Tuesday, February 12, 2019

⛪ "This People Honors Me...."

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God's Love Knows No Obstacles

Touching the rock face, contemplating the grotto of more than 150 years ago and offering a prayer—these actions help visitors connect to that point in time when Bernadette hurried to this obscure cave. More importantly, they connect pilgrims to the spoken and unspoken messages that Our Lady conveyed to the young girl. As Mary bore the Son of God in her womb, she carries with her his message of love, which knows no obstacles and overcomes all shortcomings. Our lives, much like the grotto in Bernadette's time, may be disordered, but God nonetheless comes calling. Reaching into the shadows of the caves of our own making, God seeks us through his mother.

—from Lourdes Today: A Pilgrimage to Mary's Grotto


"Fix your minds on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Inflamed with love for us, he came down from heaven to redeem us. For our sake he endured every torment of body and soul and shrank from no bodily pain. He himself gave us an example of perfect patience and love. We, then, are to be patient in adversity."
— St. Francis of Paola

"Now man need not hide from God as Adam did; for He can be seen through Christ's human nature. Christ did not gain one perfection more by becoming man, nor did He lose anything of what He possessed as God. There was the Almightiness of God in the movement of His arm, the infinite love of God in the beatings of His human heart and the Unmeasured Compassion of God to sinners in His eyes. God was now manifest in the flesh; this is what is called the Incarnation. The whole range of the Divine attributes of power and goodness, justice, love, beauty, were in Him. And when Our Divine Lord acted and spoke, God in His perfect nature became manifest to those who saw Him and heard Him and touched Him. As He told Philip later on: Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father [John 14:9]."
— Fulton J. Sheen, p. 21
Life of Christ

"If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'"
John 7:37-8


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Saint Apollonia

(d. c. 249)
The persecution of Christians began in Alexandria during the reign of the Emperor Philip. The first victim of the pagan mob was an old man named Metrius, who was tortured and then stoned to death. The second person who refused to worship their false idols was a Christian woman named Quinta. Her words infuriated the mob and she was scourged and stoned.

While most of the Christians were fleeing the city, abandoning all their worldly possessions, an old deaconess, Apollonia, was seized. The crowds beat her, knocking out all of her teeth. Then they lit a large fire and threatened to throw her in it if she did not curse her God. She begged them to wait a moment, acting as if she was considering their requests. Instead, she jumped willingly into the flames and so suffered martyrdom.

There were many churches and altars dedicated to her. Apollonia is the patroness of dentists, and people suffering from toothache and other dental diseases often ask her intercession. She is pictured with a pair of pincers holding a tooth or with a golden tooth suspended from her necklace. Saint Augustine explained her voluntary martyrdom as a special inspiration of the Holy Spirit, since no one is allowed to cause his or her own death.

The Church has quite a sense of humor! Apollonia is honored as the patron saint of dentists, but this woman who had her teeth extracted without anesthetic surely ought to be the patron of those who dread the chair. She might also be the patron of the aging, for she attained glory in her old age, standing firm before her persecutors even as her fellow Christians fled the city. However we choose to honor her, she remains a model of courage for us.

Saint Apollonia is the Patron Saint of:


Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Gn 1:20—2:4a

God said,
"Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures,
and on the earth let birds fly beneath the dome of the sky."
and so it happened:
God created the great sea monsters
and all kinds of swimming creatures with which the water teems,
and all kinds of winged birds.
God saw how good it was, and God blessed them, saying,
"Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas;
and let the birds multiply on the earth."
Evening came, and morning followed–the fifth day.

Then God said,
"Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures:
cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds."
and so it happened:
God made all kinds of wild animals, all kinds of cattle,
and all kinds of creeping things of the earth.
God saw how good it was.
Then God said:
"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
the birds of the air, and the cattle,
and over all the wild animals
and all the creatures that crawl on the ground."

