Friday, May 18, 2018

You do not want to go

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Have Courage

When we are weary, downcast, beset with cares, let us look to Mary, let us feel her gaze, which speaks to our heart and says: "Courage, my child, I am here to help you!"

Let us beg her to turn her eyes of mercy towards us, especially in times of pain, and make us worthy of beholding, today and always, the merciful face of her Son Jesus.

—from Mother Mary: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis
franciscan media


"Love Mary! She is loveable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love, but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her."
— St. Gabriel Possenti of Our Lady of Sorrows

Jesus Christ is the one whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and established as priest, prophet, and king. The whole People of God participates in these three offices of Christ and bears the responsibilities for mission and service that flow from them. On entering the People of God through faith and Baptism, one receives a share in this people's unique, priestly vocation: ... The baptized, by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are consecrated to be a spiritual house and a holy priesthood." "The holy People of God shares also in Christ's prophetic office," above all in the supernatural sense of faith that belongs to the whole People, lay and clergy, when it "unfailingly adheres to this faith . . . once for all delivered to the saints," and when it deepens its understanding and becomes Christ's witness in the midst of this world. Finally, the People of God shares in the royal office of Christ. He exercises his kingship by drawing all men to himself through his death and Resurrection. Christ, King and Lord of the universe, made himself the servant of all, for he came "not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." For the Christian, "to reign is to serve him," particularly when serving "the poor and the suffering, in whom the Church recognizes the image of her poor and suffering founder." The People of God fulfills its royal dignity by a life in keeping with its vocation to serve with Christ.
— (CCC 783-786)
Catechism of the Catholic Church

"With the loyal you show yourself loyal; with the blameless you show yourself blameless; with the pure you show yourself pure, and with the crooked you show yourself perverse. You deliver a humble people, but your eyes are upon the haughty to bring them down."
2 Samuel 22:26-28


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Saint John I
Saint of the Day for May 18
(c. 470 – May 18, 526)

Pope John I inherited the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ. Italy had been ruled for 30 years by an emperor who espoused the heresy, though he treated the empire's Catholics with toleration. His policy changed at about the time the young John was elected pope.

When the eastern emperor began imposing severe measures on the Arians of his area, the western emperor forced John to head a delegation to the East to soften the measures against the heretics. Little is known of the manner or outcome of the negotiations—designed to secure continued toleration of Catholics in the West.

On his way home, John was imprisoned at Ravenna because the emperor had begun to suspect that John's friendship with his eastern rival might lead to a conspiracy against his throne. Shortly after his imprisonment, John died, apparently from the treatment he received in prison.

John's body was transported to Rome and he was buried in the Basilica of St. Peter.

We cannot choose the issues for which we have to suffer and perhaps die. John I suffered because of a power-conscious emperor. Jesus suffered because of the suspicions of those who were threatened by his freedom, openness, and powerlessness. "If you find that the world hates you, know it has hated me before you" (John 15:18).


Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 25:13b-21

King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea
on a visit to Festus.
Since they spent several days there,
Festus referred Paul's case to the king, saying,
"There is a man here left in custody by Felix.
When I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and the elders of the Jews
brought charges against him and demanded his condemnation.
I answered them that it was not Roman practice
to hand over an accused person before he has faced his accusers
and had the opportunity to defend himself against their charge.
So when they came together here, I made no delay;
the next day I took my seat on the tribunal
and ordered the man to be brought in.
His accusers stood around him,
but did not charge him with any of the crimes I suspected.
Instead they had some issues with him about their own religion
and about a certain Jesus who had died
but who Paul claimed was alive.
Since I was at a loss how to investigate this controversy,
I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem
and there stand trial on these charges.
And when Paul appealed that he be held in custody
for the Emperor's decision,
I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20ab
R. (19a) The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
R. Alleluia.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
R. Alleluia.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, all you his angels,
you mighty in strength, who do his bidding.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 14:26
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Holy Spirit will teach you everything
and remind you of all I told you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 21:15-19

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them,
he said to Simon Peter,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs."
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
He said to him, "Tend my sheep."
He said to him the third time,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
"Do you love me?" and he said to him,
"Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you."
Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go."
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, "Follow me."


Meditation: John 17:20-26

Saint John I, Pope and Martyr (Optional Memorial)

When you grow old, you will stretch out your hands. (John 21:18)

When you read Jesus' words to Peter, you probably immediately think of Peter's crucifixion. And with good reason! Jesus was predicting "by what kind of death Peter would glorify God" (John 21:19).

But there's a message here for each one of us also—especially as we ourselves grow old or care for aging loved ones. Peter didn't just stretch out his hands on the upside- down cross. He stretched them out every day as he served the Church, until the very end of his life.

