Archive for “2015”

Lectio Divina 11/13/2015

Friday, November 13, 2015 ~ Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin

~ Foundress, Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart ~

 

Holy Gospel: Luke 16:1-Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; on the day when Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all. So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, someone who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise one in the field must not return to what was left behind. Remember the wife of Lot. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it. I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. And there will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken, the other left.” They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather.”

 

Meditation: Jesus quoted a familiar proverb to his audience: Where the body is, there the eagles (or vultures as is the case in our NAB translation of the Bible) will be gathered together. Eagles, like vultures, are attracted to carcasses of dying or dead animals. The Book of Job describes the vulture spying out its prey from afar (Job 39:29). The vultures swoop to catch their prey when the conditions are right, especially if the prey is exposed and vulnerable to a surprise attack. Severely weakened or dying prey have no chance of warding off forces that can destroy and kill. So what is the point of this analogy? When the day of God’s final judgment and vindication comes, the scene and location will be obvious to everyone. Those who have rejected God and refused to believe in his Son the Lord Jesus Christ will perish on the day of judgment – just like the beasts of prey who are cut off from the land of the living. The Lord Jesus will vindicate those who have believed in him and he will reward them with everlasting joy and happiness in his kingdom. The return of the Lord Jesus at the close of this present age is certain, but the time is unknown. The Day of the Lord’s judgment and final verdict will come swiftly and unexpectedly. Jesus warns his listeners to not be caught off guard when that day arrives. It will surely come in God’s good time! So what, then. does Jesus mean when he says that one person will be taken and another left? God judges everyone individually on how each person has responded to his gracious mercy and invitation to accept his Son as Lord, Savior and Redeemer. The Lord Jesus gives us personal freedom to accept or reject him as Lord and Savior. We are free to live as citizens of his kingdom or to choose for the kingdom of darkness that stands in opposition to God and his rule. No one can pass off their personal responsibility to someone else – no matter how close the ties may be in this present life. We will each have to give an account to the Judge of All for how we have accepted or rejected him as our lord and savior. The good news is that the Lord Jesus freely offers each one of us the grace, strength, and help we need to turn to him to receive pardon for our sins and healing for our minds and hearts so we can embrace his will for our lives and find the way to God the Father’s home. The Lord Jesus gives us his Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in his wisdom, truth, and love. The Holy Spirit helps us to turn away from sin and rebellion and to embrace God’s way of love, righteousness, and holiness. The Lord’s warning of judgment is motivated by his love for each one of us. He does not desire the death of any one. He bids us to choose for life rather than death – for goodness and righteousness rather than sin and evil. The Day of Judgment will bring terror and disaster for those who have not heeded his warning or refused his grace and help. The Day of the Lord’s Return will be a cause for great joy and vindication for those who have put their trust in him, and followed him as he invites us to do.

 

Prayer: God our Father, who called Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini from Italy to serve the immigrants of America, by her example, teach us to have concern for the stranger, the sick, and all those in need, and by her prayers help us to see Christ in all the men and women we meet. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: The people in Noah’s time ignored the Lord’s warning of judgment because their hearts were hardened and rebellious towards God. When the great flood swept over the earth, they literally missed the boat. In today’s generation when everyone expects to be given a trophy, even though they may not have earned one, we might pause and reflect about our ultimate goal – getting to heaven.  But the question is what are each of us doing to get there? Those whose hope is firmly anchored in heaven will not be disappointed when the day of final judgment comes. They rejoice even now that their names are written in heaven and they look with eager longing for the day when they will see the Lord face to face. But those who expect to get to heaven based solely on their Baptism, but not living a life of faith in Christ after that will be sorely disappointed when they do not get their expected trophy. Now is an opportunity to get away from this contemporary an empty mindset of “everyone gets a trophy” and look at what we need to do to work and to earn our place in heaven. It is a simply one – live a life in Christ, nourish yourself by the living word of sacred scripture and by participation in the sacraments, be “doers of the word, not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22), embrace and live the 10 commandments, embrace and live the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12a), love God above all things and love your neighbor as yourself, put into action the corporal works of mercy, make God and Jesus number one in your life. Now those aren’t hard to do, are they?  If a radical conversion of mind and heart is necessary to get there, there is no time like the present – make a firm purpose of amendment today, and let Jesus be your true Shepherd and guide on the one path that leads to eternal life.

