Thursday, November 27, 2014

Is At Hand

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Minute Meditations

Sharing God's Word  
As people of faith, we wake up with a purpose. We have a sense of mission, and this gives our lives enduring meaning. We can share with confidence the Word of God, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. There are no chance encounters!
— from Catholics, Wake Up!  

St. Francesco Antonio Fasani

Born in Lucera (southeast Italy), Francesco entered the Conventual Franciscans in 1695. After his ordination 10 years later, he taught philosophy to younger friars, served as guardian of his friary and later became provincial. When his term of office ended, Francesco became master of novices and finally pastor in his hometown.
In his various ministries, he was loving, devout and penitential. He was a sought-after confessor and preacher. One witness at the canonical hearings regarding Francesco's holiness testified, "In his preaching he spoke in a familiar way, filled as he was with the love of God and neighbor; fired by the Spirit, he made use of the words and deed of Holy Scripture, stirring his listeners and moving them to do penance." Francesco showed himself a loyal friend of the poor, never hesitating to seek from benefactors what was needed.

At his death in Lucera, children ran through the streets and cried out, "The saint is dead! The saint is dead!" Francesco was canonized in 1986.


Eventually we become what we choose. If we choose stinginess, we become stingy. If we choose compassion, we become compassionate. The holiness of Francesco Antonio Fasani resulted from his many small decisions to cooperate with God's grace.


During his homily at the canonization of Francesco, Pope John Paul II reflected on John 21:15 in which Jesus asks Peter if he loves Jesus more than the other apostles and then tells Peter, "Feed my lambs." The pope observed that in the final analysis human holiness is decided by love. "He made the love taught us by Christ the fundamental characteristic of his existence, the basic criterion of his thought and activity, the supreme summit of his aspirations" (L'Osservatore Romano, vol. 16, number 3, 1986).

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


At any time of the day or night we can call on Jesus.
He is always waiting, listening for our call.
What a wonderful blessing.
No phone needed, no e-mails, just a whisper.


Lord, may I never take the gift
of freedom for granted. You gave
me the great blessing of freedom of
spirit. Fill my spirit with Your peace and
Your joy.

At this moment Lord I turn my thoughts to you.
I will leave aside my chores and preoccuptions.
I will take rest and refreshment in your presence Lord.

The Word of God

Reading 1 rv 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9a

I, John, saw another angel coming down from heaven,
having great authority,
and the earth became illumined by his splendor.
He cried out in a mighty voice:

"Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great.
She has become a haunt for demons.
She is a cage for every unclean spirit,
a cage for every unclean bird,
a cage for every unclean and disgusting beast."

A mighty angel picked up a stone like a huge millstone
and threw it into the sea and said:

"With such force will Babylon the great city be thrown down,
and will never be found again.
No melodies of harpists and musicians,
flutists and trumpeters,
will ever be heard in you again.
No craftsmen in any trade
will ever be found in you again.
No sound of the millstone
will ever be heard in you again.
No light from a lamp
will ever be seen in you again.
No voices of bride and groom
will ever be heard in you again.
Because your merchants were the great ones of the world,
all nations were led astray by your magic potion."

After this I heard what sounded like
the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying:

Salvation, glory, and might belong to our God,
for true and just are his judgments.
He has condemned the great harlot
who corrupted the earth with her harlotry.
He has avenged on her the blood of his servants."

They said a second time:

"Alleluia! Smoke will rise from her forever and ever."

Then the angel said to me, "Write this:
Blessed are those who have been called
to the wedding feast of the Lamb."

Responsorial Psalm ps 100:1b-2, 3, 4, 5

R. (Rev. 19: 9a) Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him; bless his name.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
For he is good:
the LORD, whose kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Gospel lk 21:20-28

Jesus said to his disciples:
"When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies,
know that its desolation is at hand.
Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.
Let those within the city escape from it,
and let those in the countryside not enter the city,
for these days are the time of punishment
when all the Scriptures are fulfilled.
Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days,
for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth
and a wrathful judgment upon this people.
They will fall by the edge of the sword
and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles;
and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles
until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

"There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand."

