Wednesday, June 27, 2018

You will know them

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The Footsteps of the Saints Lead to Christ

Saint Francis, the spiritual father of Junípero Serra, was filled with a deep desire to proclaim the Gospel to others. God gave Francis extraordinary grace to preach with confidence, compassion, and clarity, motivated by a love for Jesus and zeal for the salvation of souls. Following the footsteps of Jesus, he demonstrated an unrelenting commitment to seek and save the lost. Showing his own followers how to rebuild the Church, Francis of Assisi desired to be a living Gospel for all to see and hear, and, with single-minded devotion, even while burdened by frequent illness and bodily pain, he abandoned himself completely to the call Jesus had given him. These were dynamic traits that Junípero Serra shared.

–from Saint Junipero Serra's Camino: A Pilgrimage Guide to the California Missions


"The poor have much to teach you. You have much to learn from them."
— St. Vincent de Paul

"Consider that the love of divine charity is so closely joined in the soul with perfect patience, that neither can leave the soul without the other. For this reason (if the soul elect to love Me) she should elect to endure pains for Me in whatever mode or circumstance I may send them to her. Patience cannot be proved in any other way than by suffering, and patience is united with love as has been said. Therefore bear yourselves with manly courage, for, unless you do so, you will not prove yourselves to be spouses of My Truth, and faithful children, nor of the company of those who relish the taste of My honor, and the salvation of souls."
— St. Catherine Of Siena, p. 10
Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena

"And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life."
1 John 5:11


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Saint Cyril of Alexandria

(378 – June 27, 444)

Saints are not born with halos around their heads. Cyril, recognized as a great teacher of the Church, began his career as archbishop of Alexandria, Egypt, with impulsive, often violent, actions. He pillaged and closed the churches of the Novatian heretics—who required those who denied the faith to be re-baptized—participated in the deposing of Saint John Chrysostom, and confiscated Jewish property, expelling the Jews from Alexandria in retaliation for their attacks on Christians.

Cyril's importance for theology and Church history lies in his championing the cause of orthodoxy against the heresy of Nestorius, who taught that in Christ there were two persons, one human and one divine.

The controversy centered around the two natures in Christ. Nestorius would not agree to the title "God-bearer" for Mary. He preferred "Christ-bearer," saying there are two distinct persons in Christ—divine and human—joined only by a moral union. He said Mary was not the mother of God but only of the man Christ, whose humanity was only a temple of God. Nestorianism implied that the humanity of Christ was a mere disguise.

Presiding as the pope's representative at the Council of Ephesus in 431, Cyril condemned Nestorianism and proclaimed Mary truly the "God-bearer"—the mother of the one Person who is truly God and truly human. In the confusion that followed, Cyril was deposed and imprisoned for three months, after which he was welcomed back to Alexandria.

Besides needing to soften some of his opposition to those who had sided with Nestorius, Cyril had difficulties with some of his own allies, who thought he had gone too far, sacrificing not only language but orthodoxy. Until his death, his policy of moderation kept his extreme partisans under control. On his deathbed, despite pressure, he refused to condemn the teacher of Nestorius.

Lives of the saints are valuable not only for the virtue they reveal but also for the less admirable qualities that also appear. Holiness is a gift of God to us as human beings. Life is a process. We respond to God's gift, but sometimes with a lot of zigzagging. If Cyril had been more patient and diplomatic, the Nestorian church might not have risen and maintained power so long. But even saints must grow out of immaturity, narrowness, and selfishness. It is because they—and we—do grow, that we are truly saints, persons who live the life of God.


Wednesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 373

Reading 1 2 KGS 22:8-13; 23:1-3

The high priest Hilkiah informed the scribe Shaphan,
"I have found the book of the law in the temple of the LORD."
Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, who read it.
Then the scribe Shaphan went to the king and reported,
"Your servants have smelted down the metals available in the temple
and have consigned them to the master workmen
in the temple of the LORD."
The scribe Shaphan also informed the king
that the priest Hilkiah had given him a book,
and then read it aloud to the king.
When the king heard the contents of the book of the law,
he tore his garments and issued this command to Hilkiah the priest,
Ahikam, son of Shaphan,
Achbor, son of Micaiah, the scribe Shaphan,
and the king's servant Asaiah:
"Go, consult the LORD for me, for the people, for all Judah,
about the stipulations of this book that has been found,
for the anger of the LORD has been set furiously ablaze against us,
because our fathers did not obey the stipulations of this book,
nor fulfill our written obligations."

The king then had all the elders of Judah
and of Jerusalem summoned together before him.
The king went up to the temple of the LORD with all the men of Judah
and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem:
priests, prophets, and all the people, small and great.
He had the entire contents of the book of the covenant
that had been found in the temple of the LORD, read out to them.
Standing by the column, the king made a covenant before the LORD
that they would follow him
and observe his ordinances, statutes and decrees
with their whole hearts and souls,
thus reviving the terms of the covenant
which were written in this book.
And all the people stood as participants in the covenant.

