Monday, June 11, 2018

Blessed are the poor...

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The Spirit of God Sends Us Forth

All these gates led me finally to return to the entrance of another "cave" where Saint Francis is buried, in a crypt inside a hill outside the original walls of Assisi. It is a cave that, like all the others, reveals to us the treasure which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that sends us forth from Assisi, as it did Francis, to return to our original true place and find there the way into our own mountain where we find the Spirit of God who will send us forth, beyond our own protective walls, to find the poor among us and beyond us, beyond, at least, our former seeing and living.

And at some point we have to return to Assisi, at least in memory or imagination, and pass through the Capuchin Gate, hopefully in a springtime of the soul, and begin the slow ascent of Mount Subasio and reenter the caves of St. Francis looking for renewed energy and inspiration, for the silence and solitude that send us back to the plain below, to those, especially, who have no lightsome place to lay their head.

—from Enter Assisi: An Invitation to Franciscan Spirituality


"If you are suffering from a bad man's injustice, forgive him—lest there be two bad men."
— St. Augustine

Meditation of the Day

"My God, you know infinitely better than I how little I love you. I would not love you at all except for your grace. It is your grace that has opened the eyes of my mind and enabled them to see your glory. It is your grace that has touched my heart and brought upon it the influence of what is so wonderfully beautiful and fair . . . O my God, whatever is nearer to me than you, things of this earth, and things more naturally pleasing to me, will be sure to interrupt the sight of you, unless your grace interferes. Keep my eyes, my ears, my heart from any such miserable tyranny. Break my bonds—raise my heart. Keep my whole being fixed on you. Let me never lose sight of you; and, while I gaze on you, let my love of you grow more and more everyday."

— Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman, p. 44-5

Verse of the Day

"How can young people keep their way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; do not let me stray from your commandments. I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you."

Psalm 119:9-11


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Saint Barnabas

(c. 75)

Barnabas, a Jew of Cyprus, comes as close as anyone outside the Twelve to being a full-fledged apostle. He was closely associated with Saint Paul—he introduced Paul to Peter and the other apostles—and served as a kind of mediator between the former persecutor and the still suspicious Jewish Christians.

When a Christian community developed at Antioch, Barnabas was sent as the official representative of the church of Jerusalem to incorporate them into the fold. He and Paul instructed in Antioch for a year, after which they took relief contributions to Jerusalem.

Later Paul and Barnabas, now clearly seen as charismatic leaders, were sent by Antioch officials to preach to the gentiles. Enormous success crowned their efforts. After a miracle at Lystra, the people wanted to offer sacrifice to them as gods—Barnabas being Zeus, and Paul, Hermes—but the two said, "We are of the same nature as you, human beings. We proclaim to you good news that you should turn from these idols to the living God" (see Acts 14:8-18).

But all was not peaceful. They were expelled from one town, they had to go to Jerusalem to clear up the ever-recurring controversy about circumcision, and even the best of friends can have differences. When Paul wanted to revisit the places they had evangelized, Barnabas wanted to take along his cousin John Mark, author of the Gospel, but Paul insisted that since Mark had deserted them once, he was not fit to take along now. The disagreement that followed was so sharp that Barnabas and Paul separated: Barnabas taking Mark to Cyprus, Paul taking Silas to Syria. Later they were reconciled—Paul, Barnabas and Mark.

When Paul stood up to Peter for not eating with gentiles for fear of his Jewish friends, we learn that "even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy" (see Galatians 2:1-13).

Barnabas is spoken of simply as one who dedicated his life to the Lord. He was a man "filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. Thereby, large numbers were added to the Lord." Even when he and Paul were expelled from Antioch in Pisidia—modern-day Turkey—they were "filled with joy and the Holy Spirit."

Saint Barnabas is the Patron Saint of:

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Memorial of Saint Barnabas, Apostle

Lectionary: 580/359

Reading 1 ACTS 11:21B-26; 12:1-3

In those days a great number who believed turned to the Lord.
The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem,
and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch.
When he arrived and saw the grace of God,
he rejoiced and encouraged them all
to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart,
for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.
And a large number of people was added to the Lord.
Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch.
For a whole year they met with the Church
and taught a large number of people,
and it was in Antioch that the disciples
were first called Christians.

Now there were in the Church at Antioch prophets and teachers:
Barnabas, Symeon who was called Niger,
Lucius of Cyrene,
Manaen who was a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said,
"Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul
for the work to which I have called them."
Then, completing their fasting and prayer,
they laid hands on them and sent them off.

Responsorial Psalm PS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4, 5-6
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.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

Alleluia MT 5:12A
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.
Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you."


Saint Barnabas, Apostle (Memorial)

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)

Have you ever met someone who has a knack for putting people at ease? When everyone else is arguing, they are calm. When everyone else is reacting, they are peacefully sizing up the situation. They seem to know exactly how to defuse tension and get people talking to each other.

It seems that St. Barnabas, whose feast we celebrate today, was such a person. Scripture tells us that when the recently converted Paul asked to join the apostles in Jerusalem, Barnabas persuaded them to trust Paul (Acts 9:26-30). That was no small feat, since Paul—formerly Saul—had a reputation of persecuting Christians. Think how differently things might have turned out if they had rejected him!

What was Barnabas' secret? Well, he probably had an innate ability to relate to all kinds of people, but he probably didn't rely on raw talent alone. The demands of missionary life called for more. So he also worked to develop his people skills more and more. You can imagine him sharing God's peace in small ways every day so that he would be ready for the big challenges when they came along.

You have undoubtedly found yourself in a few tense situations. So how can you be an agent of Jesus' peace in them? First, and most important, pause to pray. You might say, "Lord, help me keep my emotions under control. Guard my thoughts and my speech. Fill me with your peace."

Second, be careful not to jump in right away. Listen first. Consider what may be behind a person's words. Many disagreements can be resolved by hearing out the other person's views. Sometimes it isn't even necessary to agree.

Finally, speak positively. Try not to take a side if you can at all help it. If someone is angry, let them know that you understand their feelings. You may want to draw them aside to blow off steam more privately. If someone is troubled or upset, offer to pray with them. If someone is disagreeing with you, seek common ground instead of highlighting your differences. Like Barnabas, you can take small steps that will make a big difference—and bring the peace of Christ into the world.

"Lord, make me a peacemaker."

Acts 11:21-26; 13:1-3
Psalm 98:1-6



From Bisop Barron today:
"Friends, our Gospel for today is one of the most beautiful and important in the New Testament: the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, the eight Beatitudes. Why is it so important? Because it is the Son of God telling us how to be happy. It is the one who can't be wrong telling us how to achieve that which each of us most basically wants. What could be more compelling?

At the heart of Jesus' program are these Beatitudes: "Blessed are the merciful" and "Blessed are the peacemakers." These name the very heart of the spiritual program, for they name the ways that we participate most directly in the divine life.

One of the most important words to describe God in the Old Testament is chesed (tender mercy). The New Testament version of this is found in the first letter of John: God is agape (love). Everything else we say about God should be seen as an aspect of this chesed and this agape. Chesed is compassion; agape is willing the good of the other. Therefore, if you want to be happy, desire to be like God. Do it and you'll be happy."

We are traveling nearly 1,500 miles back home and so far the most memorable moments have been those closest with Christ weather enjoying the magical Waters of an ocean thinking about God's wonderful love or the Holy Mass with the family of God... especially the place I've been wanting to visit for years be original Chapel at EWTN in Alabama feeding one of the priests in person...God moments are the best always...blessed in Spirit



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