We long to be in touch with life, to touch and to be touched. Yet, we are also afraid of letting anything "get at us." Afraid of letting life come too close, we keep it at arm's length and don't even realize what fools we are making of ourselves. We are going through life like someone stepping into the shower, carefully keeping the umbrella up. We are holding on to our hats, our tokens of social identity and respectability.
Far be it from us to make fools of ourselves! It takes a bit of life experience to realize that our choice is merely between making fools of ourselves either intentionally or unintentionally.
—from the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life
✞ "The Creator of the universe awaits the prayer of one poor little person to save a multitude of others, redeemed like her at the price of His Blood." — St. Therese of Lisieux
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "God never caused the virtues and singular merit of Joseph to shine with greater splendor than when He said to him by the mouth of the angel, 'Take the Child and His mother' (Matt. 2:13, 20); for in them He committed to him His most precious treasures, giving him thus the preference over all the blessed spirits of Heaven; and Joseph received these two sacred persons into his care, to be their protector, their guardian, and defender." — Edward Healy Thompson, p. 401 AN EXCERPT FROM The Life & Glories of Saint Joseph
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you." Deuteronomy 3:6
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St. Camillus de Lellis (1550–1614) was a wild, undisciplined youth who became a battle-hardened soldier with a violent temper and a gambling addiction. His bad behavior, combined with a persistent war wound in his leg, left him in poverty. He found work doing odd jobs at a Capuchin friary. Gradually the good influence of the friars inspired him to a better life, and he experienced a true conversion. He sought to join the Franciscans, but was prevented due to his leg wound. He then moved to Rome and worked for a hospital that cared for patients with incurable illnesses. He later became its director as he continued a life of penance and virtue. Seeing that his patients often received poor attention from hospital staff, he devoted his life to providing excellent care for the sick, in whom he saw the face of Christ. He established a religious order of men committed to helping patients who were the most ill, even at the risk of their own well-being, known as the Order of St. Camillus, or the Camillians. For this task he studied for the priesthood and was ordained at the late age of 34. His Order gave medical care to anyone in need of treatment. In addition to serving in hospitals, they also served on the battlefield. The Camillians developed into a worldwide relief effort of like-minded medical workers who seek to follow Christ through ministering to the sick. The large red cross on his habit became an international symbol of charitable medical aid. St. Camillus is the patron of the sick, hospitals, nurses, and physicians. His feast day is July 18th.
Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Ex 2:1-15a
A certain man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, who conceived and bore a son. Seeing that he was a goodly child, she hid him for three months. When she could hide him no longer, she took a papyrus basket, daubed it with bitumen and pitch, and putting the child in it, placed it among the reeds on the river bank. His sister stationed herself at a distance to find out what would happen to him.
Pharaoh's daughter came down to the river to bathe, while her maids walked along the river bank. Noticing the basket among the reeds, she sent her handmaid to fetch it. On opening it, she looked, and lo, there was a baby boy, crying! She was moved with pity for him and said, "It is one of the Hebrews' children." Then his sister asked Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and call one of the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?" "Yes, do so," she answered. So the maiden went and called the child's own mother. Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will repay you." The woman therefore took the child and nursed it. When the child grew, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, who adopted him as her son and called him Moses; for she said, "I drew him out of the water."
On one occasion, after Moses had grown up, when he visited his kinsmen and witnessed their forced labor, he saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, one of his own kinsmen. Looking about and seeing no one, he slew the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. The next day he went out again, and now two Hebrews were fighting! So he asked the culprit, "Why are you striking your fellow Hebrew?" But the culprit replied, "Who has appointed you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses became afraid and thought, "The affair must certainly be known."