Responsorial Psalm PS 119:33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 40
R. (33a) Teach me the way of your decrees, O Lord.
Instruct me, O LORD, in the way of your statutes,
that I may exactly observe them.
R. Teach me the way of your decrees, O Lord.
Give me discernment, that I may observe your law
and keep it with all my heart.
R. Teach me the way of your decrees, O Lord.
Lead me in the path of your commands,
for in it I delight.
R. Teach me the way of your decrees, O Lord.
Incline my heart to your decrees
and not to gain.
R. Teach me the way of your decrees, O Lord.

Turn away my eyes from seeing what is vain:
by your way give me life.
R. Teach me the way of your decrees, O Lord.
Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your justice give me life.
R. Teach me the way of your decrees, O Lord.

Alleluia JN 15:4A, 5B
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord;
whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 7:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing,
but underneath are ravenous wolves.
By their fruits you will know them.
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Just so, every good tree bears good fruit,
and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down
and thrown into the fire.
So by their fruits you will know them."


Meditation: 2 Kings 22:8-13; 23:1-3

Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)

I have found the book of the law in the temple. (2 Kings 22:8)

Have you ever wondered what remnants of twenty-first century life archaeologists will find hundreds of years from now? They might piece together televisions, computers, or the odd kitchen stove. They could learn much in the ruins of shopping malls, houses, and churches. Maybe they'll even uncover a book or other artifact that could move people to worship God! That is what happened in today's first reading.

King Josiah was overseeing the renovation of the Temple of Jerusalem. During their work, the builders discovered a copy of the "book of the law," which was probably the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy (2 Kings 22:8). It had been lost, but for how long, no one knows. When Shaphan, the scribe, read the book to the king, Josiah responded by tearing his garments in repentance and renewing the covenant with God. The words of Scripture changed King Josiah's heart and turned an entire nation back to the Lord.

That's how powerful Scripture is! It has the ability to draw hearts to the Lord. It reveals who God is, and it can shape people's thoughts and behavior. But none of this can happen unless people read Scripture prayerfully and meditate on it with an open heart.

Why is the Bible capable of doing all this? Because it is no ordinary book. It is "living and effective," the very word of God (Hebrews 4:12). When we read Scripture with an open heart, God himself speaks to us. The Holy Spirit brings the words to life for us, just as he did for Josiah.

Maybe you already have a routine for reading the Bible. You might have a daily reading plan, or maybe you have worked your way through one of the Gospels. Perhaps this magazine is your main resource for reading Scripture. If you've been doing any of these for even a short amount of time, you surely have a few stories about how the word of God has touched you, moved you, and shaped you. See if you can recall one or two of them today.

One more thing: not only is the Bible the word of God, but it is timeless. So centuries from now, our descendants won't need to discover an old Bible in a ruined church. They'll be reading it too!

"Lord, help me to read Scripture and meditate on your words every day."

Psalm 119:33-37, 40
Matthew 7:15-20



""Go, consult the LORD for me, for the people..." a smart move by the king of Judah to the King of the World. Set things straight, immediately. Why put it off? Why prolong the agony and danger of losing existence itself?

Without delay, let us pray: "Give me discernment, that I may observe your law
and keep it with all my heart. Teach me the way of your decrees, O Lord". Could it be said that if you love and observe the commandments of God, then you love Him? And what if you break one? What do you do when you offend a loved one? You must reconcile, set things straight immediately, right? Why put it off? Why prolong the agony?

In comes our Lord: "Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit." Jesus spoke of a fig and grapes. Where do you get your fruit from? A guy said to me yesterday, "I'm going to see my mom who wants to spend time with me and my son before her surgery tomorrow. " I said "she must want support, take her to a church". He said "yeah, we'll probably go to a movie or something'. I said smirking "I said take her to a church and pray". He said "Yeah, we went on Sunday". And I responded "go to church instead of the movies". And he left. I don't know what they did, but can you see what's going on? Where do you get your strength from? How can you give strength to your loved one by going to a movie? Our strength is in the Lord, amen?

Psalm 22:19 "9 But you, LORD, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me."
Psalm 118:14 " The LORD is my strength and my defense ; he has become my salvation."
Psalm 28 7-8 "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. 8 The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one."
How can you bear fruit without being a fruit bearer? How can you give what you do not have? Monsignor Bridges out here in Texas said in a homily once "you can't keep what you don't give". Ours has to be the Lord's giving. He only knows how to give. How can He receive then? It is an ever-flowing work. It is a mystery, and this is powerful.

Those that don't bear fruit will be gathered and burned. At least it will be good for something...some type of light.

There is a great gift God offers, and it is out of this world...literally.
He calls it eternity.
Some say it is life everlasting.
But one can only call it what it is...true joy, a life with Him. Nobody can offer eternity. Only He can. This gift is something to look forward to. Grab a hold of it. It is being offered, in the Eucharist, the Sacraments, the commandments.

Let us embark on this together. Who do you want to spend forever with?

My friend spent time with his mom. Our time is limited. What about forever?

What about our Love... God?
Our job is to lead one another to eternity, and preferably to HEAVEN!! Forever with GOD!
Why put it off?
Why prolong the agony?

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