Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Jn 20:11-18 After Lent

Tuesday within the Octave of Easter
(Click here for readings)

Jesus said to Mary, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?"  She thought it was the gardener and said to him, "Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him..." Jesus said to her, "Mary!"  She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni," which means Teacher.  Jesus said to her, "...Go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"  Mary went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord..."

Now what?  I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, so I will say it now:  I have always found Lent to be a more productive or enriching time of year than Easter.  I know.  I know what you are thinking.  But think about it for a moment.  During Lent we have specific tasks to accomplish:  we have to eat fish on Fridays, go to confession and try to keep promises we made for forty days.  So now what?  What do we do after Lent and during Easter?  Do we relax and enjoy the show?  Do we go back to what we were doing before?   

I don't know about you, but I could sure use another forty days to work on myself.  Don't get me wrong.  I had a pretty good Lent, but I could sure use some extra time to keep working on a few personal items.   

So is Lent ever really over?  Not at all.  We will always need to keep working hard to be the person God created us to be.  This quest will not be accomplished in just forty days, and maybe not even in forty years!  Lent takes a lifetime because it is my true self I keep chasing after. 

Do you remember what your goal was during Lent?  Yes, myself forty days from now.  Was that it?  No.  I want to be a better person, the person God created me to be since the beginning of time.  Well then, you know what it takes, right?  Yes.  It takes a lot of prayers and perseverance.

I have seen the Lord.  So if Lent is a lifelong process, then what's the purpose of Easter? 

Easter is about sharing to all the world the Good News of the risen Lord and what the Lord has done for us. 

He is Risen...and so have we, to a certain extent.  During Lent we changed, and changed for the better.  Now it's time to tell the world all about it.  Go, and tell the world what the Lord has done for you.

This morning I met with a young lady who will soon be a mommy.  During Lent, her husband decided to make her breakfast every morning and bring it to her.  I asked her what he plans do now that Lent is over.  "He said he wants to continue doing it,"  I said, "Bravo! A new man has risen from Lent."  I then asked her what she did for him.  She said, "To pick up after myself and not leave anything in the kitchen sink."  I asked her what she was going to do now that Lent was over.  "Keep doing it?"  Bingo!   Sounds simple, right?  Yes and no.

Lent is all about making small changes that make huge differences in our lives.

After Lent.  Mary Magdalene was the first person ever to witness the greatest miracle ever and live to tell about it.  She was filled with great joy.  But her day didn't begin this way.  The Lord found her outside the tomb, in sorrow and weeping.  But after her encounter with the risen Lord, she ran to the Apostles, fearful yet overjoyed, and said to them, "I have seen the Lord." 

He rose and so did she. 

Where do we encounter the Risen Lord?  On our way through life's many blessings and challenges: on the mountain tops and in the valleys; through tears of joy and tears of sadness; on rough waters and calm seas.  Mary Magdalene encountered the Lord in the worst moment of her life and in the greatest moment of His life.

What does it mean to evangelize?  It means to share what the Lord has done for us, even in forty days.

Do not be afraid!  If Mary Magdalene could evangelize the Evangelists, then we can do the same. 

Let's report to the world what the Lord has done for us.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mt 28:8-15 Fearful Yet Overjoyed

Monday within the Octave of Easter
(Click here for readings)

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce the news to his disciples.

Announcing the Good News.   "Fearful yet overjoyed" is how every disciple of the Lord feels.  Fearful, because we're never quite sure how the Lord will be received.  Overjoyed, because we know we're not wasting our time.

Every day the Pope sends out a very simple, yet heartfelt message through Twitter.  Every day he receives hundreds of replies that are hateful, insulting and grotesque.  The individuals who often send these types of messages are atheists, not at all people of other faiths.  I fear for the Pope's life.  If they can express such cruel thoughts to a man like Pope Francis, imagine what they would do to him if they could get their hands on him. 

Keep him safe, O God; you are our hope (cf. Ps 16).

Announcer and Announcement.  Do you consider yourself unworthy to announce anything Christian?  Well then consider Mary Magdalene. 

Of all the people the Lord could have chosen, He chose a woman; and not just any woman, but a woman with a troubled past.  This must have been a bit disturbing for the Eleven. 

And that's not all.  Not only did Christ choose a woman with a troubled past, but he chose her to announce something very hard to believe in:  His Resurrection!  Who in their right mind would have picked such a person?  Only Jesus would do such a thing.  Thank God!  This is just another example of Christ being confusing, but not confused.

