Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Began To Make A Path

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God's Masterpiece

God looked at the world he had created, teeming with life, stars flung across the heavens, every bird and bug and animal and flower in its most glorious state, the rivers and mountains and valleys and seas, and man—perfect in his reflection of the image of God—he looked at all of that, and saw that it was incomplete, that something was still missing. Before the Lord of the universe could sit back and rest, he longed for one more thing—to bring woman to life.

—from the book When We Were Eve: Uncovering the Woman God Created You to Be by Colleen C. Mitchell

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"And above all, be on your guard not to want to get anything done by force, because God has given free will to everyone and wants to force no one, but only proposes, invites and counsels."
— St. Angela Merici

"We have difficulty understanding this, just as a blind man has difficulty understanding color, but our difficulty doesn't alter this fact: God's omnipotence and omniscience respects our freedom. In the core of our being we remain free to accept or reject God's action in our lives—and to accept or reject it more or less intensely. God wants us to accept him with all our 'heart, soul, mind, and strength'—in other words, as intensely as possible. But he also knows that we are burdened with selfishness and beset by the devil, so it will take a great effort on our part to correspond to his grace. … Every time our conscience nudges us to refrain from sharing or tolerating that little bit of gossip, every time we feel a tug in our hearts to say a prayer or give a little more effort, every time we detect an opportunity to do a hidden act of kindness to someone in need, we are faced with an opportunity to please the Lord by putting our faith in his will."
— Fr. John Bartunek, p. 591
The Better Part


"For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
Colossians 1:13-14


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Saint Berard and Companions

(d. January 16, 1220)

Preaching the gospel is often dangerous work. Leaving one's homeland and adjusting to new cultures, governments and languages is difficult enough; but martyrdom caps all the other sacrifices.

In 1219, with the blessing of Saint Francis, Berard left Italy with Peter, Adjute, Accurs, Odo and Vitalis to preach in Morocco. En route in Spain, Vitalis became sick and commanded the other friars to continue their mission without him.

They tried preaching in Seville, then in Muslim hands, but made no converts. They went on to Morocco where they preached in the marketplace. The friars were immediately apprehended and ordered to leave the country; they refused. When they began preaching again, an exasperated sultan ordered them executed. After enduring severe beatings and declining various bribes to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ, the friars were beheaded by the sultan himself on January 16, 1220.

These were the first Franciscan martyrs. When Francis heard of their deaths, he exclaimed, "Now I can truly say that I have five Friars Minor!" Their relics were brought to Portugal where they prompted a young Augustinian canon to join the Franciscans and set off for Morocco the next year. That young man was Anthony of Padua. These five martyrs were canonized in 1481.

The deaths of Berard and his companions sparked a missionary vocation in Anthony of Padua and others. There have been many, many Franciscans who have responded to Francis' challenge. Proclaiming the gospel can be fatal, but that has not stopped the Franciscan men and women who even today risk their lives in many countries throughout the world.


Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1 Sm 16:1-13

The LORD said to Samuel:
"How long will you grieve for Saul,
whom I have rejected as king of Israel?
Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,
for I have chosen my king from among his sons."
But Samuel replied:
"How can I go?
Saul will hear of it and kill me."
To this the LORD answered:
"Take a heifer along and say,
'I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.'
Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I myself will tell you what to do;
you are to anoint for me the one I point out to you."

