Thursday, April 2, 2020

⛪ . .They Picked Up Stones . . .⛪

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Solitude and Communion

At critical moments in his life, Jesus was in solitude, but was solitary with his close disciples. When he knew he was a marked man waiting for the midnight knock on the door, or in his case the betrayer's kiss in the garden, his instinct was to go near to the desert—a place associated both with solitude and with the deepest of all relationships, in the ground of being. And he went there with those human beings whom he understood best and who, for all their failings, understood him best. Solitude is truthful and often delightful, even when painful. Loneliness is a hell made up of the illusion of separateness. In solitude we are capable of strong and deep relationship because in solitude we discover our uniqueness, even (or perhaps, especially) if that uniqueness is associated with death. If meditation is about getting free from attachments and going to the desert of solitude, it is also about the discovery of the communion with others we call community. Knowing that we are with fellow disciples in the presence of our teacher is, even when things are falling apart, a source of incomparable joy.

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


†Saint Quote
"If you wish to strengthen your confidence in God still more, often recall the loving way in which He has acted toward you, and how mercifully He has tried to bring you out of your sinful life, to break your attachment to the things of earth and draw you to His love."
— St. Alphonsus Liguori

"God will forgive you if you ask him to. Though your sins be numerous as the grains of sand on the shore, God's merciful forgiveness is far greater than your sins. Do not be afraid. Trust in his love. Repent of your sins without delay and return to the house of the Father. He is waiting for you. "
— Patrick Madrid, p.15
A Year with the Bible

"May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans 15:5-6


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St. Francis of Paola (1416-1507) was born in Calabria, Italy, to a husband and wife known for their holiness. After suffering childlessness for many years, his parents had recourse to prayer, especially the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi. They eventually had three children, and the eldest, Francis, was named after St. Francis in thanksgiving for his birth. Francis of Paola grew in sanctity, and after having a vision of St. Francis he spent a year in a Franciscan convent to fulfill a vow his parents had made to the saint. After his time there, he returned to his parents and accompanied them on a pilgrimage to Assisi. Upon returning home, Francis retired to a private spot on his parents' estate to live as a hermit. He later moved his dwelling to a lonely cave by the seashore, living there in prayer, solitude, and mortification for six years. Disciples gradually came to him to imitate his manner of life, so many that St. Francis of Paola, with the permission of his bishop, built a monastery and church to accommodate them. He later obtained permission from the Holy See to found a new religious order called the Minims, or "The Least," as they were to live hidden lives of poverty, abstinence, and humility. St. Francis of Paola became famous and was sought out by others for his prophecies and miracles. He spent the last three months of his life in solitude in preparation for his death. On Good Friday, after receiving Last Rites, he died while the Passion of Christ was read to him aloud. His feast day is April 2.


Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 254
Reading 1

Gn 17:3-9

When Abram prostrated himself, God spoke to him:
"My covenant with you is this:
you are to become the father of a host of nations.
No longer shall you be called Abram;
your name shall be Abraham,
for I am making you the father of a host of nations.
I will render you exceedingly fertile;
I will make nations of you;
kings shall stem from you.
I will maintain my covenant with you
and your descendants after you
throughout the ages as an everlasting pact,
to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
I will give to you
and to your descendants after you
the land in which you are now staying,
the whole land of Canaan, as a permanent possession;
and I will be their God."

God also said to Abraham:
"On your part, you and your descendants after you
must keep my covenant throughout the ages."

Responsorial Psalm

105:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8a) The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generations –
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

Verse Before the Gospel

Ps 95:8

If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.


Jn 8:51-59

Jesus said to the Jews:
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever keeps my word will never see death."
So the Jews said to him,
"Now we are sure that you are possessed.
Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say,
'Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.'
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?
Or the prophets, who died?
Who do you make yourself out to be?"
Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing;
but it is my Father who glorifies me,
of whom you say, 'He is our God.'
You do not know him, but I know him.
And if I should say that I do not know him,
I would be like you a liar.
But I do know him and I keep his word.
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad."
So the Jews said to him,
"You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?"
Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM."
So they picked up stones to throw at him;
but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.


Today's Meditation: Genesis 17:3-9

I will maintain my covenant with you. (Genesis 17:7)

Look at how many times we hear the word "I" in this passage. "I am making you. . . . I will render you. . . . I will make nations of you. . . . I will maintain my covenant with you. . . . I will give to you. . . . I will be their God" (Genesis 17:5, 6, 7, 8). Isn't it amazing that all of these "I" statements are promises God made to Abraham and his descendants? Isn't it even more amazing that in Christ, we too are now heirs of these promises?

