Thursday, September 10, 2015

Those Who Mistreat

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Minute Meditations

Forgiving Others
Since God has shown such mercy to us, we must show it to others. God paid an enormous debt for our sins. Can't we then forgive each other?
— from A 40-Day Spiritual Workout for Catholics

St. Thomas of Villanova

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St. Thomas was from Castile in Spain and received his surname from the town where he was raised. He received a superior education at the University of Alcala and became a popular professor of philosophy there.

After joining the Augustinian friars at Salamanca he was ordained and resumed his teaching--despite a continuing absentmindedness and poor memory. He became prior and then provincial of the friars, sending the first Augustinians to the New World. He was nominated by the emperor to the archbishopric of Granada, but refused. When the see again became vacant he was pressured to accept. The money his cathedral chapter gave him to furnish his house was given to a hospital instead. His explanation to them was that "our Lord will be better served by your money being spent on the poor in the hospital. What does a poor friar like myself want with furniture?"

He wore the same habit that he had received in the novitiate, mending it himself. The canons and domestics were ashamed of him, but they could not convince him to change. Several hundred poor came to Thomas's door each morning and received a meal, wine and money. When criticized because he was at times being taken advantage of, he replied, "If there are people who refuse to work, that is for the governor and the police to deal with. My duty is to assist and relieve those who come to my door." He took in orphans and paid his servants for every deserted child they brought to him. He encouraged the wealthy to imitate his example and be richer in mercy and charity than they were in earthly possessions.

Criticized because he refused to be harsh or swift in correcting sinners, he said, "Let him (the complainer) inquire whether St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom used anathemas and excommunication to stop the drunkenness and blasphemy which were so common among the people under their care."

As he lay dying, Thomas commanded that all the money he possessed be distributed to the poor. His material goods were to be given to the rector of his college. Mass was being said in his presence when after Communion he breathed his last, reciting the words: "Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit."

Thomas of Villanova was already called in his lifetime "the almsgiver" and "the father of the poor." He was canonized in 1658.


The absent-minded professor is a stock comic figure. This absent-minded professor earned even more derisive laughs with his determined shabbiness and his willingness to let the poor who flocked to his door take advantage of him. He embarrassed his peers, but Jesus was enormously pleased with him. We are often tempted to tend our image in others' eyes without paying sufficient attention about how we look to Christ. Thomas still urges us to rethink our priorities.


Daily Prayer - 2015-09-10


"Come to me all you who are burdened
and I will give you rest"
Here I am, Lord.
I come to seek your presence.
I long for your healing power.


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.


Help me Lord to be more conscious of your presence.
Teach me to recognise your presence in others.
Fill my heart with gratitude for the times Your love has been shown to me through the care of others.

The Word of God


Reading 1 Col 3:12-17

Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one Body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another,
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Responsorial Psalm PS 150:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (6) Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise the LORD in his sanctuary,
praise him in the firmament of his strength.
Praise him for his mighty deeds,
praise him for his sovereign majesty.
R. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise him with the blast of the trumpet,
praise him with lyre and harp,
Praise him with timbrel and dance,
praise him with strings and pipe.
R. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise him with sounding cymbals,
praise him with clanging cymbals.
Let everything that has breath
praise the LORD! Alleluia.
R. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!

Alleluia 1 Jn 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If we love one another,
God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 6:27-38

Jesus said to his disciples:
"To you who hear I say, love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you,
pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners,
and get back the same amount.
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great
and you will be children of the Most High,
for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.

"Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you."

- - -


Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • Jesus, again you turn our thinking upside down! Love of enemies is so contrary to human nature, but that is what you demand of us. But Lord, I am what you call a 'sinner', because when others offend me I close my heart to them and punish them as best I can.
  • You ask me now to bring my enemies into my heart and show mercy to them. Lord, change my heart or I will never become 'a child of the Most High'. Let me spend time pondering how merciful you are to me, even when I am 'ungrateful and wicked'. That will make me pause before judging and condemning my 'enemies'.


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.


I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.


Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Luke 6:27-38

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23rd Week in Ordinary Time

Pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:28)

Really, Jesus? Pray for my enemies?

Lord, you know how much I'm hurting here. You know what happened and how deeply that other person wounded me. It feels like there was a direct attack on me and all I hold dear. And so I want the person who did this to be caught and punished! Make it impossible for him to hurt anyone else the way he has hurt me. Lord, I'm afraid that's the best I can do. You want me to reach out with an olive branch of prayer and intercession, but how can I reach out to someone when my own arm has been dislocated—by this very person? 

Maybe before I turn to praying for my enemy, I need some heavy-duty healing myself. You did invite me to come to you when I feel burdened. Help me take time out, and let your love wash over me. It may be hard for me to believe right now, but you didn't abandon me for a second. You aren't a stranger to any hurt I'm feeling.