If the Lord picked Mary to make the greatest announcement ever, then the Lord could pick us to make a pitch for Him. 

We should be overjoyed yet fearful. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Jn 20:1-9 Get Out Of Here

The Mass of Easter Sunday
(Click here for readings)

Simon Peter...arrived at the tomb...and entered. The other disciple also went in...[H]e saw and believed.

Do you believe it???  Do you know what this means??? 

1.  IT'S ALL TRUE. 
It means it's true.  It's all true.  He's not a liar or a lunatic.  He's the Lord!  Everything Jesus said and did is true!  He really is the Son of God.  He really is the Savior of the world.  He is the first and the last, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end.  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God"  (cf. Jn 1:1).

It's true!  His resurrection is His Father's stamp of approval.  Christ is the beloved Son of the Father.  He is the Word that became flesh.  He is the Shepherd and we are his sheep.  He is all that he claimed to be.  His forgiveness isn't just beautiful, it's true.  His mercy isn't just incomprehensible, it's also true. 

Life does not end with death.  It's simply a new beginning.  Do not be afraid.  We have nothing to fear. 

The Resurrection of our Lord is physical evidence that love is truly more powerful than death.  And that love not only bears all things, believes all things, endures all things and hopes all things, but that love conquers all things, even death on a Cross.

It's true: what goes up must come down.  But what is equally true is when Christ went down He came up.  This doesn't happen unless certain things happen.  The conditions of our Lord's resurrection were met: He loved unconditionally!  The Lord was true to himself. He loved.  He forgave.  He gave.  He rose. 
   
2.  IT'S ALL WORTH IT.
It's worth it.  It's all worth it.  Everything Jesus said and did is worth it!  All the sacrifices.  All the prayers.  All the tears.  All the pain.  All the suffering.  It's worth it.  It's all good.  It's all very pleasing in the sight of the Father. 

The resurrection is not a prize.  It's the obvious conclusion to loving your enemies and doing good to those who persecute you.  It's confirmation that it is better to give than to receive and the last shall be first and the first shall be last.

It's worth every once of strength to forgive seven times seventy times and seek forgiveness.  It's not crazy at all to lay down your life for a friend and even an enemy.  

"Blessed are the meek..."  "Blessed are the peacemakers..."  "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord."  I'm not a dreamer. I'm a Christian.

Christ's resurrection means it's all worth it.  But that's not all.  It also means we are worth it. We are worth every single drop of his blood, every thorn in his crown, every stripe on his back, every valley he descended and every mountain he clombed, every fall he took, every nail through his flesh, every bit of ridicule, scorn and disgust he endured.  We are worth it.

Oh my Lord!  I'm more important than I think.  Why? Because Christ's death and resurrection happened for me.  My life is worth living even when racked in pain and cut short.

3.  I NEED TO FOLLOW HIM.   
"O death, where is thy victory?  O death, where is thy sting?" (1Cor 15:55).  Death is not the worst thing that could happen to us; dying on the wrong side is.  That is the worst thing that could ever happen to us! 

Christ's victory over death is the victory of a certain way of life.  The two go together.  I need to get it together, with Him.

I need to follow Him.  I need to imitate Him.  Come what may,"the Lord is my rock and my salvation."  He is the Good Shepherd, the Good Samaritan.  He is what is Good. 

"He is the Way, the Truth and the Life."  "He is the Resurrection and the Life." 

I need to sell what I have.  I need to go out and purchase the land with the hidden pearl.  I need to proclaim the Good News to all those who are prisoners to sin. 

I owe the Lord BIG TIME.

4.  ALL IS NEVER LOST.
I have something to share with others; something that is worth more than anything else.  It's a simple message.  It originated with Christ and travels to us through countless personal experiences:  No one is lost in Christ.  No one.

See for yourself.  Enter the tomb.  All is not lost.  Life has been found!  The empty tomb gives meaning to all life.  It turns it right side up.  It gives a twist to life and even death.  Life is not square.  It is an adventure.  Just when we think it is over, it's not.  The empty tomb should drive our every decision, twist our hands and feet and define our lives.  The empty tomb is our compass to life.

When we were lost and could not find our way, you gave us your empty tomb.

After Christ's death and before his resurrection, the Apostles were scattered.  They were lost.  They didn't know what to think or do.  Their faith in Christ was nearly shattered.  They were like sheep without a Shepherd, and so they returned to where it all began:  Galilee. 

