Thursday, February 6, 2020

⛪ . .So They Went Off .. .⛪

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Jesus Never Promised Success

At no point in the Gospel does Jesus tell us that if we follow him our lives will be filled with success or that people will like us for it. Quite the contrary, actually! We follow a man who came to share the love of God with the world through healing and forgiveness, but was rejected by the religious elite, betrayed by his closest friends, and murdered as a common criminal. This is not simply Jesus's fate many years ago, but ours today. "Take up your crosses daily," he tells us. While there is nothing wrong with hoping for success in our lives, our faith is destined for problems if it becomes an expectation we cannot live without. The road of discipleship is filled with failure; if we demand that our lives be successful, we won't make it very far.

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


Saint Quote
"I see clearly with the interior eye, that the sweet God loves with a pure love the creature that He has created, and has a hatred for nothing but sin, which is more opposed to Him than can be thought or imagined."
— St. Catherine of Genoa

"Love is a strong force — a great good in every way; it alone can make our burdens light, and alone it bears in equal balance what is pleasing and displeasing. It carries a burden and does not feel it; it makes all that is bitter taste sweet. ... Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing higher, nothing stronger, nothing larger, nothing more joyful, nothing fuller, nothing better in heaven or on earth; for love is born of God and can find its rest only in God above all He has created. Such lovers fly high, run swiftly and rejoice. Their souls are free; they give all for all and have all in all. For they rest in One supreme Goodness above all things, from Whom all other good flows and proceeds. They look not only at the gifts, but at the Giver, Who is above all gifts."
— Thomas à Kempis, p. 108
Imitation of Christ

"My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world."
1 John 2:1-2


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St. Paul Miki (1562–1597) and his twenty-five companions, known as the Martyrs of Nagasaki, were crucified for the faith in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1597. A Japanese layman of great nobility and wealth, Paul was converted to Christianity by St. Francis Xavier. Although the Christian missionaries did not meet with opposition initially, the Japanese rulers eventually launched a brutal campaign to wipe out its progress. The twenty-six men were forced to march 600 miles to meet their death in Nagasaki. The group included Franciscan and Jesuit missionaries and Japanese converts. They were repeatedly offered freedom if they would renounce Christianity; they all declined. When the march ended the martyrs were tied to crosses. They prayed and sang while Paul Miki preached the Gospel in a loud voice. The martyrs were then stabbed to death while they hung on their crosses. The crowd who witnessed the testimony of Paul Miki and his companions would immortalize his words and use them to further spread Christianity in Japan. Their collective feast day is February 6th.

Nagasaki, Japan, is familiar to Americans as the city on which the second atomic bomb was dropped, immediately killing over 37,000 people. Three and a half centuries before, 26 martyrs of Japan were crucified on a hill, now known as the Holy Mountain, overlooking Nagasaki. Among them were priests, brothers, and laymen, Franciscans, Jesuits, and members of the Secular Franciscan Order; there were catechists, doctors, simple artisans, and servants, old men and innocent children—all united in a common faith and love for Jesus and his Church.

Brother Paul Miki, a Jesuit and a native of Japan, has become the best known among the martyrs of Japan. While hanging upon a cross, Paul Miki preached to the people gathered for the execution: "The sentence of judgment says these men came to Japan from the Philippines, but I did not come from any other country. I am a true Japanese. The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ. I certainly did teach the doctrine of Christ. I thank God it is for this reason I die. I believe that I am telling only the truth before I die. I know you believe me and I want to say to you all once again: Ask Christ to help you to become happy. I obey Christ. After Christ's example I forgive my persecutors. I do not hate them. I ask God to have pity on all, and I hope my blood will fall on my fellow men as a fruitful rain."

When missionaries returned to Japan in the 1860s, at first they found no trace of Christianity. But after establishing themselves they found that thousands of Christians lived around Nagasaki and that they had secretly preserved the faith. Beatified in 1627, the martyrs of Japan were finally canonized in 1862.

