Jesus said: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one" (John 10:27–30). These four verses contain the whole of Jesus's message; it is the nucleus of his Gospel: he calls us to share in his relationship with the Father, and this is eternal life....
Let us invoke the intercession of Mary who is the Woman of the "yes." Mary said "yes" throughout her life! She learned to recognize Jesus's voice from the time when she carried him in her womb. May Mary, our Mother, help us to know Jesus's voice better and better and to follow it, so as to walk on the path of life!...
–from the book Mother Mary: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis
✞ "It is suffering, more than anything else, which clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls. Suffering, more than anything else makes present in the history of humanity the powers of the Redemption." — Pope St. John Paul II
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Be faithful to the time spent in prayer and make sure that at least half of your prayer is spent in silence. This will bring you closer to Jesus. If you deepen your prayer life you will grow in holiness and obtain many graces for the souls entrusted to your care. Deepen your love for one another by praying for each other and by sharing thoughts and graces you have received in prayer and reading." — Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, p. 56 AN EXCERPT FROM Thirsting for God
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it." Matthew 7:13-14
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ST. GERMAINE COUSIN
St. Germaine Cousin (1579–1601) was born in a remote French village to a peasant farmer. She was born with a deformed right arm and a disease that causes abscesses in her neck. Her mother died when she was an infant, and her father remarried. Due to Germaine's deformities, her stepmother was thoroughly disgusted with her. She severely neglected and physically abused the child, and taught others to do the same. Starving, sick, and dressed in rags with no shoes, Germaine was forced to sleep in the barn. Her stepmother even attempted to kill her off, once by sending her to tend sheep near a wolf-infested forest. St. Germaine was a simple and pious child, and through her extreme hardships she developed a deep interior life. She prayed the rosary and went to Mass daily, leaving her sheep to the care of her guardian angel. Even though she was emaciated, she shared the little food she had with beggars. Her piety was admired by the village children, and adults gradually became aware of her holiness, especially when news of her miracles began to circulate. St. Germaine died at the age of 22, succumbing to her poor living conditions. Many years later her body was found incorrupt. Villagers began praying for her intercession and receiving miraculous cures, resulting in her canonization in 1867. St. Germaine is the patron saint of unattractive people, peasant girls, abuse victims, handicapped people, and abandoned people. Her feast day is June 15th.
Thursday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 2 Cor 3:15—4:1, 3-6
Brothers and sisters: To this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over the hearts of the children of Israel, but whenever a person turns to the Lord the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy shown us, we are not discouraged. And even though our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled for those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that they may not see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus. For God who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 85:9ab and 10, 11-12, 13-14 R. (see 10b) The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land. I will hear what God proclaims; the LORD–for he proclaims peace to his people. Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him, glory dwelling in our land. R. The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land. Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven. R. The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land. The LORD himself will give his benefits; our land shall yield its increase. Justice shall walk before him, and salvation, along the way of his steps. R. The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.
Alleluia Jn 13:34 R. Alleluia, alleluia. I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
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 with him. 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."
Meditation: 2 Corinthians 3:15–4:1, 3-6 10th Week in Ordinary Time
Whenever a person turns to the Lord the veil is removed. (2 Corinthians 3:16)
Every spring, fresh, green leaves sprout on bare limbs. Flowering plants poke through the ground, and dry brown grass begins to come back to life. Winter's cold, dark "veil" is pushed back by the light and warmth of the sun. This beautiful image is one way to understand what can happen in us every time we turn to the Lord. It's as if a veil is lifted, and the darkness of fear, sin, or confusion is dispelled. Our cold hearts are warmed by God's love and compassion, and the light of Christ shines in all its brightness.
Do you know what else happens? Scripture comes alive. Words, phrases, and entire verses stand out; it's as if they were bold-faced or highlighted. You think, "Those words were written just for me!" You begin to see some connection between the words you read and your situation. "God does have a plan for my life," you say, or "I know God will take care of me." Hope, comfort, and even excitement rise up in you. Sometimes you become convinced of a truth of the faith: "I am being changed into Christ's likeness." Other times, you feel the need to change: "That veil of resentment I've been carrying against my son-in-law needs to be lifted from my heart."
When this happens, hold on to that verse or that phrase or that word. Ask the Holy Spirit to plant it deep within you. That's his purpose anyway: to take what comes from Jesus and make it your own (John 16:14). Or to use Paul's words from today's reading, the Spirit is in you to make the light of Christ shine in your heart.
