Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Turn Their Hearts

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Minute Meditations

Universal Truth

God wants to rescue you out of your predicament more than you want out of that predicament. God wants to demonstrate His justice, love, and mercy because that is who He is.
— from Praise God and Thank Him

Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
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Nativity of St. John the Baptist
The one who prepared the way for the Messiah remains a witness to Christians today.

Jesus called John the greatest of all those who had preceded him: "I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John...." But John would have agreed completely with what Jesus added: "et the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he" (Luke 7:28).
John spent his time in the desert, an ascetic. He began to announce the coming of the Kingdom, and to call everyone to a fundamental reformation of life.

His purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus. His Baptism, he said, was for repentance. But One would come who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. John is not worthy even to carry his sandals. His attitude toward Jesus was: "He must increase; I must decrease" (John 3:30).

John was humbled to find among the crowd of sinners who came to be baptized the one whom he already knew to be the Messiah. "I need to be baptized by you" (Matthew 3:14b). But Jesus insisted, "Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15b). Jesus, true and humble human as well as eternal God, was eager to do what was required of any good Jew. John thus publicly entered the community of those awaiting the Messiah. But making himself part of that community, he made it truly messianic.

The greatness of John, his pivotal place in the history of salvation, is seen in the great emphasis Luke gives to the announcement of his birth and the event itself—both made prominently parallel to the same occurrences in the life of Jesus. John attracted countless people ("all Judea") to the banks of the Jordan, and it occurred to some people that he might be the Messiah. But he constantly deferred to Jesus, even to sending away some of his followers to become the first disciples of Jesus.

Perhaps John's idea of the coming of the Kingdom of God was not being perfectly fulfilled in the public ministry of Jesus. For whatever reason, he sent his disciples (when he was in prison) to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah. Jesus' answer showed that the Messiah was to be a figure like that of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah (chapters 49 through 53). John himself would share in the pattern of messianic suffering, losing his life to the revenge of Herodias.


John challenges us Christians to the fundamental attitude of Christianity—total dependence on the Father, in Christ. Except for the Mother of God, no one had a higher function in the unfolding of salvation. Yet the least in the kingdom, Jesus said, is greater than he, for the pure gift that the Father gives. The attractiveness as well as the austerity of John, his fierce courage in denouncing evil—all stem from his fundamental and total placing of his life within the will of God.


"And this is not something which was only true once, long ago in the past. It is always true, because the repentance which he preached always remains the way into the kingdom which he announced. He is not a figure that we can forget now that Jesus, the true light, has appeared. John is always relevant because he calls for a preparation which all men need to make. Hence every year there are four weeks in the life of the Church in which it listens to the voice of the Baptist. These are the weeks of Advent" (A New Catechism).
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.


"Be still and know that I am God" Lord, may your spirit guide me to seek Your Loving presence more and more. For it is there I find rest and refreshment from
this busy world.


Everything has the potential to draw forth from me a fuller love and life.
Yet my desires are often fixed, caught, on illusions of fulfillment.
I ask that God, through my freedom may orchestrate
my desires in a vibrant loving melody rich in harmony.


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

Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

Reading 1 jer 1:4-10

In the days of King Josiah, the word of the LORD came to me, saying:

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you,
a prophet to the nations I appointed you.

"Ah, Lord GOD!" I said,
"I know not how to speak; I am too young."
But the LORD answered me,
Say not, "I am too young."
To whomever I send you, you shall go;
whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Have no fear before them,
because I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.

Then the LORD extended his hand and touched my mouth, saying,

See, I place my words in your mouth!
This day I set you
over nations and over kingdoms,
to root up and to tear down,
to destroy and to demolish,
to build and to plant.

Responsorial Psalm ps 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15ab and 17

R. (6) Since my mother's womb, you have been my strength.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
incline your ear to me, and save me.
R. Since my mother's womb, you have been my strength.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
R. Since my mother's womb, you have been my strength.
For you are my hope, O LORD;
my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother's womb you are my strength.
R. Since my mother's womb, you have been my strength.
My mouth shall declare your justice,
day by day your salvation.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
R. Since my mother's womb, you have been my strength.

Reading 2 1 pt 1:8-12

Although you have not seen Jesus Christ you love him;
even though you do not see him now yet believe in him,
you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,
as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Concerning this salvation,
prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours
searched and investigated it,
investigating the time and circumstances
that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated
when he testified in advance
to the sufferings destined for Christ
and the glories to follow them.
It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you
with regard to the things that have now been announced to you
by those who preached the Good News to you
through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven,
things into which angels longed to look.

