Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Whole Crowd

"You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds… What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as

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"You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds… What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can."
— St. Thomas More


"We must be present with and to the Lord, in silence as Mary practiced silence. We begin with silence of the will, that is, willing nothing but the will of God. Begin here and the rest will come. The Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will experience silence. Guard and protect it with love and you will become a garden enclosed. Silence is the soil for the seed of the word."
— Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, p. 50
Thirsting for God (meditations) p50


click to go there


St. Apollinaris

(1st century)

According to tradition, St. Peter sent Apollinaris to Ravenna, Italy, as its first bishop. His preaching of the Good News was so successful that the pagans there beat him and drove him from the city. He returned, however, and was exiled a second time. After preaching in the area surrounding Ravenna, he entered the city again. After being cruelly tortured, he was put on a ship heading to Greece. Pagans there caused him to be expelled to Italy, where he went to Ravenna for a fourth time. He died from wounds received during a savage beating at Classis, a suburb of Ravenna. A beautiful basilica honoring him was built there in the sixth century.


Following Jesus involves risks—sometimes the supreme risk of life itself. Martyrs are people who would rather accept the risk of death than deny the cornerstone of their whole life: faith in Jesus Christ. Everyone will die eventually—the persecutors and those persecuted. The question is what kind of a conscience people will bring before the Lord for judgment. Remembering the witness of past and present martyrs can help us make the often-small sacrifices that following Jesus today may require.


During his remarks prior to the Regina Caeli on May 7, 2000, Saint John Paul II noted that later that day at Rome's Colosseum he would participate in an ecumenical service honoring 20th-century martyrs. He said, "It is the same paschal light that shines in them. Indeed, it is from Christ's resurrection that the disciples receive the strength to follow the Master in their hour of trial." What the pope said of those martyrs is true of all martyrs for Christ, including today's saint.


Sacred Space
Daily Prayer - 2016-07-20


I pause for a moment and think of the love
and the grace that God showers on me:
I am created in the image and likeness of God;
I am God's dwelling-place.


"In these days, God taught me
as a schoolteacher teaches a pupil" (Saint Ignatius).
I remind myself that there are things God has to teach me yet,
and ask for the grace to hear them and let them change me.


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

Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
audio readings

Reading 1 Jer 1:1, 4-10

The words of Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah,
of a priestly family in Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin.

The word of the LORD came to me thus:

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you,
a prophet to the nations I appointed you.
"Ah, Lord GOD!" I said,
I know not how to speak; I am too young."

But the LORD answered me,
Say not, "I am too young."
To whomever I send you, you shall go;
whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Have no fear before them,
because I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.

Then the LORD extended his hand and touched my mouth, saying,

See, I place my words in your mouth!
This day I set you
over nations and over kingdoms,
To root up and to tear down,
to destroy and to demolish,
to build and to plant.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15 and 17
R. (see 15ab) I will sing of your salvation.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
incline your ear to me, and save me.

R. I will sing of your salvation.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.

R. I will sing of your salvation.
For you are my hope, O Lord;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother's womb you are my strength.

R. I will sing of your salvation.
My mouth shall declare your justice,
day by day your salvation.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.

R. I will sing of your salvation.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 13:1-9

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
"A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear."

Some thoughts on today's scripture

Jesus' parables can heal us to hear and understand how things stand between God and ourselves. They are nuggets of grace that test our heart's willingness to surrender to the generosity of God.
'Let anyone with ears listen'. This means me! When I come to pray, do I have the soil of an open heart toward Jesus and his teachings? Am I willing to allow his Word to break into my closed heart?


What is stirring in me as I pray?
Am I consoled, troubled, left cold?
I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side 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: Matthew 13:1-9

Saint Apollinaris, Bishop and Martyr (Optional Memorial)

A sower went out to sow. (Matthew 13:3)

The Kadupul Flower, which is native to Sri Lanka, is often called the most expensive flower in the world. In reality, however, it's priceless.

The Kadupul Flower is so frail that it blooms just before midnight and perishes before the morning. Its sweet fragrance is also known for its calming, almost enchanting properties. Yet for all its special, almost mystical qualities, Kadupul Flower seeds are relatively inexpensive and quite ordinary looking.

Isn't it odd to think that such a priceless flower can grow from an ordinary seed?

Perhaps the message of today's Gospel—and the first reading as well—reflects this reality. We can easily think of humans as just ordinary seeds. After all, there are so many of them! And considering how our own challenges and trials can keep us focused on ourselves, it's no surprise that we are tempted to pay little attention to those other poor souls who seem destined to fall on the path, in rocky soil, or among the weeds. They're just seeds.

But we're not just seeds—not a single one of us! The fact that God has created each of us in his own image and likeness makes us more valuable than even the Kadupul Flower. Each of us has been known, dedicated, and appointed by God to blossom when the moment is right so that we can fill the earth with the fragrance of his holiness.

