THE MOST HOLY NAME OF JESUS, FIRST FRIDAY BEFORE EPIPHANY JANUARY 3, 2020
A reading from the first letter of Saint John 2:29-3:6
If you consider that God is righteous, you also know that everyone who acts in righteousness is begotten by him. See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure. Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness. You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who remains in him sins; no one who sins has seen him or known him.
REFLECTION: "See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God."
What is in a name? It is how people identify you and many times the name chosen by your parents is used in honor of someone they loved, a quality they would like for you to have or the name has a meaning. We are identified by that name.
Stephanie Fast was a four year old when she first heard the word toogee. It was a Korean slur word meaning half-breed or child of two bloods or worse yet, garbage, dust, bastard, alien devil. Her mother was Korean and her father was probably an American GI. She was left at a train station by her mother and had to survive on her own in the hillside--stealing food, sleeping in caves, foxholes and abused by young and old alike. She ate locusts, grasshoppers, and field mice. She stole fruit and vegetables at night. She was taunted and called a toogee and eventually began to believe that she was dirty, worthless, unclean, no future, and worse, no hope. She cried, begged for mercy, kicked, cussed and screamed in order to survive. She eventually developed cholera and was found by a World Vision nurse in a trash heap. This nurse heard an audible voice, "She's mine". Stephanie eventually came to live in a World Vision Orphanage at age seven. (1)
Stephanie cared for the babies in the orphanage and she grew to love them with a maternal instinct. One day Mr and Mrs Merkins came to adopt a baby son, but when they saw her they fell in love with her--boils, lice, scars, dirt, worms, bad attitude and all. With that unconditional acceptance, the couple adopted Stephanie. They picked a nine year old over a new born baby!! This was love, personally and mercifully given to this child. (1)
Her reactions to their love was to spit at them. However, her parents pursued her and kept coming by to visit her. They wanted to take her home. They adopted her and she became their daughter. Ten years later, she was baptized; yet, she still did not know how to accept love. So her parents gave her over to God--telling her that Jesus knew how she felt, and He would be the only one to help her. Jesus walked in her shoes and He knew her, knew what she had done to survive, knew how she had been raped, and how angry she was. And that very night, God answered her prayers. There was a change of heart for Stephanie as she realized how much God loved her inspite of her past. Stephanie now counsels abused women. (1)
And our good God gave her the grace needed. "See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God."
Praying our priests to be good priests; that they will help us put our own life's puzzle together through the grace of Jesus Chirst. Hopefully one day we will run to God, thanking Him for all the graces He has bestowed on us; thanking Him for our good priests. Praising the Most Holy Name of Jesus.
PAPA Prayer for Priest
(1) Strobel, Lee, The Case for Grace. A Journalist Explores the Evidence of Transformed Lives, Chapter 2, The Orphan.
Thanking and Praising God