Friday, February 20, 2015

Mary TV Daily Reflection 2/20/2015

 (c)Mary TV 2014     

February 20, 2015

Dear Family of Mary!

"Dear children! I am here, I am among you. I am looking at you, am smiling at you and I love you in the way that only a mother can. Through the Holy Spirit who comes through my purity, I see your hearts and I offer them to my Son...." February 2, 2015

Here is the transcript of the Homily for Ash Wednesday at English Mass in Medjugorje. It is given by a priest from New York. Father explains so well how Our Lady's school of Medjugorje is "Lenten"! This is a good homily to reflect on at the beginning of Lent:

What a privilege we have been given, my dear brothers and sisters. Usually on Ash Wednesday I am at a big church somewhere, most recently right in the middle of Manhattan, giving out ashes and sometimes Holy Communion, to those who are more devout, to thousands of people. The parish where I help out in midtown Manhattan will probably have about ten thousand people coming in and out today. It becomes an assembly line. But we are small in number. And we are here. I have left St. Agnes, and you have left whatever situations you have back home, to come here because Our Lady has called us here. And through God's providence we are here on Ash Wednesday.

You and I, small in number, have been given this great privilege, and with it comes a responsibility. We are here not just for ourselves. We are here for all of our loved ones at home for whom we are praying, and we are here for the whole Church. The Church needs to listen.

A little while ago in our house, we prayed the morning prayers for the Divine Office. And one of the antiphons that is repeated at the very beginning of the Divine Office for Ash Wednesday and for a good part of Lent is simply, "If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts." And that is why we are here. We are here to listen to God's voice. And God speaks, God proclaims today.

The Prophet Joel: "Blow the trumpet in Zion! Proclaim a fast, call an assembly; Gather the people; notify the congregation; assemble the elders, gather the children. Let everyone come. And let the ministers of the Lord weep and say, 'Spare, O Lord, your people.'"

Blow the trumpet in Zion. Blow the trumpet in the Church. Wake up my people. That is why Our Lady has come to Medjugorje. She has come here because we have become deaf. We are not listening. We live in a world where practically speaking, so many people don't believe in God at all. But even the Church, the church where most of us come from in the United States and perhaps elsewhere, the church in so many places has become rather deaf. We have become rather deaf. We are not listening. Why? Because we are living in mediocrity in our church in the United States. And because of that, practically speaking, so many Catholics are almost atheists.

So what was the first thing Our Lady said when she came to Medjugorje? "I have come to tell you that God exists." God exists...hey remember people....God exists. And He is calling. And Our Lady is calling the Church anew to live out her vocation as the Bride of Christ. And that is why you and I are here and why you and I are here on Ash Wednesday.

Again the Prophet Joel: "Even now says the Lord, 'Return to Me with your whole heart.'" That is the message of Our Lady in a nut shell. The prophetic message that the people of God have heard from the ancient days of Israel. "Return to Me with your whole heart." That is certainly what Medjugorje is about, and what Lent is all about. "Return to Me with your whole heart."

Our Lady is asking us not to just say a few prayers, not even to just make a pilgrimage, not even to make a few good resolutions about prayer and fasting when we get back. She says, I want you, I want your whole heart.

When we look at the other apparitions of Our Lady, whether it is Lourdes or Fatima or whatever they are, Our Lady is always asking us to pray, go to confession, say the Rosary, go to Holy Communion. And she says it more and more insistently. So now in Medjugorje she is saying it over and over and over again. This is the voice of the Mother. And we are not getting it. And so she repeats it over and over again. Since 1981, she is still saying it, "Return to Me with your whole heart." That is what God is asking of each of us. Return to Me with your whole heart. Give your life to Me.

Back in the States, I am privileged to teach in our seminary. And so many of our seminarians have received their vocation somehow through a connection with Medjugorje, either coming here or being influenced by people who have been here, through reading a book or whatever. They have heard the call, and they realize it is not about being a functionary, not just saying a few prayers, but about living the life, giving one's whole self.

Most people here are not called to leave what they are doing and become priests or religious, but we are all called, no matter what we are doing in our lives. Whether it is running a restaurant, running an office, teaching school or youth ministry, whatever we are doing, we are called to live our lives for Christ and do whatever we do for the Lord.

That is what makes the difference. Then the most humble of tasks, the most ordinary of tasks become salvific. And God works through us in whatever it is that we are doing. But we must listen to that call, "Return to Me with your whole heart."

Why? What is Ash Wednesday about? What is Lent about? Lent is not an end in itself. Lent is a preparation. We are looking forward to the culmination of Lent and the culmination of the whole Church year, and that is the celebration of Easter. Easter is what we are all about. St. Augustine says, we are an Easter people...and I can't say the rest because I would have to say a word that the Church says we can't say, liturgically begins with an "A"...that word we don't say during Lent...that is our song!!! We are an Easter people. We are all about the gift of new life that God gives to us with the death and resurrection of His Son. And Lent is an invitation to enter more deeply into that life, into our celebration of Easter, which is the center of everything.

That is why we have Lent. That is why we have Medjugorje!

"God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son" (John 3:16). And God is calling us saying "Return to Me with your whole heart," because I give you My heart. Because I give you Myself. Here at this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Lord gives us Himself. The sacrifice of the death and resurrection of Christ, and Our Lord feeds us with His Body and Blood, He gives us Himself. He invites us to enter into a deep relationship with Him. That relationship began for us at Baptism.

That is why you will during the season of Lent so many references to our Baptism. And at the Easter Vigil and throughout the Easter Season we rejoice in our Baptism, because Baptism means that we have died to our old selves, and God lives within us. We share in God's very own life. The Blessed Trinity has come to dwell within us. That is why God created us. That is what we are here for. That is why we have been created. That is why Medjugorje exists. That is why the Church exists. The Church has got to enter into that deep relationship with Him that already exists by virtue of our Baptism.

And so Our Lady is asking us in Medjugorje, the Church is asking us during the season of Lent, as St. Paul says, to stir up the Spirit that has been given to us. To allow God to enter us deeply and to fill us with His glorious presence. That is why we are here in Medjugorje. That is why we fast and do all the other things that Our Lady is asking us. It is a time of conversion. Lent is a time of conversion. Our time here in Medjugorje is a time of conversion. The Lord is offering us tremendous, tremendous graces.

Medjugorje is such a tremendous gift to the Church. But Medjugorje itself leads to the greatest of all gifts that the Lord has given to us, the gift into which we are entering right now in this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Lord is saying to us, "Come to Me. Come to Me now. Let Me forgive your sins now. Let Me fill you with My life, with My grace, with My love now." Let's not wait another moment.

Let's make a resolution now, as St. Paul asks us to do in the second reading today. He quotes the Lord, saying, "In the acceptable time I heard you. On the day of salvation I helped you." The Lord is coming to us to give us the gift of His grace, of His salvation, but it is now. St. Paul goes on to say to us...he says it about our pilgrimage to Medjugorje, about Lent, about God's relationship to us right now...He is saying, "Behold, now is a very acceptable time, behold now is the day of salvation."

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2015

"Medjugorje is the spiritual center of the world."
Saint John Paul II
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