Monday, December 29, 2014

Go In Peace

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Minute Meditations

A Pure Channel

Oh Jesus, present in the Blessed Sacrament, I rejoice to know you on a deeper level. Show me where my stubborn will gets in your way. Let me be a pure channel through which your grace can flow to others.
— from A Eucharistic Christmas

St. Thomas Becket



A strong man who wavered for a moment, but then learned one cannot come to terms with evil and so became a strong churchman, a martyr and a saint—that was Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, murdered in his cathedral on December 29, 1170.
His career had been a stormy one. While archdeacon of Canterbury, he was made chancellor of England at the age of 36 by his friend King Henry II. When Henry felt it advantageous to make his chancellor the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas gave him fair warning: he might not accept all of Henry's intrusions into Church affairs. Nevertheless, he was made archbishop (1162), resigned his chancellorship and reformed his whole way of life!

Troubles began. Henry insisted upon usurping Church rights. At one time, supposing some conciliatory action possible, Thomas came close to compromise. He momentarily approved the Constitutions of Clarendon, which would have denied the clergy the right of trial by a Church court and prevented them from making direct appeal to Rome. But Thomas rejected the Constitutions, fled to France for safety and remained in exile for seven years. When he returned to England, he suspected it would mean certain death. Because Thomas refused to remit censures he had placed upon bishops favored by the king, Henry cried out in a rage, "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest!" Four knights, taking his words as his wish, slew Thomas in the Canterbury cathedral.

Thomas Becket remains a hero-saint down to our own times.


No one becomes a saint without struggle, especially with himself. Thomas knew he must stand firm in defense of truth and right, even at the cost of his life. We also must take a stand in the face of pressures—against dishonesty, deceit, destruction of life—at the cost of popularity, convenience, promotion and even greater goods.


In T.S. Eliot's powerful drama, Murder in the Cathedral, Becket faces a final temptation to seek martyrdom for earthly glory and revenge. With real insight into his life situation, Thomas responds: "The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason."

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 God
the more we can feel God's presence.
Day by day we are drawn closer
to the loving heart of God.


Everything has the potential to draw forth from me a fuller love and life.
Yet my desires are often fixed, caught, on illusions of fulfillment.
I ask that God, through my freedom may orchestrate
my desires in a vibrant loving melody rich in harmony.


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


The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas

Reading 1 1 jn 2:3-11

The way we may be sure that we know Jesus
is to keep his commandments.
Whoever says, "I know him," but does not keep his commandments
is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
This is the way we may know that we are in union with him:
whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.

Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you
but an old commandment that you had from the beginning.
The old commandment is the word that you have heard.
And yet I do write a new commandment to you,
which holds true in him and among you,
for the darkness is passing away,
and the true light is already shining.
Whoever says he is in the light,
yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness.
Whoever loves his brother remains in the light,
and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.
Whoever hates his brother is in darkness;
he walks in darkness
and does not know where he is going
because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Responsorial Psalm ps 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 5b-6

R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty go before him;
praise and grandeur are in his sanctuary.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Alleluia Lk 2:32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A light of revelation to the Gentiles
and glory for your people Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel lk 2:22-35

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

"Lord, now let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:
my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you prepared in the sight of every people,
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel."

The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
"Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
(and you yourself a sword will pierce)
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection


How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold? Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way?
I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me, I turn and share my feelings with him.


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: 1 John 2:3-11

View NAB Reading at


5th Day within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord

I do write a new commandment to you ... for the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. (1 John 2:8)

Are you still basking in the glow of Christmas? Perhaps midnight Mass was especially uplifting this year. Or a holiday concert still has you singing under your breath. Maybe you got to spend quality time with some family members you seldom see, or someone really appreciated the gift you chose for him or her.

These are all instances of "darkness passing away" so that the "true light," the light of Christ, can shine in your life (1 John 2:8).

Sooner or later, we will take the lights off our trees. The nativity set will go back into its box for another year. We will carefully wrap the ornaments and put away the memories they represent. It's fine to hold on to those memories, by the way, as well as the happy memories we just made this Christmas. But don't forget what John tells us here. Lasting light is already shining. With the birth of Christ, something radically new has entered our world. Something—Someone—has filled us with hope and pointed us in a new direction. So besides looking back with gratitude, we can look forward joyfully to the day when we will be in heaven, filled with God's grace and healed of every wound sin has ever inflicted on us.

