JULY 7, 2016 "Love your children. In them you can see Baby Jesus. Pray for them a lot and every day put them under Holy Mary's protection." — St. Gianna Molla
MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Among the various indications that make the holiness of God known to men, the most convincing sign is the holiness of men, who are sanctified by the divine indwelling . . . In teaching us the words, 'hallowed be Thy name,' our Lord also bids us, when we pray, to ask that God may be glorified by our lives. The sense of the prayer is this: 'Grant us so to live, that all men may glorify Thee through us.' God is sanctified or hallowed in the minds of other men through us, to the extent that we are sanctified by Him. Hence when we say: 'hallowed be Thy name,' we pray, as Cyprian remarks, that God's name may be hallowed in us. Following the lead of Christ, who says: 'Be holy, because I am holy,' we beg that we, who have been sanctified in Baptism, may persevere in the state in which we began. Furthermore we pray daily to be sanctified in order that we, who daily fall, may wash away our sins by a constant process of purification." — St. Thomas Aquinas, p. 350-51 AN EXCERPT FROM Aquinas' Shorter Summa
click to go there
Blessed Emmanuel Ruiz and Companions
Not much is known of the early life of Emmanuel Ruiz, but details of his heroic death in defense of the faith have come down to us.
Born of humble parents in Santander, Spain, he became a Franciscan priest and served as a missionary in Damascus. This was at a time when anti-Christian riots shook Syria and thousands lost their lives in just a short time.
Among these were Emmanuel, superior of the Franciscan convent, seven other friars and three laymen. When a menacing crowd came looking for the men, they refused to renounce their faith and become Muslims. The men were subjected to horrible tortures before their martyrdom.
Emmanuel, his brother Franciscans and the three Maronite laymen were beatified in 1926 by Pope Pius XI.
"Be still and know that I am God". Lord, may your spirit guide me to seek Your Loving presence more and more. For it is there I find rest and refreshment from this busy world.
By God's grace I was born to live in freedom. Free to enjoy the pleasures He created for me. Dear Lord, grant that I may live as You intended, with complete confidence in Your Loving care.
I ask how I am within myself today? Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form? If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?
The Word of God
Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Hos 11:1-4, 8e-9
Thus says the LORD: When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the farther they went from me, Sacrificing to the Baals and burning incense to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms; I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; Yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer.
My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred. I will not give vent to my blazing anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again; For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 80:2ac and 3b, 15-16 R. (4b) Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved. O shepherd of Israel, hearken. From your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth. Rouse your power.
R. Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved. Once again, O LORD of hosts, look down from heaven, and see: Take care of this vine, and protect what your right hand has planted, the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
R. Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
Alleluia Mk 1:15 R. Alleluia, alleluia. The Kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe in the Gospel. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 10:7-15
Jesus said to his Apostles: "As you go, make this proclamation: 'The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave. As you enter a house, wish it peace. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you. Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ I find Jesus' very concrete instructions so reassuring: God gets involved in the nitty gritty of life's challenges as well as dealing with the big issues. For God no problem is too small for me to ask for help and advice. Knock and the door will be opened.
▪ 'You received without payment; give without payment'. What I can give that requires no payment on either side? My time? My expertise? My gifts? My forgiveness? I can give others the benefit of the doubt. I can pray that the person who receives from me will pass on the grace of giving, and that whoever I forgive will likewise forgive someone else.
What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word? I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to 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.
My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred. . . . For I am God and not man. (Hosea 11:8, 9)
Well, of course he's God and not man—isn't that obvious? Still, our vision of God can often be colored by our experience of human relationships. We are parents or children; we are friends or siblings. We have been disappointed or angered or pleased by all of them. We can think God will react to situations the same way any of us would. But God likes to surprise us.
When Hosea prophesied in Israel around 750 BC, many of God's people were comfortable and prosperous—so much so that they had started drifting toward the idols that their neighbors and trading partners believed in. Humanly speaking, the people's infidelity could have given God reason to abandon them or revoke their status as his chosen people. Like a mathematical equation or a contractual arrangement, their betrayal could have provoked a harsh response. But God is not man. He offers relationship and redemption, not revenge and recrimination.
