Friday, November 10, 2017

Children Of This World


Food for Our Souls

Food freely given exacts from us a promise to go beyond its selfish reception to the unselfish realm of deep gratitude. There we commit ourselves to give to others what we have received. My food mentors— grandmother and mother—cooked not because their sense of dignity depended on others' opinions of them but because they knew that treating tablemates to the best they could offer was the backbone of every family and nation.
Though ingratitude and indifference might have come to their table, it disappeared when they left it. Poured forth from previously pursed lips was a litany of gratitude complemented by what these good souls always wanted to see: sighs and smiles of contentment.
—from the book Table of Plenty: Good Food for Body and Spirit
by Susan Muto


✞ "The true measure of loving God is to love Him without measure."
— St. Bernard of Clairvaux

"Voluntary poverty restores to man the nobility of his condition, liberating him from vile servitude and reinstating him his noble freedom and mastery of all things. The soul is never more a mistress than when she despises them, and only then has she the more firm possession and makes the more excellent use of riches, when she gives them away or leaves them of her own free will; only then her appetite for them is best satiated, when she does not care to possess them. Then above all is the heart set free and made capable of the treasures of the Divinity, for which it is furnished by the Creator with almost infinite capacity."
— Ven. Mary of Agreda, p. 85
Mystical City of God

"But you, O Lord, know me; You see me and test me—my heart is with you."
Jeremiah 12:3a


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Saint Leo the Great

(d. November 10, 461)

With apparent strong conviction of the importance of the Bishop of Rome in the Church, and of the Church as the ongoing sign of Christ's presence in the world, Leo the Great displayed endless dedication as pope. Elected in 440, he worked tirelessly as "Peter's successor," guiding his fellow bishops as "equals in the episcopacy and infirmities."

Leo is known as one of the best administrative popes of the ancient Church. His work branched into four main areas, indicative of his notion of the pope's total responsibility for the flock of Christ. He worked at length to control the heresies of Pelagianism–overemphasizing human freedom– Manichaeism–seeing everything material as evil–and others, placing demands on their followers so as to secure true Christian beliefs.

A second major area of his concern was doctrinal controversy in the Church in the East, to which he responded with a classic letter setting down the Church's teaching on the two natures of Christ. With strong faith, he also led the defense of Rome against barbarian attack, taking the role of peacemaker.

In these three areas, Leo's work has been highly regarded. His growth to sainthood has its basis in the spiritual depth with which he approached the pastoral care of his people, which was the fourth focus of his work. He is known for his spiritually profound sermons. An instrument of the call to holiness, well-versed in Scripture and ecclesiastical awareness, Leo had the ability to reach the everyday needs and interests of his people. One of his sermons is used in the Office of Readings on Christmas.

It is said of Leo that his true significance rests in his doctrinal insistence on the mysteries of Christ and the Church and in the supernatural charisms of the spiritual life given to humanity in Christ and in his Body, the Church. Thus Leo held firmly that everything he did and said as pope for the administration of the Church represented Christ, the head of the Mystical Body, and Saint Peter, in whose place Leo acted.


At a time when there is widespread criticism of Church structures, we also hear criticism that bishops and priests—indeed, all of us—are too preoccupied with administration of temporal matters. Pope Leo is an example of a great administrator who used his talents in areas where spirit and structure are inseparably combined: doctrine, peace, and pastoral care. He avoided an "angelism" that tries to live without the body, as well as the "practicality" that deals only in externals.


Memorial of Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church

Reading 1 Rom 15:14-21

I myself am convinced about you, my brothers and sisters,
that you yourselves are full of goodness,
filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another.
But I have written to you rather boldly in some respects to remind you,
because of the grace given me by God
to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles
in performing the priestly service of the Gospel of God,
so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable,
sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast in what pertains to God.
For I will not dare to speak of anything
except what Christ has accomplished through me
to lead the Gentiles to obedience by word and deed,
by the power of signs and wonders,
by the power of the Spirit of God,
so that from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum
I have finished preaching the Gospel of Christ.
Thus I aspire to proclaim the Gospel
not where Christ has already been named,
so that I do not build on another's foundation,
but as it is written:

Those who have never been told of him shall see,
and those who have never heard of him shall understand.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4
R. (see 2b) The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

Alleluia 1 Jn 2:5
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever keeps the word of Christ,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 16:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples, "A rich man had a steward
who was reported to him for squandering his property.
He summoned him and said,
'What is this I hear about you?
Prepare a full account of your stewardship,
because you can no longer be my steward.'
The steward said to himself, 'What shall I do,
now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me?
I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg.
I know what I shall do so that,
when I am removed from the stewardship,
they may welcome me into their homes.'
He called in his master's debtors one by one.
To the first he said, 'How much do you owe my master?'
He replied, 'One hundred measures of olive oil.'
He said to him, 'Here is your promissory note.
Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.'
Then to another he said, 'And you, how much do you owe?'
He replied, 'One hundred measures of wheat.'
He said to him, 'Here is your promissory note;
write one for eighty.'
And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
For the children of this world
are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than the children of light."


