Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What are you then?


Peace Begins in Our Hearts

Peace begins in the heart and moves outward. If we're not at peace within ourselves, conflict will find its way into our daily interactions with others. If our families and neighborhoods are not at peace, turmoil in our cities will spread. As we begin the new year, make a commitment to focus on peace through prayer, through meditation, through working for justice.

—from The Peace of Christmas: Quiet Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek


✞ "Only in Christ can men and women find answers to the ultimate questions that trouble them. Only in Christ can they fully understand their dignity as persons created and loved by God."
— Pope St. John Paul II


"There is nothing to be dreaded in human ills except sin—not poverty, or disease, or insult, or ill treatment, or dishonor, or death, which people call the worst of evils. To those who love spiritual wisdom, these things are only the names of disasters, names that have no substance. No, the true disaster is to offend God, to do anything that displeases him."
— St. John Chrysostom, p. 334
A Year with the Church Fathers


"Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary."
Isaiah 40:31


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Saint Basil the Great

Saint of the Day for January 2
(329 – January 1, 379)

Basil was on his way to becoming a famous teacher when he decided to begin a religious life of gospel poverty. After studying various modes of religious life, he founded what was probably the first monastery in Asia Minor. He is to monks of the East what Saint Benedict is to the West, and Basil's principles influence Eastern monasticism today.

He was ordained a priest, assisted the archbishop of Caesarea–now southeastern Turkey–and ultimately became archbishop himself, in spite of opposition from some of the bishops under him, probably because they foresaw coming reforms.

Arianism, one of the most damaging heresies in the history of the Church which denied the divinity of Christ, was at its height. Emperor Valens persecuted orthodox believers, and put great pressure on Basil to remain silent and admit the heretics to communion. Basil remained firm, and Valens backed down. But trouble remained. When the great Saint Athanasius died, the mantle of defender of the faith against Arianism fell upon Basil. He strove mightily to unite and rally his fellow Catholics who were crushed by tyranny and torn by internal dissension. He was misunderstood, misrepresented, accused of heresy and ambition. Even appeals to the pope brought no response. "For my sins I seem to be unsuccessful in everything."

Basil was tireless in pastoral care. He preached twice a day to huge crowds, built a hospital that was called a wonder of the world—as a youth he had organized famine relief and worked in a soup kitchen himself—and fought the prostitution business.

Basil was best known as an orator. Though not recognized greatly in his lifetime, his writings rightly place him among the great teachers of the Church. Seventy-two years after his death, the Council of Chalcedon described him as "the great Basil, minister of grace who has expounded the truth to the whole earth."

As the French say, "The more things change, the more they remain the same." Basil faced the same problems as modern Christians. Sainthood meant trying to preserve the spirit of Christ in such perplexing and painful problems as reform, organization, fighting for the poor, maintaining balance and peace in misunderstanding.

Saint Basil the Great is the Patron Saint of:


Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church

Reading 1 1 Jn 2:22-28

Who is the liar?
Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ.
Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist.
Anyone who denies the Son does not have the Father,
but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.

Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you.
If what you heard from the beginning remains in you,
then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.
And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life.
I write you these things about those who would deceive you.
As for you,
the anointing that you received from him remains in you,
so that you do not need anyone to teach you.
But his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false;
just as it taught you, remain in him.

And now, children, remain in him,
so that when he appears we may have confidence
and not be put to shame by him at his coming.

Responsorial Psalm ps 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4
R. (3cd) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Alleluia Heb 1:1-2
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 1:19-28

This is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him
to ask him, "Who are you?"
He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted,
"I am not the Christ."
So they asked him,
"What are you then? Are you Elijah?"
And he said, "I am not."
"Are you the Prophet?"
He answered, "No."
So they said to him,
"Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?"
He said:
"I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
'Make straight the way of the Lord,'
as Isaiah the prophet said."
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
"Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?"
John answered them,
"I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie."
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.