Pharaoh, too, heard of the affair and sought to put Moses to death. But Moses fled from him and stayed in the land of Midian.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 69:3, 14, 30-31, 33-34 R. (see 33) Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live. I am sunk in the abysmal swamp where there is no foothold; I have reached the watery depths; the flood overwhelms me. R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live. But I pray to you, O LORD, for the time of your favor, O God! In your great kindness answer me with your constant help. R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live. But I am afflicted and in pain; let your saving help, O God, protect me; I will praise the name of God in song, and I will glorify him with thanksgiving. R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live. "See, you lowly ones, and be glad; you who seek God, may your hearts revive! For the LORD hears the poor, and his own who are in bonds he spurns not." R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
Alleluia Ps 95:8 R. Alleluia, alleluia. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 11:20-24
Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum:
Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."
Meditation: Matthew 11:20-24
Saint Camillus de Lellis, Priest (Optional Memorial)
Jesus began to reproach the towns. (Matthew 11:20)
Have you ever noticed the important role that cities and nations play in Scriptures? Think, for instance, of all the prophets whom God sends to deliver a message to an entire population. Remember how Jonah called the city of Nineveh to repentance or how Jeremiah warned the people of Jerusalem about their impending exile.
In today's Gospel, Jesus reproaches three towns for not turning to him. Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum had seen great wonders, but only a few people in them became his followers. Jesus wanted every person there to believe in him; he didn't want a single one to be lost.
Don't we need an expansive vision like this today? We may feel helpless as we read the newspaper or hear stories about the violence and injustice that exist in our own towns, but we really aren't powerless. We have the power of prayer! We can pray without ceasing and ask the Lord to transform our town. Here are a few areas worth considering:
1: For our elected officials: "Lord, bless our leaders. Help them to govern humbly and justly and to serve those in need. Guide them to implement policies that protect the weak and defenseless."
2: For our schools: "Father, bless our teachers. Give them wisdom and compassion as they educate our children. Help all students to learn and grow in maturity. Keep them safe, and draw them close to you."
3: For our neighborhoods: "Jesus, bless every home in my neighborhood and fill it with your peace. May every family become a miniature church where parents and children love one another. Make every home a shelter from all harm."
4: For our church: "Holy Spirit, bless our bishop, our pastor, our parish staff, and all our fellow parishioners. Help us love each other. Strengthen us and give us wisdom and courage so that we can become witnesses to your love in our city."
5: For peace in our day: "Lord, bring peace and unity to our town. Repair the damage wrought by discrimination, poverty, crime, and violence. Heal all divisions, Lord. May your love penetrate even the darkest places."
"Jesus, help me to pray for my city each day."
Exodus 2:1-15 Psalm 69:3, 14, 30-31, 33-34
From Bishop Barren's daily reflection: "Friends, today Jesus declares judgment on the towns of Galilee that did not believe in him and repent. He stands at the end of the long line of prophets God sent in order to reconcile his people to himself. Like the prophets before him, Jesus is ignored, mocked, and rejected.
What happens as a result of man's refusal of God? Not nothing. God's judgment falls on the unfaithful nation. What is the instrument of God's justice? One of the heathen nations, the Chaldeans, come and destroy the city of Jerusalem, burn the temple, carry off its most sacred objects, and force the Israelites into exile. And then the Romans follow suit in the first century.
Is this bad luck? Just the typical give and take of geopolitical forces? No! The Bible insists that this should be read as God's action, more specifically, as God's judgment and punishment. Mind you, this is not an arbitrary punishment, something cruel and vindictive; rather it is God allowing the fallen nation to feel the effects of its sin.
So what's the lesson? Sin has consequences, and we rarely have to wait for the next world to experience them." . . .
Moses said to himself ""The affair must certainly be known." And he flees for his life. It's hard to hide the truth, and running from it, well, it is not life, it is not peace, and it is not true joy from Heaven. Sin does this to us, it becomes unsettling, because we were designed to be holy.
We prayed today "Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live. "See, you lowly ones, and be glad; you who seek God, may your hearts revive! For the LORD hears the poor, and his own who are in bonds he spurns not."
