Monday, March 14, 2016

You Testify On

Minute Meditations Instrument of Peace Following the Lord, it is our prayer to become instruments of peace in our world so that we might indeed live

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Minute Meditations

Instrument of Peace

Following the Lord, it is our prayer to become instruments of peace in our world so that we might indeed live in such a way that paradise might arrive and your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.
— from The Last Words of Jesus


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St. Maximilian

(d. 295)

We have an early, precious, almost unembellished account of the martyrdom of St. Maximilian in modern-day Algeria.

Brought before the proconsul Dion, Maximilian refused enlistment in the Roman army saying, "I cannot serve, I cannot do evil. I am a Christian."

Dion replied: "You must serve or die."

Maximilian: "I will never serve. You can cut off my head, but I will not be a soldier of this world, for I am a soldier of Christ. My army is the army of God, and I cannot fight for this world. I tell you I am a Christian."

Dion: "There are Christian soldiers serving our rulers Diocletian and Maximian, Constantius and Galerius."

Maximilian: "That is their business. I also am a Christian, and I cannot serve."

Dion: "But what harm do soldiers do?"

Maximilian: "You know well enough."

Dion: "If you will not do your service I shall condemn you to death for contempt of the army."

Maximilian: "I shall not die. If I go from this earth, my soul will live with Christ my Lord."

Maximilian was 21 years old when he gladly offered his life to God. His father went home from the execution site joyful, thanking God that he had been able to offer heaven such a gift.


Sacred Space
Daily Prayer - 2016-03-14


The more we call on the Lord
the more we can feel his Presence.
Day by day he draws us closer
to his loving heart.


It is so easy to get caught up
with the trappings of wealth in this life.
Grant, O Lord, that I may be free
from greed and selfishness.
Remind me that the best things in life are free.
Love, laughter, caring and sharing.


In the presence of my loving Creator, I look honestly at my feelings over the last day, the highs, the lows and the level ground. Can I see where the Lord has been present?

The Word of God

Reading 1 Dn 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62

In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim,
who married a very beautiful and God-fearing woman, Susanna,
the daughter of Hilkiah;
her pious parents had trained their daughter
according to the law of Moses.
Joakim was very rich;
he had a garden near his house,
and the Jews had recourse to him often
because he was the most respected of them all.

That year, two elders of the people were appointed judges,
of whom the Lord said, "Wickedness has come out of Babylon:
from the elders who were to govern the people as judges."
These men, to whom all brought their cases,
frequented the house of Joakim.
When the people left at noon,
Susanna used to enter her husband's garden for a walk.
When the old men saw her enter every day for her walk,
they began to lust for her.
They suppressed their consciences;
they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven,
and did not keep in mind just judgments.

One day, while they were waiting for the right moment,
she entered the garden as usual, with two maids only.
She decided to bathe, for the weather was warm.
Nobody else was there except the two elders,
who had hidden themselves and were watching her.
"Bring me oil and soap," she said to the maids,
"and shut the garden doors while I bathe."

As soon as the maids had left,
the two old men got up and hurried to her.
"Look," they said, "the garden doors are shut, and no one can see us;
give in to our desire, and lie with us.
If you refuse, we will testify against you
that you dismissed your maids because a young man was here with you."

"I am completely trapped," Susanna groaned.
"If I yield, it will be my death;
if I refuse, I cannot escape your power.
Yet it is better for me to fall into your power without guilt
than to sin before the Lord."
Then Susanna shrieked, and the old men also shouted at her,
as one of them ran to open the garden doors.
When the people in the house heard the cries from the garden,
they rushed in by the side gate to see what had happened to her.
At the accusations by the old men,
the servants felt very much ashamed,
for never had any such thing been said about Susanna.

When the people came to her husband Joakim the next day,
the two wicked elders also came,
fully determined to put Susanna to death.
Before all the people they ordered:
"Send for Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah,
the wife of Joakim."
When she was sent for,
she came with her parents, children and all her relatives.
All her relatives and the onlookers were weeping.

In the midst of the people the two elders rose up
and laid their hands on her head.
Through tears she looked up to heaven,
for she trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly.
The elders made this accusation:
"As we were walking in the garden alone,
this woman entered with two girls
and shut the doors of the garden, dismissing the girls.
A young man, who was hidden there, came and lay with her.
When we, in a corner of the garden, saw this crime,
we ran toward them.
We saw them lying together,
but the man we could not hold, because he was stronger than we;
he opened the doors and ran off.
Then we seized her and asked who the young man was,
but she refused to tell us.
We testify to this."
The assembly believed them,
since they were elders and judges of the people,
and they condemned her to death.

But Susanna cried aloud:
"O eternal God, you know what is hidden
and are aware of all things before they come to be:
you know that they have testified falsely against me.
Here I am about to die,
though I have done none of the things
with which these wicked men have charged me."

