Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Before Us

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Minute Meditations

Reflecting on Jesus Minute Meditations

Gazing with delight in your heart at God's beauty and magnificence is in itself a prayer of praise that gives God great pleasure and deepens your relationship with Him. In these times, often simply repeating the name of the Lord, "Jesus," is praise enough.
— from Answers

St. Agnes
(d. 258?)


Almost nothing is known of this saint except that she was very young—12 or 13—when she was martyred in the last half of the third century. Various modes of death have been suggested—beheading, burning, strangling.

Legend has it that Agnes was a beautiful girl whom many young men wanted to marry. Among those she refused, one reported her to the authorities for being a Christian. She was arrested and confined to a house of prostitution. The legend continues that a man who looked upon her lustfully lost his sight and had it restored by her prayer. Agnes was condemned, executed and buried near Rome in a catacomb that eventually was named after her. The daughter of Constantine built a basilica in her honor.


Like that of modern Maria Goretti (July 6), the martyrdom of a virginal young girl made a deep impression on a society enslaved to a materialistic outlook.  Like Agatha, who died in similar circumstances, Agnes is a symbol that holiness does not depend on length of years, experience or human effort. It is a gift God offers to all.


"This is a virgin's birthday; let us follow the example of her chastity. It is a martyr's birthday; let us offer sacrifices; it is the birthday of holy Agnes: let men be filled with wonder, little ones with hope, married women with awe, and the unmarried with emulation. It seems to me that this child, holy beyond her years and courageous beyond human nature, receives the name of Agnes [Greek: pure] not as an earthly designation but as a revelation from God of what she was to be" (from Saint Ambrose's discourse on virginity).

Patron Saint of:


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


"Be still and know that I am God" Lord, may your spirit guide me to seek Your Loving presence more and more. For it is there I find rest and refreshment from
this busy world.


Lord, you granted me the great gift of freedom.
In these times, O Lord, grant that I may be free
From any form of racism or intolerance.
Remind me, Lord, that we are all equal
in Your Loving eyes.


Where do I sense hope, encouragement, and growth areas in my life? By looking back over the last few months, I may be able to see which activities and occasions have produced rich fruit.  If I do notice such areas, I will determine to give those areas both time and space in the future.

The Word of God


Reading 1 Heb 7:1-3, 15-17

Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of God Most High,
met Abraham as he returned from his defeat of the kings
and blessed him.

And Abraham apportioned to him a tenth of everything.
His name first means righteous king,
and he was also "king of Salem," that is, king of peace.
Without father, mother, or ancestry,
without beginning of days or end of life,
thus made to resemble the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

It is even more obvious if another priest is raised up
after the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become so,
not by a law expressed in a commandment concerning physical descent
but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed.
For it is testified:

You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 110:1, 2, 3, 4

R. (4b) You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand
till I make your enemies your footstool."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The scepter of your power the LORD will stretch forth from Zion:
"Rule in the midst of your enemies."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
"Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor;
before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD has sworn, and he will not repent:
"You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

Alleluia See Mt 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 3:1-6

Jesus entered the synagogue.
There was a man there who had a withered hand.
They watched Jesus closely
to see if he would cure him on the sabbath
so that they might accuse him.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
"Come up here before us."
Then he said to the Pharisees,
"Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?"
But they remained silent.
Looking around at them with anger
and grieved at their hardness of heart,
Jesus said to the man, "Stretch out your hand."
He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel
with the Herodians against him to put him to death.


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: Hebrews 7:1-3, 15-17

View NAB Reading at


Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

His name first means . . . king of peace. (Hebrews 7:2)

What brings you peace? A few moments of silence? A clean home? A colorful sunset?

What about a peace that persists even in the midst of a chaotic, noisy, disrupted day? A peace that is founded on an interior calm and not external circumstances? That's the kind of peace that today's first reading is pointing to—the peace that comes from a clear conscience.

Think of the sinful woman, whose story is told in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 7:36-50). Moved by Jesus' words of mercy and forgiveness, she offers him an extravagant gesture of love: she anoints his feet, bathes them in her tears, and wipes them with her hair. Jesus is moved by her display and gives voice to what she has already experienced: "Your faith has saved you; go in peace" (7:50). Freed from guilt over her sins, she can now move forward in her life, at peace with herself and with the Lord.

This woman's story is our story. So is the story of the prodigal son and Zacchaeus and so many others. The Gospels are filled with stories of men and women who had a personal encounter with Jesus, experienced his merciful touch, and went away filled with peace. They tell us that the same experience is available to us: Jesus can become our own king of peace!

