Tuesday, June 30, 2020

⛪ . "There Was Great... ."⛪

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Love Is the Highest Value

For us as Christians, the highest value should always be love. If we're going to accept the Judeo-Christian heritage as meaningful and authoritative in any way, we have to admit that love comes first and last. That puts us on a different track and forces a different set of questions. The deepest questions are not those of rights and power, or whether or not we're getting everything that society owes us. The deepest questions are those of how love can be expanded and increased. How can we "defer to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Ephesians 5:21)? This is a third way, a new something wonderful. The dualistic and merely political mind will never understand it. It reads everything in terms of win/lose, right/wrong, good/bad, either/or, top/bottom. Only the contemplative mind, the new consciousness made possible by God-experience and prayer, can read reality in a panoramic and truly wisdom fashion (see 1 Corinthians 2:12–16 in this regard). The calculating mind, the egocentric vision, is all that the system has. We have a new mind, made possible by God.

—from The Wisdom Pattern: Order, Disorder, Reorder by Richard Rohr, OFM


Saint Quote
"Let the Word of God come; let it enter the church; let it become a consuming fire, that it may burn the hay and stubble, and consume whatever is worldly; there is heavy lead of iniquity in many; let it be molten by divine fire; let the gold and silver vessels be made better, in order that understanding and speech, refined by the heat of suffering, may begin to be more precious."
— St. Ambrose

O clement, O loving, O sweet Mother Mary,
We, your children of every nation,
Turn to you in this pandemic.
Our troubles are numerous; our fears are great.
Grant that we might deposit them at your feet,
Take refuge in your Immaculate Heart,
And obtain peace, healing, rescue,
And timely help in all our needs.
You are our Mother.
Pray for us to your Son.

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there, and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

"Joseph's virtue was sublime and exceptional; therefore it was subjected to a great and singular trial. But, as he heroically surmounted this trial, so God was pleased, not only to console him, but to exalt him to a dignity of extraordinary glory. ... Jesus, the Son of God ... willed to recognize this virgin spouse as His father in affection, adoption, government, and education, and to be constantly obedient and subject to him. The Holy Ghost, who had operated the incarnation of the Son of God in the womb of Mary, willed that to Joseph this His spouse should be entirely confided. He was to be the zealous guardian of her virginity, her guide, her aid, her support, and her inseparable companion through all the vicissitudes of life. And where, apart from the Divine Maternity, can so great a dignity be found upon earth as that which was conferred on Joseph by the Three Divine Persons of the Most Holy Trinity?"
— Edward Healy Thompson, p. 197
The Life & Glories of St. Joseph

A great number of Christians perished at the hands of the Roman Emperor Nero during the terrible persecution that lasted from 64-68 A.D. This was the first of many major persecutions of the newly founded Church at Rome. The holy men and women who first died for the Gospel of Jesus Christ are also called the "Protomartyrs of Rome." Some were burned as living torches in the Emperor's gardens; some were crucified; others were fed to wild animals. Many died even before Sts. Peter and Paul, and therefore it is said of them that they are the "Disciples of the Apostles ... whom the Holy Roman Church sent to their Lord before the Apostles' death." God used the sacrifice of these holy men and women, who suffered like their savior Jesus Christ, to lay the indestructible foundation of His Church. Their bold witness for the Christian faith as they endured a brutal death won many converts and caused the Church to grow and spread throughout the world. The feast day of the First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church is June 30th.

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven."
Matthew 7:21


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First Martyrs of the Church of Rome

(d. 64)
There were Christians in Rome within a dozen or so years after the death of Jesus, though they were not the converts of the "Apostle of the Gentiles" (Romans 15:20). Paul had not yet visited them at the time he wrote his great letter in 57-58 A.D.

There was a large Jewish population in Rome. Probably as a result of controversy between Jews and Jewish Christians, the Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome in 49-50 A.D. Suetonius the historian says that the expulsion was due to disturbances in the city "caused by the certain Chrestus" [Christ]. Perhaps many came back after Claudius' death in 54 A.D. Paul's letter was addressed to a Church with members from Jewish and Gentile backgrounds.

