Monday, March 26, 2018

You ALWAYS have....

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Love Frees Us

Selfishness leads nowhere and love frees. Those who are able to live their lives as a gift to give others will never be alone and will never experience the drama of the isolated conscience. Jesus says something remarkable to us: "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Love always takes this path: to give one's life.

—from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek
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"O man, when the world hates you and is faithless toward you, think of your God, how he was struck and spat upon. You should not accuse your neighbor of guilt, but pray to God that he be merciful to you both."
— St. Nicholas of Flue

"This world is filled with many vulgar and dishonorable things that will claw and tear at your Christian purity if you allow them to. Don't let them! Seek instead the things of God. He will purify you and free you from your slavery to profane and inconsequential things."
— Patrick Madrid, p.1
A Year with the Bible

"Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always continue in the fear of the Lord. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off."
Proverbs 23:17-18


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St. Margaret Clitherow (1556-1586), also called Margaret of York, lived in York, England, the daughter of a candlemaker and wife of a wealthy Protestant butcher. She was raised Anglican just after the time that King Henry VIII severed the Church of England from communion with the Roman Catholic Church. A few years after her marriage, at the age of 18, she converted to the Catholic Church due to the work of covert missionary Catholic priests. While her husband remained Protestant, she aided persecuted Catholics by sheltering priests (which included her brother-in-law) and having Mass and Confessions said in her home, which became a safe house and hiding place for priests. Margaret witnessed the tortuous death of many of the priests she aided, and she would publicly pray on the spot of their martyrdom. Undaunted in her work, she was imprisoned numerous times. On her final arrest she was charged for harboring Catholic priests and was condemned to a public execution by being crushed to death, a martyrdom of which she considered herself unworthy. All three of her children entered the religious life, two priests and a nun. St. Margaret Clitherow, the "Pearl of York," is the patron saint of martyrs, businesswomen, and converts. Her feast day is March 26th.


Monday of Holy Week

Reading 1 Is 42:1-7

Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
Upon whom I have put my Spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
Not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
Until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spreads out the earth with its crops,
Who gives breath to its people
and spirit to those who walk on it:
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
To open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14
R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life's refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
When evildoers come at me
to devour my flesh,
My foes and my enemies
themselves stumble and fall.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart will not fear;
Though war be waged upon me,
even then will I trust.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Verse Before the Gospel
Hail to you, our King;
you alone are compassionate with our faults.

Gospel Jn 12:1-11

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil
made from genuine aromatic nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair;
the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,
and the one who would betray him, said,
"Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days' wages
and given to the poor?"
He said this not because he cared about the poor
but because he was a thief and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions.
So Jesus said, "Leave her alone.
Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me."

The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came,
not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus,
whom he had raised from the dead.
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him.


Meditation: Isaiah 42:1-7

Here is my servant whom I uphold. (Isaiah 42:1) ;

There is a lot of drama in the events of Holy Week, and most of us have seen enough movies to put vivid images into our imaginations. We see crowds cheering and waving palm branches. There are soldiers carrying torches and brandishing swords. There is a midnight trial. There is a man whose body is bruised and bleeding from repeated blows. A power struggle plays out between secular and religious authorities. Women gather around a cross, wailing and lamenting.

Entering into this week can be an emotional time for us. There's nothing wrong with responding with your whole being as you relive these events. After all, they are the turning point of human history! But in the midst of all the drama, Isaiah can help us focus on the Person who matters most: Jesus, the servant whom God the Father upholds.

What is this servant like? He is described as "not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street" (Isaiah 42:2). So if you want to understand what Jesus is up to, your best approach would be to quiet your heart and listen attentively.

Who knows? God may choose the quieter scenes to speak to you this year—not in earthquake or hurricane, but in a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:11-13). He may touch your heart with unexpected insights. Perhaps the scene of Mary gratefully pouring perfume on the feet of Jesus will be a stronger image than Lazarus being raised from the dead. Maybe Jesus' humble refusal to defend himself will overshadow the violence of his scourging. Or the Virgin Mary's silent trust and love beneath the cross will be more powerful than the thunderclap and earthquake.

So try sitting quietly with the Lord every day this week. Keep your Bible open on your lap as you ponder the Mass readings. If your mind wanders or you become distracted, gently turn your attention back and try again. Jesus has a message for you this week. Let his words open your heart to hear what he wants to say . . . to you.

"Thank you, Jesus, for your love for me. Help me hear what you want to say to me this week."