Scripture passages (NAB translation) courtesy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;

prayers are from The Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing, 2011;

information about saints, solemnities, feasts and memorials courtesy of Catholic Culture.

frlumpe:2015

 

 

Lectio Divina 11/12/2015

Thursday, November 12, 2015 ~ Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr

 

Holy Gospel: Luke 17:20-25 Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” Then he said to his disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’ Do not go off, do not run in pursuit. For just as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.”

 

Meditation: The Jews in Jesus’ time were watching in great anticipation for some sign which would indicate when the Messiah would appear to establish the kingdom of God. Much like Hollywood has made a great spectacle of Jesus with trumpets blaring, the people of Jesus’ time were expecting a warrior-king Messiah, a human “king-like” Messiah who would establish a “kingdom” based on human thoughts and perceptions, versus the real Jesus who was born in a manger in a borrowed stable and who spoke the message of love of God and love of neighbor. The Pharisees’ question on this matter was intended to test Jesus since they did not accept him as the Messiah. Jesus surprised them with the answer that the kingdom or reign of God was already here! Jesus spoke of the coming of God’s kingdom as both a present event and an event which would be manifested at the end of time.

 

Prayer: Stir up in your Church, we pray, O Lord, the Spirit that filled Saint Josaphat as he laid down his life for the sheep, so that through his intercession we, too, may be strengthened by the same Spirit and not be afraid to lay down our life for others. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: When the Pharisees asked Jesus what sign would indicate the “Kingdom of God” Jesus replied that only one sign would point to that day and that sign was Jesus himself. Jesus surprised the Jews of his time by announcing that God’s kingdom was already present among them in his very person – the Son of God sent from the Father to redeem the world from sin and corruption. In the Lord Jesus we see both the power and the glory of God’s kingdom. His divine power overthrew the powers of darkness (the kingdom of Satan and all who opposed God’s rule) and sin (which corrupts and enslaves the human mind, heart, and will to the forces of evil and wrongdoing). Jesus knew that the only way to victory was through the cross. On that cross he defeated death and canceled the debt of our sins. The victory of his cross opens the way for us to live as sons and daughters of God and citizens of his heavenly kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness. Is your hope and future securely anchored to God’s heavenly kingdom, versus the passing “kingdoms” created by humans?

Lectio Divina 11/11/2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 ~ Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop

~ Veterans Day ~

 

Holy Gospel: Luke 17:11-19 As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

 

Meditation: So what is the significance of these ten lepers asking for mercy? They know they are in need of healing, not just physical, but spiritual healing as well. They approach Jesus with contrition and faith because they believe that he can release the burden of guilt and suffering and make restoration of body and soul possible. Their request for mercy is both a plea for pardon and release from suffering. Jesus gives mercy to all who ask with faith and contrition. Why did only one leper out of ten return to show gratitude? “Gratefulness,” another word which expresses gratitude of heart and a thankful disposition, is related to “grace” which means “the release of loveliness.” “Gratitude” is the homage of the heart which responds with graciousness in expressing an act of thanksgiving. The Samaritan approached Jesus reverently and gave praise and thanksgiving to God.

 

Prayer: O God, who are glorified in the Bishop Saint Martin both by his life and death, make new, we pray, the wonders of your grace in our hearts, that neither death nor life may separate us from your love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Prayer for Veterans: O God, by whose mercy the faithful departed find rest, look kindly on our veterans, both living and deceased, who proudly served their country, and especially those who paid the ultimate price. Grant that through the passion, death, and resurrection of your Son they may share in the joy of your heavenly kingdom and rejoice in you with your saints forever. We pray this through Christ our Lord.

