Lord, I long to see you. With my own eyes, I want to see you myself, see you for who you really are. Not through another's eyes.
I've heard so much about you. How much is opinion? How much is hearsay? How much is truth? I want to know for myself. I want to hear with my own ears. Please come near, Lord, as you pass by today.
I am out on a limb, waiting for you, out of my comfort zone. And as you come, overwhelm me with the wonder that it is not I who seek you, nearly so much as it is you who seeks me.
—from the book Ignite: Read the Bible Like Never Before
✞ "Whenever anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you, remember Christ crucified and be silent." — St. John of the Cross ✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "When we fail to practice penance, very soon a love of luxury creeps into our hearts. We start to make excuses for ourselves and become less generous as the spirit of penance relaxes. Through penance, we expiate our faults, make the body more submissive to the will, and obtain abundant graces. The saints did many great penances. We are not called to the extraordinary ones but to the small daily ones that draw the soul to God and God to the soul." — Bl. Mother Theresa of Calcutta p. 104 AN EXCERPT FROM Thirsting for God
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:4-5
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STS. NAZARIUS AND CELSUS
St. Nazarius and St. Celsus (1st c.) were early Christian martyrs, but nothing else is known with certainty about their lives or the time they lived, other than that they were put to death for their Christian faith in Milan, Italy, perhaps during the persecution of the Emperor Nero. What we know about these saints came to us from St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. In 395 A.D. St. Ambrose discovered the body of St. Nazarius, with severed head, along with a vial of his blood still as fresh as the day it was spilled, in a garden outside the city gates. St. Ambrose carried the body in procession to bury in the city's Basilica of the Apostles. In the same garden he also discovered the body of St. Celsus, and likewise had the body taken to the same basilica. Miracles occurred in the church at the presence of the relics of these two holy martyrs. According to one account, St. Nazarius was the son of St. Perpetua, the child she bore just prior being executed for her faith. Celsus was a youth given to the care of St. Nazarius by the boy's mother, who desired for the saint to teach her son the Christian faith. The two traveled and preached the Gospel together zealously before being tortured and executed in Milan. They share a feast day on July 28th.
Friday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Ex 20:1-17
In those days: God delivered all these commandments:
"I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers' wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation; but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.
"You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. For the LORD will not leave unpunished him who takes his name in vain.
"Remember to keep holy the sabbath day. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God. No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave, or your beast, or by the alien who lives with you. In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
"Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you.
"You shall not kill.
"You shall not commit adultery.
"You shall not steal.
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
"You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything else that belongs to him."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11 R. (John 6:68c) Lord, you have the words of everlasting life. The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul; The decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple. R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye. R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; The ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just. R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life. They are more precious than gold, than a heap of purest gold; Sweeter also than syrup or honey from the comb. R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
Alleluia See Lk 8:15 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield a harvest through perseverance. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 13:18-23
Jesus said to his disciples: "Hear the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the Kingdom without understanding it, and the Evil One comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold."
Meditation: Matthew 13:18-23 16th Week in Ordinary Time
The seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it. (Matthew 13:23)
For nearly a century, Sherlock Holmes has been renowned for his extraordinary powers of deduction. In the story "A Scandal in Bohemia," we see what sets him apart. At one point, Holmes asks Watson how many stairs there are on the way up to his flat. Watson can't tell him, though he has been up and down the staircase hundreds of times. Holmes replies, "You see, Watson, but you do not observe."
Jesus' parable of the sower teaches us a similar lesson. Just as there is a difference between seeing and observing, there is a difference between hearing and understanding. The parable makes it plain that God gives everyone the opportunity to hear his word, but not everyone hears it in the same way. Some people take it to heart, while others don't, and that makes a difference in the fruit the word bears in their lives. Those who listen can "understand" the word in their hearts, and those who merely "hear" remain confused and vulnerable.
That kind of understanding is not something we come by naturally, however. It comes to us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
So when you read a Scripture passage, ask the Holy Spirit to open it up for you. Don't breeze through it. Let it sink in—even if you have to spend several minutes on a single phrase. You might read it aloud a couple of times or visualize the scene. Then ask the Spirit what he wants to show you about the passage.
