Monday, February 9, 2015

Wherever They Heard

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Minute Meditations
The Darkness of Sin Minute Meditations

Without God's gifts, our nature is dead. Sin is like putting a block cloth over the dazzling brilliance of the sun, that is, the divine presence at the heart of existence.
— from Accidental Theologians

St. Jerome Emiliani
Listen to Audio
  A careless and irreligious soldier for the city-state of Venice, Jerome was captured in a skirmish at an outpost town and chained in a dungeon. In prison Jerome had a lot of time to think, and he gradually learned how to pray. When he escaped, he returned to Venice where he took charge of the education of his nephews—and began his own studies for the priesthood.

In the years after his ordination, events again called Jerome to a decision and a new lifestyle. Plague and famine swept northern Italy. Jerome began caring for the sick and feeding the hungry at his own expense. While serving the sick and the poor, he soon resolved to devote himself and his property solely to others, particularly to abandoned children. He founded three orphanages, a shelter for penitent prostitutes and a hospital.
Around 1532 Jerome and two other priests established a congregation, the Clerks Regular of Somasca, dedicated to the care of orphans and the education of youth. Jerome died in 1537 from a disease he caught while tending the sick. He was canonized in 1767. In 1928 Pius Xl named him the patron of orphans and abandoned children.


Very often in our lives it seems to take some kind of "imprisonment" to free us from the shackles of our self-centeredness. When we're "caught" in some situation we don't want to be in, we finally come to know the liberating power of Another. Only then can we become another for "the imprisoned" and "the orphaned" all around us.

"'The father of orphans and the defender of widows is God in his holy dwelling. God gives a home to the forsaken; he leads forth prisoners to prosperity; only rebels remain in the parched land' (Psalm 68).... We should not forget the growing number of persons who are often abandoned by their families and by the community: the old, orphans, the sick and all kinds of people who are rejected.... We must be prepared to take on new functions and new duties in every sector of human activity and especially in the sector of world society, if justice is really to be put into practice. Our action is to be directed above all at those men and nations which, because of various forms of oppression and because of the present character of our society, are silent, indeed voiceless, victims of injustice" (Justice in the World, 1971 World Synod of Bishops).
Patron Saint of:

Orphans, abandoned children

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

God is with me, but more,
God is within me, giving me existence.
Let me dwell for a moment on God's life-giving presence
in my body, my mind, my heart
and in the whole of my life.
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.
I ask how I am within myself today? Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form? If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?
The Word of God

Reading 1 Gn 1:1-19

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth,
the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss,
while a mighty wind swept over the waters.

Then God said,
"Let there be light," and there was light.
God saw how good the light was.
God then separated the light from the darkness.
God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night."
Thus evening came, and morning followed--the first day.

Then God said,
"Let there be a dome in the middle of the waters,
to separate one body of water from the other."
And so it happened:
God made the dome,
and it separated the water above the dome from the water below it.
God called the dome "the sky."
Evening came, and morning followed--the second day.

Then God said,
"Let the water under the sky be gathered into a single basin,
so that the dry land may appear."
And so it happened:
the water under the sky was gathered into its basin,
and the dry land appeared.
God called the dry land "the earth,"
and the basin of the water he called "the sea."
God saw how good it was.
Then God said,
"Let the earth bring forth vegetation:
every kind of plant that bears seed
and every kind of fruit tree on earth
that bears fruit with its seed in it."
And so it happened:
the earth brought forth every kind of plant that bears seed
and every kind of fruit tree on earth that
bears fruit with its seed in it.
God saw how good it was.
Evening came, and morning followed--the third day.

Then God said:
"Let there be lights in the dome of the sky,
to separate day from night.
Let them mark the fixed times, the days and the years,
and serve as luminaries in the dome of the sky,
to shed light upon the earth."
And so it happened:
God made the two great lights,
the greater one to govern the day,
and the lesser one to govern the night;
and he made the stars.
God set them in the dome of the sky,
to shed light upon the earth,
to govern the day and the night,
and to separate the light from the darkness.
God saw how good it was.
Evening came, and morning followed--the fourth day.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 104:1-2a, 5-6, 10 and 12, 24 and 35c

R. (31b) May the Lord be glad in his works.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
You are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak.
R. May the Lord be glad in his works.
You fixed the earth upon its foundation,
not to be moved forever;
With the ocean, as with a garment, you covered it;
above the mountains the waters stood.
R. May the Lord be glad in his works.
You send forth springs into the watercourses
that wind among the mountains.
Beside them the birds of heaven dwell;
from among the branches they send forth their song.
R. May the Lord be glad in his works.
How manifold are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you have wrought them all—
the earth is full of your creatures;
Bless the LORD, O my soul! Alleluia.
R. May the Lord be glad in his works.

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 6:53-56

After making the crossing to the other side of the sea,
Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret
and tied up there.
As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him.
They scurried about the surrounding country
and began to bring in the sick on mats
to wherever they heard he was.
Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered,
they laid the sick in the marketplaces
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak;
and as many as touched it were healed.

