Faith requires perseverance. It often grows in stages. Sometimes we fall. Sometimes we walk away. So often, we must crawl. Whether we consciously admit to it or not, our faith—our life in Christ—has sustained us throughout the ups and downs of our lives. It has sustained us in moments of new life and in death, at times of sickness, and at those times when we struggle to give meaning to painful situations.
—from the book Meeting God in the Upper Room: Three Moments to Change Your Life
✞ "It is the duty of every man to uphold the dignity of every woman." — Pope St. John Paul II
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "We will be the happiest people in the world if we belong to God, if we place ourselves at his disposal, if we let him use us as he pleases. To be this happy, we must belong to Jesus fully without reservation. He alone is worthy of our love and our total surrender. Once we really belong to him then he is free to use us, to do with us whatever he pleases." — Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, p. 25 AN EXCERPT FROM Thirsting for God
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY Thus says the Lord: Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord. Jeremiah 9:23-24
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Saint Joseph of Arimathea's and Nicodemus
The actions of these two influential Jewish leaders give insight into the charismatic power of Jesus and his teachings—and the risks that could be involved in following him.
Joseph was a respected, wealthy civic leader who had become a disciple of Jesus. Following the death of Jesus, Joseph obtained Jesus' body from Pilate, wrapped it in fine linen and buried it. For these reasons, Joseph is considered the patron saint of funeral directors and pallbearers. More important is the courage Joseph showed in asking Pilate for Jesus' body. Jesus was a condemned criminal who had been publicly executed. According to some legends, Joseph was punished and imprisoned for such a bold act.
Nicodemus was a Pharisee and, like Joseph, an important first-century Jew. We know from John's Gospel that Nicodemus went to Jesus at night—secretly—to better understand his teachings about the kingdom. Later, he spoke up for Jesus at the time of his arrest and assisted in Jesus' burial. We know little else about Nicodemus.
Celebrating these two contemporaries of Jesus who played significant roles in Jesus' life, reminds us of the humanity of Jesus and how he related to his fellow men and women. His gentleness to these two and his acceptance of their help remind us that he treats us in the same gentle way.
Saint Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus are the Patron Saints of:
Funeral Directors Pallbearers
Thursday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 1 Thes 3:7-13
We have been reassured about you, brothers and sisters, in our every distress and affliction, through your faith. For we now live, if you stand firm in the Lord.
What thanksgiving, then, can we render to God for you, for all the joy we feel on your account before our God? Night and day we pray beyond measure to see you in person and to remedy the deficiencies of your faith. Now may God himself, our Father, and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 90:3-5a, 12-13, 14 and 17 R. (14) Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy! You turn man back to dust, saying, "Return, O children of men." For a thousand years in your sight are as yesterday, now that it is past, or as a watch of the night. R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy! Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart. Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants! R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy! Fill us at daybreak with your kindness, that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days. And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours; prosper the work of our hands for us! Prosper the work of our hands! R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Alleluia Mt 24:42a, 44 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Stay awake! For you do not know when the Son of Man will come. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 24:42-51
Jesus said to his disciples: "Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.
"Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that wicked servant says to himself, 'My master is long delayed,' and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant's master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth."
Meditation: 1 Thessalonians 3:7-13
We now live, if you stand firm in the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 3:8)
In today's first reading, Paul thanks his followers in Thessalonica for being faithful. He has been through a lot since he left them: he has been falsely accused, beaten, and thrown in jail. As he yearns to be released and return to his followers, he is comforted by their faith and their prayers for him. Even though his life sparked their faith in Christ, their faith in turn has helped sustain him.
In our daily lives, our faith may seem internal, personal, and hidden, so we don't readily see the effect that we have on the world around us. We may not directly see it or get letters from the people who rejoice in our faithfulness as Paul did, but our faith truly does have an impact on other people. Consider your presence in church during Mass. You may feel like one in a crowd, but you are lifting up your fellow churchgoers.
