Friday, March 5, 2021

...Treated them in the same way ... †


Our Spiritual Ancestors

The beauty of being human is to turn to our spiritual ancestors, to cherish what they left behind, what remains. What has lasted? What has endured? Where can we turn for anything permanent when our loves, and our lives, are so exquisitely and heartbreakingly impermanent? Something is shifting in me, very far inside, as I am turning to these old psalms, reading them every day. I am starting to believe, throughout these millenniums, there's been something unfailing and steadfast. And I think it might be God.

— from the book What Was Lost: Seeking Refuge in the Psalms

by Maureen O'Brien


†Saint Quote
"We are Christians, and strangers on earth. Let none of us be frightened; our native land is not in this world."
— St. Augustine

"Many Christians regard Confession in the light of an unimportant act of piety, if not mere ceremony . . . many go even frequently to Confession, but so few amend, and consequently derive little or no benefit from the Sacrament. ... Be, then, most thoroughly convinced of the immense importance of this Sacrament, and be filled with an earnest desire of approaching it worthily, bestowing the utmost care and attention upon your preparation for this great duty, if you desire to obtain eternal salvation. Confession is one of the seven Sacraments instituted by Christ; it is called the Sacrament of Penance, and by its means alone can he who has committed mortal sin after Baptism hope to save his soul; therefore it is called by the holy Council of Trent: the second plank after shipwreck. In this Sacrament Jesus Christ has deposited His Precious Blood, that it may be to our souls as a salutary bath wherein they may be cleansed from all the stains of sin, their wounds closed, their maladies cured, their weakness strengthened, and grace unto salvation imported to them. This Divine Blood is dispensed to us by the priest in the holy absolution, and is abundantly poured forth upon all souls approaching the tribunal of confession with proper dispositions."
— Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Jesus, p. 284-5
The School of Jesus Crucified

"His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power. Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire."
2 Peter 1:3-4


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St. John-Joseph of the Cross (1654-1739) was born on the island of Ischia, near Naples. He joined the Franciscan Order of the Strict Observance (the reform of St. Peter of Alcantara) at age sixteen. His influence was great despite his young age, and after three years he was sent to help found a new order of friars in Piedmont, where he was ordained to the priesthood. He codified a set of guidelines for spiritual and daily life that were approved by the Holy See and became a lasting model for religious communities. In 1702 he was appointed Vicar Provincial of the Alcantarine Reform in Italy. During his time as Vicar he implemented a rule that no beggar would be turned away without assistance, and in times of extreme scarcity he would offer his own portion to the poor. He was known as a deeply holy man who served Christ and the monastic community through daily acts of mortification and humility. Despite his high ranking position, he continued to lead a life of service and took on menial tasks whenever possible, from working in the kitchen to chopping firewood. He was said to have performed numerous miracles as well as the gift of prophecy. St. John-Joseph of the Cross is the patron saint of Ischia and his feast day is March 5th.


Friday of the Second Week of Lent

Lectionary: 234
Reading I

Gn 37:3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28a

Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons,
for he was the child of his old age;
and he had made him a long tunic.
When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons,
they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.

One day, when his brothers had gone
to pasture their father's flocks at Shechem,
Israel said to Joseph,
"Your brothers, you know, are tending our flocks at Shechem.
Get ready; I will send you to them."

So Joseph went after his brothers and caught up with them in Dothan.
They noticed him from a distance,
and before he came up to them, they plotted to kill him.
They said to one another: "Here comes that master dreamer!
Come on, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here;
we could say that a wild beast devoured him.
We shall then see what comes of his dreams."

When Reuben heard this,
he tried to save him from their hands, saying,
"We must not take his life.
Instead of shedding blood," he continued,
"just throw him into that cistern there in the desert;
but do not kill him outright."
His purpose was to rescue him from their hands
and return him to his father.
So when Joseph came up to them,
they stripped him of the long tunic he had on;
then they took him and threw him into the cistern,
which was empty and dry.

They then sat down to their meal.
Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead,
their camels laden with gum, balm and resin
to be taken down to Egypt.
Judah said to his brothers:
"What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood?
Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites,
instead of doing away with him ourselves.
After all, he is our brother, our own flesh."
His brothers agreed.
They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.

Responsorial Psalm

105:16-17, 18-19, 20-21

R. (5a) Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
When the LORD called down a famine on the land

and ruined the crop that sustained them,
He sent a man before them,

Joseph, sold as a slave.
R.Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
They had weighed him down with fetters,

and he was bound with chains,
Till his prediction came to pass

and the word of the LORD proved him true.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
The king sent and released him,

the ruler of the peoples set him free.
He made him lord of his house

and ruler of all his possessions.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.

Verse before the Gospel

Jn 3:16

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son;
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.


Mt 21:33-43, 45-46

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
"Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them,
thinking, 'They will respect my son.'
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
'This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.'
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?"
They answered him,
"He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times."
Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures:

The stone that the builders rejected

has become the cornerstone;

by the Lord has this been done,

and it is wonderful in our eyes?

Therefore, I say to you,
the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit."
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables,
they knew that he was speaking about them.
And although they were attempting to arrest him,
they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.


