Friday, March 23, 2018

Realize & Understand

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Love and Community

God is love, light, truth, and beauty. God is like a mother, gently trying to coax another step out of a young child learning to walk, God exists as an infinite patience that endures all things. The cross of Christ reveals that God works far differently than do our imaginations. God never overpowers anyone. God's power to create love and community.

—from the book The Passion and the Cross by Ronald Rolheiser
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"Keep the joy of loving God in your heart and share this joy with all you meet, especially your family. Be holy."
— St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

"Concerning obedience as a sign of authenticity, St. Theresa is eloquent: 'Believe me, there is no better way of acquiring this treasure [of loving fire sent from heaven] than to dig and toil in order to get it from this mine of obedience. The more we dig, the more we shall find; and the more we submit to men, and have no other will than that of our superiors, the more completely we shall become masters of our wills and bring them into conformity with the will of God.'"
— Fr. Thomas Dubay, p. 239
Fire Within

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
Galatians 2:19-20


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Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo

(November 16, 1538 – March 23, 1606)

Together with Rose of Lima, Turibius is the first known saint of the New World, serving the Lord in Peru, South America, for 26 years.

Born in Spain and educated for the law, he became so brilliant a scholar that he was made professor of law at the University of Salamanca and eventually became chief judge of the Inquisition at Granada. He succeeded too well. But he was not sharp enough a lawyer to prevent a surprising sequence of events.

When the archdiocese of Lima in Peru required a new leader, Turibius was chosen to fill the post: He was the one person with the strength of character and holiness of spirit to heal the scandals that had infected that area.

He cited all the canons that forbade giving laymen ecclesiastical dignities, but he was overruled. Turibius was ordained priest and bishop and sent to Peru, where he found colonialism at its worst. The Spanish conquerors were guilty of every sort of oppression of the native population. Abuses among the clergy were flagrant, and he devoted his energies and suffering to this area first.

He began the long and arduous visitation of an immense archdiocese, studying the language, staying two or three days in each place, often with neither bed nor food. Turibius confessed every morning to his chaplain, and celebrated Mass with intense fervor. Among those to whom he gave the Sacrament of Confirmation was the future Saint Rose of Lima, and possibly the future Saint Martin de Porres. After 1590, he had the help of another great missionary, Francis Solanus, now also a saint.

Though very poor his people were sensitive, dreading to accept public charity from others. Turibius solved the problem by helping them anonymously.

The Lord indeed writes straight with crooked lines. Against his will, and from the unlikely springboard of an Inquisition tribunal, this man became the Christlike shepherd of a poor and oppressed people. God gave him the gift of loving others as they needed it.


Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Reading 1 Jer 20:10-13

I hear the whisperings of many:
"Terror on every side!
Denounce! let us denounce him!"
All those who were my friends
are on the watch for any misstep of mine.
"Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail,
and take our vengeance on him."
But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion:
my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.
In their failure they will be put to utter shame,
to lasting, unforgettable confusion.
O LORD of hosts, you who test the just,
who probe mind and heart,
Let me witness the vengeance you take on them,
for to you I have entrusted my cause.
Sing to the LORD,
praise the LORD,
For he has rescued the life of the poor
from the power of the wicked!

Responsorial Psalm Ps 18:2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 7
R. (see 7) In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
I love you, O LORD, my strength,
O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
My God, my rock of refuge,
my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!
Praised be the LORD, I exclaim,
and I am safe from my enemies.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
The breakers of death surged round about me,
the destroying floods overwhelmed me;
The cords of the nether world enmeshed me,
the snares of death overtook me.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
In my distress I called upon the LORD
and cried out to my God;
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.

Verse Before the Gospel See Jn 6:63c, 68c
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.

Gospel Jn 10:31-42

The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus.
Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from my Father.
For which of these are you trying to stone me?"
The Jews answered him,
"We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.
You, a man, are making yourself God."
Jesus answered them,
"Is it not written in your law, 'I said, 'You are gods"'?
If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came,
and Scripture cannot be set aside,
can you say that the one
whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world
blasphemes because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?
If I do not perform my Father's works, do not believe me;
but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me,
believe the works, so that you may realize and understand
that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."
Then they tried again to arrest him;
but he escaped from their power.

He went back across the Jordan
to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.
Many came to him and said,
"John performed no sign,
but everything John said about this man was true."
And many there began to believe in him.


Meditation: Jeremiah 20:10-13

The Lord is with me, like a mighty champion. (Jeremiah 20:11)

"Terror, terror on every side!" That's how Jeremiah's enemies mimicked his words. They accused him of needlessly stirring up fear among the people by talking about God's coming judgment. Employing the rumor mill that was part of the court in Jerusalem, they spread gossip and slander that made life dangerous for the prophet. But Jeremiah didn't back down. He had entrusted his life to God, and he knew that God would be his champion and keep him safe.

God is indeed a mighty champion for all of us—not just in life-and-death situations like Jeremiah's, but also in the everyday dangers that we face. He is with the housewife who worries about keeping her children in line, cleaning her home, and preparing meals for her family. He is with the student struggling against peer pressure. He is with the lonely widower facing a troubling diagnosis and the prison inmate trying to change his life in often brutal surroundings. Whatever battles we may be facing, God is our champion. He is ready to fight for us and defend us.

Sometimes, though, it's hard to ask the Lord for help. We have been so conditioned by life to think we have to fight all by ourselves. We are told that religion is just a crutch and that we should be strong enough to handle whatever comes our way. Or we have been told that it's normal to live with a certain level of anxiety and worry and that only naïve fools are happy all the time. We should just grow up and get used to our problems because life is unfair, and there's nothing we can do about it.

