What the cross of Christ reveals is that when we are so paralyzed by fear and overcome by darkness that we can no longer help ourselves, when we have reached the stage where we can no longer open the door to let light and life in, God can still come through our locked doors, stand inside our fear and paralysis, and breathe out peace. The love that is revealed in Jesus' suffering and death, a love that is so other-centered that it can fully forgive and embrace its executioners, can pass through locked doors, melt frozen hearts, penetrate the walls of fear, and descend into our private hells and, precisely there, breathe out peace.
—from the book The Passion and the Cross by Ronald Rolheiser, OMI
clickable: The Following is from MorningOffering
†Saint Quote "O man, when the world hates you and is faithless toward you, think of your God, how he was struck and spat upon. You should not accuse your neighbor of guilt, but pray to God that he be merciful to you both." — St. Nicholas of Flue † MEDITATION OF THE DAY "This world is filled with many vulgar and dishonorable things that will claw and tear at your Christian purity if you allow them to. Don't let them! Seek instead the things of God. He will purify you and free you from your slavery to profane and inconsequential things." — Patrick Madrid, p.1 AN EXCERPT FROM A Year with the Bible
† VERSE OF THE DAY "Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always continue in the fear of the Lord. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off." Proverbs 23:17-18
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ST. MARGARET CLITHEROW
St. Margaret Clitherow (1556-1586), also called Margaret of York, lived in York, England, the daughter of a candlemaker and wife of a wealthy Protestant butcher. She was raised Anglican just after the time that King Henry VIII severed the Church of England from communion with the Roman Catholic Church. A few years after her marriage, at the age of 18, she converted to the Catholic Church due to the work of covert missionary Catholic priests. While her husband remained Protestant, she aided persecuted Catholics by sheltering priests (which included her brother-in-law) and having Mass and Confessions said in her home, which became a safe house and hiding place for priests. Margaret witnessed the tortuous death of many of the priests she aided, and she would publicly pray on the spot of their martyrdom. Undaunted in her work, she was imprisoned numerous times. On her final arrest she was charged for harboring Catholic priests and was condemned to a public execution by being crushed to death, a martyrdom of which she considered herself unworthy. All three of her children entered the religious life, two priests and a nun. St. Margaret Clitherow, the "Pearl of York," is the patron saint of martyrs, businesswomen, and converts. Her feast day is March 26th.
Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent
Reading 1 Dn 3:25, 34-43
Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud:
"For your name's sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever, or make void your covenant. Do not take away your mercy from us, for the sake of Abraham, your beloved, Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one, To whom you promised to multiply their offspring like the stars of heaven, or the sand on the shore of the sea. For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation, brought low everywhere in the world this day because of our sins. We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader, no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense, no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you. But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received; As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bullocks, or thousands of fat lambs, So let our sacrifice be in your presence today as we follow you unreservedly; for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame. And now we follow you with our whole heart, we fear you and we pray to you. Do not let us be put to shame, but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy. Deliver us by your wonders, and bring glory to your name, O Lord."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 25:4-5ab, 6 and 7bc, 8-9
R. (6a) Remember your mercies, O Lord. Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths, Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior. R. Remember your mercies, O Lord. Remember that your compassion, O LORD, and your kindness are from of old. In your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O LORD. R. Remember your mercies, O Lord. Good and upright is the LORD; thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way. R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Verse Before the Gospel Jl 2:12-13
Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart; for I am gracious and merciful.
Gospel Mt 18:21-35
Peter approached Jesus and asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.' Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, 'Pay back what you owe.' Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?' Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart."
Meditation: Matthew 18:21-35
If my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? (Matthew 18:21)
So many important elements in life depend on a person's point of view, don't they? When Peter approached Jesus with a question about forgiving a particularly difficult brother, his focus was on the proper limits to forgiveness. Peter sets up the scene to make himself the injured party—how forgiving should I be? Certainly, mercy has its limits.
But Jesus turns the tables on him and tries to place him in the role of the forgiven party instead. He asks Peter to imagine what it would be like to have a huge debt removed from his account. How would he respond? With generosity toward his debtors? Or with the same cold calculus that should have landed him in jail? Will he let mercy transform him, or will he end up in prison despite his master's forgiveness?
We are all recipients of God's overflowing, transforming mercy. It's a generosity that bursts forth from the Father's heart. Like a river overflowing its banks, it cannot be contained. It flows everywhere and washes everyone clean who remains in its path and lets it wash over them.
