Monday, July 20, 2015

Except The Sign

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Minute Meditations

Boundless Love
The more I ponder what love is—the heights and depths, the boundlessness of real love—the more I see its glory and its cost. That glory is you, Lord, who are Love. Real love, the kind you lived and still model both in yourself and your saints like Pio, is the pearl of great price that can only be had by selling everything.
— from The Joyful Spirit of Padre Pio

St. Apollinaris
(1st century)
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According to tradition, St. Peter sent Apollinaris to Ravenna, Italy, as its first bishop. His preaching of the Good News was so successful that the pagans there beat him and drove him from the city. He returned, however, and was exiled a second time. After preaching in the area surrounding Ravenna, he entered the city again. After being cruelly tortured, he was put on a ship heading to Greece. Pagans there caused him to be expelled to Italy, where he went to Ravenna for a fourth time. He died from wounds received during a savage beating at Classis, a suburb of Ravenna. A beautiful basilica honoring him was built there in the sixth century.


Following Jesus involves risks—sometimes the supreme risk of life itself. Martyrs are people who would rather accept the risk of death than deny the cornerstone of their whole life: faith in Jesus Christ. Everyone will die eventually—the persecutors and those persecuted. The question is what kind of a conscience people will bring before the Lord for judgment. Remembering the witness of past and present martyrs can help us make the often-small sacrifices that following Jesus today may require.


During his remarks prior to the Regina Caeli on May 7, 2000, Saint John Paul II noted that later that day at Rome's Colosseum he would participate in an ecumenical service honoring 20th-century martyrs. He said, "It is the same paschal light that shines in them. Indeed, it is from Christ's resurrection that the disciples receive the strength to follow the Master in their hour of trial." What the pope said of those martyrs is true of all martyrs for Christ, including today's saint.

Daily Prayer - 2015-07-20


Dear Jesus, as I call on you today
I realise that I often come asking for favours.
Today I'd like just to be in your presence.
Let my heart respond to Your Love.


Saint Ignatius thought that a thick and shapeless tree-trunk would never believe that it could become a statue, admired as a miracle of sculpture, and would never submit itself to the chisel of the sculptor, who sees by her genius what she can make of it.
I ask for the grace to let myself be shaped by my loving Creator.


Knowing that God loves me unconditionally,
I can afford to be honest about how I am.
How has the last day been, and how do I feel now?
I share my feelings openly with the Lord.

The Word of God

Reading 1 Ex 14:5-18

When it was reported to the king of Egypt
that the people had fled,
Pharaoh and his servants changed their minds about them.
They exclaimed, "What have we done!
Why, we have released Israel from our service!"
So Pharaoh made his chariots ready and mustered his soldiers
six hundred first-class chariots
and all the other chariots of Egypt, with warriors on them all.
So obstinate had the LORD made Pharaoh
that he pursued the children of Israel
even while they were marching away in triumph.
The Egyptians, then, pursued them;
Pharaoh's whole army, his horses, chariots and charioteers,
caught up with them as they lay encamped by the sea,
at Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.

Pharaoh was already near when the children of Israel looked up
and saw that the Egyptians were on the march in pursuit of them.
In great fright they cried out to the LORD.
And they complained to Moses,
"Were there no burial places in Egypt
that you had to bring us out here to die in the desert?
Why did you do this to us?
Why did you bring us out of Egypt?
Did we not tell you this in Egypt, when we said,
'Leave us alone. Let us serve the Egyptians'?
Far better for us to be the slaves of the Egyptians
than to die in the desert."
But Moses answered the people,
"Fear not! Stand your ground,
and you will see the victory the LORD will win for you today.
These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again.
The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still."

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me?
Tell the children of Israel to go forward.
And you, lift up your staff and, with hand outstretched over the sea,
split the sea in two,
that the children of Israel may pass through it on dry land.
But I will make the Egyptians so obstinate
that they will go in after them.
Then I will receive glory through Pharaoh and all his army,
his chariots and charioteers.
The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD,
when I receive glory through Pharaoh
and his chariots and charioteers."

Responsorial Psalm Exodus 15:1bc-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (1b) Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
I will sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant;
horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
He is my God, I praise him;
the God of my father, I extol him.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
The LORD is a warrior,
LORD is his name!
Pharaoh's chariots and army he hurled into the sea;
the elite of his officers were submerged in the Red Sea.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
The flood waters covered them,
they sank into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O LORD, magnificent in power,
your right hand, O LORD, has shattered the enemy.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.

Alleluia Ps 95:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 12:38-42

Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus,
"Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you."
He said to them in reply,
"An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign,
but no sign will be given it
except the sign of Jonah the prophet.
Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights,
so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth
three days and three nights.
At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah;
and there is something greater than Jonah here.
At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon;
and there is something greater than Solomon here."

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • The Pharisees were skeptical about the teachings of Jesus and sought a sign from him that would show he was from God. They wanted proof that he was possessed with supernatural powers.
  • Jesus is God with us. He invites me to place my faith and hope in him. What are the signs that reveal his presence to me?


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.


