Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Some Are First

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Minute Meditations

Two Hearts
Tell everybody that God grants us graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that people are to ask for them; and that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at his side. --Blessed Jacinta Marto
— fromSisterhood of Saints

St. Narcissus of Jerusalem
(d. 215)
Listen to Audio

Life in second- and third-century Jerusalem couldn't have been easy, but St. Narcissus managed to live well beyond 100. Some even speculate he lived to 160.

Details of his life are sketchy, but there are many reports of his miracles. The miracle for which he is most remembered was turning water into oil for use in the church lamps on Holy Saturday when the deacons had forgotten to provide any.

We do know that Narcissus became bishop of Jerusalem in the late second century. He was known for his holiness, but there are hints that many people found him harsh and rigid in his efforts to impose church discipline. One of his many detractors accused Narcissus of a serious crime at one point. Though the charges against him did not hold up, he used the occasion to retire from his role as bishop and live in solitude. His disappearance was so sudden and convincing that many people assumed he had actually died.

Several successors were appointed during his years in isolation. Finally, Narcissus reappeared in Jerusalem and was persuaded to resume his duties. By then, he had reached an advanced age, so a younger bishop was brought in to assist him until his death.


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



The more we call on the Lord
the more we can feel his Presence.
Day by day he draws us closer
to his loving heart.


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 eph 6:1-9

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Honor your father and mother.
This is the first commandment with a promise,
that it may go well with you
and that you may have a long life on earth.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger,
but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord.

Slaves, be obedient to your human masters with fear and trembling,
in sincerity of heart, as to Christ,
not only when being watched, as currying favor,
but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,
willingly serving the Lord and not men,
knowing that each will be requited from the Lord
for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.
Masters, act in the same way towards them, and stop bullying,
knowing that both they and you have a Master in heaven
and that with him there is no partiality.

Responsorial Psalm ps 145:10-11, 12-13ab, 13cd-14

R. (13c) The Lord is faithful in all his words.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. The Lord is faithful in all his words.
Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. The Lord is faithful in all his words.
The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. The Lord is faithful in all his words.

Gospel lk 13:22-30

Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
"Lord, will only a few people be saved?"
He answered them,
"Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
'Lord, open the door for us.'
He will say to you in reply,
'I do not know where you are from.'
And you will say,
'We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.'
Then he will say to you,
'I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!'
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last."

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection


Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the Word of God? Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry? Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me, I speak out my feelings, as one trusted friend to another.


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: Ephesians 6:1-9

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30th Week in Ordinary Time

Slaves, be obedient to your human masters. (Ephesians 6:5)

That's an uncomfortable thought! Is Paul really accepting the status quo of institutionalized slavery? That's certainly how it looks, and it's possible that he didn't see slavery as a burning social issue of his day. It was so common that he may not have given it much thought. But whether he knew it or not, Paul's teaching laid the groundwork for a worldwide abolitionist movement.

You can see this new teaching later in today's reading, where Paul tells slave owners, "Stop bullying, knowing that ... you have a Master in heaven and that with him there is no partiality" (Ephesians 6:9).

Now that is revolutionary! Where most people in Paul's time considered their slaves as nothing more than property, Paul is saying that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and justice. Just as a slave should show respect for his or her master, so too should the master treat his or her slaves as fellow human beings, not as commodities.

Paul develops this point further in his Letter to Philemon. Onesimus, one of Philemon's slaves, ran away and arrived at Paul's doorstep looking for help. While Paul did send Onesimus back to Philemon, he also pleaded that Philemon treat Onesimus as a "brother" and as "beloved" (Philemon 16).

So while Paul didn't try to overturn the institution of slavery, he did undermine one of its central principles.

It is a tragic fact that slavery, or human trafficking, still exists today. Every year, nearly 800,000 men, women, and children throughout the world are bought and sold into forced labor. From migrant farm workers in North America to sex workers in Africa, from "domestic help" in Europe to involuntary organ donors in Asia, people are being traded like common goods, stripped of all rights and dignity.

It's true that few of us face this horrible situation directly. But we can still make a difference. We can pray for an end to human trafficking. We can donate to organizations that support victims of slavery. And perhaps most important, we can dedicate ourselves to treating everyone we meet with respect, honor, and dignity.

"Lord, free all those held in slavery. Help me to see ways I can build a culture of love and respect."


