Friday, March 18, 2016

Believe the works

Minute Meditations Admitting Mistakes When we goof up, we need to admit that we are wrong, express our sorrow (the sacrament of reconciliation is pe

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Minute Meditations

Admitting Mistakes

When we goof up, we need to admit that we are wrong, express our sorrow (the sacrament of reconciliation is perfect for that), and ask for the grace to do better next time. God doesn't expect us to be perfect. He does expect us, however, to admit when we're wrong and ask for his help along the way.

— from Find a Real Friend in Jesus


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St. Cyril of Jerusalem


The crises that the Church faces today may seem minor when compared with the threat posed by the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ and almost overcame Christinity in the fourth century. Cyril was to be caught up in the controversy, accused (later) of Arianism by St. Jerome (September 30), and ultimately vindicated both by the men of his own time and by being declared a Doctor of the Church in 1822.

Raised in Jerusalem, well-educated, especially in the Scriptures, he was ordained a priest by the bishop of Jerusalem and given the task of catechizing during Lent those preparing for Baptism and during the Easter season the newly baptized. His Catecheses remain valuable as examples of the ritual and theology of the Church in the mid-fourth century.

There are conflicting reports about the circumstances of his becoming bishop of Jerusalem. It is certain that he was validly consecrated by bishops of the province. Since one of them was an Arian, Acacius, it may have been expected that his "cooperation" would follow. Conflict soon rose between Cyril and Acacius, bishop of the rival nearby see of Caesarea. Cyril was summoned to a council, accused of insubordination and of selling Church property to relieve the poor. Probably, however, a theological difference was also involved. He was condemned, driven from Jerusalem, and later vindicated, not without some association and help of Semi-Arians. Half his episcopate was spent in exile (his first experience was repeated twice). He finally returned to find Jerusalem torn with heresy, schism and strife, and wracked with crime. Even St. Gregory of Nyssa, sent to help, left in despair.

They both went to the (second ecumenical) Council of Constantinople, where the amended form of the Nicene Creed was promulgated in 381. Cyril accepted the word consubstantial (that is, of Christ and the Father). Some said it was an act of repentance, but the bishops of the Council praised him as a champion of orthodoxy against the Arians. Though not friendly with the greatest defender of orthodoxy against the Arians, Cyril may be counted among those whom Athanasius called "brothers, who mean what we mean, and differ only about the word [consubstantial]."


Those who imagine that the lives of saints are simple and placid, untouched by the vulgar breath of controversy, are rudely shocked by history. Yet it should be no surprise that saints, indeed all Christians, will experience the same difficulties as their Master. The definition of truth is an endless, complex pursuit, and good men and women have suffered the pain of both controversy and error. Intellectual, emotional and political roadblocks may slow up people like Cyril for a time. But their lives taken as a whole are monuments to honesty and courage.


"It is not only among us, who are marked with the name of Christ, that the dignity of faith is great; all the business of the world, even of those outside the Church, is accomplished by faith. By faith, marriage laws join in union persons who were strangers to one another. By faith, agriculture is sustained; for a man does not endure the toil involved unless he believes he will reap a harvest. By faith, seafaring men, entrusting themselves to a tiny wooden craft, exchange the solid element of the land for the unstable motion of the waves. Not only among us does this hold true but also, as I have said, among those outside the fold. For though they do not accept the Scriptures but advance certain doctrines of their own, yet even these they receive on faith" (Catechesis V, Cyril).


Sacred Space
Daily Prayer - 2016-03-18


The more we call on God
the more we can feel God's presence.
Day by day we are drawn closer
to the loving heart of God.


A thick and shapeless tree-trunk
would never believe that it could become a statue,
admired as a miracle of sculpture,
and would never submit itself to the chisel of the sculptor,
who sees by his genius what he can make of it (Saint Ignatius).
I ask for the grace to let myself be shaped by my loving Creator.


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 JER 20:10-13

I hear the whisperings of many:
"Terror on every side!
Denounce! let us denounce him!"
All those who were my friends
are on the watch for any misstep of mine.
"Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail,
and take our vengeance on him."
But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion:
my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.
In their failure they will be put to utter shame,
to lasting, unforgettable confusion.
O LORD of hosts, you who test the just,
who probe mind and heart,
Let me witness the vengeance you take on them,
for to you I have entrusted my cause.
Sing to the LORD,
praise the LORD,
For he has rescued the life of the poor
from the power of the wicked!

Responsorial Psalm PS 18:2-3A, 3BC-4, 5-6, 7

R. (see 7) In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.

I love you, O LORD, my strength,
O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.

R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.

My God, my rock of refuge,
my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!
Praised be the LORD, I exclaim,
and I am safe from my enemies.

R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.

The breakers of death surged round about me,
the destroying floods overwhelmed me;
The cords of the nether world enmeshed me,
the snares of death overtook me.

R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.

In my distress I called upon the LORD
and cried out to my God;
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.

R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.

Verse Before The Gospel SEE JN 6:63C, 68C

Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.