 

Contemplation: If we ourselves do not recognize and appreciate the mercy and help shown to us we will be ungrateful and unkind towards others. Ingratitude is forgetfulness or a poor return for kindness received. Ingratitude easily leads to lack of charity and intolerance towards others, as well as to other vices, such as complaining, grumbling, discontentment, pride, and presumption. How often have we been ungrateful to our parents, pastors, teachers, and neighbors? When was the last time you expressed thanks and gratitude to God for his abundant help and mercy towards you? Conversely, are you gracious, kind, and merciful towards your neighbor in their time of need and support?

 

Lectio Divina 11/10/2015

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 ~ Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church

 

Holy Gospel: Luke 17:7-10 Jesus said to the Apostles: “Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’? Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’”

 

 

Meditation: Jesus uses this parable of the dutiful servant to explain that we can never put God in our debt or make the claim that God owes us something. We must regard ourselves as God’s servants, just as Jesus came “not to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). Service of God and of neighbor is both a voluntary or free act and a sacred duty. One can volunteer for service or be compelled to do service for one’s country or one’s family when special needs arise. Likewise, God expects us to give him the worship and praise which is his due. And he gladly accepts the free-will offering of our lives to him and to his service. What makes our offering pleasing to God is the love we express in the act of self-giving. True love is sacrificial, generous, and selfless.

 

Prayer: O God, who never allow the gates of hell to prevail against your Church, firmly founded on the apostolic rock, grant her, we pray, that through the intercession of Pope Saint Leo, she may stand firm in your truth and know the protection of lasting peace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Scripture tells us that God himself is love (1 John 4:16) – he is the author of life and the source of all true relationships of love and friendship. He created us in love for love, and he fills our hearts with the boundless love that gives whatever is good for the sake of another (Romans 5:5). “If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:12). God honors the faithful servant who loves and serves others generously. He is ever ready to work in and through us for his glory. We must remember, however, that God can never be indebted to us. We have no claim on him. His love compels us to give him our best! And when we have done our best, we have simply done our duty. We can never outmatch God in doing good and showing love. God loves us without measure. The question is, do we love God without measure?

Lectio Divina 11/9/2015

“The Holy Bible is like a mirror before our mind’s eye. In it we see our inner face. From the Scriptures we can learn our spiritual deformities and beauties. And there too we discover the progress we are making and how far we are from perfection.”

~Pope Saint Gregory the Great

 

Monday, November 9, 2015 ~ Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

 

Holy Gospel: John 6:37-40 Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money-changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me. At this the Jews answered and said to him,
“What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his Body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken.

 

Meditation: Jesus’ dramatic cleansing of the temple was seen by his disciples as a prophetic sign of God’s action. The temple was understood as the dwelling place of God among his people. When God delivered his people from slavery in Egypt, he brought them through the sea, and finally to Mount Sinai where he made a covenant with them and gave them a new way of life embodied in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). God gave Moses instruction for worship and for making the Tabernacle, or tent of meeting, which was later replaced by the temple. The New Testament tells us that these “serve as a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary” – God’s Temple in heaven (Hebrews 8:5). Jesus’ cleansing of the temple is also a prophetic sign of what he wants to do with each of us. He ever seeks to cleanse us of sin and make us living temples of his Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Do you want to be holy as God is holy?  Hopefully your answer is a resounding “yes!”

 

Prayer: O God, who from living and chosen stones prepare an eternal dwelling for your majesty, increase in your Church the spirit of grace you have bestowed, so that by new growth your faithful people may build up the heavenly Jerusalem. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Through his death and resurrection, Jesus not only reconciles us with God, but he fills us with his Holy Spirit and makes us temples of the living God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). God’s word enlightens our minds and purifies our hearts so that we may offer God fitting praise and worship and enjoy his presence both now and forever.

