Monday, January 15, 2018

Which is easier ?

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Faith in Motion

Again and again, Pope Francis reminds us that we're to go out to meet people where they are, not wait for them to come to church. While he would be the first to remind us that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life, he also knows that sometimes it's a long journey to get there. And we can't wait at the top while people struggle on the way up. We need to join them on the journey. We need to bring Christ to them on the way.

—from the book Pope Francis and Our Call to Joy by Diane M. Houdek


"We have received baptism, entrance into the Church, and the honor of being called Christians. Yet what good will this do us if we are Christians in name only and not in fact?"
– St. Andrew Kim Taegon

"Many people seem to worry themselves a great deal more over the things they cannot help than over the things that they can. ... This want of proportion is doubtless observable in myself. Do I think more of the accidents of birth, fortune, and personal appearance than of the self that I have created? For I myself am responsible for myself. 'To be born a gentleman is an accident; to die one is an achievement.' Other things, then, I may not be able to help; but myself, I can. As I am at this very moment, as my character is—truthful or untruthful, pure or impure, patient or impatient, slow to wrath or quick-tempered, eager, enthusiastic, energetic, or lazy and dull and wasteful of time—I have no one to thank but myself ... the fact remains that I myself alone am responsible for my own character; for character is an artificial thing that is not born, but made."
— Fr. Bede Jarrett, p. 371-2
Classic Catholic Meditations

"For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another."
Romans 12:3-5rbs 3:5-6


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Saint Paul the Hermit

(c. 233 – c. 345)

It is unclear what we really know of Paul's life, how much is fable, how much is fact.

Paul was reportedly born in Egypt, where he was orphaned by age 15. He was also a learned and devout young man. During the persecution of Decius in Egypt in the year 250, Paul was forced to hide in the home of a friend. Fearing a brother-in-law would betray him, he fled in a cave in the desert. His plan was to return once the persecution ended, but the sweetness of solitude and heavenly contemplation convinced him to stay.

He went on to live in that cave for the next 90 years. A nearby spring gave him drink, a palm tree furnished him clothing and nourishment. After 21 years of solitude, a bird began bringing him half of a loaf of bread each day. Without knowing what was happening in the world, Paul prayed that the world would become a better place.

Saint Anthony of Egypt attests to his holy life and death. Tempted by the thought that no one had served God in the wilderness longer than he, Anthony was led by God to find Paul and acknowledge him as a man more perfect than himself. The raven that day brought a whole loaf of bread instead of the usual half. As Paul predicted, Anthony would return to bury his new friend.

Thought to have been about 112 when he died, Paul is known as the "First Hermit." His feast day is celebrated in the East; he is also commemorated in the Coptic and Armenian rites of the Mass.

The will and direction of God are seen in the circumstances of our lives. Led by the grace of God, we are free to respond with choices that bring us closer to and make us more dependent upon the God who created us. Those choices might at times seem to lead us away from our neighbor. But ultimately they lead us back both in prayer and in fellowship to one another.


Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1 Sm 15:16-23

Samuel said to Saul:
"Stop! Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night."
Saul replied, "Speak!"
Samuel then said: "Though little in your own esteem,
are you not leader of the tribes of Israel?
The LORD anointed you king of Israel and sent you on a mission, saying,
'Go and put the sinful Amalekites under a ban of destruction.
Fight against them until you have exterminated them.'
Why then have you disobeyed the LORD?
You have pounced on the spoil, thus displeasing the LORD."
Saul answered Samuel: "I did indeed obey the LORD
and fulfill the mission on which the LORD sent me.
I have brought back Agag, and I have destroyed Amalek under the ban.
But from the spoil the men took sheep and oxen,
the best of what had been banned,
to sacrifice to the LORD their God in Gilgal."
But Samuel said:
"Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as in obedience to the command of the LORD?
Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission than the fat of rams.
For a sin like divination is rebellion,
and presumption is the crime of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the command of the LORD,
he, too, has rejected you as ruler."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23
R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
no goats out of your fold."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?"
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Alleluia Hb 4:12
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 2:18-22

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
"Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?"
Jesus answered them,
"Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins."


2nd Week in Ordinary Time

He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me. (Psalm 50:23)

"I am doing now what I will do for all eternity. I am blessing God, praising him, adoring him, and loving him with all my heart."

These words, which echo today's Responsorial Psalm, come from Brother Lawrence, a monk who lived in seventeenth-century Paris. As the cook for his community, Brother Lawrence held one of its more mundane jobs. But he made it a point to delight in the Lord even while doing mundane kitchen tasks. Instead of interrupting his conversation with God so that he could deal with "earthly issues," Brother Lawrence invited God into every aspect of his life. By continually talking to him as he worked throughout the day, he found a wonderful way to offer "praise as a sacrifice" to God (Psalm 50:23).

