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, June 30, 2010

Mt 8:28-34 Driving Out Our Demons

Driving Out Our Demons
Pigs are filthy animals! The devil knows where “it” belongs- with the pigs! And yet, even the pigs prefer death rather than diabolic possession! We should feel the exact same way, "death before sin!"
Seek God
The prophet Amos entrusts us to “seek God and not evil… hate evil and love good.” This is the first step towards holiness-“seek God”. The first step in the right direction of life is to love God before all other things. If I love God above all other things, then I’m almost there. The rest is easy: love your neighbor as yourself. If I love the Lord, then I will hate evil and no longer desire it. Love conquers all, even death. Today, we celebrate the first Holy Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church. These men and women (and not too few children) preferred death before apostasy. Their assassin, the brutal and hate–filled Emperor Nero, began the first persecution against the Church. He is the one who sent Christians to their deaths. The one who began using Christians as fuel for evening spectacles, food for lions and game for hunters! He was the Anti-Christ spoken of in Revelations. His name in Hebrew is equivalent to 666. But let us not dedicate too much time or energy with Nero. Let us place our love and attention not on Roman emperors but on Christian Saints.
Drive out Demons
What holds me back? What stops me from giving my all to the Lord? What prevents me from driving out my demons? The Lord says “to the upright, I will show my saving power.” The upright are those who wish to be saved. They want to change. They are more than open to the truth - they are open to Him! They are ready to live the life demanded from Him. They are ready to walk the talk for Him. The upright are ready to pay the price, whatever it may be, to imitate their Master. It is interesting to note that when Christ enters the town of Gadarnes, the whole town folk come out to meet him and beg him to LEAVE! Sometimes, we just don’t want to be cured from our infirmity or cleansed from all our sins. Sometimes we fear the doctor more than our disease. Christ is more than a doctor, He is our Savior. The Prodigal Son's conversion began when he was sent to feed the swine and sleep with them. While all along there was a Father looking out for him and praying for his return. Let us drive out our demons and not the Lord!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mt 16:13-19 Who do people say that I am?

Who do people say that I am?
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Flesh and blood did not reveal this to Simon son of Jonah, but the heavenly Father. Simon Peter did not figure this out by human deduction, for the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1Cor1:25). Rather, this truth, the greatest truth ever, could only be spoken, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can inspire man to cry out “My Lord and my God” or “Abba, Father.” The results have been devastating for the devil and sweetness for the Father of us all.

Today, we celebrate the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. Two great Apostles, passionately in love with the Lord and who endured their passion faithfully till their last breath. Once they understood who Christ was, the Lord revealed to them who they were: You are Peter or Cephas or Rock! You are Paul, Jew and Gentile, turned Christian. These two men single handedly divided the world and conquered souls for Christ by setting the world on fire. They lived what they preached and preached what they lived. The Lord gave them a new heart, a new life, a new mission and a new goal that awaited them, “the crown of righteousness!”

Their lives could not have been more different. There is much we can learn from these two Apostles. Peter followed the Lord from the beginning of his ministry; Paul, after the resurrection. It doesn’t matter when one receives the grace to follow. What is important is that we follow! Paul was highly educated; Peter, hardly. But the grace of God can turn any man into a Holy man. It doesn’t take a PhD to follow Jesus, or fall on our knees and pray. Peter was one of the first, Paul, a late bloomer- an afterthought. But the Lord allowed these two men to share a common love: souls; a common bond: Apostle of Christ; a common fate: martyrdom; a common goal: Heaven. “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” Even this holds true of our two saints!

