Friday, February 15, 2019

⛪ "“Be opened!”

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The Challenge to Love One Another

In every marriage, there comes a sobering awareness that you are not able to do as much of your own thing. Even with a great marriage preparation experience, it is still normal for couples to wake up one day and think, "This is not the person I married. What happened?" It is natural for couples to experience some disillusionment in the early years. A time comes when you realize that your spouse isn't all you thought and things aren't working out quite as smoothly as you once hoped. We were not created to bear the weight of perfection. Let us be content to be who God made us—broken, imperfect beings. In marriage we face the ever present challenge to love one another despite our brokenness and many shortcomings.

—from the book What I Wish Someone Had Told Me about the First Five Years of Marriage


"What was the first rule of our dear Savior's life? You know it was to do His Father's will. Well, then, the first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly to do it in the manner He wills; and thirdly, to do it because it is His will."
— St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

"Winnow not in every wind, and do not start off in every direction (Sirach 5:11). It is essential to discern what the Spirit wants when we are making important choices in our lives. Through prayer, fasting, spiritual reading, spiritual advice, discernment of signs, sorting out our hidden motivations, etc., we develop a sense of what God wants of us."
— Rev. Jude Winkler, O.F.M., p 13
Daily Meditations with the Holy Spirit

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
1 Peter 1:3-5


click to read more



St. Claude de la Colombiere (1641-1682) was born to a noble family in France and became a Jesuit priest. He was known for his solid and serious sermons and his dedication to observing the rule of his order with exactness. He became the rector of a Jesuit house next to the Monastery of the Visitation where St. Margaret Mary Alacoque lived, who was given special revelations from Jesus of His Sacred Heart. Claude became St. Margaret Mary's spiritual director, and, like her, became a zealous promoter of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In 1676 he was sent to England to attend the wife of the future King James II, serving at court as preacher and confessor. When anti-Catholic persecutions broke out, Claude was falsely accused of being involved in a 'papist plot' and was thrown into prison. While there his health suffered due to mistreatment. He was preserved from execution and instead banished from England by royal decree. He returned to his native France, where his fragile health continued to deteriorate until he died a few years later. The day after his death, St. Margaret Mary received supernatural assurance that he needed no prayers, as he was already in heaven. His feast day is February 15.


Friday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Gn 3:1-8

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals
that the LORD God had made.
The serpent asked the woman,
"Did God really tell you not to eat
from any of the trees in the garden?"
The woman answered the serpent:
"We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden;
it is only about the fruit of the tree
in the middle of the garden that God said,
'You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.'"
But the serpent said to the woman:
"You certainly will not die!
No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it
your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods
who know what is good and what is evil."
The woman saw that the tree was good for food,
pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.
So she took some of its fruit and ate it;
and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her,
and he ate it.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened,
and they realized that they were naked;
so they sewed fig leaves together
and made loincloths for themselves.

When they heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the garden
at the breezy time of the day,
the man and his wife hid themselves from the LORD God
among the trees of the garden.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 32:1-2, 5, 6, 7
R. (1a) Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile.
R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
my guilt I covered not.
I said, "I confess my faults to the LORD,"
and you took away the guilt of my sin.
R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
For this shall every faithful man pray to you
in time of stress.
Though deep waters overflow,
they shall not reach him.
R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me;
with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round.
R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.

Alleluia See Acts 16:14b
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Open our hearts, O Lord,
to listen to the words of your Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 7:31-37

Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man's ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
"Ephphatha!" (that is, "Be opened!")
And immediately the man's ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
"He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."


Meditation: Mark 7:31-37

5th Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus left the district of Tyre and went . . . into the district of the Decapolis. (Mark 7:31)

Before we get into today's Gospel, let's rewind two chapters. Do you remember how, in Mark 5, Jesus healed a demon-possessed man? Because of this great miracle, the man who was cured wanted to follow Jesus. But Jesus told him instead to "Go . . . announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you" (Mark 5:19).

And that's exactly what he did. This man went out into the Decapolis, a region heavily influenced by Greek, Gentile culture, and began talking with people about what Jesus had done for him.

Now jump back to today's Gospel. Lo and behold, Jesus goes into the Decapolis himself. When he arrives, he finds people who are open. Apparently, they've heard that Jesus is a healer, because they bring him a man with a hearing and speech impediment. After Jesus heals the man, the people are astounded—so much so that they can't help but tell others (Mark 7:36).

