Posted by: livingscripture | March 28, 2015

Fifth Saturday of Lent

From the Word of the Day

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.[f]Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah,[g] the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”.”   

 (John 11: 21-27)   

 How should we live this Worddb_24-Raising_of_Lazarus[1]

The death and burial of Lazarus is an event that marks the deep sorrow and sadness in the life of the two sisters who lived together, Martha and Mary.  We will focus on Martha who perhaps often is viewed as too active and less attentive than Mary in creating an atmosphere and performing gestures of hospitality in regard to the Lord.

Here we meet her in her anguished venting that could even sound like she was scolding Jesus.  However, it is beautiful and consoling to see how the Lord, not only does not resent this, but is attentive to Martha’s affirmation that shows her complete trust. He appreciates this and takes the occasion to affirm the deepest truth of His mystery.

Martha had said she knew that whatever He asked of God would be granted.  Jesus not only promises her that her brother will rise.  When she only understands this an allusion to resurrection at the final judgment, He gives her this truth that is the fulcrum of our faith, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.  Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die”.

Martha’s immediate response is radiant with a total, integral faith.  What else could she have added to the words, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God; the one coming into the world”.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will repeat Martha’s affirmation with all my heart and thank Jesus for coming into the world.

Martha, dear sister, rooted in the depths of the Faith that saves.  Forgive me for all the times I have compared you to your sister in judgmental ways.  Saint Martha, You recognized Jesus our promised Savior and served Him lovingly.  Help me to renew my faith in Jesus each day as my Savior.

The Voice of Pope Francis

Remaining faithful implies going out.  It is precisely by remaining in the Lord that we go out of ourselves.  Paradoxically, precisely because we remain, precisely if we are faithful, we change.  We do not remain faithful to the letter like traditionalists or fundamentalists.  Fidelity is always a change, a blossoming, a growth.

Posted by: livingscripture | March 27, 2015

Fifth Friday of Lent

From the Word of the Day

“If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works.”   

 (John 10: 37-38)   

 How should we live this Wordtemple 2

What Jesus has called ‘His hour’ is about to happen in His earthly life.  The Lord is fully aware of this and His courage and openness do not diminish.  A few steps away from His Passion and Death and with His face radiant with the Truth, Jesus places a proof before His enemies that casts out their arrogant self-assurance.  The proof is the ‘signs’, the miracles He has worked without any air of mystery, without any theatrics that would lead the crowds to admire Him.

He worked them and that was sufficient!  He made Lazarus come out of his tomb.  He restored, alive and happy, the son of the widow of Naim.  He dried many tears and restored sight to the blind.  His entire life had been a sign of infinite goodness shown in the many works accomplished with absolute gratuity, only to give glory to the Father and infuse authentic, pure life into the veins of humanity.  Yet, the hardened hearts of His adversaries were hermetically closed.  They do not believe even His works, so full of light.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will repeat to Jesus my love, my trust, my belief in Him, and in His loving signs that surround me.

Lord, let this passage open my eyes as well.  Jesus, you call me to do good works that are full of loving kindness and goodness.  Help me to do this and be peaceful when no one is aware of them.  Help me to be happy just to imitate You, showing You my love for You and all my sisters and brothers.

The Voice of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Author

Your works, these are what reach me.  They speak so loudly that I am unable to hear what they are saying.

Posted by: livingscripture | March 26, 2015

Fifth Thursday of Lent

From the Word of the Day

 “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.”   

 (John 8: 51)   

 How should we live this WordJesus risen 2

Jesus asserts this as He is talking to the Jews who react by insulting Him terribly.  They tell Him, “Now we are sure you are possessed.  Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death’.”

His enemies put Him face to face with ‘our sister bodily death’, as St. Francis calls it, from whom no one can escape nor ever avoid.  But Jesus is the light that illumines us even on another level.  He speaks of the death that not only leads to bodily decay but that brings the entire person to eternal perdition.

It is very consoling to LISTEN, ACCEPT, PRAY, and LIVE the Word and know this is the ‘retainer’ for eternal salvation.  “To observe the Word” means all of this!  We who follow Christ have a true treasure in our hands.  The promise  inherent in the Word each day involves us, not only by blessing our days like a downpour of the dew of peace, but cuts away our fear of death, opens us already to the rays of the eternal life that awaits us.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will reflect on the Life after this life that Jesus promises and I will rejoice in it.

