The New Gasparian
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A journal dedicated to the life and mission of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, and to a life lived in response to the call and the cry of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our on-going mission is to share good news of hope and communion.

Saturday, April 05, 2003
Fifth Sunday of Lent (B)

The Readings
Jeremiah 31:31-24
Psalm 51 Create in me a clean heart.
Hebrews 5:7-9 He learned obedience trough suffering
John 12: 20-33 Now the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

St. Gaspar del Bufalo
I include here the entire letter, Letter 2523

May 22, 1833
Fr. Domenico Silvestri
Pievetorina

Hail to the most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ

Here, briefly, are a few spiritual reflections:
1. It is not possible to arrive at great rewards except through great labors.
2. The more exalted our ministry, so much the more does the devil interfere with it as he tries to confound us. We will do all with the help of God's grace if, like boulders in the sea, we remain immobile, though assailed by the waves.
3. The one who supplies us with the motivation to exercise virtue is the one who will help us to move evermore forward in merits.
4. Let us take bitter things as sweet.
5. It is through trials that one realizes the degree of virtue attained. I am speaking of those trials that one did not plan for, those not chosen or selected; nevertheless, they are to be endured by us.
6. By degrees we must attain to that superabundant joy in every tribulation.
7. Where the Cross is, there also is the mercy of God. St. Vincent de Paul used to say: my Congregation would cease to be if a single day would go by without crosses. Jesus was tempted to come down from the cross: "If you are the son of God ...", but, for our instruction, he taught us to remain with the cross and to die on the cross.

Devotedly
G. Can. del Bufalo
Rome, May 22, 1833

Reflection
We have been drawn near by the blood of Christ. Jesus made it a habit of dining with tax collectors and sinners. The stories he told were of a God who came to be with those who were hurting and broken, not with those who thought they were well. His association with sinners had gotten him into some trouble with the Pharisees and the temple authorities. Now the Greeks want to see him, and so he knows that the time is now, the troubles will deepen.

How do we respond to trouble and difficulty? Sometimes we try to take control of the situation. We think we can stand on our own two feet or maybe if I do thus and so, God will respond with this or that. I am good and so God must respond accordingly. Or we may respond with resignation and false patience. I know I can do better next time, with more time, experience, or money I should be able to get out of trouble. Or we may react saying that God has abandoned me.

How does Jesus respond to impending trouble? He acknowledges the trouble. He faces it directly and does not deny it, repress it or ignore it. He remains human and vulnerable. There are some things that we have no control over. Jesus cannot control the response of the Pharisees to his ministry, but he does not become defensive or hardened because of it either. He responds with a sense of purpose. “This is why I came!”

Jesus came to call sinners. He came to gather the nations into the kingdom of God. Should he abandon his work just because of trouble? The creator of the universe has joined us in our struggles and taken them on himself. He has not overpowered us or taken away our pain or our humanity. Instead he has gone before us, identifying with us and with the struggles.

This is the covenant promised in our first reading today. It is a new covenant written on human flesh and placed in our hearts. It is a covenant that can be known in our inmost being. All may know the Lord, not just in mind or memory but in flesh and blood.

This new covenant was announced and promised to a sinful people, to an unfaithful people, to a people unable and unwilling to live in covenant with their creator

Into the midst of this fear and hope, this expectation and dreaming, walks an itinerant preacher from Nazareth to announce that the time is now. That the kingdom of God is present; the covenant of God is present in his own body and the time to change and believe is now.

The time is now for the ultimate conflict between darkness and light. The time has come to enter into the struggle that will lead to the cross and finally to glory. It is not a future reality. God has spoken his final word in Jesus and placed the heart of the covenant in the obedience of his only Son.

• How has God taken care of me in time of trouble?
• What have I learned through struggle and suffering?
• How has struggle and difficulty given me a sense of purpose?




posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 10:43 PM link
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Saturday of the Fourth Week

The Readings
Jer 11:18 20 I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter ... but to you, Lord, I have committed my cause.
Ps. 7 O Lord, My God, in you I take refuge.
John 7: 40 53 The plot against Jesus Continues.

St. Gaspar
"My enemies assail me, but you battle with me, or better said you ward off their darts; all I have to do is to hide myself in the great tower of defense which is your most sweet heart, and therein, to allow myself to be governed and directed by you; Lord, I suffer violence, answer thou for me.(Isaiah 38:14) What, then, can I fear when I find myself helped by a Father who is total love, total piety, by a Lord who is totally intent on what is best for me and before whom all creatures tremble.?"

Reflection
This seems to be an angry Gospel. We can take it one way and learn a perfect way to defend ourselves against growth and learning. Or we can follow Jesus and learn how to be faithful in the face of verbal assaults and judgments. The Pharisees here are very angry and judgmental. Rather than learning anything from what Jesus says, they characterize him and his people as cursed and backwards, incapable of having any knowledge of the law. The Pharisees know the law, yet they manipulate it for their own purpose.

We can challenge ourselves in two ways with this gospel. First we could ask ourselves if there is anyone in our life that we dismiss with a similar characterization or judgment. This can often be the way we give ourselves permission not to listen. Then we can ask ourselves how peacefully we carry the crosses the Lord has given us. St. Gaspar wrote the above passage from prison as life was going from bad to worse. He had been exiled for the profession of his faith and his loyalty to the church, and yet he continually rejoices in the Lord's continual care for him.

• Whom do I judge or dismiss?
• How do I react when listening to something new and different?
• When do I speak up for Jesus?




posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 12:12 AM link
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