Wednesday, June 3, 2015

When They Rise

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Minute Meditations

Pray for Forgiveness
Heavenly Father, I ask forgiveness of anyone I have wronged during my lifetime. I sincerely regret any harm I may have caused. Likewise, I am willing to forgive anyone who has wronged me. When my time comes, open your arms to me and accept me into your heavenly kingdom, where I will be united with all the loved ones who have gone before me, and I will rejoice forever in your saving presence. Amen.
— from What Do I Say

Sts. Charles Lwanga and Companions
(d. 1886)
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One of 22 Ugandan martyrs, Charles Lwanga is the patron of youth and Catholic action in most of tropical Africa. He protected his fellow pages (aged 13 to 30) from the homosexual demands of the Bagandan ruler, Mwanga, and encouraged and instructed them in the Catholic faith during their imprisonment for refusing the ruler's demands.

For his own unwillingness to submit to the immoral acts and his efforts to safeguard the faith of his friends, Charles was burned to death at Namugongo on June 3, 1886, by Mwanga's order.

Charles first learned of Christ's teachings from two retainers in the court of Chief Mawulugungu. While a catechumen, he entered the royal household as assistant to Joseph Mukaso, head of the court pages.

On the night of Mukaso's martyrdom for encouraging the African youths to resist Mwanga, Charles requested and received Baptism. Imprisoned with his friends, Charles's courage and belief in God inspired them to remain chaste and faithful.

When Pope Paul VI canonized these 22 martyrs on October 18, 1964, he referred to the Anglican pages martyred for the same reason.


Like Charles Lwanga, we are all teachers and witnesses to Christian living by the examples of our own lives. We are all called upon to spread the word of God, whether by word or deed. By remaining courageous and unshakable in our faith during times of great moral and physical temptation, we live as Christ lived.


On his African tour in 1969, Pope Paul VI told 22 young Ugandan converts that "being a Christian is a fine thing but not always an easy one."


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

Daily Prayer - 2015-06-03


"Be still and know that I am God."
Lord, Your words lead us to the
calmness and greatness of Your Presence.


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


Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs

Reading 1 Tb 3:1-11a, 16-17a

Grief-stricken in spirit, I, Tobit, groaned and wept aloud.
Then with sobs I began to pray:

"You are righteous, O Lord,
and all your deeds are just;
All your ways are mercy and truth;
you are the judge of the world.
And now, O Lord, may you be mindful of me,
and look with favor upon me.
Punish me not for my sins,
nor for my inadvertent offenses,
nor for those of my ancestors.

"We sinned against you,
and disobeyed your commandments.
So you handed us over to plundering, exile, and death,
till you made us the talk and reproach of all the nations
among whom you had dispersed us.

"Yes, your judgments are many and true
in dealing with me as my sins
and those of my ancestors deserve.
For we have not kept your commandments,
nor have we trodden the paths of truth before you.

"So now, deal with me as you please,
and command my life breath to be taken from me,
that I may go from the face of the earth into dust.
It is better for me to die than to live,
because I have heard insulting calumnies,
and I am overwhelmed with grief.

"Lord, command me to be delivered from such anguish;
let me go to the everlasting abode;
Lord, refuse me not.
For it is better for me to die
than to endure so much misery in life,
and to hear these insults!"

On the same day, at Ecbatana in Media,
it so happened that Raguel's daughter Sarah
also had to listen to abuse,
from one of her father's maids.
For she had been married to seven husbands,
but the wicked demon Asmodeus killed them off
before they could have intercourse with her,
as it is prescribed for wives.
So the maid said to her:
"You are the one who strangles your husbands!
Look at you!
You have already been married seven times,
but you have had no joy with any one of your husbands.
Why do you beat us? Is it on account of your seven husbands,
Because they are dead?
May we never see a son or daughter of yours!"

The girl was deeply saddened that day,
and she went into an upper chamber of her house,
where she planned to hang herself.

But she reconsidered, saying to herself:
"No! People would level this insult against my father:
'You had only one beloved daughter,
but she hanged herself because of ill fortune!'
And thus would I cause my father in his old age
to go down to the nether world laden with sorrow.
It is far better for me not to hang myself,
but to beg the Lord to have me die,
so that I need no longer live to hear such insults."

At that time, then, she spread out her hands,
and facing the window, poured out her prayer:

"Blessed are you, O Lord, merciful God,
and blessed is your holy and honorable name.
Blessed are you in all your works for ever!"

