Thursday, December 27, 2018

⛪ He Saw and Believed

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How Can We Grasp This Truth?

I have long felt that Christmas is a feast that largely celebrates humanity's unconscious desire and goal. Its meaning is too much for the rational mind to process, so God graciously puts this Big Truth on a small stage so that we can wrap our minds and hearts around it over time. No philosopher would dare to predict the materialization of God, so we are just presented with a very human image of a poor woman and her husband with a newborn child. (I am told that the Madonna is by far the most painted image in Western civilization.)

—from the book Yes, and… Daily Meditations


"O Holy Family—the Family so closely united to the mystery which we contemplate on the day of the Lord's Birth—guide with your example the families of the whole earth!"
— Pope St. John Paul II

"Love is an excellent thing, a great good indeed, which alone maketh light all that is burdensome and equally bears all that is unequal. For it carries a burden without being burdened and makes all that which is bitter sweet and savory. The love of Jesus is noble and generous; it spurs us on to do great things and excites us to desire always that which is most perfect."
— Thomas à Kempis, p. 87
Imitation of Christ

"In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us."
1 John 4:10-12


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Saint John the Apostle

(6 – 100)

It is God who calls; human beings answer. The vocation of John and his brother James is stated very simply in the Gospels, along with that of Peter and his brother Andrew: Jesus called them; they followed. The absoluteness of their response is indicated by the account. James and John "were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him" (Matthew 4:21b-22).

For the three former fishermen—Peter, James and John—that faith was to be rewarded by a special friendship with Jesus. They alone were privileged to be present at the Transfiguration, the raising of the daughter of Jairus and the agony in Gethsemane. But John's friendship was even more special. Tradition assigns to him the Fourth Gospel, although most modern Scripture scholars think it unlikely that the apostle and the evangelist are the same person.

John's own Gospel refers to him as "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (see John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2), the one who reclined next to Jesus at the Last Supper, and the one to whom Jesus gave the exquisite honor of caring for his mother, as John stood beneath the cross. "Woman, behold your son…. Behold, your mother" (John 19:26b, 27b).

Because of the depth of his Gospel, John is usually thought of as the eagle of theology, soaring in high regions that other writers did not enter. But the ever-frank Gospels reveal some very human traits. Jesus gave James and John the nickname, "sons of thunder." While it is difficult to know exactly what this meant, a clue is given in two incidents.

In the first, as Matthew tells it, their mother asked that they might sit in the places of honor in Jesus' kingdom—one on his right hand, one on his left. When Jesus asked them if they could drink the cup he would drink and be baptized with his baptism of pain, they blithely answered, "We can!" Jesus said that they would indeed share his cup, but that sitting at his right hand was not his to give. It was for those to whom it had been reserved by the Father. The other apostles were indignant at the mistaken ambition of the brothers, and Jesus took the occasion to teach them the true nature of authority: "…[W]hoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:27-28).

On another occasion, the "sons of thunder" asked Jesus if they should not call down fire from heaven upon the inhospitable Samaritans, who would not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. But Jesus "turned and rebuked them" (see Luke 9:51-55).

On the first Easter, Mary Magdalene "ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, 'They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don't know where they put him'" (John 20:2). John recalls, perhaps with a smile, that he and Peter ran side by side, but then "the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first" (John 20:4b). He did not enter, but waited for Peter and let him go in first. "Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed" (John 20:8).

John was with Peter when the first great miracle after the Resurrection took place—the cure of the man crippled from birth—which led to their spending the night in jail together. The mysterious experience of the Resurrection is perhaps best contained in the words of Acts: "Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, they [the questioners] were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus" (Acts 4:13).

The Apostle John is traditionally considered the author also of three New Testament letters and the Book of Revelation. His Gospel is a very personal account. He sees the glorious and divine Jesus already in the incidents of his mortal life. At the Last Supper, John's Jesus speaks as if he were already in heaven. John's is the Gospel of Jesus' glory.

It is a long way from being eager to sit on a throne of power or to call down fire from heaven to becoming the man who could write: "The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers" (1 John 3:16).

Saint John the Apostle is the Patron Saint of:


Feast of Saint John, Apostle and evangelist

Reading 1 1 Jn 1:1-4

What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we looked upon
and touched with our hands
concerns the Word of life —
for the life was made visible;
we have seen it and testify to it
and proclaim to you the eternal life
that was with the Father and was made visible to us—
what we have seen and heard
we proclaim now to you,
so that you too may have fellowship with us;
for our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.

Responsorial Psalm pS 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12
R. (12) Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many isles be glad.
Clouds and darkness are around him,
justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the LORD of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
Light dawns for the just;
and gladness, for the upright of heart.
Be glad in the LORD, you just,
and give thanks to his holy name.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

Alleluia See Te Deum
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
the glorious company of Apostles praise you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 20:1a and 2-8

On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
"They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we do not know where they put him."
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.


Meditation: John 20:1-8

Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist (Feast)

The . . . disciple whom Jesus loved. (John 20:2)

It may sound a bit presumptuous to us when we hear St. John refer to himself as the "disciple whom Jesus loved" (John 20:2). It makes it sound as if he had a special intimate relationship with Jesus or that Jesus' love for him is unique and different from the way he loves anyone else.

But the funny thing is, it's true! Jesus does love John in a special way. He loved him like he loved no one else on earth. But do you know what else is true? John isn't the only disciple "whom Jesus loved" like nobody else (John 20:2). You are too!

