Friday, March 17, 2017

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Strive to Serve Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wou

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Strive to Serve

Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not to ask for reward.

—Prayer of Saint Ignatius of Loyola

-from Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta


"It is a lesson we all need—to let alone the things that do not concern us. He has other ways for others to follow Him; all do not go by the same path. It is for each of us to learn the path by which He requires us to follow Him, and to follow Him in that path."
— St. Katharine Drexel


"Now there's no one who approaches God with a true and upright heart who isn't tested by hardships and temptations. So in all these temptations see to it that even if you feel them, you don't consent to them. Instead, bear them patiently and calmly with humility and longsuffering."
— St. Albert the Great, p. 164
Manual for Spiritual Warfare

"Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
Ephesians 3:20-21


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St. Patrick (387-493) was born in Kilpatrick, Scotland, to Roman-British parents. He was kidnapped by Irish raiders at the age of sixteen and sold as a slave to a Druid high priest. He worked as a shepherd and spent much time in prayer as he labored in the fields. He also acquired a perfect knowledge of the Celtic language and the Druid cult, which later enabled him to evangelize the Celtic people. After six years of slavery, an angel told him to flee his oppressive master and return to his native land. Upon returning to Britain, Patrick desired to devote himself to God's service. He went to France and placed himself under the direction of St. Germain, who ordained him a priest and sent him to evangelize the pagans in Ireland. St. Patrick devoted the rest of his life to converting the island to Christianity. He was ordained a bishop and himself ordained many priests. He divided the country into dioceses, held local Church councils, founded monasteries, and urged the people to greater holiness. He suffered much opposition from the Druids and occult magicians, who, threatened by Christianity, conjured demonic power to defy Patrick. However, the prayer, faith, fearlessness, and episcopal authority of Patrick triumphed, and he was so successful in his endeavor that in the Middle Ages Ireland became known as the Land of Saints, and himself the "Apostle of Ireland." Later, the missionaries sent from Ireland to Europe were largely responsible for the Christianizing of the continent. St. Patrick's feast day is March 17th.
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Saint Patrick is the Patron Saint of:





Sacred Space
Friday of the Second Week of Lent

Reading 1 Gn 37:3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28a

Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons,
for he was the child of his old age;
and he had made him a long tunic.
When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons,
they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.

One day, when his brothers had gone
to pasture their father's flocks at Shechem,
Israel said to Joseph,
"Your brothers, you know, are tending our flocks at Shechem.
Get ready; I will send you to them."

So Joseph went after his brothers and caught up with them in Dothan.
They noticed him from a distance,
and before he came up to them, they plotted to kill him.
They said to one another: "Here comes that master dreamer!
Come on, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here;
we could say that a wild beast devoured him.
We shall then see what comes of his dreams."

When Reuben heard this,
he tried to save him from their hands, saying,
"We must not take his life.
Instead of shedding blood," he continued,
"just throw him into that cistern there in the desert;
but do not kill him outright."
His purpose was to rescue him from their hands
and return him to his father.
So when Joseph came up to them,
they stripped him of the long tunic he had on;
then they took him and threw him into the cistern,
which was empty and dry.

They then sat down to their meal.
Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead,
their camels laden with gum, balm and resin
to be taken down to Egypt.
Judah said to his brothers:
"What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood?
Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites,
instead of doing away with him ourselves.
After all, he is our brother, our own flesh."
His brothers agreed.
They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 105:16-17, 18-19, 20-21
R. (5a) Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
When the LORD called down a famine on the land
and ruined the crop that sustained them,
He sent a man before them,
Joseph, sold as a slave.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
They had weighed him down with fetters,
and he was bound with chains,
Till his prediction came to pass
and the word of the LORD proved him true.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
The king sent and released him,
the ruler of the peoples set him free.
He made him lord of his house
and ruler of all his possessions.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.

Verse Before the Gospel Jn 3:16
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son;
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

Gospel Mt 21:33-43, 45-46

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
"Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them,
thinking, 'They will respect my son.'
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
'This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.'
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?"
They answered him,
"He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times."
Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?

Therefore, I say to you,
the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit."
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables,
they knew that he was speaking about them.
And although they were attempting to arrest him,
they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.

