Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Do You Want To...

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Minute Meditations

Forgiving Ourselves
We've already been forgiven and are forgiven even as we're falling short. I wonder if we go to confession mostly so that we can forgive ourselves.
— from Stumble

St. Patrick


Legends about Patrick abound; but truth is best served by our seeing two solid qualities in him: He was humble and he was courageous. The determination to accept suffering and success with equal indifference guided the life of God's instrument for winning most of Ireland for Christ.

Details of his life are uncertain. Current research places his dates of birth and death a little later than earlier accounts. Patrick may have been born in Dunbarton, Scotland, Cumberland, England, or in northern Wales. He called himself both a Roman and a Briton. At 16, he and a large number of his father's slaves and vassals were captured by Irish raiders and sold as slaves in Ireland. Forced to work as a shepherd, he suffered greatly from hunger and cold.

After six years, Patrick escaped, probably to France, and later returned to Britain at the age of 22. His captivity had meant spiritual conversion. He may have studied at Lerins, off the French coast; he spent years at Auxerre, France, and was consecrated bishop at the age of 43. His great desire was to proclaim the Good News to the Irish.

In a dream vision it seemed "all the children of Ireland from their mothers' wombs were stretching out their hands" to him. He understood the vision to be a call to do mission work in pagan Ireland. Despite opposition from those who felt his education had been defective, he was sent to carry out the task. He went to the west and north, where the faith had never been preached, obtained the protection of local kings and made numerous converts.

Because of the island's pagan background, Patrick was emphatic in encouraging widows to remain chaste and young women to consecrate their virginity to Christ. He ordained many priests, divided the country into dioceses, held Church councils, founded several monasteries and continually urged his people to greater holiness in Christ.

He suffered much opposition from pagan druids and was criticized in both England and Ireland for the way he conducted his mission.

In a relatively short time, the island had experienced deeply the Christian spirit, and was prepared to send out missionaries whose efforts were greatly responsible for Christianizing Europe.

Patrick was a man of action, with little inclination toward learning. He had a rocklike belief in his vocation, in the cause he had espoused.

One of the few certainly authentic writings is his Confessio, above all an act of homage to God for having called Patrick, unworthy sinner, to the apostolate.

There is hope rather than irony in the fact that his burial place is said to be in County Down in Northern Ireland, long the scene of strife and violence.


What distinguishes Patrick is the durability of his efforts. When one considers the state of Ireland when he began his mission work, the vast extent of his labors (all of Ireland) and how the seeds he planted continued to grow and flourish, one can only admire the kind of man Patrick must have been. The holiness of a person is known only by the fruits of his or her work.


"Christ shield me this day: Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me" (from "The Breastplate of St. Patrick").

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 reflect on God's life-giving presence

in every part of my body, in everything around me,

in the whole of my life.


Lord you gave me life and the gift of freedom.
Through Your love I exist in this world.
May I never take the gift of life for granted.
May I always respect the right to life of others.


How do I find myself today?

Where am I with God? With others?

Do I have something to be grateful for? Then I give thanks.

Is there something I am sorry for? Then I ask forgiveness. 

The Word of God


Reading 1 Ez 47:1-9, 12

The angel brought me, Ezekiel,
back to the entrance of the temple of the LORD,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the fa├žade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the right side of the temple,
south of the altar.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the right side.
Then when he had walked off to the east
with a measuring cord in his hand,
he measured off a thousand cubits
and had me wade through the water,
which was ankle-deep.
He measured off another thousand
and once more had me wade through the water,
which was now knee-deep.
Again he measured off a thousand and had me wade;
the water was up to my waist.
Once more he measured off a thousand,
but there was now a river through which I could not wade;
for the water had risen so high it had become a river
that could not be crossed except by swimming.
He asked me, "Have you seen this, son of man?"
Then he brought me to the bank of the river, where he had me sit.
Along the bank of the river I saw very many trees on both sides.
He said to me,
"This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9

R. (8) The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

Verse Before the Gospel Ps 51:12a, 14a

A clean heart create for me, O God;
give me back the joy of your salvation.

Gospel Jn 5:1-16

There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate
a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes.
In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.
One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there
and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,
"Do you want to be well?"
The sick man answered him,
"Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool
when the water is stirred up;
while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me."
Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your mat, and walk."
Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

Now that day was a sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured,
"It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat."
He answered them, "The man who made me well told me,
'Take up your mat and walk.'"
They asked him,
"Who is the man who told you, 'Take it up and walk'?"
The man who was healed did not know who it was,
for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.
After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him,
"Look, you are well; do not sin any more,
so that nothing worse may happen to you."
The man went and told the Jews
that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus
because he did this on a sabbath.

    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.


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: John 5:1-16

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Saint Patrick, Bishop

Do you want to be well? (John 5:6)

It was a simple question, requiring only a yes or no answer. Of course, we would all say yes if we were in this man's situation and someone came offering us healing. You would think he would say the same thing as well. Why else would he spend all his time at a pool known for its healing powers? But rather than give an enthusiastic yes to Jesus, the man laments, "I have no one to put me into the pool" (John 5:7).

