Wednesday, January 25, 2023

† "..These Signs Will . . . "


†Saint Quote
"We bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus."
–St. Paul

†Today's Meditation
"In seeing the witness of St. Paul, we need to remind ourselves that each of us is invited to encounter Jesus of Nazareth and that each of us is given an invitation to accept Him as Lord and Messiah. Jesus chooses us and offers us the powerful opportunity to enter into a loving relationship with Him (cf. Jn 15:16). We are offered His friendship, even as He manifests His friendship to us…The Lord asks us the pressing question: "Who do you say that I am?" The answer to this essential question is the determining factor of where the Lord's invitation will go in our lives, and whether the door of faith will continue to be opened to us."
—Father Jeffrey Kirby, STL, p.16

An Excerpt From
Lord Teach Us to Pray

†Daily Verse
"Now as [Saul who is also called Paul] journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do."
–Act 9:3-6


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The Conversion of St. Paul of Tarsus

St. Paul the Apostle, originally named Saul, was an intelligent and zealous Jewish scholar and Pharisee who fiercely persecuted the first Christian converts among the Jews. While on his way to Damascus with permission to arrest Christians, he received a vision of the resurrected Christ. Jesus rebuked him for his actions and struck him blind, and through this encounter St. Paul was converted. God then used St. Paul and his zeal to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, especially to the Gentiles. St. Paul was martyred in Rome in the year 65 A.D. The feast day of St. Paul's conversion is celebrated on January 25.


Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle

Reading 1 Acts 22:3-16

Paul addressed the people in these words:
"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia,
but brought up in this city.
At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law
and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.
I persecuted this Way to death,
binding both men and women and delivering them to prison.
Even the high priest and the whole council of elders
can testify on my behalf.
For from them I even received letters to the brothers
and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem
in chains for punishment those there as well.
"On that journey as I drew near to Damascus,
about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me.
I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me,
'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'
I replied, 'Who are you, sir?'
And he said to me,
'I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.'
My companions saw the light
but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.
I asked, 'What shall I do, sir?'
The Lord answered me, 'Get up and go into Damascus,
and there you will be told about everything
appointed for you to do.'
Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light,
I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.
"A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law,
and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
came to me and stood there and said,
'Saul, my brother, regain your sight.'
And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw him.
Then he said,
'The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will,
to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice;
for you will be his witness before all
to what you have seen and heard.
Now, why delay?
Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away,
calling upon his name.'"
Acts 9:1-22
Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
He said, "Who are you, sir?"
The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do."
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.
There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, Ananias."
He answered, "Here I am, Lord."
The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight."
But Ananias replied,
"Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name."
But the Lord said to him,
"Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name."
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
"Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.
He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
All who heard him were astounded and said,
"Is not this the man who in Jerusalem
ravaged those who call upon this name,
and came here expressly to take them back in chains
to the chief priests?"
But Saul grew all the stronger
and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus,
proving that this is the Christ.

Responsorial Psalm 117:1bc, 2

R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 15:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I chose you from the world,
to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 16:15-18

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
"Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."


Daily Meditation: Acts 22:3-16

I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting. (Acts 22:8)

What was it that changed Paul so drastically? In a blinding moment of clarity, the man who had been schooled in the Law and bent on persecuting Christians became humbled, helpless, and in need of guidance for his next steps—both physically and spiritually.

What changed Paul was his encounter with the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus. And what an encounter it was! The brightness of Jesus' glory temporarily blinded Paul, but his voice could not have been clearer: "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" (Acts 22:7). In that moment, Paul knew how wrong he had been. Jesus was not a false prophet who had deserved to die, and his followers were not delusional. Instead, Jesus was truly alive, and Paul learned that when he persecuted Jesus' followers, he was persecuting Jesus himself.

Paul's first words to Jesus were "What shall I do, sir?" (Acts 22:10). Jesus told him to go into Damascus, where he would meet the disciple Ananias and be baptized (22:12-21). In time Paul would travel far and wide proclaiming the good news. As dedicated as this man had once been to tearing down that body of believers, he would now be completely devoted to building it up. And build it he did, founding small communities of believers wherever he went.

