Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Holding On To Me

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Minute Meditations

Lord, Save Your People

Jesus does not save us as individuals, but as members of His Body. We are not just people—unconnected and isolated arms and legs. We are a people—in fact, the People of God.
— from Believing in Jesus

St. Mary Magdalene
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Except for the mother of Jesus, few women are more honored in the Bible than Mary Magdalene. Yet she could well be the patron of the slandered, since there has been a persistent legend in the Church that she is the unnamed sinful woman who anointed the feet of Jesus in Luke 7:36-50.
Most Scripture scholars today point out that there is no scriptural basis for confusing the two women. Mary Magdalene, that is, "of Magdala," was the one from whom Christ cast out "seven demons" (Luke 8:2)—an indication, at the worst, of extreme demonic possession or, possibly, severe illness.

Father Wilfrid J. Harrington, O.P., writing in the New Catholic Commentary, says that "seven demons" "does not mean that Mary had lived an immoral life—a conclusion reached only by means of a mistaken identification with the anonymous woman of Luke 7:36." Father Edward Mally, S.J., writing in the Jerome Biblical Commentary, agrees that she "is not...the same as the sinner of Luke 7:37, despite the later Western romantic tradition about her."

Mary Magdalene was one of the many "who were assisting them [Jesus and the Twelve] out of their means." She was one of those who stood by the cross of Jesus with his mother. And, of all the "official" witnesses that might have been chosen for the first awareness of the Resurrection, she was the one to whom that privilege was given. She is known as the "Apostle to the Apostles."


Today's Gospel (John 20:1--2, 11--18) shows Mary at first not recognizing the risen Jesus in the garden, then knowing him as he spoke her name. Her great love bursts forth, echoing the First Reading, "I took hold of him and would not let him go" (Song 3:4b). Jesus says, "Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father" (John 20:17a). The meaning probably is that there is an entirely new relationship now—a much deeper one, resting in faith rather than the former relationship that was possible because of his visible body. Saint John may also be stressing the fact that Jesus' exaltation at the right hand of the Father is the completion of the Resurrection.


Mary Magdalene has been a victim of mistaken identity for almost 20 centuries. Yet she would no doubt insist that it makes no difference. We are all sinners in need of the saving power of God, whether our sins have been lurid or not. More importantly, we are all, with her, "unofficial" witnesses of the Resurrection.

Patron Saint of:

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 reflect on God's life-giving presence
in every part of my body, in everything around me,
in the whole of my life.


"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


In God's loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment. I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude. I attend to the shadows and what they say to me, seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.

The Word of God

Reading 1 mi 7:14-15, 18-20

Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock of your inheritance,
That dwells apart in a woodland,
in the midst of Carmel.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead,
as in the days of old;
As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt,
show us wonderful signs.

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea
all our sins;
You will show faithfulness to Jacob,
and grace to Abraham,
As you have sworn to our fathers
from days of old.

Responsorial Psalm ps 85:2-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (8a) Lord, show us your mercy and love.
You have favored, O LORD, your land;
you have brought back the captives of Jacob.
You have forgiven the guilt of your people;
you have covered all their sins.
You have withdrawn all your wrath;
you have revoked your burning anger.
R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.
Restore us, O God our savior,
and abandon your displeasure against us.
Will you be ever angry with us,
prolonging your anger to all generations?
R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.
Will you not instead give us life;
and shall not your people rejoice in you?
Show us, O LORD, your kindness,
and grant us your salvation.
R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.

Gospel jn 20:1-2, 11-18

On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
"They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don't know where they put him."

Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?"
She said to them, "They have taken my Lord,
and I don't know where they laid him."
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?"
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
"Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him."
Jesus said to her, "Mary!"
She turned and said to him in Hebrew,
"Rabbouni," which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her,
"Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
'I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.'"
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
"I have seen the Lord,"
and then reported what he told her.


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: John 20:1-2, 11-18

View NAB Reading at

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Saint Mary Magdalene

Whom are you looking for? (John 20:15)

We are all very familiar with the story of Mary Magdalene's encounter with the risen Jesus on Easter Sunday. But as often as we hear it, the tale never gets old. Why is that?

First, this story tells us that Mary's devotion was so deep because of all Jesus had done for her. Mary never forgot that Jesus had freed her from demonic possession and called her to follow him. We may not be possessed, but we do know how much sin has a hold on us. Mary's story tells us that no matter how dark our darkness may seem, Jesus has the power to set us free.

Second, this story tells us that Jesus reaches out to everyone who loves him. No doubt Mary's heart was broken when she discovered that Jesus' body was missing. She may not have known where Jesus was, but Jesus knew where she was—staying faithfully by his tomb. All the others had gone home, but Mary remained. And for that she was rewarded.