"If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain" (cf. 1Cor 15:14).

The resurrection has given me a faith, a hope and a love that must be shared with others:  neighbors, friends and enemies.  It is a faith, hope and love they have not experienced and that we have barely scratched the surface in comprehending.  We must share it, because we can easily forget it, especially during trials and sin.  

Christ has risen.  What does this mean?  It means my life has been turned upside down, which really means right side up.

It's time to start flipping some lives around.

Happy Easter!


P.S.  If you're having a hard time believing in the resurrection, then try this: try living what Christ preached.  I am sure you will end up seeing what the disciples saw:  an empty tomb. 

There are many ways to the Son of God.  You don't have to start with his greatest miracle, the resurrection.  Start with His Words. 

Christians are known for being very bouncy.  We all know that what goes up must come down, right?  But Christians also know that what went down a few days ago just came back to life.  You don't have to start with the loftiness of the resurrection.  Start with His Way of Life. 

If you start with Christ's humanity, I am sure you will bounce to His divinity.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Jn 18:1-19:42 The Passion Of Our Lord

Good Friday
(Click here for readings)

O God, give me the grace to accept my share in your Son's passion.  Help me to acknowledge the harm I have done to my Savior and to my brothers and sisters.  I beg of you, give me the grace of authentic sorrow and tears.  I ask this through the sorrowful passion of your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

For meditation:

+ Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out and said to them, "Whom are you looking for?" 

Am I standing in front of the Lord?  Have I come out with lantern and weapon in hand?  When did I do this?  Every time I was quick to judge someone and condemn them.  My weapon is my tongue.  It is swift and cunning.  It knows what to blurt out and where to strike.  When was the last time I cut someone down - and not because they did something to me, but because I was jealous or envious of them?

+ Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm.  And they said to him, "You are not one of his disciples, are you?"  He denied it and said, "I am not."

Peter had to deny the Lord three times.  He absolutely had to do it.  He was in a bad situation.  Imagine what would have happened to the early Church if Peter had died before the Lord?  Would it have even gotten off the ground? 

This is what I kept telling myself for years.  I'm pretty good at finding excuses for just about anything, even denying the Lord.  

Peter felt bad because he denied the Lord three times.  When was the last time I felt bad after denying the Lord?  Oh my goodness.  How many times have I denied the Lord?  I can't even count.  But of course I had to.  Otherwise, I would have lost my job or never earned that raise or never been promoted or considered CEO material.  Hey, it's a tough world out there.  And someone has to bend.  I'm pretty flexible.

I know someone who isn't:  a young lady who just graduated from law school and at the top of her class.  She was invited by a very prestigious law journal to write an article for them.  She did.  It was against abortion.  Guess what?  The article never got published.  Did she ruin her career before it even got off the ground?  Not at all. In fact, she earned the respect of a very prestigious lawyers guild.  This young lady will be a tremendous asset against the abortion-industrial-political complex.  She will be amazing.  Why?  Because she loves the Lord above all things and wants to serve Him before others.

I need to remember this the next time I feel embarrassed by Christ.

+ Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" 

Why did he ask?  Why do we even wonder? 

+ ...Jesus said to him, "Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." Pilate said to him, "What is truth?"

We all cherish the truth, right?  Not so fast.  I don't think so.  I think we cherish being right more than being in the truth; in being found innocent when guilty, than guilty when guilty.  I also think we would do whatever it takes to hide the truth from others. 

I've gotten into enough debates to know when people are not at all interested in the truth; that is, when they argue only for the sake of arguing or to better their debating skills.  No wonder the Lord remained silent before Pontius Pilate.  He knew he was wasting his breath. 

"What is truth?"  What a question!  It's an interesting question given the fact the Romans and Greeks knew better than anyone else what truth is: That which corresponds to reality. 

So the question now is:  Am I living in the truth?  Am I who I claim to be? Am I living in the image and likeness of Christ?

+ Dressed in a purple cloak and wearing a crown of thorns, Pilate went out and said to the [crowd]:  "Look, I am bringing him out to you."

The type of God we want is the one that we can dress and who will march to every one of our orders.  

There's no doubt.  Throughout the decades, the humanity and divinity of Jesus has been disfigured by countless numbers of ambitious men and women.  And just like His body, His life has become unrecognizable to many. 

So many want to own Jesus like their personal property:  communists and atheists, liberals and conservatives, environmentalists and industrialists, revolutionaries and pacifists, fundamentalists and reformists, even non-Christians, like Muslims, want to own him. 

