Wednesday, July 2, 2014

They Came Out

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Minute Meditations

Why Wait?

In our consumption-driven society, it's easy to focus on how we look on the outside. Better to focus on the shape of our interior closet and spiritual growth. And we don't have to wait for a department store sale or a bonus at work to do it.
— from Sisterhood of Saints

St. Oliver Plunkett

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The name of today's saint is especially familiar to the Irish and the English—and with good reason. The English martyred Oliver Plunkett for defending the faith in his native Ireland during a period of severe persecution.

Born in County Meath in 1629, he studied for the priesthood in Rome and was ordained there in 1654. After some years of teaching and service to the poor of Rome he was appointed Archbishop of Armagh in Ireland. Four years later, in 1673, a new wave of anti-Catholic persecution began, forcing Archbishop Plunkett to do his pastoral work in secrecy and disguise and to live in hiding. Meanwhile, many of his priests were sent into exile; schools were closed; Church services had to be held in secret and convents and seminaries were suppressed. As archbishop, he was viewed as ultimately responsible for any rebellion or political activity among his parishioners.

Archbishop Plunkett was arrested and imprisoned in Dublin Castle in 1679, but his trial was moved to London. After deliberating for 15 minutes, a jury found him guilty of fomenting revolt. He was hanged, drawn and quartered in July 1681.

Pope Paul VI canonized Oliver Plunkett in 1975.

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


I remind myself that I am in your presence O Lord.
I will take refuge in your loving heart.
You are my strength in times of weakness.
You are my comforter in times of sorrow.


Lord, you granted me the great gift of freedom.
In these times, O Lord, grant that I may be free
From any form of racism or intolerance.
Remind me, Lord, that we are all equal
in your Loving eyes.


At this moment Lord I turn my thoughts to You. I will leave aside my chores and preoccupations.
I will take rest and refreshment in your presence Lord.

The Word of God

Reading 1 am 5:14-15, 21-24

Seek good and not evil,
that you may live;
Then truly will the LORD, the God of hosts,
be with you as you claim!
Hate evil and love good,
and let justice prevail at the gate;
Then it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts,
will have pity on the remnant of Joseph.

I hate, I spurn your feasts, says the LORD,
I take no pleasure in your solemnities;
Your cereal offerings I will not accept,
nor consider your stall-fed peace offerings.
Away with your noisy songs!
I will not listen to the melodies of your harps.
But if you would offer me burnt offerings,
then let justice surge like water,
and goodness like an unfailing stream.

Responsorial Psalm ps 50:7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 16bc-17

R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Hear, my people, and I will speak;
Israel, I will testify against you;
God, your God, am I."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
no goats out of your fold."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"For mine are all the animals of the forests,
beasts by the thousand on my mountains.
I know all the birds of the air,
and whatever stirs in the plains, belongs to me."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"If I were hungry, I should not tell you,
for mine are the world and its fullness.
Do I eat the flesh of strong bulls,
or is the blood of goats my drink?"
R. To the upright I will show the saving power 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. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Gospel mt 8:28-34

When Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes,
two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him.
They were so savage that no one could travel by that road.
They cried out, "What have you to do with us, Son of God?
Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?"
Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding.
The demons pleaded with him,
"If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine."
And he said to them, "Go then!"
They came out and entered the swine,
and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea
where they drowned.
The swineherds ran away,
and when they came to the town they reported everything,
including what had happened to the demoniacs.
Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus,
and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district.

Remembering that I am still in God's presence,
I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting beside me,
and say whatever is on my mind, whatever is in my heart,
speaking as one friend to another.


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: Amos 5:14-15, 21-24

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13th Week in Ordinary Time

Let justice surge like water. (Amos 5:24)

Today's readings portray powerful forces, both natural and supernatural. Amos urges his hearers to unleash a waterfall of righteousness instead of thinking that adherence to ritual is all they need to be righteous. And in the Gospel, the demons who challenge Jesus impel a large herd of pigs over a cliff rather than face their divine Judge. Terrified, the townspeople beg Jesus to leave so that they can return to their predictable lives. It seems that like the people in Amos' time, these people also preferred the "pretense of religion" to its power (2 Timothy 3:5).

What is "surging" in your life right now? Perhaps it's conflict within your family, at your workplace, or in your congregation. Perhaps you're having an emotional response that surprises you: overwhelming grief, exuberant joy, raging fury. Perhaps a global issue like sex trafficking or child slavery has you frustrated because there seems to be very little that you can do about it.

In all of these situations, you have two choices. You can try to evade or tamp down those surges, or you can beg God to help you find a productive way to channel their energies. Avoidance may seem safer, but it risks distancing you from the Lord. After all, he may be urging you to do something to help.

