Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Wish To See You

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Minute Meditations

A Sense of Urgency
You and I must develop a sense of urgency about telling the Good News to everyone around us. One of the great spiritual dangers of our generation is apathy, the lazy disregard for Christ's call to really live our faith in him, not just talk about it. Close behind apathy follows indifference.
— from On a Mission

St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions

Lawrence (Lorenzo) was born in Manila of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, both Christians. Thus he learned Chinese and Tagalog from them and Spanish from the Dominicans whom he served as altar boy and sacristan. He became a professional calligrapher, transcribing documents in beautiful penmanship. He was a full member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary under Dominican auspices. He married and had two sons and a daughter.

His life took an abrupt turn when he was accused of murder. Nothing further is known except the statement of two Dominicans that "he was sought by the authorities on account of a homicide to which he was present or which was attributed to him."

At that time three Dominican priests, Antonio Gonzalez, Guillermo Courtet and Miguel de Aozaraza, were about to sail to Japan in spite of a violent persecution there. With them was a Japanese priest, Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and a layman named Lazaro, a leper. Lorenzo, having taken asylum with them, was allowed to accompany them. But only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan.

They landed at Okinawa. Lorenzo could have gone on to Formosa, but, he reported, "I decided to stay with the Fathers, because the Spaniards would hang me there." In Japan they were soon found out, arrested and taken to Nagasaki. The site of wholesale bloodshed when the atomic bomb was dropped had known tragedy before. The 50,000 Catholics who once lived there were dispersed or killed by persecution.

They were subjected to an unspeakable kind of torture: After huge quantities of water were forced down their throats, they were made to lie down. Long boards were placed on their stomachs and guards then stepped on the ends of the boards, forcing the water to spurt violently from mouth, nose and ears.

The superior, Antonio, died after some days. Both the Japanese priest and Lazaro broke under torture, which included the insertion of bamboo needles under their fingernails. But both were brought back to courage by their companions.

In Lorenzo's moment of crisis, he asked the interpreter, "I would like to know if, by apostatizing, they will spare my life." The interpreter was noncommittal, but Lorenzo, in the ensuing hours, felt his faith grow strong. He became bold, even audacious, with his interrogators.

The five were put to death by being hanged upside down in pits. Boards fitted with semicircular holes were fitted around their waists and stones put on top to increase the pressure. They were tightly bound, to slow circulation and prevent a speedy death. They were allowed to hang for three days. By that time Lorenzo and Lazaro were dead. The three Dominican priests, still alive, were beheaded.

In 1987, Saint John Paul II canonized these six and 10 others, Asians and Europeans, men and women, who spread the faith in the Philippines, Formosa and Japan. Lorenzo Ruiz is the first canonized Filipino martyr.


We ordinary Christians of today—how would we stand up in the circumstances these martyrs faced? We sympathize with the two who temporarily denied the faith. We understand Lorenzo's terrible moment of temptation. But we see also the courage—unexplainable in human terms—which surged from their store of faith. Martyrdom, like ordinary life, is a miracle of grace.


When government officials asked, "If we grant you life, will you renounce your faith?," Lorenzo responded: "That I will never do, because I am a Christian, and I shall die for God, and for him I will give many thousands of lives if I had them. And so, do with me as you please."

Daily Prayer - 2015-09-22


At any time of the day or night we can call on Jesus.
He is always waiting, listening for our call.
What a wonderful blessing.
No phone needed, no e-mails, just a whisper.


Fill me with Your Holy Spirit Lord,
so that I may have inner freedom.
Let your Spirit instil in my heart
a desire to know and love you more each day.


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

Reading 1 EzR 6:7-8, 12b, 14-20

King Darius issued an order to the officials
of West-of-Euphrates:
"Let the governor and the elders of the Jews
continue the work on that house of God;
they are to rebuild it on its former site.
I also issue this decree
concerning your dealing with these elders of the Jews
in the rebuilding of that house of God:
From the royal revenue, the taxes of West-of-Euphrates,
let these men be repaid for their expenses, in full and without delay.
I, Darius, have issued this decree;
let it be carefully executed."

The elders of the Jews continued to make progress in the building,
supported by the message of the prophets,
Haggai and Zechariah, son of Iddo.
They finished the building according to the command
of the God of Israel
and the decrees of Cyrus and Darius
and of Artaxerxes, king of Persia.
They completed this house on the third day of the month Adar,
in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.
The children of Israel--priests, Levites,
and the other returned exiles--
celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy.
For the dedication of this house of God,
they offered one hundred bulls,
two hundred rams, and four hundred lambs,
together with twelve he-goats as a sin-offering for all Israel,
in keeping with the number of the tribes of Israel.
Finally, they set up the priests in their classes
and the Levites in their divisions
for the service of God in Jerusalem,
as is prescribed in the book of Moses.

The exiles kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.
The Levites, every one of whom had purified himself for the occasion,
sacrificed the Passover for the rest of the exiles,
for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.

Responsorial Psalm PS 122:1-2, 3-4ab, 4cd-5

R. (1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
"We will go up to the house of the LORD."
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Alleluia Lk 11:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are those who hear the word of God
and observe it.
Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 8:19-21

The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him
but were unable to join him because of the crowd.
He was told, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside
and they wish to see you."
He said to them in reply, "My mother and my brothers
are those who hear the word of God and act on it."

- - -

Some thoughts on today's scripture
  • People naturally assumed that Jesus would give first place to his family. But with one sentence he reveals that every human being can become a member of his family. Closeness to Jesus does not depend on social standing or academic achievement or affluence. It depends instead on 'hearing the word and doing it'.
  • But what is 'the word' and how do we 'do it'? The primary word told us by Jesus is that the love of his Father for us is infinite; we are to trust this word and live by it. As Pope Francis says: 'When everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved'. When we know how well we are loved, and how well our neighbours are loved, our attitude to others is transformed and the world becomes a warmer place.


