Monday, August 31, 2015

In Your Hearing

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"We will be the happiest people in the world if we belong to God, if we place ourselves at his disposal, if we let him use us as he pleases. To be this happy, we must belong to Jesus fully without reservation. He alone is worthy of our love and our total surrender. Once we really belong to him then he is free to use us, to do with us whatever he pleases."
— Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, p. 25

Thirsting for God

Sts. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus

The actions of these two influential Jewish leaders give insight into the charismatic power of Jesus and his teachings—and the risks that could be involved in following him.

Joseph was a respected, wealthy civic leader who had become a disciple of Jesus. Following the death of Jesus, Joseph obtained Jesus' body from Pilate, wrapped it in fine linen and buried it. For these reasons Joseph is considered the patron saint of funeral directors and pallbearers. More important is the courage Joseph showed in asking Pilate for Jesus' body. Jesus was a condemned criminal who had been publicly executed. According to some legends, Joseph was punished and imprisoned for such a bold act.

Nicodemus was a Pharisee and, like Joseph, an important first-century Jew. We know from John's Gospel that Nicodemus went to Jesus at night—secretly—to better understand his teachings about the kingdom. Later, Nicodemus spoke up for Jesus at the time of his arrest and assisted in Jesus' burial. We know little else about Nicodemus.

Patron Saint of:



Daily Prayer - 2015-08-31


What is present to me is what has a hold on my becoming.
I reflect on the Presence of God always there in love,
amidst the many things that have a hold on me.
I pause and pray that I may let God
affect my becoming in this precise moment.


God is not foreign to my freedom.
Instead the Spirit breathes life into my most intimate desires,
gently nudging me towards all that is good.
I ask for the grace to let myself be enfolded by the Spirit.


Knowing that God loves me unconditionally,
I look honestly over the last day, its events and my feelings.
Do I have something to be grateful for? Then I give thanks.
Is there something I am sorry for? Then I ask forgiveness.

The Word of God


Reading 1 1 Thes 4:13-18

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,
about those who have fallen asleep,
so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose,
so too will God, through Jesus,
bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord,
that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord,
will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself, with a word of command,
with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God,
will come down from heaven,
and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive, who are left,
will be caught up together with them in the clouds
to meet the Lord in the air.
Thus we shall always be with the Lord.
Therefore, console one another with these words.

Responsorial Psalm PS 96:1 and 3, 4-5, 11-12, 13

R. (13b) The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
For great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
awesome is he, beyond all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are things of nought,
but the LORD made the heavens.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.

Alleluia See Lk 4:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 4:16-30

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll,
he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
"Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
They also asked, "Is this not the son of Joseph?"
He said to them, "Surely you will quote me this proverb,
'Physician, cure yourself,' and say, 'Do here in your native place
the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.'"
And he said,
"Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you,
there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian."
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.


Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • Jesus, as he preached about inclusion, found himself excluded. His listeners were appalled at his message. Is there anyone in my community whom I fail to accept?
  • Familiarity with Jesus left his listeners unimpressed. The Word of God made flesh was reading the word of God to them, and it fell upon deaf ears. Today, let me consciously look for the extraordinary among the ordinary.


Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet you in person Lord.
I think I might say "Thank You Lord" for always being there for me.
I know with certainty there were times when you carried me, Lord.
When it was through your strength I got through the dark times in my life.


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: Luke 4:16-30

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22nd Week in Ordinary Time

Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing. (Luke 4:21)

Do you ever wish that life was like a vending machine? It would be so easy if we could just put in the correct amount of work and prayers, push the right button, and watch everything come out exactly as we have planned.

But sometimes even vending machines get jammed, and we end up with something we don't want. Or nothing at all.

Then what? Some people get so angry that they shake or kick the misbehaving machine. Unfortunately, this rarely works, and they are left even more frustrated. They still end up with whatever they got.

Perhaps this is how the people in the synagogue at Nazareth felt when Jesus announced to them that he was the long-awaited Messiah.

Many of the Jews in Jesus' time were very careful about pushing the right buttons in the hopes that God would fulfill their dreams. They prayed unceasingly for a powerful Messiah who would overthrow the Romans and bring about an era of peace and prosperity for the nation of Israel. So you can imagine their initial excitement when Jesus announced that he was the Messiah. And you can also imagine how angry they became when they discovered that this "Messiah" was just a carpenter's son who preached a message of mercy, love, and compassion. They were so upset that they tried to kill him!

