Friday, March 31, 2023

† "He Went Back.... "


†Saint Quote
"Quote of the Day
"The devotion to the Eucharist is the most noble, because it has God as its object; it is the most profitable for salvation, because it gives us the Author of Grace; it is the sweetest, because the Lord is Sweetness Itself."
–St. Pius X

†Today's Meditation
"I've appointed the Devil to tempt and to trouble My creatures in this life [St. Catherine of Siena reports that Our Lord said to her]. I've done this, not so that My creatures will be overcome, but so that they may overcome, proving their virtue and receiving from Me the glory of victory. And no one should fear any battle or temptation of the Devil that may come to him, because I've made My creatures strong, and I've given them strength of will, fortified in the Blood of My Son. Neither the Devil nor any other creature can control this free will, because it's yours, given to you by Me. By your own choice, then, you hold it or let it go if you please. It's a weapon, and if you place it in the hands of the Devil, it right away becomes a knife that he'll use to stab and kill you. On the other hand, if you don't place this knife that is your will into the hands of the Devil—that is, if you don't consent to his temptations and harassments—you will never be injured by the guilt of sin in any temptation. Instead, you'll actually be strengthened by the temptation, as long as you open the eyes of your mind to see My love, and to understand why I allowed you to be tempted: so you could develop virtue by having it proved. My love permits these temptations, for the Devil is weak. He can do nothing by himself unless I allow him. So I let him tempt you because I love you, not because I hate you. I want you to conquer, not to be conquered, and to come to a perfect knowledge of yourself and of Me."
—St. Catherine of Siena, p. 159-160

An Excerpt From
Manual for Spiritual Warfare

†Daily Verse
"Hearken to me, you who pursue deliverance, you who seek the Lord; look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were digged."
–Isaiah 51:1


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St. Benjamin

St. Benjamin (d. 424 A.D.) was a deacon martyred in Persia during a forty-year-long Christian persecution under two tyrannical Persian kings. He was imprisoned for a year due to his Christian faith and then released with the help of the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius II. As a condition of his release he was ordered to no longer publicly proclaim his faith. Benjamin declared that it was his duty to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he refused to be silenced. He continued preaching Christ crucified, and, when word reached the king, he was arrested again. In response, Benjamin asked the king what opinion he would have of any of his subjects if they were to renounce their allegiance to the king and join in war against him; in the same way Benjamin could not renounce his allegiance to Christ. This comment enraged the king, and he ordered Benjamin to endure cruel tortures. Sharpened reeds were repeatedly jammed underneath his fingernails, toenails, and other tender parts of the body. He died when a knotted stake was jammed into his bowels. St. Benjamin's feast day is celebrated on March 31st.


Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Reading 1 Jer 20:10-13

I hear the whisperings of many:
"Terror on every side!
Denounce! let us denounce him!"
All those who were my friends
are on the watch for any misstep of mine.
"Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail,
and take our vengeance on him."
But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion:
my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.
In their failure they will be put to utter shame,
to lasting, unforgettable confusion.
O LORD of hosts, you who test the just,
who probe mind and heart,
Let me witness the vengeance you take on them,
for to you I have entrusted my cause.
Sing to the LORD,
praise the LORD,
For he has rescued the life of the poor
from the power of the wicked!

Responsorial Psalm Ps 18:2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 7

R. (see 7) In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
I love you, O LORD, my strength,
O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
My God, my rock of refuge,
my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!
Praised be the LORD, I exclaim,
and I am safe from my enemies.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
The breakers of death surged round about me,
the destroying floods overwhelmed me;
The cords of the nether world enmeshed me,
the snares of death overtook me.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
In my distress I called upon the LORD
and cried out to my God;
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.

Verse Before the Gospel See Jn 6:63c, 68c

Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.

Gospel Jn 10:31-42

The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus.
Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from my Father.
For which of these are you trying to stone me?"
The Jews answered him,
"We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.
You, a man, are making yourself God."
Jesus answered them,
"Is it not written in your law, 'I said, 'You are gods"'?
If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came,
and Scripture cannot be set aside,
can you say that the one
whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world
blasphemes because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?
If I do not perform my Father's works, do not believe me;
but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me,
believe the works, so that you may realize and understand
that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."
Then they tried again to arrest him;
but he escaped from their power.

He went back across the Jordan
to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.
Many came to him and said,
"John performed no sign,
but everything John said about this man was true."
And many there began to believe in him.