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

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: Luke 21:20-28

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Thanksgiving Day (USA)
Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand. (Luke 21:28)

Jesus chose to end a short discourse on the end of the world with the command to stand up straight. In essence, he tells us not to bow in fear over what might come: desolation, punishment, "terrible calamity," or "wrathful judgment." Don't be afraid of these, he tells us, but stand erect, unbowed by anxiety, mistrust, alarm, or misgivings. Why? Because your redemption is at hand.
Yes, you can stand erect in the midst of calamity, if it visits you, because God is always near to you. You can stand because you are created in his image and likeness. You reflect the glory of the Lord, and no matter what you think about how you look or how well you follow Jesus, that reflection remains. He breathed his life into you in the beginning, and he has not withdrawn it! So you never have to stand alone. What's more, you are more than just an ordinary person. You radiate the life of God in you!
When trouble strikes, remember that almighty God loves you and treasures you immensely. He loves you so deeply that he gave his only Son to save you from sin and bring you into his presence. Nothing pleases him more than to spend time with you and to speak to you. So stand erect, knowing that you are worth more to him than all the riches of the universe.
But don't just stand. Move! You have a vital role to play in the unfolding of God's plan. You are not an accident or a random occurrence. People depend on you. The Church needs you. The lost and unbelieving rely on you. Your witness, your words, your intercession, your service—it all makes a huge difference in this world. Even if you can't see how, you matter!
So don't let troubles or difficulties keep you down. You're too important, too beloved, and too dignified to let them get the upper hand. Instead, stand up straight, look to your Father, and see what he is doing today. Then move forward, helping prepare for the day when the Son of Man comes "with power and great glory" (Luke 21:27).

"Jesus, I believe in your love for me. I will stand erect and raise my head today, ready to advance your kingdom in this world."

Revelation 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9; Psalm 100:1-5

Today we read about a harlot and how she was condemned.  This was a harlot of a nation, a prostitute that means giving of self to any one for money but mostly means...unholy, sinful.  Then, the Revelation speaks of a wedding feast as so does the Psalm "Blessed are they who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb", the Lamb of God, of Jesus.  Now we are speaking about purity, because purity is that joined and comes from Christ.  LOL, I feel like when I'm talking to the co-workers, it seems I keep exhorting them to become faithful, come to Mass, to no avail.  But maybe it's God talking.  Maybe He keeps asking us to please be faithful.  Because at the wedding feast, the Holy Mass, the bride meets the groom, Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.  Stay with me, because it is all about ThanksGIVING.  At the end of today's Gospel, our Lord Jesus talks about how terrible things will happen, and some will even die of fright at what is going on.  And He tells us to stand up, with hands risen and open, for He is coming, Redemption is coming, Salvation is coming.  Now back to the feast.  Back to the groom waiting at the Altar.  Should we not join ourselves and run to Him with open arms?  Because there He is offering His body, His Purity, and we join in thanksgiving, and the Eucharist means ThanksGiving.  Thanks be to God, and He says thank you too.  Thank you for joining me.  Thank you for being there with me, through the good times and the bad, through sickness and in health, wealth and poverty.  Thank you for CHOOSING to love, because it will not be a feeling, but a choice to love life to the end and then  beyond.  Thank you for loving.  Thank you for letting yourself be loved.  Thank you for being faithful.  Thank you for standing up for me.  Thank you for raising your arms to welcome Me in your heart.  Thank you for being you.  Thank you for believing in Me.  Thank you and I Love You.  Thank you for living that love that you proclaim.  Thank you for being the light in the darkness.  Thank you for not being ashamed of Me.  Thank you, you are my bride, my pure Holy Bride whom I have chosen.  Thank you for giving your life for Me




Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Myself Will Give

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Minute Meditations

There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church—which is, of course, quite a different thing. --Bishop Fulton Sheen
— from Catholics, Wake Up!

