Thursday, May 31, 2018

My Spirit Rejoices

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Care for Our Elders

Our elders are men and women, fathers and mothers, who came before us on our own road, in our own house, in our daily battle for a worthy life. They are men and women from whom we have received so much. The elder is not an alien. We are that elder: in the near or far future, but inevitably, even if we don't think it. And if we don't learn how to treat the elder better, that is how we will be treated.

—from The Blessing of Family: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis


"Where there is no love, put love — and you will find love."
— St. John of the Cross

"What words, can, alas, express the deep grief of the Blessed Virgin? Her eyes closed, a death-like tint overspread her countenance; unable to stand, she fell to the ground, but was soon lifted up, and supported by John, Magdalen, and the others. She looked once more upon her beloved Son—that Son whom she had conceived by the Holy Ghost, the flesh of her flesh, the bone of her bone, the heart of her heart—hanging on a cross between two thieves; crucified, dishonored, condemned by those whom He came on earth to save; and well might she at this moment be termed 'the Queen of Martyrs.'"
— Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich, p. 294
The Dolorous Passion


The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, or Corpus Christi, is celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday in honor of the institution of the Holy Eucharist (in some U.S. dioceses it is transferred to the following Sunday). The feast originated with the visions of St. Juliana of Mont Cornillon, a Belgian nun deeply devoted to the Holy Eucharist, to whom Jesus appeared requesting a feast in honor of the Blessed Sacrament. St. Juliana shared this with the Church hierarchy, and after decades of opposition Pope Urban IV instituted the feast of Corpus Christi for the universal Church in 1264. At the time there was a formal dispute among theologians on the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist—that is, Christ's actual Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity—for the first time in Church history. In response to this heresy and in support of the authenticity of St. Juliana's visions, the first recorded Eucharistic Miracle took place in Orvieto, Italy which proved the truth of the literal interpretation of Christ's doctrine handed down from the Apostles. The Holy Father requested that the liturgy for the feast be composed by St. Thomas Aquinas, now one of the Church's most sublimely poetic liturgies. Corpus Christi is traditionally accompanied with Eucharistic large and elaborate public processions, most notably by the Holy Father in Rome.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life."
Ephesians 2:8-10


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Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Saint of the Day for May 31

This is a fairly late feast, going back only to the 13th or 14th century. It was established widely throughout the Church to pray for unity. The present date of celebration was set in 1969, in order to follow the Annunciation of the Lord and precede the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist.

Like most feasts of Mary, it is closely connected with Jesus and his saving work. The more visible actors in the visitation drama (see Luke 1:39-45) are Mary and Elizabeth. However, Jesus and John the Baptist steal the scene in a hidden way. Jesus makes John leap with joy—the joy of messianic salvation. Elizabeth, in turn, is filled with the Holy Spirit and addresses words of praise to Mary—words that echo down through the ages.

It is helpful to recall that we do not have a journalist's account of this meeting. Rather Luke, speaking for the Church, gives a prayerful poet's rendition of the scene. Elizabeth's praise of Mary as "the mother of my Lord" can be viewed as the earliest Church's devotion to Mary. As with all authentic devotion to Mary, Elizabeth's (the Church's) words first praise God for what God has done to Mary. Only secondly does she praise Mary for trusting God's words.

Then comes the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). Here, Mary herself—like the Church—traces all her greatness to God.

One of the invocations in Mary's litany is "Ark of the Covenant." Like the Ark of the Covenant of old, Mary brings God's presence into the lives of other people. As David danced before the Ark, John the Baptist leaps for joy. As the Ark helped to unite the 12 tribes of Israel by being placed in David's capital, so Mary has the power to unite all Christians in her son. At times, devotion to Mary may have occasioned some divisiveness, but we can hope that authentic devotion will lead all to Christ and therefore, to one another.


Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Reading 1 Zep 3:14-18a

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you,
he has turned away your enemies;
The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear.
On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
He will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals.


Rom 12:9-16

Brothers and sisters:
Let love be sincere;
hate what is evil,
hold on to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection;
anticipate one another in showing honor.
Do not grow slack in zeal,
be fervent in spirit,
serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope,
endure in affliction,
persevere in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the holy ones,
exercise hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you,
bless and do not curse them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice,
weep with those who weep.
Have the same regard for one another;
do not be haughty but associate with the lowly;
do not be wise in your own estimation.

Responsorial Psalm Isaiah 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6
R. (6) Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.

Alleluia See Lk 1:45
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, who believed
That what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 1:39-56

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
"Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled."

And Mary said:
"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever."

Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.


Meditation: Luke 1:39-56

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Feast)

Blessed are you who believed. (Luke 1:45)

Has this ever happened to you? You get inspired to help a sick friend, and you head out. You arrive with a latte, a Rosary, and eager plans to lift his spirits. But during your visit, you realize that your own heart is feeling lighter. You came to bless someone, and you ended up being blessed as well!

