We don't know the mercy of God. We make rules, as we must—because to have a free-for-all makes for a way worse bondage than rules—but at the end of the day we will be judged on love.
For all the ways we've fallen short, aimed for pleasure divorced from joy, thought of ourselves instead of the whole world, we'll be judged on one thing: how we treated the least of these.
–from the book Stumble: Virtue, Vice, and the Space Between
✞ "Whatever you do, think not of yourself, but of God." — St. Vincent Ferrer
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "And so, in the redemptive economy of grace, brought about through the action of the Holy Spirit, there is a unique correspondence between the moment of the Incarnation of the Word and the moment of the birth of the Church. The person who links these two moments is Mary: Mary at Nazareth and Mary in the Upper Room at Jerusalem. In both cases her discreet yet essential presence indicates the path of 'birth from the Holy Spirit'. Thus she who is present in the mystery of Christ as Mother becomes—by the will of the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit—present in the mystery of the Church. In the Church too she continues to be a maternal presence, as is shown by the words spoken from the Cross: 'Woman, behold your son!'; 'Behold your mother.'" — Pope St. John Paul II, p. 94 AN EXCERPT FROM Mary: God's Yes to Man
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "For thus says the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite." Isaiah 57:15
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Saint of the Day for June 28
(c. 130 – c. 202)
The Church is fortunate that Irenaeus was involved in many of its controversies in the second century. He was a student, well trained no doubt, with great patience in investigating, tremendously protective of apostolic teaching, but prompted more by a desire to win over his opponents than to prove them in error.
As bishop of Lyons he was especially concerned with the Gnostics, who took their name from the Greek word for "knowledge." Claiming access to secret knowledge imparted by Jesus to only a few disciples, their teaching was attracting and confusing many Christians. After thoroughly investigating the various Gnostic sects and their "secret," Irenaeus showed to what logical conclusions their tenets led. These he contrasted with the teaching of the apostles and the text of Holy Scripture, giving us, in five books, a system of theology of great importance to subsequent times. Moreover, his work, widely used and translated into Latin and Armenian, gradually ended the influence of the Gnostics.
The circumstances and details about his death, like those of his birth and early life in Asia Minor, are not at all clear.
A deep and genuine concern for other people will remind us that the discovery of truth is not to be a victory for some and a defeat for others. Unless all can claim a share in that victory, truth itself will continue to be rejected by the losers, because it will be regarded as inseparable from the yoke of defeat. And so, confrontation, controversy and the like might yield to a genuine united search for God's truth and how it can best be served.
Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr
Reading 1 Gn 15:1-12, 17-18
The word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:
"Fear not, Abram! I am your shield; I will make your reward very great."
But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what good will your gifts be, if I keep on being childless and have as my heir the steward of my house, Eliezer?" Abram continued, "See, you have given me no offspring, and so one of my servants will be my heir." Then the word of the LORD came to him: "No, that one shall not be your heir; your own issue shall be your heir." He took him outside and said: "Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so," he added, "shall your descendants be." Abram put his faith in the LORD, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.
He then said to him, "I am the LORD who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as a possession." "O Lord GOD," he asked, "how am I to know that I shall possess it?" He answered him, "Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old she-goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon." Abram brought him all these, split them in two, and placed each half opposite the other; but the birds he did not cut up. Birds of prey swooped down on the carcasses, but Abram stayed with them. As the sun was about to set, a trance fell upon Abram, and a deep, terrifying darkness enveloped him.
When the sun had set and it was dark, there appeared a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch, which passed between those pieces. It was on that occasion that the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: "To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the Great River the Euphrates."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9 R. (8a) The Lord remembers his covenant for ever. or: R. Alleluia. Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name; make known among the nations his deeds. Sing to him, sing his praise, proclaim all his wondrous deeds. R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever. or: R. Alleluia. Glory in his holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD! Look to the LORD in his strength; seek to serve him constantly. R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever. or: R. Alleluia. You descendants of Abraham, his servants, sons of Jacob, his chosen ones! He, the LORD, is our God; throughout the earth his judgments prevail. R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever. or: R. Alleluia. He remembers forever his covenant which he made binding for a thousand generations— Which he entered into with Abraham and by his oath to Isaac. R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever. or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia Jn 15:4a, 5b
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord; whoever remains in me will bear much fruit. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 7:15-20
Jesus said to his disciples: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them."
Meditation: Psalm 105:1-4, 6-9
Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr (Memorial)
"The Lord remembers his covenant for ever." (Psalm Response)
Our memory is a funny thing: we remember things that we wish we could forget, and we forget things that we want to remember. But what about God's memory? What does he remember? Today's Responsorial Psalm tells us that God remembers his covenant forever. Forever—now that's a very long time!
When Scripture speaks about remembering, it's more than just recalling an event from the past. To remember means to make present now the effect of what has happened in the past. Memory is meant to affect how we think and behave today. It's like when you set up an automatic payment from your bank account. The bank doesn't just remember that you paid your mortgage once; it acts on the past agreement and makes a payment for you every month.
So when God remembers his covenant, he's not wistfully recalling a happy time from the past. He's actually renewing that relationship now and into the future, for all eternity. God's remembering "forever" reveals his character: his faithfulness is constant and unchanging.
