Friday, February 6, 2015

Took His Body

Untitled document

Minute Meditations

Listening Is Intimate Minute Meditations
Only sinners have the patience to listen to the stories Jesus tells.  The self-righteous hear them but don't listen. Hearing happens when the ears and the brain team up, but listening happens with the ears of the heart.
— from Startled By God

St. Paul Miki and Companions
(d. 1597)

Listen to Audio


Nagasaki, Japan, is familiar to Americans as the city on which the second atomic bomb was dropped, immediately killing over 37,000 people. Three and a half centuries before, 26 martyrs of Japan were crucified on a hill, now known as the Holy Mountain, overlooking Nagasaki. Among them were priests, brothers and laymen, Franciscans, Jesuits and members of the Secular Franciscan Order; there were catechists, doctors, simple artisans and servants, old men and innocent children—all united in a common faith and love for Jesus and his Church.

Brother Paul Miki, a Jesuit and a native of Japan, has become the best known among the martyrs of Japan. While hanging upon a cross, Paul Miki preached to the people gathered for the execution: "The sentence of judgment says these men came to Japan from the Philippines, but I did not come from any other country. I am a true Japanese. The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ. I certainly did teach the doctrine of Christ. I thank God it is for this reason I die. I believe that I am telling only the truth before I die. I know you believe me and I want to say to you all once again: Ask Christ to help you to become happy. I obey Christ. After Christ's example I forgive my persecutors. I do not hate them. I ask God to have pity on all, and I hope my blood will fall on my fellow men as a fruitful rain."

When missionaries returned to Japan in the 1860s, at first they found no trace of Christianity. But after establishing themselves they found that thousands of Christians lived around Nagasaki and that they had secretly preserved the faith. Beatified in 1627, the martyrs of Japan were finally canonized in 1862.


Today a new era has come for the Church in Japan. Although the number of Catholics is not large, the Church is respected and has total religious freedom. The spread of Christianity in the Far East is slow and difficult. Faith such as that of the 26 martyrs is needed today as much as in 1597.


"Since Jesus, the Son of God, showed his love by laying down his life for us, no one has greater love than they who lay down their lives for him and for their sisters and brothers (see 1 John 3:16; John 15:13). Some Christians have been called from the beginning, and will always be called, to give this greatest testimony of love to everyone, especially to persecutors. Martyrdom makes disciples like their master, who willingly accepted death for the salvation of the world, and through it they are made like him by the shedding of blood. Therefore, the Church considers it the highest gift and as the supreme test of love. And while it is given to few, all, however, must be prepared to confess Christ before humanity and to follow him along the way of the cross amid the persecutions which the Church never lacks" (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 42, Austin Flannery translation).


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


I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me, creating me in his image and likeness, making me his temple....


Lord, may I never take the gift
of freedom for granted. You gave
me the great blessing of freedom of
spirit. Fill my spirit with Your peace and
Your joy.


In God's loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment. I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude. I attend to the shadows and what they say to me, seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.

The Word of God

Reading 1 Heb 13:1-8

Let brotherly love continue.
Do not neglect hospitality,
for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.
Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment,
and of the ill-treated as of yourselves,
for you also are in the body.
Let marriage be honored among all
and the marriage bed be kept undefiled,
for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.
Let your life be free from love of money
but be content with what you have,
for he has said, I will never forsake you or abandon you.
Thus we may say with confidence:

The Lord is my helper,
and I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me

Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.
Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 27:1, 3, 5, 8b-9abc

R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life's refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart will not fear;
Though war be waged upon me,
even then will I trust.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
For he will hide me in his abode
in the day of trouble;
He will conceal me in the shelter of his tent,
he will set me high upon a rock.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Your presence, O LORD, I seek.
Hide not your face from me;
do not in anger repel your servant.
You are my helper: cast me not off.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Alleluia See Lk 8:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart,
and yield a harvest through perseverance.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 6:14-29

King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread,
and people were saying,
"John the Baptist has been raised from the dead;
That is why mighty powers are at work in him."
Others were saying, "He is Elijah";
still others, "He is a prophet like any of the prophets."
But when Herod learned of it, he said,
"It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up."
Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
"It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
Herodias had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers,
and the leading men of Galilee.
His own daughter came in and performed a dance
that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
"Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you."
He even swore many things to her,
"I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom."
She went out and said to her mother,
"What shall I ask for?"
Her mother replied, "The head of John the Baptist."
The girl hurried back to the king's presence and made her request,
"I want you to give me at once on a platter
the head of John the Baptist."
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner
with orders to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter
and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

    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: Hebrews 13:1-8

View NAB Reading at

Saint Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs

I will never forsake you or abandon you. (Hebrews 13:5)

Never. Not in any circumstance. Not for any reason. Not at any time. There are no loopholes or limitations to this promise. No restrictions apply.

