Friday, February 26, 2021

...The Last Penny ... †


The 'Holiness of Negotiation'

Pope Francis says, "Jesus always knows how to walk with us, he gives us the ideal, he accompanies us towards the ideal, he frees us from being locked into the rigidity of the law and he tells us: 'Do this to the extent that you can.' And he understands us well. This is our Lord, it is he who teaches us. Allow me to share a term with you which might seem a bit strange, it is the little holiness of negotiation: I cannot do everything, but I want to do everything, I am going to agree with you, at least let us not insult one another, let us not make war and let us live together in peace."

When we hear challenging passages from Scripture, we might be tempted to say, "What Jesus really meant to say…" and then we change the message to something that sounds more like what we think God wants us to do. For people who pride themselves on sticking tightly to the rules of the Church, messages of God's mercy and tolerance often seem disorienting. We want to be right more than we want to be reconciled. We want to believe that we're saved and others are damned. We like our world black and white. For Pope Francis, reflecting on the words and following in the way of Jesus, reconciliation is the better choice, even if it means bending our self-righteousness a bit. There's an old saying, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." If we focus on finding common ground with one another, we're less likely to end up in irreconcilable disputes. We might never come around to another's point of view completely, but both sides may move closer to the middle through what the pope calls "the little holiness of negotiation."

—from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis
by Diane M. Houdek


†Saint Quote
"O Sacred Heart of Jesus, fountain of eternal life, Your Heart is a glowing furnace of Love. You are my refuge and my sanctuary."
— St. Gertrude the Great

"The Eucharist is alive. If a stranger who knew nothing about the Eucharist were to watch the way we receive, would he know this? When you and I approach the Eucharist, does it look like we believe we are about to take into our bodies the living person, Jesus Christ, true God and true man? How many times, Lord, have I forgotten that the Eucharist is alive! As I wait in line to receive you each day, am I thinking about how much you want to unite yourself with me? Am I seeing your hands filled with the graces you want to give me? Am I filled with awe and gratitude that you love me so much as to actually want to come to me in this incredibly intimate way? Or am I distracted, busy with other thoughts, preoccupied with myself and my agendas for the day? How many times, Jesus, have I made you sad, mindlessly receiving you into my body, into my heart, with no love and no recognition of your love? How many times have I treated you as a dead object? The Host that we receive is not a thing! It's not a wafer! It's not bread! It's a person – He's alive!"
— Vinny Flynn, p. 8
7 Secrets of the Eucharist

"At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13:12-13


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St. Porphyry (Porphyrius) of Gaza (c. 347-420 A.D.) was born in Thessalonica in present-day Greece. Although a wealthy man, at the age of 25 he went to live in Egypt as a desert hermit. He later moved to Palestine near the Jordan River, then to Jerusalem itself. He did great penances and would often visit the holy places where Jesus lived and walked, despite his poor health. He then renounced all material goods and his inheritance and became a priest in Jerusalem at the age of 40. The relics of the True Cross in Jerusalem were entrusted to his care. Despite his protests he was ordained Bishop of Gaza, a pagan stronghold with an insignificant Christian community. Gaza's pagans were hostile, and St. Porphyry appealed to the emperor for protection and for the destruction of pagan temples, which he obtained. St. Porphyry built a Christian church on the site of the most important pagan temple dedicated to the chief god, so that he could say Mass in the place where the devil was previously most honored. St. Porphyry labored for his flock and won many converts through his miracles, though pagan opposition continued throughout his life. He was successful in spreading the Christian faith across his diocese. His feast day is February 26.


Friday of the First Week of Lent

Lectionary: 228
Reading I

Ez 18:21-28

Thus says the Lord GOD:
If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed,

if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just,

he shall surely live, he shall not die.
None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him;

he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced.
Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked?

says the Lord GOD.
Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way

that he may live?

And if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil,

the same kind of abominable things that the wicked man does,

can he do this and still live?
None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered,

because he has broken faith and committed sin;

because of this, he shall die.
You say, "The LORD's way is not fair!"
Hear now, house of Israel:

Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?
When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies,

it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die.
But if the wicked, turning from the wickedness he has committed,

does what is right and just,

he shall preserve his life;

since he has turned away from all the sins that he committed,

he shall surely live, he shall not die.

Responsorial Psalm

130:1-2, 3-4, 5-7a, 7bc-8

R.(3) If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;

LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive

to my voice in supplication.

R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,

LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,

that you may be revered.

R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

I trust in the LORD;

my soul trusts in his word.
My soul waits for the LORD

more than sentinels wait for the dawn.

Let Israel wait for the LORD.

R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

For with the LORD is kindness

and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel

from all their iniquities.

R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

Verse before the Gospel

Ez 18:31

Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD,
and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.


Mt 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples:
"I tell you,
unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

"You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa,
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."


Daily Meditation: Matthew 5:20-26

Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees . . . (Matthew 5:20)

The scribes and Pharisees were experts in the ways of Judaism. They were expected not only to observe the Law but to teach it as well. And so Jesus' words here sound intimidating, even impossible. How could we possibly surpass these devout, holy men? But Jesus meant that rigorous and exacting moral perfection isn't possible, or enough. No one is made righteous by obeying every single commandment but by faith in Christ, who loves us and died for us.