At that very time,
the prayer of these two suppliants
was heard in the glorious presence of Almighty God.
So Raphael was sent to heal them both:
to remove the cataracts from Tobit's eyes,
so that he might again see God's sunlight;
and to marry Raguel's daughter Sarah to Tobit's son Tobiah,
and then drive the wicked demon Asmodeus from her.

Responsorial Psalm PS 25:2-3, 4-5ab, 6 and 7bc, 8-9

R. (1) To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
In you I trust; let me not be put to shame,
let not my enemies exult over me.
No one who waits for you shall be put to shame;
those shall be put to shame who heedlessly break faith.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.

Alleluia Jn 11:25a, 26

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord;
whoever believes in me will never die.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 12:18-27

Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection,
came to Jesus and put this question to him, saying,
"Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
'If someone's brother dies, leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.'
Now there were seven brothers.
The first married a woman and died, leaving no descendants.
So the second brother married her and died, leaving no descendants,
and the third likewise.
And the seven left no descendants.
Last of all the woman also died.
At the resurrection when they arise whose wife will she be?
For all seven had been married to her."
Jesus said to them, "Are you not misled
because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?
When they rise from the dead,
they neither marry nor are given in marriage,
but they are like the angels in heaven.
As for the dead being raised,
have you not read in the Book of Moses,
in the passage about the bush, how God told him,
I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac,
and the God of Jacob
He is not God of the dead but of the living.
You are greatly misled."

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • Now it is the turn of the Saducees to try trapping Jesus with an awkward question. In his reply Jesus stresses the sheer newness of the resurrected life (the risen will be like angels in heaven). He also invokes the story of Moses at the burning bush to underline that the God revealed there is God of the living, not of the dead. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are alive!
  • How strong is my belief in the resurrection? What difference does this belief make to the way I live my life here and now?


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?


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: Tobit 3:1-11, 16-17

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Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs

Blessed are you in all your works forever! (Tobit 3:11)

"On the same day" in two different cities, two desperate people call on God's mercy. The aged Tobit laments his blindness, and young Sarah contemplates suicide. Both are tired of being blamed and insulted for circumstances beyond their control, when each is just trying to do the right thing.

Because all God's ways are mercy and truth, "at that very time, the prayer of these two suppliants was heard in the glorious presence of Almighty God" (Tobit 3:16). Responding out of love and compassion, God sends the angel Raphael to heal Tobit's blindness and to deliver Sarah from the constant threat of demonic attack. And he does it through Tobit's son, Tobiah.

At first Tobiah views himself simply as an obedient son setting off to retrieve an investment for his father. Little does he imagine that he will become God's instrument of healing and deliverance. He just puts one foot in front of the other and deals with challenges that confront him along the way—with the help of the angel, of course! Because of Tobiah's faithfulness, God is able to do great things through him and for him.

Like Tobit and Sarah, we too are God's beloved people. And like them, we too experience setbacks, sicknesses, and spiritual temptations. But also like them, we have a "Tobiah" who can help us. His name is Jesus. Like Tobiah, he has healed us and opened our eyes. And like Tobiah, he has bound our enemy, the devil, and set us free from his harassment and threats.

Like Tobiah, Jesus walked, step-by-step, from Bethlehem to Nazareth to Galilee to Jerusalem. He put one foot in front of the other and faced every challenge that came against him. He would allow nobody and nothing to keep him from fulfilling his mission.

But here is the best part. Jesus not only saved us; he married us. What Tobiah did with Sarah, Jesus did with us. He calls us, the Church, his bride. He betrothed himself to us forever. How blessed we are! May we, the bride of Christ, long for the day when we will be fully united with our bridegroom. And until then, may we all remain faithful to him and pray, "Come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20).

"Thank you, Jesus, for saving us and marrying us!"


