Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Where I Am Going

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Pray for Grace

Most of us aren't likely to betray anyone to a death squad. But as we meditate on the events of the Passion, we might reflect on the times we've betrayed a trust, the times we've talked about someone behind their back, the times we've stayed silent when a friend has been ridiculed. Resolve to keep silent when tempted to gossip and to speak out when others are gossiping. That sounds like a challenge, doesn't it? It is. Pray for the grace to meet it.

—from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek
franciscan media


"The school of Christ is the school of love. In the last day, when the general examination takes place ... Love will be the whole syllabus."
— St. Robert Bellarmine

"Set free from human judgment, we should count as true only what God sees in us, what he knows, and what he judges. God does not judge as man does. Man sees only the countenance, only the exterior. God penetrates to the depths of our hearts. God does not change as man does. His judgment is in no way inconstant. He is the only one upon whom we should rely. How happy we are then, and how peaceful! We are no longer dazzled by appearances, or stirred up by opinions; we are united to the truth and depend upon it alone. I am praised, blamed, treated with indifference, disdained, ignored, or forgotten; none of this can touch me. I will be no less than I am. Men and women want to play at being a creator. They want to give me existence in their opinion, but this existence that they want to give me is nothingness. It is an illusion, a shadow, an appearance, that is, at bottom, nothingness. What is this shadow, always following me, behind me, at my side? Is it me, or something that belongs to me? No. Yet does not this shadow seem to move with me? No matter: it is not me. So it is with the judgements of men: they would follow me everywhere, paint me, sketch me, make me move according to their whim, and, in the end, give me some sort of existence ... but I am disabused of this error. I am content with a hidden life. How peaceful it is! Whether I truly live this Christian life of which St. Paul speaks, I do not know, nor can I know with certainty. But I hope that I do, and I trust in God's goodness to help me."
— Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet, p. 99-101
Meditations for Lent

"For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil."
2 Corinthians 5:10


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Lazarus, the friend of Jesus, the brother of Martha and Mary, was the one of whom the Jews said, "See how much he loved him." In their sight, Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead.

Legends abound about the life of Lazarus after the death and resurrection of Jesus. He is supposed to have left a written account of what he saw in the next world before he was called back to life. Some say he followed Peter into Syria. Another story is that despite being put into a leaking boat by the Jews at Jaffa, he, his sisters, and others landed safely in Cyprus. There he died peacefully after serving as bishop for 30 years.

A church was built in his honor in Constantinople and some of his reputed relics were transferred there in 890. A Western legend has the oarless boat arriving in Gaul. There he was bishop of Marseilles, was martyred after making a number of converts, and was buried in a cave. His relics were transferred to the new cathedral in Autun in 1146.

It is certain there was early devotion to the saint. Around the year 390, the pilgrim lady Etheria talks of the procession that took place on the Saturday before Palm Sunday at the tomb where Lazarus had been raised from the dead. In the West, Passion Sunday was called Dominica de Lazaro, and Augustine tells us that in Africa the Gospel of the raising of Lazarus was read at the office of Palm Sunday.

Many people who have had a near-death experience report losing all fear of death. When Lazarus died a second time, perhaps he was without fear. He must have been sure that Jesus, the friend with whom he had shared many meals and conversations, would be waiting to raise him again. We don't share Lazarus' firsthand knowledge of returning from the grave. Nevertheless, we too have shared meals and conversations with Jesus, who waits to raise us, too.


Tuesday of Holy Week

Reading 1 Is 49:1-6

Hear me, O islands,
listen, O distant peoples.
The LORD called me from birth,
from my mother's womb he gave me my name.
He made of me a sharp-edged sword
and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.
He made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me.
You are my servant, he said to me,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,
and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,
Yet my reward is with the LORD,
my recompense is with my God.
For now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
That Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
And I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5ab-6ab, 15 and 17
R. (see 15ab) I will sing of your salvation.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
incline your ear to me, and save me.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
For you are my hope, O Lord;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother's womb you are my strength.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
My mouth shall declare your justice,
day by day your salvation.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
R. I will sing of your salvation.