We all have obligations in our lives. Driving the kids to school or soccer practice, making dinner for the family, or staying late at the office to finish a project—all of these can seem monotonous and "unspiritual." But God can give you a new perspective. You can approach your day intentionally, by deciding to praise the Lord in each of your activities.

This isn't always easy. That's why the psalmist called it a sacrifice. It's not always easy to remember to turn to the Lord. Sometimes we may not want to because we fear he might ask something of us that we don't want to give. But if we can get in the habit of inviting God into each task we do, our awareness of his presence will grow. We'll also find that being in God's presence isn't as scary as we once thought. Just as Brother Lawrence did, we will gradually find ourselves delighting in the Lord and his love.

Try it today. Take some time right now to tell God how much you love him and want to glorify him. Then try your best to welcome him into your situations. Talk with him about the traffic while you're driving. Tell him about the meal you are preparing for your family. Even feel free enough to complain to him about a deadline at work and to ask him for his help. The more you do this, the more it will become second nature to you. You will find yourself praising God even without realizing it!

"Lord, teach me to welcome you into my activities today."

1 Samuel 15:16-23
Mark 2:18-22



The Lord spoke through the Prophet: "Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission than the fat of rams." Saul had disobeyed. Sure he done one thing, but the other? Made it no bid deal, presumption, presuming things...bad..."For a sin like divination is rebellion, and presumption is the crime of idolatry." Why is all this bad? Because, you look to other things and trust in other things...all things less faith...faithless. God sees and desire faith, and its fullness....faithfulness.

Let us pray: ""When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it? Or do you think that I am like yourself? I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me; and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God." When I was in college, I put a used car for sale. I got a call, a mother needing a ride for her and her kids. I could not refuse to help, so I agreed to take payments to help. I met her and realized it was someone who I had considered a very bad person in the world. My heart was revealed today's scripture " I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes". She took the car and never paid it in full. Losing contact, I still have the title from about 15 years or so ago. I don't need it, I tried just giving it to them but never have seen them again. But to me, its all been a blessing. It took something from me. No, not the car. It took something I can not explain. All I felt was the love of God in action. This is how it is. Sure you can go to church all you want, but with a closed heart? You could lose years being lost....

In the Holy Gospel our Lord speaks to this: " one pours new wine into old wineskins." Why is He speaking about wine? Think about the wedding where He turned water to wine. The wine would turn to blood. His blood in the New Covenant. And when nailed to the cross, they pierced Him and blood and water flowed. Back to water...this time with blood. Baptism, Confirmation. Body and Spirit. Purification and Sanctification. With these gifts we are enabled to go forth and make disciples of all nations. But the new wine can't go into the old. To this day, Jewish faith exists because the new did not fit with the old.

It's funny, there are some real hard cookies even in our Catholic faith. So staunch, like those of "pre-Vatican II" didn't like the changes the Church made and to this day want everything back how it was or they won't go to church. I asked one guy "so how do ya'll go to Mass if there isn't any in Latin?" and he said they go once a month when they bring it in to a church. I asked then "you mean, you only go once a month to Sunday Mass and receive the Body of Christ???" I was in shock and disbelief. God chooses obedience...the cross. That is the Way. Jesus shows us the Way by giving His Life and then tells us "this is the Life!". We don't get it, and worse, we don't WANT to get it, do we? We go to Mass, and nothing happens. We go on as our old selves. Not good. Obedience doesn't mean being a mechanical robot, or someone that punches in at the holy water and punches out after Mass! NO! Jesus is always offering NEW Wine. It is never humdrum mundane wine He offers. It is the substance from Heaven. Eternity.

Boy, I've been praying some beautiful short prayers while in line to receive the Eucharist sometimes lately. This Sunday's as I was about to receive the Lord I prayed "Lord, may I drink this cup with you eternally". It is the most intimate moment with Christ during the Holy Communion. And it will always be. Mana. Blood of Jesus that inebriates my soul. I often have a reaction, and leading the choir, I sing with more fervor and strength and joy. I feel the love of God warm me inside. It is the blood doing its job when this soul is ready and open and willing. I want this always and I want it for you. I want this message for all those who are not in Holy Communion. I share this so that you may share. Do not keep it inside. Jesus talked about pouring wine today. And He pours His is a fount of mercy and mercy feels so much like Heavenly Love



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