Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I Was Sent

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Minute Meditations

Living the Gospel

We may pat ourselves on the back for doing nothing bad, but if we have done nothing good, we might need to reconsider how well we are living out the Gospels. There is a valid reason why the penitential rite, which we often pray at Mass, asks God to forgive all that we have done and all that we have failed to do.
— from St. Anthony Messenger

Dedication of St. Mary Major Basilica

First raised at the order of Pope Liberius in the mid-fourth century, the Liberian basilica was rebuilt by Pope Sixtus III shortly after the Council of Ephesus affirmed Mary's title as Mother of God in 431. Rededicated at that time to the Mother of God, St. Mary Major is the largest church in the world honoring God through Mary. Standing atop one of Rome's seven hills, the Esquiline, it has survived many restorations without losing its character as an early Roman basilica. Its interior retains three naves divided by colonnades in the style of Constantine's era. Fifth-century mosaics on its walls testify to its antiquity.

St. Mary Major is one of the four Roman basilicas known as patriarchal cathedrals in memory of the first centers of the Church. St. John Lateran (November 9) represents Rome, the See of Peter; St. Paul Outside the Walls, the See of Alexandria, allegedly the see presided over by Mark (April 25); St. Peter's, the See of Constantinople; and St. Mary's, the See of Antioch, where Mary is supposed to have spent most of her life.

One legend, unreported before the year 1000, gives another name to this feast: Our Lady of the Snows. According to that story, a wealthy Roman couple pledged their fortune to the Mother of God. In affirmation, she produced a miraculous summer snowfall and told them to build a church on the site. The legend was long celebrated by releasing a shower of white rose petals from the basilica's dome every August 5.


Theological debate over Christ's nature as God and man reached fever pitch in Constantinople in the early fifth century. The chaplain of Bishop Nestorius began preaching against the title Theotokos, "Mother of God," insisting that the Virgin was mother only of the human Jesus. Nestorius agreed, decreeing that Mary would henceforth be named "Mother of Christ" in his see. The people of Constantinople virtually revolted against their bishop's refutation of a cherished belief. When the Council of Ephesus refuted Nestorius, believers took to the streets, enthusiastically chanting, "Theotokos! Theotokos!"


"From the earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of Mother of God, in whose protection the faithful take refuge together in prayer in all their perils and needs. Accordingly, following the Council of Ephesus, there was a remarkable growth in the cult of the People of God towards Mary, in veneration and love, in invocation and imitation..." (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 66).


Daily Prayer - 2015-08-05


Dear Jesus, I come to you today
longing for your presence.
I desire to love you as You love me.
May nothing ever separate me from You.


Lord grant me the grace
to have freedom of the spirit.
Cleanse my heart and soul
so I may live joyously in Your love.


I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord.
I will take refuge in His loving heart.
He is my strength in times of weakness.
He is my comforter in times of sorrow.

The Word of God


Reading 1 Nm 13:1-2, 25--14:1, 26a-29a, 34-35

The LORD said to Moses [in the desert of Paran,]
"Send men to reconnoiter the land of Canaan,
which I am giving the children of Israel.
You shall send one man from each ancestral tribe,
all of them princes."

After reconnoitering the land for forty days they returned,
met Moses and Aaron and the whole congregation of the children of Israel
in the desert of Paran at Kadesh,
made a report to them all,
and showed the fruit of the country
to the whole congregation.
They told Moses: "We went into the land to which you sent us.
It does indeed flow with milk and honey, and here is its fruit.
However, the people who are living in the land are fierce,
and the towns are fortified and very strong.
Besides, we saw descendants of the Anakim there.
Amalekites live in the region of the Negeb;
Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites dwell in the highlands,
and Canaanites along the seacoast and the banks of the Jordan."

Caleb, however, to quiet the people toward Moses, said,
"We ought to go up and seize the land, for we can certainly do so."
But the men who had gone up with him said,
"We cannot attack these people; they are too strong for us."
So they spread discouraging reports among the children of Israel
about the land they had scouted, saying,
"The land that we explored is a country that consumes its inhabitants.
And all the people we saw there are huge, veritable giants
(the Anakim were a race of giants);
we felt like mere grasshoppers, and so we must have seemed to them."

At this, the whole community broke out with loud cries,
and even in the night the people wailed.

