Monday, June 23, 2014

Rocked The Country

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Minute Meditations

Dependence on God  

A proper assessment of our sins should remind us that we are in need of God's saving work in every area of our lives. Since we are so dependent upon God to free us from sin it should not come as a surprise that we are dependent upon Him to assist us in life's battles.
— from Praise God and Thank Him

St. John Fisher

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John Fisher is usually associated with Erasmus, Thomas More and other Renaissance humanists. His life, therefore, did not have the external simplicity found in the lives of some saints. Rather, he was a man of learning, associated with the intellectuals and political leaders of his day. He was interested in the contemporary culture and eventually became chancellor at Cambridge. He had been made a bishop at 35, and one of his interests was raising the standard of preaching in England. Fisher himself was an accomplished preacher and writer. His sermons on the penitential psalms were reprinted seven times before his death. With the coming of Lutheranism, he was drawn into controversy. His eight books against heresy gave him a leading position among European theologians.
In 1521 he was asked to study the question of Henry VIII's marriage. He incurred Henry's anger by defending the validity of the king's marriage with Catherine of Aragon and later by rejecting Henry's claim to be the supreme head of the Church of England.

In an attempt to be rid of him, Henry first had him accused of not reporting all the "revelations" of the nun of Kent, Elizabeth Barton. John was summoned, in feeble health, to take the oath to the new Act of Succession. He and Thomas More refused because the Act presumed the legality of Henry's divorce and his claim to be head of the English Church. They were sent to the Tower of London, where Fisher remained 14 months without trial. They were finally sentenced to life imprisonment and loss of goods.

When the two were called to further interrogations, they remained silent. Fisher was tricked, on the supposition he was speaking privately as a priest, and declared again that the king was not supreme head. The king, further angered that the pope had made John Fisher a cardinal, had him brought to trial on the charge of high treason. He was condemned and executed, his body left to lie all day on the scaffold and his head hung on London Bridge. More was executed two weeks later.


Today many questions are raised about Christians' and priests' active involvement in social issues. John Fisher remained faithful to his calling as a bishop. He strongly upheld the teachings of the Church; the very cause of his martyrdom was his loyalty to Rome. He was involved in the cultural enrichment circles as well as in the political struggles of his time. This involvement caused him to question the moral conduct of the leadership of his country. "The Church has the right, indeed the duty, to proclaim justice on the social, national and international level, and to denounce instances of injustice, when the fundamental rights of man and his very salvation demand it" (Justice in the World, 1971 Synod of Bishops).


Erasmus said of John Fisher: "He is the one man at this time who is incomparable for uprightness of life, for learning and for greatness of soul."
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.


The mystery we celebrate at Christmas calls to mind how God was present
long ago so that I might know the presence of God now. I pause to bring to mind
how very close God wants to be to me now.


"Leave me here freely all alone
In cell where never sunlight shone
should no one ever speak to me
This golden silence makes me free."
Part of a poem written by a prisoner at Dachau concentration camp


Help me Lord to be more conscious of your presence. Teach me to recognise your presence in others. Fill my heart with gratitude for the times Your love has been shown to me through the care of others.

The Word of God

Reading 1 2 kgs 17:5-8, 13-15a, 18

Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, occupied the whole land
and attacked Samaria, which he besieged for three years.
In the ninth year of Hoshea, king of Israel
the king of Assyria took Samaria,
and deported the children of Israel to Assyria,
setting them in Halah, at the Habor, a river of Gozan,
and the cities of the Medes.

This came about because the children of Israel sinned against the LORD,
their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt,
from under the domination of Pharaoh, king of Egypt,
and because they venerated other gods.
They followed the rites of the nations
whom the LORD had cleared out of the way of the children of Israel
and the kings of Israel whom they set up.

And though the LORD warned Israel and Judah
by every prophet and seer,
"Give up your evil ways and keep my commandments and statutes,
in accordance with the entire law which I enjoined on your fathers
and which I sent you by my servants the prophets,"
they did not listen, but were as stiff-necked as their fathers,
who had not believed in the LORD, their God.
They rejected his statutes,
the covenant which he had made with their fathers,
and the warnings which he had given them, till,
in his great anger against Israel,
the LORD put them away out of his sight.
Only the tribe of Judah was left.

Responsorial Psalm ps 60:3, 4-5, 12-13

R. (7b) Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us.
O God, you have rejected us and broken our defenses;
you have been angry; rally us!
R. Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us.
You have rocked the country and split it open;
repair the cracks in it, for it is tottering.
You have made your people feel hardships;
you have given us stupefying wine.
R. Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us.
Have not you, O God, rejected us,
so that you go not forth, O God, with our armies?
Give us aid against the foe,
for worthless is the help of men.
R. Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us.

Gospel mt 7:1-5

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Stop judging, that you may not be judged.
For as you judge, so will you be judged,
and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother,
'Let me remove that splinter from your eye,'
while the wooden beam is in your eye?
You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter from your brother's eye."


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: 2 Kings 17:5-8,13-15,18

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12th Week in Ordinary Time

They did not listen, but were as stiff-necked as their fathers. (2 Kings 17:14)

King Hoshea of Israel was caught between a rock and a hard place. He had become a vassal to the king of Assyria. But that alliance made him uneasy, so he hedged his bets. He sent envoys to Egypt, the hostile power on the other side of Israel, hoping for a rival alliance to shield him against Assyria. Getting wind of this was all the excuse Assyria needed to take Hoshea prisoner and decimate Israel. Summing it all up, the author of 2 Kings explains why Israel really failed: the people relied on human help instead of divine power.

