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Jesus and the Evil One: A Major Mismatch
February 1, 2015. Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Then they came to Capernaum, and on the
Sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people
were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as
one having authority and not as the scribes. In
their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he
cried out, "What have you to do with us,
Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are -- the Holy One of
God!" Jesus rebuked him and said, "Quiet! Come out
of him!" The unclean spirit convulsed him and with
a loud cry came out of him. All were amazed
and asked one another, "What is this? A new
teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits
and they obey him." His fame spread everywhere throughout the
whole region of Galilee.
Prayer: Oh, Holy One of God, what do you have
to do with us? We know that you have the
words of eternal life and can command the evil one
to depart. You have power over all evil and
can conquer all sin. You are ready to do this
because of your unconditional love for us, and I
am ready to listen humbly to your word and
respond, so that I may be healed and have life
forever with you.
help me to trust in your power to heal
me of my sin.
His Way of Teaching: Jesus teaches with authority –– of
course he does, because he is the Son of
God! He is the one who has the words of
eternal life. He has been at the Father’s side
from all eternity. He has come to teach us the
way to the Kingdom of Heaven. So many voices
in our world today can confuse us and make us
doubt our faith. Can we not just listen with
hearts of faith to the simple message that Jesus
Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life?
2. Jesus Is in Charge: Jesus commands
the evil one, and he submits. The evil one
fears Christ’s power. The evil one is silenced and chased
out by a mere word from Christ. So often
we worry and fear that sin and evil have a
grip on us that we cannot break. We worry
we cannot live up to what the Lord expects
of us. Yet, his word makes that evil one flee
immediately. He can do the same in our lives
if we put our total trust in him.
3. The Evil I Cannot Overcome:
What is the major evil or sin that I
have not been able to expel? What is the primary
fault or defect in my life? All my effort
to improve has been blocked by this insidious power,
greater than my virtue. I need to turn to Christ
and put my trust in his word of life.
I need to ask him to free me from that
power which consumes me and holds me back from
loving and giving myself to him and to others.
Conversation with Christ: Speak that
word of life, Lord. Free me from the power of
the evil one. Do not let him run my
life or keep me from your love. Give me your
grace and I will be satisfied.
Resolution: I will be bold and trust
in the Lord’s power to help me overcome my faults
and the power of the devil’s influence on my
Speaking from the Heart of Christ
February 2, 2015. Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
When the days were completed
for their purification according to the law of Moses,
they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to
the Lord, just as it is written in the
law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the
womb shall be consecrated to the Lord," and to offer
the sacrifice of "a pair of turtledoves or two
young pigeons," in accordance with the dictate in the
law of the Lord. Now there was a man in
Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous
and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the
Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed
to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not
see death before he had seen the Messiah of
the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard
to him, he took him into his arms and blessed
God, saying: "Now, Master, you may let your servant
go in peace, according to your word, for my
eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight
of all the peoples, a light for revelation to
the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel." The
child´s father and mother were amazed at what was said
about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to
Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for
the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to
be a sign that will be contradicted (and you
yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of
many hearts may be revealed." There was also a
prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe
of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived
seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then
as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never
left the temple, but worshiped night and day with
fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the
child to all who were awaiting the redemption of
Jerusalem. When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the
law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to
their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and
became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God
was upon him.
Introductory Prayer: Lord,
I open my heart to receive the power of
your Spirit flowing from your heart into mine. I
wish to carry it zealously as a light from my
heart to my family, to my friends, to the
weak and empty of heart. With the fire of your
love in me, I want to acknowledge you as
true light and as the glory and splendor of
every human person. I long to be filled with a
consuming love for you.
Lord, help me to penetrate the meaning of my
baptism by contemplating your consecration in the Temple and
on the cross.
of the Father, Light of the Nations: Contemplate this
scene from God’s perspective. The Son, now in human
history, enters the Temple for the first time. The Son
enters the house of the Father. He, the perfect
Lamb for whom no earthly sanctuary is holy enough,
accepts to be consecrated in this place built by men,
this place that was dedicated to the memory of
the signs that were all in expectation of him.
