Monday, February 23, 2015

You Did It

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Minute Meditations

Focused on God Minute Meditations

Prayer keeps our sight focused on God, so that the more prayerful one's life is, the more one is aware of God's call, His plan, and His promise. A life rooted in prayer is a life lived in the context of God's grace.
— from St. Anthony Messenger

St. Polycarp
(d. 156)

Listen to Audio

Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna (modern Izmir, Turkey), disciple of St. John the Apostle and friend of St. Ignatius of Antioch was a revered Christian leader during the first half of the second century.

St. Ignatius, on his way to Rome to be martyred, visited Polycarp at Smyrna, and later at Troas wrote him a personal letter. The Asia Minor Churches recognized Polycarp's leadership by choosing him as a representative to discuss with Pope Anicetus the date of the Easter celebration in Rome—a major controversy in the early Church.

Only one of the many letters written by Polycarp has been preserved, the one he wrote to the Church of Philippi in Macedonia.

At 86, Polycarp was led into the crowded Smyrna stadium to be burned alive. The flames did not harm him and he was finally killed by a dagger. The centurion ordered the saint's body burned. The "Acts" of Polycarp's martyrdom are the earliest preserved, fully reliable account of a Christian martyr's death. He died in 156.


Polycarp was recognized as a Christian leader by all Asia Minor Christians—a strong fortress of faith and loyalty to Jesus Christ. His own strength emerged from his trust in God, even when events contradicted this trust. Living among pagans and under a government opposed to the new religion, he led and fed his flock. Like the Good Shepherd, he laid down his life for his sheep and kept them from more persecution in Smyrna. He summarized his trust in God just before he died: "Father... I bless Thee, for having made me worthy of the day and the hour... ." (Martyrdom, Chapter 14).


"Stand fast, therefore, in this conduct and follow the example of the Lord, 'firm and unchangeable in faith, lovers of the brotherhood, loving each other, united in truth,' helping each other with the mildness of the Lord, despising no man" (Polycarp, Letter to the Philippians).

Patron Saint of:
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, grant me the grace to be free from the excesses of this life.
Let me not get caught up with the desire for wealth.
Keep my heart and mind free to love and serve 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


Monday of the First Week of Lent

Reading 1 Lv 19:1-2, 11-18

The LORD said to Moses,
"Speak to the whole assembly of the children of Israel and tell them:
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.

"You shall not steal.
You shall not lie or speak falsely to one another.
You shall not swear falsely by my name,
thus profaning the name of your God.
I am the LORD.

"You shall not defraud or rob your neighbor.
You shall not withhold overnight the wages of your day laborer.
You shall not curse the deaf,
or put a stumbling block in front of the blind,
but you shall fear your God.
I am the LORD.

"You shall not act dishonestly in rendering judgment.
Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty,
but judge your fellow men justly.
You shall not go about spreading slander among your kin;
nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor's life is at stake.
I am the LORD.

"You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart.
Though you may have to reprove him,
do not incur sin because of him.
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the LORD."

Responsorial Psalm PS 19:8, 9, 10, 15

R. (John 6:63b) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart.
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
find favor before you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Verse Before the Gospel 2 Cor 6:2b

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.

Gospel Mt 25:31-46

Jesus said to his disciples:
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
'Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.'
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'
And the king will say to them in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Then he will say to those on his left,
'Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.'
Then they will answer and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?'
He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.'
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life."

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection


Remembering that I am still in God's presence,
I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting beside me,
and say whatever is on my mind, whatever is in my heart,
speaking as one friend to another.


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.


Meditation: Matthew 25:31-46

View NAB Reading at

Saint Polycarp. Bishop and Martyr

Lord, when did we see you? (Matthew 25:37)


Imagine a young woman who is being courted by a young man. He's always telling her that he loves her. He takes her out to dinner and gives her flowers. But he doesn't make much of an effort to get to know her. He never tries to comfort her when she is troubled or help her when she is sick. Then one day, he asks her to marry him. Should he be surprised that she turns him down?

We could compare this young man to the "goats" in today's Gospel reading. They don't understand why Jesus won't let them into heaven. Perhaps they had professed their love for Jesus while on earth, but they didn't show that love. It seems they failed to recognize him in the hungry, the displaced, and the marginalized.

