Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Who Are My....

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Listen for God's Voice in the Unexpected

When it comes to prayer, we tend to treat everything as a distraction because we have created in our minds the way in which we expect the Lord to speak. The prophet Elijah made the same mistake. God did not reveal his presence in the way Elijah imagined. Instead, God showed himself in an imperceptible breeze (1 Kings 19:11–13). So listen widely, broadly, unafraid of the sounds around you. Once you stop fighting them, you will hear the Word of God. There is no mistaking it.

—from Prayer Everywhere: The Spiritual Life Made Simple



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Saint Sharbel Makhluf

Saint of the Day for July 24
(May 8, 1828 – December 24, 1898 )

Although this saint never traveled far from the Lebanese village of Beka-Kafra where he was born, his influence has spread widely.

Joseph Zaroun Makluf was raised by an uncle because his father, a mule driver, died when Joseph was only three. At the age of 23, Joseph joined the Monastery of St. Maron at Annaya, Lebanon, and took the name Sharbel in honor of a second-century martyr. He professed his final vows in 1853, and was ordained six years later.

Following the example of the fifth-century Saint Maron, Sharbel lived as a hermit from 1875, until his death. His reputation for holiness prompted people to seek him to receive a blessing and to be remembered in his prayers. He followed a strict fast and was very devoted to the Blessed Sacrament. When his superiors occasionally asked him to administer the sacraments to nearby villages, Sharbel did so gladly.

He died in the late afternoon on Christmas Eve. Christians and non-Christians soon made his tomb a place of pilgrimage and of cures. Pope Paul VI beatified Sharbel in 1965, and canonized him 12 years later.

John Paul II often said that the Church has two lungs—East and West—and it must learn to breathe using both of them. Remembering saints like Sharbel helps the Church to appreciate both the diversity and unity present in the Catholic Church. Like all the saints, Sharbel points us to God and invites us to cooperate generously with God's grace, no matter what our situation in life may be. As our prayer life becomes deeper and more honest, we become more ready to make that generous response.


Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 396

Reading 1 MI 7:14-15, 18-20

Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock of your inheritance,
That dwells apart in a woodland,
in the midst of Carmel.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead,
as in the days of old;
As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt,
show us wonderful signs.

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea
all our sins;
You will show faithfulness to Jacob,
and grace to Abraham,
As you have sworn to our fathers
from days of old.

Responsorial Psalm PS 85:2-4, 5-6, 7-8
R. (8a) Lord, show us your mercy and love.
You have favored, O LORD, your land;
you have brought back the captives of Jacob.
You have forgiven the guilt of your people;
you have covered all their sins.
You have withdrawn all your wrath;
you have revoked your burning anger.
R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.
Restore us, O God our savior,
and abandon your displeasure against us.
Will you be ever angry with us,
prolonging your anger to all generations?
R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.
Will you not instead give us life;
and shall not your people rejoice in you?
Show us, O LORD, your kindness,
and grant us your salvation.
R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.

Alleluia JN 14:23
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 12:46-50

While Jesus was speaking to the crowds,
his mother and his brothers appeared outside,
wishing to speak with him.
Someone told him, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside,
asking to speak with you."
But he said in reply to the one who told him,
"Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?"
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said,
"Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father
is my brother, and sister, and mother."


Meditation: Matthew 12:46-50

Saint Sharbel Makhluf, Priest (Optional Memorial)

Here are my mother and my brothers. (Matthew 12:49)

Every human being has a deep desire to belong. We long to be part of a loving family. We want to be respected and accepted by our peers. We want our concerns to be listened to and understood. We want to be loved. If you can identify with these longings, what you're saying deep down is "I want to belong to God and his family."

In today's Gospel, Jesus says that anyone who does his Father's will is his brother and sister and mother—anyone who listens to Jesus and tries to follow him (Matthew 12:50). Of course Jesus greatly loved and respected his mother. He certainly would not diminish Mary. What he is saying is that something more powerful than a bloodline defines who belongs to his family.

What did Jesus see when he looked around at his friends and followers? Surely he knew what an immature, motley crew they were. He knew how little they grasped what he was trying to tell them. Again and again, we read, "The word remained hidden from them and they failed to comprehend what he said" (Luke 18:34). It's true that they genuinely desired to do his Father's will—why else would they leave so much behind to become his disciples? But it's also clear that what Jesus praised here was much more a potential than a reality.

Try to imagine Jesus' thoughts as he looked at this group of people assembled before him. Father, I love them so much. I know how confused and prone to failure they are, but I also see how deeply they long to know you. Thank you for giving me such a wonderful family of faith! He regarded them as sisters and brothers, and so they were.

Jesus placed this band of disciples on par with his own mother—sit with this truth for a moment. Now tell yourself that he thinks the same about you. You are in exactly the same situation: you are brother or sister or mother to Jesus. You want to please him; you want to follow him; you want to become more like him. Of course you're going to stumble along the way, but you can still be sure of this reality: Jesus loves you just as you are right now.

"Jesus, thank you for making me part of your forever family."

Micah 7:14-15, 18-20
Psalm 85:2-8


"You will show faithfulness to Jacob, and grace to Abraham". These are great gifts. Faithfulness and grace. Gifts from Heaven. Good things from above. What if our Lord has simply been asking for one thing: Faithfulness. And then, He gives grace to be faithful! It's a win-win situation for those He calls His own.

Let us pray: " Lord, show us your mercy and love. Will you not instead give us life; and shall not your people rejoice in you? Show us, O LORD, your kindness, and grant us your salvation." God doesn't have to do anything for us. Yet, we have everything He can give us. Mercy. And love. When no one else has mercy on you...He does. When no one else has love for you, He does. What more does a couple need than their love for each other? Young love birds claim they are happy no matter where they are, so long as they are together.

In comes our Lord: " "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother."
What kind of God comes down from Heaven and says you are His brother or mother or sister? Only this God of ours does this. He becomes one of us and calls us family. Calls us His children. He calls us His flock. He calls us His people. He calls us family. They say FAMILY stands for:


It's how God sees us. He didn't have blood brothers, His mom was a virgin before and after He was born, never "knew" man. Protestants hate this about Catholics, they just can't understand that a powerful God would keep a virgin pure and have a child with her. You can't compute what God can do. You believe a plant can reproduce itself, but you can not believe a human can have a child without a miracle. So Jesus is the living miracle that lives on this day. If you take the blood and flesh from a Eucharist, you can see that it is alive, and heart tissue from a 33 year old male. How can flesh be alive without a body? The God of the impossible does this, showing that no matter what, He IS. "I AM", He says. He is incomprehensible. This is logic is what some rationalists hate. You can not ration with a creator.

So what Is He asking when He "stretched out his hand toward his disciples"?
He calls all His followers His own family. His blood mother and relatives were cousins and beyond. But this very day, the very living and existing God says "Hey, my child, you are my family".

I Love You.
The world has not fallen apart because of love.
The world seems to fall apart because a lack of love.

But love goes on. Love covers all. Even sins are covered and made white by the blood of Christ.
Truth is, this world will move on without you or me.
But a better truth is this: The world will stop, and only God will exist.

Heaven is being one with God.
Hell is being alone without God.
Purgatory is being without God in fullness, it is a great parchment and agonizing wait. Why? Why do we shoot for purgatory? Why? Why is "good enough" always good enough? Our Lord desires to move and live through you...
afterall my child, He is your Father.



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