Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Took Them To Heart

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Minute Meditations

Christ Our Savior
If we can see the face of God in the child whose birth we celebrate, then we will see the face of God in the man whose death has set us free, whose blood inebriates our hearts and causes them to sing, glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.
— from The Little Way of Advent

St. John Kanty

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John was a country lad who made good in the big city and the big university of Kraków, Poland. After brilliant studies he was ordained a priest and became a professor of theology. The inevitable opposition which saints encounter led to his being ousted by rivals and sent to be a parish priest at Olkusz. An extremely humble man, he did his best, but his best was not to the liking of his parishioners. Besides, he was afraid of the responsibilities of his position. But in the end he won his people's hearts. After some time he returned to Kraków and taught Scripture for the remainder of his life.

He was a serious man, and humble, but known to all the poor of Kraków for his kindness. His goods and his money were always at their disposal, and time and again they took advantage of him. He kept only the money and clothes absolutely needed to support himself. He slept little, and then on the floor, ate sparingly, and took no meat. He made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, hoping to be martyred by the Turks. He made four pilgrimages to Rome, carrying his luggage on his back. When he was warned to look after his health, he was quick to point out that, for all their austerity, the fathers of the desert lived remarkably long lives.


John of Kanty is a typical saint: He was kind, humble and generous, he suffered opposition and led an austere, penitential life. Most Christians in an affluent society can understand all the ingredients except the last: Anything more than mild self-discipline seems reserved for athletes and ballet dancers. Christmas is a good time at least to reject self-indulgence.


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


Dear Lord as I come to you today
Fill my heart and my whole being
with the wonder of your presence


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 remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord.
I will take refuge in His loving heart. He is my strength in times of weakness. He is my comforter in times of sorrow.

The Word of God

Reading 1 mal 3:1-4, 23-24

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Lo, I am sending my messenger
to prepare the way before me;
And suddenly there will come to the temple
the LORD whom you seek,
And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
But who will endure the day of his coming?
And who can stand when he appears?
For he is like the refiner's fire,
or like the fuller's lye.
He will sit refining and purifying silver,
and he will purify the sons of Levi,
Refining them like gold or like silver
that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD.
Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem
will please the LORD,
as in the days of old, as in years gone by.

Lo, I will send you
Elijah, the prophet,
Before the day of the LORD comes,
the great and terrible day,
To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children,
and the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike
the land with doom.

Responsorial Psalm ps 25:4-5ab, 8-9, 10 and 14

R. (see Luke 21:28) Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.
All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.
R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church;
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel lk 1:57-66

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
"No. He will be called John."
But they answered her,
"There is no one among your relatives who has this name."
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, "John is his name,"
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
"What, then, will this child be?
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him."

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: Luke 1:57-66

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4th Week of Advent

They rejoiced with her. (Luke 1:58)

Let's talk about envy. An odd subject for two days before Christmas? Maybe not. Holidays provide many opportunities for comparisons that can give rise to envy. (I wish someone had given me that nice gift. Why can't my family be as happy as theirs?) If we read today's Gospel with envy in mind, we'll see how to resist this deadly disease of the spirit.

Joy and gratitude—both powerful antidotes to envy—seem to be hallmarks of Zechariah and Elizabeth's family. But don't these new parents have every reason to rejoice over the unexpected gift of their special son? Wouldn't anyone in their place bless the Lord? Well, envy is sneaky. It's always looking to poison happiness by injecting discontent. Say you've received something good: a promotion, a new car, a high test score, or even a spiritual gift. You're pleased—until you notice someone who has received something that looks even better. If you nurture your pangs of sadness and resentment over their good fortune, envy enters in.

But this didn't happen with John the Baptist's parents. In fact, they showed the opposite reaction. Elizabeth set the tone in her earlier greeting to Mary. Instead of feeling miffed that her own child would not be as important as Mary's, she exuberantly honored her young relative as "most blessed ... among women" and "mother of my Lord" (Luke 1:42, 43). Zechariah seconds his wife's sentiments. Emerging from his months of silence, he foresees John's lesser role as herald and blesses God for it (1:64, 76). Even Elizabeth's "neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her" (1:58). Years later, John himself will stand out for his humility, as he too refuses to grasp at roles that are not his. Jesus "must increase; I must decrease," he says, with no trace of envy's sadness and self-pity (John 3:30).

