Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Child Is

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Minute Meditations

Rebirth of Time Minute Meditations
When we celebrate New Year's Day, maybe Easter too, we celebrate a symbolic rebirth of time. We somehow hope for God to do new things with us and for us. We wait for the coming of grace, for the unfolding of Mystery. We wait for the always bigger Truth.
— from Yes, and...

St. Blase
(d. 316)

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We know more about the devotion to St. Blase by Christians around the world than we know about the saint himself. His feast is observed as a holy day in some Eastern Churches. In 1222, the Council of Oxford prohibited servile labor in England on Blase's feast day. The Germans and Slavs hold him in special honor, and for decades many United States Catholics have sought the annual St. Blase blessing for their throats.

We know that Bishop Blase was martyred in his episcopal city of Sebastea, Armenia, in 316. The legendary Acts of St. Blase were written 400 years later. According to them Blase was a good bishop, working hard to encourage the spiritual and physical health of his people. Although the Edict of Toleration (311), granting freedom of worship in the Roman Empire, was already five years old, persecution still raged in Armenia. Blase was apparently forced to flee to the back country. There he lived as a hermit in solitude and prayer, but he made friends with the wild animals. One day a group of hunters seeking wild animals for the amphitheater stumbled upon Blase's cave. They were first surprised and then frightened. The bishop was kneeling in prayer surrounded by patiently waiting wolves, lions and bears.

The legend has it that as the hunters hauled Blase off to prison, a mother came with her young son who had a fish bone lodged in his throat. At Blase's command the child was able to cough up the bone.

Agricolaus, governor of Cappadocia, tried to persuade Blase to sacrifice to pagan idols. The first time Blase refused, he was beaten. The next time he was suspended from a tree and his flesh torn with iron combs or rakes. (English wool combers, who used similar iron combs, took Blase as their patron. They could easily appreciate the agony the saint underwent.) Finally, he was beheaded.


Four centuries give ample opportunity for fiction to creep in with fact. Who can be sure how accurate Blase's biographer was? But biographical details are not essential. Blase is seen as one more example of the power those have who give themselves entirely to Jesus. As Jesus told his apostles at the Last Supper, "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you" (John 15:7). With faith we can follow the lead of the Church in asking for Blase's protection.


"Through the intercession of St. Blase, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from ailments of the throat and from every other evil. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Blessing of St. Blase).

Patron Saint of:

Throat ailments


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


As I sit here, the beating of my heart,
the ebb and flow of my breathing, the movements of my mind
are all signs of God's ongoing creation of me.
I pause for a moment, and become aware
of this presence of God within me. 


Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
Mostly I take this gift for granted.
Inspire me to live in the freedom you intended,
with a heart untroubled and with complete trust in You


Help me Lord to be more conscious of your presence. Teach me to recognise your presence in others.  Fill my heart with gratitude for the times Your love has been shown to me through the care of others.

The Word of God

Reading 1 Heb 12:1-4

Brothers and sisters:
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us
and persevere in running the race that lies before us
while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus,
the leader and perfecter of faith.
For the sake of the joy that lay before him
Jesus endured the cross, despising its shame,
and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.
Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners,
in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
In your struggle against sin
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 22:26b-27, 28 and 30, 31-32

R. (see 27b) They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear him.
The lowly shall eat their fill;
they who seek the LORD shall praise him:
"May your hearts be ever merry!"
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to the LORD;
All the families of the nations
shall bow down before him.
To him alone shall bow down
all who sleep in the earth;
Before him shall bend
all who go down into the dust.
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
And to him my soul shall live;
my descendants shall serve him.
Let the coming generation be told of the LORD
that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born
the justice he has shown.
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.

Alleluia Mt 8:17

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ took away our infirmities
and bore our diseases.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
"My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live."
He went off with him
and a large crowd followed him.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors
and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak.
She said, "If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured."
Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,
turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who has touched my clothes?"
But his disciples said to him,
"You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,
and yet you ask, Who touched me?"
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her,
approached in fear and trembling.
She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction."

While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official's house arrived and said,
"Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?"
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
"Do not be afraid; just have faith."
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
"Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep."
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child's father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum,"
which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise!"
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection


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


I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.

Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Mark 5:21-43

View NAB Reading at

Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr

Little girl, I say to you, arise! (Mark 5:41)

Some versions of the Bible put the words of Jesus in red print as a way of drawing our attention to what the Lord said as he walked the earth. This isn't a bad idea, even if it's still a translation of the actual words Jesus spoke. Today's Gospel passage, however, goes further. Talitha koum isn't a translation; they are the exact Aramaic words that Jesus would have spoken.