Samuel did as the LORD had commanded him.
When he entered Bethlehem,
the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and inquired,
"Is your visit peaceful, O seer?"
He replied:
"Yes! I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.
So cleanse yourselves and join me today for the banquet."
He also had Jesse and his sons cleanse themselves
and invited them to the sacrifice.
As they came, he looked at Eliab and thought,
"Surely the LORD's anointed is here before him."
But the LORD said to Samuel:
"Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see,
because he sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart."
Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him before Samuel,
who said, "The LORD has not chosen him."
Next Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said,
"The LORD has not chosen this one either."
In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel,
but Samuel said to Jesse,
"The LORD has not chosen any one of these."
Then Samuel asked Jesse,
"Are these all the sons you have?"
Jesse replied,
"There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep."
Samuel said to Jesse,
"Send for him;
we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here."
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them.
He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold
and making a splendid appearance.
The LORD said,
"There–anoint him, for this is he!"
Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand,
anointed him in the midst of his brothers;
and from that day on, the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.
When Samuel took his leave, he went to Ramah.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 89:20, 21-22, 27-28
R. (21a) I have found David, my servant.
Once you spoke in a vision,
and to your faithful ones you said:
"On a champion I have placed a crown;
over the people I have set a youth."
R. I have found David, my servant.
"I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
and that my arm may make him strong."
R. I have found David, my servant.
"He shall say of me, 'You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior.'
And I will make him the first-born,
highest of the kings of the earth."
R. I have found David, my servant.

Alleluia See Eph 1:17-18
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to our call.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 2:23-28

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
"Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?"
He said to them,
"Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?"
Then he said to them,
"The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."


Meditation: 1 Samuel 16:1-13

The Lord looks into the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)

The stakes were high. Samuel was in the middle of deciding which of Jesse's sons should be anointed king of Israel. If Samuel looked only at how tall or strong the young men were, he might overlook David, the youngest and seemingly the least capable. But God had chosen David, and he needed Samuel to recognize that. The challenge for Samuel, as well as for us, was to look at the realities beneath the surface.

In the Gospels we see Jesus do this all the time. He always looked past appearances and acted based on what was going on in someone's heart. A good example is Simon Peter. Jesus chose him to lead the early Church, even though Peter was impetuous and was used to speaking before he thought. But Jesus looked past Peter's impatience and saw his heart. He saw that Peter truly did love him and wanted to do the right thing. He saw that Peter had the potential to grow into an effective, passionate leader, even to the point of shedding his blood for the gospel. In the end, Peter's passion wasn't a deficit; it was part of what made him perfect for the job!

What about us? How can we start seeing as God sees?

You can begin by acknowledging that there is more to every situation than meets the eye. So when you are in a complex or challenging situation, ask the Holy Spirit to help you see what's going on under the surface. Try to look through the Spirit's lens of mercy, justice, and love. Remember how Jesus treated Peter, as well as how he treated outcasts and sinners—never condemning but always helping them take their next step forward. Then ask yourself how you can do what Jesus might do.

As you get into the habit of taking these little steps, you'll begin to see things as God does. You'll find yourself more peaceful in difficult situations. You'll find yourself being more patient, caring, and responsive to the people around you. You'll find yourself receiving more insights and guidance from the Spirit. And that will make you even more an instrument of God's peace to the people around you.

"Lord, help me to be more open to your Spirit today so that I can see everything and everyone around me as you see them."

Psalm 89:20-22, 27-28
Mark 2:23-28


The heart has a place. For? Let us read again the Holy Words of today's First Holy Scripture: "Yes! I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.
So cleanse yourselves and join me today for the banquet." What do we sacrifice to the Lord? At the Heavenly Banquet, it is a place of sacrifice. It is on earth, is it so in Heaven? What could one sacrifice in Heaven? You would have nothing to sacrifice? If only the Holy is in Heaven, then what? No sacrifice? What about your presence? We threw a first time ever double birthday this weekend for my wife and her sister. It was an involved thing, lots of planning on food, decorations, people coming from out of town. It took hours to clean out a building of trash and junk then set up tables, sound systems, hung things on walls and roof and lights. It was all to bless them. God told me to do it. They felt so honored. God does this with what He wraps us with. Blessings. How can we sacrifice then? Make this place special. The heart is a place, prepare it for Him.

