Thursday, April 22, 2021

Everyone Who Listens to . .. †


Francis and Clare

Many metaphors have been employed to paint the picture of the relationship between Francis and Clare of Assisi. Clare, having once used the phrase "a little plant" to describe her rapport with Francis, unwittingly contributed to maintaining the image of a passive woman totally dependent on the male leader and teacher for her identity. Years of study influenced by feminist scholarship and diligent work on sources from that period have allowed Clare's person to emerge with clearer lines, with far more depth than previously imagined. Still, the desire to find the precise category for the friendship of these two saints continues to haunt us. Father-daughter, brother-sister, master-disciple, soul friend, spiritual lover, actual lover—these descriptions have currency in many narratives and dramatic portraits. What they shared was the mysterious and generous outpouring of God's Holy Spirit granting each a profound desire to live the teachings of Jesus without compromise.

— from the book Light of Assisi: The Story of Saint Clare

by Margaret Carney, OSF


†Saint Quote
"Know that the greatest service that man can offer to God is to help convert souls."
— St. Rose of Lima

"The soul, however, cannot be perfectly purified from these imperfections, any more than from the others, until God shall have led it into the passive purgation of the dark night, of which I shall speak immediately. But it is expedient that the soul, so far as it can, should labor, on its own part, to purify and perfect itself, that it may merit from God to be taken under His divine care, and be healed from those imperfections which of itself it cannot remedy. For, after all the efforts of the soul, it cannot by any exertions of its own actively purify itself so as to be in the slightest degree fit for the divine union of perfection in the love of God, if God Himself does not take it into His own hands and purify it in the fire, dark to the soul."
— St. John of the Cross, p.14
Dark Night of the Soul

"Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father."
Matthew 10:32-33


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Pope St. Soter (c. 174-175 A.D.) was born in Fondi, Italy. Nothing is known of his early life. He served as the 12th bishop of Rome from c.167 to 175 A.D. He was praised for his fatherly tenderness in comforting, both with words and generous alms, those who suffered for their Catholic faith, especially remote Christian churches living in poverty. He is said to have written an encyclical against Montanism – a heresy which maintained that a Christian who sinned gravely could never be redeemed. Pope St. Soter also declared that marriage was only a valid sacrament when blessed by a priest. The manner of Pope St. Soter's death is uncertain; one tradition holds that he was martyred on April 22, 175 A.D., under the Christian persecution of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. He was buried in Rome on the Appian Way in the catacombs of St. Callixtus. His feast day is April 22nd.


Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

Lectionary: 276
Reading I

Acts 8:26-40

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip,
"Get up and head south on the road
that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route."
So he got up and set out.
Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch,
a court official of the Candace,
that is, the queen of the Ethiopians,
in charge of her entire treasury,
who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home.
Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
The Spirit said to Philip,
"Go and join up with that chariot."
Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said,
"Do you understand what you are reading?"
He replied,
"How can I, unless someone instructs me?"
So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him.
This was the Scripture passage he was reading:

Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,

and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,

so he opened not his mouth.

In his humiliation justice was denied him.

Who will tell of his posterity?

For his life is taken from the earth.

Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply,
"I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this?
About himself, or about someone else?"
Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this Scripture passage,
he proclaimed Jesus to him.
As they traveled along the road
they came to some water,
and the eunuch said, "Look, there is water.
What is to prevent my being baptized?"
Then he ordered the chariot to stop,
and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water,
and he baptized him.
When they came out of the water,
the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away,
and the eunuch saw him no more,
but continued on his way rejoicing.
Philip came to Azotus, and went about proclaiming the good news
to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

Responsorial Psalm

66:8-9, 16-17, 20

R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R. Alleluia.

Bless our God, you peoples,

loudly sound his praise;
He has given life to our souls,

and has not let our feet slip.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R. Alleluia.

Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare

what he has done for me.
When I appealed to him in words,

praise was on the tip of my tongue.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R. Alleluia.

Blessed be God who refused me not

my prayer or his kindness!
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R. Alleluia.


Jn 6:51

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord;
whoever eats this bread will live forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Jn 6:44-51

Jesus said to the crowds:
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:

They shall all be taught by God.

Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my Flesh for the life of the world."


Daily Meditation: Acts 8:1-8

Philip went down to the city of Samaria. (Acts 8:5)

Philip was preaching the good news—in Samaria, of all places! To understand how radical that would have been in Jesus' time, we need some context.

The rupture between Jews and Samaritans was as bristling and adversarial as any modern political divide. It was founded on the Jews' conviction that Samaritans had departed from orthodox beliefs. The hostility, deemed righteous by some Jews, resulted in deeper and deeper avoidance and hatred of one another (John 4:9).

Jesus and his followers had been caught in the ugliness of the divide themselves. One Samaritan village had refused to offer them hospitality (Luke 9:52-53). Another time, someone "insulted" Jesus by calling him a Samaritan, implying that he was as despicable and lawbreaking as they were said to be (John 8:48).

It seems as if the Samaritans were the last people on earth that faithful Jews would want to treat like family. They were more like estranged relatives! So they were the last people on earth to whom the long-awaited Messiah would reveal himself—or at least that's what many Jews, including the disciples, probably thought.

But Jesus listened to his Father. In unity with the Father's will, he told his disciples, "I will not reject anyone who comes to me" (John 6:37). His Father willed—as he still does today—that everyone who believes in the Son will have eternal life (6:40). Jesus lived out this deep, wide receptivity by offering the living water of salvation to Samaritans (4:10) and by asking his disciples to witness to them as brothers and sisters (Acts 1:8). In turn, believers like Philip went on to preach the message of salvation and healing through Jesus in Samaria.

