|Defending the Poor
|We are called to find Christ in them, to lend our voice to their causes, but also to be their friends, to listen to them, to speak for them and to embrace the mysterious wisdom which God wishes to share with us through them.
St. Paul the Hermit
It is unclear what we really know of Paul's life, how much is fable, how much fact.
Paul was reportedly born in Egypt, where he was orphaned by age 15. He was also a learned and devout young man. During the persecution of Decius in Egypt in the year 250, Paul was forced to hide in the home of a friend. Fearing a brother-in-law would betray him, he fled in a cave in the desert. His plan was to return once the persecution ended, but the sweetness of solitude and heavenly contemplation convinced him to stay.
He went on to live in that cave for the next 90 years. A nearby spring gave him drink, a palm tree furnished him clothing and nourishment. After 21 years of solitude a bird began bringing him half of a loaf of bread each day. Without knowing what was happening in the world, Paul prayed that the world would become a better place.
St. Anthony of Egypt [January 17] attests to his holy life and death. Tempted by the thought that no one had served God in the wilderness longer than he, Anthony was led by God to find Paul and acknowledge him as a man more perfect than himself. The raven that day brought a whole loaf of bread instead of the usual half. As Paul predicted, Anthony would return to bury his new friend.
Thought to have been about 112 when he died, Paul is known as the "First Hermit." His feast day is celebrated in the East; he is also commemorated in the Coptic and Armenian rites of the Mass.
The will and direction of God are seen in the circumstances of our lives. Led by the grace of God, we are free to respond with choices that bring us closer to and make us more dependent upon the God who created us. Those choices might at times seem to lead us away from our neighbor. But ultimately they lead us back both in prayer and in fellowship to one another.
Daily Prayer - 2016-01-15
I pause for a moment
and think of the love and the grace
that God showers on me,
creating me in his image and likeness,
making me his temple....
Lord, may I never take the gift of freedom for granted.
You gave me the great blessing of freedom of spirit.
Fill my spirit with Your peace and Your joy.
There is a time and place for everything, as the saying goes.
Lord, grant that I may always desire
to spend time in your presence.
To hear your call.
The Word of God
All the elders of Israel came in a body to Samuel at Ramah
and said to him, "Now that you are old,
and your sons do not follow your example,
appoint a king over us, as other nations have, to judge us."
Samuel was displeased when they asked for a king to judge them.
He prayed to the LORD, however, who said in answer:
"Grant the people's every request.
It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king."
Samuel delivered the message of the LORD in full
to those who were asking him for a king.
He told them:
"The rights of the king who will rule you will be as follows:
He will take your sons and assign them to his chariots and horses,
and they will run before his chariot.
He will also appoint from among them his commanders of groups
of a thousand and of a hundred soldiers.
He will set them to do his
plowing and his harvesting,
and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.
He will use your daughters as ointment makers, as cooks, and as bakers.
He will take the best of your fields, vineyards, and olive groves,
and give them to his officials.
He will tithe your crops and your vineyards,
and give the revenue to his eunuchs and his slaves.
He will take your male and female servants,
as well as your best oxen and your asses,
and use them to do his work.
He will tithe your flocks and you yourselves will become his slaves.
When this takes place,
you will complain against the king whom you have chosen,
but on that day the LORD will not answer you."
The people, however, refused to listen to Samuel's warning and said,
"Not so! There must be a king over us.
We too must be like other nations,
king to rule us and to lead us in warfare
and fight our battles."
When Samuel had listened to all the people had to say,
he repeated it to the LORD, who then said to him,
"Grant their request and appoint a king to rule them."
R. (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Blessed the people who know the joyful shout;
in the light of your countenance, O LORD, they walk.
At your name they rejoice all the day,
and through your justice they are exalted.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
For you are the splendor of their strength,
and by your favor our horn is exalted.
For to the LORD belongs our shield,
and to the Holy One of Israel, our King.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
- - -
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,
"Child, your sins are forgiven."
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,
"Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?"
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what
they were thinking to themselves,
so he said, "Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
easier, to say to the paralytic,
'Your sins are forgiven,'
or to say, 'Rise, pick up your mat and walk'?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth"
--he said to the paralytic,
"I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home."
He rose, picked up his mat at once,
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
- I too sometimes feel paralysed by fears or by lack of energy. And I come before Jesus, not disguising my helplessness. I allow the strength of Jesus to take over.
- Jesus also puts my neediness in proportion; he wants me to see that his support is not just for me -- but it is there for the whole world.
Lord, I know that when I turn to you there is no need for words.
You can see into my heart.
You know my desires and you know my needs.
I place myself into your hands.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning,
is now and ever shall be,
world without end.
1st Week in Ordinary time
Samuel ... prayed to the Lord. (1 Samuel 8:6)
For forty days last winter, more than 75,000 pro-life advocates in 20 countries braved the elements to stand outside of abortion clinics, interceding and witnessing to the sacredness of life. According to one report, nearly 650 babies were saved, and thousands of mothers and fathers received counsel during that time. While some advocates were disappointed with the results, many were thrilled to see their prayers answered. Even if one life was saved, it was worth the effort, they said.
