Friday, August 29, 2014

Whatever You Ask

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Minute Meditations

Unceasing Love

Those who pray learn to favor and prefer God's judgment over that of human beings. God always outdoes us in generosity and in receptivity. God is always more loving than the person who has loved you the most!
— from Yes, and...

Martyrdom of John the Baptist
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The drunken oath of a king with a shallow sense of honor, a seductive dance and the hateful heart of a queen combined to bring about the martyrdom of John the Baptist. The greatest of prophets suffered the fate of so many Old Testament prophets before him: rejection and martyrdom. The "voice crying in the desert" did not hesitate to accuse the guilty, did not hesitate to speak the truth. But why? What possesses a man that he would give up his very life?

This great religious reformer was sent by God to prepare the people for the Messiah. His vocation was one of selfless giving. The only power that he claimed was the Spirit of Yahweh. "I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire" (Matthew 3:11). Scripture tells us that many people followed John looking to him for hope, perhaps in anticipation of some great messianic power. John never allowed himself the false honor of receiving these people for his own glory. He knew his calling was one of preparation. When the time came, he led his disciples to Jesus: "The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God.' The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus" (John 1:35-37). It is John the Baptist who has pointed the way to Christ. John's life and death were a giving over of self for God and other people. His simple style of life was one of complete detachment from earthly possessions. His heart was centered on God and the call that he heard from the Spirit of God speaking to his heart. Confident of God's grace, he had the courage to speak words of condemnation or repentance, of salvation.



"So they came to John and said to him, 'Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.' John answered and said, 'No one can receive anything except what has been given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said I am not the Messiah, but that I was sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete. He must increase; I must decrease'" (John 3:26--30).


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


"Come to me all you who are burdened
and I will give you rest"
Here I am, Lord.
I come to seek your presence.
I long for your healing power.


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 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

Reading 1 1 cor 1:17-25

Brothers and sisters:
Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the Gospel,
and not with the wisdom of human eloquence,
so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For it is written:

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the learning of the learned I will set aside.

Where is the wise one?
Where is the scribe?
Where is the debater of this age?
Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?
For since in the wisdom of God
the world did not come to know God through wisdom,
it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation
to save those who have faith.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
but we proclaim Christ crucified,
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Responsorial Psalm ps 33:1-2, 4-5, 10-11

R. (5) The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten stringed lyre chant his praises.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
For upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
The LORD brings to nought the plans of nations;
he foils the designs of peoples.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

Gospel mk 6:17-29

Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
"It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers,
his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.
Herodias' own daughter came in
and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
"Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you."
He even swore many things to her,
"I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom."
She went out and said to her mother,
"What shall I ask for?"
She replied, "The head of John the Baptist."
The girl hurried back to the king's presence and made her request,
"I want you to give me at once
on a platter the head of John the Baptist."
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders
to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.


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.


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: 1 Corinthians 1:17-25

View NAB Reading at


The Passion of Saint John the Baptist

The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom. (1 Corinthians 1:25)

Heavenly Father, we turn to you today and ask you to grant us forerunners like John the Baptist. Send out men and women who will go before the Lord to prepare his way. Raise up zealous missionaries who will break new ground for the gospel. Inspire men and women to seek you in desert solitude—to usher in your kingdom through fasting and prayer.

Father, we ask you to send new John the Baptists into the world—evangelists filled with the power of your Spirit from their earliest years. Through them, flood our malls and highways, our schools, homes, and office buildings with the good news of your promises. Send them into every country to transform the culture of death into a garden of life. Light the fire of your love in them, so that they can enkindle that fire wherever they go.

O Jesus, raise up new prophets like John the Baptist, who will speak your word courageously. Fill believers with the gift of prophecy and send them into the church to renew, revive, purify, and lift our hearts to heaven. Give these new prophets the sword of your Spirit to cut through the darkness and confusion in the world and reveal your light and truth. May your word issue forth as a powerful proclamation to every country, bringing humanity back to you, the Prince of Peace.

Merciful Father, grant us new John the Baptists who are willing to become martyrs for your word. Send them into the lands where sin has a foothold. Strengthen them to crush the head of the enemy and bring new life, even to the shedding of their blood.

Lord, we acknowledge that it's not just about other people being raised up. May all your people be willing to lay down their lives so that a civilization of love may spring forth. Grant each one of us the grace to decrease so that Jesus may increase.


