Friday, January 26, 2018

Into The World

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Body and Soul

Our bodies express our own individual souls. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that human beings are a unity of body and soul—not just souls temporarily trapped in flesh and bone.

Even though our bodies will separate from our souls at death, through the power of Christ's resurrection, the bodies of the faithful will one day be raised and glorified, reunited with our souls, incorruptible for all eternity. Our bodies will be without spot or blemish, powerful, and perfect.

—from the book True Radiance: Finding Grace in the Second Half of Life by Lisa Mladinich
franciscan media


"Listen with the ear of your heart."
– St. Benedict of Nursia

"If you are able to fast, you will do well to observe some abstinence beyond what is enjoined by the Church. For in addition to the ordinary benefits of fasting—namely, lifting up the mind, subduing the flesh, strengthening virtue, and earning an eternal recompense—it is a great matter to be able to command our tastes and inclinations, and to keep the body and its appetites subject to the law of the spirit. And even if we do not fast to any great extent, Satan is the more afraid of those who, he is aware, know how to fast."
— St. Francis de Sales, p. 144-5
Manual for Spiritual Warfare

"I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."
Romans 8:18


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Saints Timothy and Titus

What we know from the New Testament of Timothy's life makes it sound like that of a modern harried bishop. He had the honor of being a fellow apostle with Paul, both sharing the privilege of preaching the gospel and suffering for it.

Timothy had a Greek father and a Jewish mother named Eunice. Being the product of a "mixed" marriage, he was considered illegitimate by the Jews. It was his grandmother, Lois, who first became Christian. Timothy was a convert of Paul around the year 47 and later joined him in his apostolic work. He was with Paul at the founding of the Church in Corinth. During the 15 years he worked with Paul, he became one of his most faithful and trusted friends. He was sent on difficult missions by Paul—often in the face of great disturbance in local churches which Paul had founded.

Timothy was with Paul in Rome during the latter's house arrest. At some period Timothy himself was in prison (Hebrews 13:23). Paul installed him as his representative at the Church of Ephesus.

Timothy was comparatively young for the work he was doing. Several references seem to indicate that he was timid. And one of Paul's most frequently quoted lines was addressed to him: "Stop drinking only water, but have a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent illnesses" (1 Timothy 5:23).

Titus has the distinction of being a close friend and disciple of Paul as well as a fellow missionary. He was Greek, apparently from Antioch. Even though Titus was a Gentile, Paul would not let him be forced to undergo circumcision at Jerusalem. Titus is seen as a peacemaker, administrator, great friend. Paul's second letter to Corinth affords an insight into the depth of his friendship with Titus, and the great fellowship they had in preaching the gospel.

When Paul was having trouble with the community at Corinth, Titus was the bearer of Paul's severe letter and was successful in smoothing things out. Paul writes he was strengthened not only by the arrival of Titus but also "by the encouragement with which he was encouraged in regard to you, as he told us of your yearning, your lament, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more…. And his heart goes out to you all the more, as he remembers the obedience of all of you, when you received him with fear and trembling" (2 Corinthians 7:7a, 15).

The Letter to Titus addresses him as the administrator of the Christian community on the island of Crete, charged with organizing it, correcting abuses, and appointing presbyter-bishops.

In Titus we get another glimpse of life in the early Church: great zeal in the apostolate, great communion in Christ, great friendship. Yet always there is the problem of human nature and the unglamorous details of daily life: the need for charity and patience in "quarrels with others, fears within myself," as Paul says. Through it all, the love of Christ sustained them. At the end of the Letter to Titus, Paul says that when the temporary substitute comes, "hurry to me."

Saints Timothy and Titus are the Patron Saints of:
Stomach Disorders


Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, bishops

Reading 1 2 Tm 1:1-8

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God
for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am grateful to God,
whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did,
as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.
I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears,
so that I may be filled with joy,
as I recall your sincere faith
that first lived in your grandmother Lois
and in your mother Eunice
and that I am confident lives also in you.

For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

Ti 1:1-5

Paul, a slave of God and Apostle of Jesus Christ
for the sake of the faith of God's chosen ones
and the recognition of religious truth,
in the hope of eternal life
that God, who does not lie, promised before time began,
who indeed at the proper time revealed his word
in the proclamation with which I was entrusted
by the command of God our savior,
to Titus, my true child in our common faith:
grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our savior.

For this reason I left you in Crete
so that you might set right what remains to be done
and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you.

Responsorial Psalm PS 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 7-8a, 10
R. (3) Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.

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 mk 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds:
"This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come."

He said,
"To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade."
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.


