Thursday, July 30, 2015

Into The Sea

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Minute Meditations
The Road to Jerusalem

Just as Jesus resolutely traveled to Jerusalem, knowing that crucifixion awaited him, we know that we need to seek God's will and embrace God's support in all situations—even the necessarily painful ones.
— from Spiritual Resilience

St. Peter Chrysologus
(406-450?)Listen to Audio

A man who vigorously pursues a goal may produce results far beyond his expectations and his intentions. Thus it was with Peter of the Golden Words, as he was called, who as a young man became bishop of Ravenna, the capital of the empire in the West.

At the time there were abuses and vestiges of paganism evident in his diocese, and these he was determined to battle and overcome. His principal weapon was the short sermon, and many of them have come down to us. They do not contain great originality of thought. They are, however, full of moral applications, sound in doctrine and historically significant in that they reveal Christian life in fifth-century Ravenna. So authentic were the contents of his sermons that, some 13 centuries later, he was declared a doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XIII. He who had earnestly sought to teach and motivate his own flock was recognized as a teacher of the universal Church.

In addition to his zeal in the exercise of his office, Peter Chrysologus was distinguished by a fierce loyalty to the Church, not only in its teaching, but in its authority as well. He looked upon learning not as a mere opportunity but as an obligation for all, both as a development of God-given faculties and as a solid support for the worship of God.

Some time before his death, St. Peter returned to Imola, his birthplace, where he died around A.D. 450.


Eutyches, the leader of the heresy denying the humanity of Christ, sought support from church leaders, Peter Chrysologus among them, after his condemnation in ad 448. Peter frankly told him: "In the interest of peace and the faith, we cannot judge in matters of faith without the consent of the Roman bishop." He further exhorted Eutyches to accept the mystery of the Incarnation in simple faith. Peter reminded him that if the peace of the church causes joy in heaven, then divisions must give birth to grief.


Quite likely, it was St. Peter Chrysologus's attitude toward learning that gave substance to his exhortations. Next to virtue, learning, in his view, was the greatest improver of the human mind and the support of true religion. Ignorance is not a virtue, nor is anti-intellectualism. Knowledge is neither more nor less a source of pride than physical, administrative or financial prowess. To be fully human is to expand our knowledge—whether sacred or secular—according to our talent and opportunity.

Daily Prayer - 2015-07-30


Lord, help me to be fully alive to your Holy presence.
Enfold me in your love.
Let my heart become one with yours.


Lord, grant me the grace to be free from the excesses of this life.
Let me not get caught up with the desire for wealth.
Keep my heart and mind free to love and serve you.


Where do I sense hope, encouragement, and growth areas in my life? By looking back over the last few months, I may be able to see which activities and occasions have produced rich fruit.  If I do notice such areas, I will determine to give those areas both time and space in the future.

The Word of God


Reading 1 Ex 40:16-21, 34-38

Moses did exactly as the LORD had commanded him.
On the first day of the first month of the second year
the Dwelling was erected.
It was Moses who erected the Dwelling.
He placed its pedestals, set up its boards, put in its bars,
and set up its columns.
He spread the tent over the Dwelling
and put the covering on top of the tent,
as the LORD had commanded him.
He took the commandments and put them in the ark;
he placed poles alongside the ark and set the propitiatory upon it.
He brought the ark into the Dwelling and hung the curtain veil,
thus screening off the ark of the commandments,
as the LORD had commanded him.

Then the cloud covered the meeting tent,
and the glory of the LORD filled the Dwelling.
Moses could not enter the meeting tent,
because the cloud settled down upon it
and the glory of the LORD filled the Dwelling.
Whenever the cloud rose from the Dwelling,
the children of Israel would set out on their journey.
But if the cloud did not lift, they would not go forward;
only when it lifted did they go forward.
In the daytime the cloud of the LORD was seen over the Dwelling;
whereas at night, fire was seen in the cloud
by the whole house of Israel
in all the stages of their journey.

Responsorial Psalm PS 84:3, 4, 5-6a and 8a, 11

R. (2) How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
My soul yearns and pines
for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh
cry out for the living God.
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest
in which she puts her young--
Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my king and my God!
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
Blessed they who dwell in your house!
continually they praise you.
Blessed the men whose strength you are!
They go from strength to strength.
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
I had rather one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I had rather lie at the threshold of the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
R. How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!

Alleluia See Acts 16:14b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Open our hearts, O Lord,
to listen to the words of your Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 13:47-53

Jesus said to the disciples:
"The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind.
When it is full they haul it ashore
and sit down to put what is good into buckets.
What is bad they throw away.
Thus it will be at the end of the age.
The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
and throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth."

"Do you understand all these things?"
They answered, "Yes."
And he replied,
"Then every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven
is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom
both the new and the old."
When Jesus finished these parables, he went away from there.

