Wednesday, January 8, 2020

⛪ . . They had not understood .. .⛪

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The World Is Pregnant with God

Reading the Book of Life gave Francis new meaning to the world around him. He began to read the Book of Life in the book of the world because the Book of Life gave him "insight"—new vision. He read the Book of Life in lepers and poor people because he saw in them the goodness of God.... He read the Book of Life in birds, flowers and all other living creatures. He realized that he was related to each of them as "brother" because each had their source in the goodness of God and reflected that goodness in their own particular and unique way. In the Book of Life Francis also realized his own limitations, his fragility and sinfulness, and it was in knowing how fragile he really was that he became a great lover of God. The Book of Life gave Francis a new self-knowledge and this knowledge liberated him from a false self. Reading the Book of Life gave Francis great insight to the poverty of being human, that is, being radically dependent on God. "What a person is before God," he said, "that he is and no more." When we read the Book of Life we recognize our human poverty, which makes us free to be with God and for God. The Book of Life liberated Francis to throw himself into the infinite embrace of God's love. When we live in God and God lives in us then we see the world for what it truly is—pregnant with God.

—from the book The Humility of God: A Franciscan


Holy Quote
"Trials, tribulation, anguish, anxiety are permitted by the very One Who gives peace."
— Archbishop Fulton Sheen

"Our Lord never intended that we should merely learn by heart the Our Father and recite it day and night. No doubt it is very beautiful and very simple, and can be meant quite easily by anyone who cares to use it. But that is not the purpose (although it is one purpose) of His gift of it to us. He evidently desires that we should take it to pieces, study its composition, and make it the model of our conversation with Him and the Father. … I must study it carefully, petition by petition, noting the distinct meaning of the words, the arrangement of the order, and the gradual development of the ideas of fatherhood, and so forth. ... Indeed, this prayer is little else than a series of remarks made by a child to his Father. The very want of connection between each petition, the staccato notes that mark off phrase from phrase, seem to suggest that it should be said very slowly, pausing after each group of notes to let their meaning and harmony echo to the base of the soul."
— Fr. Bede Jarrett, p. 300
Classic Catholic Meditations

"When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me."
Psalm 63:6-8


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St. Apollinaris Claudius (2nd c.), also called St. Apollinaris of Hierapolis, was a bishop in what is today Turkey. He became famous for his polemical writings against the heretics of his day, showing that their theological errors were taken from the pagans. His most famous work was an Apologia for the Christians addressed to Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in the year 177 A.D. In it he reminded the Emperor of a miracle he received because of the Christians: when his army was nearly defeated in an attempt to conquer the Germanic barbarians, it was the prayers of the Christians among his soldiers which obtained the needed relief and the military victory, even though Christianity was illegal. In light of this miracle, Apollinaris requested the Emperor's protection of Christians from persecution. St. Apollinaris' work earned him the moniker, "Apollinaris the Apologist." His writings are largely lost, and what we know of his work comes to us from other early Christian writers including St. Jerome and Eusebius. His feast day is January 8th.


Saint Angela of Foligno

(1248 – January 4, 1309)

Some saints show marks of holiness very early. Not Angela! Born of a leading family in Foligno, Italy, she became immersed in the quest for wealth and social position. As a wife and mother, she continued this life of distraction.

Around the age of 40, she recognized the emptiness of her life and sought God's help in the Sacrament of Penance. Her Franciscan confessor helped Angela to seek God's pardon for her previous life and to dedicate herself to prayer and the works of charity.

Shortly after her conversion, her husband and children died. Selling most of her possessions, she entered the Secular Franciscan Order. She was alternately absorbed by meditating on the crucified Christ and by serving the poor of Foligno as a nurse and beggar for their needs. Other women joined her in a religious community.

At her confessor's advice, Angela wrote her Book of Visions and Instructions. In it she recalls some of the temptations she suffered after her conversion; she also expresses her thanks to God for the Incarnation of Jesus. This book and her life earned for Angela the title "Teacher of Theologians." She was beatified in 1693, and canonized in 2013.

People who live in the United States today can understand Saint Angela's temptation to increase her sense of self-worth by accumulating money, fame or power. Striving to possess more and more, she became more and more self-centered. When she realized she was priceless because she was created and loved by God, she became very penitential and very charitable to the poor. What had seemed foolish early in her life now became very important. The path of self-emptying she followed is the path all holy men and women must follow. The Liturgical Feast of Saint Angela of Foligno is January 7.


Wednesday after Epiphany
Lectionary: 214
Reading 1

1 JN 4:11-18

Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also must love one another.
No one has ever seen God.
Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.

This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us,
that he has given us of his Spirit.
Moreover, we have seen and testify
that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world.
Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,
God remains in him and he in God.
We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.

God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.
In this is love brought to perfection among us,
that we have confidence on the day of judgment
because as he is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love,
but perfect love drives out fear
because fear has to do with punishment,
and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.

Responsorial Psalm

PS 72:1-2, 10, 12-13

R. (see 11) Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king's son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.


