Sometimes there is no way we can reconcile the wrongs we have suffered, but interior peace can come from praying for those who have wounded us.
St. Joseph of Leonissa
Listen to Audio Joseph avoided the safe compromises by which people sometimes undercut the gospel. Born at Leonissa in the Kingdom of Naples, Joseph joined the Capuchins in his hometown in 1573. Denying himself hearty meals and comfortable quarters, he prepared for ordination and a life of preaching.
In 1587 he went to Constantinople to take care of the Christian galley slaves working under Turkish masters. Imprisoned for this work, he was warned not to resume it on his release. He did and was again imprisoned and then condemned to death. Miraculously freed, he returned to Italy where he preached to the poor and reconciled feuding families as well as warring cities which had been at odds for years. He was canonized in 1746.
Saints often jar us because they challenge our ideas about what we need for "the good life." "I'll be happy when. . . ," we may say, wasting an incredible amount of time on the periphery of life. People like Joseph of Leonissa challenge us to face life courageously and get to the heart of it: life with God. Joseph was a compelling preacher because his life was as convincing as his words.
In one of his sermons, Joseph says: "Every Christian must be a living book wherein one can read the teaching of the gospel. This is what St. Paul says to the Corinthians, 'Clearly you are a letter of Christ which I have delivered, a letter written not with ink, but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh in the heart' (2 Corinthians 3:3). Our heart is the parchment; through my ministry the Holy Spirit is the writer because 'my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe' (Psalm 45:1)."
"Come to me all you who are burdened and I will give you rest" Here I am, Lord. I come to seek Your presence. I long for your healing power.
Everything has the potential to draw forth from me a fuller love and life. Yet my desires are often fixed, caught, on illusions of fulfillment. I ask that God, through my freedom may orchestrate my desires in a vibrant loving melody rich in harmony.
Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I look honestly over the last day, its events and my feelings. Do I have something to be grateful for? Then I give thanks. Is there something I am sorry for? Then I ask forgiveness.
The Word of God
Reading 1 1 Kgs 2:1-4, 10-12
When the time of David's death drew near, he gave these instructions to his son Solomon: "I am going the way of all flesh. Take courage and be a man. Keep the mandate of the LORD, your God, following his ways and observing his statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees as they are written in the law of Moses, that you may succeed in whatever you do, wherever you turn, and the LORD may fulfill the promise he made on my behalf when he said, 'If your sons so conduct themselves that they remain faithful to me with their whole heart and with their whole soul, you shall always have someone of your line on the throne of Israel.'"
David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. The length of David's reign over Israel was forty years: he reigned seven years in Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem.
Solomon was seated on the throne of his father David, with his sovereignty firmly established.
"Blessed may you be, O LORD, God of Israel our father, from eternity to eternity."
R. Lord, you are exalted over all.
"Yours, O LORD, are grandeur and power, majesty, splendor, and glory."
R. Lord, you are exalted over all.
"LORD, you are exalted over all. Yours, O LORD, is the sovereignty; you are exalted as head over all. Riches and honor are from you."
R. Lord, you are exalted over all.
"In your hand are power and might; it is yours to give grandeur and strength to all."
R. Lord, you are exalted over all.
Alleluia Mk 1:15
R. Alleluia, alleluia. The Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 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 from there. 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.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ These instructions in Mark's gospel indicate the way of proceeding for the disciples whom Jesus sent out. Communication of the good news had to be by word of mouth, and depended on travelling missionaries. Many listeners could not read, and Jesus stressed not so much the message as the medium, i.e. the lifestyle of the preachers.
Then as now, people judged the message of Christ by the life of the messengers more than by the words they spoke. Dom Helder Camara, the saintly Brazilian bishop of the dispossessed, used to tell his catechists, who were speaking to illiterate people: 'Sisters and brothers, watch how you live. Your lives may be the only gospel your listeners will ever read'.
Forgive me, Lord, for the times when my lifestyle distorted your gospel.
What is stirring in me as I pray? Am I consoled, troubled, left cold? I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side and share my feelings with him.
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: Mark 6:7-13
4th Week in Ordinary Time
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey. (Mark 6:8)
Would you pack for a long journey the way Jesus advised his disciples? No food, no sack, no money, no extra clothes? Isn't that a bit too much? Wouldn't it make for a more anxious journey, not having enough supplies or provisions? Surely it would be more prudent to plan strategies or methods for success.
By sending out the disciples with so few supplies, Jesus was teaching them how to be effective messengers of the gospel. They needed to learn to rely on the Spirit, not on their own resources. They had no option but to trust that God would provide for them!
Jesus also wanted his disciples not to be consumed with too much planning and preparation. Think of it: without a trip to plan, without bags to pack or meals to organize, they would have fewer distractions and could be more focused on listening to the Spirit and proclaiming the gospel. Of course they would find it hard at first to relax and trust in God. But imagine how much more free they must have felt once they saw him come through—and in amazing ways!
