Thursday, October 5, 2017

That we shake off...

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God Always Waits for Us

Maybe someone among us here is thinking: my sin is so great, I am as far from God as the younger son in the parable, my unbelief is like that of Thomas; I don't have the courage to go back, to believe that God can welcome me and that he is waiting for me, of all people. But God is indeed waiting for you; he asks of you only the courage to go to him. How many times in my pastoral ministry have I heard it said: "Father, I have many sins"; and I have always pleaded: "Don't be afraid, go to him, he is waiting for you, he will take care of everything." We hear many offers from the world around us; but let us take up God's offer instead: his is a caress of love. For God, we are not numbers, we are important, indeed we are the most important thing to him; even if we are sinners, we are what is closest to his heart.

—from the book A Year of Mercy: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis


✞ "Be one of the small number who find the way to life, and enter by the narrow gate into Heaven. Take care not to follow the majority and the common herd, so many of whom are lost. Do not be deceived; there are only two roads: one that leads to life and is narrow; the other that leads to death and is wide. There is no middle way."
— St. Louis de Montfort

"Joy is one of the best safeguards against temptation. The devil is a carrier of dust and dirt and he uses every opportunity to throw what he has at us. But a joyful heart protects us from this dirt. That is because Jesus is there in our joy. Jesus takes full possession of our soul when we surrender to him joyfully. St. Francis de Sales said, 'A sad saint is a bad saint'. St. Teresa of Avila worried about her sisters only when she saw them lose their joy. Joy is a source of power for us."
— St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, p. 38
Thirsting for God: Mother Teresa

"Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, 'Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.'"
Isaiah 35:3-4


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Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska

Saint of the Day for October 5

(August 25, 1905 – October 5, 1938)

Saint Faustina's name is forever linked to the annual feast of the Divine Mercy, the Divine Mercy chaplet, and the Divine Mercy prayer recited each day at 3 p.m. by many people.

Born in what is now west-central Poland, Helena Kowalska was the third of 10 children. She worked as a housekeeper in three cities before joining the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in 1925. She worked as a cook, gardener and porter in three of their houses.

In addition to carrying out her work faithfully, generously serving the needs of the sisters and the local people, Sister Faustina also had a deep interior life. This included receiving revelations from the Lord Jesus, messages that she recorded in her diary at the request of Christ and of her confessors.

At a time when some Catholics had an image of God as such a strict judge that they might be tempted to despair about the possibility of being forgiven, Jesus chose to emphasize his mercy and forgiveness for sins acknowledged and confessed. "I do not want to punish aching mankind," he once told Saint Faustina, "but I desire to heal it, pressing it to my merciful heart." The two rays emanating from Christ's heart, she said, represent the blood and water poured out after Jesus' death.

Because Sister Maria Faustina knew that the revelations she had already received did not constitute holiness itself, she wrote in her diary: "Neither graces, nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect, but rather the intimate union of the soul with God. These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul, but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection. My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God."

Sister Maria Faustina died of tuberculosis in Krakow, Poland, on October 5, 1938. Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1993, and canonized her seven years later.


Devotion to God's Divine Mercy bears some resemblance to devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In both cases, sinners are encouraged not to despair, not to doubt God's willingness to forgive them if they repent. As Psalm 136 says in each of its 26 verses, "God's love [mercy] endures forever."


Thursday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Neh 8:1-4a, 5-6, 7b-12

The whole people gathered as one in the open space before the Water Gate,
and they called upon Ezra the scribe
to bring forth the book of the law of Moses
which the LORD prescribed for Israel.
On the first day of the seventh month, therefore,
Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly,
which consisted of men, women,
and those children old enough to understand.
Standing at one end of the open place that was before the Water Gate,
he read out of the book from daybreak until midday,
in the presence of the men, the women,
and those children old enough to understand;
and all the people listened attentively to the book of the law.
Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform
that had been made for the occasion.
He opened the scroll
so that all the people might see it
(for he was standing higher up than any of the people);
and, as he opened it, all the people rose.
Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God,
and all the people, their hands raised high, answered,
"Amen, amen!"
Then they bowed down and prostrated themselves before the LORD,
their faces to the ground.
As the people remained in their places,
Ezra read plainly from the book of the law of God,
interpreting it so that all could understand what was read.
Then Nehemiah, that is, His Excellency, and Ezra the priest-scribe
and the Levites who were instructing the people
said to all the people:
"Today is holy to the LORD your God.
Do not be sad, and do not weep"–
for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law.
He said further: "Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks,
and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared;
for today is holy to our LORD.
Do not be saddened this day,
for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!"
And the Levites quieted all the people, saying,
"Hush, for today is holy, and you must not be saddened."
Then all the people went to eat and drink,
to distribute portions, and to celebrate with great joy,
for they understood the words that had been expounded to them.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11
R. (9ab) The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye;
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

Alleluia Mk 1:15
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Kingdom of God is at hand;
repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 10:1-12

Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter, first say,
'Peace to this household.'
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
'The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.'
Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you,
go out into the streets and say,
'The dust of your town that clings to our feet,
even that we shake off against you.'
Yet know this: the Kingdom of God is at hand.
I tell you,
it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town."


