What an incredible, glorious thought: that you are with me, Lord, leading me and guiding me every moment, and that you are building a sanctuary in me with my very own offerings. I want to offer everything! But I confess a tremor of fear, because my offerings have not been generous. I need to know that you love me unconditionally, even though the tabernacle of my body and heart is not always pure enough to welcome you.
What can I offer you, today, as a welcome present?
—from the book Ignite: Read the Bible Like Never Before
✞ "The accidents of life separate us from our dearest friends, but let us not despair. God is like a looking glass in which souls see each other. The more we are united to Him by love, the nearer we are to those who belong to Him." — St. Elizabeth Ann Seton ✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Yet such are the pity and compassion of this Lord of ours, so desirous is He that we should seek Him and enjoy His company, that in one way or another He never ceases calling us to Him . . . God here speaks to souls through words uttered by pious people, by sermons or good books, and in many other such ways. Sometimes He calls souls by means of sickness or troubles, or by some truth He teaches them during prayer, for tepid as they may be in seeking Him, yet God holds them very dear." — St. Teresa of Avila, p.26 AN EXCERPT FROM Interior Castle
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. John 14:13-14
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Blessed Antonio Lucci
(August 2, 1682 – July 25, 1752)
Antonio studied with and was a friend of Saint 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 Antonio as bishop of Bovino 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.
Antonio Lucci 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).
Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Ex 19:1-2, 9-11, 16-20b
In the third month after their departure from the land of Egypt, on its first day, the children of Israel came to the desert of Sinai. After the journey from Rephidim to the desert of Sinai, they pitched camp.
While Israel was encamped here in front of the mountain, the LORD told Moses, "I am coming to you in a dense cloud, so that when the people hear me speaking with you, they may always have faith in you also." When Moses, then, had reported to the LORD the response of the people, the LORD added, "Go to the people and have them sanctify themselves today and tomorrow. Make them wash their garments and be ready for the third day; for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai before the eyes of all the people."
On the morning of the third day there were peals of thunder and lightning, and a heavy cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. But Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stationed themselves at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was all wrapped in smoke, for the LORD came down upon it in fire. The smoke rose from it as though from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. The trumpet blast grew louder and louder, while Moses was speaking and God answering him with thunder.
When the LORD came down to the top of Mount Sinai, he summoned Moses to the top of the mountain.
Responsorial Psalm Daniel 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56 R. (52b) Glory and praise for ever! "Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever; And blessed is your holy and glorious name, praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages." R. Glory and praise for ever! "Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory, praiseworthy and glorious above all forever." R. Glory and praise for ever! "Blessed are you on the throne of your Kingdom, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever." R. Glory and praise for ever! "Blessed are you who look into the depths from your throne upon the cherubim, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever." R. Glory and praise for ever! "Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven, praiseworthy and glorious forever." R. Glory and praise for ever!
Alleluia See Mt 11:25 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 13:10-17
The disciples approached Jesus and said, "Why do you speak to the crowd in parables?" He said to them in reply, "Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand. Isaiah's prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:
You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and be converted and I heal them.
"But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."
Meditation: Exodus 19:1-2, 9-11, 16-20
Moses was speaking and God was answering him with thunder. (Exodus 19:19)
It's easy to think that hearing God's voice is beyond us. Moses heard it. Peter, James, and John heard it, and so did Paul. But not many "ordinary folks" claim to hear God. That could lead us to conclude that it's only for a select few saints. Or we may think that God speaks only with a spectacular display like the one described in today's first reading.
But that's not the way God works. For the most part, he speaks through spontaneous thoughts or senses that arise in our minds. Who hasn't felt a sudden impulse, perhaps while driving down the road, to pray for someone? That may be God's voice! Who hasn't awoken many mornings with a hymn running through their mind? That could also be his voice.
So how do you distinguish this "voice" from the other thoughts that run through your mind? Well, God's voice bears his character: loving, peaceful, patient, gentle, kind. Thoughts that arouse fear, resentment, or jealousy probably don't come from the Lord—although they may signal the need to examine something in your life.
We can also rule out thoughts that scorn, mock, or otherwise tear someone down. Plus, any thoughts that seem to predict the future or suggest a particular action or path to take should be stored up in your heart for further consideration, as Mary did (Luke 2:51). We would do best to ask a trusted friend or our pastor to help us discern these impressions.
If you ask God to speak to you, why would he refuse? You want to get to know him, and he wants to show himself to you. So why would he remain silent?
Today, try imagining Jesus sitting next to you. Or picture a scene from the Bible, and put yourself in it. Talk to the Lord about whatever is on your heart. Then listen to the thoughts that arise in your mind. Don't interrupt. Write them down as you "hear" them. You can go back and analyze them later on. But for now, just receive them, and see what God says.
