Wednesday, February 7, 2024

†..Do You Not Realize That. . ...


†Quote of the Day

"Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire."
–St. Catherine of Siena

Today's Meditation

"You were not faint of heart, Joseph. You were a man after God's own heart. And so, as He loves [Mary], so in proportion did you. You were betrothed. You touched that hand when you made your espousals. Did it burn? Were you branded? That hand would be yours. It would fit into your rough and worn palm and find security and strength there. Did you stare at your hand that night by the candlelight? Did you marvel that something so poor held something so rich? A man knows when he is out of his league. He rises or recedes. You rose."
–Fr. Matthew Kauth, p.170

Daily Verse

"[May you be] strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light."
–Colossians 1:11-12


St. Richard the King

St. Richard the King (c. 720 A.D.), also known as Richard the Pilgrim, was a Saxon king born in Wessex, England, who was related by blood to the royal house of Kent. His brother-in-law was St. Boniface, and three of his children are numbered among the saints: St. Willibald, St. Winnebald, and St. Walburga. When Willibald was gravely ill as a child, Richard's prayers for his son are said to have saved his life. He wrapped his child in a blanket and took him to the foot of a large crucifix erected near their village, and the child recovered. When Willibald was grown, he convinced his father and brother to accompany him on a missionary pilgrimage to Rome and the Holy Land. St. Richard agreed, renounced his royal estate, and embarked on the journey with his two sons, while his daughter entered a convent. In Italy he became sick and died, and was buried in Tuscany at the Church of San Frediano. Numerous miracles are reported to have occurred at his tomb. Some of his relics were transported to Eichstatt, Germany, where his son Winnebald would become Bishop. His feast day is celebrated on February 7th.


Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1 Kgs 10:1-10

The queen of Sheba, having heard of Solomon's fame,
came to test him with subtle questions.
She arrived in Jerusalem with a very numerous retinue,
and with camels bearing spices,
a large amount of gold, and precious stones.
She came to Solomon and questioned him on every subject
in which she was interested.
King Solomon explained everything she asked about,
and there remained nothing hidden from him
that he could not explain to her.

When the queen of Sheba witnessed Solomon's great wisdom,
the palace he had built, the food at his table,
the seating of his ministers, the attendance and garb of his waiters,
his banquet service,
and the burnt offerings he offered in the temple of the LORD,
she was breathless.
"The report I heard in my country
about your deeds and your wisdom is true," she told the king.
"Though I did not believe the report until I came and saw with my own eyes,
I have discovered that they were not telling me the half.
Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report I heard.
Blessed are your men, blessed these servants of yours,
who stand before you always and listen to your wisdom.
Blessed be the LORD, your God,
whom it has pleased to place you on the throne of Israel.
In his enduring love for Israel,
the LORD has made you king to carry out judgment and justice."
Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty gold talents,
a very large quantity of spices, and precious stones.
Never again did anyone bring such an abundance of spices
as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

Responsorial Psalm PS 37:5-6, 30-31, 39-40
R. (30a) The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.
Commit to the LORD your way;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will make justice dawn for you like the light;
bright as the noonday shall be your vindication.
R. The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.
The mouth of the just man tells of wisdom
and his tongue utters what is right.
The law of his God is in his heart,
and his steps do not falter.
R. The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.
The salvation of the just is from the LORD;
he is their refuge in time of distress.
And the LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
R. The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.

Alleluia See Jn 17:17b, 17a

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your word, O Lord, is truth:
consecrate us in the truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 7:14-23

Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them,
"Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile."

When he got home away from the crowd
his disciples questioned him about the parable.
He said to them,
"Are even you likewise without understanding?
Do you not realize that everything
that goes into a person from outside cannot defile,
since it enters not the heart but the stomach
and passes out into the latrine?"
(Thus he declared all foods clean.)
"But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him.
From within the man, from his heart,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile."


Daily Meditation: Mark 7:14-23

Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile. (Mark 7:15)

For centuries, the Israelites lived in covenant with God. They took his commandments seriously and upheld their traditions to maintain their distinction as God's people. Obeying God's law was so central to their identity that many would have given their lives to avoid breaking it. Take the story of the Maccabees, for example. In 167 BC, a Syrian king demanded that the Jewish people give up their customs. Facing death, hundreds of Israelites sacrificed their lives rather than eat the king's unclean food (1 Maccabbees 1:62-63).