Lord, make me ever more faithful to the daily dedication to Your Word, in the life that it brings.  Make my days joyful so that they may communicate serenity and peace to everyone.

The Voice of Blaise Pascal

The immortality of the soul is something that regards us in a way so strong, touches us so deeply, that one would have to be absolutely senseless to be indifferent to how things stand.

Posted by: livingscripture | March 25, 2015

Annunciation of the Lord

From the Word of the Day

 “Sacrifice or oblation you wished not, but ears open to obedience you gave me.  Holocausts or sin-offering you sought not; then I said, ‘Behold I come’.  In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, to do your will, O my God, is my delight.”   

 (Psalm 40)   

 How should we live this Wordannunciation

 The choice of Psalm 40 as the Responsorial for today’s Liturgy is very appropriate as the prelude to the greatest ‘yes’ of human history, that of the Virgin Mary whom we celebrate on this feast of the Annunciation.

She freely chose to consent to the plan of the Father, the Incarnation of the Word who through Her had a face and a name – Jesus.

This Psalm is precious for us as well because it makes us aware of what pleases God.  In the Ancient Covenant, the Lord had accepted what people were capable of offering, even to the sacrificing of animals.  But diverse times matured in which no offering was revealed as meaningful as doing what God wants.

Thus, Mary’s ‘yes’ when the Angel reveals to her that the Holy Spirit will make her pregnant with the Word, will bring about the most important event in history, so much so as to make it become the history of salvation.  It is worth underling that it was not a mechanistic ‘yes’ that excluded the use of reason.  No, Mary is fully a woman and thus makes use of her liberty.  In fact, she dialogues with the Angel, states her virginity, and accepts the proposal only when she understands that it is God’s will for a plan that goes beyond her and that means salvation for everyone.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will ask Mary to help me pronounce my ‘yes’ to all that God asks of me moment by moment.

Here I am Lord; I come to do your will.

This prayer opens horizons of light without shadows.  Lord, you only want my good and that of every person, of everything and everyone.  Make my prayer real today and always with Your help, O Mary.  Immerse my small ‘yes’ in the deep sea of Your love, Mother of Jesus and ours, so that we may run the streets of the world with a clean heart.  Your ‘yes’ will become mine as well, if with You and like You I accomplish God’s will that is always  a will of good and salvation.

The Voice of St. Augustine

Most Holy Mary is truly the mystical ladder on which the Son of God descended on the earth and on which we go up to Heaven.

Posted by: livingscripture | March 24, 2015

Fifth Tuesday in Lent

From the Word of the Day

 “So Jesus said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me’.”   

 (John 8: 28)   

 How should we live this WordCrucifix2[1]

There is in this affirmation of the Lord Jesus an awareness of His own identity that is able to cast out any doubts.  It is the identity of God Himself.  In fact, we know from one of the most powerful and intense pages of the Old Testament that when a mysterious voice speaks to Moses and he asks to know His name, he is told, ‘I AM’.

However little we can enter into the depths of this, we are aware that no one and nothing can be compared to this name, because these two short words express the very essence of God.  He is BEING in the most pregnant meaning of the term.  He is the BEING from which all flows as gift.  We who are reading this, our dear ones, all that inhabits the earth and the things that populate it – animals, vegetation, minerals – all the abundance that exists comes from BEING par excellence, from I AM.  And if Jesus does not hesitate to reveal Himself as I AM, we enter into the mystery of His being and His knowing He is God.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will remain in awe before Jesus, my Lord and my God, adoring Him and thanking Him for my existence and all His gifts.

Lord Jesus, if Your name is I AM in the infinite mystery of Your being Son: God like the Father and the Holy Spirit, what touches me most deeply is that You speak of it at the crucial moment of Your existence as Savior, to be hung on the infamous cross.  I am disconcerted and moved that You say it will be precisely then that Your name and Your essence will be revealed.  Only in You are being and existence one thing only with Love, the mystery of the fathomless, most precious, and splendid gift of the universe.

