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!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mt 14:1-12 This man deserves death!

Matthew 14: 1-12 Intrigue, Influence and Power

(Click here for reading)

Today’s readings present the juxtaposition of two great prophets in the midst of powerful leaders. The prophet Jeremiah boldly prophesied in the Lord’s name to the “princes and the people” to the point of being sentenced to death. He held firm, and the people said, “This man does not deserve death; it is in the name of the Lord, our God, that he speaks.” St. John the Baptist, boldly proclaimed the Lord and Herod was intrigued; however, he did not fear God. Distressed by fear of the way he would be perceived by guests and out of a twisted sense of duty to uphold an unjust oath, he put to death one man who could have led him to Christ.

We rejoice in the way Jeremiah was spared and the people were converted; yet we despise Herod. In a way, if we honestly reflect, we find that we are often like Herod.

Intrigued by Christ or Committed to knowing Him?

If only Herod would have opened himself to The Truth, how might the world have changed? Have you ever considered what would have happened if Herod underwent a radical conversion and stood up for Christ…the Gospel would read differently. It wasn’t in the Divine plan. Yet, we are called, daily, to draw close to our Lord to allow Him to speak to us, make His will known and fill us with the graces we need to be bold witnesses like Jeremiah and John. Is commitment to quality time with Christ an intriguing idea or a conviction so strong that we will boldly and actively seek him each day? Let us make a greater commitment to substantial daily time with our Lord.

The influence of others vs. the way we influence others

Turning back to Ahikam and Herod we see two distinctly different ways that powerful men use their influence. Ahikam protected the prophet; Herod put one to death. Often we fail to recognize the power of our influence. Our words and our actions can preserve life or destroy it. In our homes, schools, workplaces, parishes and in a world so desperate for Christ, we have great influence. The question is, does my influence preserve and give life?

How do we use our power?

The power we have been given by Our Lord is great indeed. In the 2nd chapter of Colossians verses 9-10, St. Paul writes, “For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily, and you share in this fullness in him, who is the head of every principality and power.” Do we really believe these words? He who is the head of every principality and power beckons for us to come to Him…daily. He asks, doesn’t demand, our time. He poured himself out on the Cross and presents himself to us in the sacraments, especially in The Eucharist. Let his power be made manifest in you. How do we, as husbands and wives, sons and daughters, executives, workers, stay at home moms and religious use the great power Christ bestows on us to transform the world that is in such great need of our authentic witness.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, whose memorial we celebrate today said, “Give me only Thy Love and Thy Grace and I am rich enough, I ask for nothing more." Let that be our prayer today.

Lord, give me only your Love and Grace and I am rich enough, I ask for nothing more. Help me to be resolved in my commitment to you; not intrigued. Grant me the grace to be ever mindful of my influence on others and embolden me to use the power you have given, through great sacrifice, that I might bring you glory.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mt 13:54-58 They Took Offense at Him

Matthew 13:54-58 They took offense at Him

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“If you disobey me, not living according to the law I placed before you, I will treat this house like Shiloh, and make this the city to which all the nations of the earth shall refer when cursing another” (Jeremiah 26:1-9). How many of our common expressions, for good or evil, come from the Word of God. The term “doubting Thomas” is credited to St. Thomas. “Washing our hands clean”, to Pontius Pilate. Or, the “Good Samaritan Law” and “A leopard cannot change its spots.” The list goes on and on. Israel’s disobedience was leading her to become the center of jokes!

The LORD speaks to his prophet Jeremiah, angry that His people do not listen to him. Actions speak louder than words. Our actions have consequences that we cannot even fathom. How often do I think of the souls in which I was less charitable towards, or less inclined to give them my time or attention to, and the consequences - the loss of faith- that my actions may have produced? Our actions, in general, are a consequence of where the Word of the Lord stands in my life: head strong, neck strong (stiff-necked) or heart strong?

