Monday, June 30, 2014

Nowhere To Rest

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Minute Meditations

Spiritual Childhood

The master is more than our master; He is our Father. Our vocation is to be children. We realize this through the gift of God's Son. The Father loves us as He loves Him. The key to sanctity is spiritual childhood.
— from Made For Love, Loved By God

First Martyrs of the Church of Rome
(d. 68)

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There were Christians in Rome within a dozen or so years after the death of Jesus, though they were not the converts of the "Apostle of the Gentiles" (Romans 15:20). Paul had not yet visited them at the time he wrote his great letter in 57-58 A.D..
There was a large Jewish population in Rome. Probably as a result of controversy between Jews and Jewish Christians, the Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome in 49-50 A.D. Suetonius the historian says that the expulsion was due to disturbances in the city "caused by the certain Chrestus" . Perhaps many came back after Claudius's death in 54 A.D. Paul's letter was addressed to a Church with members from Jewish and Gentile backgrounds.

In July of 64 A.D., more than half of Rome was destroyed by fire. Rumor blamed the tragedy on Nero, who wanted to enlarge his palace. He shifted the blame by accusing the Christians. According to the historian Tacitus, many Christians were put to death because of their "hatred of the human race." Peter and Paul were probably among the victims.

Threatened by an army revolt and condemned to death by the senate, Nero committed suicide in 68 A.D. at the age of 31.


Wherever the Good News of Jesus was preached, it met the same opposition as Jesus did, and many of those who began to follow him shared his suffering and death. But no human force could stop the power of the Spirit unleashed upon the world. The blood of martyrs has always been, and will always be, the seed of Christians.


Pope Clement I, third successor of St. Peter, writes: "It was through envy and jealousy that the greatest and most upright pillars of the Church were persecuted and struggled unto death.... First of all, Peter, who because of unreasonable jealousy suffered not merely once or twice but many times, and, having thus given his witness, went to the place of glory that he deserved. It was through jealousy and conflict that Paul showed the way to the prize for perseverance. He was put in chains seven times, sent into exile, and stoned; a herald both in the east and the west, he achieved a noble fame by his faith...."

"Around these men with their holy lives there are gathered a great throng of the elect, who, though victims of jealousy, gave us the finest example of endurance in the midst of many indignities and tortures. Through jealousy women were tormented, like Dirce or the daughters of Danaus, suffering terrible and unholy acts of violence. But they courageously finished the course of faith and despite their bodily weakness won a noble prize."

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....


It is so easy to get caught up with the trappings of wealth in this life.
Grant, O Lord, that I may be free from greed and selfishness.
Remind me that the best things in life are free.
Love, laughter, caring and sharing.


I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord. I will take refuge in His loving heart. He is my strength in times of weakness.  He is my comforter in times of sorrow.

The Word of God

Reading 1 am 2:6-10, 13-16

Thus says the LORD:
For three crimes of Israel, and for four,
I will not revoke my word;
Because they sell the just man for silver,
and the poor man for a pair of sandals.
They trample the heads of the weak
into the dust of the earth,
and force the lowly out of the way.
Son and father go to the same prostitute,
profaning my holy name.
Upon garments taken in pledge
they recline beside any altar;
And the wine of those who have been fined
they drink in the house of their god.

Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorites before them,
who were as tall as the cedars,
and as strong as the oak trees.
I destroyed their fruit above,
and their roots beneath.
It was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt,
and who led you through the desert for forty years,
to occupy the land of the Amorites.

Beware, I will crush you into the ground
as a wagon crushes when laden with sheaves.
Flight shall perish from the swift,
and the strong man shall not retain his strength;
The warrior shall not save his life,
nor the bowman stand his ground;
The swift of foot shall not escape,
nor the horseman save his life.
And the most stouthearted of warriors
shall flee naked on that day, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm ps 50:16bc-17, 18-19, 20-21, 22-23

R. (22a) Remember this, you who never think of God.
"Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?"
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.
"When you see a thief, you keep pace with him,
and with adulterers you throw in your lot.
To your mouth you give free rein for evil,
you harness your tongue to deceit."
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.
"You sit speaking against your brother;
against your mother's son you spread rumors.
When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes."
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.
"Consider this, you who forget God,
lest I rend you and there be no one to rescue you.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God."
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.

Gospel mt 8:18-22

When Jesus saw a crowd around him,
he gave orders to cross to the other shore.
A scribe approached and said to him,
"Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."
Jesus answered him, "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head."
Another of his disciples said to him,
"Lord, let me go first and bury my father."
But Jesus answered him, "Follow me,
and let the dead bury their dead."


