Monday, March 8, 2021

...They Rose Up ... †


No Boundaries in the Heart

The psalms keep teaching me that to be emotionally and spiritually whole, there's no drawing lines inside the human heart. It's like my students keep showing me. We can feel it all. Rejected and radiant. I think the psalms show our inner lives are a celestial place, a Milky Way, and as John Muir wrote about everything being connected, "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."

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

by Maureen O'Brien


†Saint Quote
"Happiness can only be achieved by looking inward and learning to enjoy whatever life has, and this requires transforming greed into gratitude."
— St. John Chrysostom

"I would, then, that I could convince spiritual persons that this road to God consists not in a multiplicity of meditations nor in ways or methods of such, nor in consolations, although these things may in their own way be necessary to beginners; but that it consists only in the one thing that is needful, which is the ability to deny oneself truly, according to that which is without and to that which is within, giving oneself up to suffering for Christ's sake . . . For progress comes not save through the imitation of Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no man comes to the Father but by Him."
— St. John of the Cross, p. 91
Ascent of Mt Carmel

"Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me. I cried aloud to him, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has given heed to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!"
Psalm 66:16-20


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St. John of God (1495-1550) was born in Portugal to poor and devout Christian parents. How he came to be separated from them and homeless at the age of 8 is uncertain, but he eventually found work as a shepherd until the age of 22. At that time he enlisted as a soldier in the Roman Emperor's army to escape an offer of marriage to the shepherd's daughter. There he led a wild and dissolute life; fond memories of his parents is all that kept the spark of faith alive in his heart. At the age of 40 he left the army and reformed himself, beginning with a penitential pilgrimage to St. James of Compostella (The Way of St. James) in Spain. Appalled at his sinful and wasted life, he was determined to spend his remaining days in good works. He was affirmed in this direction by a vision of the Infant Jesus and a sermon of St. John of Avila, who was to become his spiritual director. He later dedicated his life in service to the poor, homeless, and sick, especially the mentally ill, by starting a hospital and homeless shelter. Many people were attracted to him and his work, and he organized his followers into the Order of Hospitallers. They were approved by the Holy See as the Brothers Hospitallers of St. John of God, which still exists to this day. St. John of God is the patron saint of many causes, especially of hospitals, hospital workers, nurses, the sick, and the dying. His feast day is March 8.


Monday of the Third Week of Lent

Lectionary: 237
Reading I

2 Kgs 5:1-15ab

Naaman, the army commander of the king of Aram,
was highly esteemed and respected by his master,
for through him the LORD had brought victory to Aram.
But valiant as he was, the man was a leper.
Now the Arameans had captured in a raid on the land of Israel
a little girl, who became the servant of Naaman's wife.
"If only my master would present himself to the prophet in Samaria,"
she said to her mistress, "he would cure him of his leprosy."
Naaman went and told his lord
just what the slave girl from the land of Israel had said.
"Go," said the king of Aram.
"I will send along a letter to the king of Israel."
So Naaman set out, taking along ten silver talents,
six thousand gold pieces, and ten festal garments.
To the king of Israel he brought the letter, which read:
"With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you,
that you may cure him of his leprosy."

When he read the letter,
the king of Israel tore his garments and exclaimed:
"Am I a god with power over life and death,
that this man should send someone to me to be cured of leprosy?
Take note! You can see he is only looking for a quarrel with me!"
When Elisha, the man of God,
heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments,
he sent word to the king:
"Why have you torn your garments?
Let him come to me and find out
that there is a prophet in Israel."

Naaman came with his horses and chariots
and stopped at the door of Elisha's house.
The prophet sent him the message:
"Go and wash seven times in the Jordan,
and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean."
But Naaman went away angry, saying,
"I thought that he would surely come out and stand there
to invoke the LORD his God,
and would move his hand over the spot,
and thus cure the leprosy.
Are not the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar,
better than all the waters of Israel?
Could I not wash in them and be cleansed?"
With this, he turned about in anger and left.

But his servants came up and reasoned with him.
"My father," they said,
"if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary,
would you not have done it?
All the more now, since he said to you,
'Wash and be clean,' should you do as he said."
So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times
at the word of the man of God.
His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

He returned with his whole retinue to the man of God.
On his arrival he stood before him and said,
"Now I know that there is no God in all the earth,
except in Israel."

Responsorial Psalm

42:2, 3; 43:3, 4

R. (see 42:3) Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
As the hind longs for the running waters,

so my soul longs for you, O God.
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.

When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
Send forth your light and your fidelity;

they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,

to your dwelling-place.
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
Then will I go in to the altar of God,

the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,

O God, my God!
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?

Verse before the Gospel

See Ps 130:5, 7

I hope in the LORD, I trust in his word;
with him there is kindness and plenteous redemption.


Lk 4:24-30

Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth:
"Amen, I say to you,
no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel
in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian."
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built,
to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.


Daily Meditation: 2 Kings 5:1-15

. . . a little girl. (2 Kings 5:2)

Have you ever looked at a famous painting and at first glance, it appears to be almost ordinary? But then you look closer, and you see the artist's use of shadow and light, perspective, and contrast—and the scene comes alive before your eyes! Today's story about Naaman is like that. It all starts with a little girl—an unlikely hero—and yet she plays a major role in Naaman's miraculous healing. She shows that the small and the humble can bring great glory to the Lord.

