Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tell Me Where

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Minute Meditations

Fearing God
The soul that fears offending God and has the sincere desire not to do so, but to love him, does not offend him in fact, but loves him. And as this desire is always constant, your every fear is useless and imaginary.
— from The Joyful Spirit of Padre Pio

St. Mary Magdalene

Except for the mother of Jesus, few women are more honored in the Bible than Mary Magdalene. Yet she could well be the patron of the slandered, since there has been a persistent legend in the Church that she is the unnamed sinful woman who anointed the feet of Jesus in Luke 7:36-50.

Most Scripture scholars today point out that there is no scriptural basis for confusing the two women. Mary Magdalene, that is, "of Magdala," was the one from whom Christ cast out "seven demons" (Luke 8:2)—an indication, at the worst, of extreme demonic possession or, possibly, severe illness.

Father Wilfrid J. Harrington, O.P., writing in the New Catholic Commentary, says that "seven demons" "does not mean that Mary had lived an immoral life—a conclusion reached only by means of a mistaken identification with the anonymous woman of Luke 7:36." Father Edward Mally, S.J., writing in the Jerome Biblical Commentary, agrees that she "is not...the same as the sinner of Luke 7:37, despite the later Western romantic tradition about her."

Mary Magdalene was one of the many "who were assisting them [Jesus and the Twelve] out of their means." She was one of those who stood by the cross of Jesus with his mother. And, of all the "official" witnesses that might have been chosen for the first awareness of the Resurrection, she was the one to whom that privilege was given. She is known as the "Apostle to the Apostles."



Today's Gospel (John 20:1--2, 11--18) shows Mary at first not recognizing the risen Jesus in the garden, then knowing him as he spoke her name. Her great love bursts forth, echoing the First Reading, "I took hold of him and would not let him go" (Song 3:4b). Jesus says, "Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father" (John 20:17a). The meaning probably is that there is an entirely new relationship now—a much deeper one, resting in faith rather than the former relationship that was possible because of his visible body. Saint John may also be stressing the fact that Jesus' exaltation at the right hand of the Father is the completion of the Resurrection.


Mary Magdalene has been a victim of mistaken identity for almost 20 centuries. Yet she would no doubt insist that it makes no difference. We are all sinners in need of the saving power of God, whether our sins have been lurid or not. More importantly, we are all, with her, "unofficial" witnesses of the Resurrection.

Patron Saint of:



Daily Prayer - 2015-07-22


"Come to me all you who are burdened
and I will give you rest"
Here I am, Lord.
I come to seek Your presence.
I long for your healing power.


"In these days, God taught me
as a schoolteacher teaches a pupil" (Saint Ignatius).
I remind myself that there are things God has to teach me yet,
and ask for the grace to hear them and let them change me.


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


Memorial of Saint Mary Magdalene

Reading 1 Ex 16:1-5, 9-15

The children of Israel set out from Elim,
and came into the desert of Sin,
which is between Elim and Sinai,
on the fifteenth day of the second month
after their departure from the land of Egypt.
Here in the desert the whole assembly of the children of Israel
grumbled against Moses and Aaron.
The children of Israel said to them,
"Would that we had died at the LORD's hand in the land of Egypt,
as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread!
But you had to lead us into this desert
to make the whole community die of famine!"

Then the LORD said to Moses,
"I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.
Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion;
thus will I test them,
to see whether they follow my instructions or not.
On the sixth day, however, when they prepare what they bring in,
let it be twice as much as they gather on the other days."

Then Moses said to Aaron, "Tell the whole congregation
of the children of Israel:
Present yourselves before the LORD,
for he has heard your grumbling."
When Aaron announced this to the whole assembly of the children of Israel,
they turned toward the desert, and lo,
the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud!
The LORD spoke to Moses and said,
"I have heard the grumbling of the children of Israel.
Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh,
and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread,
so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God."

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp.
In the morning a dew lay all about the camp,
and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert
were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground.
On seeing it, the children of Israel asked one another, "What is this?"
for they did not know what it was.
But Moses told them,
"This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat."

