Tuesday, August 26, 2014

First The Inside

Untitled document


Our Highest Priority
Heavenly Father, how can I make Jesus the highest priority in my life so that I can take his message seriously and be one of his friends and disciples? I can start by opening my heart to your grace so I will be ready to respond to Jesus's call. I ask this in Jesus's name. Amen.
— from Stories of Jesus 

St. Joseph Calasanz
Listen to Audio

From Aragon, where he was born in 1556, to Rome, where he died 92 years later, fortune alternately smiled and frowned on the work of Joseph Calasanz. A priest with university training in canon law and theology, respected for his wisdom and administrative expertise, he put aside his career because he was deeply concerned with the need for education of poor children.

When he was unable to get other institutes to undertake this apostolate at Rome, he and several companions personally provided a free school for deprived children. So overwhelming was the response that there was a constant need for larger facilities to house their effort. Soon Pope Clement VIII gave support to the school, and this aid continued under Pope Paul V. Other schools were opened; other men were attracted to the work and in 1621 the community (for so the teachers lived) was recognized as a religious community, the Clerks Regular of Religious Schools (Piarists or Scolopi). Not long after, Joseph was appointed superior for life.

A combination of various prejudices and political ambition and maneuvering caused the institute much turmoil. Some did not favor educating the poor, for education would leave the poor dissatisfied with their lowly tasks for society! Others were shocked that some of the Piarists were sent for instruction to Galileo (a friend of Joseph) as superior, thus dividing the members into opposite camps. Repeatedly investigated by papal commissions, Joseph was demoted; when the struggle within the institute persisted, the Piarists were suppressed. Only after Joseph's death were they formally recognized as a religious community.


No one knew better than Joseph the need for the work he was doing; no one knew better than he how baseless were the charges brought against him. Yet if he were to work within the Church, he realized that he must submit to its authority, that he must accept a setback if he was unable to convince authorized investigators. While the prejudice, the scheming, and the ignorance of men often keep the truth from emerging for a long period of time, Joseph was convinced, even under suppression, that his institute would again be recognized and authorized. With this trust he joined exceptional patience and a genuine spirit of forgiveness.


Even in the days after his own demotion, Joseph protected his persecutors against his enraged partisans; and when the community was suppressed, he stated with Job, to whom he was often compared: "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; /blessed be the name of the Lord!" (Job 1:21b).

Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M. 



I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me, creating me in his image and likeness, making me his temple....



Lord, you granted me the great gift of freedom.  In these times, O Lord, grant that I may be free From any form of racism or intolerance. Remind me, Lord, that we are all equal in Your Loving eyes.


I ask how I am within myself today? Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form? If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?

The Word of God

Matthew 23:23-26


Reading 12 THES 2:1-3A, 14-17

We ask you, brothers and sisters,
with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
and our assembling with him,
not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly,
or to be alarmed either by a "spirit," or by an oral statement,
or by a letter allegedly from us
to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand.
Let no one deceive you in any way.

To this end he has also called you through our Gospel
to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, stand firm
and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught,
either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,
who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement
and good hope through his grace,
encourage your hearts and strengthen them
in every good deed and word.


Responsorial Psalm PS 96:10, 11-12, 13

R. (13b) The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.


Gospel MT 23:23-26

Jesus said:
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin,
and have neglected the weightier things of the law:
judgment and mercy and fidelity.
But these you should have done, without neglecting the others.
Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You cleanse the outside of cup and dish,
but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.
Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup,
so that the outside also may be clean."



How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold? Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way?
I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me, I turn and share my feelings with him.


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.


Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Matthew 23:23-26

View NAB Reading at

Subscriber? Login to view archives.

21st Week in Ordinary Time

Cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean. (Matthew 23:26)


Many homes have a junk drawer or catch-all closet that the owners don't really want other people to know about. When company approaches, stray papers and miscellaneous objects with no clear category are deposited into these hiding places. When these things are out of sight, the house at least appears orderly, and guests get a good impression. Unfortunately, just out of view is evidence of a persistent and perhaps growing clutter.

This kind of superficial remedy can give us an image of what our spiritual life can be like. It can be tempting to clean the outside of the cup while not tending to the inside (Matthew 23:25-26).  At a restaurant we may be careful to say grace before eating but think nothing of snapping at a waiter who seems less than perfectly polite. We may try hard not to miss Mass, but just before the service, we cut someone off trying to get a parking space.