Today, a new era has come for the Church in Japan. Although the number of Catholics is not large, the Church is respected and has total religious freedom. The spread of Christianity in the Far East is slow and difficult. Faith such as that of the 26 martyrs is needed today as much as in 1597.


Memorial of Saint Paul Miki and Companions, martyrs
Lectionary: 326
Reading 1

1 Kgs 2:1-4, 10-12

When the time of David's death drew near,
he gave these instructions to his son Solomon:
"I am going the way of all flesh.
Take courage and be a man.
Keep the mandate of the LORD, your God, following his ways
and observing his statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees
as they are written in the law of Moses,
that you may succeed in whatever you do,
wherever you turn, and the LORD may fulfill
the promise he made on my behalf when he said,
'If your sons so conduct themselves
that they remain faithful to me with their whole heart
and with their whole soul,
you shall always have someone of your line
on the throne of Israel.'"

David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David.
The length of David's reign over Israel was forty years:
he reigned seven years in Hebron
and thirty-three years in Jerusalem.

Solomon was seated on the throne of his father David,
with his sovereignty firmly established.


1 Chronicles 29:10, 11ab, 11d-12a, 12bcd

R. (12b) Lord, you are exalted over all.
"Blessed may you be, O LORD,
God of Israel our father,
from eternity to eternity."
R. Lord, you are exalted over all.
"Yours, O LORD, are grandeur and power,
majesty, splendor, and glory."
R. Lord, you are exalted over all.
"LORD, you are exalted over all.
Yours, O LORD, is the sovereignty;
you are exalted as head over all.
Riches and honor are from you."
R. Lord, you are exalted over all.
"In your hand are power and might;
it is yours to give grandeur and strength to all."
R. Lord, you are exalted over all.


Mk 1:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Kingdom of God is at hand;
repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Mk 6:7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick
–no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
"Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them."
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.


Meditation: 1 Kings 2:1-4, 10-12

Saint Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs (Memorial)

. . . seated on the throne of his father . . . , with his sovereignty firmly established. (1 Kings 2:12)

In today's first reading, King David gives Solomon counsel on how to be a good ruler and then hands over the kingship to him. The backstory, however, isn't so neat and tidy. The history of Saul, David, and Solomon is a sometimes sordid tale of palace intrigue, dynastic conflict, and foreign wars. David's own sons fought against each other, and one even rebelled against David. So when David ordered a public procession, with Solomon riding on David's own royal mule to shouts of "Long live the king!" he was making it clear that his sovereignty was officially passing to Solomon.

Sovereignty means the ability to exercise authority freely and without external control. For Solomon, this meant that he could rule without danger of conflicts within his court or threats from other countries. For the people of Israel, Solomon's sovereign rule would bring them a season of peace and protection.

All of this can help us understand something about God's rule and our relationship with him. Although human rulers often establish their authority through intrigue and keep it through power plays, God's way is different. He invites us to come under his rule. He waits for us to choose to accept his sovereignty. So while Jesus truly is Lord of all creation, he becomes the Lord of our hearts only as we allow him to guide our thoughts and actions—as we welcome him on the "throne" of our lives.

Imagine a throne in the center of a big circle, and within that circle are all the many aspects of your life: your family, your job, your possessions, your free time, your hopes and dreams, and your plans for the future. Imagine that in the course of your day, all of these things move closer and further away from that throne. Sometimes, one of them even occupies that place of authority.

Now, where is Jesus in this picture? Is he vying with your possessions for a crack at the throne? Or your job or your favorite hobby? What one thing can you do today to help clear the path so that he can sit on that throne and rule you with his love and tender mercy?

"Jesus, sit on the throne of my life! Help me to trust you more each day."

(Psalm) 1 Chronicles 29:10-12
Mark 6:7-13



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


"Take courage and be a man."
This line is where Fr. Larry Richards got the name of the book he decided to write "Be A Man".

And what he tells David is to follow God's laws.
We need men to be men, but no just any men, a real men that follows God's laws and are not afraid to lead by example to His Sacred life. I myself am involved in men's ministries. What can motivate a man? How can we encourage men to be men? That is the biggest question we all ask ourselves. Let us turn to our Lord.