All Scripture bears God's inspiration. It pulsates with the power to sustain you, change you, and energize you. If you lack understanding or humility or expectancy or anything at all, take up and read! Ask the Holy Spirit to enliven it for you. Jot down or underline passages that stand out to you, and reread them frequently. Read in joyful expectation that as you keep turning to the Lord, he will continue to remove the "veils" in your life.
"Come, Lord, and speak your word to me. Let your light shine so that I can be filled with your new life."
Psalm 85:9-14 Matthew 5:20-26
my2cents: The Holy Word said today "For God who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ." Earlier this week, I mentioned a glance of Christ. It is the truth that springs from the earth as we prayed today in the Holy Pslam "Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven." Did He spring out of the Earth in birth? Or when He springs from death? Because either way, God is looking down on upon us! He is marvelous. Taste and SEE! A thought hit me while getting ready for work "I love being in the ministry of inviting people to Church" and another thought hit me "this stuff I do for God is like a 2nd job, it is REAL WORK...I spend a lot of time and effort, work, sweat, sometimes tears" it is real work. And the more I fall in love with Jesus Christ our Lord our God, the more I see the work as a blessing.
"The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land." The LORD himself will give his benefits; our land shall yield its increase." If the light shines, it is the glory of the Lord. The light shining is the illuminating effect in our minds. The light is the truth. The truth is Jesus. If then, Jesus illuminates your mind, it is for the seed in your heart to grow. I see souls, and I see a plant, some small, some big, some giving fruit, some not doing so well, withering right in front of me. I want you to look up to the sun like a Son-Flower. I want you to give seeds freely. You are not to look to see if they grow, but you must give fruit for the Lord. Jesus is the Son that makes light burst forth, an invitation to grow to Heaven.
Our Lord says to us today ""I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven." And those people were strict followers of God's law, knew it left and right, inside and out! But God says our "righteousness" must surpass theirs. The bible says that Joseph, the father of Jesus on earth, the stepfather, was said to have been a "righteous" man. This means holy. He was so holy that God said "I want you to be my father on earth." And the Blessed Mother was designed so perfect for Him that He would make His dwelling place within her soul. Righteousness. There should be a competition among us Christians, a race, like Saint Paul proclaims. It should be a race of who can love each other more. Of Course Jesus wins. But who follows? Mary and Joseph are ahead, and the following? Disciples, and they are now cheering us on "you can do it! We are rooting for you!". Because it is one thing to know God's laws, do the bare minimums and fulfill the requirements, but what does God really want? That is the main question of our lives, isn't it? God's will. God's will for humanity is that it is saved. Your job, right where you are, is to bring souls to Heaven. And perhaps yours will go too. This is how we are the Body of Christ in salvation history.
Please bare with me: "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." This is HUGE. This is reconciliation. This is the Sacrament of Confession with a priest. This is mercy. This is being true to Christ and our neighbor, both of which we are to love to be in Heaven. This weekend someone made me mad. Before going to Mass, I remembered these words of Christ, "Leave your gift at the altar...be reconciled". These were some hard words to swallow, especially if I was about to swallow the Eucharist, my gift at the altar would be almost void if I had resentment in my heart, anger, things connected to hatred. "Ahh man! but they offended me! They attacked me! They...arghhh!" I got the nerve to make amends before getting to Mass, we talked and reconciled. The Eucharist was consumed, and I was terribly sorry. My voice trembled as I led the congregation "Kyrie Eleison", meaning Lord Have Mercy. Even as I write it, my eyes are watering up. I am sorry. I am sorry for being a fool, by being fooled by the devil that laughs when I trip. But, love is made stronger. I liked a story my wife brought home from a women's retreat, that our love line with Our Lord is like a string. If we break the bond with sin, we cut that string. The lady speaker tied the two string with a not, and said ....look, look now that you are reconciled and reunited, the string is shorter, you are that much closer to God!
Today, our Lord is saying "I want to be closer to you and with you" this is why He asks us to make amends. Like a story of a family eating dinner, they were about to do a family prayer and as they prayed the Lord's prayer, they got to a part that said "forgive us as...." and the dad got up from the table, and walked out of the house. The family was shocked. He finally came home and they asked what happened. He said "I couldn't say "forgive us our trespasses...AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS against us" and I remembered I had to do this before saying it, so I went to my brother/neighbor's house to ask for forgiveness, make amends." If only the world were true Christians, the world would be engulfed with the light, the love of God like never before in history....
I leave you with words from Mother Angelica, founder of EWTN:
"You want to do something for the Lord...do it. Whatever you feel needs to be done, even though youre shaking in your boots, youre scared to death -- take the first step forward. The grace comes with that one step and you get the grace as you step. Being afraid is not a problem; its doing nothing when you feel afraid."