Of course, it's easier to pretend everyone in the family is getting along just fine, but it might be the right time to say, "Hey, I know you love each other way down deep. What's causing the chill?" or "Have I done something to offend you? That certainly wasn't my intention!"

Don't settle for feeling overwhelmed or frustrated! Instead, settle down in a quiet place with the Lord and pour it out freely. Then wait for his words or intuitions to well up in your heart.

Begin right where you find yourself, then wait until you realize that God is with you. That will shed light on your next step. He will always show you the wise course of action if you can just place yourself in a more tranquil setting.

"Thank you, Father, for the reality of your love right here and now. Show me how to channel that love in a way that glorifies you and helps build your kingdom."


Psalm 50:7-13, 16-17; Matthew 8:28-34

Allow me to translate today's 5minutos meditation from Sonora, Mexico:
  "The forces of evil attack mankind, they deviate his normal route, the impede his human and Christian way: to become a man and become a child of God.  Sin is always anti-human even when it takes on the appearance of pleasure or good.  The forces of evil make of man an unhinged, that is not owner of self and that becomes his own enemy.  This is the evil that Jesus came to combat, that evil that divides man in his depths and pushes against self.  That is why, the presence of Jesus expelling demons shows that the true owner of the world and man is God.  Jesus frees man from all that ties to self, the resentments, envies, selfishness, desires of revenge and of doing evil.  This multitude of demons that that have the possessed show how many "demons" dominate from within man in his effort to apart themselves from God, and for such, of his liberty, of his salvation, of his happiness, of his peace.  Jesus anticipates the day when His death and resurrection defeat forever the evil and death, so all can have confidence in this final and definitive victory.  The death of Jesus frees man from the tyranny of evil.  From the death and resurrection of Jesus, the demon now has no power over man.  Only the power that man himself gives to it.  The relation ends with the a dramatic failure.  "they saw him they begged him to leave their district."  This is the paradox of the Gospel: Jesus comes to expel demons and Jesus is expelled.  The people do not want to commit:  They fear they will lose their "pigs".  They  live tranquil with their egoism and sin.  You, who do you give power to in your life?  "
The prophet Amos said it "Hate evil and love Good" but it seems nowadays people hate good and love evil.  It is evident in laws.  Laws then persecute Christianity.  Laws will penalize and even shut you down for your beliefs.  Your swine, your economy is affected.  And so the god of money, mammon is the god of swine.  Why do I say this? Because if the god of money becomes your god, then you love that god more than the Father in Heaven.  They kicked Jesus out, not for doing good but because of the trouble He caused.  His goodness did not fit in their lives.  The same is today.  We kick Him out very VERY easily out of our lives.  I was reflecting on how cursillistas have dropped out of being active and the same for any Christian in any ministry.  They drop like flies at the slightest excuse.  Instead of seeing evil, they see a good that is not good.  So how do I live "good"?  For certain, it is not the "good life" the world offers.  For certain, very few take to a Good life by the Good news, because you can't spell Good without God.  Because He is in everything, everyone, and everywhere.  Amos in spanish means master(s).  When I left the cursillo, I learned in spanish in reference to God "with the permission of the master" (con el permiso del amo).  He is my master, I am the servant.  We are all His servants.  Focus on evil and you give it power.  When the term "Lion of Judah" came in the reflection yesterday, I was perplexed.  Christ is the Lion of Judah, and as it turns out, Amos was a Judean prophet.  The roars have been loud and clear from long ago.  What God wants is good.  What is good though Adrian?  My Child, God is good.  When we say He is not, we are looking into a mirror of deception, the kind that kicks God out of our lives, traded for pigs.  What do pigs represent? Unclean.  In this case unclean spirits.  They are all around trying to knock you off your path to Christ and Holiness.  Yet when Jesus passed by they were launched into an oblivion, the sea.  You know, a couple weekends ago, I felt unworthy of doing God's work.  After Holy Mass, as I walked alone outside my house later that day, I looked to the sky and it's as if our Lord said "I forgive in a way you do not...I do not store your sins when I forgive, they are gone forever".  Confessions do this.  Yet we doubt.  Yet we feed the swine.  Turn from your evil ways means more than we can care.  Turning to Christ is what it means, and calls for a life like no other.  Someone said I have no fear. Not with Christ in my life.  Demons? Move out of the way.  Fears?  My only fear has been that you do not understand where I am coming from day after day.  Even that I offer to God in prayer when I click send. 
Jesus, let not my jumbled words affect your message, Holy Spirit, infuse yourself into the hearts of the faithful.
And Lord, let them take effect on me for the world that I am about to encounter this day...