It's God's grace that enables us to enter the kingdom of heaven. This grace doesn't absolve us from the call to holiness, but it removes the impossible burden of attaining by our own efforts the righteousness that God wants. That righteousness goes beyond avoiding murder, adultery, and the rest. Jesus makes it clear that "murder" includes anger, for instance. But by grace, as by a gift, God has saved us and welcomed us into a relationship with himself that makes righteousness possible. Through faith in Jesus, we receive the grace we need to live a life that pleases him.

Remember too that God's grace doesn't end where your faith begins. By his grace, he promises to help you every step of the way. He helps you listen to him in prayer. He strengthens you to resist temptations and to persevere in life's struggles. He softens your heart to say yes to him and to open yourself to the love he wants to give you. He changes your desires and renews your mind so that your life might testify to what is good, pleasing, and perfect in his sight (Romans 12:2).

Lent is all about grace. God knows that we will fall short of his righteousness—and even of our Lenten penances. That's why Jesus endured his passion and death. If we could do it on our own, Christ died for nothing.

So hold onto the gift of grace! Remember that God is always ready to offer forgiveness and to help you begin anew. He will strengthen your will and soften your heart to receive his love—the love that gives us a righteousness we could never earn.

"Jesus, I need your grace. Help me to seek you with all my heart."

Ezekiel 18:21-28
Psalm 130:1-8



Let us look deeply into the liturgy, and let us pray for one another, that at the end of this Lent we may be more beautiful to one another, more responsible for the goodness that is in us, more appreciative of what is possible for us to be in God's sight.
— Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C.
from her book A Time of Renewal


"... if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil...None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered, because he has broken faith and committed sin; because of this, he shall die."
Therefore, do not rely on your own righteousness. Do not rely on your own thoughts of being "good enough". Do not rely or even trust yourself...therefore, trust only our Lord, where every living breathing moment and thought depends on Him, and from therein, every action. Be afraid to turn away, because even your Guardian Angel will turn away, for Heaven's sake they are not allowed, that is, not even capable of accompanying you in your sin.


We pray: "If you, O LORD, mark iniquities, LORD, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?"
What would it be like if God turned away from us? It would be hell. But truly, He doesn't turn away. He is incapable of turning away, why? How? Because He is omniscient. He is ominous. He is omnipotent. This means He is everywhere and all knowing. This is the symbolism of the animal with eyes all over in the book of Revelation. If He doesn't turn away, is us that have turned away.


Our Lord says: "...unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven." Now our Lord speaks plainly, and many times let us know who exactly will not be entering Heaven. This scriptures contradicts popular protestant thoughts and teachings. They say "once saved always saved". Not so protestant Joe. Not so. Not everyone is "saved". Not everyone who says "Lord, Lord!" will be entering the Kingdom of Heaven as you teach. What is righteousness then that we may obtain it to enter Heaven?

Do you really desire to know what is righteousness? Look at a saint that little is known of him, yet in the bible was said to have been righteous. St. Joseph. This man was righteous in ways we will never know. And what did He do? He gave His life to our Lord our God and Father. When He said yes to our Lord, all the rest of his days were counted and devoted to the sole integrity of faith. Do you desire this righteousness that surpasses scribes and Pharisees? Who are our modern scribes and Pharisees? I could be considered a scribe for writing God's works and reposting them, right? Pharisees could be your local preacher or priests who know the laws and preach them. You must then, surpass all of us to enter Heaven. Surpass what? Be better than? LOL. NOPE. To be less than! YIKES! Here we go. Here we go to that road that is often less taken...the road less traveled, the narrow way. Humility my friend. St. Joseph will never be known for anything else than that. St. Joseph, pray for us.

Our Lord says "whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna." Our Lord then, equates murder with this type of sin, anger, raqa, looking at others with disdain and say "I have nothing else to do with you", to look at others and say "that is not my problem" to look at others and say "there's nothing else I can do for you", too look at others simply and say "I'm sorry, but I am not". This is a great sin against charity, and charity entails mercy. Watch your mouth. Watch when you call someone fools. But our Lord calls a true fool when He sees one, when He Himself calls hypocrites "fools". A true fool is one one who does foolish things, one who is duped and acts as a duped soul. But when He says fools, it is a charitable action, to correct them, not to call them names behind their backs! You see the difference? Are you a fool? To the worldly people, we are looked as fools for being faithful, just like all the people in the time of the great flood. Soon they all perished, and only 8 were saved. Or the time of Lot, when all his friends and family were almost wiped off the earth, for turning back, like his wife. We are one instance away from annihilation, from a greater catastrophe that could reset the world once again.

But our Lord has been gracious and merciful. And we are to then, be grateful with righteousness. Can we be fools for Him or fools of the world?

And our Lord ends with another scripture that Protestant Joe dislikes and misinterprets: "Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny." The protestant fathers deleted the thought of purgatory from their bibles, and to do so, ripped out about 7 books of the bible in attempts to do so. But the Word of the Lord remains. There is hell to pay for every last word you dare to say against charity, against our Lord Himself. I'm afraid of this, but not so much that I don't stop goofing up, being a fool, when my mouth speaks faster than my thoughts, and then, I can only...repent, be truly remorseful, and sit in ashes, and turn to our Lord, pleading and crying MERCY!! MERCY LORD!! I am a poor sinner in great need of true righteousness!

Lord, send us Your grace. No mortal soul has a chance at life eternal without depending on You for every last breath, action, thought, and movement. Help us depend on You for every last event and decision we may ever be holy, and Holy Yours.

from your brother in Christ our Lord,


Random online bible verse from a random verse generator:


1 John 2:4–6
4 Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.


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