Monday, June 29, 2015

Bound In Heaven

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Minute Meditations

Infinite Love
It is absolutely essential that we never forget this critical truth: God's power is his love. He has no power but love. And his love is all-powerful. Again, God is love—infinite love.
— from Zealous

St. Peter (Peter and Paul)
(d. 64)

Peter: St. Mark ends the first half of his Gospel with a triumphant climax. He has recorded doubt, misunderstanding and the opposition of many to Jesus. Now Peter makes his great confession of faith: "You are the Messiah" (Mark 8:29b). It was one of the many glorious moments in Peter's life, beginning with the day he was called from his nets along the Sea of Galilee to become a fisher of men for Jesus.

The New Testament clearly shows Peter as the leader of the apostles, chosen by Jesus to have a special relationship with him. With James and John he was privileged to witness the Transfiguration, the raising of a dead child to life and the agony in Gethsemane. His mother-in-law was cured by Jesus. He was sent with John to prepare for the last Passover before Jesus' death. His name is first on every list of apostles.

And to Peter only did Jesus say, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the nether world shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 16:17b-19).

But the Gospels prove their own veracity by the unflattering details they include about Peter. He clearly had no public relations person. It is a great comfort for ordinary mortals to know that Peter also has his human weakness, even in the presence of Jesus.

He generously gave up all things, yet he can ask in childish self-regard, "What are we going to get for all this?" (see Matthew 19:27). He receives the full force of Christ's anger when he objects to the idea of a suffering Messiah: "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do" (Matthew 16:23b).

Peter is willing to accept Jesus' doctrine of forgiveness, but suggests a limit of seven times. He walks on the water in faith, but sinks in doubt. He refuses to let Jesus wash his feet, then wants his whole body cleansed. He swears at the Last Supper that he will never deny Jesus, and then swears to a servant maid that he has never known the man. He loyally resists the first attempt to arrest Jesus by cutting off Malchus's ear, but in the end he runs away with the others. In the depth of his sorrow, Jesus looks on him and forgives him, and he goes out and sheds bitter tears.

Paul: If Billy Graham suddenly began preaching that the United States should adopt Marxism and not rely on the Constitution, the angry reaction would help us understand Paul's life when he started preaching that Christ alone can save us. He had been the most Pharisaic of Pharisees, the most legalistic of Mosaic lawyers. Now he suddenly appears to other Jews as a heretical welcomer of Gentiles, a traitor and apostate.

Paul's central conviction was simple and absolute: Only God can save humanity. No human effort—even the most scrupulous observance of law—can create a human good which we can bring to God as reparation for sin and payment for grace. To be saved from itself, from sin, from the devil and from death, humanity must open itself completely to the saving power of Jesus.

Paul never lost his love for his Jewish family, though he carried on a lifelong debate with them about the uselessness of the Law without Christ. He reminded the Gentiles that they were grafted on the parent stock of the Jews, who were still God's chosen people, the children of the promise.

In light of his preaching and teaching skills, Paul's name has surfaced (among others) as a possible patron of the Internet.




We would probably go to confession to Peter sooner than to any of the other apostles. He is perhaps a more striking example of the simple fact of holiness. Jesus says to us as he said, in effect, to Peter: "It is not you who have chosen me, but I who have chosen you. Peter, it is not human wisdom that makes it possible for you to believe, but my Father's revelation. I, not you, build my Church." Paul's experience of the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus was the driving force that made him one of the most zealous, dynamic and courageous ambassadors of Christ the Church has ever had. But persecution, humiliation and weakness became his day-by-day carrying of the cross, material for further transformation. The dying Christ was in him; the living Christ was his life.

Patron Saint of:



Daily Prayer - 2015-06-29


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....


Lord you gave me life and the gift of freedom.
Through Your love I exist in this world.
May I never take the gift of life for granted.
May I always respect the right to life of others.


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


Reading 1 Acts 12:1-11

In those days, King Herod laid hands upon some members of the Church to harm them.
He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword,
and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews
he proceeded to arrest Peter also.
--It was the feast of Unleavened Bread.--
He had him taken into custody and put in prison
under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each.
He intended to bring him before the people after Passover.
Peter thus was being kept in prison,
but prayer by the Church was fervently being made
to God on his behalf.

On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial,
Peter, secured by double chains,
was sleeping between two soldiers,
while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison.
Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him
and a light shone in the cell.
He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying,
"Get up quickly."
The chains fell from his wrists.
The angel said to him, "Put on your belt and your sandals."
He did so.
Then he said to him, "Put on your cloak and follow me."
So he followed him out,
not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real;
he thought he was seeing a vision.
They passed the first guard, then the second,
and came to the iron gate leading out to the city,
which opened for them by itself.
They emerged and made their way down an alley,
and suddenly the angel left him.
Then Peter recovered his senses and said,
"Now I know for certain
that the Lord sent his angel
and rescued me from the hand of Herod
and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting."

Responsorial Psalm PS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (5) The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.

Reading 2 2 Tm 4:6-8, 17-18

I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation,
and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have competed well; I have finished the race;
I have kept the faith.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me,
which the Lord, the just judge,
will award to me on that day, and not only to me,
but to all who have longed for his appearance.

The Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation might be completed
and all the Gentiles might hear it.
And I was rescued from the lion's mouth.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat
and will bring me safe to his heavenly Kingdom.
To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Alleluia Mt 16:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 16:13-19

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
he asked his disciples,
"Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Simon Peter said in reply,
"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."


Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • Our faith requires that we give a personal answer to the question as to who Jesus (the Son of Man) is. It is not enough to quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church or the views of one or other theologian. "But who do you say that I am?" Try to answer not only from the head but from the heart. You might helpfully rephrase the question as: "Who is Jesus for me?" An answer can only be given in prayer.
  • Notice how Jesus stresses that Peter's (and my) faith is a gift from the Father. What is the rock on which Jesus will build his church: the person of Peter or his faith?


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.


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: Psalm 34:2-9

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Saints and Peter and Paul, Apostles

Glorify the Lord with me, let us together extol his name. (Psalm 34:4)

We may wonder why the Church celebrates these two great apostles in a single feast.

Both Peter and Paul were present at the Council of Jerusalem described in Acts 15, where Peter recounted how God had unmistakably opened the door for him to minister to Gentiles. His testimony helped the other apostles embrace a bigger and much broader vision for the Church than they had anticipated. It also cleared the way for all the missionary journeying that Paul would do. Even when the two of them were at odds, as happened in Antioch, they remained committed to the gospel message that had united them in the first place (Galatians 2:11-14).

Tradition holds that both apostles were condemned to death on the same day, even if they didn't die in the same way. Because Paul was a Roman citizen, he was probably beheaded. Peter, however, was crucified upside down.

Despite their different personalities and roles, these two great apostles have been invoked together from the earliest days. Scrawled on the walls of the catacombs are many petitions like these: "Peter and Paul, remember Antonius." "Paul and Peter, pray for Priscilla." (Sometimes one name came first, sometimes the other.) In the Eastern tradition, icons dating to the earliest days portray the two men embracing each other, signifying the Church's love for unity in the midst of diversity.

You may find that you relate to one better than the other according to your personality or where you are on your journey of faith, but don't forget that Peter and Paul were more effective because they both were willing to encourage and correct each other. The Church today is far stronger because they learned how to work in harmony.

Each of us also serves God better when we are accountable to at least one other person, sharing our struggles and joining together in praise and petition. Think about who fills that role in your life right now. It might be a spouse or a chaplain, a friend or a co-worker. How blessed to be able to glorify the Lord together!

"St. Peter and St. Paul, help me open my heart to a true companion in Christ."


Acts 12:1-11
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18
Matthew 16:13-19




An exerpt from a long text today, actually are excerpts today, from the Bible:
  "Remember that: God heals those who are broken hearted and heals their wounds (Psalm 147,3). For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.e , (2Tim 1:7).   And He says: Because you are precious in my eyes and honored, and I love you,...a...Fear not, for I am with you; (Is43:4-5).  With age-old (eternal) love I have loved you; so I have kept my mercy toward you.b (Jer31:3).  "Do not be afraid; just have faith." (Mk5:36). 
And this is why you can say with confidence:   On this account I am suffering these things; but I am not ashamed,j (2Tim1:12).  Trust in Jesus and do not be afraid, because He loves you and says to you in any circumstance of life:  I am with you to deliver you (Jer1:19).  I shall never leave you or abandon you.  So in this way we can say:   "I will never forsake you or abandon you."d  e (Heb.13:5-6).  Never rebel against God for being so.  Who are you to render counts to God?  But who indeed are you, a human being, to talk back to God?r Will what is made say to its maker, "Why have you created me so?"  (Rom.9:20).  Say instead:  Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ;e for when I am weak, then I am strong.* (2Cor.12:10).  I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.k (Phil.4:13).
Observe how others have been able to conquer the false self-image.  If others have been able to, you can also do it with the grace of God, though it does not exclude the help of others..."
  Pretty powerful words.  Words from prophets, many of the words were from today's saint, St. Paul.  Not to forget our first pope, St. Peter who met with St. Paul, and lived and prayed together and would understand precisely St. Paul's words when he said Timothy 2:6-8 "For I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7* I have competed well; I have finished the race;f I have kept the faith. 8* From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day,g"
Pretty powerful words.  Are they just words?  Who do you say the Word is?
Have you ever showed up in the faith, just to "see what happens" and to "give it another try"?   You may need to ask yourself, "what am I doing here?".  And this for the solid purpose to wake up.  I've noticed, for instance, some healing miracles.  The people they happen to, well, truth is, they have faith.  In other words, before the miracle has happened, they already knew it could happen, they just had to do their part.  And I have to pick and choose my words here because we could be mixing up a prosperity message, and this is not what it is about.  It is about dying for your faith.  Our greatest treasure in the Catholic faith...the blood of our fathers of the faith.  And it started with the blood of Jesus.  And we drink the blood of Jesus, and become that martyr Father.  Dying for one another, and for what?  LOVE.  God is love.  Today marks a powerful feast, a solemnity, a seriousness that binds, because our Lord told St. Peter to watch what he binds for an eternity.  He gave St. Peter our first pope the keys to the Kingdom.  I want you to realize the seriousness of the message.  Because it is an invitation.  An invitation to live as a slave?  Nahh.  It's an invitation to die for some body and that body is Christ.  "Entregate" is such a beautiful word in spanish.  It means "give yourself" and at the same times means "surrender yourself" and it at  the same time it means to "devote yourself".  "Entregate a Dios" then means to give/surrender/devote yourself to God.  Why?  Question is, why not? 
Why not give to God?
Why not surrender to God?
Why not devote yourself to God?
What will you lose?  For most, you'll have to lose YOUR way of life.  YOUR manner of thinking.  YOUR manner of loving.
And I hope we do.  Because our manner of thinking is twisted.  Our manner of living is not living.  Our manner of loving is not His Loving manner.  Don't think about it.  Don't just "see what happens".  That's like showing up to go swimming with your pants on saying "we'll see if I want to swim", with no shorts.  Is that a real faith?  The real faith says as you show up with your shorts on "Here I am (Lord), I'm ready to dive in!!!"


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