Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Are You Envious?

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Culture Brings Us Together for Healing

Culture connects us to a history, not merely as an assortment of past facts, but as an evaluative means of remembering. Culture enables us to remember and be remembered—to connect with the larger set of human wisdom through which we find a way to live in the truth. In theological terms, this is called anamnesis, the recollection, particularly in the Eucharistic Prayer, in which we draw our own lives back into the tradition of faith and recognize that our worship in each particular service is continuous with the worship that has gone before us. Though Berry doesn't speak in these terms, the work of local culture has this kind of sacramental nature for him. Culture enables the healing by which "the scattered members come together" and "the holy enters the world."

–from the book: Wendell Berry and the Given Life


✞ AUGUST 23, 2017
"The works of God are not accomplished when we wish them, but whenever it pleases Him."
— St. Vincent de Paul

"If the soul will analyze the desire it has of happiness, and the idea of happiness that presents itself to it, it will find that the object of this idea and of this desire is only and can only be God. This is the impression that the soul bears in the depths of its nature; this is what reason will teach it if it will only reflect a little, and this is what neither prejudice nor passion can ever entirely efface."
— Fr. Jean Nicholas Grou, p. 4
The Spiritual Life

"And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word."
John 17:3-6


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Saint Rose of Lima

The first canonized saint of the New World has one characteristic of all saints—the suffering of opposition—and another characteristic which is more for admiration than for imitation—excessive practice of mortification.

She was born to parents of Spanish descent in Lima, Peru, at a time when South America was in its first century of evangelization. She seems to have taken Catherine of Siena as a model, in spite of the objections and ridicule of parents and friends.

The saints have so great a love of God that what seems bizarre to us, and is indeed sometimes imprudent, is simply a logical carrying out of a conviction that anything that might endanger a loving relationship with God must be rooted out. So, because her beauty was so often admired, Rose used to rub her face with pepper to produce disfiguring blotches. Later, she wore a thick circlet of silver on her head, studded on the inside, like a crown of thorns.

When her parents fell into financial trouble, she worked in the garden all day and sewed at night. Ten years of struggle against her parents began when they tried to make Rose marry. They refused to let her enter a convent, and out of obedience she continued her life of penance and solitude at home as a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic. So deep was her desire to live the life of Christ that she spent most of her time at home in solitude.

During the last few years of her life, Rose set up a room in the house where she cared for homeless children, the elderly, and the sick. This was a beginning of social services in Peru. Though secluded in life and activity, she was brought to the attention of Inquisition interrogators, who could only say that she was influenced by grace.

What might have been a merely eccentric life was transfigured from the inside. If we remember some unusual penances, we should also remember the greatest thing about Rose: a love of God so ardent that it withstood ridicule from without, violent temptation, and lengthy periods of sickness. When she died at 31, the city turned out for her funeral. Prominent men took turns carrying her coffin.


It is easy to dismiss excessive penances of the saints as the expression of a certain culture or temperament. But a woman wearing a crown of thorns may at least prod our consciences. We enjoy the most comfort-oriented life in human history. We eat too much, drink too much, use a million gadgets, fill our eyes and ears with everything imaginable. Commerce thrives on creating useless needs on which to spend our money. It seems that when we have become most like slaves, there is the greatest talk of "freedom." Are we willing to discipline ourselves in such an atmosphere?

Saint Rose of Lima is the Patron Saint of:

Latin America
South America


Wednesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Jgs 9:6-15

All the citizens of Shechem and all Beth-millo came together
and proceeded to make Abimelech king
by the terebinth at the memorial pillar in Shechem.

When this was reported to him,
Jotham went to the top of Mount Gerizim and, standing there,
cried out to them in a loud voice:
"Hear me, citizens of Shechem, that God may then hear you!
Once the trees went to anoint a king over themselves.
So they said to the olive tree, 'Reign over us.'
But the olive tree answered them, 'Must I give up my rich oil,
whereby men and gods are honored,
and go to wave over the trees?'
Then the trees said to the fig tree, 'Come; you reign over us!'
But the fig tree answered them,
'Must I give up my sweetness and my good fruit,
and go to wave over the trees?'
Then the trees said to the vine, 'Come you, and reign over us.'
But the vine answered them,
'Must I give up my wine that cheers gods and men,
and go to wave over the trees?'
Then all the trees said to the buckthorn, 'Come; you reign over us!'
But the buckthorn replied to the trees,
'If you wish to anoint me king over you in good faith,
come and take refuge in my shadow.
Otherwise, let fire come from the buckthorn
and devour the cedars of Lebanon.'"

Responsorial Psalm Ps 21:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
R. (2a) Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
O LORD, in your strength the king is glad;
in your victory how greatly he rejoices!
You have granted him his heart's desire;
you refused not the wish of his lips.
R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
For you welcomed him with goodly blessings,
you placed on his head a crown of pure gold.
He asked life of you: you gave him
length of days forever and ever.
R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
Great is his glory in your victory;
majesty and splendor you conferred upon him.
You made him a blessing forever,
you gladdened him with the joy of your face.
R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.

Alleluia Heb 4:12
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern the reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 20:1-16

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o'clock,
he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.'
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o'clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o'clock,
he found others standing around, and said to them,
'Why do you stand here idle all day?'
They answered, 'Because no one has hired us.'
He said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard.'
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
'Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.'
When those who had started about five o'clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
'These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day's burden and the heat.'
He said to one of them in reply,
'My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?'
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."