Christ arrives to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. But the Jews, instead of listening to him, were murmuring against him. “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” No, he is not! And if the people had taken the time to listen to him, understand him, learn from him and pray for him, they may have come out with the right conclusions. Instead, “they took offense at him” and some nasty consequences followed. This has been the history of the world, starting with Adam and ending with the New Adam.

“Lord in your great love, answer me” (Psalm 69). The answer I seek depends on what side I am on. Am I on the side of the Shepherd, who calls out to his sheep; they hear his voice and answer him. Or am I on the side of the wolves that disguise themselves and devour their prey. The Pharisees and Scribes – the religious, the pious - were the most critical of the Lord. They killed the prophets of old and did not learn their lesson. They judged too quickly, sentenced to hastily, and executed too brutally. A man once told me that the media was trying to destroy the Catholic Church. I remarked that if the priests, bishops and past Popes had failed to do so, then the Church would endure the test of time, till the end of time! All of us have to be careful so as to not fall into temptation or hasty conclusions!

We can be misled, and our logic found to be faulty. Information can be inaccurate and assumptions found to be too presumptuous. Let us learn today from Mary, who kept these things in her heart and never once lacked faith in the presence, the love and the mission of the Lord. Why? Because she prayed and because of this, mighty deeds were performed.

Today, I will concentrate on my own failings, seek forgiveness and praise the Lord, for a "humbled, contrite heart he will not spurn." (Ps. 51)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Jn 11:19-27 I Have Come To Believe

John 11:19-27 I Have Come To Believe

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Let us take a moment of silence for all those who continue to walk in darkness. They may appear alive in the eyes of men, but make no mistake; they are dead in the eyes of God. Lazarus was more alive than all the men that surrounded his tomb! The crowd cried out in faith, “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob” (Psalm 146), while Lazarus was living it in 3-D.

“I will bless the Lord my God at all times.” (Psalm 34) Martha learned this lesson when she had the Lord over for a meal. Her home became the tabernacle, a house of worship, of prayer. The meal was sacred, “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.” She was blessed. She was radiant! “Look to him that you may be radiant with joy.” Her life had turned 180 degrees and had grown to maturity. There was nothing that she did not possess. We know, “the great grow poor and hungry; but those who seek the Lord want for no good thing.”

Who was Martha? She was a woman who was sent to the potter’s house after being broken to pieces (and fallen apart), and placed in the hands of the great Potter. He fashioned her, again and again, until there was perfection, and He placed her in the fire so that she could become stronger, better than before. Who is Martha? She is a role model for everyone. Taken, abused, subjected to sin and evil, and recreated from what was good and beautiful.

The dialogue between Martha and Jesus is in reality a profession of faith. His questions demand our response. Do you believe in evil? I do. And all its empty promises? Yes. Do you believe in the Father, the Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth? I do. Do you believe in me [Jesus]? “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” What more can be said. Now is the time for action!

And yet the world could not accept it - too much to lose...and so it seems. “Do not put your trust in men, in whom there is no salvation.” (Psalm 116)

It has taken more than half of my life but finally, I have come to believe.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mt 13:44-46 The Buried Treasure

Matthew 13:44-46 He sells all he has and buys that field.

(Click here for reading)

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure.” Heaven is like a treasure hidden from our senses, unknown to man. We are not looking for it, interested in it or even aware of it. We don’t even know if it is something we can truly understand. But from the very beginning of man, regardless of where he is from, there is a precise awareness that earth is not our final destination and that there is more here than meets the eye.

Parables are required here. The treasure found buried underneath a field illustrates how Heaven is not something that is immediately noticeable. But it is there! Hidden, but placed there for man and only for man (an animal has no use for gold!) Heaven is there, regardless of whether or not we desire it. A man finds a treasure, buries it and purchases the parcel of land by selling all that he has ever owned. We have a fundamental option here: This man’s life will forever change. He has decided to leave all that he has and sell it for a treasure. His heart may once have rested in other things, but ever since he discovered the treasure, his joy has been complete.

Israel was always interested in the Land, the Promised Land, without ever understanding it to be a real life parable of the True Land, Heaven.

