†Saint Quote "Pray with great confidence, with confidence based on the goodness and infinite generosity of God and upon the promises of Jesus Christ. God is a spring of living water which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray." –St. Louis De Montfort
†Today's Meditation "I saw my Guardian Angel, who ordered me to follow him. In a moment I was in a misty place full of fire in which there was a great crowd of suffering souls. They were praying fervently, but without effect for themselves; only we can come to their aid. The flames which were burning them do not touch me at all. My Guardian Angel did not leave me for an instant. I asked these souls what their greatest suffering was. They answered me in one voice that their greatest torment was longing for God . . . [I heard an interior voice] which said, My mercy does not want this, but justice demands it." —St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, p. 35
An Excerpt From Hungry Souls
†Daily Verse "If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing." –1 John 1:9
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St. Cyril of Jerusalem
St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386 A.D.) was a well-educated man from Jerusalem and a scholar of Sacred Scripture. He was ordained a priest by the bishop of Jerusalem shortly after the legalization of Christianity in the Roman Empire. He was given the task of catechizing new Christians leading up to and immediately following their baptism. Later he himself became bishop of Jerusalem, and soon after his ordination a miraculous apparition of a cross appeared in the sky, visible to the whole city. Because St. Cyril defended Christ's full humanity and divinity against the Arian heresy, he was exiled from his bishopric three times in twenty years due to misunderstandings, intrigue, and politics. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem is one of the early Church Fathers and one of the most important sources for how the early Church celebrated the liturgy and sacraments during the first few decades after Christianity was legalized. For St. Cyril's work in catechesis he was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII in 1883. His feast day is March 18th.
Friday of the Second Week of Lent
Reading I Gn 37:3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28a
Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age; and he had made him a long tunic. When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons, they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.
One day, when his brothers had gone to pasture their father's flocks at Shechem, Israel said to Joseph, "Your brothers, you know, are tending our flocks at Shechem. Get ready; I will send you to them."
So Joseph went after his brothers and caught up with them in Dothan. They noticed him from a distance, and before he came up to them, they plotted to kill him. They said to one another: "Here comes that master dreamer! Come on, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here; we could say that a wild beast devoured him. We shall then see what comes of his dreams."
When Reuben heard this, he tried to save him from their hands, saying, "We must not take his life. Instead of shedding blood," he continued, "just throw him into that cistern there in the desert; but do not kill him outright." His purpose was to rescue him from their hands and return him to his father. So when Joseph came up to them, they stripped him of the long tunic he had on; then they took him and threw him into the cistern, which was empty and dry.
They then sat down to their meal. Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum, balm and resin to be taken down to Egypt. Judah said to his brothers: "What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood? Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites, instead of doing away with him ourselves. After all, he is our brother, our own flesh." His brothers agreed. They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.
Responsorial Psalm 105:16-17, 18-19, 20-21
R. (5a) Remember the marvels the Lord has done. When the LORD called down a famine on the land
and ruined the crop that sustained them, He sent a man before them,
Joseph, sold as a slave. R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done. They had weighed him down with fetters,
and he was bound with chains, Till his prediction came to pas
and the word of the LORD proved him true. R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done. The king sent and released him,
the ruler of the peoples set him free. He made him lord of his house
and ruler of all his possessions. R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
Verse Before the Gospel Jn 3:16
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son; so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.
Gospel Mt 21:33-43, 45-46
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: "Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, 'They will respect my son.' But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.' They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?" They answered him, "He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times." Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?
Therefore, I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit." When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew that he was speaking about them. And although they were attempting to arrest him, they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.
Daily Meditation: Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28
They hated him so much that they would not even greet him. (Genesis 37:4)
There is a reason that self-help books about sibling rivalry remain popular year after year. Every parent knows that their children, lovable as they are, can also be very jealous of and competitive with each other. The story of Joseph and his brothers is just one of many accounts in the Bible that show how hard it can be for siblings to get along. Like Cain and Abel, Rachel and Leah, and Jacob and Esau, this story is filled with suspicion, envy, and rivalry.
We might be surprised to find such stories in the Bible, but we also might be a little relieved. It can be comforting to know that not even the great heroes of Scripture were immune from family conflicts. That means there's hope for us as well!
But what can we do about it? Again, Scripture can help us. If you were to read the whole story of Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 37–50), you would discover a story of treachery, deceit, betrayal, and . . . forgiveness. The story ends well because Joseph found it in his heart to forgive his brothers, and they had become humble enough to repent and receive his forgiveness.