Don't listen to these voices! You have a God in heaven who cares for you and wants to do good for you. He is very near to you. He's just waiting for you to call on him. A true champion, he will take up your cause and give you his grace, his wisdom, and his insights to help you through every challenge. You don't have to walk this path alone!

"I love you, O Lord, my strength . . . my rock, my fortress, my deliverer!" (Psalm 18:2-3).

Psalm 18:2-7
John 10:31-42


" you I have entrusted my cause." I can talk about faith until my face turns blue, but talk is cheap, empty, if I can't back it up, right? But even talk is worth something...even our Lord said to do as these Pharisees said but not to do as they do, for their actions spoke differently. Today, some people talk bad and act bad, like politicians who say "I personally don't believe in this, but this can't affect how I make decisions". And so they allow abortions to go right on through. It's a lie. It's saying "vote for me, a liar". As bad as that looks, think about how we are with people. You say you personally believe in something, but will not act on it.

" In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice. I love you, O LORD, my strength". What does "I love you, O Lord" mean in God's eyes? In the eyes of Jesus? It means I love you for reals and for a real eternity. It means I will give my life for you. And He did, and eternally does. This is the sacrifice of love, and a truth to die for.

In comes the truth, and it is not accepted among the so called "keepers" of the law. Jesus asks ""I have shown you many good works from my Father.
For which of these are you trying to stone me?" Can we appreciate the good works of our Lord? It boils down to this kind of love. Can you appreciate that He saved someone from death, and another person, and another? Because to this day...He does. Miracles abound left and right. But an atheist will not acknowledge this, but believe in their own knowledge. What happens is the faith then, becomes stumped, dead from being stagnant. You must always be on the move as our Lord was. They say Love is always on the move, it is an action from Heaven, a verb, and the verbo (in spanish means word) became flesh.

One day in church a man yelled at me, a couple weeks ago, why? I don't know why, all I did is say "how are you doing today?". He told me to get out of his sight, to get lost. I knew though in my heart, immediately what had transpired. I've begun to have a better sense of how evil works, and in people and in speaking through people and loved ones. I knew it wasn't this man speaking, it was evil in all its hatred waiting there in the middle of church, sitting in a pew, waiting to pounce on me with a verbal attack. I was not offended, I was not hurt. I stepped away and made it seem I was talking to another brother who had just came to me for something. I spared him a disgrace and giving into the evil's temptation to argue and fight and cry. When everybody left the church, I went back inside and knelt in front of the Blessed Sacrament and prayed "please Lord, do not hold this against the man, please help him, please don't let him go away from you, forgive him and help evil get out of his life". I remained rather silent about this issue until now.
Why? Why now? Because, Confessions happened. And a miracle happened. You see, that dark figure that had yelled at me and walked out of the prayer I led that day, had gone to confession. After confession,came out a different man, it was the man I expected to be. After his encounter with the Lord, in Holy Confession, he came walking to me, odd, but not surprised. He kept chatting up a storm with my toddler I was holding in my arms, and was graceful. That's what I had prayed for. For my brother to come back.

That's how Jesus was rejected. Yet He loved. Yet He forgave. If God is a warrior, a champion, it is because He champions love and humility and shows the Way like no other.
Fast forward a couple weeks, we have a meeting on liturgies, and all ministries present. Meeting goes well, all Holy Week Masses are communicated and planned. And after 2 hours of a good meeting, Father says "and please, choir, turn down your microphones". Boy, that lit up a furious fire in me. WHAT? I was outraged inside. As if a personal attack had just been launched. A hundred questions ran through my mind "which choir", "when was it loud?" "why hasn't anyone ever told us this before, (face to face)". My whole idea of being in the choir is to lead congregations to sing, and I try to be quiet to hear the others singing, allbeit, many times I can't hear hardly anyone. Hmmm. I blame our system. But whatever the reasoning, I learned something critical, I need to turn it down, even if it wasn't me. So on the following Sunday, I just couldn't hear my voice. But I kept as if singing into a pillow it seemed, couldn't get feedback to adjust. But I just kept singing anyways, others said they heard it fine. What's the point?

Humility. When truth hurts, just swallow the humiliation and endure the pain. Why? Because, it is a clear sign of grace in action. I sought consolation, but as good and bad feedback was given, nothing mattered. Deep inside, a message was coming to me..."turn it down", settle down, let Love win, the greater power, the greater action. It wasn't evil telling me to turn it down, it was the Father. Stone launchers, beware! Don't be fooled by all you see and hear. First act, is to pray, then act. Not act out and then have to pray for forgiveness. Truth doesn't feel good all the time. Love doesn't feel good all the time. Sometimes it is just flat out painful. That's because love is not a mere sentiment, a feeling. It is a decision.

So God decided to save the world.
And so, that is what GOOD Friday is all about.
Showing what Love looks like in our world.
It took great pains for Him to do what He did. Labor pains.
Labor of Love, the greatest Love in Action.
All it took was some bit of hatred to make it complete, see what Good He makes come out of it? You can't outdo God.
And this is Good news.
If He were to come, the 2nd coming, we would all be on full alert, even the so-called "non-believers" would believe.

And His second coming is a phenomenal thought: It would be the final coming, the final judgement, but, not only that, a truth revealed that says "It is time".



Fifth Friday of Lent

"You shall love the Lord your God with your
whole heart" (Mt 22:37).

Note well that Christ says, 'Your whole heart.' He doesn't leave a corner of your heart for yourself but bids you offer the whole of it to him! He bought the whole of you by giving his whole self for you, that he alone might possess every part of you."

Abundance can almost be considered God's middle name. Jesus scandalized people who worshiped
a God as stingy as they were. A gas released in an
enclosed space will eventually diffuse itself equally
throughout the volume available. God's grace likewise spreads itself, unless we create an impenetrable obstacle.

Praying with Saint Anthony

Lord, use me as you know best.

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