Monday, January 15, 2024

†.."As Long As They Have The . . . .


†Quote of the Day

"Announcing the Gospel is the first and greatest act of charity."
–St. Arnold Janssen

Today's Meditation

"Among the various indications that make the holiness of God known to men, the most convincing sign is the holiness of men, who are sanctified by the divine indwelling . . . In teaching us the words, 'hallowed be Thy name,' our Lord also bids us, when we pray, to ask that God may be glorified by our lives. The sense of the prayer is this: 'Grant us so to live, that all men may glorify Thee through us.' God is sanctified or hallowed in the minds of other men through us, to the extent that we are sanctified by Him. Hence when we say: 'hallowed be Thy name,' we pray, as Cyprian remarks, that God's name may be hallowed in us. Following the lead of Christ, who says: 'Be holy, because I am holy,' we beg that we, who have been sanctified in Baptism, may persevere in the state in which we began. Furthermore we pray daily to be sanctified in order that we, who daily fall, may wash away our sins by a constant process of purification."
—St. Thomas Aquinas, p. 350-351

An Excerpt From
Aquinas's Shorter Summa

Daily Verse

"For rulers are not a cause of fear to good conduct, but to evil. Do you wish to have no fear of authority? Then do what is good and you will receive approval from it, for it is a servant of God for your good. But if you do evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword without purpose; it is the servant of God to inflict wrath on the evildoer. Therefore, it is necessary to be subject not only because of the wrath but also because of conscience."
–Romans 12:3-5


St. Arnold Janssen

St. Arnold Janssen (1837–1909) was born in Germany to a large Catholic family. He was a man of simple faith who studied theology, entered the priesthood, and served as a school teacher. He had a profound devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which awakened in him an increasing desire for missionary work. This led him to found The Little Messenger of the Sacred Heart, a monthly magazine sharing news of the Church's missionary activities and encouraging German Catholics to do more to help the missions. This was during a time of anti-Catholic persecution in Germany, and many priests were expelled from the country. Arnold suggested that these expelled priests serve in the missions, and for this purpose he founded the Society of the Divine Word, known as the Divine Word Missionaries, a religious congregation of missionary priests and lay brothers. He also founded two Orders of religious sisters associated with this missionary activity. Today more than 6,000 Divine Word Missionaries are active in 63 countries. St. Arnold was canonized in 2003 by Pope St. John Paul II. His feast day is celebrated on January 15.


Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1 Sm 15:16-23

Samuel said to Saul:
"Stop! Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night."
Saul replied, "Speak!"
Samuel then said: "Though little in your own esteem,
are you not leader of the tribes of Israel?
The LORD anointed you king of Israel and sent you on a mission, saying,
'Go and put the sinful Amalekites under a ban of destruction.
Fight against them until you have exterminated them.'
Why then have you disobeyed the LORD?
You have pounced on the spoil, thus displeasing the LORD."
Saul answered Samuel: "I did indeed obey the LORD
and fulfill the mission on which the LORD sent me.
I have brought back Agag, and I have destroyed Amalek under the ban.
But from the spoil the men took sheep and oxen,
the best of what had been banned,
to sacrifice to the LORD their God in Gilgal."
But Samuel said:
"Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as in obedience to the command of the LORD?
Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission than the fat of rams.
For a sin like divination is rebellion,
and presumption is the crime of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the command of the LORD,
he, too, has rejected you as ruler."

Responsorial Psalm 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23

R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
no goats out of your fold."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?"
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Alleluia Hb 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

Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins. (Mark 2:22)

In today's Gospel, the Pharisees, along with some of John the Baptist's disciples, are scandalized that Jesus' disciples weren't as rigorous in fasting as they were. How could people who seemed so lax in their spirituality possibly be models of holiness?

