Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I Shall Repay

Minute Meditations

Conduit to God  
A long experience has taught me the great lesson that God leads men in a human manner by other men whom He appointed to be in His place and who should be of the same kindness as He Himself was while on earth. –Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos
— from Fearless


Dedication of Churches of Sts. Peter and Paul

St. Peter’s is probably the most famous church in Christendom. Massive in scale and a veritable museum of art and architecture, it began on a much humbler scale. Vatican Hill was a simple cemetery where believers gathered at St. Peter’s tomb to pray. In 319 Constantine built a basilica on the site that stood for more than a thousand years until, despite numerous restorations, it threatened to collapse. In 1506, Pope Julius II ordered it razed and reconstructed, but the new basilica was not completed and dedicated for more than two centuries.
St. Paul’s Outside-the-Walls stands near the Abaazia delle Tre Fontane, where St. Paul is believed to have been beheaded. The largest church in Rome until St. Peter’s was rebuilt, the basilica also rises over the traditional site of its namesake’s grave. The most recent edifice was constructed after a fire in 1823. The first basilica was also Constantine’s doing.

Constantine’s building projects enticed the first of a centuries-long parade of pilgrims to Rome. From the time the basilicas were first built until the empire crumbled under “barbarian” invasions, the two churches, although miles apart, were linked by a roofed colonnade of marble columns.


Peter, the rough fisherman whom Jesus named the rock on which the Church is built, and the educated Paul, reformed persecutor of Christians, Roman citizen and missionary to the Gentiles, are the original odd couple. The major similarity in their faith-journeys is the journey’s end: Both, according to tradition, died a martyr’s death in Rome—Peter on a cross and Paul beneath the sword. Their combined gifts shaped the early Church and believers have prayed at their tombs from the earliest days.


“It is extraordinarily interesting that Roman pilgrimage began at an…early time. Pilgrims did not wait for the Peace of the Church [Constantine’s edict of toleration] before they visited the tombs of the Apostles. They went to Rome a century before there were any public churches and when the Church was confined to the tituli [private homes] and the catacombs. The two great pilgrimage sites were exactly as today—the tombs, or memorials, of St. Peter upon the Vatican Hill and the tomb of St. Paul off the Ostian Way” (H.V. Morton, This Is Rome).

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


Dear Lord, help me to be open to you
for this time as I put aside the cares of this world.
Fill my mind with your peace, Your Love.

"In these days, God taught me
as a schoolteacher teaches a pupil" (Saint Ignatius).
I remind myself that there are things God has to teach me yet,
and ask for the grace to hear them and let them change me.

How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy-hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried or angry. I acknowledge how I really am.
It is the real me that the Lord loves.

The Word of God

Reading 1 rv 3:1-6, 14-22

I, John, heard the Lord saying to me:
“To the angel of the Church in Sardis, write this:

“‘The one who has the seven spirits of God
and the seven stars says this: “I know your works,
that you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
Be watchful and strengthen what is left, which is going to die,
for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.
Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it, and repent.
If you are not watchful, I will come like a thief,
and you will never know at what hour I will come upon you.
However, you have a few people in Sardis
who have not soiled their garments;
they will walk with me dressed in white,
because they are worthy.

“‘The victor will thus be dressed in white,
and I will never erase his name from the book of life
but will acknowledge his name in the presence of my Father
and of his angels.

“‘Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

“To the angel of the Church in Laodicea, write this:

“‘The Amen, the faithful and true witness,
the source of God’s creation, says this:
“I know your works;
I know that you are neither cold nor hot.
I wish you were either cold or hot.
So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold,
I will spit you out of my mouth.
For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,’
and yet do not realize that you are wretched,
pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich,
and white garments to put on
so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed,
and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see.
Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise.
Be earnest, therefore, and repent.

“‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
then I will enter his house and dine with him,
and he with me.
I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne,
as I myself first won the victory
and sit with my Father on his throne.

“‘Whoever has ears ought to hear
what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Responsorial Psalm ps 15:2-3a, 3bc-4ab, 5

R. (Rev. 3: 21) I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.
He who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
By whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.

Gospel lk 19:1-10

At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”

audio    Listen to audio of this reading

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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.

