Monday, March 31, 2014

You May Go

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Emulating Jesus Minute Meditations
By Baptism, the fundamental and common vocation of all Christians is to become disciples of Jesus Christ—people who follow "the way" that he modeled and made more possible by his living, dying, and rising.
— from Fast, Pray, Give 

St. Stephen of Mar Saba
(d. 794)

A "do not disturb" sign helped today's saint find holiness and peace.

Stephen of Mar Saba was the nephew of St. John Damascene, who introduced the young boy to monastic life beginning at age 10. When he reached 24, Stephen served the community in a variety of ways, including guest master. After some time he asked permission to live a hermit's life. The answer from the abbot was yes and no: Stephen could follow his preferred lifestyle during the week, but on weekends he was to offer his skills as a counselor. Stephen placed a note on the door of his cell: "Forgive me, Fathers, in the name of the Lord, but please do not disturb me except on Saturdays and Sundays."

Despite his calling to prayer and quiet, Stephen displayed uncanny skills with people and was a valued spiritual guide.

His biographer and disciple wrote about Stephen: "Whatever help, spiritual or material, he was asked to give, he gave. He received and honored all with the same kindness. He possessed nothing and lacked nothing. In total poverty he possessed all things."

Stephen died in 794.

Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M. 


I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me, creating me in his image and likeness, making me his temple....


Your death on the cross has set me free.
I can live joyously and freely
without fear of death.
Your mercy knows no bounds.


How do I find myself today?
Where am I with God? With others? 
Do I have something to be grateful for? 
Then I give thanks.
Is there something I am sorry for? 
Then I ask forgiveness.

The Word of God

Reading 1IS 65:17-21

Thus says the LORD:
Lo, I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
The things of the past shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness
in what I create;
For I create Jerusalem to be a joy
and its people to be a delight;
I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and exult in my people.
No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there,
or the sound of crying;
No longer shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime;
He dies a mere youth who reaches but a hundred years,
and he who fails of a hundred shall be thought accursed.
They shall live in the houses they build,
and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant.

Responsorial Psalm PS 30:2 AND 4, 5-6, 11-12A AND 13B

R. (2a) I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the nether world;
you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
"Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper."
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Gospel JN 4:43-54

At that time Jesus left for Galilee.
For Jesus himself testified
that a prophet has no honor in his native place.
When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him,
since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast;
for they themselves had gone to the feast.

Then he returned to Cana in Galilee,
where he had made the water wine.
Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum.
When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea,
he went to him and asked him to come down
and heal his son, who was near death.
Jesus said to him,
"Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe."
The royal official said to him,
"Sir, come down before my child dies."
Jesus said to him, "You may go; your son will live."
The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.
While the man was on his way back,
his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live.
He asked them when he began to recover.
They told him,
"The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon."
The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him,
"Your son will live,"
and he and his whole household came to believe.
Now this was the second sign Jesus did
when he came to Galilee from Judea.


Jesus, You always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth. Teach me to have a childlike trust in you. To live in the knowledge that You will never abandon me.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.

Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Isaiah 65:17-21

View NAB Reading at | Wrong date? Set time zone.

4th Week of Lent

Shout for joy... . I will rejoice in Jerusalem. (Isaiah 65:14, 19)


Lent is a serious season. It's a time to take a long, hard look at our sins and resolve to set them aside. It's a time for the discipline of extra prayer, sacrifice, and generosity.

Lent may be a serious time, but it doesn't have to be a gloomy time. Let's not forget the goal of the season. Lent isn't about punishing ourselves and denying ourselves. The purpose of Lent is to get ready to celebrate Easter as fully as possible, in the company of all the catechumens who are preparing for Baptism. The only reason to die to our sins is so that we can enter into the victory and gladness of Jesus' resurrection. That's what Lent is all about!

Perhaps the best way to sum up Lent is with a passage from Scripture: "For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross" (Hebrews 12:2).

We pray more so that we can be more fully united with the Lord who loves us completely. We let go of lesser things so that we can open our hands to receive the abundant, eternal life that he offers us. We give of ourselves to serve people in need so that we can bring them along with us as we journey toward the kingdom that has no end.

