31 July 2012

31 July 2012, Tuesday of Week 17; St. Ignatius of Loyola

Jeremiah 14:17-22

Let my eyes stream with tears day and night, without rest, Over the great destruction which overwhelms the virgin daughter of my people, over her incurable wound. If I walk out into the field, look! those slain by the sword; If I enter the city, look! those consumed by hunger. Even the prophet and the priest forage in a land they know not.

Have you cast Judah off completely? Is Zion loathsome to you? Why have you struck us a blow that cannot be healed? We wait for peace, to no avail; for a time of healing, but terror comes instead. We recognize, O LORD, our wickedness, the guilt of our fathers; that we have sinned against you. For your name’s sake spurn us not, disgrace not the throne of your glory; remember your covenant with us, and break it not. Among the nations’ idols is there any that gives rain? Or can the mere heavens send showers? Is it not you alone, O LORD, our God, to whom we look? You alone have done all these things.

Psalm 79:8, 9, 11 and 13

R. (9) For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.

Remember not against us the iniquities of the past; may your compassion quickly come to us, for we are brought very low.

R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.

Help us, O God our savior, because of the glory of your name; Deliver us and pardon our sins for your name’s sake.

R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.

Let the prisoners’ sighing come before you; with your great power free those doomed to death. Then we, your people and the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; through all generations we will declare your praise.

R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.

The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower; all who come to him will live for ever.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 13:36-43

Jesus dismissed the crowds and went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom. The weeds are the children of the Evil One, and the enemy who sows them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his Kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”


Are you quick to judge the faults of others? Jesus
parable teaches us patience lest we judge before the time is right. Jesus
also warns that there is an enemy who seeks to destroy the good seed of
his word before it can bear fruit. Both good and evil can be sown in our
hearts like tiny seeds which germinate, and in due time yield a harvest
of good or bad fruit. We must stand guard lest evil take root in our hearts
and corrupt us. Charles Read said: Sow an act and you reap a habit. Sow
a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.
In the day of judgment each will reap what he or she has sown in this life.
Those who sow good will shine in the kingdom of their Father. They will
radiate with the beauty, joy, and fulness of Gods love. Do you allow the
love of Jesus Christ to rule in your heart, thoughts, and actions?
"Lord Jesus, may your all-consuming love rule in my heart and transform
my life that I may sow what is good, worthy, and pleasing to you.

30 July 2012

30 July 2012, Monday of Week 17; St. Peter Chrysologus

Jeremiah 13:1-11

The LORD said to me: Go buy yourself a linen loincloth; wear it on your loins, but do not put it in water. I bought the loincloth, as the LORD commanded, and put it on. A second time the word of the LORD came to me thus: Take the loincloth which you bought and are wearing, and go now to the Parath; there hide it in a cleft of the rock. Obedient to the LORD’s command, I went to the Parath and buried the loincloth. After a long interval, the LORD said to me: Go now to the Parath and fetch the loincloth which I told you to hide there. Again I went to the Parath, sought out and took the loincloth from the place where I had hid it. But it was rotted, good for nothing! Then the message came to me from the LORD: Thus says the LORD: So also I will allow the pride of Judah to rot, the great pride of Jerusalem. This wicked people who refuse to obey my words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts, and follow strange gods to serve and adore them, shall be like this loincloth which is good for nothing. For, as close as the loincloth clings to a man’s loins, so had I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the LORD; to be my people, my renown, my praise, my beauty. But they did not listen.

Deuteronomy 32:18-19, 20, 21

R. (see 18a) You have forgotten God who gave you birth.

You were unmindful of the Rock that begot you, You forgot the God who gave you birth. When the LORD saw this, he was filled with loathing and anger toward his sons and daughters.

R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.

“I will hide my face from them,” he said, “and see what will then become of them. What a fickle race they are, sons with no loyalty in them!”

R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.

“Since they have provoked me with their ‘no-god’ and angered me with their vain idols, I will provoke them with a ‘no-people’; with a foolish nation I will anger them.”

R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.

James 1:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

The Father willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 13:31-35

Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”

He spoke to them another parable. “The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.”

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables. He spoke to them only in parables, to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:

I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.


What can mustard seeds and leaven teach us about
the kingdom of God? The tiny mustard seed literally grew to be a tree which
attracted numerous birds because they loved the little black mustard seed
it produced. God's kingdom works in a similar fashion. It starts from the
smallest beginnings in the hearts of men and women who are receptive
to God's word. And it works unseen and causes a transformation from
within. Leaven is another powerful agent of change. A lump of dough left
to itself remains just what it is, a lump of dough. But when the leaven
is added to it a transformation takes place which produces rich and wholesome
bread when heated the staple of life for humans. The kingdom of God produces
a transformation in those who receive the new life which Jesus Christ offers.
When we yield our lives to Jesus Christ and allow his word to take root
in our heart, we are transformed and made holy by the power of the Holy
Spirit who dwells in us. Paul the Apostle says, "we have this treasure
in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God
and not to us" (2 Corinthians 4:7). Do you believe in the transforming
power of the Holy Spirit?
"Heavenly Father, fill me with your Holy Spirit and transform me into
the Christ-like holiness you desire. Increase my zeal for your kingdom
and instill in me a holy desire to live for your greater glory."

29 July 2012

29 July 2012, 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time; St. Martha

2 Kings 4:42–44

A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing to Elisha, the man of God, twenty barley loaves made from the firstfruits, and fresh grain in the ear. Elisha said, “Give it to the people to eat.” But his servant objected, “How can I set this before a hundred people?” Elisha insisted, “Give it to the people to eat. For thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.’” And when they had eaten, there was some left over, as the LORD had said.

Psalm 145:10–11, 15–16, 17–18 (see 16)

R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD, and let your faithful ones bless you. Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might.

R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.

The eyes of all look hopefully to you, and you give them their food in due season; you open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.

The LORD is just in all his ways and holy in all his works. The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth.

R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.

Ephesians 4:1–6

Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Luke 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

A great prophet has risen in our midst. God has visited his people.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

John 6:1–15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near. When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.


Can anything on this earth truly satisfy the deepest
longing and hunger we experience for God? A great multitude had gathered
to hear Jesus, no doubt because they were hungry for the word of life.
Jesus disciples wanted to send them away at the end of the day because
they did not have the resources to feed them. They even complained how
much money it would take to feed such a crowd at least six months wages!
Jesus, the Bread of Life, took the little they had five loaves
and two fish and giving thanks to his heavenly Father, distributed to
all until they were satisfied of their hunger. The people of Israel had
been waiting for the prophet whom Moses had promised: The Lord your
God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren
him shall you heed (Deuteronomy 18:15). The signs which Jesus did,
including the miraculous feeding of the five thousand signified that God
has indeed sent him as anointed Prophet and King. Jesus' feeding of the
five thousand is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels. What is
the significance of this miracle? The miraculous feeding of such a great
multitude pointed to God's provision of manna in the wilderness for the
people of Israel under Moses' leadership. This food foreshadowed the true
heavenly bread which Jesus would offer his followers.
Jesus makes a claim which only God can make: He is the true bread
of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger we experience. The sign
of the multiplication of the loaves when the Lord says the blessing, breaks,
and distributes through his disciples prefigures the superabundance of
the unique bread of his Eucharist or Lords Supper. When we receive from
the Lords table we unite ourselves to Jesus Christ, who makes us sharers
in his body and blood. Ignatius of Antioch (35-107 A.D.) calls it the "one
bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death,
and the food that makes us live for ever in Jesus Christ" (Ad Eph. 20,2).
This supernatural food is healing for both body and soul and strength for
our journey heavenward. When you approach the Table of the Lord, what do
you expect to receive? Healing, pardon, comfort, and rest for your soul?
The Lord has much more for us, more than we can ask or imagine. The principal
fruit of receiving the Eucharist is an intimate union with Christ. As bodily
nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens us in
charity and enables us to break with disordered attachments to creatures
and to be more firmly rooted in the love of Christ. Do you hunger for the
"bread of life"?