But no one does. 

+ Pilate said:  "Behold the man!" 

What Pilate said was more meaningful than anyone could ever comprehend.  The Lord is too big and too small to be sized up by anyone. 

+ "...I find no guilt in him." 

And yet, he was punished as if guilty.  Why would God ever allow anyone to suffer from famine, war and disease?  I believe it is to remind us of our awful sins.  We cause famines, not the sky.  We cause war, not the gods.  We even cause plagues and superbugs!

By looking at how hideous He looks, we see the hideousness of our own sins.  Christ is the living icon of Dorian Gray - and not just of him - but of the whole world. 

Oh, how the innocent suffer at the hands of the unjust! Oh, how they are bruised by the sins of others!  We condemned others to a miserable existence when we should have been condemned by our just God.  As the prophet Isaiah wrote:

"It was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured. while we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins; upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed.  We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; but the LORD laid upon him the guilt of us all" (Is. 53:4-6). 

+ They cried out, "Take him away, take him away!  Crucify him!"

How we live our lack of faith screams to the world not only who we are, but who He is not.  

How do you hide an elephant?  Throw billions of mosquitos in front of it.  Christ is the elephant.  We are the mosquitos.  He is the gentle giant.  We are nasty little creatures. 

Again, human history has revealed that we tend to cut down gentle people and things.  This is by no means a criticism of God.  It is a criticism of ourselves.  Christ revealed to the world not only who He is, but who we are as well.   Maybe it is spoiled?

The Father should have done to us what He did to His only-begotten Son, Jesus.  He should have forced Abraham to endure what He himself endured. He should never have made any promises to Noah:  "Never again will I destroy all living creatures" (cf. Gen 9:11). 

+ Pilate said, "What I have written, I have written."

This is all our doing.  This is our script.  The Lord's passion was directed and produced by us.  But let's not forget:  the Lord always takes care of His part and of course the ending.  That's what makes life, and everyone and everything around it, so interesting and exciting. 

We wanted control and we got it.  What a mess!  What we wanted done got done.  What we wanted to happen finally happened.  We sang the song all people sing in hell:  "I Did It My Way."   

What I find most amazing is how the Lord can work with people like us.  It's truly amazing!  And I'm sure he has worked with people like me before.  I guess names change but people never really change.  We're still the same we were when the first "caveman" appeared on the scene:  frightened, ignorant and arrogant.   

It's okay.  The Lord has proven that He can work with just about anyone, including the devil (cf. Job 1:7).

+ "It is finished..."[And] bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

It is finished.  But is anything ever really finished in our life other than our life? 

What follows next is affirmation, of everything that just took place.  St. Paul understood this when he wrote his famous love poem:  "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails" (cf. 1Cor 13:7-8). 

"Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth" (cf. 1Cor. 13:6)Here we have all three things together for the first time:  Christ, Love and Truth.  God is Love and Truth, the only two things that can unite the world. 

This love and truth became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, who emptied love and truth not on a cross but on us.  When all was said and done, there was nothing left for him to do.  It was time to be led to the slaughter and every word and deed be chewed and consumed.

What kept Christ alive was his passion for His Father and for us.  Ironically, they were also the ultimate reason for His death.

Life is not at all about surviving for as long as possible, but for living as long as is necessary.  Love makes life worth living.  God is love and God is what makes our lives worth living. 

Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.    

It is finished. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Jn 13:1-15 Time For Some Symbolism

Holy Thursday
(Click here for readings)

...[F]ully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, [Jesus] rose from supper and took off his outer garments...and began to wash the disciples' feet.

Fully aware that His hour had arrived, the Lord did what He does best:  He surprised His apostles.  He washed their feet and managed to give them a new commandment (to be discussed at a later time).

He washed their feet.  Human life is entirely symbolic.  Everything we do that is good, holy and right is symbolic of everything God does for us.  Everything we do that is ugly, terrifying and disgusting is symbolic of everything the devil does to us.  Our suffering is symbolic of Christ's suffering.  Our sins are symbolic of the devil's sins.  Our humility is symbolic of Christ's humility.  Our pride is symbolic of the devil's.   "There is nothing new under the sun" (cf. Ecclesiastics 9:11).

Trees are props.  The air and sky are props.  The rocks and dirt are props.  Even our families are props. Night and day are special effects.  The stage has been set by the Father.  The hour has arrived.

