Matthew, Chapter 25,
24 Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; 25so out of FEAR I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’
Christ is always trying to draw us away from fear to having a relationship of love and peace with the Trinity. For if we live our faith in fear, we will be like the person who buried his only talent. We must if filled with the love and joy of Christ go forth bravely to build Christ’s Kingdom in our own spheres of influence and in our way of being.
Ask our Lord how he wants you to spend your time assisting our priests today.
Five consecutive Saturdays in reparation
to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
The practice of the First
Saturday devotion was requested by Our Lady of Fatima, who appeared to three shepherd
children in Fatima, Portugal, multiple times starting in 1917. She said to
Lucia, the oldest of the three children: “I shall come to ask . . . that on the
First Saturday of every month, Communions of reparation be made in atonement
for the sins of the world.” Years later she repeated her request to Sr. Lucia,
the only one still living of the three young Fatima seers, while she was a
postulant sister living in a convent in Spain: “Look, my daughter, at my Heart,
surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce me at very moment by
their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console me, and say that
I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for
salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months,
shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the rosary, and
keep me company for 15 minutes while meditating on the 15 mysteries of the
rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.”
Conditions to Fulfill the First
There are five
requirements to obtain this promise from the Immaculate Heart of Mary. On five
consecutive first Saturdays of the month, one should:
1. Have the intention of
consoling the Immaculate Heart in a spirit of reparation.
2. Go to confession
(within eight days before or after the first Saturday).
3. Receive Holy Communion.
4. Say five decades of the
5. Meditate for 15 minutes
on the mysteries
of the Holy Rosary
with the goal
of keeping Our Lady company (for example, while in church or before an image or
statue of Our Lady).
Why Five Saturdays?
Our Lord appeared to Sr.
Lucia on May 29, 1930 and gave her the reason behind the five Saturdays
devotion. It is because there are five types of offenses and blasphemies
committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
1. Blasphemies against the
2. Blasphemies against Our
Lady’s perpetual virginity
against her divine maternity, in refusing at the same time to recognize her as
the Mother of men
4. Blasphemies of
those who publicly seek to sow in the hearts of children, indifference or scorn
or even hatred of their Immaculate Mother
5. Offenses of those
who outrage Our Lady directly in her holy images
Never think that Jesus is
indifferent to whether or not His mother is honored!
of the Holy Cross Hike
Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet during this hike you will be praying the Divine Mercy Novena as Christ asked
"Today bring to Me the Souls of Priests
and Religious and immerse them in
My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave me strength to endure My bitter
Passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon
Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes
all that is good, increase Your grace in men and women consecrated to Your
service,* that they may perform worthy works of mercy;
and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company of chosen ones in Your
vineyard -- upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the
strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they
are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to
guide others in the way of salvation and with one voice sing praise to Your
boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.
Horse Trail No 61
Due to the high volume of traffic and unavailability of parking at the chapel it is suggested to park at the Little horse trail and hike into the chapel via little horse trail to chapel trail.
Location: 35 miles south of
Flagstaff in scenic Red Rock Country.
Access: From the junction of Routes 89A and 179 in Sedona, take 179
south 3.6 miles to a paved turnout and trailhead parking on the left (east) at
milepost 309.8, 0.2 miles south of the entrance to the United Methodist Church.
Little Horse Trail begins as part
of the Bell Rock
Pathway. Follow this wide trail southward for 0.25 mile. Here, at a
signed fork, take the old jeep road branching to the left and marked with
basket cairns. The road drops to cross a dry streambed, climbs a bit and ends
at the 0.75 mile point. The trail continues to the left and climbs moderately,
topping out on a large, flat expanse. Turn to the right here. The level trail
leads into a stand of Arizona cypress and intersects Chapel Trail on the
left coming from the Chapel of the Holy Cross as it nears the "Madonna and
the Nuns" spire rock formation. Beautiful views. At 1.4 miles, it passes
through a gate to the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Return by the same route. Trail
is mostly unshaded and hot in summer.
Hiking Time: 2 hours roundtrip
from Little Horse it is suggested that you begin the hiking meditation by
reflecting on the Ten Commandments and when you make the turn onto the
chapel trail to begin a meditation on the Stations of the cross ending
the last stations when you enter the chapel and view the new crucifix.
Afterward on the return hike complete the Divine Mercy reflection pg. 9
and the Rosary of the day.
I am the LORD your God. You shall worship the Lord your
God and Him only shall you serve.
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in
Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
Honor your father and your mother.