Daily Meditation: John 10:31-42

Even if you do not believe me, believe the works. (John 10:38)

You may not see it at first, but today's Gospel gives us a hint of the resurrection. How? It's hidden in the "works" that Jesus says can help people "believe" (John 10:38).

Some of the Jews who were listening to Jesus wanted to stone him because he said he was the Son of God. Of course, we know that Jesus truly is the Son of God. But at the time, making such a claim was blasphemy. What did Jesus tell them in response? He said that if they couldn't believe his words, they should believe his works (John 10:38).

Now, Jesus had performed a lot of works during his ministry that these Jews would have observed. In John's Gospel alone, Jesus changed water into wine (2:1-11), healed a royal official's son (4:46-54), healed a paralyzed man (5:1-18), multiplied loaves and fish to feed over five thousand people (6:1-14), walked on water (6:16-21), and healed a man who had been born blind (9:1-41). Surely, Jesus was pointing them to these miracles.

But there was one final "work" that Jesus would perform that would prove beyond all shadow of doubt that he is the Son of God and that he has the Father's authority. The crowds hadn't seen it yet, but the raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44) would give them a clue. It is Jesus' resurrection!

We have the benefit of knowing that Jesus, though crucified, has risen from the dead. But there might be times when that knowledge doesn't affect our day-to-day attitudes. When we're going through difficulty, for instance, encouraging words may ring hollow and memories of God's faithfulness might fade. We struggle to believe. That's the time to fix our eyes on Jesus' works, most specifically his resurrection. Because the resurrection is the culmination of all the mighty deeds Jesus performed in his lifetime. It provides the proof that we can hang onto. It can help us to believe.

"Jesus, enflame my faith, not just in the many miracles you performed, but in your own resurrection from the dead. Help me believe that you are Lord and God!"

Jeremiah 20:10-13
Psalm 18:2-7


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From today's 1st Holy Scripture:
"All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine. "Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail, and take our vengeance on him."
end quote.

Would it seem that you have friends that would have your back always? That is not always the case. If so called "friends" betrayed our Lord, like when He was surrendered by Judas and was left alone while being crucified, and in prison, then what can one expect here? Some people in prison say that after so many repeated times of going back to prison, less and less people come to visit or call them or communicate with them. Hope is lost on both sides. But that is not the case of our Lord. Even if your mother forgets you, He will not!


We pray today:
"In my distress I called upon the LORD
and cried out to my God; From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears."


In the Gospel today we heard:

""We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.
You, a man, are making yourself God."
Jesus answered them,
"Is it not written in your law, 'I said, 'You are gods"'? "

What an amazing scripture, and words from our Savior, right?
Here we have some obstinate people attempting to kill our Lord and He is telling them they are like gods? Was that not enough? And then He says He is from God too, and still they don't want to listen.

Does that still happen today? Are there people trying to be greater than our God? Believe it or not, yes. And believe it or not, there are many more who are doing this that cannot see it, they are blind to this fact. Those may be even worse than the first. The neutral people are the worst. Those that want you to be in the middle, they are two sided. This is not what Heaven wants. What heaven wants is be with Christ.
Have you ever heard the saying from the spanish world "He takes the good ones?", LOL, HAHA! Does that mean the rest of us are bad?

I take a grain of truth to that though.
I believe there are real sickles, and real harvests, and real laborers for God, and I'm talking supreme beings, greater than us, like angels, that wield the sickle at the due time to take great fruit to Heaven. But not only in death. Our fruit of true love fuels heaven. We are being pushed to produce fruit, and there are too many that complain and drop their work tools and leave.
Too many give up too easy on God's work.
I'm in a lot of ministries and they are all tough.
I'm not going to cry about issues. I'm not going to complain about others. In case you missed much of what I meant, and what our Lord in HEaven desires, then here it is simply put...humility. Obstinante ears have no patience.
Obstinate hearts have no room for any more.
Obstinate minds are filled with things "more important" than what our Lord desires.
And what does our Lord desire? One word: Good. Love is good. Humility is good. What if I told you that frustration and anxiety and depression have roots in evil and faithlessness?
Where is your hope? Where is your heart? Where is your life?

Let's pray:
My Hope is in the Lord, maker of Heaven and the earth.


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Random Bible Verse 1
Romans 14:8

"For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's."


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