Intercessory prayer, or praying with the real hope and intent that God will hear and respond, is not a new phenomenon. Abraham prayed and bargained with God over the fate of Sodom. Moses sought the favor of the Lord after the Israelites had made the golden calf. And today we read how Samuel sought the Lord for his people who wanted a king to rule them like other nations. Even Jesus, before he died, prayed to the Father for his disciples: "I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one" (John 17:15).
God has not changed. He is the same today as he was in the days of Abraham and Moses. He still loves when his people pray—especially when we pray for someone else. We may not always like the answer we receive, but we can be sure that our Father hears and responds according to what is best for us.
Each of us can choose faith over worry, doubt, and fear. Why? Because faith is a gift from God. It's not something that we have to conjure up ourselves. It's a powerful grace that helps us hold our ground when the difficulties of life—sickness, loss of job, family problems—come at us. So bring your prayers of intercession to the Lord with complete trust in him. Ask him to increase your faith. And never give up praying. Persist, just as Moses and Abraham and those pro-life advocates did, and see what the Lord does. He may give you an even greater gift—a whole new perspective on life or a healing far deeper than you could ever imagine.
"Father I am so grateful that you fulfill your promises. Teach me to pray with trust in your mercy and love."
Which Is Easier
They asked Samuel for a new king. Their current king, well, he wasn't existing. Their current king, they couldn't trust. Their current king was speaking, and they weren't hearing it. Their current king wasn't there when they needed battle fought and battles won. Their fear was of the world and not of the Lord. The Lord does what a true lover does, "if you love someone, let them go". Let them go and hope they return. It's the love story of our Father in Heaven. They no longer wanted to be in an intimate relationship because they had began to lose it by comparing their lives to others (nations). How often do we lose sight, track, hope, and faith? And the Lord remains faithful. The unfaithful spouse then gets what the world offers, oppression and depression and separation from a true
love. A true love that was meant to be worked for and appreciated. And they were warned and they did not listen. What if I told you we are that unfaithful spouse? Sin makes us unfaithful. That what is displeasing to God is sin, your jealousy, your envy, your pride, it's all the same as the unfaithful. Yet, the Lord remains, waiting at the door you left Him. At home, where you truly belong.
The Psalms we pray say "For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord. Blessed the people who know the joyful shout; in the light of your countenance, O LORD, they walk. At your name they rejoice all the day, and through your justice they are exalted. For you are the splendor of their strength". Is it just, is it right that the Lord lets us have things our way? Because it causes so much harm and
destruction. This freedom we are given, this free will, it is being abused. And none more evident than in your own self, not that other person you are thinking of right now. His justice begin to show, when our love for Him begins to grow. How can you be remorseful and resentful and pray "Forever I will sing the GOODNESS of the LORD!?".
In comes goodness into our life today and it is our beautiful Savior, Jesus our King. Look at what the Gospel starts with "When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home." At home? Did Jesus live in Capernaum? Or was He in their "home" town? Nonetheless, the Lord is at home and He is healing and everyone is huddled around Him and time is clicking away. The paralytic must've felt hopeless, or hopeful, or hopelessly hopeful, and his "friends" offer
themselves to take Him to the Lord, no matter what it would take. Last night at our gathering of cursillistas, the ultreya, an aspiring man to the deaconate, Pepe, was asked to give his testimony. He said his was a life of misery. It became known that he went very reluctantly to a weekend retreat, and the way he went was by being asked. A brother "Chon" was asked by Pepe if he was going to the retreat. Chon said "You want me to sign you up?"
Pepe: "Yeah, aren't you going?"
Chon: "No, but if I have to go for you to go, then I'll go with you"
Pepe: "Ok, sign me up".
The week of the retreat, Pepe crashed his new car. The day of take off to the retreat he was treated with Bronchitis, and Pepe turned to his wife "what do you think?" she said "you're signed up and lined up to go, you can go". He went. On the
Pepe: "I'm taking 11 anti-depressant pills prescribed by a doctor, and I'm sick".
Chon: "Brother, by the time you leave the retreat, you won't even need those pills".
Pepe in his mind thought: "yeah whatever".
Pepe said he couldn't explain when he was converted in the retreat. It must've been right after in the middle of the retreat he was very upset and called his wife to come pick him up, but somehow decided to stay.
By the time his wife picked him up, something had happened. His wife picked him up.
Letty: "How'd it go?"
Pepe: "I think I am going to study to be a Deacon".
Letty: "......" AMAZED
and to this day years later, he has not needed any pills.
It shouldn't be amazing that Pepe had a friend willing to sacrifice a weekend for his salvation. It shouldn't be amazing if you find yourself among faithful
friends in the Church that you find yourself saved. Because ultimately they would've brought you to the King and the King in the center of your heart. This is the importance of community. Meet outside the big community, of Holy Mass where angels in Heaven meet us, and meet with earth angels in your friendship group, bible study group, any meeting of faith group, to show, nurture, and grow together to Heaven. Because when they picked up the man onto the roof and brought him to Jesus, then the Lord raised him up "Pick up yourself", get off the ground, you have been forgiven! Notice, Jesus "saw their faith". I told you and I told my co-workers "notice how we have to move in faith first, then we will see the fruits". It may take years, or seconds, because there is no time in Heaven, only time to love God. Let's go there.
That's why Jesus is reaching to you right now "come with me" and I will give you the rest; the rest that has been waiting for you, when you are ready to let go, and let Me be who I AM.
LOVE YOU My Child