Where can we find this peace? In the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In this very personal, very private sacrament, we encounter Jesus in the person of the priest. We seek forgiveness, and we hear the comforting, inspiring words: I absolve you of all your sins... . May God grant you pardon and peace." In that moment, we become the sinful woman, the prodigal son, the unjust tax collector, and every other person who met Jesus and felt his love. In that moment, we receive the peace we long for.

The next time you have an opportunity for Confession, take advantage of it. Know that in some mysterious way, you will be meeting Jesus—the Savior who came not to condemn you but to redeem you. Come to him, and let him fill you with his peace.

"Jesus, thank you for the gift of peace that flows from your merciful touch!"


Psalm 110:1-4
Mark 3:1-6

Allow me to translate today's 5minutos:
  "Jesus asked them: What is permitted on the Sabbath?  To do good or bad? To save the life of a man or to let it die?". Mark 3:4.
The "controversy" between Jesus and the religious leaders of the Jews is coming to a climax; Here the truth is discovered: the law  of Moses that they so defend, is it directed to man's need, to the the value and meaning that life has?  Jesus demonstrates today that His message of salvation wants to solve  the human problems, more than worrying about fulfilling some laws and structures.  "Jesus told the one with paralysis: Get up and stand in the middle" (Mk.3:2).  The man at the center, in the place that the law should stand in the synagogue; this is what interests Jesus: the man, his salvation!, and fights agaist all that that impedes to get to this enslaved man by a series of "religious" prohibitions.  This is Jesus!, says Saint Mark in the Gospel: He is the medic that cures, forgives, sits at the table (Mk.2:1-17): the "husband" that inaugurates the time of joy without end (Mk.2:18-22);  whom frees man from obsession of enforcing "external" laws of slavery to legalism (Mk.2:23-3:6), so that he lives his life with love, in freedom, appreciating God for these benefits.  " The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death." (Mk.3:6)  It is preferrible to "finish" with this Jesus that pushes us to be free, to take one's own decisions, like the love without limits, to put the interests of others above ours, the true forgiveness and charity, the seeking in everything and through all means, solely the the wellbeing of my neighbor (those next to us in life).  Jesus passes over all to save us, are we disposed/ready to repeat His gesture with our neighbors?  To what point?"
This morning, I got up out of bed, walked over to our bathroom, turned on the light and immediately saw a rattlesnake by the toilet.  The first question from all I told this morning at work was "how did it get there".  Exactly, we'd all like to know to keep it out next time right?  The reason I say this is because Jesus walks into a synagogue today in the Holy Gospel, and righteously so, because He belongs there like anywhere in our hearts, but inside...was the snake of evil, didn't want him there or was trying to take up residency there.  What is this evil snake we hear about?  The hardened hearts of sinners.  Jesus was to be persecuted from that moment on, to death.  All because he broke "their laws".  Inhumane, at best, is the word.  Everyone is trying so hard to be nice to one another and follow the laws but to what point?  To the point that we kill an innocent child in the mother's womb?  "Oh don't judge her, she has a "right".  This is no different, than Jesus entering the synagogue, because life has entered the structure, the temple, and our bodies are temples.  Here, snakes can come and try to take up residency.  At our charismatic prayer gathering, we lay hands on whoever wanted to, and there one person screamed as if something was trying to come out "what have you to do with us Jesus" the snake rattles its tale in warnings, telling you to back off. 
What if I were scared of the snake this morning and let it take over the house?  What if Jesus listened to the hardened snake in the temple of people's hearts?  He won't.  He'd rather destroy the temple and everything in it and build it anew than to let that snake take control of His people He loves and died for.  That's the power of God in our lives.  It is awesome and in some times, extreme.
I want you to realize what's going on inside your temple today.  I want you to take charge.  I want you to not be afraid.  Yet, this will only come through God's grace, and our disposition to His grace/holiness allows it to come inside our souls and out with what is trying to come in.  Now, I need to figure out how the snake came inside.  Sins come inside in many ways, through the senses, and through weakness in our lives.  For this, we have to be strong in the Lord our God.  Be strong and you will be at peace.  Be strong by holiness.  I notice in my life that when I am sinful, I am not strong, I tend to be quiet about others' sins "what right do I have to tell them".  Well, tell anyways and let the proclamation slap you in the face so that we all thwart our ways back to God's ways and  what He originally intended our lives to be...all His.  The way back is to accept Him instead of rejecting Him.  The way back is to pray.  The way back is to ask for the truth.  The way back?  You'll know because you'll begin to feel His presence in your life more and more, and your love for Him begins to grow and grow.  Many times in His presence your heart will burn.  I know it does mine, and the burning tears begin to pour out of my eyes, and the healing of my life begins...again. 
Stretch out your hand

Thank You Lord Almighty