Thursday, March 21, 2019

“You give it to the poor, and God receives it.”


What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like. - Saint Augustine: ( 354 – 430 AD: was a  Roman African, early Christian theologian and philosopher)

Gospel Text: (LK 16:19-31)
Jesus said to the Pharisees:
"There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man's table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.'
Abraham replied, 'My child,
remember that you received what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing
who might wish to go from our side to yours
or from your side to ours.'
He said, 'Then I beg you, father, send him
to my father's house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.'
But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.'
He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
Then Abraham said,
'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded
if someone should rise from the dead.'"

Today’s Gospel story of the rich man and Lazarus provides further truth as we ponder whether to totally commit to God or to the world.  This story provides an incredibly stark reality for the consequences of that choice.  We can choose the world and the terrifying future of the rich man’s destiny of an eternity filled with anguish with no hope for escape, or we can choose God and look forward to Lazarus’ destiny of eternal comfort in God’s presence.   As this story explains, these consequences hold true regardless of what we are currently facing in our lives. Our choice, not our circumstances,  determines the outcome.


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

“The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. "One word of truth outweighs the world.”


“An un-believed truth can hurt a man much more than a lie. It takes great courage to back truth unacceptable to our times. There's a punishment for it, and it's usually crucifixion.” ― John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Scripture Text: (JER 18:18-20)
The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem said,
“Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah.
It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests,
nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets.
And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue;
let us carefully note his every word.”

Heed me, O LORD,
and listen to what my adversaries say.
Must good be repaid with evil
that they should dig a pit to take my life?
Remember that I stood before you
to speak in their behalf,
to turn away your wrath from them.

Each Christian is called by God to live fully in Christ. This means that each Christian is called by virtue of his or her baptism to share in the three roles that Jesus exercised during His earthly life: the roles of priest, prophet and king. Each Christian, in his or her own way, is meant to speak and act prophetically. In this, we ought to keep in mind that a biblical prophet is not someone who predicts the future, but someone who reminds others—by word and example—of the demands of God’s Word.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

“We should, indeed, honor St. Joseph, since the Son of God Himself was graciously pleased to honor him by calling him father.”


St. Joseph was chosen among all men, to be the protector and guardian of the Virgin Mother of God; the defender and foster-father of the Infant-God, and the only co-operator upon earth, the one confidant of the secret of God in the work of the redemption of mankind. - St. Bernard of Clairvaux: (1090 – 1153: was a French abbot and a major leader in the reform of Benedictine monasticism)

Gospel Text: (MT 1:16, 18-21, 24A)
Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.

St. Joseph had cultivated a deep relationship with God throughout his life and was open to receive God’s gift of being the person who would help educate Jesus, the Messiah. In this relationship, Joseph was not in control and this was fine because he trusted the One in control. He knew the Law given by God to God’s people, he was faithful to it, yet he was open to God’s surprise.

His heart was open. He trusted in God’s faithfulness and held on tight to the angel’s words: “Don’t be afraid.”


Monday, March 18, 2019

“Always seek justice, but love only mercy. To love justice and hate mercy is but a doorway to more injustice.”


“Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Gospel Text: (LK 6:36-38)
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

"Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you."

Jesus also speaks in the Gospel passage about perspective. He points out to us that the measure we use will be measured back to us. This is what we pray every time we recite the Our Father: “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” That word “as” is the fulcrum within this vital petition. Let us show mercy to the extent that we wish to receive mercy.

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