|Jesus's Greatest Gift |
|Father, Jesus offered us the greatest gift he could--Himself as the food for ourselves--and the people's rejection of that gift broke His heart. Yet many Christians do the same thing today by reducing the gift of Christ's body and blood to near symbolism. Father, help us to understand and accept Jesus as He is and never let us be a disappointment to Him! We ask this in His name, Amen.|
St. Peter Regalado
Peter lived at a very busy time in history. The Great Western Schism (1378-1417) was settled at the Council of Constance (1414-1418). France and England were fighting the Hundred Years' War, and in 1453 the Byzantine Empire was completely wiped out by the loss of Constantinople to the Turks. At Peter's death the age of printing had just begun in Germany, and Columbus's arrival in the New World was less than 40 years away.
Peter came from a wealthy and pious family in Valladolid, Spain. At the age of 13, he was allowed to enter the Conventual Franciscans. Shortly after his ordination, he was made superior of the friary in Aguilar. He became part of a group of friars who wanted to lead a life of greater poverty and penance. In 1442 he was appointed head of all the Spanish Franciscans in his reform group.
Peter led the friars by his example. A special love of the poor and the sick characterized Peter. Miraculous stories are told about his charity to the poor. For example, the bread never seemed to run out as long as Peter had hungry people to feed. Throughout most of his life, Peter went hungry; he lived only on bread and water.
Immediately after his death on March 31, 1456, his grave became a place of pilgrimage. Peter was canonized in 1746.
"And let all the brothers, both the ministers and servants as well as the others, take care not to be disturbed or angered at the sin or the evil of another, because the devil wishes to destroy many through the fault of one; but they should spiritually help [the brother] who has sinned as best they can, because it is not the healthy who are in need of the physician, but those who are sick (cf. Mt 9:12; Mk 2:17)" (Rule of 1221, Chapter 5).
Saint of the DayLives, Lessons and FeastBy 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.
"In these days, God taught me
as a schoolteacher teaches a pupil" (Saint Ignatius).
I remind myself that there are things God has to teach me yet,
and ask for the grace to hear them and let them change me.
How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy-hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried or angry. I acknowledge how I really am.
It is the real me that the Lord loves.
The Word of God
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
Upon whom I have put my Spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
Not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
Until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.
Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spreads out the earth with its crops,
Who gives breath to its people
and spirit to those who walk on it:
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
To open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.
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.
When evildoers come at me
to devour my flesh,
My foes and my enemies
themselves stumble and fall.
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.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Verse Before the Gospel
Hail to you, our King;
you alone are compassionate with our faults.
Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil
made from genuine aromatic nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair;
the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,
and the one who would betray him, said,
"Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days' wages
and given to the poor?"
He said this not because he cared about the poor
but because he was a thief and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions.
So Jesus said, "Leave her alone.
Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me."
The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came,
not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus,
whom he had raised from the dead.
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him.
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: Psalm 27:1-3, 13-14
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Monday of Holy Week
Wait for the Lord with courage. (Psalm 27:14)
This is a week for waiting. As we recall Jesus' final days, his final steps toward the cross, and his final words, we are all waiting for his final victory. However much we share in Jesus' sufferings, however much we unite ourselves to his passion, everything is still colored by that victory. So the psalmist's cry, "The Lord is my light and my salvation" is not just wishful thinking. It's the very bedrock of our lives!
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? (Psalm 27:1) Not other people. Not those who are smarter, wealthier, or more powerful than I am. Not situations where I feel inadequate. Jesus, my Savior, is my light. The Father not only sent him to walk this earth as one like me; he also gave me his Spirit, who is always with me. Day or night, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, I have the light of the Lord to give me the knowledge and wisdom I need.
The Lord is my life's refuge; of whom should I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1) I don't have to fear the circumstances of my life. Not wakeful, lonely nights or sorrowful vigils at a loved one's sick bed. Not bitter exchanges with an agitated family member. Not exhausting battles with illness or with tired children. When loving and caring become too burdensome, Jesus promises to be my strength. He offers his constant presence as a refuge whenever the storms of life threaten to overwhelm.
Though war be waged upon me, even then will I trust. (Psalm 27:3) Because Jesus believed unshakably that God was on his side, he could take those final steps toward the cross. God is on my side, too! He is my strength and refuge. He is in control, even when all around me seems chaotic. He is the victor. Period. Jesus might not have seemed victorious as he proceeded to Jerusalem. Not as one of his disciples betrayed him for money. Not as he was mocked and whipped and nailed to a cross. Not as his life's blood poured out. But he waited. He trusted. And he triumphed. And so can I!