The feeding of the five thousand shows the remarkable generosity of
God and his great kindness towards us. When God gives, he gives abundantly.
He gives more than we need for ourselves so that we may have something
to share with others, especially those who lack what they need. God takes
the little we have and multiplies it for the good of others. Do you trust
in God's provision for you and do you share freely with others, especially
those who are in need?

"Lord Jesus, you satisfy the deepest longing of our heart and you feed
us with the finest of wheat (Psalm 81:16). Fill me with gratitude and give
me a generous heart that I may freely share with others what you have given
to me."

28 July 2012

28 July 2012, Saturday of Week 16; Blessed Mary Magdalen Martinengo

Jeremiah 7:1-11

The following message came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
Stand at the gate of the house of the LORD, and there proclaim this message: Hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah who enter these gates to worship the LORD! Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Reform your ways and your deeds, so that I may remain with you in this place. Put not your trust in the deceitful words: “This is the temple of the LORD! The temple of the LORD! The temple of the LORD!” Only if you thoroughly reform your ways and your deeds; if each of you deals justly with his neighbor; if you no longer oppress the resident alien, the orphan, and the widow; if you no longer shed innocent blood in this place, or follow strange gods to your own harm, will I remain with you in this place, in the land I gave your fathers long ago and forever.

But here you are, putting your trust in deceitful words to your own loss! Are you to steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal, go after strange gods that you know not, and yet come to stand before me in this house which bears my name, and say: “We are safe; we can commit all these abominations again”? Has this house which bears my name become in your eyes a den of thieves? I too see what is being done, says the LORD.

Psalm 84:3, 4, 5-6a and 8a, 11

R. (2) How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!

My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the LORD. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

R. How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!

Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest in which she puts her young— Your altars, O LORD of hosts, my king and my God!

R. How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!

Blessed they who dwell in your house! continually they praise you. Blessed the men whose strength you are! They go from strength to strength.

R. How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!

I had rather one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I had rather lie at the threshold of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

R. How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!

James 1:21bc

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 13:24-30

Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds. “The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”


What can malicious weed-sowing tell us about the
kingdom of God? The image Jesus uses here is a common everyday example
of planting, harvesting, and sorting the good fruit from the bad. Weeds
can spoil and even kill a good harvest if they are not separated and destroyed
at the proper time. Uprooting them too early, though, can destroy the good
plants in the process. Just as nature teaches us patience, so God's patience
also teaches us to guard the word which he has planted in our hearts and
to beware of the destructive force of sin and deception which can destroy
it. God's word brings life, but Satan, the father of lies, seeks to destroy
the good seed which God plants in the hearts of those listen to his word.
God's judgment is not hasty, but it does come. And in the end, God will
reward each according to what they have sown and reaped in this life. In
that day God will separate the evil from the good. Do you allow God's word
to take deep root in your heart?
"Lord Jesus, may your word take deep root in my heart and that I may
bear good fruit for your glory. May I hunger for your righteousness now
that I may look forward to the day of judgment with joy rather than with

27 July 2012

27 July 2012, Friday of Week 16; Blessed Titus Brandsma

Jeremiah 3:14-17

Return, rebellious children, says the LORD, for I am your Master; I will take you, one from a city, two from a clan, and bring you to Zion. I will appoint over you shepherds after my own heart, who will shepherd you wisely and prudently. When you multiply and become fruitful in the land, says the LORD, They will in those days no longer say, “The ark of the covenant of the LORD!” They will no longer think of it, or remember it, or miss it, or make another.

At that time they will call Jerusalem the LORD’s throne; there all nations will be gathered together to honor the name of the LORD at Jerusalem, and they will walk no longer in their hardhearted wickedness.

Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12abcd, 13

R. (see 10d) The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.

Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, proclaim it on distant isles, and say: He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together, he guards them as a shepherd his flock.

R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.

The LORD shall ransom Jacob, he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror. Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion, they shall come streaming to the LORD’s blessings: The grain, the wine, and the oil, the sheep and the oxen.

R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.

Then the virgins shall make merry and dance, and young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will console and gladden them after their sorrows.

R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.

See Luke 8:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield a harvest through perseverance.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 13:18-23

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Hear the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the Kingdom without understanding it, and the Evil One comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”


How good are you at listening, especially for the
word of God? God is ever ready to speak to each of us and to give us understanding
of his word. This parable of Jesus is a warning to those who hear
and who preach the word of God. What makes us ineffective and unresponsive
to God's word? Preoccupation with other things can distract us from what
is truly important and worthwhile. And letting our hearts and minds
be consumed with material things can easily weigh us down and draw us away
from the treasure that lasts for eternity. God's word can only take root
in a receptive heart which is docile and ready to hear what God has to
say. One lesson is clear: the harvest is sure.While some seed will
fall by the wayside and some fall on shallow ground and never come to maturity,
and some be choked to death by the thorns; nonetheless a harvest will come.
The seed that falls on good soil, on the heart that is receptive, will
reap abundant fruit. Are you teachable and eager to learn God's truth?
And do you allow anything to keep you from submitting to God's word with
joy and trusting obedience?
"Lord Jesus, help me to guard the word you have planted in my heart
that no doubt or temptation may keep me from believing and obeying you.
May I be fruitful in your service and may I never fear to speak of you
to others and to share with them the good news of the gospel."

26 July 2012

26 July 2012, Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, parents of the BlessedVirgin Mary - Feast

Sirach 44:1, 10-15

Now will I praise those godly men, our ancestors, each in his own time: These were godly men whose virtues have not been forgotten; Their wealth remains in their families, their heritage with their descendants; Through God’s covenant with them their family endures, their posterity for their sake.

And for all time their progeny will endure, their glory will never be blotted out; Their bodies are peacefully laid away, but their name lives on and on. At gatherings their wisdom is retold, and the assembly proclaims their praise.

Psalm 132:11, 13-14, 17-18

R. God will give him the throne of David, his father.

The LORD swore to David a firm promise from which he will not withdraw: “Your own offspring I will set upon your throne.”

R. God will give him the throne of David, his father.

For the LORD has chosen Zion; he prefers her for his dwelling. “Zion is my resting place forever; in her will I dwell, for I prefer her.”

