Tuesday, January 23, 2018

. . Asking For You

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Jesus Is Knocking

In the book of Revelation, we find a powerful image of the Lord who knocks on the door of our hearts, and waits to be welcomed inside: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20).

Jesus knocks at the door of our hearts and eagerly desires to dine with us at the sacrificial meal we call the Eucharist. He wishes to find us ready to receive him, to sit down and eat with him, in the upper rooms of our lives.

—from Monsignor Peter J. Vaghi's book Meeting God in the Upper Room: Three Moments to Change Your Life
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What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like."
– St. Augustine

"Not to try to live in interior silence is equivalent to giving up the effort to lead a truly Christian life. The Christian life is a life of faith, lived in the invisible for what is invisible. Anyone who is not in constant contact with the invisible world runs the risk of remaining always on the threshold of a true Christian life. ... Solitude is the stronghold of the strong. Strength is an active virtue, and our power of keeping silence marks the level of our capacity for action. 'Without this interior cell, we would be incapable of doing great things, either for ourselves or for others.'"
— Raoul Plus, S.J., p. 40-1
How to Pray Always

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29:11-13


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Saint Marianne Cope

(January 23, 1838 – August 9, 1918)

Though leprosy scared off most people in 19th-century Hawaii, that disease sparked great generosity in the woman who came to be known as Mother Marianne of Molokai. Her courage helped tremendously to improve the lives of its victims in Hawaii, a territory annexed to the United States during her lifetime (1898).

Mother Marianne's generosity and courage were celebrated at her May 14, 2005, beatification in Rome. She was a woman who spoke "the language of truth and love" to the world, said Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes. Cardinal Martins, who presided at the beatification Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, called her life "a wonderful work of divine grace." Speaking of her special love for persons suffering from leprosy, he said, "She saw in them the suffering face of Jesus. Like the Good Samaritan, she became their mother."

On January 23, 1838, a daughter was born to Peter and Barbara Cope of Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany. The girl was named after her mother. Two years later the Cope family emigrated to the United States and settled in Utica, New York. Young Barbara worked in a factory until August 1862, when she went to the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis in Syracuse, New York. After profession in November of the next year, she began teaching at Assumption parish school.

Marianne held the post of superior in several places and was twice the novice mistress of her congregation. A natural leader, three different times she was superior of St. Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse, where she learned much that would be useful during her years in Hawaii.

Elected provincial in 1877, Mother Marianne was unanimously re-elected in 1881. Two years later the Hawaiian government was searching for someone to run the Kakaako Receiving Station for people suspected of having leprosy. More than 50 religious communities in the United States and Canada were asked. When the request was put to the Syracuse sisters, 35 of them volunteered immediately. On October 22, 1883, Mother Marianne and six other sisters left for Hawaii where they took charge of the Kakaako Receiving Station outside Honolulu; on the island of Maui they also opened a hospital and a school for girls.

In 1888, Mother Marianne and two sisters went to Molokai to open a home for "unprotected women and girls" there. The Hawaiian government was quite hesitant to send women for this difficult assignment; they need not have worried about Mother Marianne! On Molokai she took charge of the home that Saint Damien de Veuster had established for men and boys. Mother Marianne changed life on Molokai by introducing cleanliness, pride, and fun to the colony. Bright scarves and pretty dresses for the women were part of her approach.

Awarded the Royal Order of Kapiolani by the Hawaiian government and celebrated in a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, Mother Marianne continued her work faithfully. Her sisters have attracted vocations among the Hawaiian people and still work on Molokai.

Mother Marianne died on August 9, 1918 and was beatified in 2005 and canonized seven years later.

The government authorities were reluctant to allow Mother Marianne to be a mother on Molokai. Thirty years of dedication proved their fears unfounded. God grants gifts regardless of human shortsightedness and allows those gifts to flower for the sake of the kingdom.


Tuesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 2 Sm 6:12b-15, 17-19

David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom
into the City of David amid festivities.
As soon as the bearers of the ark of the LORD had advanced six steps,
he sacrificed an ox and a fatling.
Then David, girt with a linen apron,
came dancing before the LORD with abandon,
as he and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD
with shouts of joy and to the sound of the horn.
The ark of the LORD was brought in and set in its place
within the tent David had pitched for it.
Then David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
When he finished making these offerings,
he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts.
He then distributed among all the people,
to each man and each woman in the entire multitude of Israel,
a loaf of bread, a cut of roast meat, and a raisin cake.
With this, all the people left for their homes.

Responsorial Psalm PS 24:7, 8, 9, 10
R. (8) Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle.
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD of hosts; he is the king of glory.
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!

Alleluia SEE MT 11:25
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 3:31-35

The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house.
Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him.
A crowd seated around him told him,
"Your mother and your brothers and your sisters
are outside asking for you."
But he said to them in reply,
"Who are my mother and my brothers?"
And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
"Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother."


Meditation: 2 Samuel 6:12-15, 17-19

Saint Vincent, Deacon and Martyr (Optional Memorial)

David . . . came dancing before the Lord with abandon. (2 Samuel 6:14)

Prayer can take many forms. Consider the scene in today's first reading, when David brought the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. He not only had many sacrifices offered, but he also danced before God with childlike abandon. This probably wasn't what most people expected of their king. They were likely surprised at his lack of decorum. Yet David was so filled with joy that he couldn't help but dance freely before the God who had been so good to his people.

