Tuesday, February 5, 2019

⛪ "He Gave Strict Orders.."

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We Are Not Trapped by Our Past

The past can only hurt you if you let it. Sounds simple in principle, but it is complicated to apply. The counselor taught me something he called "mindfulness." In a nutshell, it is a method of focusing on the here and now and separating the past from the present and the other from the self. Here is what it looks like in action. When a bad memory surfaced and my emotions began to get out of control, I was to stop, call upon God's grace, and focus on something in my immediate environment, preferably something pleasant. The idea was to pause and separate what was then from what is now. In doing this, I would bring myself to realize that I was not trapped in my childhood. Rather, I was a grown adult with my own life and access to God's grace and Mary's protection. My mother was no longer standing next to me, swearing and calling me names. She could not harm me; she was only a memory.

—from Forgiving Mother: A Marian Novena of Healing and Peace


"No act is charitable if it is not just."
— St. Bruno

"Man threw away everything he had—his right to speak freely, his communion with God, his time in Paradise, his unclouded life—and went out naked, like a survivor from a shipwreck. But God received him and immediately clothed him, and taking him by the hand gradually led him to heaven. And yet the shipwreck was quite unforgivable. For this tempest was entirely due, not to the force of the winds, but to the carelessness of the sailor. Yet God did not look at this, but had compassion for such a great disaster. … Why? Because, when no sadness or care or labor or toil or countless waves of desire assaulted our nature, it was overturned and fell. And just as criminals who sail the sea often drill through the ship with a small iron tool, and let the whole sea into the ship from below, so when the devil saw the ship of Adam (by which I mean his soul) filled with many good things, he came and drilled through it with his voice alone, as if it were an iron tool, and stole all his wealth and sank the ship itself. But God made the gain greater than the loss, and brought our nature to the royal throne."

— St. John Chrysostom, p. 19
A Year with the Church Fathers

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."
1 Corinthians 15:58


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St. Agatha (231-251 A.D.) was born in Sicily into an affluent family. At a young age she made the decision to devote herself to Christ, resisting every offer of marriage. Struck by her beauty and wealth, a magistrate named Quintian desired to marry her. He plotted to use his political power to force her hand, and threatened to prosecute her for the crime of Christianity unless she accepted his sexual advances. When she refused, he forced her into a brothel. Even there, she refused to relinquish her chastity. Furious, Quintian imprisoned and tortured Agatha, ordering her breasts to be cut off. Upon this barbaric treatment, God sent St. Peter the Apostle to Agatha in a vision, and he healed her wounds. St. Agatha's torture continued until an earthquake caused her captors to flee, and she died shortly after. St. Agatha is the patroness of rape victims, torture victims, martyrs, nurses, and against breast cancer. She is one of the seven women, besides the Virgin Mary, mentioned by name in the Roman Canon of the Mass. Her feast day is February 5th.


Memorial of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr

Reading 1 Heb 12:1-4

Brothers and sisters:
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us
and persevere in running the race that lies before us
while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus,
the leader and perfecter of faith.
For the sake of the joy that lay before him
Jesus endured the cross, despising its shame,
and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.
Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners,
in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
In your struggle against sin
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 22:26b-27, 28 and 30, 31-32
R. (see 27b) They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear him.
The lowly shall eat their fill;
they who seek the LORD shall praise him:
"May your hearts be ever merry!"
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to the LORD;
All the families of the nations
shall bow down before him.
To him alone shall bow down
all who sleep in the earth;
Before him shall bend
all who go down into the dust.
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.
And to him my soul shall live;
my descendants shall serve him.
Let the coming generation be told of the LORD
that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born
the justice he has shown.
R. They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.

Alleluia Mt 8:17
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ took away our infirmities
and bore our diseases.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
"My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live."
He went off with him
and a large crowd followed him.
There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors
and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak.
She said, "If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured."
Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,
turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who has touched my clothes?"
But his disciples said to him,
"You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,
and yet you ask, Who touched me?"
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her,
approached in fear and trembling.
She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction."

While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official's house arrived and said,
"Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?"
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
"Do not be afraid; just have faith."
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
"Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep."
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child's father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum,"
which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise!"
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.


Meditation: Hebrews 12:1-4

Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (Memorial)

We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses. (Hebrews 12:1)

Look into the sky on a summer day, and you will likely see a group of clouds sweeping across the sky. It's so beautiful that it's hard not to think of heaven. But how often do these clouds remind you of the people who live in heaven? How often do you think of the heroes of our faith as a great "cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1)?

In the Old Testament, clouds are often associated with God's presence among his people. Think of the Israelites as they fled Egypt and headed for the desert. They didn't know where to go. Sure, God had brought them out of Egypt, but what now? Was he still with them? But then a great pillar of cloud appeared to lead them on their journey. It was a constant sign to them that God was still with them, looking over them and guiding them.

The holy men and women who have gone before us do something similar for us. They tell us that God has always been present and at work in the lives of real human beings. For instance, Abraham testifies that God is faithful. David tells us that God is merciful. Perpetua and Felicity show us how God gives us strength to persevere during persecution. John Bosco declares that God provides for all our needs. And of course, there's the Virgin Mary, who tells us what it is like to bring Christ into the world.