Imagine yourself in this scene. Perhaps you are the anxious parent or a scornful mourner or one of the disciples. Linger with these bystanders as long as you like. But then lie down in that bed of nothingness as that lifeless girl. Suddenly two words break into your darkness: talitha koum! 

At this moment there is no one else in the room. Jesus is speaking these words to you alone. He has made it possible for you to hear his voice. Then you notice that he is holding your hand. Power flows from him, enabling you to do the impossible: to get up from your deathbed. But don't hurry off just yet. Jesus is smiling at you. Just as he singled out one bleeding woman in a crowd of people a few moments earlier and fastened his eyes on her, he is looking intently at you. With a firm love that can heal any disease and calm any storm, he is telling you to get up: arise!

God often tells his servants to arise. He told Elijah, "Arise, go to Zarephath... . I have commanded a widow there to feed you" (1 Kings 17:9). He told a dead man, the only son of a widow, "Young man, I tell you, arise!" (Luke 7:14). A blind man outside Jericho heard, "Take courage; get up, he is calling you" (Mark 10:49). An angel told the deacon Philip, "Get up and head south" (Acts 8:26).

Arise! Get up! I have a plan for you! We may not know exactly what will happen next, but we can be sure that God has everything in hand.

Today during your prayer, stand up straight and tall. Ask God what he wants you to do next. Don't worry if it sounds impossible. Just keep your eyes "fixed on Jesus" (Hebrews12:2). If he can raise the dead, he can surely take care of you!

"Jesus, I stand ready to do whatever you call me to."


Hebrews 12:1-4
Psalm 22:26-28, 30-32


"...let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us"
They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
And our Lord says something we should never forget in today's most beautiful Gospel ""Do not be afraid; just have faith."
I share my faith with you, but when others share theirs, it is beautiful.  Yet, few people share.  Few people dare.  But the woman in today's Gospel that was bleeding to death dared to share, and take her share of the Lord.  It is the story of the first Scripture in reality.  That of running a race, that of following the leader, Jesus, and being able to touch Him in faith.  Because hundreds and thousands crowded Him, but being next to Him can mean more than physically being next to Him.  I was thinking that during our community rosary and friendship group last night.  As we discussed, I thought, "does it matter how close you sit to the Blessed Sacrament?" One foot, 5 foot, or 100 foot?  It matters to a body, but not to a Spirit.  And so God's body heals, it healed the body of the dying woman, because to be sick back in those days meant you were being punished for sins, and so the burden was torture "She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had."  That is to say, we spend ourselves in our lives at every whim and fancy that comes at us, until we find Jesus, chase after Him, follow Him, and all for what?  To hear those most powerful and healing words of the soul "Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction."  Her afflictions of scorn, ridicule, and hurting phsyically to boot, all were healed, by her faith in Jesus.  "They will praise you, Lord, who long for you."  Until we long for the Lord, that's when we'll praise.  And that is something we tried to do in our charismatic meeting the other night...Praise.  We long for Christ.  A co-worker's wife had been suffering physical ailments that would not let her sleep.  The co-worker brought her and we prayed for healing.  That night, my friend, the co-worker said "she felt peace for the first time" and then said "she slept all through the night" unlike most other nights.  This is the power of faith in action, yours, and God.  He has faith in us, it is us that don't have faith in Him.  
And so ultimately, we have to understand the race that will probably result in shedding of blood (spilling ourselves for Him and with Him).  In my experience outside this world, I saw Jesus on the cross in darkness, but I knew He was disfigured, the beatings and the blood that was scabbing all over His body was the deformities of our sin that had covered Him.  Yet, this was your Father, my Father.  This is what the world offered, our infirmities and deformities, and He took them on all at once and as a cherry on top, He took on death.  He did this to show the way to great love...of the Father.  Because when He took that little 12 yr. old girl by the hand and told her to get up, what that little girl didn't know was that her FATHER in Heaven, was saying inside His Sacred heart "I love you so much that I am going to take on your death, I will die for you so you can live".  And that chokes me up, because who does that?  For a "stranger" in the world's eyes?  That is a real brave man, but more so, that is a very Holy man.  And this is what the world needs, people that are not afraid of anything but God.  Afraid to offend Him.  Afraid to be away from Him.  Yet, the world is living in darkness because they are afraid to BE with Him.  Afraid to stop offending because of what will be lost...self pleasure. 
For this, you have read the message of a God that will again offer Himself up for you, in blood and body, to be torn apart to pieces by our hungry teeth and body...soul.  He offers it in the Eucharist.  He offers to this day an utmost powerful love like you will never experience in your life.  And it is healing, and it is saving, and it is sanctifying.  Because ultimately, He saves to be with Him, make one with Him...