Monday, January 30, 2023

† ".. Those who witnessed the incident. . "


†Saint Quote
"In her voyage across the ocean of this world, the Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life's different stresses. Our duty is not to abandon ship but to keep her on her course."
–St. Boniface

†Today's Meditation
"God chose Joseph to shower Jesus with his love. God wanted Jesus to experience human love in a way that would prepare him for his ministry of mercy and compassion for all. As Joseph welcomed Jesus into the world with a kiss, he is inviting us to find God's fatherly love for us in the example of his life."
–Katy Micheli, p.182

An Excerpt From
Every Day With Saint Joseph

†Daily Verse
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near."
–1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


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Saint Martina of Rome

St. Martina of Rome (d. 228 A.D.) was born to a noble Roman family and orphaned at a young age. She was zealous in the practice of her faith, remained a virgin, and, in preparation for the Christian persecutions sweeping the city, gave much of her inheritance to the poor. She was martyred under Roman Emperor Alexander Severus. According to the accounts of her martyrdom, she was discovered praying in a church and was arrested by Roman soldiers. She was ordered to pay homage to the pagan gods, which she refused. She was then cruelly tortured over several days. She was raked with iron hooks and scourged, and when a bright light enveloped her, some of her torturers were converted to the Faith amid her fervent prayers. She was then taken to the temple of Diana to be forced to offer sacrifice, but at her presence the temple's demon left with a scream. They next tried to throw her to a lion (it showed no interest in her) and to burn her alive, but she would not catch fire. Finally, she was beheaded.


Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Heb 11:32-40

Brothers and sisters:
What more shall I say?
I have not time to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah,
of David and Samuel and the prophets,
who by faith conquered kingdoms,
did what was righteous, obtained the promises;
they closed the mouths of lions, put out raging fires,
escaped the devouring sword;
out of weakness they were made powerful, became strong in battle,
and turned back foreign invaders.
Women received back their dead through resurrection.
Some were tortured and would not accept deliverance,
in order to obtain a better resurrection.
Others endured mockery, scourging, even chains and imprisonment.
They were stoned, sawed in two, put to death at sword's point;
they went about in skins of sheep or goats,
needy, afflicted, tormented.
The world was not worthy of them.
They wandered about in deserts and on mountains,
in caves and in crevices in the earth.
Yet all these, though approved because of their faith,
did not receive what had been promised.
God had foreseen something better for us,
so that without us they should not be made perfect.

Responsorial Ps 31:20, 21, 22, 23, 24

R. (25) Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
How great is the goodness, O LORD,

which you have in store for those who fear you,
And which, toward those who take refuge in you,

you show in the sight of the children of men.
R. Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
You hide them in the shelter of your presence

from the plottings of men;
You screen them within your abode

from the strife of tongues.
R. Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
Blessed be the LORD whose wondrous mercy

he has shown me in a fortified city.
R. Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
Once I said in my anguish,

"I am cut off from your sight";
Yet you heard the sound of my pleading

when I cried out to you.
R. Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
Love the LORD, all you his faithful ones!

The LORD keeps those who are constant,

but more than requites those who act proudly.
R. Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.

Alleluia Lk 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 5:1-20

Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea,
to the territory of the Gerasenes.
When he got out of the boat,
at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him.
The man had been dwelling among the tombs,
and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.
In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains,
but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed,
and no one was strong enough to subdue him.
Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides
he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.
Catching sight of Jesus from a distance,
he ran up and prostrated himself before him,
crying out in a loud voice,
"What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?
I adjure you by God, do not torment me!"
(He had been saying to him, "Unclean spirit, come out of the man!")
He asked him, "What is your name?"
He replied, "Legion is my name. There are many of us."
And he pleaded earnestly with him
not to drive them away from that territory.
Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside.
And they pleaded with him,
"Send us into the swine. Let us enter them."
And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine.
The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea,
where they were drowned.
The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town
and throughout the countryside.
And people came out to see what had happened.
As they approached Jesus,
they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion,
sitting there clothed and in his right mind.
And they were seized with fear.
Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened
to the possessed man and to the swine.
Then they began to beg him to leave their district.
As he was getting into the boat,
the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him.
But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead,
"Go home to your family and announce to them
all that the Lord in his pity has done for you."
Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis
what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.


Daily Meditation: Mark 5:1-20

And all were amazed. (Mark 5:20)

Have you ever noticed how many TV commercials use a before-and-after strategy to show how well a product works? Once the actors witness the difference the product has made, whether it be whiter laundry or softer skin, they are amazed!

Sometimes the Gospel writers use a similar approach. In today's passage, we meet a man who had experienced years of devastating demonic torment. But after encountering Jesus for just a few minutes, he was set free and restored to his right mind. Mark tells us that "all were amazed" (5:20). What a great before-and-after story!

These kinds of stories seem to happen whenever people encounter Jesus in the Gospels. It might be a story of restoration, like the story of the man in today's reading. It might be a different kind of change, such as when a person sees the error of his ways and repents, as in the story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10). Or it could be a physical change, like the hemorrhaging woman who found healing just by touching Jesus' garment (Mark 5:25-34).

The good news is that these stories don't just happen in the Gospels. They have continued throughout history, and they still happen today! When people experience the touch of Jesus, they are changed. Sometimes the change is almost instantaneous, and at other times, it is more gradual but no less real.

