Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Take one or two

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Perhaps Even Today

Very elderly men and women will, without the slightest discomfort, hold hands, often both hands, with every single person who stands next to them and talks to them and listens to them, and the first time I noticed this I thought maybe it was for personal safety and security reasons, like being worried about toppling, but the more I noticed it the more it seemed to me that very elderly men and women have stripped away all self-consciousness and worry about what other people might think, and they take a deep honest genuine pleasure in touching their fellow beings, and being touched, and they know better than anyone else how ancient and holy and moving it is to touch and be touched, and they are going to touch and be touched as much as possible in the time granted them to touch and be touched; which seemed to me, as I strolled away from the wedding reception late that evening, arm in arm with the woman I like best, immensely wise, and something to aspire to, perhaps even today, perhaps as soon as you finish reading these words.

—from the book Eight Whopping Lies and Other Stories of Bruised Grace


✞ "Even when God's will does not correspond to your own desires, it is always beneficial for you."
— St. Arnold Janssen

"I believe we shall never learn to know ourselves except by endeavoring to know God, for, beholding His greatness we are struck by our own baseness, His purity shows our foulness, and by meditating on His humility we find how very far we are from being humble. Two advantages are gained by this practice. First, it is clear that white looks far whiter when placed near something black, and on the contrary, black never looks so dark as when seen beside something white. Secondly, our understanding and will become more noble and capable of good in every way when we turn from ourselves to God: it is very injurious never to raise our minds above the mire of our own faults."
— St. Teresa of Avila, p. 17
Interior Castle

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching.
2 Timothy 4:1-2


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St. Roch, also known as St. Rocco (d. 1327), was born in Montpellier, France, the pious son of the city's governor. He was born with a red cross on his chest, a sign that the Virgin Mary answered his mother's prayer to heal her barrenness. His parents died when he was 20, after which he gave his wealth to the poor and handed the government of the city over to his uncle. Free from earthly cares, he set off as a pilgrim for Italy. When he came upon a town badly struck by the plague, he sojourned there to help the sick. He cured many people by making the Sign of the Cross over them. The same miracles occurred at every plague-infested area that he passed through on his way to Rome. When he reached Piacenza he himself contracted the disease in his leg, and he awaited his death in a remote forest hut. Providentially, a count's hunting dog found and befriended him, brought him food, and licked his wounds. A spring arose nearby providing fresh water. The count, one day following his dog, discovered the saint and aided him in his recovery. Slowly St. Roch's health was restored, after which he returned to his native Montpellier. He refused to disclose his identity to the townspeople so that he could remain poor and unknown. His obfuscation aroused suspicion that he might be a spy, and he was cast into prison by his uncle. St. Roch died in prison five years later. His identity was then discovered by the red cross birthmark on his chest. At his funeral many miracles attested to his sanctity, and a church was erected for his veneration. St. Roch is the patron of dogs, surgeons, invalids, bachelors, and against plaque and pestilence. His feast day is August 16th.


Reading 1 Dt 34:1-12

Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo,
the headland of Pisgah which faces Jericho,
and the LORD showed him all the land—
Gilead, and as far as Dan, all Naphtali,
the land of Ephraim and Manasseh,
all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea,
the Negeb, the circuit of the Jordan
with the lowlands at Jericho, city of palms,
and as far as Zoar.
The LORD then said to him,
"This is the land
which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
that I would give to their descendants.
I have let you feast your eyes upon it, but you shall not cross over."
So there, in the land of Moab, Moses, the servant of the LORD,
died as the LORD had said; and he was buried in the ravine
opposite Beth-peor in the land of Moab,
but to this day no one knows the place of his burial.
Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died,
yet his eyes were undimmed and his vigor unabated.
For thirty days the children of Israel wept for Moses
in the plains of Moab, till they had completed
the period of grief and mourning for Moses.

Now Joshua, son of Nun, was filled with the spirit of wisdom,
since Moses had laid his hands upon him;
and so the children of Israel gave him their obedience,
thus carrying out the LORD's command to Moses.