    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: Genesis 1:1-19

5th Week in Ordinary Time
In the beginning ... (Genesis 1:1)
Who is God? So many different answers are given to this question today. For some, God is the principle of order in the universe. For others, he is a lawgiver and judge. Some believe in many gods, and others, in no god at all. Still others say that God is just an idea devised by humans to help us get through life. But here, at the very start of the Bible, we see that God just plain is. He was not created by humans to fill some need. He is not the product of human imagination. He is Lord over all of creation.
In the first line of the Creed, we proclaim, "I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth." We announce that God created the entire universe and everything in it. We proclaim that God's power is so great that he created all of it out of sheer nothingness.
The author of Genesis also proclaimed that God is not like the gods that the people of the ancient Near East made for themselves. Rather, he is the one true God who created all the elements that other religions considered to be gods. Other religions worshipped heavenly bodies, animals, or weather events or sea creatures, but the Jews worshipped the One who made all these things!
Keep this central truth of who God is at the forefront of your mind today. Use it to help you trust that God is above every circumstance you will face, however imposing it may seem. Since God created everything, you can be sure that he has more than enough power to work in your life today. But don't just stop there. Let the truth of God the Creator convince you that he loves you as well: "God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good" (Genesis 1:31).
Each and every day, we can place our hope in God our Father. He has the power to save us. And because he loves us, he wants to save us!
"Father, we exalt you as the Creator of all that is. We believe that you love your creation and that you love each of us. Through your Spirit, help us to know you and not to settle for worldly ideas or our own imaginings about you."

Psalm 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12, 24, 35
Mark 6:53-56

The 5 minutos said today:
 "The Church as of 2,000 years, it preaches and evangelizes the world the reconciliation with God, and, how Jesus did it.  It is all manifested in concrete form also taking care of the sick and the marginalized.  A Christian that wants to follow their Master can not ignore this facet: How do we attend the elderly, the weak, the marginalized in society?  Those of us who participate frequently in the Eucharist can not forget that we take communion with the Jesus that is at the service of everyone, <<"My Body, given up for you">>, and in so, we also are then, in life, <surrender to the rest>.  In a way particular to those prefered to Him: poor, the weak, the children, the sick.  During the Spanish civil war in 1936, the churches were invaded and profaned by communist forces.  In one of the invastions, the bullets hit a great crucifix on a wall.  The body of Christ remained intact, but without arms.  Upon showing the parishioners the ruins of the church and that Christ without arms, the priest said in an emotional tone but with firmness: Beloved brothers, now we have to be the arms of Christ.  With greater effort we have to continue the salvific labor of our Lord.  We should not only give our arms, but also our legs, the voice and all of our person to whom needs us..."
Today's first Holy Scripture began from the the book of Genesis.  Here we hear about the creation of the world in a manner that could only be understood theologically and not in a way we can box in God.  Do you understand the book of Revelation?  Then you can begin to understand the book of Genesis.  Because the end is like the beginning, it begins with God and ends with God.  Much like our earth, it began with the light and will end when the light goes out, the sun, but this time in the Spirit, we are talking about the Son of God.  The Psalms pray "May the Lord be glad in all his works". 
Did you know that you are a work of God?  May the Lord be glad in you, His creation.  And all anew begins Genesis in you and leading to Revelation.  And it again focuses on the light of the Son.  In today's Holy Gospel, the Son is shining and people are attracted to the light.  They flock to Him to be healed, and they leave with much more than they bargained for, because their souls are saved.  In much the same way is the Holy Church.  It is a place for those that need healing to come and be healed.  This weekend, we were at a conference with theologians, Scott Hahn couldn't make it, but Jesus made it.  They offered confessions, and me and my wife looked at each other and so there was no line so we beat the crowds.  In I went.  I had the choice to kneel behind a little curtain, or in a chair in front of the priest which if you sat in it, the light beams coming through the window would be hitting your face.  I sat in the chair.  I confessed my sins, the light seemed to burn my countenance.  Everything went off without a hitch.  And then the older irish priest with beautiful blue eyes and working hands said for me to do an act of contrition right there.  I saw it on a table and apologized for not having it memorized, and as I began to read "Oh my God, I am heartily sorry........" I choked.  My body stopped and my eyes welled up with tears.  I couldn't talk and the priest motioned something, and I was trying to gather myself as he said "its ok, you can do it some other time" and I knew I had to do it, so I continued with the rest of the prayer with a louder more powerful voice with a firmness of a promise.  Promising never to offend thee.  To the greatest extent that we can.
You see, the Holy Church offers only one thing to the whole world...JESUS.
He is there in every Sacrament that you have received. 
He is there in the moment you were conceived.
He is there for the moment when you finally believed.
As if the place of Church was only a place for holy people.  As if it were not for sinners to come touch the tassel of the Lord.  It is for the poor.  Jesus goes to Genassaret.  The Church goes on a mission.  I was wearing my parish church T-shirt yesterday all over town, the stores, my family's houses, the confirmation class I helped at, and at the nursing home whereupon the blind man I visited couldn't see the shirt, but Jesus can. What's more, the Jesus in me was beholding the treasure, the forgotten and abandoned.  I say these types of things not so you can think "oh look at mr. Adrian, doing goody goody things", NO!, I say them so that you will feel enticed to taste and see for yourself the treasure of the Church, the fullness of truth, the wholeness of life, so the Lord may be glad in all HIS WORKS!


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