What does this tell us? God will never stop pursuing us; he will never fail to keep his end of the covenant—even when we fail to keep our end. So when we get "too busy" to pray or we stop going to Mass, God continues to remember his covenant. He reaches out to us, day after day, year after year, trying to win our hearts and bring us closer to his side. When we are tempted, he pours out grace to help us resist. When we fall into sin, he gives us the grace to repent. In times of doubt, he gives us signs of his presence to encourage us and strengthen our faith, like the sign of the rainbow he showed to Noah (Genesis 9:13).
What a faithful God we have! He is completely reliable—with "no alteration or shadow caused by change" (James 1:17). Today in your prayer, thank God for never forgetting his covenant with you. Ask him to show you signs of his faithfulness from the past that can help you sense his presence with you today. And ask him to help you to remember his never-ending covenant.
"Lord, you are faithful! You remember your covenant with me forever. Renew it again today."
Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18 Matthew 7:15-20
my2cents: From the first Holy Scripture: "Abram brought him all these, split them in two, and placed each half opposite the other". Why did he split the animal in two? The sacrifice often ripped the rib cages down they symmetry so you have basically two, (think of how the priest in Holy Mass splits the Eucharist in two). In Genesis we read:
The Creation of Woman "...the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.…"
From the ribs God takes something, from the center of man, and then makes "from man" the woman, now the Church. What God is doing with all this is a covenant, an everlasting pact, more than a promise, and He does this too in Holy Sacraments. What happens next, Abram gets a terrifying vision, but this means extreme spectacular to the eyes, a fire passes through the middle, smoke and fire...the Holy Spirit unbinds and binds. It is beyond words what is transpiring, and what's crazier? It is still happening to this day. Emmanuel, God is with us.
We prayed today: "Glory in his holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD! Look to the LORD in his strength; seek to serve him constantly. R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever." God does not forget anything, it is impossible. We should never forget. Never forget what it cost God for us to live this day in Him, in His grace, in His peace afforded to us. Allow me to bind this prayer to the Holy Gospel with a little true story I heard happened yesterday: I heard yesterday of a new cursillista, he said he needed extreme prayer, we prayed hard for him to resist temptation to fall back on his old ways of drunkenness. We prayed, and I asked him to resist and pray more than ever. Late at night, before going to bed, we texted some back and forth and he had a group text going and said "Took my kids to church and prayed with them. My boy started crying while we where praying." This is a miracle. If you don't believe in miracles, I understand, you have to live one out, and you live them out more and more, the closer you get to the Lord our God. That is why they say in Heaven, saints have said that there "everything is always new". This is bearing fruit.
Now, let us go to the Gospel we read today. ""Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves." In the church, fallen priests make huge headlines, and it makes for sensational stories that perks up all the ears, especially of the unfaithful and they chime "see, that's why I don't go to church!" As if they knew all along, that one priest out of 1,000 was a hypocrite!? Point the one finger and the rest point back! So many times and reflecting, I wonder if the new atheism and moral relativism is the old age adage that Eve fell for "it's all about me" mantra.
From today's Spanish Reflection today 5minutos: "13For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their actions.…"(2Cor 11:13) In modern times we have arrived to such moral blindness, that the wolves no longer need to disguise themselves as sheep".
Those are scary words, but ring true when they fall on deaf ears.
Jesus said today "Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire." We are the trees He speaks about. Do you think it was a glitch when the blind man He healed saw people as trees? No, it was to open up our blind eyes as we read and hear what happens: The Blind Man at Bethsaida …23So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then He spit on the man's eyes and placed His hands on him. "Can you see anything?" He asked. 24The man looked up and said, "I can see the people, but they look like trees walking around." 25 Once again Jesus placed His hands on the man's eyes, and when he opened them his sight was restored, and he could see everything clearly.…"
He could see everything "clearly". So often after a person lives a true Cursillo, they say everything is much more clear now. They say, they see things in a whole new light. Of COURSE! It is CHRIST!
Bishop Barren says today in his reflection: "Friends, today we celebrate the feast of St. Irenaeus, a Father of the Church. He expressed the heart of Christian spirituality when he said, "Gloria Dei homo vivens"—the glory of God is a human being fully alive..." Humanization of the world is a call of evangelization, a call to purity and holiness. When they ran a superbowl ad for chips, they showed an unborn baby reacting to the bag of chips. Soon an organization called it a horrible had because it was "humanizing an unborn". Crazy, no longer do we need wolves hiding, they are now blatantly stating they don't want the baby to be recognized as a human being. This is the kind of world we live in, the kind that does not want the truth. I live in the world and I recognize something very terrible. The atheist at times simply does not want to believe because they do not WANT the truth in their lives. It is too much. It is unbearable. And so they'd rather rot than to live (and bear fruit). Now, let's not make this a far stretch from you. You too have things inside that want to live in hiding. Expose the truth. Admit you are sinner. Saints always admitted they were wretched sinners, but the difference? They did something about it. They poured out their lives for the Lord and the world. In other words, they poured out the light of Christ.
The first followers of Christ did so, and poured out their blood as they followed Christ so closely.
Is it too much to bear? Bear the cross. What held up Christ on the cross? Who held Him up there?
Was it the wretched world of wolves, or was it the Lord, our God? The world could not contain God and so it rejected Him. But God makes it possible to hold Him. Hold Him as Mary did, in the highest esteem, with such great care and love, as if a fragile piece of peace. My child, bear the cross, and bear the fruit. This is a sacrifice of giving. Jesus says "Thank you" and says "I Love You" in ways no inhumane person could ever express. Why? Because he was human, down to earth, and up to Heaven, and so we look across, to each other for hope in eternal love. A new covenant is here, and it will never be old....