Is there a restlessness in your heart when you are at Mass or in prayer? Are your heart and your head in a battle, with your heart longing for Jesus but your mind preoccupied with many other things? Do you find yourself longing—even weeping—because you feel so far from the Lord? If so, do what Mary did. Seek Jesus. Linger by the "tombs" in your life, and you'll find him there. Wait for him to come and minister to you!

Third, love always sends us out. Love for our spouse impels us to move out of our comfort zones. Love for our children moves us to teach and guide them, even when we'd rather take the day off. Love for Jesus and for his people will compel us to go and tell others about the Lord and his power and mercy. Love will move us to tell people about his salvation. Love will inspire us to echo Mary Magdalene's words to the other disciples: "I have seen the Lord" (20:18)!

"Lord, we long to see you. Call us by name and show yourself to us."


Micah 7:14-15, 18-20; Psalm 85:2-8

Today's 5 minutos first part said:
"Interview with Mary Magdalene:
What means did Jesus use to convert you?
 -I don't know. I've felt like a ray of light that reached the inmost depths...pit, that point that horrified me and disgusted me.
And were you embarrassed of your past conduct?
- More than anything, desired to live, to love, to restart everything from the beginning.  The newness, more than the remorse, annuls the weight of the past.  "

There is something about this newness right?  Jesus came to make all things new with the old, as if a total transformation utilizing what was there with the new.  Yesterday evening, me and my wife took all our kids and my sister in law and her husband and also another Brother Luis to override the normal Monday night community Rosary and take it to the Hospital in a nearby city where a brother was after being involved in a vehicle accident coming home from work this weekend.  The news I got was shocking because it was close to home.  Was he alive?  Was he ok?  I really had no answers, and the anxiety it caused was something else.  I have already lost a close brother in Christ before, a fellow cursillo brother in a car accident.  This brother started the community rosary and has been involved greatly in the church lately, and was just made our Grand Knight for our council.  When me and my brother in law got the news we were on the road at the lake in another city, but began praying right away. We had to have faith, that's all we could hold on to.  We showed up yesterday evening, it seemed the nurses were surprised to see our little crowd, I saw others waiting for their family that turned out to be a distant family of mine, and we finally found Brother Al's room.  With a broken arm, knee(s) and broken elbow, he is awaiting surgery this day to put hardware, bolts and screws to hold him together to heal.  We prayed the rosary, and he seemed to want to lead.  We prayed the mysteries and was interrupted by different nurses making their rounds.  On the 3rd mystery, "the birth of our Lord Jesus" a nurse named "Jesus" walked into the room.  He was a younger man and was intrigued by the rosary and mentioned he was Catholic and wanted to stay and pray but had to go.  I made a joke about how we were meditating on the coming of our Lord Jesus into the world, and in comes Jesus into the room. 
  But this is a simple story for you to realize the story of Mary Magdalene.  She was not expecting Jesus to appear.  She wanted to see Him perhaps, but was mostly crying in anguish and pain, not knowing what was going to happen.  Isn't that the story of our lives?  We want to know what's going to happen.  Most often we want some guarantee, don't we?  We want to be sure, right?  In our final farewell prayer after the rosary, we lay our hands over brother Al, and I prayed aloud, that this healing be a new beginning and joined with the suffering of Christ.  A new life, a new peace, a newness as if to begin again.  He had all sorts of hardware holding him together "Look at my erector set" and showed big metal pieces holding his knee in one spot adjoined to his leg bone.  But there is something greater holding us together and it is Spiritual.  I was born spiritually this day, on the day of the Apostle to the Apostles, a woman named Mary Magdalene.  How can I say that?  Because this is the day I was baptized about 35 years ago.  Life has been flying by.  But life has been made beautiful as I have learned and experienced this wonderful gift of God's grace which was mentioned in the first Holy Scripture.  We prayed "Lord, show us your Mercy, and Love".  And if Jesus is among us and walks among us, it means He could work through you and me.  He showed up to tend to the broken man in that hospital bed last night.  He shows up to be with the broken hearted.  He shows up in the Offering of the Holy Mass, the presence of God is truly there.  He shows up in the most peculiar of ways and circumstances.  Your eyes will never recognize Him, you just have to recognize His voice when He is speaking to your heart.  This is a life in the Spirit.  I pray you let the voice lead.  A Shepherd leads with his voice, commands and His flock recognizes.  Mary Magdalene was a true follower of Christ. At the cross, she was there, and when He was taken away, she was there.  When He came back, she was there.  This is a gift for those that persevere.  I pray that you be given this gift of final perseverance.  The reward?  An ecstatic and exited heart for the Lord.  A joyful Christian, sad no more.  A Christian that is alive and well.  A Christ follower that has gone beyond the 3 days to a new beginning

Cursillistas, DE COLORES!
Where will He appear next?  Be faithful and hear to see

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