 The Voice of St. Clare of Assisi

If a Lord of such quality and so great, coming into a virginal womb, wanted to be despised in the world so that humans would be enriched in Him through possession of the Kingdom of Heaven, let us exult and rejoice greatly.  We have preferred rather than every honor of the world, to be despised; to riches, poverty; to accumulating things on earth, treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust can consume and where thieves cannot enter.

Posted by: livingscripture | March 23, 2015

Fifth Monday of Lent

From the Word of the Day

 “Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle.  They said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.  Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.  So what do you say?’  They said this to test Him, so that they could have some charge to bring against Him.”   

 (John 8: 3-6)   

 How should we live this Word1518b2

Those who read this Gospel passage and go beyond its familiarity are always newly amazed. This is a very powerful scene.  The woman is shamed by men who have dragged her before Jesus, the Teacher while He was teaching the crowd.  They are the scribes and Pharisees, people who cannot stand the fascination He exercises over the crowds, a fascination that is coupled with the revelation of God’s infinite tenderness and mercy for every person, whether just or a sinner.

We seem to be able to see the sinister gaze of these men who care nothing for this sinner because their only aim is to catch Jesus in a contradiction.  Jesus, in fact, was never against the Law of Moses, but neither had He closed His heart in coldness and condemnation of those who had fallen into sin.  The scribes and Pharisees only want to test Him, to put Him in an uncomfortable position, in difficulty so that they could openly condemn Him before all the people.

We are well acquainted with what happens next in all its marvelous beauty that touches our mind, heart, and entire being. However, we will pause here to reflect on how envy and jealousy bring us onto evil paths.  How hard the heart can become toward those who are the object of praise because they succeed better in various ways, whether at work or in the arts or even in the apostolate.  The question addressed to Jesus is insidious, “So what do you say?”  Here erupts all the perfidy of those who, stone by stone, built the tomb where Jesus was laid.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will ask Jesus to help me discern what lies in my depths.  Do I envy others, seek to accuse them, to diminish them because they are better than I or succeed more?  I will beg Jesus to remove these feelings from me.

Lord, help me to be clear about what moves me to assume certain attitudes in my rapport with others.  Let me not be overcome by feelings polluted by my ego. 

 The Voice of an anonymous writer

Those who allow the viper of envy and jealousy to penetrate them without energetically fighting against them, with the help of grace, will fall very low.  Whether others are aware of it or not, they are procuring the death of their soul.

Posted by: livingscripture | March 22, 2015

Fifth Sunday of Lent

From the Word of the Day 

“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.  Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.”   

 (John 12: 24-25)   

 How should we live this Wordwheat in sun

What Jesus says in regard to the grain of wheat has become a wisdom saying that we often hear in religious circles.  However, in this context we can better grasp the import, the power of the metaphor closely tied to His life because it is said in a moment when Jesus is looking death in the face.  It is a moment in which His desire to give His life as an infinitely precious gift of love is at its height.

As usual, Jesus expresses Himself with an image taken from nature.  He speaks of a seed, something very tiny and of little appearance, but which contains incredible worth.  From this seed the bud, the plant, the flowers, and finally the fruit come.  Here is the heart of the discourse.  Only by dying and decaying under the earth, can the small seed evolve to the point of producing a good harvest.

Its application to life is a hard but enlightening transition.  You and I and whoever wants to live fully must accept this death.  However, we do not die to what is beautiful, true, and good that God has given us, but to the inauthentic part of ourselves, our ego that wants to dominate at any cost even that of ignoring the plan God has for each of us.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will reflect on the tiny seed of which Jesus speaks, realizing the deep truth of His words and I will ask Him to help me adhere to Him every moment of my life.

Lord, dissolve my fears and grant that I may be full of confidence in You, accepting the fact that my ego must die a little each day so that I may be fully alive and fruitful for Your Kingdom.  Help me remember that You gave Your life for love of me.

 The Voice of Jean Vanier, Founder of the Arche Community

I feel that we are not able to empathize with others until we personally live difficulties, wounds, weaknesses.  It is impossible to enter into the suffering of another if we have not assumed our own.

________________________________________________________________________

Posted by: livingscripture | March 21, 2015

Fourth Saturday of Lent

From the Word of the Day

“So a division occurred in the crowd because of him.”   