Jesus you speak to me through the words of the gospels.
May I respond to your call today.
Teach me to recognise your hand at work in my daily living.


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: Ezra 6:7-8, 12, 14-20

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25th Week in Ordinary Time

The children of Israel ... celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. (Ezra 6:16)

This wasn't a typical housewarming party, mainly because it wasn't a typical home! After decades in exile, a dramatic return to their homeland, and years of hard work, the Israelites finished rebuilding the house of God—the Temple in Jerusalem. Finally, they had a place to worship the Lord again!

To celebrate this accomplishment, the people gathered to honor and welcome the Homeowner into his new residence. With joyful hearts, they dedicated the Temple to him with songs and worship and sacrifices the likes of which they had not seen in years.

What about you? Whether you live in a spacious residence, a tiny apartment, a monastic cell, or even a prison cell, your home can be a place where God can dwell. If you welcome him as Lord of your home, he can fill it with a spirit of joy, freedom, and dignity that befits a true temple of the Lord. So have you dedicated your home to the Lord recently?

One way to do this dedication is by inviting a priest to come and bless your home. Ask him to pray with you and to sprinkle holy water on your home, consecrating it to the Lord. Of course, it's a good idea to get in the habit of, every day, saying a prayer of blessing and dedication for your home and those who live within it. In the Lord's authority, you can cleanse your environment of evil spiritual influences and welcome the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Going a little further, another idea is to consecrate your home to God with a celebration. Get creative; involve other people. You could have a special meal prepared, Scripture readings, or a little ceremony where you walk through the perimeter of your home, praying as you go. Everyone in your home could even have a role in dedicating a favorite room or area to the Lord.

Of course, the specifics of how you do this are up to you. What really matters is that you dedicate your home to the Lord and invite him to come dwell with you.

"As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."

Psalm 122:1-5
Luke 8:19-21


They sacrificed about 700 animals to dedicate the temple to the Lord and they did it for a reason, and even for those that didn't come and would come "The Levites, every one of whom had purified himself for the occasion,
sacrificed the Passover for the rest of the exiles, for their brethren the priests, and for themselves."  Their brethren, that is to say, their brothers and sisters, for all those in exile, for the priests, and for themselves.  Notice how important it is, what they did, how, and why.  Only then will we begin to understand the Eucharist, with priests, ourselves, and our brethren.  Notice too, they were purified for the occasion, and we too are called to be purified for the occasion.  Reverance was important.  Was?  Is it not important anymore?  In the Mass, we reverance the altar for many reasons, and we go down on to our knees when the body of our Lord is in the Presence.  The hundreds of animals sacrificed for the saving blood now has become one saving blood through Jesus.  Just like He became one of us, a creature of the earth, to be sharers in His creative and divine image, and that image is what is important...holiness.  Sadly, the image is tarnished today.  The reverance is diminuating.  Sure we bow to the altar and genuflect to the Blessed Sacrament, but is that all you do, if even that? 
The Psalms pray on "Let us go rejoicing to the House of the Lord".  Who goes rejoicing to the House of the Lord?  Don't we go all forced and mad or sad or just out of obigation?  Who goes rejoicing?  Who leaves rejoicing?  Don't we (and admit to it), haven't we left the same?  Mad, or sad, no difference in your life?  If there is no difference, then why even bother, right?  Wrong.  It should bother you eventually, LOL, because the dripping water makes for beautiful stalagmites and stalagtites in dark caverns, and is only admired with the light shining through.  The drip of a water can cause great destruction to the rock with time.  Do you think the Lord grows impatient with you?  Why do we grow impatient with the Lord who has no beginning and no end and has ever been?  Can you fathom the thought? 
Our Lord speaks to us today when they said His brothers and mother were waiting outside for Him.  He explains exactly who His mother and brothers are ""My mother and my brothers  are those who hear the word of God and act on it."  For years now, I have been sitting with some co-workers, and I am baffled.  1 out of 4 had the Lord speak to his heart and is going to Church and trying to get active.  The rest, well, 1 of them is sparatically going to Mass on Sundays.  The other half?  Not so much except keep going to weekly study.  They say things in bible study that would make you think they are pretty good Christians.  From the teeth forward they sound pretty good.  My confusion is since they say these things, why don't they do these things, like obeying the commandments?  And I'm talking about the 3rd Commandment of keeping Holy the Sabbath.  But a thought keeps hitting me, "they haven't experienced the firs Commandment".  Can you do the first commandment that Jesus taught us?  Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, strength, and your soul?  Jesus says today "my mother and brothers are those who hear the Word and ACT on it".  In Spanish it says "those who hear the Word and put it into practice".  And another said put it into works.  What good is it to say you have faith if you do nothing else but say it?  Many saints have been crushed by those accusations and begin the works of God.  In spanish the words keep repeating in my soul "amaras a Dios sobre todas las cosas" (you shall love God above all things). 
The Holy Spirit prompts me to say these things so that you might listen.  As I tell my kids "Listen to me!".  But I'm afraid they don't know what "listen" really means.  It means do as I say.  It means let the words sink into your head, and then into your heart.  Let the head stop being a plugged filter!  Empty your thoughts and let God talk!  If Jesus said His brothers are those who listen, then the brothers and sisters and mother are among us.  Do you think we are abandoned?  Not for a second.  It is us that choose to abandon.  Let this message speak and sink to your heart.  The Word of God is speaking.