Wednesday, January 22, 2014

To Save Life

Untitled document


Credible Witnesses Minute Meditations
We need to be credible witnesses, willing to carry the crosses and burdens of our faith that often make it difficult to be Catholic. We must embrace the sometimes difficult tenets of the Church.
— from The New Evangelization and You 

St. Vincent
(d. 304)

When Jesus deliberately began his "journey" to death, Luke says that he "set his face" to go to Jerusalem. It is this quality of rocklike courage that distinguishes the martyrs.

Most of what we know about this saint comes from the poet Prudentius. His Actshave been rather freely colored by the imagination of their compiler. But St. Augustine, in one of his sermons on St. Vincent, speaks of having the Acts of his martyrdom before him. We are at least sure of his name, his being a deacon, the place of his death and burial.

According to the story we have (and as with some of the other early martyrs the unusual devotion he inspired must have had a basis in a very heroic life), Vincent was ordained deacon by his friend St. Valerius of Zaragossa in Spain. The Roman emperors had published their edicts against the clergy in 303, and the following year against the laity. Vincent and his bishop were imprisoned in Valencia. Hunger and torture failed to break them. Like the youths in the fiery furnace (Book of Daniel, chapter three), they seemed to thrive on suffering.

Valerius was sent into exile, and Dacian, the Roman governor, now turned the full force of his fury on Vincent. Tortures that sound very modern were tried. But their main effect was the progressive disintegration of Dacian himself. He had the torturers beaten because they failed.

Finally he suggested a compromise: Would Vincent at least give up the sacred books to be burned according to the emperor's edict? He would not. Torture on the gridiron continued, the prisoner remaining courageous, the torturer losing control of himself. Vincent was thrown into a filthy prison cell—and converted the jailer. Dacian wept with rage, but strangely enough, ordered the prisoner to be given some rest.

Friends among the faithful came to visit him, but he was to have no earthly rest. When they finally settled him on a comfortable bed, he went to his eternal rest.


The martyrs are heroic examples of what God's power can do. It is humanly impossible, we realize, for someone to go through tortures such as Vincent had and remain faithful. But it is equally true that by human power alone no one can remain faithful even without torture or suffering. God does not come to our rescue at isolated, "special" moments. God is supporting the super-cruisers as well as children's toy boats.


"Wherever it was that Christians were put to death, their executions did not bear the semblance of a triumph. Exteriorly they did not differ in the least from the executions of common criminals. But the moral grandeur of a martyr is essentially the same, whether he preserved his constancy in the arena before thousands of raving spectators or whether he perfected his martyrdom forsaken by all upon a pitiless flayer's field" (The Roman Catacombs, Hertling-Kirschbaum).

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


Dear Lord, help me to be open to you
for this time as I put aside the cares of this world.
Fill my mind with your peace, Your Love.


Lord you gave me life and the gift of freedom.
Through Your love I exist in this world.
May I never take the gift of life for granted.
May I always respect the right to life of others.


How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy-hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried or angry. I acknowledge how I really am.
It is the real me that the Lord loves.

The Word of God

Reading 1

1 SM 17:32-33, 37, 40-51

David spoke to Saul:
"Let your majesty not lose courage.
I am at your service to go and fight this Philistine."
But Saul answered David,
"You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him,
for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth."

David continued:
"The LORD, who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear,
will also keep me safe from the clutches of this Philistine."
Saul answered David, "Go! the LORD will be with you."

Then, staff in hand, David selected five smooth stones from the wadi
and put them in the pocket of his shepherd's bag.
With his sling also ready to hand, he approached the Philistine.

With his shield bearer marching before him,
the Philistine also advanced closer and closer to David.
When he had sized David up,
and seen that he was youthful, and ruddy, and handsome in appearance,
the Philistine held David in contempt.
The Philistine said to David,
"Am I a dog that you come against me with a staff?"
Then the Philistine cursed David by his gods
and said to him, "Come here to me,
and I will leave your flesh for the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field."
David answered him:
"You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar,
but I come against you in the name of the LORD of hosts,
the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted.
Today the LORD shall deliver you into my hand;
I will strike you down and cut off your head.
This very day I will leave your corpse
and the corpses of the Philistine army for the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field;
thus the whole land shall learn that Israel has a God.
All this multitude, too,
shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves.
For the battle is the LORD's and he shall deliver you into our hands."

The Philistine then moved to meet David at close quarters,
while David ran quickly toward the battle line 
in the direction of the Philistine.
David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone,
hurled it with the sling,
and struck the Philistine on the forehead.
The stone embedded itself in his brow,
and he fell prostrate on the ground.
Thus David overcame the Philistine with sling and stone;
he struck the Philistine mortally, and did it without a sword.
Then David ran and stood over him;
with the Philistine's own sword which he drew from its sheath
he dispatched him and cut off his head.

Responsorial Psalm PS 144:1B, 2, 9-10

R. (1) Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
My refuge and my fortress,
my stronghold, my deliverer,
My shield, in whom I trust,
who subdues my people under me.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
O God, I will sing a new song to you;
with a ten-stringed lyre I will chant your praise,
You who give victory to kings,
and deliver David, your servant from the evil sword.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

Gospel MK 3:1-6

Jesus entered the synagogue.
There was a man there who had a withered hand.
They watched Jesus closely
to see if he would cure him on the sabbath
so that they might accuse him.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
"Come up here before us."
Then he said to the Pharisees,
"Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?"
But they remained silent.
Looking around at them with anger
and grieved at their hardness of heart,
Jesus said to the man, "Stretch out your hand."
He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel
with the Herodians against him to put him to death.


How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold? Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way? I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me, I turn and share my feelings with him.


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 3:1-6

View NAB Reading at

Subscriber? Login to view archives.