Does this assessment sound familiar? When we face a challenge, it's not unusual to muster all our human resources to find a solution. Perhaps it lies in medicine, preferably a miracle drug. Maybe a new political leader will offer a fresh start. Maybe counseling can help us sort out our perplexity. Perhaps a new investment strategy will help secure our future.

These are all good approaches—but they can take us only so far. They can help resolve individual challenges and problems, but none of them can offer us a vision for our lives that will sustain us and guide us no matter what comes our way. Only God can do that! Hoshea failed because instead of seeking guidance from the Lord through his prophets, he immediately chose a deceptive political strategy. Perhaps he was doomed to fail no matter what he did, but he never even gave the Lord a chance to help him out. That's the tragedy.

Hoshea's story stands as a warning to us, so let's heed it well. Let's make it a point to turn to the Lord first rather than as the last resort. Let's face every challenge with the proclamation, "My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth" (Psalm 121:2). This is the foundational truth of our human situation, and it is the foundation for our life of faith. We depend on God from beginning to end.

So never forget that God is committed to working out his great and glorious purposes in your life. Never forget that he wants to bring only good to those who love him and seek his direction (Romans 8:28).

"Lord of heaven and earth, you are my only hope. I place all my trust in you."

Psalm 60:3-5, 12-13; Matthew 7:1-5 

The 5 minutos ends today with:
"...Saint Augustine said "if we want to reproach someone, we should ask ourselves before if we are like them".  And so, many times  we reproach others before ourselves.  Let us examine what acts others do provoke us in our frequent negative and immediate judgement.  Let us look for the reason for this in us ourselves: intolerance before who is distinct, perfectionism, arrogance, mental meanness, stiffness, incomprehension, envy, etc. (Could it be that "underhanded" we get envious "how comfortable they are" and  we would like to be like them, but our "human respects", the "what will they say" won't let us, so then we just criticize them and condemn them without piety? Right?... "

"Don't JUDGE me!" they yell.  I've stepped on some toes to make people scream those words to me.  I've heard those yells from the inside of the fence of an abortion clinic.  I've heard those yells from a homosexual person.  I've heard those yells from an alcoholic.  And they sound to me like pain and anguish that drive me to pray for them all the more.  Why? Because ours is a battle most often against evil spirits, not the children of God.  It is often the devil that will yell those words of deception, because the devil will use scriptures often and twist it to cause division and confusion.  I want you to realize that first and foremost, feelings should go out the window if you want to be spiritual.  LOL. I laugh under my breath because when they dumped the cursillo director role on me last month or so, the man leaving the post to me said to the team "ya'll are in good hands, Adrian is a very spiritual person".  That's great.  Just great.  I may indeed be spiritual, but am I HOLY?  That is the cause of concern.  I digress.  Feelings go out the door if you are to serve the Lord first and foremost.  Every indignant accusation and trouble will be thrown at you. 
Today's saint defended marriage and was hung on the London Bridge.  Today marriage is under attack again.  The sole purpose is to destroy life.  And Jesus is LIFE.  That's why protection of life from conception is critical to allow the creation of God to be.  "Oh, but don't you judge!".  I've written a song about that, and an evil voice yells those words followed by "I HATE YOU".  Strong words right?  But God is stronger. You have to bring Jesus to your family.  As if He is not already there.  He wants to be acknowledged.  But no.  The TV is revered more or other things.  False idols, American Idols, Sports, big names and fame, and cool looks and fads take precedence.  Our King is last, family is last, even though you claim you "love" them.  If you really love them, you will desire their holiness and Heaven.  But our minds and eyes play tricks on us when we can not see through wood pieces in the eyes.  We took a weekend trip with the kids last week.  Sitting by the river my daughter kept complaining about this and that, bugs and other stuff.  I told her "welcome to nature".  She sat at a picnic table with her head down.  I walked up the river bank and asked her "what's the matter, why do you have your head down?", thinking she was upset and all, she replied "I'm praying the rosary".  I was surprised.  "You should invite us to pray", is all I could say.  Later that day, my son approached me "daddy, how come we don't get in a circle and pray at the hotel like we do at home?".  Ouch.  I didn't have an answer "...we should be doing that" is all I could say.  As we drove home, I looked to my wife on the phone "huh, probably texting again", so I peeked to her phone, and to my surprise (again) she had a rosary app going, the shape of a heart, prayer time.  Too quick to judge aren't we?  It's when my mouth and mind start babbling off nonsense that I realize it is not in line with the Spirit.  We are really good at identifying others' problems and not good at helping them, rather then, we send them off on their way to oblivion.  Is all my concern of people's salvation?  Last night we were at a swimming pool party for my god-daughter.  As I sat among everyone, all I could think about was each one's salvation.  Am I a hopeless cause?  Am I judging?  I like to consider myself seriously concerned about our relationship with God.  I do worry...alot.  Not so much for the temporal, but the spiritual.  If it were not so, I would not have missed Holy Mass this morning to be able to get this email out to you earlier than later...or should I have gone anyway without you?  
Heavenly Father, guide us.  Take the wood out of our eyes, the splinters, the beams.  Everything that hurts and blocks our view of You.  What if when it is removed I just see Jesus in everyone and everywhere I go?  


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