The prophet in today's first reading reminds us that God is doing something new. He is creating new heavens and a new earth. In fact, God is already rejoicing in the work he is doing—in the transformation he is working in his people. What's more, he is inviting us to rejoice with him, to "shout for joy" because we too can be transformed by his grace and power (Isaiah 65:14).

Perhaps your Lent is feeling heavy about now. It's hard to keep up those good intentions. You may feel that you're not making enough headway against ingrained habits. The people you are trying to serve don't seem to appreciate your efforts. It's hard to believe that God is at work in you and around you.

Lift your head and look up! Ask the Spirit to help you lighten up and keep the glorious goal in mind. Failure and disappointment, sin and death, do not have the last word, because Easter is coming!

"Spirit of God, help me keep my eyes on the joy you have set before me."


Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13; John 4:43-54

The first sign was when Jesus our Lord turned water to wine, and then spared the life of a son in Galilee.  Jesus our Lord finds Himself being asked to do things, and more often than not we hear His answer, Yes.  Question then is, what is my answer to Him?  Sure we like Him to say yes but how often do we say yes to Him?  And don't we find ourselves needing Him to say Yes every single day?  He saves and He saves, and He saves again.  If it were any other human, the answer would've been no.  But His mother said yes, and He says yes, and now we who are brothers and sisters, what do we say?  I am preaching to the choir mostly.  I know you say yes to the Lord because you are reading this, but now that we know the so called "problem", then how do we encourage others to say yes too!?  How?  Tell me!  I thank God for daily readings because I need daily encouragement.  Of all the things I have ever done, I don't see any progress for the Lord, and this is where faith kicks in.  When Jesus told the royal man "go, your son will live", HE BELIEVED and left.  We just have to believe on go and do what our Lord says.  You leave the rest to Him and stop being such a worry wart.  If you want to see great numbers of people for the Lord then dedicate yourself to it or simply so No, not anymore to the Lord that says Yes.  It is amazing how many sons God saves from death and Jesus was put to death, only to be saved and save everyone else and their mommas from sin and death!  Think about this.  How important is this?  This is why for forty days we share with the Lord what leads to salvation, a simple yes.  Here are a few questions to ponder now:  
Do you love God?
With all your strength?

With all your heart?
With all your soul?
And do you love everyone the same?
That worry on you right now, do you believe God will use it for His greater good?
Because that royal man is you today, we are royalty in the eyes of God, if not, we would not have such a good life, with a job, running water and electricity, a roof over our heads and people that love us.  But we find ourselves in great need, don't we?  I want you to do a quick exercise now that you are vested in this reflection, LOL.  Look away from the screen and look at your hands, face them palms up and look for a few seconds, then come back.

What is in your hands? Are all your worries carried in them?  Of course not, Jesus has them, our only weight is the choice to come back to Him fully and embrace Him.  There were no holes in your hands where the nails were in His.  No, just white palms, Holy People, People He made to come to others and embrace them with empty hands, for empty they came, and empty they go in this life, and the only real difference they made was the lives they touched, healing, embracing, serving, stretched out continuously for the day He asks for a hand.  
God, You are so good, I thank you for being patient for the many times I forget to be thankful.  The Holy Mass ends with a dismissal and a blessing that we are not to walk out before we receive when we hear the words of Jesus send us off to evangelize, "You May Go"
Like the woman that was going to be stoned for adultery, like the royal man who's son was about to die, like the woman who's child was possessed, Jesus tells all the same "You may go".  Can we not go to Jesus like all these people to receive absolution, forgiveness, and mercy and love?  Yes we can, the answer should always be Yes, and for this, for each other
You May Go
food for the poor

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Friday, March 28, 2014

No One Dared

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Letting Go Minute Meditations
Lord, sometimes you must get tired of hearing me tell you the way I think things should work out. And sometimes, I think you finally give in and allow me to learn the hard way. This Lent, let me relinquish all that and experience the rest that only you can provide.
— from Lenten Reflections 

St. Catharine of Bologna

Some Franciscan saints led fairly public lives; Catharine represents the saints who served the Lord in obscurity.

Catharine, born in Bologna, was related to the nobility in Ferrara and was educated at court there. She received a liberal education at the court and developed some interest and talent in painting. In later years as a Poor Clare, Catharine sometimes did manuscript illumination and also painted miniatures.

