Monday, January 16, 2023

† ".. taken away from them, . "


†Saint Quote
"Quote of the Day
"And above all, be on your guard not to want to get anything done by force, because God has given free will to everyone and wants to force no one, but only proposes, invites and counsels."
–St. Angela Merici

†Today's Meditation
"We have difficulty understanding this, just as a blind man has difficulty understanding color, but our difficulty doesn't alter this fact: God's omnipotence and omniscience respects our freedom. In the core of our being we remain free to accept or reject God's action in our lives—and to accept or reject it more or less intensely. God wants us to accept him with all our 'heart, soul, mind, and strength'—in other words, as intensely as possible. But he also knows that we are burdened with selfishness and beset by the devil, so it will take a great effort on our part to correspond to his grace. … Every time our conscience nudges us to refrain from sharing or tolerating that little bit of gossip, every time we feel a tug in our hearts to say a prayer or give a little more effort, every time we detect an opportunity to do a hidden act of kindness to someone in need, we are faced with an opportunity to please the Lord by putting our faith in his will."
—Fr. John Bartunek, p. 591

An Excerpt From
The Better Part

†Daily Verse
"He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
–Colossians 1:13-14


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St. Priscilla of Rome

St. Priscilla of Rome (1st c.) was a Christian noblewoman who served as a benefactor to the Christian community in Rome. She supported St. Peter the Apostle, the first Bishop of Rome, and her home near the catacombs served as his headquarters. She was the wife of Manius Acilius Glabrio, a Roman politician, who was executed by the Emperor Domitian for atheism, that is, his refusal to worship the Roman gods because he was Christian. Priscilla buried him in what was once a quarry and donated the property to the Church so that others could also be laid to rest there. Her catacombs, known since the earliest days of Christianity as the "Catacombs of Priscilla" are also referred to as the "Queen of the Catacombs" because such a large number of martyrs and popes were buried there. It also holds a significant collection of early Christian iconography including the earliest known depiction of the Madonna and Child. St. Priscilla was also martyred for her Christian faith and buried there. Her feast day is January 16.


Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Heb 5:1-10

Brothers and sisters:
Every high priest is taken from among men
and made their representative before God,
to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring,
for he himself is beset by weakness
and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself
as well as for the people.
No one takes this honor upon himself
but only when called by God,
just as Aaron was.
In the same way,
it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest,
but rather the one who said to him:
You are my Son:
this day I have begotten you;
just as he says in another place,
You are a priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek.
In the days when he was in the Flesh,
he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears
to the one who was able to save him from death,
and he was heard because of his reverence.
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered;
and when he was made perfect,
he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 110:1, 2, 3, 4

R. (4b) You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand
till I make your enemies your footstool."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The scepter of your power the LORD will stretch forth from Zion:
"Rule in the midst of your enemies."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
"Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor;
before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD has sworn, and he will not repent:
"You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

Alleluia Heb 4:12
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 2:18-22

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
"Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?"
Jesus answered them,
"Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins."


Daily Meditation: Mark 2:18-22

Why do . . . your disciples . . . not fast? (Mark 2:18)

The people asking this question might have been missing out on the most important reason for fasting: fasting is meant to draw us closer to God. As we choose to deny ourselves out of reverence for the Lord, it clears our minds and opens our hearts, making us freer to worship and follow him. Or to put it another way, fasting draws us closer to the Lord!

So why weren't Jesus' disciples fasting? Jesus told them it was because he was right there with them. They didn't need to fast because they were about as close to him as they could get.

But what about us? We are in a kind of "now and not yet" time. Jesus, the Bridegroom, is truly with us by the power of his Spirit. But at the same time, he has been "taken away" (Mark 2:20). He's not here with us in the same way he was with the disciples. Not only that, but our human weakness can cloud our ability to sense Jesus' presence or his love. We can get distracted by the world or begin to look for satisfaction in things that pass away. And so we fast. We choose to deny ourselves because we want to satisfy the hunger in our hearts—a hunger that can only be filled by the Lord.

We fast on certain days of Lent so that we can rejoice with the risen Lord at Easter. We fast before Mass so that we can increase our hunger for Jesus in the Eucharist. Even in our normal everyday lives, there are ways we can "fast" that have nothing to do with food. Whether we turn off social media for a time or change what we listen to on our morning commute or try to avoid idle gossip, we are emptying ourselves out so that God can fill us.

