Friday, July 24, 2015

Hear the parable

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Minute Meditations

Facing Obstacles
Father, help me to be content and not complain when I am hurting or face obstacles. Send your Holy Spirit to touch my heart. Help me understand that there is no hurt, or problem, or tragedy that we cannot survive together. I ask this in Jesus's name, Amen.
— from Stories of Jesus

St. Sharbel Makhluf

Although this saint never traveled far from the Lebanese village of Beka-Kafra, where he was born, his influence has spread widely.

Joseph Zaroun Makluf was raised by an uncle because his father, a mule driver, died when Joseph was only three. At the age of 23, Joseph joined the Monastery of St. Maron at Annaya, Lebanon, and took the name Sharbel in honor of a second-century martyr. He professed his final vows in 1853 and was ordained six years later.

Following the example of the fifth-century St. Maron, Sharbel lived as a hermit from 1875 until his death. His reputation for holiness prompted people to seek him to receive a blessing and to be remembered in his prayers. He followed a strict fast and was very devoted to the Blessed Sacrament. When his superiors occasionally asked him to administer the sacraments to nearby villages, Sharbel did so gladly.

He died in the late afternoon on Christmas Eve. Christians and non-Christians soon made his tomb a place of pilgrimage and of cures. Pope Paul VI beatified him in 1965 and canonized him 12 years later.


Saint John Paul II often said that the Church has two lungs (East and West) and it must learn to breathe using both of them. Remembering saints like Sharbel helps the Church to appreciate both the diversity and unity present in the Catholic Church. Like all the saints, Sharbel points us to God and invites us to cooperate generously with God's grace, no matter what our situation in life may be. As our prayer life becomes deeper and more honest, we become more ready to make that generous response.


When Sharbel was canonized in 1977, Bishop Francis Zayek, head the U.S. Diocese of St. Maron, wrote a pamphlet entitled "A New Star of the East." Bishop Zayek wrote: "St. Sharbel is called the second St. Anthony of the Desert, the Perfume of Lebanon, the first Confessor of the East to be raised to the Altars according to the actual procedure of the Catholic Church, the honor of our Aramaic Antiochian Church, and the model of spiritual values and renewal. Sharbel is like a Cedar of Lebanon standing in eternal prayer, on top of a mountain."

The bishop noted that Sharbel's canonization plus other beatification cases prove "that the Aramaic Maronite Antiochian Church is indeed a living branch of the Catholic Church and is intimately connected with the trunk, who is Christ, our Savior, the beginning and the end of all things."

Daily Prayer - 2015-07-23


"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.


Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
Mostly I take this gift for granted.
Inspire me to live in the freedom you intended,
with a heart untroubled and with complete trust in You.


In God's loving presence I unwind the past day,
starting from now and looking back, moment by moment.
I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude.
I attend to the shadows and what they say to me,
seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.

The Word of God


Reading 1 Ex 20:1-17

In those days:
God delivered all these commandments:

"I, the LORD, am your God,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.
You shall not have other gods besides me.
You shall not carve idols for yourselves
in the shape of anything in the sky above
or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth;
you shall not bow down before them or worship them.
For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God,
inflicting punishment for their fathers' wickedness
on the children of those who hate me,
down to the third and fourth generation;
but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation
on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.

"You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain.
For the LORD will not leave unpunished
him who takes his name in vain.

"Remember to keep holy the sabbath day.
Six days you may labor and do all your work,
but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God.
No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter,
or your male or female slave, or your beast,
or by the alien who lives with you.
In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth,
the sea and all that is in them;
but on the seventh day he rested.
That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

"Honor your father and your mother,
that you may have a long life in the land
which the LORD, your God, is giving you.

"You shall not kill.

"You shall not commit adultery.

"You shall not steal.

"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house.
You shall not covet your neighbor's wife,
nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass,
nor anything else that belongs to him."

