In the washing of feet on Holy Thursday, we catch a glimpse of the servant leadership Christ taught his disciples to practice. "But Jesus summoned them and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them…. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.'" (Matthew 20:25–27).
–from the book Meeting God in the Upper Room: Three Moments to Change Your Life
✞"You must make a sound and firm resolution to submit yourselves totally to His will and, with a lively and steadfast faith, to receive from Him what you have to do for love of Him. And in this (whatever may happen) to persevere with constancy to the very end." — St. Angela Merici ✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "I worry some of you still have not really met Jesus—one to one—you and Jesus alone. We may spend time in the chapel—but have you seen with the eyes of your soul how He looks at you with love? Do you really know the living Jesus—not from books but from being with Him in your heart? Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you? Ask for the grace; He is longing to give it. Until you can hear Jesus in the silence of your own heart, you will not be able to hear Him saying 'I Thirst' in the hearts of the poor. Never give up this daily intimate contact with Jesus as the real living person—not just the idea." — Blessed Mother Teresa, p.129-30 AN EXCERPT FROM Manual for Eucharistic Adoration
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:5-9
click to read more
Saint Martin I
Saint of the Day for April 13
(d. September 16, 655)
When Martin I became pope in 649, Constantinople was the capital of the Byzantine empire and the patriarch of Constantinople was the most influential Church leader in the eastern Christian world. The struggles that existed within the Church at that time were magnified by the close cooperation of emperor and patriarch.
A teaching, strongly supported in the East, held that Christ had no human will. Twice, emperors had officially favored this position: Heraclius by publishing a formula of faith, and Constans II by silencing the issue of one or two wills in Christ.
Shortly after assuming the office of the papacy–which he did without first being confirmed by the emperor–Martin held a council at the Lateran in which the imperial documents were censured, and in which the patriarch of Constantinople and two of his predecessors were condemned. In response, Constans II first tried to turn bishops and people against the pope.
Failing in this and in an attempt to kill the pope, the emperor sent troops to Rome to seize Martin and to bring him back to Constantinople. Already in poor health, Martin offered no resistance, returned with Calliopas, the exarch of Constantinople, and was then submitted to various imprisonments, tortures, and hardships. Although condemned to death and with some of the imposed torture already carried out, Martin was saved from execution by the pleas of a repentant Paul, patriarch of Constantinople, who was himself gravely ill.
Tortures and cruel treatment having taken their toll, Martin died shortly thereafter. He is the last of the early popes to be venerated as a martyr.
The real significance of the word martyr comes not from the dying but from the witnessing, which the word means in its derivation. People who are willing to give up everything, their most precious possessions, their very lives, put a supreme value on the cause or belief for which they sacrifice. Martyrdom, dying for the faith, is an incidental extreme to which some have had to go to manifest their belief in Christ. A living faith, a life that exemplifies Christ's teaching throughout, and that in spite of difficulties, is required of all Christians. Martin refused to cut corners as a way of easing his lot, to make some accommodations with the civil rulers.
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, "This month shall stand at the head of your calendar; you shall reckon it the first month of the year. Tell the whole community of Israel: On the tenth of this month every one of your families must procure for itself a lamb, one apiece for each household. If a family is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join the nearest household in procuring one and shall share in the lamb in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it. The lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish. You may take it from either the sheep or the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then, with the whole assembly of Israel present, it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight. They shall take some of its blood and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel of every house in which they partake of the lamb. That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
"This is how you are to eat it: with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you shall eat like those who are in flight. It is the Passover of the LORD. For on this same night I will go through Egypt, striking down every firstborn of the land, both man and beast, and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt—I, the LORD! But the blood will mark the houses where you are. Seeing the blood, I will pass over you; thus, when I strike the land of Egypt, no destructive blow will come upon you.
"This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18 R. (cf. 1 Cor 10:16) Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ. How shall I make a return to the LORD for all the good he has done for me? The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ. Precious in the eyes of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones. I am your servant, the son of your handmaid; you have loosed my bonds. R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ. To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all his people. R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
Reading 2 1 Cor 11:23-26
Brothers and sisters: I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
Verse Before the Gospel Jn 13:34 I give you a new commandment, says the Lord: love one another as I have loved you.
Gospel Jn 13:1-15
Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Master, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later." Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me." Simon Peter said to him, "Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well." Jesus said to him, "Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all." For he knew who would betray him; for this reason, he said, "Not all of you are clean."
So when he had washed their feet and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, "Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me 'teacher' and 'master,' and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do."
At the first Passover, God told the Israelites to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and spread its blood over the doorposts of their homes. That way, they would be protected from the angel of death. But God also told them to roast the lamb's flesh and eat it for dinner.
We are familiar with the idea of the blood protecting the people from death, but why did they have to eat the roasted lamb? Was it just a ceremonial practice? Or was there something more?
Scripture offers us an answer. God tells the Israelites, "This is how you are to eat it: with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you shall eat like those who are in flight" (Exodus 12:11). In other words, eat as one ready to go on a journey.
The night of the Passover was only the beginning of the story for the Israelites. The Promised Land was miles and miles away—and through a harsh desert, no less. God gave them the lamb to sustain them on their journey. Without that food, they would not have been able to make even the first leg of the trip. Their deliverance would have been a hollow victory if they didn't have strength for the days ahead.
Like the Israelites, we too are on a long journey and need strength and nourishment. Thank God he has given us the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus, to sustain us! He knows we can't make this journey by relying on our own strength, so he has given us nothing less than the bread of angels!