R. God will give him the throne of David, his father.

“In her will I make a horn to sprout forth for David; I will place a lamp for my anointed. His enemies I will clothe with shame, but upon him my crown shall shine.”

R. God will give him the throne of David, his father.

See Luke 2:25c

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

They yearned for the comforting of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested upon them.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Jesus said to his disciples:
“Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”


Do you want to grow in your knowledge of God?
Saint Augustine of Hippo once said: "I believe, in order to understand;
and I understand, the better to believe." Both faith and understanding
are gifts of the Holy Spirit that enable us to hear God's word with clarity
so we can know God better and grow in the knowledge of his love and truth.
Jesus, however, had to warn his disciples that not everyone would understand
his teaching. The prophet Isaiah had warned that some would hear God's
word, but not believe, some would see God's actions and miracles, and remained
unconvinced. Ironically some of the greatest skeptics of Jesus' teaching
and miracles were the learned scribes and Pharisess who prided themselves
on their knowledge of scripture and the law of Moses. They heard Jesus'
parables and saw the great signs and miracles which he performed, but they
refused to accept both Jesus and his message. How could they "hear and
never understand" and "see but never perceive"? They were spiritually blind
and deaf because their hearts were closed and their minds were blocked
by pride and prejudice. How could a man from Galilee, the supposed son
of a carpenter, know more about God and his word, than these experts who
devoted their lives to study and teaching?
There is only one thing that can open a closed, confused, and divided
mind a broken heart and humble spirit! The word style="font-style: italic;">disciple
means one who is willing to learn and ready to submit to the wisdom and
truth which comes from God. Psalm 119 expresses the joy and delight of
a disciple who loves God's word and who embraces it with trust and obedience.
"Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandment
makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding
than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation." (Psalm 119:97-99)

God can only reveal the secrets of his kingdom to the humble and trusting
person who acknowledges their need for God and for his truth. The parables
of Jesus will enlighten us if we approach them with an open mind and heart,
ready to let them challenge us. If we approach God's word with indifference,
skepticism, and disbelief, then we, too, may "hear but not understand"
and "see but not perceive." God's word can only take root in a receptive
heart that is ready to believe and willing to submit. If we want to hear
and to understand God's word, we must listen with reverence and faith.
Do you believe God's word and do you submit to it with trust and reverence?

Jerome, an early church bible scholar
who lived between 342-419 AD, wrote: "You are reading [the scriptures]?
No.Your betrothed is talking to you. It is your betrothed, that is, Christ,
who is united with you. He tears you away from the solitude of the desert
and brings you into his home, saying to you, 'Enter into the joy of your

"Holy Spirit, be my teacher and guide. Open my ears to hear God's word
and open my eyes to understand God's action in my life. May my heart never
grow dull and may my ears never tire of listening to the voice of Christ."

25 July 2012

25 July 2012, Saint James, Apostle - Feast

2 Corinthians 4:7-15

Brothers and sisters:
We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we too believe and therefore speak, knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence. Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.

Psalm 126:1bc-2ab, 2cd-3, 4-5, 6

R.(5) Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.

When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion, we were like men dreaming. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with rejoicing.

R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.

Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad indeed.

R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.

Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the torrents in the southern desert. Those that sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.

R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.

Although they go forth weeping, carrying the seed to be sown,

See John 15:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 20:20-28

The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, “What do you wish?” She answered him, “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom.” Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.” He replied, “My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus summoned them and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


Who doesn't want to be first, to be esteemed and
honored by others? We seem to have an unquenchable thirst for recognition
and fame, power and authority to rule our own lives as we please as well
as the lives of others. Should we be surprised to see the disciples
of Jesus thirsting for power, position, and authority? James and John,
the sons of Zebedee, urged their mother to strike a deal with Jesus, their
Master and Messiah. They wanted the distinction of being first and most
important in position, next to Jesus, of course!
When Jesus called the twelve apostles to be his inner circle of disciples
who would teach and exercise spiritual authority on his behalf, he did
the unthinkable! Jesus taught contrary to the world's understanding of
power, authority, and position, by reversing the order of master and servant,
lord and subject, first and last! Jesus wedded authority with love, position
with sacrifice, and service with humility. Authority without love is over-bearing
and slavish. Position without respect and concern for the subordinate is
demeaning and rude. And service without generosity and sacrifice is cheap
and unkind.

Those who wish to serve with Christ and to exercise authority in God's
kingdom must be prepared to sacrifice not just some of their time, money,
and resources but their whole lives and all that they possess! Jesus
used stark language to explain what kind of sacrifice he had in mind. His
disciples must drink his cup if they expect to reign with him in his kingdom.
The cup he had in mind was a bitter one involving crucifixion. What kind
of cup does the Lord have in mind for us? For some disciples such a cup
entails physical suffering and the painful struggle of martyrdom. But for
many, it entails the long routine of the Christian life, with all its daily
sacrifices, disappointments, set-backs, struggles, and temptations.

A disciple of Jesus must be ready to lay down his or her life each
every day in the little and big sacrifices required and even to the point
of shedding one's blood if necessary for the sake of Christ and his gospel.
What makes such sacrifice a joy rather than a burden? It is love the
kind of "love which God has poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit
which has been given to us" (Romans 5:5). An early church father summed
up Jesus' teaching with the expression: "to serve is to reign with Christ."
We share in God's reign by laying down our lives in humble service and
love for one another, just as Jesus did for our sake. Are you ready to
lay down your life and to serve others as Jesus has taught and modeled
for us?

"Lord Jesus, make me a servant of love for your kingdom, that I may
seek to serve rather than be served. Inflame my heart with love that I
may give generously and serve joyfully for your sake."

24 July 2012

24 July 2012, Tuesday of Week 16; St. Sharbel Makhlouf

Micah 7:14-15, 18-20

Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance, That dwells apart in a woodland, in the midst of Carmel. Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old; As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt, show us wonderful signs.

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency, And will again have compassion on us, treading underfoot our guilt? You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins; You will show faithfulness to Jacob, and grace to Abraham, As you have sworn to our fathers from days of old.

Psalm 85:2-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (8a) Lord, show us your mercy and love.

You have favored, O LORD, your land; you have brought back the captives of Jacob. You have forgiven the guilt of your people; you have covered all their sins. You have withdrawn all your wrath; you have revoked your burning anger.

R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.

Restore us, O God our savior, and abandon your displeasure against us. Will you be ever angry with us, prolonging your anger to all generations?

R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.

Will you not instead give us life; and shall not your people rejoice in you? Show us, O LORD, your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.

