Many sheep do not recognize the presence of the Good Shepherd in the Church today and insist on wandering off on their own, expecting to enjoy the false freedom of living independently. They allow themselves to be deaf to the voice of the Shepherd. Soon, without realizing it, they grow weak without the nourishing food in the Shepherd's pasture and grow thirsty as they drift farther away from the springs of living water in the Spirit.
The Good Shepherd wanders day and night throughout the whole world, seeking out the lost, the bruised, and the troubled sheep. In ways we can never comprehend, he touches their lives and comforts and heals and strengthens their troubled and anguished spirits, broken bodies, and minds. The Good Shepherd will never abandon his flock.
—from the book Stories of Jesus by Joseph F. Girzone
✞ "The goodness of God is the highest object of prayer, and it reaches down to our lowest need. It quickens our soul and gives it life, and makes it grow in grace and virtue." — St. Julian of Norwich
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Know this: just as the wood of the ark saved the just from drowning, so too, by the mystery of His wooden Cross, does Christ, the Church's God and King, save us from drowning in the sea of this world. In the symbol of a thing made of wood He gave human beings a foreshadowing of both the judgment to come and the salvation of the just." — St. Augustine, p.137 AN EXCERPT FROM Augustine Day by Day
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "For it is the God who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us." 2 Corinthians 4:6-7
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Saint Peter of Alcantara
(1499 – October 18, 1562)
Peter was a contemporary of well-known 16th-century Spanish saints, including Ignatius of Loyola and John of the Cross. He served as confessor to Saint Teresa of Avila. Church reform was a major issue in Peter's day, and he directed most of his energies toward that end. His death came one year before the Council of Trent ended.
Born into a noble family–his father was the governor of Alcantara in Spain–Peter studied law at Salamanca University, and at 16 he joined the so-called Observant Franciscans, also known as the discalced friars. While he practiced many penances, he also demonstrated abilities which were soon recognized. He was named the superior of a new house even before his ordination as a priest, was elected provincial at the age of 39, and he was a very successful preacher. Still, he was not above washing dishes and cutting wood for the friars. He did not seek attention; indeed, he preferred solitude.
Peter's penitential side was evident when it came to food and clothing. It is said that he slept only 90 minutes each night. While others talked about Church reform, Peter's reform began with himself. His patience was so great that a proverb arose: "To bear such an insult one must have the patience of Peter of Alcantara."
In 1554, Peter received permission to form a group of Franciscans who followed the Rule of St. Francis with even greater rigor. These friars were known as Alcantarines. Some of the Spanish friars who came to North and South America in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries were members of this group. At the end of the 19th century, the Alcantarines were joined with other Observant friars to form the Order of Friars Minor.
As spiritual director to Saint Teresa, Peter encouraged her in promoting the Carmelite reform. His preaching brought many people to religious life, especially to the Secular Franciscan Order, the friars, and the Poor Clares.
Peter of Alcantara was canonized in 1669.
Poverty was a means and not an end for Peter. The goal was following Christ in ever greater purity of heart. Whatever obstructed that path could be eliminated with no real loss. The philosophy of our consumer age—you are worth what you own—may find Peter of Alcantara's approach severe. Ultimately, his approach is life-giving while consumerism is deadly.
Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Rom 6:19-23
Brothers and sisters: I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your nature. For just as you presented the parts of your bodies as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness for lawlessness, so now present them as slaves to righteousness for sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness. But what profit did you get then from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification, and its end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6 R. (Ps 40:5) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord. Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked Nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, But delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night. R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord. He is like a tree planted near running water, That yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does, prospers. R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord. Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away. For the LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes. R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Alleluia Phil 3:8-9 R. Alleluia, alleluia. I consider all things so much rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 12:49-53
Jesus said to his disciples: "I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."
Meditation: Psalm 1:1-4, 6
He is like a tree planted near running water. (Psalm 1:3)
What a glorious promise—especially to the Jewish people who would have prayed this psalm! Remember, the Holy Land is a more arid region than where most of us live. The thought of lush vegetation growing along the banks of a babbling stream would have seemed almost exotic to them. So to say that the one who follows the Lord is like one of those trees is to say something powerful indeed!
While it's true that most of us live in more temperate climates, our spiritual environments can be far more arid. The world around us may not be as hospitable to our spiritual life, which means we should drink as deeply as we can when we are in the presence of Jesus' living waters. And nowhere do these waters flow more abundantly than at Mass.
What is one of the first things you do when you enter a church? You bless yourself with holy water. You recall your baptism, when you were first plunged into the water of life.
Then, during the Penitential Rite, you "confess to almighty God" that you need his forgiveness and mercy. You acknowledge that you need him to wash you with the waters of forgiveness.
Before the priest begins the Eucharistic Prayer, he adds drops of water to the wine. Why? Because it symbolizes Jesus humbling himself to take on our humanity, and it symbolizes our being joined to Christ. This small action tells us that we can be "mingled," or mixed, with the Lord so fully that his life becomes our life.
Finally, when you receive the Body and Blood of Christ, you are being joined to believers all across the world who are receiving the exact same thing. Together with these millions of brothers and sisters, you are drinking from the stream of eternal life. That stream is flowing in you and through you, and it connects you to the worldwide Church.
You don't need to dig a new well or find a new stream. The water is already there for you. So come and drink! Receive the stream that flows from the altar of the Lord, and let it fill you up.
"Thank you, Jesus, for planting me near running water! Help me to draw near to the life-giving stream of the Mass."
Romans 6:19-23 Luke 12:49-53
"But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification, and its end is eternal life." Slaves of God, we are being led to sanctification, it's scary, but it is good! Because its end is eternal life...not death.
We pray today ". Blessed are they who hope in the Lord. Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away. For the LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes."
Our Lord said ""I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!" Let the fire BURN. His disciples said to themselves "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" because they couldn't recognize Him in His resurrected body but they could feel their hearts burning. Jesus truly set the world on fire that continues to burn to this day.
If I talk to a cold person in faith, they say the world is a dark place. If I talk to a person on fire for the world, they will say God is good and the world is lit up. Your perspective changes when united with our Lord's. This is especially true living in grace, bound tightly in the Holy Sacraments. There have been times when someone asks me what drugs I'm on because they see me hyped up all the time...it is God. Today's saint was said to have slept 90 minutes a day, and I say probably because he was so pumped up for the Lord. Those moments of awakening are to be devoted to Him. Have yourself some of THIS Water. Forget the "red bull" that the world offers in false idols and false hype, no, get yourself into Holy Waters of salvation! Drink of his red blood. It purifies the soul and heals the mind and body.
I told someone at work yesterday "there have been times when a person goes and does a good confession and come to find out, they are even healed in their body, even of cancer". We need this water. We need this water He turns to wine, and this wine turned to blood. We need...Jesus. I've noticed my own mind, it gets preoccupied with nonsensical things, things not of the Kingdom of God; things like recreation, things like dreaming of vacations, and so forth. And when one goes, it is all a false hype. It is much better to be daily with the Lord than one day with Him out of the year. Some people don't feel it when they are far from the Lord. It is not good. Your conscious should tell you "hey, you need to come back to the Lord".
This is good. What's better? Actually coming to the Lord. What's better? Realizing God saying this mind blowing thing "I want you to be with me for an eternity". I can't imagine eternity, but my soul says "even an eternity is not enough to Love God". Let's start now. SET THE WORLD ON FIRE And it begins inside our heart, right now
"The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever." IS32:17