"Would you like to see God glorified by you?" wrote St. John Chrysostom. Then imitate Zechariah and his family and learn to rejoice with those who rejoice. "Rejoice in the progress of your brothers and sisters. Because you, his servant, could conquer envy by rejoicing in the merits of others, God will be praised."

"I rejoice in you, Lord, and in your loving plan for me and all your children."


Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24
Psalm 25:4-5, 8-10, 14


Today's 5minutos:
  "The first Scripture is taken from the Propet Malachai, against the bad pastors/shepherds of the people of Israel.  The jewish priesthood has been corrupted.  The Lord sends His messenger Elijah that would come to avoid the disaster and renew the hearts so they will love one another as a people.  The Gospel sees fulfilled the function of Elijah in the person and activity of John the Baptist, whose birth, circumcision and imposition of name relates the Gospel of today.  John signifies in Hebrew "favor of God".  In the biblical mentality the names adhere much importance because they reveal the mission of a person.  The baptist was the last prophet of the Old Testament, and in his person came to resume an uninterrupted series of favor of God to the people, oriented to the person of Christ.  John had the mission and privilege of being his immediate precursor, so much, that he entered into personal contact with him.  God fulfills the promises that He made to His people.  The name of Elizabeth, the mother of the Baptist, signifies "God has sworn", that is to say remembers faithfully His alliance.  The name of his father, Zechariah, signifies "God has remembered".  The three protagonists of the Gospel of today constitute all one family to the service of the salvation plan of God.  To celebrate the Natitvity/Christmas, the task most urgent to us is to convert.  We need to change the mind and the conduct to enter with an attitude truly evangelic to the festivities of Christmas.   Lord, today our prayers are lifted to You.  Loosen our lips to bless You, like the Prophets, because You save us fulfilling your promises of old."
It's not a lifestyle then, if it is an attitude.  I saw in our local newspaper yesterday a picture of our Knights of Columbus feeding the elderly at the nursing home, all under the "lifestyles" section of the newspaper.  These "lifestyles" for many are out of style.  The style of Life that God has made available to us is not what people want.  Why?  Because we "have to" do stuff we don't want, which means we just want to do stuff we want to do and not as we are asked.  Had it not been for a horrible accident, the grand knight wouldn't have wound up at the nursing home and opened his eyes to the poor and forgotten there.  Even though I kept mentioning it, it never rung true until you see for yourself.  And so I spend my life telling people 'look at what I saw" and "come and see", and I'm telling you what I've seen so that you may believe.  And so we have the life of John the Baptist, asking people to come and see, repent and believe.  He was the Elijah of God, the prophet of God, the chosen one to announce to make room and make clean the hearts for the coming of God.  This is why we believe in Purgatory, a place to make room and make clean.  If you will believe me, I've served in many funerals, and I can almost sense the deceased in some occasions as if in a holding place, not quite heaven.  Some I can not sense their presence, some are scared, one even came over to a friend and the friend was telling the priest of the experience of the deceased possessing him the night before the funeral. 
This should all be a message of opening our eyes to faith and not stupidity.  Because not being faithful to God means you are susceptible to be inhumane.  Sure there are peaceful atheists, but they are fooled "there is no god", possessed by the mentality of Satan.  I heard on the satelite EWTN radio a host saying to people that "we have no choice but to eliminate all faiths from schools" because satanists were introducing curriculum into a third grade class.  As if Satan hadn't already been introduced decades ago?  As if "let's throw in the towel" is the answer?  The world is full of wishy-washy folks, say they believe in God, yet don't live what God asks.
Now we are boiling down to the nitty gritty, because where the rubber hits the road is where your eyes read the Gospel, the Word of the Lord.  Zechariah doubted and was muted.  The same can happen to all who doubt the messenger of the Lord- you will live a life muted, can not speak for yourself, much less for God.  You must do the part of faith.  You must strive to be a saint.  You must believe like a little kid the Word of God.  Even John the Baptist had to believe when locked up and facing death asking Jesus if He was the Messiah.  And I will leave you with the words of our Lord our GOD the Messiah, the Christ Savior of our lives:
"... he said to them in reply, "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.h 23
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me."