Verse Before the Gospel
Hail to you, our King, obedient to the Father;
you were led to your crucifixion like a gentle lamb to the slaughter.

Gospel Jn 13:21-33, 36-38

Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,
"Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me."
The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.
One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,
was reclining at Jesus' side.
So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.
He leaned back against Jesus' chest and said to him,
"Master, who is it?"
Jesus answered,
"It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it."
So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas,
son of Simon the Iscariot.
After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him.
So Jesus said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly."
Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him.
Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him,
"Buy what we need for the feast,"
or to give something to the poor.
So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.

When he had left, Jesus said,
"Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself,
and he will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
You will look for me, and as I told the Jews,
'Where I go you cannot come,' so now I say it to you."

Simon Peter said to him, "Master, where are you going?"
Jesus answered him,
"Where I am going, you cannot follow me now,
though you will follow later."
Peter said to him,
"Master, why can I not follow you now?
I will lay down my life for you."
Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me?
Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow
before you deny me three times."


Meditation: John 13:21-33, 36-38

Jesus was deeply troubled. (John 13:21)

Luna Park, in Melbourne, Australia, boasts the world's oldest, continually operating roller-coaster. But another "roller-coaster" has been running a lot longer—the coaster of life. The rise and fall of circumstances can wear on us. We've all been on it: zooming to the crest of elation, plunging to the depths of despair, whipping around changes in the direction of our desires and will. Today's Gospel hints at one of St. Peter's more wild rides. At the peak he declared self-confidently to Jesus, "I will lay down my life for you," only to rush down the slope of denying Christ a few hours later and bottom out, weeping bitterly (John 13:37).

Imagine how Jesus might have responded this week if he had not kept his eyes fixed on his Father: exuberance on Palm Sunday, defensiveness at the Pharisees' challenges on Monday through Wednesday, rage at being betrayed and handed over to Pilate on Holy Thursday, and complete absolute despair on the cross on Good Friday. Surely he felt deeply all that happened to him. Surely his emotions were taxed, even raw. But despite being on this roller-coaster, he held fast to his mission. He stayed focused on his conviction that his Father was faithful and that he was doing exactly what God had called him to do.

Holding firmly to his relationship with the Father kept Jesus in a position of trust and humility. As the end drew near, you can imagine Jesus filling his mind with thoughts from today's first reading: The Lord called me from birth. He gave me my name. My reward is with the Lord, even if I toiled in vain and spent my strength uselessly. God is my strength!

Perhaps he recalled too the words of the psalmist: In you I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. The Lord is my trust, my hope, and my deliverer. He has taught me to stand firm on him, to stand behind the fortress of his presence.

We can do likewise. This week, try to stay grounded as you ride the roller-coaster of life. Hold firmly to what you know of God. Remind yourself of what he has done in your life. Remember his cross and resurrection. Trust that he is riding that roller-coaster with you.

"Father, help me to follow Jesus' example of steady confidence in you."

Isaiah 49:1-6
Psalm 71:1-6, 15, 17



Watch what has been said of you today, my child:

"The LORD called me from birth, from my mother's womb he gave me my name." I am having a hard time coming up with another video theme to illuminate the faith. One keeps coming around, and it will be about names. He gave me and you our name from our womb. What is it? Is it the name your parents gave you? That's what the video is about. Because, it is strange, name changes and so forth. I won't tell you how it ends, but know this for sure my child, your name means something very important, especially when He calls you "Mine"! WOW.

Let us pray the Holy Psalms which flowed so sweetly from our Lord and Savior's lips: " I will sing of your salvation. For you are my hope, O Lord;
my trust, O God, from my youth. On you I depend from birth; from my mother's womb you are my strength." We are a very dependent people. From the womb, we depend on the protection and nourishment from our mothers. Yet, sadly, today, the womb is perhaps the most dangerous place for a person to live. Every second in the world a person in the womb is attacked. But you can make a difference. "I WILL SING of YOUR Salvation". I survived. You survived. We survived as swords of God. We have survived to bring light into the world. We have survived because of hope, and trust, and to depend on our Lord. The more...the better. This is why the present is the gift.