Lectio Divina 11/6/2015

Friday, November 6, 2015 ~ Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time

 

Holy Gospel: Luke 16:1-8  Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’ The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’ He called in his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’ Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’ And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently. For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than the children of light.”

 

Meditation: Jesus seemed to praise a steward (a manager entrusted with his master’s goods) who misused his employer’s money. What did the steward do that made Jesus praise him? The steward was responsible for managing his wealthy landowner’s property. The steward very likely overcharged his master’s tenants for their use of the land and kept more than his fair share of the profit. When the landowner discovered the steward’s dishonest practice he immediately removed him from his job, leaving him penniless and ashamed to beg or do manual work. Before news of his dismissal became public knowledge, the shrewd steward struck a deal with his master’s debtors. In discounting their debts he probably was giving up his generous commission. Such a deal won him great favor with the debtors. Since the steward acted as the landowner’s agent, such a deal made his master look very generous and forgiving towards those who owned him money. Surely everyone would praise such a generous landowner as the town hero! Since the master could not undo the steward’s cancellation of the debts without losing face and making his debtors resent him, he praised the steward for outwitting him and making him appear as a generous and merciful landowner.

 

Prayer: Almighty and merciful God, by whose gift your faithful offer you right and praiseworthy service, grant, we pray, that we may hasten without stumbling to receive the things you have promised. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Jesus obviously thought that the example of a very clever steward would be a perfect illustration for a spiritual lesson about God and how God treats those who belong to his kingdom. What’s the point of Jesus’ parable? The dishonest steward is commended not for mishandling his master’s wealth, but for his shrewd provision in averting personal disaster and in securing his future livelihood. Look up the  original meaning of “shrewdness” and you will see “foresight.” A shrewd person grasps a critical situation with resolution, foresight, and the determination to avoid serious loss or disaster.

 

Scripture passages (NAB translation) courtesy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;

prayers are from The Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing, 2011;

information about saints, solemnities, feasts and memorials courtesy of Catholic Culture.

frlumpe:2015

 

Lectio Divina 11/5/2015

Thursday, November 5, 2015 ~ Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time

 

Holy Gospel: Luke 15:1-10 The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So Jesus addressed this parable to them. “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. “Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’ In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

 

Meditation: The scribes and Pharisees took great offense at Jesus because he went out of his way to meet with sinners and he treated them like they were his friends. The Pharisees had strict regulations about how they were to keep away from sinners, as they would incur ritual defilement. They were not to entrust money to sinners or have any business dealings with them, nor trust them with a secret, nor entrust orphans to their care, nor accompany them on a journey, nor give their daughter in marriage to any of their sons, nor invite them as guests or be their guests. The Pharisees were shocked when they saw Jesus freely meeting with sinners and even going to their homes to eat with them. Many sinners and outcasts of society were drawn to Jesus to hear him speak about the mercy of God and the offer of new life and friendship in the kingdom of God. When the Pharisees began to question Jesus’ motive and practice of associating with sinners and outcasts, Jesus responded by giving them two parables about a lost sheep and a lost coin to challenge their way of judging sinners and shunning contact with them.

 

Prayer: Almighty and merciful God, by whose gift your faithful offer you right and praiseworthy service, grant, we pray, that we may hasten without stumbling to receive the things you have promised. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Both the shepherd and the housewife search until what they have lost is found. And their persistence pays off. They both instinctively share their joy with the whole community. What was new in Jesus’ teaching was the insistence that sinners must be sought out and not merely mourned for. God does not rejoice in the loss of anyone, but desires that all be saved and restored to fellowship with him. That is why the whole community of heaven rejoices when one sinner is found and restored to fellowship with God.  Seekers of the lost are much needed today, especially in this time when people increasingly withdraw from community and society and bury themselves in front of computers and iPads spending endless hours on social media rather than interacting personally with one another, or texting with one another rather than actually having a conversation with one another. This effects of this form of isolation is twofold, in that people withdraw more and more from the world, and others don’t really care about their well-being because they do not see them or hear from them other than what is posted on their Facebook pages or blogs, and what is posted is only what people want others to see – not the whole picture, and more than likely not the whole truth. Also, if people are not connected electronically they do reach out to others. Prior to social media people interacted more with one another personally, face-to-face, interpersonal communication, at the kitchen table over coffee, or talking with one another at dinner as a family. And so we must remember that we are to help one another get to heaven.  But the only way we can really do that is to be in touch with one another personally, one-one-one, face-to-face, devoid of electronic means, reaching out to each other in order to care for another, and help on another.