You shall not kill.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
“What do they mean?” Again, the Ten
Commandments are a description of the basic freedom from sin that is necessary
to live as a Christian. They are a minimum level of living, below which we must
not go. The Ten Commandments and Catholicism have been bound together since the
time of Christ. In fact, Jesus refers to the Ten Commandments and assures their
validity in his dialog with the rich young man in Matthew’s Gospel (Mt
19:16-21). It’s important to note that each Commandment is simply a summary of
a whole category of actions. Don’t be legalistic, searching for a way around
them because their wording doesn’t fit you perfectly! For example, “bearing
false witness against your neighbor” covers any kind of falsehood: perjury,
lying, slander, detraction, rash judgment, etc. The Catholic Ten Commandments
are linked together to form a coherent whole. If you break one of them, you’re
guilty of breaking all of them. The Commandments express man’s fundamental
duties to God and neighbor. As such, they represent grave obligations. To
violate them knowingly & willingly in a significant way is to commit mortal sin.
"Teacher, what must I do . . .?" 
2052 "Teacher, what good deed must I
do, to have eternal life?" To the young man who asked this question, Jesus
answers first by invoking the necessity to recognize God as the "One there
is who is good," as the supreme Good and the source of all good. Then
Jesus tells him: "If you would enter life, keep the commandments."
And he cites for his questioner the precepts that concern love of neighbor:
"You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal,
You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother." Finally
Jesus sums up these commandments positively: "You shall love your neighbor
2053 To this first reply Jesus adds a
second: "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to
the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." This
reply does not do away with the first: following Jesus Christ involves keeping
the Commandments. The Law has not been abolished, but rather man is invited to
rediscover it in the person of his Master who is its perfect fulfillment. In
the three synoptic Gospels, Jesus' call to the rich young man to follow him, in
the obedience of a disciple and in the observance of the Commandments, is
joined to the call to poverty and chastity. The evangelical counsels are
inseparable from the Commandments.
Jesus acknowledged the Ten Commandments, but he also showed the power of the
Spirit at work in their letter. He preached a "righteousness [which]
exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees" as well as that of the
Gentiles. He unfolded all the demands of the Commandments. "You have heard
that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not kill.' . . . But I
say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to
When someone asks him, "Which commandment in the Law is the
greatest?" Jesus replies: "You shall love the Lord your God with all
your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the
greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your
neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the
prophets." The Decalogue must be interpreted in light of this twofold yet
single commandment of love, the fullness of the Law:
The commandments: "You shall
not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not
covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence:
"You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a
neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
The word "Decalogue" means literally "ten words." God
revealed these "ten words" to his people on the holy mountain. They
were written "with the finger of God," unlike the other commandments
written by Moses. They are pre-eminently the words of God. They are handed on
to us in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. Beginning with the Old Testament,
the sacred books refer to the "ten words," but it is in the New
Covenant in Jesus Christ that their full meaning will be revealed.
The Decalogue must first be understood in the context of the Exodus, God's
great liberating event at the center of the Old Covenant. Whether formulated as
negative commandments, prohibitions, or as positive precepts such as:
"Honor your father and mother," the "ten words" point out
the conditions of a life freed from the slavery of sin. The Decalogue is a path
If you love the LORD your God, by
walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his
ordinances, then you shall live and multiply.
This liberating power of the
Decalogue appears, for example, in the commandment about the sabbath rest,
directed also to foreigners and slaves:
You shall remember that you were a
servant in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out thence with
a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.
2058 The "ten words" sum up and
proclaim God's law: "These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly at
the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness,
with a loud voice; and he added no more. And he wrote them upon two tables of
stone, and gave them to me." For this reason these two tables are called "the
Testimony." In fact, they contain the terms of the covenant concluded
between God and his people. These "tables of the Testimony" were to
be deposited in "the ark."
The "ten words" are pronounced by God in the midst of a theophany
("The LORD spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst
of the fire."). They belong to God's revelation of himself and his glory.
The gift of the Commandments is the gift of God himself and his holy will. In
making his will known, God reveals himself to his people.
2060 The gift of the commandments and of
the Law is part of the covenant God sealed with his own. In Exodus, the
revelation of the "ten words" is granted between the proposal of the
covenant and its conclusion - after the people had committed themselves to
"do" all that the Lord had said, and to "obey" it. The
Decalogue is never handed on without first recalling the covenant ("The
LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.").
The Commandments take on their full meaning within the covenant. According to
Scripture, man's moral life has all its meaning in and through the covenant.
The first of the "ten words" recalls that God loved his people first:
Since there was a passing from the
paradise of freedom to the slavery of this world, in punishment for sin, the
first phrase of the Decalogue, the first word of God's commandments, bears on
freedom "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
out of the house of slavery."
