READINGS for 2006-04-02
?They approached Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, ?Sir, we wish to see Jesus.?? ? John 12: 21
Back when I started taking my spiritual journey seriously, I prayed to God to send people who would bring me closer to Him. He sent a lot ? religious and lay persons alike. To them, I give thanks for helping me see Jesus in a better way. Some of them I would like to make mention here:
Lord, You know better who to send me to bring me closer to You. May I see them as they come.
Jeremiah promises the people a New Covenant. This covenant will be implanted within our hearts and not just in the external realities of the written law. It is our hearts and minds that the Lord wants to win in order to make us His children and disciples. The Lord is looking for a people who will be true to this call and not just people who give lip service to a set of laws. This is our deepest and truest call.
31 ?The days are coming,? says the LORD, ?when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers the day I took them by the hand to lead them forth from the land of Egypt for they broke my covenant and I had to show myself their master,? says the LORD. 33 ?But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,? says the LORD. ?I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer will they have need to teach their friends and kinsmen how to know the LORD. All, from least to greatest, shall know me,? says the LORD, ?for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.?
P S A L M
Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 14-15
R: Create a clean heart in me, O God.
1  Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. 2  Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me. (R) 10  A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me. 11  Cast me not out from your presence, and your holy spirit take not from me. (R) 12  Give me back the joy of your salvation, and a willing spirit sustain in me. 13  I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners shall return to you. (R)
Suffering is an aspect of human living that cannot be avoided. As much as none of us enjoy suffering, it is important to remember that since it is a part of our lives, it is our attitude to it that is important in how we deal with it. Jesus embraced the suffering of His passion and death because He knew that this was the way that the Father had planned for the salvation of all mankind. If we join our sufferings with that of Jesus, they too, can be redemptive.
7 In the days when he was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; 9 and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.
Jesus knows that He has a mission to bring salvation to all humanity. The exact mechanics of how this would happen, I believe, was a growing reality in His life. By this time of His ministry I believe that Jesus knew that He was called to suffer and die for the sake of our salvation! His ?hour? had come so to speak when both His identity and mission would be made plain for all to see. His resurrection from the dead is the Father?s vindication of all that Jesus stood for in His life and ministry.
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who had come up to worship at the feast. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, ?Sir, we would like to see Jesus.? 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus answered them, ?The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 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. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me. 27 ?I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? ?Father, save me from this hour?? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.? Then a voice came from heaven, ?I have glorified it and will glorify it again.? 29 The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder; but others said, ?An angel has spoken to him.? 30 Jesus answered and said, ?This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.? 31 Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.? 33 He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.
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GETTING TO KNOW THE SAINTS
Julie Billiart was born in 1751 to a peasant family in Picardy, France. By the time she was seven she was teaching catechism to other small children of the town. At fourteen she took a vow of chastity and devoted herself to works of mercy and the religious instruction of her poor neighbors. Thus far, her religious vocation progressed along fairly typical lines. Her life took an unexpected turn, however, when a strange malady left her virtually paralyzed. Confined to her bed and unable to move her limbs she still found ways to maintain her evangelical witness. Gradually, she acquired considerable influence and spiritual authority in her town.
It is now a week immediately prior to Holy Week. Let us pray and work for a holy heart. It is holy hearts that make the Holy Week holy. The heart of God the Father makes this time holy. It is the heart that gave us His only begotten Son. It is the heart that loved the world so much. It is the heart that stopped at nothing to show us how much it loves us. It is the heart of the merciful Father.
Precious Blood of Jesus, wash me and make me clean. Amen.
St. Francis of Paola, confessor, pray for us.
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