Surprised by joy is C.S. Lewis’ autobiography regarding his conversion. He never looked for God, never dreamed of finding God, never sought out God. But God was looking for him. Lewis was lost, and he never even knew it, until he discovered God – and it surprised him with an incredible amount of joy. Joy is different from happiness. Joy is something we do not expect. Happiness is just the opposite. The man in the field, never ever thought that he would find his life taking a radical turn. His eyes had been focused on many other things for so many years. He had worked for “his” goals, was nearly possessed by them, and was driven to do whatever it took to have them. Instead, somehow, some way, his entire life’s dream vanished when he discovered the undiscoverable. That is, when he was caught off guard by the One who watches over us.

“Too late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient and so new, too late have I loved you! Behold, you were within me, while I was outside; it was there that I sought you, and, a deformed creature, rushing headlong upon these things of beauty which you have made. You were with me, but I was not with you. Those fair things kept me far from you.” - St. Augustine, Confessions

Today’s parable reminds us that we can work hard all our lives for things that will never bring joy. Money, material possessions, comfort, position WILL NEVER bring us joy. Just ask your grandparents. What does bring joy is God.

Allow God to be God, and allow Him to bring you joy.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mt 13:36-43 Weeds and Wheat

Mathew 13:36-43 Weeds and Wheat

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“Just as the weeds are collected now and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.” There is no denying it. There is Supreme Justice. There is a Day of Judgment. You can believe it or not but it will happen. Karl Marx wrote that religion was “the opium of the people, of the oppressed.” He was obviously wrong. In reality, ideologies, such as Marxism, are the opium of the people. They claim you can do whatever you want and not be concerned about a day of judgment. Who is fooling who? The Lord is clear in his warning; we will pay now and later for the sins we commit today.

A well known professor in Italy walked out of his classroom and never went back. Not out of disgust, but out of necessity. One day, some former students saw him at the corner of a major intersection with a hand-written sign. It read, “The sin you commit today, you will pay for now and later.” He left education convinced that the greatest lesson he could teach his students was to teach them that sin is real and so are its consequences. Jesus reminds us, “Do not be afraid of the one who can kill the body. Rather, be afraid of the one that can kill both the body and the soul” (Mt 10:24-33).

The weeds are among us. Do what the Lord commands. Preach the Gospel of Life, the Gospel of Truth - the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Make someone’s day. Do not conceal the truth out of fear. Do not hesitate to speak in the light. Do not be ashamed to proclaim the Gospel from the housetops or from the street corners. “Everyone who acknowledges me, before others,” says the Lord, “I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father” (Mt 10:32). This morning I celebrated Mass in Rochester, New York, at a Carmelite Monastery. It was the feast day for Blessed Titus Brandsma, a priest of the Ancient Observance, he defied the anti-Catholic orders of the Nazi invaders of his native Holland and was sent to Dachau where he died. The greatest testimony of his life came from the same person who killed him by lethal injection, a weed turned into wheat. Sometimes it appears as though it is the wheat that gets burned, not the weeds. But that is the vail of the cross, where defeat appears to be imminent, but in reality it is the glory of God, the victory of the Cross, the empty tomb, the raising to glory of the Lord and all those who follow him. Titus Brandsma lives on and his enemies are dead and gone. Now that is worth all the attention in the world! And the bad press you’ll get!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mt 13:31-35 The Kingdom is like a Mustard Seed

Mathew 13:31-35 The Kingdom is like a Mustard Seed

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The entire kernel of our faith is contained in the parable of the mustard seed. The questions about being, truth, self, and goodness are contained in the mustard seed.

“For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2Cor12:10). The Lord chooses the weak and makes them strong. Why the mustard seed? Is it not the smallest of all the seeds? And yet, this is what the Lord demands from us, to be small. I believe Chesterton once wrote, “It takes a great man to realize how small he is.” This is God’s philosophy and it should be ours. Who are we? We are nothing without Jesus our Lord and Savior, who became small for our sake so that we could be giants through his grace! The history of salvation is marked with smallness. Everything starts off small with God, and will end the same way, with a “big bang.” Starting from the very beginning, with Adam and Eve, to the Father of the Jews, Abraham (who couldn’t even count the stars to save his life), to the Shepherd boy turned King, David, the true God who is one God, chose the weak and made them strong. Our faith, our life, and our salvation began small (from weakness) and grew stronger each day. Is this not an image and likeness of the child Jesus who grew each day?