Tonight begins the Easter Triduum. All around the world, churches will be filled with believers reliving Jesus' final hours. What better way to begin this observance than by receiving Jesus as the bread for our journey? So at Mass tonight, let's celebrate what Jesus did for us. But more than that, let's come to Communion grateful that we don't have to go through this life feeling weak and weary. Through his Body and Blood, Jesus is with us to sustain us and strengthen us. He is with us to guide us and encourage us. He is in us to empower us to do great things for him along the way.
"Jesus, you are the Lamb of God and the Bread of Life. With you, I will never go hungry."
Psalm 116:12-13, 15-18 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 John 13:1-15
my2cents: When God comes in the Old Testament, He is already in the New Testament, therefore, when He says: ""This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution." He says this knowing well there will be a New institution of priesthood and memorial, or re-living of the very act that never went away...the giving of our Lord's body, blood, soul, and divinity, and in no particular order, because He gave His life and then His body, keep this in mind as we continue: All of the Psalms are appropriate for today, every one has a huge, a significant impact on what transpires with our Lord in the Last Supper, the first Banquet of life giving love. "Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ. How shall I make a return to the LORD for all the good he has done for me? The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the LORD." We could never repay God for the slightest bit, but the slightest bit He notices. We prayed "My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all his people." If then, this is a banquet, what kind is it? It is one where two people come and join at the altar and exchange and renew their vows of commitment and love. Therefore, if you have no love of Christ, what are you doing on the Altar? If you love someone more, or something else better...what are you doing? What are you doing to your soul? In comes the Lord into our lives and He stands up, puts on a towel, gets the water and starts washing everyone's feet. Every person He had hand picked, He washed their feet. This act was dumbfounding. Confusing. Why? What in the world is the Master, the King, what is He doing? Has He gone mad? If you only knew the truth, if you only knew how madly in love He is, everything in the world would come to light. "Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me." Peter then says "then wash all of me!". But you have been baptized Peter. All you need now is to be washed of what is not clean Peter. The body of Christ, all the men forming His body after eating His Holy Body in Holy Communion, all was clean but one part, the Judas in you. The part that is not fitting at the altar.
So how are we made completely clean? By the blood of the unblemished lamb, in this case, it would be Jesus. It is the case that Jesus had a Passover "Eve" celebration, loins girt, sandals ready, and could only eat the bread and wine, because on the next day was the real meat eating day, of the animals sacrificed and the most perfect would become man, Jesus. Ok, how are we made clean? The blood of the lamb, Jesus. Through His blood we are healed and saved. The blood was poured out for mercy. Mercy would come flowing. All those atrocious things that were happening and are happening would be bound to this mercy, and water flowed out, the life blood, all things Divinity, mercy and love. You and me are invited to this banquet today. It is a most special day. I was talking to a vendor and we talked about Easter and how we'd spend Holy week. Many will travel and be with their loved ones on Easter, but what about spending time with Jesus? Start spending time today when He began giving His life in the Holy Eucharist. My response gets long "Holy Thursday we remember the institution of the priesthood and the Body of Christ is given...to this day. Good Friday the crucifixion, we make this day Holy too, and on Saturday, on the eve of Easter, we will be at Holy Mass from 10 pm to 12 am to bring the new day of life, the resurrection." That's how we will spend Holy Week. And all these things are nice and good, but let me share with you what I read today from the book The IMITATION of CHRIST, when Christ speaks: See how I offered Myself wholly to the Father for you; I gave My Body and Blood to be your food, that I might be all yours, and you completely Mine. But if you rely on yourself and will not offer yourself freely to My will, your offering is incomplete, and a perfect union will not exist between us. Before all else, you must make a willing offering of yourself into God's hands, if you wish to obtain grace and freedom. The reason why so few are inwardly free and enlightened is because so few give themselves completely. My words are unchanged: "Anyone of you who does not renounce all of his possessions cannot be My disciple" (Lk 14:33). Therefore, if you wish to be My disciple, offer up yourself to Me with all your affections.
Thought for today: The Eucharist is "the source and summit of the spiritual life" (CCC 1324). But truthfully, for most people, it's not. They don't even know what it means, and how can we blame them? Why should they believe that Jesus" Real Presence is in a "little piece of bread", when they haven't experienced His real presence in their lives? The Eucharist is the encounter with Love whose mercy brings life and healing and joy… that's why it's the source and summit.
Action for today: Pray for God to transfigure your heart. Practice saying "yes" instead of "why me".
Prayer for today: Holy Spirit, please send your fire into my life. Ignite in me a great love of the Living God. Cast out my fear. In the words of St. Augustine, "May the flame of your love burn in my soul. May it burn incessantly on the altar of my heart. May it glow in my inmost being. May it spread its heat into the hidden recesses of my soul, and on the day of my consummation, may I appear before you, consumed in Your love."
Quote for today: "When you look at the crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you then. When you look at the Sacred Host, you understand how much Jesus loves you now." – St. Teresa of Calcutta
Be a Hero today – #ShareJesus: Choose the good. Defend the poor and the "invisible ones", the ones the world doesn't see. Be kind to your family. Let the car nudging into your lane in, and wave at them. Tell the truth. Work hard. Be faithful. Tell people what they mean to you….ignore the fact that you'll all feel awkward, because the warmth and light will last much longer than the embarrassment. Then you'll be doing whatever He tells you, and that will make you a warrior, too!