What comes next are some of the most dramatic scenes of symbolism to ever take place on the world stage:  the Last Supper and the washing of the disciples' feet.  This story has it all: disobedience, disbelief, betrayal, abandonment, rejection, humiliation, remorse, despair, death, forgiveness and resurrection.  But before all this can happen, one thing must take place:  the washing of the disciples' feet. 

Fully aware that His hour had come, the Lord decided to wash the feet of His men.  This is truly remarkable.  It is absolutely over-the-top.  And it is entirely symbolic.  It simply reflects the intense love the Lord has for us.   All that is physical is symbolic of all that is.

Through the washing of our feet and the carrying of our Cross, the Lord washed away our infirmities, cleansed us of all our iniquities, and loved us beyond all understanding.   He stooped down for us and did what we should have done for Him.  We didn't.  Maybe because we couldn't.  So He reminded us that greatness is obtained through meekness.  The Lord opened the kingdom of heaven to us through parables and symbols. 

Every time we stoop down and choose the more humble approach towards people, we become more like Him, another Christ, the invisible God made flesh, the servant God.  A Sacrament.

I find the washing of the disciples' feet and the carrying of the Cross attractive and powerful symbols of God's unconditional love for us.  His mercy endures forever.  What is forever?  Surprise.  Though eye may see the mind may never fully understand.

Now is the time for some symbolism!  

Stay strong and stay the course, for the end to all symbolism is fast approaching.   

Mt 26:14-25 Judas is me and I am Judas


Wednesday of Holy Week
(Click here for readings)

by Stephanie Juarez
 
And while they were eating, He said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?”He said in reply, “He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me.  The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.”

Tonight as I was waiting in line for confession I read a quote from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who said, “Judas felt let down by Jesus and decided that he, in his turn, would betray Jesus. Judas was a zealot and he wanted a victorious Messiah who would lead a revolt against the Romans. Jesus had not measured up to these expectations.”

Wait…who was the Pope really talking about, me or Judas?

As much as I would like to say that I am more like Jesus and less like Judas, I know that would be a lie. Jesus gives without measuring. His love does not calculate anything, but endures all things. Jesus forgives and forgets. Judas and I- we like to calculate. We want to know the rate of exchange for everything. We measure exactly how much we are willing to give. And we definitely don’t forgive and forget as easily as the Lord. This is the reality of my sin. I don’t like it nor am I proud of it. But I know that I have to face the ugliness of it all if I am going to become another Christ.

I see now that the very thing that led Judas to betray Jesus is the very thing that has led me to betray Jesus. It’s that feeling of being let down. It’s the feeling you get when you pray and pray and pray but nothing happens…nothing seems to be changing…nothing seems to be getting any better.

You let me down, Jesus. So now I’m going to let you down!

As selfish, immature, and shallow as those words sound, I have to admit that I have thought them more times than I care to remember. Looking back though, I can see that my first mistake was thinking that the Lord owed me anything at all!

On Holy Thursday we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist- the sacrament in which He constantly gives His whole self to us, body, blood, soul, and divinity. There is nothing else apart from Him that we will ever need. And yet the Lord still wants to give us more! He wants to fulfill all the desires of our hearts! But most of all He wants us to be holy. He want us ALL to become great saints! That means He can’t always give us exactly what we ask for, at the moment we ask for it. And it is in those times that we have the opportunity to really grow in our faith. It is in those times of feeling let down like Judas that we have a choice to make. We can either choose to trust in Him and believe that “as the heavens are higher than the earth” so are His ways higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts (cf. Isaiah 55:9). Or we can choose to sell Him out and crucify Him with our sin. The latter is the easy way out. There is no risk there - no sacrifice, no leap of faith- only desperation.

I don’t know about you, but when feel desperate I start to grasp for control. Desperate times call for desperate measures. This is what happened to Judas and to Eve. They both felt like God was holding back on them in some way. Things were not going according to their plans so they tried to take control. But in the end they just ended up betraying God and hurting themselves. The irony of sinning in order to try to gain control of your life is that sin kills- physically, spiritually, emotionally- sin slowly destroys every part of you.

How many times have we sinned because we wanted to take control of our lives?

How many times have we sinned because we felt that God wasn’t measuring up…that He wasn’t holding up His end of the deal?

How many times have I chosen to sin in an effort to “get revenge” on God for letting me down?

If we are honest with ourselves, I think that we will find that we have all done those things way too many times.