Meditation: 1 John 2:22-28

Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church (Memorial)

Remain in him. (1 John 2:28)

Well, we've made it through the Octave of Christmas. For most of us, Christmas can be joyful, but the preparations and parties can be hectic and exhausting. Now we can enjoy a change of pace.

John knows exactly what we need as we shift to a slower pace. He uses the word "remain" six times in this passage alone—a word that can also be translated as "abide." Today, we might talk about "settling into" or "resting in" something solid and reliable. And that happens when we take the time simply to be with the Lord.

That might sound simple, but with so many things competing for our attention, quieting ourselves can be challenging.

Here are some ideas for getting started:

• Make a firm decision to set aside time every day to pray. Think about your best time and place. Maybe it's first thing in the morning, on the edge of your bed. Maybe it's a midday visit to the Blessed Sacrament. It might be a prayer corner in your home. Try setting a timer for ten minutes. Sometimes the time may drag, but other days it will fly.

• Put aside your other concerns. This is not the time for a to-do list or a set of prayer intentions. Still your mind. Stray thoughts will probably rise up. Don't let them upset you; just choose to ignore them.

• Try to focus on the presence of Jesus, the One who eagerly awaits this time with you. Maybe fix your attention on an icon or play quiet instrumental music. You could repeat a Scripture passage or prayer—"Jesus, I trust in you."

• Finally, the hardest part: just sit. Open your heart to the Lord. Tell him that you love him; then be quiet and listen. Stay there for the full ten minutes.

Don't worry about the results. Just trust that this time will pay off. Sometimes you will feel God's presence. Sometimes you won't. Sometimes you will sense a direction or inspiration for later in the day. Sometimes you won't. Hang onto the habit of quietness, however the encounter with Christ unfolds on a given day. In the end, you will find yourself refreshed and restored.

"Jesus, I want to be with you."

Psalm 98:1-4
John 1:19-28


Good New Year to you, peace, and let's hit the floor running the race:
"Who is the liar?
Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. "
Word of the Lord.
Christ is the Messiah. Savior. Christ is the chosen one. Yet the word Christ in my heart seems to mean "the crucified one". Chosen then, for glory. Glory to GOD! AMEN?

Let us pray: "All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God. The LORD has made his salvation known: in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel." Our God does strange things. The expected King of Majesty and triumphant to trump the Romans with war waging a battle, came as a poor infant from poor folks and never held a weapon. He came with a strange manner, all backwards of what was the train of thought. His justice was revealed to the nations....He hung on the cross and clung to the message now here for your eyes to behold " I Came From Heaven to Show you that I DO Love You".

In the Holy Gospel today, Saint John says He is not Elijah, but Jesus said John was in the spirit of Elijah "And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come." -Jesus Mt 11:14 Elijah faced starvation but the Lord provided. Elijah told the people to repent of following false gods, Baal. Elijah provided the prototype of baptism through water...the very Jordan river splits.

The message resounds today to us: "'Make straight the way of the Lord".
Christmas and New Years brought a lot of stuff. Food, family, some fun, and then more food, and resolutions. Do your resolutions make you resolute like Jesus? His face was like flint when headed to Jerusalem.

Did your resolutions include Jesus? Did you say you would better seek Him and serve Him Him? Because it seems the "holidays" aren't "Holy-Days" as they were designed to be. Somehow we mess them all up, inverting them, and becoming distractions to a closer walk with Him. Christ's Mass on ChristMas day was poorly attended. Father said "if Christmas causes you to sin, it is not Christmas". My oh my how we mess things up. John said "Make Straight the Way of the Lord". Let me remind you once more what Heaven is like: GOD. It's all about Him holding everyone and every thing together. So much of His love leaked out into the world. It dribbled and dabbled into the free world He created.

The Christ's arms were stretched on a pole reaching out to encompass the world. His body on a pole that was stabbed in the rock of Mt. Zion and the other end stretched to the Heavens. His blood trickled from His temple and a new baptism came forth. This is the last epiphany that began with the first of revelations to the world. He is among us...



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