God created man in his image;
in the divine image he created him;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them, saying:
"Be fertile and multiply;
fill the earth and subdue it.
Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air,
and all the living things that move on the earth."
God also said:
"See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth
and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food;
and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air,
and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground,
I give all the green plants for food."
And so it happened.
God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.
Evening came, and morning followed–the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed.
Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing,
he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.
So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy,
because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.

Such is the story of the heavens and the earth at their creation.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 8:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
R. (2ab) O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars which you set in place—
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet.
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!

Alleluia Ps 119:36, 29b
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Incline my heart, O God, to your decrees;
And favor me with your law.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 7:1-13

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
(For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.)
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
"Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?"

He responded,
"Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites,
as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition."
He went on to say,
"How well you have set aside the commandment of God
in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said,
Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Yet you say,
'If someone says to father or mother,
"Any support you might have had from me is qorban"'
(meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things."


Meditation: Mark 7:1-13

5th Week in Ordinary Time

Honor your father and your mother. (Mark 7:10)

Have you ever bitten into a cream-filled donut only to find that there is no filling? It's a pretty disappointing experience, isn't it? That donut looked so good, but it was actually hollow.

In today's Gospel, Jesus was trying to help some Pharisees recognize something lacking in their approach to following the Law of Moses. Their traditions and purification rituals looked very nice, but they were hollow. Like that elusive cream filling, something was missing that should have been at the heart of their observances—love.

Now, of all the examples that Jesus could have picked to highlight this hypocrisy, he chose the way some people used legal loopholes to get out of taking care of their aging parents. Once again, Jesus placed the spotlight on family life—that's how precious it is to him.

Family is central to God's plan for us. God himself is a communion of Persons. He made a covenant, not only with Abraham, but with all of his descendants as well. Even Jesus was born into a human family! These Pharisees may have been pursuing purity, but by disregarding the value of family love, they missed their goal by a long shot.

We may not be neglecting our parents, but it's still easy to lose sight of how important our families are. We get busy and work long hours, which makes it difficult to share family meals. Or we might be overcommitted with school or church activities, so we don't have much time at home together. Or maybe our parents live in another city, and it's difficult to keep in touch.

God knows the challenges that we face. He doesn't want us to quit our jobs or not be involved at church. But he does want us to find ways, in the midst of all the other things vying for our attention, to protect and nurture our family relationships.

Take a few moments right now to pray for your family. Tell God how much you love them and treasure them. Ask him to help you find ways to strengthen the bonds within your home. God knows that things can get in the way, and that's okay. Just bringing your family to mind and praying for them is a great first step!

"Lord, help me to treasure my family relationships."

Genesis 1:20–2:4
Psalm 8:4-9



Your future belongs to you, and there is no good reason why the hurts of the past need to dim the radiance of who you can become. You may feel useless, but you are important, and no one can replicate the reason for which you have been created.
—Crystalina Evert
from Made New: Healing and Hope for Abuse Survivors


"Such is the story of the heavens and the earth at their creation." The story of the Heavens and earth, what an amazing feat. Can we take a look around and be amazed at what God has done? Can you? That's what the 7th day is alla sit back and just say WOW, and THANK YOU, and stop doing what you normally do to make it set apart...Holy. Make it holy. It's funny for me on the Sabbath, because, I teach RCIA, and I teach throughout the week, so how do I make it holy, any different? I choose not to work. That's great. Sounds like a vacation, time off. But, I don't think that's what God is after. You know what He wants and we won't give...our heart. That's the love bird effect. Where one is giving, and the other one is receiving. That's the story of creation, of man and woman and God and man, and Jesus and Church, of our relationship to the Awesome creator. So how can we honor God on Sunday? Let's get to there from here.