Don't make the mistake of boxing up the gift of Jesus' presence and putting it away until next year—or even next Sunday. Your life may seem to go on as usual after the end of the Christmas season, but because Jesus has been born into our world and into your heart, everything is new. Nothing can ever be the same.

It may sound like the same old commandment, "Love one another." But because God has come to live among us, loving one another is no longer just a shining aspiration. It's a very real possibility. Christ is in you, and he really can reach out to everyone around you. Give him the chance. It doesn't take much to start, just a kind gesture or a word of encouragement.

"Jesus, your presence is the greatest gift of all. Help me to live in the light of your love today."


Psalm 96:1-3, 5-6
Luke 2:22-35

One can not tire of reading the words of Simeon that ties the 1st Scripture with the Psalms.  People and theologians have all been perplexed at what was announced by Simeon, a devout man of God, led by the Holy Spirit who took Jesus in His arms and announced the power of God.  Many were amazed, including the parents of our Lord, and I bet many didn't believe.  And so the story should shine a light in our faith walk.  Where do I stand at this proclamation?  Am I amazed?  Or do I find it hard to believe?  Because one can be amazed at what was said, an eye opener, yet some are amused, raise an eyebrow and go on living life "normal" not really taking to what is being said.  We are living in the times of the Messiah, the Glory of the people of Israel, in the ability to see the light, come to the light, and share the light, the power and glory of God.  St. Thomas Becket lived the light of truth and it cost his life, pierced by a sword.  Mary our Blessed Mother was told a sword would pierce her heart because through her Sacred Heart the truth would be revealed, and our Sacred Heart is Jesus.  The sword now should pierce our own hearts, like that of Mary, or St. Thomas Becket.  It should cut us and afflict us so the light pierces through the darkness of the soul.  This is the way to live, to be Christ in a world of darkness, the light, a fervent love and trust that does not know how to back down.  I hope this Christmas you gave more than you received.  I hope you gave your sins to God for your soul to be healed.  I hope you gave love where there is normally none.  For my birthday on Christmas, I got what I wanted, I invited a man that could never repay to our family dinner.  He has no family.  He lives what I summize is a life in poverty.  He lives a contradictory life, disliked by his ways by many in Church, yet he leads the Church faithfully in the english choir.  From what I gathered throughout the year, it culminated by what he said at dinner..."the only family I got now is the Church", having lost his brother and another relative does not recognize him and they live in the same city.  About 7 years ago he visited another relative in Florida.  I hope you give and not expect anything in return.  In his homily yesterday, our young visiting priest Father Patrick said that we give in forgiveness, we don't wait till someone says "i'm sorry".  I don't believe we really know how to give, and what's worse, some of us don't know how to receive.  And now we are leading back to the light.  Jesus is giving Himself to you today.  Such a crazy thought, that someone would die for you.  Such a crazy love that would disgust the hardest of hearts, totally unaccepting of someone so ridiculously in love with you.  Yet, the Messiah in the arms of Simeon was just that, the salvation of the world, the glory of Israel (the ultimate sacrifice) that God would come to earth and have Himself killed to reveal the thoughts of the hearts of many.  Not all.  Not all will accept this amazing news that is being laid out in front of your eyes in Holy Scripture.  We (me, my wife, and kids)  passed out gifts at the nursing home on Christmas day.  I don't remember seeing families with these elderly folks, all sitting in front of the TV spaced out.  As we gave them all gifts, the feature attraction was the baby I was holding, Adonai, in my arms, he brought such a big smile to the elderly that it changed everything in the room.  And so did Jesus do so for the world...He changed everything, and it is ongoing.  I am aspiring to be a Christian.  A failure at times, but not ashamed to go before the Lord to offer my slum that causes my slump, a reconciliation with Love.  Last night, I read some more on the Joy of Padre Pio a line that reads "Humility and Purity of Conduct are the wings which raise us up to Go and in a manner deify us.  Remember this: the sinner who is ashamed to do evil is closer to God than the upright man who is ashamed to do good."  Evil shames and extinguishes the light.  Why then do we fall for it?  Why do we hate our brother yet try to stand upright before God?  That is not true love, because true love is crazy love, and crazy because we can not understand it.  Crazy because it is backwards, expecting nothing in return, yet, when received with an open heart and arms the light of grace begins to shine, and only then can we go like Simeon in peace now that we behold everything in our life...