Friday, March 19, 2021

...Why Have You Done This... †


The Demonization of the Other

"Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us, he sets himself against our doings.... To us he is the censure of our thoughts. Merely to see him is a hardship."—Wisdom 2:12, 14

"[Jesus] had decided not to travel in Judea because some of the Jews were looking for a chance to kill him.... Some of the people of Jerusalem remarked 'Is this not the one they want to kill?'"—John 7:1, 25

We have perhaps read the studies which show that once a group has decided to differentiate itself from another group, the rules of conversation change toward that group. We are inclined to believe the worst of them, paranoia and conspiracy theories soon abound, they are fair game for the commentators, and our chosen mistrust looks for any justification whatsoever to fear, hate, or even kill. Soon any defensive or even offensive attacks toward that person or group are fully rationalized and justified. It is a rare person who can stand uninfluenced by this field of gossip and innuendo. This is the sad pattern of human history. It is just such an atmosphere that is presented in both readings today, as we near the climactic events of Holy Week. The taunting verses from the book of Wisdom sound familiar to most Christians because they are the backdrop of the Crucifixion scene: "If he is the son of God, then God will defend him." In the full text we read a kind of bravado and defiance, daring the "just person" to prove himself. It feels like the school bully mocking the classmate who might be smarter, more popular, or even more mature. For some strange reason, fearful humans are threatened by anyone outside of their frame of reference. They are always a threat and must be brought down. The same pattern is then found in the Gospel. So strange that even religious authorities can speak openly of wanting to kill Jesus, and the crowds even openly know about this. What has religion come to? Vengeance is often an open, but denied secret when fear and gossip reign in a society. Every attempt is being made to discredit Jesus, and even his family of origin, which is a very common pattern. (The whole of John 7 might give you even more of the feeling of malice and intrigue than the selected passage here in the Lectionary.) Jesus is slowly being isolated for the attack, he moves around "secretly." You can feel his loneliness and anguish, and all he can do is claim his true origins—to deaf ears. In these days, we are being invited to share in the passion of Jesus, and in the aloneness and fear of all who have been hated and hunted down since the beginning of time.

"God of loving truth, keep me from the world of gossip and accusation. Do not let me 'kill' others, even in my mind or heart."

— from the book Wondrous Encounters: Scriptures for Lent

by Richard Rohr, OFM


†Saint Quote
"We have close to us as much as Joseph had at Nazareth; we have our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, but our poor eyes fail to see Him. Let us once become interior souls and we shall immediately see. In no better way can we enter into the Heart of our Lord than through Saint Joseph. Jesus and Mary are eager to pay the debts which they owe him for his devoted care of them, and their greatest pleasure is to fulfill his least desire. Let him, then, lead you by hand into the interior sanctuary of Jesus Eucharistic."
— St. Peter Julian Eymard

"The saints flinch as instinctively as others when the cross comes along, but they do not allow their flinching to upset their perspectives. As soon as it becomes clear to them that this particular suffering is what God evidently wants suffered, they stop flinching. Their habitual state of surrender to God's will has a steadying effect: they do not get stampeded into panic or despair or rebellion or defeat."
—Dom Hubert van Zeller, The Mystery of Suffering
The Mystery of Suffering

"When he rose from prayer and returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping from grief. He said to them, "Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.""
Luke 22:45-46


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St. Joseph (1st c.) was a descendant of Israel's King David and a carpenter by trade. Scripture tells us that he was a just and virtuous man who was betrothed to wed the young Blessed Virgin Mary. Upon finding her pregnant with the Son of God, Joseph, after a time of uncertainty, was encouraged by an angel to continue with the marriage plans. Because of his complete faithfulness and obedience to the will of God, St. Joseph was chosen to become the spouse of the Mother of God and the adoptive father of Jesus Christ. As the divinely-appointed earthly guardian and protector of the Holy Family, St. Joseph provided and cared for the material needs of Mary and the Child Jesus. St. Joseph is the patron saint of many causes, especially fathers, families, married couples, children, pregnant women, workers, craftsmen, against doubt, the dying, and a happy and holy death. He is also the guardian and protector of the Universal Church. He has two feast days: St. Joseph the Husband of Mary on March 19th, and St. Joseph the Worker on May 1st.


Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Lectionary: 543
Reading I

2 Sm 7:4-5a, 12-14a, 16

The LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
"Go, tell my servant David,
'When your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his kingdom firm.
It is he who shall build a house for my name.
And I will make his royal throne firm forever.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.'"

Responsorial Psalm

89:2-3, 4-5, 27 and 29

R. (37) The son of David will live for ever.

The promises of the LORD I will sing forever;

through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness,
For you have said, "My kindness is established forever";

in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.

R. The son of David will live for ever.

"I have made a covenant with my chosen one,

I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity

and establish your throne for all generations."

R. The son of David will live for ever.

"He shall say of me, 'You are my father,

my God, the Rock, my savior.'
Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him,

and my covenant with him stands firm."