Responsorial Psalm PS 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. (John 6:68c) Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

Alleluia See LK 8:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 13:18-23

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Hear the parable of the sower.
The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the Kingdom
without understanding it,
and the Evil One comes and steals away
what was sown in his heart.
The seed sown on rocky ground
is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.
But he has no root and lasts only for a time.
When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
he immediately falls away.
The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word,
but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word
and it bears no fruit.
But the seed sown on rich soil
is the one who hears the word and understands it,
who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold."


Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • Jesus spoke in parables so that the meaning of his teaching could take root in the lives of those he taught as the message seemed to have escaped from some of them. He hoped that his hearers would receive the message of the kingdom of God anew in their hearts by reflecting on the images he presented.
  • Are there times when I need to take a step back from the busyness of my life in order to attune myself to the message of Jesus? I ask him now to fill me with a greater awareness of his presence so that I can accept the gifts of love, joy and peace which he offers me.

What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word?
I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to him.


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 13:18-23

View NAB Reading at | Wrong date? Set your time zone.

Saint Sharbel Makhlūf, Priest (Optional Memorial)

Hear the parable of the sower. (Matthew 13:18)


Seeds are miraculous, aren't they? Take corn: the seed itself is very small, but locked inside is everything necessary to proliferate itself hundreds of times over. When the seed germinates, it doesn't look like much, but at full maturity, the corn plant will be around eight feet tall and have roots that can go six feet down into the ground! All of that potential is tucked inside a very modest package. One ear of corn contains on average of eight hundred kernels, each of which can grow its own plant and continue the process!

Today, Jesus tells us that his word is like a seed sown into our hearts. His word may be "compact," but it has locked within itself everything necessary to grow, blossom, and bear immense fruit in our lives.

Now, in agriculture, the quality of the ground where the seed falls is important. So a farmer tills his field and removes the weeds. This gives the seed an advantage and helps the farmer not to have to hover over his crop, constantly trying to improve it until sprouts appear. He does what he needs to do and leaves the rest to God.

It's a similar story for us. The seed of God's word needs the right environment if it's going to bear fruit in our hearts. But let's not forget that we already have God's life in us through Baptism. Not to mention, there are regular, everyday things we can do (like prayer) that can keep our "soil" healthy. But in the end, while our efforts can have a positive impact, there is so much power packed into God's word that even if our garden still has some weeds, God's life-transforming force can still work wonders.

So rejoice! When you hear God's word today, picture a seed being planted in your heart. It's so full of life that it can't help but burst forth with all the grace and blessing that God has packed into it. Open yourself to the power of this word, and believe that just one seed can transform your life!

"Heavenly Father, open my eyes to the life-giving potential you have packed into your word. Let it transform me today."



Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 19:8-11

Many times as you read or listen to God's message, what's being said is revealing things in a whole new way, and this to me, signifies the Holy Spirit in action.  Be always aware and open, it's not daydreaming when you're lost in contemplation in His marvelous words.  Let yourself be hypnotized.  Let yourself be moved by His actions.  Let yourself be what you really are...His and Holy.  And so God speaks from the mountain, the heights we have to strive for and climb ourselves.  He gives COMMANDments.  Some 10 commands.  3 with which to Honor God and 7 each other for Him and directs us to Him.  The first "I AM the LORD your God! You shall not have other gods before me!"  Jesus would come in and add to this "You shall love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, with your mind and strength, your SOUL!".  Enough said.  With this you don't need 9 more commands, but apprently we do, and if we added an 11th command it would be the focus of temptation to break, just because of the nature of sin in the world.  Never use the Lord's name in vain, yet we do.  People use it to cuss and curse, as if no big deal.  One time my anti-catholic family said the name of our Lord "Jesus Christ" as if to say "Oh My Gosh" and it felt like someone said some of the worse profanity I've heard, in the tone, the manner, and situation.  It's not funny, and it does not go unnoticed.  Because when we call upon that name, that 911 of the soul, the most Holy of Holies, and He shows up...for NOTHING, as if to laugh in His face...I don't know, but we should honor and respect.  What else is vain?  Blabbering words without meaning and calling it prayer.  As if using His name in vain.  Should we stop praying?  No, just realize what you are doing in prayer, take it's more good for you than He needs in His Kingdom.  Thirdly, Keep holy The Sabbath.  Honor God.  Honor Him by making Him Holy in your life.  He already is Holy but do you make HIM Holy in your life?  Some come pay homage on Sunday, come out of commitment, but how would you like your kid to come see you out of obligation and not out of love?  "I'm here only because I have to" almost as if in hatred.  That's not cool!  The Lord loves a cheerful giver.  The Lord loves those that give love because He is Love.  We had a rough upbringing, made alot of mistakes as teenagers and young adults, but we grow and mature in love and this is the power of the seed of His word, His creation.  And I'm not talking about just our lives but the life of the human spirit in the last several thousands of years.
The Psalms come from the Gospel of John: "Lord, you have words of everlasting life".  These words came when many of the disciples of Jesus turned their backs on Him.  Why?  Because He said " "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. "  And they returned to their normal way of life.  The word caused them to wilt instead of flourish...forever.  Why?  They said because the words were "too hard".  As if His commands are "too hard", as if to say, "I don't accept".  I have a sister in law that went to the first class of RCIA I was to teach.  She was flipping out at some of the things I was saying, she was shaking even, like a little bird, and she never came back, although she is at a little denomination church down the street trying to be faithful there which is an answer to my prayers of long for them to "go to church", but i should've said "our Catholic (universal) church!" DOH LOL!  I digress, some words are too much for some, they "can't afford" it, they "don't got time" for it.  I've figured out when people say "they don't got time" for things especially for God, it means "I dont have a will".   In the Gospel where they turned their backs on Jesus He said "It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh* is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. "  WOW!  So listen up, gulp it up, digest Him especially in the flesh we eat in Holy Mass!  Then He said ""For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father."  So often times I find myself inviting souls to the Holy Church "Father, will accept (so and so) to our Church? Invite them?".  And so the Gospel is shared.  I read a quote today from St. Arnold Janssen that said "Announcing the Gospel is the first and greatest act of charity".  And the Gospel is the Good News, the Word of God!
In comes the Holy Gospel for today, the sower and the seeds.  The sower in life is Jesus.  THroughout life, the seeds are spread among us "The Word Among Us".  The reflection before my 2 cents is from "The Word Among Us website  It speaks of the Gospel, the word of God daily.  It is a daily devotion.  I applaud you for reading this feeble minded faith sharing bit, my2cents, for putting up with me, but allow the Holy Spirit to speak volumes to your soul because generations are dependant upon what happens from here on out, mercy or disgrace.  Whatever you accept shall be.  Realize the power of the seed, the Word.  What it can make in your "little life" is something so beautiful, that you'll only be able to see hundreds or thousand of years later, like a sequoia tree but the Spirit we can not see now we can see later and the fruits there of.  The Lord can inflict punishment for 3 or 4 generations but bestow mercy for 1,000 generations.  Imagine, Jesus, bringing mercy for 1,000 generations!  And you are living in it!  WOW!  So believe Him.  Taste and see!  His flesh puts meat on your skeleton of the soul.  Be made strong in Him through Him and with Him.  Don't let the Word (Jesus) come in and then He fades away, that's crazy!  "Oh I used to do this and that for the Church" pshhh, USED TO?  What happened?  Where are you now?  Why are you not bearing fruit for the Lord?  With children, and spiritual children?  THese kids need you (some of them are adults).  God is calling.  Let Him grow inside of you, let that peace and love and blood of Christ flow in you, the blood of martyrs (witness)  the blood of salvation, the blood of everlasting life!  Drink it in Holy Mass and become light unto the darkness.  Do not be afraid.  Do not say "it is too much".  Do take Him for His WORD

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