Today, we celebrate the lives of Peter and Paul that finished the race and kept the faith. The only fear these two heroes ever felt was not preaching the Word of God (cf. 1Cor9:16). Let us learn from their example; to break the chains of human limitations and resources; to follow the Lord at all times, convenient or inconvenient; to build up the Church of Christ, slowly but surely, while breaking down the gates of Hell. Isn’t this the history of the world they helped to write? Now, what will we do to help? Who will people say that I was?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mt 8:18-22 Follow Me

Matthew 8:18-22
Follow Me

“I will follow you, but let me go first and bury my father.” Then another said, “I will follow you Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” Finally, one more said, “Please, let me kiss my father and mother goodbye, and I will follow you” (2Kgs 19:16b, 19-21). When the disciples James and John saw that the Samaritans would not welcome them, they asked the Lord, “Do you want us to call down fire from heaven and consume them?”

The response from the Lord, to the above statements, is the same: “He turned and looked at them and rebuked them.” Let us never forget how radical the Lord is! He is a radical! What is he saying to us today? The answer is a radical one: BURN ALL YOUR BRIDGES! Be like Cortez, sink all your vessels. There must be no looking back or turning back. Let go of all the strings that keep your feet to the ground. If you want to fly, then get rid of all the access baggage that keeps you grounded. “You are my inheritance, O Lord” (Psalm 16:5a). Everything I do, I must do for you, O Lord.

The most successful men and women are the ones who had everything to lose. And those who follow them must be themselves radical in their commitment. Jesus calls us to let go and put God first. It’s not being irresponsible. It’s not silly. It’s not being “na├»ve or idealistic. If anything, it’s being just. It’s the first commandment set in stone by our Lord’s servant who listened and followed. It’s the first commandment because it is the one that sets us free! The Jews put their God first and made it out of Egypt to the Promised Land. Christ put the Father first and put an end to death. We cannot use this new found freedom to serve ourselves. We were not saved by Christ and absolved from our sins so that we could turn around and hate our neighbor. We were called to fight the greatest of all battles, the battle between what I want and what I should do. The Lord sometimes disguises blessings as tragedies. I know what you’re thinking…how awful! How mean!!! But it’s the beginning step towards believing. Who are we to tell God what is good or bad. Isn’t that what got us in trouble in the first place?

Set no limits on love. Set no conditions on love. Freedom from conditions means to love unconditionally. If your looking for a good friend, then be a good friend and you will make a good friend. Friends are not found, they are made. If you are looking for Mr. Perfect, then be Miss Perfect and "love your neighbor as yourself." If your looking for love, then be the one who loves and you will be loved. Christ has set us free. Slavery sets limits on God – on his graces, miracles and blessings. “Speak Lord; your servant is listening. Only you have the words of everlasting life.” Be open – totally open to all that God wants to say, do and live through you. We are free "through Him, with Him, in Him…” AMEN.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mt 8:5-17 A centurion approached Him

A centurion approached him.

Yesterday we read how a leper approached Jesus. Today, we read that a centurion approached him too. Is there anyone the Lord will not help? No! Thanks be to God! We know that help, regardless of where it comes from, is always very much appreciated. It turns out that God thinks the same way, but with a request. A request, regardless of where it comes from, is never unanswered by God because even a centurion is capable of glorifying the Lord and doing Him homage (Lk 23:47). It’s never too late to turn to the Lord and allow the Lord to turn us to Him.

In no one have I found such faith
“The Lord never forgets the souls of those who are poor” (Psalm 74). Guess what? We are all poor! We starve and thirst for understanding, affection and love, forgiveness, mercy and compassion. The Lord thirsts too…for souls, for my soul. The Lord loves to love. “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed”… a little faith is all that the Lord needs. Today, Christ encourages the crowd to avoid a lot of distress, anxiety and frustration by simply turning to Him first instead of last. Is this not what inspired Him to say “The last shall be first and the first last” (Mt 20:16). Unfortunately, we are slow learners. The Senators of Louisiana finally turned to prayer because they openly acknowledged “there is no human solution to the oil spill”. Well, the last shall be first. Will the Lord not inspire and encourage us as we carry our daily cross? Our reluctance to turn to the Lord holds true to our parents as well – are they not the last we turn to for advice? Somehow we think our parents expect more from us. We fool ourselves. They were once children too. The centurion took a leap of faith. His reputation was at risk; scorn from his fellow soldiers, for seeking help from a Jew, and rejection from the crowd around him. He took the risk and approached the Lord and appealed to Him. The response was shocking. “In no one in Israel have I found such faith”. The centurion was poor in understanding and came out rich in faith!

