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!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mt 20:17-28 Our Worst Nightmare

Mt 20:17-28 Our Worst Nightmare

(Click here for readings)

Our worst nightmare! It could easily be a phone call from the police in the middle of the night, a child gone missing, a diagnosis of cancer or HIV, or discovering marital infidelity or abuse within the family.

But none of these compare to the horror of facing evil alone – to be considered a villain within your own home.

Scripture is filled with such examples, of men and women considered dead among the living, strangers amidst their own and/or brushed off as if they had no purpose in life. They have no voice because they have no audience to address themselves to. They are not heard. They are not listened to. They are alone.

Jeremiah was one of them. “Heed me, O Lord, and listen to what my adversaries say. “Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah. It will not mean the loss of instruction, 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.” (Jer 18:18-20)

This is powerful. Every word is deep in meaning. Every word was meant to be mediated by me. These words are not for prophets alone, but for all who wish to serve the Lord in their vocations as mother, father, wife and husband.

Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah. My assassins know me by name and yet they don’t know me at all! Those I am supposed to help - to reach out to, to serve and to dedicate my time and life to - are the first who wish to do me harm, to strike at me. They do not turn their backs on me. No, they face me with a multitude behind them. “Everyone does it...All my friends…Nobody's parents…”

It will not mean the loss of instruction. This is by far the worst. My words have no value, my reflections, my meditations, my advice, my counsel, my past experiences, my mistakes mean absolutely nothing to the one in front of me. It is far worse than words without meaning. It is life without purpose. I see in the eyes of the other these words written across their face: I’d do just fine without you.

Let us destroy him by his own tongue. My adversaries now have a reason to listen to me: to bite me in the back! To be used against me. Hypocrite! Lousy hypocrite! She/he isn’t at all the person they claim to be! Look at him! Look at her! Our nightmare only got worse: to cast our loneliness into our very being; to throw doubt into the very person I am. Who am I? What am I here for? Am I doing what is right? Am I a good mom, dad, etc…

If the above are happening to you, then rest assured of one thing: You are not alone. The Lord is near to those who imitate Him. To serve is hard to do. To practice what one preaches is even harder to do. But the worst nightmare that could ever happen is to give into sin - to stop serving and to stop preaching - to walk alone among the living that are truly dead!


  1. Thank you for this beautiful, encouraging meditation today. I will reflect on it again and again, especially when I get discouraged.
    And, when I think of the strife you most likely encounter everyday because of the convicted, enthusiastic, and loving way you live your vocation, it makes me sad at first, but then so happy, because you are doing God's work. Praise be to God! Thank you Father!
    You are in our prayers.
    May God bless you, and may the many prayers for you lift your spirits when Satan is trying to get you are an awesome messenger of God!

  2. Thank you Jenny. This meditation was really inspired by the Holy Spirit and a single mom who has been struggling with keeping her chin up while reaching out to her child. I could not help but sense God's amazing presence as he directed my thoughts in writing it.

  3. She and her family will also be in my prayers. May the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, along with the powerful example of Christ give her strength!
    God bless!

  4. The path to glory is through life's "crosses" (disappointments, set-backs or struggles). I need to dig deep and stay in faith so my mind doesn't destroy my heart and consume it with doubt...

    I'm sure the single mom and child appreciate your guidance.

  5. “Let us destroy him by his own tongue; let us carefully note his every word” (Jeremiah 18:18).

    These words were a slap in the face for me. I realized this is what I was doing when I read your meditations lately. Instead of them being a source of inspiration or comfort they have become an opportunity for me to seek out your hypocrisy.

    I found myself wanting to prove you wrong, to show your followers that you aren’t the wonderful person they think you are.

    Why has my heart turned to stone? Where does this hatred and anger come from? The hurt you caused me when you lashed out has caused me to become bitter.

    My worst nightmare has come true, sin is consuming me.

  6. In one way or another, we are all hypocrites. Those who are priests or religious are not perfect. We make mistakes. But so do others. Then what is the difference? It is the vocation. A bad mother is still a mother and must be a mother. A bad father is still a father and must be a father. A bad Christian is still a Christian and needs to work harder. A bad priest is still a priest and must be a better priest. But in the end, it is the Lord that will judge us, no one else. This Judge should not bring any great comfort, but at least it will be from the one who has all the facts.

  7. Dear Fr. Alfonse,

    You are right, we are all hypocrites, we are Christians yet we don’t live out the gospel perfectly and when we don’t we are being hypocrites, but it is because we are all sinners.

    I think forgiveness is a process sometimes. I thought I had forgiven you but obviously a part of me keeps hanging onto the hurt. And it is this part of me that has caused me to sin. Even though I didn’t post the hurtful things I was feeling, they were still in my heart.

    They have kept me in the dark and prevented me from receiving God’s grace. The words of Jeremiah made me take a hard look at myself and I realized that I am the one who is in need of forgiveness for my prideful heart.

    As you often say, “The Lord invites us to come to Him with open arms, bent knees and broken hearts. The Lord invites us to come to him as our Savior rather than as our Judge. Better to go to the Lord as our Savior and King than as our Judge and Ruler.”

    So I go to Him with a sorrowful heart seeking forgiveness and mercy.


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