In response, Jesus talks about new wine and new wineskins. Like new wine that was still expanding with fermentation, his teaching was full of the vitality of new possibilities and a new relationship with God. So his disciples needed to be supple and flexibile, like fresh wineskins, so that they could hold that teaching in their hearts and let it change some of their behaviors. They needed to let the Holy Spirit shape them and form them into the "fishers of men" that Jesus had called them to be (Mark 1:17). They needed to be softhearted enough to be just as merciful toward people as God was toward them.

Do you ever feel like an old wineskin? Maybe a little too inflexible or rigid in your thinking. Maybe a little too hard and unmoving toward people. Maybe a little too set in your ways. Since we are Jesus' disciples just as the first disciples were, we need to follow his call to be like flexible new wineskins. We need to let his Spirit soften our hearts, expand our vision of his call to love God and neighbor, and help us be open to new ways of serving him.

One way we can become more like new wineskins is to try to be open to situations that might take us out of our comfort zones. We can try to make sure that we don't limit what God can do through us or how he can change us. For instance, if you're struggling to forgive someone who has hurt you, or to overcome a certain pattern of sin, keep up the fight! Don't assume that you'll never change. Or if you've always resisted the call to evangelize or to serve in your parish, go ahead and take just one step forward. With every step you take, you'll be giving the Spirit a greater opening to "stretch" your heart and make it into a more flexible wineskin!

"Come, Holy Spirit, and soften my heart today!"

1 Samuel 15:16-23
Psalm 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23


click to hear 2cents

Reflections with Brother Adrian:
Audio English


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.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day......"
end of Gospel verse.
. . .

From a Spanish reflection today:
"For Christians, "the new" always comes from the hand of God. He is the one who "makes all things new." From below, from within and from nearby. Through his incarnation, Jesus Christ has been united, in a certain way, to every person, and he who opens his life to them can see himself renewed, expanded, and hopeful. His life is a reference that opens horizons to our narrow views. His Word is guidance in the midst of the crossroads of each day. His preferences blow up our selfishness and individualism. His Kingdom, which has already begun, but has not yet manifested itself in its fullness, makes us walk further, without settling. The only condition is to let his Spirit act in us, saying "let it be done to me," as Mary did.
The beginning of a new year can be an opportunity to ask myself, before the Lord, how much of an "old man" there is in me - who lives from himself and for himself, with the anguish that this entails - and to ask Him to continue shining in me. the "new man", that is, his own Life in me. Because, as the Gospel tells us today, "No one puts new wine into old wineskins (…); to new wine, new wineskins."

"Renew, Lord, my life;
Let me let you in, so you can
remove the superfluous,
fix what can be improved,
and add what is necessary.
May my life be a reflection of your life,
living from the Father, for others,
with you, as you and for you.
May it be so, today and always. Amen....." end Spanish quote Luis Manuel Suárez, cmf.

As we ponder what the Gospel could mean, we don't have to look to far, when it comes to fasting, and feasting. The Holy Church is full of fasts and feasts. In less than a month we will start fasting for 40 days, as Ash Wednesday is not too far from now. But in between the time from Ash Wednesday until Easter, we will actually break the fasts! We will have feast days, and for sure, every Sunday. We feast on the Lord's day. Why? Because He comes to us on Sunday, and we meet Him at church, in Holy Mass. And on feast days too! It is good news, like when my grandpa would come from weeks or months away from home to my dad and siblings in Juarez as they were starving to death, he'd bring them a special treat, a Coca Cola was an extravagant gift, or little toys, or a special meal. It was indeed Heaven on earth. And so, our Lord our Father offers Himself in Jesus from Heaven, for us to feast on. His very precious Heart.
We should go on our knees and fasting before receiving Him, fully ready, with a confessed heart, a contrite heart would be better.

Our Lord is here, and He wants to dwell in us.

Pray with me:
Lord, I want to participate in the eternal feast in Heaven, but it starts here, and I can't seem to appreciate it with all my heart, mind, and soul. Help us love Thee more and more! O help us love Thee more and more! Had I but Mary's sinless heart, to love You with my dearest King, o with what bursts of flaming love, Your precious praises would I sing!


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Random Bible Verse 1
Hebrews 4:12

12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.


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