Meditation: Matthew 20:1-16

Saint Rose of Lima, Virgin (Optional Memorial)

Why do you stand here idle all day? (Matthew 20:6)

"You're hired!" These words are music to the ears of anyone who is unemployed. It means your talents and skills are valued. It's a chance to be productive and, of course, financially rewarded!

God wants to hire you today as well: "You too go into my vineyard" (Matthew 20:7). No matter what "hour" of life you're in, he is sending you into the world to spread the good news of Jesus' love. And in the end, you will be rewarded a hundredfold.

But even with such a generous employer, how many of us actually want to be hired for this task? Some might ask, "Lord, isn't there something else you need me to do?" No, the harvest is too great! The world is aching for Jesus. People are yearning for an answer to their cries of brokenness. They're longing for a reason to hope.

Each one of us has a unique faith, unique relationships, and unique talents that make us an irreplaceable laborer in the economy of salvation. What's more, God doesn't just send us out to flounder while he watches from his corporate office in the sky. No, he works alongside us, sending his Spirit both to help us and to prepare people's hearts for the witness we will bring. So ask the Spirit for guidance as you look for specific needs in your family, parish, or community.

As you enter this market of evangelization, know that one of your greatest resources is your own personal experience. It's the times when you felt especially close to God or when you received an answer to a desperate prayer. It's the times when you found yourself willing to forgive someone or reach out to someone very different from yourself. Don't keep these things bottled up inside of you. Let them out! Tell people how God has changed your life, and let them know that he can do the same thing for them.

Yes, God wants to hire you. So try to take one step of faith today and see where it leads. Even if you don't see immediate fruit, your witness will plant seeds of faith that will sprout later. A generous employer, God will reward all your efforts.

"Lord, I'll take the job. Holy Spirit, guide me to those who are waiting to hear today that you love and accept them."

Judges 9:6-15
Psalm 21:2-7



"Then all the trees said to the buckthorn, 'Come; you reign over us!'" and this was the troubles in the book of Judges. All sorts of things were happening, troubling things, mostly though, because of infidelity...towards our Lord. We bring it upon ourselves, don't we? Yet our Lord says in John 16:33 ""I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

We prayed today "O LORD, in your strength the king is glad; in your victory how greatly he rejoices! You have granted him his heart's desire; you refused not the wish of his lips." They say the Psalms are the life of Jesus. What He desired came to be...yet...what He desired was God's will above all. Thy will be done. And this is mercy itself upon mercy, and this is beyond charitable kindness towards one is true love.

Our Lord gives us a parable of great mercy and love today, of those being asked to work at different hours of the day, and all being paid the same daily wage. Some worked really hard, some just for a little while, yet, all got paid the same. Today, we hear much complaints about our welfare system, many "taking advantage of the system" and "freeloading" doing nothing and earning something. It is terrible...right? Well, let me introduce this little story that happened a couple years ago. I was organizing a day to feed the homeless on a weekend. And it happened, and the feeding place told us not to give more than one plate of food because otherwise those wretches would trade the food for drugs or sex or whatever. Terrible thought. So, we didn't give seconds to the hungry. The next time we served, they didn't mention not giving seconds, and I had remembered so much food that was leftover last time, seemed like a waste. So when people asked for seconds I gave it to them. It's like when you give money to the homeless, you can't tell them what to spend it on, all you can do is give, and you've done your part. Ok, so the next time we serve the homeless, (these things happen about a month apart) I invited a young man and he blurted senselessly "ahh just give them a McDonald's application for work, that's all they need...those guys are just free loading". I looked at him and said "you don't know what you are talking about, some of these people aren't fit for work, granted one or two may free load, but you can't say that about the whole bunch".

What's the point? All the bunch gets a free meal, no matter who. God gives to the one who asks. And there are some who don't receive, simply because they did not know. I myself am a freeloader at times, I get something for nothing. I can identify with the ones who did not know any better, before God contracted them for work. What happens with God's goodness? It does not go to waste. The big problem though is that persistence of infidelity towards God, towards goodness. We refuse God, therefore, refuse goodness. We refuse to see the need or serve or help, therefore we get the type of life we live. A question was asked last night in a class I was leading: "what does your lifestyle say about what you believe?" A sincere answer came "it doesn't match to what I want it to be". Another said "I believe I am a generous person". Are we...really?

Let's look at the type of God we follow. He comes to the world seeking the lost. He dies for the lost, and even before dying He offers Heaven to a wretch dying on a cross next to him. The wretch was dying because of his own doing, but God offered to the poor anyways an eternity with Him. This selfish no good for nothing got something for nothing...or did he? You see, on the other side of Christ was another wretch. One pleaded for mercy and the other did not. One was looking, and the other was not seeking. One received and the other did not. It all becomes then, a matter of our disposition towards our King of the Universe. Humility. A recognition of God. Humility, a true offering of our life to God above all. There are two fires to be reckoned with, that of His purification, and that of eternal damnation.

You know, when I told my son during Holy Mass "It is time for God", I had this revelation type come through my mind that spoke "time is of the world". We calculate time by what we know on earth, the rotations of the earth and around the sun. But that's because it is of this earth, this world. When it comes to God, he is not of this earth, that timing has no effect on Him. Time then, I say, is worldly. Yet all we have to offer is worldly, treasure, time, talent. But what is not of this world is Love. And we can offer that to God, because GOD IS LOVE!


Bless God

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