Thursday, May 31, 2018

My Spirit Rejoices

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Care for Our Elders

Our elders are men and women, fathers and mothers, who came before us on our own road, in our own house, in our daily battle for a worthy life. They are men and women from whom we have received so much. The elder is not an alien. We are that elder: in the near or far future, but inevitably, even if we don't think it. And if we don't learn how to treat the elder better, that is how we will be treated.

—from The Blessing of Family: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis


"Where there is no love, put love — and you will find love."
— St. John of the Cross

"What words, can, alas, express the deep grief of the Blessed Virgin? Her eyes closed, a death-like tint overspread her countenance; unable to stand, she fell to the ground, but was soon lifted up, and supported by John, Magdalen, and the others. She looked once more upon her beloved Son—that Son whom she had conceived by the Holy Ghost, the flesh of her flesh, the bone of her bone, the heart of her heart—hanging on a cross between two thieves; crucified, dishonored, condemned by those whom He came on earth to save; and well might she at this moment be termed 'the Queen of Martyrs.'"
— Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich, p. 294
The Dolorous Passion


The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, or Corpus Christi, is celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday in honor of the institution of the Holy Eucharist (in some U.S. dioceses it is transferred to the following Sunday). The feast originated with the visions of St. Juliana of Mont Cornillon, a Belgian nun deeply devoted to the Holy Eucharist, to whom Jesus appeared requesting a feast in honor of the Blessed Sacrament. St. Juliana shared this with the Church hierarchy, and after decades of opposition Pope Urban IV instituted the feast of Corpus Christi for the universal Church in 1264. At the time there was a formal dispute among theologians on the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist—that is, Christ's actual Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity—for the first time in Church history. In response to this heresy and in support of the authenticity of St. Juliana's visions, the first recorded Eucharistic Miracle took place in Orvieto, Italy which proved the truth of the literal interpretation of Christ's doctrine handed down from the Apostles. The Holy Father requested that the liturgy for the feast be composed by St. Thomas Aquinas, now one of the Church's most sublimely poetic liturgies. Corpus Christi is traditionally accompanied with Eucharistic large and elaborate public processions, most notably by the Holy Father in Rome.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life."
Ephesians 2:8-10


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Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Saint of the Day for May 31

This is a fairly late feast, going back only to the 13th or 14th century. It was established widely throughout the Church to pray for unity. The present date of celebration was set in 1969, in order to follow the Annunciation of the Lord and precede the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist.

Like most feasts of Mary, it is closely connected with Jesus and his saving work. The more visible actors in the visitation drama (see Luke 1:39-45) are Mary and Elizabeth. However, Jesus and John the Baptist steal the scene in a hidden way. Jesus makes John leap with joy—the joy of messianic salvation. Elizabeth, in turn, is filled with the Holy Spirit and addresses words of praise to Mary—words that echo down through the ages.

It is helpful to recall that we do not have a journalist's account of this meeting. Rather Luke, speaking for the Church, gives a prayerful poet's rendition of the scene. Elizabeth's praise of Mary as "the mother of my Lord" can be viewed as the earliest Church's devotion to Mary. As with all authentic devotion to Mary, Elizabeth's (the Church's) words first praise God for what God has done to Mary. Only secondly does she praise Mary for trusting God's words.

Then comes the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). Here, Mary herself—like the Church—traces all her greatness to God.

One of the invocations in Mary's litany is "Ark of the Covenant." Like the Ark of the Covenant of old, Mary brings God's presence into the lives of other people. As David danced before the Ark, John the Baptist leaps for joy. As the Ark helped to unite the 12 tribes of Israel by being placed in David's capital, so Mary has the power to unite all Christians in her son. At times, devotion to Mary may have occasioned some divisiveness, but we can hope that authentic devotion will lead all to Christ and therefore, to one another.


Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Reading 1 Zep 3:14-18a

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you,
he has turned away your enemies;
The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear.
On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
He will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals.


Rom 12:9-16

Brothers and sisters:
Let love be sincere;
hate what is evil,
hold on to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection;
anticipate one another in showing honor.
Do not grow slack in zeal,
be fervent in spirit,
serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope,
endure in affliction,
persevere in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the holy ones,
exercise hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you,
bless and do not curse them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice,
weep with those who weep.
Have the same regard for one another;
do not be haughty but associate with the lowly;
do not be wise in your own estimation.

Responsorial Psalm Isaiah 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6
R. (6) Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.

Alleluia See Lk 1:45
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, who believed
That what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 1:39-56

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
"Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled."

And Mary said:
"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever."

Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.


Meditation: Luke 1:39-56

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Feast)

Blessed are you who believed. (Luke 1:45)

Has this ever happened to you? You get inspired to help a sick friend, and you head out. You arrive with a latte, a Rosary, and eager plans to lift his spirits. But during your visit, you realize that your own heart is feeling lighter. You came to bless someone, and you ended up being blessed as well!

That's a lot like what Mary experienced at the Visitation. She sets off to help her elderly pregnant cousin. But God surprises both of them: Elizabeth receives a revelation, and Mary discovers an unlikely source of help. Inspired by the Spirit, Elizabeth recognizes Mary as the "mother of my Lord" and declares, "Blessed are you" (Luke 1:43, 45). In just a few words, Elizabeth both proclaims the Incarnation, and encourages Mary that God is with her. She who had set out to serve and encourage has received divine encouragement herself.

We don't often think of Mary as needing encouragement. But everyone does. One angelic visit didn't explain every detail of the future to her. As she encountered different challenges, she needed to take the faith she had and let God increase and deepen it. She needed to understand "why me" instead of any other woman. She needed to understand "why now" rather than after having come to live with Joseph. She needed to understand "how now" to raise the Son of God in every stage of his development. How reassuring Elizabeth's words must have become to her over the years!

We all need reminders that God is with us. We need them because we forget God's promises. We need them because we misplace our hope in shifting circumstances. We need them because we get distracted by the cares and concerns of life.

Every day, the Spirit can assure you that God is with you. He can steady your heart with encouraging words from other people. Their words can bolster your faith and help it to keep growing. So remember today that God has blessed and chosen you for this time and this place. He has good plans for you. And keep your eyes and heart open for the "Elizabeth" he sends your way to remind you!

"Holy Mary, Mother of God, help me remember that Jesus is with me."

Zephaniah 3:14-18
(Psalm) Isaiah 12:2-6



From Saint Paul: "Let love be sincere; hate what is evil,
hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection;
anticipate one another in showing honor." Beat one another to love more. "No, I love YOU more!". You can not outdo my love! Learn to give like this, not expecting anything in return. This is how Mary loved.

We pray today: "Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel." AMEN? Emmanuel they say.
"God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid." Think Mary, Think Jesus. Confident. Unafraid. What courage!
"My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior." Last night one of my co-workers visited our friendship group, he said in his testimony that he knew that throughout his life, he knew God has been taking care of him. And we learned, he never knew his mother, she died when he was one year old. We know though, that God has been the savior. He has survived all his life, and even found faith somehow amidst the rocky road. This is a visitation, isn't it? It is the Lord!
"With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation." In confidence we are faithful, joyful at the 'expectation" of He who is among us.

In the Holy Gospel, our Lord comes in, as an unborn baby. He causes a commotion, causes joy, and causes Saint John the baptist, an unborn to leap in the womb of Elizabeth. Just like King David, the leaping for God in the Ark of the Covenant, now Mary, Now the New Covenant. Mary says some of the most profound and prophetic words ever heard in the Holy Scriptures today in her Magnificat.
I can't spend all day on this, can I? It is so powerful, just randomly, "...He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things...". And so the visiting co-worker, shared how he arrived. I had invited him last week. I had forgotten I had invited him. But he didn't. One other time he had said he would come to ultreya, and got ready, showered, and at the front door had froze and chickened out. He never went. He said "something stopped me". Last night, though, we got a little bit of chills when he shared how he arrived. He said, " I got off work, and as I was driving, I had thought about going to meet you, and my car stopped suddenly, the engine turned off. I turned it on, and it turned back off. So I prayed, 'Lord, let me go to the store to get refreshments to share at this reunion and I'll go to the reunion. And the car started, I went to the store, and drove straight to reunion, and here I am" said the worker. The Lord fills the hungry with good things. Another brother had cooked chicken fajitas and we all ate. We all brought something to the table. And not just material food, but spiritual blessings...our testimony. It stands to say one thing: God provides, Himself, to whomever asks. Brother had asked for the Lord to help and he would do his end of the promise. God loves promises. Another co-worker, struggled for many many years with infertility with his wife. I told him finally after bible study once "just make a promise to God". Suddenly, they got pregnant. Then a miscarriage. He was sad. I said "there are signs of fertility, now have faith". Then they got pregnant again. And now they have the love of their lives, a little daughter. This kind of story is the story of Mary's parents. Faith. Then they dedicated Mary to the promise, left her at the church. She loved God so much. She made a vow of perpetual virginity. And so this pregnancy is one of extreme joy. An extreme miracle. One that changes the face of humanity. The world.
Today, this joyful news is for you.
Not only is today about the "visitation" but of the Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ!