“Love is not blind; that is the last thing that it is. Love is bound; and the more it is bound the less it is blind.” ― G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Love always gives; it never seeks to take from the beloved. As we will see on Good Friday, love is a sacrifice. It is a total submission and a total gift of self. To be completely vulnerable and willfully bound to your beloved even through immense suffering- that is real love- that is the crucifix. The opposite of love, according to Blessed (soon to be saint) John Paul II, is not hate but use. Our Mother Mary knew what real love is- she gave herself fully to God knowing that one day her own soul would be pierced with a sword (cf. Luke 2:35). Even in her worst moments she did not think of abandoning her cross. She made it all the way to the foot of the cross, and that is what we should all be striving to do. We should all be carrying our crosses to the foot of Jesus’ cross. Judas ditched Christ and cross for thirty pieces of silver, but in the end he ended up paying a much heavier price.

My prayer for each and every one of us as we enter the Triduum is that we receive the graces to persevere with our crosses, especially in the moments when we feel that God has let us down in some way. I pray that we hold our crosses even tighter than ever before so that we have no hands free to grasp for silver- no hands with which to betray our Lord. But I also pray that if and when we do betray Him that we would run to seek His forgiveness and mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I pray that we would all have humble and contrite hearts filled with the sorrow of Good Friday and the hope of Easter Sunday. I pray that we would not give in to the temptations of despair like Judas but that we would be like Peter the rock, always trusting in God’s infinite love and compassion.

Grace and peace be with you.

P.S. I humbly ask for your prayers as I will be going on a pilgrimage this Good Friday with a group of other young adults from the diocese. We are teaming up with some of our Protestant brothers and sisters from a local Evangelical church to literally carry our crosses from downtown Dallas to Plano. It is a 25 mile journey so we would very much appreciate your prayers for guidance, safety, and protection. Thank you!!

 
This mediation was written by Stephanie Juarez. She is a pro-life advocate in Dallas, TX and serves on the Core team at St. Monica’s Catholic Church. For more of her writings please visit her blog Lover of the Light.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mt 26:14-25 Surely it Isn't I, Lord?

Wednesday of Holy Week
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One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?”  They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

Selling the Lord for cheap.  One of my favorite television programs is called "Forensic Files."  It's my favorite because I love science (when it is applied for good) and the drama of human existence.

I find it fascinating how crimes can be solved through forensic science and trace evidence.  But what I really find interesting is the reason - the motif - behind the crimes.   It amazes me how somebody would kill another human being just for money - as little as twenty-thousand dollars -, or a piece of jewelry - like a ring or a necklace -, or just for the thrill of it. 

With all that I have seen, I'm still shocked by the fact that Judas betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver.  What in the world was he thinking?  But is this all the evidence we have?  Not really.  As we will see in the coming days, there's more to this crime than meets the eye.

A little bit of Judas in all of us.  We've all had our moments when we let our thoughts run wild: when we imagined personal greatness or doing something really amazing - even heroic - that put us on the front cover of some famous magazine.  What typically stopped us dead in our thoughts were the odds against any of these things actually happening. After all, most of us are in no position to make a significant difference in the world.  At least this is how we feel when it comes to being good.  But when it comes to being evil, all bets are off. 

Being evil is a lot easier than being good.  Why is that? 

Sure, we've had our brief moments of imagining being superheroes but we've also had our long drawn out moments of being super-villains.   It seems to come pretty easy to us.  Why is that?  It's original sin.  And just like our world, our lives and minds our upside down. 

What motivated Judas to do what he did?  The same things that occasionally motivate us:  ambition, pride, vanity and sensuality.

Never say never.  Like most of us, Judas wanted to be heard.  He wanted to be respected.  He wanted his opinions to be accepted.  He wanted to move up in the ranks and be acknowledged before others; especially Jesus, Peter, James and John. 

Judas was a wanna be, just like me.  And since he couldn't take center stage, he ended up exiting stage left.  He sold the Lord out for silver. 

I can honestly relate to Judas.  And this is a very important lesson for me. 

We all have a little bit of Judas in us. 

So what's my price?  What am I willing to exchange the Lord for

If we want to defeat the dark angels within us, then we need to know what they are thinking...and thinking all the time. 

Surely it isn't I, Lord?  What a question!  Instead of feeling safe and snug around Jesus, the Apostles should have been terrified and humbled around Him; asking, with trembling voices, "Is it I, Lord?"