Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Enter Through

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Minute Meditations

Let's All Get Along

Learning to get along with all kinds of people and listening patiently to a wide variety of opinions can encourage us to grow in all manner of virtues, including patience, tolerance, and even love of enemies!
— from Pope Francis and our Call to Joy

St. John Fisher


John Fisher is usually associated with Erasmus, Thomas More and other Renaissance humanists. His life, therefore, did not have the external simplicity found in the lives of some saints. Rather, he was a man of learning, associated with the intellectuals and political leaders of his day. He was interested in the contemporary culture and eventually became chancellor at Cambridge. He had been made a bishop at 35, and one of his interests was raising the standard of preaching in England. Fisher himself was an accomplished preacher and writer. His sermons on the penitential psalms were reprinted seven times before his death. With the coming of Lutheranism, he was drawn into controversy. His eight books against heresy gave him a leading position among European theologians.
In 1521 he was asked to study the question of Henry VIII's marriage. He incurred Henry's anger by defending the validity of the king's marriage with Catherine of Aragon and later by rejecting Henry's claim to be the supreme head of the Church of England.

In an attempt to be rid of him, Henry first had him accused of not reporting all the "revelations" of the nun of Kent, Elizabeth Barton.  John was summoned, in feeble health, to take the oath to the new Act of Succession. He and Thomas More refused because the Act presumed the legality of Henry's divorce and his claim to be head of the English Church. They were sent to the Tower of London, where Fisher remained 14 months without trial. They were finally sentenced to life imprisonment and loss of goods.

When the two were called to further interrogations, they remained silent. Fisher was tricked, on the supposition he was speaking privately as a priest, and declared again that the king was not supreme head. The king, further angered that the pope had made John Fisher a cardinal, had him brought to trial on the charge of high treason. He was condemned and executed, his body left to lie all day on the scaffold and his head hung on London Bridge. More was executed two weeks later.


Today many questions are raised about Christians' and priests' active involvement in social issues. John Fisher remained faithful to his calling as a bishop. He strongly upheld the teachings of the Church; the very cause of his martyrdom was his loyalty to Rome. He was involved in the cultural enrichment circles as well as in the political struggles of his time. This involvement caused him to question the moral conduct of the leadership of his country. "The Church has the right, indeed the duty, to proclaim justice on the social, national and international level, and to denounce instances of injustice, when the fundamental rights of man and his very salvation demand it" (Justice in the World, 1971 Synod of Bishops).


Erasmus said of John Fisher: "He is the one man at this time who is incomparable for uprightness of life, for learning and for greatness of soul."

Daily Prayer - 2015-06-23


I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me, creating me in his image and likeness, making me his temple....


God is not foreign to my freedom.

Instead the Spirit breathes life into my most intimate desires,

gently nudging me towards all that is good.

I ask for the grace to let myself be enfolded by the Spirit.


I ask how I am within myself today? Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form? If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?

The Word of God


Reading 1 Gn 13:2, 5-18

Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.

Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents,
so that the land could not support them if they stayed together;
their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together.
There were quarrels between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock
and those of Lot's.
(At this time the Canaanites and the Perizzites
were occupying the land.)

So Abram said to Lot:
"Let there be no strife between you and me,
or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are kinsmen.
Is not the whole land at your disposal?
Please separate from me.
If you prefer the left, I will go to the right;
if you prefer the right, I will go to the left."
Lot looked about and saw how well watered
the whole Jordan Plain was as far as Zoar,
like the LORD's own garden, or like Egypt.
(This was before the LORD had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)
Lot, therefore, chose for himself the whole Jordan Plain
and set out eastward.
Thus they separated from each other;
Abram stayed in the land of Canaan,
while Lot settled among the cities of the Plain,
pitching his tents near Sodom.
Now the inhabitants of Sodom were very wicked
in the sins they committed against the LORD.

