Fasting is not an end in itself but instead is, like prayer and the works of mercy, an expression of who we are before God and in relation to others. Fasting should make us generous, not self-righteous. Lord Jesus, show me the difference between what I truly need and what I may simply want.
-from Peace and Good
✞ "I urge you with all the strength of my soul to approach the Eucharistic Table as often as possible. Feed on this Bread of the Angels from which you will draw the strength to fight inner struggles." — Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Who is Lucifer? He is a pure spirit, and was the most enlightened of all pure spirits, but is now at war with God and with His rule. The mystery of sin is merely the result of this conflict, which manifests itself in every possible way. Lucifer, as much as in him lies, will leave no stone unturned to destroy what God has made and ordered. Wherever he enters, there is the work of God defaced." — Jean-Pierre de Caussade, p. 114 AN EXCERPT FROM
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." Isaiah 61:10
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Blessed Oscar Arnulfo Romero
Saint of the Day for March 24
(August 15, 1917 – March 24, 1980)
The night before he was murdered while celebrating Mass, Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador said on the radio: "I would like to appeal in a special way to the men of the army, and in particular to the troops of the National Guard, the police, and the garrisons. Brothers, you belong to our own people. You kill your own brother peasants; and in the face of an order to kill that is given by a man, the law of God that says 'Do not kill!' should prevail.
"No soldier is obliged to obey an order counter to the law of God. No one has to comply with an immoral law. It is the time now that you recover your conscience and obey its dictates rather than the command of sin. . . . Therefore, in the name of God, and in the name of this long-suffering people, whose laments rise to heaven every day more tumultuous, I beseech you, I beg you, I command you! In the name of God: 'Cease the repression!'"
Simultaneously, Romero had eloquently upheld the gospel and effectively signed his own death warrant.
When he was appointed archbishop of San Salvador in 1977, Bishop Romero was considered a very "safe" choice. He had served as auxiliary bishop there for four years before his three years as bishop of Santiago de Maria.
Oscar's father wanted him to be a carpenter—a trade for which he demonstrated some talent. Seminary classes in El Salvador preceded his studies at Rome's Gregorian University and his ordination in 1942. After earning a doctorate in ascetical theology, he returned home and became a parish priest and later rector of an interdiocesan seminary.
Three weeks after his appointment as archbishop, Romero was shaken by the murder of his good friend Jesuit Father Rutilio Grande, a vigorous defender of the rights of the poor. Five more priests were assassinated in the Archdiocese of San Salvador during Romero's years as its shepherd.
When a military junta seized control of the national government in 1979, Archbishop Romero publicly criticized the U.S. government for backing the junta. His weekly radio sermons, broadcast throughout the country, were regarded by many as the most trustworthy source of news available.
Romero's funeral was celebrated in the plaza outside the cathedral and drew an estimated 250,000 mourners.
His tomb in the cathedral crypt soon drew thousands of visitors each year. On February 3, 2015, Pope Francis authorized a decree recognizing Oscar Romero as a martyr for the faith. His beatification took place in San Salvador on May 23, 2015.
Archbishop Oscar Romero and many other Latin American martyrs for the faith were falsely accused of advocating a Marxist-inspired "theology of liberation." Following Jesus always requires choices. Romero's fiercest critics conveniently dismissed his choices as politically inspired. An incarnational faith must be expressed publicly.
Thus says the LORD: Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God; you have collapsed through your guilt. Take with you words, and return to the LORD; Say to him, "Forgive all iniquity, and receive what is good, that we may render as offerings the bullocks from our stalls. Assyria will not save us, nor shall we have horses to mount; We shall say no more, 'Our god,' to the work of our hands; for in you the orphan finds compassion."
I will heal their defection, says the LORD, I will love them freely; for my wrath is turned away from them. I will be like the dew for Israel: he shall blossom like the lily; He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar, and put forth his shoots. His splendor shall be like the olive tree and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar. Again they shall dwell in his shade and raise grain; They shall blossom like the vine, and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols? I have humbled him, but I will prosper him. "I am like a verdant cypress tree"– Because of me you bear fruit!
Let him who is wise understand these things; let him who is prudent know them. Straight are the paths of the LORD, in them the just walk, but sinners stumble in them.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 81:6c-8a, 8bc-9, 10-11ab, 14 and 17 R. (see 11 and 9a) I am the Lord your God: hear my voice. An unfamiliar speech I hear: "I relieved his shoulder of the burden; his hands were freed from the basket. In distress you called, and I rescued you." R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice. "Unseen, I answered you in thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Hear, my people, and I will admonish you; O Israel, will you not hear me?" R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice. "There shall be no strange god among you nor shall you worship any alien god. I, the LORD, am your God who led you forth from the land of Egypt." R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice. "If only my people would hear me, and Israel walk in my ways, I would feed them with the best of wheat, and with honey from the rock I would fill them." R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
Verse Before the Gospel Mt 4:17 Repent, says the Lord; the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Gospel Mk 12:28-34
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, "Which is the first of all the commandments?" Jesus replied, "The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these." The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, He is One and there is no other than he. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God." And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: Mark 12:28-34
3rd Week of Lent
Which is the first of all the commandments? (Mark 12:28)
Jewish literature relates that a man once asked the famous Rabbi Hillel to sum up the 613 precepts of the Old Testament Law while he stood on one leg—in other words, briefly! Hillel replied, "What you hate for yourself, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Law; the rest is commentary."
