Wednesday, February 3, 2021

⛪. And They Took . . ⛪


We're in This World Together

Death can plunge us into despair. Confrontation with our mortality can also, as Francis reminds us, awaken us to the beauty and wonder of God's creation and presence in our lives. Recognizing our mortality inspires us to experience our solidarity with suffering humanity. We are, as a plaque once erected on a Paris hospital noted, "the dying taking care of the dying." Francis would have recognized that within the tragedy of the COVID-19 virus is the challenge to all people and nations to realize our interdependence and recognize the illusion of ethnic, national, or economic separation. As Jesus asserted, the sun shines and the rain falls on the righteous and unrighteous—and the wealthy and poor—alike (see Matthew 5:45). Francis recognized the dangers of privilege and out of his own experience of conversion from privilege to prayer counseled his companions to go beyond class and status, emphasizing humility as the pathway of human heartedness and empathy.

—from the book Walking with Francis of Assisi: From Privilege to Activism
by Bruce Epperly


†Saint Quote
"Think well. Speak well. Do well. These three things, through the mercy of God, will make a man go to Heaven."
— St. Camillus

"Undertake courageously great tasks for God's glory, to the extent that he'll give you power and grace for this purpose. Even though you can do nothing on your own, you can do all things in him. His help will never fail you if you have confidence in his goodness. Place your entire physical and spiritual welfare in his hands. Abandon to the fatherly concern of his divine providence every care for your health, reputation, property, and business; for those near to you; for your past sins; for your soul's progress in virtue and love of him; for your life, death, and especially your salvation and eternity—in a word, all your cares. Rest in the assurance that in his pure goodness, he'll watch with particular tenderness over all your responsibilities and cares, arranging all things for the greatest good."
— St. John Eudes, p. 363
A Year with the Saints

"I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world."
John 16:33


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St. Blaise (d. 316 A.D.) was born into a wealthy Christian family in Armenia. He was trained as a physician before becoming a priest, and was finally ordained a bishop. When a wave of Christian persecution began, God instructed St. Blaise to hide in a desert cave. While he was in hiding, birds miraculously brought him food and sick men came to him to be healed. The king's hunters eventually discovered his cave and found it surrounded by a myriad of wild animals who came to the saint to be blessed, with Blaise able to walk freely among them. Recognizing him as the local bishop, the hunters took Blaise into custody. As he went with them he continued to preach and perform miracles along the way: he healed a boy choking to death on a bone, and commanded a wolf to release a captured pig belonging to a poor woman. When Blaise was sentenced to be starved to death, the woman killed her pig to feed St. Blaise in prison. He was eventually martyred under the reign of Licinius, his body torn with wool combs before being beheaded. Blaise is known as the patron saint of throat ailments, physicians, woolcombers, and wild animals. His feast is commemorated with the Blessing of the Throats, and is celebrated on February 3rd.


Wednesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 325
Reading I

Heb 12:4-7, 11-15

Brothers and sisters:
In your struggle against sin
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.
You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children:

My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord

or lose heart when reproved by him;

for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;

he scourges every son he acknowledges.

Endure your trials as "discipline";
God treats you as his sons.
For what "son" is there whom his father does not discipline?
At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain,
yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness
to those who are trained by it.

So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.
Make straight paths for your feet,
that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed.

Strive for peace with everyone,
and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
See to it that no one be deprived of the grace of God,
that no bitter root spring up and cause trouble,
through which many may become defiled.

Responsorial Psalm

103:1-2, 13-14, 17-18a

R. (see 17) The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;

and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
As a father has compassion on his children,

so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him,
For he knows how we are formed;

he remembers that we are dust.
R. The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
But the kindness of the LORD is from eternity

to eternity toward those who fear him,
And his justice toward children's children

among those who keep his covenant.
R. The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.


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.


