Me, myself, and I is the exact opposite of who God is in the Holy Trinity. The Trinity, as the Catholic Church has taught for centuries, gives us a true understanding of who we are as human beings. We were meant for relationship, not individualism. God came to us as a family, and we are all part of that family, meant to emulate the same life-giving and selfless exchange.
–from the book Beyond Me, My Selfie, and I
✞ "The Eucharist is the bread that gives strength... It is at once the most eloquent proof of His love and the most powerful means of fostering His love in us. He gives Himself every day so that our hearts as burning coals may set afire the hearts of the faithful." — St. Damien of Molokai
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "But you, 'a chosen generation', weak things of the world, who have forsaken all things, so that you may follow the Lord, go after him, and confound the strong; go after him, you beautiful feet, and shine in the firmament so that the heavens may declare his glory . . . Shine over the whole earth, and let the day, brightened by the sun, utter unto day speech of wisdom, and let the night, shining with the moon, declare to the night the word of knowledge . . . Run into every place, O you holy fires, you beautiful fires! You are the light of the world, and you are not put under a measure. He to whom you have held fast has been exalted, and he has exalted you. Run forth, and make it known to all nations." — Saint Augustine, p.318-19 AN EXCERPT FROM The Confessions of Saint Augustine
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:1-2
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Saint John of Avila
Saint of the Day for May 9
(c. 1500 – May 10, 1569)
Saint John of Avila's Story
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. 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 Saints 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.
Saint John of Avila knew that the lives of Christians can contradict the Good News of Jesus Christ– for example thinking racism is OK–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. Saint John of Avila held his ground and was eventually recognized as a very reliable teacher of the Christian faith.
Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 11:19-26
Those who had been scattered by the persecution that arose because of Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but Jews. There were some Cypriots and Cyrenians among them, however, who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks as well, proclaiming the Lord Jesus. The hand of the Lord was with them and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart, for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. And a large number of people was added to the Lord. Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the Church and taught a large number of people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 87:1b-3, 4-5, 6-7 R. (117:1a) All you nations, praise the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. His foundation upon the holy mountains the LORD loves: The gates of Zion, more than any dwelling of Jacob. Glorious things are said of you, O city of God! R. All you nations, praise the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. I tell of Egypt and Babylon among those who know the LORD; Of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia: "This man was born there." And of Zion they shall say: "One and all were born in her; And he who has established her is the Most High LORD." R. All you nations, praise the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled: "This man was born there." And all shall sing, in their festive dance: "My home is within you." R. All you nations, praise the Lord. or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia Jn 10:27 R. Alleluia, alleluia. My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 10:22-30
The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter. And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father's name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father's hand. The Father and I are one."
Meditation: Acts 11:19-26 4th Week of Easter
Some Cypriots and Cyrenians . . . began to speak to the Greeks as well. (Acts 11:20)
Rachel returned to the Church after a few years away. As she began to experience God's love in prayer and Scripture, she started to look for ways to tell other people about Jesus and the difference he could make in their lives—that is, everyone except Tanya. "I didn't think she was open," Rachel explained. "She never showed interest in anything religious."
But one day Tanya took Rachel aside and asked, "What's going on? You're more peaceful and patient than you used to be. Nicer too. How come?" Stunned at this unexpected opening, Rachel shared her story. It wasn't the most polished presentation of the gospel, but a seed was planted. Months later, Tanya decided to start going to church and seek God for herself.
The "Cypriots and Cyrenians" in today's first reading also had their eyes opened to an unexpected evangelistic opportunity. These Greek-speaking Jews had never thought of preaching Christ to anyone other than fellow Jews. When they came to Antioch, however, they took the huge step of reaching out to the city's Gentiles. Maybe they saw a spiritual hunger in these "Greeks" who worshipped at pagan shrines. Maybe they reasoned that what was good for Jews might be good for Gentiles. Maybe they were approached by some inquiring Tanyas! However it happened, they took the risk of reaching out to people they had once passed over. We can only rejoice that they followed the Spirit and disqualified no one from hearing the good news.
We are surrounded by people who long to hear about God's love. Don't write anyone off! They may be people we know or strangers we meet in checkout lines and waiting rooms. So make it a point to be kind and friendly to as many as possible, because you don't know how hungry for the Lord they may be. Sometimes all you may see is indifference or hostility, but there could be something going on much deeper. Just ask for the Spirit's guidance, start a conversation, and see where it leads.
"Holy Spirit, teach me how to share your love with the people around me—no matter how unlikely they may seem."
Psalm 87:1-7 John 10:22-30
my2cents: In the first Holy Scripture we heard: "The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem". You heard that? Jerusalem, the place Jesus came to preach and was killed. The place God came to reach and was kicked out. Starting to sound closer to home?
We prayed today "My home is within you. All you nations, praise the Lord." The Lord leaves to make a dwelling place...within. Praise the Lord, and how can we? Listen.
Our Lord says today "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me." The people asked Him if He was the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior. They had a hard time discerning and believing. He said ""I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father's name testify to me." They didn't believe because they didn't belong. So who belongs? Who is the flock He shepherds?
So many times I wonder in my life, how come so many can not hear His voice. It's not fair, I WANT them to hear His voice. I WANT salvation for them. I was bothered during this Sunday's Mass, the high school graduates were invited to attend. I looked at them and asked myself "who are these people?" I didn't recognize but 2 or 3 out of the 20 or so. Why was I aggravated? Because I am worried about their lives...their souls. "Where have you been!!" And then it was almost a funeral sending off, as if we would never see them again as the homily spoke of them venturing off on their lives. God knows I worried and prayed for them, and God gave grace to this soul. Soothed, and after communion songs, I sang an unplanned song "Draw Me Close To You". I sang it for them, for us to be drawn to His voice. Because in the world, you can be deafened by so many things.
Because how many of us have asked God "Are you really there?" It is the same question the Jews asked the Lord all the way to the cross, "is it really you? prove it!". But not enough miracles to fill the world will make you believe. I don't like that song very much anymore that says "Open my eyes". Sure it has a nice sentiment, but to ask God to do something for you? Make me believe? Make me see? God doesn't do anything for you, doesn't force your eyes or heart to open. If you love the Lord, it is a gift of God. If you believe Him and in Him, it is because of love. Now, my question is His as He asks: How much do you love Me? Because I love Eternally: "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand." So feel confident in Love. Fr. Mitch Pacwa wrote a book "How To Listen When God Is Speaking". I read the book. Read it for yourself, and I will tell you this...it becomes something about our attitude, our positioning of life, our openness to Him.
When I've heard God speak, its been in the most quietest of moments, and most devoted, and often in front of the Most Blessed Sacrament. His every word becomes a most powerful and most gentle command, the kind that makes one obey just because we are His design. I testify this so that you may hear Him speak. And this means spend time with Him, more devoted, more quiet, more...in Love