Gospel JN 10:31-42

The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus.
Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from my Father.
For which of these are you trying to stone me?"
The Jews answered him,
"We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.
You, a man, are making yourself God."
Jesus answered them,
"Is it not written in your law, 'I said, 'You are gods"'?
If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came,
and Scripture cannot be set aside,
can you say that the one
whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world
blasphemes because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?
If I do not perform my Father's works, do not believe me;
but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me,
believe the works, so that you may realize and understand
that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."
Then they tried again to arrest him;
but he escaped from their power.

He went back across the Jordan
to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.
Many came to him and said,
"John performed no sign,
but everything John said about this man was true."

And many there began to believe in him.

Some thoughts on today's scripture

Another threat to stone Jesus is followed by another attempt to arrest him. In between, the debate rages on with the word "blasphemy" coming to the fore. Jesus is guilty of blasphemy because (his opponents say), "You, though only a human being, are making yourself God". This, of course, is the heart of the matter. Christian faith affirms that Jesus is fully human and fully divine.
Jesus tries to get his listeners to pay attention to his works as well as to his words. His works also speak, communicate, witness, teach, reveal. The Father is the one "behind" the works that Jesus performs.


Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the Word of God?
Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry?
Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me,
I speak out my feelings, as one trusted friend to another.


I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.


Meditation: Psalm 18:2-7

I love you, O Lord. (Psalm 18:2)

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)

When you're in love with someone, you begin to notice many new aspects of that person's character, and you can name all of the qualities that you appreciate and admire in him or her: kindness, gentleness, joy, compassion, and so on. Well, today the psalmist lists a similar litany of adjectives to express his love for the Lord. It may not be the same as romantic love, but it paints a picture of how the psalmist views his God.

As he expresses his gratitude to the Lord, the words seem to come from the very depths of his being: God is his refuge, his deliverer, and his fortress. He has rescued him, saved him, and shielded him from harm.

What would your psalm look like? What words would you use to describe God? Use the spaces below to put your love for God into words. You may even want to make this a family activity and share your completed psalms with each other.

I love you, O Lord, my ______________________ (list some nouns, e.g., my refuge, my strength, my peace).

You are _____________________________________ (list some adjectives, e.g., merciful, good, patient, persistent, loving, just).

You have saved me from _________________ (name a specific situation or sin), and you have changed me (describe what he has done in more detail).

Once you have written your psalm, post it someplace where you will see it often—like your refrigerator or your bathroom mirror. You may find that reading your psalm fills you with encouragement and peace. You may find yourself moved to deeper gratitude for who he is and what he has done for you.

As you recall and meditate on what God has done in your life, you'll end up more in awe of him than when you started!

"Lord, let your praise ever be on my lips!"

Jeremiah 20:10-13
John 10:31-42




We heard the Word, "Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD, For he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked!" How can these words ring true for someone that does not believe? How will they understand the whole "salvation" thing? Perhaps we need to broaden our vision of salvation. Life of salvation means so much. Being saved from the power of the wicked, is what Jesus is about...the life of the poor. Blessed are the poor in Spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. The poor, the alienated, the ones who have no savior. Is this an unbeliever? And where is your mercy? Not HIS mercy...but yours. Mercy shows the way.
We pray today "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice." The Lord even answers to the one who has much trouble in believing. The Lord hears the cry of faith. And guess what else He hears? When you tell Him you love Him, so let us pray the Psalm again: "I love you, O LORD, my strength, O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer." Why do you love the Lord? And the Lord at one time asks " the wicked God says: "Why do you recite my commandments and profess my covenant with your mouth? You hate discipline; you cast my words behind you!" Should my failures keep me from praising God? Let's say this, the more you praise God, the fewer the failures will be, because eventually you will totally surrender...totally love. And this is the Aim of Heaven. Eventually Psalm 50:21 ends with "Those who offer praise as a sacrifice honor me; I will let him whose way is steadfast look upon the salvation of God."
In comes our Lord into our lives where He so often is tried to be pushed away, "I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?" It is the case of Joseph with his brothers, because they didn't want to kill their brother for being their brother, but because the brother had said one day he'd save them, as if to say, be their savior, the Lord. Humility disappears when you can not accept salvation through one another. Because the Lord works in mysterious ways and through us and among us. Do not think you are far from the Lord, neither far from rejecting Him. If there is one thing Lent has aimed us towards is rejection of self, and the worldly ways of sin, and turning to Him. This was the focus of the ashes, this is the rememberance of the dust we are made of. The Lord escapes from the clutches of evil, for the Father was with Him as always will be. What happens then when Jesus marches into Jerusalem as will be the case this Palm Sunday? Jesus doesn't escape but surrenders to God's will. Lent, is coming to an end of itself, and how was it spent? Did it pass in a flash or was it a long struggle? Let me tell you a slight revelation today...the entirety of the picture of the march into Jerusalem and all the people outside Jerusalem and inside are the people of the world then and now and the hereafter. Where do I stand? Outside praising, and then not following Him to the end? Or inside waiting to denounce Him? Or how about following Him to take over what is the Father's? The Christian follows Christ. This is the way to eternity...