Psalm 145:10-14; Luke 13:22-30


The 5minutos says today (I will attempt to translate):
  "Inasmuch as the family life as the social life, the important is to learn to think of others, not just in your own interests.  In this point there are social transformations being produced that we should discern.  Many youth say that they can not morgage their lives to be dependent on their parents, that they have their right to make their own lives.  Some women say that it is now alright to sell their autonomy of taking care of their husband and children, that it is their time of feminine emancipation.  Some (perhaps many) men say that the education of their children is thing for the mother, that they do enough by bringing money home.  There is nothing more dangerous than a half truth.  Who will not believe in the need that we have to be autonomous?  Who will not criticize the social situation in which the woman is the "slave" of the rest of the family?  In these questions let us be sharp.  The Word of God does not propose a recipe for every particular case, but a criteria that resists all the all the psychological fads and all the social changes: "He is more happy (meanshile, more free, more autonomous) who finds himself when he seeks the happiness of others, and not his own".  Can this criteria be manipulated to the service of petty interests? Of course!  But it is a critera that is worth its weight in gold.  To take it on, we'd have to judge the complex family and social life that was given us to live."
  Obey your parents, just so that you may live.  I am recalling the scripture from Deuteronomy 30:19 "I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, obeying his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you, a long life for you to live on the land which the LORD swore to your ancestors...."  From thousands of years ago, God has been saying it.  LISTEN.  OBEY.  And guess what?  You'll live!  Don't believe?  Then you don't trust.  Nowadays the truth is being twisted to death.  Laws want you to choose death, not choose life.  Death to family.  Death to babies.  Death to pro-creation.  Death to a marriage that creates.  "Oh you Christians want us to live in slavery, the bible believes in slavery!"  LIES. And what's worse, they believe the hype and lies, and stand on street corners telling everyone lies.  And Jesus will bring it up to your attention when you die..."do you remember those lies you preached on street corners?"  Because He will ask you gently to depart for, not just what you said, but believed and lived and proclaimed by your life and the life style you chose to live.  That's what will be brought up to your attention.  LISTEN.  OBEY.  GIVE.  Because in the end, Jesus is asking us to give, to surrender to His will, and His will is good, and holy.  Ultimately it means putting others first, and ultimately, it means putting God first.  Ultimately, Jesus is reiterating His commandment.  Utlimately, the last shall be first no matter how much we fight it.  God wins.  God always wins, He is King, and try to put yourself in His place and guess what?  We can't.  Those are mighty big shoes to fit, create the world and die for the world.  Love the world and give to the world more than it deserves.  So many of us get caught on "Wha'ts In It For Me", the WIIFM channel of the world. Guess what, it's not about me, it's about HIM.  The message is going to wear you out until it becomes you, because God wins, holiness wins.  You think the world is winning? You think we are in bad shape? Stop looking in the mirror that Satan is holding up.  Start looking through the clear windows of the soul through a life of grace!  A sad saint is a sad sort of saints and God is calling all saints and angels to serve Love.  Slavery nowadays exists through what we are slaves to, not ownership, because God said enough of the abuse.  Nowadays, abuse is rampant, abuses against the teachings of the church.  For this we need a counter-reaction team.  I'm calling you out.  The counter reaction to a frown, your loving smile.  The counter reaction to seeing nobody come in.  The counter reaction to a troubled family or ministry, you come in and heal with Jesus.  Why and How? Because Christ And I Are An Overwhelming Majority.  This is simply from Philipians 4:13.  You were made to be free and strong.  Only through Jesus are we strong and free and very VERY Happy, a joy that nothing and nobody can take away.  You are being called out  my child.
  It's on you.  You, believe it or not, are a mover and shaker.  I see a mother, I see a monarch.  I see a father, I see a patriarch.  And all this under the Paternity of Our Father.  All of this with our Mother in Heaven.  Jesus didn't just come to live and die to be that Father that loves beyond death to break through everything to bring us to Him as a true savior and, He came for even more, for the overall scheme of life to be accomplished, beyond what we will comprehend, to love and love and love more than forever, and at the end of His life on earth, He gave the mother of all mothers to you and me...His own Mommy.  As He cried to the HEavens "DADDY, DADDY Why did you leave me", His mommy was right there which He had already given to the world.  You tell me about a good God.  This God came to suffer our pains of abandonment.  No other God has or ever will do this.  And He busted through it so that you would NEVER EVER EVER go through it alone.  Because He left the mommy, and more...He left His Precious blood, and more than that, He LIVES IN THE HOLY SPIRIT that is telling me to tell you this right now...HE's AMAZINGGGGGG!