Monday, March 25, 2024

† "...You Always Have The . . ..."


†Quote of the Day

"Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven."
–St. Rose of Lima

Today's Meditation

[Mary] does not remain locked in her initial troubled state at the proximity of God in his angel, but she seeks to understand. So Mary appears as a fearless woman, one who remains composed even in the presence of something utterly unprecedented. At the same time she stands before us as a woman of great interiority, who holds heart and mind in harmony and seeks to understand the context, the overall significance of God's message. In this way, she becomes an image of the Church as she considers the word of God, tries to understand it in its entirety and guards in her memory the things that have been given to her."
—Pope Benedict XVI, p. 33

Daily Verse

"Teach me thy way, O Lord, that I may walk in thy truth; unite my heart to fear thy name. I give thanks to thee, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify thy name for ever. For great is thy steadfast love toward me; thou hast delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol."
–Psalm 86:11-13


The Annunciation

The Solemnity of the Annunciation, celebrated on March 25th, honors the profound meeting between the Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary, as recorded in St. Luke's Gospel. On this day St. Gabriel announced to Mary Immaculate that she would miraculously conceive a Child by the Holy Spirit, the long-awaited Messiah who would save mankind from their sins. This is the moment of the Blessed Virgin Mary's great fiat of perfect submission to the Divine will. This day on which the Church celebrates the Incarnation of Jesus Christ in the womb of His Blessed Mother is exactly nine months before the Feast of the Nativity on December 25th.


St. Dismas

St. Dismas (1st c.) is the name Church tradition has given to the "Good Thief," one of the two criminals who were crucified alongside Jesus Christ on Good Friday. All we know about St. Dismas is what is mentioned of him in the Gospels: "Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, 'Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.' The other [St. Dismas] however, rebuking him, said in reply, 'Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.'" Then St. Dismas, as an expression of his faith in Christ as the Messiah, said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus replied to St. Dismas, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:39-42). The feast day of St. Dismas is March 25.


Monday of Holy Week

Reading 1 Is 42:1-7

Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
Upon whom I have put my Spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
Not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
Until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spreads out the earth with its crops,
Who gives breath to its people
and spirit to those who walk on it:
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
To open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14

R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life's refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
When evildoers come at me
to devour my flesh,
My foes and my enemies
themselves stumble and fall.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart will not fear;
Though war be waged upon me,
even then will I trust.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Verse Before the Gospel

Hail to you, our King;
you alone are compassionate with our faults.

Gospel Jn 12:1-11

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil
made from genuine aromatic nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair;
the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,
and the one who would betray him, said,
"Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days' wages
and given to the poor?"
He said this not because he cared about the poor
but because he was a thief and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions.
So Jesus said, "Leave her alone.
Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me."

The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came,
not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus,
whom he had raised from the dead.
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him.


Daily Meditation: John 12:1-11

Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil . . . and anointed the feet of Jesus. (John 12:3)

We're so accustomed to hearing this story of Mary of Bethany anointing Jesus' feet that we might miss some of the context. But an act of such extravagant love and devotion didn't just come out of nowhere! Mary must have somehow understood that Jesus was worth even her most valuable possession. So where did her understanding and her deep faith come from?

We can find some answers in the two other times that we see Mary in the Gospels. In the first (Luke 10:38-42), we see her sitting peacefully at Jesus' feet and listening closely to his words while her sister, Martha, kept bustling about the house. And when Martha finally gave voice to her frustration, Jesus replied that Mary had "chosen the better part" (10:42). By placing such a high priority on her relationship with Jesus, Mary made sure that she was keeping her heart open to learning more about him. She gave him the opportunity to keep teaching her, and everything she learned filled her with even greater love for him.

The second story centers around Jesus' miracle of raising Mary's brother, Lazarus, from the dead (John 11:1-45). When Jesus sent word to Mary that he had arrived and wanted to see her, she hurried to greet him. Falling at his feet, she proclaimed, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died" (11:32). Mary believed that Jesus could have healed her brother. But she was also willing to accept that Jesus might have had a different plan. So she surrendered her plans and her desires in favor of Jesus' plans and desires.

This week before Easter can be very busy. But it's still Holy Week! Try to imitate Mary over the next few days. Even if you can spare just an extra five or ten minutes in prayer each day, do it. Choose the "better part" by sitting before the Lord in quiet, listening to his word. Surrender your plans to him. Pour yourself out to him in love and worship, and let him fill you with his love and his grace.

"Jesus, help me to slow down this week so that I can hear your voice and surrender to you."

Isaiah 42:1-7
Psalm 27:1-3, 13-14


click to hear 2cents

Reflections with Brother Adrian:
Audio English


In the Gospel today we heard:
"Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said,
"Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days' wages and given to the poor?"
He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions.
So Jesus said, "Leave her alone.
Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me."......"
end quote.

From Bishop Barron:
"There is nothing calculating, careful, or conservative about the woman's action. Flowing from the deepest place in the heart, religion resists the strictures set for it by a fussily moralizing reason (on full display in those who complain about the woman's extravagance). At the climax of his life, Jesus will give himself away totally, lavishly, unreasonably—and this is why Mary's beautiful gesture is a sort of overture to the opera that will follow.

A spanish reflection today ends with a quote from Padre Antonio Bueno Espinar O.P. who asks: "Are we willing to assume the consequences of a Christian life lived seriously?"

Who lavishly gives to Christ like Mary of Bethany? Why does she lavishly give?

It is difficult to give lavishly, right? It's not too hard to give a little, is it? This lent, we were supposed to give and to give lavishly, of our time, prayer, of our treasure, alms-giving, and fasting, giving of our abilities. And here we are in holy week. It's not too late to give it your all.
I say this because, somewhere, in all my readings of Christ, I can't remember where I heard that, today, March 25th, the day of the Annunciation, is perhaps the day our Lord was crucified and died for us all. This would've began his life on earth at conception and ended at natural death. Only, His was natural in the way of Holiness, a death freely given to God in Heaven as an offering, an atonement, the perfect lamb of God.
He gave lavishly, He gave it all. What's amazing about that, is that Jesus being God, cannot be held to a particular point in time. His offering then, is forever. But can we continue to hurt Him forever with our stingy sins?
This is Holy Week.

What makes it Holy? God makes it Holy. And He desires that we make Holy the week too. Will you feel forced to do it, or will you do it with great love?

I always like to tell people to follow in obedience, because in the end, you will begin to love it. Just do what God says. Taste and see. We don't understand why. It's hard to fast, and it can be hard to give it all up! But try it. Try loving lavishly.

How? How does that work? Love your enemies. Some of us say we love them but we cannot stand them. Some even preach to forgive them and to stay away from them. But God couldn't stay away from Jerusalem. Am I saying for a wife of a physically abusive husband to stick around? Well, yes and no. Fight for the husband's salvation. Yes. But in the meantime get out of the way! But what I mean is for those you encounter daily that "hurt your feelings". There's more than meets the eye. The devil loves to hurt people's feelings. It's not the people! It's evil spirits! That's why God says to love your enemies, that you may provide salvation for their souls!

It's something nobody wants hear. Why? Pride. The number one divider of Christianity and of families. The devil whispers "oh you don't have to take this". And God says "watch me slaughtered on the cross...and I'd do it all over again for you".
That we might be saved.
That we might turn from our sinful ways.
That we might do as He does when He asks us to follow Him for the good of the world and our souls!


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Simply Amazing.
Random Bible Verse 1
Galatians 5:24

24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.


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