Jesus had traveled with his disciples to Jerusalem for the Passover, but he is faced with a veritable marketplace inside the Temple. He reacts in anger, but his actions carry the same message: turn your lives around. Jesus is not condemning commerce here. What he is condemning is mixing up commerce and prayer.
-from Sacred Silence
"In tribulation immediately draw near to God with confidence, and you will receive strength, enlightenment, and instruction." — St. John of the Cross
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"From the natural point of view we come to know God from the vestiges of Himself that He has left in the splendors of the visible universe: the blazing red sunset, the snow-covered mountain peaks, the graceful flight of a bird, the breathtakingly magnificent complexity of a single living cell. On a still more exalted level we know Him in the loveliness of the saints – but it remains a knowledge of the infinite through the finite." — Fr. Thomas Dubay, p.188-89 AN EXCERPT FROM Fire Within
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Saint Dominic Savio
Saint of the Day for March 10
(April 2, 1842 – March 9, 1857)
So many holy persons seem to die young. Among them was Dominic Savio, the patron of choirboys.
Born into a peasant family at Riva, Italy, young Dominic joined Saint John Bosco as a student at the Oratory in Turin at the age of 12. He impressed Don Bosco with his desire to be a priest and to help him in his work with neglected boys. A peacemaker and an organizer, young Dominic founded a group he called the Company of the Immaculate Conception which, besides being devotional, aided John Bosco with the boys and with manual work. All the members save one, Dominic, would in 1859 join Don Bosco in the beginnings of his Salesian congregation. By that time, Dominic had been called home to heaven.
As a youth, Dominic spent hours rapt in prayer. His raptures he called "my distractions." Even in play, he said that at times "It seems heaven is opening just above me. I am afraid I may say or do something that will make the other boys laugh." Dominic would say, "I can't do big things. But I want all I do, even the smallest thing, to be for the greater glory of God."
Dominic's health, always frail, led to lung problems and he was sent home to recuperate. As was the custom of the day, he was bled in the thought that this would help, but it only worsened his condition. He died on March 9, 1857, after receiving the Last Sacraments. Saint John Bosco himself wrote the account of his life.
Some thought that Dominic was too young to be considered a saint. Saint Pius X declared that just the opposite was true, and went ahead with his cause. Dominic was canonized in 1954.
Like many a youngster, Dominic was painfully aware that he was different from his peers. He tried to keep his piety from his friends lest he have to endure their laughter. Even after his death, his youth marked him as a misfit among the saints and some argued that he was too young to be canonized. Pope Pius X wisely disagreed. For no one is too young—or too old or too anything else—to achieve the holiness to which we all are called.
The Liturgical Feast of Saint Dominic Savio is October 9.
Thus says the Lord GOD: If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced. Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? says the Lord GOD. Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live?
And if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil, the same kind of abominable things that the wicked man does, can he do this and still live? None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered, because he has broken faith and committed sin; because of this, he shall die. You say, "The LORD's way is not fair!" Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair? When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die. But if the wicked, turning from the wickedness he has committed, does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life; since he has turned away from all the sins that he committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-7a, 7bc-8 R. (3) If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand? Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; LORD, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to my voice in supplication. R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand? If you, O LORD, mark iniquities, LORD, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered. R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand? I trust in the LORD; my soul trusts in his word. My soul waits for the LORD more than sentinels wait for the dawn. Let Israel wait for the LORD. R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand? For with the LORD is kindness and with him is plenteous redemption; And he will redeem Israel from all their iniquities. R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
Verse Before the Gospel Ez 18:31 Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.
Gospel Mt 5:20-26
Jesus said to his disciples: "I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.
"You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: Matthew 5:20-26
1st Week of Lent
Whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment . . . and whoever says, "You fool" will be liable to fiery Gehenna. (Matthew 5:22)
These are tough words. But their severity only highlights how deeply God wants to see his children live together in love and respect. For Jesus, unity is one of the highest of virtues and one of the most important principles we should live by.
Do you remember a time when your mother or father was angry? What happened to the rest of the household? It probably brought the whole family down as everyone else became anxious or impatient or angry. If this were the pervasive climate in the home, it's only natural to expect alienation and isolation to flourish. But when a family tries to live in love and forgiveness, they give unity a bigger chance to prevail.
