Tuesday, June 20, 2017

You May Be Children

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Stand against Evil

Blessed Mother Mary, Our Lady of Fatima, please guide me closer to your Son Jesus. All of the angels and saints, please help me to be strong against the evil influences in this world by avoiding temptation, by praying constantly, and by leading a virtuous life. Amen.

–from the book Our Lady of Fatima: 100 Years of Stories, Prayers, and Devotions


✞ "If we but paused for a moment to consider attentively what takes place in this Sacrament of the Eucharist, I am sure that the thought of Christ's love for us would transform the coldness of our hearts into a fire of love and gratitude."
— St. Angela of Foligno

"Joseph, meanwhile, in the midst of his labors and his poverty esteemed himself superlatively rich, because in Mary he possessed the rarest and most precious treasure on earth. Her presence was paradise to him."
— Edward Healy Thompson, p. 182
The Life & Glories of St. Joseph

"Who can command and have it done, if the Lord has not ordained it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come? Why should any who draw breath complain about the punishment of their sins? Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts as well as our hands to God in heaven."
Lamentations 3:37-41


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Bl. John Fenwick and Bl. John Gavan (d. 1679) were Englishmen and Jesuit priests who were martyred for their Catholic faith in England during the royal persecution of the Catholic Church. John Fenwick's Protestant parents disowned him when he became a Catholic. The two priests, along with three other Jesuits, were falsely accused of involvement in the Popish Plot, a fabricated conspiracy that mounted in anti-Catholic hysteria in England over the course of three years. The men were charged with complicity to assassinate King Charles II, and were condemned on the charges of High Treason and subversion of the nation's Protestant religion. During their trial, John Gavan acted as the principal spokesman for the group; one historian called him one of the ablest priests of his generation. Both priests were condemned to be hung, drawn, and quartered. It is said that the King, knowing they were innocent yet unwilling to grant them pardon, sufficed for them to be hung only. After giving a rousing speech declaring their innocence, Bl. John Fenwick and Bl. John Gavan were martyred together on June 20th, 1679. They share a feast day on June 20th.


Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 2 Cor 8:1-9

We want you to know, brothers and sisters, of the grace of God
that has been given to the churches of Macedonia,
for in a severe test of affliction,
the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty
overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
For according to their means, I can testify,
and beyond their means, spontaneously,
they begged us insistently for the favor of taking part
in the service to the holy ones,
and this, not as we expected,
but they gave themselves first to the Lord
and to us through the will of God,
so that we urged Titus that, as he had already begun,
he should also complete for you this gracious act also.
Now as you excel in every respect,
in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness,
and in the love we have for you,
may you excel in this gracious act also.

I say this not by way of command,
but to test the genuineness of your love
by your concern for others.
For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that for your sake he became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 146:2, 5-6ab, 6c- 7, 8-9a
R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, my soul!
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
Blessed he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD, his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
Who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
Alleluia Jn 13:34
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
"You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."


Meditation: Matthew 5:43-48

11th Week in Ordinary Time

Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44)

How many times have you heard these words from Jesus, and felt completely helpless? We all have someone in our lives that we simply can't love or forgive—someone who has hurt us so badly that we have resigned ourselves to bearing the wounds for the rest of our lives.

It is precisely these memories, these fears, even these resentments that the Lord wants to heal. He knows that we will never find the strength to deal with them on our own. He also knows that there are some situations where it would not be wise to try to reconcile—but even in these, he can help us forgive from a safe distance so that we can move on in freedom.

How does Jesus heal us? Not by magically taking everything away in an instant. He does it as we invite him into our wounded memories. If you find yourself struggling with a painful memory, take some time to sit quietly with the Lord. Tell him that you want to be healed. In your heart, picture Jesus sitting with you and with the person who hurt you. See how he loves you, and how he loves that other person. Let his love wash you clean and heal your pain. Sometimes we have to do this a few times, and we may need to have a trusted friend help pray with us. But healing does come.

Yes, Jesus does want us to love our enemies. He even commands it. But he is not leaving us to figure out how to do this all by ourselves. He is with us every step of the way, offering us his healing and his comfort. He knows how far each of us has to go in this journey, and he is ready to accompany us. He is not put off by our pain—not even by our hatred. All he wants is an open heart and an invitation. He wants to set us free.

"Jesus, I welcome you into my heart. I welcome you into my wounded memories. Come, Lord, and teach me how to love and how to forgive. You are the great physician, and I trust in you."

2 Corinthians 8:1-9
Psalm 146:2, 5-9


"I say this not by way of command, but to test the genuineness of your love by your concern for others." A test of love, that is what our lives on earth are.

Let us pray: "Praise the LORD, my soul! I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God while I live". Saint Paul once told the pagans that he knew who their "unknown god" was. So, who worships an unknown god? Wouldn't you rather know your GOD? Do you really? Let's then, listen to His voice.

"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father..." and then He says "For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?" You see, love costs. People wants something for nothing all the time, but real love costs. It costs a considerable effort. It takes work. It takes time. It takes money. It takes heart. It takes sacrifice. Love costs. It costs pain. It costs anguish at times. Who will pay what it costs?

Jesus our Lord and our King and our God paid. He paid tremendously, all the riches of the world and Heaven put down for us to be one with Him forever. And so it is now afforded to us, afforded and affordable, this salvation.

You know, we went on a family pilgrimage trip this weekend, I took a family friend, a priest, a Monsignor. We went to see a miraculous staircase in a city called "Holy Faith" in English. Then we went to a pilgrimage site north of there, an adobe church built around 1815. Holy dirt was there. Then we went to a shrine in the mountains where a nun was given land but there was no water up on that mountain top, and she got on her knees praying and searched and prayed, and searched, and a muddy hole she found, became water, soon they had a pool of water for the retreats she had for the youth up on the mountain top. I offered the pilgrimage for a few things but the trip offered me a reaffirmation of one line that casts a demanding invitation from Heaven now to you before your eyes:
+God Loves You.+
Mercy proves it.
He wants His children to be His reflection. If God really loves, then there really is forgiveness. If God really loves, He really reaches out. If God really loves then He is really open and available. If God really exists, then I can really feel Him. Many stories of conversion are because people see God in the living. 'What if God was one of us?', so goes the word to a song. But it is an oxymoron of a lyric. Because it questions His existence. Because I know He is one of us, and He walks among us and even in the one you can not afford mercy. My condemning eyes fail to see God. My merciful eyes see God.

And so it becomes a question of heart, mind, and soul. The eyes are the windows and the doors to the soul. Have you failed to see God lately? He sees you.

God Loves you.
What in the world does that mean?
Can it be that I will only realize His love when I am miserable and need Him?

Can it be such an unbearable thought, that I don't want to hear it?

Can it be a thought I like to leave hanging and never act on it?
God loves you. "So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."
Be love, as your Heavenly Father is Love. Be what the world needs to see. Something strange, because He is a stranger. Something known because He is made known.

God is telling us not just how to be, but what to be...Perfect. And who is our Perfect model to follow? JESUS. He paid what it cost, showed what it cost, and gave what the world could not offer, nor ever pay. For that we can give a million thanks, and then, it would be a small payment for an eternal reward...Love that lasts forever



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