What shall I do, Lord? On today's feast of Paul's conversion, this is a question we can ask as well. Maybe you already know what your mission is: to raise a family, perhaps, or to evangelize, or to care for the poor, or some combination of these and other callings. Whatever it is, the grace to accomplish your mission will flow from your own encounters with the risen Jesus.

If you're still not sure what your mission is, or if you think God might be calling you to something new, perhaps it's time to encounter Jesus once again. So keep seeking him! Pursue him in prayer, in the Scriptures, and in the sacraments. He will reveal himself to you and show you what he wants you to do. Just ask St. Paul!

"Jesus, I want to build up your body. Show me what you want me to do."

Psalm 117:1-2
Mark 16:15-18


From today's 1st Holy Scripture:
"(Paul)...was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.
I persecuted this Way to death"

Paul had a desire for God. Our Lord saw this thirst for God. And our Lord filled his life with His light. I look to our world, and I do not see that much desire for God. I see desires for self happiness, but not to seek God's will. And if you are not actively seeking Him, it could be said you are actively against Him. As harsh as this sounds, it is in the Book of Revelation, our Lord want's you hot or cold, not in between. The book of Heaven is revealing how disgusted our Lord gets to see those in Church seeking to fulfill their own agenda, and not there to truly let Him operate through them. How can we unit with Him more purely and more intimately?


We pray today;
"For steadfast is his kindness toward us, and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News"
They say bad news spreads like wildfire. Well, that could be true. It seems to get a whole awful lot of attention, more than the good news. Why doesn't the good news get wildfire attention? Bishop Barron says today:
"In a similar vein, Protestant theologian Stanley Hauerwas commented that the problem with Christianity is not that it is socially conservative or politically liberal but that "it is just too damned dull"!"
Who makes it dull? Who makes it boring? Some people refuse to go to church and claim "it's just the same old stuff every time". LOL. So is your idiotic sports and politics! That's even more dumb and mundane than what you claim of the church! I go to daily Mass, and funerals, and such, and I've got to say, that there are no 2 Masses that have ever been the exact same, nor has any retreat ever been the same either! That claim is a false line and a sorry excuse to reject God's laws. You give life and fire to what you desire.


In the Gospel today we heard:
""Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved"

There is a crazy saint, St. Francis of Assisi that literally preached to every creature, birds, dogs, wolves, and more.
But can you not help but take our Lord's words literally? He clearly says to preach to everyone and their mommas! He wants everyone baptized. Once souls are baptized, more of Him enters our world. This in of itself is Good News. Why? How? Because, more souls are availed to His Holy will, and His Holy Will is nothing but sheer love for the poor, light for the darkness, something to fell the emptiness of this hole and body. God desires this, to be our everything, and we want Him to be everything, amen?
I apologize for not speaking much yesterday, I was in a hurry from work to a funeral then to a radio interview with Bear Woznick's show on EWTN radio, stay tuned for more. And that's the thing. What do you tune into most often? What station? What message? Is God's message not seeked? There is Catholic Radio and TV, there is so much out there that can fill your life and change your life for the better, as you are doing right here and right now by reading this.
My whole purpose, to encourage you in this WAY that God made, the Way that the world tries to drown out, and even kill as was the case of Saul before he turned into Saint Paul. You're name can change too. They say the name Saul meant "the great one" and that the name Paul meant "the lesser one". You see, Saul wanted to be nothing, so Christ could be everything.
This is why we have His head mounted in our major basilica today. He gave it His all for Christ, and thank God, the message He let Christ make through Him still lives on today....and that we are immersing oursleves in this blood now...of salvation.

Lord, You intervened in the life of Saul.
May I be ready for the day you are ready to intervene, and change the world.


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Random Bible Verse 1
1 Peter 5:10

[1 Peter 5]

10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.


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