Daily Meditation: Hebrews 12:4-7, 11:15

Strive for . . . that holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)

Coaches and teachers often use pep talks to motivate their charges and instill in them the determination to work hard. In some ways, this reading from the Letter to the Hebrews is like that. The author is speaking to Jewish Christians who were growing weary of the demands of the Christian life. Their faith was becoming lukewarm, and they were tempted to give up and walk away.

So the author urges them on. Acknowledging their struggle against sin, he exhorts them to get back up: "Strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees" (Hebrews 12:12). This is no time to slack off, he seems to be saying. Get up and keep going!

Don't we all need a pep talk now and then as we try to live a holy life? It's not easy to keep battling temptations, or to feel unable to stop committing the same sins over and over again. It wears us down. We may even begin to wonder why we have chosen this narrow road when there are so many other people on the wide road who seem to be enjoying themselves!

The Lord understands our many struggles to follow his commandments, to love our enemies, and to care for those around us. He sympathizes with our pain. After all, he became human just like us. But as the author of Hebrews says, the trials we endure are like the discipline that any good parent would use to form his child. That discipline might feel painful at the time, but there's a great reward in store for us when we persevere and cling to Christ: the peace that comes from living in a way that is pleasing to him (Hebrews 12:11).

Yes, God wants us to strive for holiness. But he doesn't expect us to do it on our own. He freely showers his grace on us, each and every time we ask. So take heart! Our Father is not only a good parent, but he's also a good coach, and he's cheering you on toward the finish line.

"Father, give me the grace to stay on the narrow road to life."

Psalm 103:1-2, 13-14, 17-18
Mark 6:1-6



It should be clear that the choice of friends is just about the most important decision a person makes. A person who has what we have been calling true friends will tend to grow in good habits, or virtues. A person who does not have good friends but instead associates with people not pursuing virtue will tend to form bad habits. The importance of this truth must not be underestimated.
— John Cuddeback
from his book True Friendship: Where Virtue Becomes Happiness


"Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord."
A father disciplines his son. And the son's reaction to discipline makes all the difference. For the better, or for the worse. For the better is this reaction: "I will trust in the Lord, like Job." For the worse reaction is "I hate this, I'm not going to put up with this anymore". This pandemic has been meant as a discipline. Faith is on the increase, yet another test could come. Can we endure it? Our reaction will tell.


We pray: "The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him, For he knows how we are formed; he remembers that we are dust."
What is amazing about your life? Amazing things are seen with grace. And for that, I've been called to open your eyes of faith, and along the way, mine too.


Today they questioned God: "They said, "Where did this man get all this?"
What a naive question, perhaps in innocence, but mostly naive. Why is it naive? Because it has been said that knowledge isn't ours, and peeping into knowledge caused the fall of man. It is to abandon faith. It is good to question things for truth, to test the truth if done righteously, but it is not good to close the door to faith. At all conversions to Christ, one major step has to be

"And they took offense at him. " Today, this offense is taken at Christians still. Pro-life people are being called hate groups. Anything that we don't agree on therefore, we are called haters. But watch who points the finger, calling others "haters". These are the ones taking the truth. What can we do? What else can we do but what all the saints and our Lord done Himself...remain. Remain in the truth. Remain true. Remain ever closer to Him. And remember our Lord: ""A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house." What does this mean?

First, let's not be fooled by protestant errors in scripture theology. Our Lord came in to the synogogue today with "brothers and sisters", but read before...they were all his disciples. These are the spiritual family. When you are born in Baptism, you are born into this family. From eternal beings. And this eternal being is called to be true. This life we fight for every day, when all the world say it is a lie and hates the truth, we remain steadfast in hope and hold His Words of everlasting life near and dear to our hearts. No sin is worth trading for His promises of a True Father.

Lord, My Father, I want to be true, and ever closer to You. In Your holy name we pray.

from your brother in Christ our Lord,


Random online bible verse:

Ps 42:11
11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,

and why are you in turmoil within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,

my salvation and my God.


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God Bless You! Peace

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