Lectio Divina 11/4/2015

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 ~ Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Charles Borromeo, Bishop

 

Holy Gospel: Luke 14:25-33 Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”

 

Meditation: Today’s Gospel is often misunderstood because of the use of the word “hate.” The expression “to hate” often meant to “prefer less.” And so Jesus uses strong language to make clear that nothing should take precedence or first place over God. God our heavenly Father created us in his image and likeness to be his sons and daughters. He has put us first in his love and concern for our welfare. Our love for him is a response to his exceeding love for us. True love is costly because it is willing to sacrifice all for the sake of the beloved. God sacrificed his Son for our sake and for our salvation. God proved his love for us by sending his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who offered up his life for us as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

 

Prayer: Preserve in the midst of your people, we ask, O Lord, the spirit with which you filled the Bishop Saint Charles Borromeo, that your Church may be constantly renewed and, by conforming herself to the likeness of Christ, may show his face to the world. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Jesus willingly embraced the cross, not only out of obedience to his Father’s will, but out of a merciful love for each one of us in order to set us free from sin, Satan, and death. Jesus knew that the cross was the Father’s way for him to achieve victory and glory for our sake. He counted the cost and said “yes” to his Father’s will. We, too, must ‘count the cost’ and be ready to follow the Lord Jesus in the way of the cross if we want to share in his glory and victory. And so we might ask: What is the “way of the cross” for you and me? It means that when my will crosses with God’s will, then his will must be done. The way of the cross involves sacrifice, the sacrifice of laying down my life each and every day for Jesus’ sake. What makes such sacrifice possible and “sweet” for us is the love of God poured out for us in the blood of Jesus Christ. Paul the Apostle reminds us that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5). We can never give more than God. He always gives us more than we can expect or imagine.

Lectio Divina 11/3/2015

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 ~ Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Martin de Porres, Religious Lay Brother

 

Holy Gospel: Luke 14:15-24  One of those at table with Jesus said to him, “Blessed is the one who will dine in the Kingdom of God.” He replied to him, “A man gave a great dinner to which he invited many. When the time for the dinner came, he dispatched his servant to say to those invited, ‘Come, everything is now ready.’ But one by one, they all began to excuse themselves. The first said to him, ‘I have purchased a field and must go to examine it; I ask you, consider me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have purchased five yoke of oxen and am on my way to evaluate them; I ask you, consider me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have just married a woman, and therefore I cannot come.’ The servant went and reported this to his master. Then the master of the house in a rage commanded his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ The servant reported, ‘Sir, your orders have been carried out and still there is room.’ The master then ordered the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled. For, I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner.’”

 

Meditation: If a great lord or king invited his friends to a banquet, why would the guests turn down his invitation? A great banquet would take many days to prepare. And personal invitations would be sent out well in advance to the guests, so they would have plenty of time to prepare for the upcoming event. How insulting for the invited guests to then refuse when the time for celebrating came! They made light of the King’s request because they put their own interests above his. Jesus probes the reasons why people make excuses to God’s great invitation to “dine” with him at his banquet table. The first excuse allows the claims of one’s personal business or work to take precedence over God’s claim. Do you allow any task or endeavor to absorb you so much that it keeps you from the thought of God? The second excuse allows our possessions to come before God. Do you allow the media, including social media, and other diversions such as sports or work to crowd out time for God in daily prayer and worship? The third excuse puts home and family ahead of God. God never meant for our personal wealth and our relationships to be used selfishly. We serve God best when we invite him into our work, our homes, and our personal lives and when we share our possessions with others.