Since then no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses,
whom the LORD knew face to face.
He had no equal in all the signs and wonders
the LORD sent him to perform in the land of Egypt
against Pharaoh and all his servants and against all his land,
and for the might and the terrifying power
that Moses exhibited in the sight of all Israel.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 66:1-3a, 5 and 8, 16-17

R. (see 20a and 10b) Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth;
sing praise to the glory of his name;
proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God: "How tremendous are your deeds!"
R. Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!
Come and see the works of God,
his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
Bless our God, you peoples;
loudly sound his praise.
R. Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!
Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
When I appealed to him in words,
praise was on the tip of my tongue.
R. Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!

Alleluia 2 Cor 5:19

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
And entreating to us the message of reconciliation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 18:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
"If your brother sins against you,
go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
If he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you,
so that every fact may be established
on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church.
If he refuses to listen even to the Church,
then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
Amen, I say to you,
whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth
about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them."


Deuteronomy 34:1-12

Saint Stephen of Hungary (Optional Memorial)

Moses . . . died, yet his eyes were undimmed. (Deuteronomy 34:7)

Did you know that according to Scripture, Moses was eighty years old when he saw the burning bush? Talk about a late vocation! He was already advanced in years when he began his relationship with God, and yet, he still accomplished much. He led the Israelites out of Egypt, acted as their ruler, judge, and travel guide as they dwelt in the desert, and became Israel's greatest lawgiver.

So now here is Moses, awaiting death. And even after all those years, his eyes and his faith remained "undimmed." What a beautiful way to describe someone who walked with the Lord to the end!

Moses is a good example of the fruit that our older brothers and sisters can bear. He shows us that it's never too late to start serving the Lord and that those who serve him in old age can find joy in their work and become a blessing for the people of God.

If you are an older person, know that you have a tremendous amount to offer. Just think about how you have learned to trust the Lord as you face the challenges of aging. Think about the way you have tried to pass on the faith to your children and grandchildren. Think about all the ways you have been able to contribute to parish life. Many of you are active in pro-life ministries. Many teach Bible studies. Many serve the poor and reach out to those who are suffering. A number of you attend daily Mass and adoration and pray the Rosary. By your faithfulness, you are reminding your fellow parishioners of God's faithfulness.

In a world that treasures youthful energy and enthusiasm, it can be easy to overlook the wisdom of God's older servants. Don't let that happen!

Are you an older brother or sister in Christ? God loves you, and the Church needs you. There is an important place for you among the people of God, just as there was for Moses.

Are you a younger Catholic? When you meet older parishioners, make it a point to listen to them. Ask them about their journey in faith. Get to know them and see how much you can learn from them. With eyes "undimmed," they have seen much!

"Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of older brothers and sisters."

Psalm 66:1-3, 5, 8, 16-17
Matthew 18:15-20


The Lord said to Moses: "I have let you feast your eyes upon it, but you shall not cross over". His life would be carried on...His promises, His word shall come true.

We pray today "
Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire! Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare what he has done for me. When I appealed to him in words,
praise was on the tip of my tongue" Moses saw a bush on fire and His soul caught fire...the fire if the Lord...the Holy Spirit. The man brought out of the water was now on fire for the Lord. Moses represents the prophetic savior....God working with man and God enters;

Today the Lord spoke "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." If someonevtold me I was sinning, i could easily dismiss them, to say its your word against mine. But if two or three come against me...then the Truth must be held. I must listen to the Lord gathered among them.

Bishop Barren said today :"Friends, the Gospel for today addresses an issue of tremendous practical importance, namely, how we ought to engage in fraternal correction. Jesus says, with utter directness and simplicity, "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone."

What a world of significance in that little recommendation! It holds off the sinful tendency of running to everyone but the person in question and complaining about him behind his back. This strategy is utterly unproductive and spiritually harmful, for it does nothing to help the person you are criticizing, and it puffs up your already inflated ego.

I know it is exceptionally difficult, but going to the person directly is both productive and spiritually uplifting. It has at least a fighting chance of accomplishing something, and it confirms you in love. But the right thing is, as usual, the hard thing. Notice please that the accuser is encouraged to tell the person in question alone—and no one else. Venting and gossiping are not helpful."

How hard is it to tell the truth? How hard is it to live the Truth of Christ? To many it costs dearly. Everything you stand for is at question. I tell people the ugly truth of sin. Sin is a perversion. Mostly perverted because it is [truth] tainted. Twisted. God holds nothing back and we shouldn't either. He comes among us when we gather in His name.
This trinity is among us. It is to beheld..behold the Truth. Love the Truth and let the fire burn within!


Bless God

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