Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Watch out...

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To Everything a Season

Saint Bridget of Sweden longed from an early age to become a nun. But she was obedient to her prominent family's desire that she marry a prince. Their marriage was happy and produced eight children (including one, Catherine, who would go on to be a saint herself). After her husband's death, Bridget followed the call of her youth.

There are different seasons to our lives, as Bridget found. Her example shows us that God knows what's best for each season; all we have to do is listen.

—from the book Sisterhood of Saints by Melanie Rigney
franciscan media



"Let us love God, but with the strength of our arms, in the sweat of our brow."
— St. Vincent de Paul

"Yes, my heart's dear one, Jesus, is here with His cross. Since you are one of His favorites, he wants to make you into His likeness; why be afraid that you will not have the strength to carry this cross without a struggle? On the way to Calvary, Jesus did indeed fall three times and you, poor little child, would like to be different from your spouse, would rather not fall a hundred times if necessary to prove your love to Him by getting back up with even more strength than before your fall!"
— St. Therese of Lisieux, p. 87
Meditations with the Little Flower


Veneration of the Holy Face of Jesus has its beginning during Christ's Passion, making it one of the oldest devotions in the Christian tradition. St. Veronica, as a sign of her love and compassion, offered Our Savior a veil to wipe the blood and sweat from his face as he carried his cross on the way to his crucifixion. In reward for her charity and compassion, Jesus left an impression of his Holy Face upon the veil. This meeting of Jesus and St. Veronica is forever memorialized in the Stations of the Cross. According to tradition, St. Veronica later entrusted the veil to St. Clement, a disciple of St. Peter who became the third Bishop of Rome. For the next three centuries the Holy Veil was kept in the Roman catacombs during the early persecutions of the Church. Veronica's Veil was later moved to the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome where it remains today. It is displayed annually from the relic niche above her statue in St. Peter's Basilica on the fifth Sunday of Lent. Shrove Tuesday is the traditional feast day of the Holy Face of Jesus.

"How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers."
Psalm 1: 1-3


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St. Catherine del Ricci (1522-1590) was born with the name Alessandra in Florence, Italy, to a respectable merchant family. Her mother died while she was very young, so that from her childhood Alessandra took the Blessed Virgin Mary as her mother. She was given to prayer and religious fervor, and at the age of fourteen decided to enter a strict Third Order Dominican convent, taking Catherine as her religious name. She developed into a great mystic with an intense devotion to the Passion of Christ. For many years Catherine would go into ecstasy from noon every Thursday through 4 p.m. on Friday, experiencing in a mystical manner the sufferings of Christ during his Passion. She was also given the spiritual gift of the stigmata; Christ's wounds would appear on her body through the course of the ecstasy. After enduring much humiliation for years on account of these sufferings, she was eventually accepted as a holy woman and later became prioress. Her advice was widely sought on many spiritual and practical matters. Despite being cloistered, she kept up a loving correspondence with many relatives, friends, and her spiritual children. Among those in her correspondence were three future popes, Pope Marcellus II, Pope Clement VIII, and Pope Leo XI. Her feast day is February 13.


Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Jas 1:12-18

Blessed is he who perseveres in temptation,
for when he has been proven he will receive the crown of life
that he promised to those who love him.
No one experiencing temptation should say,
"I am being tempted by God";
for God is not subject to temptation to evil,
and he himself tempts no one.
Rather, each person is tempted when lured and enticed by his desire.
Then desire conceives and brings forth sin,
and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters:
all good giving and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.
He willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 94:12-13a, 14-15, 18-19
R. (12a) Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.
Blessed the man whom you instruct, O LORD,
whom by your law you teach,
Giving him rest from evil days.
R. Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.
For the LORD will not cast off his people,
nor abandon his inheritance;
But judgment shall again be with justice,
and all the upright of heart shall follow it.
R. Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.
When I say, "My foot is slipping,"
your mercy, O LORD, sustains me;
When cares abound within me,
your comfort gladdens my soul.
R. Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.

Alleluia Jn 14:23
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord;
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 8:14-21

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread,
and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.
Jesus enjoined them, "Watch out,
guard against the leaven of the Pharisees
and the leaven of Herod."
They concluded among themselves that
it was because they had no bread.
When he became aware of this he said to them,
"Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember,
when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?"
They answered him, "Twelve."
"When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?"
They answered him, "Seven."
He said to them, "Do you still not understand?"