Psalm 25:2-9
Mark 12:18-27



Today's 5 minutos says:
  "The two prayers, of Tobit and Sarah, are born in pain, with prayers made of tears, without zest, which even asked for death of God.  Even though their situation is desperate, they never offend God, on the contrary, they believe in His justice, His mercy and His faithfulness.  Let us never reproach God.  And so our Lord, listening to His children only praying for death before their pain without an exit, and that is greater than our problems and our heart, He does not send death but life, throught the angel Rafael.   "Lord of holiness, rich in compassion, teach us to pray, to pray always, to pray even when all seems lost for us and we can not count on anything to live.  You, who are close to who's heart is miserable and listen to the desires of the poor, give us the capacity to abandon ourselves to You and put our confidence in You, beyond our human hope.  You, who responded once and for all to our desperation sending your Son all the way to the last abyss of our death, make that when our life is insupportable and too bitter for us, to be able to look to the one nailed to the cross for love of us all.  Looking to Him and surrendering to Him, we too can experience that "only the deepest weeping knows/learns the joy"  And over the ruins of our dying, surges the dawn of life resurrected, becaue You love us, in Jesus, from always, to always."
  Today's 1st Holy reading brings us to a low point of human life, and the turning point happens...and it is found in prayer, that never letting go of God, never letting go of faith.  I want you to have that kind of faith my child.  I want you to have such a faith that we are not moved to the point of spiritual death...which is sin.  Because Sarah lost 7 husbands and lost her temper, and was about to lose her life, all thanks to a demon that was at work, and only our Savior could save.  This reading then, it is encouraging.  Because it took this kind of courage for today's saints to lose their life for Christ in Africa.  Burned alive...rather than choose to concede, to allow sin to come in.  Who does that kind of thing nowadays?  Who says "I'd rather die than to sin"?  We are asked to look beyond human comprehension.  Because Tobit did not sin, neither did Sarah, they were suffering torments passed on from others, demons even.  And so this is the danger of giving into become a parasitic carrier, a contagious disease pathogen carrier.  "OH my personal sins ain't hurting nobody",  LIES!  You've been infected! 
And so the Psalms declare the life of Christ "To You O Lord, I lift my soul" and we read "No one who waits for you shall be put to shame; those shall be put to shame who heedlessly break faith." and also, "He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way."  That's who God listens to.  Not that He ignores mindless and heartless prayers, but that those who really seek Him, really find Him, and life is born.
Last night, we discussed faith in RCIA that I'm supposedly teaching.  I say that because I'm learning (as is always the case when teaching).  You learn as much if not more.  That's why you should never turn down a teaching job, whether in family, at church, or at work.  We are preaching yes, but learning because God speaks through the Holy Spirit through a willing soul.  So how does all this apply to me, right now?  It has the world to do with you.  If you are married, you just now realized you better appreciate, for we are together only for the while we are on earth.  You won't be hitched up in Heaven, because you will be bonded with God in Heaven...this is all considering that we make it to Heaven.  Who won't?  Fr. Robert Barren said we don't know for sure who is in hell, and this is true, but be assured there is a hell, and from private revelations there are multitudes falling into hell, even Jesus said there are those going to hell where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth, lamentations and for what?  Sin.  Better said, that sin that says you don't need God.  That sin that says I choose my happiness and way of life than that of Christ.  That sin that keeps you from God and against God.  Of course nobody wants to go to hell, but sadly most that wind up there...don't believe in it.  And so it is better to suffer here and now and offer it up to come closer to Christ.  Last night we were thrown a question in RCIA, "what do you think heaven will be like?"  We couldn't answer, or didn't want to answer, because nobody knows.  I said, "ultimately we will be bonded in a way we are not on earth".   Our job then, is that of Jesus...salvation for those in our little world.  Bring the truth to their lives.  If God set up a Holy people in the Old Testament, they weren't perfect, but "set apart" as "Ke'dosh" means Holiness, and Jesus fulfilled Israel and set a Holy Catholic (Universal) Church.  Love it.  Love it so much, but not love the Church, because we are the Church but love God, because the bride that failed is redeemed and loved by God as is evident with Tobias and Sarah.  And that demon that always wanted it destroyed, Asmodeus?  It's name means "to destroy".  God removed destruction.  Jesus saves.  It so happens that at the Apocalypse (the end of the times/world) the destroyer's name is Abaddon, related to Asmodeus.  You see, the gates of hell will never prevail on the Holy Church because Jesus said it. 
So you are either in or out.  Because if you want it both are out.  Sin doesn't fit in Heaven...not a one little ounce...that's why if you have even little unforgiven sins you won't go flying straight into Heaven even though you said LORD LORD I BELIEVE.  There is payment in justice, yes there is forgiveness, but we need to be humble.  Much has been said, but this message has been sent to God's angels.  Because you read this truth, you are now called to send the message......