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: Exodus 14:5-18


Saint Apollinaris, Bishop and Martyr (Optional Memorial)

Stand your ground, and you will see the victory the Lord will win for you today. (Exodus 14:13)

Don't the Israelites seem awfully fickle in this passage? Here they are, overflowing with the riches they had just extracted from the Egyptians, freed from slavery, having witnessed ten awe-inspiring plagues, and their immediate response to danger is this: "Were there no burial places in Egypt that you had to bring us out here to die in the desert?" (Exodus 14:11). It seems almost comical!

Well, we might not fare much better if we were held up to the same scrutiny. When a sudden crisis rears its head, our first instinct is to worry and take action, not to sit still in peace and trust.

Fortunately, God is working in us in the same way he was working with the Israelites, proving to us that his love is strong, steady, and unchanging. He is showing us how constant he is and helping build our confidence in him.

As the Israelites demonstrate, it takes time to accept these truths fully. It's a good thing that God is patient! Carefully, painstakingly, he will continue to work with us so that our trust and confidence in him grow.

As we become more confident in God, we'll also find ourselves being set free from fear. After all, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31). We'll find the strength to give ourselves to other people in love. And we'll become more trustworthy. All because we are rooted in our eternal, immortal, ever-loving, and ever-giving, Father! We know we belong to him, and we are convinced that no one can snatch us out of his hand (John 10:29).

How are you doing when it comes to trusting God? Do you struggle with the fear that he may let you down? Take a moment to picture yourself on the shores of the Red Sea. Imagine that the Egyptian army represents whatever threats you are facing. Now reread today's passage—especially God's word to Moses in Exodus 14:15-18. Let God show you that you don't have to cry out to him. All you have to do is "go forward" in trust and confidence that your Father is by your side.

"Lord, I put my trust in you today. Help me to rely on you in every situation."


(Psalm) Exodus 15:1-6
Matthew 12:38-42



Today's 5 minutos ended with;
  "Forgive, Lord, my arrogance before you, an arrogance turned to claims and never saciated with Your gifts.  I show myself ridiculous in my foolish claim to challenge You to grant me always new proofs of Your loving presence, when in reality I am absolutely not available to any.  Forgive the "delusions of omnipotence" that entrap me and take me to attempt to look You up and down.  But You are not scared nor do You get tired of me, Oh Lord.  Even more, You make yourself small.  This way you give me the example and show me that running the way of love, of humility, of confidence, we arrive to be persons that are truly human, we are known as children of the Father and are capable to see the sign of Your presence in the world.  And because so, Oh Lord, I will never finish blessing you." 

Isn't it the way we are with the Lord?  Like the Egyptians that see signs after signs and still find it hard to trust and believe in the Lord our God?  And STILL the Lord provides!  What happens to us that we forget?  What happens to us that we stop remembering?  What happens to us that we cease to care...better said..."give a care"?  And the word "give" means much here.  And what happens to those that see signs and still remain obstinate, hard of heart?  There is a great difference in the reply.  The Egyptians die in their chase of possessions.  The people of God pass through the water as an exodus of death to life in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.  The reply has the answer, keep that in mind, because it is your faith we are talking about.
The Psalms pray today: "I will sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant; horse and chariot he has cast into the sea. My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior. He is my God, I praise him; the God of my father, I extol him."  There are soooo many times in the Holy Bible that we read that the Lord is our strength and courage, and so the question is, "is He really?".  Because to some He is not.  Their strength is only in what they can see and touch and "feel". 
And so in the Holy Gospel, our Lord speaks ""An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet."  You want a sign you can see?  You want a sign you can "feel"?  You want a sign on your terms?  I have a relative that has been crying for years because she wants to have a baby, and is taking anti-depression pills and other types of pills.  One day I did research just on one or two of the pills and found that they cause you to be sterile essentially.  I said "you can pray all you want, but you have to do your part".  In spanish the saying goes "Uno Pone y Dios Dispone" (one puts in and God puts forth).   The sea didn't just open up.  It took prayer and action.  I told my relative "you have to stop taking those pills that will even harm the baby if it is even conceived!"  She is here months later, now trying to see a doctor about it.  It sinks slow, but the best rains we get are the slow trickles.  I'm talking about your faith still.  Let it keep trickling in your life, let Him keep trickling, let Him seep in more and more, until you finally become saturated in His loving grace.  Then you will be able to say truly "He is my strength, my Courage!" 
We need it.  Because, take for instance, this image I got while meditating.  Rome.  The Catholic Church resides now in Rome where the Colloseum is, where they tortured all the first Catholics, the Christians.  And today, The Church stands where it wasn't welcome.  Take heart, because the laws being passed are unwelcoming Christians, the first ones, the Catholics.  Take courage, because God covers Himself in Glory, a sacrifice.  This world needs to give Glory to God in a way that is sacrificial and not superficial.  The signs you seek, perhaps are superficial.  A broken heart for a loved one that died that you didn't want to die.  Superficial?  Is it earthly?  Is it worldly?  Was it yours to begin with?  Take into consideration what is at stake.  Glory.  Giving glory to glory, love to love, what is rightly His and has always been.  We belong to Him.  Show Him a sign of faith.  I get shot down every week I invite people to bible studies or church.  But these shots are the signs of Nineveh...God calling

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