Wednesday, February 21, 2024

†."It seeks a sign....


†Quote of the Day

"Let us love God, but with the strength of our arms, in the sweat of our brow."
–St. Vincent de Paul

Today's Meditation

"Yes, my heart's dear one, Jesus, is here with His cross. Since you are one of His favorites, he wants to make you into His likeness; why be afraid that you will not have the strength to carry this cross without a struggle? On the way to Calvary, Jesus did indeed fall three times and you, poor little child, would like to be different from your spouse, would rather not fall a hundred times if necessary to prove your love to Him by getting back up with even more strength than before your fall!"
—St. Therese of Lisieux, p. 87

Daily Verse

"Now this is the message that we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say, 'We have fellowship with him,' while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin."
–1 John 1:5-7


St. Peter Damian

St. Peter Damian (1007-1072 A.D.) was born in Ravenna, Italy, the youngest of a large and noble yet poor family. After his birth his mother initially refused to nurse him due to the strain he would put on the family, and he nearly died. He was later orphaned and suffered from extreme poverty. One brother adopted him, but neglected him and treated him like a slave. Another brother, a priest, recognizing that Peter had great intelligence, took him in and provided for his education. Peter excelled in his studies and in religious piety. By the time he was twenty-five he became a professor famous for his work in theology and canon law. Bothered by the distractions of university life, at twenty-eight he left his position to become a Benedictine monk and to lead a quiet life of fervent prayer and self-mortification. He lived during a time of great corruption in the Church, and became heavily involved in the controversies and crises of the day, advocating for reform and greater discipline in religious life. He was an influential figure, a friend and adviser to both popes and emperors, and was made a bishop and cardinal. Due to his academic prowess and prolific theological writings, St. Peter Damian was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1823. His feast day is February 21.


Wednesday of the First Week in Lent

Reading 1 Jon 3:1-10

The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
"Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you."
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD's bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day's walk announcing,
"Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,"
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast
and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.

When the news reached the king of Nineveh,
he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe,
covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.
Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh,
by decree of the king and his nobles:
"Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep,
shall taste anything;
they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water.
Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God;
every man shall turn from his evil way
and from the violence he has in hand.
Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath,
so that we shall not perish."
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.

Responsorial Psalm PS 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19

R. (19b) A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Verse Before the Gospel Jl 2:12-13 Jl 2:12-13

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart
for I am gracious and merciful.

Gospel Lk 11:29-32

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
"This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here."


Daily Meditation: Jonah 3:1-10

The people of Nineveh believed God. (Jonah 3:5)

Something of a communal gut check happens when a major event like a natural disaster or a terrorist attack suddenly brings life into focus. Everyone affected takes stock of their lives, examines their behavior, and asks where God can be found in the midst of such a tragedy. But what about when a prophet preaches a message of impending doom? How do you think the residents of the same city might react? Do you think it would make a difference at all? Especially if the city were known for its wicked, sinful ways?

This is essentially the story told in the Book of Jonah. It wasn't an earthquake or a military invasion that prompted the people of Nineveh to repent. It was the words of a lone foreigner who appeared on the city's shores smelling like the fish that had swallowed him! That's how powerful a prophetic message can be!

Lent is our time to emulate the people of Nineveh. It's our opportunity to "believe God" (see Jonah 3:5) and embrace the call to deeper repentance and faith. On a concrete level, this means actively listening for the prophetic voices in our own surroundings. And like the people of Nineveh, we might hear God speaking to us through unexpected people or in unlikely places. It doesn't have to be in a church, and it doesn't have to come from our parish priest. God can use anyone or anything to get through to us: a television show, a chance encounter, a bumper sticker. Even someone you'd least expect can bring you God's message.

But remember: just because Lent is a penitential season, it doesn't mean that God only wants to speak to you about sin! He sent Jonah to the Ninevites out of abundant love, not out of a desire to punish. In fact, the more you keep your heart open to the Lord, the more you'll be able to detect the love and compassion in any message God sends you. You won't need the "gut check" of a tragedy to draw you back to him—because you'll already be close to his heart!

"Lord, open my ears, my eyes, and my heart! Help me to hear your prophetic word, believe in you, and love you even more."

Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19
Luke 11:29-32


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Reflections with Brother Adrian:
Audio English


In the Gospel today we heard:
"While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
"This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation....."
end of Gospel verse.
. . .

From Bishop Barron today:
"Friends, in today's Gospel, Jesus tells the crowd that the only sign he will give is the sign of Jonah—the victory of his death and Resurrection.
If Jesus had died and simply remained in his grave, he would be remembered (if he was remembered at all) as a noble idealist, tragically crushed by the forces of history. There could have been, in the first century, no surer sign that someone was not the Messiah than his death at the hands of the enemies of Israel, for one of the central marks of messiahship was precisely victory over those enemies.
That Peter, James, John, Paul, and the rest could announce throughout the Mediterranean world that Jesus was in fact the long-awaited Israelite Messiah, and that they could go to their deaths defending this claim, are the surest indications that something monumentally significant happened to Jesus after his death.
That something was the Resurrection. Though too many modern theologians have tried to explain the Resurrection away as a wish-fulfilling fantasy, a vague symbol, or a literary invention, the New Testament writers could not be clearer: the crucified Jesus, who had died and been buried, appeared alive again to his disciples."
End Quote Bishop Barron.

"What happened to Jonah'? He was swallowed up by a big fish in the sea in the middle of a storm? Why? Because the people on the boat realized it was his god that was furious. Why? Because Jonah had decided not to do God's will. Why? Because he didn't think it was right. "What was God asking"? He was asking Jonah to preach repentance to a very bad people. Jonah felt they deserved what was coming to them...condemnation.

Don't we do that sometimes? We rather not tell someone or a group something so they "realize for themselves" how messed up their doing and to "get what they deserve"?
This is perhaps one of the greatest injustices. At our conference a hermit said that we do this out of pride. So that we look good and preserve a false peace. But in the end it hurts the other...and after that it hurts us as well. Remember what our Lord said? "You Did It To Me". And in Matthew we hear our Lord say: "And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me. ' The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
And so here we are in Lent, and our Lord is asking for repentance. From who? From everyone.

Do you repent your sin?
Do you feel sorry or remorse for your sin?

What about for the sins of others?
You see, in the world, this isn't talked about much. It is mostly swept under a rug. The world wants you to shut up about your morals. And then, they want to declare what morals are. And they never work out. It usually winds up living a life of gloom or communism. But that is not why God sent His Heart to the world through Jesus our Lord and our Christ Savior.
Our Lord came with a message. And His word shall be fulfilled, with or without you.
He wants the world to repent. Why? Because...He loves it. Many don't love the world or the life they live in, and we can easily tell why we can't. But Jesus loves what He created. He created You. From the beginning of time Father God knew you would come into the world at this moment. To proclaim His message in your unique world, in your unique way, and why? The challenge is love, and not just any love, but sacrificial love. Love of God, and of neighbor.

Lord, help us love Thee as we ought!


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James 1:19–20

[James 1]
Hearing and Doing the Word

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.


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