- - -


Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • The image that Jesus uses of drawing the fishing net and separating the catch was one which many of his disciples would have been familiar with in their role as fishermen. Putting the good fish into baskets and dispensing with the bad was part of their everyday duty. So Jesus was speaking to them in language which they could relate to when describing the kingdom of heaven.
  • Elements of good and bad are inherent in the human condition. I pray Lord that with your grace I may nurture the goodness in my life so that my ways may reflect your ways and I can contribute to the building of your kingdom of justice, peace and love.


Jesus, you always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth.
Teach me to have a childlike trust in you.
To live in the knowledge that you will never abandon 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: Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38

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Saint Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)

Moses did exactly as the Lord had commanded. (Exodus 40:16)

When their children are young, parents need to explain to them how to do just about everything. But as the children mature, their parents are more comfortable giving them greater freedom and fewer explicit instructions. Commands like "Don't cross the street" become instinctual. The phrase "Say you're sorry to your brother" becomes less necessary—or at least that's what parents hope for!

So it may seem odd that today's first reading repeats the observation that Moses did everything "exactly as the Lord had commanded" (Exodus 40:16). These are adults we're talking about here! Why does God have to give them such detailed instructions? Why tell Moses precisely how to organize worship and guide the people in the forms of cloud and fire?

Remember that the Israelites were still young in their faith at this point—they hadn't even entered the Promised Land! Not to mention, they had just recently fashioned a golden calf and worshipped it. They still needed clean boundaries so that they could become more fully the people that God called them to be.

Sometimes, we might wish that God would speak to us as specifically as he spoke to the Israelites. We want to be told exactly what to do and what not to do. Yes, sometimes he makes it very clear what he wants, but there are so many other times when he leaves us to make our best call. He gives us his Spirit to nudge us, his commandments to establish boundaries, and the Church to guide us. But in the end, he asks us to use the gift of our conscience as we try to discern the course of action that will most give him glory.

God doesn't want to keep us on a short leash, dictating our every action. He wants us to step into the freedom of his sons and daughters. So don't worry if you don't "hear" him all the time. Instead, make your best decision, step out in faith, and ask his Spirit to guide you. Over time, you'll find yourself growing more and more mature as your will naturally lines up with his.

"Heavenly Father, thank you for the double gift of your Holy Spirit and my free will. Guide me today as I step out in faith."


Psalm 84:3-6, 8, 11
Matthew 13:47-53


So the question lingers "who's a bad fish?"  Well we're probably missing the point, because the scripture says "what is bad is thrown away", the angels are picking the good for the better...the Kingdom of God.  Feel honored, for your eyes are receiving an open invitation from a messenger (angel means messenger).  Feel honored!  Another day another shot for the good.  I read a quote from today's saint through another reflection I read and it reads "Why then man, are you so worthless in your own eyes and yet so precious to God? Why render yourself such dishonor when you are honored by him? Why do you ask how you were created and do not seek to know why you were made?" (From a sermon by Saint Peter Chrysologus, bishop).  Truth be told, the devil makes you feel worthless, brings you down with shame.  Truth be told, that is what it is supposed to do, it is a creation of God.  Now, truth be told, the devil uses lies to make you feel ashamed and worthless.  Yes we should be sorrowful for our sins, but shamed and shunned forever?  Here comes salvation! 
Moses made a tent for the glory of God.  You must make your tent a place for the Glory of God.  In its fullest essence, the Eucharist embodies in every sense of the word...the Glory of God.  The cloud now is the cloud of witnessess to His greater glory.  The end of times, the end of the age is when?  Let's take it one day at a time, for if we knew the end of time we would wait till  the last minute to try to make things right, right?  It is better to live the forever now.  Start living Heaven now.  This is the point of the Glory of God.  Just because He wasn't in the tent, doesn't mean He wasn't with them.
The Psalms pray on "My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. R. How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!"  Last night in our co-worker prayer bible reading group, we read the Gospel for this coming Sunday.  Jesus says ""I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst."  I told them when it was my turn to speak, that the Lord from the days of Moses wants us to depend on Him more and more, for anything and everything.  This whole "trying to do it on my own" thing is not the point, He wants to be the point of our lives.  He wants to be front and center.  So that means I have to move out of the way!  Can we do that?  Can He be the center of our lives?  In the Church, He is at the center, the focal point, but is He the center of your daily life?  Good fish, bad fish, what's good to eat, what's not, what's good to serve God and what's not is at question.  Do you want to serve God the best you've made or a bunch of mud?  Let Him serve you, teach you, let Him be your Master, let Him be your Lord, let Him be your King, and best of all, let Him be your savior, your "Abba" which means "daddy".  Let Him discipline you, this is how you will be a disciple.  Then, with His honor, you will be honored to be in His presence.  Because to be in His prescense without all this discipline in honor will be like standing in front of nobody.  Realize what holiness means then.  Realize that all the signs and gestures and prayers we are doing in the Catholic faith are to aim our focus on making God truly the Glory He always is, not just some body else in the world, but our God!
Bow down.
Take a knee.
Offer your life.
To the King of Kings!