Monday, August 21, 2017

If You Wish

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See Who Made the Stars

Lift up your eyes and see who made the stars.

Her son the priest will not be buried with his brother and parents, but will someday sleep with his brother priests in a field with a low stone wall, along which students walk back and forth to class. I have seen the field and the stone wall and I have seen students run their hands gently along the wall as they walk past the hundreds of sleeping priests.

I know you, I call you each by name.

I pray with all my heart that this is so.

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


✞ "Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing."
— St. Therese of Lisieux

"For it is our plain duty to preach and defend the truth in a straightforward way. Those who are to stumble must stumble, rather than the heirs of grace should not hear. While we offend and alienate one man, we secure another; if we drive one man further the wrong way, we drive another further the right way. The cause of truth, the heavenly company of saints, gains on the whole more in one way than in the other."
— Bl. John Henry Newman, p. 25
Quotable Newman

Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:8-9


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Saint Pius X

(June 2, 1835 – August 20, 1914)

Saint Pius X's Story

Pope Pius X is perhaps best remembered for his encouragement of the frequent reception of Holy Communion, especially by children.

The second of 10 children in a poor Italian family, Joseph Sarto became Pius X at age 68. He was one of the 20th century's greatest popes.

Ever mindful of his humble origin, Pope Pius stated, "I was born poor, I lived poor, I will die poor." He was embarrassed by some of the pomp of the papal court. "Look how they have dressed me up," he said in tears to an old friend. To another, "It is a penance to be forced to accept all these practices. They lead me around surrounded by soldiers like Jesus when he was seized in Gethsemani."

Interested in politics, Pope Pius encouraged Italian Catholics to become more politically involved. One of his first papal acts was to end the supposed right of governments to interfere by veto in papal elections—a practice that reduced the freedom of the 1903 conclave which had elected him.

In 1905, when France renounced its agreement with the Holy See and threatened confiscation of Church property if governmental control of Church affairs were not granted, Pius X courageously rejected the demand.

While he did not author a famous social encyclical as his predecessor had done, he denounced the ill treatment of indigenous peoples on the plantations of Peru, sent a relief commission to Messina after an earthquake, and sheltered refugees at his own expense.

On the 11th anniversary of his election as pope, Europe was plunged into World War I. Pius had foreseen it, but it killed him. "This is the last affliction the Lord will visit on me. I would gladly give my life to save my poor children from this ghastly scourge." He died a few weeks after the war began, and was canonized in 1954.


His humble background was no obstacle in relating to a personal God and to people whom he loved genuinely. Pius X gained his strength, his gentleness and warmth for people from the source of all gifts, the Spirit of Jesus. In contrast, we often feel embarrassed by our backgrounds. Shame makes us prefer to remain aloof from people whom we perceive as superior. If we are in a superior position, on the other hand, we often ignore simpler people. Yet we, too, have to help "restore all things in Christ," especially the wounded people of God.


Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope

Reading 1 Jgs2:11-19

The children of Israel offended the LORD by serving the Baals.
Abandoning the LORD, the God of their fathers,
who led them out of the land of Egypt,
they followed the other gods of the various nations around them,
and by their worship of these gods provoked the LORD.

Because they had thus abandoned him and served Baal and the Ashtaroth,
the anger of the LORD flared up against Israel,
and he delivered them over to plunderers who despoiled them.
He allowed them to fall into the power of their enemies round about
whom they were no longer able to withstand.
Whatever they undertook, the LORD turned into disaster for them,
as in his warning he had sworn he would do,
till they were in great distress.
Even when the LORD raised up judges to deliver them
from the power of their despoilers,
they did not listen to their judges,
but abandoned themselves to the worship of other gods.
They were quick to stray from the way their fathers had taken,
and did not follow their example of obedience
to the commandments of the LORD.
Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, he would be with the judge
and save them from the power of their enemies
as long as the judge lived;
it was thus the LORD took pity on their distressful cries
of affliction under their oppressors.
But when the judge died,
they would relapse and do worse than their ancestors,
following other gods in service and worship,
relinquishing none of their evil practices or stubborn conduct.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 106:34-35, 36-37, 39-40, 43ab and 44
R. (4a) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They did not exterminate the peoples,
as the LORD had commanded them,
But mingled with the nations
and learned their works.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They served their idols,
which became a snare for them.
They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to demons.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They became defiled by their works,
and wanton in their crimes.
And the LORD grew angry with his people,
and abhorred his inheritance.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Many times did he rescue them,
but they embittered him with their counsels.
Yet he had regard for their affliction
when he heard their cry.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Alleluia Mt 5:3
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit;
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 19:16-22

A young man approached Jesus and said,
"Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?"
He answered him, "Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments."
He asked him, "Which ones?"
And Jesus replied, "You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself."
The young man said to him,
"All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?"
Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me."
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.


