Monday, June 1, 2015

They Left Him

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Minute Meditations

Spiritual Companionship
Every one of us has the ability to be a healing presence and provide spiritual companionship to someone who is dying. To touch gently is to give hope—not the false hope of a recovery where none may be possible, but the hope of a tangible presence of God in our lives.
— from What Do I Say

St. Justin
(d. 165)
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Justin never ended his quest for religious truth even when he converted to Christianity after years of studying various pagan philosophies.

As a young man, he was principally attracted to the school of Plato. However, he found that the Christian religion answered the great questions about life and existence better than the philosophers.

Upon his conversion he continued to wear the philosopher's mantle, and became the first Christian philosopher. He combined the Christian religion with the best elements in Greek philosophy. In his view, philosophy was a pedagogue of Christ, an educator that was to lead one to Christ.

Justin is known as an apologist, one who defends in writing the Christian religion against the attacks and misunderstandings of the pagans. Two of his so-called apologies have come down to us; they are addressed to the Roman emperor and to the Senate.

For his staunch adherence to the Christian religion, Justin was beheaded in Rome in 165.



As patron of philosophers, Justin may inspire us to use our natural powers (especially our power to know and understand) in the service of Christ and to build up the Christian life within us. Since we are prone to error, especially in reference to the deep questions concerning life and existence, we should also be willing to correct and check our natural thinking in light of religious truth. Thus we will be able to say with the learned saints of the Church: I believe in order to understand, and I understand in order to believe.


"Philosophy is the knowledge of that which exists, and a clear understanding of the truth; and happiness is the reward of such knowledge and understanding" (Justin, Dialogue with Trypho, 3).

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


Daily Prayer - 2015-06-01


I remind myself that, as I sit here now,

God is gazing on me with love and holding me in being.

I pause for a moment and think of this.


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.


To be conscious about something is to be aware of it.  Dear Lord help me to remember that You gave me life.  Thank you for the gift of life.   Teach me to slow down, to be still and enjoy the pleasures created for me. To be aware of the beauty that surrounds me. The marvel of mountains, the calmness of lakes, the fragility of a flower petal. I need to remember that all these things come from you.

The Word of God

Memorial of Saint Justin, Martyr
Lectionary: 353

Reading 1 Tb 1:3; 2:1a-8

I, Tobit, have walked all the days of my life
on the paths of truth and righteousness.
I performed many charitable works for my kinsmen and my people
who had been deported with me to Nineveh, in Assyria.

On our festival of Pentecost, the feast of Weeks,
a fine dinner was prepared for me, and I reclined to eat.
The table was set for me,
and when many different dishes were placed before me,
I said to my son Tobiah: "My son,
go out and try to find a poor man
from among our kinsmen exiled here in Nineveh.
If he is a sincere worshiper of God, bring him back with you,
so that he can share this meal with me.
Indeed, son, I shall wait for you to come back."

Tobiah went out to look for some poor kinsman of ours.
When he returned he exclaimed, "Father!"
I said to him, "What is it, son?"
He answered, "Father, one of our people has been murdered!
His body lies in the market place where he was just strangled!"
I sprang to my feet, leaving the dinner untouched;
and I carried the dead man from the street
and put him in one of the rooms,
so that I might bury him after sunset.
Returning to my own quarters, I washed myself
and ate my food in sorrow.
I was reminded of the oracle
pronounced by the prophet Amos against Bethel:

"All your festivals shall be turned into mourning,
and all your songs into lamentation."

And I wept.
Then at sunset I went out, dug a grave, and buried him.

The neighbors mocked me, saying to one another:
"He is still not afraid!
Once before he was hunted down for execution
because of this very thing;
yet now that he has scarcely escaped,
here he is again burying the dead!"

Responsorial Psalm PS 112:1b-2, 3b-4, 5-6

R. (1b) Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
His generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just man shall be in everlasting remembrance.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia See Rev 1:5ab

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ, you are the faithful witness,
the first born of the dead;
you have loved us and freed us from our sins by your Blood.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 12:1-12

Jesus began to speak to the chief priests, the scribes,
and the elders in parables.
"A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey.
At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants
to obtain from them some of the produce of the vineyard.
But they seized him, beat him,
and sent him away empty-handed.
Again he sent them another servant.
And that one they beat over the head and treated shamefully.
He sent yet another whom they killed.
So, too, many others; some they beat, others they killed.
He had one other to send, a beloved son.
He sent him to them last of all, thinking, 'They will respect my son.'
But those tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.'
So they seized him and killed him,
and threw him out of the vineyard.
What then will the owner of the vineyard do?
He will come, put the tenants to death,
and give the vineyard to others.
Have you not read this Scripture passage:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes

They were seeking to arrest him, but they feared the crowd,
for they realized that he had addressed the parable to them.
So they left him and went away.

