St. John of Avila
Born in the Castile region of Spain, John was sent at the age of 14 to the University of Salamanca to study law. He later moved to Alcala, where he studied philosophy and theology before his ordination as a diocesan priest.
After John's parents died and left him as their sole heir to a considerable fortune, he distributed his money to the poor. In 1527, he traveled to Seville, hoping to become a missionary in Mexico. The archbishop of that city persuaded him to stay and spread the faith in Andalusia (southwestern Spain). During nine years of work there, he developed a reputation as an engaging preacher, a perceptive spiritual director and a wise confessor.
Because John was not afraid to denounce vice in high places, he was investigated by the Inquisition but was cleared in 1533. He later worked in Cordoba and then in Granada, where he organized the University of Baeza, the first of several colleges run by diocesan priests who dedicated themselves to teaching and giving spiritual direction to young people.
He was friends with Sts. Francis Borgia, Ignatius of Loyola, John of God, John of the Cross, Peter of Alcantara, and Teresa of Avila. John of Avila worked closely with members of the Society of Jesus and helped their growth within Spain and its colonies. John's mystical writings have been translated into several languages.
He was beatified in 1894, canonized in 1970, and declared a doctor of the Church on October 7, 2012.
St. John of Avila knew that the lives of Christians can contradict the Good News of Jesus Christ, implicitly encouraging Christians to live their faith halfheartedly and causing obstacles to non-Christians who might accept Baptism. In 16th-century Spain, those who advocated reforming the Church were often suspected of heresy. St. John of Avila held his ground and was eventually recognized as a very reliable teacher about the Christian faith.
At the Mass after John of Avila and Hildegard of Bingen were declared Doctors of the Church, Pope Benedict XVI described him as "a profound expert on the sacred Scripture . . . gifted with an ardent missionary spirit." The pope continued: "He knew how to penetrate in a uniquely profound way the mysteries of the redemption worked by Christ for humanity. A man of God, he united constant prayer to apostolic action. He dedicated himself to preaching and to the more frequent practice of the sacraments, concentrating his commitment on improving the formation of candidates for the priesthood, of religious and of lay people, with a view to a fruitful reform of the Church."
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
The more we call on God
"In these days, God taught me
I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord. I will take refuge in His loving heart. He is my strength in times of weakness. He is my comforter in times of sorrow.
The Word of God
Reading 1 acts 9:1-20
Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
He said, "Who are you, sir?"
The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do."
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.
There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias."
He answered, "Here I am, Lord."
The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight."
But Ananias replied,
"Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name."
But the Lord said to him,
"Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name."
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
"Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.
He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
Responsorial Psalm ps 117:1bc, 2
R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
Gospel jn 6:52-59
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
"How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?"
Jesus said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood,
you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my Flesh is true food,
and my Blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever."
These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
Jesus you speak to me through the words of the gospels. May I respond to your call today.Teach me to recognise your hand at work in my daily living.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Meditation: Acts 9:1-20
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3rd Week of Easter
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. (Acts 9:18)
Imagine passing a stranger on the street who abruptly stops to talk to you. You try to ignore him and pass him by when he suddenly calls your name. Stunned, you turn and ask him how he knows you. He replies with a name that sounds familiar. You take a closer look at the unfamiliar face and recognize him as an old schoolmate. Those bright, familiar eyes—how could you not have seen it?
Within seconds, that face of a stranger has transformed in your mind into the face of a dear old friend. It's as if scales have fallen from your eyes, and you recognize the worth of the person inside that unfamiliar exterior. Happy memories and a sense of love flood back to you as your mind goes from general indifference to active interest in the person before you.
Today's first reading shows us two people whose hearts suddenly soften. First we see Saul, who has had a vendetta against Christians, being blinded by the Lord. When the scales fall from his eyes, his heart is suddenly opened both to Jesus and to his followers. As a result, he turns his life around dramatically and becomes one of the Church's greatest apostles.
Then there is Ananias. He is scared of Saul. He has heard that Saul was trying to capture the Christians. Still, he valiantly trusts God's word to him and goes to visit him. Luke gives us a moving insight into Ananias' change of heart when he tells us that Ananias called Saul "my brother" (Acts 9:17). There is no sense of judgment, condemnation, or fear in Ananias' words. Just the same welcoming acceptance that Jesus has for all of us.