Gospel lk 1:5-17

In the days of Herod, King of Judea,
there was a priest named Zechariah
of the priestly division of Abijah;
his wife was from the daughters of Aaron,
and her name was Elizabeth.
Both were righteous in the eyes of God,
observing all the commandments
and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren
and both were advanced in years.
Once when he was serving
as priest in his division's turn before God,
according to the practice of the priestly service,
he was chosen by lot
to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense.
Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside
at the hour of the incense offering,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him,
standing at the right of the altar of incense.
Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.
But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah,
because your prayer has been heard.
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you shall name him John.
And you will have joy and gladness,
and many will rejoice at his birth,
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.
John will drink neither wine nor strong drink.
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb,
and he will turn many of the children of Israel
to the Lord their God.
He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah
to turn their hearts toward their children
and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous,
to prepare a people fit for the Lord."

What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word? I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to him.


I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.

Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Luke 1:57-66, 80

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The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

The child grew and became strong in spirit. (Luke 1:80)

What do you think is the most impressive thing about John the Baptist? His uncompromising zeal for the Lord? His clear, passionate preaching? Maybe his gift of self-denial or the humility he displayed despite his fame?

How about this instead? That even as a fetus, John leaped for joy in the presence of Mary and Jesus. Imagine: here was an unborn baby, barely aware of life outside of the womb, and yet the muffled sound of Mary's greeting when she visited Elizabeth filled him with the Holy Spirit and caused such a joy-filled reaction!

John's leap may remind us of Isaac's wife, Rebecca, who also felt an unusual amount of activity from the twins in her womb. Rebecca asked the Lord why this was happening, and he told her that something spiritual and prophetic was going on inside of her (Genesis 25:20-23). King David also leaped before the ark of the covenant. He loved God so much he could not contain his joy at seeing the ark of God's presence finally brought home safely to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:14-15). The prophet Isaiah wrote that in the age to come, when the glory of the Lord is made manifest, even the lame will leap for joy (Isaiah 35:4-6).

All of these dramatic displays show us that there is a part of us that can recognize God, regardless of what we do or who we are. It's encoded into the way he made us. This ability to recognize the Lord is not limited to unborn babies or great saints. It's in all of us, and it's something that the Holy Spirit wants to bring to life so that we too can recognize Jesus more deeply—and rejoice in his presence.

So let's join John the Baptist and leap for joy. After all, Jesus is present to us just as he was to John—and even more so, since we have been baptized into his life. Let's tell Jesus how happy we are that he has redeemed us. Let's praise him for his mercy and his healing power. More than anything else, let's rejoice that we belong to him, and he belongs to us!

"Lord, I am so glad you live in me. Your love is so strong that it makes me want to sing and dance in your presence. Jesus, I love you!"


Isaiah 49:1-6; Psalm 139:1-3, 13-15; Acts 13:22-26

In the old traditional Mexico, today is a great day in summer, "Feliz Dia De San Juan!" (Happy day of St. John!).  People get splashed with water. Lol. My dad went around splashing workers with bottled water this morning, some surprised, one yelled an expletive "what the *&3%! is going on!"  It's el dia de San Juan!  Holy Water will make you clean and Saint John prepared the way for clean.  First through water, to be then baptized with Jesus, the fire of our Love.  Today's 5minutos said:
"We celebrate the birth of John the Baptist, the precursor of Jesus.  He prepared the Jewish people for the coming of the Messiah, exhorting them to a conversion of heart and hope.  He fulfilled iwth fidelity his mission, without holding back on upon difficulties and stumbling which did not stop until they made him silent with his prophetic voice in martyrdom.  The Baptist knew how to recognize and put flower to skin all the hope and longing of salvation that was in the heart of his people.  His word went to the interior of the persons rasing provocation, restlessness making the eyes open to the future.  His word made securities
stagger and would not stop to unmake the "habit" of a sleeping religiosity that acted as a "vaccine" against an authentic faith.  His word was a sharpened sword and a cutting arrow, with his revolutionary word: "convert!". His mission was to make one take conscience of sin, preparing this way the hearts of men to receive the announcement of forgiveness.  Provoking questions he prepared them to listen one day to the answer.  His mission as precursor, was to take men to Jesus and facilitate and make possible the encounter with Him.  All his life has the greatness of the mission well accomplished, realized without ostentation.  And in this mission he leaves his life.  His announcment of the Kingdom that comes crashes with the resistence of who has constructed their own kingdom in the world.  John is imprisoned and with his own blood seals his witness.  And he does it with courage.  The Baptist asks us: To what point do we know to approximate ourselves to the anxieties and aspirations of who is at our side?  How much do we facilitate the others to an encounter with God?"
If John was the greatest prophet on earth and was called the least Matthew 11:11 " Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he" then who am I?  I will tell you who you are my child ...
This is a call to conversion this very day.  Living life in the Spirit.  Make straight the paths.  From the womb we have been
conceived with the Holy Spirit.  We are born this way.  Born how? Designed to worship.  What or who we worship then is key.
Prepare your heart for God.  If I've realized something lately, it's that the things I do are all in preparation.  I'm preparing hearts to
to receive Jesus Christ.  If I seal my faith with blood, then all the more honor and glory to Jesus Christ King of the Universe, not
 just the world.
St. John the baptist was born for the Lord, lived for the Lord, and died for the Lord.  And we are called to the same.  Where the
least become the most....