2062 The Commandments properly so-called
come in the second place: they express the implications of belonging to God
through the establishment of the covenant. Moral existence is a response to the
Lord's loving initiative. It is the acknowledgement and homage given to God and
a worship of thanksgiving. It is cooperation with the plan God pursues in
The covenant and dialogue between God and man are also attested to by the fact
that all the obligations are stated in the first person ("I am the
Lord.") and addressed by God to another personal subject
("you"). In all God's commandments, the singular personal pronoun
designates the recipient. God makes his will known to each person in
particular, at the same time as he makes it known to the whole people:
The Lord prescribed love towards
God and taught justice towards neighbor, so that man would be neither unjust,
nor unworthy of God. Thus, through the Decalogue, God prepared man to become
his friend and to live in harmony with his neighbor. . . . The words
of the Decalogue remain likewise for us Christians. Far from being abolished,
they have received amplification and development from the fact of the coming of
the Lord in the flesh.
2064 In fidelity to Scripture and in conformity with the example of
Jesus, the tradition of the Church has acknowledged the primordial importance
and significance of the Decalogue.
The Ten Commandments state what is required in the love of God and love of
neighbor. The first three concern love of God, and the other seven love of
As charity comprises the two
commandments to which the Lord related the whole Law and the prophets
. . . so the Ten Commandments were themselves given on two tablets.
Three were written on one tablet and seven on the other.
2068 The Council of Trent teaches that the
Ten Commandments are obligatory for Christians and that the justified man is
still bound to keep them; the Second Vatican Council confirms: "The
bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord . . . the
mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature,
so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance
of the Commandments."
The Decalogue forms a coherent whole. Each "word" refers to each of
the others and to all of them; they reciprocally condition one another. The two
tables shed light on one another; they form an organic unity. To transgress one
commandment is to infringe all the others. One cannot honor another person
without blessing God his Creator. One cannot adore God without loving all men,
his creatures. The Decalogue brings man's religious and social life into unity.
2070 The Ten Commandments belong to God's
revelation. At the same time they teach us the true humanity of man. They bring
to light the essential duties, and therefore, indirectly, the fundamental
rights inherent in the nature of the human person. The Decalogue contains a
privileged expression of the natural law:
From the beginning, God had
implanted in the heart of man the precepts of the natural law. Then he was
content to remind him of them. This was the Decalogue.
2071 The commandments of the Decalogue,
although accessible to reason alone, have been revealed. To attain a complete
and certain understanding of the requirements of the natural law, sinful
humanity needed this revelation:
A full explanation of the
commandments of the Decalogue became necessary in the state of sin because the
light of reason was obscured and the will had gone astray.
We know God's commandments through
the divine revelation proposed to us in the Church, and through the voice of
Since they express man's fundamental duties towards God and towards his
neighbor, the Ten Commandments reveal, in their primordial content, grave
obligations. They are fundamentally immutable, and they oblige always and
everywhere. No one can dispense from them. The Ten Commandments are engraved by
God in the human heart.
2073 Obedience to the Commandments also implies obligations in
matter which is, in itself, light. Thus abusive language is forbidden by the fifth
commandment, but would be a grave offense only as a result of circumstances or
the offender's intention.
"Apart from me you can do
2074 Jesus says: "I am the vine, you
are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much
fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." The fruit referred to in
this saying is the holiness of a life made fruitful by union with Christ. When
we believe in Jesus Christ, partake of his mysteries, and keep his
commandments, the Savior himself comes to love, in us, his Father and his
brethren, our Father and our brethren. His person becomes, through the Spirit,
the living and interior rule of our activity. "This is my commandment,
that you love one another as I have loved you."
As you turn onto the Chapel Trail reflect on
the Stations of the Cross
Pope Benedict XVI Stations of the Cross
the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 22:41-44
Jesus withdrew from them about a stone’s
throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup
from me; nevertheless not my will but yours be done.” And there appeared to him
an angel from heaven strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more
earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the
MEDITATION Jesus was in agony. Grief and anguish came upon him. The sin of all mankind weighed on him heavily. But the greater his pain, the more fervently did he pray. Pain always remains a challenge to us. We feel left alone. We forget to pray, and break down. Some even take their lives. But if we turn to God, we grow spiritually strong and go out to help our fellow-beings in trouble. Jesus continues to suffer in his persecuted disciples. Pope Benedict XVI says that even in our times “the Church does not lack martyrs”. Christ is in agony among us, and in our times. We pray for those who suffer. The mystery of Christian suffering is that it has a redemptive value. May the harassments that believers undergo complete in them the sufferings of Christ that bring salvation.