“If you had faith the size of a mustard seed…” (Lk 17:5-6). Jesus demands faith for our salvation. “Lord, increase our faith!” How can we know what is real? By knowing the Ultimate Reality. This is only possible through the virtue (and grace) of faith. To reach beyond our limitations, to hear the voice of God, to “taste and see the goodness of the Lord” requires a radical approach to life: FAITH! It doesn’t take much, the size of a mustard seed will do, but it is essential to human life. Only man can believe – no other creature can because only we can be bad or good. Nothing else in the universe has that choice. Faith allows us to choose well. Choose Life! Choose to believe! The good news is we are off to a great start: Jesus said, "It is I who choose you."

“The Kingdom is like a Mustard Seed.” This is what life is all about: eternal life. Below are the testing grounds, the greenhouse, or the nursery. Before we can be bought and brought to our real Home, the Lord wants to “test drive” us to see if we are who we claim to be. Better yet, the Christian is a beautiful flower whose petals the Lord plucks every day (“He loves me…he loves me not”), until there is nothing left except the root, the image and likeness of his Son – bare, naked, ripped apart. He is the root that keeps us all alive!

Today, I will humble myself in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. Unless I become small, childlike, I cannot enter the Kingdom. Remember, it takes a great man to realize how small he is.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lk 11:1-13 Lord Teach Us To Pray

Luke 11:1-13 Lord Teach Us To Pray

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Where did Christ find the strength to endure all things, bear all things and love unconditionally? From the Father through prayer. Prayer is essential. Our Lord and Savior prayed! He began and ended his day in prayer. Before making any important decision he prayed. The Apostles recognized this need by observing Jesus when he was among the crowd, in front of his enemies and when he was alone. For this reason they asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Their petition is our petition today.

Every day, rain or shine, whether I feel like it or not, I set aside one hour a day for personal prayer and meditation. If I do not pray today, then I have nothing of value to offer the world today. I am not who or what I claim to be. Better yet, I am nothing to the world. Prayer is essential for Christian living. How I pray will determine how I react. How I react, will determine how I live. How I live will determine how I live throughout eternity. Prayer is essential to life and life everlasting.

Jesus taught his disciples to pray, to call God “Father” and to ask for our daily bread. Life is not easy, trials are always present, difficulties abound, and temptations can knock us to our knees. Take advantage of the blessing of prayer to thank the Lord during moments of calm; ask for strength during stormy times; and renew your life and commitments in moments of recovery. Do I realize that prayer can save my marriage, strengthen my friendships, overcome my difficulties, forgive my sins, convert sinners, transform my enemies, stops wars, and heal my scars from all forms of abuse? Prayer is for me and for my neighbor! It allows me to move forward and in the right direction.

We learn, through Sacred Scripture, of the beautiful and deeply moving dialogue (prayer) between Abraham and God and how the Lord is slow to anger and just in his actions. Would he spare the city of Sodom if there were at least ten righteous persons living there? The answer is “yes”. We know now that when we pray, we can intercede for others. We also know that the Lord would come to save us (and die for us), if the world only had one sinner.

The Lord is love and he conquered the world with his love. Let us pray for a deeper knowledge, a greater appreciation and a stronger devotion of his love for us. Our prayers are the keys that unlock the doors in heaven and allow us to find and receive the answers to the mysteries that await us.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mt 13:24-30 Let Them Grow Together

Matthew 13:24-30 Let them grow together

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The Lord proposed a parable to the crowds regarding the Kingdom of heaven in which the weeds and wheat are allowed to grow together until harvest. The parable describes all humanity, saints and sinners, to live together until the Day of Judgment. But why? Don’t we run the risk of having some of the weeds choke and kill the wheat?