At the age of 17, she joined a group of religious women in Ferrara. Four years later the whole group joined the Poor Clares in that city. Jobs as convent baker and portress preceded her selection as novice mistress.

In 1456, she and 15 other sisters were sent to establish a Poor Clare monastery in Florence. As abbess Catharine worked to preserve the peace of the new community. Her reputation for holiness drew many young women to the Poor Clare life. She was canonized in 1712.


Appreciating Catharine's life in a Poor Clare monastery may be hard for us. "It seems like such a waste," we may be tempted to say. Through prayer, penance and charity to her sisters, Catharine drew close to God. Our goal is the same as hers even if our paths are different.


Catharine wrote a book on the seven spiritual weapons to be used against temptation. "Jesus Christ gave up his life that we might live," she said. "Therefore, whoever wishes to carry the cross for his sake must take up the proper weapons for the contest, especially those mentioned here. First, diligence; second, distrust of self; third, confidence in God; fourth, remembrance of the Passion; fifth, mindfulness of one's own death; sixth, remembrance of God's glory; seventh, the injunctions of Sacred Scripture following the example of Jesus Christ in the desert" (On the Seven Spiritual Weapons).

Patron Saint of:


Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M. 


Lord, help me to be fully alive to your holy presence.
Enfold me in your love.
Let my heart become one with yours.


By God's grace I was born to live in freedom.
Free to enjoy the pleasures He created for me.
Dear Lord, grant that I may live as You intended,
with complete confidence in Your Loving care.


I ask how I am within myself today? Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form? If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?

The Word of God

Reading 1HOS 14:2-10

Thus says the LORD:
Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God;
you have collapsed through your guilt.
Take with you words,
and return to the LORD;
Say to him, "Forgive all iniquity,
and receive what is good, that we may render
as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.
Assyria will not save us,
nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, 'Our god,'
to the work of our hands;
for in you the orphan finds compassion."

I will heal their defection, says the LORD,
I will love them freely;
for my wrath is turned away from them.
I will be like the dew for Israel:
he shall blossom like the lily;
He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar,
and put forth his shoots.
His splendor shall be like the olive tree
and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.
Again they shall dwell in his shade
and raise grain;
They shall blossom like the vine,
and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols?
I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
"I am like a verdant cypress tree"-- 
Because of me you bear fruit!

Let him who is wise understand these things;
let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the LORD,
in them the just walk,
but sinners stumble in them.

Responsorial Psalm PS 81:6C-8A, 8BC-9, 10-11AB, 14 AND 17

R. (see 11 and 9a) I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
An unfamiliar speech I hear:
"I relieved his shoulder of the burden;
his hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called, and I rescued you."
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
"Unseen, I answered you in thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
Hear, my people, and I will admonish you;
O Israel, will you not hear me?"
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
"There shall be no strange god among you
nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God
who led you forth from the land of Egypt."
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
"If only my people would hear me,
and Israel walk in my ways,
I would feed them with the best of wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would fill them."
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.

Gospel MK 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Jesus replied, "The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, 
with all your soul, 
with all your mind, 
and with all your strength
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding, 
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself

is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
"You are not far from the Kingdom of God."
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.


I begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture I have just read.What part of it strikes a chord in me?Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story I have heard recently- will slowly rise to the surface in my consciousness.If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to me?


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.

Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Mark 12:28-34

View NAB Reading at | 

3rd Week of Lent

You are not far from the kingdom of God. (Mark 12:34)

As encouraging as these words are, they still seem a little limited. Why didn't Jesus tell this scribe, "You've arrived! You have reached the kingdom of God"? It wasn't that the scribe lacked wisdom. He realized that the commandments to love God and neighbor were greater than any sacrifice or offering. He was faithful to the Law, but he also knew there was more. But Jesus saw that this man was not yet ready for the next step, for the revelation of his divinity. So he left him a tantalizing invitation to keep on looking.

A similar situation happened with another man Jesus met. This fellow had everything, but that was exactly the problem. He was so attached to his possessions that he couldn't give them up to follow Jesus. Like the scribe, he knew there was something missing in his life. But he wasn't ready to change, and he walked away sad. As he did with the scribe, Jesus didn't condemn the man. He looked at him with love and left the door open for him to take the next step (Mark 10:17-22).