The True Lamb arrives at last to the place of
offering. The Temple was above all a place of
sacrifice in order to gain God’s favor. It was a
place of expiation to free oneself of the inheritance
of sin, and a place of prayer to offer
fitting honor and praise to the one true God. And
here, on this day, in the arms of Mary,
comes the only sacrifice that counts, for without him no
other sacrifice has meaning, whether in sacred rituals or
in our personal lives.
“Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated
to the Lord” Contemplate this scene through the heart
of Mary. In the simple rite of consecration; the Son
is going to recognize his belonging to the Father,
but he will do it through Mary’s fidelity to
the prescribed ritual. Yet, who can speak for this child?
Can anyone speak for the zeal of his heart,
the hunger of his heart to suffer for souls? Mary’s
pure and humble heart emerges as his spokesperson, and
it speaks the language of self-giving and donation, though
under the rituals prescribed by the law. “For their sake
I consecrate myself.” She reflects to the world what
has been communicated to her by her Son, who
is flesh of her flesh. In our ordinary life we
elevate the meaning of small events in union with
Christ. Flesh of our flesh by grace, he enables
us to live a consecration to a mission in his
name. Our acts are made from the power of
Christ’s living presence moving our heart and will.
3. “A sword shall pierce your
heart…” Now contemplate the true temple of Christ’s body on
the Cross, where every consecration is made perfect. Yes,
Christ gives us the privilege to speak the words
that echo from his heart. Over time he perfects
this language in us, if we are faithful to the
cross in our life. My own baptismal consecration is
all about speaking from what is in the heart of
Christ, so that his words ‘pierce my own heart’
and replace that heart of stone with a new
heart. I seek to speak like Christ––chaste, poor, and obedient––with
a language forged and pounded into full authenticity at
the Cross. My death to sin and egoism will
call forth the risen life of the new man of
the Kingdom––possible only through the fire of the Spirit
that flows from the open side of Christ.
Conversation with Christ: O Jesus, make
my soul a temple worthy of your entry. May the
walls of my heart be adorned with purity, honesty
and upright intention in all I say and do. May
its floors, upon which you walk, be sealed with
modesty and sincerity, and lead you to an undivided
Resolution: Today I
will renew my personal consecration to the Heart of Christ
in a visit to the Eucharist, and I will
remember in a special way all consecrated persons throughout
the world who renew their vows today.
Touched by Faith
February 3, 2015. Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
When Jesus had crossed again (in the boat) to
the other side, a large crowd gathered around him,
and he stayed close to the sea. One of
the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he
fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him,
saying, "My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her that she may
get well and live." He went off with him,
and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon
him. There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve
years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of
many doctors and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She
had heard about Jesus and came up behind him
in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, "If
I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured."
Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in
her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out
from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who
has touched my clothes?" But his disciples said to
him, "You see how the crowd is pressing upon
you, and yet you ask, ´Who touched me?´" And he
looked around to see who had done it. The
woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in
fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told
him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter,
your faith has saved you. Go in peace and
be cured of your affliction." While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official´s house arrived and said,
"Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any
longer?" Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said
to the synagogue official, "Do not be afraid; just
have faith." He did not allow anyone to accompany him
inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of
James. When they arrived at the house of the
synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping
and wailing loudly. So he went in and said
to them, "Why this commotion and weeping? The child
is not dead but asleep." And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out. He took along the
child´s father and mother and those who were with
him and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said
to her, "Talitha koum," which means, "Little girl, I
say to you, arise!" The girl, a child of twelve,
arose immediately and walked around. (At that) they were
utterly astounded. He gave strict orders that no one
should know this and said that she should be given
something to eat.
Lord, who should I turn to first but you?
You have given me another day. This gift calls
me to come to you first, to hear you first.
My faith tells me there can be nothing better
than to follow your plan; my hope is to bring
you into my life and to other people; my
love wants to be fuller and better — it wants
to be like yours, Lord.
Petition: Grant me the grace of deeper trust
and faith in all moments of hardship.
1. “…afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years”: When
problems are prolonged, or reach fever-pitch levels, we can get
the mistaken impression that God has lost interest. Somehow
he seems no longer moved by our misery. All
the signs say he has forgotten us, abandoned us
and left us hanging.