R. The son of David will live for ever.

Reading II

Rom 4:13, 16-18, 22

Brothers and sisters:
It was not through the law
that the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants
that he would inherit the world,
but through the righteousness that comes from faith.
For this reason, it depends on faith,
so that it may be a gift,
and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants,
not to those who only adhere to the law
but to those who follow the faith of Abraham,
who is the father of all of us, as it is written,
I have made you father of many nations.
He is our father in the sight of God,
in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead
and calls into being what does not exist.
He believed, hoping against hope,
that he would become the father of many nations,
according to what was said, Thus shall your descendants be.
That is why it was credited to him as righteousness.

Verse Before the Gospel

Ps 84:5

Blessed are those who dwell in your house, O Lord;
they never cease to praise you.


Mt 1:16, 18-21, 24a

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
"Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins."
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.


Lk 2:41-51a

Each year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
and when he was twelve years old,
they went up according to festival custom.
After they had completed its days, as they were returning,
the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem,
but his parents did not know it.
Thinking that he was in the caravan,
they journeyed for a day
and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,
but not finding him,
they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions,
and all who heard him were astounded
at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him,
they were astonished,
and his mother said to him,
"Son, why have you done this to us?
Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety."
And he said to them,
"Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"
But they did not understand what he said to them.
He went down with them and came to Nazareth,
and was obedient to them.


Daily Meditation: Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24

Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid. (Matthew 1:20)

Joseph's dreams for a happy marriage and family appeared to be fading fast. A faithful Jew and "righteous man" (Matthew 1:19), he knew Jewish law required him to uphold the sanctity of marriage, which appeared to be violated by Mary's pregnancy. But he also wanted to protect Mary. So he chose to obey the law but still avoid a public inquiry. It seemed like a merciful plan, a righteous and holy plan. But God's plan was better.

To redirect Joseph, God sent an angel to make his intention clear. "Do not be afraid to take Mary [as] your wife" (Matthew 1:20). Surely Joseph's mind was racing. God even promised that this child would be no ordinary man. Beyond Joseph's hopes and dreams, Mary's son would be the Messiah, the One to save his people from their sins. There was no need to fear. God was still working—and more than Joseph had imagined. Joseph just needed to hold fast to God's promise and step out into the unknown.

Like Joseph, many of us have hopes and aspirations for the future. For those of us who are parents, these hopes include hopes for our children's futures. We love them and make plans and sacrifices so that they can grow up to accomplish great things—perhaps even greater things than we have achieved. But sometimes things don't go as we had hoped. And like Joseph, we have to resort to "Plan B."

Whether or not we are parents, we know the disappointment or confusion when God's ways turn out to be different from our own. But just as God blessed and guided Joseph, he will guide and protect us. God sees the entire arc of our lives, from before we were conceived until eternity. He alone knows how our situations fit into his bigger plan to bless us and to bless future generations. And he is with us, even in the unclear times, even in the suffering. We may not receive an angelic message, but we can trust in God's goodness and listen for his voice saying, "Do not be afraid" (Matthew 1:20).

"Father, I let go of my plans and trust in you. St. Joseph, pray for me!"

2 Samuel 7:4-5, 12-14, 16
Psalm 89:2-5, 27, 29
Romans 4:13, 16-18, 22



Christianity is not a system of ethics; it is a life. It is not good advice; it is Divine adoption.
— Ven. Fulton J. Sheen
from his book Remade for Happiness


"I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me."
Father Saint Joseph is a saint because...of His response to God's will. He said yes. Just like Mother Mary said yes. Their expected yes was their expectation from the onset of their lives. They already wanted to do God's will, and this invitation to His will became a reality. And their lives would be filled with amazement, joy, and in the end, a sacrifice of self for God. Can we lead this kind of holy and amazing lives too? St. Joseph pray for us.


Today we pray: "The promises of the LORD I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness,
For you have said, "My kindness is established forever"; in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness. The son of David will live for ever."


We heard in the Gospel about St. Joseph: "When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home."
He did as he was commanded. Against his will, to do God's will. Against his plans, to change his plans, to follow God's plans. To accept then...the cross. And life would be hard, but only if running from the cross. And so St. Joseph, a carpenter, took up the cross, and embraced every bit of giving his life to Jesus. Blessed Sister Anne Emerich said of St. Joseph, that he knew what Jesus was going to endure, and so he offered his life as an offering for Christ. In cursillo, we could think of this as "palanca" an offering up of self for another to be helped by God. They say he suffered and died, for Christ so Christ could withstand what he would have to endure...and perhaps this helped our Lord endure what He endured, in His passion. To have had that kind of spiritual upbringing of self sacrifice "I give my life to you" and you give your life to God.
And that's all we need to know about St. Joseph, a holy man, a just man, and a man that we can only admire, if you admire humility, and would like to lead a life of being forgotten for the sake of the other.

St. Joseph, our world needs humility like never before, and the love of Jesus even more.
Pray for us from Heaven on this year of you St. Joseph, may we learn to truly love and live for Christ and die for His will, with all our hearts, minds, and souls.

from your brother in Christ our Lord,


Random online bible verse from a random verse generator:

Hebrews 13:6

6 So we can confidently say,

"The Lord is my helper;

I will not fear;

what can man do to me?"


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God Bless You! Peace

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