Tuesday, March 24, 2020

⛪ . .. "Look You Are . . .⛪

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Time to Move Forward

"Stand up, take your mat and walk." The man healed in the Gospel story (John 5:1-16) complains that no one has helped him to get into the magic pool while the angel was stirring the waters. He has been waiting there for thirty-eight barren years: as long, according to Deuteronomy, as the Israelites had wandered in the desert. What's the symbolism of that? Are there problems, blocks, hang-ups in yourself, in your character, in your life, that have been with you for as long as you remember? Things that you have given up on ever getting over but which still cause you to regret, complain or feel sorry for yourself? The cause of the problem, however much it is ancient history, set deep in the early layers of your life, is linked to and sustained by the effects of the sadness or anger it has produced. So we are held in a double pincer movement: a historical trauma and an ongoing post-traumatic stress. The past has flooded and incapacitated the present, just as a computer virus invades and slows down operational functions. We are held captive and we feel no one seems to want, or to be able to help. The spirit cannot tolerate such a situation and such a waste. Given half a chance, even a brief encounter by a magical pool, it will penetrate the person and target the problem and say, "Now move on and take that damned mat with you." This is what is happening in meditation.

—from the book Sensing God: Learning to Meditate during Lent by Laurence Freeman, OSB


Saint Quote
"I urge you with all the strength of my soul to approach the Eucharistic Table as often as possible. Feed on this Bread of the Angels from which you will draw the strength to fight inner struggles."
— Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

"Who is Lucifer? He is a pure spirit, and was the most enlightened of all pure spirits, but is now at war with God and with His rule. The mystery of sin is merely the result of this conflict, which manifests itself in every possible way. Lucifer, as much as in him lies, will leave no stone unturned to destroy what God has made and ordered. Wherever he enters, there is the work of God defaced."
— Jean-Pierre de Caussade, p. 114
Abandonment to Divine Providence

"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels."
Isaiah 61:10


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St. Catherine of Sweden (1331-1381) was the fourth of eight children born to St. Bridget of Sweden and her husband, Ulfo. As a child she was sent by her parents to be educated in a convent, and was later given in marriage to a German nobleman. Catherine was able to persuade her husband, a virtuous young man, to live together in a mutual vow of perpetual chastity. They lived happily together in complete devotion to God. After the death of her father, and with her husband's consent, Catherine accompanied her mother to Rome. While there, Catherine's husband died. She continued to be a companion to her mother and rejected further offers of marriage. Her mother worked to establish a new religious order, called the Order of the Holy Savior, or the Bridgettines. After her mother's death, Catherine took her body back to Sweden for burial while continuing the work of establishing the Bridgettines. She later traveled back to Rome to advocate for her mother's canonization and for Pope Urban VI to ratify her Order. While in Rome she became great friends with St. Catherine of Siena. St. Catherine of Sweden finally returned to Sweden and became abbess of the newly founded Bridgettines, living the rest of her days as a model of prayer and penance. St. Catherine of Sweden is the patron saint against abortions and miscarriages. Her feast day is March 24th.


Saint Oscar Arnulfo Romero

(August 15, 1917 – March 24, 1980)

The night before he was murdered while celebrating Mass, Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador said on the radio: "I would like to appeal in a special way to the men of the army, and in particular to the troops of the National Guard, the police, and the garrisons. Brothers, you belong to our own people. You kill your own brother peasants; and in the face of an order to kill that is given by a man, the law of God that says 'Do not kill!' should prevail.

"No soldier is obliged to obey an order counter to the law of God. No one has to comply with an immoral law. It is the time now that you recover your conscience and obey its dictates rather than the command of sin. . . . Therefore, in the name of God, and in the name of this long-suffering people, whose laments rise to heaven every day more tumultuous, I beseech you, I beg you, I command you! In the name of God: 'Cease the repression!'"

Simultaneously, Romero had eloquently upheld the gospel and effectively signed his own death warrant.


Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 245
Reading 1

Ez 47:1-9, 12

The angel brought me, Ezekiel,
back to the entrance of the temple of the LORD,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the right side of the temple,
south of the altar.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the right side.
Then when he had walked off to the east
with a measuring cord in his hand,
he measured off a thousand cubits
and had me wade through the water,
which was ankle-deep.
He measured off another thousand
and once more had me wade through the water,
which was now knee-deep.
Again he measured off a thousand and had me wade;
the water was up to my waist.
Once more he measured off a thousand,
but there was now a river through which I could not wade;
for the water had risen so high it had become a river
that could not be crossed except by swimming.
He asked me, "Have you seen this, son of man?"
Then he brought me to the bank of the river, where he had me sit.
Along the bank of the river I saw very many trees on both sides.
He said to me,
"This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine."

Responsorial Psalm

46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9

R. (8) The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

Verse Before the Gospel

Ps 51:12a, 14a

A clean heart create for me, O God;
give me back the joy of your salvation.


Jn 5:1-16

There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate
a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes.
In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.
One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there
and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,
"Do you want to be well?"
The sick man answered him,
"Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool
when the water is stirred up;
while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me."
Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your mat, and walk."
Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

Now that day was a sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured,
"It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat."
He answered them, "The man who made me well told me,
'Take up your mat and walk.'"
They asked him,
"Who is the man who told you, 'Take it up and walk'?"
The man who was healed did not know who it was,
for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.
After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him,
"Look, you are well; do not sin any more,
so that nothing worse may happen to you."
The man went and told the Jews
that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus
because he did this on a sabbath.


Today's Meditation: John 5:1-16

Do you want to be well? (John 5:6)

In the Bible, we see people who are suffering from all sorts of ailments and diseases and are seeking out Jesus for healing. But where are the people asking Jesus to heal them of their sins? Yes, our physical problems can loom large, but Jesus is just as concerned with our spiritual illnesses—our attachments to sin and our avoidance of his ways.

Today's Gospel shows us several people who need to start down the path of spiritual healing. First, there is the man who has been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus asks him if he wants to be well, he doesn't answer directly and instead complains about his situation. After healing him, Jesus tells him not to sin anymore, "so that nothing worse may happen to you" (John 5:14).

These brief interactions give us clues that this man probably had more problems than just physical ones. Maybe he was even reluctant to be healed, incredible as it seems. He was used to living with his sickness, and being well meant entering into a new kind of life. For one thing, he would be expected to work now. The change could be scary.

The religious authorities in the story also need some spiritual healing. When they see the man cured, they are filled with jealousy and are more concerned with upholding sabbath rules than in recognizing a miracle. Suspecting that their authority and traditions are being threatened, they too seem to fear change.

Now, Jesus may choose to heal our bodies miraculously, and he may not. But he definitely wants to heal our souls—and he needs our ongoing cooperation to do that. He understands that our sins can feel comfortable and difficult to give up. But he promises even greater joy as we put them aside, take up our mat, and follow him.

The paralyzed man in the Gospel may not have been prepared for Jesus to heal him—and you don't have to be either. But when an opportunity for change comes to you, don't try to brush it off as that man did. Don't be afraid to offer him your messy baggage and accept his generous offer of grace. Jesus will stay with you; he will help you accept the change he is offering you.

"Jesus, help me to be open to the healing you want to do in my life."

Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12
Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9



That the Eucharist—and thus the whole of Christian life—is a meal shows us that we do not have life in ourselves. We must receive it, eat it. We become what we receive. If we refuse to receive, refuse to eat and drink him, we remain without life.
— Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen
from Bread That Is Broken


" I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the façade of the temple was toward the east; the water flowed down from the right side of the temple.."
A precious moment occurs in this Holy Scripture when prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus. Water flows from His temple..from His right side...on the cross. And the waters trickle, and a trickle becomes a stream, and the stream becomes an powerful river. What does swimming in this river feel like? Everything in the river is alive, and everything the river touches gives life. One drop made this happen...and it comes from Jesus. We are invited to these living waters. We are invited to become alive in our baptism.