Jesus told us to seek forgiveness as often as we need to and to offer it as often as we are able to (Matthew 18:21-35). It doesn't always have to be for big problems like the ones the sons of Jacob faced—although those definitely should be dealt with. Often enough, it's the little irritants of the day that need to be cleared away before they grow into larger or more long-standing patterns of sin.
Simply asking a family member to forgive these little offenses can open up new avenues of understanding, respect, and love. It can also make room for the Spirit to heal relationships and to draw family members closer together.
Jesus wants to teach us how to live in mercy and love, especially in our families. He knows that if we base our relationships on day-to-day forgiveness, we'll be more willing to show mercy when larger challenges come our way. United under the banner of forgiveness, we will find the grace to weather any storm!
"Lord, help us become quick to repent and eager to forgive."
Psalm 105:16-21 Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46
From today's 1st Holy Scripture: "They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver."
How much is 20 pieces of silver worth today? Today it's about $25 an ounce and gold is about $1933 an ounce. Joseph was sold very a price nowhere near the price of gold.
What is the blood of your brother worth? What about your half brother? Now, what about the blood of a stranger?
Yet God pours His own blood for the worthless in our esteem. Not a sparrow falls without His knowing...yet, He calls us His own children. What is this price paid worth?
Do you know how much it costs to pay for one little sin? You wouldn't want to know. It would devastate you. You may even lose hope. I will not tell you, because I have been called to write about mercy and that what covers a multitude of sins.
We pray in Psalms: "When the LORD called down a famine on the land and ruined the crop that sustained them, He sent a man before them, Joseph, sold as a slave. Remember the marvels the Lord has done."
Our Lord speaks: "Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.'"
What value have you put on Christ's head? To one of His own disciples, it was about 30 pieces of silver. Not even gold.
For how much do people trade God for nowadays?
In the United States, they made an exception for those that "HAVE TO" work on Sundays for Catholics. Let's say a poor person has to work on Sunday for minimum wage. Today that'd be about $7.25 an hour. How long would it take for Mass (not traditional latin mass). A regular Holy Mass takes about 1 hour, plus travel time, give it another hour. You'd trade in our Lord for less than one ounce of silver. Worse than Judas to Jesus. Worse than Joseph's brothers.
They say that in the end times, faith will be of very little value. And if this monetary evidence proves true, we are in for some hard times. Because nowadays, people don't miss too much for work reasons. Most take Sundays off to stay home or hit pleasure places, hobbies and such. So, they trade His blood for zero dollars. What's worse, is that if you are not giving to God (in Church, making fruit in the vineyard) you are actually robbing the Church, the Body of Christ. Need I touch upon a venial sin? We are talking now mortal sins that bring eternal damnation, and people see it as no big deal.
These are the days to repent of our evil ways. I'm preaching to the choir here, most here are faithful, but are we really?
I remember one time I was at a prison doing a retreat, and I felt extreme anguish and feared I was going to be assaulted by a prisoner and all for what? I'll tell you what caused it, I said something he didn't like to hear and I felt he was being territorial, especially in the realm of pride. What was so bad? Did I insult his family? Did I embarrass him in front of all his comrades? NO! Heavens why would I harm a soul I was trying to save? I said something I'm telling you today. "You're not ready (for the free world)". That's it. Oh man was I in for it, I was rejected and I knew I was not welcome there anymore. But I said it for his own good because I could feel the hatred that would ensue. This attitude does not belong in Heaven.
So why did the vineyard people reject the vineyard's son and all the prior messengers (and prophets)? Because, they wanted ownership. Now we can begin to talk about Genesis. Now we can begin to talk about how evil came into the world whence the prince of lights was cast down.
When have you rejected Christ yourself? Wouldn't you like to know? Or would you even like to know at all? Regardless, those rejections will be brought up at the first judgement. I know when of the times when I've been rejected, but do I know when I rejected other people? How are we to know? All I can tell you is this revelation: it is better to be overly kind and generous, than to risk not being charitable at all. Such is the calling from Mercy Himself. He didn't say "go the extra mile" for no reason. If someone asks for something, double it and don't ask for anything back. Wow! That don't sound right now does it? Not if you go by the world's standards and rules on "respect". But respect has nothing on humility. Humility goes above and beyond respect, it dives into true love, where giving is one way and Mercy presides and rules with righteousness and justice. Lord, today, Friday, You gave Your life on this memorable day forever. Accept my prayer, my life, for mercy so I too may become as merciful as You My Lord, and King, and Father.
from your brother in Christ, Adrian
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