Wednesday, January 29, 2020

⛪ . .They Are The People .. .⛪

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Who Are You, Lord, and Who Am I?

For St. Francis, the search for himself began and ended by asking the only one whose opinion mattered: Jesus. Rather than filling his head with the opinions of the world, getting bogged down by his own self-doubt, letting his successes fill up his ego, he went to God in prayer and asked the two most essential questions anyone could ask: "Who are you, Lord, and who am I?" So simple and pure, and yet so powerful. In these words and the response that follows is everything that could ever matter. How we come to answer them will define everything.

—from the book Let Go: Seven Stumbling Blocks to Christian Discipleship by Casey Cole, OFM


Saint Quote
"When we pray, the voice of the heart must be heard more than the proceedings from the mouth."
– St. Bonaventure

"Prayer, considered as petition, consists entirely in expressing to God some desire in order that He may hear it favorably; a real desire is, therefore, its primary and essential condition; without this, we are merely moving the lips, going through a form of words which is not the expression of our will; and thus our prayer is only an appearance without reality. The way, then, to excite ourselves to pray, to put life and fervor into our prayer, and to make of it a cry which, breaking forth from the depths of the soul, penetrates even to heaven, is to conceive the real desire mentioned above, to excite it, to cherish it; for the fervor of our prayer will be in proportion to the strength of the desire we have to be heard; just as what we have but little at heart we ask for only in a half-hearted way, if even we ask it at all; so what we desire with our whole soul we ask for with words of fire, and plead for it before God with an eloquence that is very real."
— Rev. Dom Lehody, p. 4-5
The Ways of Mental Prayer

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near."
Philippians 4:4-5


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St. Aquilinus of Milan (d. 1015 A.D.), also known as St. Aquilinus of Cologne, was born to a noble family in Bavaria, Germany. He received his education in Cologne, Germany and was ordained to the priesthood. He was offered the bishopric of Cologne, but turned it down in order to be a missionary priest and itinerant preacher. He traveled through various European cities fighting against the dangerous and spreading heresies of the Cathars, Manichaeans, and Arians. He was also known to work miracles by healing people from disease, especially during a cholera epidemic. He eventually settled in Milan, Italy, and was so effective in his preaching against the Arian heretics that they stabbed him to death and threw his body in the city sewer. His body was recovered and buried in the Basilica of San Lorenzo, in a chapel which now bears his name. His feast day is January 29.


Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 2 Sm 7:4-17

That night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
"Go, tell my servant David, 'Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?
I have not dwelt in a house
from the day on which I led the children of Israel
out of Egypt to the present,
but I have been going about in a tent under cloth.
In all my wanderings everywhere among the children of Israel,
did I ever utter a word to any one of the judges
whom I charged to tend my people Israel, to ask:
Why have you not built me a house of cedar?'
"Now then, speak thus to my servant David,
'The LORD of hosts has this to say:
It was I who took you from the pasture
and from the care of the flock
to be commander of my people Israel.
I have been with you wherever you went,
and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.
And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth.
I will fix a place for my people Israel;
I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place
without further disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old,
since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel.
I will give you rest from all your enemies.
The LORD also reveals to you that he will establish a house for you.
And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his Kingdom firm.
It is he who shall build a house for my name.
And I will make his royal throne firm forever.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
And if he does wrong,
I will correct him with the rod of men
and with human chastisements;
but I will not withdraw my favor from him
as I withdrew it from your predecessor Saul,
whom I removed from my presence.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.'"

Responsorial Psalm 89:4-5, 27-28, 29-30

R. (29a) For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.
"I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn to David my servant:
I will make your dynasty stand forever
and establish your throne through all ages."
R. For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.
"He shall cry to me, 'You are my father,
my God, the Rock that brings me victory!'
I myself make him firstborn,
Most High over the kings of the earth."
R. For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.
"Forever I will maintain my love for him;
my covenant with him stands firm.
I will establish his dynasty forever,
his throne as the days of the heavens."
R. For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 4:1-20

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
"Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.

Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold."
He added, "Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear."
And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
He answered them,
"The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that
they may look and see but not perceive,
and hear and listen but not understand,
in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven."
Jesus said to them, "Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no roots; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold."


Meditation: Mark 4:1-20

3rd Week in Ordinary Time

The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you. (Mark 4:11)

In World War II, the Nazis believed the secret code they were using to transmit radio messages was unbreakable. But men and women at the now famous Bletchley Park in Britain were finally able to crack the code, and their work is credited with shortening the war by up to two years.

Have you ever felt as if you were trying to crack a secret code when you read Scripture? It's not always easy to understand what the Gospel writers, St. Paul, or any of the Bible's authors, for that matter, were trying to convey. But Jesus told the disciples—and us—that "the mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you" (Mark 4:11). That's why he sent his Holy Spirit, the ultimate "Code Breaker." He is the One who enlightens us as we read, opening our hearts and minds to understand and internalize God's word.