Meditation: James 1:12-18

"Each person is tempted when lured and enticed by his desire." (James 1:14)

What a perfect day to hear these words from St. James! Why today? Because it's Mardi Gras. All over the world, revelers will recall that this is their last chance to eat, drink, and be merry before Lent begins. It's the last day for a bit of self-indulgence before a season of self-denial. And so it's good to hear James warn us not to let our desires get out of hand—any day of the year. It's good to be reminded that temptation comes when the wrong kinds of desire are stirred up and fed. These desires can lead us to sin, and if we remain in sin, it can lead to death (James 1:15).

This sounds awfully grim, doesn't it? Of course there's nothing wrong with a little extra fun on Mardi Gras—especially if we stay within the bounds of moderation. But as we head into Lent, it's good to be reminded how tricky and how deceitful our desires can be. We can want something so badly that we go to dangerous lengths to get it. Isn't this what happened with King David and Bathsheba? He wanted her so much that he ended up committing adultery, deception, and murder just to get his way (2 Samuel 11).

Now, we know that not all of our desires are sinful. In fact, our deepest, most powerful desires are also our purest desires. We all long for the love, mercy, and joy that come from the Lord. We all yearn to taste his holiness, his purity, and his wisdom. We long for the day when all of our desires are purified so that we can receive "every perfect gift" that God has for us (James 1:17). And that's exactly what Lent is all about.

Some people see Lent as a time of gloom and doom. They look on Ash Wednesday with a sense of dread. But that's not how God sees Lent. He sees it as a season of grace and gift giving. He sees it as a time when our fallen desires can be healed and restored. He is a good and gracious Father, and he wants nothing more than to give us the best, the brightest, and the most satisfying gifts we can imagine.

"Jesus, you are my heart's true desire!"

Psalm 94:12-15, 18-19
Mark 8:14-21


"Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters: all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father..." we read today on the day before Ash Wednesday. Do not forget. Do not be fooled. God gives, all good.

Let us pray: " Blessed the man whom you instruct, O LORD, whom by your law you teach, Giving him rest from evil days."

Our Lord instructs us today "Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." It is said that back in those days, the Romans, like Herod, would feed the people, and the Pharisees too, on certain occasions to win over their hearts....for Faithfulness. It begs today, to answer the who or whom are you faithful to...the most? I dare say to you what does not ring out too clear in some hearts:
God Before Country.
God Before Family.
God Before Work.
God Before School.
God Before Everything and Anyone else.
There, I said it. Said what? The first Commandment from Heaven.

Today, it is an eve of a 40 day journey. To put God first. This day, you can say if asked what you gave up, but you should not go tooting your horn. It is a day that should really be about confessions, resolutions, (reconciling) all that will commence tomorrow but already today in your heart. The whole point of lent is to bring us so much closer to our Father in Heaven.
We are going to sing a new Mass part called "Mass of Creation" for Lent. Listen to it. It begins with Glory to God, in the Highest. Giving thanks. Praising God. If we have sinned, we are sorry. This is the time to turn to Him and turn from sin. Turn from being faithful to sinfulness, things that detract us from God and keep us from God.

Does that chocolate donut keep you from God? It can be a distraction, if your senses go on making you be who you are.
Does going to the movies keep you from God? It can take the time from face to face time with loved ones, learning about our Father, our Faith, the Mother Church.
How will you spend Sunday morning at daybreak? Morning? Afternoons? Evening, and nightfall?

Faithfulness. Jesus our Lord said "Watch out!". TV wants your interest for self gain. Radio wants your interest too. Internet wants your interests and pulls you with its offerings. Many people want you to take interest in them for their self gain.
Watch out! Watch what you do, and say, and sing. You know how someone sings something and it sticks to your head? Sing about Jesus this lent. Talk about Jesus. Do as Jesus does. He gives. He prays. He sets time apart for the Lord for 40 days. He fasts. Why? Because it is in preparation for a mission....the Kingdom of God! We are called to the same, follow Him and His way.
This day we honor the face of God. And enter into preparation for what is to come-
Giving every last drop of love for our Father...our ultimate provider for eternity, eternal bread



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