The Lord returns, and finds no repented souls and begins a prophetic message of what is to come in the next life. Funny how He keeps talking of the next life, as if that's all He cared about...I wonder why? I wonder why it is not the same message today? We live in a world where repenting, and being "lowly" is not the norm. Everybody just cares about if they are respected, their ego properly inflated, and if not, well, all hell is unleashed from the tongue...or worse.
It's the kind of story that is in a state of mind that others are not minded. Where all you care about is yourself. The kind of world that leaves their children locked in a car on a hot summer die, left to die, while you are "busy" and "forget". Sad part: Eternal damnation. For all those neglected days you could have and you should have minded others. There is hell to pay.
Yesterday I heard a young person say "I know the consequences of my sin". Then I said "I don't think you really realize the consequences of your mortal sin". Heck, I didn't realize the consequences when I was young and being "dumb" or more like playing dumb. "Oh, it's not so bad". Fast forward 25 years, knowing what I know now, yes, it is bad, mortal sin is very VERY bad, and the capital punishment: Death to the soul. Mortal sins are horrendous, not loving God above all....perhaps the worst of sins, by having other gods that lead you to this capital punishment. Most don't know that missing Sunday Mass is a mortal sin! You think killing is bad? You think stealing is bad? You think being involved in adultery is bad? They are mortal sins, but they all stem from not loving God ABOVE EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE.
And so I aggravate people because I tell them we should love God more than family. Oooh, that puts them on edge. And then, they go and fight with one another in what I call are "pride fights". I'm in meetings and I see how everyone defends themselves, like in a court. Everyone is, in their own eyes "perfect and innocent". When in my eyes everyone is at fault and everyone is to lay down their arms and become lowly. Progress in faith, means taking a step forward, and sometimes it takes a leap of faith. Moses' life was spared, and he did not spare another man's life. He is cast out of paradise to deal with it. Then God takes this sinful man, repented man, cleansed man, and allows him to lead the people he loves into freedom from bondage, slavery, from false gods. Well then, seeing Moses gone through this, then what can God do with you? You are a most important piece to God's life-saving plan. (The Holy Spirit inspires me to write to you). And the life He is talking about is eternal. Yesterday, a daily texted bible verse from a relative read a scripture I don't remember reading before: James: 3:8 "7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness.…" And for homework, please read the beginning of James 4.
I don't know about you, but as I keep venturing out deeper into God's will and Kingdom, things are more and more serious than I thought they were. I believe there is a God for one reason alone: Mercy. I see the debauchery we live in, the filth, the adulterous nation that serves anyone what they desire, but the Lord!?
The Lord was exasperated, for He is zealous for souls. "Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld." I live in a world where everyone in so many denominations believes they are shooting straight to Heaven. Everybody is innocent enough, everybody is humble enough, everyone "deserves" it enough. And so, inadvertently, the gates to hell open wide to devour the "innocent" that live in sin, serving other gods. I live in a world of ministries, and I face fierce competition with these gods: sports, work, and even "family". I can't pry people off these gods. They cling to them for happiness, for fulfillment, for peace, and they worship them. And I'm left alone at church, and even more alone, is the Blessed Sacrament.
If you dive deeper, I see darkness. Therefore, I believe in God because I see His mercy in action. Prior to Jesus, the world would face inevitable doom. And I'm 100% sure, our Blessed Mother has something to do with so much mercy bestowed on us. We should be grateful. Not living in sin. We should be happy with the Lord alone, and depending on His grace, the gift of love from Heaven. I'm counting on you....says the Lord. I'm working within you....to the degree I AM allowed. I'm reaching out to the world with lowly hands. And I'm working for an eternity, making more room for more souls that I love so much, because, they are MINE, Goodness is mine, and I make good out of nothingness. I made the world out of nothing. So if you have nothing to offer, offer ME that and see what I CAN do with a soul that is willing.