But God is
only seemingly absent. He is creating a new set
of circumstances wherein we can experience him at a
wholly new level. The long, hard and persevering fight
to walk in hope enables God to bring about greater
fruits of holiness in us.
woman with the hemorrhage and in Jairus, father of a
dying daughter, we must contemplate a mature and vibrant
faith, observing how it conquers pessimism and transcends the
cold calculations and superficial tones of their peers. Truly
this is the first miracle we see that Jesus
has worked for them, and the most important one.
2. “And they ridiculed him. Then
he put them all out”: The dismal voices of
his “friends” come to the father. Though they have
seen the miracle of the woman with the hemorrhage, they
coldly say, “Your daughter is dead. Be realistic. It
is no use to go on.” True, in the name
of realism, we can dismiss hope and cooperation with
Christ’s action in our life. We can ridicule Christ
whenever he wants to work in mystery and outside
our human limits. We can be tempted to abandon trust
in God in the name of reaffirming control over
our world. “Let’s be realistic,” we say. “It will
never work.” These phrases veil a weak faith, a
poor faith, a sterile or compartmentalized faith that works only
when everything makes sense to us, when everything is
easy. Where there is this lack of faith, Christ
3. “If I
but touch his clothes, I shall be cured”: Many say
they are near Christ, yet few are acknowledged by Christ
as close to him. Many were brushing against him
that day, many were verbally praising him, many were
serving him, but only one touched him and got his
full attention. Why? Only one made an act of
unconditional faith. What is the secret? How can we
really get his attention, truly speak to his heart?
None are closer than those who trust him, who humbly
depend on him, and who wish to live from
him. The woman’s unconditional faith was open to whatever
would happen, whatever would be Christ’s response. Those who suffer
and support themselves patiently with faith and prayer experience
new levels of union with Christ.
Conversation with Christ: Lord let me use hardships to
build newer levels of trust and intimacy with you.
Open my heart to seek you on your terms.
I do not ask you for happiness
Health or sickness,
Riches or poverty,
Freedom or slavery,
Goods or evils;
are misfortunes if you do not come with them,
And misfortunes are goods if they arrive
For goods without you, what
good would they be?
And misfortunes with
you, are they not the best goods?
Resolution: I will acknowledge the presence of
Christ in all the difficulties of today.
Made for God
February 4, 2015. Wednesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
He departed from there and
came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in
the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, "Where did this man get all this? What
kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty
deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not
the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of
James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are
not his sisters here with us?" And they took
offense at him. Jesus said to them, "A prophet
is not without honor except in his native place and
among his own kin and in his own house."
So he was not able to perform any mighty
deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by
laying his hands on them. He was amazed at
their lack of faith. He went around to the villages
in the vicinity teaching.
Prayer: O Lord, you said that blest are they
who find no stumbling block in you. I want
to be a blest person, so that you may find
in me no obstacle to the holiness you want
for me. I believe in you, but I long for
a greater faith to see and respond to the
signs of your hand moving in my world. I love
you, Lord, and wish to lead my brothers and
sisters to you through my testimony, through my being
truly convinced that you are the life of men.
Petition: Lord, grant me the gift
of total surrender to your will for me in all
1. “Where did this man
get all this? What mighty deeds are wrought by
his hands”: How beautiful it is to contemplate the
humble and meek Christ! He now manifests, to the shock
and awe of the worldly-minded, the signs of his
true origin and the nature of his true mission.
The power of God, the power of the supernatural,
now intervenes in what is merely natural through the mere
“carpenter’s son.” The “signs of credibility” that Christ enacts
through his mighty words and deeds powerfully point to
his divine origins and invite his contemporaries to faith.
It is an invitation to leave behind them the
superficial category of Jesus as just a nice neighbor (which
means they can live the same as before) and
receive the gift of Christ as Redeemer (which means
change and conversion). Are there signs in my life that
the Lord is looking to change me, to change
my behavior in some way so I might live
more by faith and charity? How much longer will
I resist before I will am won over by his
2. “And they took
offense at him”: It is a sacrifice to
give God his place in the ordinary flow of our
day. To do so, we need to sacrifice our
sense of self-sufficiency, by which we are inclined to be
the prime mover of everything in our world. We
need to sacrifice our vanity, which desists from efforts
to adore God since they bring little or no applause
from those around us. We need to sacrifice the
comfort of our naturalism, our horizontal view of things.