St. Columban

Columban was the greatest of the Irish missionaries who worked on the European continent. As a young man who was greatly tormented by temptations of the flesh, he sought the advice of a religious woman who had lived a hermit's life for years. He saw in her answer a call to leave the world. He went first to a monk on an island in Lough Erne, then to the great monastic seat of learning at Bangor.
After many years of seclusion and prayer, he traveled to Gaul (modern-day France) with 12 companion missionaries. They won wide respect for the rigor of their discipline, their preaching, and their commitment to charity and religious life in a time characterized by clerical laxity and civil strife. Columban established several monasteries in Europe which became centers of religion and culture.

Like all saints, he met opposition. Ultimately he had to appeal to the pope against complaints of Frankish bishops, for vindication of his orthodoxy and approval of Irish customs. He reproved the king for his licentious life, insisting that he marry. Since this threatened the power of the queen mother, Columban was deported to Ireland. His ship ran aground in a storm, and he continued his work in Europe, ultimately arriving in Italy, where he found favor with the king of the Lombards. In his last years he established the famous monastery of Bobbio, where he died. His writings include a treatise on penance and against Arianism, sermons, poetry and his monastic rule.


Now that public sexual license is becoming extreme, we need the Church's jolting memory of a young man as concerned about chastity as Columban. And now that the comfort-captured Western world stands in tragic contrast to starving millions, we need the challenge to austerity and discipline of a group of Irish monks. They were too strict, we say; they went too far. How far shall we go?


Writing to the pope about a doctrinal controversy in Lombardy, Columban said: "We Irish, living in the farthest parts of the earth, are followers of St. Peter and St. Paul and of the disciples who wrote down the sacred canon under the Holy Spirit. We accept nothing outside this evangelical and apostolic teaching.... I confess I am grieved by the bad repute of the chair of St. Peter in this country.... Though Rome is great and known afar, she is great and honored with us only because of this chair.... Look after the peace of the Church, stand between your sheep and the wolves."

Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
God is with me, but more,
God is within me, giving me existence.
Let me dwell for a moment on God's life-giving presence
in my body, my mind, my heart
and in the whole of my life.

I will ask God's help,
to be free from my own preoccupations,
to be open to God in this time of prayer,
to come to know, love and serve God more.
In the presence of my loving Creator, I look honestly at my feelings over the last day, the highs, the lows and the level ground. Can I see where the Lord has been present?

The Word of God

Reading 1 rv 15:1-4

I, John, saw in heaven another sign, great and awe-inspiring:
seven angels with the seven last plagues,
for through them God's fury is accomplished.

Then I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire.
On the sea of glass were standing those
who had won the victory over the beast
and its image and the number that signified its name.
They were holding God's harps,
and they sang the song of Moses, the servant of God,
and the song of the Lamb:

"Great and wonderful are your works,
Lord God almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
O king of the nations.
Who will not fear you, Lord,
or glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All the nations will come
and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed."

Responsorial Psalm ps 98:1, 2-3ab, 7-8, 9

R. (Rev. 15: 3b) Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!
Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy.
R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!
Before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to rule the earth;
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with equity.
R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!

Gospel lk 21:12-19

Jesus said to the crowd:
"They will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents,
brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives."

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

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: Revelation 15:1-4

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34th Week in Ordinary Time

They sang ... the song of the Lamb. (Revelation 15:3)
Have you ever missed the ending of a good story? Maybe the power went out just before the movie finished, or you were reading a book only to find the last few pages torn out when you got there. It's so frustrating! You begin to think that you would have been better off never to have started watching or reading in the first place.
In a sense, the history of the world is one huge, complex story, and today's first reading gives us a glimpse of the ending. Though it speaks in story and symbol, and though there's a lot we aren't told, we do know that it's a happy ending. God will be victorious over his enemies, and he will right all wrongs!
But here we are, still in the middle of the story. We may have a sense of how it's going to end, but it still can be easy to lose sight of that ending. There are times when it can feel as if life is a never-ending story, and the plot doesn't seem to make much sense. So it's helpful to remind ourselves that we're in the part of the story where there is confusion and conflict. There are still a number of loose ends that God has yet to tie up. But we can be assured that God will eventually make sense of it all and that everything we are facing will somehow turn out for good.
Do you have something in your life that seems painful or paradoxical? Maybe an estranged family member or physical pain? Maybe a sense of distance from God that you don't understand? This isn't the end of the story! God is still unfolding the plot, and he never loses track of the details.
Sit for a few minutes with the song in today's reading. This is a vision of God's servants praising him at the end of the world, when the story is finished. Take the scene in, and rejoice that you will join in this chorus when the great Storyteller has written the final chapter.
"Lord, thank you for writing such a dramatic story of the world. I rejoice that the ending is safe in your hands."

