Friday, March 12, 2021

...You Are Not Far From ... †


The Two Loves Are Not Separate

"Listen, Israel, the Lord your God is One. You shall love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." And this is the second. "You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself." There is no commandment greater than these." —Mark 12:29–31

In today's compelling Gospel, Jesus is putting together what he sees as the summit and the summary of his own Jewish teaching (from Deuteronomy and Leviticus), plus he might well be echoing a famous rabbi, Hillel, who was his contemporary. Hillel said to an overzealous young rabbinical student in Judea: "What you find hateful do not do to another. This is the whole of the Law. Everything else is commentary. Now go learn that!" The new message here is that Jesus combines the quote from Deuteronomy with the quote from Leviticus! The scribe has asked him for the "first and greatest" commandment, and Jesus gives him two commandments yet treats them as one! He connects two disparate passages and makes them one and the same, love of God and love of neighbor: "There is no commandment greater than these!" Matthew's telling makes it even more explicit, "And the second is just like it! On these two commandments hang everything in the law and in the prophets" (22:39–40). If it is really Love, it is always One. The passage ends by the crowd being utterly silenced by such clarity and simplicity.

"One God, you make all things one. Even my own heart, and even one with the hearts of others, and most unbelievably one with yours."

— from the book Wondrous Encounters: Scriptures for Lent

by Richard Rohr, OFM


†Saint Quote
"Force yourself, if necessary, always to forgive those who offend you, from the very first moment. For the greatest injury or offense you can suffer from them is nothing compared to what God has forgiven you."
— St. Josemaria Escriva

"Like an hourglass with a certain number of grains of sand within it, God has appointed your life to last only a certain number of days, and you have absolutely no idea how many there are. ... In God's presence, consider: I have no idea when my life will end. All I know is that death will come for me eventually. Am I doing anything to prepare for the real possibility that God may call me, sooner rather than later? If he called me into eternity today, would I be ready?"
— Patrick Madrid, p. 190
A Year with the Bible

"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love. If these are yours and increase in abundance, they will keep you from being idle or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
2 Peter 1:5-8


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St. Luigi Orione (1872-1940) was born in northern Italy and entered a Franciscan friary at the age of 13, but had to leave due to poor health. He became a pupil of St. John Bosco at his Turin oratory for boys, and later entered the diocesan seminary. While still a seminarian he opened his own oratory and boarding school to provide for the Christian training and education of boys. This institution became a well-spring for new vocations to the priesthood. He also traveled and founded many other pious congregations for clergy and lay people alike, including two religious orders. The ideal of St. Luigi's life was to provide for the spiritual welfare of others and to serve Jesus Christ and his Church. Many people were attracted to him and his work, and he cared in a special way for the sick, the disabled, and the poor. He was a preacher and confessor, as well as an organizer of pilgrimages, missions, processions, and other public celebrations of the faith. He loved Our Lady deeply and fostered devotion to her among his seminarians. Today his apostolate encompasses about 300 foundations, including schools, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and learning centers on nearly every continent. His body is incorrupt, and he was canonized in 2004. St. Luigi Orione's feast day is March 12th.


Friday of the Third Week of Lent

Lectionary: 241

Reading I

Hos 14:2-10

Thus says the LORD:
Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God;

you have collapsed through your guilt.
Take with you words,

and return to the LORD;
Say to him, "Forgive all iniquity,

and receive what is good, that we may render

as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.
Assyria will not save us,

nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, 'Our god,'

to the work of our hands;

for in you the orphan finds compassion."

I will heal their defection, says the LORD,

I will love them freely;

for my wrath is turned away from them.
I will be like the dew for Israel:

he shall blossom like the lily;
He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar,

and put forth his shoots.
His splendor shall be like the olive tree

and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.
Again they shall dwell in his shade

and raise grain;
They shall blossom like the vine,

and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols?

I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
"I am like a verdant cypress tree"–

Because of me you bear fruit!

Let him who is wise understand these things;

let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the LORD,

in them the just walk,

but sinners stumble in them.

Responsorial Psalm

81:6c-8a, 8bc-9, 10-11ab, 14 and 17

R. (see 11 and 9a) I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
An unfamiliar speech I hear:

"I relieved his shoulder of the burden;

his hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called, and I rescued you."
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
"Unseen, I answered you in thunder;

I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
Hear, my people, and I will admonish you;

O Israel, will you not hear me?"
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
"There shall be no strange god among you

nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God

who led you forth from the land of Egypt."
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
"If only my people would hear me,

and Israel walk in my ways,
I would feed them with the best of wheat,

and with honey from the rock I would fill them."
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.

Verse before the Gospel

Mt 4:17

Repent, says the Lord;
the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.


Mk 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Jesus replied, "The first is this:

Hear, O Israel!

The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,

with all your soul,

with all your mind,

and with all your strength.
The second is this:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,

He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,

with all your understanding,

with all your strength,

and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
"You are not far from the Kingdom of God."
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.


Daily Meditation: Mark 12:28-34

You are not far from the Kingdom of God. (Mark 12:34)

Imagine being told that you will receive a special present on your birthday but that you have to be at home to accept it. You spend all day at home eagerly awaiting the present—whatever it is. Around midday, an old friend from out of town stops by. You greet him warmly and show him in, but the whole time he is there, you're distracted. You keep listening for the doorbell and that special delivery.

Guess what? You missed it! You were expecting the gift to come in a box or a package, not in a person.

This is one way to understand today's Gospel. The scribe in the story was looking for an answer, but Jesus was offering him a relationship.

"You are not far from the Kingdom of God," Jesus says to him (Mark 12:34). That is literally true because unbeknownst to him, the scribe is standing right in front of the One who ushers in the kingdom. In himself and his mission, all the laws of Moses are fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is now established here on earth.

