Tuesday, March 23, 2021

..Where I AM going ... †

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Spiritual Vaccination

We have all seen the rod of Asclepius, or its common variation, the caduceus, on medical insignia throughout the world. It was the symbol of this Greek god of healing, but is also found here in our First Reading from the book of Numbers (21:4–9). It is a single or double serpent winding around a pole, and we are not sure if the Greeks or the Hebrews had it first. But surely its meaning was a universal discovery that today we would perhaps call vaccination! In short, "the cause is also the cure"! Who would have thought? It seems to be true both medically and psychologically. At any rate, we have Moses prescribing such medicine to the complaining Hebrews in the desert, who were being bit by winged/fiery serpents. The meaning and healing symbol returns again in John's Gospel on many levels, all of them significant. The recurring phrase is, "the lifted up one." It has now become a rallying cry for the Jesus who was raised up on the cross and thus "vaccinated us against" doing the same (3:13 and 19:37). Jesus being "lifted up" is offered as a healing icon of love to all of history (12:32), and finally, as a victory sign of the final resurrection and ascension of all the human ones, as is prefigured in today's account about the archetypal "Human One," Jesus (8:28). This is powerful material, just as vaccinations always are. We have a Divine Medicine brought down to a small but potent dosage so we can handle it and it can handle us! That is what true spiritual symbols always do. Remember what we said earlier in Lent: Any direct contact with God is like contact with an electric wire—it burns you unless you have some good filters and a very humble humanity to receive it. No wonder so many Catholics and Orthodox never tired of hanging images of the crucified Jesus in their homes and in their churches. We needed to "lift up" and "gaze upon" the transformative image just as Moses first did in the desert. It can and did and will change many lives and much of history.

— from the book Wondrous Encounters: Scriptures for Lent

by Richard Rohr, OFM


†Saint Quote
"Keep the joy of loving God in your heart and share this joy with all you meet, especially your family. Be holy."
— St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

"Concerning obedience as a sign of authenticity, St. Theresa is eloquent: 'Believe me, there is no better way of acquiring this treasure [of loving fire sent from heaven] than to dig and toil in order to get it from this mine of obedience. The more we dig, the more we shall find; and the more we submit to men, and have no other will than that of our superiors, the more completely we shall become masters of our wills and bring them into conformity with the will of God.'"
— Fr. Thomas Dubay, p. 239
Fire Within

"For through the law I died to the law, that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me."
Galatians 2:19-20


click to read more

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St. Rafqa / Rafka (Arabic for Rebecca) (1832–1914) was born in Himlaya, a Maronite village in the Lebanese mountains. She was an only child, and her mother died when she was seven. After her father's remarriage there was much family discord as to whom Rafqa should marry. Not wanting to wed any of the men in question, she turned to God and entered religious life at the age of 21. She had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary which she learned from her mother. She studied and served as a teacher for many years, but, after witnessing and surviving a massacre of Christians, she decided at the age of 39 to become a cloistered contemplative nun living under a strict rule in a monastery. Here, Rafqa prayed earnestly that she might share in the sufferings of Christ. Her prayers were heard almost immediately. She became blind and paralyzed, and over the course of 30 years she struggled with deteriorating health and incredible pain. All of her sufferings she united to the sufferings of Christ without complaint. Under obedience to her superior she worked on an autobiography near the end of her life. She died at the age of 82, and her grave is credited with many miracles. St. Rafqa is a Catholic Maronite saint canonized by Pope St. John Paul II in 2001. She is the patron of sick people, bodily ills, and loss of parents. Her feast day is March 23rd.

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Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 252

Reading I

Nm 21:4-9

From Mount Hor the children of Israel set out on the Red Sea road,
to bypass the land of Edom.
But with their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and Moses,
"Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!"

In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents,
which bit the people so that many of them died.
Then the people came to Moses and said,
"We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.
Pray the LORD to take the serpents away from us."
So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses,
"Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live."
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole,
and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent
looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Responsorial Psalm

102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21

R. (2) O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
O LORD, hear my prayer,

and let my cry come to you.
Hide not your face from me

in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;

in the day when I call, answer me speedily.
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,

and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion

and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,

and not despised their prayer.
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
Let this be written for the generation to come,

and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
"The LORD looked down from his holy height,

from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,

to release those doomed to die."
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.

Verse before the Gospel
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.