This means that God asks us to watch over each other, especially those of our brothers and sisters who may have wound up on the footpath or among the rocks or thorns. He wants us to protect them and water their roots if they are in danger of dying. He is asking us to help them blossom into the unique, priceless flowers they are meant to become.

So ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes today. Make it a point to look outside your own little garden, and try to reach out to people who are hurting and in need. Remember the value of each of those anointed seeds, and help them blossom into priceless blooms.

"Lord, thank you for all that you've given me. I acknowledge that you have dedicated me to help save people in need. Help me find ways to care for them and nurture them."

Jeremiah 1:1, 4-10
Psalm 71:1-6, 15, 17




We heard the Word today "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you". Is it speaking about prophets of the Old Testament? or the New? The answer is not either which, but both. And the new Testament is where you live, me and you are the New Witness, the new covenant. Appointed? Yes, appointed by the indelible mark of your baptism, born in Him who formed you in the womb of your mother and the womb of His heart.

We prayed today "On you I depend from birth; from my mother's womb you are my strength." Inside the womb of the mother, your mother, marvelous creations were being formed...You. I look at my child and I wonder how did this come to be? Flesh from my flesh, but a soul from Christ, already within the womb, at conception, souls of our Father. "O God, you have taught me from my youth, and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds." With the indelible mark, we are appointed.

In comes the Christ our Savior, our Lord and our God: ""A sower went out to sow." And this is how He begins the parable, a parallel of our universe, our world that we live in here and now. Watch how the line up begins "a SOWER, WENT OUT to sow". And so the ensuing question is "who is the sower?" Who sows endless seeds? Without distinction. Who is the one receiving the seed? and "what is the seed?" It becomes the question I asked Monsignor Gully "Who is Christ when I visit the lonely and the prisoner? Is it me or is it Him?" It's not either, or, but both, was the reply. The sower then is Christ, and the receiver? Because we become sowers, formed in His divine image, we are marked as prophets with the Spirit received in Baptism, the prophet goes out to sow. Now listen to this: whether it lands on a particular type of soil is not for you to know. Because some seeds last years and can still grow. And it takes a great deal of events for it to grow, like just the right nutrients for the right type of seed, and the right amount of light. What type of soil are you? What type of plant are you? God knows, He knows you by your real name...not our earthly name alone. And so, I present to you seeds from St. John XXIII who was a Pope, a sower, a marked and chosen soul very much like yourself, and we still reap fruits from what God sowed through the soul: (From the vatican archives)

" Pope John XXIII's message is still extraordinarily timely today. His life, his Discourses and his actions bring us to the heart of the faith and the heart of Christian commitment.
As we know, one of Pope John's most important decisions was to convoke the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, which was inaugurated on 11 October 1962 here in St Peter's Basilica.
I was present (indeed, by a fortunate circumstance, it was I who organized the distribution of the first Council Documents "sub peculiari secreto" to the Council Fathers!), and I remember how the day unfolded to its extraordinary conclusion in St Peter's Square by moonlight.
We could recall a wealth of Pope John's teachings and episodes concerning him, but today I intend to focus on several thoughts which might be useful in our personal life and spiritual renewal.
The Church, in his view, has a motherly face: her task is to keep "her arms open to receive everyone". She is a "home for one and all" that "desires to belong to everyone, and in particular she is the Church of the poor, like the village fountain", with no distinctions of race or religion.
The Church's holiness and human wisdom are expressed very clearly in what is called "The daily decalogue of Pope John XXIII":

1) Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.

2) Only for today, I will take the greatest care of my appearance: I will dress modestly; I will not raise my voice; I will be courteous in my behaviour; I will not criticize anyone; I will not claim to improve or to discipline anyone except myself.

3) Only for today, I will be happy in the certainty that I was created to be happy, not only in the other world but also in this one.

4) Only for today, I will adapt to circumstances, without requiring all circumstances to be adapted to my own wishes.

5) Only for today, I will devote 10 minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.

6) Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.

7) Only for today, I will do at least one thing I do not like doing; and if my feelings are hurt, I will make sure that no one notices.

8) Only for today, I will make a plan for myself: I may not follow it to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.

9) Only for today, I will firmly believe, despite appearances, that the good Providence of God cares for me as no one else who exists in this world.

10) Only for today, I will have no fears. In particular, I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness. Indeed, for 12 hours I can certainly do what might cause me consternation were I to believe I had to do it all my life.

To conclude: here is an all-embracing resolution: "I want to be kind, today and always, to everyone". In this way, we can put Pope John's hope for every Christian into practice: "Every believer in this world must be a spark of light, a core of love, life-giving leaven in the mass: and the more he is so, the more he will live, in his innermost depths, in communion with God".

These are 10 seeds.
Plant one daily, and for a challenge, plant 10 daily.
This will change lives...beginning with yours.



St. John XXIII
pray for us.
your bro.