Pope Benedict XVI once said, "The renewal of the Church is also achieved through the witness offered by the lives of believers." This "witness" offered by our lives that Pope Benedict refers to doesn't necessarily mean that we have to openly evangelize people. You are a witness just by being yourself. Consider this: with the Holy Spirit guiding you and Christ in you, you probably already radiate the truth just by the way you are living right now. Your walk, your light, and your faith encourage and sustain the people who are around you just as the Thessalonians encouraged Paul.
Today, spend some time reflecting on the effect of your witness of faith on the world around you. Think about ways that your faith already affects those around you. Ask God to open your eyes so that you can see how your witness goes out. Most of all, recognize that you do indeed play a vital role in the renewal of the Church. Rejoice in this, and continue to renew the Church simply by being who you are in Christ and where Christ has put you.
"Lord, thank you for this faith that you have given me. Help me continue to live in a way that renews your Church."
Psalm 90:3-5, 12-14, 17 Matthew 24:42-51
Saint Paul says at the end of today's 1st Holy Scripture: "Now may God himself, our Father, and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all.....so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones." Keep in mind, that when we are reading these Holy Scriptures, this is what is going through my mind....these words were written with blood. Saint Paul would die for these words written, and soon, we will hear from our Lord Jesus, whose words are written with blood, for He did not write anything with a pen.
First we pray " Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy! Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart." The end days are being talked about in Holy Scripture, and hopefully what is ending soon, is evil in our soul, so we can be blameless when presented to the Lord.
In comes the Lord, our Lord, King, and master, "Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time?" You are a servant, no?
Jesus is our Master, no? You are then, put in charge of HIS household, no? You are then, called to distribute them their food, no? Food for children, scraps for dogs, what feeds and ails and nourishes. Right now, there are thousands of people helping the flood victims, they are distributing food and water and many other things, but really, what is happening, is they are distributing love. And you? You may have helped, or you may have sat there thinking about helping. You say you'll pray, but not lift a finger "ahh, they'll be alright". What kind of servant is that? One that chooses to relax, to hold off, to hold back. That's not the kind of love Jesus is teaching us, the kind that holds back. No, His is a relentless love, in mercy, in charity, unceasing, so why should I cease. For sure, we will cease to exist in this world, and God calls this to mind in the Holy Scriptures "the servant's master will come on an unexpected day". Most in the world will not know when they will die. Some have the fortunate day at hand. Like a prisoner on death row, or a saint having devoted themselves, Jesus reveals to them their day. Eduardo Bonnin went to visit a prisoner on death row and told him he was fortunate, to know the day of his death. After much conversation, the man repented of his sins, and converted, and behold the cross and atoned for his sins with what he could, the time he had. How lucky the man that could render accounts. But for us? We do not know. The prisoner, the moment before he was electrocuted, yelled for Eduardo to come to him, and when he approached, the man asked for the crucifix Eduardo wore, and he died holding it and kissing it. He loved Jesus and wanted to be with Jesus. But you? Do you love Jesus? Do you love the Master?
We live in a world of thousands upon thousands of Christian denominations. Demonics have cause denominations and deviations. Splits and spinters among a Christ belief. It is to the point that there seems to be a general consensus among denominations, saying that "everybody is going to heaven no matter what" but this is not true and it is not biblical. When our Lady appeared especially during the World Wars, she warns the world that millions and millions of souls are falling like snowflakes into hell because of the sin of impurity. Impure, the opposite of blameless.
Shame on me for being impure. Shame on you for being impure. Stop it. Stop the nonsense. It does not makes sense to shame the Lord. It does not make sense to be senseless. And then we wonder why there are senseless acts of violence. It is to open our eyes to the reality God wants us to see.
We live in a world that could be gone in a flash. In an accident, in a catastrophe or in a million other ways. But that life is taken, not given. It is greater then...to give. Life. Jesus shows us the way and asks us to open our hearts, our lives, to Him. Do not be afraid to step out on the water of baptism and walk toward Him and then with HIM