Tuesday, December 9, 2014

He Rejoices More

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Minute Meditations

Jesus Feeds Us
Oh Jesus, present in the Blessed Sacrament, I believe that you are truly present, Body and Blood, soul and divinity, in the Blessed Sacrament. Where my faith is weak, give me the gift of greater faith. Because I believe in your true presence, I bow before you and worship you.
— from A Eucharistic Christmas

St. Juan Diego

Thousands of people gathered in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe July 31, 2002, for the canonization of Juan Diego, to whom the Blessed Mother appeared in the 16th century. Pope John Paul II celebrated the ceremony at which the poor Indian peasant became the Church's first saint indigenous to the Americas.

The Holy Father called the new saint "a simple, humble Indian" who accepted Christianity without giving up his identity as an Indian. "In praising the Indian Juan Diego, I want to express to all of you the closeness of the church and the pope, embracing you with love and encouraging you to overcome with hope the difficult times you are going through," John Paul said. Among the thousands present for the event were members of Mexico's 64 indigenous groups.

First called Cuauhtlatohuac ("The eagle who speaks"), Juan Diego's name is forever linked with Our Lady of Guadalupe because it was to him that she first appeared at Tepeyac hill on December 9, 1531. The most famous part of his story is told in connection with the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12. After the roses gathered in his tilma were transformed into the miraculous image of Our Lady, however, little more is said about Juan Diego.

In time he lived near the shrine constructed at Tepeyac, revered as a holy, unselfish and compassionate catechist who taught by word and especially by example.

During his 1990 pastoral visit to Mexico, Pope John Paul II confirmed the long-standing liturgical cult in honor of Juan Diego, beatifying him. Twelve years later he was proclaimed a saint.


God counted on Juan Diego to play a humble yet huge role in bringing the Good News to the peoples of Mexico. Overcoming his own fear and the doubts of Bishop Juan de Zumarraga, Juan Diego cooperated with God's grace in showing his people that the Good News of Jesus is for everyone. Pope John Paul II used the occasion of this beatification to urge Mexican lay men and women to assume their responsibilities for passing on the Good News and witnessing to it.


"In accepting the Christian message without forgoing his indigenous identity, Juan Diego discovered the profound truth of the new humanity, in which all are called to be children of God. Thus he facilitated the fruit meeting of two worlds and became the catalyst for the new Mexican identity, closely united to Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose mestizo face expresses her spiritual motherhood which embraces all Mexicans. That is why the witness of his life must continue to be the inspiration for the building up of the Mexican nation, encouraging brotherhood among all its children and ever helping to reconcile Mexico with its origins, values and traditions" (St. John Paul II, canonization homily).
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.


By God's grace I was born to live in freedom.
Free to enjoy the pleasures He created for me.
Dear Lord, grant that I may live as You intended,
with complete confidence in Your Loving care.


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 is 40:1-11

Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
Indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
The rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

A voice says, "Cry out!"
I answer, "What shall I cry out?"
"All flesh is grass,
and all their glory like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower wilts,
when the breath of the LORD blows upon it.
So then, the people is the grass.
Though the grass withers and the flower wilts,
the word of our God stands forever."

Go up onto a high mountain,
Zion, herald of glad tidings;
Cry out at the top of your voice,
Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities of Judah:
Here is your God!
Here comes with power
the Lord GOD,
who rules by his strong arm;
Here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
Carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.

Responsorial Psalm ps 96:1-2, 3 and 10ac, 11-12, 13

R. (see Isaiah 40:10ab) The Lord our God comes with power.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name;
announce his salvation, day after day.
R. The Lord our God comes with power.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord our God comes with power.
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 let all the trees of the forest rejoice.
R. The Lord our God comes with power.
They shall exult 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 our God comes with power.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The day of the Lord is near:
Behold, he comes to save us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel mt 18:12-14

Jesus said to his disciples:
"What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost."


Jesus, you always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth. Teach me to have a childlike trust in you. To live in the knowledge that you will never abandon me.


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: Isaiah 40:1-11

View NAB Reading at

Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin

A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord! (Isaiah 40:3)

Look at this verse again. What does it say? So often we think that the voice crying out was in the desert. But look again. The speaker isn't necessarily in the desert himself. Rather, he is calling out to other desert dwellers and telling them to prepare for the Lord.

What desert are you in? And how can you prepare for the Lord?