So we can understand why people were troubled by Jesus' declaration that eating the wrong foods didn't defile a person (Mark 7:14-15). He was telling them that being "clean" in the eyes of God has far more to do with the attitudes of the heart than with the food they eat or the objects they touch. Jesus was concerned with a deeper kind of defilement.

What about us? Jesus is teaching us that our "defilements" come from within us. Even more, they wound our souls and so can't be healed from the outside. It's not enough for us just to try to change our behavior; we need God to renew our hearts as well. Our sinful mindsets and wounded souls need healing and grace that come only from God. Then we can better follow him.

The good news is that sinful patterns of selfishness, pride, or envy can be broken by the power of God. This is why Jesus came into the world. He died, rose, and sent the Spirit into our hearts so that we could live new lives of freedom and joy! Every morning, we can allow him to search and forgive and heal our wounded hearts. We can repent of our sin and trust in his mercy. We can have confidence that by his Spirit, Jesus is healing what defiles us; he is making us new each and every day.

What hope we have! Our sin does not get the last word. Overcoming its effect in our lives does not rely solely upon our own strength. Today, let's surrender ourselves to Jesus and invite him to breathe new life into our souls!

"Lord, I trust that you will make me clean and set me free!"

1 Kings 10:1-10
Psalm 37:5-6, 30-31, 39-40


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Reflections with Brother Adrian:
Audio English


In the Gospel today we heard:
"Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them,
"Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile." ....."
end of Gospel verse.
. . .

From Bishop Barron:
"Friends, in today's Gospel, Jesus teaches that evil comes from within. From our hearts "come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly."
The Church teaches that such evils are consequences of original sin. The doctrine holds that there is something fundamentally off about us, that all is not well, that we are off-kilter, skewed, mixed up. We Catholics don't hold to a doctrine of total depravity, but we do indeed hold that original sin has worked its way into every nook and cranny of our lives: our minds, our wills, our desires and passions, even our very bodies.
As G.K. Chesterton argued a century ago, original sin is the only doctrine for which there is empirical evidence, for we can feel it within ourselves and we can see the effects of it everywhere.
One of the surest signs of our dysfunction is that we tend to celebrate all of the wrong people and despise or look down upon the best people. Pay very close attention to the people that you don't like, to those that you consider obnoxious; it might tell you a lot about your own spiritual state. ......" end quote Bishop Barron.

Remember yesterday's reflection when I said we should measure our words. Words have power. Prayers then, have power all the more. And watch what starts coming out of your mouth. I say this because this is what I do. What comes out of the mouth is what is coming out of the heart! Either goodness comes out or evil spirits. And when evil spirits come out, they invite themselves into other souls, like bonds, especially to souls that are open or neutral. A neutral soul will let evil or good enter, and this bland mix is a concoction that makes for an unstable world.

And so our Lord has declared that what comes in is not evil, but what comes out can be evil.

So what can we do to assure ourselves that what comes out is not evil? Remember Grace. Grace is soothing oil to the world. We should fill ourselves with grace and how, especially since grace is a free gift from God? Let's take an example from Mother Mary, our Blessed Mother. She was availing herself, asking God to let herself be used to usher in the Messiah. And be careful what you ask for with God! He is the ultimate giver of good things. He poured Himself into her, and the world was transformed for the greater good. Why is evil still existent? Are you ready for the truth? It is for greater glory.

I've noticed that the many times I've had it rough in my life, it was because I allowed evil into my life. It wasn't the food. It was the food of the world. Ever notice the blogs and social media, they call them "feeds". It is what is feeding people.

I've tuned out the feeds, and I tune into stuff like this, bible reflections, daily saints, quotes, and all sorts of things that lead me to a better life of grace. Like Catholic retreats and conferences, the more the better. Rosaries avail grace. The Holy Mass, and all the Holy Sacraments avail us grace, that is what Holy Mother Church is doing for us, and we should be thankful, and adhere as a baby suckling on its mother's milk that provides the best of nutrients for its children.

So what have we learned from our Lord today? The critical truth of true charity. Love is a sacrifice. Bite your tongue and pray whence an evil wants to come out. This is a love offering to God. And the world will be better for it. Why? Light enters instead of darkness.

Let us pray today:
Lord I give You my life, one step at a time, one offering at a time.


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Random Bible Verse 1
Isaiah 40:26

[Isaiah 40]

26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:

who created these?

He who brings out their host by number,

calling them all by name;

by the greatness of his might

and because he is strong in power,

not one is missing.


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