Then reflect for a few minutes. First, what part of the reading resonates with you the most? You may want to underline it or write it down in a journal. Second, what does that particular passage say to you? If you have a sense that God loves you or if you are filled with hope about a difficult situation, that may be the Holy Spirit!
The Spirit is so wise—much more so than Sherlock Holmes! Let him guide you through the word and help you to live it.
"Lord, help me to understand your word, not just with my head, but with my heart. And help me put it into practice."
Exodus 20:1-17 Psalm 19:8-11
The Lord says when launching the ten commandments: "I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God". He begins the first with ""I, the LORD, am your God". Then says not to make other gods of anything on earth. Yet...we do. This week I was watching a show on TV and one of the judges said "I feel like I am a goddess". And others make her a goddess and she believes she is the god of self. Looks like a bad picture right? It gets worse...many people thing this way. Pride thinks this way. The thought that People "don't respect me" is this way. LOL, "who died and made you King of the universe!?". We've only one God to worship and He came in the form of man...Jesus. God is jealous, and He is punishing. And even His punishments are GOOD. This is good then, to have one God that is GOOD. Because we are no good without HIM!! All the commandments follow suit, keeping Holy the Sabbath, meaning going to honor and worship Him at the very least on Sunday the new Sabbath, the new Holy day to honor and worship Jesus, the new last day to spend with Him! Honoring Him and keeping this day Holy makes our lives holy, then we can honor mother and father and not kill one another and not steal from one another, and not lie about one another or put one another down with false things that mostly happen in gossip. Then we can be a giving people, sharing, not wanting or desiring someone else's things. And notice how a woman is among the property listings! She is not to be treated as property...although sadly...woman are treated as property, as objects, this is the pornography of the day, a training of mind, the filth, the materialism, the opposite of holiness, and is most evident in how they are dressed and talked about, and her looks are her "power". This is the complete opposite of what God desires. Holiness in every single commandment, beginning with HIMSELF! We prayed today "Lord, you have the words of everlasting life. The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul; The decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple"
In comes our Lord: ""Hear the parable of the sower." Did you hear? Have you heard? What is the Lord saying? Are you paying attention? Can you hear? Because that is what we got...the Word spoken. And that's all it takes for God to work wonders and marvels in the world we live in. Why is hearing important? Because....God is speaking. And if you don't understand Him...how can you do what He asks? How I wish my kids would understand me, so they wouldn't have to suffer. But they don't. And they have to suffer, as much as I try to hold their hand, I have to let them learn. Such is the gift of God in life. Freedom. It was such a thought that hit me earlier this week. God must really love us to give us such tremendous freedom.
That little dog of my son I spoke to you about "buddy": I'm watching him run around on my security cameras at my office as I write to you. He ran from our house several hundred feet away to get here and is now dodging so many bullets, his life is at risk. Already in one week, someone tried to steal him, took him home and asked later who's dog it was, then brought it back, miraculously. Every morning I try to take it home and trick it into staying home where my son is asleep and the older dog has learned it is safer there and now stays there. Sometimes it works, this morning it did not. He won't stay where it is safe, where the master will take care of its every need. A truck zooms by, and it is nearly ran over. Another worker came in asking a day later who's dog it is because he likes it (to take it home). It follows anybody and everybody around as if everybody is its master. (False gods). It has total freedom now that is saved from the pound (slavery, in Egypt, slavery in sin). I am afraid for its life (a human's soul, your soul). So what can I do? My son is not awake yet to come save him as he did yesterday. (The Son Jesus saving mankind). And so, I am ordering boundaries (the commandments.) I ordered a wireless boundary for buddy, our buddy. These will help keep him saved and enjoy being with my son. Yet, the boundary system is run on batteries, once they wear out, hopefully, the puppy will learn its boundaries and not need to be zapped or punished anymore, but will know better and just enjoy being where the master (God) wants him to be....with HIM ALWAYS
God is indeed GOOD. Loving, and Jealous because He can love more like no other. No false god we follow online, in politics, in sports, leisure and self indulgence, or in any sense of this world can love or save like our Lord in heaven.
Learn your boundaries and love them. They will keep us with God FOREVER!!!! AMEN??