Each of us has a calling to which we must listen. No one will ever repeat the mission of John, and yet all of us are called to that very mission. It is the role of the Christian to witness to Jesus. Whatever our position in this world, we are called to be disciples of Christ. By our words and deeds, others should realize that we live in the joy of knowing that Jesus is Lord. We do not have to depend upon our own limited resources, but can draw strength from the vastness of Christ's saving grace.

"Lord, make me as holy as John the Baptist was. Teach me to seek you first, shunning the riches of this world in favor of your heavenly treasures. Make my family holy in word and deed, a mini-church determined to serve the mission of Jesus. O Lord, may men and women and children everywhere come to love you and work to usher in your kingdom!"


Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 10-11; Mark 6:17-29

We read that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.  We read that the foolishness of God is more than any power in the world.  So this what we coin to be "foolishness" in our eyes is more than we will ever be able to know, because there is no foolishness but what we have called foolishness in the Lord's ways.  And then we pray "the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord" only to read about John the Baptist being beheaded.  It gives easy reason for an atheist to say "if God is good then how can He allow that to happen?".  What do you mean "allow"?  Oh you mean allowance of freedom?  You mean your allowance to not believe in God?  You mean your liberty to choose between life and death?  Today's 5minutos said (allow me translate):
  "The believer always has had the temptation to fall back at the moment to live their faith, to risk, but still today counts on the presence of the Lord that would never abandon his fortune.  In a land in war, there was a King who caused great fear.  He always made the prisoners, not killing them, would take them to a large room where there was a group of archers at one side and an inmense iron door on the other which had figures of skulls covered in blood.  In this room he would make them form a circle and would say then..."You can choose to die crossed with arrows or pass through that mysterious door".  All would choose to be killed by archers.  At the end of the war, a soldier that served a long time for the king directed to the sovereignty and said "Sir, can I ask you a question?  And the King responded "Tell me soldier".  "What was behind that horrendous door?".  - "Go and see for yourself", responded the king.  The soldier, then, afraid opened the door, and as he opened, rays of sunlight entered and cleared the ambience...and, finally, discovered surprisingly that the door opened to a road that led to liberty.  The soldier admiredly alone saw his king that said -"I gave those to choose, but they chose to die rather than to risk opening that door".    How many times do we loose liberty and die inside, just because we feel afraid to open that door of our dreams or goals? "
 Yet, we read "the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord" and this on a Friday, a day of the week our Lord was crucified?  Goodness was crucified!?  What's up with that?  Last night we celebrated the 40th anniversary of a woman having lived her cursillo.  She gave a speech that seemed to be prepared.  She said last year she wasn't supposed to live much longer (and a miracle happened) and had wanted this gathering to speak.  She spoke of how she always wanted somebody to love and to love her.  She said she left her cursillo on clouds and prepared for a year to learn a talk she would give at a cursillo now being on a team.  But as the time came she was told she would not do it.  A rumor had gone around about her that caused a priest to stop her from giving the talk.  All because someone had came up with something against her.  She felt like committing suicide.  My, how words can kill, just like Herodias.  Yet we ask "How can GOD BE SO BAD?"  Those are the devil's words.  The devil will twist the bible for you to doubt and not believe.  She said her 40 years had been with someone that kept saying "Have FAITH!...HAVE FAITH!!".  Only the Holy Spirit encourages.  When God came to the world, Jesus left only to remain in us all through the Holy Spirit.  So it is true, God is with us and the earth is full of goodness.  On her speech, I was left with the question "who was her friend for 40 years?" because she said how she has lost many loved ones, siblings, parents, and more heartaches.  But she was joyous.  I saw a guy in a bandana that seemed to not stop crying during her speech.  Hers was a speech of perseverance, and of a love of God.  He never said He would take away your cross but give you a cross if you love Him.  How backwards to our train of thought of the world that says "you don't have to suffer". Yes you do.  It has to hurt to grow.  The more, the better, for Jesus.  Saints would love to take your suffering, your cross.  Why? Because they know the value.  But few knew that as we gathered last night, someone prayed a rosary for me at a funeral vigil, and a man in a nursing home with broken knees and elbow was hurting in pain and said he would offer the pain for our gathering of cursillistas and for those suffering along him at the nursing home.  Oh the joy of knowing the goodness of the Lord. is foolishness to the world!