Why don't our outward observances more closely match what's inside us? Oftentimes, it's because we find it easier to manage our appearance than to deal with our flaws. We want to hide them away and occupy ourselves with what we can control. It's as if we were a parent whose teenager is always fighting, and all we do is keep reminding him to comb his hair! But like a wise parent, Jesus insists that we come to him and tell him what the real problem is. He is anxious to listen to us and to offer us his healing remedy.

This is exactly what the Sacrament of Reconciliation is for! It should be anything but a cosmetic approach. It's meant to set us free from the inside out. As we examine our consciences through the light of the Holy Spirit, we can get to the root of the shortcomings that dog us. Whatever we're dealing with, if we acknowledge it, confess it, and seek God's grace to part with it, he will forgive us and restore us to his presence. We never have to live chained to our sins. Today is the "acceptable time" when you can receive his love and mercy (2 Corinthians 6:2)!

"Lord, you know my heart, and still you love me! Grant me the grace to see my sins as you see them and the courage to come to you for healing."


2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 14-17; Psalm 96:10-13

It's what's inside that counts, not always the outside appearance as if the whitewashed tombs.  Allow me to translate today's 5 minutos:
  "<< "I'd rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness.>>  Giving someone all of your love is never sure that they will love you in return, but do not wait for them to love you in return; just wait for the love to grow in the heart of the other person, but if it does not grow, be happy because it grew in yours.  There are things that you would love to hear, that you will never hear from the person you would like to hear them say, but do not be deaf to not hear them who says them to you from their heart>>(Mother Teresa of Calcuta).  A little boy was standing, barefoot, in front of a store shaking in the cold.  A lady came close and said: "My little friend, what are you looking at with so much interest in that window?".  He responded:"I am asking God to give me a pair of shoes".  The lady took him by the hand and led him inside the store and asked and employee for a half dozen socks for the boy and a pair of shoes.  She asked if she could borrow a pale of water and a towel and took the boy to the back part of the store.  With compassion she began to wash the feet of the boy and dried them, then she put on the socks and shoes.  She carressed the boy's head, the boy really happy, he reached for her hand, looking to her with tears in his eyes asked her: "Are you the wife of God?" The lady responded "No, I'm just a woman appreciative of what He has given me."  Beloved friends, can you imagine how different the world would be?"
Today's 1st Holy Scripture said " hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours."  Never does it say "the bible alone".  Our protestant brothers and sisters do not understand the Catholic Tradition that is coupled from and to the Holy Bible.  Even the word "bible" does not exist in the bible.  Our Tradition is one of grace.  In today's 1st Holy Scripture, it brings about the word "grace" again; "May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word."  The opening meditation talked about opening ourselves to His Grace.  Then we prayed the Psalm "The Lord comes to judge the earth".  As I read those words we tend to understand them in terms of God's wrath.  But then we read the Holy Gospel and Jesus our Lord and Savior is teaching us judgement.  Because at every moment we judge, but through and with His Grace?  Then forget God's wrath and avenging attitude, it is about the love He desires in our heart's what's inside that counts, amen?  So let's go inside.  What is in there? What's inside my heart?  Grief? Sin?  Regret?  How about love for neighbor...or enemy?  What's in there?  Because that is what our Lord is getting at, or trying to get into...your heart.  Why?  To be love in the world in need.  My mission is where I am at and being guided to by the Holy Spirit.  I met a man in town years ago.  A business owner.  Seemed to have everything in order, great smile (maybe a sad one?), he seemed to want to help me.  I had a good impression about him. Weeks later I heard he shot himself a couple miles away from my house out in the country.  Same thing happened years later with a school friend.  We spoke, he left on his motorcycle, weeks later he shot himself with a shotgun.  Why is the outward appearance deceiving?  Because evil is deceiving.  Nowadays people are drugged to treat depression.  Very few take to Jesus with every last drop of blood.  I haven't either, but I want to, and usually if you want something bad enough, you'll get it, right? Where there is a will there is a way?  I desire mercy.  I long for Him.  This is the air I breathe.  His Holy Presence, living in me.  And I'm desperate for You.  I long to hear another story of Love in the world and I love living the story for reals. 
So let's make this love real, be the hands and feet of Jesus...especially the Sacred Heart
Subscribe to the Going4th mailing list.