1 TM 3:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Glory to you, O Christ, proclaimed to the Gentiles.
Glory to you, O Christ, believed in throughout the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


MK 6:45-52

After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied,
Jesus made his disciples get into the boat
and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida,
while he dismissed the crowd.
And when he had taken leave of them,
he went off to the mountain to pray.
When it was evening,
the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore.
Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing,
for the wind was against them.
About the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea.
He meant to pass by them.
But when they saw him walking on the sea,
they thought it was a ghost and cried out.
They had all seen him and were terrified.
But at once he spoke with them,
"Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!"
He got into the boat with them and the wind died down.
They were completely astounded.
They had not understood the incident of the loaves.
On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.


Catholic Meditations
Meditation: Mark 6:45-52

Christmas Weekday

They were completely astounded. (Mark 6:51)

"Does not compute." In older television shows, when we still imagined artificial intelligence having limitations, a robot would make that statement when given a command or information that did not make sense according to its programming. It would then go back to reassess the data.

In his Gospel, Mark shows us how an encounter with Jesus was so extraordinary that people seemed to react almost like one of those robots.

When Jesus freed a man from an unclean spirit at Capernaum, "the people were astonished" (Mark 1:22). Does not compute!

When he taught in the synagogue of his hometown, people were utterly "astonished" (Mark 6:2). Does not compute!

And in today's Gospel, when Jesus walks across the water to the disciples in their boat, they "were terrified" (Mark 6:50). And "their hearts were hardened," or in another translation, "their minds could not grasp" what Jesus had done (6:52). Does not compute!

Since that time, people have struggled to accept Jesus' words, especially his words about who he is. As we read in John's first letter, some people claimed that the Son did not really become human (4:2-3). Even today, some claim that Jesus was an ethical teacher but not really the Son of God. Does not compute!

The truth of Jesus' Incarnation is so hard to grasp, and not just because we can't fathom the immortal God becoming a mortal man. We struggle with the message of Christmas also because we find it hard to imagine that God would become human in order to be close to us and in order to reveal his love to us. Such humility, such love, simply does not compute.

We're still in the Christmas season, so as you pray today, take the time to "compute" or, better, to contemplate the reality of the Incarnation. Ponder, as Mary did, that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world (1 John 4:9). Marvel that God not only sent his Son but sent him for you! Be astounded that Jesus not only laid down his life but did it out of love for you. If this does not "compute," you're in good company. Just keep asking God to persuade you of his love.

"Jesus, I stand in awe of who you are and all you have done for me."

1 John 4:11-18
Psalm 72:1-2, 10, 12-13



The Bible has an inexhaustible depth of wisdom. It has rewarded thousands of years of exploration by billions of Christians. It is a gold mine.
— Peter Kreeft from Probes




"This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us, that he has given us of his Spirit."
Today, that Spirit is alive. And what do you make of that Spirit? Do we belittle that Spirit? Do we overlook that Spirit? I think we do. We underestimate the power of God. How? With little faith. For that, we will go into the Gospel.


First let us pray: " Lord, every nation on earth will adore you. For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him. He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; the lives of the poor he shall save."
For that, let us go into the Gospel!

"... when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out. They had all seen him and were terrified."
Now, this Gospel account does not tell more details. They were, already scared. They were, already afraid. They were fighting the waves, and they were against the wind. And if a storm was brewing, and if it was dark, more formidable forces were against them. Have you ever imagined what it'd be like to be blind? Complete darkness right? So in the dark, you lose sight. But what sight do you lose? You lose the light. Right? Where is God when we are frightened. In the Gospel, you read that He is there. Much like when He was right in the boat with them and they woke Him up asking "aren't you concerned that we are about to die?" Because He was asleep, sound asleep. And today, He is just walking by them. The storms do not affect our Lord. Not like they do to us. Does He not care? Of course He does. But He knows the storms are nothing to Him. It's like my little kids, so scared of a bug in the house, even a moth, they are screaming, screeching, crying and running. And I look around as if nothing. When they approach me about it, then I might do something about it. The Lord helps the poor though.

Here's where we come in.
Let's talk about the poor. Remember, I asked you to consider the Holy Spirit in the Gospel. When our Lord left us, He left us His Holy Spirit. It is a formidable force, if only we knew how to tap into it.

The hardest hitting verse is the last...when it speaks about hardened hearts.

"They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened."
I have a hard time with that. Because I have a hardened heart. How do I know? In my daily Communion, when I go daily, to Mass, to receive our Lord, my experience is not always the same. No matter how often the weak in the faith say "All Masses are the same...BORING", that's just what is coming from the heart.

The Holy Disciples saw Jesus feed the multitudes. It was a miracle. A small one, apparently, because it wasn't enough for them to have faith to move mountains. You see what I mean when we belittle the Holy Spirit? We fail to see Emmanuel, that God is among us and with us. He said this as He ascended to the Father, Our Father, the children of God's Father.

What am I asking here for? Faith. God proves Himself, and we just prove how much we run, with doubt.

And what happens when we run scared? We get mean. A stranger walked right in the middle of our Mass this past Sunday, they said, I didn't see, up the middle isle, turned right, took water from a holy water thing, and walked out. He was wearing dark glasses and a thick vest. I got two witnesses that gave me their take. One said "I didn't know what to make of it, was this something to be scared about, or was it an angel?" Another said "I was really scared, and was planning on pushing a man out of my way to make a run for it!".

You see what can happen when you have fear? Innocents pay.

Let us pray to our Lord that we have no more fear. Only Holy Fear of the Lord. Fear not...for He is with matter what...


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Random Bible Verse 1

Luke 19:10
10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."

Thank You Lord

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