Psalm 98:1-3, 7-9; Luke 21:12-19


Today's 5minutos (an attempt to translate it by yours truly):
  "A study conducted by the National Retail Dry Goods Association shows that the first attempts without success take  about half of sellers to a certain failure.  Pay attention: 48% of the sellers make a call and give up/stop calling/desist.  25%  of sellers make two calls and give up/desist. 15% of all callers make three calls and give up/desist.  12% of all callers insist and insist and insist.  They make about 80% of all sales.  Insistence is a resort that impulses a great leap of new opportunities.  They are many who have been left frustrated on the way, when in reality there was ahead of them the greatest opportunity of their life.  Insist, insist, and insist because soon the door will be opened to you.  Perseverance is a seed that when it germinates produces one of the greatest trees & most leafy in life.  More the one that fell on good dirt, these are the ones with good and upright heart retain the word that was heard, and give fruit with perseverance.  Jesus has announced it to us, in the moment He was about to give Himself on the cross, not to scare us, but to give us confidence, to encourage us to be strong in the daily fight: "with your perseverance you will save Souls".  The Love, friendship and fortitude and our faith, are not demonstrated when all is well, but when put to the test.   "
Amazing huh?  I wonder how many seeds and pollen have to go out to make a plant?  In humans it takes millions of cells, and one in a million is you.  It is actually perfection.   Too bad nowadays there are those that think this is a mistake, a life...unwanted.  And I'm not just talking about unborn children, but a LIFE unwanted.  A LIFE of Christ.  A LIFE of total surrender.   A LIFE unafraid to be ridiculed by family and friends.  A LIFE where you will talk to God and not be ashamed.  I told my friendship group Monday night "...I believe really it takes guts to be able to come to your priest and confess your worst parts of your life".  Yet people are afraid.  Call it pride, I call it being a scaredy cat.  Call it esteem, I call it being chicken.  Sin makes you a chicken.  Grace makes you a hero.  And what's great about this all is that it is God that takes you from zero to hero.  This is the song of the Lamb.  Salvation.  The song of Moses?  Trust.  Trust in Salvation and don't let yourself get in the way.  If your family isn't coming to Jesus, don't blame the world, blame the lack of zeal in your heart that is contagious.  Once they see your joy of the Lord, one day they will say "...I want some of that!".  And this is Jesus.  The Psalm prays "Great and Wonderful are ALL your works, Lord, mighty GOD!".  We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made.  Fearfully means what?  Perhaps holy.  With an instilled fear of the Lord that we sadly lose as we grow up.  Wonderfully?  What does that mean?  Made in awe and wonder, a miracle, to wonder and ponder upon the Lord and all His deeds.  Jesus said "they will seize you and persecute you" and eventually will lead to your testimony.  He continues "you are not to prepare your defense beforehand" for I will be the one doing the talking!  WOW.  Our part is joined with His.  Don't worry, not a hair will be harmed.  Even if your body is burned to the ground, the King of Life will make sure it is not again, resurrected in body.  Isn't that the hardest part to believe?  To believe in trust?  To believe in the song of Moses?  To believe the song of the Lamb?  Listen.  Perseverance is for winners, giving up is for losers, and what is at stake?  Souls.  Nothing more important but the souls of those around you.  My kids didn't want to really pray in a circle last night.  Who's fault is it?  Theirs?  Or their friends?  Point the finger, most point to myself.  I have not led them to love.  I have failed miserably, most probably because they see me forcing myself to pray.  I opened my eyes during a prayer and saw one or two little ones looking at me, and I said "I better really be praying" and opened my heart to God.  Now, I was leading in a song last night in a funeral vigil.  I opened my eyes and saw one or two children of God looking, following along and singing, and I said "I better really be singing and praying to GOD!".  You see, this is your life at every moment.  You really better be doing your part of opening your heart.  Otherwise my perseverance for them is for nothing, because perseverance for myself was never there.  God listens to insistence.
I write to you a lot, I am insisting over and over and over for you to believe, and all the while the message in turn is for me.
I prayed as I led our company safety meeting this morning before writing to you, as I led the prayer, I not once opened my eyes to see who was praying because I was too caught up with my heart speaking to God...