Let us pray: " I have found David, my servant. "I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him, That my hand may be always with him, and that my arm may make him strong." My RCIA students were finally married this weekend by the Holy Church. The young baptist received several Sacraments, Confession, Baptism, Confirmation, Communion. The man now Catholic was anointed with oil. The wedding was powerful, the Sacraments He was receiving could be felt as if a presence was there that filled the whole house of God. More than a magnet it was a force to be reckoned with. After the wedding Holy Mass the young man said to me, the choir guy/sponsor, and to the photographer, "I am never going to wash off this oil!" It made for a beautiful sentiment. But like I told him in one class, I'll believe it when we are older, like I tell my wife...time tells the truth. And the truth is Jesus speaking after thousands upon thousands of years of truth...of Our Lord!

In comes our Lord: ""The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath." This Holy Scripture and words of our Lord often get twisted, especially for those who love to work on Sundays. It is twisted. But the truth is Jesus came in and ate the bread to show the world just who is God! To this day, Jesus picks at heads to become bread for the life of the world. Around Christmas, I looked for an image, as I often do, to send you with the readings and reflections. An atheistic group had a horrible image of an old man painted eating away at the baby boy, tearing flesh. That is a distorted view of an unbeliever, of what they see a Catholic doing. Jesus is Mana. Jesus is life. Jesus gives life. This life giver wants to give life through us. Who me? Yes YOU reading this right now! There is then, in the world, the life giver and the opposite side, the taker of life. This month is the month to remember the unborn. Life. Life is alive in an unborn child. We would never devour a child, but the devil points fingers. This is the atrocity of gossip, a pointing of fingers, a bashing of Jesus, scourging, whipping, all things that truly depict a ravaging savage on the flesh of an innocent. Let's call things as they are, truth is truth and is evident in thousands of years. We are a people of life, called, yes to defend life, but how? With love. God is love. That is how. How can you be pro-life and hate your neighbor, another person? How can you be pro-life and not believe in life, especially Life, Jesus, the Word of God?

I saw a "TED" video and they had Pope Francis speaking and the title is "Why The Only Future Worth Building Includes Everyone".

It was a touching video. It touches the heart. I had to read subtitles but you can feel the words reaching out to you as you listen to his voice. It invites us to be one.

Fr. Barron said today:
"Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus calls us to recognize him as Lord. Acknowledging the Lordship of Jesus means that your life has to change. For many this is liberating good news. But for others, it is a tremendous threat. If Jesus is Lord, my ego can't be Lord. My religion can't be Lord. My country, my convictions, and my culture cannot be Lord.
The Resurrection is the clearest indication of the Lordship of Jesus. This is why the message of the Resurrection is attacked, belittled, or explained away. The author of Acts speaks of "violent abuse" hurled at Paul. I have a small taste of this on my YouTube forums. We all should expect it, especially when our proclamation is bold.
This reveals a great mystery: we are called to announce the Good News to everyone, but not everyone will listen. Once we've done our work, we should move on and not obsess about those who won't listen. Why do some respond and some don't? We don't know, but that's ultimately up to God."

On youtube people hit thumbs down, even on this Pope Francis videos and on Bishop Barren's reflections in videos. The spirit of the anti-christ is alive and dead. And you? What do you give thumbs up to? Does it show? One last thing: St. Francis never said "go evangelize and if necessary, use words". This is an abysmal lie. Today's saints died for preaching on the streets proclaiming the word of God! And they were Franciscans to boot! But if it were not for them, including St. Anthony of Padua, we would not be reading of these great feats of faith...or better of God. Too many of us cop out, saying "I don't need church" or "I don't need to preach". That's an abysmal lie! You need to preach and teach and follow and do as the Lord calls. And how?

It begins in this place called the heart. This year, make it a focus to do just that. Put God first in this place. Make HIM your MASTERpiece, the CENTERpiece. His peace will then flow through you. This sacrifice then is accepted as a blessing, and the return becomes a flow of reciprocating love that makes the world turn............



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