We pray today: ""In your hand are power and might; it is yours to give grandeur and strength to all." Lord, you are exalted over all".


In the Holy Gospel we heard our Lord speak. "Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet...". He gave them authority, just like in the great commissioning in Matthew 28 "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go...". And the whole issue resides in authority, the power that has been given to Jesus. ALL AUTHORITY.

And so they are sent, with no food, no money, no sack to carry things, nothing at all, just the clothes you wearing and shoes, and maybe a walking stick. The only things a man on a mission needs.

And this is our daily calling. The great commission. And this commission happens at the end of every Mass at the final blessing, as if our Lord will be ascending from us again and then we are sent out to begin the week.
And we are given authority over evil and demons. You allow bad spirits in or out of your home. Or you can choose not to allow bad spirits into your home. I'm speaking of your soul, yet, also of your household. How to berid of them? Speak direct, and cast them out, and bring in holy Sacramentals, blessed. If that don't work, bring in bigger guns, people with authority. Bring them into your home. Bring them even into your household. Evil should have NO place at yours. Every bad thought, consider it a bad temptation for evil to come in. Reject it at the onset. After all, we carry the Holy Spirit, a simple calling on the Spirit connects us to the ultimate authority. Be a Holy Man, and this is for woMan too. There is a reason for these readings to reach us...they are to teach us. One word can move mountains. And the word was made flesh, to move all mountains, the entire world.
And so it all hinges on the authority. The rejection of authority is sin. If you look out into the world, the greatest fall is the attempt to usurp authority "who are YOU to tell ME what to do!". And from there, the fall begins.
If the authority of God has been given to His shepherds, why is there so much dissent and discord? There used to be a day, when I was a child, that I was to kiss the hand of my father, as a sign of respect and authority he has over me. That soon disappeared about the same time kissing the hand of a priest, a Father, disappeared, and it is very rare I see anyone kiss the hand of a bishop, only maybe the Pope, in a respectful manner, but respecting what He does and says.

I say this remembering two days ago, we visited the local nursing home, me and my oldest two kids, and as we walked the halls my daughter said "can we say hi to Ms. Montoya? And we did. This little old lady was so happy to see us...everyone of us shook hands with her, and each and everyone of our hands she kissed with her soft lips. I felt humbled. I never done that to any elderly person, why should she do it to me, basically a stranger? We are not related to any of these folks, yet people ask if the blind man that I visit, if it is my father. Have I digressed, or am I still on the subject of authority? Honoring thy Father? The elderly lady knows we come from a church family, her 90 yr old room mate asked "when are we going to have Mass again here?" "Soon" I said, our Father will be back soon from another country, his home country, because we have no new priests in our own country (few vocations).

The kissing of the hand made me feel obligated to this sheep in the fold.

I watched an animal channel, and they were trying to decide on whether or not to put an older penguin to "sleep". Euthanasia, a choice of death.

It is this what we must combat, life for life. People trying to determine if a life is "viable" a capability to live. Sadly, abortions has made a tragic choice on this matter. Viability has taken second place to ideals of utilitarianism. Authority once again usurped.
How can we put this in a simpler way to understand? God is to be feared with a trembling heart. Some say that fear of God means to be in awe of God. Honestly, thinking again, fear isn't so bad. I'm afraid to sin. Because I know how devastatingly awesome and terrible is the ramifications of sin. We don't know how far one little sin has caused damaged. But on the same note, we don't know, and may never fully know, how far and awesome one Sacred Act will carry through for generations.
So, Be A Man, of God, His creation.

He created you and thinks the world of you so much so that He trusted you with free will.

Father, let my will be yours, so I may be yours forever!
Love you!


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->Random Bible Verse 1<
Psalm 103:2
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,

who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,

who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

Thank You Lord


If one day you don't receive these, just visit my website, surely you'll find me there. God Bless You! Share the Word. Share this, share what is good

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