You see you bless and are blessed.

Thank you Lord.


your lil bro,



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mighty Signs

Minute Meditations

Live Charitably  
To live charitably means not looking out for our own interests, but carrying the burdens of the weakest and poorest among us. –Pope Francis
— from Seven Saints for Seven Virtues

St. Catherine of Alexandria
(c. 310)

According to the Legend of St. Catherine, this young woman converted to Christianity after receiving a vision. At the age of 18, she debated 50 pagan philosophers. Amazed at her wisdom and debating skills, they became Christians—as did about 200 soldiers and members of the emperor’s family. All of them were martyred.
Sentenced to be executed on a spiked wheel, Catherine touched the wheel and it shattered. She was beheaded. Centuries later, angels are said to have carried the body of St. Catherine to a monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai.

Devotion to her spread as a result of the Crusades. She was invoked as the patroness of students, teachers, librarians and lawyers. Catherine is one of the 14 Holy Helpers, venerated especially in Germany and Hungary.


The pursuit of God's wisdom may not lead to riches or earthly honors. In Catherine's case, this pursuit contributed to her martyrdom. She was not, however, foolish in preferring to die for Jesus rather than live only by denying him. All the rewards that her tormenters offered her would rust, lose their beauty or in some other way become a poor exchange for Catherine's honesty and integrity in following Jesus Christ.


“Therefore I [King Solomon] prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her, nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; Because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire. Beyond health and comeliness I loved her, and I chose to have her rather than the light, because the splendor of her never yields to sleep. Yet all good things together came to me in her company, and countless riches at her hands; and I rejoiced in them all, because Wisdom is their leader, though I had not known that she is the mother of these” (Wisdom 7:7-12).

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.

I will ask God's help,
to be free from my own preoccupations,
to be open to God in this time of prayer,
to come to know, love and serve God more.

I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God.
I trace out these links, giving thanks for the life that flows through them.
Some links are twisted or broken: I may feel regret, anger, disappointment.
I pray for the gift of acceptance and forgiveness.

The Word of God

Reading 1 rv 14:14-19

I, John, looked and there was a white cloud,
and sitting on the cloud one who looked like a son of man,
with a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.
Another angel came out of the temple,
crying out in a loud voice to the one sitting on the cloud,
“Use your sickle and reap the harvest,
for the time to reap has come,
because the earth’s harvest is fully ripe.”
So the one who was sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth,
and the earth was harvested.

Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven
who also had a sharp sickle.
Then another angel came from the altar, who was in charge of the fire,
and cried out in a loud voice
to the one who had the sharp sickle,
“Use your sharp sickle and cut the clusters from the earth’s vines,
for its grapes are ripe.”
So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and cut the earth’s vintage.
He threw it into the great wine press of God’s fury.

