Wednesday, February 5, 2020

⛪ . .In His Native Place .. .⛪

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We Can't Limit God's Choice

How will we react when Jesus chooses to exalt the homeless person downtown, giving him immense wisdom that reveals to us that we actually know very little about life? What will we do when that woman we cannot stand, the one who made our life miserable for so long, is waiting for us next to Jesus, glorified in the kingdom of heaven? Being a disciple of Christ means abandoning our desire to choose who sits next to us at church, who is loved and forgiven, who God chooses to entrust with important tasks, and ultimately, who we spend eternity with. If the mission of Christ is like a dinner party in which we wait to respond to our invitation until we ask, "Who else is going to be there?" we might not be ready to follow him. When we place limits on who can enter and who God can use, we place limits on God and make an idol out of our faith.

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


Saint Quote
"No act is charitable if it is not just."
— St. Bruno

"Man threw away everything he had—his right to speak freely, his communion with God, his time in Paradise, his unclouded life—and went out naked, like a survivor from a shipwreck. But God received him and immediately clothed him, and taking him by the hand gradually led him to heaven. And yet the shipwreck was quite unforgivable. For this tempest was entirely due, not to the force of the winds, but to the carelessness of the sailor. Yet God did not look at this, but had compassion for such a great disaster. … Why? Because, when no sadness or care or labor or toil or countless waves of desire assaulted our nature, it was overturned and fell. And just as criminals who sail the sea often drill through the ship with a small iron tool, and let the whole sea into the ship from below, so when the devil saw the ship of Adam (by which I mean his soul) filled with many good things, he came and drilled through it with his voice alone, as if it were an iron tool, and stole all his wealth and sank the ship itself. But God made the gain greater than the loss, and brought our nature to the royal throne."

— St. John Chrysostom, p. 19
A Year with the Church Fathers

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."
1 Corinthians 15:58


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St. Agatha (231-251 A.D.) was born in Sicily into an affluent family. At a young age she made the decision to devote herself to Christ, resisting every offer of marriage. Struck by her beauty and wealth, a magistrate named Quintian desired to marry her. He plotted to use his political power to force her hand, and threatened to prosecute her for the crime of Christianity unless she accepted his sexual advances. When she refused, he forced her into a brothel. Even there, she refused to relinquish her chastity. Furious, Quintian imprisoned and tortured Agatha, ordering her breasts to be cut off. Upon this barbaric treatment, God sent St. Peter the Apostle to Agatha in a vision, and he healed her wounds. St. Agatha's torture continued until an earthquake caused her captors to flee, and she died shortly after. St. Agatha is the patroness of rape victims, torture victims, martyrs, nurses, and against breast cancer. She is one of the seven women, besides the Virgin Mary, mentioned by name in the Roman Canon of the Mass. Her feast day is February 5th.


Memorial of Saint Agatha, virgin and martyr
Lectionary: 325
Reading 1

2 Sm 24:2, 9-17

King David said to Joab and the leaders of the army who were with him,
"Tour all the tribes in Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba
and register the people, that I may know their number."
Joab then reported to the king the number of people registered:
in Israel, eight hundred thousand men fit for military service;
in Judah, five hundred thousand.

Afterward, however, David regretted having numbered the people,
and said to the LORD:
"I have sinned grievously in what I have done.
But now, LORD, forgive the guilt of your servant,
for I have been very foolish."
When David rose in the morning,
the LORD had spoken to the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying:
"Go and say to David, 'This is what the LORD says:
I offer you three alternatives;
choose one of them, and I will inflict it on you.'"
Gad then went to David to inform him.
He asked: "Do you want a three years' famine to come upon your land,
or to flee from your enemy three months while he pursues you,
or to have a three days' pestilence in your land?
Now consider and decide what I must reply to him who sent me."
David answered Gad: "I am in very serious difficulty.
Let us fall by the hand of God, for he is most merciful;
but let me not fall by the hand of man."
Thus David chose the pestilence.
Now it was the time of the wheat harvest
when the plague broke out among the people.
The LORD then sent a pestilence over Israel
from morning until the time appointed,
and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beer-sheba died.
But when the angel stretched forth his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it,
the LORD regretted the calamity
and said to the angel causing the destruction among the people,
"Enough now! Stay your hand."
The angel of the LORD was then standing
at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
When David saw the angel who was striking the people,
he said to the LORD: "It is I who have sinned;
it is I, the shepherd, who have done wrong.
But these are sheep; what have they done?
Punish me and my kindred."

