Monday, July 27, 2015

Open My Mouth

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Minute Meditations

Do Not Judge
Father, we are all sinners. I am a sinner. I beg for the grace to never judge the actions of others, since it is possible that I might do the same things if I were in their situation. I ask this in Jesus's name, Amen.
— from Stories of Jesus

Blessed Antonio Lucci
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Antonio studied with and was a friend of St. Francesco Antonio Fasani, who after Antonio Lucci's death testified at the diocesan hearings regarding the holiness of Lucci.

Born in Agnone in southern Italy, a city famous for manufacturing bells and copper crafts, he was given the name Angelo at Baptism. He attended the local school run by the Conventual Franciscans and joined them at the age of 16. Antonio completed his studies for the priesthood in Assisi, where he was ordained in 1705. Further studies led to a doctorate in theology and appointments as a teacher in Agnone, Ravello and Naples. He also served as guardian in Naples.

Elected minister provincial in 1718, the following year he was appointed professor at St. Bonaventure College in Rome, a position he held until Pope Benedict XIII chose him as bishop of Bovino (near Foggia) in 1729. The pope explained, "I have chosen as bishop of Bovino an eminent theologian and a great saint."

His 23 years as bishop were marked by visits to local parishes and a renewal of gospel living among the people of his diocese. He dedicated his episcopal income to works of education and charity. At the urging of the Conventual minister general, Bishop Lucci wrote a major book about the saints and blesseds in the first 200 years of the Conventual Franciscans.

He was beatified in 1989, three years after his friend Francesco Antonio Fasani was canonized.


As Pope Paul VI wrote in 1975, people today "are more impressed by witnesses than by teachers, and if they listen to these it is because they also bear witness" (Evangelization in the Modern World, #41).


When Francis of Assisi learned that Anthony of Padua was teaching theology to the friars in Bologna, Francis wrote: "It pleases me that you teach sacred theology to the brothers, as long as—in the words of the Rule—you do not extinguish the spirit of prayer and devotion with study of this kind."

Daily Prayer - 2015-07-27


I remind myself that, as I sit here now,
God is gazing on me with love and holding me in being.
I pause for a moment and think of this.


By God's grace I was born to live in freedom.
Free to enjoy the pleasures He created for me.
Dear Lord, grant that I may live as You intended,
with complete confidence in Your Loving care.


In God's loving presence I unwind the past day,
starting from now and looking back, moment by moment.
I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude.
I attend to the shadows and what they say to me,
seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.

The Word of God


Reading 1 Ex 32:15-24, 30-34

Moses turned and came down the mountain
with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands,
tablets that were written on both sides, front and back;
tablets that were made by God,
having inscriptions on them that were engraved by God himself.
Now, when Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting,
he said to Moses, "That sounds like a battle in the camp."
But Moses answered, "It does not sound like cries of victory,
nor does it sound like cries of defeat;
the sounds that I hear are cries of revelry."
As he drew near the camp, he saw the calf and the dancing.
With that, Moses' wrath flared up, so that he threw the tablets down
and broke them on the base of the mountain.
Taking the calf they had made, he fused it in the fire
and then ground it down to powder,
which he scattered on the water and made the children of Israel drink.

Moses asked Aaron, "What did this people ever do to you
that you should lead them into so grave a sin?"
Aaron replied, "Let not my lord be angry.
You know well enough how prone the people are to evil.
They said to me, 'Make us a god to be our leader;
as for the man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt,
we do not know what has happened to him.'
So I told them, 'Let anyone who has gold jewelry take it off.'
They gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and this calf came out."

On the next day Moses said to the people,
"You have committed a grave sin.
I will go up to the LORD, then;
perhaps I may be able to make atonement for your sin."
So Moses went back to the LORD and said,
"Ah, this people has indeed committed a grave sin
in making a god of gold for themselves!
If you would only forgive their sin!
If you will not, then strike me out of the book that you have written."
The LORD answered, "Him only who has sinned against me
will I strike out of my book.
Now, go and lead the people to the place I have told you.
My angel will go before you.
When it is time for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin."

Responsorial Psalm PS 106:19-20, 21-22, 23

R. (1a) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

Alleluia Jas 1:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Father willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 13:31-35

Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.
"The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
that a person took and sowed in a field.
It is the smallest of all the seeds,
yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
It becomes a large bush,
and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches."

He spoke to them another parable.
"The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast
that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch was leavened."

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.
He spoke to them only in parables,
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:

I will open my mouth in parables,
I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.

Some thoughts on today's scripture
  • Jesus often uses images of smallness when describing the heavenly kingdom. Through the wonders of creation God provides living water and radiant sunlight so that the tiny mustard grows over time to become 'the greatest of shrubs' firmly rooted in the ground providing shelter for the many birds who rest in its branches.
  • Lord, I pray that I may set my heart on your kingdom first. You invite me to experience the fullness of life which you wish to give me. You love me unconditionally and keep me rooted in faith so that I can grow to know you more, and experience the great love which you have for me. Your grace acts within me and spurs me onwards to love others just as you love me.


I begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture I have just read.
What part of it strikes a chord in me? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story I have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface in my consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to me?


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 13:31-35

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17th Week in Ordinary Time

The Kingdom of heaven is like... (Matthew 13:31)

Online map programs, satellite navigation devices, and even old-fashioned street maps can't identify where God's kingdom is or how to get there. So what are the markers of the kingdom? Everyone agreeing about everything and attending the same church on Sundays? Nothing but smiles and hugs? Unity and conformity?