In July of 64 A.D., more than half of Rome was destroyed by fire. Rumor blamed the tragedy on Nero, who wanted to enlarge his palace. He shifted the blame by accusing the Christians. According to the historian Tacitus, many Christians were put to death because of their "hatred of the human race." Peter and Paul were probably among the victims.

Threatened by an army revolt and condemned to death by the senate, Nero committed suicide in 68 A.D. at the age of 31.

Wherever the Good News of Jesus was preached, it met the same opposition as Jesus did, and many of those who began to follow him shared his suffering and death. But no human force could stop the power of the Spirit unleashed upon the world. The blood of martyrs has always been, and will always be, the seed of Christians


Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 378
Reading 1

Am 3:1-8; 4:11-12

Hear this word, O children of Israel, that the LORD pronounces over you,
over the whole family that I brought up from the land of Egypt:

You alone have I favored,
more than all the families of the earth;
Therefore I will punish you
for all your crimes.

Do two walk together
unless they have agreed?
Does a lion roar in the forest
when it has no prey?
Does a young lion cry out from its den
unless it has seized something?
Is a bird brought to earth by a snare
when there is no lure for it?
Does a snare spring up from the ground
without catching anything?
If the trumpet sounds in a city,
will the people not be frightened?
If evil befalls a city,
has not the LORD caused it?
Indeed, the Lord GOD does nothing
without revealing his plan
to his servants, the prophets.

The lion roars--
who will not be afraid!
The Lord GOD speaks--
who will not prophesy!

I brought upon you such upheaval
as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah:
you were like a brand plucked from the fire;
Yet you returned not to me,
says the LORD.

So now I will deal with you in my own way, O Israel!
and since I will deal thus with you,
prepare to meet your God, O Israel.

Responsorial Psalm

5:4b-6a, 6b-7, 8

R. (9a) Lead me in your justice, Lord.
At dawn I bring my plea expectantly before you.
For you, O God, delight not in wickedness;
no evil man remains with you;
the arrogant may not stand in your sight.
R. Lead me in your justice, Lord.
You hate all evildoers;
you destroy all who speak falsehood;
The bloodthirsty and the deceitful
the LORD abhors.
R. Lead me in your justice, Lord.
But I, because of your abundant mercy,
will enter your house;
I will worship at your holy temple
in fear of you, O LORD.
R. Lead me in your justice, Lord.


Ps 130:5

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Mt 8:23-27

As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him.
Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea,
so that the boat was being swamped by waves;
but he was asleep.
They came and woke him, saying,
"Lord, save us! We are perishing!"
He said to them, "Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?"
Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm.
The men were amazed and said, "What sort of man is this,
whom even the winds and the sea obey?"


Daily Meditation: Amos 3:1-8; 4:11-12

Prepare to meet your God, O Israel. (Amos 4:12)

What an ominous message! Of course, the people weren't "meeting their God" for the first time—they had centuries of oral history of his covenant with them as a people. But God knew they needed a new meeting, a reintroduction to him. And it didn't sound like it would be a pleasant meeting. So God sent Amos to warn them.

Amos prophesied during the reign of King Jeroboam of Israel (786–746 BC). A shepherd and farmer from the southern kingdom of Judah, Amos urged the people of the north to return to God. Israel's wealth and military success had led them astray; sadly, they began to live like the nations around them instead of following the Lord's commands. In their prosperity, Israel's moral standards collapsed. The rich oppressed the poor, might made right, and corruption ran rampant. Even worse, the people fell into idolatry and worshipped foreign gods. Amos warned the people of God's coming judgment: "Prepare to meet your God" (Amos 4:12).

It's safe to say that none of us would enjoy receiving a message like that. Yet it was rooted in God's covenant love for his people. God knew the disasters awaiting them: the overthrow of their sanctuary, the fall of Jeroboam's house, and the deportation and captivity of the people. Amos spoke hard words to warn them in the hope that they would return to the Lord.