Lord Jesus, enable us to delve deeper into the great “mystery of evil” and our own contribution to it. As sufferings came into human life through sin, it was your plan that humanity be saved from sin through suffering. May none of the little annoyances, humiliations, and frustrations that we undergo in our daily lives and the great shocks that take us by surprise, go to waste. Linked with your own agony, may the agonies we endure be acceptable to you and bring us hope. Lord, teach us to be compassionate, not only to the hungry, thirsty, sick, or those in some special need, but also to those inclined to be rude, argumentative and hurtful. In this way, as you have helped us in all our troubles, we may in turn “comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort that we ourselves have received”.
the Gospel according to Saint Luke 22:47-50 and according to Saint Matthew
While Jesus was still speaking, there
came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He
drew near to Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray
the Son of man with a kiss?” And when those who were about him saw what would
follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them
struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. Then Jesus said
to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will
perish by the sword.” Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.
It is one of his trusted friends that betrays Jesus, and with a kiss. The way Jesus confronted violence has a message for our times. Violence is suicidal, he tells Peter: it is not defeated by more violence, but by a superior spiritual energy that reaches out in the form of healing love. Jesus touches the High Priest’s slave and heals him. The violent man today too may need a healing touch that comes from a love that transcends the immediate issues. In times of conflict between persons, ethnic and religious groups, nations, economic and political interests, Jesus says, confrontation and violence are not the answer, but love, persuasion and reconciliation. Even when we seem to fail in such efforts, we plant the seeds of peace which will bear fruit in due time. The rightness of our cause is our strength.
Lord Jesus, you consider us your friends, yet we notice
traces of infidelity in ourselves. We acknowledge our transgressions. We are
presumptuous at times and over-confident. And we fall. Let not avarice, lust or
pride take us by surprise. How thoughtlessly do we fly after ephemeral
satisfactions and untested ideas! Grant that we may not be tossed to and fro
and carried about by every wind of doctrine… but speaking the truth in love,
grow up in every way into Christ the head. May truth and sincerity of purpose
be our strength. Restrain, Lord, our impetuosity in situations of violence, as
you restrained Peter’s impulsive character. Keep us unruffled in spirit before
opposition and unfair treatment. Convince us that “A gentle answer quiets
anger” in our families, and that “gentleness” combined with “wisdom” restores
tranquility in society. “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.”
the Gospel according to Saint Matthew 26:62-66
And the High Priest stood up and said,
“Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you? But
Jesus was silent. And the High Priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living
God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You
have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at
the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the High
Priest tore his robes, and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What do we still
need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgement? They
answered, “He deserves death.”
In every land, there have been innocent persons who suffered, people who died fighting for freedom, equality or justice. Those who struggle on behalf of God’s little ones are promoting God’s own work. For he presses for the rights of the weak and the oppressed. Whoever collaborates in this work, in the spirit of Jesus, brings hope to the oppressed and offers a corrective message to the evildoer himself. Jesus’ manner of struggling for justice is not to rouse the collective anger of people against the opponent, so that they are led into forms of greater injustice. On the contrary, it is to challenge the foe with the rightness of one’s cause and evoke the good will of the opponent in such a way that injustice is renounced through persuasion and a change of heart. Mahatma Gandhi brought this teaching of Jesus on non-violence into public life with amazing success.
Lord, often we judge others in haste, indifferent to actual realities and insensitive to people’s feelings! We develop stratagems of self-justification and explain away the irresponsible manner in which we have dealt with “the other”. Forgive us! When we are misjudged and ill-treated, Lord, give us the inner serenity and self-confidence that your Son manifested in the face of unjust treatment. Keep us from an aggressive response which goes against your Spirit. On the contrary, help us to bring your powerful word of forgiveness into situations of tension and anxiety, so that it may reveal its dynamic power in history. “In His will is our peace.”
the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 22:54-62
Then they seized Jesus and led him away,
bringing him into the high priest’s house. Peter followed at a distance; and
when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down
together, Peter sat among them. Then a maid, seeing him as he sat in the light
and gazing at him, said, “This man was with him.” But he denied it, saying,
“Woman, I do not know him.” And a little later someone else saw him and said,
“You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” And after an
interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man
was also with him; for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know
what you are saying.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the cock
crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word
of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will
deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
Peter claimed to be strong, but he broke down before a servant girl. Human weakness takes us by surprise, and we collapse. That is why Jesus asks us to watch and pray. He urges self-renunciation and closeness to God. There is a rebellious “self” within us. We are often of “two minds”, but we fail to recognize this inner inconsistency. Peter recognized it when his eyes met the eyes of Jesus, and he wept. Later, Thomas, encountering the Risen Lord, acknowledged his own faithlessness and believed. In the light of Christ, Paul became aware of the inconsistency within himself, and he overcame it with the Lord’s help. Going deeper still, he discovered: “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.”
