"In tribulation immediately draw near to God with confidence, and you will receive strength, enlightenment, and instruction."
–St. John of the Cross
"From the natural point of view we come to know God from the vestiges of Himself that He has left in the splendors of the visible universe: the blazing red sunset, the snow-covered mountain peaks, the graceful flight of a bird, the breathtakingly magnificent complexity of a single living cell. On a still more exalted level we know Him in the loveliness of the saints – but it remains a knowledge of the infinite through the finite."
—Fr. Thomas Dubay, p. 188-89
An Excerpt From
"Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever."
–1 John 2:15-17
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Saint Macarius of Jerusalem
St. Macarius of Jerusalem (4th c.) was the Bishop of Jerusalem from 312-335 A.D. Little is known of his life before this time. He took part in the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. and vigorously opposed the Arian heresy, which greatly threatened the early Church. It is believed that he was one of the bishops who helped draft the Nicene Creed. St. Athanasius, his contemporary, refers to Macarius as an example of "the honest and simple style of apostolical men." After the council, St. Macarius accompanied St. Helen, the queen mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, in her successful search for the True Cross that Jesus was crucified upon. It was he who suggested to St. Helen that she would identify the real Cross by touching all three of those she found to a seriously ill woman, and observe which one brought immediate healing. Following the discovery of the True Cross in this miraculous manner, Constantine wrote to Bishop Macarius requesting that he oversee the construction of a magnificent church in Jerusalem, the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, to commemorate the sites of the Crucifixion and Burial of Christ, which still exists today as one of the most important Christian pilgrimage sites in the world. His feast day is March 10th.
Friday of the Second Week of Lent
Reading 1 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 Ps 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 pass
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: Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46
The Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit. (Matthew 21:43)
Today's Gospel reading may sound startling for the way it shows the seriousness of God's judgment and the consequences of disobeying him. But if we look at it from another angle, we can see the striking tenacity of God's love for us.
In this parable, the landowner sends servant after servant to retrieve fruit from the workers he has hired to cultivate his vineyard. He doesn't even spare his own son in his endeavor! In a way, God is like that landowner, and we are like that fruit. God's love for us is so profound that he is always pursuing us. He so deeply wants us to know his love that he never gives up on us!
This is why he called Abraham and led him to the Promised Land. It's why he sent Moses to the Israelites in Egypt. It's why he sent judges, kings, and prophets to his people to call them back to him. And finally, it's why he sent his only Son. Still, many of Israel's leaders rejected God's "cornerstone" in Jesus (Matthew 21:42). But God made even that rejection "wonderful" (21:42) because it led to his cross and resurrection—nothing short of our redemption!
Even today, the risen Jesus reaches out to every person, and he will never stop! And as his disciples, we now have the joy of laboring in his vineyard. We can reach out to share his love with the same tenacity that God has always shown; we can help bring his children, the fruit of his vineyard, back to him.
God doesn't want our efforts in evangelization to begin with fear, duty, or obligation. He wants them to flow from our experience of Jesus and his love for us. When we are filled with his love, we simply can't contain it. We long for people to know that love, and we ourselves become tenacious—in a humble and winning way—in sharing it with them.
So where is God sending you today? What part of his "vineyard" is open for you to go and help bring in a rich harvest of people longing to know him?
"Father, thank you for your tenacious, unyielding love. Help me to share it with the people around me today."
Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28
From today's 1st Holy Scripture:
"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."
Jealousy. Greed. Rivalry. Pride.
You name it, it is all in there in today's 1st Holy Scripture. Have you ever resented someone for being "blessed" or "loved" more than you?
It's all over the place, in families, work places, communities, and all over government.
It's kind of gross and sickening, and fuel that up with lust of the eyes, flesh pleasures, and forget it, this is no place like Heaven asks us to be and live.
And so what can we do? Stop being jealous? What is jealousy? Insecurity? Envy? If so, how can you live secure? It is faith. If it is envy, then we have to face what we got...with gratitude. Life will be much more holy...and the world will have more light for it. And Heaven will rejoice for the fruit of the earth will give a pleasant aroma in Heaven, love offerings.
We pray today:
"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.
Remember the marvels the Lord has done."
In the Gospel today we heard our Lord:
"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."
The architects of the world rejected our Lord.
And did you know that there are "architects" that still reject Him? It is not just one group, but several that live this rejection. I could name a few, but just know, that those who put themselves above our Lord are those architects who belong to the antichrist. They put themselves above religion. There is a big one out there that is unnamed though, and this one is a huge blob of people that say "I'm not religious" and they make for perfect brooding grounds for the antichrist to do his will. This is why we cannot be "neutral" as they want you to be. Neutral people are like sewer waste covered in perfume. It can be good for something but it is not appealing at all, and can be sickening.
Therefore, this message has reached you, so that you will be encouraged to be hot, not cold, to God's call.
The architects only desire you to be neutral for their convenience, a simmering down of God's fire. They don't want you to abandon your faith but to quiet the faith, and to wash it down. Eventually they'd get what they want if you do so. It is then, a battle of the wills.
Will we do God's will or our own?
The brothers of poor Joseph wanted him dead at first, and then sold him for some silver pieces.
The same happened to our Lord Jesus, the most Beloved Son of God the Father of us all.
We are brothers and sisters of Christ.
Jesus is the most loved in Heaven, not you.
How does that make you feel?
If you are smart, then you'd want to know the true answer.
You are to love Jesus the same way as the Father. In the end, it wasn't the Father that killed the Son, it was the brothers and sisters that killed Him. The Father allows it so we see how brutal we can be on earth, in His vineyard.
How hostile are we to God's word?
Why aren't we more docile with God's word?
What is the word? Who is it? Jesus our Lord is the Word.
His Word is proclaimed to you right now.
The Word is life and salvation. His laws should be like sweet honey and most desired.
Then, we could taste heaven on earth, and live the same language of love...obedience and true sacrifice.
Our Lord in eternity with defeated death can offer Himself thousands of times over daily, but the mortification can only mean something in our very beings...if we can offer our mortal bodies for the immortal God. Then the world becomes more intimately united to Him...and in the end, be a love offering in Heaven, treasure beyond measure.
Lord, we desire to accept you as the cornerstone of our life, the fundamental strength of our core being, of our temple, our bodies, so that You may be made beautiful, for You are worthy and deserving of all our Love for an eternity. You Eucharist burns within me.
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Random Bible Verse 1
1 Peter 1:24–25
"All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever."
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
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God Bless You! Peace