Meditation: Matthew 19:16-22

He went away sad, for he had many possessions. (Matthew 19:22)

What was this rich young man thinking? Jesus, the Son of God, was standing right in front of him, inviting him to become a disciple. And the young man walked away. How tragic! After all, he really was a good fellow. He kept all the commandments; he tried hard to please God. He only asked what else he needed to do. But Jesus' call was just too much. He couldn't see that following Jesus was worth infinitely more than all he had.

If only he had decided to follow Jesus, this young man might have begun to see things differently. His heart could have changed, and when he struggled, he could have said, "Jesus, help me! I want to follow you, but it seems so difficult." Then Jesus would have worked patiently with him, just as he worked with the other disciples, who were far from perfect. He would have become a very different man from the one he was before. He would have gained so much more than he would have lost!

Jesus doesn't want any of us to walk away sad. He wants us to know that we are not alone on the path of conversion. Not only do we have each other, but we have his Holy Spirit as our guide. The Spirit has so much to teach us and so much grace to pour out on us. But it takes time and willingness to stay close to Jesus. It takes patience and determination to trust in his power to move us forward. It takes confidence, knowing that if God starts something good in us, he will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6).

None of us have completed the journey yet. Like the rich young man, we all have further to go. And like this young man, we can all hear Jesus calling out to us, "Follow me." Imagine that he's saying that to you right now. Look into his eyes—there's no harshness there, only love. He knows you are a work in progress, and he is encouraging you to keep going. He wants to lead you to peace, joy, and freedom. So follow him; don't walk away.

"Jesus, I don't want to walk away from you. You are my treasure, Lord!"

Judges 2:11-19
Psalm 106:34-37, 39-40, 43-44


The first Holy Scripture said today that "...they would relapse and do worse than their ancestors, following other gods in service and worship". You see, we teach our children how to do something, and they will want to do it too, and even better...or worse. What are we teaching those around us? Is it truly the love of God our Father in Heaven?

We pray today " Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people. They did not exterminate the peoples, as the LORD had commanded them,
But mingled with the nations and learned their works." We too, we like to say we love our country, or state, or city, but what about God? We learn to love other things, and then...leave....what's important.

And so in the Holy Gospel, Jesus meets a young man that says "Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?" Jesus says "There is only One who is good." and then says "keep the commandments" to which the young guy asks "which ones!?", LOL, as if one was less important than the other. And so the Lord lays it thick on Him ""If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

Which part was hardest on the young man?
►Selling all you got? I invited a man to a cursillo (a 3 day weekend invitation to the Lord's life), he is a successful business man, a relative, invited many times for several years to go to live this cursillo. Two years in a row he said he would go and I even paid his way in. Yet as I sat there and waited at the door, he did not enter. And I often imagine a cursillo is like Heaven. And so I waited at the gates of Heaven, even though I personally invited and paid the price, he chose not to go. I remember later asking him what's going on, and he said he's afraid of today's Gospel, of the rich young man having to sell all he had to follow God. To this day, he lives with a house full of guns and rifles and securing lands, properties, himself admitting his insecurities. And to this day, I await at the door of the cursillo, with a fainting call.

So what's the hardest part for you?
► Being perfect? God is asking us to be perfect as He is perfect. Yet, we love that excuse "well, I'm not perfect" and go on living dirty. No, that is no excuse. Being perfect in God's eyes means being perfectly His, an acceptance of His life and will and love and living out his will and life and love! We only make it hard on ourselves!

What's hard then, why would we turn away sad and walk away from God?
► Selling what you have? Giving to the poor? Or both? You know, I spent all last week travelling with my family from Texas to Montana, about a 3,400 mile round trip through mountains, rivers, and so forth, all for what? To sell my RV. It took about 2 years of trying to sell it, and with a smart car that I had that I could actually drive into the garage of the RV. Someone asked me why I was selling it and I texted the business acquaintance that "it is a luxury I no longer wish to afford". That is not me, and that is not what I want my children to remember in our lives. We don't need it. I don't really need anything, I have found everything I need in Jesus and Jesus in you. Did I make money on the transaction? No, the check went directly to pay off what I owed and the smart car money went into a big trailer I got to store all the church festival things. I'm cashing in my chips in for the Lord. Or am I?

Last question:
► Then...come and follow Me. Well it's not really a question, is it? God proposes but there's really no way out of it, it is a yes or a no. And if you are all in, it is a follow Him. This is what causes sadness....if you don't go. I don't see my relative that happy, I see him as turning away, sad. He is trying to live the life of a Christian....his own way. Not the way of Christ. Not the way that says YES LORD at His every beckoning call and need.

And you? How hard is it to give your life to Jesus? Your money, your time, your every last drop of love?

He pours it out on the cross for each one of us, strangers and children alike...Because, in the end, it is a question of love, like when He asks Peter "Do you love Me?" What good is it to gain the whole world and lose my soul? Better to lose the whole world and save my soul....and in doing so, save another's soul, or more!!


Bless God

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