Meditation: Mark 4:26-34

Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops (Memorial)

The seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. (Mark 4:27)

Imagine how patient and trusting a farmer has to be. He prepares his field and plants his seeds. Day after day, he watches, even though nothing seems to happen. But one morning is different: the field has a faint green haze. The seeds have sprouted, and the crop is growing.

It's not a bad image for what bishops and parish priests do. To the best of their abilities, they plant good seeds and trust God to take care of the rest. We see this principle in action in our readings as we celebrate Sts. Timothy and Titus today.

First, we see it in the way Paul related to both of these men. They were his coworkers and spiritual sons. They traveled with him, and he sent them to lead newly established churches: Timothy in Ephesus and Titus in Crete. Paul knew that Timothy might face challenges like idolatry and false doctrine in Ephesus. He knew that Titus might confront pastoral difficulties in Crete. But he also knew that he had sown the "good seed" of the gospel in the churches, and so he was confident that God would help them meet any challenge they faced. So he entrusted them with responsibility and went on with his mission.

Next, we see how Timothy and Titus took Paul's advice on how to care for their churches. Over and over, Paul reminded them to do what he had done: plant good seed. Be clear on the gospel message and present it to their people as simply as possible. The fact that the churches in Ephesus and Crete continued to grow in spite of threats and difficulties attests to these men's success.

We may not be pastors, but many of us have children or grandchildren or students or spiritual charges that we care about. We love them and want to see their relationship with God grow and blossom. We can learn from the example of the farmer in today's parable—and from Paul and Timothy and Titus. Plant good seed and trust God. It can be as simple as taking your children to the Stations of the Cross during Lent or talking about the homily on your way home from Mass. Whatever you do, trust that God will help your whole family to grow and bear fruit.

"Lord, thank you for helping my children grow in faith!"

2 Timothy 1:1-8
Psalm 96:1-3, 7-8, 10


Saint Paul writes: " I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.
I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears, so that I may be filled with joy,
as I recall your sincere faith..." Constant prayers. These make a difference. There's an EWTN lady that says always, that she recalls that her grandmother used to pray for her grandchildren, one rosary each day for every grandchild, and I think she had 13 grandchildren. This lady was converted and works hard at spreading the word of God. What makes for the conversion worthwhile? Memories? Saint Paul recalls Tim's tears. They fill him with joy...yes, it is worthwhile, it makes one's heart burn for the love of God. A true passion. A true...calling.

Let us pray: "Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations. Give to the LORD, you families of nations, give to the LORD glory and praise; give to the LORD the glory due his name!" Give deeds. Give glory. Give praise. Give families. Give His Due! Is He not due? What did Jesus say when they asked Him about paying taxes to Caesar? He said ""Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." What is God's? Everything. Isn't it? So don't pay taxes? Now wait a minute, give order to the world. There must be God's will. Even if you are put into chains. He will set us free. He speaks about what began in Genesis. He created what is inside forever...a soul, your precious soul!

In the Holy Gospel, our Lord our God speaks: " the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow...". Saint Paul prayed night and day. Jesus talks about night and day. Days become weeks, weeks become months. And something happens with our toil and His soil. Doesn't it? The farmer does his part. Last night I spontaneously got up at Ultreya, a gathering of cursillistas, "we are the seed spreaders!" Where do we get seeds? The Lord. Where do we spread seeds? Everywhere! I was buying flowers at a flower shop for my wife's birthday. An elderly couple were there talking with the clerk and I sat there next to them waiting for my order. The clerk asked the old lady "how old are you?" she replied "I'm 88 years old".

Clerk-"How old is your husband?"
Lady- "He's 91 years old". The old man smiles.
Clerk- "Wow! So how long have ya'll been married?
Lady- "3 years".
Clerk- "What? So there's still hope for us?"
They go onto a long spill on previous marriages and deaths and how they met in church. But here's what got my attention:
Lady "I will tell you have to love people".
and her tears wanted to come, trembling with the love of God. "I love everybody". She said how pretty the ladies were and they asked her pointing to me "what about him?"
Lady " Oh he's so handsome...come here let me give you a big hug".
She hugged me saying "God is good"
and I replied "All the time".
Seeds scattered and sown.
Make Him known.
Spreading seeds is giving God's love.
If you care for someone's salvation, you will spread seeds. You will give fruit if you can sow fruit. You will not grow plants if you do not grow plants.
God sees.
He sees where His bounty is lent.
He sees where our heart is spent.
Paul wanted to be great and became small, until his death by decapitation, beheaded. And his head is in Rome, what is now Catholic, what is now Christian, what is now head of the whole world of Christendom...God's Kingdom.
Seeds are deeds, and deeds of trust, deeds of sealing, a covenant relationship with God. Seeds are life waiting to be inserted to convert into life...a soul in the body



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