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:
"How long will this wicked assembly grumble against me?
I have heard the grumblings of the children of Israel against me.
Tell them: By my life, says the LORD,
I will do to you just what I have heard you say.
Here in the desert shall your dead bodies fall.
Forty days you spent in scouting the land;
forty years shall you suffer for your crimes:
one year for each day.
Thus you will realize what it means to oppose me.
I, the LORD, have sworn to do this
to all this wicked assembly that conspired against me:
here in the desert they shall die to the last man."

Responsorial Psalm PS 106:6-7ab, 13-14, 21-22, 23

R. (4a) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
We have sinned, we and our fathers;
we have committed crimes; we have done wrong.
Our fathers in Egypt
considered not your wonders.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
But soon they forgot his works;
they waited not for his counsel.
They gave way to craving in the desert
and tempted God in the wilderness.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Alleluia Lk 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 15: 21-28

At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,
"Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!
My daughter is tormented by a demon."
But he did not say a word in answer to her.
His disciples came and asked him,
"Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us."
He said in reply,
"I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
But the woman came and did him homage, saying, "Lord, help me."
He said in reply,
"It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs."
She said, "Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters."
Then Jesus said to her in reply,
"O woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done for you as you wish."
And her daughter was healed from that hour.


Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • This is an extraordinary story. While the woman stands her ground, Jesus changes his position. Perhaps he himself came to a fuller understanding of his own mission as he watched and listened to the Canaanite woman.
  • What faith we have here! She was the ultimate outsider -- a woman belonging to a tribe hostile to the Jews -- standing her ground against the outrage of the disciples, dogged and persistent in her demand that Jesus heal her daughter. She challenges the narrowness of a tradition that confined God's mercy to a chosen few, and she is richly rewarded.
  • The disciples did not think her worthy of Jesus. Is there anyone I judge too hastily?


How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold?
Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way?
I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me,
I turn and share my feelings with him.


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: Matthew 15:21-28

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The Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Optional Memorial)

"Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters." Then Jesus said to her in reply, "O woman, great is your faith!" (Matthew 15:27-28)

Three times, a Canaanite mother asked Jesus to heal her daughter. And three times, Jesus denied her. But she persisted, and he finally relented and granted her prayer.

So was Jesus testing this mother's faith? Or did she really change Jesus' mind?

On the one hand, if Jesus was really just testing her, why would Matthew leave out that important detail? So maybe he really did change his mind. This makes sense when we widen our scope of Scriptures. So many stories speak of people "changing" God's mind. Think of Abraham negotiating with God over the fate of Sodom. Or think of Mary's conversation with Jesus at the wedding of Cana. Though his hour had not yet come, the wine had run out! And, of course, there's the parable Jesus taught of the persistent widow changing a judge's mind.

But on the other hand, Jesus is the Son of God! Rightly did the disciples say about him, "You know everything" (John 16:30). By his very breath, the universe was called into being. How could we ever hope to persuade him? He declares, "As I have resolved, so shall it be," and "the Lord of hosts has planned; who can thwart him?" (Isaiah 14:24,27). Surely this must have been Jesus' plan to draw out this mother's remarkable faith.

What a mystery is born when human faith meets the sovereignty of God! Yes, God is completely in control. And yes, he bends low to answer our prayers and draws us to work out his plan alongside him. He even lets us be bold enough to come to him, confident that he honors our desires. Of course, we'll never understand this fully until we see Jesus face-to-face. But for now, revel in this mystery. Let it tug on the corners of your mind and open your heart to how wondrous are the ways of God. Gaze in awe of the Lord, who has the wisdom to weave the lives of so many free people into his plan for the whole world.

"Lord, you inspire awe in my heart. Who is like you?"