After Lot had left, the LORD said to Abram:
"Look about you, and from where you are,
gaze to the north and south, east and west;
all the land that you see I will give to you
and your descendants forever.
I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth;
if anyone could count the dust of the earth,
your descendants too might be counted.
Set forth and walk about in the land, through its length and breadth,
for to you I will give it."
Abram moved his tents and went on to settle
near the terebinth of Mamre, which is at Hebron.
There he built an altar to the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm PS 15:2-3a, 3bc-4ab, 5

R. (1b) He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
He who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
By whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Alleluia Jn 8:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 7:6, 12-14

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine,
lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.

"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the Law and the Prophets.

"Enter through the narrow gate;
for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction,
and those who enter through it are many.
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.
And those who find it are few."

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • These three sayings of Jesus are not connected to each other and may have been spoken at different times. In the first the phrase "what is holy" refers to the flesh (and blood) offered in Jewish sacrifices. The whole saying seems to be about preserving the integrity of all that is sacred. The middle saying is a reiteration of the Golden Rule which is found in some form in all the great religions. Here it is put in a positive form: "do to others" rather than "do not do to others". Jesus asks for active and committed love. The third saying points to the difficulty of the Christian journey towards eternal life - a saying that needs to be balanced by other gentler words of Jesus. Can you recall some of these?


Jesus you speak to me through the words of the gospels. May I respond to your call today.Teach me to recognise your hand at work in my daily living.


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: Matthew 7:6, 12-14

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12th Week in Ordinary Time

How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. (Matthew 7:14)

Jesus' statement makes the Christian life sound so hard! It conjures images of trying to thread a sewing needle that has a tiny eye or getting a hole in one in golf. You need precision, patience, repeated efforts, and unshakable faith that if you keep at it, you will triumph.

Oh wait. That sounds exactly like what we need for the life Jesus invites us to take up!

Yes, the road we travel can be as constricting as the gate that leads to it is narrow. Following Jesus requires precision and exacting care about how you use your time; what you read or watch or talk about; where you seek spiritual, mental, or emotional consolation; where you find pleasure; and how you amuse yourself. It takes patience, chiefly with yourself, as you try to make your way, and fail, and try again and again and again. It can be very tempting to cry out, "I will never be able to love, to forgive, to get off drugs to be free from fear ..."

Take heart! Jesus sympathizes with your weaknesses and challenges. He knows every temptation you face. He has experienced them all himself, so he is filled with compassion and mercy for you. Are you tired of walking on the road that leads to life? Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Don't worry when your strength or endurance, wisdom or understanding run out. Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to give you energy, patience, and self-control so that you can keep following him.

If the road seems too hard, remember that Jesus wants to give you everything you need. He enjoys providing all the precision and endurance and faith you lack. And if you think you have strayed so far off the road that return is impossible, remember the father who ran, eagerly and joyfully, to welcome his prodigal child home. God the Father is on the lookout, too, waiting for you! He is on your side. He is by your side. He will always help you along the way.

"Jesus, I am sorry for the times I have faltered or given up as I try to follow you. Help me make my way along the narrow road today."


Genesis 13:2, 5-18
Psalm 15:2-5




Today's 5 minutos ended with:
  " today don't just try to do, but do it.  You want them to help you in your time of need?  You too, do it now, help the needy.  An old legend said that in remote times outside the cities, a "trash place" of elderly folks, there their children would deposit their parents when they got old.  On a certain occasion, a man moved to that place, carried on his back with a bedcover, his father, he left him alone and came home.  On the way home, he paid attention to the cover he had folded on his shoulder, in which he had wrapped his father, and his conscience got to him...he backtracked his steps and, presenting himself to the old man, he offered him the cover:  "so you can cover yourself" he said.  The reply came "No thank you" his father said, "take it with you, your son will need it when he comes and retires you".