Lord, only say the word and I shall be healed
“In no one have I found such faith”. Let us never forget that these words were directed to all who were following the Lord, including the Apostles - including Peter, who heard these words and asked the Lord to cure his mother-in-law. It did not take long for the crowd to begin bringing the sick and those who were possessed to Christ. The world needs God. There is no alternative. The world needs redemption, forgiveness, faith and hope. The world needs love! We are fallen, beaten, battered children that are in rebellion! My personal experience is this: We don’t like to admit weakness or failure. It takes forever to turn to the Lord. And when we do turn to the Lord, we come to him kicking and screaming. But when we finally encounter him in a hospital room or in the Confession, we feel healed and restored. Peace reigns once again. Hope is restored and love begins to circulate throughout our very being. “Lord, only say the word, and I shall be healed”! There! The word is said. In fact, the Word came down.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mt 8:1-4 Jesus Came Down from the Mountain

Jesus came down from the mountain
After Jesus finished his prayers, he came down from the mountain and found a crowd waiting below. They must have been waiting for some time. They didn’t simply form or gather immediately… they were there, waiting patiently. Among them was a leper who must have been disguised, otherwise there is no way that the disciples or even the crowd would have let him near Jesus. As soon as Jesus came down from the mountain the crowd began to follow Him. The leper approached him instead. He fell to his knees, did him homage and asked the Lord to make him clean. Christ reached out to him, touched him, and made him clean. Isn’t the Lord constantly reaching out to those who do him homage?

The Jewish people know how to wait. Their history is marked by long periods of exile and waiting for the day, the month, the year to return home. The remnant – the small group left behind -- is a source of hope and a constant reminder that the Lord does not abandon his promise or his people. Even in the midst of utter failure, destruction, and death, God sees the pain, hears the cries, and loves His people (2 Kgs 25:21). A promise made is a promise kept. History clearly shows whose side God is on. King Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon, the Pharaohs and their empires are all dead and gone. Only the Jews, only Israel, remain. Those who believe in Him will hold out till the very end. Those who do not are obliterated, silenced. “May my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!” (Psalm 137). The Jews learn to be patient with their God because God is very patient with them.

We cannot simply follow the Lord – that is, attend Mass, say our prayers, listen to or read the Bible. We must do him homage! To follow the Lord does not simply mean to “walk with him”. We must approach the Lord as our Savior, and taste and see the goodness of the Lord. To follow the Lord means to walk in His footsteps and allow Him to take us, bless us, break us and give us. We are called to be heavenly food for others. Christ took away our infirmities and cleansed us of our sins. The crowd stood and watched. We are called to approach. But only one approached. He broke through the crowd and called out to Him, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” Repentance leads to forgiveness, which leads to being healed. Take and see the goodness of the Lord. Today we call this Confession or Reconciliation. Before I can reach out to anyone, I must be healed. Only God knows who the men and/or women were who helped this leper come near the Lord? I guarantee you, they must have been healed by him, too. Have I brought someone to the Lord today? Today, our prayer should lead us to come down from the mountain, to hope in the Lord, to approach Him, and help someone else approach Him, too.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lk 1:55-80 John the Baptist

The Birth of John the Baptist

I praise you Lord, for I am wonderfully made. I am created in the image and likeness of God. But even more, I am called by God “child.” I have received life for eternal life. Today we celebrate the Baptist’s birth because he introduced to the world what was necessary for our salvation: Repentance and The Lamb of God.

