Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Your Good Deeds

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Minute Meditations

Take a Break

In short, we go on vacation from what we do, not from who we are. Vacation is meant to provide necessary rest from and rejuvenation for the normal, meaningful, but draining activities of daily life; it is not meant to separate us from God or be a pause on our journey toward deeper communion with him.
— from Answers

St. Ephrem
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Poet, teacher, orator and defender of the faith, Ephrem is the only Syrian recognized as a doctor of the Church. He took upon himself the special task of opposing the many false doctrines rampant at his time, always remaining a true and forceful defender of the Catholic Church.

Born in Nisibis, Mesopotamia, he was baptized as a young man and became famous as a teacher in his native city. When the Christian emperor had to cede Nisibis to the Persians, Ephrem, along with many Christians, fled as a refugee to Edessa. He is credited with attracting great glory to the biblical school there. He was ordained a deacon but declined becoming a priest (and was said to have avoided episcopal consecration by feigning madness!).

He had a prolific pen, and his writings best illumine his holiness. Although he was not a man of great scholarship, his works reflect deep insight and knowledge of the Scriptures. In writing about the mysteries of humanity's redemption, Ephrem reveals a realistic and humanly sympathetic spirit and a great devotion to the humanity of Jesus. It is said that his poetic account of the Last Judgment inspired Dante.

It is surprising to read that he wrote hymns against the heretics of his day. He would take the popular songs of the heretical groups and, using their melodies, compose beautiful hymns embodying orthodox doctrine. Ephrem became one of the first to introduce song into the Church's public worship as a means of instruction for the faithful. His many hymns have earned him the title "Harp of the Holy Spirit."

He preferred a simple, austere life, living in a small cave overlooking the city of Edessa. It was here he died around 373.


Many Catholics still find singing in church a problem, probably because of the rather individualistic piety that they inherited. Yet singing has been a tradition of both the Old and the New Testament. It is an excellent way of expressing and creating a community spirit of unity as well as joy. Ephrem's hymns, an ancient historian testifies, "lent luster to the Christian assemblies." We need some modern Ephrems—and cooperating singers—to do the same for our Christian assemblies today.


Lay me not with sweet spices,
For this honor avails me not,
Nor yet use incense and perfumes,
For the honor befits me not.
Burn yet the incense in the holy place;
As for me, escort me only with your prayers,
Give ye your incense to God,
And over me send up hymns.
Instead of perfumes and spices,
Be mindful of me in your intercessions.
(From The Testament of St. Ephrem)

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



Daily Prayer - 2015-06-09


Lord, help me to be fully alive to your Holy presence.
Enfold me in your love.
Let my heart become one with yours.


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.


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 2 Cor 1:18-22

Brothers and sisters:
As God is faithful, our word to you is not "yes" and "no."
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed to you by us,
Silvanus and Timothy and me,
was not "yes" and "no," but "yes" has been in him.
For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him;
therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory.
But the one who gives us security with you in Christ
and who anointed us is God;
he has also put his seal upon us
and given the Spirit in our hearts as a first installment.

Responsorial Psalm PS 119:129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 135

R. (135a) Lord, let your face shine on me.
Wonderful are your decrees;
therefore I observe them.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
The revelation of your words sheds light,
gives understanding to the simple.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
I gasp with open mouth
in my yearning for your commands.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
Turn to me in pity
as you turn to those who love your name.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
Steady my footsteps according to your promise,
and let no iniquity rule over me.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
Let your countenance shine upon your servant,
and teach me your statutes.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.

Alleluia Mt 5:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let your light shine before others
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 5:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples:
"You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
It is no longer good for anything
but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
it is set on a lampstand,
where it gives light to all in the house.
Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father."

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection

Some thoughts on today's scripture

The two metaphors of salt and light can apply to the individual believer and to the Church as a whole. The saltiness of salt points to the need for passion and dynamism at the heart of faith. The brightness of light points to the witness quality of the life of believers. Others are meant to sense the faith that motivates our good works and so be led to praise God. Faith is personal but not private. Is this true for me?


Begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture you have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in you? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story you have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface of your consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to you?


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: 2 Corinthians 1:18-22

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Saint Ephrem, Deacon and Doctor of the Church

However many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him. (2 Corinthians 1:20)

Just how many are the "many" promises of God? Some diligent readers have counted thousands of promises found in the Scriptures.

Today's first reading hints at one promise of God that speaks to us with an unmistakable tenor of joy. Paul even takes it up later in this same letter. Intrigued? It's his promise that one day, the Church will be ushered into the greatest wedding celebration of all time—as the bride of Christ.

