Friday, July 25, 2014

Mine To Give

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Minute Meditations

Our Job

We don't need so much to talk about God but to allow people to feel how God lives within us, that's our work.
— from Simply Merton

St. James
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This James is the brother of John the Evangelist. The two were called by Jesus as they worked with their father in a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had already called another pair of brothers from a similar occupation: Peter and Andrew. "He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him" (Mark 1:19-20).
James was one of the favored three who had the privilege of witnessing the Transfiguration, the raising to life of the daughter of Jairus and the agony in Gethsemani.

Two incidents in the Gospels describe the temperament of this man and his brother. St. Matthew tells that their mother came (Mark says it was the brothers themselves) to ask that they have the seats of honor (one on the right, one on the left of Jesus) in the kingdom. "Jesus said in reply, 'You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?' They said to him, 'We can'" (Matthew 20:22). Jesus then told them they would indeed drink the cup and share his baptism of pain and death, but that sitting at his right hand or left was not his to give—it "is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father" (Matthew 20:23b). It remained to be seen how long it would take to realize the implications of their confident "We can!"

The other disciples became indignant at the ambition of James and John. Then Jesus taught them all the lesson of humble service: The purpose of authority is to serve. They are not to impose their will on others, or lord it over them. This is the position of Jesus himself. He was the servant of all; the service imposed on him was the supreme sacrifice of his own life.

On another occasion, James and John gave evidence that the nickname Jesus gave them—"sons of thunder"—was an apt one. The Samaritans would not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to hated Jerusalem. "When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, 'Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?' Jesus turned and rebuked them..." (Luke 9:54-55).

James was apparently the first of the apostles to be martyred. "About that time King Herod laid hands upon some members of the church to harm them. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword, and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews he proceeded to arrest Peter also" (Acts 12:1-3a).

This James, sometimes called James the Greater, is not to be confused with James the Lesser (May 3) or with the author of the Letter of James and the leader of the Jerusalem community.


The way the Gospels treat the apostles is a good reminder of what holiness is all about. There is very little about their virtues as static possessions, entitling them to heavenly reward. Rather, the great emphasis is on the Kingdom, on God's giving them the power to proclaim the Good News. As far as their personal lives are concerned, there is much about Jesus' purifying them of narrowness, pettiness, fickleness.


"...Christ the Lord, in whom the entire revelation of the most high God is summed up (see 2 Corinthians 1:20; 3:16--4:6), having fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips the Gospel promised by the prophets, commanded the apostles to preach it to everyone as the source of all saving truth and moral law, communicating God's gifts to them. This was faithfully done: it was done by the apostles who handed on, by oral preaching, by their example, by their dispositions, what they themselves had received—whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or by coming to know it through the prompting of the Holy Spirit" (Vatican II, Constitution on Divine Revelation, 7).

Patron Saint of:


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


At any time of the day or night we can call on Jesus.
He is always waiting, listening for our call.
What a wonderful blessing.
No phone needed, no e-mails, just a whisper.


God is not foreign to my freedom.
Instead the Spirit breathes life into my most intimate desires,
gently nudging me towards all that is good.
I ask for the grace to let myself be enfolded by the Spirit.


I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God.
I trace out these links, giving thanks for the life that flows through them.
Some links are twisted or broken: I may feel regret, anger, disappointment.
I pray for the gift of acceptance and forgiveness.

The Word of God

Reading 1 2 cor 4:7-15

Brothers and sisters:
We hold this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained;
perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed;
always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.
For we who live are constantly being given up to death
for the sake of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith,
according to what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke,
we too believe and therefore speak,
knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus
will raise us also with Jesus
and place us with you in his presence.
Everything indeed is for you,
so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people
may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.

Responsorial Psalm ps 126:1bc-2ab, 2cd-3, 4-5, 6

R. (5) Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Then they said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.

Gospel mt 20:20-28

The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her,
"What do you wish?"
She answered him,
"Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom."
Jesus said in reply,
"You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?"
They said to him, "We can."
He replied,
"My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."
When the ten heard this,
they became indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus summoned them and said,
"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."


How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold?
Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way?
I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me,
I turn and  share my feelings with him.


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 Corinthians 4:7-15

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Saint James, Apostle

... that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Pirates stored their treasure in chests bound with chains and heavy padlocks. Banks and casinos store cash in high-security vaults. But God? He has placed his treasure in "earthen vessels" (2 Corinthians 4:7). In us! He doesn't need chains and locks, laser beams or retina scans, to protect it. He's God! Whatever we lack in security, whatever weaknesses we bring to the life he has called us to, his power is more than enough to carry us through!

James was an ordinary fisherman. Strong, passionate, and simply educated—how could he ever take on the responsibilities that Jesus wanted to give him? But he did. This common fisherman became the second head of the Jerusalem church. The same James who wanted to call fire down on the Samaritans who had snubbed Jesus became a chief advocate for opening the Church to Gentiles. Scheming James, who connived with his brother John to seek a special seat in Jesus' kingdom, was the one trusted disciple St. Paul visited on his final trip to Jerusalem.

James wasn't, at first, most likely to become head of the Church, most willing to include outsiders, or most eager to see others succeed in their ministry. He had no formal training in administration for what God had called him to. (So few of us do!) But God doesn't depend on what you can do for him. His life and power will work in and through you as you yield to him. Just acknowledge that you need him and are willing to walk with him.