Responsorial Psalm ps 96:10, 11-12, 13

R. (13b) The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.

Gospel lk 21:5-11

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”

audio    Listen to audio of this reading

video    Watch a video reflection

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

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: Luke 21:5-11

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Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr

Do not be terrified. (Luke 21:9)
Hearing about “wars and insurrections” can certainly be terrifying. On our shrinking globe, violence halfway around the world is streamed to us almost instantaneously. We may not understand all the factors involved, but most of us can find a personal link. Maybe we have a classmate or a coworker from that part of the world. Maybe a family member is serving in the government or the military, or someone on our street has been robbed or abused. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by such events and to wonder how much worse things will get before Jesus comes back and brings the world to an end.
But what do we really need to know about the end of the world?
Jesus refuses to answer the “when” question that agitates his followers. He tells them to expect natural as well as man-made disasters and not to be taken by surprise when they happen. He cautions them not to believe any prophet of doom. There are only a few things they need to know.
First, God is in charge. Nothing happens outside his providence. He is making use of everything to build his kingdom.
Second, God doesn’t act alone. He has chosen to act on earth through his body, the Church. That means Christ living in us. We are a part of his plan to redeem the world!
Third, God doesn’t intend for us to act alone. He calls us together and interweaves our individual strengths and weaknesses in an amazing pattern.
Sometimes, God’s work involves a degree of deconstruction as we find our limited structures crumbling. Through hardship or struggle or calamity, we realize that we don’t have everything we need to survive in this world. This is where things can get frightening for us and cause us to react rashly. Yes, it may seem that everything is falling apart, as in today’s Gospel reading. But God is always at our side. He is constantly assuring us that whatever he dismantles, he will rebuild—only stronger, purer, and holier.
So don’t be afraid if you find something falling apart. Instead, turn to the Lord, and ask him what he is building up in its place.
“Father, reveal your loving hand to guide me through everything that tempts me to tremble in fear.”

Revelation 14:14-19; Psalm 96:10-13

One can not, and one should not confine God.  You can not control Him.  Funny thing is, He won't even control us without our will, our consent.  I ask Him to control me, so I am drawn closer to Him.  For what other reason do we live than to bear fruit?  And what kind of fruit will we bear in our lifetime?  Such is the question and demand of the book of Revelation today, only to be followed by the Psalm "The Lord Comes To Judge The Earth".  The fulfilment of all prophecies is Jesus.  Forget all the other prophets, for what Jesus says goes.  What He says comes to be and will come to be.  All the people were amazed at all the beautiful gems and stones in the temple when our Lord says one day it would all be flipped.  And indeed every stone was turned.  Every stone for a heart would realize this was the King of the Universe, every knee shall bow, every one will cry out the day of His coming, Amen.  And Amen means let it be done, according to His will, and Amen in Spanish means to love.  His will is His Love.  To do His will is to Love.  To care is to love, the more, the better.
"It is love alone that gives worth to all things." -St. Teresa of Avila
People want to know so they can know how much they can get away with, and that is why we can not know.  It is better to not know.  Do you want to know the day you will die?  Why?  So you can wait till the last minute to turn your life to God?  It is the basis of today's Word to you to say, now is the time.  We are on our way to celebrate the coming of our Lord.  Am I talking about Christmas?  Or am I talking about the day He will come in all His splendor?  LOL.  I want to laugh, because Jesus is not limited to that one day He will come at the end of age.  He comes every day to Earth.  His Holy Spirit is here available every second of our lives.  He comes to Earth in the form of bread turned to His body in the most Holy Eucharist of the Holy Catholic Church.  He comes in all His might just the same as that beautiful glorious night when a virgin gave birth to the son of man, the creator.  This is awesome.  One day you will realize that every day you spent without the Lord in your life was a day you could've turned around and find Him right there.  But hell will not avail this opportunity we live now.  God's fury is not anger, but justice.  Because He is infinitely Good, it ends for good.  And so we bring our lives to this good, and joy becomes to shine from the fruit, all brought about the vine, and we are branches.  I can then begin to see mighty and awesome sights from above, the Heavens, because my heart is beginning to pump life through my soul, and it is coming from the love of God...