 (John 7: 43)   

 How should we live this WordJesus_144_small

The schism among the people of Israel came about in identifying Jesus as the Messiah!  Is Jesus still today the cause of contradiction, of dissent, of incomprehension? Or has our society anesthetized us because others must be the ‘messiah’ and this question is no longer asked?  Instead, among our persecuted sisters and brothers, Jesus remains the fire that enlightens them to follow Him, the Messiah, and to give their life for Him.

Jesus still asks us today, ‘Who am I for you?’

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will ponder this question in the depths of my heart and ask Jesus to strengthen my faith in Him.

Lord, increase my faith and my love.  Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me!

 The Voice of St. Teresa of Avila, Mystic and Doctor of the Church

Those who have Christ Jesus as their friend and follow such a magnanimous captain can certainly bear all things.  In fact, Jesus helps and strengthens them and His love never diminishes.  I have always recognized and still clearly see that we cannot please God and receive great graces from Him without the hands of the most sacred humanity of Christ, in which He has told us to rejoice.  I have had this experience many times and the Lord Himself told me.  I have clearly seen that we must go through this door if we want His sovereign Majesty to show us His great secrets.  It is from Him, our Lord, that all good comes.  He teaches us.  Meditating on His life, we see we will never find a more perfect Model.  What more can we desire when we have at our side such a good friend who will never abandon us in tribulations and in misfortune, as do friends of the earth.

Posted by: livingscripture | March 20, 2015

Fourth Friday of Lent

From the Word of the Day

 

“They tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.”   

 (John 7: 30)   

 How should we live this Wordcrucified Jesus

The Son’s hour is not decided by human beings but by the Father!  Even at the Wedding Feast at Cana, His hour had not yet come.  The ‘hour’ of Jesus is the hour of His glorification that will happen on the Cross!

Jesus, however, during Hi entire journey along the roads of Palestine made visible ‘with signs and prodigies’ the fulfillment of that hour:  faithful and indefatigable love of the Father that will have its sign, ‘more eloquent than that of Abel,’ on Golgotha!  We are once again reminded that the only attitude possible is that of filial abandonment to the One who guides history with a vigilant and loving heart.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will ponder Jesus’ love for His Father and His total abandonment to His will, and I shall ask Jesus to help me live my life in this way too.

Lord, help me to be attentive to recognize Your ‘hour’ in my life and in the lives of those around me. 

The Voice of St. Teresa of Avila, Mystic and Doctor of the Church

Do all that you can to remain close to Him.  If you become used to keeping Him close to you, and He sees that you do it with love and that you are trying to do all you can to please Him, not only will He never be absent, but as the saying goes, you will not be able to be rid of Him.  You will have Him with you everywhere and He will help you in all your trials.  Do you think it is just a small thing to have such a good friend with you always?

Posted by: livingscripture | March 19, 2015

St. Joseph

From the Word of the Day

“Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.  For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.  She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins’.”   

 (Matthew 1: 20-21)   

 

How should we live this WordJoseph 2

The angel reassures Joseph that what he is living is in God’s heart.  His love and his rectitude are accomplishing great things not only for him and Mary, but for all of humanity.  His task is to give Jesus a name, which for the Jews means continuing their tradition.  Joseph accepts to give a name other than that of his own flesh and blood, and this allows the start of a new epoch, that of faith: ‘You will name Him Jesus!’

Thus Joseph accepted to give Jesus not his name, but to give Him the name chosen from on high.  Like Mary, Joseph lived his life in function of that name and not for himself.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will reflect on this great Saint and ask Joseph to give me a spirit of readiness to do God’s will as he had.

St. Joseph, teach me to never attribute any good to myself but to God’s grace as you did.  Help me to repeat over and over the precious name of Jesus that He may become my reason for existence.

 The Voice of a Prayer to St. Joseph

O Blest Joseph, we come to you, who knew tribulation, confident that we can invoke your patronage, after that of you holy spouse, Mary.  For the love you bore Mary and her most holy Son, Jesus, help us in our need, and protect us as you protected the Holy Family.  Protect us from the evil one; defend the Church of God, from all hostility and adversity.  Help us to follow your example that we may live in God’s grace and be with you in Heaven one day.

________________________________________________________________________

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