Thursday, March 21, 2024

† "...Who do you make yourself out to be?...."


†Quote of the Day

"If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion."
–St. Maximilian Kolbe

Today's Meditation

Intimacy with God requires quiet time, a scarce commodity during some seasons of life. Parents with little children at home, especially babies, might get a snippet of quiet time here and there. But when a baby starts to cry, a parent cannot say to them, "Honey, stop crying; I'm talking to God here!" In fact, performing one's duty to meet the needs of a crying baby or a hungry child is a wonderful way to listen to our Lord, who said in regard to the hungry, thirsty, naked, and sick, "Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me" (Matthew 25:40)
– Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ, p.108

Daily Verse

"A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all."
–Proverbs 22:1-2


St. Nicholas of Flue

St. Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487) was born in Switzerland, a devout child of pious parents. At the age of 21 he joined the army and fought in local battles. In his mid-twenties, at the advice of his parents, he married a similarly pious woman and had five sons and five daughters. He served the public by holding various civil offices, and was esteemed by all for his moral integrity. After 25 years of marriage, upon discerning a special call from God, and with the consent of his wife, he went to live in a nearby valley as a hermit. He built a dwelling out of branches and left it only for daily Mass. He wore a tunic and kept his head and feet bare, spending his days in prayer and penance on behalf of the local people. With permission from the parish priest he abstained totally from food and drink, without any negative effect on his health, which was confirmed by the Church as a miracle. He lived in this manner for 20 years and became known as a visionary and a prophet. Distinguished persons from all over Europe came to him for counsel. The civil authorities built him a cell and chapel and assigned him a chaplain. The saint intervened as an arbiter when a civil war was imminent, resulting in the enduring union of the French and German-speaking parts of Switzerland. His hermitage became a place of pilgrimage after his death. St. Nicholas of Flue is the patron saint of Switzerland. His feast day is March 21st.


Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Reading 1 Gn 17:3-9

When Abram prostrated himself, God spoke to him:
"My covenant with you is this:
you are to become the father of a host of nations.
No longer shall you be called Abram;
your name shall be Abraham,
for I am making you the father of a host of nations.
I will render you exceedingly fertile;
I will make nations of you;
kings shall stem from you.
I will maintain my covenant with you
and your descendants after you
throughout the ages as an everlasting pact,
to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
I will give to you
and to your descendants after you
the land in which you are now staying,
the whole land of Canaan, as a permanent possession;
and I will be their God."
God also said to Abraham:
"On your part, you and your descendants after you
must keep my covenant throughout the ages."

Responsorial Psalm 105:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8a) The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generations –
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

Verse Before the Gospel Ps 95:8

If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.

Gospel Jn 8:51-59

Jesus said to the Jews:
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever keeps my word will never see death."
So the Jews said to him,
"Now we are sure that you are possessed.
Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say,
'Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.'
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?
Or the prophets, who died?
Who do you make yourself out to be?"
Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing;
but it is my Father who glorifies me,
of whom you say, 'He is our God.'
You do not know him, but I know him.
And if I should say that I do not know him,
I would be like you a liar.
But I do know him and I keep his word.
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad."
So the Jews said to him,
"You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?"
Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM."
So they picked up stones to throw at him;
but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.


Daily Meditation: John 8:51-59

Before Abraham came to be, I AM. (John 8:58)

In some ways it's not too hard to relate to the Jews' consternation in today's Gospel reading. When Jesus spoke these words, they didn't know what to make of him. It was true that he had some remarkable teaching to offer. He had also performed some stupendous miracles. But equating himself with God by calling himself "I AM"? That was going too far!

Granted, we know that Jesus is God. But we might act as if we don't. It's a different problem from the Jews in today's reading, but it comes from the same root—not believing who Jesus says he is. We might not lash out at Jesus as they did (John 8:59); instead, our unbelief might look more like self-protection. If we start to think that he can't do what he has promised in our lives, we might distance ourselves from him and try to take matters into our own hands. We might trust only in what we do ourselves, results we can see.

But trusting in what is unseen is what faith is all about. It's believing in Jesus' power when the "evidence" of our senses seems to tell us otherwise. It's trusting in his love and grace when our situation seems beyond his reach. It's knowing we can rely on him, no matter what our circumstances are.

When you find yourself wrestling with your faith, know that you're not alone. Old Testament heroes like Abraham, Moses, and Joseph all had to trust in God when they couldn't see the outcome of the situations they faced. The apostles and saints of the Church all endured trials that tested their faith. But they persisted in believing that Jesus could do what he had promised. They trusted that he loved them and cared about what was important to them.

You can experience the same assurance as you exercise your faith. When you pray today, don't focus only on your problems—focus on the problem solver as well! Expand the way you think about Jesus. Proclaim that he is God and can do all things. "Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought" (Psalm 105:5), and trust that he can do "far more than all [you] ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20). Then, in faith, tell him that you believe he is who he says he is.

"Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God. Help me live out of that faith today!"

Genesis 17:3-9
Psalm 105:4-9


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Reflections with Brother Adrian:
Audio English


In the Gospel today we heard:
"Jesus said to the Jews:
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever keeps my word will never see death."
So the Jews said to him,
"Now we are sure that you are possessed........"
end quote.

And so the Gospel ends with: "Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM."
So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area."

Why does God hide Himself? It is a protection, for Himself, but more for us. Can you imagine what could happen if you raise your hand at your Father? Just raising it would be a hell raising blasphemy. And so, to avoid you having to put yourself through hell, He hides Himself.
Where does He hide? In this case, He had to leave the temple.
Your body is also a temple. Have we driven Him out with our sins?
And so, tomorrow, I ask for prayer as a couple of us men will spend the night in our temple church, offering our stay for our parish and our families. It will be called Samuel night. If you remember the story in the bible, Samuel was a young boy sleeping in the temple as he was adopted by Eli when his mother gave him to the prophet as a promise to God for having bore a son. During the night, the Lord called on Samuel, but Samuel did not recognize the voice of God. They also say in other stories that our Virgin Mother Mary was a temple virgin, basically living for the temple and serving the temple as a young girl.

We should all be temple people. And technically we are, our bodies are a temple.

Jesus says in John 14: "If you love me, you will obey my commandments. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever. He is the Spirit, who reveals the truth about God. The world cannot receive him, because it cannot see him or know him."

I say this because God desires to live in our temple through His Holy Spirit.

Everything in the realms outside this world are inside this world. God can reside in us, or evil spirits can reside in our temple.

And evil wants to drive out the holy inside of us. This is sin. Sin is like a poison for the soul.
This lent has been designed to detox ourselves, to be freed more from sin and to live closer to Him by letting Him more within.
Have you taken advantage of fasting, almsgiving, and more praying? If so, good, you are on a good path. If not, then it is never too late. So long as we breathe we can come closer and closer to our God.
I said at funeral I was asked to preside at this week, that we ought to think of the room we make for God in our hearts, perhaps that same room size will be the room in His heart in Heaven. Wouldn't you like a spacious beautiful room in His mansion? I would. With so much room to fit my friends and family that I pray so much for every day, which is not easy either. Praying takes much effort. Sacrifice takes much effort. The only way to do it is to just do it, first out of obedience, and then this turns into love, like an arranged marriage. You have been arranged into an eternal Love with our Lord in Heaven.

Lord, I could've done more, but it is not too late. Accept my offerings this day as a love offering, both now and forever. Help me offer You my whole heart!


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Random Bible Verse 1
Joshua 1:8

8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.


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