Wednesday, June 14, 2023

† “I have come not to...


†Quote of the Day
"Cast yourself into the arms of God and be very sure that if He wants anything of you, He will fit you for the work and give you strength."
–St. Philip Neri

†Today's Meditation
Today's Meditation
"Despite how we feel when we fall prey to anxiety, God designed us to be incredibly anxiety-resistant. By understanding how our bodies work, we can more effectively cooperate with our God-given natural resources so we can respond to His grace and be freed from the tyranny of stress. To understand why learning to get control of your bodily reactions to stress is so important to overcoming anxiety, it can be helpful to think of your body as a surge protector…In fact, because life is complex, and because stressors come at us from many different directions at one time, each of us has several built-in surge protectors designed to ground us in times of stress."
—Dr. Gregory Popcak, p. 81

†Daily Verse
"After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb.""

–Revelation 7:9-10

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St. Joseph the Hymnographer

St. Joseph the Hymnographer (816-883 A.D.) was born in Sicily to a pious Christian family. When Muslims invaded the island, his family moved to Greece to escape persecution. At the age of fifteen he entered a monastery and grew in holiness and virtue. St. Gregory the Dekapolite took Joseph with him to Constantinople to defend the traditional reverence of icons in opposition to the iconoclast heresy. Joseph was then chosen by the local clergy to be a messenger to Pope Leo III to obtain the Holy Father's assistance in battling the iconoclast heretics, who were gaining power and influence. On his way to Rome, Joseph was captured by Muslims who delivered him into the hands of the iconoclast heretics. While held a prisoner, St. Nicholas appeared to Joseph and asked him to sing in the name of God. After six years Joseph was freed from prison and returned to Constantinople, where he founded a monastery dedicated to his friend St. Gregory. He also dedicated a church in the name of St. Bartholomew, to whom he had a devotion. St. Bartholomew then appeared to Joseph in a dream and encouraged him to write hymns for the Church. After writing his first hymn in honor of St. Bartholomew, Joseph dedicated other hymns to St. Nicholas, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and other saints. During his life he composed nearly 1,000 hymns. When another wave of iconoclasm arose, he again stood steadfast against it and was exiled for eleven years as a result; he was later exiled a second time for defending orthodox Christian doctrine. He finally died full of years in Constantinople. His feast day is June 14.


Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 2 Cor 3:4-11

Brothers and sisters:
Such confidence we have through Christ toward God.
Not that of ourselves we are qualified to take credit
for anything as coming from us;
rather, our qualification comes from God,
who has indeed qualified us as ministers of a new covenant,
not of letter but of spirit;
for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life.

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, was so glorious
that the children of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses
because of its glory that was going to fade,
how much more will the ministry of the Spirit be glorious?
For if the ministry of condemnation was glorious,
the ministry of righteousness will abound much more in glory.
Indeed, what was endowed with glory
has come to have no glory in this respect
because of the glory that surpasses it.
For if what was going to fade was glorious,
how much more will what endures be glorious.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 99:5, 6, 7, 8, 9

R. (see 9c) Holy is the Lord our God.*
Extol the LORD, our God,
and worship at his footstool;
holy is he!
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
and Samuel, among those who called upon his name;
they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
From the pillar of cloud he spoke to them;
they heard his decrees and the law he gave them.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
O LORD, our God, you answered them;
a forgiving God you were to them,
though requiting their misdeeds.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
Extol the LORD, our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for holy is the LORD, our God.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.

Alleluia Ps 25:4b, 5a

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Teach me your paths, my God,
and guide me in your truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."


Daily Meditation: Mathew 5:17-19

I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. (Matthew 5:17)

It's a common theme in romantic novels and movies: after experiencing many ups and downs, a young man realizes that a certain young woman is the "missing piece" he had been searching for all along. She completes him in a way that no other person or possession ever could. So he professes his love for her, and the story ends with the couple married and living happily ever after.

This image of the missing piece can help us understand Jesus' words in today's Gospel. Speaking to the crowd during his Sermon on the Mount, he says that he has come to fulfill the law and the prophets. In Judaism, that phrase, "the law and the prophets," is shorthand for the whole history of Israel: from Abraham and Moses, down to prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah, all the way to John the Baptist. Jesus fulfills all of it! Every hope and desire his people ever had can be satisfied in his teachings and miracles, in his cross and resurrection. He is the "missing piece" for Israel, the One who gives full meaning and purpose to their identity as God's chosen people. He completes them!

This same is true for each of us. Every one of our desires and hopes and dreams finds its fulfillment in all that Jesus said and did while he walked the earth. He completes us! His love can bind husbands and wives and children together as a family. His mercy can banish the guilt and shame of all of our sins. His call to "Come, follow me" can give new purpose and meaning to all we do (Matthew 19:21). His healing power can cover and sustain us in our suffering. And his teaching—especially in the Beatitudes—can point us along the way to a happiness that the world can never take away.

Jesus didn't come to "abolish" your life (Matthew 5:17). He didn't come to overpower you or to condemn you. He came to complete you. He is the "missing piece" we all long for and the only One who can make full sense of our personal history. Why would we ever look anywhere else?

"Jesus, you are the missing piece in my life!"