Lord, how easily do we allow a distance to grow between what we profess to be and what we really are! How often do we fail to carry out our own decisions, or even fulfil our most solemn promises! And as a result we often hesitate to make any permanent commitment, even to you! We confess that we have failed to bring into our life that inner discipline that is expected of any adult person and required for the success of any human endeavor. Give sturdiness to our inner determination; help us to bring every good work we have begun to a successful conclusion. Enable us to stand firm, as mature and fully convinced Christians, “in complete obedience to God’s will”.
A third time Pilate said to them, “Why,
what evil has he done? I have found in him no crime deserving death; I will
therefore chastise him and release him”. But they were urgent, demanding with
loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So Pilate
gave sentence that their demand should be granted. He released the man who had
been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, whom they asked for; but
Jesus he delivered up to their will.
It was not the rightness of an issue that mattered to Pilate, but his professional interests. Such an attitude did not help him, either in this case or in his later career. He was so unlike Jesus, whose inner rectitude made him fearless. Nor was Pilate interested in the truth. He walks away from Jesus exclaiming, “What is truth?” Such indifference to truth is not uncommon these days. People are often concerned about what gives immediate satisfaction. They are content with superficial answers. Decisions are made based not on principles of integrity, but on opportunistic considerations. Failing to make morally responsible options damages the vital interests of the human person, and of the human family. We pray that the “spiritual and ethical concepts” contained in the word of God will inspire the living norms of society in our times.
Lord, give us the courage to make responsible decisions
when rendering a public service. Bring probity (correctness) into public life and assist us to be true to our
conscience. Lord, you are the source of all Truth. Guide us in our search
for ultimate answers. Going beyond mere partial and incomplete explanations,
may we search for what is permanently true, beautiful and good. Lord, keep us
fearless before the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. When shadows
grow deep on life’s wearisome paths, and the dark night comes, enable us to
hearken to the teaching of your Apostle Paul: “Be watchful, stand firm in your
faith, be courageous, be strong.”
the Gospel according to Saint Matthew. 27:26-30
Then Pilate, having scourged Jesus,
delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus
into the praetorium, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they
stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him, and plaiting a crown of thorns
they put it on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before
him they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spat upon him,
and took the reed and struck him on the head.
Inhumanity reaches new heights. Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns. History is full of hatred and wars. Even today we witness acts of violence beyond belief: murder, violence to women and children, kidnapping, extortion, ethnic conflict, urban violence, physical and mental torture, violations of human rights. Jesus continues to suffer when believers are persecuted, when justice is distorted in court, corruption gets rooted, unjust structures grind the poor, minorities are suppressed, refugees and migrants are ill-treated. Jesus’ garments are pulled away when the human person is put to shame on the screen, when women are compelled to humiliate themselves, when slum children go round the streets picking up crumbs. Who are the guilty? Let us not point a finger at others, for we ourselves may have contributed a share to these forms of inhumanity.
Lord Jesus, we know that it is you who suffer when we cause pain to each other, and we remain indifferent. Your heart went out in compassion when you saw the crowds “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”. Give me eyes that notice the needs of the poor and a heart that reaches out in love. “Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service.” Most of all, may we share with the indigent your “word” of hope, your assurance of care. May “zeal for your house” burn in us like a fire. Help us to bring the sunshine of your joy into the lives of those who are trudging the path of despair.
the Gospel according to Saint Matthew. 27:31
And when they had mocked him, they
stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and led him away to
Jesus, at whose name every knee in heaven and earth bends, is made an object of fun. We are shocked to see to what levels of brutality human beings can sink. Jesus is humiliated in new ways even today: when things that are most Holy and Profound in the Faith are being trivialized; the sense of the sacred is allowed to erode; the religious sentiment is classified among unwelcome leftovers of antiquity. Everything in public life risks being desacralized: persons, places, pledges, prayers, practices, words, sacred writings, religious formulae, symbols, ceremonies. Our life together is being increasingly secularized. Religious life grows diffident. Thus we see the most momentous matters placed among trifles, and trivialities glorified. Values and norms that held societies together and drew people to higher ideals are laughed at and thrown overboard. Jesus continues to be ridiculed!