Paul wrote of us, the Church, as being betrothed to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2). When Jesus ascended, he poured his Spirit into our hearts as a first installment of this immense blessing. The Bridegroom may tarry briefly, but one day he will return, and the Father will present us to him, as all of heaven joins in our wedding feast!

Will the Lord find a beautiful bride when he returns? Reflecting on the plight of our seven billion "neighbors," many of whom haven't yet found their place in the Church, it's clear that there's a lot of work to do. This is certainly a busy "engagement" season! And so many have joyfully responded by offering their lives to work alongside the Lord in this challenging yet beautiful endeavor.

You, too, have a personal stake in this promise of marriage. When the Holy Spirit first came to dwell in you, it was as if you received your engagement ring. Now, as you look forward to that glorious day of celebration, you can also look outward and consider how you can help other people join you as part of that beautiful bride. We all belong to each other, and we all belong to Christ. He wants all of us to be with him forever, and he is asking you to prepare for that day by bringing more people to him.

Does a bride consider her wedding preparations a drudgery? Of course not, and neither should you. As you serve God and share his good news, don't forget to rejoice. Remember that Jesus is faithful to his promises, especially his wedding promises. The best is yet to come! Heaven lies ahead. As beautiful as this life is, this is only the foretaste of great things to come.

"Jesus, give me the grace to build your Church."


Psalm 119:129-133, 135
Matthew 5:13-16




It's like we've never read the Word of God before.  What have been the distractions all these years?  What has kept me from being a full hearted "YES" to the Lord?  Why do we coward?  Why the lack of courage?  Why do we not pray for His face to shine on us?  Why instead, do we turn away and do not ask for what is good and right?  It's as if to believe in your own powers than that of our Lord in Heaven.  As if my thoughts were better...and we only fool ourselves when fooled by the devil.  And so today's Holy Scriptures are enticing, even daring you.  Many of my songs dare you "will it be a yes, or will it be a no?".  We read in the first Holy Scripture "As God is faithful, our word to you is not "yes" and "no."  As some of my songs say "if you say no or I don't know, you're saying anything other than a yes, then it is a no, and it is death, death to a soul. 
And so we pray with the Psalms today "Let your countenance shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes."  When the Son of God shines upon me, the light of truth is upon me, could I or should I coward away?  You see, this is why I say, the most strongest people I know, are some of the most faithful to God.  Sinners are cowards.  I've been a coward, yet I pray for strength, and I eat the strength in the Most Holy Eucharist.  Strength arises from a confession, from me being hunched over and bowed down with the weight of oppression, and the Lord our God lifts us up, so we don't break ourselves and fall apart, apart from Him.  This is how awesome God is while we live on this earth, this world.  There is a world to come far beyond comprehension to which we are not to return, how can you return from eternity?  And so the bonds are forged.
Right now, we are renewing our health insurance.  We are forced to offer insurance to everyone.  It is a group insurance.  What happens in a group insurance is if someone gets cancer, the rates for everyone else goes up.  Is it fair that we all have to pay more for your cancer?  I told a worker this morning that this is the case with group insurance, and this is why our group insurance keeps going up and it is less and less affordable.    I then said "it is the same with the group in church, your sin affects the whole group, that's why we have to go to confession".  We confess to a priest to alleviate the group, to ask forgiveness from the group, and He forgives because Jesus is there, full of mercy and compassion, and lo to the priest that does not allow God's mercy to flow, because Jesus is eternally love and mercy, and waiting for you.
And He is waiting for you to be what you ARE.  Salt.  Salt that is used.  The 5minutos said "...salt conserves, preserves, disinfects, kills microbes, makes wounds scar/heal, it purifies, and this is how the Christian is to be in the world.  Living the Gospel, "disinfecting" of all evil: You are the salt of the earth. And all of this sprouts forth the following "You are the light of the world"; the testimony/witness, that is a true challenge that asks the Christian of today to be credible.  What is asked of us today is not to be great "teachers" but  to be great "witnesses", valid, in a true realm, ecclesial, cultural, and social, etc."  And so the question remains, will it be a yes or a no?  Because think of all the times you've been tempted.  Did you say yes or no?
And I'm talking about the times our Lord tempted you to give to Him.
Tempted to give your life to Him.
Tempted to serve Him.
Tempted to Love Him.
Tempted to be intimate with Him.
Tempted to surrender your life to Him.
Tempted to Love Him.
Tempted to believe in Him.
Tempted to maybe trust in Him.
Tempted to Love Him.
Tempted to Believe Him.
Tempted to hear Him.
Tempted to follow Him.
Tempted to Love Him.
Tempted to be strong and let the truth be known.
Tempted to not be ashamed.
Tempted to Love Him.

Yes? or...........

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