We are all tempted at times to close ourselves off from people we don't understand or with whom we disagree. But Jesus shows us that no one in the world is unworthy or excluded from his family. Today, pray for a spirit of openness and receptivity so that you, like Philip, are willing to share the love of God with everyone, no matter who they are.

"Jesus, widen my heart to witness with love to the people I disagree with."

Psalm 66:1-7
John 6:35-40



When God finds a person determined to obey him, he takes the life of that person in his hands like the helm of a boat or the reins of a horse. Not just in theory, but in reality, he becomes 'Lord,' that is, he who 'rules' and 'governs.'
— Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa


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""Do you understand what you are reading?"
He replied, "How can I, unless someone instructs me?" So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him. "

By now, you've read reflections, prayers, Scriptures and saw some inspirational quotes if you're reading the reflections on going4th, pulled from all sorts of sites, and I've read a few extra reflections on my own. In this bit, I share daily my faith, a daily testimony, a great Amen! To all we've studied so far.

So here is today's. I remember speaking with my college student nephew/godson a couple weeks ago, when he asked about scriptures. We baptized him as a baby with his natural father. Then his parents were divorced, and my sister married what I always said was an anti-Catholic man. They went to their church and declared everything Catholics did were wrong and we were disconnected for many years, literally, we weren't allowed near them very much. I remember one awkward time we went to their house on a birthday and I was not really welcomed in their home and so I hung out as they spoke with their own friends and family and I left my gifts for several last birthdays I hadn't seen them. We eventually left. Years later, they started coming around and we started to hang out. At one point I asked if I could share scripture with them, I was welcomed, I opened their eyes to biblical baptisms and the resurrection things these bible people didn't apparently know. Fast forward years later, many kids later, many arguments later, the family gets divorced. And now my nephew is on his own asking about faith. Alone trying to figure things out. I brought up the scripture about the Ethiopian eunuch, and his super important question to Philip: ""How can I (know scripture), unless someone instructs me?" And I told my nephew "that's how it is with a Catholic and a Protestant. The Catholic wrote the bible. The Catholic is the Philip and the Protestant is the Eunuch. The Catholic theologian and scholar knows scripture, or just a simply layperson that knows some apologetics like me. We can open up your eyes, you no longer have to guess and make up theories in scripture like the "rapture" and the "left behind" things of Revelation they've devised on their own. And the important part is that you know your stuff. Tune into apologetics, Catholic News and not Catholic gossips sites because I've seen some horrendous sites with attacks within the Church, disgusting, but, don't throw the baby with the bath water, there are some grains of truth, but not to dismiss the whole Church because of non perfections.


We pray in the Psalms: "Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare what he has done for me. When I appealed to him in words, praise was on the tip of my tongue. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy."
What testimony do you believe? Do you believe the testimony of our Lord? I sometimes find it hard to write testimony, because...well, I don't feel worthy, because of my imperfect self. I want my testimony to be real. I sometimes wonder, would more people tune in if I were more real? But I do fear our Lord, and I'm afraid NOT to share the light He has And so I sing and cry for Joy. Just last night after Holy daily Mass with my family, I got back on virtual CCD class with first communion teens. At one point I told them that my heart was full of joy and my eyes were tearing up, for them, having received our Lord, I was now speaking with a heart on fire. And it happens. It came about because I asked for a testimony from them. They said they felt happy now. And I could tell something inside was joy speaking. I told them "it can be like this forever! Sin makes you sad, but remain true and faithful and you will have that joy as I speak with tears in my eyes in testimony!!"


Our Lord says in the Gospel: "Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me."
The Ethiopian eunuch listened, but only after he invited Philip onboard with him, letting Philip, thus our Lord into his life. Thus, the Word spreads to nations. And what was a eunuch anyway? A eunuch is a castrated man dedicated to serving the palace or Kingdom. It is interesting to see this Ethiopian speaking with Philip, in the same tongue and then being baptized, and saved, and transformed forever. Just a day or two ago, I was told by a RCIA student how excited they were to receive our Lord soon and I said "Amen, a newness in life awaits with grace and mercy" and this is forever. This comes from our Lord, true joy. And I write for you to persist and fight for holiness, every single day, to remain in the joy and light of our Lord.

Our Lord said: "Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life."
I am confident my child, in His Word today, that what He has said will be. Because you receive Him in the Holy Eucharist, you will have eternal life. This should cause much joy inside of you. What is eternal life? And why is there so many opposed to it? In communism, the state becomes a god that declares there is no eternity. In scientism, there is no belief in it either. Atheists refuse to believe, unless they are agnostic and not true atheists. So what is it about eternal life causing such a great rift? A sword! This even became a hot button issue among Jews in the time of our Lord. Eternal life is God's promise, to the faithful. But what is it? Life with God. And this is Heaven. Life without Him is hell. It is how it is on earth multiplied times a million. So how can we spend life eternal with Him now? Be close to Him. Especially in the Holy Sacraments of the Holy Catholic Church. Holy doesn't mean perfect, but a fight to perfection in holiness. What's more, the simple belief moves mountains and launches trees into the sea. I share my testimony so that you may move mountains. I truly believe the little I do, will make for greater glory in you and the world we live in. Do you believe you are doing the same?

Let us pray:
Lord, I am so thankful for having received You into my body and soul in the Holy Eucharist. May I begin to open up the eyes of those around me every day, to Your Marvelous works of Salvation! Infuse Thy Holy Spirit in us from now one to be Thy Light for the world...Amen.

from your brother in Christ our Lord,


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Psalm 27:1

The Lord Is My Light and My Salvation
Of David.


The LORD is my light and my salvation;

whom shall I fear?

The LORD is the stronghold1 of my life;

of whom shall I be afraid?


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

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