Whatever God says to us through the reading, and however we respond, we must take what we receive in the Word of God into our daily lives and allow it to change us. Otherwise, we deceive ourselves into believing we are following him simply because we have performed the act of reading the Bible.
—from the book Ignite: Read the Bible Like Never Before
✞ "When we go to confession, we ought to persuade ourselves to find Jesus Christ in the person of our confessor." — St. Philip Neri
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Our Lord's love shines out just as much through a little soul who yields completely to His Grace as it does through the greatest . . . Just as the sun shines equally on the cedar and the little flower, so the Divine Sun shines equally on everyone, great and small. Everything is ordered for their good, just as in nature the seasons are so ordered that the smallest daisy comes to bloom at its appointed time." — St. Therese of Lisieux, p. 4-5 AN EXCERPT FROM Story of a Soul
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY
Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27
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(October 1, 1480 – August 7, 1547)
Like most of us, Cajetan seemed headed for an "ordinary" life—first as a lawyer, then as a priest engaged in the work of the Roman Curia.
His life took a characteristic turn when he joined the Oratory of Divine Love in Rome, a group devoted to piety and charity, shortly after his ordination at 36. When he was 42 he founded a hospital for incurables at Venice. At Vicenza, he joined a "disreputable" religious community that consisted only of men of the lowest stations of life—and was roundly censured by his friends, who thought his action was a reflection on his family. He sought out the sick and poor of the town and served them.
The greatest need of the time was the reformation of a Church that was "sick in head and members." Cajetan and three friends decided that the best road to reformation lay in reviving the spirit and zeal of the clergy. Together they founded a congregation known as the Theatines–from Teate [Chieti] where their first superior-bishop had his see. One of the friends later became Pope Paul IV.
They managed to escape to Venice after their house in Rome was wrecked when Emperor Charles V's troops sacked Rome in 1527. The Theatines were outstanding among the Catholic reform movements that took shape before the Protestant Reformation. Cajetan founded a monte de pieta–"mountain or fund of piety"–in Naples, one of many charitable, nonprofit credit organizations that lent money on the security of pawned objects. The purpose was to help the poor and protect them against usurers. Cajetan's little organization ultimately became the Bank of Naples, with great changes in policy.
If Vatican II had been summarily stopped after its first session in 1962, many Catholics would have felt that a great blow had been dealt to the growth of the Church. Cajetan had the same feeling about the Council of Trent, held from 1545 to 1563. But as he said, God is the same in Naples as in Venice, with or without Trent or Vatican II. We open ourselves to God's power in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, and God's will is done. God's standards of success differ from ours.
Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Nm 11:4b-15
The children of Israel lamented, "Would that we had meat for food! We remember the fish we used to eat without cost in Egypt, and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now we are famished; we see nothing before us but this manna."
Manna was like coriander seed and had the color of resin. When they had gone about and gathered it up, the people would grind it between millstones or pound it in a mortar, then cook it in a pot and make it into loaves, which tasted like cakes made with oil. At night, when the dew fell upon the camp, the manna also fell.
When Moses heard the people, family after family, crying at the entrance of their tents, so that the LORD became very angry, he was grieved. "Why do you treat your servant so badly?" Moses asked the LORD. "Why are you so displeased with me that you burden me with all this people? Was it I who conceived all this people? Or was it I who gave them birth, that you tell me to carry them at my bosom, like a foster father carrying an infant, to the land you have promised under oath to their fathers? Where can I get meat to give to all this people? For they are crying to me, 'Give us meat for our food.' I cannot carry all this people by myself, for they are too heavy for me. If this is the way you will deal with me, then please do me the favor of killing me at once, so that I need no longer face this distress."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 81:12-13, 14-15, 16-17 R. (2a) Sing with joy to God our help. "My people heard not my voice, and Israel obeyed me not; So I gave them up to the hardness of their hearts; they walked according to their own counsels." R. Sing with joy to God our help. "If only my people would hear me, and Israel walk in my ways, Quickly would I humble their enemies; against their foes I would turn my hand." R. Sing with joy to God our help. "Those who hated the LORD would seek to flatter me, but their fate would endure forever, While Israel I would feed with the best of wheat, and with honey from the rock I would fill them." R. Sing with joy to God our help.
Alleluia Mt 4:4 R. Alleluia, alleluia. One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 14:13-21
When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, "This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves." He said to them, "There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves." But they said to him, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have here." Then he said, "Bring them here to me," and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over– twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.
Meditation: Matthew 14:13-21
Saint Sixtus II, Pope, and Companions, Martyrs (Optional Memorial)
Give them some food yourselves. (Matthew 14:16)
What a stunning reversal! In most of the gospel stories, we see Jesus drawing his disciples' attention to the needs of the people around them—people who are like "sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36). But today, we see the disciples telling Jesus about a hungry crowd of followers.