What about you? What is your before-and-after story? Maybe you had a dramatic encounter with the Lord as a young person, and it caused you to make some very different decisions for your life. Maybe yours is a story of the Lord's more subtle work over many years. If so, it's still a demonstration of God's action in your life and a testimony of his love to everyone around you.

Today, imagine that you have one minute of commercial time. Try to tell your before-and-after story. It could be something that happened years ago, or it could be something much more recent. Whatever it is, let it move you to praise the Lord. Let it also give you confidence that the Lord has more before-and-after stories planned for you. That's because he never stops working in each one of our lives. And that, in itself, is amazing!

"Lord, thank you for the story of your love for me."

Hebrews 11:32-40
Psalm 31:20-24


From today's 1st Holy Scripture:
"The world was not worthy of them."

So many of us want results here and now. We want our award here and now. We want recognition, here and now. We want everything as if it were all about here and now. And it is not all about here and now. God promises something we cannot see...Heaven. God promises something we cannot experience in the body...eternity. Yet it is so, we are forced no matter how much of an agnostic or atheist you are...even a so called make a believe, have faith, or not. And if you believe, how can we show others to believe? Because that is our creed...we believe.


We pray today;
_"Once I said in my anguish, "I am cut off from your sight"; Yet you heard the sound of my pleading when I cried out to you.
"Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord."
Love the LORD, all you his faithful ones!
The LORD keeps those who are constant,
but more than requites those who act proudly."


In the Gospel today we heard:
""Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you."

We never got to hear what this poor man's name was, right? I mean, we got to hear the name of the demon(s), and we heard how they were expelled at their own request into swine herds. We got to hear how this poor man was tormented day and night, and thus tormented others day and night. We got to hear he was chained up and even the shackles weren't enough to hold him down. We get to hear he was cast out by the people and tied up at a cemetery, doomed and damned forever, nothing else anybody could do but to put them away. This life sentencing still exists. People are cast out and marginalized. Some are labeled as hopeless, some as crazy and demented. And some cast themselves out! What a peculiar world. Some things just don't make sense. The world would change if it experienced true love. Did you know that your true, and hidden acts of love can help changed the world? The kind that are self sacrificing, the kind where you won't receive any recognition for. The kind of love that makes you invisible. And those are rare gems in Heaven. Super valuable. Like the love of Christ on the cross.
And so we have to see what fuels the world, and thereby, your very life. If we are going to get down to it...the true fuel is God. It isn't anything simply temporal, but something eternal fueling everything. Yet, we think, we THINK that other things give life, but it is not, it is always love or love of something that gives life.
I'm in the church, and I see evil constantly trying to cast out people when it should be the opposite....we should be casting out evil!

And this is the cue from our Lord Himself. He was casting out the evil from the poor man: ""Unclean spirit, come out of the man!"
The unclean spirit did not want to leave the man, for there were hundreds and hundreds of them inside of this man.
How can one person house hundreds of unclean spirits? To be honest, exorcists all say that true possessions are extremely rare, something like 0.5% of cases are full blown possessions, but, they are on the rise worldwide.
Why? Do you really want to know?
We let it happen. People love letting evil in, one by one. Some examples are dark movies, dirty scenes, dirty pictures, dirty talk, obscenities, pride, and the rest of the sins that soon follow, laziness in faith, lost in faith, chained up by sin. That is, we let one unclean spirit into our lives, one right after another. And then we wonder "what in the world happened?"
And this means we let cowards and thus cowardice inside of our lives, our souls. The kind of cowardice that keeps us from confessions. The kind of cowardice that wants an ego. The kind of cowardice that needs something to prop it up. The kind of cowardice that makes you stop being a bold flame of love of God, a true saint.

Yet, something happens with a whisper. I read a comment on an exorcist priest's video, that a person was being touched in bed by an evil spirit, like fondled, and it would freak them out, and they couldn't sleep. When the person went to a priest, the priest said to say a Hail Mary before going to bed. One night, the person said the room got pitch black suddenly and the air was being sucked out of the room, and darkness was coming, and the person with a last gasp remembered to pray and only was able to muster out the first two words..."Hail...Mary...." and suddenly everything came back to normal.
Do you believe? Yet how many of us choose to pray? How many of us choose Christ?
I do believe people love gossip, juicy stories, many about death, and they get all the attention on social media, all laced with sexual innuendos, and then, we wonder "why is the world crazy?"
Truth is, the world is actually amazing...when you consider the spiritual aspect of God at work. The life "spark" humans have is amazing. The metaphysical realms scientists are finding are astounding. The nano sciences that make for the most explosive of sciences are amazing.

What is not amazing is the humdrum of evil. Evil loves attention and that is how it grows. Notice one bad thing on TV and how it spreads on TV then becomes a pandemic because humans are like "monkey see, monkey do".

And so we have the same that can happen in the spiritual life.
We can do things for God so the world would want to do the dying on a cross, meaning, loving the other more than oneself.
This is the liberating message of Christ on the cross.
"Look my child, I died so that you may be saved from the horrible sin, and that you might live forever...with Me".
And the Eucharist means "Thank You."

Lord, that poor man you saved from Legion wanted to follow You forever...and yet You told him to go to his family and tell what the Lord has His pity.
Have pity on us Lord, and help us be truly sorrowful for turning our backs on You.


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Random Bible Verse 1
Psalm 27:1

[Psalm 27]
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?


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God Bless You! Peace

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