Jesus doesn't want to turn us away. But he does ask us to show him that we love him—and not with our words but with our actions. Catholic activist Dorothy Day once said, "True love is delicate and kind, full of gentle perception and understanding, full of beauty and grace... . There should be some flavor of this in all our love for others. We are all one. We are one flesh, in the Mystical Body, as man and woman are said to be one flesh in marriage. With such a love one would see all things new; we would begin to see people as they really are, as God sees them."

Seeing "all things new." That's the promise of life in Christ. It's what happens when we try to imitate Jesus in our dealings with people. As we take steps to care for people who are different from us, we begin to see everything in a new light. The old categories of "us" and "them" dissolve. People we have long dismissed as enemies or inferior or alien lose their labels. We see them only as brothers and sisters, all equally loved by God and all equally deserving of dignity and support. That's when we begin to love them—and to love the Lord.

"Jesus, I don't want to miss you! Let me see you in those I meet today, familiar or unfamiliar, pleasant or unpleasant. May I recognize all of them as my brothers and sisters."


Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18
Psalm 19:8-10, 15 


Uh oh!  God is calling us to be HOLY.
Yesterday we started a study session called Spiritual Theology by Dr. Brant Pitre.  I invited the parish, those who were called got to hear a similar passage when Jesus says in Mt.5:48"..Be Perfect, therefore as your Heavenly Father is Perfect".  WOOPS!  Did God just ask you to be Holy?  YES, contrary to public opinion.
Did God just as you to be PERFECT?  YES, contrary to public belief.  
And this is what is awesome about Lent, because we get to break away these 40 days from normal, to abnormal, contrary to public life, the interior grows and is exposed.
And so the Psalms pray the life of Christ and say today "Your Words, Lord, are Spirit and LIFE".  And ultimately, life is what is being offered, to have goats or sheep, to have the baptized and saved and the not baptized and saved, because a baptism is a water of salvation, an opening and welcoming of God into His Kingdom, one we have to suffer for, which means to strive for, which means to love above all.  "When did we see you sick or in jail, LORD?"  Uh oh.  We aren't so perfect, right?  We always think we are right in everything, and then say "I'm not perfect", what an oxymoron.  Let's stop fooling ourselves, and let's let the truth sink in for a bit.  When God calls you to holiness and to perfection, it is so you will be able to see the ones in prison and sick.  It hasn't been until I've dedicated more time to God that the sick are offered, and the imprisoned exposed.  Take for instance, the life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  She gave her life to God and she THEN saw Jesus among the poorest of the poor.  It was to such an extreme that it engulfed her life, she took on such a need for them that she even suffered their spiritual needs.  Notice the clue word, "suffered".  A picture I can not forget is one of her tomb where the nuns had put on her tomb some words written with flower petals which said one day "You did it for Me".  The very words of today's Holy Gospel.  This was her life, Jesus.  This was her call.  Suddenly, holiness and perfection don't seem so far fetched.  Because it is really the goal of being with Jesus.  
You know, I sit here and meditate on the scriptures before writing to you, upon which I begin an interior conversation with Christ our Lord.  Today, like many days, the feeling is overwhelming of reading scriptures and not understanding or what I could possibly write to you so it will help you grow.  Today, the Lord spoke (which is not the usual), and the conversation went something like this:
me:  "Lord, I have absolutely no idea what to say or do.."

Our Lord: <pause, and silence>
"'s ok, because you are now spending time with me"

me: "but Lord, you know throughout the day I'm doing stuff for you".

Our Lord:  "...I know but you never spend time with ME"

And such is the reflection that comes.  Perhaps formed by the introduction of Spiritual Theology which focuses on prayer.  Perhaps the culmination of many things.  And so the call is to holiness and perfection, to do for Him things we normally won't until they do become normal.  First, prayer.  Then love comes.  Then we live for love and love grows.  That is to say, you'll have to give in order to receive.  And this is the focus of lent, a gathering of God's flock to Him.  He gathers what we give and knows what to do with it...and that it, is our hearts


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