Ultimately this sacrifice is a work of love responding
to a divine invitation to share in God’s life––love, because
he is asking and wants to see us giving.
Let us move our hearts to embrace this sacrifice
joyfully, for the sake of love. It helps to see
that in this passage there are no neutral states.
Those who reject the invitation to love are turned
to love’s opposite––hate, specifically the hatred of the supernatural. It
is a tragedy at work in our culture in
many places, giving rise to the forces of anti-evangelization.
Let us pray and be vigilant that it may never
become our tragedy.
was not able to perform any mighty deed there”:
Our Lord makes himself vulnerable to us, to our
willingness to believe. He comes only to make us happy
and to elevate our lives to be more beautiful,
deeper in meaning and richer in fruits. He wants to
bring into our life his power to work miracles
and to move mountains of fear and burdens that
we encounter. He comes to be ointment for our wounds
and consolation for our weary hearts. The only thing
he needs to make us happy, then, is our
faith, our unconditional and active faith. Without it (since he
respects our freedom), we cripple his capacity to act
in our life as Savior and Lord. How sad
it is to see how easily we refuse such a
selfless and beautiful gift.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, teach me to receive you
with a heart ready to leave my rationalistic way of
acting and choosing. Help me to know how to
read your invitations with supernatural faith and to follow
them in true obedience, where true love proves itself.
Resolution: I will be
very obedient to the lights I receive today from the
Holy Spirit, acting on them with promptness and generosity.
Two by Two
February 5, 2015. Thursday in the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
By Father Alex Yeung,
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them
out two by two and gave them authority over
unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for
the journey but a walking stick -- no food, no
sack, no money in their belts. They were, however,
to wear sandals but not a second tunic. He
said to them, "Wherever you enter a house, stay there
until you leave from there. Whatever place does not
welcome you or listen to you, leave there and
shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them."
So they went off and preached repentance. They drove
out many demons, and they anointed with oil many
who were sick and cured them.
Introductory Prayer: Father, I come before you today hungry
for all the graces you desire for me in this
meditation. I believe in your goodness. I wish to
become more like your son, Jesus Christ, every day.
I want to live a life of self-giving love like
Christ. Thank you for your grace.
Petition: Christ Jesus, grant me a spirit
of teamwork in spreading your Gospel.
1. Where Two or Three Are Gathered…: Christ
sent out his apostles in pairs. The fact that the
Gospel mentions this detail shows that it is not
just an accident. There are some passages in Matthew’s
Gospel that can shed some light on this desire of
Christ. First, “where two or three are gathered in
my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20).
The apostles are first and foremost called to witness to
Christ by their example. They are to foster communion
and charity among themselves, so that others, seeing how
they interact with each other, will be led to
exclaim, “See how they love one another!” The apostle-teams exhibited
oneness of heart and soul, sharing in common what
they were able to procure: lodging, success, failure. With
such an attitude, Christ promises that he would be
there in their midst.
Witness: “If you are not listened to, take one or
two others along with you, so that every word
may be confirmed by the evidence of two or
three witnesses” (Matthew 18:16). The word of one person, who
has witnessed a miraculous event alone, is often taken
as no more than the word of a crazy
man. However, if more than one person confesses to having
witnessed the event, there is much stronger proof. The
apostles went about witnessing to the things that Jesus
was doing and the signs he was working: healing the
sick, casting out demons, etc. It is wonderful to
team up with fellow Christians in the workplace or
in the family, in order to witness to the work
of Christ in our lives.
3. Apostolic Efficacy: Jesus makes it clear: with
regard to the mission, another apostle is much more
important than other material tools. Jesus teaches us here the
principle of teamwork. An apostolic “colleague” helps us to
be vigilant against dangers to our health and well-being
(physical and spiritual). Prayer can be in community; Jesus
assures that “if two of you agree on earth about
anything you ask, it will be done for you
by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19). Working in a
team also helps to improve apostolic efficacy: Each enriches
the other with the exchange of knowledge, personal and
lived experiences, and views on the situation. Each complements
the other, contributing their God-given gifts, abilities and qualities.