"Father, speak to me today. Help me to quiet the clamoring of my own thoughts so that I can hear your voice."
(Psalm) Daniel 3:52-56 Matthew 13:10-17
The Word said today: ""Go to the people and have them sanctify themselves today and tomorrow. Make them wash their garments and be ready for the third day..." They had to wash their garments, they had to be ready, they had to be purified, they had to be "ready". Today, how can we do this, how can we be ready? For the 3rd day? It is Sunday from Friday, it is the time of meeting the Lord when He descends on the Altar. You should not receive him in dirty garments, not dressed for the banquet, (unprepared and purified to receive the Holy Eucharist) and this means in Spirit, in the soul....
We prayed today "Glory and praise for ever! "Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory, praiseworthy and glorious above all forever." It is frightening to see a calamity, as if the world were in danger, like a tornado coming at you, or to be trapped in a fire. But what is frightening for the body, is not what is frightening to the soul. Why doesn't sin frighten us so we may turn and come to the Lord? And for many, not even death frightens one into sainthood...
Our Lord enters our lives today "This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand." From Bishop Barren said at the end of his reflection today: "...because the crowds refused to believe in him and what he has to say. Many parables are strange and initially off-putting and puzzling. Of course, that is the point of parables: to bother us, throw us off base, confuse us a bit. How characteristic this was of Jesus' preaching! He rarely lays things out in doctrinal form: he prefers to tell these puzzling, funny stories. Why? Because in many cases stories reveal truth that arguments can't quite capture."
If Jesus said "I AM the Son of GOD", most refused to believe. If Jesus said "I AM the resurrection" many scoffed and made fun of Him. If Jesus said "I AM the truth", most people would not believe, and remained "neutral" like Pontius Pilate who had him scourged and then let them kill the Christ. I was talking to my nephew yesterday, who I've mentioned, and we talked about his schooling, he is very smart, and yesterday I asked how his advanced classes are going since they are already started launching homework and reading of books. I said "we may pull our kids out of public schools this year, and do you know why? Because we want them to be Christ driven". He said '...Yeah, school systems want to be neutral in everything", and I said "Exactly!" boy that kids is smart, now time to get smart in the SPIRIT! I want them kids to be a success...for the Lord. Can this not be done in public schools? Perhaps, but we have 7 kids and most homeschooled kids I've noticed are in large families. Strange, wouldn't you think it is harder this way? I was in an autoparts store yesterday too, and I heard the clerks talking, a young man attending me there was getting my parts and the other, his manager said said to him "you got to clean up all this before you go to the hospital to see your wife thats about to have her baby!". He was excited. Then she said to me "they are wanting to have 7 kids, can you believe that?" I told them both "I got 7 kids" and they both looked at me in disbelief, and the young man asked "how is it to have all them kids?" I said "it's not like people make it seem, a bad thing. When an unexpected child comes into your life, when they are born and you hold them, and raise them, you ask yourself, how in the world could I live without you....and you don't worry about how you will feed them or take care of them, somehow it all just works out...and you become your own little world" indeed, like a community, friends of each other, brothers and sisters. This is God's plan and it is revealed to the child-like. Those who can soak in His grace, like a sponge, not a rock. Grace. It is available for the taking, for He is ever present so long as we breathe...so long as we pray. I dislike the world, perhaps, should I say, like Jesus, HATE? The worldly ways, the ways it dresses, the way it teaches to be so neutral and accepting of bad behaviors and lifestyles that teach to be against life even if they say they are not. I love God's people. And I try to love the unlovable, but I am afraid to go all out. Like a friend from the nursing home that passed away yesterday. A lonely old man, with no kids, just me and my wife's kids he tried to get gifts for them all the time in the nursing home bingo. Someone to love. One time I bought a special fingernail clipper to clip his huge nails, and the next time I saw him, they were trimmed and I never bothered to check on him again ...and I should have. Those are the bitter tears in hell and even purgatory "I should have". They say the path to hell is paved with good intentions. We intend to do good things, therefore we think we are good. Our last class of bible study last night said we are to be "followers of Christ, not merely believers or fans".
You have read this much because you do care, and there is credit to be had for this much, but much more is hoped for from you. Before we broke up into groups at bible study, I asked all to come back one more time next week, as an act of apostolic work, evangelization, to bring hispanics in next week because Encuentro, at the bishops requests, want to find out why so many are falling away from the faith. I asked for a showing of hands of commitment. Most raised their hands, and the follow through will be evidence of our commitment.....to CHRIST