"God, you are good. I will hold fast to this truth today. I believe that no matter what happens, you are for me."
Because of Him
The Lord is my light and my salvation prays the Psalms, the life of Christ. The prophet Isaiah had proclaimed a prophecy, something for them to live on, a hope, and that hope came, not at the time and the way they wanted in his day, but at the manner and time that the Lord saw it would be good.
In comes our Lord, Jesus. About a week before dying for us, He dines with His loved ones, one of whom was a friend that He had raised from the dead. A woman named Mary annoints Him with oil and the house raises awareness. The evil one speaks "why does the church (the people) waste so much money when they could be "GIVING IT ALL TO THE POOR" and the liar is revealed. The person speaking is not the person but the devil. As if we really care so much for the poor. You have not even lifted a finger for them but you want others to do so?
This is the exact reason they sought to kill the Lord and Lazarus to boot. And so what does Jesus do? He still commits Himself to the poor, the starving, those to devour Him. He tells Judas the one who betrays Him a few days later, "you will alway have the poor with you". And it is true. The poor are among us. And Jesus ain't just talking about the pocket book. I mean, are you surrounded by homeless people? In a city of 100,000 we've helped feed usually about 100 per week. That's about what .1 percent? No, there's a whole lot more poor Jesus is after. The world in general is poor in spirit. This is why He proclaims the beatitudes. I say this because I got to witness the death of a loved one last night, my aunt. I thank you for your prayers. I got to see the coming together of the poor ones. And I use this life testimony so that you might grow in strength in faith, because our faith is like the mustard seed that just grows as you pass time in the Lord.
It was as if most of the day we were waiting for the moment they would unplug my aunt from the machines. At the hour it would be after a Mass in her presence a few hours before, tears of fears could be heard, we waited in a room across from her room, and at the moment I felt the call to pray the rosary for all present, the turmoil seemed to grow. I sat down, head down praying. I had prayed a rosary earlier when grief struck loved ones were getting lound lamenting, I felt the temptation to do the same, but something took it away...the rosary, the prayers, not for me but for all, and it seemed to work, there was calmness as much as possible again. Now at the hour of passing, the other rosary, with eyes closed I saw as if I were in the crowded room with her, a light pulling from her body, almost as in form of a cross, I don't know but as it happened ...it happened, she was taken out of her earthly body. We have the poor ones among us. They were torn, but not broken. God will see to it that you are not given more than you can handle, because He loves you too.
You see, too often we point a finger and fail to realize our need. For instance, there are times when someone comes into my office as I'm writing to you, seemingly to disturb your peace as the evil one tries. And so one comes in and realizing this, I decided to give the disturber a sign of love, a smile, I said a little joke and he laughs, and now instead of seeing my mean face concentrating on the screen, the poor man that wants his child baptized sees a sign of hope and love. The poor are among us, and many times will be our instruments to Heaven. Obtain them and fulfill the opportunity to love them.
The Vatican will not sell all its riches and give to the poor FOR YOU. It is you that will render all you have for the poor. Will you also sell all your family portraits? All your memories to give to the poor? Will you too become homeless? Will you too surrender your every last drop of blood...for JESUS? Judas did not, and so we have to watch our mouth for the fish dies at the mouth, caught for not having known to love before you speak, act before pondering Jesus. And this is the way to reach the poor, dying in hospitals, dying of suffering anguishments in nursing homes, torments of those who have no hope in their own homes, people tormented and possessed by their addictions that become their afflictions.
Lent is Holy and this is now Holy Week. What have you given so far? Has it been enough? Were you battered and stricken by the temptor? If not, then give more, because you will know when you give, the temptations will arise to overwhelm you. The Lord is my light and my salvation. Say it, and it is all you will need today. Believe it because that's what makes "Life Worth Living" as archbishop Fulton Sheen would say, and you know what else he said? This lover of God, Archbishop Fulton Sheen said "
"A person is great, not by the ferocity of his hatred of evil, but by the intensity of his love for God." -Fulton J. Sheen
And this makes all the difference in the world, from dark to light and no in between.
BLESSED BE GOD FOREVER
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