Why is this? It's because the small and humble aren't prone to drawing attention to themselves. All they want to do is follow the Lord; they don't worry about whether people see it or not. The scene with the little girl moves us because it comes from such an unexpected place, a place of purity, sincerity, and simplicity.

Don't you love how God reveals himself through unlikely people and circumstances? The Bible tells us about Gideon, the youngest of the least of the families of Israel, who leads his people to victory. There is Ruth, a widowed and impoverished foreigner, who wins the heart of a wealthy Israelite and becomes part of Jesus' family tree. And there's King David. This heroic leader was just a young shepherd boy when the Lord chose him.

In a similar way, God can use you to reveal himself. You may not be wealthy or powerful or famous. You may feel that you don't have a lot of control over your circumstances either. But none of that matters to God. In fact, you might be just the right person he is looking for. Just as he worked through a little girl to change the course of history, he can use you to bring powerful change to the people around you.

Whether you're doing the dishes, shoveling snow, or filing papers, you can be a vessel of Jesus' love and grace. A simple word of encouragement, spoken from a heart of love and trust, can do far more than you can imagine. Just ask that little girl who set Naaman on the road to healing!

"Lord, use me to reveal your love today."

Psalm 42:2-3; 43:3-4
Luke 4:24-30



Address yourself to Jesus Christ crucified present before you. Ask of your God why He has deigned to become incarnate, to suffer, to die for you. Ask yourself what you have done for Him up to this time that deserves mentioning; what you will do, and what you ought to do, for Him for the future.
— St. Ignatius of Loyola


"...if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary, would you not have done it?"
If our Lord asks us to do something extra ordinary, would you do receive healing, or better yet...eternal salvation? Extra ordinary means above and beyond normal, right? Be Holy. More than Holy...righteous...and true.


We pray: "When shall I go and behold the face of God? Then will I go in to the altar of God, the God of my gladness and joy; Then will I give you thanks upon the harp, O God, my God!" I commented to some, that money won't make you happy, just temporarily. I don't think they believed as they joked about what I said...and I continued, that God offers only grace, and holiness, and Himself on the altar and in the Holy Sacraments. What else could you want? What is the god of your gladness then? What or who is the god of your joy? I found the source of living water, and living water must flow throw me, to flow to you, and everyone else.


Our Lord said: "Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian."
What significance is Naahman the Syrian? Perhaps a bible scholar could tell us exactly what being from Syria meant, but by simply reading context, we can see that he was not a Jew, an Israelite, much less a follower or believer. Naaman and his king only went to the prophet for healing. This is why Elisha tore his garments "am I a god!?", as if to say "you're coming at me for all the wrong reasons, and making me out to be something I am not". How often do we come at God like that? Give me this. Or else. It was the typical attitude of a non believer. Sad to say, even the Pharisees and scribes that followed our Lord. "Only an evil generation seeks a sign" said our Lord. And certainly, this struck a chord, and they immediately wanted to push Him off a cliff.

"They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong."

We wouldn't ever do that to our Lord right? Do you really want to know? The Pharisees rejected Him. How? They refused to believe? Why? Because they believed that their knowledge was more than Jesus our Lord. Unfortunately, this is the case of man vs our Lord. Was not our first sin from the tree of "knowledge"? This is the root of all things anti-Christ. This is the fundamentalism of communism. This is the base for Atheism, Scientology, and sadly, the same case for all lukewarm Christians. Perhaps, when our Lord walked this earth, He stepped into a lukewarm faith, and prompted Him to pray "I wish this world was set ablaze". I digress.

They pushed Him out of their town. Just like in Jerusalem. How many times do we push God out of our lives because we just know better? This is folly. This is foolishness. This is a travesty that can bring about a tragedy...the death of a soul.

And that is where things begin to matter. Do you value eternity? Do you value truth? What is the source of your gladness and joy? How about the source Elisha pointed to...the waters of Jordan. Essentially, only Naaman was saved from leprosy. Only one repented and believed. Only one relented, and obeyed, went in faith into the rivers of Baptism.

Who were the Syrians? Syrians had surrounded Elisha at one time to arrest him and Elisha's servant was stressing out: Where do we go!!! They are surrounding us!! And Elisha said ""Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." Does this not sound like our Lord? He was not afraid when He was surrounded to be pushed off a cliff. Why do you stress so much and worry to the point of despair? Is not our Lord with us? Then, if He is with us, why not be confident and live a holy life for the Lord? Are you afraid you won't be happy? Because the world makes it seem like religious people are not happy. But if you look at their own statistics and studies, it points out that religious people live longer and are happier people! Don't let the world fool you, because they are lies from darkness tricking you, into false "knowledge". Misinformation. If we've hit the information age, then there is much disinformation out there.
Therefore, by wise, and prudent.

Lord, we believe. We believe if we come to You and do what You ask, we will live, we will be saved, we will be healed, we shall see that truly there is a God. I'm sorry for having doubted. I'm sorry for having pushed you out of my life when tempted to sin. I'm here to say, I have tasted and I have seen ...that You are truly Good, God!

from your brother in Christ our Lord,


Random online bible verse from a random verse generator:

Matthew 6:14–15

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.


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God Bless You! Peace

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