So the first and most important thing you can do is to call on the Holy Spirit every time you open the Bible. Just as the disciples asked Jesus for an explanation of his parable, you can ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you read. He can turn what might seem at first glance a dense paragraph into a clear and eloquent passage that moves you deeply.

Second, invest in a Catholic study Bible with footnotes as well as a good Bible commentary. These are invaluable aids that will help you understand the history, context, and genre of each book you read. You might also consider joining a Bible study or studying one-on-one with a friend or your spouse.

Third, get in the habit of regularly praying with Scripture. For example, the parable in today's Gospel of the sower and the seed can be the basis of a rich meditation. You might ask yourself, "What kind of soil have I been lately? Am I letting anxiety about worldly things or the lure of riches get in the way?"

Finally, be persistent. You might not always understand everything you read, but don't get discouraged. Keep asking the Holy Spirit for help. Believe that over time, the Spirit will continue to reveal the mysteries of his kingdom to you.

"Thank you, Holy Spirit, for opening my heart and mind to God's holy word."

2 Samuel 7:4-17
Psalm 89:4-5, 27-30



How many times do we pray for people, when we are supposed to be the answer to that prayer? If you say the simple prayer 'use me to serve you' every day, God is going to use you today, tomorrow, and the next day. He's going to use you every day that you're willing.
— Connie McEldowney
from Restored: Stories of Encounter


"And if he does wrong, I will correct him with the rod of men
and with human chastisements; but I will not withdraw my favor from him..."
In this Holy Scripture, God talks about planting people. He talks about flocks. Shepherding. He speaks "It is he who shall build a house for my name." So, we got talk about houses, seeds, flocks, planting...hmm. Let us keep going.


Today we pray: ""Forever I will maintain my love for him; my covenant with him stands firm.
I will establish his dynasty forever, his throne as the days of the heavens."
They say things in Heaven are perfect. That means then, that things are to the extreme. It is on the furthest possible manner, to what righteousness is about. It is not lax, it is not imperfect, it is not what we would believe to be even possible. Let us keep going.


In the Holy Gospel, we heard: "The sower sows the word."

The word is the seed, the word of God is the seed. Have you received the word? Have you spread the word?

If so, what has happened with the word since then?

Bishop Barron from Word on Fire says today:
"Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus tells the parable of the sower.
In this famous story of the sower, we focus on the different types of soil and we apply them symbolically to ourselves. Now, there is nothing wrong with this interpretation as far as it goes, but I think that it misses what was at the heart of the parable for Jesus.
Focus your attention on this absolutely mad sower. Imagine a crowd of farmers listening to this parable: a man goes out to sow and he throws the seed on the path, on rocky soil, on thorny soil and finally on good soil. The original hearers of this tale would have have exchanged glances and rolled their eyes at the ridiculousness of this farmer.
That was precisely the reaction that Jesus wanted. For God is like this crazy farmer, sowing the seed of his word and his love—not only on receptive soil, not only to those who will respond, but also on the path, on the rocks, and the thorns, lavishly pouring out his love on those who are least likely to respond. God's love is irrational, extravagant, embarrassing, unreasonable, completely over the top."

So, the question is personal. What has happened with the Word in you? Jesus is the Word, just read John from the beginning and you'll see. The Word was with God, and it came, and it BECOMES FLESH. We give life to the Word when the Word takes root in our hearts. But with hardened hearts, evil comes by, snatches away what would've been a good seed in our lives.
Question is, what kind of soil do I have?
What chokes me? Anxiety? Doubt? Doesn't doubt cause anxiety? What takes the word, the seed away from me? When it doesn't sink into my heart.
Craving other things, other than pleasing God...well, that is another lure, a lure to death.

Why do I say all this? Because, every single day can be a day of the Word of God, a new life, a new world, a new adventure. Welcome to the Kingdom that is at hand.
How can we put out seed for the world? Would you spread seed if you had it?
As I asked the Lord this question, it came to me in a vision: the seed must come into fertile soil, take root, grow, and when it is grown, it gives seeds and it gives seed where it is at and the seeds just are spilled everywhere. Ever seen a pine cone tree? Its seeds are everywhere, they are just a big mess of cones everywhere. Every seed is hope. Every seed is life waiting to happen. The pine cone tree knows nothing better than to give seed as long as it lives.
That is how we are to be. Who knows where the seed will take root, that is not for you to know. Very rarely will you see the seed take root, it is hidden. Almost everything that is spoken about is hidden. But things are being revealed so that you may know that it exists.

This is where faith takes root...


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->Random Bible Verse 1<

Hebrews 12:1
Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Thank You Lord

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