We have faith, Lord, but not enough. Help us to have more. May we never question or mock serious things in life like a cynic. Allow us not to drift into the desert of godlessness. Enable us to perceive you in the gentle breeze, see you in street corners, love you in the unborn child. God, enable us to understand that on Tabor or Calvary, your Son is the Lord. Robed or stripped of his garments, he is the Savior of the world. Make us attentive to his quiet presences: in his “word”, in tabernacles, shrines, humble places, simple persons, the life of the poor, laughter of children, whispering pines, rolling hills, the tiniest living cell, the smallest atom, and the distant galaxies. May we watch with wonder as he walks on the waters of the Rhine and the Nile and the Tanganyika.
the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 23:26
The soldiers led Jesus away, and as they
were going, they met a man from Cyrene named Simon who was coming into the city
from the country. They seized him, put the cross on him, and made him carry it
In Simon of Cyrene, we have the proto-type of a faithful disciple who takes up the Cross and follows Christ. He is not unlike millions of Christians from a humble background, with deep attachment to Christ. No glamour, no sophistication, but profound faith. Such believers keep rising on the soil of Africa, Asia and the distant islands. Vocations arise from their midst. Simon reminds us of small communities and tribes with their characteristic commitment to the common good, deep rootedness in ethical values and openness to the Gospel. They deserve attention and care. The Lord does not desire that “one of these little ones should perish”. In Simon we discover the sacredness of the ordinary and the greatness of what looks small. For the smallest has some mystic relationship with the greatest, and the ordinary with the most extraordinary!
Lord, it is your wonderful plan to lift up the lowly and sustain the poor. Strengthen your Church in her service to deprived communities: the least privileged, the marginalized, slum dwellers, the rural poor, the undernourished, untouchables, the handicapped, people given to addictions. May the example of your servant, Mother Teresa of Kolkata, inspire us to dedicate more of our energies and resources to the cause of the “poorest of the poor”. May we one day hear these words from Jesus: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”
the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 23:27-28
And there followed him a great multitude
of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus, turning
to them, said: “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for
yourselves and for your children.”
Before the weeping women, Jesus is self-forgetful. His anxiety is not about his pains, but about the tragic future that awaits them and their children. The destinies of societies are intimately linked to the wellbeing of their women. Wherever women are held in low esteem, or their role remains diminished, societies fail to rise to their true potentiality. In the same way, wherever their responsibility to the rising generation is neglected, ignored, or marginalized, the future of that society becomes uncertain. There are many societies in the world where women fail to receive a fair deal. Christ must be weeping for them. There are societies too that are thoughtless about their future. Christ must be weeping for their children. Wherever there is unconcern for the future, through the overuse of resources, the degradation of the environment, the oppression of women, the neglect of family values, the ignoring of ethical norms, the abandonment of religious traditions, Jesus must be telling people: “Do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”
Lord, you are the Master of history. And yet you wanted our collaboration in realizing your plans. Help us to play a responsible role in society: leaders in their communities, parents in their families, educators and health-workers among those who need to be served, communicators in the world of information. Arouse in us a sense of mission in what we do, a deep sense of responsibility to each other, to society, to our common future and to you. For you have placed the destinies of our communities and of humanity itself into our hands. Lord, do not turn away from us when you see women humiliated or your image disfigured in the human person; when we interfere with life-systems, weaken the nurturing power of nature, pollute running streams or the deep blue seas or the Northern snows. Save us from cruel indifference to our common future, and do not let us drag our civilization down the path of decline.
Time your hike so you can reflect on stations 10-13 while
sitting in the chapel with our crucified Lord!
the Gospel according to Saint Luke 23:33-37 and according to Saint Matthew.
There they crucified him, and the
criminals, one on the right and one on the left. And Jesus said, “Father,
forgive them; for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his
garments. And the people stood by, watching; but the rulers scoffed at him,
saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his
Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him vinegar,
and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” And about the
ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”, that
is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
The sufferings of Jesus reach a climax. He had stood fearlessly before Pilate. He had endured the mistreatment of the Roman soldiers. He had preserved his calm under the scourge and the crowning with thorns. On the Cross itself, he seemed untouched by a shower of insults. He had no word of complaint, no desire to retort. But then, finally, a moment comes when he breaks down. His strength can stand no more. He feels abandoned even by his Father! Experience tells us that even the sturdiest man can descend to the depths of despair. Frustrations accumulate, anger and resentment pile up. Bad health, bad news, bad luck, bad treatment – all can come together. It may have happened to us. It is at such moments we need to remember that Jesus never fails us. He cried to the Father. May we too cry out to the Father, who unfailingly comes to our rescue in all our distress, whenever we call upon him!