Our prayer, too, can and should take many forms. Don't you sometimes feel like dancing before God in your prayer time? Go ahead! How about singing a song? Give it a try. What about marching around the room like the Israelites marched around Jericho? Or walking meditatively through the forest, delighting in God's gift of the created world? Or letting out a big laugh because the Lord has made you joyful? Or maybe kneeling before the Lord, saying the name of Jesus over and over again?

These, as well as so many other forms of prayer, can be just as valid as sitting before God in silence, praying the Rosary, or talking to God as familiarly as you would talk to your neighbor.

We can sometimes feel constrained by structured forms of prayer. Certainly, traditional prayers have their place and can be very effective in helping us build up our relationship with God. But God also wants us to feel free to express ourselves spontaneously. An unscripted expression of praise, love, or gratitude may very well help us break through to a deeper relationship with God.

Remember that God is your Father. He loves you as his very own child. Children are naturally spontaneous and free, and you can be this way before God. He delights in seeing his children coming before him in many different ways. Why not take a chance and become a little spontaneous as you let your Father know how much you love him?

"Jesus, as you rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, teach me also to express my joy and worship. You are great, O Lord, and I take delight in you!"

Psalm 24:7-10
Mark 3:31-35



The Word of our Lord said "...David, girt with a linen apron, came dancing before the LORD with abandon..." some thought he was crazy, " When David went home to bless his own house, Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him and said, "How well the king of Israel has honored himself today, exposing himself to the view of the slave girls of his followers, as a commoner might expose himself!" 2Sam6:20. "Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home." Mk6:4. Do you doubt you doubt you can be a crazy Jesus freak? Do people know that you know Him? Do people know that you love Him? Do I have to be a hallelujah person dancing in the streets for Him? Certainly. There is a time... for rejoicing...

Let us pray: " Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord! Lift up, O gates, your lintels; reach up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may come in!"

Let the King of Glory in! When do you let Him in? When it is His time? Only when you want? Jerusalem opened gates...and had Him slaughtered during their "holy days". When you celebrate the Sabbath, this passover, and you open your gates, and you go sacrifice in Mass, do you do the same? Slaughter Him? Our sinful selves must be the sacrifice, that part of us must die. Do you understand? A true Jesus follower goes in to give Glory to God. Not to be glorified by God. Do you comprehend the message? The lamb goes in humbly and leaves as food for the world that has savage wolves hunting for a feast. St. Francis calmed a savage wolf that invaded a town and killed people. St. Francis fed the wolf. Talked to the wolf. And taught the town to feed the wolf. The wolf became the friend of the town. The wolf killed but was spared. Do you understand the Glory of God? It takes guts. My dad says this quote in spanish "a veces tienes que hacer de tripas...corazon" (sometimes you have to make a heart...out of guts").

In comes our Lord, whom finds Himself surrounded by so many people, that they won't even let Him eat. Word gets to His mother and "brothers" all followers and family, not blood brothers. "When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, "He is out of his mind." They arrive and call out and word gets to Jesus ""Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you." His awesome response booms from Heaven "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother." These Holy Words are super deep. So deep that they can shut up the smartest of men. Especially those who were saying "he is possessed". He has gone mad! They say. The same was said about King David...those jealous, those full of pride, those whose jealous pride was hurt. Those who wanted glory for themselves. Those who wanted the spotlight. Here is an atrocity to be reckoned with. In our world, depression is a huge thing. Here, the richest country in the world, the most powerful, and suffering from depression so great, that millions upon millions are on drugs, both legal and illegal. Why? Because we want glory for ourselves. Eeek. Sounds bad, right? We want this and that, and that right away! We want instant gratification. We want cures fast. We want to see immediate results. We want like the slogan says "my way right away". And so kids think the world revolves around them. Glory backwards. A spiraling deficit. A black hole that sucks the light out of the world. So how do we reverse this ongoing trend in our world? Teach yourself and those around yourself to be light givers. Teach that we give outwards. Giving is giving and gives. What? Giving is to give to give! Simple? King David gave glory to God and gave blessings and gave meals. Jesus gave glory on the cross and gave us His Sacred body to feed the world. Light. But it won't happen if you are just focused on yourself! Or basing your life on just your kids. Or basing your life on anything else for that matter. You need a base to build on. I should know, that's what we do in my line of work in construction. The foundation has been set by God, Jesus and the Apostles with Mary. We are building this beautiful edifice, and as we lay our lives for Him, we lay another stone that glistens. It is the body. And it is the body of Christ.

People thought Jesus was crazy. Truth is, God's love is crazy. It doesn't fit with our modern rationality. It didn't fit when He came in then and it doesn't fit that well now, just a little bit. The other day a brother (I don't have blood brothers) told me that you will always be stressed out if you work for the Lord. Ahh, hmm. I work for the Lord, I stress at times, but not all the time. There is a time for rejoicing you know. In Heaven there is much rejoicing. And you know when it happens really loud and powerful?
When a sinner repents.
When a sinner converts.
When a sinners sees.
When a sinner steps forth from darkness.
And you know what? Sometimes that is me. And I get to rejoice with the Heavens! Oh what a day!



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