John could be elitist (Mark 9:38-41), ambitious (10:34-45), and hotheaded at times (Luke 9:51-56). But he could also be humble (John 20:3-8), full of faith (20:8), and compassionate as well (13:23-25). Jesus knew all of this, and he treated John with all the patience, love, and tenderness he needed so that John's negative traits would diminish, and his positive traits would increase.

In a similar way, Jesus loves you. He knows you inside and out—your faults, your gifts, and your challenges—and he loves you deeply. He has the same amount of patience, love, and tenderness toward you that he has for John. He may show it differently, because you are different from John, but he still loves you with a love that will never fail.

God never plays favorites—not even with those who are more faithful than others. Of course, when we are faithful, we deepen our relationship with Jesus and experience his love more fully. We learn, as John did, to lean on Jesus and listen to his heart. But even when we fall, he is ready to pick us back up, hold us close, and assure us that he still loves us.

Take some time today to reflect on that intimate love that Jesus has for you and you alone. Lean back on his chest and recall the times when he has shown you his love in the details of your life. And go ahead and dare to refer to yourself as "the disciple whom Jesus loves."

"Lord, thank you for your love for me. Teach me how to accept that love and let it change my heart."

1 John 1:1-4
Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12


2 cents :
"...for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it
and proclaim to you the eternal life..". This morning, we had our safety meeting, this one about electricity. When you look at power lines, or a bare extension cord, you can't see electricity. You can't see how much power is going through those wires. We are told it could be alive. But you don't know, until you touch it with something. A detection device. Right? I would love for every atheist to come and see. Taste and see. See for yourself what the Holy Gospel is talking about. For the Father does not deny the Holy Spirit to anyone. That is why we can not downplay any Christian denomination. God can do things we can not imagine. Like, turning into a baby from a virgin, or turning water to wine and wine to blood. Things like raising from the dead and asking us to follow Him. Things like offering Himself to eat on the Holy Altar. Things like waiting millions of years to have you formed, and to read this about Him this day....He is alive.


Let us pray: "Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the LORD of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice, and all peoples see his glory. " All peoples see His glory? Yes. Yes the faithful see it, and we invite you to it. Mountains melt, all those mountains you thought were impossible to move. No, not volcanoes erupting, not Tsunamis caused by falling mountains. No, mountains coming down and levelling. Those barriers that block the Son! Yes. Praise and Glory to God. We are invited to this world where mountains melt, and Heavens proclaiming justice and seeing His Glory.

In the Holy Gospel, we heard of the women that first saw and evangelized, seen and believed. Then we heard that the Disciples went "Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed." They came to see. They came to believe. Now they believed what the Lord said was true. For some of us, we may not see this most incredible feat....unless we believe. We too may see the Lord risen. We too may fall at His feet, holding them, crying, and Him asking us to stand up and proclaim. But what will it take to get to this point? Mary Magdalene, as an example, became a full believer, not then, but at the moment of repentance earlier in life. She had repented, and she had believed. Her life was all about Jesus. And not in the erotic and sexualized way the scandalous world depicts her as, a sloppy prostitute and even as a girlfriend to the Lord. I tell you what, the world is completely going into the dark side with pornography. I hope one day we realize this is what has launched the gay agenda we face. It is a matter of choice. And so has abortion been, people wanting the choice to abort, and now they want the choice to live homosexual, or pedophile to the next extreme. My, how quickly we went from seeing the Lord to seeing darkness. Indeed. Things are either black or white. The world has been slowly been drowning in the filth perpetuated through new media and mediums for media. What's funny, most don't see it. But I'm pointing it out so you may see, there is an engulfing black tar, like the kind many dinosaurs were killed in, it is forming around the feet of many would-be believers.

So, we went from Christmas Day, to Martyrdom day the next day, to the resurrection of our Lord within 3 days in the Holy Gospels.
Why? Because, we are talking about darkness and light. What is dark must be brought to Jesus. They say Saint John was not killed like the other disciples, but he was ousted. Kicked out of the land. Rejected and alone. He lived to tell the story, like the ones who have had a near death experience. He tells us what He saw. The Word made flesh, He touched with His own hands. Once again, this eroticized world has even accused Saint John of being a homosexual friend or even "lover" of Christ. The truth is being distorted and twisted. Not all at once, but little by little. And the more we are ignorant of Christ, the more it will get twisted. So how can we know the truth? Like Mary and Saint John, be in love with LOVE, and oh so near to Jesus. They were like faithful dogs, they had a master. A master they LOVED to death. These people were at the foot of the cross when Jesus was breathing His last on earth. And they were among the first to see Him alive, in the resurrection. There is a reward for faithfulness. It is Jesus. You get Jesus in Heaven.

I told the prisoners this weekend, about 140 or so of them, before we celebrated Mass "Free or Not, This is It, we get to partake of JESUS" of course in Holy Communion "what else could we want?".

I challenge you this new liturgical year, which we have entered already in Advent, now in Christmas time for a couple weeks; I challenge you to become a D.O.G. Someone who:

Someone who knows nothing more or less than Him. So you live and breathe Jesus. You read about Him more. You look for Him more. You be with Him more. You experience Him in more intimate ways than ever before, a love so deep, it does not die.....Doesn't this sound Heavenly?

There's more....


Your Bro. In Christ

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