Let's look at one woman's story as an illustration. Kathy was going about her everyday life when she suddenly lost sight in one eye. The doctors were very concerned, so they ordered a myriad of tests. For her part, Kathy was filled with anxiety even as she tried to continue taking care of her family and working at her job. What if it was something fatal? What if she were to go completely blind? How would she cope? But she heard this verse at Mass, and it struck her heart: "In the desert prepare the way of the Lord." Kathy knew she was in a desert, but she also knew that she had to find a way to be open to the Lord.

Kathy decided to make a few changes to her daily routine. She gave up some of her television time and devoted it to listening to worship music. While making dinner, she listened to Bible study talks that focused on God's love and plan for his people. During her prayer, she searched the Scriptures for stories that demonstrated God's mercy and his power to heal. She went to Confession and asked the Lord to forgive her for becoming wrapped up in her own problems. She asked some friends from church to pray with her for healing but also for freedom from fear.

During the month that she had to wait before her next doctor's visit, Kathy saw some real changes. The fears were losing their grip. She began to feel a deeper trust that she was in God's hands, no matter what the outcome. She felt closer to the Lord. When people asked how she was doing, she was beginning to share about God's presence and his faithfulness and not just about her health. Kathy had prepared a way for Jesus in her desert—and he came in and changed her!

"Jesus, teach me how to welcome you into my desert areas."


Psalm 96:1-3, 10-13
Matthew 18:12-14

Allow me to translate today's 5minutos:
  "God consoles his people exiled in Babylon.  He announces the return to the patriarch.  God Himself would go in front of his people through the desert as a Shepherd feeds His flock and His hand will reunite them.  Strength, power, and affection are given in the heart of God.  It is the omnipotent affection that comes in search of the lost sheep, like we read in the parableof the Gospel this day.  Upon seeing the Pharisees and letterings that publicans and sinners brought forth to Jesus to hear Him, they'd murmur between themselves "this man takes in sinners and eats with them".  And then Christ teaches this parable: a man has 100 sheep and loses one and leaves the 99 in the fold and goes in searh of the lost one.  Surely upon finding it He gets more happy for that one than for the rest; not that it is worth more than the 99, but precisely because it was lost and it was found.  It is the joy of the fulfilled responsibility, the joyof saving the lost.  In this way, the Master justifies His conduct with the marginalized, appealing the compassion of God.  Christ acts the same as God: takes in the lost, the sinners, the undesirables, without marginalizing anyone, because "Our Father in Heaven does not want to lose any of these little ones".  To God there are no people without importance; every one is loved by Him personally and values us by the price of the blood of His Son.  Even if we are insignificant, we are someone to Him.  The great and almighty God is the God of affection, of the mercy and comprehension.  We bless you Father full of affection, because you are not satisified with the 99 sheep."
If I were to rewind time, and play my life backwards, you would see the Word taken right out of my mouth, the Eucharist fed to us in Holy Mass last night.  God feeds His sheep, and that's why He wants to secure each one of us in His fold.  He carries the weak, he leads the females (ewes) and He feeds them.  How do shepherds feed sheep in the valleys and mountains?  These shepherds dedicate themselves and a good one lays down his life for his flock, and they are feeding by their leading.  One lost means one in danger of being lost forever, eaten by hungry wolves or other predators.  Perhaps this is why many parents of "lost" children stress.  One can only imagine the loss of a child, right?  Now imagine Our Father in Heaven.  He goes crazy in search.  In the Christian faith, we have the only God that has been in search of His children, unites Himself with them in the flesh and lives among in the Spirit. 
And so, the degree of love in our lives is the search for lost souls among us.  The degree is expanded exponentially through a life of Grace and Mary is called "Full of Grace".  The prophet Isaiah prophecied 700 years before Christ of Him who came and is now among us, having been made flesh.  Our Lady of Guadalupe came to a poor "ignorant" Indian but faithful man, the degree of disposition and humility made way for millions of baptized souls into Christianity, because of Grace.  400 years later, that country would prove the Christians with the Cristero War, killing many faithful Catholics, lay and clergy, many hung on telephone poles much like the crucified Christians of the time of Christ on earth. 
The hungry wolves are out there.  This is why our Father is deeply moved in search of the lost.  The beauty of the faith, is that sometimes I am lost, in sin, in despair, in anxiety, hungry, cold, and afraid, and somehow He finds me.  And I begin to cry as He picks me up, and my Mother follows behind.  Once again, the family is made whole, and it would had not been, if it had not been for His blood, sweat, and tears, because He did it for me, and He did it for you.   He died for me, and He died for you.
I am Lost in His loving arms, and it feels so goooood