Tuesday, November 19, 2019

⛪ . .To Seek & To Save . .⛪

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If you are about gospel work,
with a head for justice and a tender heart,
it helps each day to cleanse the lens.
We dare not disregard the darkness,
nor turn away from problems and pain;
but face instead each morning's light and bathe our
eyes in mercy's rain.
When the world looks always grimy,
when hope and newness are obscured,
then is the time for window wiping.
Cleanse the panes with wonder and lament,
for the tears of sorrow and laughter you share,
let love's light in to dissipate despair.
No matter where your eyes come to rest,
will you look long enough and lovingly,
till light breaks through at last?
—from the book Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace by Joseph Grant


† Saint Quote

"He will provide the way and the means, such as you could never have imagined. Leave it all to Him, let go of yourself, lose yourself on the Cross, and you will find yourself entirely."
— St. Catherine of Siena

"These persons, when they [receive Holy Communion], strive with all their might for sensible sweetness, instead of worshipping in humility and praising God within themselves. So much are they given to this, that they think when they derive no sensible sweetness, they have done nothing, so meanly do they think of God; neither do they understand that the least of the blessings of the Most Holy Sacrament is that which touches the senses, and that the invisible grace It confers is far greater; for God frequently withholds these sensible favors from men, that they may fix the eyes of faith upon Himself . . . All this is a very great imperfection, being against the purity of Faith, and directly at variance with the nature of God."
— St. John of the Cross, p. 28
Dark Night of the Soul

"A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God's people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray."
Isaiah 35:8


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St. Barlaam of Antioch (d. 304 A.D.) was an elderly, uneducated peasant laborer from a village near Antioch. He was arrested for his Christian faith under the persecution of Roman Emperor Diocletian. He was detained for a long time in a dungeon before being brought before his judge. At his trial he was severely scourged, his bones dislocated on the rack, and tortured in other ways in an attempt to force him to renounce his faith in Christ and sacrifice to idols. Instead of crying out, there was joy in his countenance. His meekness, answers, and resolute will confounded his persecutors. The judge, determined to not be humiliated by a peasant, then devised a plan that would force Barlaam to offer sacrifice to the gods despite his constancy. He had an altar with a fire prepared, and had Barlaam's right hand held over the fire and filled with incense and hot coals. This would force Barlaam's burning hand to recoil, causing the incense to fall before the pagan altar, which the judge could then proclaim as a public act of sacrifice to the idols. Instead, Barlaam endured the pain in perfect stillness. He held his hand steady until it burned off completely. Irate, the judge ordered his immediate death. St. Barlaam's feast day is November 19th.
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Saint Agnes of Assisi

(c. 1197 – November 16, 1253)

Born Caterina Offreducia, Agnes was the younger sister of Saint Clare, and her first follower. When Caterina left home two weeks after Clare's departure, their family attempted to bring her back by force. They tried to drag her out of the monastery, but her body suddenly became so heavy that several knights could not budge it. Her uncle Monaldo tried to strike her but was temporarily paralyzed. The knights then left Caterina and Clare in peace. Saint Francis himself gave Clare's sister the name Agnes, because she was gentle like a young lamb.

Agnes matched her sister in devotion to prayer and in willingness to endure the strict penances that characterized the Poor Ladies' lives at San Damiano. In 1221, a group of Benedictine nuns in Monticelli near Florence asked to become Poor Ladies. Saint Clare sent Agnes to become abbess of that monastery. Agnes soon wrote a rather sad letter about how much she missed Clare and the other nuns at San Damiano. After establishing other monasteries of Poor Ladies in northern Italy, Agnes was recalled to San Damiano in 1253, as Clare lay dying.

Three months later Agnes followed Clare in death, and was canonized in 1753.

God must love irony; the world is so full of it. In 1212, many in Assisi surely felt that Clare and Agnes were wasting their lives and were turning their backs on the world. In reality, their lives were tremendously life-giving, and the world has been enriched by the example of these poor contemplatives.


Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 498
Reading 1

2 Mc 6:18-31

Eleazar, one of the foremost scribes,
a man of advanced age and noble appearance,
was being forced to open his mouth to eat pork.
But preferring a glorious death to a life of defilement,
he spat out the meat,
and went forward of his own accord to the instrument of torture,
as people ought to do who have the courage to reject the food
which it is unlawful to taste even for love of life.
Those in charge of that unlawful ritual meal took the man aside privately,
because of their long acquaintance with him,
and urged him to bring meat of his own providing,
such as he could legitimately eat,
and to pretend to be eating some of the meat of the sacrifice
prescribed by the king;
in this way he would escape the death penalty,
and be treated kindly because of their old friendship with him.
But Eleazar made up his mind in a noble manner,
worthy of his years, the dignity of his advanced age,
the merited distinction of his gray hair,
and of the admirable life he had lived from childhood;
and so he declared that above all
he would be loyal to the holy laws given by God.

He told them to send him at once
to the abode of the dead, explaining:
"At our age it would be unbecoming to make such a pretense;
many young people would think the ninety-year-old Eleazar
had gone over to an alien religion.
Should I thus pretend for the sake of a brief moment of life,
they would be led astray by me,
while I would bring shame and dishonor on my old age.
Even if, for the time being, I avoid the punishment of men,
I shall never, whether alive or dead,
escape the hands of the Almighty.
Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now,
I will prove myself worthy of my old age,
and I will leave to the young a noble example
of how to die willingly and generously
for the revered and holy laws."

Eleazar spoke thus,
and went immediately to the instrument of torture.
Those who shortly before had been kindly disposed,
now became hostile toward him because what he had said
seemed to them utter madness.
When he was about to die under the blows,
he groaned and said:
"The Lord in his holy knowledge knows full well that,
although I could have escaped death,
I am not only enduring terrible pain in my body from this scourging,
but also suffering it with joy in my soul
because of my devotion to him."
This is how he died,
leaving in his death a model of courage
and an unforgettable example of virtue
not only for the young but for the whole nation.

Responsorial Psalm

PS 3:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (6b) The Lord upholds me.
O LORD, how many are my adversaries!
Many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
"There is no salvation for him in God."
R. The Lord upholds me.
But you, O LORD, are my shield;
my glory, you lift up my head!
When I call out to the LORD,
he answers me from his holy mountain.
R. The Lord upholds me.
When I lie down in sleep,
I wake again, for the LORD sustains me.
I fear not the myriads of people
arrayed against me on every side.
R. The Lord upholds me.


1 Jn 4:10b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God loved us, and sent his Son
as expiation for our sins.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Lk 19:1-10

At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
"Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house."
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
"He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner."
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
"Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over."
And Jesus said to him,
"Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost."


Catholic Meditations
Meditation: Luke 19:1-10

33rd Week in Ordinary Time

If I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over. (Luke 19:8)

Try to imagine this scenario for a moment: you are Zacchaeus the tax collector, and you hear that Jesus is in town. You run out of your house and climb all the way up a tree to see him. Maybe you cut your knee on your way up, but you don't care. You have to see this fellow! But then he sees you—and he speaks directly to you. You are so moved that you promise to give half your possessions to the poor and to restore fourfold anyone you've defrauded.

Now, imagine that he says to you, "That's all right. You didn't have to go so far as to scramble up that tree. And you certainly don't have to give away so much money. Just give back what you owe, and make sure you come to the synagogue every Sabbath. I don't want you to overdo it."

Jesus would never react that way. It's not that he demanded extravagant restitution as punishment for Zacchaeus' acts of dishonesty. And it's not that he needed Zacchaeus to balance the scales in an extreme way. No, he saw how Zacchaeus was making a sincere, voluntary gesture. Zacchaeus was acting freely, responding to the love that Jesus had for him (Luke 19:9). His restitution was an act of gratitude, not obligation.