Responsorial Psalm PS 78:18-19, 23-24, 25-26, 27-28

R. (24b) The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
They tempted God in their hearts
by demanding the food they craved.
Yes, they spoke against God, saying,
"Can God spread a table in the desert?"
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
Yet he commanded the skies above
and the doors of heaven he opened;
He rained manna upon them for food
and gave them heavenly bread.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
Man ate the bread of angels,
food he sent them in abundance.
He stirred up the east wind in the heavens,
and by his power brought on the south wind.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
And he rained meat upon them like dust,
and, like the sand of the sea, winged fowl,
Which fell in the midst of their camp
round about their tents.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Tell us Mary, what did you see on the way?
I saw the glory of the risen Christ, I saw his empty tomb.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 20:1-2, 11-18

On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
"They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don't know where they put him."

Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?"
She said to them, "They have taken my Lord,
and I don't know where they laid him."
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?"
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
"Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him."
Jesus said to her, "Mary!"
She turned and said to him in Hebrew,
"Rabbouni," which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her,
"Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
'I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.'"
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
"I have seen the Lord,"
and then reported what he told her.


Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • Mary Magdalene's sadness was turned into joy when she recognised Jesus and she immediately went to tell the disciples that she has seen him.
  • Through the resurrection of Jesus we celebrate the joy of his victory over sin and death. It is the basic tenet of the Christian faith. How does the grace of the Resurrection affect me? I pray that I may welcome with joy the message of the risen Jesus, believing in the power of his presence in my life.


Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the Word of God?
Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry?
Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me,
I speak out my feelings, as one trusted 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: John 20:1-2, 11-18

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Saint Mary Magdalene (Memorial)

Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark. (John 20:1)

Few women in Scripture have been the subject of as much speculation and scrutiny as Mary Magdalene, whose feast we celebrate today. Yet despite all this attention, popular culture still confuses her with the penitent "sinful woman" in Luke 7:36-50. But rather than being remembered for repentance, contrition, and sinfulness, Mary should stand out in our minds as a model of faithfulness.

Mary had good reason to be faithful to Jesus. He had driven seven demons out of her (Luke 8:1-2). This was most likely the beginning of her journey with him, and it set her on a path of discipleship, a path that led her to become one of the foremost women who followed him. As one of a group of women who supported Jesus financially, Mary was no mere camp follower. She believed enough in him that she was willing to back it up with her money and to leave behind a comfortable life in order to walk with the Master.

Imagine the miracles Mary must have witnessed and the excitement she must have felt on this journey! But it wasn't all signs and wonders. It was a difficult path as well, a path that led her to the foot of the cross, where she watched Jesus die an agonizing death. Mourning and confused, Mary must have felt like a ship adrift. "What now?" she must have asked.

Here is where we see Mary's faithfulness and love most clearly. Rejecting the urge to flee and to distance herself from Jesus' disciples, she was one of just a few people to stay with him as he was buried. She was one of the three women who risked arrest just to anoint his body. And in the end, her loyalty was rewarded: she was the first person in history to see the risen Lord!

What an honor! Rightly does Mary deserve the title "Apostle to the Apostles." One of the greatest women in the Bible, her story is an example of the closeness with God that rewards a grateful, faithful heart that pursues him ardently.

"Lord, thank you for the example of Mary Magdalene and her life. Help me to emulate her love and devotion."


