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!

Friday, May 25, 2012

John 21:15-19 Where You Want To Go

John 21:15-19  Where You Want To Go
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”  He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
Isn’t this the history of our lives; to be led or taken where we do not want to go?  How often have people taken me to the gates of Hell?  How many have opened the gate for me?  How often have friends and neighbor led me to anger, hatred, bitterness, and vengeful thoughts?  How often have people led me to sin?
Even Christ was led; actually, he was dragged by the neck, throughout the streets of Jerusalem, to a place he did not want to go but was proud to go.  The Lord’s passion was a moment of high drama.  All eyes were upon Him.  Would He or would He not bow down before the prince of darkness?  Would He be like all the rest, like all of us?  The answer could only come from His passion.  The whole affair became even more dramatic than anyone could ever imagine, for the Lord did not have to be dragged; He did not a push from behind.  He was, in fact, a willing victim; a victim like no other.
Just like many of His own, even the Romans assumed too much.  They assumed that this Jesus of Nazareth would resist His cross.  They never imagined that he would embrace it.  His captors were convinced He would curse from the Cross.  Never did they expect to be pardoned at the foot of the Cross.  They thought he would refuse to cooperate in death as he did in life.  Little did they know the Lord.  Little did they know His heart.  Yes, the Lord was whipped to move, stripped of dignity (and flesh) and beaten by sinners.  But!  He refused to be mastered by sin. He refused to sin and be owned by the devil.  Yes, He allowed the devil to have his body; his hands and feet, even his life; but he refused to give the devil his love.  And it is love, more than anything else, that drives us closer to someone; someone like the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. 
The execution of any innocent man reveals much about a man and much about those who judged him, condemned him and executed him.  It must have been a spectacle to watch Jesus bear the Cross.  But what must have been even more spectacular was the glory and shame it bared:  Glory for the one who carried it and shame to those who insisted he carry it.  It literally meant the death of one group of beings and the resurrection of another group of beings.  Love conquers all.  Evil destroys itself.

For this reason the Lord asked Peter three times:  “Do you love me?”  Notice how the Lord did not ask Peter, “Will you obey me?” three times.  Nor did he ask Peter, “Will you bow down before me?”   No.  He asked Peter, “Will you love me?” This is the question because this is all that matters.  And Christ knows from personal experience that this is all that matters.  They will tie your hands and your feet.  They may pull every limb apart.  They may even rip your heart while it still beats.  But if they do not have your love, then they have nothing.  And if they do not have your love, then we can replace all that has been lost.
The Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Love - taught them everything they would need to remember.  “Do not forget love” was the first commandment.   All the great Saints of the Church, from martyrs to confessors to virgins to converts, have shared one common virtue:  they refused to forget about love.  In other words, they refused to hate.  The Lord says, “The Holy Spirit will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said and done for you.”  We need reminders occasionally.  We need reminders especially when we are being challenged in our love, in our style of love, in our brand of love.
Love is lighter than hate.  Love lifts the soul from the tomb and brings it home.  Like laugher, love brings people to tears.  Like Christ, love reminds us of where we want to go?”


  1. I agree with your thoughts, Father Alfonse. St. John’s gospel is so rich in meaning…

    Today's beautiful gospel reading makes me reflect on the sociological effect of aging in America. The young are perceived as better than the old, especially in our media and consumer-based culture. With a society so focused on youth and beauty, elderly are thrown aside like a piece of garbage. They are often ignored, abused, neglected, and forced to go somewhere they “do not want to go” which is often a nursery home. With the loss of independence and a true dependence on others, hate, resentment and bitterness prevail. I experienced an incident at St. Monica not too long ago after a Saturday evening Mass. I forgot to tell Father something and brisked back through the narthex doors quickly. An elderly man in his walker was in the middle of the door path. Not on one side or the other. I smiled and said, “Excuse me” and passed to his right. He became inflamed: “Look here young lady, you need to slow down!” I was shocked. He said this in such a bitter, angry tone. (After we had all just consumed the body and blood of Jesus I would’ve expected some peace.) Anyway, I profusely apologized. The man didn’t even look at me. I apologized to his wife, too. She gave me the look like she accepted my apology and that her husband was irritable and cranky. I thought to myself, “Oh my goodness. How many times have young people been so oblivious to this poor older gentleman and treated him with disrespect? How does it feel to be old when everyone around you is young and mobile? It must be an awful and depressing thing. This is something I don’t look forward to experiencing!” Even though I was unnerved by the rudeness of this gentleman, I felt compassion for him. I wish I could’ve corrected the impropriety. But all I could do was say a little prayer for him. I respect the great wisdom and knowledge of the elderly. I know the Catholic Church respects this too through its social teachings. I read about the Dallas Cathedral beginning a Silver Ribbon campaign against the abuse of the Elderly.

    I think we should all be reminded to love everyone, even the elderly who may not always be so kind, gracious, or happy.




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