  How would you like for me to talk not real good things about you when you're not around?  And good things when you are around?  Hmm, now it sounds like we don't listen to the Lord's commands.  Do unto others.  It is a hating world then, when it is a lying world.  It is a dark world when you live in that darkness.  But let's pay attention to HIS-story.  Because that's what history is, HIS Story.  The story of my ancestors is interesting, but the story of my family of God, it is AMAZING for lack of a better word.  Welcome to the family of God.  You have read this far, now...let's get to Heaven.
In today's 1st Holy Scripture, Abram said to Lot to split ways to avoid more fighting, and Lot, instead of saying anything else took the bait.  Not that it was a test from Abram, but perhaps a test from God.  Lot chose the better looking lot of land that "looked like tha garden of God".  Looks can be deceiving.  And this is the broad road that leads to destruction, that what we build up with our own hands.  As if you could build your own god?  That is idol worship.  That is what god hates, and god hates to see you kill yourself.
The Psalms pray on "He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord".  Notice, it doesn't say you'll live forever on earth, but in the presence of the Lord.  And this presence is more than spectacular, it is mind boggling, like sitting in front of the exposed Blessed Sacrament, even in Mass He is exposed, naked, lifted up, and offered, and in this case, naked means pure, not nasty like the world has made nakedness to be, but a pure offering for you and for me. Taste and see.  Indeed the Psalms pray on today "He who walks blamelessly and does justice; who thinks the truth in his heart and slanders not with his tongue."
Now that we are getting a taste of purity, of Heaven on Earth, let's delve into it a little more.
Our Lord speaks in the Holy Gospel today and the first instance says "Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces."  One time a lady was asking for a miracle from Jesus, to heal her daughter, to expel a demon from her daughter.  At times, our demons are passed on to our children.  We teach them hatred by the way we talk, we teach them to hate our Lord by the way we walk.  And yet, Jesus listened but not first without saying "it is not right to give the bread of the children to the dogs" Mk 7:27.  Was He being mean?  No.  He wants us to listen.  LISTEN!  He is saying He is Holy, we are not to take Him into our lives, our souls without being clean.  The woman was not one of them, she was a gentile, a non-believer her whole life, she didn't cleanse herself as prescribed by the law.  And still, Jesus heard her cries.  Because of her tenacity, because of her persistence, because of her tears, this all became her faith, her pleading, her talking with God.  The lesson here...mercy and faith go together in Holy Marriage, humility.  Because if King Henry was praying, he was not listening.  And because he was not listening to God, he killed today's saint.  You see, the lesson here is, LISTEN, have mercy, do unto others.  Hmm, getting pretty interesting no?
And if this does not interest you, then it is because Heaven does not interest you, or worse, Heaven interests you, but not God!
Jesus said "Enter through the narrow gate".  When I was young, throughout our childhood, my mother used to say in spanish "el caminito para el cielo esta lleno de espinitas, pero el camino para el infierno esta hancho, lleno de rosas"  (The path, the way to Heaven is a little bitty road, full of thorns, stickers and the way to hell is a wide road full of roses)".  It was an image that I could only imagine.  Indeed my family.  I believe I have been travelling the way of the Lord for the last several years.  I will tell you, there ain't hardly anyone on this road.  The church is empty when it is invited to pray the rosary.  The church is empty when it is invited to learn about spiritual theology.  The church is empty when Father is there in confession.  The church is empty when there is daily Mass, and Mass is where Heaven is touching the earth like a ray of sunshine.  Jesus is not lying, never has, never will.  Jesus is speaking the truth, always has, always will.  Question is, what do you will?  Do you have the will power?  If not, ask yourself, why not?  "Why don't I have a strong desire to be with Him eternally?  Why do I approach Him, the bread of life, without cleansing myself, giving pearls to pigs?  I love slandering perhaps, just slaughtering people with my words, but I don't want to be slaughtered myself!"  That is not the Spirit of the Lord.  He sacrificed Himself rather.  What our Lord says today is beyond comprehension, yet, like St. Thomas Aquinas said "To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible."

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