Don't you think the man from Mark 5 had a part to play in the people's openness? His words must have softened their hearts and piqued their interest in Jesus. Then the seeds he planted blossomed when these people encountered the Lord for themselves.

In the same way, you can sow seeds of faith—by your kindness, by showing mercy to someone who has wronged you, by sharing about what God has done in your own life. Those seeds have great potential to play a part in someone's openness to the Lord. God really can use your witness to soften hearts and to stir up interest.

Of course, even after you've planted seeds of faith, you don't always see people taking steps toward the Lord. Still, you can trust that God is working, even if you can't detect any evidence of it. Just as the man from Mark 5 probably never knew that Jesus was going to visit the Decapolis again, we never know when Jesus will "visit" the people with whom we've shared our faith. So let's keep planting those seeds—and leave it to the Lord to make them bloom someday!

"Lord, give me the courage to share about how much you've done for me."

Genesis 3:1-8
Psalm 32:1-2, 5-7



If we don't raise our children to be morally upright, first and foremost, then we miss the point of parenthood entirely. There are enough financially successful, popular, and 'happy' villains in the world already. What we lack are saints!
—Leila Miller
from Raising Chaste Catholic Men


"Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked...". Adam was created for a specific purpose. He was to take care of the garden, God's creation, God's vineyard if you will. His very name meant protector/guardian. Yet, when Eve was seduced, Adam let his guard down and bit the apple. A potent poison changed their eyes and ears and ran through their hearts, so much so, that they now seemed schizophrenic, they weren't who they used to be. This is what drugs does to people. But sin is worse than drugs. Dabble with a little of this, and you could get immediately hooked and killed. Think of how often you can't even hold your tongue! Think of how you have a hard time hearing God speak! Think now how hard it is too hear Him, and you won't see hiding.


Yet there is hope as we pray today: "Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven. You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me; with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round." Adam and Eve are trembling in the cold of the shadows of the trees. Afraid in the world they used to have conquered and now something was trying to conquer them. Evil. Evil looms and lurks. It is a formidable force to be reckoned. It is no joke, to fall into temptation, to fall into these traps, because there is a grasp that will not want to let go, and it is internalized. But remember we spoke about hope? In comes our Lord.


In the Holy Gospel, our Lord encounters a man that is deaf and mute, that is, unable to speak. But the encounter is with that of a community that brought him for healing. We are to learn a lesson within. We need to bring healing. Our intercessory actions are vital for salvation. Remember what Adam was created for? To protect and guard. And the woman is to help in a crucial way, to help, protect and guard. Remember what matrimony means? It means making of a mother.

So our Lord takes the man, literally we heard:

He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
The man was set apart...this means holiness.

He put his finger into the man's ears
When God's finger enters the scene, a Heavenly Kingdom is ruled, MENE in the book of Daniel, saying "God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it"; and when that very finger appears, it creates, man, and writes on tablets of stone, and now entering the ears of man. Demons were cast by the finger of God. For if Adam and Eve had allowed evil to enter, there was a cure introduced now.

and, spitting, touched his tongue;
Spitting has a specific connotation, it carries a rejection. It has been mentioned in the bible all the way back to Moses, "the LORD said to Moses, "If her father had but spit in her face, would she not bear her shame for seven days? Let her be shut up for seven days outside the camp, and afterward she may be received again." This time Jesus spits out the evil infection that made the man mute and deaf, the very essence of the fall of Adam. We spat in the face of God with sin, and He spits sin out of man to reconcile us to Himself and the community (think Holy Confession).
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
"Ephphatha!" (that is, "Be opened!")
When God groans it is good...for us.

Psalm 5 "LORD, listen to my words, consider my groaning." It is Jesus praying for us to Our Father.

Psalm 38:9 "Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee."
Psalm 79:11 "Let the groaning of the prisoner come in before Thee, According to the greatness of Thine arm, Leave Thou the sons of death."
Romans 8:22 "For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now."

Jesus groans many times throughout His ministry, at the cave of Lazarus, the dead, and at His own cross and crucifixion before death He groans to Heaven.

God hears groans because they are truth.

What is your groan? A complaint, or a prayer?

So a man is healed, he can now hear and talk.

Psalms 8:
"When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place—
What is man that you are mindful of him, and a son of man that you care for him?"

God has visited the world. The people exclaimed ""He has done all things well."


I got a random audio bible verse as I wrote to you today, click to hear it


Thank You Jesus

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