In our Holy Gospel, the Last Supper is taking place which is what we will celebrate on Holy Thursday. Our Lord says some shocking words to one and to all.

1.)To All
"Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me." And they all ask themselves, "it's not me is it?" Why the doubt, sinner? Why the doubt traitor? Why is there room for any doubt? For sure they became afraid...except one. All became afraid of betraying the Lord, the Son of God, except who?

2.) To Judas

""What you are going to do, do quickly." Where else do you think these words are said? In Holy Mass, a morsel is handed to us. Have you ever left Holy Mass after receiving the Holy Eucharist, and left mad? Have you ever left ready to go play sports or have fun? Have you ever left just the same as you came in? Have you ever left and betrayed God? Let's not see Judas as some poor guy that was all selfish, but let's see how we can eradicate this Judas from our very selves.

3.) To Peter
"Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times." Peter said he would follow the Lord, even if it meant his life. And that very night, Peter denied the Lord 3 times. And you? How many times have you denied the Lord? If you're like me, perhaps thousands. Sin is denial of knowing the Lord, of being intimate only with the Lord. Sin is lying. Sin is betrayal. Sin tears us apart, one from on another. Sin is muck and yuck. But God knows how to deal with it. We need His soothing and cleansing agent...His Holy and most precious blood. He opens His side and says "here....take some of this". And He pours it endlessly...mercy. A constant source of life, for a parched piece of dirt, your body. If you've ever seen a cypress tree by a river, this thing is huge, and is because it is tapped into the flowing waters.

The difference between a saint and a sinner is obvious between Peter and Judas. They both fall, but one gets back up after crying and weeping...the other takes his own life instead of giving it.

Holy Week is for the weak. It is for those who desire to be made strong in their faith. God crushes souls and proves souls. The only thing we can boast of is our cross. I am going to ask you for something special for Good Friday: Prayers. I am going to invite a few men for an afternoon of sacrifice and prayer and we will need you and your prayers to join us. In return, I will ask our Lord to bless you for your sacrifice.

A worker asked me yesterday "are we having Friday Off or what? I said in a rough tone "why? So you can go on vacation instead of going to Mass?" He got red and said "that's true, I heard on the radio that an atheist starting a new job was asked if he was not a believer and he said no, and so the interviewer said 'great, so you won't need any holidays off' and the atheist, oh yes I still want the time off". You see, we can become Judas, all facing inward and selfish, or we can be Peter, realizing you have a great need for mercy and return with your life to the Lord our God. I was rough, but I also invited the worker to join us on Good Friday afterwards.
We have very little knowledge of what sacrifice means.

What it means to God. Lent has meant for our hearts to be rent, torn apart for Him, sitting on ashes and sackcloth, saying "I'm sorry God..Please forgive me, please forgive us". And this is meant to bring you to Him on your knees, and Him to be able to reach down, pick us up, and give us the greatest hug in the world. The kind you will only experience in Heaven. The kind of total security and total love that is for real, when He says "I Will love you forever"
You are MINE



Tuesday of Holy Week

"When Jesus came in sight of Jerusalem, he shed
tears over it" (Lk 19:41). Yet the Lord wept not so
much for the earthly city, but for the souls
of its inhabitants."

The people for whom Jesus wept probably considered themselves great realists and saw him as an out-of-touch idealist. They simply found the
kingdom of God that he preached as requiring too
many changes to what they regarded as "normal."
It was much easier to dismiss him than to consider
the possibility that they might have things upside
down. Many people alive in Jesus' day lived to see
Jerusalem and its temple destroyed by the Romans
in AD 70.

Praying with Saint Anthony

"God, help us trust in you so completely that you
will become everything to everyone" (1 Cor 15:28,
RSV, Catholic Edition)

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