Let us pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for all the graces that we need to be a brilliant light and a holy comfort to others each and every day in this darkened and sometimes frightening world. Don't forget to offer your sufferings to God and to make sacrifices to save souls.
-from Our Lady of Fatima
"Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life. Therefore the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits." — St. Philip Neri
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "True strength is not found in being stubborn or arrogant. It is found in allowing the Holy Spirit to dwell in one's heart so that one might be open to the Spirit's promptings. It is that Spirit Who frees us from our selfishness, for the Spirit reminds us that God is supposed to be the center of who we are and what we do." — Rev. Jude Winkler, OFM, p. 20 AN EXCERPT FROM Daily Meditations with the Holy Spirit
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29-31
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ST. CONON OF NASO
St. Conon of Naso (1139–1236) was a wealthy nobleman, the son of a Count, from Naso, Italy. He was a devout young man, and at the age of 15 become a monk. He lived as a hermit until being called to serve the local monastery as its abbot. Upon the death of his parents he distributed his inheritance to the poor. While on pilgrimage to Jerusalem he had a vision of a priest he knew being choked by a snake. Conan raced to the priest to warn him of the danger. The priest's heart was convicted by the truth of the vision and confessed that he was hoarding money and neglecting the poor. Under Conan's direction the priest gave his excessive savings to the poor and recommitted his life to serving others. After his death, Conon was hailed as a miracle worker. The city of Naso experienced a series of terrible storms which destroyed crops and disrupted the shipping trade, and the city ran out of grain and other food supplies. When the famine became severe, St. Conon appeared in a vision to a ship captain who was preparing to transport a load of grain. Conon told the captain to change course and take the grain to Naso. The captain obeyed the vision and arrived in Naso with food to relieve the famine. St. Conon's feast day is March 28th.
The angel brought me, Ezekiel, back to the entrance of the temple of the LORD, and I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the façade of the temple was toward the east; the water flowed down from the right side of the temple, south of the altar. He led me outside by the north gate, and around to the outer gate facing the east, where I saw water trickling from the right side. Then when he had walked off to the east with a measuring cord in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and had me wade through the water, which was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand and once more had me wade through the water, which was now knee-deep. Again he measured off a thousand and had me wade; the water was up to my waist. Once more he measured off a thousand, but there was now a river through which I could not wade; for the water had risen so high it had become a river that could not be crossed except by swimming. He asked me, "Have you seen this, son of man?" Then he brought me to the bank of the river, where he had me sit. Along the bank of the river I saw very many trees on both sides. He said to me, "This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah, and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh. Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, and there shall be abundant fish, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh. Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow; their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail. Every month they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary. Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9 R. (8) The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea. R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High. God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed; God will help it at the break of dawn. R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. The LORD of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. Come! behold the deeds of the LORD, the astounding things he has wrought on earth. R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Verse Before the Gospel Ps 51:12a, 14a A clean heart create for me, O God; give me back the joy of your salvation.
Gospel Jn 5:1-16
There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be well?" The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me." Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your mat, and walk." Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.
Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, "It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat." He answered them, "The man who made me well told me, 'Take up your mat and walk.'" They asked him, "Who is the man who told you, 'Take it up and walk'?" The man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there. After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him, "Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you." The man went and told the Jews that Jesus was the one who had made him well. Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus because he did this on a sabbath.
Throughout salvation history, the imagery of rivers and streams has been used to show God's desire to heal and refresh his people. Genesis tells us that a river watered the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:10). Jeremiah announced that those who place their confidence in God are like a tree planted by the water and bearing much fruit (Jeremiah 17:8). Ezekiel saw a river flowing from the Temple—a river whose waters deepened and broadened until they brought healing for all the nations (Ezekiel 47:1-9). And Psalm 46 tells of a river that gladdens the whole of Jerusalem (Psalm 46:5).
All of these images find their greatest fulfillment in the gift of the Holy Spirit. It was through the Spirit that the Church was born and is sustained. Beginning with the waters of baptism and ending with the promise of a drink from the river of life, the Holy Spirit is the one who fills us with hope, lifts our hearts with joy, and refreshes us in God's love and grace.
Try to imagine all that the Holy Spirit does. Like a powerful river flowing through the Church, the Spirit nourishes us and moves us along the road to heaven. He brings to life the sacraments, the liturgy, and the teachings of the Church so that we can embrace them and be transformed by them. He unfolds the mysteries of the gospel, the attributes of God, and the unending love and mercy of Christ. He gives us words of wisdom and counsel, a sense of hope and peace, even healing from hurtful memories that have kept us bound for years.