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: Luke 19:1-10

View NAB Reading at

Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, Virgin

Zacchaeus … was seeking to see who Jesus was. (Luke 19:2, 3)

“Who are you? What is your story?” These simple questions have facilitated some very rich conversations. Many long journeys have been turned from tedious hours of travel into fascinating encounters by people who make these kinds of inquiries. Finding out about the lives, thoughts, hopes, and dreams of the people around us is not only more interesting than casual conversation; it can spark deeper friendships with the ones we think we know.

A curious crowd had gathered around Jesus as he passed through Jericho that day. Maybe some onlookers were casual about Jesus, but not Zacchaeus. He genuinely wanted “to see who Jesus was” (Luke 19:3). He wanted to learn all about Jesus and what his story was. So he went and perched in a tree to get the best view possible. As a result, Zacchaeus was rewarded with an encounter that turned his life around and filled him with joy.

Zacchaeus might have wanted to know who Jesus was, but he learned even more about who he himself was. He discovered that he was still “a descendant of Abraham,” despite the many years he had spent exploiting and cheating his fellow Jews. He discovered that God still treasured him and that there was still hope for his future. He learned that he didn’t have to be defined by his past; Jesus looked beyond it, and so should he.

Every time you pray, read the Scriptures, or go to Mass, you too are in the crowd where Jesus is passing by. Will you be a spectator or a participant? It takes some humility, and some determination, to climb the tree with Zacchaeus, but think of the reward. While the beauty and familiarity of prayer or the liturgy can be a source of peace and comfort, God has much more in store for you. He wants to meet you. So go ahead and climb that tree! Actively seek out Jesus’ presence, and let him show himself to you. As you do, you’ll learn even more about who you are—a man or woman destined for greatness in his kingdom.

“Lord Jesus, I want to reach out to you today. I repent of any sin that blocks me from encountering you. Show me, Lord, the saint I can become!”

Revelation 3:1-6, 14-22; Psalm 15:2-5
What if God wants a Holy Church? Will He get it? In today's 1st Holy Scriptures, we read "...they will walk with me dressed in white, because they are worthy".  So who is worthy?  Those who have not soiled their garments?  What about that short government worker that was robbing poor people, Zacchaeus?  Hold up.  First we prayed the Psalm "I will seat the victor beside me on my throne".  Funny that the Psalm of hundreds of years before Jesus then is said in Revelation, because before sitting at the right, he GOT right, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,  then I will enter his house and dine with him,  and he with me."  Do you hear Him knocking at your door?  Zach heard it.  Without Jesus saying a word, Zach repented and said he'd give back everything he owed, making restitution, amends with the world, his brothers before accepting the Lord at table.  That's what God wants, mercy, not sacrifice, before we present ourselves to the Altar.  I was telling my brother in law Pablo last night after our rosary / friendship group, that later when he becomes Catholic, he will be able to confess, become pure like a virgin for the groom, Jesus who will consummate the marriage in the Eucharist when He comes into our body and enforces what is within.  If we are unfaithful, we will enforce the unfaithful and draw us further, but if we go open, disposed to Him and holiness, we will get more holiness, at the will of God and His mercy. 
  Jesus is at our encounter.  Pablo mentioned how he noticed someone "supposedly loves their Jesus" yet was trying to keep him from Jesus, "supposedly they love God".  And I flipped the tables and said "I notice you pointing the finger. (I turned on the interior lights of my truck last night pointing a finger), you see how many fingers are pointing back?"  Because it is as if we have a sincere yearning for God, but not yet love.  We love the "feelings" God gives in prayer, but when they are gone, the true love is nowhere to be found.  True love comes if you are reproved.  I've heard a parent say "this is going to hurt me more than it is going to hurt you" before spanking or punishing a child.  And we read today that God reproves those He loves.  So when you are going through tough times, THANK GOD.  The worst part is being apart...from Him.  If He punishes, He still loves and is hurting more than you.  "I'm sorry God, please don't hurt".  This is mercy of Jesus showed through Zach and all of us today. 
  Our Lord is more amazing in Love than our little minds can think.  He will come one day, the end of the world, and wants to find you hot or cold, not lukewarm.  It is a yes or a no.  To what?  Acceptance.  Of what?  His love and mercy that will transform every moment of our lives....