The next time you are the injured party and you are thinking about what you consider the demands of justice to be, take a moment to widen your point of view. Remember that another person is involved—another recipient of God's love and mercy. Remember the way that God looks at you, and try to look at the other person with the same love, compassion, and forgiveness. Ask yourself, How can I possibly withhold forgiveness when God never held back from me?
If we can keep God's look of love in the forefront of our minds, mercy will burst forth from us. It may start as a trickle, and it won't always be easy. But that doesn't have to stop us from trying. God knows how hard this can be, and he is infinitely patient. After all, if he was so merciful as to give up his only Son for us, why would he not treat us the same way now?
"Father in heaven, give me my daily bread today, and forgive me as I strive to forgive the people indebted to me."
Daniel 3:25, 34-43 Psalm 25:4-9
We need men and women who come motivated by love of Jesus Christ to work in his name, who come prepared to embrace the crucified Christ, who is in the face and the pain of every brother or sister who is suffering. —Fr. Christopher Hartley from Slaves in Paradise by Jesús García
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"And now we follow you with our whole heart, we fear you and we pray to you." This was said during a sincere cry and prayer. What will it take for us to be sincere in our prayers to our Lord? I always ask myself "am I being sincere" when I am in Mass, or trying to pray the rosary, and these things daily. Am I being honest to myself and to our Lord? But know one thing is for sure...our Lord knows we are trying. So let us pray for that strength to continue. For that, I write to you.
Let us pray: "Remember your mercies, O Lord. Good and upright is the LORD; thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way." He teaches who? The humble. Only the humble learn. So...how about when someone punches you in the face with a fist full of fury? I know it has happened to me a couple times within this last week. And I bet there is more to come. What do you do? Is it ok to be humiliated? These people don't "respect me". They insult me. They aggravate me. They accuse me. Ahh. Interesting. Whence I see an accusation...I know who is behind all this...demonic spirits. And then I can begin to see the person, being used in attacks. Can you take a punch to the face now? Can you take a sucker punch? Do you forget you are in the church militant on earth?
In the holy Gospel, our Lord said "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times." Forgive over and over again. Forgive until you lose count. Or, would you like our Lord to keep count? Now, will I forgive my wayward child, every time he slaps me? The child must be corrected with great love. So what am I to forgive? Transgressions. What did our Lord forgive in His Passion? Everything. He was still able to talk while crucified, with hardly any blood left in His body...and what does He cry? "Father, Forgive Them"....they know not what they do. Last night, I was sent a youtube video of Patricia Sandoval, a prolife speaker that was once a Planned Parenthood worker. Click to see the video here. You are taken through her whole life, a testimony, that began innocent, and then gets corrupt, and then she somehow finds her way to God. But in the corruption, she aborted several children, of her own, and helped with others. Who paid the price?
Ultimately, we make our Lord pay for our sins. It is an atrocious thing to sin against our Lord. If He is King, you are committing treason, for going against the King of the Universe. Many rulers in the world want to be king and they will kill you for not following them. But the King of the Universe doesn't work that way. The King made us a deal "if you forgive others, you will be forgiven". A couple life and death stories I seen, they said they were facing extreme punishments... and for what? They didn't kill nobody, they didn't steal things...but...they couldn't forgive. You see how crucial this is? Forgiveness means everything, to me and I know it means so much to our Lord, and this is why He avails Himself for Confession, Reconciliation. He knows how far sin can go in destruction. Patricia's story was one of dabbling into the occult, and winds up in death, her spiritual death, and her children's deaths. You see the wages of sin? Once you veer, you let in evils who are only satisfied with death. An Archbishop said yesterday that people must stop worshipping "Santa Muerte". The name "santa muerte" is an oxymoron "Holy Death". It is witchcraft. It is evil. And it brings death to the world. I find myself in a world that seems to want more and more death. Why? Because they have lost the meaning of life...the sense of life, the goodness of life. We need to be reconciled. The people that blast me with a fist full of fury, I see one thing or two: First, these people need me, my prayers. Secondly, these people are affording me a chance at humility. An honor in Heaven. Forgiveness now becomes a powerful weapon against the adversary, our enemy. If you want to be raised, then be lowered. Patricia was raised from the dead, for the Holy Spirit brought her back to life. Reconciliation. All of this Bible, all of this Gospel today, God keeps saying "come to me". Be not afraid. "Let us be one" as Man was created for Woman or Woman created for Man. We are meant to be one and together in Love. And God is love.
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Random Bible Verse 1 Corinthians 13:13 (Listen) 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Thank You Jesus
For questions or comments contact Adrian@going4th.com. For more go to www.Going4th.com