Not really. Look at the images of the mustard seed, a large bush, a sprinkle of yeast, and a lump of dough, and you might get a better understanding of what this kingdom is and what it is not.

Jesus didn't paint a picture of a kingdom free of difficulties and disagreements. If it weren't for these differences, we would never see any growth or deepening of understanding. In reality, the kingdom of God is constantly spreading and bringing life, even in those places where we don't yet see God at work. Every day, tiny seeds are sown in the world—in prisons and barrios, in boardrooms and bedrooms, in war zones and classrooms, even in the darkest places of our hearts. And every day, those seeds are watered by the Holy Spirit. Every day, they grow closer to bearing fruit, even if we don't always perceive it.

Mind you, not all of these seeds will mature fully. But that doesn't mean God isn't at work. You may never see the fullness of what he is doing, and you may never see the perfection of his plans. Still, the kingdom of God is in this entire world, just as it is within you, and it's advancing. It's growing, even if you become sidetracked by imperfections —in you, in the people around you, and in what you see of the kingdom. Still, no matter what happens, this one thing is true: God is in control, and his plans will be fulfilled.

Today, trust that God is watching over all the seeds that have been planted, no matter what you think his kingdomlooks like. St. Paul saw many of his fellow apostles martyred. He stepped into disagreements and all manner of contention in, and between, the infant churches. The kingdom on earth was newborn and shaky. Yet he prayed with confidence that love would abound more and more, so that the kingdom would advance. That prayer is for us, too!

"Jesus, advance your kingdom in me and in the world! I place my trust in you."


Exodus 32:15-24, 30-34
Psalm 106:19-23


One wonders for how long Moses was gone that the people down under (at the foot of the mountain) lost their patience and wanted something more secure to focus on.  And so one wonders how long Jesus will be while most of us down under the Heavens are waiting, growing impatient, making of things gods to focus on, that work of our hands.  This is the intuition I get from reading other reflections, guess now 3 before writing to you.  It's like we're designed to give into the larger community, but which one are we giving into?  Into which sport?  Into which recreation?  Into cosumerism?  Into foods?  Into what pot are we mixing into?  Giving into the wrong pot can bring you into a world of trouble.  So what is wrong and what is right?  Well, that's what Moses was coming to say with the commands from God, and at the top of the list?  Thou shall not have strange gods before me...exactly what they were doing.  And Moses didn't need to bring the tablets for them to know, they KNEW that this God was leading them...yet they wanted something they built out of their own hands, something they could control, they wanted to box in God, put him in a little statue and say "this is what God is like" and then put him away until they needed "it" again.  Such is the problem in our lives, we have a little of this, a little of that, and maybe just a little bit of God here and there, but not too much cuz people might say you're a holy roller or too religious.  Suddenly the work of your hands, this earthly gold, this vanity, this gold that shows your distorted reflection when it is shined up, suddenly the little bit you are putting in for the big pot...matters.
The Psalms pray on: Give Thanks to the Lord for He is good.  Why do people go to Holy Mass?  I'm afraid some miss the point.  It is is to give thanks.  To give.  To give time.  To give money.  To give talents even serving in various ways.  To give thanks.  We come together to put in all our sins, all our money, and ask for the Lord to have mercy on us.  Perhaps, we are there to ask for humility?  Well, that would be ideal.  But is it our ideal?  
Jesus brings us a mustard seed.  Sometimes a little child He brings in.  But this time a little mustard seed.  And "that's what the Kingdom of God is like".  WHOA k?  How does that work?  Most times we can say, like the feeding of the thousands with only a few loaves and fishes "God does miracles with what little we offer".  It is true though.  I offer very little willingness to stop being me, when I am receiving the Holy Eucharist, but God makes it grow from there.  What about offering a little sorrow for your sins in Holy Confession?  Not very many do that, so why don't you go try it?  Or are we giving into the bigger melting pot that says "you don't need all that".  Yes you do. If it is changing and saving lives, souls, how can you say "you don't need that"?  Like a relative that told me to stop being so pro-life, and I said I can't do that, she made it sound like it wasn't that big a deal. And that's a lie.  A life lost, a little embryo to lose is a big deal.  It's a little seed that's already sprouted, with hearts beating at not even 20 days old.  Seeds are inside of our souls that have started to grow to Heaven and that is our destiny.  And so as I travelled home this weekend, the thoughts hit, "what is the purpose of life?". People must wonder this all the time.  Why don't we ask "who is the purpose of life?".  Because that tells you the answer.  Jesus Christ is the answer.  Everything else will leave you dissatisfied.  Why do people give up?  Why do people give in?  Why do people grow impatient?  Because the devil awaits wherever you go, evil spirits crossed the sea when Moses parted it.  The people were susceptible to this disease of sin and the purpose of their salvation was to save not their earthly bodies only, but their souls.  So be on guard and feed the seed.  Feed with Holy Eucharist.  Feed with Jesus.  Feed the seed and that's all we need.  Life is growing and going.  Face reality with courage, that God is with us and more powerful and can save if we wait in loving patience and charity geared towards Him first.  
Over and over you'll feel the resentment of the world, but it is nothing compared to the love of God that you know is living inside of you and wants to burst forth and bloom and give fruit for the life of the world.  Designed to give.  Let's give all to God