First, let us pray: " O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth! You have made him little less than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him rule over the works of your hands, putting all things under his feet." So for once, let's not think about ourselves, amen? Let's think about Jesus first. God made Him little less than angels, Think Jesus on Earth, humbled, and then He was crowned with GLORY and honor. Was Jesus Crowned? Yes. Was He crowned with Honor? Yes. Jesus honored God's will, God's wish and desires to the capital T. And so, from that point forward, God put Jesus in charge of the whole world, God Himself. What's crazy is that God desires to share this honor, we have dominion through Jesus, authority from Heaven, His desires supersede all desires.

In the Holy Gospel today, the Pharisees and scribes blurted ""Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?". Our Lord could've responded "why are you pointing the fingers?" LOL, I'm just kidding, but it is true, isn't it? They were claiming that the disciples weren't doing good. Story of our life, we keep hearing from non-believers that "God is not good". Right? That's the main reason people don't believe. And how will we ever disprove that by the way we live!? Amen? Jesus says though some hard hitting truths as if millstones being handed by dropping a word, millstones that people will use to bind themselves by their own actions and words:
"Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:
This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts." Again with the whole lips thing. Why does Jesus care so much about what we say? Because, we were made in His image and we are ruining His goodness, His divine image by being filth, all things unholy. So what defiled these Pharisees? They defiled God.

We have much to learn from the Pharisees. For we stand among Jesus just like they did, along with scribes, and I very well could be a scribe documenting the faith here too, who knows who could run into this message years from now. And who knows how long this message will take to reach inside your very heart...but God knows.
An old Irish priest said in His homily this Sunday at our Parish, "God doesn't make junk". We make junk. We are wasteful. It is said that our country, the U.S. is the most wasteful country, we discard food like no other, discard fuel like no other, time like no other, and unborn babies like no other. We are what is called a "utilitarian" society, the kind that uses and abuses and discards once is no good (that's why we are introducing suicide laws now). I've been to junk yards looking for parts where cars are stacked up 5 cars or trucks high, and there I am climbing looking for the right part. I've been to Planned Parenthood clinics, and there I am peeping to see if there are any baby body parts in the alleys. I go to nursing homes and find discarded treasures.

Funny, they started up by saying they wanted to avoid "back alley abortions" and here now we have moved into the building, upping the bounty to millions and millions more deaths now.

And I say "we have moved into the building" because this is our society, our country, the lifestyle chosen as a whole as the body of Christ. Your sins are not personal. Your Jesus is not your personal Lord. That is OUR Lord.

We've defiled our lives by simply satiating our desires.
So what happened to Jesus as He sat among Pharisees and scribes? Nothing. They didn't' recognize Jesus, but all the devils did.

They couldn't hear Jesus, but the deaf did.
They couldn't see who He was, but the blind did.
So were these Pharisees really alive?
And you?

Can you see Jesus? Can you hear Jesus? Can you feel Him touching your life?

Yes You can. It's not what goes in that defiles a man, but what goes out. I'm not the same man I was 20 years ago. I've been going on a transforming journey to Christ. The things that enter my eyes and ears are not taken the same as they were before I knew Christ better.
Just right now, a director for a prison retreat interrupted me writing to you. He said basically he was fed up with some team members and said he was going to resign today. I let Him talk, and talk, and talk. Finally I asked if I could talk. I said "can I say something now? are getting a big head man. You have just said "I want things my way or the highway" and that's not what I signed up for in this retreat, I'm following you man, you can't just quit and leave me alone in there, you got me there and I was looking forward to it as were all the others you have riled up to go". Towards the end he said He wouldn't quit. But I held him accountable, "LET YOUR YES BE A YES". Be a man.
When we decide to serve the Lord, there's a couple things I have for advice:
1.) Check your feelings at the door. (crucify yourself)
2.) Grace must abound. (prayer must increase and Sacraments)
3.) Embrace negativity. (realize the energy)

Jesus embraced the cross.
He was crowned with Glory.
He was crowned with Honor of God.
That don't make no sense!

My heart wants to cry right now.

"It doesn't make sense to Honor God as He desires"


random audio bible verse as I wrote to you today


Thank You Jesus

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