Thursday, February 5, 2015

They Went Off

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Minute Meditations

God's Plan Minute Meditations

Goodness is its own reward and evil is its own punishment, and then we must all leave the future to the mercy and love of God, instead of thinking we are the umpires and judges of who goes where, when, and how. What a cosmic waste of time and energy and attention.
— from Yes, and...

St. Agatha
(d. 251?)
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As in the case of Agnes, another virgin-martyr of the early Church, almost nothing is historically certain about this saint except that she was martyred in Sicily during the persecution of Emperor Decius in 251.

Legend has it that Agatha, like Agnes, was arrested as a Christian, tortured and sent to a house of prostitution to be mistreated. She was preserved from being violated, and was later put to death.

She is claimed as the patroness of both Palermo and Catania. The year after her death, the stilling of an eruption of Mt. Etna was attributed to her intercession. As a result, apparently, people continued to ask her prayers for protection against fire.


The scientific modern mind winces at the thought of a volcano's might being contained by God because of the prayers of a Sicilian girl. Still less welcome, probably, is the notion of that saint being the patroness of such varied professions as those of foundry workers, nurses, miners and Alpine guides. Yet, in our historical precision, have we lost an essential human quality of wonder and poetry, and even our belief that we come to God by helping each other, both in action and prayer?


When Agatha was arrested, the legend says, she prayed: "Jesus Christ, Lord of all things! You see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am—you alone. I am your sheep; make me worthy to overcome the devil." And in prison: "Lord, my creator, you have protected me since I was in the cradle. You have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Now receive my spirit."

Patron Saint of:

Breast disease, against
Foundry workers


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.


If God were trying to tell me something, would I know?
If God were reassuring me or challenging me, would I notice?
I ask for the grace to be free of my own preoccupations
and open to what God may be saying to me.


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 12:18-19, 21-24

Brothers and sisters:
You have not approached that which could be touched
and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness
and storm and a trumpet blast
and a voice speaking words such that those who heard
begged that no message be further addressed to them.
Indeed, so fearful was the spectacle that Moses said,
"I am terrified and trembling."
No, you have approached Mount Zion
and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
and countless angels in festal gathering,
and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven,
and God the judge of all,
and the spirits of the just made perfect,
and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant,
and the sprinkled Blood that speaks more eloquently
than that of Abel.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 48:2-3ab, 3cd-4, 9, 10-11

R. (see 10) O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.
Great is the LORD and wholly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, fairest of heights,
is the joy of all the earth.
R. O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.
Mount Zion, "the recesses of the North,"
the city of the great King.
God is with her castles;
renowned is he as a stronghold.
R. O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.
As we had heard, so have we seen
in the city of the LORD of hosts,
In the city of our God;
God makes it firm forever.
R. O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.
O God, we ponder your mercy
within your temple.
As your name, O God, so also your praise
reaches to the ends of the earth.
Of justice your right hand is full.
R. O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.

Alleluia Mk 1:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Kingdom of God is at hand;
repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 6:7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick
--no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
"Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them."
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection


Jesus you speak to me through the words of the gospels. May I respond to your call today.Teach me to recognise your hand at work in my daily living.


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 6:7-13

View NAB Reading at


Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr

They anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. (Mark 6:13)

This verse makes it sound as if the apostles had nothing but success in their ministry, that every person they prayed with was healed. But we know that isn't the case. All we have to do is remember how they couldn't cast out a demon from a young man while Jesus was on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:14-29).

Isn't that great news? They're just like us, limited human beings whose prayers aren't always answered and who don't always get it right. We may think that we will never be able to do what they did, but even they didn't do it all the time! And it's not just about performing miracles. Peter denied even knowing Jesus, and Thomas doubted that he had risen from the dead. That's so very encouraging for us.

The apostles' successes and mistakes show that they are no different from us. Sometimes they prayed for someone to be healed, and nothing happened. Like them, we can pray for someone for healing and not detect any change at all—not even over a period of time. Sometimes, they got into selfish arguments with each other. And like them, we may be having a hard time forgiving someone who has hurt us. That's okay, because even Jesus' hand-selected apostles had the same struggles.

Still, God wants us to keep praying for healings and trying to forgive. Remember how Paul asked Jesus three times to remove a spiritual thorn, but Jesus told him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). Whatever our situation, Jesus will give us the grace to keep following him. And often without our knowing how, we'll find his grace at work in other areas of our lives, comforting and empowering us.

So keep up the good work! Try, persist, and learn from your mistakes. Believe that you have been "chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things" (Ephesians 1:11). You will face trials and temptations, but if you just focus on what comes next, one step at a time, you'll see progress. This is what Peter, John, and all the rest did—and look what happened to them!

"Jesus, thank you for the apostles' example of faith. Give me your grace, that I may live for you!"


Hebrews 12:18-19, 21-24
Psalm 48:2-4, 9-11

So what will put the fear of God in you?  The lack of fear of God has led us to be lukewarm nowadays.  The distorted view of Him is one that claims we know Him, and even worse, a soft mushy guy in the sky to some, and the other view is of a mean man upstairs just waiting to throw you in hell.  So what is the correct view of God?  Last night, in our co-worker bible study, we are following Fr. Robert Barren's Catholicism.  We heard that God can not be just one thing we make Him to be, He is more than we can even think about in our feeble minds.  One analogy was of a dog in a library, no matter how much you try to explain all the books to the dog, it will never understand the Master.  And so what can we do?  How can we overcome doubt?  Believe.  Trust.  Have faith.
And so we read today "No, you have ...... the sprinkled Blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel."  We have a blood of a lamb that heals, and the command of healing comes from God.  The Psalms pray "O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple." This is where the blood happens, the healing begins, because this is where Heaven meets earth, our Lord touches mankind. 
Sadly, we fail to allow ourselves to be touched.  As far as the temple goes; We go in mad and we leave mad.  We go in with doubt and we leave with doubt.  We go in in high hopes and leave empty.  We go to the temple and receive commands from God and mercy from God to be shared and we leave not caring and not sharing. 
There's something wrong when we don't fear the Lord right.  So how do we fear Him right?  Let's put it this way, have you ever really loved someone?  Think about it.  If I deeply love somebody, wouldn't I be afraid, not of them, but offending them?  Not afraid of coming to them, but afraid of being away from them?  Now the fear of God can become known.  Because of the love I have for someone, I will obey their command, not doubt their intentions but trust.  Sadly, we have grown to doubt anybody and seek to look out for number one, and the number one is not our Lord in Heaven. 
The Holy Gospel relates another command, much like the one of co-missioning at the end of Holy Mass, and much like the command of Jesus before ascending into Heaven to "go out and make disciples of all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit".  But today they were sent to preach repentance.  Today it is the message for me and you.  Preach it by living it and teaching it.  Be the preacher that you have been baptized to be!  And He gave a little something extra, the power to free people from demons, driving them out, and some shut the doors in their face.   What do we do when God's message is rejected?  Shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them, which to me means go on in mercy.  I invite people constantly to church stuff.  It is an ongoing battle this invitation for the Lord.  Many doors are not opened.  I shake my dust with God's mercy, pray for them and go on, because it is not for me, but for them.  I am a poor salesman.  My reward is in Heaven, because my reward is Jesus.  The only reason I want to share it is because it can not be contained within!  If you only knew!  Our bodies can not contain God, yet He still offers to do so in a special way.
'Lord, you know us.  You know how much more we need you, more than we know.  I allow you in my heart, in my soul.  I could doubt forever, but I rather love you more each day forever.  I want to preach your message of love, repentance, and deliverance, because it is a message of salvation.  Jesus, help me love you more and more.'