“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God” (Ps 84:2). Why allow sinners and saints to be together? Don’t we run the risk of poisoning the stream? Or allowing one bad apple to ruin the entire bushel? Should parents allow their kids to make friends with those who may lead them astray, to sin? Many years ago I was in charge of a Catholic youth club. I demanded only the best from the kids and made it very difficult for troubled teens to join. I wanted to keep the culture of the club very positive and very Catholic. An elderly and wise priest told me that I should allow some trouble makers to become members. He gave the example of boiling water as key to his philosophy. He explained to me that allowing troubled kids to enter would be equivalent to pouring cold water in a boiling pot. I agreed with him. But he went on to say that the water would soon rise again in temperature to the boiling point since the fire underneath it was still hot. He told me that we are called to do something amazing - to convert sinners; to change lives; to re-create the face of the earth one soul at a time if necessary. To set the world on fire and to keep the water boiling! Otherwise, we have no other reason to exist! And there is no other reason for the earth to exist. We must save souls!

The parable of the weeds and wheat given to us by Christ is very interesting because he makes it clear that the Father will not condemn the sinner until the very end of time, his time. Death puts a period (.) to the question mark (?). “Who are you?” will finally be answered upon death. So, do not give up on anyone! But what goes beyond the parable is Christ's power over the weeds. This is our story because this is the amazing power or grace of God… that saved a weed like me! God's transforming power converts weeds to wheat, and wheat to the Body of Christ, his flesh and Church.

Today, humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mt 13:18-23 True Spiritual Growth

Matthew 13:18-23 True Spiritual Progress

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We are children in rebellion! We don't like to be told what we should think, what we should do and what we should like. For this reason, we have the commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Lk 10:27). The first and greatest commandment has much to do with the Sower and his seed. Spiritual progress requires intensive attention. If I truly wish to be a man of God, then I must dedicate time to study scripture. “The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word without understanding it.” St. Jerome says “ignorance of Sacred Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

Knowing Him is Loving Him: How can I love the Lord without knowing him? Currently, there is a top Christian song with lyrics that are more ludicrous than religious: “It as love that made me a believer in more than a name, a faith, a creed…” Falling in love with Jesus begs the question, why? Who is he? Faith and reason go together and must remain together. God is more logical than logic itself and more loving than love itself. Watch out that the Evil one does not gain a sympathizer with his lies of “tolerance.”

Loving Him is uniting to Him: To love someone means to take a vow of fidelity. “I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad…” Marriage is a Sacrament of the True Marriage we will one day have with the Lord. We are separated with Him until death do us unite! What will separate me from the Lord? Will tribulations or persecution? This is the moment we show our love, not during the good times but when the bad times hit hard and long. Love requires all my strength and heart so that my will is His Will.

Uniting to Him is being attracted to Him: My eyes are focused on the Lord. No wealth, no luxuries, no commodities, no power or privilege or position can ever persuade me from abandoning my life to Him. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mt 26:41). The spirit requires a life of faith and a soul full of grace. I need to fall in love with the Lord and never look back on all that is less.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (Jn 15:11).

This is real growth and progress!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Jn 20:1-18 Whom are You Looking For?

Jn 20:1-2, 11-18 Whom are you looking for?

(Click here fore reading)