John 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him and we will come to him.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 12:46-50

While Jesus was speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.” But he said in reply to the one who told him, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”


Who do you love and cherish the most? God did not
intend for us to be alone, but to be with others. He gives us many opportunities
for developing relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
Why does Jesus seem to ignore his own relatives when they pressed to see
him? His love and respect for his mother and his relatives is unquestionable.
Jesus never lost an opportunity to teach his disciples a spiritual lesson
and truth about the kingdom of God. On this occasion when many gathered
to hear Jesus he pointed to another higher reality of relationships, namely
our relationship with God and with those who belong to God.
What is the essence of being a Christian? It is certainly more than
doctrine, precepts, and commandments. It is first and foremost a relationship
a relationship of trust, affection, commitment, loyalty, faithfulness,
kindness, thoughtfulness, compassion, mercy, helpfulness, encouragement,
support, strength, protection, and so many other qualities that bind people
together in mutual love and unity. God offers us the greatest of relationships
union of heart, mind, and spirit with himself, the very author and source
of love (1 John 4:8,16). God's love never fails, never forgets, never compromises,
never lies, never lets us down nor disappoints us. His love is consistent,
unwavering, unconditional, and unstopable. Nothing can deter him from ever
leaving us, ignoring us, or treating us unkindly. He will love us no matter
what. It is his nature to love. That is why he created us to be united
with him and to share in his love and unity of persons (1 John 3:1). God
is a trinity of persons Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and a community
of love. That is why Jesus challenged his followers and even his own earthly
relatives to recognize that God is the true source of all relationships.
God wants all of our relationships to be rooted in his love.

Jesus is God's love incarnate God's love made visible in human flesh
(1 John 4:9-10). That is why Jesus describes himself as the good shepherd
who lays down his life for his sheep and the shepherd who seeks out the
sheep who have strayed and lost their way. God is like the father who yearns
for his prodigal son to return home and then throws a great party for his
son when he has a change of heart and comes back (Luke 15:11-32). Jesus
offered up his life on the cross for our sake, so that we could be forgiven
and restored to unity and friendship with God. It is through Jesus that
we become the adopted children of God his own sons and daughters. That
is why Jesus told his disciples that they would have many new friends and
family relationships in his kingdom. Whoever does the will of God is a
friend of God and a member of his family his sons and daughters who have
been ransomed by the precious blood of Christ.

An early Christian martyr once said that "a Christian's only relatives
are the saints" namely those who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ
and adopted as sons and daughters of God. Those who have been baptized
into Jesus Christ and who live as his disciples enter into a new family,
a family of "saints" here on earth and in heaven. Jesus changes the order
of relationships and shows that true kinship is not just a matter of flesh
and blood. Our adoption as sons and daughters of God transforms all of
our relationships and requires a new order of loyalty to God first and
to his kingdom of righteousness and peace. Do you want to grow in love
and friendship? Allow God's Holy Spirit to transform your heart, mind,
and will to enable you to love freely and generously as he loves.

"Heavenly Father, you bless us with many relationships and you invite
us into the community of your sons and daughters who have been redeemed
by your son, Jesus Christ. Help me to love my neighbor with charity, kindness,
compassion, and mercy, just as you have loved me. In all of my relationships,
and in all that I do and say, may I always seek to bring you honor and

23 July 2012

23 July 2012, Monday of Week 16; St. Bridget of Sweden

Micah 6:1-4, 6-8

Hear what the LORD says:
Arise, present your plea before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice! Hear, O mountains, the plea of the LORD, pay attention, O foundations of the earth! For the LORD has a plea against his people, and he enters into trial with Israel.

O my people, what have I done to you, or how have I wearied you? Answer me! For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, from the place of slavery I released you; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow before God most high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriad streams of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my crime, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.

Psalm 50:5-6, 8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23

R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

“Gather my faithful ones before me, those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” And the heavens proclaim his justice; for God himself is the judge.

R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

“Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you, for your burnt offerings are before me always. I take from your house no bullock, no goats out of your fold.”

R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

“Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, Though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you?”

R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

“When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it? Or do you think that I am like yourself? I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes. He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me; and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”

R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Psalm 95:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 12:38-42

Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” He said to them in reply, “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here. At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.”


What would the Lord Jesus say about our generation?
Jesus gave a rather stern warning to his generation when they demanded
a sign from him. It was characteristic of the Jews that they demanded "signs"
from God's messengers to authenticate their claims. Jesus faulted them
for one thing: spiritual adultery. The image of adultery was often
used in the scriptures for describing apostasy or infidelity towards God.
When the religious leaders pressed Jesus to give proof for his claims,
he says in so many words that he is God's sign and that they need no further
evidence from heaven than his own person. The Ninevites recognized God's
warning when Jonah spoke to them, and they repented (Jonah 3:5). And the
Queen of Sheba recognized God's wisdom in Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-9). Jonah
was God's sign and his message was the message of God for the people of
Nineveh. Unfortunately the religious leaders were not content to accept
the signs right before their eyes. They had rejected the message of John
the Baptist and now they reject Jesus as God's Anointed One (Messiah)
and they fail to heed his message. Simeon had prophesied at Jesus' birth
that he was "destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be opposed so that inner thoughts of many will
be revealed" (Luke 2:34- 35). Jesus confirmed his message with many
miracles in preparation for the greatest sign of all his resurrection
on the third day.
The Lord Jesus through the gift of his Holy Spirit offers us freedom
from sin and ignorance and he gives us wisdom and understanding so that
we may grow in knowledge of God and his ways. Do you thirst for God and
for the wisdom which comes from above? James the Apostle says that the
wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason,
full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity (James
3:17). A double-minded person cannot receive this kind of wisdom. If we
wish to be wise in God's ways, then we must humble ourselves before him,
like attentive students who wish to learn, and submit our heart and mind
to his will for our lives. The single of heart and mind desire one thing
alone God who is the source of all wisdom, goodness, truth, and knowledge.
Do you wish to be wise and loving as God is wise and loving? Ask the Holy
Spirit to fill you with the wisdom which comes from above and to free your
heart from all that would hinder God's loving action in your life.

"Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may grow in wisdom
and knowledge of your love and truth. Free me from stubborn pride and wilfulness
that I may wholly desire to do what is pleasing to you."

22 July 2012

22 July 2012, 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time; St. Mary Magdalene

Jeremiah 23:1–6

Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the LORD. Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd my people: You have scattered my sheep and driven them away. You have not cared for them, but I will take care to punish your evil deeds. I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands to which I have driven them and bring them back to their meadow; there they shall increase and multiply. I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing, says the LORD.

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; as king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security. This is the name they give him: “The LORD our justice.”

Psalm 23:1–3, 3–4, 5, 6 (1)

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

He guides me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Ephesians 2:13–18

Brothers and sisters:
In Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ.

For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

John 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Mark 6:30–34

The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.

When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.