God always begins where your human ability ends. If you think he has called you to reach out to someone you find it difficult to be in the same room with, tell him. He'll supply the patience and the wisdom you need. If you need to go on loving and serving your family when you're bone tired, ask him for the strength. And if you're too scared to do anything at all, tell him. He will help you. Take a step, and watch him take it with you. He's all-sufficient; give him the chance to show you!

"Lord, I open my heart to you today. I am determined to walk with you. I trust your power to see me through!"


Psalm 126:1-6; Matthew 20:20-28


In the Catholic Church, the mother church, we have the tabernacle: Inside, the consecrated body of Christ.  It is Holy Ground.  It is a place very few go to.  It is the biggest secret and the most abandoned place on earth.  Where 1 Billion should be, only a spurt here and there.  I didn't even know as a cradle Catholic what we had.  I mean, I knew, but it wasn't I guess, "special", although it was said to be special and was in of itself special even if I didn't believe.  The term is used "make a visit" when you go there.  We "make" a visit means we make it happen.  Today, we are being asked to make Christ a living reality.  For all those that wonder why Catholics carry crucifix, the answer is in today's 1st Holy Scripture for we are "always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body".  That reality of His Passion should be my Passion as a true follower of Christ.  And there is power in the cross.  The devil knows this, therefore wants you to let go of the cross, lay it down and forget it.  The devil in the age of defilement will tell people to become more "spiritual" and not so "religious" for religion is a bad word.  Yet Christ founded a CHURCH, a RELIGION, a set of beliefs, and it all starts and ends in Him, through Him, and With Him.  We prayed "Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing".  It takes guts to give glory.  It takes sweat and tears to appreciate the joy of the Lord.  The cross.  And this chalice that James and John would take would be just that, for the world murdered them for their beliefs, the blood poured out so that you and me would be reading about it this very day.  The chalice has blood, and it began with the blood of Christ.  It is still there.  Not many there though.  It is no wonder so few go straight to Heaven, because very few take this very serious.  But the devil lies on "you don't need religion to get into Heaven".  And the lies get worse.  If you are Catholic and reading this, realize what the Chalice carries and what it means.  It means life if you are living the life of Christ and more will be given upon the consummation.  If you are living the life of the world and taking the chalice, you are not partaking of salvation, but condemnation, because you are taking in the Justice of God by taking in God who is Justice as well as mercy that you do not seek by a contrite (sorrowful) heart (what little had will be taken away).  It is a hardener for the soul, making you more visible or invisible in His Kingdom.  What lies we have been under for the last generation.  I've noticed in many ministries people just want to lead.  They sit in leading groups, and they all want to lead the church, and very few, if any, want to be a slave.  Jesus asked us to be a slave Him.  A slave of God the Father, the slave of Love.  Very few.  And I will keep saying very few, because there are too many who give into the slavery of hatred, the devil.  Very few take the chalice, the cross.  But all want to claim the glory without any guts.  It takes guts to be a true Christian.  Bravery?  Valiant? Courage?  Not without Jesus first in one's life.  I took my kids to a lake this past weekend for summer camping trip.  As we were loading on the boat, another family got off and a man in shorts was toting a gun.  In my mind I thought this guy has an insecurity.  His security is his gun.  My security is Jesus.  How would I protect my family?  With the love and power of Christ in me because I have consumed Him in the Eucharist.  It looked just as offensive as a scarcely dressed woman getting off the boat.  But, that's the norm, isn't it?  We place our ideals and trust in other things (idols).  Spiritualism can lead to idols, that which God deplores.  So if you know of those "doing their own thing" and not with a church, encourage them to join Christ.  Ours is a communal love relationship, not solitary.  I'm not responsible for my own salvation, but also for everyone elses', lest I arrive to the pearly gates alone and the first question be "where is everyone else?".  My spouse?  My kids?  My friends?  All those people I met on earth?  If you've read this far, God bless you all the more.  And I will tell you why I've said many things I've said; first, yesterday I experienced God's mercy in something that happened, a miracle (I will spare you the details, would take another 500 words at least to do justice).  And secondly, I somehow ran into an exorcism document which described many of the devil's tactics very active in the world, in law, schools, and especially among those that are in sin.  Through all this, now I know more.  I know why and how we can be so hardened in the wrong ways.  It's as if the devil knows scripture better than most and this is how many get fooled with bits of truth covered in lies.  I see it in the sinful life choices many make.  So my prayer today is for our world to be a better and more accepting place for Jesus.  And I leave you with the words of our Master, Lord Jesus Christ: "I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world." Jn 16:33 "Peace* I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.s Jn.14:27
Ok this is awkward, I didn't know what I was going to say or end with (It's the Holy Spirit). We were left with offering of Peace. 
I searched peace and Jesus and it pulled up this image that a girl, Akiane, painted which we saw last night in the movie Heaven Is For Real.   Turns out the man she painted was a carpenter that stopped by looking for work.  Strange?  Is He out here among us still?
He is Real.  Really Among us.  He is from Heaven.  Heaven is among us.  Looking for work and working among us.  We too must follow suit...
Thank You Lord.