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


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: Amos 2:6-10, 13-16

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The First Martyrs of Holy Roman Church

Beware. (Amos 2:13)

Judgment Day! We've all seen cartoons showing a bearded, bedraggled character walking down the street holding a sign that says, "The End is Near!" Well, guess what? That cartoon character is right—to a point. There will come a time when Jesus will return to judge all people and bring into his kingdom those whose faith and love have opened them up to his salvation. Jesus himself spoke about this, saying that he would come to separate "the sheep from the goats" (Matthew 25:32).

In Israel in the eighth century b.c., the prophet Amos appeared, urging the people to turn back to God through repentance and works of justice. Why did God call him? Because of sin. The northern kingdom of Israel had grown quite prosperous, yet despite their increasing wealth, injustice was rampant. The poor were getting poorer, while the rich were getting richer and were ignoring the call of God to care for the needy and the neglected. Regard for innocence, humility, and trustworthiness was at an all-time low, and idolatry was on the rise. God sent Amos to warn the people that they would be held accountable for their sins. He urged them to step out of the grip of sin and into the warm embrace of God's mercy.

From age to age, God has called his people to himself with the same passionate love he showed for ancient Israel. As a just Father, he sometimes must correct and discipline us. And as a loving Father, he constantly holds out his hand in the hope that we will turn back to him in repentance.

Most of us cringe at the thought of God confronting us with our sin, but we need to know that with God's conviction always comes the promise of forgiveness and salvation. He never shows us our sin out of a desire to condemn us or destroy us. No, he wants to transform us into the image of Christ. The plain truth is that we cannot save ourselves, just as the ancient Israelites could not. We need his correction and his grace to change. So don't shy away from the Spirit's convictions. Instead, ask him to heal you and to reshape you.

"Thank you, Father, for your loving correction and the purifying work of your Spirit. Help me to accept all that you do to make me a new creation."


Psalm 50:16-23; Matthew 8:18-22

Oh Lord, my God, you are beautiful and wonderful, and that is why we are beautiful and wonderful.  Because we are called to be His children, that makes all the difference.  There is a difference because we are not just supposed to be friends when we are parents, but we are called to be Mothers and Fathers first and foremost.  I am not going to be your little buddy when you need to hear the truth and you are going to go through things you may not like.  This is the love of our Father in Heaven.  His love is extraordinary.  We can not understand we just have to trust.  When we have a love like this, it is real.  When we hear of martyrs like today, it is for real.  People don't die for nothing, but for something if it is for the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is called savior because He has defeated sin and death, something that tormented generations B.C., Before Christ.  Why torment? People kept going back to other gods when things went well.  Hmm.  Sounds like nowadays, everything is going well, got a roof over my head, got food, got some free time and a few extra bucks, why not spend it away.  Lying on garments, pledged.  Sleeping with oppression, that is putting others down.  We do that, and more than we care to admit. And if someone brings it to your face, will you accept or reject to the truth?  Because in the world we have trouble.  But have faith, for God has conquered the world.  The only war and warrior is that of a battle and a saint.  And the saint has no weapon except that from Heaven.  How many of us are willing to accept that what God wants?  If I hear of a downturn in the economy, I hear there may be a place with a little more holiness.  If I hear and see those suffering with a sickness, I hear and see a soul that perhaps is being purified for God, and helping them is quite simply an honor.  Because God saved us from death and sin.  Family comes first though right?  Jesus said to day "let the dead bury the dead".  Sound harsh? These words are coming from God.  They sound harsh to a fatherless person.  Suddenly trusting God sounds different.  Suddenly walking on water sounds strange.  What goes first is our Lord Jesus.  He didn't just say "go walk on water" if He hadn't done it first.  He wouldn't say "leave all and go this way" if He hadn't done it first.  What He did say that He hadn't done is this: "you can do greater things than this".  In other words, more than He has done we could do.  And the danger is to falling into old ways, old gods.  Sports?  I saw an article headline "The gods of Brazil" some soccer team players.  So yes, sports are gods.  Even family become gods if they take the place of God.  Vacation?  Don't go to Holy Mass?  gods.  Suddenly the truth is being revealed.  People don't like what I say, but it shouldn't be a matter of liking what I say.  It should be a matter of loving our Father above anyone and everything in the entire world.  Loving is trusting is faith is loving in return.  For if He has faith in me, surely I can faith in Him.  For if faith is love and God is in me then trust works both ways.  I've got all I'll ever need...the keeper of the stars.  It was no accident, me loving you

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