This great cloud of witnesses isn't made up only of celebrated heroes from the past. It includes your grandfather, who took you to Mass every Sunday, or your aunt Teresa, who was known for her generous hospitality. It includes your coworker, who serves at the homeless shelter, and your neighbor, who prays the Rosary on her morning walk.

We are not surrounded by theological propositions. We are surrounded by real human beings with real experiences of God in their lives. They form that great cloud that reminds us God is with us always. They tell us that holiness is possible. And they cheer us on in our race toward Jesus.

So what's today's forecast? Cloudy—with a 100 percent chance of grace!

"Jesus, help me remember the holy men and women who surround me and testify to your presence!"

Psalm 22:26-28, 30-32
Mark 5:21-43


Scriptures are amazing. Really. I've told people that we could have an endless bible study because just about every verse is loaded, especially those about Jesus. In today's 1st Holy Scripture, we heard (and keep in mind a sinner, maybe you are a sinner, and keep in mind the hemorrhaging woman): "...let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus". Once, our priest spoke about this so called "race". He left me and some brothers pondering, especially when he said "it is not about a place in the race, but to finish the race. It's not about who's first or who's last, but even to that Jesus speaks, the last shall be first. Why does Jesus say backwards things? Like when a little girl was dead He was like "nope, she's still alive". All things contrary....but for the good. Nowadays, the body needs to resurrect. The body of Christ. For that we must go on in the race.

Let us pray: "They will praise you, Lord, who long for you.And to him my soul shall live; my descendants shall serve him. Let the coming generation be told of the LORD that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born the justice he has shown." What does this scripture mean "proclaim to people not born"? It means the here and the now, for them to come. It means to live your faith presently so it will be properly presented. It means descendants await your gift of your life. It means sacrifice. It means building for the future. I've encountered opposition in proposing building physical buildings for our church. The main reason...fear. Fear we can't afford it. Fear we will leave debt to our children. There is a grain of truth to that, so how can we eradicate this fear? Faith. And sacrifice. For more of that, let us go to Jesus in the Holy Gospel.

In today's Holy Gospel, people are pushing against Jesus. Mobs. Just crowds all over. People do that, they flock to personalities. Movie stars, singers, and some religious people. Why? They want to be near who they idolize, or admire, or just to say they touched him. Right? "I went to a Cursillo". What is a cursillo? It is an encounter with Christ, said the founder when interviewed, and more properly, said "It is Christ". But many go to cursillos and are not touched. Millions have gone. Billions have gone to communion and have not been touched. You see, it is one thing when you forcefully touch, and another when you let yourself be touched. So the bleeding woman was touched by Christ, in faith. Grace is availed always. All types of grace at that. Our world is hungry for something, but they don't know how to feed off grace. Many will read this, or go to Church and fail to receive grace. Many will reach to Jesus and not be healed. Many will hear Him and not have a word sink in. Many will see Him and fail to recognize Him.

So how can you have eyes and ears for Him? Learn grace. Learn from grace. The woman was restored. Grace restored her. She was now free to worship and give thanks in the temple. She was now no longer a walking dead woman. She was now, no longer bleeding to death, because His blood touched hers. Think Eucharist.

As if that weren't enough this woman that prostrated, now a man from the temple came and prostrated Himself before God. When is the last time you prostrated yourself before God? How do you ask for things? Sitting down, on your chair? Where is the sacrifice, where is the honor and glory due to Him? People look for our Lord everywhere but where He is. People were at the official's house, doctors, family, friends, and all declared the daughter dead. Don't even go to the Rabbi, forget about it. Their minds and faith was made up. Just like the old temple was, made up, faith made up, declared absolute, with no more room for hope. That's what Jesus came to destroy, hopelessness. Our Lord looks at the official "Do not be afraid; just have faith." It's as if He always says this, over and over in His ministry. But do we have ears for that? Will it ever soak in? Aren't you a nervous wreck? Aren't you a worry wart? Don't you shed tears in anxiety and depression? Haven't you lost hope?

"Do not be afraid; just have faith."
But, the experts said it is impossible, no signs of life.
"Do not be afraid; just have faith."
But, look at all the people wailing and crying, it is a terrifying day!
"Do not be afraid; just have faith."
So Jesus cast out all the bad spirits, all the people were thrown out of the house, or the room. Only Saint Peter and another couple disciples came in. Why? To learn to have faith.
They too would one day raise people from death. Even their shadows would cast miracles.
You need to be a person of faith. You have entered the room with the dead.
Cast out the bad spirits, in confession, then enter the room of resurrection, and see the dead come to life.
I implore you with the words of our Lord,
"Do not be afraid; just have faith."
Jesus walks with the resurrection...
Think Eucharist.
Think of purifying your temple.
Think sacrifice.
The official had faith just like the bleeding woman. 1 in 1,000 had faith. And this moves mountains of faithless souls to Christ.
So once again, our Lord said to us:
"Do not be afraid;
just have faith".


an audible random bible verse


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