Monday, November 24, 2014

A Poor Widow

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Monday, November 24, 2014

A Poor Widow

Minute Meditations 

Defeating Sin Minute Meditations
To replace our sins with virtues may seem like a daunting task, but fortunately we can follow the example of the saints who have successfully defeated these sins in their lifetimes. They provide us with a way forward so that we, too, can live holy, virtuous lives.
— from Seven Saints for Seven Virtues 

St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions
19th century

Andrew Dung-Lac was one of 117 people martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. Members of this group were beatified on four different occasions between 1900 and 1951. All were canonized by St. John Paul II. 
Christianity came to Vietnam (then three separate kingdoms) through the Portuguese. Jesuits opened the first permanent mission at Da Nang in 1615. They ministered to Japanese Catholics who had been driven from Japan. 

The king of one of the kingdoms banned all foreign missionaries and tried to make all Vietnamese deny their faith by trampling on a crucifix. Like the priest-holes in Ireland during English persecution, many hiding places were offered in homes of the faithful. 

Severe persecutions were again launched three times in the 19th century. During the six decades after 1820, between 100,000 and 300,000 Catholics were killed or subjected to great hardship. Foreign missionaries martyred in the first wave included priests of the Paris Mission Society, and Spanish Dominican priests and tertiaries. 

Persecution broke out again in 1847 when the emperor suspected foreign missionaries and Vietnamese Christians of sympathizing with a rebellion led by of one of his sons. 

The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862. That year a treaty with France guaranteed religious freedom to Catholics, but it did not stop all persecution. 

By 1954 there were over a million and a half Catholics—about seven percent of the population—in the north. Buddhists represented about 60 percent. Persistent persecution forced some 670,000 Catholics to abandon lands, homes and possessions and flee to the south. In 1964, there were still 833,000 Catholics in the north, but many were in prison. In the south, Catholics were enjoying the first decade of religious freedom in centuries, their numbers swelled by refugees. 

During the Vietnamese war, Catholics again suffered in the north, and again moved to the south in great numbers. Now the whole country is under Communist rule.


It may help a people who associate Vietnam only with a 20th-century war to realize that the cross has long been a part of the lives of the people of that country. Even as some people ask again the unanswered questions about United States involvement and disengagement, the faith rooted in Vietnam's soil proves hardier than the forces that willed to destroy it.


"The Church in Vietnam is alive and vigorous, blessed with strong and faithful bishops, dedicated religious, and courageous and committed laypeople.... The Church in Vietnam is living out the gospel in a difficult and complex situation with remarkable persistence and strength" (statement of three U.S. archbishops returning from Vietnam in January 1989).

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....

"In these days, God taught me
as a schoolteacher teaches a pupil" (Saint Ignatius).
I remind myself that there are things God has to teach me yet,
and ask for the grace to hear them and let them change me. 

In the presence of my loving Creator, I look honestly at my feelings over the last day, the highs, the lows and the level ground. Can I see where the Lord has been present?

The Word of God 
Memorial of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs

Reading 1 rv 14:1-3, 4b-5

I, John, looked and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion,
and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand
who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads.
I heard a sound from heaven
like the sound of rushing water or a loud peal of thunder.
The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps.
They were singing what seemed to be a new hymn before the throne,
before the four living creatures and the elders.
No one could learn this hymn except the hundred and forty-four thousand
who had been ransomed from the earth.
These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.
They have been ransomed as the first fruits
of the human race for God and the Lamb.
On their lips no deceit has been found; they are unblemished.

Responsorial Psalm ps 24:1bc-2, 3-4ab, 5-6

R. (see 6) Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
The LORD's are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Gospel lk 21:1-4

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people
putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
He said, "I tell you truly,
this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood."

audio    Listen to audio of this reading

video    Watch a video reflection 

Remembering that I am still in God's presence, I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting beside me, and say whatever is on my mind, whatever is in my heart, speaking as one friend to another.