No doubt, aging isn't a walk in the park. You're not as strong or agile as when you were younger. You may find it harder to recall a name or to follow a line of reasoning. Maybe you need help with chores you once handled easily on your own. You may have to give up some of your independence, along with some dreams that are no longer realistic.

But take heart! The psalmist assures you that you can "bear fruit even in old age" (Psalm 92:15). How? By trying to be open to the unique forms of grace available in this season of your life. Maybe you aren't able to do the things you used to do—not for yourself, your family, or your church. But don't let that burden you. God isn't done with you. He has other opportunities in store for you.

For instance, if you're finding that everything seems to take longer and you can't crowd as many activities into your day, that may be God asking you to simplify your life. Try to focus on what matters most: loving and being loved. If you aren't able to do as much for your family or friends, you can develop a new appreciation for just being with them or lifting them up in prayer. Even your need to depend on family or friends more can help you learn more about how we all need one another as members of the body of Christ. In fact, by letting people serve you, you are giving them a chance to grow!

Just like Peter, you can stretch out your hands to the people around you as you grow older. God still has plenty for you to do!

"Jesus, I want to follow you today and every day of my life."
6:1-2, 5, 7-11


"...Jesus who had died but who Paul claimed was alive...". Jesus appears even to an unbeliever. Is that right? They didn't even ask for it. And He appears and then, they believe, suddenly, they see He is alive...and now they can only live for Him.

We pray: "Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. The Lord has established his throne in heaven."

In comes our Lord and all the attention is directed to a betrayer, not the one who betrayed and killed himself, but this one, who kept trying to be faithful as he promised...Peter, the rock. Peter, the guy who sunk in the storm while trying to walk on water towards Jesus. Peter, the guy who our Lord had to pull out of the water...and loved on him, just loved him so much. If there is hope for Simon Peter, son of Jonah, then, there is hope for us all. The only way to deny Christ is to die in this sin of betrayal, never giving hope to Christ.

They say there has been a growing satanic church, there, the people worship themselves. They want all things homosexual approved and violence to prevail. They are all welcoming in all they do to put forth their propaganda.

They are living under a lie that not even satan exists but they see him as a role model to follow...anti-Christ. Sounds horrible right? Guess what? Even to them Jesus loves. Even to them, as long as they breathe, as long as they can one day repent, they will be lifted up out of drowning waters. It is a promise that God extends.

There is then, a huge difference in leadership now. Mercy, compassion, and charity makes the difference. Peter had to learn this the hard way. Mercy would be the only way. Feed mercy. Feed compassion. Feed love. Shepherd this way. I remember, when I was an ATV fanatic, for about 20 years, I loved everything about riding at the sand hills locally. The place gots about 10 square miles of rolling sand hills, tall sand hills, I'd always tell everyone "it's like going to the beach, just without the ocean" LOL. Sometimes, we'd find groups of others, strangers even, and follow each other, playing "follow the leader", and it looked like a long train going up and down hills and atop mountains of sand, riding ridges. Sometimes though, you'd get this leader that was just out for himself it seemed. He'd go so fast and disappear, and people followed. I didn't like it because of one thing that went through my head "what about the last people, the slow ones? what if something happens to them and their rides are not as good as theirs?" I always took great care when I would lead, to always look to the followers, always making sure they were ok. If one would go down, I would circle around to help, and everyone would have to come and help. That, to me, was true leadership.

So, who are the slow ones to look out for in our spiritual lives? Who are the ones who bog down and get stuck in sin? Who are the ones crying all the time? Who are the ones who can't seem to catch up? Jesus loves them. Jesus wants us to find them. Jesus wants us to do what He did with Simon, and look at them straight in the eyes and say "do you love Me?"

Jesus in me speaks.
Jesus in you speaks.
I will listen.
And when you answer "Yes Jesus, you know that I love you". Let those words hit you hard in the heart....are you being honest and sincere? Let these words cut through the heart, this is a new covenant, cutting not flesh but spirits, a promise forever.
Yes Lord, Jesus, I believe you are the Christ, the Savior of all humanity, no matter what they believe. And yes Lord, I know that you say You love me; I just want you to know that I am trying my best, as humanly possible, to love you. I know you are pulling up on my chin, to look up at your eyes, and I turn away. I don't feel worthy. I feel beaten down. Why do You love me so much? HOW can You love me so much? I want to love you back like that, as impossible as it might seem. Just hold me in your arms. I know this is asking for Heaven....but that's where I want to be!

Amen? That's where WE want to be!



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