Monday, March 15, 2021

...Your Son Will ... †


God Shines Most Brightly in Everyday Life

Every day people begin extreme diets because they simply can't believe that losing weight is simply a matter of burning more calories than they consume. Exotic dietary supplements and steroids in sports fuel the belief in a magic formula to ensure victory when hard work and training isn't enough. Ads for new pharmaceuticals herald the next cure for whatever disease is holding us back. We overlook the simple, everyday ways to better health and wellbeing because they don't make any remarkable claims to instant results. Our technology and communication methods might be twenty-first century, but the impulse to seek a spectacular, magic solution to the common plight of humanity is as old as our Scripture readings today. In the Book of Kings Naaman seeks healing, but he's also hoping for a great spectacle from the famed man of God. The people in Jesus's hometown are hoping that he will wow them with the wonders they've heard he performed in other towns. But he disappoints their expectations and they fail to see the wonder that he is. The virtue of humility reminds us that the ordinary and the everyday is often where God's gifts shine most brightly. The quiet person we overlook in a meeting might have the solution to a vexing work issue. The chicken soup your grandma made when you had a cold really does have healing properties. The friend who listens patiently while you work out a difficult time in a relationship isn't giving you advice about a quick fix, but the solution you discover in the process has long-lasting effects.

— from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis

by Diane M. Houdek


†Saint Quote
"No one, however weak, is denied a share in the victory of the cross. No one is beyond the help of the prayer of Christ."
— St. Leo the Great

"The Blessed Virgin endured a long and cruel martyrdom in her heart for our sakes, and for love of us. Frequently, and with feelings of tender love, contemplate her standing at the foot of the Cross, and join her in bewailing and weeping over sin, which, by causing the death of Jesus, rent in twain the heart of Mary. Pledge your heart to this Mother of sorrows, by some habitual act of devotion and mortification, in remembrance and in honor of her bitter sufferings. Also, endure something for love of her, imitating her patience, resignation, and silence."
— Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Jesus, p. 259
The School of Jesus Crucified

"When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was stupid and ignorant, I was like a beast toward thee. Nevertheless I am continually with thee; thou dost hold my right hand. Thou dost guide me with thy counsel, and afterward thou wilt receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is nothing upon earth that I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever."
Psalm 73:21-26


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St. Louise De Marillac (1591-1660) was born in Paris, France to a noble family and received her education at a Dominican convent. Her mother died shortly after her birth, and her father when she was sixteen years of age. It was then necessary for her to decide her vocation, and being dissuaded from entering religious life by her spiritual director, as was her desire, she married and bore a son. Later she worried that she had rejected a divine call to the religious life, and vowed that should her husband die, she would not remarry. Two years later her husband died after a long illness. During this time she met a holy priest, St. Vincent de Paul, and placed herself under his spiritual direction. Through his influence she worked among the poor and disadvantaged in Paris, and co-founded the Sisters of Charity with him in 1642. After writing their rule of life she traveled around France establishing her new religious order to work in hospitals, orphanages, and other institutions that aided the poor. She was especially gifted at spiritual guidance and served as the superior of the Sisters of Charity in Paris until her death. St. Louise De Marillac is the patron saint of social workers, the sick, widows, and against the loss of parents. Her feast day is March 15th.


Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Reading I Is 65:17-21

Thus says the LORD:
Lo, I am about to create new heavens

and a new earth;
The things of the past shall not be remembered

or come to mind.
Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness

in what I create;
For I create Jerusalem to be a joy

and its people to be a delight;
I will rejoice in Jerusalem

and exult in my people.
No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there,

or the sound of crying;
No longer shall there be in it

an infant who lives but a few days,

or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime;
He dies a mere youth who reaches but a hundred years,

and he who fails of a hundred shall be thought accursed.
They shall live in the houses they build,

and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant.

Responsorial Psalm 30:2 and 4, 5-6, 11-12a and 13b

R. (2a) I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear

and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the nether world;

you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,

and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;

a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,

but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
"Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;

O LORD, be my helper."
You changed my mourning into dancing;

O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Verse before the Gospel Am 5:14

Seek good and not evil so that you may live,
and the LORD will be with you.

Gospel Jn 4:43-54

At that time Jesus left [Samaria] for Galilee.
For Jesus himself testified
that a prophet has no honor in his native place.
When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him,
since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast;
for they themselves had gone to the feast.
Then he returned to Cana in Galilee,
where he had made the water wine.
Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum.
When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea,
he went to him and asked him to come down
and heal his son, who was near death.
Jesus said to him,
"Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe."
The royal official said to him,
"Sir, come down before my child dies."
Jesus said to him, "You may go; your son will live."
The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.
While the man was on his way back,
his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live.
He asked them when he began to recover.
They told him,
"The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon."
The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him,
"Your son will live,"
and he and his whole household came to believe.
Now this was the second sign Jesus did
when he came to Galilee from Judea.


Daily Meditation: Isaiah 65:17-21

There shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create. (Isaiah 65:18)

Do you know someone who prayed for something specific, like a pay raise? Maybe they were so focused on getting what they wanted that they couldn't imagine that God wanted something even better for them—until he led them to a new job with not only more pay but more opportunity to grow.

Something similar seems to have happened to the Israelites. Through his prophet, God promised to create "new heavens and a new earth" (Isaiah 65:17). Bible scholars believe that this prophecy was given during the "Second Temple" period that followed the Babylonian exile. The chance to rebuild the great Temple of Jerusalem—where Jews believed that heaven met earth—was an occasion of immense rejoicing, hope, and promise for Israel. So a new heaven and earth might have sounded a little bit unnecessary, or at the very least confusing. Wasn't the rebuilt Temple more than good enough?

The Israelites were excited about being brought back from exile. However, maybe they were so focused on what was happening in the moment that they missed the immense hope and promise of what God was saying to them. It was as if their idea of the length, height, and depth of God's love was limited by the length, height, and depth of the Temple.

How often do you settle for a smaller vision for your life or your loved ones than what God promises? We are all susceptible to this pitfall because we don't see our world and all its possibilities the way God does. But that doesn't mean that our expectations have to remain small or shrink even more when disappointment comes. Even when we can't see it, we can trust that God is working in our lives and in the world today. He will bring to fulfillment all of his promises—including, someday, a new heaven and a new earth!

Whether you are satisfied with your life or whether you are hoping for change, don't miss the immensity of the vision that God casts in the pages of Scripture. His love and his promises far exceed what we imagine for ourselves and our loved ones.

"Jesus, help me to rejoice and take comfort in all your promises."

Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13
John 4:43-54



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




Our Lord commands from Heaven to us all today:

From Bishop Barron today:
"Friends, our Gospel today tells of Jesus healing a royal official's son. The official asked him to heal his son, who was near death. Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe." But the royal official persisted. And Jesus told him his son would live. The man believed Jesus, and his son recovered.

Theologian Paul Tillich said that "faith" is the most misunderstood word in the religious vocabulary. And this is a tragedy, for faith stands at the very heart of the program; it is the sine qua non of the Christian thing. What is it? The opening line of Hebrews 11 has the right definition: "Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see."

Faith is a straining ahead toward those things that are, at best, dimly glimpsed. But notice, please, that it is not a craven, hand-wringing, unsure business. It is "confident" and full of "conviction." Think of the great figures of faith, from Abraham to John Paul II: they are anything but shaky, indefinite, questioning people. Like the royal official, they are clear, focused, assured.

Reflect: Contemplate your own level of faith. How does it exhibit "confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see"? "

from your brother in Christ our Lord,


Random online bible verse from a random verse generator:

Rom 6:23
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


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