Is fasting fun? Usually not. But just think about some of the blessings that fasting can bring to you. A passage from Scripture can come to life as you spend extra time pondering it. Feeling your physical emptiness can open you up to a deeper experience of the Lord's consolation. You might just need to put aside a few comforts so that you can find him again. And when you do—oh, the joy you will feel!

"Lord, help me open myself to you. Give me a hunger for your presence!"

Hebrews 5:1-10
Psalm 110:1-4


From today's 1st Holy Scripture:
"Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him."

Wait just a second, did we just hear that we are made perfect ...through suffering? But that doesn't jive with our current modern thought that wants something for nothing, all things convenience! How will I get into shape if I don't ever make my body suffer? How will I learn anything if I am never tested? And just the same way, how will I ever be humble and holy, if I am not hammered into the ground or on a cross? Lord help us open our eyes to the "sad" truth that we do not want to hear, sad because we don't really want to hear it!


We pray today;
"You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek." You are a priest for ever, in the line Melchizedek."

Our Lord is this High Priest, but, check this've been baptized as priest too, a smaller but important version that can offer sacrifices too, like fasting, like offerings of prayer, and love, and they are valid and powerful, that is, powerful enough to change you more into His image and likeness, in purity and holiness, things most don't want to hear about nowadays, or do they? Why paint the world with a black brush. You are reading this because the world hungers for truth. What we do with it...matters.


In the Gospel today we heard:
""Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast."

Did you know that there are days even in Lent that you are not supposed to fast? They are called feasts, and we are to join with Mother Church and our Lord in celebrating on command. But our Lord says He will be taken away, then what?

Our world seems to demand full time celebration mode, just look at a worldly calendar and see what is being celebrated today, almost every day for them is a feast.

But what happened to fasting? Like simply fasting before Holy Mass, before receiving our Lord: Catholics used to fast more than we do nowadays. We were called to fast since the day before Sunday to receive our Lord in Holy Mass, what happened? It was reduced to midnight fasting, and lately, to one hour fasting before Mass, as if that was a big enough sacrifice? What happens when you fast?
Many things happen, but the most important is the reason for the fast.
I'm fasting as we speak, all morning, hungry and almost 12noon and I'm still refraining from eating or drinking...for you, to receive the message of our Lord with prayer and fasting.
Fasting makes things happen. Fasting calls our Lord and suffering all at once.
You see, there is a special line we can connect with spiritually...offering and atonement through suffering.
is there any other better way you can think of? Because our Lord came to do God's will...the best way.
It doesn't make sense to us, because we are humans with brains saying suffering is bad. But how many physically fit people develop a liking to the pains of workout to grow muscle or lose weight?

I used to find it hard to pray the rosary, and I know it is hard for many.
It is hard to fast, I get shaky, hunger pains kick in, can't focus well, but now, I'm used to it. I like to tell people that it has taken 10 years to finally be able to pray the rosary with our kids. It probably took me a few years just to do it on my own before that.

These things I say, so that you will not be discouraged. I say these things so that you will persevere. Do not take the easy perdition. If you fall, then come back. To stop taking a step forward, is like taking two steps back.
I used to sell supplemental insurance, and I used a line to close a deal often "just because you stop (working), don't mean the bills are going to stop right?".

And it is true in the spiritual world, just because you stop working spiritually to be the light, don't mean the world is going to get any brighter, right? It needs everyone's light.

I digress.
New wineskins for new wine.
The old offerings in the old temple are gone. As much as all the Indiana Jones people have looked to restore the temple with the lost ark of the covenant, it has been taken and hidden for men that are not desiring to be holy and pure and the light, that is to do God's will.

The new covenant, the new wine is the blood and body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Accept Him and become one with Him as He is our KING.
"Do whatever He tells you", says our Blessed Mother in Heaven.

Does it hurt that bad to go to confession?
Does it hurt that bad to go to Holy Mass?
Does it hurt that bad to start being a missionary priest in your neighborhood and family?

Lord, make me a new wineskin for Your precious blood and body! I know it's going to hurt....but I love You.



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Random Bible Verse 1
1 Peter 5:10

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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God Bless You! Peace

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