Friday, March 26, 2021

..I AM the Son .. †


Say No to Gossip

"If we are a little envious of one person or another, we don't contain our envy but sometimes share it with others by speaking badly about the person. This is how gossip seeks to grow and spread to another person and yet another. This is the way gossip works, and we have all been tempted to gossip. I too have been tempted to gossip! It is a daily temptation that begins slowly, like a trickle of water. This is why we have to be careful when we feel something in our heart that would lead to destroying people, destroying reputations, destroying our lives, leading us into worldliness and sin. We must be careful because if we do not stop ourselves in time, that trickle of water, when it grows and spreads, will become a tidal wave that leads us to justify ourselves, just as the people from the day's Gospel justified themselves and eventually said of Jesus: "It is better that one man die for the people."—Pope Francis

The tension in the Gospel of John, even more than in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, is that from the beginning, Jesus is clearly the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God. If all we have are the Synoptic Gospels, we can almost be persuaded that Jesus of Nazareth was a good and holy man who went about the countryside teaching people about God, healing their diseases, and preaching a moral lifestyle. In the Gospel of John, we have to wrestle with the fact that this good and holy man is in fact the human manifestation of the one, true God. And yet, Pope Francis always finds a way of bringing lofty theology to a level where we can see clearly how it can have an impact on our everyday lives. One of his frequent themes is the danger of gossip. Here he reminds us that our very tendency to dismiss it as a minor failing belies the danger it can have in disrupting relationships, social structures, and ultimately lives.

We have opportunities every single day to say no to gossip. Find a way to pay attention to those opportunities for the next few days. You might want to keep a paper tally, a click of a counter app on your phone, moving a small item (a paperclip, a pebble, a dried bean) from one pocket to another. Just the act of noting these times may be enough of a reminder not to indulge in this seemingly minor sin.

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

by Diane M. Houdek


†Saint Quote
"O man, when the world hates you and is faithless toward you, think of your God, how he was struck and spat upon. You should not accuse your neighbor of guilt, but pray to God that he be merciful to you both."
— St. Nicholas of Flue

"This world is filled with many vulgar and dishonorable things that will claw and tear at your Christian purity if you allow them to. Don't let them! Seek instead the things of God. He will purify you and free you from your slavery to profane and inconsequential things."
— Patrick Madrid, p.1
A Year with the Bible

"Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off."
Proverbs 23:17-18


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St. Margaret Clitherow (1556-1586), also called Margaret of York, lived in York, England, the daughter of a candlemaker and wife of a wealthy Protestant butcher. She was raised Anglican just after the time that King Henry VIII severed the Church of England from communion with the Roman Catholic Church. A few years after her marriage, at the age of 18, she converted to the Catholic Church due to the work of covert missionary Catholic priests. While her husband remained Protestant, she aided persecuted Catholics by sheltering priests (which included her brother-in-law) and having Mass and Confessions said in her home, which became a safe house and hiding place for priests. Margaret witnessed the tortuous death of many of the priests she aided, and she would publicly pray on the spot of their martyrdom. Undaunted in her work, she was imprisoned numerous times. On her final arrest she was charged for harboring Catholic priests and was condemned to a public execution by being crushed to death, a martyrdom of which she considered herself unworthy. All three of her children entered the religious life, two priests and a nun. St. Margaret Clitherow, the "Pearl of York," is the patron saint of martyrs, businesswomen, and converts. Her feast day is March 26th.


Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Lectionary: 255
Reading I

Jer 20:10-13

I hear the whisperings of many:

"Terror on every side!

Denounce! let us denounce him!"
All those who were my friends

are on the watch for any misstep of mine.
"Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail,

and take our vengeance on him."
But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion:

my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.
In their failure they will be put to utter shame,

to lasting, unforgettable confusion.
O LORD of hosts, you who test the just,

who probe mind and heart,
Let me witness the vengeance you take on them,

for to you I have entrusted my cause.
Sing to the LORD,

praise the LORD,
For he has rescued the life of the poor

from the power of the wicked!

Responsorial Psalm

18:2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 7

R. (see 7) In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
I love you, O LORD, my strength,

O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
My God, my rock of refuge,

my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!
Praised be the LORD, I exclaim,

and I am safe from my enemies.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
The breakers of death surged round about me,

the destroying floods overwhelmed me;
The cords of the nether world enmeshed me,

the snares of death overtook me.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
In my distress I called upon the LORD

and cried out to my God;
From his temple he heard my voice,

and my cry to him reached his ears.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.

Verse before the Gospel

See Jn 6:63c, 68c

Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.


Jn 10:31-42

The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus.
Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from my Father.
For which of these are you trying to stone me?"
The Jews answered him,
"We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.
You, a man, are making yourself God."
Jesus answered them,
"Is it not written in your law, 'I said, 'You are gods"'?
If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came,
and Scripture cannot be set aside,
can you say that the one
whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world
blasphemes because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?
If I do not perform my Father's works, do not believe me;
but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me,
believe the works, so that you may realize and understand
that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."
Then they tried again to arrest him;
but he escaped from their power.