Lord, when clouds gather on the horizon and everything seems lost, when we find no friend to stand by us and hope slips from our hands, teach us to trust in you, who will surely come to our rescue. May the experience of inner pain and darkness teach us the great truth that in you nothing is lost, that even our sins – once we have repented of them – come to serve a purpose, like dry wood in the cold of winter. Lord, you have a master design beneath the working of the universe and the progress of history. Open our eyes to the rhythms and patterns in the movements of the stars; balance and proportion in the inner structure of elements; interrelatedness and complementarity in nature; progress and purpose in the march of history; correction and compensation in our personal stories. It is this harmony that you constantly keep restoring, despite the painful imbalances that we bring about. In you even the greatest loss is a gain. Christ’s death, in fact, points to resurrection.
the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 23:39-43
One of the criminals who were hanged
railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the
other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same
sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due
reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus,
remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say
to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
It is not eloquence that convinces and converts. In the case of Peter, it is a look of love; in the case of the Good Thief, it is unresentful serenity in suffering. Conversion takes place like a miracle. God opens your eyes. You recognize his presence and action. You surrender! Opting for Christ is always a mystery. Why does one make a definitive choice for Christ, even in the face of trouble, or death? Why do Christian’s flourish in persecuted places? We shall never know. But it happens over and over again. If a person who has abandoned his faith comes across the real face of Christ, he will be stunned by what he actually sees, and may surrender like Thomas: “My Lord and my God!” It is a privilege to unveil the face of Christ to people. It is even a greater joy to discover – or rediscover -him. “Your face, O Lord, do I seek. Do not hide your face from me.”
My cry to you today, O Lord, in tears is this: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” It is for this Kingdom that I fondly long. It is the eternal home you have prepared for all those who seek you with sincere hearts. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”. Help me, Lord, as I struggle ahead on my way to my eternal destiny. Lift the darkness from my path, and keep my eyes raised to the heights!
amid the encircling gloom.
Lead thou me on.
The night is dark, and I am far from home.
Lead thou me on.
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.”
the Gospel according to Saint John. 19:25-27
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his
mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he
said to his mother: “Woman, behold your son!” Then he said to the disciple:
“Behold your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
In suffering we long for solidarity. Mother Mary reminds us of supportive love and solidarity within a family, John of loyalty within a community. Family cohesion, community bonds, ties of friendship – these are essential for the flourishing of human beings. In an anonymous society they grow weak. When they are missing, we become diminished persons. Again, in Mary we do not notice even the least sign of resentment, not a word of bitterness. The Virgin becomes an archetype of forgiveness in faith and hope. She shows us the way to the future. Even those who would like to respond to violent injustice with “violent justice” know that that is not the ultimate answer. Forgiveness prompts hope. There are also historic injuries that often rankle in the memories of societies for centuries. Unless we transmute our collective anger into new energies of love through forgiveness, we perish together. When healing comes through forgiveness, we light a lamp, announcing future possibilities for the “life and well-being” of humanity.
Lord Jesus, your Mother stood silently at your side in your final agony. She who was unseen on occasions when you were acclaimed a great prophet, stands beside you in your humiliation. May I have the courage to remain loyal even where you are least recognized. Let me never be embarrassed to belong to the “little flock”. Lord, let me remember that even those whom I consider my “enemies” belong to the human family. If they treat me unfairly, let my prayer be only: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” It may be in such a context that someone will suddenly recognize the true face of Christ and cry out like the centurion: “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 23:46
Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice,
said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit!” And having said this, he
breathed his last.
Jesus hands over his spirit to the Father in serene abandonment. What his persecutors thought to be a moment of defeat proves, in fact, to be a moment of triumph. When a prophet dies for the cause he stood for, he gives the final proof of all that he has said. Christ’s death is something more than that. It brings redemption. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.” With that begins for me a mystic journey: Christ draws me closer to him, until I shall fully belong to him.
deer longs for flowing streams,
So my soul longs for you, O God…
When shall I come and behold the face of God?”
Lord Jesus, it is for my own sins that you were nailed to the Cross. Help me to gain a deeper understanding of the grievousness of my sins and the immensity of your love. For “while we were still weak, Christ died for the ungodly.” I admit my faults as the prophets did long ago:
have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly
and rebelled, turning aside
from your commandments and ordinances;
we have not listened to your servants the prophets….”
There was nothing in me to deserve your
kindness. Thank you for your immeasurable goodness to me. Help me to live for
you, to shape my life after you, to be joined to you and become a new creation.
be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.”
For the final station sit outside the chapel and reflect how you are a tomb for our Lord
the Gospel according to Saint Mark. 15:46
Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking
him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud, and laid him in a tomb which had
been hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.