Today, think about one person you are indifferent toward—and not just a stranger on the street but someone at work or in your family whom you've never connected with. Look for an opportunity to make some small contact with that person. Take one little step, and see where it leads you. Let God melt your heart. Ask him to help you see everyone as your brother or sister in Christ. After all, that's how Jesus sees you!
"Here I am, Lord, stumbling toward you. Open my eyes to the dignity of everyone around me. I know that you love them. Help me love them, too."
Psalm 117:1-2; John 6:52-59
Allow me to translate today's 5 minutos:
"God has blessed us in His Son, let us share this gift with the rest, that Good News. There are two seas in Palestine. One fresh and full of fish, beautiful plants adorn its shores; the trees extend their branches over it and stretch their thirsty roots to drink its nourishing waters and on its beaches the children play. The men construct their homes nearby and the birds their nests and all kinds of life is happy being there. The Jordan River runs towards the south to another sea, there are no traces of life, no murmur of leaves, nor songs of birds, nor children laughin. The travelers choose another route, only through urgency do they cross it, the air is thick over its waters and no man nor beast nor birds drink of it. What makes the great difference between two neighboring seas? It is not the Jordan River. It takes the same water to both. It is not the ground they are on, nor the fields that surround it. The difference is this: The sea of Galilee recieves the river but does not retain it. For every drop it receives, it goes out. The other sea retains its input and every drop that comes in, stays there. They call it the dead sea. What great example that God gives us through nature. We learn to be a channel of blessing for others, if God blesses us with His love, with His Son, let us give love to those who surround us, if He gives forgiveness let us offer forgiveness, we have all received something to continue flowing towards the others, do not allow it to stock up there. More importantly, in this life to gain solely, is to help others conquer. Even though this implies to diminish the pace or change the course. The Lord sends us to everyone there in the environment where we live. Let us give thanks for this blessing."
WOW. That's all I have to say, and why? Because it is absolutely true. In this great example, we have the flowing of God's graces and gifts and talents and treasure which we can let flow through us for others, yet we stock it up, and instead of being fruitful, it actually remains dead. This is life in the Spirit, and this is life in the flesh. The more calories and carbs you take in, and the energies are not spent, they build up, actually hurting the body in the long run. The same with the Spirit. Let's say you've felt God speak to you, and that's good, but you do not act on what He says...that is not so good. God spoke to Saul today, did He speak to you? I know He spoke to me when I read that Saul was putting people in chains; this supposed zealous man for God was actually hurting God. I see it in ministries. They say they are so devout to a ministry, but they are actually "loving" it to death. We know the fruits and they are few. Could this be happening to me and my family? I loved them to death and not to life? Because God is asking for life, and we only can love them until we die, but we can love them for God and through Him forever....the REAL FOREVER. So ask yourself, how can I love forever and have the Way and the Life? Jesus. JEsus is the answer. Living and flowing the gifts of the Spirit and grace are the answer because they flow from Jesus. Jesus said today that we do not have life within us, unless we what? Eat the flesh of the Son of Man, JESUS, and drinks His blood. ANd this is for all those vegetarians out there that don't BELIEVE in eating meat, and I'm speaking of the Spirit. We have way too many among us that refuse to eat the Body of Christ. Is it your fault? Perhaps not. Can you do something about it? Yes. What can I do? God has spoken and will speak to you. He speaks to everybody that comes to Him, especially in the Most Holy Eucharist, in communion, partaking, adoration, and in the silence of the White Host. We are the ones that keep getting bombarded with messages, large input, and no output for His Kingdom. We tell others how they should be, and we don't lead by example. We tell others their faults, or worse remain silent, and fail to rectify or reconcile our own with God. Even with sins it is the same. As much as they come into our lives they should come out, not kept and stored and stocked up, growing and killing me. They have to come out in reconciliation (Holy Confession/Reconciliation). The same with the Grace of God. I told the people at the funeral vigil, "if you do not know what the Grace of God is, I ask you to find out, because you will never want to live without it ever again", and keep in mind I had already said that it was by the Grace of God we will be saved. For this reason alone we can not say who is burning in Hell or rejoicing in Heaven, for even the thief at the side of Christ entered Paradise, and how? He spoke to God, confessed, and was blessed, where as the other side, (the other sea) was dead, and died forever, for He did not speak to God, yet cursed Him, he did not believe. Now we are being asked to believe in eating, that is, consuming the Body of God. With what reverence do I do this? With what humility do I approach Him? And do not give me an answer right away....because I can see
ST. PAUL, Patron of the Cursillos
PRAY FOR US