Meditation: Luke 10:1-12

Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, Priest (Optional Memorial)

The harvest is abundant. (Luke 10:2)

When Jesus spoke about a "harvest," was he just talking about crops? Of course not! He was speaking about all the people who were waiting to hear the good news. The "harvest" consisted in the vast number of souls ready to believe in him, longing to enter into the kingdom of God—whether they knew it or not. As we pray today, let's reflect on this harvest:

The harvest is abundant. "Father, you are master of the harvest, the One who sows the seed and sustains its growth. Everything is under your watchful eye. You plant seeds of faith in each person's heart. You nourish these seeds and make them sprout and grow. It may be through a word spoken, the offer of a helping hand, or an unexpected stirring in the heart. It can be any number of other ways, but no matter how it happens, it is your doing as you seek to draw people back to yourself."

The harvest is abundant. "Father, it is you who water the seed. You provide the nourishment that everyone needs to bring to life the seeds of faith you planted in them. You give the beauty of the created world, faithful friends, godly spouses, challenging children. All these gifts help the roots dig deep into the soil. You know each specific situation, and you know how to make that seed come to full growth. Sometimes we can't see growth in people and situations we worry about. But no matter what, we trust you."

The harvest is abundant. "Father, you send us as laborers into your harvest. You ask us to gather the fruit of all you have done in people's lives. You also promise us your grace to help us do the work. You place us in situations where we can reflect your love. You send us people whom we can accompany along the path of discovering you. Thank you for this grace!"

The harvest is abundant. "Lord, even in my family and among my friends, there are people who have a hard time believing you or who have drifted away from your Church. They too are part of your harvest. Lord, I trust that you will show me how to help them come closer to you."

"Here I am, Father. I want to be a laborer in your harvest. Use me to draw your people into your kingdom!"

Nehemiah 8:1-12
Psalm 19:8-11


"Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!" said the Lord in the first Holy Scripture.

We prayed today "The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart" What are precepts? Commands, right? Guides, even? Follow them to eternal joy. At one point the Psalms continue "By them your servant is warned; obeying them brings much reward." Fitting for messages from the Lord to Sister Faustina to us today, warning us and giving us hope. Warning the world and souls of impurities, lust and more, of how many souls are lost. But hope because of mercy, God's mercy, inexhaustible, and causes conversion of salvation.

In the Holy Gospel, Jesus commands, sends forth 72 pairs, making for 144 men ahead of them. Making 144 of them and reminding me of the Book of Revelation "Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel." sealed in salvation, thousands of tribes, stemmed from the command of the Lord. Will your tribe be saved? It is possible. God sends you now in pairs, with Him. Entering houses, offering peace and if rejected, if Christ is rejected, dust your feet, dust the negativeness they offered. Dust off the darkness. Don't dwell on it, don't call down fire from the sky. Shake it off and remain, remain in His joy and eternal promise. That's all the bible seems to talk about, is this eternity that awaits. And how does eternity work? Simple, there is no such thing as earthly time. Therefore, eternity just is.

What is the joy of the Lord? This weekend, I will be helping at 2 funerals, one family man suddenly died and another perhaps took his own life. How is the joy supposed to work now? And all this I ponder as a leader/director of a family fun festival coming the next weekend. How does this all work together. Bind it with the Lord who knows all things, don't let negative stick to you. In light of the Lord, there is joy. It's hard to understand, but hope gives a glimpse of joy in absolute darkness. This is why Divine Mercy is celebrated and prayed for. We pray "Lord have mercy on us and on the whole world". Every day we should reflect on this at about 3pm, the hour the Lord spread mercy throughout the entire world....forever. It is perplexing that the King of joy be slaughtered on a cross, the King of Peace, the King of the world. Why? How? Simple. Rejection. Rejection of holiness. To say "I know better" is actually worse. How can I make this simpler? Let's take the sign of the crosses we make before hearing the Gospel in Holy Mass, why do it? Why stand up to hear the Gospel? It opens us up and honors God. And as Lifeteen explained "We cross our forehead so that the Word of God may be in our thoughts and purify our minds. We cross our lips so that our speech may be holy and incline us to share the Gospel with others. And we cross our hearts to invite God to strengthen our love for Him and others. All of this is so that we might know, proclaim, and love Jesus Christ all the more."
Jesus sends us out two by two. And where 2 at least are gathered in His name....there HE is!
I am praying the light of the world encompasses the dark corners of the world, where Christ is not the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
And it starts in the dark corners of my own life.
You don't know how much negativity is thrown at a soul each day. Darkness. They say a good confession, is a powerful one, worth 1,000 exorcisms. The call we call out and take in is one of repentance and acceptance...of mercy...of Jesus the Christ, the one who Live FOREVER



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