Daily Meditation: Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28

They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. (Genesis 37:28)

Have you ever felt as if you were stuck in a cistern? Perhaps poor health, fragile finances, or family conflicts have left you feeling stuck in a deep, dark hole. Well, you're not alone. In fact, one of the most popular characters from the Old Testament—Jacob's son, Joseph—actually did find himself stuck in a cistern. In today's first reading, we see Joseph, the favored son of a well-to-do landowner, prompt so much jealousy from his brothers that they threw him into a cistern and then sold him into slavery.

As easy as it may have been to be angry at God, Joseph stayed close to him and let the experience teach him important lessons about humility and trust in the Lord. By the time he and his brothers reconciled many years later, a wiser and holier Joseph confessed, "Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good" (Genesis 50:20). Not only did Joseph grow closer to God, but his ordeal paved the way for his entire family to be saved from famine.

Sometimes, it's good to try to find a way out of our "cisterns." But there may also be times when trying to climb out is either fruitless or imprudent. Sometimes you just have to acknowledge that the situation is out of your control, surrender it to the Lord, and wait to see how he will help you.

Maybe he'll use that situation to teach you patience, perseverance, or forgiveness. Maybe he'll use your witness of faith to soften somebody else's heart. Or maybe he has an even better solution waiting for you a little further down the road. Whatever the case, you can always trust that his plan is bigger than yours will ever be.

Joseph's story shows us that God can bring good out of any situation. He can help us grow in love and grace even when we feel we are in a pit of despair.

Feeling stuck is scary, but if you believe that you are not alone in that hole, if you can trust that God is there accompanying you and helping you grow, that cistern can lead you into a better world.

"Thank you, Lord, for never abandoning me. Help me see every challenge as an opportunity to grow and learn from you."

Psalm 105:16-21
Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46



In order to get the right perspective on beauty, we need to go back to the very beginning of creation. When God created man, He 'saw all that he made, and it was very good' (Genesis 1:31). Do you know what that means? It means that God gets to define it because He created it.
— Lisa Brenninkmeyer
from Between You and Me: Mother-Daughter Journal and Devotional


"They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver."
Who were they? His own blood. His own brothers. His own friends. Surely that doesn't happen today, right? Unfortunately, it does. 22 pieces of silver was the worth. How many pieces did Judas get to turn in our Lord? 30. I am reading a book on Values by Dwyer. It brought up a quote about someone that says "I have no time", and they said it simply means "I value something more than this". What is His blood worth to you? I almost made some cry in my adult class, when it sounded like they were going to postpone receiving Sacraments, when I said "if you only knew what I see...on the table, my side of the table, I see our Lord offering Himself, His very blood, and you are saying "I don't want it right now".
What would you trade the blood for? Many trade the blood for much less. For a single sin. And so the question is, what's it worth to you? What would you give for His blood? How about giving up sin. How about giving Him your sin. How about then, giving Him your blood...and then He becomes alive!


Today we pray: "They had weighed him down with fetters, and he was bound with chains,Till his prediction came to pass and the word of the LORD proved him true. Remember the marvels the Lord has done."
Fetters? Isn't that the cross now? How much does a cross to salvation cost? To cross is exodus, from one place to the other. Now to the promised land.


Our Lord spoke prophetically of Himself: "They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him." and He was speaking about the vineyard, but He was taken outside of Jerusalem, and killed, so what is the vineyard? Jerusalem? What is Jerusalem? God's Kingdom? His people? His place? The very name place of peace, right? And it is meant to be flowing they say, as if rivers into the sea. Why was our Lord cast out? Why was He traded for some silver? Why is He traded for a sin? Why is there evil? One thing is obvious to me, upon daring to find the answer: God truly loves. How can you prove love if there is nothing to prove? Our Father came to prove Himself, His love for us. What's the point of John 3:16 if it were not the very cause for Him to step down from Heaven? We rejected the Son. And HE steps in. The entire Old Testament way became a whole new way in Jesus. No more murderous Israelites that worshiped themselves more than God in the temple as we will read about the cleansing of the temple on Sunday. There, our Lord whips out the "animals". He flips the tables. He wasn't just doing an outward sign, but rather an inward reality, all things a Holy Sacrament does. Everything changed.

And yet they dared to say "give us a sign then!" As if to say "prove yourself!" and our Lord says what an evil generation that demands a sign, faithless at best.

And so I write to you in the Spirit of the Lord. Rend your hearts, not your garments. What a disgusting offering to offer Him a chocolate cookie as you spit on your neighbor's back! What a disgusting gift of abstinence from meat and you give into carnal pleasures the next day! Lent my friend is designed to change us from the inside. All the outward signs are for us to change from the inside. I desire holiness. I desire holiness for you. I write to you in that Spirit.

Lord, It is Friday, a dark day when You were handed over to the cross, but long before it happened in the heart. Yet, in Your heart, you had already anticipated the betrayal, to answer with love and mercy. You love me. I want to say I love You and mean every bit of it with blood bathed in holiness, all things grace from Heaven You stepped down to bestow on our hearts. I praise You and I worship You my Lord and my God!

from your brother in Christ our Lord,


Random online bible verse from a random verse generator:

Hebrews 13:15
15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.


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God Bless You! Peace

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