Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sir, Give Us

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Minute Meditations
Transform the World

To act according to the heart of Christ means to embrace the priorities that Christ embraced. It means living according to the values of the Gospel he preached. As Christians we are called to transform the world instead of letting the world transform us.
— from Saint Francis, Pope Francis

Sts. Marian and James
(d. 259)

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Often, it's hard to find much detail from the lives of saints of the early Church. What we know about the third-century martyrs we honor today is likewise minimal. But we do know that they lived and died for the faith. Almost 2,000 years later, that is enough reason to honor them. Born in North Africa, Marian was a lector or reader; James was a deacon. For their devotion to the faith they suffered during the persecution of Valerian.
Prior to their persecution, Marian and James were visited by two bishops who encouraged them in the faith not long before they themselves were martyred. A short time later, Marian and James were arrested and interrogated. The two readily confessed their faith and, for that, were tortured. While in prison they are said to have experienced visions, including one of the two bishops who had visited them earlier.
On the last day of their lives, Marian and James joined other Christians facing martyrdom. They were blindfolded and then put to death. Their bodies were thrown into the water. The year was 259.

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....


Many countries are at this moment suffering the agonies of war.
I bow my head in thanksgiving for my freedom.
I pray for all prisoners and captives.
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?
Take a deep breath before reading the...

The Word of God

Reading 1 acts 7:51-8:1a

Stephen said to the people, the elders, and the scribes:
"You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears,
you always oppose the Holy Spirit;
you are just like your ancestors.
Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute?
They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one,
whose betrayers and murderers you have now become.
You received the law as transmitted by angels,
but you did not observe it."

When they heard this, they were infuriated,
and they ground their teeth at him.
But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit,
looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God
and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and Stephen said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened
and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."
But they cried out in a loud voice,
covered their ears, and rushed upon him together.
They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.
The witnesses laid down their cloaks
at the feet of a young man named Saul.
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out,
"Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice,
"Lord, do not hold this sin against them";
and when he said this, he fell asleep.

Now Saul was consenting to his execution.

Responsorial Psalm ps 31:3cd-4, 6 and 7b and 8a, 17 and 21ab

R. (6a) Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
R. Alleluia.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety.
You are my rock and my fortress;
for your name's sake you will lead and guide me.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
R. Alleluia.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
My trust is in the LORD;
I will rejoice and be glad of your mercy.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
R. Alleluia.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
You hide them in the shelter of your presence
from the plottings of men.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel jn 6:30-35

The crowd said to Jesus:
"What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?
What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:

He gave them bread from heaven to eat."

So Jesus said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;
my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world."

So they said to Jesus,
"Sir, give us this bread always."
Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst."


Jesus you speak to me through the words of the gospels. May I respond to your call today.Teach me to recognise your hand at work in my daily living.


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: John 6:30-35

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3rd Week of Easter
It was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. (John 6:32)
You can imagine Jesus sighing during this dialogue. "What sign can you do?" ask the people. Have they already forgotten how he fed five thousand of them on the hillside? Instead, they hearken back to a romanticized version of their ancestors' time in the desert, when manna appeared in response to Moses' prayers. They conveniently forget the pain and frustration of their long wanderings and God's frustration with their lack of trust and belief.
But Jesus seems to say, "Wake up! Come back to the present! God's food is being offered to you right now."
How tempting it can be to romanticize what God has done for us in the past and miss what he is doing today! We remember how God led us to the Church, how he healed someone we prayed for, how he opened the path for a new job for us, how he helped us find our husband or wife—or discern a vocation to the religious life. These are wonderful stories with happy endings. 
But what is God doing with you right now? Perhaps he is stretching your comfort zone by bringing you into contact with people who seem very different from yourself. Maybe he is pointing out a tendency to gossip or a need to be in charge. Is he inviting you to dig into a part of Scripture you've never understood? Callings like these are much more challenging. It's hard to be patient with such an incomplete and unfinished work, isn't it?   We'd rather cross items off our list than return to them every day, with mixed results.
Today's reading tells us that even though Jesus' work on the cross is finished, it doesn't remain in the past. Rather, he invites us to come to him today and every day. He asks us to stay with him, to feed on him, and to keep growing in our union with him. There is so much more that he wants to give us!
"Come to me," he invites. "I am your Bread of Life."
"Jesus, you are all I need. Open my eyes to your powerful presence in the nitty-gritty of my life today."

Acts 7:51--8:1; Psalm 31:3-4, 6-8, 17, 21

"The glory of a good man is the testimony of a good conscience. Keep a good conscience and thou shalt always have joy. A good conscience can bear very much and is very joyful in the midst of adversity. A bad conscience is always fearful and uneasy."
-- Thomas รก Kempis, pp.59

Imitation of Christ
From what I gather, priests write the reflections for the spanish 5minutos, and today's ended with:
  "...One time, when I was five years old, I went to a local park with my mom.  While I played in the sandbox, I saw a kid my age on a wheelchair.  I came up to him and asked him if he could play.  I was only five and could not understand why he couldn't enter the sandbox to play with me.  I took my pail, took all the sand I could and I put it on his legs.  Then I took some toys and also put them on his legs.  My mom ran towards me and said "Lucas, why did you do that?"  I looked at her and said "He couldn't play in the sandbox with me, so I brought the sand to him, now we can play together in the sand."   I hope to live only one life.  And so, if there is good to do for someone or to show, let me make it be today, without delay or disregard, now that I will never pass through here again."
Jesus, less of me, more of You.  When Jesus saw the world needed the King and the Kingdom, He brought it to the people.  Ask yourself, what Kingdom?  The Kingdom of Heaven.  There was a group of thousands that Jesus fed and then said later on, I am the bread always.  Give us this day our daily bread, we pray.  And He does.  Yet, the bread we see...we don't want, or believe.  We want it to sprinkle from the clouds so that one day we may get tired of that too, because it will be too natural.  It would be better to die clean and well fed with Jesus than filthy and starved of spiritual nourishment.  As yourself, what Kingdom?  Jesus said He will be all we ever need, everything else is secondary, and notice I said everything else, not everyone else, because the Lord is in every human heart.  Will you be the only one to pray for the one everyone is stoning?  This is a spiritual deal, not against people.  How soon we forget where the heart is.  That is why perhaps some of those that tried to stone Jesus taught others that eventually stoned St. Stephen in today's Holy Scripture.  We teach others to be hard to reach and hard to teach, and soon forget where the heart is inside the people you stone to death.  The very people Jesus came to die for.   Are you confused?  Ask yourself, what Kingdom?   The one we fail to see.  What was the difference between the persecutors of St. Stephen and the group that asked Jesus for a sign today?  In the instance of St. Stephen, Stephen was the only one that saw Jesus, while the others failed to see or believe.  In the instance of Jesus, all the people were looking at Jesus and they failed to see Jesus.  He was too natural, they wanted something spectacular, not even feeding thousands was enough of a sign of wonder and amazement, they wanted more.  What about me?  Ask yourslelf what about the Kingdom?  Jesus provides and it is at hand, He saw not a cruel world, but a world in need, He saw not that we didn't deserve it, but that we are worthy.  What do I see? And is it natural?  Holiness?  Is that what I desire?  Ask yourself, what Kingdom?