Still, Abraham and Sarah sometimes doubted that God would come through with these promises. How could they have a child in their old age? How would this child make Abraham the father of many nations? It didn't help either that the promises didn't come true overnight. So after many years of waiting, Sarah and Abraham tried to force God's hand by having Abraham father a child with Hagar, Sarah's maid (Genesis 16:1-4). You would think that such an act of mistrust would disqualify them. But that's not what happened. God still remained faithful to his promise and gave them a son, Isaac.

Like Abraham and Sarah, we can struggle to trust in God's promises. Difficulties and delays can cause us to wonder if God has forgotten us. We may even try to take matters into our own hands. And yet, God does not withdraw his covenant. Just as he remained faithful to Abraham and Sarah and just as he remained faithful to the Israelites despite the many times they turned from him, so too will he remain faithful to us.

On the cross, Jesus forged a new covenant with us; he has promised to save us from sin and death and to be with us always. These are solid promises that we can rely on, no matter what else is going on in our lives.

God's covenant is forever. It was his initiative, and he has pledged to uphold it. As he promised to Abraham, he will always maintain his covenant with us (Genesis 17:7). Let's give thanks to the Lord for his faithfulness. Let's continue to trust in his word and strive to remain faithful to him. Let's believe in our hearts that he is our God and that he will always keep his word to us.

"Thank you, Lord, that your faithfulness lasts forever!"

Psalm 105:4-9
John 8:51-59



Jesus loves hidden souls. A hidden flower is the most fragrant. I must strive to make the interior of my soul a resting place for the Heart of Jesus.
—St. Faustina
from The Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska


""On your part, you and your descendants after you
must keep my covenant throughout the ages."
Our Lord already said He'd fulfill His part "I will maintain my covenant with you and your descendants after youI will maintain my covenant with you and your descendants after you"
That is a true message of hope and deliverance. That is the message of the Savior, Our Father, who is in Heaven.


We prayed today: "He remembers forever his covenant which he made binding for a thousand generations – Which he entered into with Abraham and by his oath to Isaac. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever."
From Abraham to Jesus there were what, 42 generations? How many years of a promise did God say He'd make? 1,000 generations? How many generations have happened since Jesus came? A generation averages to about 40 years. 2020 divided by 40 is about 50.5 generations. So, we are not even 100 generations total, and the Lord has promised so much more, and from there, He can renew a covenant...a relationship. And it all stems from His word.


And He speaks to us in the flesh: ""Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death." If mercy has bestowed for generations, and our Blessed Mother said this too in her magnificat ""AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM. "
Mercy on those who fear Him. Mercy as part of a promise. The mercy promise is forever. "Keep My Word" says our Lord and mercy will endure.

"Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM." So they picked up stones to throw at him". And scripture says right away, Jesus hid from them. They say the Eucharist protects itself. They say the Eucharist presents itself and Jesus reveals Himself to those whose hearts are burning. God hides from those who throw stones at Him. He doesn't fight. He doesn't defend Himself. He disappears. How does this affect you today? What has the message said to you today? The message is there for you to take, or reject. The Jews picked up stones and why?

""Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM." He called Himself God, and He called them liars. By this point, you can call Him a liar, or a lunatic....or the true Messiah, the Son of God.

I've an interesting point, I've ran into, and heard of many people that do not go to Mass, or they aren't even Catholic, but they KNOW the real presence of Christ is in the Eucharist. But they do not come to church, and they decide not to be Catholic. What's up with that? Who then is the lunatic or the liar? Who then lifts up stones in rage? It isn't His part of the promise and Presence that fails. We fail to own up to what we say He is. Now I'm not talking about 'the others', I'm talking about faithful souls. Is He really what you say He is? Is He really WHO He says He is? You've been asked to no longer attend Mass. But have you gone to confession? Have you had a small group meeting? Have you gone to visit the Blessed Sacrament? Have you striven to enter the narrow gate...the narrow way?

Lord, how can we be strong in our faith? How can we lift the weight? How can we take up our cross? How can we be the light? How can we be your descendants? How can we show you we love you without merely saying it? Our word is not Your word, we need your word to have a word! Help us love Thee more and more.


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Random Bible verse from an online generator:

Phil 4:8
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.


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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