All right, let me try again: "Lord, open this person's eyes to see how wrong it was for him to hurt me as he did. Bring him to heartfelt repentance!" There. How's that?

What? You want me to forgive him too? Even if he never asks? Even if I do it one small step at a time? You want me to try to love this fellow? Isn't that asking a bit too much?

Lord, I need you to let me in on the secrets of your heart here. I know that you have unconditional love for both me and my enemy. I need to know the ultimate purpose of this love. I even need your power to pray that this purpose will be carried out. I know you want to unite me to yourself so that you can transform my selfish heart. I know too that you want to unite me with my enemy in heaven. I know you can do this, Lord; please help me to cooperate with you so that every wall of division in my heart can be pulled down.

"Lord, bring my former enemy into the fullness of your love. Healed and freed by you, may we become one in your Spirit."


Colossians 3:12-17
Psalm 150:1-6




This morning, I read a text message a brother in law sent this morning and it was Luke 6:35-36 "But love your enemies and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.  Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful."  I hadn't but opened my eyes for a couple minutes after waking up when I read this, and I was kind of amazed.  I never thought about the Lord being kind to the ungrateful.  But it is true.  I never thought of Him being kind to the evil ones...and He is.  But me?  LOL, not so much probably.  When someone hurts me, well, they can talk to the hand cuz I ain't hearing it...right?  Then we begin the punishment.  "I ain't talking to them".  I was asking a new worker last night in our co-worker bible study, why he got divorced nearly 20 years ago.  He said his wife was mad at his sister, and he didn't know he wasn't supposed to talk to her, much less let her in the house when she knocked looking for a baby bottle she had left in the house earlier (and apparently gotten into it with his wife).  So, she kicked him to the curb and cast him out of her life forever.  I'm sure there's more to it, but to know the point of wrath our hearts take on is crazy.  This anger gone wrong, twistedly wrong.  We live merciless.  We live ruthless.  We live godless.  We live as if there was no God. 
As we read the Sunday's readings in study last night, I reiterated the question Jesus asks "who do you say that I Am?"  One worker said "He is everything".  I said "do you live as if He is everything?"  The end of the scripture said ""Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it."  The new worker said he read it like 5 times and finally got the message, and understood that our lives have to die, our personal lives, our social lives we're used to living, to live a new life for Christ.  I said "That's the Lord speaking to you".  And the brother in law that sent me the text this morning also said he'd never seen things that way either.  Another co-worker who after years of being infertile are pregnant now was too busy working.  This is the one I believe the Lord is kind to, and I keep asking him to be grateful.  He came in at the last few minutes during the synopsis of the meeting, and caught the gist of the message...of the cross.  What is the cross?  I asked that last night.  It's living Christ in the world, denying self and doing God's will, and loving the cross.
The Psalms pray on, "Let everything that breathes praise the Lord".  They go on to say to sing and dance and clash cymbals and so forth.  LOL, some staunch and self proclaimed "hardcore catholics" don't like all that singing and dancing and stuff, especially not at Mass.  Yet the Lord wants you to praise Him in every which way possible, and what better way than a loving and joyful way? 
The Lord comes today to us in His love letter, the Holy Word and says "For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?"  It's like saying "I only respect those who respect ME!".  It's like saying "I'll only give to those who give me back!".  It's like saying "I will only love those who will love me back!".  And so it becomes a me-me song, all about me.  That's not what God wants.  It's not all about you.  Growing up, you have to realize this.  I heard an audio book on how to be successful and winning with people.  Surprisingly it spoke much about giving much attention to others, and agreeing with them, it is a give and take, but we first must give.  And Jesus is asking us to give.  Give give, and give.  I have another brother in law who had his car stolen.  I helped them find another used car and helped them buy it.  He agreed he'd pay me back within a month or two.  We are going on 3 or 4 months now..but hey, who's counting right!?  LOL.  Other family is angry at him "he's taking advantage of others".  Just like today's saint, people took "advantage of him".  We don't like that do we?  I hear it all the time, this group of people is taking advantage of government assistance, or that group is taking advantage, or those in government are taking advantage of the people and their money.  Brutality is all over the place, but where it hurts most is at your heart.  Why?  Because you can't give no one a break.  You can't give anyone a chance.  Sure we got to be smart and safe, but it is an imperfect world.  The only perfection we have has been said today, did you catch it?  Do you remember the Word of God when it spoke of perfection to you today? 
"If we love one another,
God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us."
There has to be justice, and God is justice.  I am not God.  I am a child of God.  I am then, made in the image of perfection, of Love.  I should really be what I was created to be.  A giver.  Because that's what God is.  From nothing everything came to be, even you and me.  How can we return to nothing if the Lord keeps giving?  Don't expect the world to bow down before your feet, but expect yourself to bow down before God.  This is what it means to be a follower, a doer, a person that lives the love of God, a person that is not afraid of the cross of salvation, much less ashamed.  Give until it hurts, and then give the rest...

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