Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Would Have Remained until..

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The Seeds Planted within Us

In a visit to a garden shop or when leisurely reading through a seed catalog or favorite gardening book, we face a myriad of choices. Our interest in a seed is to develop the potential enclosed within its small interior. Countless seeds have already been planted in our lives! We become spiritual gardeners as soon as we begin to cultivate and appreciate the ways that our life can bear fruit and bring love into the world. Every single seed contains potential for development and growth, as do our life choices.

—from Your Spiritual Garden: Tending to the Presence of God


"Everybody today seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater developments and greater riches and so on, so that children have very little time for their parents. Parents have very little time for each other, and in the home begins the disruption of peace in the world."
— St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

"There is, actually, only one person in all humanity of whom God has one picture and in whom there is a perfect conformity between what he wanted her to be and what she is, and that is his own mother. Most of us are a minus sign, in the sense that we do not fulfill the high hopes the heavenly Father has for us. But Mary is the equal sign. The ideal that God had of her, that she is, and in the flesh. The model and the copy are perfect; she is all that was foreseen, planned, and dreamed. The melody of her life is played just as it was written."
— Archbishop Fulton Sheen, p. 15
A Year With Mary

"Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him."
James 1:12


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St. Alexius (d. 417 A.D.) was a native of Rome, the son of a distinguished Roman senator. His parents arranged a marriage for him, but he had a divine calling to a higher vocation. On the night of his wedding, with permission from his fiance, he secretly fled to Edessa in Syria to live in poverty and obscurity as a holy ascetic. He disguised himself as a beggar, unrecognized by all, even accepting alms from his own servants who were sent to look for him. St. Alexius lived in this way for seventeen years. A vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the church near his dwelling identified him as a "Man of God." When the fame of his sanctity spread in Edessa, he moved back to Rome so that he could continue his hidden life. He lived as a beggar under the very stairs of his father's palace, his true identity completely unknown to anyone. He lived in this way for another seventeen years. He was befriended by other Christians, shared his alms with the poor, and taught catechism to children. It was only after his death that his identity was revealed through a document that he secretly carried on his person. He was then venerated as a saint, and his father's palace was converted into a church in his honor. St. Alexius' feast day is July 17.


Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Is 7:1-9

In the days of Ahaz, king of Judah, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah,
Rezin, king of Aram,
and Pekah, king of Israel, son of Remaliah,
went up to attack Jerusalem,
but they were not able to conquer it.
When word came to the house of David that Aram
was encamped in Ephraim,
the heart of the king and the heart of the people trembled,
as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind.

Then the LORD said to Isaiah: Go out to meet Ahaz,
you and your son Shear-jashub,
at the end of the conduit of the upper pool,
on the highway of the fuller's field, and say to him:
Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear;
let not your courage fail
before these two stumps of smoldering brands
the blazing anger of Rezin and the Arameans,
and of the son Remaliah,
because of the mischief that
Aram, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah,
plots against you, saying,
"Let us go up and tear Judah asunder, make it our own by force,
and appoint the son of Tabeel king there."

Thus says the LORD:
This shall not stand, it shall not be!
Damascus is the capital of Aram,
and Rezin is the head of Damascus;
Samaria is the capital of Ephraim,
and Remaliah's son the head of Samaria.

But within sixty years and five,
Ephraim shall be crushed, no longer a nation.
Unless your faith is firm
you shall not be firm!

Responsorial Psalm pS 48:2-3a, 3b-4, 5-6, 7-8
R. (see 9d) God upholds his city for ever.
Great is the LORD and wholly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, fairest of heights,
is the joy of all the earth.
R. God upholds his city for ever.
Mount Zion, "the recesses of the North,"
is the city of the great King.
God is with her castles;
renowned is he as a stronghold.
R. God upholds his city for ever.
For lo! the kings assemble,
they come on together;
They also see, and at once are stunned,
terrified, routed.
R. God upholds his city for ever.
Quaking seizes them there;
anguish, like a woman's in labor,
As though a wind from the east
were shattering ships of Tarshish.
R. God upholds his city for ever.

Alleluia Ps 95:8
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 11:20-24

Jesus began to reproach the towns
where most of his mighty deeds had been done,
since they had not repented.
"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum:

Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the nether world.

For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom,
it would have remained until this day.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."


Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Isaiah 7:1-9

Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm! (Isaiah 7:9)

King Ahaz and the people of Judah trembled with fear. Enemy forces had begun a siege on Jerusalem and were poised to invade the holy city. In fear for his people and his own life, Ahaz began contemplating the unthinkable: perhaps he should seek help from the mighty Assyrian army to stave off this attack. The problem with such a strategy? Ahaz would have to surrender to Assyria and turn Judah into a vassal state. Even worse, he would have to remove the altar of the Lord from the Temple and erect an altar to the Assyrians' gods in its place—and offer sacrifices to these gods.

In response to this strategy, the Lord sent the prophet Isaiah to urge Ahaz to hold firm. "Remain tranquil and do not fear," he told the king (Isaiah 7:4). He told him to cling to his faith in God's ability to protect him and his people. Without that faith, neither he nor Jerusalem would be able to stand.

Isaiah's words show us that faith really does matter. It mattered for Ahaz, and it matters for us. Faith sets the foundation of our lives, just as a house's foundation provides a solid footing for the building and a safe environment for the people who live there.

Our faith in Jesus can do the same for us. It grounds us so that we can live with hope, even in the most challenging of environments. It equips us to meet tough situations with peace. It helps us to remain on the path of obedience. Best of all, it brings us joy and comfort because it tells us that God is with us and that our difficulties are never the end of the story.

We all have situations that tempt our faith—an illness, perhaps, or a job change or a wounded relationship. But just as he told Ahaz, God says to us, "Stand firm in your faith!"

Ahaz' situation seemed desperate, but God had an answer for him. Even so, our challenges may seem insurmountable, but God has an answer for us as well. It may not always be the answer we are looking for, but in faith, we can trust that it's the best answer possible.

"Jesus, I believe that you are with me. Help me to stand firm in my faith today."

Psalm 48:2-8
Matthew 11:20-24


" Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm!" Either be firm or not. God seeks firmness in our commitments as He is firm in His towards us. And true commitments are tested through fire. How else will you have a battle wound, a scar? How else will you show Saint Peter at the gates that you have fought the good fight and finished the race? Be steadfast. People need an anchor to hold on to. You are that anchor. Remain faithful to our Lord. You will be that beacon of hope, that light of salvation. Or else, something else will take over. Something stronger. Set your face like flint. Face Jerusalem. Let us always go with the Lord.

Let us Pray: "God upholds his city for ever. Great is the LORD and wholly to be praised in the city of our God. His holy mountain, fairest of heights,
is the joy of all the earth." Let us build the city of God, says the praise and worship song, City of God. "For the Lord our light and our love, has turned the night into day. Awake from your slumber! Arise from your sleep!
A new day is dawning for all those who weep
The people in darkness have seen a great light
The Lord of our longing has conquered the night.

In comes our Heavenly Lord: "But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you." What happened? This is where Jesus had done some of His most amazing miracles, many healed, many demons expelled, even the centurion had such amazing faith here that his servant was healed just by word. What happened to Capernaum? Well, what happened to you? Didn't God do something amazing in your life and now you are rather, cold, and non-responsive to Him anymore? What happened? If you can answer me what happened to you, I can tell you what happened to Capernaum. How many miracles would it take to convert a nation? Or how many miracles would it take for your heart to convert? In other words, what would it take for your heart to be turned completely His? Can I tell you, and would you believe? What would help you finish the race and fight the good fight, the fight towards holiness? Grace. What Capernaum lacked was grace. But how or why? We have to be open to God's grace. And grace means salvation. Grace is what is giving hope, and giving hope is opening to grace. Grace is that amazing tenacity that fortifies our faith, many times over through a true heart in the Holy Sacraments. If we lack grace, we could lose it all. I've had various temptations lately. Last week to this day, I been battling an outer ear infection, that don't hurt, but makes me hear funny tones and it makes for confusion in everything I've done. Then, my mother in law who has been staying with us has to go to the emergency, suddenly we realize she has diabetes. And to boot, a loved one is flattering with divorce from a family we all help so much and pray for. And these things linger. In the heart. I worry. I pray. I shouldn't worry and pray. And I am tempted to tears. To lose sight of hope it seems. But I persist. What will it take Capernaum? And as I'm writing, I get a text that a young man hung himself in my wife's hometown. Tragedy. I remember meeting the boy when he was younger, just all smiles, so loving, running, playing basketball. What drove this little one to despair? Losing sight of faith, hope, and love. To lose this, is to lose it all.

So today, yes, let's pray for the young man and his family, they nicknamed him Blu. May he rest in peace. And let's pray for grace. The grace to tell our hearts, Jesus is here, Jesus loves me, Jesus knows, Jesus wants what's best, Jesus can handle our hearts....if we will only give it to Him

Love you Lord

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