What does the image of a shepherd tell us about Gods
care for us? Shepherding was one of the oldest of callings in Israel, even
before farming, since the Chosen People had traveled from place to place,
living in tents, and driving their flocks from one pasture to another.
Looking after sheep was no easy calling. It required great skill and courage.
Herds were often quite large, thousands or even ten thousands of sheep.
The flocks spent a good part of the year in the open country. Watching
over them required a great deal of attention and care. Sheep who strayed
from the flock had to be sought out and brought back by the shepherd. Since
hyenas, jackals, wolves, and even bear were common and fed on sheep, the
shepherds often had to do battle with these wild and dangerous beasts.
A shepherd literally had to put his life on the line in defending his sheep.
Shepherds took turns watching the sheep at night to ward off any attackers.
The sheep and their shepherds continually lived together. Their life was
so intimately bound together that individual sheep, even when mixed with
other flocks, could recognize the voice of their own shepherd and would
come immediately when called by name.
The Old Testament often spoke of God as shepherd of his people, Israel.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1). Give ear,
O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! (Psalm 80:1)
are his people, and the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3). The Messiah
is also pictured as the shepherd of God's people:
He will feed his flock
like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms
(Isaiah 40:11).
Jesus told his disciples that he was the Good Shepherd who was willing
to lay down his life for his sheep (Matthew 18:12, Luke 15:4, John 10).
When he saw the multitude of people in need of protection and care, he
was moved to respond with compassionate concern. His love was a personal
love for each and every person who came to him in need. Peter the apostle
called Jesus the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).
Do you know the peace and security of a life freely submitted to Jesus,
the Good Shepherd? In the person of the Lord Jesus we see the unceasing
vigilance and patience of God's love. In our battle against sin and evil,
Jesus is ever ready to give us help, strength, and refuge. Do you trust
in his grace and help at all times?

"Lord Jesus, you guard and protect us from all evil. Help me to stand
firm in your word and to trust in your help in all circumstances. May I
always find rest and refuge in the shelter of your presence."

21 July 2012

21 July 2012, Saturday of Week 15; St. Lawrence of Brindisi

Micah 2:1-5

Woe to those who plan iniquity, and work out evil on their couches; In the morning light they accomplish it when it lies within their power. They covet fields, and seize them; houses, and they take them; They cheat an owner of his house, a man of his inheritance. Therefore thus says the LORD: Behold, I am planning against this race an evil from which you shall not withdraw your necks; Nor shall you walk with head high, for it will be a time of evil.

On that day a satire shall be sung over you, and there shall be a plaintive chant: “Our ruin is complete, our fields are portioned out among our captors, The fields of my people are measured out, and no one can get them back!” Thus you shall have no one to mark out boundaries by lot in the assembly of the LORD.

Psalm 10:1-2, 3-4, 7-8, 14

R. (12b) Do not forget the poor, O Lord!

Why, O LORD, do you stand aloof? Why hide in times of distress? Proudly the wicked harass the afflicted, who are caught in the devices the wicked have contrived.

R. Do not forget the poor, O Lord!

For the wicked man glories in his greed, and the covetous blasphemes, sets the LORD at nought. The wicked man boasts, “He will not avenge it”; “There is no God,” sums up his thoughts.

R. Do not forget the poor, O Lord!

His mouth is full of cursing, guile and deceit; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity. He lurks in ambush near the villages; in hiding he murders the innocent; his eyes spy upon the unfortunate.

R. Do not forget the poor, O Lord!

You do see, for you behold misery and sorrow, taking them in your hands. On you the unfortunate man depends; of the fatherless you are the helper.

R. Do not forget the poor, O Lord!

2 Corinthians 5:19

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 12:14-21

The Pharisees went out and took counsel against Jesus to put him to death.

When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place. Many people followed him, and he cured them all, but he warned them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through Isaiah the prophet:

Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight; I shall place my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not contend or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory. And in his name the Gentiles will hope.


How do we achieve success and victory in our lives?
In everyone's life there are key moments or turning points on which the
whole of one's life hinges. The mounting confrontation between the Pharisees
and Jesus was such a decisive event and crisis. The religious leaders became
intolerant of Jesus because of their prejudice. Nothing that Jesus would
do or say from this point on would be right in their eyes. They conspired,
not simply to oppose Jesus but to eliminate him. Jesus met this defiance
with courage and determination to do his Father's will. He used the crisis
to teach his disciples an important lesson for God's way to success and
victory. The only way to glory in God's kingdom is through the cross
the cross of suffering and humiliation which Jesus endured for our sake
and for our salvation. We, too, are called to take up our cross every day
to die to sin, selfishness, envy, pride, strife, and hatred and to
lay down our lives in humble service and love for one another just as
Jesus did for our sake.
Matthew quotes from the "Suffering Servant" prophecies of Isaiah to
explain how Jesus the Messiah would accomplish his mission not through
crushing power but through love and sacrificial service (Isaiah 42:1-4).
In place of a throne Jesus chose to mount the cross and wear a crown of
thorns. He was crucified as our Lord and King (John 19:19; Philippians
2:11) There is no greater proof of God's love for us than the sacrificial
death of his only begotten Son for our sake and our salvation (John 3:16).
Jesus died not only for the Jews but for all the Gentile nations as well.
Isaiah had prophesied centuries before, that the Messiah would bring justice
to the Gentiles. To the Greek mind, justice involved giving to God and
to one's fellow citizen that which is their due (whatever is owed to them).
Jesus taught his disciples to give God not only his due, but to love him
without measure just as he loves us unconditionally without limits or

Jesus brings the justice of God's kingdom tempered with divine love
and mercy. He does not bruise the weak or treat them with contempt, but
rather shows understanding and compassion. He does not discourage the fainthearted
but gives hope, courage, and the strength to persevere through trying circumstances.
No trials, failings, and weaknesses can keep us from the mercy and help
which Jesus offers to everyone who asks. His grace is sufficient for every
moment, every situation, and every challenge we face. When you meet trials
and difficulties, do you rely on God's help and grace?

"Lord Jesus, your love and mercy knows no bounds. Give me strength when
I am weak, hope when I am discourged, peace when I am troubled, consolation
when I am sad, and understanding when I am perplexed. Make me an instrument
of your love and peace to those who are troubled and without hope."

20 July 2012

20 July 2012, Friday of Week 15; St. Apollinarius

Isaiah 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8

When Hezekiah was mortally ill, the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, came and said to him: “Thus says the LORD: Put your house in order, for you are about to die; you shall not recover.” Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD:

“O LORD, remember how faithfully and wholeheartedly I conducted myself in your presence, doing what was pleasing to you!” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: “Go, tell Hezekiah: Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you: in three days you shall go up to the LORD’s temple; I will add fifteen years to your life. I will rescue you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; I will be a shield to this city.”

Isaiah then ordered a poultice of figs to be taken and applied to the boil, that he might recover. Then Hezekiah asked, “What is the sign that I shall go up to the temple of the LORD?”

Isaiah answered:
“This will be the sign for you from the LORD that he will do what he has promised: See, I will make the shadow cast by the sun on the stairway to the terrace of Ahaz go back the ten steps it has advanced.” So the sun came back the ten steps it had advanced.

Isaiah 38:10, 11, 12abcd, 16

R. (see 17b) You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.

Once I said, “In the noontime of life I must depart! To the gates of the nether world I shall be consigned for the rest of my years.”

R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.

I said, “I shall see the LORD no more in the land of the living. No longer shall I behold my fellow men among those who dwell in the world.”

R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.

My dwelling, like a shepherd’s tent, is struck down and borne away from me; You have folded up my life, like a weaver who severs the last thread.

R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.

Those live whom the LORD protects; yours is the life of my spirit. You have given me health and life.

R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.