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Mary Magdalene - the notorious sinner who became a renowned saint. If she could become a saint, what stops me from becoming one too? If she could embrace the Lord, literally and spiritually, why not I? Sylvia Browne, the #1 New York Times bestselling author, wrote a book entitled: "The Two Marys: The Hidden Life of the Mother and Wife of Jesus". How ridiculous! How foolish! How blasphemous! Why do we love scandal? Why do we thrive on it and feed off of it - given the amount of money made off of it from tabloid magazines to shock radio and "in your face" talk shows. Is it so difficult to imagine Mary loving the Lord in a chaste and holy manner? Like brother and sister? No, it is not, and that's why it doesn't sell. Regardless, the testimony given to us by 2000 years of historical evidence and the voices of the early witnesses confirms time and time again, that Jesus lived his life for us and in preparation for his return to the Father. He lived a life of purity, chastity and obedience. Mary of Magdala sought the Lord out of love for the Lord. We seek out those who have changed our lives for good! She truly experienced Christ as her Lord and Savior! As Mary's faith matured, she grew in stature and dignity. Mary had no fears because she had already shed many tears. She must have been a remarkable woman who went against the grain, even as a devoted Christian, by refusing to let go of the Lord, or by having a defeatist attitude that may have prevailed among most of the disciples and not too few Apostles. She allowed Jesus to be alive in her heart - dead or alive. For this reason she asks the "gardener", "if you have carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him." Of course she is speaking nonsense, given the weight of Christ's body, but her unconditional love for the Lord is so adorable, so admirable, so childlike that the gardener reveals to her his secret identity before revealing it to his own Apostles. Love trumps all kinds of orders, rules and regulations. Love conquers all. We must learn from Mary what she learned from the Lord: expect smiles through tears; victory in defeat; your worst case scenario to become your greatest moment ever!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mt 13:1-9 Whoever Has Ears ought to Hear

Matthew 13:1-9 Whoever has ears ought to hear

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“In you Lord I take refuge; let me never be put to shame” (Ps. 71). Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. There is only one way to live life: Christ’s way. We were made in his image and likeness. We were formed in the Father’s womb: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you” (Jeremiah 1:4). We were loved like no other: “It was very good!” (Gen. 1:31)

Great crowds gathered to hear Jesus speak. What did they hear? What they wanted to hear? On the contrary, the Lord set into motion a new way of life with new commandments and new goals to reach! It was no longer about saving one’s “skin” but saving others skins regardless of the cost to your own skin!

The Sower works all day long, in the sun, under the sun, and under the heat of the sun. The same goes for the Christian. He must work all day long, in the Son, under the Son and under the radiance of the Son. All his work is driven by God’s providence. Where he works depends on where he walks. Who he meets depends on how far he walks.

Seed that falls on rocky ground

“Some seed fell on rocky ground and was scorched.”
These are the people who have hearts of stone -nothing will penetrate. They have some sort of “curiosity” towards Christianity but are not willing to take the necessary steps to change their lives? They live comfortably in sin, dying a slow death, submitting to the “times”, or the “way things are today.” They go to Church, but “just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.” (G.K. Chesterton). They do not have ears to hear.

Seed that falls among the thorns

They go to church, looking for the warm and fuzzy Jesus, the “make me feel good Gospel”. They go looking for what they want to hear. But as soon as the Gospel of life, the Gospel of truth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached and becomes challenging, they start looking around – church hopping. They are Christians but “their way.” G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “I don’t want to belong to a church that tells me I’m wrong when I know I’m wrong. I want to belong to a church that tells me I’m wrong when I think I’m right!” They have ears, but selective hearing.

Seed that fell on rich soil

These are the Christians that decide to live the Christian life based on “The Christ.” They are willing to do what the Lord demands from them; to be “childlike.” They are open to the Gospel; willing to walk the talk; willing to allow the grain to die, survive and succeed. Whoever has ears ought to hear.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mt 12:46-50 Who Is My Mother?

Matthew 12:46-50

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Who Is My Mother?

Leaving your family is probably the hardest thing to do. Of course when you are young you count the days when you will finally be on your own. As you get older, you begin to wish you could have those days back! The Lord was in his mother's presence for over 30 years. He was obedient to her and loved her to death. Mary isn't great just because she is the mother of Christ. She is great because she was faithful to God.

Who is Mary?

Mary taught Jesus how to fold his little hands and pray; how to notice the simple things in nature and comment on them with Wisdom from above. Christ's flesh is Mary's flesh. Christ's heart comes from Mary's heart. But Mary's greatness goes beyond the physical realm. If Mary had not said "yes" to God, our story would be completely different because of Mary.

Who is my mother?