Like the Israelites, we can drift away from God and his commands. We can forget that the God we worship is holy and worthy of our obedience. None of us are worthy to stand in God's presence; we have all sinned. Even so, we never have to be afraid to meet him. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we know for certain that God will always welcome us. He will always gather us in his loving arms, just as the father did in Jesus' parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32).

How blessed we are! Because of God's steadfast covenant love, we can approach him with confidence. How amazing that our God welcomes us into his presence! With the psalmist, we can marvel, "I, because of your abundant mercy, will enter your house" (5:8).

"Lord, by your steadfast love, I will enter your presence today."

Psalm 5:4-8
Matthew 8:23-27



The greatest gift that all of us can give to our country as patriotic Americans is to live out our lives as faithful Catholic Americans who have been entrusted with the fullness of faith and the fullness of divine life and the fullness of power without which our country will not endure.
— Dr. Scott Hahn
from A Father Who Keeps His Promises



"You alone have I favored, more than all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your crimes."
Because of love, there is justice, in the name of Love.

I've seen a suffering man, all things affecting him, health, family problems, and I remember telling the young man once years ago "it is because the Lord loves you". WHAT?? Why? It is a most gregarious call, the call of a loved one tearing down things so that you may come back, things you've built up and loved and cherished, it is God saying "come back to Me". And I've seen people have open heart surgery, and still they will not open their heart to God. They are alive, and still, they've not returned righteously to Him. You see, the citizens are marked. You belong to Him. You do not belong to the world. If then, you suffer, COME BACK with your whole heart, mind, soul, all your strength. Come back to Loving Him above all.


We pray today: "Lead me in your justice, Lord.
At dawn I bring my plea expectantly before you.
For you, O God, delight not in wickedness;
no evil man remains with you; the arrogant may not stand in your sight." And the truth seen and unseen is the arrogance in the world, brought about by great pride, pride in colors. Arrogance. "Bow down before me" is the sentiment. There is no humility there. These are the things the Lord abhors. Take heart, you meek, and humble. Do not shy away. Do not be afraid.


In the Holy Gospel we heard "... the boat was being swamped by waves;
but He was asleep. They came and woke Him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!"
They felt an impending doom. Were they really about to perish? Was the storm that bad? How can a man be asleep in such a storm then? Was our Lord really asleep as they were fighting for their lives? He was right there with them!
""Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?"
He then commanded the winds and all the weather to calm down. Only then, did the disciples calm down.

He rebuked the terror. He rebuked their little faith. And then He rebukes the elements.
My toddler was tucked in last night, and he was staring hard at the wall across his bed, "I see a bee" and his other little brother said "it's not a bee, it's just a fly". But the toddler didn't stop staring, in fear it seemed. I too said to not worry about it and shut out the lights and went to sleep in the next room. But the toddler knows no difference. Why the terror? Why the distrust? Why can't he just be soothed with words of comfort? Why doesn't he understand? The only way to calm him is if I take away the fly, which he calls a bee. What is the terrifying bee in your life? What if God the Father sees it as a fly, and tells you not to worry, be at peace. Is He not right there?

Why do fishermen, trained fishermen cry out for help in a rain storm? Why do they claim they are perishing? And so, our Lord, and in the Lord our Father, gets up, calms the storm...and this amazes them, ""What sort of man is this,
whom even the winds and the sea obey?"
How many times has our Father amazed you?

How many times has He been there for you?
For most unfaithful, they say "he's never been there".
They say "he's never done anything for me" meaning all they've had are unanswered prayers.
What does our Lord say about that? What about when your years of prayers are seemingly unanswered? Have you dripped blood in sacrifice for the love of God? Have you been tortured to the point of death like all the first martyrs in the world? Have you fasted to the point of fainting? Have you completely given your life to His ministry? Have you considered giving your whole being to Him?

""Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?"

Lord, I do believe, help my disbelief!
Lord, I know you are here. Come into our lives, help us love you above all things and in doing so, show you are here among us in the world.


Random bible verse from an online generator:

Proverbs 15:31

31 The ear that listens to life-giving reproof

will dwell among the wise.
32 Whoever ignores instruction despises himself,

but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.


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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