John 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord, I know them, and they follow me.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 12:1-8

Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.” He said to the them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry, how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering, which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat? Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath and are innocent? I say to you, something greater than the temple is here. If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned these innocent men. For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”


What does the commandment "keep holy the Sabbath"
require of us? Or better yet, what is the primary intention behind this
command? The religious leaders confronted Jesus on this issue. The "Sabbath
rest" was meant to be a time to remember and celebrate God's goodness and
the goodness of his work, both in creation and redemption. It was a day
set apart for the praise of God, his work of creation, and his saving actions
on our behalf. It was intended to bring everyday work to a halt and to
provide needed rest and refreshment. Jesus' disciples are scolded by the
scribes and Pharisees, not for plucking and eating corn from the fields,
but for doing so on the Sabbath. In defending his disciples, Jesus argues
from the scriptures that human need has precedence over ritual custom.
In their hunger, David and his men ate of the holy bread offered in the
Temple. Jesus also quoted of the Sabbath work involved in worship in the
Temple. This kind of work was usually double the work of worship
on weekdays. Jesus then quotes from the prophet Hosea (6:6): I desire
mercy, and not sacrifice. While the claims of ritual sacrifice are
important to God, mercy and kindness in response to human need are even
more important. Do you honor the Lord in the way you treat your neighbor
and celebrate the Lord's Day?
"Lord, make us to walk in your way: Where there is love and wisdom,
there is neither fear nor ignorance; where there is patience and humility,
there is neither anger nor annoyance; where there is poverty and joy, there
is neither greed nor avarice; where there is peace and contemplation, there
is neither care nor restlessness; where there is the fear of God to guard
the dwelling, there no enemy can enter; where there is mercy and prudence,
there is neither excess nor harshness; this we know through your Son, Jesus
Christ our Lord." (Prayer of Francis of Assisi, 1182-1226)

19 July 2012

19 July 2012, Thursday of Week 15; Blessed Peter ToRot

Isaiah 26:7-9, 12, 16-19

The way of the just is smooth; the path of the just you make level. Yes, for your way and your judgments, O LORD, we look to you; Your name and your title are the desire of our souls. My soul yearns for you in the night, yes, my spirit within me keeps vigil for you; When your judgment dawns upon the earth, the world’s inhabitants learn justice. O LORD, you mete out peace to us, for it is you who have accomplished all we have done.

O LORD, oppressed by your punishment, we cried out in anguish under your chastising. As a woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pains, so were we in your presence, O LORD. We conceived and writhed in pain, giving birth to wind; Salvation we have not achieved for the earth, the inhabitants of the world cannot bring it forth. But your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise; awake and sing, you who lie in the dust. For your dew is a dew of light, and the land of shades gives birth.

Psalm 102:13-14ab and 15, 16-18, 19-21

R. (20b) From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

You, O LORD, abide forever, and your name through all generations. You will arise and have mercy on Zion, for it is time to pity her. For her stones are dear to your servants, and her dust moves them to pity.

R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

The nations shall revere your name, O LORD, and all the kings of the earth your glory, When the LORD has rebuilt Zion and appeared in his glory; When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute, and not despised their prayer.

R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

Let this be written for the generation to come, and let his future creatures praise the LORD: “The LORD looked down from his holy height, from heaven he beheld the earth, To hear the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die.”

R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

Matthew 11:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest, says the Lord.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus said:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”


What does the yoke of Jesus refer to in the gospel?
The Jews used the image of a yoke to express submission to God. They spoke
of the yoke of the law, the yoke of the commandments, the yoke of the kingdom,
the yoke of God. Jesus says his yoke is "easy". The Greek word for "easy"
can also mean "well-fitting". Yokes were tailor-made to fit the oxen well.
Oxen were yoked two by two. Jesus invites us to be yoked with him, to unite
our life with his life, our will with his will, and our heart with his
heart. To be yoked with Jesus is to be united with him in a relationship
of love, trust, and obedience.
Jesus also says his "burden is light". There's a story of a man who
once met a boy carrying a smaller crippled lad on his back. "That's a heavy
load you are carrying there," exclaimed the man. "He ain't heavy; he's
my brother!" responded the boy. No burden is too heavy when it's given
in love and carried in love. When we yoke our lives with Jesus, he also
carries our burdens with us and gives us his strength to follow in his
way of love. Do you know the joy of resting in Jesus' presence and walking
daily with him along the path he has for you?

Jesus offers us a new kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. In his
kingdom sins are not only forgiven but removed, and eternal life is poured
out for all its citizens. This is not a political kingdom, but a spiritual
one. The yoke of Christ's kingdom, his kingly rule and way of life, liberates
us from the burden of guilt and from the oppression of sinful habits and
hurtful desires. Only Jesus can lift the burden of sin and the weight of
hopelessness from us. Jesus used the analogy of a yoke to explain how we
can exchange the burden of sin and despair for a weight of glory and victory
with him. The yoke which Jesus invites us to embrace is his way of love,
grace, and freedom from the power of sin. Do you trust in God's love and
submit to his will and plan for your life?

"Lord Jesus, inflame my heart with love for you and for your ways and
help me to exchange the yoke of rebellion for the yoke of submission to
your holy and loving word. Set me free from the folly of my own sinful
ignorance and rebellious pride that I may wholly desire what is good and
in accord with your will."

18 July 2012

18 July 2012, Wednesday of Week 15; St. Camillus de Lellis

Isaiah 10:5-7, 13b-16

Thus says the LORD:
Woe to Assyria! My rod in anger, my staff in wrath. Against an impious nation I send him, and against a people under my wrath I order him To seize plunder, carry off loot, and tread them down like the mud of the streets. But this is not what he intends, nor does he have this in mind; Rather, it is in his heart to destroy, to make an end of nations not a few.

For he says:
“By my own power I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am shrewd. I have moved the boundaries of peoples, their treasures I have pillaged, and, like a giant, I have put down the enthroned. My hand has seized like a nest the riches of nations; As one takes eggs left alone, so I took in all the earth; No one fluttered a wing, or opened a mouth, or chirped!”

Will the axe boast against him who hews with it? Will the saw exalt itself above him who wields it? As if a rod could sway him who lifts it, or a staff him who is not wood! Therefore the Lord, the LORD of hosts, will send among his fat ones leanness, And instead of his glory there will be kindling like the kindling of fire.

Psalm 94:5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 14-15

R. (14a) The Lord will not abandon his people.

Your people, O LORD, they trample down, your inheritance they afflict. Widow and stranger they slay, the fatherless they murder.

R. The Lord will not abandon his people.

And they say, “The LORD sees not; the God of Jacob perceives not.” Understand, you senseless ones among the people; and, you fools, when will you be wise?

R. The Lord will not abandon his people.

Shall he who shaped the ear not hear? or he who formed the eye not see? Shall he who instructs nations not chastise, he who teaches men knowledge?

R. The Lord will not abandon his people.

For the LORD will not cast off his people, nor abandon his inheritance; But judgment shall again be with justice, and all the upright of heart shall follow it.