That's a lot like what Mary experienced at the Visitation. She sets off to help her elderly pregnant cousin. But God surprises both of them: Elizabeth receives a revelation, and Mary discovers an unlikely source of help. Inspired by the Spirit, Elizabeth recognizes Mary as the "mother of my Lord" and declares, "Blessed are you" (Luke 1:43, 45). In just a few words, Elizabeth both proclaims the Incarnation, and encourages Mary that God is with her. She who had set out to serve and encourage has received divine encouragement herself.

We don't often think of Mary as needing encouragement. But everyone does. One angelic visit didn't explain every detail of the future to her. As she encountered different challenges, she needed to take the faith she had and let God increase and deepen it. She needed to understand "why me" instead of any other woman. She needed to understand "why now" rather than after having come to live with Joseph. She needed to understand "how now" to raise the Son of God in every stage of his development. How reassuring Elizabeth's words must have become to her over the years!

We all need reminders that God is with us. We need them because we forget God's promises. We need them because we misplace our hope in shifting circumstances. We need them because we get distracted by the cares and concerns of life.

Every day, the Spirit can assure you that God is with you. He can steady your heart with encouraging words from other people. Their words can bolster your faith and help it to keep growing. So remember today that God has blessed and chosen you for this time and this place. He has good plans for you. And keep your eyes and heart open for the "Elizabeth" he sends your way to remind you!

"Holy Mary, Mother of God, help me remember that Jesus is with me."

Zephaniah 3:14-18
(Psalm) Isaiah 12:2-6



From Saint Paul: "Let love be sincere; hate what is evil,
hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection;
anticipate one another in showing honor." Beat one another to love more. "No, I love YOU more!". You can not outdo my love! Learn to give like this, not expecting anything in return. This is how Mary loved.

We pray today: "Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel." AMEN? Emmanuel they say.
"God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid." Think Mary, Think Jesus. Confident. Unafraid. What courage!
"My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior." Last night one of my co-workers visited our friendship group, he said in his testimony that he knew that throughout his life, he knew God has been taking care of him. And we learned, he never knew his mother, she died when he was one year old. We know though, that God has been the savior. He has survived all his life, and even found faith somehow amidst the rocky road. This is a visitation, isn't it? It is the Lord!
"With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation." In confidence we are faithful, joyful at the 'expectation" of He who is among us.

In the Holy Gospel, our Lord comes in, as an unborn baby. He causes a commotion, causes joy, and causes Saint John the baptist, an unborn to leap in the womb of Elizabeth. Just like King David, the leaping for God in the Ark of the Covenant, now Mary, Now the New Covenant. Mary says some of the most profound and prophetic words ever heard in the Holy Scriptures today in her Magnificat.
I can't spend all day on this, can I? It is so powerful, just randomly, "...He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things...". And so the visiting co-worker, shared how he arrived. I had invited him last week. I had forgotten I had invited him. But he didn't. One other time he had said he would come to ultreya, and got ready, showered, and at the front door had froze and chickened out. He never went. He said "something stopped me". Last night, though, we got a little bit of chills when he shared how he arrived. He said, " I got off work, and as I was driving, I had thought about going to meet you, and my car stopped suddenly, the engine turned off. I turned it on, and it turned back off. So I prayed, 'Lord, let me go to the store to get refreshments to share at this reunion and I'll go to the reunion. And the car started, I went to the store, and drove straight to reunion, and here I am" said the worker. The Lord fills the hungry with good things. Another brother had cooked chicken fajitas and we all ate. We all brought something to the table. And not just material food, but spiritual blessings...our testimony. It stands to say one thing: God provides, Himself, to whomever asks. Brother had asked for the Lord to help and he would do his end of the promise. God loves promises. Another co-worker, struggled for many many years with infertility with his wife. I told him finally after bible study once "just make a promise to God". Suddenly, they got pregnant. Then a miscarriage. He was sad. I said "there are signs of fertility, now have faith". Then they got pregnant again. And now they have the love of their lives, a little daughter. This kind of story is the story of Mary's parents. Faith. Then they dedicated Mary to the promise, left her at the church. She loved God so much. She made a vow of perpetual virginity. And so this pregnancy is one of extreme joy. An extreme miracle. One that changes the face of humanity. The world.
Today, this joyful news is for you.
Not only is today about the "visitation" but of the Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ!

Two for one.
Two bodies, the Ark=Mary, and the Covenant=Christ.

Today, that reality happens in the Eucharist.
You too become a tabernacle, a temple of Christ.
You have much to be joyful about.
You do.
I want to see it.
I want to see what you carry inside.
I need to see it.



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