The Lord heard her prayer.
As she was being led to execution,
God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel,
and he cried aloud:
"I will have no part in the death of this woman."
All the people turned and asked him, "What is this you are saying?"
He stood in their midst and continued,
"Are you such fools, O children of Israel!
To condemn a woman of Israel without examination
and without clear evidence?
Return to court, for they have testified falsely against her."

Then all the people returned in haste.
To Daniel the elders said,
"Come, sit with us and inform us,
since God has given you the prestige of old age."
But he replied,
"Separate these two far from each other that I may examine them."

After they were separated one from the other,
he called one of them and said:
"How you have grown evil with age!
Now have your past sins come to term:
passing unjust sentences, condemning the innocent,
and freeing the guilty, although the Lord says,
'The innocent and the just you shall not put to death.'
Now, then, if you were a witness,
tell me under what tree you saw them together."
"Under a mastic tree," he answered.
Daniel replied, "Your fine lie has cost you your head,
for the angel of God shall receive the sentence from him
and split you in two."
Putting him to one side, he ordered the other one to be brought.
Daniel said to him,
"Offspring of Canaan, not of Judah, beauty has seduced you,
lust has subverted your conscience.
This is how you acted with the daughters of Israel,
and in their fear they yielded to you;
but a daughter of Judah did not tolerate your wickedness.
Now, then, tell me under what tree you surprised them together."
"Under an oak," he said.
Daniel replied, "Your fine lie has cost you also your head,
for the angel of God waits with a sword to cut you in two
so as to make an end of you both."

The whole assembly cried aloud,
blessing God who saves those who hope in him.
They rose up against the two elders,
for by their own words Daniel had convicted them of perjury.
According to the law of Moses,
they inflicted on them
the penalty they had plotted to impose on their neighbor:
they put them to death.
Thus was innocent blood spared that day.

Responsorial Psalm PS 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6

R. (4ab) Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.

R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.

He guides me in right paths
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.

R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.

You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.

Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.

R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.

Verse Before the Gospel Ez 33:11

I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord,
but rather in his conversion, that he may live.

Gospel Jn 8:12-20

Jesus spoke to them again, saying,
"I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life."
So the Pharisees said to him,
"You testify on your own behalf,
so your testimony cannot be verified."
Jesus answered and said to them,
"Even if I do testify on my own behalf, my testimony can be verified,
because I know where I came from and where I am going.
But you do not know where I come from or where I am going.
You judge by appearances, but I do not judge anyone.
And even if I should judge, my judgment is valid,
because I am not alone,
but it is I and the Father who sent me.
Even in your law it is written
that the testimony of two men can be verified.
I testify on my behalf and so does the Father who sent me."
So they said to him, "Where is your father?"
Jesus answered, "You know neither me nor my Father.
If you knew me, you would know my Father also."
He spoke these words
while teaching in the treasury in the temple area.
But no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
or Jn 8:1-11

Some thoughts on today's scripture

We revisit the question of Jesus' identity. The passage begins with one of the "I am" sayings that John attributes to Jesus. These are meant to recall the answer God gave to Moses when he asked God's name: "I am who I am". Then Moses is told to say to the Israelites: "I am has sent me to you" (Exodus 3:13-14). Jesus, by using this "I am" language, is claiming to share in God's own identity.
Christian faith is not primarily in a doctrine but in a person. Through this person, Jesus Christ, we enter into the mystery of God.


Lord, I know that when I turn to you there is no need for words.
You can see into my heart.
You know my desires and you know my needs.
I place myself into your hands.


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.


Meditation: Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62

Thus was innocent blood spared that day.. (Daniel 13:62)

Imagine how Susanna must have felt. She was known as not only beautiful but godly, a true treasure to her husband. But when two corrupt elders accused her of adultery, her servants immediately believed them. Not only that, but even her family accepted the accusations. None of her friends stood with her, either. Only Daniel saw her virtue and worked to prove her accusers wrong.

How affirming Daniel's belief in her must have been! How good it must have felt to have someone believe in her! So consider this: if Daniel was this zealous in his belief in Susanna's character, how much more will Jesus stand with you when Satan, the "accuser of our brothers," tries to wear you down (Revelation 12:10)? Jesus sees the good in you, not just the bad. He doesn't fall for the malicious whispers of the devil. He can see through Satan because he has already defeated him on the cross, making a "public spectacle" of his conquered foe (Colossians 2:15).

Everyone has days when it feels as if they are under attack. Maybe something you said was misunderstood, and people questioned your motives. Maybe you made a big mistake, and you can't stop replaying it in your mind. Or maybe you're just having trouble looking beyond your shortcomings. When you hear voices like these tearing you down, remember who you are: a child of God. Your Father always looks at you with love, pride, and affirmation. He will always stand with you and speak words of encouragement to you. He will always turn aside the accusations of the devil—always!