Since God is so generous, let's avail ourselves of the river of life. Let's consume all the nourishment he wants to give us in his word and sacrament. Let's proclaim our faith in the Lord and ask him to fill us up. As we do, we will feel his refreshment and renewal flowing in our hearts. Only the Holy Spirit can do these things—and he is more than willing to do it!
"Come, Holy Spirit, and open my heart. Let your living water flow in me and through me so that your refreshment can reach more and more people in the world."
Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9 John 5:1-16
The Lord spoke in the first Scripture: ""Have you seen this, son of man?"
We prayed today in the Psalms: "The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
The Lord is presented in the Holy Gospel, and finds a man sick for 38 years, perhaps most of his life, because lifespan wasn't that long. This man was older than Jesus and Jesus asks ""Do you want to be well?" Pause. Do YOU want to be well? Ask yourself. Do you? Do you want to be whole again? Do you want to be right again? Well? The man replies ""Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool...". No one would take him anymore. They gave up on him. They said, "he deserves it" and they let him sit on the outskirts while others more important took priority. No one led him. No one carried him. Jesus says in Himself "Forget the pool...for I AM the living waters". Living waters means waters that flow, not stagnant. Jesus is living and effective. Jesus says to the man ""Rise, take up your mat, and walk." He does. And this causes a stink. Why? Why aren't people happy?
Bishop Barren says today: "One would expect that everyone around the cured man would rejoice, but just the contrary: the Jewish leaders are infuriated and confounded. They see the healed man and their first response is, "It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat."
Why are they so reactive? Why don't they want this to be? We sinners don't like the ways of God. We find them troubling and threatening. Why? Because they undermine the games of oppression and exclusion that we rely upon in order to boost our own egos. Let this encounter remind us that God's ways are not our ways, and that there is one even greater than the Sabbath."
What happens is a possession. We take possession of faith, and believe what we believe is more than what God makes possible. What do I mean? We put limits on the limitless. We place a sunshade in front of the sun. There are in the world catholics who believe other religions won't go to Heaven, there are protestants who believe catholics won't go to Heaven. There are atheists who do not believe in Heaven. Muslims believe only their way is right and so on and so forth. As a people, as a whole, we tend to put limits on the limitless. God can do as He pleases. But, He does not interfere with our will. So free we may be. My question to you today, who are you putting limits on? I love to see people go above and beyond. They don't do the basic, they do more. It makes one say, "WoW!". Perhaps people seen me do it, but who knows, I love it when I see people do it.
Jesus goes above and beyond. At a cursillo team meeting, I show up in the morning in a town 70 miles away, and already there was a man cooking on a "disk" barbeque style, for our meeting's lunch, where as most of the time we settle for cold sandwhiches. "Wow!". Yesterday, in daily Holy Mass, I saw a lady on her knees in the front pew that had no kneeler, and she would not rise after receiving the Lord, but she was prostrating in adoration. "Wow!" Nevermind what people will say, never mind all the world, because Jesus is there, and Jesus is here.
It does not matter how dark you see the world, I look beyond and see the Son.
Yes we all are suffering, but if you could only see the good it is for, you would fall on your face praising God. Jesus says to get up and walk, knowing you will face obstacles, but that is part of the walk. Jesus says to the man later in the temple "Look, do not sin any more, so nothing worse may happen". Nothing worse than a life long of suffering? Wow! That is something to be dealt with. And what we are dealing with here is eternity. Every day can be a glimpse of eternity. How are you spending this day? Am I laid by the pool where nobody can help me? Perhaps the man had stopped asking for help. And it is in a brink of a moment that Jesus comes into your life "I AM Here". Listen to My voice. I can do ALL things. I want you made whole and you will be. I love you when others can not. I love you so you can love where others can not. I love through you. I love through others. Let yourself listen to My Voice. RISE
adrian RedeemedOnline.com: Thought for the day: What has God been teaching you this Lent? To discern what God wants for us we must make time to hear him speak to us. We must try to recognize the various ways he is speaking to us.
Action for today: Pray the Our Father slowly and think about the words you pray. "Thy will be done.."
Prayer for today: Jesus, help me to hear your voice and to be the person you call me to be. Increase my desire for you and for prayer. I love you. Lead me. Guide me today.
Quote for today: "To have courage for whatever comes in life – everything lies in that."– Saint Teresa of Avila
Be a Hero today - #ShareJesus: Ask someone if you can pray with them today.