He went back across the Jordan
to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.
Many came to him and said,
"John performed no sign,
but everything John said about this man was true."
And many there began to believe in him.


Daily Meditation: Jeremiah 20:10-13

Let us denounce him! (Jeremiah 20:10)

A woman was serving hot meals to homeless men and women at her downtown parish when one of the men approached the lunch counter. Out of the blue, he asked her, "How's business going for you these days?"

As it turned out, the woman's personal business was facing problems, and she told him so. The man responded by pointing toward heaven. "Just trust him," he said, gazing upward with a smile. The woman, taking these words as a sign of assurance from God, began to weep.

The story doesn't end there, however. Another homeless man looking on misunderstood the situation and thought that the man's words had upset the woman. So he ran after him and tackled him to the ground. Once the truth became known, the attacker apologized and returned sheepishly to his lunch.

This true story is an example of what might happen to people who take the risk of sharing a word of faith or a message from Scripture with someone. Just look at the prophet Jeremiah. He endured criticism, denunciation, and even violence for rebuking the people of Jerusalem and urging them to repent for the ways they had strayed from God. In today's first reading, Jeremiah describes how his former friends cast him off because they didn't like what God was saying through him. Jesus himself was also treated this way; in today's Gospel, he was nearly stoned to death for speaking what the Jewish leaders considered blasphemy (John 10:33).

Life isn't easy for prophets. When they bring God's message—especially if it is one people don't want to hear—they often encounter opposition. But God still calls each of us to be prophets in the world. Because Jesus lives in us, we can be living expressions of hope, encouragement, truth, and sometimes conviction to others.

Of course, we might be taking a risk. We might be misunderstood. Just look at what happened to Jeremiah and the man at the lunch counter! But we might also be giving a much-needed word to someone. And that's definitely worth the risk!

"Father, help me to abide in you so that my words can make you known to the people around me."

Psalm 18:2-7
John 10:31-42



Love of ourselves and love of our neighbor ultimately are for God's sake, as is our love of God. Love then is not essentially a feeling. It is the whole direction our life takes toward our being better integrated in ourselves, in communion with others and in communion with God.
— Fr. Gary Lauenstein
from his book The Heart of Holiness


"Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD, For he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked!"
What a peculiar ending verse for all that was said before, "terror on every side" and "Denounce! let us denounce him!"
Yet Scripture, the Holy Word of God keeps saying that He is Savior, hero, and triumphant. It keeps asking us for faith, and you too can be saved and triumphant. If we become one with the truth, triumphant we shall be.


Today we pray: "In my distress I called upon the LORD and cried out to my God;
From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears."
Many times when I'm in deep pray for help, I envision myself kneeled before the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle in the Catholic Church. And with cries and supplications of a sincere prayer, I ask for help. I remember about a month or two ago I actually drove there at night to pray desperately, and the doors were locked, and once again, I put my spirit on my knees before Him, although I could not physically, I was there full heartedly. And a miracle ensued that I cannot forget, like the time a friend was trying to commit suicide, and after praying there, He answered his phone and told us where he was at. God hears true prayers and supplications, yet the kind that are not so demanding, but just sincere, like a baby without a fault.


Our Lord asked those trying to stone him ""Is it not written in your law, 'I said, 'You are gods"'?
Say what? Well there you go, God calls us His children and this cannot be more clear. So what happens in the life of a god? Lots of things happen in the temple of God. But it is designed to house the good for praise and worship and sacrifice to Our Father. And what is beautiful is the power of God, the authority we have and can give to let spirits inside of us. That there is mind boggling and amazing. So, wouldn't you rather house pure and Holy Spirits? We should, and we can. How? You are the gatekeeper. You can control what comes in and what goes out of your temple.

Our Lord then said: "If I do not perform my Father's works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."
The reason I spoke of the miracles at the Tabernacle was for what we just heard from our Lord. I had this verse in mind the whole time I typed to speak to you about works, and more specifically, the works of God. Everything to God is in works, because His Word becomes works, like the dawn of creation to this very day where we are experiencing His works and hand in our lives. Always "taste and see" comes to mind. Taste and see the goodness, and the works of God. Let yourself be amazed. An amazed child soon becomes a holy child. What have I witnessed lately that is amazing? I live in a desert type area, but as we enter the Holy week, all the dead, will come to life, all the dead grass, all the dead trees, everything will come back to life with Easter. Already some trees I see are blooming white in anticipation, they just can't wait for our Lord, to give Him honor and glory. If mother earth does this, how can we not do the same? my child, I want you to be an amazing child of God. He loves you and holds you in His mind as a mother does her little child. He sees not all the bad things you do now and hate about yourself, but He sees also the innocent child you desire to be. Those children are truly happy. I just came back from daily Mass, and our Church is across the street from an elementary school. When I walked out, I heard children playing, laughing, and screaming on the playground. Music to my ears. I'm amazed at the blooming of God, life given to be honored and cherished at every moment...

Lord, You are Amazing Father.
If only we can amaze you so much more, how happy Thou would be! Can I amaze you by offering a little sacrifice today? I can. And I shall....because I love Thee...

from your brother in Christ our Lord,


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God Bless You! Peace

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