Being a disciple of Jesus is about being like Jesus, who always looked past other people's shortcomings. He looked into their hearts, and that's where he met them. And because he saw their hearts—their desires, needs, hurts, dreams, and hopes—he was able to connect with many of them and bring them to God. His opponents, on the other hand, tended to look at people's faults, and this only created barriers between them and God.
God wants to bring unity to our hearts and to our homes, and it starts as each of us asks him to soften our heart with his love. Then we will be more willing to forgive and let go of our anger. We don't have to pretend that we weren't hurt. We don't have to dig down to find out who was in the wrong. We just have to take our hurt to God and try our best to forgive. He can change the situations that we can't.
St. John of the Cross once said that at the evening of our lives, we will be judged on love. Think how incredible that is! We will not be judged on how much money we gave away, how many Masses we attended, or how hard we worked tending to our parish's landscaping—only by how much we have loved. And that's something we can all do with God's help!
"Father, change my heart. Help me to love the way that you love me."
Ezekiel 18:21-28 Psalm 130:1-8
"Thus says the Lord GOD: If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die." And Jesus our Lord declares a new statute: Love or die. It is black and white to live or die, and the same is cut and clear to Him, either you Love, or you just the way of death. And how tough it is to love. Oh it's easy to love your own, those you get along with, but the unlovable? I was reading various reflections, and on one I read today they recalled when G.K. Chesterton said, "There is the great lesson of 'Beauty and the Beast,' that a thing must be loved before it is lovable." Interesting huh? Amazing.
We pray today " If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand? Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; LORD, hear my voice!" I read something yesterday that said it is amazing what we find out we can really do when our back is against the wall. I recall sharing the faith last weekend, and a man that had fell off a ladder and was suddenly paralyzed and in a short coma said he had experienced what he thought may have been a life and death experience, where on one side he saw a vast endless horizon of light, and the other was darkness, and at that point he prayed "Lord have mercy on me" and that is when he came back to life. He said he was on the brink of death, he knew it, or felt it, right on the edge he said. And all he had was that prayer he perhaps had never prayed before sincerely, "Have Mercy". And pray for him, he is looking forward to confessing soon. Have Mercy. These are life saving words. I found out that I had that in common with my wreck, I too found myself lost in my pain and faith, and in some type of unworldly fear, I too had prayed sincerely "Lord have mercy". Today I am limping without crutches.
And in comes the Lord of our lives with a most powerful Word from Heaven "I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna." In a dispute in ministries, often people blame "miscommunication". What is actually "missed" is the love of God. A couple were told to let go of their pride, and they said "this has nothing to do with pride, we have no pride". LOL, it's like when Mother Angelica said that we don't know ourselves, and someone asks them "why are you so angry all the time?" and they respond "who's angry, I'm not angry!". I remember in an office meeting years ago, we asked a young guy to be humble, and he fired out "BUT I'M SUPER HUMBLE!!!" LOL. Settle down. What we have to realize is we are temporary, and replaceable. This fact I realized in my accident. The world will go on just fine without me. And it was humbling. I am a vapor in the wind. We are like the flowers in the field. Why not be the most beautiful flower? I wonder if the Lord takes notice of a flower growing on the forrest floor? All alone, sitting in its vibrant beauty, exquisite and rare, extending its leaves and branches as arms raised to the sky reaching for the sun. Being more beautiful means being more holy, surpassing merely what is expected of us, as Jesus is expecting our righteousness to surpass. This is a thought I had a day or two ago, an old thought, but one that pervades: We must be highly enriched to saturate and transform our world. Like an enriched uranium in a nuclear plant, or like a hot piece of steel, heated up and put into a bucket of cold water...it warms and changes. You have to be enriched constantly with God's grace. We must realize and face how we are and truly how we treat our Lord. Do you love your priest? Do you love those you can't see eye to eye with? How much do you love? Do you extend your arms of love in the dark forest floor? God picks these flowers, the most beautiful and says "yes, are so beautiful, and so giving and loving, that you belong with me", like today's saint, a young boy always one in prayer with God, just like Jesus, always with God, always in prayer, always giving, always reaching always extending Himself, a one way love with a one way ticket to Eternity and He asks...will you come with Me?