Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mighty Signs

Minute Meditations

Live Charitably  
To live charitably means not looking out for our own interests, but carrying the burdens of the weakest and poorest among us. –Pope Francis
— from Seven Saints for Seven Virtues

St. Catherine of Alexandria
(c. 310)

According to the Legend of St. Catherine, this young woman converted to Christianity after receiving a vision. At the age of 18, she debated 50 pagan philosophers. Amazed at her wisdom and debating skills, they became Christians—as did about 200 soldiers and members of the emperor’s family. All of them were martyred.
Sentenced to be executed on a spiked wheel, Catherine touched the wheel and it shattered. She was beheaded. Centuries later, angels are said to have carried the body of St. Catherine to a monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai.

Devotion to her spread as a result of the Crusades. She was invoked as the patroness of students, teachers, librarians and lawyers. Catherine is one of the 14 Holy Helpers, venerated especially in Germany and Hungary.


The pursuit of God's wisdom may not lead to riches or earthly honors. In Catherine's case, this pursuit contributed to her martyrdom. She was not, however, foolish in preferring to die for Jesus rather than live only by denying him. All the rewards that her tormenters offered her would rust, lose their beauty or in some other way become a poor exchange for Catherine's honesty and integrity in following Jesus Christ.


“Therefore I [King Solomon] prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her, nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; Because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire. Beyond health and comeliness I loved her, and I chose to have her rather than the light, because the splendor of her never yields to sleep. Yet all good things together came to me in her company, and countless riches at her hands; and I rejoiced in them all, because Wisdom is their leader, though I had not known that she is the mother of these” (Wisdom 7:7-12).

Patron Saint of:

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


Lord, help me to be fully alive to your holy presence.
Enfold me in your love.
Let my heart become one with yours.

I will ask God's help,
to be free from my own preoccupations,
to be open to God in this time of prayer,
to come to know, love and serve God more.

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 rv 14:14-19

I, John, looked and there was a white cloud,
and sitting on the cloud one who looked like a son of man,
with a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.
Another angel came out of the temple,
crying out in a loud voice to the one sitting on the cloud,
“Use your sickle and reap the harvest,
for the time to reap has come,
because the earth’s harvest is fully ripe.”
So the one who was sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth,
and the earth was harvested.

Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven
who also had a sharp sickle.
Then another angel came from the altar, who was in charge of the fire,
and cried out in a loud voice
to the one who had the sharp sickle,
“Use your sharp sickle and cut the clusters from the earth’s vines,
for its grapes are ripe.”
So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and cut the earth’s vintage.
He threw it into the great wine press of God’s fury.

Responsorial Psalm ps 96:10, 11-12, 13

R. (13b) The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.

Gospel lk 21:5-11

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”

audio    Listen to audio of this reading

video    Watch a video reflection

Begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture you have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in you? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story you have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface of your consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to you?

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 21:5-11

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Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr

Do not be terrified. (Luke 21:9)
Hearing about “wars and insurrections” can certainly be terrifying. On our shrinking globe, violence halfway around the world is streamed to us almost instantaneously. We may not understand all the factors involved, but most of us can find a personal link. Maybe we have a classmate or a coworker from that part of the world. Maybe a family member is serving in the government or the military, or someone on our street has been robbed or abused. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by such events and to wonder how much worse things will get before Jesus comes back and brings the world to an end.
But what do we really need to know about the end of the world?
Jesus refuses to answer the “when” question that agitates his followers. He tells them to expect natural as well as man-made disasters and not to be taken by surprise when they happen. He cautions them not to believe any prophet of doom. There are only a few things they need to know.
First, God is in charge. Nothing happens outside his providence. He is making use of everything to build his kingdom.
Second, God doesn’t act alone. He has chosen to act on earth through his body, the Church. That means Christ living in us. We are a part of his plan to redeem the world!
Third, God doesn’t intend for us to act alone. He calls us together and interweaves our individual strengths and weaknesses in an amazing pattern.
Sometimes, God’s work involves a degree of deconstruction as we find our limited structures crumbling. Through hardship or struggle or calamity, we realize that we don’t have everything we need to survive in this world. This is where things can get frightening for us and cause us to react rashly. Yes, it may seem that everything is falling apart, as in today’s Gospel reading. But God is always at our side. He is constantly assuring us that whatever he dismantles, he will rebuild—only stronger, purer, and holier.
So don’t be afraid if you find something falling apart. Instead, turn to the Lord, and ask him what he is building up in its place.
“Father, reveal your loving hand to guide me through everything that tempts me to tremble in fear.”

Revelation 14:14-19; Psalm 96:10-13

One can not, and one should not confine God.  You can not control Him.  Funny thing is, He won't even control us without our will, our consent.  I ask Him to control me, so I am drawn closer to Him.  For what other reason do we live than to bear fruit?  And what kind of fruit will we bear in our lifetime?  Such is the question and demand of the book of Revelation today, only to be followed by the Psalm "The Lord Comes To Judge The Earth".  The fulfilment of all prophecies is Jesus.  Forget all the other prophets, for what Jesus says goes.  What He says comes to be and will come to be.  All the people were amazed at all the beautiful gems and stones in the temple when our Lord says one day it would all be flipped.  And indeed every stone was turned.  Every stone for a heart would realize this was the King of the Universe, every knee shall bow, every one will cry out the day of His coming, Amen.  And Amen means let it be done, according to His will, and Amen in Spanish means to love.  His will is His Love.  To do His will is to Love.  To care is to love, the more, the better.
"It is love alone that gives worth to all things." -St. Teresa of Avila
People want to know so they can know how much they can get away with, and that is why we can not know.  It is better to not know.  Do you want to know the day you will die?  Why?  So you can wait till the last minute to turn your life to God?  It is the basis of today's Word to you to say, now is the time.  We are on our way to celebrate the coming of our Lord.  Am I talking about Christmas?  Or am I talking about the day He will come in all His splendor?  LOL.  I want to laugh, because Jesus is not limited to that one day He will come at the end of age.  He comes every day to Earth.  His Holy Spirit is here available every second of our lives.  He comes to Earth in the form of bread turned to His body in the most Holy Eucharist of the Holy Catholic Church.  He comes in all His might just the same as that beautiful glorious night when a virgin gave birth to the son of man, the creator.  This is awesome.  One day you will realize that every day you spent without the Lord in your life was a day you could've turned around and find Him right there.  But hell will not avail this opportunity we live now.  God's fury is not anger, but justice.  Because He is infinitely Good, it ends for good.  And so we bring our lives to this good, and joy becomes to shine from the fruit, all brought about the vine, and we are branches.  I can then begin to see mighty and awesome sights from above, the Heavens, because my heart is beginning to pump life through my soul, and it is coming from the love of God...