“Two heads are better than one.”
Conversation with Christ: You sent your apostles out in
twos, Lord Jesus, to teach me about the importance of
teamwork. Help me not presume that I am alone
in the mission. When I try to do everything
myself, sometimes it may be out of subtle pride. Thank
you, Lord Jesus, for the gift of apostolic colleagues.
Increase in my heart true fraternal charity for those
who work alongside me in building up your kingdom, so
that the world may believe.
Resolution: I will make it a point to
involve an apostolic colleague in my effort to help some
friend or family member encounter Christ.
Grace’s Last Stand and Ultimate Victory
February 6, 2015. Memorial of Saint Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs
Herod heard about it, for his fame had become
widespread, and people were saying, "John the Baptist has been
raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers
are at work in him." Others were saying, "He
is Elijah"; still others, "He is a prophet like any
of the prophets." But when Herod learned of it,
he said, "It is John whom I beheaded. He
has been raised up." Herod was the one who
had John arrested and bound in prison on account
of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he
had married. John had said to Herod, "It is
not lawful for you to have your brother´s wife."
Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill
him but was unable to do so. Herod feared
John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody. When he heard him
speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked
to listen to him. She had an opportunity one day
when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for
his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men
of Galilee. Herodias´s own daughter came in and performed a
dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king
said to the girl, "Ask of me whatever you
wish and I will grant it to you." He even
swore (many things) to her, "I will grant you
whatever you ask of me, even to half of my
kingdom." She went out and said to her mother,
"What shall I ask for?" She replied, "The head
of John the Baptist." The girl hurried back to
the king´s presence and made her request, "I want you
to give me at once on a platter the
head of John the Baptist." The king was deeply
distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he
did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring
back his head. He went off and beheaded him
in the prison. He brought in the head on
a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl
in turn gave it to her mother. When his
disciples heard about it, they came and took his body
and laid it in a tomb.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you and
all that you taught as it has been passed
down to us through your Church. I hope in you,
knowing that you will never send me out of
your presence. Only by sin could I cut myself away
from your loving hands. Although I am weak, I
trust that you will keep me close. Lord, I
love you and long for my love for you to
grow, for you deserve so much better than my
measly offering. Yet I know, too, that you are pleased
with my desire for you.
Petition: Grant me, O Lord, an honest and sincere
1. “It is
John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up”: The
verdict of conscience always makes itself known. Herod’s guilt
regarding John the Baptist’s murder is projected into the
present as a haunting memory. Those who have radically rejected
God, though they might possess great power or wealth,
great intelligence or ability, are ultimately the most insecure
people on earth. When true goodness appears in their
life, it presents itself as a threat. It condemns them
and alienates them from themselves. All this is but
a reflection of their state of soul before God.
Such is the power of man’s conscience: it imposes its
painful sentence long before the person ever reaches the
ultimate tribunal of justice. Like Christ, we can only remain
silent before the Herods of the world, praying that
they break their resistance to grace.
2. “He was very much perplexed yet he liked
to listen to him…”: “Fear the grace of God that
passes never to return.” In the lives of all
persons, even the wicked, enough goodness is given them
to be saved, enough such that God can offer
them the truth of salvation within the scope of their
freedom. Such graces last for only a time, not
forever. These moments cannot be treated as moments that
temporarily pacify our conscience, only to permit us to
continue in our sin and resistance to living a holy
life. Herod feared John, knew he was a holy
man and felt the attraction of his words, but he
did nothing to respond to it. You cannot play
around with God and win. Herod loses and attacked
what he knew he should love. This tragedy must teach
us to be sincere and never imprison the voice
of God in our soul, but to let it reign
in our life. We must use our freedom to
respond to God’s voice, breaking the chains of human
respect or fear of sacrifice that bind us to darkness.
3. He Was Beheaded in
Prison: The last honor Christ could offer a faithful
apostle, who has stood firm in the truth against
the twisted provocations of evil around him, is––in some sense––a
“full” participation in his Paschal Mystery. What began as
testimony by proclaiming conversion, John now concludes with testimony
to the victorious hope the blessed possess in Christ.