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: Luke 21:1-4

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Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs

This poor widow put in more than all the rest. (Luke 21:3)
Think about the money you put into the collection basket at Mass on Sundays. What does it amount to? A few cups of coffee? Maybe a meal at a nice restaurant or some other more expensive luxury? Now think about a contribution to the temple treasury in Jesus' time. Was it worth the price of a cow? A new cloak? Maybe a jug of wine? Everyone's gift means something different—as different as each giver.
The two coins that the widow in today's Gospel gave were insignificantly small compared to the larger gifts given by the successful merchants and wealthy farmers jostling past her. But Jesus could see how much the coins were worth to this woman, and her gift touched his heart.
What was so special about her offering? The answer gets at the very root of the reason why we are called to give to the Lord. Of course, the money that we give to the Church and to worthy charities is well used, and this is important. Many people are helped by the contributions we make. But God doesn't delight in an offering just because of what can be done with it. His concerns go far beyond a mere pragmatic accounting of dollars and cents. God is overjoyed when we give like this poor widow, because in doing so, we are giving our very lives to him.
This woman, donating more than she could afford, glorified God. Her sacrificial gift was an offering of worship. It's as if she said, I know it's not much, but it's all I have. Take it, Lord, because you are worth every penny. 
God wants more than our money. He wants our hearts. Everything for him! When we surrender ourselves to God by giving out of our substance, he rejoices in it, no matter how small we may think our contribution. Ask God today for the desire and the courage to surrender to him with the same selfless spirit as the widow who touched his heart.
"Lord, help me give my whole life to you today. I offer you my heart, and I trust that you will accept it and make use of it."

Revelation 14:1-5; Psalm 24:1-6


Open the doors to Christ!  In today's first Holy Scripture we read about the people marked on the foreheads, a number that symbolizes the multitudes of chosen disciples, the children of God.  It does not mean like Jehova's Witnesses believe "the number means they have already been chosen and you are living heaven on earth".  If this is Heaven, and evil exists then what kind of Heaven is this?  I killed a rattlesnake in a garage this weekend.  I cleaned up the garage, and the next day I found another rattlesnake in the same garage.  I found myself in sinful temptation, this weekend I went to confession, and I found myself in temptation again.  The point of all this is to tell you to be onguard constantly.  This is a call to bind one's soul to salvation, and it entails sacrifice, if it did not, we would not have read about today's martyrs, Christians dying for their faith, "They have been ransomed as the first fruits of the human race for God and the Lamb. On their lips no deceit has been found; they are unblemished."  Then we read/prayed "Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face".  And our Lord gives the parable of a widow that gives more tithing than anyone else.  Before I conclude, allow me to share from James Chapter 1:
Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.m 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror.
 24He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like. 25But the one who peers into the perfect law* of freedom and perseveres, and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, such a one shall be blessed in what he does.n 
26* If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue* but deceives his heart, his religion is vain.o 
27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows* in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.p  

Again, unstained (Holy) doers.  I told my wife this weekend, "...I like to talk about how highly I think of Confession/Reconciliation, but I don't do it (as often as much as I regard it)".   Sure we think of God.  Sure we say we hold Him in high esteem, but we aren't doers.  And I can say this because I believe I act as a doer of God's word.  It's one thing to hear and a complete other thing to do.  Watch your tongue, it will blurt out what's in the heart, unbridled living a vain religion.  When a poor widow gives her two cents, her two only coins, it means she is giving 100% to God.  Giving 100% trust in God.  Giving 100% devotion to God.  Giving 100 % of her life to God.
Holy Mass was about to start and my brother in  law taps on my shoulder and whispers in my ear "I need to go to the ATM, I forgot my tithe".  I said "Mass is about to start it is too late".  They came with us in our van to Mass.  He had heard me  to be prepared for Mass, but did not prepare.  I am like Pablo, aren't we all? We hear but don't do.  True religion is to care, for orphans and widows, and to keep unstained by the world.  What does this mean?  
It means God wants you to be among the 144,000.  Many more than that have been slaughtered, martyrs for the faith.  What He wants is Holiness.  He wants it for us for our own Good.  After all, it is my loss if I do not gain Heaven, He is already there waiting...

Come To The Father Undefiled, and He undefiles...
Jesus is the Way

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