So the scribe has a choice to make. Will he stay close to Jesus and come to faith in him? Or will he dismiss Jesus' claims out of hand and keep waiting for a fulfillment that has already happened? We don't know whether the scribe embraced faith in Jesus or remained "not far" from him, but we can be sure of one thing: if he had known that God himself was present in Jesus, he would have been overwhelmed. He would have worshipped him instead of just discussing God with him.

Sometimes we too stop short of the kingdom. Instead of listening humbly when we bring our concerns to Jesus, we do all the talking. Instead of submitting to his commands, we look for a loophole or shortcut. Don't let that happen today! Turn to him and let him teach you how to live in the love that he came to bring. He alone fulfills the two great commandments, and he alone can share that accomplishment with you. He's standing at the door right now. Will you recognize him as the gift you've been waiting for?

"Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of your kingdom. Teach me how to love you and your people today."

Hosea 14:2-10
Psalm 81:6-11, 14, 17



When God asks us to get moving, or change a bad habit, or do something that feels out of our comfort zone, it is always because He wants what is best for us. He is not a cosmic killjoy, He is a good Father who wants His children to flourish.
— Lisa Brenninkmeyer


"Let him who is wise understand these things; let him who is prudent know them. Straight are the paths of the LORD, in them the just walk, but sinners stumble in them."
Walk straight my child. Walk in the paths of our Lord. Now how can a sinner stop stumbling on this way? Why so much trouble? Distractions. Not paying attention. Distractions make you fall and or stop. Look His way, for the world can either help you to Him with God's grace, or take you into the netherworld where He supposedly does not exist. This is why you must be hot on faith, on fire that is, and there is no time for looking back or relaxing, and giving into laziness in faith, called acedia, and what is acedia? A sin? It is definitely a sin...against charity. What's that? Not clear what acedia is again? In a nutshell, it is LOL, not easy to describe, as it entails everything about not caring, being depressed, not being able to move in your faith. I'd even dare to say that it could be tied with some type of demonic oppression, something keeping you from being truly active and on fire for our Lord. Yes ministries are nice, but I'm talking about your own fervor, in prayer, in holiness, in a desire to truly love as God loves, all things really tied with the opposite of darkness...holy Grace.


We prayed: ""There shall be no strange god among you nor shall you worship any alien god. I, the LORD, am your God who led you forth from the land of Egypt." I am the Lord your God: hear my voice."
If you hear the people I tune into, mainly bible scholars, exorcists, and holy priests, you'll always get a fair dose of that state of our world and how we need to get up and out of the slump we find ourselves in spiritually. I just read a story, which you can click here to read, about how they are trying to pass laws in a California schools to force students to pray to Aztec gods calling on a revolution on our current "system" basically our own country. These gods are gods of abortion and war. They blame Christians for theocide, killing of gods, and they point the finger, as they attempt to commit this themselves.

If you have been lax in faith, if you have been neutral in faith, now is the time to get real interested...or else. Or else what you may ask. If I told you, would it matter? Terrorism is being introduced as curriculum, to bring about communism, to bring about the abolition of religion. Does that matter to you? Most already say "I'm not religious" as if to say it was an evil thing. And this as we can see secular statistics on the positive effects of being good and religious mostly in Christ, but those new laws say Christianity is in part if not mostly to blame for all of our current problems. It is always the Christians that are blamed when a country is facing collapse. Who is infiltrating and pumping money into these lies? There are some being used by the devil to infiltrate and collapse our nation, our government....but it is a futile fight against Christ, because God is with us...forever. Perhaps the nation will fail, if we let it, but never would our Lord fail to be with us.


Our Lord commands from Heaven to us all today:

"Hear, O Israel!

The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,

with all your soul,

with all your mind,

and with all your strength."

Boy! With this command in hand, what else could we possibly love? If you really did what our Lord said today, would there be room to love anybody or anything else? Honestly? You'd be multiplying your ability to love by the tens of thousands of times more. I remember fondly one time in a deep conversation with my wife I said "if you truly and really want to love me, you'll need to love God more than me". Love God More!?! And for some reason, I believe it was the Holy Spirit speaking, because I've never forgotten what came out of my own mouth. You see, when we speak, there is much to learn, and this is how I tell many to teach. Even if you do not know, do not worry, for God will do the talking if you invite Him and pray.

Our Lord added on to the commandment to us:
"The second is this:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."

Most of the faults I see in failed ministries and relationships is the failure to keep these commandments.

Can you imagine a country, a nation, or just a simple organization that based it's whole life on these commandments?

Well, there is! It is called Universal! Welcome aboard! Welcome to the Universal University. LOL. Hey I just made something up that's kind of cool. Anyhow. Catholic means universal. And so welcome to Catholic University! Here we teach the love of God above all. This is why the world seems against the church. That's because the dark prince of the world is in the world and has much power, but not all Authority. That's where we come in. With your permission, things happen. Your family can be blessed. Your community can be blessed. Your city, and so forth can feel the ripple effects of love in action. All because we love God above all. Cold hearts can get warm, and warm hearts can get hot and on fire. But it takes much action of love to make fires happen. You can amaze people with your love. You can make it a fascinating light. And who knows, maybe you'll make it to Heaven and there be pleased to meet others who loved so much that they gave their whole life to God. And then our Lord smiles stretching His arms open wide to you, "...come here my child, I love YOU So much!"

Lord, I want to know that I am loved. Acedia makes us think we don't matter and that we are not loved. I want to show the world that You love us. And so I pray we can stretch out our hearts to those around us in Your Name because it is Your will to love more than to be loved....

from your brother in Christ our Lord,


Random online bible verse from a random verse generator:

Psalm 86:4–5

4 Gladden the soul of your servant,

for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,

abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.


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God Bless You! Peace

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