The Nazarenes couldn't see that in Jesus they got more than what they had ordered, not less. Jesus wasn't going to continue the cycle of vengeance and violence that was part of every kingdom, including theirs. He had come to put an end to that cycle and to save everyone by showing them the love of a servant, not an overlord.

Today, take time to consider how you react when life doesn't hand you what you have ordered. Do you kick the "vending machine" only to end up hurting yourself? Remember that God doesn't always appear or heal us or save us in the way that we expect. But his plans are always best. No matter what the end results are, he will make them perfect if we trust him. And best of all, we always end up with more than what we have asked for!

"Lord, you are the fulfillment of all my needs and desires. May I never reject your good gifts!"


1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Psalm 96:1, 3-5, 11-13


It's almost as if today's 1st Holy Scriptures are saying "don't be like the rest who have no hope".  We have a hope and it is our Lord.  This is a rare occurance for me, yesterday or the night before, I was thinking of my own mortality.  Thinking of death.  Scary thought for many, and the hardest part is to think "that's it" no more of you, no more of anything or anybody.  Such a thought drives in droves people to Christ.  This is the God of the resurrection.  This is the only God that has risen and promised your resurrection.  That's why we pray it in Holy Mass in the creed "I believe in the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come".  In most other religions, death is it, or you may reincarnate, or the spirit wonders off, but for is just beginning.  The 5 minutos ended today with "a note with humor":
  "Pilot to ground control, Pilot to control tower, I am 600 kilometers from 200 meters over water...I am running out of fuel...instructions please.  Control Tower to pilot..control tower here to pilot...repeat with me: 'Our Father, who art in Heaven..." This is our control tower giving instructions to so many pilots in danger.  I invite you to repeat with me: Life is eternal.  The love of God never runs out.  Death is only a horizon and there is life beyond the horizon.  Yes, Lord, you are my final and new and blessed beginning."
The Psalms pray on, "For great is the LORD and highly to be praised; awesome is he, beyond all gods. For all the gods of the nations are things of nought, but the LORD made the heavens." and "The Lord comes to judge the earth".  You know, I pretty much divulge all my secrets of the faith, pretty much most here, and so it should not come as any surprise my conversations with the Lord.  Most often and most clearly are the ones before the Most Blessed Sacrament.  One time last week, as I knelt and spoke with the Lord, I would bring up an issue and He would reply to the heart as if to reply at each petition "I Am above that", as if to say "I got it under control".  Good news from the control tower huh?  I shake like a leaf in fear and I reach out to Him and He sends a message of control, and the shakiness goes away, because He knows how to control me and my fears.  This God here is amazing like that.
Today, our Lord amazes all those in the synagogue.  He picks up the scroll, reads the place where He will fulfill scriptures that day "...He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free".  I will make you see.  I will make you free.  I will give you true liberty.  I said it in a previous email, that our country is losing its freedom, the more free we are trying to be from morality.  If you really want to be free, be Holy.  There have been saints in history that are so free that they float off the ground, they are even free from gravity!  Man that'd be awesome.  Yet, the scriptures say, "we will be caught up in the clouds with the Lord".  I guess its the soul wanting to be free, and this means holy.  Life is waiting, real life is waiting for you and for me.  Jesus is waiting.  I began to write a new song this weekend, and it said as if the Lord speaking "how can you want to be with me forever, if right now you don't have time for Me ?"  Isn't that the strangest thing, that we want something for nothing?  And for a video for the song, if I ever write the song, I thought of asking this old man from the nursing home, Manuel Salazar, if he would be an actor, to play the part of the father, and then I would walk in to see him for a few seconds or a minute, give him money, say hello, then leave.  Because this would be an actual depiciton of our daily lives.  We give a few seconds of prayer, a few minutes in church, maybe give a few bucks, and then leave to live our own lives.  Is that true love?   The song would continue "I gave you my heart, you tore it apart, and threw it away".  Daily, God is giving you His heart...His love, His Son, the daily bread.  What do you do with it?  Bad question, because  "it" is Jesus.  So what do you do with Him daily?  What if this was your last day on earth?  Who would you spend the most time with today?  If the answer is anyone else than God...then I could tell you where eternity could possibly be spent.  It's kind of harsh, but truth hurts.  Yes or no.  Answer the Lord, when He asks YOU,

"My Child, do you love Me?"

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