God wants us to evangelize, but that doesn't mean that we have to have the perfect technique or an irrefutable set of arguments ready from the outset. In fact, a simple approach is often the most effective. We just need to stay close to the Lord, be who we are, and let God's life flow out from us. The disciples' success was not tied to having the latest strategies. It didn't consist in having the sharpest public-speaking skills or having studied theology. It was Jesus' authority and power flowing through them that touched the people they met.
Instead of calculating why you are not equipped to preach the gospel or serve God's people, embrace Jesus instead, and let him work through you. Try to scale back what you think you need. Then, when opportunities for evangelization or service come your way, just take them. You may be pleasantly surprised.
"Lord, I want to pack light! Help me not to insist on so much baggage, so many of my own resources. I open my heart to you so that you can fill me and empower me to bring your life to those I meet!"
(podcast 2cents) my2cents: Yesterday after sending this bit of reflection I write, I was rushed to make a doctor appointment for my daughter and I noticed I goofed, and I kept beating myself up for it. I said David lived 33 years, but he lived 33 years in Jerusalem, like Jesus lived 33 years and died there. Saint David actually lived over 70 years. What we have to notice is King David wasn't perfect, and neither am I. I was more disheartened to see a deacon unsubscribe, and a priest label my email as spam after I sent the goofed up email. Granted, who knows why the clergy did this, but shouldn't I be corrected by you? Shouldn't you care about me and what I am saying? Let's see what King David said on his dying bed "Take courage and be a man. Keep the mandate of the LORD, your God, following his ways" BE A MAN! Don't let people die on your watch, and there are many walking dead and dying, and barely living on the edge of life...life in the Spirit, of being alive for the Lord, of growing to give fruit, of evangelization, of being sent out by the Lord. How do you know if the Lord is calling? Easy, right now, as I ask the Holy Spirit to let me speak, He is calling. Be a man! They asked us at this crazy retreat in Kansas "Escuela de la Cruz" (school of the cross), as we gathered the first day, "Who here is a macho!?" and they kept asking over and over until everyone was hollering, "yeah we are macho!" Then they deflated our bubble, because "macho" means mule in spanish, "you idiots, you are not beasts! you are MEN!" Be A MAN, be human, be who you are, not living on feelings alone, not living just by what is temporal! Be a Man of GOD! That is what King David proclaims, Saint David, not perfect but perfectly kept trying to be of God, being a MAN. "LORD, you are exalted over all. Yours, O LORD, is the sovereignty;" we pray the Psalms today. The Lord is over all...isn't He? He's sovereignty, He's over reigning. Does He reign over your heart? I ask this so you prioritize your life. God first, every thing and every one else second. This naturally will put others before self, God first. Our Lord comes to our lives sending people two by two. If alone you have the Lord hand in hand we walk, and in hard times He carries you, remember the footprints in the sand dream? I have a dream, and it is a special dream for you and everyone I meet, that one day you will hold the hand of the Lord and never let go. I have been sent, anointed, by the Sacraments. I have been sent and you are now being commanded to follow orders, the ordinances, especially that of following the Way of the Lord. LOL, I say this remembering last night's co-worker bible study I lead, they said things like "we have to bring others to God" and similar sayings, but what about letting ourselves be brought to God? This whole deal is a direct message from Him to me and you. The Lord sends us out to heal, and notice how; "they went off and preached repentance" and they "...drove out many demons". I recall my uncle Hector now, sometimes he'll massage people's hands and feet doing "reflexology" hitting pressure points to help heal people. Many a time, he takes advantage of the moments while holding their hands or feet and as he works them, he preaches repentance. Many a times people are healed. Last night after bible study, a co-worker I had invited earlier walked in at the end, just coming in from the field. I had asked him to come in to get prayed over because today he gets operated on his hernia. We get up and pray for him and I pull out some blessed oil and have him rub it over the ailment. Who knows how it will turn out, well, I actually do, it will turn out according to God's will and their faith. My job is completed. Preaching repentance and praying with them and still for them until they are healed in the spirit, their souls. This year of mercy is exactly this. Doing God's will. Being merciful means loving them no matter what. Yesterday I was approaching another worker, "why are you still working more hours than we said you could?" and he tried explaining with big puppy eyes. We left each other. This morning in front of everyone, I had him look at my smartwatch which has a picture of Jesus face with the time under his face, and I said to him in front of all "look! It is time for the Lord..it is always the Lord's time!" as I showed the other managers. The worker said "I need to see that all day, give me one of those!" LOL. IT's true He needs the Lord, he has said no long enough. No to my invitations through the years. But he has said yes to everything else that deals with sin. And so now I'm approaching you with the face and hands of our Lord, because not only am I sent, but you are being sent to spread the Love of God. Help me and let me help you. I love God and I want you to love Him MORE!!