 

Prayer: O God, who led Saint Martin de Porres by the path of humility to heavenly glory, grant that we may so follow his radiant example in this life as to merit to be exalted with him in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Do you put other things before God? Before Christ? Do you make excuses not to embrace divine wisdom and to follow the teachings of scripture?  God lavishes his grace upon each one of us to draw us closer to himself and he invites each of us to his banquet that we may share more deeply in his joy.  Only a fool would turn away from this invitation to dine at the banquet table of God, or put other things as a priority over God and Jesus.

Lectio Divina 11/2/2015

“If you believe what you like in the Gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.” ~ Saint Augustine

 

 

Monday, November 2, 2015 ~ Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time

Feast of the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls)

 

Holy Gospel: John 6:37-40 Jesus said to the crowds: “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.”

 

Meditation: Jesus made a promise to his disciples then as he does so today, and a claim which only God can make and deliver: “…that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day” (John 6:40). How can we see Jesus? The Lord makes his presence known to us in the reading of his words of teaching in sacred scripture (John 14:23), in the Eucharist, and in his church – the mystical body of Christ. The Lord Jesus reveals himself in many countless ways to those who seek him with eyes of faith (Hebrews 12:2, 11:27). When we read the word of God in the Bible Jesus speaks to us and he reveals to us the mind and heart of our heavenly Father. When we approach the table of the Lord, Jesus offers himself as spiritual food – his sacred body and blood – which produces the very life of Christ within us (I am the bread of life, John 6:35). Jesus promises that he will never break the bonds of fellowship with us and freedom from the fear of being forsaken or cut off from everlasting life with God – conversely, out of love for God, we should not break this bond from our end of the relationship, or cut ourselves off from God through sin. Jesus also offers us the hope of sharing in his resurrection – abundant   life without end. Believing him means following him – doing as he has taught us, imitating him in thought, word and deed, living our lives in faithful witness to him. To say “I believe in Jesus” but not to live our lives according to his way shows a disconnect that exists of our own making, our own choosing, and therefore a wake-up call to conversion of mind and heart to align our minds to his, our hearts to his, so that we may life a life of love of God above all things, and love our neighbor as ourselves. If we do this we will turn away from sin simply because we love God above all things and we would not want to sin against him, and by loving our neighbor we would not sin against them. We all have the capacity to live our lives in witness to Christ, who wants us to share eternity with him in heaven. The saints did it – they are human beings just like you and I.  So let’s raise the bar and strive for eternal life with Christ, instead of settling for the ways of the world which lead us nowhere. For as someone once said: “those who walk with Christ always reach their destination.”

 

Prayer: Listen kindly to our prayers, O Lord, and, as our faith in your Son, raised from the dead, is deepened, so may our hope of resurrection for your departed servants also find new strength. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: All of us want to spend eternity with Christ in heaven.  The question is: What are each of us doing to get there?  Out of love God created us.  And out of greater love God sent his son, Jesus Christ, into the world to shepherd and guide us as the one and only savior on the one and only path which leads to eternal life.  Out of love for us Jesus suffered and died on the cross for our sake, then rose on the third say opening up the opportunity to spend eternity with him in heaven. Jesus invites all of humanity to follow him – and does so 23 times in sacred scripture: Matthew 4:19, 8:22, 9:9, 10:38, 16:24, 19:21, 19:28; Mark 1:17, 2:14, 8:34, 10:21; Luke 5:27, 9:23, 9:59, 14:27, 18:22; and John 1:43, 8:12, 10:27, 12:26, 13:36, 21:19, 21:22. Take some time to read over these passages and contemplate Christ’s invitation. Do not forsake him, but instead follow him!  And when we stray from following him and, thus, sin, seek his love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation – not just once, but as many times as necessary. And not just during Advent or Lent, but any time you find yourself in a state of serious sin.