Jesus is saying something similar to us today. We know who he is, and we are trying to follow him. But he is calling us further. He is asking us to "persevere in running the race that lies before us" (Hebrews 12:1). It's a long race that calls for patience, endurance, and fortitude. We don't want to stop, for then we can miss the next opportunity for grace and growth that God has in store for us. And if there's one thing we can say for certain about our heavenly Father, it's that he always has more for us. As one spiritual writer put it, "We are always only at the beginning of love."

Perhaps the most important thing to realize is that Jesus is pleased with you right now. Like a good coach, he sees how much you've already done, and he is proud of you! He is committed to the same thing you are. He wants to see you overcome that next hurdle, hit that new goal, and get that much closer to the finish line. He is committed to taking you there. Just stay with him every day, and keep your eyes fixed on him!

"Lord, give me eyes of faith to see that you are always with me. I have nothing to fear, for you will never let go of me."

Hosea 14:2-10; Psalm 81:6-11, 14, 17

The 5 minutos had this today, allow me to translate:
  "Thank You.  With these words I finish this letter, my God, my Love.  Because that is all I have to say to you: thank you, thank you.  If I turn my eyes back, what will I find but an endless range of your love?  There is no corner in my history in which your mercy wouldn't pour over me.  There has not existed an hour in which I hadn't experienced your loving and paternal presence caressing my soul(...) Just yesterday I received a letter from a friend that just found out about my health problems, and wrote furiously: "A great load of rage invades all my being and I rebel once and again against that God that allows people like you to suffer".  Poor person, her affection does not her see the truth.  Because (...) in my fifty years I have suffered but a few times at the hand of men(...) But of You, I have received nothing but an unending sowing of gestures of affection.  My last sickness is one of them.  And so I learned also that pain is part of the game.  Not a curse, but something that came in the earnings of living; something that, in all cases, would always be insufficient, because, having learned as a child to contemplate before all the positive zones of life, and having assumed with normality the dark, it turns out that, when these come, they are no longer dark, but just something grey (...)I have been happy, of course.  How could I not be?  And I have been happy here without waiting for the glory of heaven.  Look, You know that I am not afraid of death, but I am also not in a hurry for it to get here.  Could I be there in your arms more than I am today?  Because this is the amazement: we have Heaven from the moment we can love you (...)  -A Letter from Jose Luis Martin Descalzo, written a few days before he died)   "
Let us say, that the bible could be a love letter from God.  What we just read then, was from someone who had found themselves in the Kingdom of God, writing a love letter back to God.  What we witness then is a reciprocating love, a living, one in being with the other.  Hosea asked for the people to repent and prepare themselves for this.  Hosea was a prophet, and many called Jesus a prophet, for He was the reason of the prophets and then not only was a prophet but the fulfillment of the prophecies.  The woman at the well said "Sir, I can see that you are a prophet......I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Anointed; when he comes, he will tell us everything." Jesus said to her, "I am he,* the one who is speaking with you." (John 4:1-26).  She went on to become like an angel, a messenger, "come and see this man who told me everything, could this be the Messiah?"  Jesus said "I have food that you do not know...the food is to do the will of the one who sent Me", and the Gospel continues "Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman* who testified, "He told me everything I have done."  When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days.  Many more began to believe in him because of his word, and they said to the woman, "We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world."  This has everything to do with the fulfillment of today's readings.  And now, the Word has been spoken unto you.  Will this be the day that you repent of your sins?  Will this be the day we realize like the man speaking with Jesus and agree " you are right, we should love God with everything we've got and our neighbor"?  And so the next step is to do it, to take the plunge, the leap of faith into the unknown.  I have more than enough stories of how ungrateful people are with one another, and how pride rears its head in hiding.  What's being asked here is to step into a life of grace, mercy, and compassion.  Too often we want people to accept us, apologize to us, respect us, and not say nothing about us.  Look, truth in works appears.  When you follow Jesus, all that is behind, we have gone beyond.  I want you to realize that this invitation that our Lord leaves open today is for you and for me.  Are you ready, are you getting ready for this?  For what?  An unending Kingdom.  After all, it is not even a question or open invitation, it is a commandment; I Am the Lord your God, hear My voice.
 And no one dared to ask Him anymore questions
The needy are the poor and the poor in spirit.
Give today of all you got with all you got

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