Separating himself from many of the religious leaders who were bent on destroying Jesus, one scribe asked Jesus a similar question, but with refreshing sincerity: "Which is the first of all the commandments?" (Mark 12:28). While other scribes saw Jesus as a threat, this man saw in him an opportunity to learn. So he posed an honest question that expressed a concern embedded deep within every person's heart.
This scribe's question reflects a heart that was seeking to grasp the one single, simple principle underlying the complexity of the Law. What foundational commandment can give meaning to all the smaller rules and regulations of religious life? Is there a key that can unlock this riddle of our lives and guide us through the obstacles that are both around and within us? We all yearn for answers to these questions.
The command to love God and neighbor is not just an order or duty. No one can love simply because he is told to do so! Ultimately, loving God is a privilege, a relationship that God initiates at our baptism and that grows as we accept his words and open ourselves to his love. It grows as we align our wills with this greatest of commandments, making daily decisions to reflect this love in our words and deeds.
God is always reaching out to us, and every time we turn to him, we can receive his love more deeply. This experience of his love then moves us to love him and to share this love with other people. It's true that we have to decide to seek God and respond to him, but these decisions can all flow from the loving relationship that God wants with us, a relationship that grows as love is shared.
"Heavenly Father, move me by your love to be more loving today. Help me to see my life of faith as a relationship, not just a duty."
Hosea 14:2-10 Psalm 81:6-11, 14, 17
my2cents: We heard the Word today "Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God; you have collapsed through your guilt." and "Straight are the paths of the LORD, in them the just walk, but sinners stumble in them." We pray today in the Psalm: "I am the Lord your God: hear my voice" Our Lords speaks when asked what is the greatest commandment and He responds with absolution: "The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Bishop Barren's daily reflection ends today "There is strict logic at work here. When you really love someone, you tend to love, as well, what they love. Well, what does God love? He loves everything and everyone that he has made. So, if you want to love God, and you find this move difficult because God seems so distant, love anyone you come across for the sake of God."
Yesterday I was at the court house trying to test to get an endorsement for driving a bus we bought for our church. As I was told to sit out in the hall filling paperwork, I was the only one there except a group of women in a dark corner talking away. As they talked I could hear every thing they said, and most of the talk became complaints, about these homeless people around the corner, and how they stank, and how they were a nuisance, and one lady even touted at the beginning when she brought them up in conversation "Oh I could just shoot these two" and the two are the couple that are homeless. Turns out, I know the homeless couple personally, they have a name, and they are people, and they are loving, and they ask me to pray with them every time I stop and talk with them. Why would I bring up this in our daily faith sharing? Because, I am in a conundrum. Should I have interrupted them? Should I have stood up for the poor? Should I have brought light to the dark corner? They say walls have ears. This means watch what you say. But that is not the point. The point is greater. There is an extreme lack of love on several fronts.
In a Spanish reflection, it said "In the martyrs we find the testimony that love is possible. Today we commemorate the Blessed, martyr, Monsignor Óscar Romero, let us interpellate for his words: "These unjust inequalities, these masses of misery that cry out to heaven, are an antisignary of our Christianity. They are saying before God that we believe more in the things of the earth than in the covenant of love that we have signed with Him, and that by covenant with God all men should feel brothers ... Man is so much the son of God the more Brother is made of men, and the less is the son of God the less brother feels of the neighbor (Homily 18 September 1977)." And talk is cheap when there is no value put into it, like singing without any heart. Like living but walking dead and speaking only death because that is all that is inside.
When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment, many believed, and some there did not have ears. They believed what they believed was greater. And so, let us realize this in our lives in this present day in age, that the saying "the more things change, the more they stay the same" is coined for a truth that should be understood in our relationship with God: either He is God or not, and nowadays it's ourselves put into His spot. Just like Adam and Eve, no different. Moral relativism says "believe what you want and that is the truth", and it is a bunch of words that say "I'm a god" and therefore "I worship myself and others should worship me" because it's all about me. That is the culture we live in. Believe it or not, that is the tide of darkness. It is not about the poor people around every corner, it is about you. It is not about those needing help in their darkness, it is about me. Isn't it? The conundrum then in my head churns like this: "Who needs salvation and mercy?" The people spitting hatred, or the poor being ridiculed? You know the answer. We all need mercy. Jesus died for all.
He died for Love. I decided not to show a bloody picture of today's Blessed Oscar, after being shot during Holy Mass, but we always see a bloody picture of Jesus on the cross. It is the same. Hatred had Him killed, but not really, Love gave his life. He never backed down, he carried his daily cross, and that was his reward, martyrdom. He chose to lose his life rather than to save it. It's not about me. Our center is Jesus. The more you realize this, the more you will begin to live Heaven on earth. The Eucharist will make this a daily realization. Grace and light be upon you
adrian from Redeemedonline: Thought for today: God wants you to know his love in a real and tangible way today.
Action for today: Take an extra 5 minutes of prayer today and ask God to help you understand his love for you.
Prayer for today: Jesus, I know you love me, but still I struggle to believe this at times. Help me to understand what this reality means in my life today. I love you. Help me receive your love today.
Quote for today: "Though our feelings come and go, God's love for us does not." C.S. Lewis