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!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mt 9:14-15 Why Do We Fast?

Jesus answered the disciples of John, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?  The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
When the Lord (the bridegroom) is not around, how do I behave?

Yesterday afternoon I was driving down Walnut Road.  It was rush hour and the traffic was terrible – bumper to bumper - for miles.  As we were all inching along our way, I noticed a car at an intersection trying to get onto Walnut.  I stopped and waved to the driver to pull out in front of me.  But as soon as I did, the driver behind me started beeping his horn.  The noise came as such a surprise to me that I automatically stepped on the gas and moved forward. 
When I realized what had happened, I became furious!  I thought to myself, “Hey buddy!  Where do you think you’re going?  We’re stuck in traffic!”  
There was so much I wanted to say to him.  And to be honest, I wanted him to know just how disappointed and angry I was. But I couldn’t.  After all, I’m a priest!  So, when he finally passed me, I just looked at him.  Well, he looked as well and did a few other things.  Again, I was furious!  But what could I do?  I’m a priest!  Let’s not forget what brought all this on:  I was trying to let another car pull onto Walnut Road, that’s it. 
Now if this is the reaction of a 21st century human being, then has any real progress been made since the dawn of man?  For some, yes.  For others, no.  You can guess who they are and are not.  Just read the vulgar, disgusting and profane comments made below any Internet article regarding the Holy Father or the Catholic Church.  Go ahead.  Now read the comments below any articles regarding Pro-Choice advocates, gay-marriage advocates and anti-Christian artists and musicians.   It’s not fair.  It's not fair at all!  But it's not supposed to be fair.  It's supposed to be obvious.
Which got me thinking:  Why are people so profane and vulgar?  Why do they love to mock others?  Why do they like a good scandal?  Why do they use the sufferings of others to advance their own personal vendettas?  I think it’s because it makes them look better than they really are; after all, if you can demonize your opponent, then you don’t even have to defend your position!
Here we are, in the 21st century, and still, when it comes to living with others, not much has changed.  Love of enemy is just as hard today as it was for our ancestors.  Forgiving seven-times-seventy times is just as awkward as it was seven-times-seventy years ago.  Turning the other cheek to an atheist seems as impossible today as it was two thousand years ago to a Roman. 
And though we should lament over the fact that some very important things have gotten worse over the years, we can still rejoice in the fact that some things have never changed.  For example:  the truth has never changed, and it will never change.  Yes, we can walk away from it, deny it and even choose to ignore it, but just as a falling tree makes noise in the forest- regardless of any observers – so to the truth remains the truth regardless of any followers.
Over the years, we have tried to change the meaning and purpose of Lent and fasting.  Lent has become the season for self-improvement, not self-denial.  Fasting has become exercise routines and diets to strengthen one’s heart, not change one’s heart.
But God made it clear what He considers to be fasting:  “This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:  releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke, sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.”
Now who said religion was barbaric, archaic, fantastical and superstitious?  Who said it wasn’t practical?  Who said that Judeo-Christian precepts and laws were no longer useful? 
Did you notice that not one of these “commandments”, mentioned by God, is mandated by U.S. law?  I hope so.  After all, you're not breaking the law if you don't share your food.  You won't be thrown in prison for not clothing the naked.  It's not against the Law to turn your back on your brother or neighbor.  But for God, it is against the Law.  It's a sin.
“Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.  Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me.” (Ps 51:3-4)
Resolution:  Today I resolve to visit or call someone who is in prison, sick, alone or in need of assistance. 

13 comments:

  1. How would have you reacted to this guy if you were not a priest?

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    1. Probably the same way I did yesterday, but verbally.

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  2. Father Alfonse,

    A person that has God in their life I wouldn't expect would use vulgar terminology. Surprisingly enough there are people that have God in their life and think nothing about using inappropriate language that is vulgar and disgusting. You have to remember that whatever you say cannot be taken back. The term "everybody says it" doesn't ring with me. I disassociate myself with this type of person because I won't lower myself to their limited language skills and immaturity. If you want to get your point across there is always words that are more pleasing. You must read what the bible says about this type of language.

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  3. Father Alfonse,

    Maybe next time let them beep. They are the ones that look stupid. Tell them to sprout wings and fly over all the traffic if they are in such a hurry. It doesn't pay to get angry or furious. It's havoc on your nerves. If the anxious jerk is so stupid that they don't know to expect that during rush hour that's their problem. Tell them to get out of their vehicle and walk if he's so anxious or use another way that would be less competive for driving. Maybe next time they will realize that you will have delays in rush hour traffic.

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  4. Father Alfonse,

    If I had been in the car with you I would have gotten out and asked them what their hurry was and maybe next time to take Dart.

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  5. Father Alfonse,

    I surely could use some assistance.

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  6. When I realized what had happened, I became furious! I thought to myself, “Hey buddy! Where do you think you’re going? We’re stuck in traffic!”
    There was so much I wanted to say to him. And to be honest, I wanted him to know just how disappointed and angry I was. But I couldn’t. After all, I’m a priest! So, when he finally passed me, I just looked at him. Well, he looked as well and did a few other things. Again, I was furious! But what could I do? I’m a priest! Let’s not forget what brought all this on: I was trying to let another car pull onto Walnut Road, that’s it. - you are way too adorable and human - that is why we love you Father Alfonse :)

    I hope you have blessed and safe weekend :)

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  7. Great meditation Fr. Alfonse. The beeping person needed a special blessing from you father!!!.

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  8. Father Alfonse,

    Have a good weekend and don't get mad when some driver gets bent out of shape because you want to let someone into the line of traffic. If I was in back of you and you were letting someone in I would think you were beautiful. Just tell them to get wings and fly or take Dart.

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  9. Thank you for sharing your humanity Father. I've been in the same type of situation. I'm sure we all have. By sharing, hopefully, you will change hearts.

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  10. Father Alfonse, please don't be angry at him. Is someone like him that need your pray and blessings more. I was once that fooled and God work his miracle.

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