Tuesday, August 22, 2017

It will be hard

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The Way We Know God Is Near

There is a way to know if God is near us or far away: Everyone who is concerned about the hungry, about the naked, about the poor, about the disappeared, about the tortured, about the prisoner, about all the flesh that is suffering, will find God near. "Call out to the Lord and he will hear you."

Religion is not praying a great deal. Religion involves this promise of having my God near because I do good to my brothers and sisters. My devotion is not shown by saying a great many words; the devotion in my prayers is easy to see: How do I treat the poor? Because that's where God is.

–from the book Through The Year with Oscar Romero


✞ "Let all nations know that Thou art God alone, and that Jesus Christ is Thy Son, and that we are Thy people and the sheep of Thy pasture."
— St. Clement

"Let us say boldly with St. Bernard that we have need of a mediator with the Mediator Himself, and that it is the divine Mary who is the most capable of filling that charitable office. It was through her that Jesus Christ came to us, and it is through her that we must go to Him. If we fear to go directly to Jesus Christ, our God, whether because of His infinite greatness or because of our vileness or because of our sins, let us boldly implore the aid and intercession of Mary, our Mother. She is good, she is tender, she has nothing in her austere and forbidding, nothing too sublime and too brilliant. In seeing her, we see our pure nature."
— St. Louis de Montfort, p. 42
True Devotion to Mary



August 22nd is the Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This title of Our Lady, Queen of Heaven (Regina Caeli), is rooted in biblical history where the mother of Israel's king had the royal title of Queen Mother. Church Tradition holds that once Mary, the Mother of God, was assumed body and soul into heaven at the end of her earthy life, she was crowned as Queen of Heaven and Earth to reign alongside her Son, Jesus the King of Kings.

"You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near."
James 5:8


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Queenship of Mary

The Story of the Queenship of Mary

Pope Pius XII established this feast in 1954. But Mary's queenship has roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced that Mary's Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary "mother of my Lord." As in all the mysteries of Mary's life, she is closely associated with Jesus: Her queenship is a share in Jesus' kingship. We can also recall that in the Old Testament the mother of the king has great influence in court.

In the fourth century Saint Ephrem called Mary "Lady" and "Queen." Later Church fathers and doctors continued to use the title. Hymns of the 11th to 13th centuries address Mary as queen: "Hail, Holy Queen," "Hail, Queen of Heaven," "Queen of Heaven." The Dominican rosary and the Franciscan crown as well as numerous invocations in Mary's litany celebrate her queenship.

The feast is a logical follow-up to the Assumption, and is now celebrated on the octave day of that feast. In his 1954 encyclical To the Queen of Heaven, Pius XII points out that Mary deserves the title because she is Mother of God, because she is closely associated as the New Eve with Jesus' redemptive work, because of her preeminent perfection, and because of her intercessory power.


As Saint Paul suggests in Romans 8:28–30, God has predestined human beings from all eternity to share the image of his Son. All the more was Mary predestined to be the mother of Jesus. As Jesus was to be king of all creation, Mary, in dependence on Jesus, was to be queen. All other titles to queenship derive from this eternal intention of God. As Jesus exercised his kingship on earth by serving his Father and his fellow human beings, so did Mary exercise her queenship. As the glorified Jesus remains with us as our king till the end of time (Matthew 28:20), so does Mary, who was assumed into heaven and crowned queen of heaven and earth.


Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Reading 1 Jgs 6:11-24a

The angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth in Ophrah
that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite.
While his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press
to save it from the Midianites,
the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said,
"The LORD is with you, O champion!"
Gideon said to him, "My Lord, if the LORD is with us,
why has all this happened to us?
Where are his wondrous deeds of which our fathers
told us when they said, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?'
For now the LORD has abandoned us
and has delivered us into the power of Midian."
The LORD turned to him and said, "Go with the strength you have
and save Israel from the power of Midian.
It is I who send you."
But Gideon answered him, "Please, my lord, how can I save Israel?
My family is the lowliest in Manasseh,
and I am the most insignificant in my father's house."
"I shall be with you," the LORD said to him,
"and you will cut down Midian to the last man."
Gideon answered him, "If I find favor with you,
give me a sign that you are speaking with me.
Do not depart from here, I pray you, until I come back to you
and bring out my offering and set it before you."
He answered, "I will await your return."

So Gideon went off and prepared a kid and a measure of flour
in the form of unleavened cakes.
Putting the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot,
he brought them out to him under the terebinth
and presented them.
The angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and unleavened cakes
and lay them on this rock; then pour out the broth."
When he had done so,
the angel of the LORD stretched out the tip of the staff he held,
and touched the meat and unleavened cakes.
Thereupon a fire came up from the rock
that consumed the meat and unleavened cakes,
and the angel of the LORD disappeared from sight.
Gideon, now aware that it had been the angel of the LORD,
said, "Alas, Lord GOD,
that I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!"
The LORD answered him,
"Be calm, do not fear. You shall not die."
So Gideon built there an altar to the LORD
and called it Yahweh-shalom.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 85:9, 11-12, 13-14
R. (see 9b) The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD–for he proclaims peace
To his people, and to his faithful ones,
and to those who put in him their hope.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.