Numbers 13:1-2, 25--14:1, 26-29, 34-35
Psalm 106:6-7, 13-14, 21-23




The Lord wanted the people to take possession of the promised land and the people were afraid and thus, did not obey and thus suffered for disobeying.  It's almost "do or die".  Or better said, "live or die".  And so the things in the Lord in our faith are "live or die".  The woman in the Gospel realized this, but first, let's hear the beginning of the 5 minutos of today (I'll translate for you):
  "A poor woman called in on a Christian radio program asking for help.  A witch-man that heard the program got her address, called his secretaries and ordered them to buy food and take it to that woman with the following instructions: -'When she asks you who sent the food, tell her "IT WAS THE DEVIL!.." When they got to her house, the woman welcomed them happy, and went to immediately put up the food in the kitchen that the secretaries of the witch had brought.  Seeing that she wasn't asking anything, they said "Lady, don't you want to know who sent these things?". The woman in simplicity in faith responded "No my son, it is not precise.  When God commands, Even the devil obeys!"....Jesus doesn't want his miracles to be antidotes, but messages that announce the Kingdom.  At the foundation, it is delayed in giving healing and the manner of talking to this woman are a type of catechism that wants to show which ways salvation can come.  Upon telling Him that she is receiving scraps from the table of the chosen she is demonstrating that there is only one God, and that God is revealing Himself to the people of the covenant, and that from Him and only from Him comes everything that is good".
  The psalms pray on:  "Remember us O Lord as you favor your people".  You know, I constantly hear people of denominations and supposed non-denominations talk about "God's favor".  They are so fixed on it that it seems like it is always at the tip of their mouths "oh I got God's favor" or "they are in God's favor".  And "favor" this and "favor" that.  And it seems as if it's all about this "favor" thing.  I got exasperated with a relative one time with this and said "I don't believe in so called "favor" I believe in blessings".  I think it was a comment that was more counter-productive than not.  Yes, we know God favors, but I told them "God doesn't play favorites".  As if to say then if you don't get "favor" then one must assume "oh I'm not in God's favor" ?  NO.  The woman in the gospel today was not in "favor" but was granted the blessing from God and at the same time an invitation to all non-believers and denominations and non-denomintations to be able to partake of salvation even though you are not children at the table of God (the altar and the bread from Heaven).  Sounds harsh?  Am I calling people dogs here that are not Catholic?  As a staunch Catholic, I KNOW, I don't just "Believe" that I am consuming at the table of God the bread, the mana, the salvation offered by God, Jesus Himself.  And I know that God is the God of all, no matter what you have chosen to believe and salvation is by the grace of God, yes, for any, but for SURE I am consuming the bread of eternal life!  This from the Apostles to the bishops to the priests of today.  YOU ARE INVITED!!!
Jesus comes in the Holy Gospel.  He does not answer her prayer right away.  But her tenacity wins His heart.  Let this be a lesson.  Last night in RCIA class we brought up St. Monica, and she prayed for 20 years for her son to convert, and the Lord blessed and answered her prayer, for her son became a saint and a doctor of the Holy Church.  How often have you given up on stuff?  Given up on people?  Given up on hope?  The woman said to Jesus our King ""Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters."  As I read this something came to the light...this "dog" just found her master!  And we are all called to be faithful to our master, and we are called to D.O.G.  "Depend On God".  She depended on Him for salvation from demons.  She depended on Him for life.  She sought Him and she found Him.  She annoyed Him?  LOL.  Let's not think of our Lord in these terms.  The only thing that makes Him have righteous anger is when we refuse to accept His ways and salvation and so He lets us have our way...that is not good.  Yet this is not the case of the "Canine" woman LOL (woman from Cana).  She was not refusing Him, even though she wasn't a Jew, she knew this man was from God and this is good.  I want you to ask from our Lord something spectacular.  Something like "Lord, open my heart to you and let the light shine".  Something that will amaze God and make God feel loved.  Something like "Lord, what else can I give you but my life?".  Something like "I want to be freed from sin (these evil spirits that haunt me)".  Something like "Lord I want you to be my master and I want to be your slave".  Something like "Lord I want everything that is good to be given through me for the life in the world in much need".   Because God does this and ultimately we'd be asking to be like Jesus.  And Jesus feeds Himself till the end of the world.  Can I feed myself for the life of the world?  Jesus does in the Eucharist.  Jesus does in prayer.  Jesus does in a way that no one else can...being with us in a way that no one else can.  I have met people that don't believe they have faith, yet I know they have faith.  This message is for you right now.  Have faith that you do have faith! 
Let us ask for life to happen.  Let us ask for our children to be freed from demons that are seizing them from coming to the Lord and becoming one with the Lord (especially in the Holy Eucharist).  What's in their way?  Is it me?  Then I better open up!  Jesus does already....