This promise forms the foundation for all the hospitality, generosity, honor, purity, and brotherly love that the author of Hebrews mentions. God will never desert you or give up on you. When things are complicated, confusing, or overwhelming, you can fall back on his promise and know that he is with you. Even when you don't "feel" his presence, he is still there, hidden in the depths of your heart, giving you his grace.

So you can rest confidently. Almighty God can be your light when the way is dark and your salvation when you feel threatened. Relying on his promise, you can push aside any fear that robs you of sleep. You can find a way to be generous even when finances are tight. You can endure the exhaustion of having two jobs, being a new mother, studying for exams, or juggling multiple projects and schedules. And not just endure—you can find peace and joy in the midst of it all. All because you know that God is always with you.

This promise is more than a nice thought or a springboard for increased self-effort. It's a weapon you can use to defend against whatever threatens to discourage you or rob you of your peace. It's a strong support for you as you grapple with the challenges and stresses of life: a cancer diagnosis, the loss of a job, temptation to substance abuse, pornography, gossip, or slander. As your mind churns and your emotions flail, one thing is true: God has promised never to leave you.

So go ahead and ask him, "Where are you right now, Father?" He may surprise you with what he says about who he is, who you are to him, and what he knows about your circumstances. He will help you find the way through them. He will calm your fears and give you the assurance that he can bear you up as you keep trying to be hospitable, generous, and loving. Whenever you feel forsaken or rejected, rely on this: I will never forsake you or abandon you.

"Father, where are you right now? Help me to rest confidently in your strength and love."


Psalm 27:1, 3, 5, 8-9
Mark 6:14-29



From today's 1st Holy Reading:
The Lord is my helper,
and I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me
From today's Psalms:
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life's refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
And we have Jesus arrested and in the custody of Jesus, what will he do to the Lord?  What is not discussed is that our Lord is not afraid.  He lives the Psalms, He embodies the Psalms, He IS the Psalms!  He is not afraid, knowing that this same Herod had his cousin Saint John The Baptist arrested, and then had his head cut off at the whim and fancy of his daughter and illicit wife.  Because his wife was his brother's wife, and it was not lawful to marry your brother's wife and the truth didn't set well with her.  So she had the truth cut out of her life...St. John the baptist's head. 
The question of today, now that Jesus is in custody in our grasps, what will we do with Him in our lives?  Will I still be afraid of what's going on in my world or the world in general?  Today's saint was preaching from the cross, asking others to see the joy of Christ, a hard pill to swallow coming from a man dying on the cross, but the world does not understand God's glory and joy.  Not until we submit ourselves, a total surrender as the Japanese did, with all his heart, mind, and soul, and the body to boot. 
Here I try to be a success at work, and my family, and for the Lord, but the perplexing issue for me is how the success for God's Kingdom envelops the totality of my work and my family and anyone I encounter.  I can not cut out God out of work.  I can not cut out God from my wife, and kids and other relatives.  And so I bring Him to work.  I bring Him to the house.  But sometimes, He gets cut out.  Too busy.  No time.  And that is the dilemma of Herodias.  She is not so different than some of us huh?
And so, we should take heart in the Sacred Heart of the beloved, our Lord our Savior who says "whom should I fear?".  God is asking a rhetorical question, because there is no one to fear when you are one with the Lord.  The devil will attack the body, but can not attack the Spirit.  And just as much as the devil hates this, God hates sin.  Only His hatred is Holy and good.  It can not set well that we sit well with sin in our lives.  So today, a Friday, as we approach lent, let us seriously consider what is at stake in our lives for self and for others in our lives...the faith.  I will take on a new challenge for lent.  What it is, I am not sure.  But let us challenge ourselves and our faith.  Do not be afraid.  Do not fear to come closer to our Lord.  Our life as an avid Christian is one of luring God's sheep to the point where they can hear the call of the Good Shepherd.  Do not just be amused by the Word, but be AMAZED.  As a matter of fact, being amazed at God is a sure sign of the Holy Spirit working within your soul.  So take heart and take the Sacred Heart to heart...there's much more in store for you than you could ever possibly imagine...
if you've read this far, perhaps
tap into the audio version of my2cents

which I may do for lent: Listen Here

let me know what you think, beta!