Responsorial Psalm

32:1-2, 5, 6, 7

R. (see 5c) Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
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. Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
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. Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
For this shall every faithful man pray to you
in time of stress.
Though deep waters overflow,
they shall not reach him.
R. Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me;
with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round.
R. Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.


Jn 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Mk 6:1-6

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place,
accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, "Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?"
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
"A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house."
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.


Meditation: Mark 6:1-6

Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (Memorial)

They took offense at him. (Mark 6:3)

So many miracles! In the previous chapter of Mark's Gospel alone, we see Jesus walk into a cemetery and cause a legion of demons to fly out of a man (5:1-20). We see a woman touch Jesus' clothing and receive a long hoped-for healing (5:25-34). And we see Jesus speak just two words to bring a young girl back to life (5:41). But then Jesus came to his hometown, and the mighty works diminished dramatically.

What happened? Where were the people clamoring to be near him? Instead of crying out for healing, they were taking offense at his teaching. God loves sinners as much as the righteous? I have to forgive my enemies? I can't live like that. Besides, who is he to tell me how to live?

Actually, we shouldn't be surprised that the people of Nazareth were getting tripped up by Jesus. Each of us probably has some areas where Jesus trips us up. We may avoid certain Bible verses or disregard certain Church teachings because they make us feel uncomfortable. There might be a plainspoken priest in town whose hard-hitting homilies make us squirm or a fellow parishioner whose dedication to the poor challenges us. It's only natural to avoid someone whose witness moves us to think or act differently. But is it possible that the Holy Spirit might be using them to prick our consciences?

Is there something that "offends" you about Jesus and his teaching? If it's something from the Scriptures, take the time to reread those verses or that story prayerfully, and try to be open to a new or challenging insight. Does one of Jesus' commandments seem too hard? Honestly tell him so, and ask him to help you understand it more. Take some time to read about it, or ask your pastor for advice. Take just one step closer and ask the Spirit to soften your heart a bit more.

Don't be like the Nazarenes! Bring your thoughts and "offenses" to Jesus and ask him to heal and free you. Not in a magical stroke but by the slow process of changing your mind. That, in itself, is a mighty work.

"Lord Jesus, help me to listen to you and be healed."

2 Samuel 24:2, 9-17
Psalm 32:1-2, 5-7



We want to rend our hearts this Lent and see what is in them, dismissing from them, with the grace that will be given to do this, what does not belong in the heart of a Christian. Rend the heart with prayer, with penance, with love, to see, admit, and confess in the daylight of God's love what is there. …[L]et us rend our hearts and get rid of these things with the power of Lenten grace which will be given to us.
— Mother Mary Francis
from A Time of Renewal


"When David saw the angel who was striking the people,
he said to the LORD: "It is I who have sinned; it is I, the shepherd, who have done wrong. But these are sheep; what have they done? Punish me and my kindred."
King David once again, as a prophet, as a king, as a priest, interceded for the people, even Himself if necessary, for God to have mercy. Because, for the sin of one, many can fall. It is the sinners that have caused us great harm in the past, and can cause you in the future. You may suffer great heartache. You may suffer great tribulations. Shall I be the cause of many to suffer? And what was King David's sin? He doubted. The same sin as Adam and Eve. The serpent's voice caused doubt. And the fall began, the calamity, the pain. Punishment is issued. Yet, even that can be of great good and consolation. Jesus is the remedy. He is the healing oil and water. Let us go forth.