We pray: "There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High. God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed; God will help it at the break of dawn. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob". The Lord is with us, Emmanuel. What does that mean...for you?"


In the Gospel, Emmanuel turns into something formidable, and breaks the bonds that we enslave ourselves in. Think outside the box now. Now you are under "house arrest" by the government, now what? What can you do? Some are being driven crazy, some to despair, now what? And from recent threats in rumors, things are scheduled to get worse with even more imposed government action, more threats. Now what? Revolt? Of course not. Pray. Yes. Eat less (fast). Pray more (be more in contact with God and His Holy Angels and intercessors). Give. Give more to the poor. Break the mold. Become something new. Jesus encounters a man and breaks the mold. After fasting, and praying, both Jesus and the crippled man encounter one another. The man is present at healing waters. And the living waters comes upon Him...Jesus. That is a message for you and for me, to be ever present and available, whether you are physically healed or not.

Bishop Barron says today:
Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus heals a man who was physically ill for thirty-eight years. I want to make an observation about another manifestation of Christ's power: his spiritual healing. _
The Gospels are filled with accounts of Jesus' healing encounters with those whose spiritual energies are unable to flow. Much of Jesus' ministry consisted in teaching people how to see (the kingdom of God), how to hear (the voice of the Spirit), how to walk (thereby overcoming the paralysis of the heart), how to be free of themselves so as to discover God. It is interesting that Jesus was referred to in the early Church as the Savior—soter in Greek and salvator in Latin. Both terms speak of the one who brings healing. _
The "soul" is that still point at the heart of every person, that deepest center, that point of encounter with the transcendent yet incarnate mystery of God. When the soul is healthy, it is in a living relationship with God; it is firmly rooted in the soil of meaning and is the deepest center of the person. _
Reflect: In what way does your soul need spiritual healing?_

What happens soon after that healing takes place? Just one moment though. Why would others always beat the poor man to the stirred waters? He said ""Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up;
while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me."

No one would help him? No one would put him into the pool? What does that say about charity? We live in a "me first" world. What does that say about your charity in your life? What about Lazarus? Eventually Lazarus died of starvation, being at the door of plenty...your door. Jesus approaches the crippled man, the paralyzed man, and by a mere word, the man rises, takes his mat, and walks. Jesus has authority, but men who said they had authority said they knew better, said they knew evil, when they themselves wouldn't lift a finger. In reality, are we like that too? We know church laws, but we limit God. As it stands, God is in control. Humility will win, and humility enters a willing soul, and when God enters, evil flees. Like fleas, evil will be expulsed from the body, and the temple can begin to give living waters. Waters are meant to flow, not to be trapped. We are meant to give, in order to receive. Give to God in fasting. Give to God in prayer. Give to God in almsgiving.

Right now, are you being persecuted? Can you sense a suppression in the air? I seem to get some pushback when I speak against the current pandemic. It seems to me that this anomaly is counter-intuitive. I am not subscribed and I'm being pushed to subscribe to this damnation, this doom and gloom. Am I choosing to ignore it? No. I'm following protocols, but I'm not a slave of fear. I am subscribed to hope. I am subscribed to life. I'm not into the latest fads of death. Something doesn't make sense. I call it the "Separatists" effect and even religion. Those who love to live separate are enjoying the current pandemonium. Evil divides and conquers. Don't touch anybody (lepers). Don't come near anyone (the sinners). Don't talk to the poor, don't associate with others (communion). Jesus went against the current. Where are the scientologists now with all their answers? Where is the healing now? Where are the loud stars that always spoke out against life? Where are the false idols now when people are frozen in fear?
Only Jesus speaks words of salvation.

This day, Emmanuel approaches. "I will bring you back to Communion", and not just any communion and community but a HOLY communion and community. Together, the trickle becomes a stream, and becomes a river. And the world will live in unity, common unity, community in the Holy Eucharist of our Lord.

Let us be found giving

These 2 cents were written while listening to a talk on Jesus' Power over the Evil One
view here:


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Random Bible verse from an online generator:
Luke 6:35–36
35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.


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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