Tuesday, April 25, 2017

They went forth...

Proclaim with Joy I want to be a woman whose faith in God's promises holds no matter how long there is no visible evidence of it—a woman who uses her

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Proclaim with Joy

I want to be a woman whose faith in God's promises holds no matter how long there is no visible evidence of it—a woman who uses her voice to bring hope to the weary and to rejoice with those who rejoice. I want to proclaim God's goodness and faithfulness steadily, with great joy, regardless of what the world around me looks like—because when it is darkest, that is when my voice is most needed.

–from Who Does He Say You Are?


✞ "Since happiness is nothing other than the enjoyment of the highest good, and since the highest good is above, no one can be happy unless he rises above himself, not by an ascent of the body, but of the heart."
— St. Bonaventure

"No one can fail to understand that the Divine Eucharist bestows upon the Christian people an incomparable dignity. Not only while the Sacrifice is offered and the Sacrament is received, but as long as the Eucharist is kept in our churches and oratories, Christ is truly Emmanuel, that is, 'God with us'. Day and night He is in our midst, He dwells with us, full of grace and truth. He restores morality, nourishes virtues, consoles the afflicted, strengthens the weak. He proposes His own example to those who come to Him that all may learn to be, like Himself, meek and humble of heart and to seek not their own interests but those of God. Anyone who approaches this august Sacrament with special devotion and endeavors to return generous love for Christ's own infinite love, will experience and fully understand—not without spiritual joy and fruit—how precious is the life hidden with Christ in God and how great is the value of converse with Christ, for there is nothing more consoling on earth, nothing more efficacious for advancing along the road of holiness."
— Bl. Pope Paul VI, p.52
Manual for Eucharistic Adoration

"The way of the righteous is level; O Just One, you make smooth the path of the righteous. In the path of your judgments, O Lord, we wait for you; your name and your renown are the soul's desire. My soul yearns for you in the night, my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness."
Isaiah 26:7-9


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Saint Mark

Saint of the Day for April 25

(? – c. April 25, 68)

Most of what we know about Mark comes directly from the New Testament. He is usually identified with the Mark of Acts 12:12. When St. Peter escaped from prison, he went to the home of Mark's mother.

Paul and Barnabas took him along on the first missionary journey, but for some reason Mark returned alone to Jerusalem. It is evident, from Paul's refusal to let Mark accompany him on the second journey despite Barnabas's insistence, that Mark had displeased Paul. Because Paul later asks Mark to visit him in prison, we may assume the trouble did not last long.

The oldest and the shortest of the four Gospels, the Gospel of Mark emphasizes Jesus's rejection by humanity while being God's triumphant envoy. Probably written for gentile converts in Rome—after the death of Peter and Paul sometime between A.D. 60 and 70—Mark's Gospel is the gradual manifestation of a "scandal": a crucified Messiah.

Evidently a friend of Mark–calling him "my son"–Peter is only one of this Gospel's sources, others being the Church in Jerusalem (Jewish roots), and the Church at Antioch (largely gentile).

Like another Gospel writer Luke, Mark was not one of the 12 apostles. We cannot be certain whether he knew Jesus personally. Some scholars feel that the evangelist is speaking of himself when describing the arrest of Jesus in Gethsemane: "Now a young man followed him wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body. They seized him, but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked" (Mark 14:51-52).

Others hold Mark to be the first bishop of Alexandria, Egypt. Venice, famous for the Piazza San Marco, claims Mark as its patron saint; the large basilica there is believed to contain his remains.

A winged lion is Mark's symbol. The lion derives from Mark's description of John the Baptist as a "voice of one crying out in the desert" (Mark 1:3), which artists compared to a roaring lion. The wings come from the application of Ezekiel's vision of four winged creatures to the evangelists.


Mark fulfilled in his life what every Christian is called to do: proclaim to all people the Good News that is the source of salvation. In particular, Mark's way was by writing. Others may proclaim the Good News by music, drama, poetry, or by teaching children around a family table.

Saint Mark is the Patron Saint of:



Feast of Saint Mark, evangelist

Reading 1 1 Pt 5:5b-14

Clothe yourselves with humility
in your dealings with one another, for:

God opposes the proud
but bestows favor on the humble.

So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that he may exalt you in due time.
Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.

Be sober and vigilant.
Your opponent the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour.
Resist him, steadfast in faith,
knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world
undergo the same sufferings.
The God of all grace
who called you to his eternal glory through Christ Jesus
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you
after you have suffered a little.
To him be dominion forever. Amen.

I write you this briefly through Silvanus,
whom I consider a faithful brother,
exhorting you and testifying that this is the true grace of God.
Remain firm in it.
The chosen one at Babylon sends you greeting, as does Mark, my son.
Greet one another with a loving kiss.
Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17
R. (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, "My kindness is established forever";
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
The heavens proclaim your wonders, O LORD,
and your faithfulness, in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies can rank with the LORD?
Who is like the LORD among the sons of God?
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Blessed the people who know the joyful shout;
in the light of your countenance, O LORD, they walk.
At your name they rejoice all the day,
and through your justice they are exalted.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia 1 Cor 1:23a-24b
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We proclaim Christ crucified:
he is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 16:15-20
Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
"Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

Then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.
But they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them
and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.

Catholic Meditations
Meditation: Mark 16:15-20

Saint Mark, Evangelist (Feast)

They went forth and preached everywhere. (Mark 16:20)

When we see "Saint" in front of someone's name, we may think they got that way all by themselves. But St. Mark, whose feast day we celebrate today, tells a different story. He might never have become the saint we revere today if someone else hadn't believed in him.