R. The Lord will not abandon his people.

Matthew 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 11:25-27

At that time Jesus exclaimed:
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”


Do you want to know the mind and thoughts of God?
Jesus thanks the Father in heaven for revealing to his disciples the wisdom
and knowledge of God. What does Jesus' prayer tell us about God and about
ourselves? First, it tells us that God is both Father and Lord of earth
as well as heaven. He is both Creator and Author of all that he has made,
the first origin of everything and transcendent authority, and at the same
time, goodness and loving care for all his children. All fatherhood and
motherhood is derived from him (Ephesians 3:14-15). Jesus' prayer also
contains a warning that pride can keep us from the love and knowledge of
God. What makes us ignorant and blind to the things of God? Certainly intellectual
pride, coldness of heart, and stubbornness of will shut out God and his
kingdom. Pride is the root of all vice and the strongest influence propelling
us to sin. It first vanquishes the heart, making it cold and indifferent
towards God. It also closes the mind to God's truth and wisdom for our
lives. What is pride? It is the inordinate love of oneself at the expense
of others and the exaggerated estimation of one's own learning and importance.
Jesus contrasts intellectual pride with child-like simplicity and humility.
The simple of heart are like "babes" in the sense that they see purely
without pretense and acknowledge their dependence and trust in the one
who is greater, wiser, and more trustworthy. They seek one thing the
"summum bonum" or "greatest good" who is God himself. Simplicity of heart
is wedded with humility, the queen of virtues, because humility inclines
the heart towards grace and truth. Just as pride is the root of every sin
and evil, so humility is the only soil in which the grace of God can take
root. It alone takes the right attitude before God and allows him as God
to do all. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble
(Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6). Only the humble in heart can receive true wisdom
and understanding of God and his ways. Do you submit to God's word with
simple trust and humility?

Jesus makes a claim which no one would have dared to make he is the
perfect revelation of God. One of the greatest truths of the Christian
faith is that we can know the living God. Our knowledge of God is not simply
limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally.
The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and
other religions, is the knowledge of God as our Father. Jesus makes
it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see
Jesus is to see what God is like. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God
a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them
to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross. Jesus is
the revelation of God a God who loves us completely, unconditionally,
and perfectly. Jesus also promises that God the Father will hear our prayers
when we pray in his name. That is why Jesus taught his followers to pray
with confidence, Our Father who art in heaven ..give us this day our
daily bread. Do you pray to your Father in heaven with joy and
confidence in his love and care for you?

"Lord Jesus, give me the child-like simplicity and purity of faith
to gaze upon your face with joy and confidence in your all-merciful love.
Remove every doubt, fear, and proud thought which would hinder me from
receiving your word with trust and humble submission."

17 July 2012

17 July 2012, Tuesday of Week 15; St. Leo IV

Isaiah 7:1-9

In the days of Ahaz, king of Judah, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah, king of Israel, son of Remaliah, went up to attack Jerusalem, but they were not able to conquer it. When word came to the house of David that Aram was encamped in Ephraim, the heart of the king and the heart of the people trembled, as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind.

Then the LORD said to Isaiah: Go out to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway of the fuller’s field, and say to him: Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear; let not your courage fail before these two stumps of smoldering brands the blazing anger of Rezin and the Arameans, and of the son Remaliah, because of the mischief that Aram, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, plots against you, saying, “Let us go up and tear Judah asunder, make it our own by force, and appoint the son of Tabeel king there.”

Thus says the LORD:
This shall not stand, it shall not be! Damascus is the capital of Aram, and Rezin is the head of Damascus; Samaria is the capital of Ephraim, and Remaliah’s son the head of Samaria.

But within sixty years and five, Ephraim shall be crushed, no longer a nation. Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm!

Psalm 48:2-3a, 3b-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (see 9d) God upholds his city for ever.

Great is the LORD and wholly to be praised in the city of our God. His holy mountain, fairest of heights, is the joy of all the earth.

R. God upholds his city for ever.

Mount Zion, “the recesses of the North,” is the city of the great King. God is with her castles; renowned is he as a stronghold.

R. God upholds his city for ever.

For lo! the kings assemble, they come on together; They also see, and at once are stunned, terrified, routed.

R. God upholds his city for ever.

Quaking seizes them there; anguish, like a woman’s in labor, As though a wind from the east were shattering ships of Tarshish.

R. God upholds his city for ever.

Psalm 95:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 11:20-24

Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum:

Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.

For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”


If Jesus were to visit your community today, what
would he say? Would he issue a warning like the one he gave to Chorazin
and Bethsaida? And how would you respond? Wherever Jesus went he did mighty
works to show the people how much God had for them. Chorazin and Bethsaida
had been blessed with the visitation of God. They heard the good news and
experienced the wonderful works which Jesus did for them. Why was Jesus
upset with these communities? The word woe can mean misfortune, calamity,
distress, sorrow, sadness, misery, grief, or wretchedness. It is as much
an expression of sorrowful pity and grief as it is of dismay over the calamity
and destruction which comes as a result of human folly, sin, and ignorance.
Why does Jesus lament and issue a stern warning? The people who heard
the gospel here very likely responded with indifference. Jesus upbraids
them for doing nothing! Repentance demands change a change of heart and
way of life. God's word is life-giving and it saves us from destruction
the destruction of heart, mind, and soul as well as body. Jesus' anger
is directed toward sin and everything which hinders us from doing the will
of God. In love he calls us to walk in his way of truth and freedom, grace
and loving-kindness, justice and holiness. Do you receive his word with
faith and obedience or with doubt and indifference?

"Most High and glorious God, enlighten the darkness of our hearts and
give us a true faith, a certain hope and a perfect love. Give us a sense
of the divine and knowledge of yourself, so that we may do everything in
fulfilment of your holy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Prayer
of Francis of Assisi, 1182-1226)

16 July 2012

16 July 2012, Monday of Week 15; Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Isaiah 1:10-17

Hear the word of the LORD, princes of Sodom! Listen to the instruction of our God, people of Gomorrah! What care I for the number of your sacrifices? says the LORD. I have had enough of whole-burnt rams and fat of fatlings; In the blood of calves, lambs and goats I find no pleasure.

When you come in to visit me, who asks these things of you? Trample my courts no more! Bring no more worthless offerings; your incense is loathsome to me. New moon and sabbath, calling of assemblies, octaves with wickedness: these I cannot bear. Your new moons and festivals I detest; they weigh me down, I tire of the load. When you spread out your hands, I close my eyes to you; Though you pray the more, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood! Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.

Psalm 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23

R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

“Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you, for your burnt offerings are before me always. I take from your house no bullock, no goats out of your fold.”

R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

“Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, Though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you?”

R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

“When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it? Or do you think you that I am like yourself? I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes. He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me; and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”

R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Matthew 5:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 10:34-11:1

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple– amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”

When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples, he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.