Have his family and friends, disheartened by his disability, abandoned him? Or maybe he is the one who has given up hope and has abandoned the support of his home and community? Either way, it seems that he has resigned himself to a life of loneliness and want. But Jesus knows better: he himself is the One who will immerse this man in God's healing power. As long as he is in the world, he will love and heal—physically, spiritually, and emotionally!

This is the nature of true love. It always seeks the best for the beloved—not just good enough, but the best! The hard realities of life had taken their toll on this man, and Jesus chose to do something more than just try to cheer him up. He set him free!

It's easy to resign ourselves to a life of suffering, isn't it? We can settle for just a "trickle" of grace in the form of quiet acceptance or just a little relief. But Jesus is standing before us, ready to unleash a flood of grace. He always loves. He always wants the best for us.

If everyone reading these words were to step out in faith in a new area in their lives—or seek a new faith in an old area—imagine the joy that would fill the heavens! So let's all tell Jesus, with a surge of faith in his abundant power, that we believe he is the One sent to help us!

"Lord Jesus, I know that you want to help me and my loved ones today. Give me the faith to ask for healing and then to trust in you."


Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12
Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9




Do You Want To...

The waters flow from the temple, and they are good, they heal, they come from a  source that is unspoken, yet, it will be revealed.
In today's 1st Holy Scripture, the prophet Ezekiel speaks of waters that flow out from the temple, and wherever they go, there is life, and life in abundance.  Jn 10:10 says ""The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." But before that verse, listen to what Jesus says "
7  So Jesus said again, "Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep.
8* All who came [before me] are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
9 I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. "
Whoa, Ezekiel was prophecying Jesus!  Why do we say this?  Because, Jesus would be the temple that would replace the Jewish temple with the new covenant.  Jesus said "k "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." Jn 2:19.  Jesus is found today in the Jewish temple with pools of water at a gate called what?  Sheep gate.  Again, Jesus is the Good Shepherd, where else would He be found?  The Psalms proclaim "The LORD of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. Come! behold the deeds of the LORD, the astounding things he has wrought on earth." In Holy Mass we hear the priest say "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world".  Jesus in the Gospel today heals in an unexpected way.  That's who God is, the unexpected.  Jesus says He is the "gate" and whoever enters through Him will be saved.  Through Jesus that crippled man was healed, didn't even have to get in the pool of Bethseda.  What does Bethseda mean?  It is said to have meant possibly "House of Mercy".  WHOA.  God IS the House of Mercy, He replaces the temples and their pools.
The pool of water and blood that runs from the side of Jesus, the new temple would forever be the healing waters of His flock, through which we are healed.  "...the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice."  Jesus calls out to the crippled man that nobody helped get into the pool in time, others just looking out for themselves.  He recognizes the poor and faithful, and what I mean by faithful is those full of faith.  The lamb answers the call, it listens, and is saved.  If the sheep don't listen, they don't enter the gate of salvation, of protection, of being fed.  This call is for you.  God is calling you through Sacred Scripture.  I asked the people in Lenten Longings class last night to speak whatever the Word spoke to their hearts.  Not all spoke.  Not all listened.  It is sad when we read and do things for nothing, no love.  Because God is pouring out His Love in His Word culminated on the Altars of Holy Mass across the world, flowing waters still covering the earth.  Yet, what impedes us like the crippled man?  It's like we want to, we are right there at the edge of faith, and others get in the way, other things even.
Lent is leading us to the waters of salvation, the Sheep Gate of Bethseda, or the Son born in Bethlehem, Jesus.  What you don't know is that He will show up unexpectedly and heal you in ways you did not expect.  On the 3rd Thursday of the month, so far throughout this year, I've been inviting the sick to come pray, and we praise God and then we pray for healing.  The sick with cancers and internal infirmities don't come, they just can't.  What's keeping them??  They go to the temple, but are not healed.  What's keeping us on the edge of our faith?  Jesus is calling but the sheep do not hear, or listen.  Last night I told the people in class that it is a sin to think that your sin is greater than God's mercy.  One young man was baffled "really?  Is that true?  Is it really a sin?".  I replied "YES!  Of course it is a sin, even blasphemous, because you are declaring something earthly, or worldly is greater than God and God is mercy itself!"  Remember, Bethseda, House of Mercy, Blood and Water gushing from the side of Jesus, Divine Mercy pours out of the temple of God, the soul of Jesus, and into all of us living people.  The world has fooled people, making other things more important.  Another gentleman said "I used to be into drugs, I would go to my cocoon with them".  And I said, well people stay in their cocoons on Sunday mornings still, their comfort zones".  This is the brink of faith I want you to break.  Do not be afraid to be a bold Christ follower.  As a matter of fact, the entire bible says about 365 times "do not be afraid", once for every day of the year.  Jesus heals souls, and this is more imortant and everlasting than we care to love...



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