Tragedies make us ponder. A tsunami tells us that life is serious. Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain pilgrim places. When death strikes near, another world draws close. We then shed our illusions and have a grasp of the deeper reality. People in ancient India prayed: “Lead me from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, from death to immortality.” After Jesus left this world, Christians began to look back and interpret his life and mission. They carried his message to the ends of the earth. And this message itself is Jesus Christ, who is “the power of God and the wisdom of God”. It says that the reality is Christ and that our ultimate destiny is to be with him.
Lord Jesus, enable us, as we press forward on life’s weary way, to have a glimpse of our ultimate destiny. And when at last we cross over, we will know that “death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more.” God will wipe away all tears from our eyes. It is this Good News that we are eager to announce “in every way”, even in places where Christ has not been heard of. For this we work hard. We work “night and day” and wear ourselves out. Lord make us effective carriers of your Good News. “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth; and in my flesh I shall see God.”
are ready hike back to the Little Horse trailhead; reflect on the Divine Mercy
Prayer and the Rosary of the Day. Note: It is also interesting to reflect on
how on Palm Sunday our Lord sat on a Colt (Little Horse) entering the city of
Catechism of the Catholic
PART TWO: THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN
CHAPTER ONE THE PASCHAL MYSTERY IN THE AGE OF THE
Article 2-THE PASCHAL MYSTERY IN THE
II. The Sacraments of the Church
1117 As she has done for the canon of Sacred
Scripture and for the doctrine of the faith, the Church, by the power of the
Spirit who guides her "into all truth," has gradually recognized this
treasure received from Christ and, as the faithful steward of God's mysteries,
has determined its "dispensation." Thus the Church has discerned
over the centuries that among liturgical celebrations there are seven that are,
in the strict sense of the term, sacraments instituted by the Lord.
1118 The sacraments are "of the
Church" in the double sense that they are "by her" and "for
her." They are "by the Church," for she is the sacrament of
Christ's action at work in her through the mission of the Holy Spirit. They are
"for the Church" in the sense that "the sacraments make the Church," since
they manifest and communicate to men, above all in the Eucharist, the mystery
of communion with the God who is love, One in three persons.
1119 Forming "as it were, one mystical
person" with Christ the head, the Church acts in the sacraments as
"an organically structured priestly community." Through Baptism
and Confirmation the pRiestly people is enabled to celebrate the liturgy, while
those of the faithful "who have received Holy Orders, are appointed to
nourish the Church with the word and grace of God in the name of Christ."
1120 The ordained ministry or ministerial
priesthood is at the service of the baptismal priesthood. The ordained
priesthood guarantees that it really is Christ who acts in the sacraments
through the Holy Spirit for the Church. the saving mission entrusted by the
Father to his incarnate Son was committed to the apostles and through them to
their successors: they receive the Spirit of Jesus to act in his name and in
his person. The ordained minister is the sacramental bond that ties the
liturgical action to what the apostles said and did and, through them, to the
words and actions of Christ, the source and foundation of the sacraments.
1121 The three sacraments of Baptism,
Confirmation, and Holy Orders confer, in addition to grace, a sacramental
character or "seal" by which the Christian shares in Christ's
priesthood and is made a member of the Church according to different states and
functions. This configuration to Christ and to the Church, brought about by the
Spirit, is indelible, it remains for ever in the Christian as a positive
disposition for grace, a promise and guarantee of divine protection, and as a
vocation to divine worship and to the service of the Church. Therefore these
sacraments can never be repeated.
September Travel and Events
September 1-3. The drinking fun doesn’t end in Budapest! Head
to Belgium for Belgian Beer Weekend. Held at Brussel’s Grand Place square, this
annual celebration in early September showcases Belgian brews from more than 30
small and big breweries.
Day 18 SKIN DISEASES-Revealed by Heaven to Luz De María
Scientific name: Calendula officinalis Family: Asteraceae Known as: Marigold,
Pot Marigold, Goldbloom and Golds, Golden Flower of Mary
Relieves burns, irritations and
inflammations. Pain caused by insect bites, bruising and bumps. In skin burns
reduces inflammation and soothes pain. Stimulates skin regeneration and
promotes collagen production. Promotes healing and wound regeneration. Helps in
case of dermatitis and improves cracked skin.
A strange illness is coming to
humanity, high fevers and wounded skin will be a scourge from one instant to
another, for which you should use the plant called calendula. Saint Michael
30 DAY TRIBUTE TO MARY 19th ROSE: Crowning
Litany of the Most Precious
Blood of Jesus
Extract from my book, “Divine Mercy
* In the original text, Saint Faustina
uses the pronoun "us" since she was offering this prayer as a
consecrated religious sister. The wording adapted here is intended to make the
prayer suitable for universal use.