Jn 8:21-30

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
"I am going away and you will look for me,
but you will die in your sin.
Where I am going you cannot come."
So the Jews said,
"He is not going to kill himself, is he,
because he said, 'Where I am going you cannot come'?"
He said to them, "You belong to what is below,
I belong to what is above.
You belong to this world,
but I do not belong to this world.
That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.
For if you do not believe that I AM,
you will die in your sins."
So they said to him, "Who are you?"
Jesus said to them, "What I told you from the beginning.
I have much to say about you in condemnation.
But the one who sent me is true,
and what I heard from him I tell the world."
They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.
So Jesus said to them,
"When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me.
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him."
Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.

ANF 21

If you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins. (John 8:24)

Jesus isn't just talking about physical death here. He is also talking about the spiritual death that is the state of everyone who is bound up in sin. He is warning his listeners that if they don't come to him in faith, they risk spending the rest of their lives in a kind of living death. They risk going through life unable to shake off the weight of their sins and then taking those sins with them into eternity.

Try to imagine a life without Christ. Without him, there is no relief from the burden of guilt. There is no divine grace to strengthen us against temptation. And worst of all, there is no gift of the Holy Spirit to shine God's love into our hearts. Granted, we might come to a kind of stalemate in the fight against some of our sins. But that's as far as most of us will get. Where is the victory? Where is the joy in God's mercy?

That's not the life Jesus wants for you—or for anyone! His sacrifice on the cross was more than a symbol of his love. It's more than an example of extreme goodness that he hopes will inspire us to try harder. It's the very power and wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24). It's the one singular "righteous act" that brings "acquittal and life" to everyone who comes to him (Romans 5:18).

That's the good news in today's Gospel: Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, has taken away the sins of the world. By his cross, he has made atonement for all your sins and the sins of everyone you could ever think of. No one who turns to him has to remain dead in their sins. No one has to go through life repeating the same sins over and over again. Everyone can be freed from the darkness of sin and brought into the light of God's love.

Jesus promised that when we lift him up on the cross, we'll see how far he went in order to save us. So fix your eyes on Christ crucified today. Gaze upon him and see his love streaming out toward you. Let that love bring you from death into life.

"Thank you, Jesus, for rescuing me from sin and death!"

Numbers 21:4-9
Psalm 102:2-3, 16-21



The more one loves, the more he sees ultimate reality. Love puts one into contact with God and with men as nothing else does. The person who loves fully sees deeply.
— Fr. Thomas Dubay
from his book Authenticity: A Biblical Theology of Discernment


"Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live."
Our Lord on the cross is the representation of this exodus salvation. This is why Catholics, the first Christians wear and use a crucifix, a cross with the body of the One who took on our infirmity of sin that causes death.


We pray: " O LORD, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you. Hide not your face from me in the day of my distress. Incline your ear to me; in the day when I call, answer me speedily."
For all those who have tried the faith, and then let go, what will become of you whe you call out to the Lord after all your complaints? Who will save you? And for all who have not take on the faith yet, what's keeping you from it? Is it fear? Most often it is fear.


Our Lord said: ""When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM..."
And He was raised up on a cross, for the world to see that He Is. He is what? Good question for you to fnd out. The bible says "taste and see". Our Lord issued a command to "come and see". Aren't you curious? How can we raise up Christ to see that He Is? It is only the that we will see. Our Lord is asking for faith once again. Faith from those who are faithless. Faith to raise Him up. But He is already raised. So how can you raise Him up? Praise. Worship. Adoration. Praying all day. Giving Him credit where credit is due. And it is due always. And this brings us to thanksgiving. The Eucharist, His Precious body as life saving vaccination against death and sin. His water is offered in the Holy Sacraments. Water from the side of His Body. I have seen the before and after effects of someone before receiving the Sacraments. They turn into light. We turn into another form and being. We turn into Him as we partake of what He offers.

So let us help each other raise one another up. Want to convert a soul?Want to helpl save their life? Then pour yourself out too. Raise them up. Praise them up. Even your enemies. God let them be more, and then He was revealed. The last shall truly be first.

Father in Heaven, I praise thee, for I am fearfully made, to fear and adore, and raise thee above all. May we be your Holy Will forever. Amen

from your brother in Christ our Lord,


Random online bible verse from a random verse generator:

Mark 12:30–31

30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."


If one day you don't receive these, just visit
God Bless You! Peace

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