Meditation: Luke 16:1-8

Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)

The children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light. (Luke 16:8)

The prudent steward in today's Gospel might seem an unlikely person to praise. But Jesus gave us this parable because he wanted to teach us to think strategically. When faced with imminent job loss, the steward in the story sprang into action. He identified his personal strengths and weaknesses and then developed a plan to make the most of his gifts. Just so, Jesus says, we can be strategic in sharing our faith by considering who we are, where we are most comfortable, and what we might need to say to someone.

First, when you think about "who you are," you should also think about the person you are trying to reach. Do you find it easier to talk to people one-on-one, or do you prefer a group setting, maybe in a coffee shop with other people? That will affect how you approach someone. Now, think about the person you want to reach. How would they be most open to relating to you or building a relationship?

Next, think about "where" you and your friend would be at ease. The two of you might already be involved in a group sharing common interests, like a book club or sports team. That could be a good setting to start up a conversation about the Lord. If you like to have people over, you could invite them to your house. Or if they would be more comfortable, go to a restaurant or social event at your church instead.

Finally, think about "what to say." This doesn't have to be daunting. In fact, studies show that connecting with another person has more to do with listening than speaking. Look at Jesus: he asked more than two hundred questions in the gospels! Pay close attention to what your friend is sharing with you. Then, when you share about Jesus' work in your life, it will come in the context of a caring relationship.

A simple plan—that's all it takes to open the door for deeper conversations. Let the Lord work through your friendship. Let him help you become a witness of God's tenderness and mercy.

"Lord, teach me to be 'prudent' as I reach out to people in your name."

Romans 15:14-21
Psalm 98:1-4


"For I will not dare to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to lead the Gentiles to obedience by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God...". Lead the Gentiles to obedience. And to do Truth.
Jesus is The Truth. The Way. The Life.

We pray today "The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power. Sing to the LORD a new song". This means to have a conversion, and for some of us it is an ongoing conversion, even daily, a new life, a new conversion. Singing a new song is living a new life with Him, following Him, always. This is what our Lord is calling us for this very day. For if there is darkness, we need light, and there is light, it was what came first....Love. Let there be light.

In comes our Lord today into our lives: "For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light." People are very astute, especially when it comes to convenience. Aren't we? Then, why can we not see the ultimate convenience of Salvation? Why is it that we are so watchful of our body's health, but not of our soul's health? Why is it that we watch our riches and not our Lord's riches? The man in the gospel was a steward, one who takes care of things for another. We are stewards on this earth, in charge of God's Kingdom. Why are we squandering it? His riches. And His riches are in the poor. Those who haven not...not even...Salvation.

A spanish reflection said today: "However, it seems that we have learned that it is more serious to miss Mass on a Sunday, or to murmur, or to be envious, to have sexual desires or impure thoughts ... that great danger that often enslaves us and hardens the heart. Money and heart of stone, and individualism or selfishness go together. Money, throughout the entire Scripture, appears as one of the greatest obstacles to our relationship with God. Precisely the Bible puts him in confrontation with the First Commandment. God's greatest enemy is not atheism, or lack of faith ... but to deify things, to let things possess you, to be our God."

I read somewhere that Mammon is an Aramaic word for wealth or property, but also it meant an attraction to. The reflection says we "deify things", making gods of things, and that is an love more of other "things" than our Lord. Atrocity though, because it is detrimental to our Salvation. Oh sure, you may think you are good, but only God is good. Jesus responds: " "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone." I don't like to hear the response when I invite someone to Church "no thanks, I'm Good!". Who lied to you and said you are good without Him? When people ask me every day how I am doing, I never say good. I say fine or alright, but I am never "good".

What is being called from all of us is a shocking revelation. Something that makes you realize you have been squandering, wasting, losing, mishandling, and being dishonest with. Therefore, better to make the best out of this dishonest "wealth" now, because we are going to be asked to render accounts. Jesus wouldn't say this story if it were not a true happening that is coming. Saint Paul says "ead the Gentiles to obedience by word and deed". Speak the truth, yes, but LIVE the truth as well. Faith and works go hand in hand. Not one above the other.
Bishop Barren says today "...we must regularly take a hard look at ourselves. What are our strengths and our weaknesses? Where do we need improvement? Where are we not in particularly good shape? Is our prayer life strong? Do we frequent the sacraments? Do we participate in the Mass? Are our lives focused around the corporal and spiritual works of mercy? Do we speak out against injustices and moral evils?
And, like the steward, we must act with cleverness, firmness of purpose, and boldness. Enough wishy-washiness in the spiritual life! The time for action is now. Today, commit to making Jesus Christ and his demands the undisputed center of your life."
Pope Francis in another reflection on today's Gospel,Francis concluded with a prayer that the Lord grant "the grace that he gave to Paul, that ambition to always go forward, always, so often renouncing one's comfort". In this way "we are saved from temptation, from this temptation that is basically to a double life: I'm seen as a minister, but essentially I use others".

The temptation to live a double life is out there. Jesus wants authenticity. Holiness.
He wants you, to be you, the you He created you to be. A child of light !



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