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. (One of them later became Paul IV.) Together they founded a congregation known as the Theatines (from Teate [Chieti] where their first superior-bishop had his see). 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. He 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.
When Cajetan was sent to establish a house of his congregation in Naples, a count tried to prevail upon him to accept an estate in lands. He refused. The count pointed out that he would need the money, for the people of Naples were not as generous as the people of Venice. "That may be true," replied Cajetan, "but God is the same in both cities."
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 (1545-63). 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.
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
I remind myself that I am in your presence O Lord.
Everything has the potential to draw forth from me a fuller love and life.
Yet my desires are often fixed, caught, on illusions of fulfillment.
I ask that God, through my freedom may orchestrate
my desires in a vibrant loving melody rich in harmony.
Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I look honestly over the last day, its events and my feelings. Do I have something to be grateful for? Then I give thanks. Is there something I am sorry for? Then I ask forgiveness.
The Word of God
Reading 1 jer 31:31-34
The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel
and the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers:
the day I took them by the hand
to lead them forth from the land of Egypt;
for they broke my covenant,
and I had to show myself their master, says the LORD.
But this is the covenant that I will make
with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD.
I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives
how to know the LORD.
All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD,
for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.
Responsorial Psalm ps 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19
R. (12a) Create a clean heart in me, O God.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners shall return to you.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Gospel mt 16:13-23
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
and he asked his disciples,
"Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Simon Peter said in reply,
"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Then he strictly ordered his disciples
to tell no one that he was the Christ.
From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples
that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly
from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him,
"God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you."
He turned and said to Peter,
"Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."
Remembering that I am still in God's presence, I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting beside me, and say whatever is on my mind, whatever is in my heart, speaking as one friend to another.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
world without end.
Meditation: Matthew 16:13-23
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Saint Sixtus II, Pope, and Companions, Martyrs
He strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah. (Matthew 16:20)
Thanks to a wonderful revelation, Peter has realized and boldly confessed that his friend Jesus is the Messiah, Son of the living God. Surely he and the other disciples need to share this fantastic discovery with everyone they meet! But Jesus disagrees. "Don't tell anyone," he says.
Much ink has been spilled trying to explain this "Messianic secret." Perhaps it wasn't yet the right time for the disciples to announce who Jesus really was. Perhaps his companions had a mistaken notion of who the Messiah should be. Many in Israel at the time expected a warrior-king who would drive out the occupying Roman army and establish Jerusalem as a great world capital. So maybe it was better for the Twelve to keep quiet than to risk having large numbers of people take up arms and flock to join a movement that Jesus had no intention of leading. As we can see in the Gospels, even the disciples still had a long road ahead of them before they could begin to comprehend that he had come as a Messiah who would bring salvation through suffering, not military victory. They would only grasp this after Jesus' death and resurrection.
These are all important points and valid reasons why the disciples needed to remain quiet. But today's first reading offers us another equally important answer: in God's new creation, God will reveal himself to each individual person. "No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives how to know the Lord" (Jeremiah 31:34). The apostles needed to learn that their role as evangelists wasn't so much to teach people about God but to discern where the Holy Spirit is already at work and help people respond to the Spirit's promptings. There is a world of difference between saying, "Jesus is Lord," and crying out, "Jesus, you are my Lord!"
Of course, we need to tell people about Jesus, but our purpose isn't simply to convey information. It's to introduce people to a divine Friend who is very eager for them to come to know him. This is what the apostles did, and it's our calling as well.
"Jesus, you are my Messiah. Teach me how to share your good news with every person I meet today."
Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 51:12-15, 18-19
It is later than usual, going in group to Florida. I type waiting at an airport. And still the Lord is calling and tugging at the heart. It is spectacular. How can I say that? The Lord, the warrior King came into the world and conquered the world. It just so happened, not the way the Jewish thought it would be. He conquered the unseen, and what is seen. Not with swords. He told Peter the night before He was crucified to put the sword away. This is the way the Lord will win and will win through you and me! GLORY Be and LET IT BE!