That's the way the mercy of God works. It is so extravagant and generous that it changes us. It convinces us to love and to give just as freely as Jesus has given to us. As St. Paul said, it "impels us" in a way that everyday logic can never do (2 Corinthians 5:14).

Spend some time in prayer today rejoicing in the extravagant, extreme, and unbounded love that Jesus has for you. Put yourself in Zacchaeus' shoes, and let your encounter with the Lord move you to praise and worship him. "He loves me! He forgives me! He welcomes me with open arms!" Let these truths ring in your heart today. Let them help you to love just as freely and generously as you are loved.

"Lord, show me your love and your mercy. Come, Jesus, and teach me to be just as extravagant as you are!"

2 Maccabees 6:18-31
Psalm 3:2-7



In prayer, do not do all the talking. If you went into a doctor's office, you would not rattle off the symptoms and then rush out … You learned to speak by listening, did you not? … So we are not constantly to be yapping in prayer. Sacred Scripture says, 'Speak, Lord, thy servant heareth.
—Ven. Fulton Sheen
from Prayer is a Dialogue


The first Holy Scripture ends today with: "This is how he died,
leaving in his death a model of courage and an unforgettable example of virtue not only for the young but for the whole nation."
Was this a foreshadowing of our Lord? Did you think of our Lord when you read this? I know I did.

But who dies like that? Who dies with courage for the Lord? How can we die like that for our Lord in Heaven?

For sure, it's not a one time thing. This dying began long ago, in the first conversion, the first life giving and surrendering.

It begins when you wake up, and you realize you have something to give to God...your very life.


We pray today: "When I lie down in sleep,
I wake again, for the LORD sustains me.
I fear not the myriads of people arrayed against me on every side. The Lord upholds me."
All through His life, from the time He was a baby, people helped Him. They carried Him as a baby, they fed Him, they clothed Him. They loved Him dearly. And on His last day, someone helped Him carry His cross. And Mom was there to wipe Him. Holding Him up with her heart. Holding on to what upholds us....God Himself. This is Christ who gave Himself and helped us too. in the world can we repay for what He has done for us?


In the Holy Gospel, we heard: ""Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house."
Zach was short. Zach was smart. Zach climbed up a sycamore tree! Zach was seen, for Zach stood out. Jesus said I shall dine with thee! The people got mad, but Zach was glad. Zach said sorry if I offended thee!

Our Lord said then "Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost." Ahh. So this man was lost? And then saved? How was he lost though? He was rich. He was extorting the people. He was, in other words, doing people wrong, for personal gain. Now, let's not point too many fingers, because we too use others, and we tend to want to "use" God Himself, for personal gain. Right? What about what God wills, huh?

Using others is called the "utilitarian" method, or better known as "utilitarianism". In this train of thought, you could ultimately be using moral relativism, for personal gain, and it all boils down to one simple word...selfishness. "I don't need no church to tell me how to live". Unfortunately, this is nothing new. And this mentality is growing in popularity. It is reprehensible, and a vile conduct. But eyes are shut, and fists are swinging. Sin makes us blind.

In comes Jesus, to heal the blind, and to come into our home.
He aims to cleanse the soul, not just with water....but with blood. One drop of His precious blood would be enough for eternity, for all our souls....but...instead....He gave us His all.
How can we repay?
Zach was happy. Zach was reconciled. Zach wanted to repay.
Zach was eating. Zach was feeding. Zach lives to this day.
Zach continues up in Heaven, feeding, having shown the way.
And you can too. Defeat when you come short, just find a way.
Find a sycamore tree and start climbing, so Jesus can see....
how much you love Him, how much you want to be with Him...
and He will say....COME WITH ME


hear it read

Random Bible Verse 1
Colossians 3:15

15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Thank You Lord

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