A great mother prays that her child will be successful. But what does it mean to be successful? Does it mean a great job, material possessions, or a beautiful car and home? No! A mother should always be cautious for what she wishes for her children. She must keep in the front of her mind the warning of the Lord: "What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" (Mt 16:26) There is nothing wrong with wealth as long as you don't sacrifice your soul for it. A great mother wants her child to be successful on earth and in heaven." This was Mary's prayer and only prayer for her beloved child. She sacrificed for her child; corrected her child and was present in the life and death of her child for this very reason. Who is my mother? The woman who prays, breathes and wishes only the best for me; which means, the woman who wishes that I always follow the Will of God and make it to heaven. Just like our prayer to the Father, "Thy kingdom Come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Jesus was successful as he lay nailed to the Cross, lying in the tomb, and rising from the dead! This is success: when my will is united to His Will. For this reason, Mary was "blessed among women" - she said "yes" to the Father first.

Who are my brothers?

"Jesus stretched out his hand toward his disciples and said, 'Here is my mother and my brothers.'" He points to us. How embarrassing! He places me in the same category with his mother!! I am sure Mary is shaking her head in belief while the disciples are shaking them in disbelief. Jesus has called us, pointed to us, to be his brothers and sisters. Let's start acting like it. Let us ask the Lord in our prayer today to give us the grace to be what his mother was: holy and blessed among women.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mt 12:38-42 We wish to see a Sign from You

Matthew 12:38-42

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We wish to see a sign from you

When someone needs to prove who they are, they usually pull out a passport, or a driver’s license, or a birth certificate. I have always found this very amusing since the best proof of who I am will always be my presence, “myself”, and not some pieces of paper. How does God “prove” himself? With his presence. No sign is needed.

What do we wish for?

“Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” In many ways this statement is a reasonable one. Why not show us a sign? After all, if Jesus is who he claims to be, then show us! The reality however is this: All the miracles that the Lord performed were never enough to satisfy the crowd. Jesus spoke wisely when he gave the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. He said, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31). What do we really wish for? In the end, we really have no idea! That’s probably why it’s not an idea or an ideal that we wish for, but a person: Jesus Christ.

Believing in “The Word”

Christ is Lord. Is there anything else we need? Isn’t God enough? G.K. Chesterton wrote, “There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.” There are those who chase after every single visionary, or vision, or Marian sighting, hoping to get more and more of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s messages. But faith based on sightings is not faith at all. We know the Lord, we know him better than his contemporaries. We know Him through His word. We know Him through His Church. We know Him through our experiences, both personal and of the human community. There is no disputing the amazing and unique impact Christ had on all who heard him. His word is simple and breathes life into us. “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Psalm 95:7). There are many who speak to me. Only one speaks for me? Jesus Christ.

Worshiping “The Word”

True faith leads to true worship - worship that is directed towards Him and not to me. “Hear what the Lord says, ‘Arise, present your plea before the mountains, what have I done to you, or how have I wearied you? Answer me!” (Micah 6:1) Has the Lord not done enough for us? If so, we are not worshiping Him but rather ourselves. The Lord has brought us out of the land of slavery to the Promised Land. The Lord has washed away my sins, with his own blood, and will lead me to Heaven. Is there anything that is missing? The world is full of a lot of good things. But only one who is my good: Jesus Christ.

Living in “The Word”

With all this love, we are called to live a life worthy of the price that has been paid. In return, the Lord will reveal himself: “To the upright I will show the saving power of God” (Ps 50,23b). If we wish to know the Lord, then we must believe in Him, worship Him and Live in Him. Then, we will see Him – face to face – in person. Who do I live for? Jesus Christ.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lk 10:38-42 Mary Has Chosen the Better Part

Luke 10:38-42

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Mary Has Chosen the Better Part

I am sure that you have heard it said many, many times, “You have to slow down!” Every morning a teacher at The Highlands School would tell me to slow down and smell the roses. And I would tell her, “I do as I pass by them.”