Mark was the son of Mary, a widow who hosted early Christian gatherings in her home (Acts 12:12). Although he was not one of the twelve apostles, it's likely that he was one of Jesus' followers. Mark accompanied his cousin Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary journey, but for some reason, he left them prematurely (13:13). When it came time for Paul's next trip, he didn't want to take Mark along. In Paul's eyes, Mark had deserted the cause of the gospel (15:38).

Fortunately, Barnabas didn't give up on him. While Paul went on to Syria with Silas, Barnabas took Mark to Cyprus (Acts 15:39-41). Tradition tells us that Mark went on to Rome, became Peter's interpreter, and later wrote his Gospel based on Peter's preaching. A second chance was all he needed. Paul eventually forgave Mark, commending him for his service and calling his companionship "helpful" (2 Timothy 4:11). Tradition also holds that Mark founded the church in Alexandria and was martyred there.

What if Barnabas had rejected Mark because of his earlier failure? Mark might never have become Peter's "son" in the faith (1 Peter 5:13). What's worse, he might never have written his Gospel—which means that Matthew and Luke might not have written theirs! If Barnabas hadn't shown Mark a little compassion, who knows what kind of Bible we would have?

Like Barnabas, we need to give people a second chance. No one is perfect. Everyone needs the gift of a new beginning. God's grace and love can cover "a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8). And not only our sins, but also our desertions, weaknesses, failures, and quirks. Our willingness to mend relationships can make a difference not only in our lives, but even in eternity!

"Father, help me to see the gifts in others, not their shortcomings. Show me how to love and encourage them."

1 Peter 5:5-14
Psalm 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17


"God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble." Read the inverse then if this is true: the proud oppose God. So we read on the Word of God: "So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time." And if He exalts, He raises up, the spirit, and the flesh, because He can.

We prayed today "For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness." It is said that there is song. The Lord too knew the Psalms, and He fulfilled them and often spoke in Psalms as songs. Yet the greatest song was His life. A daily living. Suddenly forever is now, because in Heaven it is the forever now.

In comes the Lord of our lives, and today He does what happens at the end of Mass...a sending forth.

Fr. Mike of Louisiana said:
"Before sending his disciples into the world to bear witness to his resurrection before all the nations, Jesus Christ, and I am quoting Luke 24:50-51:
"lifting up his hands, blessed them. And while he was blessing them, he was taken into heaven."
Before sending the faithful back into the world to announce the resurrection of Christ to their brothers and sisters, the priest likewise lifts up his hand over them, marks them with the sign of the cross, and invokes the blessing of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit upon them. They are now to carry to their brothers and sisters in the world the cross of light with which they have been marked.
The priest is not ordained to dominate his brothers and sisters, but to bring them the blessing on the part of God by marking them with the cross of Jesus. To tell the truth, he does not bless them himself, rather he says the prayer that asks God to bless them: "May Almighty God bless you . . . " That is the humility of the priestly ministry. That is also its eminent dignity. The priest, like Jesus, came to serve.
The early Church saw the Mass as extending into daily lives. Strengthened by the Word of God and nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ, they were sent to proclaim the Word and be the Body of Christ in the world. There are several versions of "Go in Peace." It is that sending forth that we joyfully respond, "Thanks be to God."

There are times when I wish I could hold some people up when I see them walk out of Mass before the dismissal. It is the final and perhaps most important blessing. It is the prayer of our Lord before ascending into Heaven. This is the prayer they heard and they, we, embark on our journey, to heal the sick, pick up serpents and dispel evil, and do many more signs as the Lord Himself accompanies us in His Holy Spirit. And this is what I do, and if you don't do it, listen during the final blessing, as the priest in the person of Christ blesses in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, wait for Him to say the words of each person in the Holy Trinity, wait for the Word Father and then touch your head, wait for the Word Son, then touch your heart, and wait for the Words Holy Spirit, then touch your shoulders. Wait for Him, do not beat him. I seen it this past Saturday visiting a church for Saturday evening Mass, people rushing out right after receiving the Eucharist, and people cutting off the priest and deacon and altar servers on the final procession, they walked ahead of him, instead of after him. I know you who are reading this don't do this, but I want you to take note: Christ comes first, we follow. When He sends forth, He sends forth the Holy Spirit to guide us on our way. Christ comes first. Let your heart be guided by this light of truth to the cross. Such is the sign of a true follower, one who is afflicted, and this affliction is a mark of one surrendered to Christ as a slave. In a crazy retreat I went to called "escuela de la cruz" (school of the cross), they called these men "cruzados" or (crossed), and they used the example of an object held over a flame, the flame changed the object held over the flame. It is Christ who does this molding into His way. St. Francis of Assisi used to say, "If I saw an Angel and a priest, I would bend my knee first to the priest and then to the Angel." Such reverence to the priest, the "Father" is obsolete. No, rather, in years past, I've had to endure watching different priests be lied about, and some despise them, and the list of irreverence goes on as if they were spit on, and I've seen a priest in tears in meetings at the cruelty of parishioners jeering words. Who then is crying? Jesus, Christ. He has to endure the atrocity of our pride, the very thing He cried about in the garden of sorrows. Yet, He obeyed. He didn't want to die right away, but He had to. He cried bitter tears of those jeering torments of sufferings He would endure for thousands of years. He didn't have to, and He did...He died.

So who comes first?
Jesus Christ.
Not me. Not my feelings. Not what I got to do. This is what it means when we heard today "So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time."
I told some friends the other day "how you live life daily reflects how you will live eternally". Was your life focused on yourself yesterday? Or was it centralized in Christ? For me, it was all about the Mass, this is Heaven, this is Jesus Christ still breaking bread daily and sending forth daily. The life of Christ is daily. It is not a single prayer you did, nor a single event, but life itself. Either it is Christ living in you and through you, breathing through you or not.

"Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned."