The secret of Saint Francis' joyful spirit was his vibrant belief in a God of overflowing goodness and love. Francis was so in love with God that at times he would pick up two sticks from the ground, tuck one under his chin like a violin and move the other over it like a bow. Then, in an ecstasy of joy, he would sing in French songs of love and praise to God.
Francis used to say that he wanted his followers to go about the world like strolling minstrels, "to inspire the hearts of people and stir them to spiritual joy." They give us an example to follow in our own day!
–from the blog "The Peace Prayer of Saint Francis"
"Make it a practice to judge persons and things in the most favorable light at all times and under all circumstances." — St. Vincent de Paul ✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "The Church, which has spread everywhere, even to the ends of the earth, received the faith from the apostles and their disciples . . . Having one soul and one heart, the Church holds this faith, preaches and teaches it consistently as though by a single voice. For though there are different languages, there is but one tradition." — St. Ignatius of Antioch, p. 194 AN EXCERPT FROM Witness of the Saints
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "With the loyal you show yourself loyal; with the blameless you show yourself blameless; with the pure you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you show yourself perverse. For you deliver a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down. It is you who light my lamp; the Lord, my God, lights up my darkness. By you I can crush a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God—his way is perfect; the promise of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all who take refuge in him." Psalm 18:25-30
click to read more
ST. VICTOR OF MARSEILLES
St. Victor of Marseilles (d. 290 A.D.) was a Christian soldier serving in the Roman imperial army in Marseilles, France. Christianity was thriving there, until Emperor Maximian arrived with the intention of putting the Christians to death. This caused the Christians to fear, and St. Victor would go from house to house under the cover of night to admonish them to stand strong in their faith. This behavior drew attention, and during one of his nightly rounds he was arrested. The Roman prefects tried to persuade him away from following a "dead man," Jesus, but St. Victor testified boldly for the truth of the Christian faith. Enraged, the prefects had him bound and dragged through the streets. Victor was undeterred and continued to denounce the Roman gods. His tortures were renewed until his torturers grew tired, after which he was thrown into a dungeon. That night he was visited by angels, and his three guards were converted and baptized that same night. The next morning the Emperor had the guards beheaded, while St. Victor was kept alive for fresh tortures. After three days of abuse, the Emperor commanded Victor to burn incense to the gods. Instead, St. Victor walked up to the altar and kicked it over with his foot. In retaliation, his foot was cut off. Seeing that his efforts to cause Victor to apostatize were useless, the Emperor finally had him crushed to death on a grindstone. His body was thrown into the sea before being recovered and buried by the Christians. His tomb became a place where many miracles occurred. St. Victor of Marseilles' feast day is July 21st.
Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 393
Reading 1 Ex 11:10—12:14
Although Moses and Aaron performed various wonders in Pharaoh's presence, the LORD made Pharaoh obstinate, and he would not let the children of Israel leave his land.
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, "This month shall stand at the head of your calendar; you shall reckon it the first month of the year. Tell the whole community of Israel: On the tenth of this month every one of your families must procure for itself a lamb, one apiece for each household. If a family is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join the nearest household in procuring one and shall share in the lamb in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it. The lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish. You may take it from either the sheep or the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then, with the whole assembly of Israel present, it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight. They shall take some of its blood and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel of every house in which they partake of the lamb. That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. It shall not be eaten raw or boiled, but roasted whole, with its head and shanks and inner organs. None of it must be kept beyond the next morning; whatever is left over in the morning shall be burned up.
"This is how you are to eat it: with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you shall eat like those who are in flight. It is the Passover of the LORD. For on this same night I will go through Egypt, striking down every first born of the land, both man and beast, and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt—I, the LORD! But the blood will mark the houses where you are. Seeing the blood, I will pass over you; thus, when I strike the land of Egypt, no destructive blow will come upon you.
"This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 116:12-13, 15 and 16bc, 17-18 R. (13) I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord. How shall I make a return to the LORD for all the good he has done for me? The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord. Precious in the eyes of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones. I am your servant, the son of your handmaid; you have loosed my bonds. R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord. To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all his people. R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
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 Mt 12:1-8
Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, "See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath." He said to the them, "Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry, how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering, which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat? Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath and are innocent? I say to you, something greater than the temple is here. If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned these innocent men. For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath."
Meditation: Exodus 11:10–12:14
View NAB Reading at USCCB.orgSubscriber? Login to view archives Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)
This is how you are to eat it: with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you shall eat like those who are in flight. (Exodus 12:11)
One of the most important lessons that an athlete learns is that you can move faster and with more agility if you stay up on your toes. The same principle applies to dancers as well. In fact, the phrase "Keep on your toes" means to be alert and ready to act.
This modern adage has a similar connotation to the ancient practice of girding one's loins. People would "gird their loins" by tying up their robes tightly around their waists so that they could move quickly and unhindered. That's what God asked the Israelites to do as they ate the Passover meal: to be ready to move.
When you consider how important this Passover celebration was to the Israelites, it may seem odd that God told them to eat the meal this way. Yet it underscores an important point: he wants his people to have a sense of urgency—of being ready to act when he calls.
Think of what resulted from the Israelites' readiness. God was able to mobilize all the Israelites in virtually no time at all. Their quick obedience made it possible for them to cover a lot of ground before Pharaoh had changed his mind and decided to chase after them. Because they stayed alert and ready, God was able to bring them into a place of peace and blessing. They followed his commands, and he led them out of slavery.
Today, as you recall God's faithfulness in delivering the Israelites from slavery, remember that God has plans for you too. So be ready to move! In your prayer time today, try to listen for his direction and guidance. But don't stop there. Be sure to "stay on your toes" throughout the day in case he calls you to act. Remember that just as God led his people into a land flowing with milk and honey, he will bless you as you make yourself available to respond to his plans.
"Lord, help me to be ready and willing when you call me to move. Thank you for being with me on every step of my journey."
Psalm 116:12-13, 15-18 Matthew 12:1-8
my2cents: From Bishop Barren, "Again and again in the Gospels, Jesus is portrayed as violating the sacred command to rest on the seventh day. For example, he often cures on the Sabbath, much to the dismay of the protectors of Jewish law.
And then in today's Gospel, after his disciples pick grain on the Sabbath, Jesus declares himself "Lord of the Sabbath." It's hard to express how breathtaking this claim would be for a first-century Jew to make. Yahweh alone could be assigned the title, "Lord of the Sabbath," so what is Jesus implying?
In short, he is claiming that he is above their rituals, even perhaps the defining practice of pious Jews, because he is the Lord. Thus the rules must be placed in subordination to the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom that the Lord Jesus is ushering in even here and now."
We read today: "This is how you are to eat it: with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you shall eat like those who are in flight. It is the Passover of the LORD." This life is flight, a journey and the Lord is with us.
We pray today "How shall I make a return to the LORD for all the good he has done for me? The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all his people". It has been said that the holy sacrifice of the Mass is the precious blood and body of our Lord Jesus and also that it is the wedding feast of the Lord whereupon then we shall renew our vows even daily.
The Lord of our life enters " I say to you, something greater than the temple is here. If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned these innocent men. For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath." They broke the rules...they had seen the Lord and followed Him. It was shocking to see them break the rule of law. Today it is not shocking to see someone break God's law. Let me say something shocking: breaking the Sabbath is bad....missing Sunday Mass. I've told brothers that miss Sunday Mass , "you might as well go cheat on your wife...its just as bad". Oooh that's a shocking statement isn't it? Is it the truth one does not want to hear of...infidelity? Yes the Lord desires mercy....but where is yours to God? Where is your faithfulness? I saw a pickup going down the highway and it had letters scribbled on the back windshield "America Bless God " instead of God Bless America. This is good. It's time we bless the Lord. I tell people to tithe " God does not need your money he owns the entire world but we need to give for our own good, put God first above all". Then you will be blessed.