Knowing Ourselves

The Lord must have known Martha very well, too well. Of course, he knows us too, very well. He knows everything about me. Nothing escapes him. God has given me the freedom to choose: “Choose life or death” (Dt 30:19). Of course we all prefer life, right? Then why the choice? Jesus invites us to live life to the full. Our life was meant to be lived to the full, not half-way. We should never feel guilty for praying. There may be many things that come our way; emergencies that need immediate attention. But prayer unites me to the One that can help me remain faithful. So pray. Pray for others as much as you pray for yourself. If you don't pray, then believe me, you will fall apart! Today, on the radio, I heard Sarah Palin discuss on Christian Radio how the Lord will not take the fire away from you, but will help you to get through it. Really? Immediately I thought of St. Joan of Arc! Why does God always have to answer my prayers the way I want him to? Prayer is necessary so that I can have the courage to step into the fire and, if the Lord wants me to, burn. Difficulties will occur in our lives. They will not disappear. But how I handle them will depend on how I pray! I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, the church(Col 1:24). Pray for the conversion of sinners, pray for your perseverance and the Lord will bless you abundantly.

Knowing God

“Jesus entered a village where a Martha welcomed him.” It appears as though that was the end of Martha’s interaction with the Lord. In comes Mary. She sits at his feet listening to him speak. When we pray we dialogue, but it’s best to listen to God’s voice, His Word, then to speak much. After all, the Lord-of-Life has something to say to me. What did Christ tell Mary? Was he preparing them for the difficulties they would soon face? Mary and Martha were sisters, and they had a brother Lazarus. Every prayer is a reflection of the past and present, and a preparation for the future. Knowing God helps us to see His Way, His Truth and His Life in our life. This is the life of the Saints. This is the life that has been prepared for me. In Chapter 11 of St. John’s Gospel, we read the beautiful interaction (prayer) between Jesus, Martha and Mary. Their faith, at first shaken by the death of their brother, led them to the Easter acclamation “You are the Christ, the Son of God, who has come into the world” (Jn. 11:27). This is the fulfillment of prayer and this is what leads us to eternal life.

Bridge the Gap

Lord, help me to see things the way you see them. “To give whatever you want and to take whatever you give.”

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mt 12:14-21 They Took Counsel Against Jesus

Matthew 12:14-21

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They took counsel against Jesus

The moment is fast approaching when Christ will be rejected by the people, the chief priests, the Pharisees and the elders and condemned to death. In today’s Gospel passage, we read how Christ, knowing their hearts and minds, withdrew from that particular place and continued his ministry of healing and cleansing.

They took counsel

I wonder if the Pharisees prayed? They took counsel among themselves, but did they pray? We know the Lord went up the mountain or sought a deserted place every morning to pray alone. We too must start our day in prayer. Without prayer, I run the risk of being my own emperor. Are we surprised to hear that the Pharisees took it upon themselves to be prosecutor, jury and judge? Where in all of this was their conscience? SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler reportedly told his top men on various occasions, “Be grateful to people with a bad conscience. They are the only ones you can trust.” With a bad conscience, we end up worshiping ourselves. All wars and genocides begin with an evil little voice from within. Prayer truly destroys – kills – that evil voice from within and opens the soul to worshiping the only true God.


Christ “withdrew from that place” and continued to cure all who came to him. Withdrawing does not mean surrender or termination but rather determination. Jesus continued to reach out to those who had not been poisoned by the sin of pride, acutely manifested by gossip and intolerance. He warned them not to make him known.” Why? Behind the fa├žade of upholding the Law and Tradition, the Pharisees were downright jealous of Jesus. If you notice, throughout the Gospels, the Lord’s gifts of healing, preaching and converting are never well received by the religious leaders. Think about it. How often do we hear people speaking of gifts or graces they have received and we end up thinking only less of them? The Lord may have withdrawn, but he continued as never before. Sometimes the good work that we do is much more important than the distraction of a good fight.


I cannot end the day with evil in my thoughts, hatred in my heart and sin in my soul. End the day right. Do not be afraid. Believe in Him! The struggles I have today are for God’s glory. “And in his name the Gentiles will hope.”

The prophecy has been fulfilled.