Why does Jesus describe his mission and the coming
of God's kingdom in terms of conflict, division, and war? Jesus came in
peace to reconcile a broken and sinful humanity with an all-merciful and
loving God. Jesus also came to wage war, to overthrow the powers and principalities
arrayed against God and his kingdom. What are these powers? Jesus describes
Satan as the ruler of this world whom he will cast out (John
12:31). The battle Jesus had in mind was not an earthly conflict between
nations, but a spiritual warfare between the forces of Satan and the armies
of heaven. The scriptures make clear that there are ultimately only two
powers or kingdoms God's kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness.
John contrast these two kingdoms in the starkest of terms: We know that
we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one (1
John 5:19).
What does Satan seek? To be the ruler of his destiny and master of his
universe. Satans goal is to bring as many people as possible into his
kingdom, and to neutralize or remove anyone who tries to

stand in his way. Satan is fiercely determined to not rest until he
has won over the hearts, minds, and souls of every person living on the
face of the earth today. Satan is opposed to God and to everyone who swears
allegiance to God's authority and rule in their lives. The evil one has
but one aim the complete domination of our heart, mind, and will to his
kingdom. And he will use any means possible to draw us from good to evil,
from truth to deception, from light to darkness, and from life to death.
There are no neutral parties in this spiritual battle. We are either for
or against the kingdom of God. The choices we make and the actions we take
reveal whose kingdom we choose to follow. Jesus came to overthrow Satan's
power and to set us free from everything that would keep us from the love
of God and his wise rule in our lives freedom from slavery to sin and
our unruly desires, freedom from fear, greed, and selfishness.

When Jesus spoke about division he likely had in mind the prophecy of
Micah: a man's enemies are the men of his own household (Micah 7:6).
The love of God compels us to choose who will be first in our lives. To
place any relationship or anything else above God is a form of idolatry.
Jesus challenges his disciples to examine who they love first and foremost.
A true disciple loves God above all else and is willing to forsake all
for Jesus Christ. Jesus insists that his disciples give him the loyalty
which is only due to God, a loyalty which is higher than spouse or kin.
It is possible that family and friends can become our enemies, if the thought
of them keeps us from doing what we know God wants us to do.

True love for God compels us to express charity towards our neighbor
who is created in the image and likeness of God. Jesus declared that any
kindness shown and any help given to the people of Christ will not lose
its reward. Jesus never refused to give to anyone in need who asked for
his help. As his disciples we are called to be kind and generous as he
is. Jesus sets before his disciples the one goal in life that is worth
any sacrifice and that goal is the will of God which leads to everlasting
life, peace, and joy with God. Does the love of Jesus Christ compel you
to put God first in all you do (2 Corinthians 5:14)?

"Lord, no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has conceived the
things you have prepared for those who love you. Set us ablaze with the
fire of the Holy Spirit, that we may love you in and above all things and
so receive the rewards you have promised us through Christ our Lord."
A Christian's Prayer Book)

15 July 2012

15 July 2012, 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time; St. Bonaventure

Amos 7:12–15

Amaziah, priest of Bethel, said to Amos, “Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah! There earn your bread by prophesying, but never again prophesy in Bethel; for it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple.” Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor have I belonged to a company of prophets; I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores. The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me, Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”

Psalm 85:9–10, 11–12, 13–14 (8)

R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

I will hear what God proclaims; the LORD—for he proclaims peace. Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him, glory dwelling in our land.

R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven.

R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

The LORD himself will give his benefits; our land shall yield its increase. Justice shall walk before him, and prepare the way of his steps.

R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

Longer Form Ephesians 1:3–14

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.

In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ. In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.


Shorter Form Ephesians 1:3–10

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of God’s grace that he granted us in the beloved.

In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.

see Ephesians 1:17–18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Mark 6:7–13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick— no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” So they went off and preached repentance. The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.


What kind of authority and power does the Lord Jesus
want you to exercise on his behalf? Jesus gave his apostles both the power
and the authority to speak and to act in his name. He commanded them to
do the works which he did to heal, to free people from the power of the
evil one, and to speak the word of God the good news of the gospel which
they received from Jesus. When Jesus spoke of power and authority he did
something unheard of. He wedded power and authority with love and humility.
The "world" and the "flesh" seek power for selfish gain. Jesus teaches
us to use it for the good of our neighbor. The Lord Jesus commissions all
the members of his body the church to be his ambassadors and missionaries
to bring the good news of the gospel to all peoples, lands, and nations.
He freely pours out his Holy Spirit upon each one of us so that we may
have the confidence and boldness to speak and act in his name wherever
he places and sends us.
Why does Jesus tell the apostles to "travel light" with little or no
provision? "Poverty of spirit" frees us from greed and preoccupation with
possessions and makes ample room for God's provision. The Lord wants his
disciples to be dependent on him and not on themselves. He wills to work
through and in each one of us for his glory. Are you ready to handle the
power and authority which God wishes you to exercise on his behalf? The
Lord entrusts us with his gifts and talents. Are you eager to place yourself
at his service, to do whatever he bids you, and to witness his truth and
saving power to whomever he sends you?

"Lord Jesus, make me a channel of your grace and healing love that others
may find life and freedom in you. Free me from all other attachments that
I may joyfully pursue the things of heaven. May I witness the joy of the
gospel both in word and deed."

14 July 2012

14 July 2012, Saturday of Week 14; Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha

Isaiah 6:1-8

In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, with the train of his garment filling the temple. Seraphim were stationed above; each of them had six wings: with two they veiled their faces, with two they veiled their feet, and with two they hovered aloft.

They cried one to the other, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts! All the earth is filled with his glory!” At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke.

Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember that he had taken with tongs from the altar.

He touched my mouth with it and said, “See, now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” “Here I am,” I said; “send me!”

Psalm 93:1ab, 1cd-2, 5

R. (1a) The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.

The LORD is king, in splendor robed; robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.

R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.

And he has made the world firm, not to be moved. Your throne stands firm from of old; from everlasting you are, O LORD.

R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.

Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed: holiness befits your house, O LORD, for length of days.

R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.

1 Peter 4:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of God rests upon you.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 10:24-33

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household! “Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”


What does fear have to do with the kingdom of God?
Fear is a powerful force. It can lead us to panic and flight or it can
spur us to faith and action. The fear of God is the antidote to the fear
of losing one's life. I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered
me from all my fears.O fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear
him have no want! Come, O sons, listen to me, I will teach you the
fear of the Lord. (Psalm 34:4,9,11) What is godly fear? It is reverence
for the One who made us in love and who sustains us in mercy and kindness.
The greatest injury or loss which we can experience is not physical but
spiritual the loss of one's soul to the power of hell. A healthy fear
of God leads to spiritual maturity, wisdom and right judgment and it frees
us from the tyranny of sinful pride, cowardice especially in the face
of evil, and spiritual deception. Do you trust in God's grace and mercy
and submit to his word?
When Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God he met opposition and hostility.
He tells his disciples that they must expect the same treatment if they
are to live and to proclaim the reign of God. There is both a warning and
a privilege in his statement. Just as Jesus had to carry his cross, so
the disciples must carry their cross and not try to evade it. To suffer
for the faith is to share in the work of Christ. As one hymn states: Lift
high the Cross of Christ! Tread where his feet have trod. The Holy
Spirit gives us power and grace to live as disciples of Jesus Christ. Do
you trust in Gods grace to carry your cross for Jesus sake?

"Lord Jesus, it is my joy and privilege to be your disciple. Give me
strength and courage to bear any hardship and suffering which may come
my way in your service. May I witness to others the joy of the gospel."