Catholic Meditations
Meditation: Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46

Saint Patrick, Bishop (Optional Memorial)

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. (Matthew 21:42)

Throughout salvation history, many "stones" have been rejected, only to become trusted and beloved "cornerstones" in their own right. We may think of figures like Moses, Esther, or Joseph. We may think of heroic saints like Patrick, whose feast day we celebrate today. And of course, we think of Jesus, the chief cornerstone of the Church.

But what about you? Have you ever thought of yourself as a cornerstone?

In today's first reading, we see how Joseph's brothers rejected him and sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:23-28). But Joseph's humility and his willingness to rely on God allowed him to rise above his difficult situation and become the cornerstone to save his family and all of Egypt from famine.

Because he preached the gospel in a pagan land, St. Patrick was rejected and opposed by tribal chieftains in Ireland. But he relied on God, and so he was able to devote his life to joyfully spreading the good news. His humility and love for God helped Patrick to become a cornerstone for the Church in Ireland.

For Joseph and Patrick, it wasn't the rejection that was crucial, but their humility and steadfastness. That's what enabled God to turn them into cornerstones of faith and witnesses to the gospel.

Are you ready to become a cornerstone? Maybe you think that God can't use you because you're not good enough, smart enough, or rich enough. But you don't need to be powerful or brave to serve God. You don't need to be famous. You only need to be teachable and eager. God can use you—and he wants to! Just be faithful in little things, and he will give you opportunities to have more of an influence each day.

What little things can you do today to be a cornerstone? Maybe it's showing kindness to your family, forgiving a friend who has slighted you, or showing charity to someone in need. Just set your mind on serving the Lord today, and watch for the small opportunities—and maybe even big ones—that he will send your way.

"Use me, Lord. Make me like you, faithful and steadfast."

Psalm 105:16-21
Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28


Bishop Barren says in his reflection today: "Friends, our Gospel today recounts the parable of the landowner who planted a vineyard and leased it to tenants. God is the landowner, the vineyard is his creation, and we are the tenants, responsible to care for it. In Jesus' telling of the story, the servants that the landowner sent to obtain his produce are the prophets and teachers of Israel, those who remind the people of their responsibilities toward God. But the tenants beat one servant, killed another, and stoned a third.

Finally, the landowner sent his son expecting the tenants to respect him. So, Jesus came that we might direct the whole of our lives back to God, that we might remember that we are tenants and that the whole of the world belongs to God.

"But when the tenants saw the son, … they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard and killed him." Here, of course, is the whole tragedy of Jesus' cross. When God sent his son to us, we killed him. This is the insane resistance to God's intentions which is called sin."

The 5 minutos reflection says towards the end today: "Our capital sin is not killing an heir, but ignoring him, taking his place, trusting more in people and in mediums other than Jesus Christ. We absolute the authority and the human power and forget that Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our faith. Solely Christ died for us, solely He paid the rent and offered to God the fruits that we will never pay. Like disciples of Jesus it is our turn to transform the world, so that His vineyard produces better fruits, of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, amiability, fidelity, and self control. He needs us all. "

It is interesting to note how the brothers betrayed Joseph, and Jesus. They were jealous. They hated him to death. They plotted to kill him. They traded him for some silver. They had no room in their hearts for him. They chose the money. They chose themselves. All were in the same spirit and some perhaps didn't really want that but went with the flow. One sort of tried, but the half hearted effort only got so talks. Today, the same thing happens over and over. The economy seems more important, but unfortunately, people think economy means money, instead of household management. The god of money, other things more important seem to take place. Notice then, what takes more importance with your money. How much do you give on Sundays? And daily? How much are you giving to God? How much effort? How much does it cost you? How much does it cost to reach out to that person you seemingly hate by not even saying hi to them? Because that is what the brothers did. They couldn't look at him in the face. They couldn't .... love. The could only then...kill.

You see, in the things of God, they are black or white, dark or light. Joseph eventually forgives his betrayers, when he meets them starving to death. He cries. Jesus forgives his trespassers, and cries for them, these were the tears of bitter agony on Holy Friday. Not for self, but because what the people were doing to themselves.

Suddenly, today's Gospel dares to ask us again....Will I empty myself for Him?