Alleluia 2 Cor 8:9
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 19:23-30

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich
to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you,
it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God."
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said,
"Who then can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said,
"For men this is impossible,
but for God all things are possible."
Then Peter said to him in reply,
"We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?"
Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you
that you who have followed me, in the new age,
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life.
But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first."


Meditation: Judges 6:11-24

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Memorial)

The Lord is with you, O champion! (Judges 6:12)

The Bible is filled with stories about the amazing things that happen when God speaks. He said, "Let there be light," and there was light (Genesis 1:3). He spoke the heavens and the earth into being, and they were created. He commanded vegetation to grow and creatures to fill the world, and they did. There is nothing he can't do with the words of his mouth!

But God's words are not just for cosmic events like creation. In today's first reading, for instance, an angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and called him a mighty warrior. At the time, Gideon was nothing special. "My family is the lowliest in Manasseh," he protested, "and I am the most insignificant in my father's house" (Judges 6:15). But that didn't matter. God had given him a new title, and with that title came the grace to fulfill his new role. Gideon went on, in the strength of the Lord, to lead a ragtag army that rescued Israel from the Midianites.

Do you want other examples of new names from God that imparted his grace and power? Abram, who had no children, became Abraham, the father of many nations. Jacob, the supplanter, became Israel, one who prevails with God. Simon, the reed, became Peter, the rock. There's a pattern here, isn't there? Each of these people went from ordinary to extraordinary, from a position of weakness to a position of authority and influence, for the sake of God's people. Each grew into their new name and made a difference for the kingdom of God.

At their confirmation, many people take the name of a saint who inspires them. What name did you choose? What qualities about that saint made an impression on you? Perhaps this saint set an example that you want to follow. Perhaps the saint's name itself captures your hopes and dreams for your life in the Lord. Well, no matter why you chose that name, know that God has honored your choice. He has heard you speak, and he is breathing his power into you so that you can take on that saint's likeness. He is speaking that name over you right now, calling forth the new creation he has placed in you.

"Lord, let me hear you call me by name. Jesus, I want to make a difference in the world for you."

Psalm 85:9, 11-14
Matthew 19:23-30



The Lord said in the first Holy Scripture: ""Be calm, do not fear." This meant, "get after it, I'm with you". It didn't mean just sit there and chill out. This means live your life and Do His Will! If an angel appears with the message of God to you, listen up! Angels appear more often than we care to notice. They speak on behalf of the Lord. They act on behalf of the Lord. They aim to lead us to God's plan of salvation....making history of the past and a new future with you.

We pray today "The Lord speaks of peace to his people. I will hear what God proclaims; the LORD–for he proclaims peace" and "Justice shall walk before him, and salvation, along the way of his steps." Notice though, it is all along "the Way of His steps". They make way for Him and He saves, that is what His name means, Jesus means "He Who Saves". Will you hear the Word speaking to you today?

In comes the Word of God, Jesus, and He says ""Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven.". Pause a moment: Don't think "rich" means only in money, it means way more, it means those who are filled and in no need. Because I know many who have much money and many who don't got a penny, and in both cases I know those who have no need of the Word of God. Then, these "rich" folks can not enter the Kingdom of God. Some scholars like to speak about a "needle" meaning a narrow entrance into a fortress in which the only way a camel could enter was by unloading all it carried and on its knees. He who humbles themselves before God is entering like this. We carry baggage, and the heaviest loads are sins. I want you to go to confession, and pour out yourself, unload all that unnecessary baggage and then get on your knees in thanksgiving. It is a message of repentance, but not because God needs it, but because we need it. There have been times when I walk out of confession walking on clouds, feeling so light, and indeed because you are now ready to receive the light with great joy. The Jesus.

Gideon made unleavened cakes as an offering and the angel of God consumed them with fire. It is an offering and it is a sign that God finds acceptable when He consumes them. This offering today is the Holy Eucharist. And God sets on fire those who are found acceptable. My child, you have been found as worthy to receive these words into your soul.
Today, we celebrate Mary as Queen of Heaven and is she Queen of your heart? Do you have a Queen? Because if you have a King, rightly there is a Queen. When a king is not married, automatically the mother is queen. Right now, we are "engaged" as the Holy Church with Jesus the "groom" to be. The great feast of a Holy Mass is a nuptial feast that stands still in time and forever. Here vows are professed. Here God joins in an intimate moment with His elect. But not all who attend are ready, nor dressed (spiritually). Being unclean means not being dressed. You are too rich, too full, not hungry , not hungry enough to go on your knees all the way to the altar. God comes to the poor then. Those disposed to serve, those willing to love. Those who will say "yes" to the groom's question. And the question is of eternity. The question is one of life, the life that God is talking about. Where His will is accomplished. Where Jesus is King and not you. Where Jesus is the sun, the center of your world, where there is always light. Where the light never ends. My son asked me towards the end of Mass on Sunday, whispered while he was looking at my watch "daddy, what time is it?" and I said "Son, It is Time for GOD"


Bless God

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