Exodus 16:1-5, 9-15
Psalm 78:18-19, 23-28

Reading the 5 minutos, it used the same reflection as before, and I have not translated it, shared it with you before, so see for yourself as I attempt to translate:
"An Interview with Mary Magdalene"
What mediums did Jesus use to convert you?
-I don't know.  I have felt like a ray of light that reached the depths of me...this hole, that point that horrified me and sickened me.
"And were you ashamed of your previous conduct?"
-More than anything, a desire to live, to love, to start over again everything from the beginning.  Like a new birth.  The newness, more than the remorse, annuls the weight of the past.
"What has the Master been to you?"
-Someone who can offer everything to my soul, not just the body.  Someone that revealed the unsuspected capacity of love that was buried inside.  The sin, in effect, say what you want to say, is essentialy no-love, an incapacity to love.
"Someone said that the morning of Easter, you resembled the new Eve.  That is to say, the faithful wife that returns home, the garden of origins to reconvene the interrupted conversation after centuries of misery and sordidness."
-In fact, He, the great Gardener, called me by my name.  And it was enough, the sound of His voice "Mary!", that distinct sound, to recognize Him.  The eyes had deceived me.  I confused Him for another.  But the voice does not betray.  That tone, my name pronounced in that way, has made the spark jump in recognition.  The eyes had denounced the absence.  The voice has restituted what I was afraid was "stolen".  In one word, the voice, not the eyes, allow you to see.  The feeling of being called by name, and not be afraid, is introduced in the most sweeping experience.  It formulates a desire.  I would like that all who have trusted ministries be convinced that the pearls of most value are not the ones that are produced artificially in spritual laboratories, but those that discover, that they are invented on the way, perhaps in the mud.  But for that it requires eyes and heart in love capable to suspect the Presence....."

  In today's first Holy Gospel, our Lord takes the people into the desert.  They cry out in hunger.  They whine and what happens?  The Lord hears the cry of the faithful.  Be faithful, and then cry out.  How soon they forget what Abraham taught them when he called the mountain he was going to sacrifice his only son and was spared, and the mount was called "the Lord provides".   We pray all the time as Catholics "Give us this day our daily bread" and HE DOES.  Across the altars of the world, He provides the son Abraham was spared....God's only Son provides.  The bread brought on the meat.  So as you take the Holy Eucharist, think about how the bread brings the meat of the Holy Spirit, the birds symbolized by the quail that followed the bread, the same is of our Spirit filled with Him and puts meats on our skeleton of the soul.  The test of God to those He loves is...that of faithfulness.

The Psalms pray on:  "The Lord gave them bread from Heaven".  This speaks volumes.  He gives.  What happens when He gives?  People receive, some don't.  He appears, some see, some don't.  It happens before God comes as Jesus, and it happens after Jesus dies and comes back again.  And the first to see Him alive again?  Mary Magdalene, the symbol of the Holy Bride, with the groom, the Holy Church, the people of God, in purity and holiness.  A soul once possessed, saved by Him, and now chasing after Jesus even though she knows He's dead but knows He's alive.  There is a great chasm between us and the dead, but through Him we have our true joy and true hope. 

The Holy Gospel brings Jesus, God gives Jesus, Jesus Gives the Holy Spirit.  Only today He says to you " why are you weeping?" as if to say "why are you sad my child?"  "what's wrong? Just tell me".  These words carress the soul don't they?  After being possessed it is a tiring life, and He aims to save you from destruction.  "Just come to me".  Mary Magdalene did, she came to Jesus, and although she didn't realize, He was with her the whole time.  Another secret:  What if at the end of life, our Lord appears, and it turns out He was in this person you never even realized?  He was working through them to get you to Him!  It is very much possible.  He tells her only what is important "Go!".  He does that alot.  When we encounter Him, He sends us forth.  I remember one time I was praying for a brother that wanted to quit the deaconate program.  I was praying kneeling in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and I heard the Lord tell me "Go and tell Him to come see me here".  I told I think his wife, the message that the Lord wanted to talk to him.  Two weeks ago He was accepted as a deacon candidate (the next step to the first of being an aspirant).  It's just a simple example of how an encounter with the Lord sends you forth.  It is the point of it all.  Today is special to me, because I just learned or finally cared about the date of my baptism, and it is today.  So the message is a reminder of our baptism upon which we aren't just called to be saved, but to help save souls.  We're on a journey to help one another, not beat one another down with feelings.  Giving is better than receiving.  God gave His all, His love, His Son as food for the life of the world.  Just because you live among death doesn't mean there isn't life.  There is, and it is flourishing.  Come see where Jesus'll be amazed when you turn around

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