2nd Week in Ordinary Time

Stretch out your hand. (Mark 3:5)


Instead of avoiding the religious leaders' scrutiny, Jesus called forward the man with the disability and asked his detractors a pointed question: "Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil?" (Mark 3:4). Understanding what he was referring to, his opponents remained silent. Their hard-heartedness angered Jesus, for it had condemned this man to continued suffering. Their failure to act amounted to evildoing.

Today, as we remember the United States Supreme Court's infamous Roe v. Wade decision, which made legalized abortion possible in the United States, this Gospel reading is especially challenging. it tells us that our failure to act can be a form of wrongdoing. To disregard the vulnerability of the unborn, to turn a deaf ear to the words of their frightened parents—this is like passing by a wounded traveler on the other side of the road (Luke 10:29-37).

"But what can I do? What difference could I possibly make? Abortion is such a polarizing issue. How can I turn the tide?"

Jesus told the man, "Stretch out your hand" (Mark 3:5). But the man's hand was useless. He couldn't do what Jesus commanded, but he obeyed anyway. And in that obedience, he found healing.

Today, Jesus says to us, "Stretch out your hand." Stretch out your hand in prayer, asking for a change of heart among those who advocate for abortion. Stretch out your hand by offering to help at a crisis-pregnancy center, to give prayerful witness in front of an abortion clinic, or to support your parish's respect-life group. Of course your resources are inadequate, but our Father always makes possible what he commands. If salvation can come from a baby in a manger, don't ever discount how much of a difference you can make.

Faced with profound political and ideological opposition, we can easily become discouraged. But let's remember today's first reading. David slew a mighty warrior with a few stones and deep faith. We can overcome the culture of death by stretching out our hands and witnessing to the preciousness of life.

"Jesus, show me what I can do today to help build your kingdom."


 1 Samuel 17:32-33, 37, 40-51; Psalm 144:1-2, 9-10

Today's spanish 5minutos ended with:
  "Jesus, 'confronts', the Pharisees  with doing something good or not, save a life or comply with the law, even if it is a holy day of the Sabbath.  The law as the Pharisees understood it turns inhumane, evil, outside of the Gospel.  Jesus, with His conduct and teaching tries to break all those structures that impeded man.  The Pharisees pretended that the man come to God through inhumane laws.  To Jesus this was unacceptable, for He has come to free of all the law, religious practice, oppression, and slavery that impedes man to come to God.
A great spiritual master, well known in the world for his great holiness, lived in a deep cave.  There he sat all day immersed in a profound meditation and thought always directed to the Lord.  But one day as the holy man was doing his meditation, a mouse came from the shadow and began to chew on his sandals.  The spiritual master opened his eyes super-mad, and said to it: "Why do you distract me during my meditation?". The mouse answered: "It's because I am hungry".  "Get away from here", shouted the spiritual master, "how does it occur to you to annoy me, precisely while I seek a union with God?". The mouse answered:"How will you manage a union with God, if you can not put yourself in accord with me?..."
   Today we read about David, and Goliath.  David became a King, and of King David came the King of Kings...the Davidic Kingdom lives.  King David was also born in Bethlehem, and started his kingship at the age of 30, just like Jesus, but first and always they were shepherds.  David exorcised evil from Saul, and Jesus cast out demons frequently.  David was betrayed and the betrayer hung himself, and the same happened with Jesus.  The similarities are startling, but Jesus went beyond all this and into the realms of eternity.  David was courageous destroying a giant in the name of the Lord, and Jesus destroyed an eternal giant, sin, and death.  What Jesus does over-does the Old Testament.  Someone called me last night aggravated with a neighbor who he claims shot his dog.  The neighbor denied it even though he had threatened to do so.  In retaliation, the man said he was going to shoot his old dog if he stepped into his place exclaiming "the bible says an eye for an eye".  I laughed at the rants and asked "what does that poor dog have to do with all this?" It is not his fault, why would he have to die?  I said the New Testament overcomes the Old, it is about loving your neighbor and forgiveness.  But evil works and teaches others evil.  You see, we can get in our own way, like the Pharisees, blocking ourselves with that union with God, this is called sin, and this could lead to a death eternal.    The things we read are powerful, in a humbling way.  Our lives are passing quickly, and the Kingdom of David stands firm, God stands firm.  Let us stand on firm ground, anchored to the rock of salvation.  That brings me to an interesting personal revelation I had a couple days ago.  For those of us faithful, we are to remain as pillars, cornerstones for the rest to build on.  In other words, there is no turning back when you are of the Kingdom, and why?  The loss is two-fold in one; I lose inheritance and I lose eternity.  This is not a promise, it is a fact and an act of God's justice.  I felt something special reading the Holy Gospel, taken aback to what I call a vision I experienced in a cursillo, of our Lord.  What I recalled today was the feeling I had during the vision of our crucified Lord...this, this man was My Father, our Father.  And so, during the Holy Gospel, Our Father sat among his kids, his children.  They were frustrating our Father.  They didn't want their brother to be healed.  The brother did want healing.  That withered man could've said  "no, it's OK, I don't want to make anybody mad, I'll just wait and sit down".  But no.  He Obeys Our Father.  He stood right in the middle of everyone, front and center, and Our Father in righteous anger said "stretch out your hand".  The withered man had to stretch his hand to all those who wouldn't stretch theirs to him.  Peace abounds, He is healed.  Were the others healed?  Did the others reach out their hands?  That is the question going on in the Kingdom right now in your life.  What Goliath will I defeat by stretching my hands out?  Afterall, Jesus stretched His all He could, and when He couldn't stretch them no more, the soldiers stretched them out even more.  This is giving 110% to Our Father
 adrian 4LIFE