Two for one.
Two bodies, the Ark=Mary, and the Covenant=Christ.

Today, that reality happens in the Eucharist.
You too become a tabernacle, a temple of Christ.
You have much to be joyful about.
You do.
I want to see it.
I want to see what you carry inside.
I need to see it.



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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Ransom For Many

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Loved Beyond Words

Mary believes in you. She believes in you, and she loves you more than you can imagine. You are special to her, and for that reason, she is always by your side whether you are aware of it or not. She knows the joy of being a child of God and she wants you to experience that same joy. Mary wants you to feel as though you are a child of God, loved and cherished by him.

—from Forgiving Mother: A Marian Novena of Healing and Peace


"We are placed in our different ranks and stations, not to get what we can out of them for ourselves, but to labor in them for Him. As Christ has worked, we too have but to labor in them for Him. As Christ has His work, we too have ours; as He rejoiced to do his work, we must rejoice in ours also."
— St. John Neumann

"When he was younger, St. Martin of Tours dedicated himself to military service. When he heard the call of Christ, he realized that his call was to fight a spiritual battle. His armor and weapons were vitrue and a life guided by the Spirit of God. Do I consider my spiritual life to be a type of battle against the forces of evil?"
— Rev. Jude Winkler, OFM, p.164
Daily Meditations with the Holy Spirit

"Indeed, you are my lamp, O Lord, the Lord lightens my darkness. By you I can crush a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God—his way is perfect; the promise of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all who take refuge in him."
2 Samuel 22:29-31


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Saint Joan of Arc

(January 6, 1412 – May 30, 1431)

St. Joan of Arc (1412-1431) was born in Domremy, France to peasant farmers during the Hundred Years War between France and England. She was a pious child, and from age 13 she received visions of saints, most notably St. Michael the Archangel, St. Margaret of Antioch, and St. Catherine of Alexandria, who became her special patrons. Through these visions, voices, and other interior promptings, Joan understood that she was to help the King of France regain his throne. After overcoming her own reluctance, and that of the military and ecclesiastical authorities, she heroically led the French army in battle. With her leadership they recaptured Orleans and Troyes, which allowed Charles VII to be restored to the throne of France. All the while she wore the dress of a soldier to protect her virtue and modesty. The following year she was captured by the English, imprisoned, and placed on trial under accusation of heresy and witchcraft. She was treated unjustly and illegally during her captivity, and her trial became a circus. Under political pressure she was condemned and burned alive at the stake, even though she proved herself to be blameless and fearless in character and faith. As she burned she kept her eyes on a crucifix and repeatedly called on the name of Jesus. A second Church trial twenty-five years later nullified the earlier verdict and found her innocent of all charges, paving the way for her veneration as a saint. St. Joan of Arc is the patron saint of captives, rape victims, soldiers, and France. Her feast day is May 30th.

Saint Joan of Arc is the Patron Saint of:
Military Members


Wednesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1 Pt 1:18-25

Realize that you were ransomed from your futile conduct,
handed on by your ancestors,
not with perishable things like silver or gold
but with the precious Blood of Christ
as of a spotless unblemished Lamb.
He was known before the foundation of the world
but revealed in the final time for you,
who through him believe in God
who raised him from the dead and gave him glory,
so that your faith and hope are in God.

Since you have purified yourselves
by obedience to the truth for sincere brotherly love,
love one another intensely from a pure heart.
You have been born anew,
not from perishable but from imperishable seed,
through the living and abiding word of God, for:

"All flesh is like grass,
and all its glory like the flower of the field;
the grass withers,
and the flower wilts;
but the word of the Lord remains forever."
This is the word that has been proclaimed to you.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20
R. (12a) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
R. Alleluia.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
R. Alleluia.
He has granted peace in your borders;
with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
R. Alleluia.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Mk 10:45
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Son of Man cane to serve,
and to give his life as a ransom for many.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 10:32-45

The disciples were on the way, going up to Jerusalem,
and Jesus went ahead of them.
They were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.
Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them
what was going to happen to him.
"Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man
will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes,
and they will condemn him to death
and hand him over to the Gentiles who will mock him,
spit upon him, scourge him, and put him to death,
but after three days he will rise."

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
came to Jesus and said to him,
"Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you."
He replied, "What do you wish me to do for you?"
They answered him,
"Grant that in your glory
we may sit one at your right and the other at your left."
Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I drink
or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"
They said to him, "We can."
Jesus said to them, "The chalice that I drink, you will drink,
and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;
but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared."
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.
Jesus summoned them and said to them,
"You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many."