In yet another unexpected reversal, Jesus turns the tables on the Twelve: "Give them some food yourselves" (Matthew 14:16). I'm not the only one who can do these things; you can take care of them as well.
Jesus' response no doubt takes the disciples by surprise. The little bit that they had couldn't possibly be enough. But Jesus doesn't scorn their contribution. Instead, he welcomes them into the miracle he is about to perform by commissioning them to distribute the food.
Give them some food yourselves. You can do it. That may not be what you want to hear when you bring your petitions to the Lord. Perhaps you are praying for a friend who is in a difficult situation. Like the disciples, you are concerned, and so you ask Jesus to intervene. You ask him to perform a certain kind of miracle, and in a way, that makes sense to you. But what if Jesus sends you back to your friend and tells you to take care of her, just as he did with the apostles?
While we don't often hear Jesus saying something like this, this is what he is doing when miracles don't seem to flow automatically. He is inviting you to be Christ in that situation. Remember, he has given you his Spirit for a purpose. Of course he wants you to be part of his mission in the world! He loves using his people in creative, unexpected ways to bring about the miracles we long for.
Of course, Jesus doesn't expect you to do all the work any more than he expected his disciples to feed everyone by themselves. But he does want you to do some of the work. So bring his grace into situations of fear and darkness. Be his voice of comfort where there is sickness. Provide the embrace, the listening heart, and the steadying hands that so many need. You'll be giving them something to eat each time you do.
"Jesus, stretch my faith today. When I see someone in need, show me how to bring the miracle of your love to them."
Numbers 11:4-15 Psalm 81:12-17
Moses pleaded to the Lord "Where can I get meat to give to all this people? For they are crying to me, 'Give us meat for our food." They want meat on their bones, the spirit cries out in suffering, they want more....
We pray today "Sing with joy to God our help. "Those who hated the LORD would seek to flatter me, but their fate would endure forever, While Israel I would feed with the best of wheat, and with honey from the rock I would fill them."
The Word of God, Jesus, the cornerstone that gave us the rock and from there, sweetness of Himself to be given to those crying out for Him reaching out to Him. We heard today in the Holy Gospel as they approach the Lord in intercession after hearing surely that people were hungry "This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves." This was the only way the disciples knew how to help...to send them off to help themselves. To send them off into the dark looking for something to eat. Yet, God says no. God says ""There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves." They bring 5 loaves and 2 fishes to the Lord after the Lord had basically said "give Me what you got.....ALL OF IT". Sometimes we think what we got to offer is so little, but God does amazing things with little things. Just look at today's miracle. Look, even, at the quotes of "the little flower" which we heard today of a saint that didn't live that long, yet became a "doctor of the Church". You would think your neck of the woods is not important, but that's not how today's saint saw things to make a difference. You make all the difference when you give all you got to the Lord. Try it and see.
The Lord wanted alone time in prayer, but the crowds sought him. His heart was moved for them, and He healed them, much like in Confession, we are healed, and then...He fed them, much like in the Holy Eucharist. But first, the healing. A broken body can not eat very well and do much with nourishment provided. Many go to Holy Communion without a Holy Confession. Don't we? And we wonder why life isn't any better after Holy Communion. It's because our body, our spiritual body is not taking all the nourishment in as it could with a Holy Confession. I love confessions before Mass. We went this weekend, took our kids out of town for Saturday Mass and confessed right before at the only church in the city that does this, perhaps because it has two priests and the line was rather long and that made me rather happy. As I stood in line, I would watch the flocks going into Mass. A thought hit me as I looked at their look, "I wonder what they are thinking as they see the confessional lines? "Some may think that these "people might have serious sins!" because many believe its for serious mortal sins only. If this is the case, then why does the Pope go so often to confessional? The confessional is a place where God is found, where healing is found, and the Spiritual nourishment of the Eucharist is cementing what is healed. The people cried for meat. Moses was moved to tears for them and with them. Jesus was moved to tears for His children and provided for them.
That song I wrote called "The Son Goes" was inspired by a sunset. Darkness was coming. The day would end and would never come back. And in the darkness is what the disciples must have felt when Jesus was nailed to the cross, darkness was coming. That's what the song was about. That fear, that loneliness, that loss of the king and entire livelihood which they had based their whole lives on. Jesus said "I will be with you always" and gives us the Eucharist instituted into the priesthood into the Holy Catholic Church. He is always with us.
These are all the things that went through me today as I went to Mass this morning before writing to you.
May it inspire you, and encourage you, even to the point of desiring Him daily in Holy Mass...where God provides the honey from the rock, where He provides His very FLESH