This is how God relates to you, too. His heart is filled with love for you; he wants nothing more than to deepen your friendship with him. So why would he ever reject you? As Pope Francis once said, "Jesus never strikes. He cleanses with tenderness, mercy, love."
Do we need to be cleansed? Of course. But how will Jesus go about it? Perhaps our experience of having been hurt or rejected in the past can lead us to expect Jesus to condemn us as well. But he won't. He came to save, not to condemn.
As you reflect on this passage, try something different today. Think of the worst thing you've ever done. Now, imagine that Jesus is sitting with you, looking into your eyes. Can you see the mercy and gentleness there? What if he raised your face to his cheek or kissed you on the forehead as you might do to a child? Can you feel the forgiveness and love? Even if you didn't feel especially repentant, it wouldn't take long for your heart to melt in the face of such tenderness.
Let Jesus disarm you with his compassion today. Let him cleanse you with his tenderness.
"Lord Jesus, I gaze into your eyes. Your love can't be explained in human terms. Thank you, Lord, for embracing me!"
The Word of our Lord says "For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you." He is not like us, He will show the way, He is not one to leave, He will stay, He will not sit there and watch others rot and burn, He will save. When others can not and will not, He will. This is faith, to go out, to reach out, and give what is not even ours. And so my wretched hands become blessed hands, because they are finally able to reach. We pray "Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved." Seeing His face is to see the light, to see the truth, to see the Lord as He is, and it would be shocking one day to realize His face looks like exactly those you despise today. "Once again, O LORD of hosts, look down from heaven, and see: Take care of this vine, and protect what your right hand has planted, the son of man whom you yourself made strong. " Your son, Your creation, Your love, the one you sent, and this is where our Lord comes in...
In comes the Lord of our lives: "make this proclamation: 'The Kingdom of heaven is at hand...Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give...Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it....Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.". The greeting of peace is conceived of not merely as a salutation but as an effective word. If it finds no worthy recipient, it will return to the speaker. The word "worthy" is mentioned and who is worthy? All are worthy, right? All receive the Word, yet, the worthiness is not received, and so it is bounced back. Kind of like someone that tries to be friends with you and you simply ignore them or are oblivious because you have so much going on. Kind of like that annoying person around you, like a fly that just won't go away. Who is worthy? We live in a world where worthiness is shabby word. The courts have decided that people in the wombs are not worthy of life. We live in dark time. Because it comes from a mass of people with a trained thought, that worthiness is up to you. You get to decide and it all stems from moral relativism. People that finally show up to church, are of many kinds. Some go for show. Some go to show up because it is demanded, and so very, very few go out of sheer and mere love of God. That is to say, very few believe. They say they believe and fail to believe. And so, if your world is like mine, I work among a majority that will never step foot inside a church unless they die, and even then, they may not. I live in a world where pleasure takes precedence. I live in a world where entertainment decides. And so people go to churches to be entertained, with better music, better gifts, better atmosphere, and very few go for sustenance, that what is to keep us alive...in the Spirit, the Soul. "I didn't get anything out of it' they say as they walk out. And it's true...because they didn't put anything into it. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. You are to give, if you are to receive. And do not expect to receive thanks and a pat on the back. Never expect a payment, but expect to have to wipe your feet of the muck you encountered. Expect then, to be Holy, and holier the more you dare to proclaim the Kingdom of God that is at hand. Expect the unexpected. God's expectations are revelations of light. So we've identified the problem with the world, right? LOL, you are in the world, but not of the world. The entire, the whole of today's readings and reflections are for your very soul. What are you going to do with it? Complain from the fences and benches? Because truly, there is so much we could do, right? What about the interior flourishings and interior beauty of the soul? Because God expects us to be like Him, in splendor in light, rich in mercy, and healing, and saving, and a guide in the dark, a light for the world, a light that attracts the bugs, a light for the creatures of the Lord, and we are His creations.
Lord have mercy on us. Help us be your hands and feet, and heart and eyes, your Body CHRIST!!!