Psalm 27:1-3, 13-14
John 12:1-11


"I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice". Most people I've been asking in church meetings, classes, etc, have a rather descent knowledge of what "just" means in the bible. It all has to do with God and holiness. The "victory of justice" is what God has called us to. To be champions/warriors of such a battle on earth. Many fall by the wayside, injured by sin. Many are able to still go on, live on to fight/persevere one more day in the Way of the Lord. Take heart, for if the Lord has called you, it means He is with you. Jesus said not to get too involved, concerned about what others say and so forth in the saint maker book "Imitation of Christ". He said on the curious inquiry of others at the end "If only you would watch faithfully for My coming and open the door of your heart to Me, I would gladly speak to you and reveal to you My secrets. Be prudent, watchful in prayer, and humble yourself in all things."

Let us pray: "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life's refuge; of whom should I be afraid?" Fear can be paralyzing. What's crazy is that it is internalized. So much so that one can live with closed doors...locked, triple locked, and windows shut and curtains closed, so not even the son can come in. Let the Son of God come in, but you have to open the doors.

In the Holy Gospel, there is a Mary of Bethany washing the feet of Christ with a very expensive oil, and must've been a bid deal because it is written in the bible how many days of work it would've cost, 100 days of work, to pay for it. A penance or act of worship, but the devil takes note too, greed takes a chime at the Gospel, Judas can't believe his little eyes and little heart, and yells what is equivalent to today's people saying the church is so rich, why doesn't it give to the poor? This is the equivalent spirit that still pervades. It is a mindset that puts a dollar value on things, like when someone uses someone else for their own selfish interests. Like abortion, or sex that does not give life or is open to life production. This is the same spirit that is thriving in the world. And so what does Jesus say? "You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me." WOW! What does that even mean? Let's read it back to front. "You do not always have me". He said this to Judas. This happens to a neutral person in the world. Sometimes you're a giver, but many times a taker. You give what's not yours, like Judas, the purse holder for the Lord, the treasurer. He would give what belonged to the Lord, but he never really gave out of his own pocket, his own heart then for that matter. "You always have the poor with you" said our Lord. What a strange notion, and words to say. Who are the poor with me? We live in a privileged nation. We have running water, work, unemployment at very low points, we have lots of time for sports, for play, for work, for going on road trips. But what about the poor "with me"? I don't see people in rags laying around my neighborhood, I don't "have poor with me" I?

It's like we see what we want to see. If the Lord is your light, as we prayed, you will see in the dark corner, the poor person in rags around your neighborhood, even in your home. Otherwise, you will never see the poor with you. If you would tend to the poor, you would tend to Jesus.
You want to know who I see as poor in my community? The youth. The children. Poor kids, don't stand a chance in their homes. They got game systems, games sports, games at school, and their families are playing games with their faith. Life is not a game. Don't play games with faith.

I go teach, and out of 15 kids, only 4 show up. I ask "is this class mandatory" they say "no". I say hogwash! Church should be spiritually mandatory. Why do I have to sacrifice my family and work time to show up to a classroom that is empty? Kids don't care! WRONG. Families don't care. My heart feels heavy for a little one that I ask "does your mommy bring you to Mass on Sundays' and they say no. I ask these teenagers too in RCIA one time "why didn't you go to Mass? " Because we didn't have a ride, said a brother and a sister. Poor kids. Don't stand a chance. I can teach them till their face is blue for the 20 to 45 minutes of their attention, but for the rest of the week? I see the poor, and I try to pour out myself to them, and it just doesn't seem like myself is enough. So what do I do?

I keep pouring.

And Jesus keeps pouring.
And Mary keeps pouring her treasure on to Jesus' feet and driblles onto the floor...wasting away to some eyes, and to others' a stinky dying house of a dead man Lazarus, life is smelled, the fragrance is spoken about in the bible, it was very important to note, that this is what love smells like...beautiful.
Do not be afraid.
To pour out your entire life to Jesus

Here we come....



Monday of Holy Week

"Today Christ stands at our door and knocks in
the person of his poor. It is to him that we open
when we give aid, when we give ourselves to those
in need, for he tells us plainly, 'When you do this
to one of the least of these who are members of
my family, you do it to me'" (Mt 25:40, NRSV).
St. Anthony was certainly familiar with the quote
"He who mocks a poor man blasphemes his
Creator" (Prv 17:5).

Experience shows that we easily divide poor
people into "deserving" and "undeserving" and
omit the word people. Perhaps those condemned
in Matthew 25:31-46 had done that.

Praying with Saint Anthony

O God, lover of the human family, help us to
remember that each person we meet today has
been made in your image and likeness.

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