Meditation: Mark 10:32-45

The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life. (Mark 10:45)

According to an old Chinese proverb, "If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody."

Similarly, St. Francis of Assisi said that it is in giving that we receive. Leo Tolstoy said that the sole meaning of life is to serve humanity. Winston Churchill said, "We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give." Robert Louis Stevenson said, "You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving." And best of all, Pope Francis said, "Christ leads us to go out from ourselves more and more, to give ourselves and to serve others."

The value of giving ourselves—our time, talents, and money—is not just a nice proverb or a word of encouragement from a well-known figure. Research tells us that giving is a powerful means to personal growth and happiness. MRI technology has shown that giving activates the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by food and sex. The research shows that when we help someone who is in need, we ourselves experience deep pleasure. Not to mention, countless psychological tests reveal that the more generous a person is, the healthier and more productive he or she is.

Mother Teresa has told us, "It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving." Many of us have limited money. But every little bit helps. We can all find a dollar a week to give away. We all have 168 hours in each week. Rich or poor, sick or healthy, we can all find some spare time to care for someone. Sacrificing our time and our money with a pure heart is the "much love" that Mother Teresa was speaking about.

Many people will say, "I am willing to give if I get something in return." But this kind of conditional giving limits the happiness we will experience. If we try to give in a way that imitates Jesus' generosity, we'll be a lot more content. In fact, we'll become a lot more like Jesus, who was the happiest, most peaceful person ever. So be Christlike! Be generous!

"Lord, help me be a cheerful giver like you."

1 Peter 1:18-25
Psalm 147:12-15, 19-20



Saint Peter our first leader, said "...Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth for sincere brotherly love, love one another intensely from a pure heart. You have been born anew...".

Let us pray: "He has proclaimed his word to Jacob, his statutes and his ordinances to Israel. He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
Praise the Lord, Jerusalem." Praise the Lord all you peoples! You praise the Lord! I must praise the Lord! Why? Because these words reached you, that's why, and it is good!

In comes our Lord: "the Son of Man
will be handed over...they will condemn him to death... will mock him,
spit upon him, scourge him, and put him to death..." and what comes out of the mouths of some followers? They ask if they can sit by the throne of glory! WHAT? Why are we thinking of ourselves? Jesus has just said he's about to be tortured and we are wondering how we can sit pretty?

He asks them if they'll endure what He endures. They say yes. And they did. I must give credit though. These men and their momma weren't afraid to ask big. They knew they could ask for anything. But God says something powerful. He says "it has been prepared". There have already been seats appointed at the right and left of Jesus. They are, I would say, the Trinity. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. The Son is the center from our viewpoint. But the three are one. One in the Spirit. One in the Father. Oneness is everything. Therefore, if you learn to give, you become one. Jesus said "whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant". What's great about being a leader? I am a leader many times in various things, work, home, church. As a matter of fact, sometimes I think I am a born leader. I am the oldest of 4 children. I am the first to learn many things and therefore, I teach many things. But what I have learned the most from is Jesus our Lord is how to be a true leader. I am in the "school of leaders" for cursillos. I am in our pastoral council at church. I am a general manager at work. I am the father and husband at home. I am leader even on the guitar for choir. I lead alot! But the most important thing I've learned is this: the more of a leader I become, the more of a servant I become, let's say...slave!
At work: I wear more and more hats, the more of a leader, the more I have to do. It's not like you climb up and do less. That's wrong, to care less. You need to care more. That's what God wants.
At home: I believe my wife is the leader, I do try to lead, but she wears more hats, homeschool teacher, wife, mother, cleaner of everything. It takes a greater heart, and this role is extremely critical. For the home is the nucleus of structure of life. This is where most evil attacks happen, through tv, social media, extracurricular activities, problems, too busy to be a family. A 2nd grader wrote to her teacher "the worst invention out there is the cell phone, I hate it, I wish my mother didn't have one". We look away from our kids and tune into other things, don't we?

At church: The heart of the matter: Jesus. This is the focus of my life, or it should be anyway. How easy, in many ministries, does the focus go to other things, rumors, divisions, factions, nonsensical whims, chasing rabbits that never get caught and are distractions. Lose this focus, and you could lose your family, friends, and work. Your focus gets lost and everything else goes with it.

So once again, to lead, is to serve. And let's take it one step further:
Who are you serving? Christ.
What are you serving? Love
Who is Love? God!



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