One thing I seek; to dwell in the house of the Lord (Priority)

Seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else will follow. If we want to be holy, then we must put our life in order: First God, then others. This is the life of the Baptist. He put God first, because he sought Him first. He was the first to rejoice in the arrival of the Lord – even from his mother’s womb! His message was the first step of salvation: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt. 3:2). He was the first to identify Him: “This is the Lamb of God.” He was the first to cry out in the desert, “Prepare the way of the Lord!”, and the first to cry out as a believer from a prison cell. His life was the Lord’s. “He must increase, I must decrease.” He was the first to live out what St. Paul would live out. “It is no longer I who live in me, but Christ who lives in me.”

His message was coherent to his life (Coherency)

Love cannot only be preached, it must be lived. St. John preached repentance and he lived an austere life. His life was coherent to his preaching. He prayed, he knew Scripture and he suffered so that he could love and forgive. There is, in the life of John, a tremendous sense of peace. He knows who he is and why he is here. Happiness occurred in his life because he did what was good. He allowed his own apostles to abandon him and to follow the Lord – he held no possessions and he held on to no one. His joy came when the Lord surprised him by asking for baptism. “It is I needing to be baptized and you come to me?” Obedience and humility are the ingredients for joy and peace.

Make straight the path (Living through Adversity)

John was created to make straight the path of the Lord - to help remove the wooden beams from the strangers’ eyes and place them on Christ’s shoulder. The Lord’s baptism inaugurates his death and resurrection. The path to salvation is made easy for all of us – nice and straight. Repentance leads to forgiveness. Forgiveness leads to mercy and compassion. Compassion allows us to accept the splinter in our own eye, thus allowing us to carry some of the burden of salvation. A new understanding of God, man and salvation is heralded by the last and greatest prophet. St. John the Baptist lives forever because he lived for God – and for others. The two great commandments of the Lord!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mt 7:15-20 The Good Fruit

Matthew 7:15-20 The Good Fruit

By their fruit you will know them

Regardless of how often I have heard or read this verse, I realized for the very first time that Christ doesn’t care about quantity but rather quality. “Every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.” False prophets are not easily recognizable. They may speak angelically, act immaculately and even look heavenly, but "underneath they are ravenous wolves.” We know you cannot "judge a book by its cover." The Lord knows that, too. But we have a dilemma. We can see the face but not the heart. Externals verses internals. Actions that are in conflict with intentions; the body pitted against the soul. What do we have “underneath” it all? Underneath is the key word here. We are asked by the Lord to look deep down and see what man is made of. He should be made of Christ. "Remain in me, as I remain in you.” How do we know who is the scoundrel and who is the Saint?” "By their fruit, you will know them.” Love produces more love. Forgiveness gives birth to mercy and compassion. Sacrifice yields an abundance of fruit. In reality, the Lord is saying "by their fruit, you will know Him!"

Work for the Lord

Laborers of the vineyard work for the Master of the vineyard. All glory, all honor, all worship belong to the Master. The way they work will tell us much about who they are. When there is conflict, there is rebellion, division and murder. SIN abounds everywhere and it is open season on God!! The true prophets beg for instruction, for discernment, to be led, to have their hearts near the Lord, to turn away from all that distracts them from the Holy One. (Psalm 119) In summary, they long for, search for, ask for, speak for and live for the Lord.

Point to the Lord

All things and people must point to Him. The true prophets point to God.

The Baptist points to Christ. The saints point to Christ. The Lord points to the Father!! All things point to, lead to, and end in the Father. The false prophets end in themselves. It’s all about them! When everything is said and done the only thing that “remains in me” must be CHRIST. “It is no longer I who live in me, but Christ who lives in me.”

Live in the Lord

Who or what lives in you? God is the strength of his people. In Him, we, His chosen, live in safety. "Save us, Lord, who share in your life, and give us your blessing; be our shepherd forever." (Psalm 27:8-9) The one who bears fruit is the one who lives in and for the Lord. Amen.

How many people have you loved and forgiven today? Remember, every good tree bears good fruit… Jesus says, "By their fruit you will know" if they belong to me.