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • This parable tells us a lot about the darker side of our human nature. It illustrates greed, hatred and violence. Anything else?
  • But it also speaks implicitly of Christ, "a beloved son", "the stone that the builders rejected". Rejection was the fate of the prophets and of Jesus, the greatest of the prophets. Why was this? How is Jesus rejected today?


What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word? I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to 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: Mark 12:1-12

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Saint Justin, Martyr (9th Week in Ordinary Time)

This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours. (Mark 12:7)

We know what it's like to second-guess a decision someone else has made. You look at an event after the fact and think about how you would have handled it better. If it were you coaching that football game, you would have called for a pass instead of a handoff. If you had been the presidential nominee, you would have chosen a different running mate. If you were that child's parent, you would discipline her differently.

Second-guessing is rarely helpful, and it's especially the case when we read stories like today's parable. We can think, "How could these tenants have been so stubborn and selfish? The landlord was just trying to collect his produce. I would never have treated these servants so cruelly." To make matters worse, we understand that the landlord is God the Father, the servants are the prophets, and the "beloved son" is Jesus. Why couldn't the scribes and Pharisees see these connections?

The problem with this approach is that it deflects the message of the parable away from us. Whether we are ancient scribes or twenty-first-century Christians, God wants us to be fruitful. He has commissioned us, just as the landowner commissioned the tenants, to care for his creation. We are stewards of his kingdom, and he wants to know how we're doing in that regard.

What kind of "servants" will God send you today to check on his fruit? Maybe it will be a friend asking for help or a person needing someone to talk to. It may not be a person at all. It may be a verse from today's readings—something you sense God wants you to act on. No matter how the Lord comes, you can be sure that he will not ask for something that you cannot give. So don't reject him. Welcome him instead. Tell him, "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening." Then, give him the fruit he is really looking for: your heart.

"Lord, help me to receive your word and the promptings of your Spirit today."


Tobit 1:3; 2:1-8
Psalm 112:1-6



I enjoy reading reflections. I read a couple (daily), as you can tell, sometimes 3.  What stands out though, are the impacts of the Gospel.  The impact of being a true Christ follower.  What's it going to ask of me?  That is the question, and for some, it is a scary question, because of the lack of courage-which is binded with sin, that is, to be without God.  Today, in the book of Tobit, the man fears God and not the people.  That is the courage we are being led to in the Holy Gospel.  A Holy Fear of the Lord is, like Dr. Brant Pitre says towards the end of the studies on Spiritual Theology, a fear of the Lord is equated with holiness.  And so rightly, Tobit was and is a holy man, because as the Psalms say "the just man shall be in everlasting remembrance" and rightly so because another Psalm said today "Blessed the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commands. His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth; the upright generation shall be blessed."  I want you to do what I find hard to do, and that is, to pray for the nations that are legalizing abortions and homosexual marriages.  I never said condemn people you meet that have committed these things, for theirs belongs goodness, forgiveness, and as another act of charity, guidance to the truth of LIFE. 
 I read this today about Tobit "He makes it quite clear: it's a central act of charity. He does three things that are righteous: gives bread to the hungry, clothes the naked, buries the dead (Tobit 1:17).
  For the holy man Tobit was doing several acts of corporal mercy today, and I want you to realize, there is a spiritual war that is never ending.  I want you to realize that the "vineyard" is being attempted to be taken by force.  Because most are on the side of pro-life and pro-Holy Marriage.  But by force, evil is at work, to eventually strike at the Holy Church, and this means you directly, if you are a true Christ follower. 
 I have only to sit in front of my televesion, or as Dr. Brant Pitre said yesterday, some call the TV "Satan's Tabernacle", I just sit there a few minutes and I get zapped, sinful things enter through the senses, your ears, the music, the gossip, your eyes, the lude and nude, vulgarities that we should despise are disguised. 
The Holy Gospel demonstrates this.  It is like going to Holy Mass and "not getting anything out of it", or worse, coming out worse!   The people left in charge, become their own worst enemy.  I saw a couple of minutes on a documentary of a show that said the man was fighting to protect the environment, and the very people were the environmental agencies that were supposed to be protecting what he wanted protected.  And so, it begins within.  One of the hardest things for us to do, is to accept the truth.  The truth is Jesus.  We don't like to hear it.  It's always news for someone else, but the news is for us.  Yes I want conversions for so many hardened hearts, but how can one hardened heart change another?   Only Jesus who is not hardened can do this.  And so we must do as much as we can, depend on His grace and mercy. "Learn to do thy part and leave the rest to heaven." -Bl. John Henry Newman
Holiness is the fear of the Lord.  Remaining faithful...that is our call.  Faithful to the truth.  Faithful to Jesus.  This means love