The next time you feel misunderstood or think you can't be forgiven, look to the Scriptures and see what God says about you. Remember that in Christ, you are free from all condemnation (Romans 8:1). Remember that you are the apple of your Father's eye (Psalm 17:8). With God's word behind you and his presence within you, you can rest assured that you are worth far more than what the devil or your circumstances may want to tell you!

"Jesus, thank you for never forsaking me. Through the power of your cross and resurrection, I can stand against all of Satan's lies and live in the glorious freedom of your children!"

Psalm 23:1-6
John 8:12-20




Today's saint said "You can cut off my head, but I will not be a soldier of this world, for I am a soldier of Christ."
In today's 1st Holy Scripture, Susanna said "... it is better for me to fall into your power without guilt than to sin before the Lord."
These are powerful virtues, words of valiant souls, soldiers of Christ our Lord. Nowadays, are things any different than back then? You could be sentenced to death for adultery, but today? Some find the news to be normal, even though its effects cause havoc and destruction in families. Sex outside of marriage does this, outside of a Holy marriage. I asked the various students in the Renew class if they would be going to confessions today. Not very many. I asked one couple "are ya'll married by the Church?" and they said "no we are working on it, that's another reason we are here". I was happy to hear this, and said "then soon you will be married with God" and true love will enter your life. Normal stuff nowadays though, couples shacked up, living by the law of the land and not the law of the Lord. What's wrong with the picture? Them? Or me? Let's look at what is right...the Lord. The Lord asks us to repent. This is why Lent rhymes with Repent. It is a time to give up our ways. It is a time to die to sin than to die before Him. It is a time to say "I'd rather die than to offend my Lord". But where is the love of the Lord? One student said "I used to read the bible, open it up and then shut it, and nothing, it was as if for nothing" until she began experiencing the Lord in her life. It costs much to do as the Lord says and believe, it costs the world, the worldly ways, and my exasperation continues "do it! It's worth it!".

The Psalms we pray say " Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side." Learn to walk with Him, closer and closer, trusting more which means loving more because it is believing more. Yesterday evening I took the boys out for a stroll, my intention was to walk across the fields to another house, but they wanted to ride bikes, so off we went. We have barbed wire fences separating some pastures. As we rode, our dog "Blue" a blue healer strolled with us, and I could see a small herd of young cows and steers began running our way pretty fast. My 3 year old I could tell was getting nervous, the 8 year had speeded through already. I was hauling a two year old in a bike seat with me. The 3 year old "Andres" saw the herd coming closer and closer rushing towards us and I began saying strongly "don't be scared, they won't hurt you, they can't pass the fence" but as much as I said this, his fear overcame him, at one point he dropped his bike, landed on his knees on the gravel and was frantically crying, I stopped, commanded him to get back on. By this point the cows were right next to us, had come to a complete stop at the fence, LOL. He got his little bitty bike back up and started peddling as far off and away from the cows as possible. Why all this cow talk? Because fear cowards us. It penetrates so deep that you can not hear or bear to listen to His voice. We are like that. We live in fear at times, to a point that we can not hear God's voice, much less listen and trust in Him that He is by our side and in control. No, rather, we want to have control, and this fear and pride harms us, take my little boys tattered knees and hands for instance...
In comes the Lord of our lives: ""I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness". It is a different life when Christ illuminates your life. Often at the end of Cursillo closings you'll hear testimonies of people having lived a cursillo saying they see everything now in a light, or a different light. This is the Light of the Lord. The day I lived my Cursillo, I did a testimony in front of hundreds, and I remember saying and seeing through my tears "I look out at all of you and see Christ, all of you are my brothers and sisters". And another thing I said was " I am a soldier of Christ!". The testimony had been an experience of Christ, in little ways that God reveals Himself, for instance, I forgot a towel, and one was provided, I needed a notepad, and someone gave me one, everything I needed was provided, and this is how the Lord works, all you have to do is say yes to Him and trust that He provides what is necessary. My testimony is true. Wait, the Lord said today "I testify on my behalf and so does the Father who sent me." And so what we have here is already the Holy Spirit at work. How can you verify the Holy Spirit? Did I say "test" the Spirit? No, it's more like, "taste" the Spirit, because the Holy Light Spirit is starkly different than the dark spirits that give off shadows. It's one thing to know the bible and quite another to actually know the Lord, and you can't know the Lord without the bible because He IS the Word. Someone in class said they couldn't find a page suggesting it had been ripped out of the bible, and I made a brother laugh when I said "someone must've been hungry and eaten the Word of God". Right now, you are hungry. I am hungry for the Lord. And so the Lord lets us devour Him, and it is evident by the cross, where the Lord said "I'd rather die than to disobey My Father"

Christ shines the light. Let us cling to Him