"To join two things together there must be nothing between them or there cannot be a perfect fusion. Now realize that this is how God wants our soul to be, without any selfish love of ourselves or of others in between, just as God loves us without anything in between." — St. Catherine of Siena
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"Often Jesus asks the sick to believe. He makes use of signs to heal: spittle and the laying on of hands, mud and washing. The sick try to touch him, 'for power came forth from him and healed them all'. And so in the sacraments Christ continues to 'touch' us in order to heal us. Moved by so much suffering Christ not only allows himself to be touched by the sick, but he makes their miseries his own: 'He took our infirmities and bore our diseases'. But he did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through his Passover. On the cross Christ took upon himself the whole weight of evil and took away the 'sin of the world', of which illness is only a consequence. By his passion and death on the cross Christ has given a new meaning to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to him and unite us with his redemptive Passion." — (CCC, 1504-05) AN EXCERPT FROM Catechism of the Catholic Church
click to go there
St. Joseph Calasanz
From Aragon, where he was born in 1556, to Rome, where he died 92 years later, fortune alternately smiled and frowned on the work of Joseph Calasanz. A priest with university training in canon law and theology, respected for his wisdom and administrative expertise, he put aside his career because he was deeply concerned with the need for education of poor children.
When he was unable to get other institutes to undertake this apostolate at Rome, he and several companions personally provided a free school for deprived children. So overwhelming was the response that there was a constant need for larger facilities to house their effort. Soon Pope Clement VIII gave support to the school, and this aid continued under Pope Paul V. Other schools were opened; other men were attracted to the work and in 1621 the community (for so the teachers lived) was recognized as a religious community, the Clerks Regular of Religious Schools (Piarists or Scolopi). Not long after, Joseph was appointed superior for life.
A combination of various prejudices and political ambition and maneuvering caused the institute much turmoil. Some did not favor educating the poor, for education would leave the poor dissatisfied with their lowly tasks for society! Others were shocked that some of the Piarists were sent for instruction to Galileo (a friend of Joseph) as superior, thus dividing the members into opposite camps. Repeatedly investigated by papal commissions, Joseph was demoted; when the struggle within the institute persisted, the Piarists were suppressed. Only after Joseph's death were they formally recognized as a religious community.
No one knew better than Joseph the need for the work he was doing; no one knew better than he how baseless were the charges brought against him. Yet if he were to work within the Church, he realized that he must submit to its authority, that he must accept a setback if he was unable to convince authorized investigators. While the prejudice, the scheming, and the ignorance of men often keep the truth from emerging for a long period of time, Joseph was convinced, even under suppression, that his institute would again be recognized and authorized. With this trust he joined exceptional patience and a genuine spirit of forgiveness.
Even in the days after his own demotion, Joseph protected his persecutors against his enraged partisans; and when the community was suppressed, he stated with Job, to whom he was often compared: "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; /blessed be the name of the Lord!" (Job 1:21b).
Brothers and sisters: Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the Gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the learning of the learned I will set aside.
Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish? For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith. For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 33:1-2, 4-5, 10-11 R. (5) The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. Exult, you just, in the LORD; praise from the upright is fitting. Give thanks to the LORD on the harp; with the ten stringed lyre chant his praises.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. For upright is the word of the LORD, and all his works are trustworthy. He loves justice and right; of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. The LORD brings to nought the plans of nations; he foils the designs of peoples. But the plan of the LORD stands forever; the design of his heart, through all generations.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Alleluia Lk 21:36 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Be vigilant at all times and pray, that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 25:1-13
Jesus told his disciples this parable: "The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise ones replied, 'No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.' While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, 'Lord, Lord, open the door for us!' But he said in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.' Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ You can feel the disappointment of the "foolish" bridesmaids who were caught up in the present moment without thinking of the great moment to come.
▪ Feel also the matter-of-fact dismissal by the wise bridesmaids.
▪ What does he mean that the kingdom of heaven will be like this? Does he mean that we need to be attentive and prepared? Prepared for what? For the moment when our energies can be applied to the right thing, at the right time?
Conversation requires talking and listening. As I talk to Jesus may I also learn to be still and listen. I picture the gentleness in His eyes and the smile full of love as he gazes on me. I can be totally honest with Jesus as I tell Him of my worries and my cares. I will open up my heart to Him as I tell Him of my fears and my doubts. I will ask Him to help me to place myself fully in His care, to abandon myself to Him, knowing that He always wants what is best for me.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
What's the most absurd thing you've ever heard?
Perhaps it's a joke told by a five-year-old who laughs so hard he can't even deliver the punch line—yet gets everyone laughing with him. Perhaps it's a YouTube video of an animal acting like a human being or vice versa. Perhaps it's something in the natural world: fish with brilliant colors that are invisible in deep water or a hard-to-classify animal like the platypus. Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor?
When the philosophers of Athens heard St. Paul's story about Jesus, they just couldn't make any sense of it either.
Think about this for a moment. If you had never heard the story before, could you imagine it? Think about the good Creator of the universe. How does he react when his creatures turn away from him and decide they can improve on the way he has made them? Instead of giving up, destroying them, and starting over, he intervenes again and again on their behalf. When all else fails, he takes an enormous risk. The immaterial, invisible God is born as a human child. The omnipotent Creator becomes helpless and dependent. Misunderstood and rejected by those he has come to rescue, he accepts a shameful death. And then, three days later, he returns, vibrantly, indisputably alive.
Could anything be more ridiculous from a human, "practical" point of view? Nothing can explain it except God's unconditional love for us and his willingness to go to any extreme to win us back to himself. Nothing, that is, but the logic of divine love.
For Pope Francis, as well as for all of us who believe, the gospel story makes perfect sense. That's because it follows what the Holy Father has called "the logic of the cross, which is not primarily that of suffering and death, but rather that of love and of the gift of self which brings life."
If we "get" this divine joke, the only appropriate response is gratitude and celebration.
"Father, I revel in your love for me. Thank you, Jesus, for coming to share every aspect of my life. Holy Spirit, your wisdom is beyond my imagining. Blessed Trinity, I rejoice in the 'surprise ending' of the resurrection!"
There have been churches made up and they have eradicated the message of the cross. They even believe the symbol of the cross is wrong. And so when you talk to them and visit them, their message is anything but the cross. Yet the Lord says in the Holy Scripture today "The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." Many teach against the cross "you don't have to suffer" and inadvertently teach "you don't have to obey". The message of the cross is foolishness, of course, if you have made yourself wise, and if you've filled yourself with the so called wisdom of the world...and not the Lord.
We prayed today "The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.... The LORD brings to nought the plans of nations; he foils the designs of peoples. But the plan of the LORD stands forever; the design of his heart, through all generations." They say if you want to make the Lord laugh, just tell Him your plans. That is to say, you tell Him how its gonna be, you tell Him how it is, and then we'll see what He has to say.
In comes the Lord of Life and says in the parable of the 10 virgins "The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps." Half of them were chaste, and pure for the Lord, but half were unchaste in their hearts. The Lord desires purity of the heart. The half unchaste women in heart said "LORD, LORD! Open the door!!". Look at what the Lord says in Matthew chapter 7: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day,o 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?' Then I will declare to them solemnly, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers." Those who do evil are deformed in the spirit, the soul. The Lord does not recognize a deformed being in the hereafter. This is wisdom...of the heart. What the Lord desires is good. And the Lord is desiring your heart to be one with His. ALL HIS ALL READY Already NOW is always the time for the LORD
We PRAISE you Oh Lord, Because by your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world...