Him and hear Him. When He asks for a cup of water, you do it. When He is rejected and alone, you reach for Him. And we need not think of great feats in holiness, but small ones that accumulate to big ones. Make room for God. This is why in Lent we empty ourselves of self, and fill ourselves with Him. To the proportion of course: if I left a chocolate, how much does that really cost me, how much of a sacrifice is that really? I told the group "what about not eating for 40 days?" to know Jesus. They looked shocked "no one can do that". Jesus did. You did it for Me. Jesus would. Why wouldn't I? Who lays down their life? Jesus does. And guess what? He says "I would do it all over again, no questions asked".
His is an amazing love. I know these words are speaking to your heart. Let it be moved to the great feat of tremendous small acts of love