This is never clearer than in a martyr’s death
as intimated in this passage from the Book of
For though in the
sight of men they were punished,
their hope is full of immortality.
been disciplined a little,
receive great good,
because God tested
them and found them worthy of himself;
like gold in the furnace he tried them,
and like a sacrificial burnt offering he
accepted them (Wisdom 3:4-6).
we accept today the hard road of fidelity so as
to be “disciplined a little” and be found worthy
of the hope that is “full of immortality.”
Conversation with Christ: Let me
experience, dear Jesus, the glory of your martyrs through
many small acts of fidelity—to my conscience, to my mission
and to the service to souls. Heroic and filled
with hope, may I accept a sentence of love
and not fear any path you set before me today.
May I be like one who has died and
yet lives the blossom of a holy life that will
will work to be sincere in all I do, and
use the sacrament of confession as a place of
constant conversion and openness to God’s will.
Resting in the Lord
February 7, 2015. Saturday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
By Father Alex Yeung,
The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all
they had done and taught. He said to
them, "Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and
rest a while." People were coming and going in
great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to
eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves
to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and
many came to know about it. They hastened there on
foot from all the towns and arrived at the
place before them. When he disembarked and saw the
vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and
he began to teach them many things.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are
present here. You know me through and through, and
despite my weaknesses, sins and imperfections you love me. Lord,
thank you for your love. Today I give you
my mind, my heart and my will. Mold me and
use me as you wish.
Petition: Mary, obtain for me the grace to
understand and live the Christian meaning of rest.
1. A Needed Rest: Jesus knows
that his disciples need to rest after returning from a
long stint of missionary work. There is a need
to replenish energies — physical, mental and spiritual. It
is within God’s will to put moments of physical rest
into our daily programs. Jesus tells the apostles to
get away together and with him. Physical rest, of
course, is not laziness or dissipation. It is not a
place to lose the spiritual tautness of our soul
towards God and his things, or the readiness to
do God’s will at all times.
2. Thinking About Others: Jesus teaches us that
being ready to do God’s will in everything means
also being always ready to serve others. How beautiful
it is when families can relax together with each member
not just selfishly thinking about myself, how much fun
I can have, or making sure everyone obeys my
whims! In a culture where “vacation” is synonymous with
“loafing,” Jesus reminds us that for a Christian, relaxing and
having fun are not incompatible with thinking about and
serving others. Jesus’ compassionate heart was always active, and
even with rest on his mind, he was moved to
give himself to the people who needed to hear
the Word of God. Is my heart like Christ’s? Am
I aware of the physical and spiritual needs of
my family and friends even on my “day off”?
3. Thinking About God: There is a deeper
meaning to “rest”: turning all our activity to glorify
God and expressing our loving dependence on him. He
commanded us to set apart one day of the week
to “rest” in him, to direct our hearts and
minds to him, to offer him the fruits of our
week’s work, and to receive his grace to begin
another week. Sunday must be the highlight of a
Christian’s week, not just because he finds respite from his
work, but because he offers all his work ––
and himself –– to God the Father during the communal
celebration of Mass, the heart of Sunday. This God-centered
focus is extended throughout the whole Sunday rest, where
“daily concerns and tasks can find their proper perspective:
the material things about which we worry give way to
spiritual values; in a moment of encounter and less
pressured exchange, we see the
true face of the people with whom we live.
Even the beauties of nature — too often marred by
the desire to exploit, which turns against man himself
— can be rediscovered and enjoyed to the full” (John
Paul II, Dies Domini, 67).
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me to find
my true rest in you. You are the source of
all that is good. Help me to order all
my work and material things towards spiritual values. Help
me make Mass the heart of my Sunday. As well,
help me use Sunday to see the true face
of my family, friends, colleagues and clients: they are
souls which you call me to love, serve, and bring
closer to you.
will find some concrete way to prepare myself and
my family for the celebration of Sunday Mass: reflecting
on the Mass readings, organizing ourselves to arrive early
to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, doing some service
of charity like visiting the sick or elderly, etc.
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