2 Corinthians 3:4-11
Psalm 99:5-9


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Reflections with Brother Adrian:

From today's 1st Holy Scripture:
"Brothers and sisters:
Such confidence we have through Christ toward God.
Not that of ourselves we are qualified to take credit
for anything as coming from us;
rather, our qualification comes from God,
who has indeed qualified us as ministers of a new covenant,
not of letter but of spirit;
for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life."
end of verse.

This Holy Scripture gets very deep and very fast. Firstly, St. Paul is an embodiment of the very words being spoken.

* That his confidence, thus, faith is in God.
* That God qualifies the called, not that He looks for the qualified. Think of those who think they aren't good enough or don't know anything to go in to God's ministry, NO! He does all of that so long as we apply ourselves with Him and to Him.
* That He is no longer just bound to the letter of the law, but that He binds everything in the Holy Spirit. And this is amazing news; that everything is bound together in Him, our Mighty God and Father. And this is the new law written in our hearts.


We pray today:
_"From the pillar of cloud he spoke to them;
they heard his decrees and the law he gave them.

Holy is the Lord our God."_ end of Psalm.


In the Gospel today we heard:
_"I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place."
end of verse.

As we read the words of our Lord who is incarnate until this day, think of our incarnation with Him, our very unification and being one with Him. Why do I mention this? Because, as we read what HE says, it must become what we say. His words must become flesh in us. We must make His words come alive, and lived out. His Holy Will. And so let's read it again:
"I have come not to abolish but to fulfill" and we are to fulfill what? The law of God, and the words of the prophets.

That's it! You are here to fulfill God's laws. And let's remind ourselves of what His laws are all about, Love of God and Love of neighbor, because God lives in the neighbor! Remember? He is in everything and unites everything.
LOL. I may sound like a disc skipping and repeating itself, and I laugh because I was in Mass on Monday, kind of giggling to myself while listening to the same message that seems to repeat itself every day, but the reason I laughed is because I remembered the duck preacher story:

"The great philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, told a story about ducks that came from an imaginary country where only ducks live. One Sunday morning, all the mother and father ducks headed to church with their children waddling behind them. They entered the doors and sat in their duck pews, sang songs from their duck hymnals, and gave to underprivileged ducks at the offering time. When the duck preacher got up to proclaim the message, he was very dynamic.
He opened his duck Bible and screamed, "Ducks, you can fly! You have wings and you can fly like eagles." The ducks all chanted, "We can fly, we can fly!�� He asked, "Do you believe you can fly?" Again, they shouted back, "We can fly, we can fly." He screamed again, "We can soar through the skies!" They all shouted, "Amen." With that the pastor closed his duck Bible and dismissed his congregation of ducks. Then they all waddled back home." end of story.
LOL. And so we hear how we can move mountains. And we don't.

We hear that we can light up the world with God's love, and we don't.
We are told we can forgive. And we don't.
We are told that we need to go ask for forgiveness, and we don't.
We are told that we are to love another. And we don't.
We are told that this is the body of Christ in the Eucharist, and only 1 out of 3 believes, somewhat. I don't really even believe the 30% of believers, and why? Because, our adoration sign ups are horrible. The lists are dwindling. The lines to confessions are so tiny. The reverence is so hard to see. There are more grouchy faces in a hurry to leave church than there are happy faces, with God's joy, trying to remain.
What is God's law? That we do things he says with a frown on our face? Are people mad because they "have to" go to church? I got onto one of my little boys during rosary walk outside last night, because he was pouting making a mad face and not praying. I stopped everybody, there's 10 of us, with our 8 kids, and said "look, we are praying to God, your REAL Father, do you think He wants to see you mad? Pray!".

An inward life, a selfish life makes one implode and suck in the light that should be exploding and giving off light, just like our Father does, always giving, always radiating, always adoring, always praising, always doing what we wish we could do.
I want to see a world that is happy to be in God's loving embrace. I have more reasons than most to be upset every day, but I choose not to open that gift of the world. But if you want to know a few of my problems here you go.

-Faith: my parish going through same slumps as always, new building extremely over budget, my fault? Lots of unknowns, lots of mad faces, low turnouts for adoration and procession with our Lord, understaffed, seems to be recurring problem.

-Family: death of my dad the boss looms still, family divorces terrible, lots of youth lots of loss of faith, many in my extended family not going to church.

-Work: this is where I spend most my day with unending problems, another lawsuit coming got served by sheriff yesterday, equipment breakdowns are incredible, some key employees sick and some are gone. Financially not healthy, trying to recover from pandemic.

I've more reasons to worry than most I'd say. But I choose to look the other way. What does that mean?

I am a teacher of the faith.
That means that I must walk the walk.
I am a preacher. And I don't want to be a duck preacher! LOL.
I want to fly! I want to teach you to fly!

What did our Lord say today?
I have come to fulfill the law.
And God's laws are meant to keep us close to Him.
The closer the better.
Or else...we scatter.


Let's pray:
Lord, My heart burns for You! How can I teach others to love You? I can't! Help me help others fall in love with You, head over heels, until nothing else matters but being in Your Holy Embrace, intimately united with You, one flesh, one body!


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Random Bible Verse 1
Psalm 37:4

Delight yourself in the LORD,

and he will give you the desires of your heart.


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God Bless You! Peace

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