We pray today: "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. Lord, forgive the wrong I have done"
Confessing our faults to God can sometimes be easy, but not always, right? There's some things we may not want to admit.
To admit we are wrong. That's what was wrong with King David's sin, the cover up was even worse than the crime, in all aspects. In my slow progression to humility, I've learned that admitting that I'm wrong, or that I don't know, has been a tough pill to swallow. But it seems to soothe things in disputes, to admit my wrong (even though the other party refuses to admit their wrong! DOH! LOL). Ideally, we would both apologize, but that is not how mercy works. For God forgives more, always. So, we've only one thing left to do, admit we are feeble creatures of God in constant and dire need of His intercession, and grace, to let go of His hand can be detrimental to the soul, and our neighbor, those whom we come in contact with day in and day out.


In the Holy Gospel, our Lord comes back to His hometown, where He grew up, after performing powerful miracles.
Rather than being amazed, those in his hometown dismissed Him. Shrugged it all off as if happinstance, no big deal. And that's what happens today. We brush off great workings and say "no big deal" about religion or faith, and keep living on as we wish. The devil has whispered great lies into our society. The lies to make God "no big deal". Fire and brimstone? No big deal. Great multitudes of lost souls facing hell when they die? No big deal. Following God's commands? No big deal. Our society, our culture nowadays says on the commandments:
1a.) Love God above all? Sure, sure I love Him, who doesn't? We're all one big happy family, or unhappy most of the time.
1b.) Have no other idols? Sorry, I can't do that church thing, I got to make money, and then I got sports activities, and then I got things to do at home before I can do all that church stuff.
2.) Take His name in vain? OMG! What is that? I'll say his name whenever and however I please!
3.) Honor the Sabbath? OMG not again! I just told you, see answers for previous questions.
4.) Honor your mother and father? Yeah, so long as they honor me and my desires I'll honor them back, otherwise, they are supposed to look out for me no matter what.
5.) Thou shall not kill? Oh, well, if someone kills someone, they deserve to be killed. And don't talk about the "unborn" they don't exist really until they can speak for themselves (abortion up to birth).
6.) Adultery? Oh, please, everybody does it, from high school to old people everywhere, they say 70% of people on adult dating sites are already married. Don't you see on TV what they do on bachelor shows and even on daily shows, movies, and songs?
7.) Thou shall not steal? Yeah, that's wrong, but, I do deserve things that I didn't work for. The company owes me, so I need to take things, like take extra time not being productive, and please don't talk to me about giving to the poor or tithing, that's a whole other issue.

8.) Thou shall not lie? Yeah, let's be honest, everybody lies, I don't lie.

9.) "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife." I thought we just covered that with adultery? Haven't you heard "look but don't touch?" It's impossible to not look with lust nowadays! There's too much pornography poured out everywhere.
10.) "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods". What's that? Oh greed and envy? Jealousy? I'm not greedy, but I sure wish I had something else!

It is interesting how the devil has twisted the commands. Isn't it? Because what I have stated are hidden truths. What we don't want to admit must be admitted. What we have committed must be committed. It is all then, a commitment. You commit to sin, you must live and die in sin, that is, if you are truly committed.

How does this relate to those who who denied Christ in His hometown?

He was denied. Simple human frailty. We refuse to change and we refuse to admit into our lives anything that doesn't go our way. "If you don't believe like me, then you are a hater" is the thought of the liberalist. Keep in mind, the first liberalist was Lucifer. He thought he knew better.

And that is our downfall today. To think we know. And to think we know better.

The more I get to know God, the more I can relate with Saint Thomas Aquinas, author of Summa Theologica, a most formidable compendium of our Theology and knowing of our faith, who once gave up writing and when asked why, he said "I can write no more. All that I have written seems like straw." And he never wrote again. What did he mean? He means our thoughts are not His thoughts. We can write and write, but there are not enough words in our vocabulary and understanding to even come close to what God knows and understands and does.
But, we want things fast and easy and figured out. Simple. Right?
And so God does crazy things, like come to an unmarried girl, and being the Father to the God child.
And then, He'll be born to the poorest and most forgettable peoples.

And then He grows up reaching out to those peoples.
And then He dies with them on the crosses.
And then He comes back to console the afflicted.

As if to say:
"Lift up your chin, look at me for a moment, don't say anything...I can read your heart....I live inside of you...I'm with you...I love you more than you can understand...."


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->Random Bible Verse 1<
Hebrews 13:1
Sacrifices Pleasing to God

Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Thank You Lord


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