Thursday, June 28, 2018

He Taught Them

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Jesus Saves the Whole Human Person

Once we realize that Jesus came to save the entire human person and not just the soul, so much of the worry, stress, and burdens we heap upon ourselves dissipate. Each one of us is an embodied soul. It still confounds me how many devout believers forget this truth of the faith. I will be human for all eternity, my body glorified like Jesus's own body. So I say, why wait? Instead, why not do what Saint Paul suggests in First Corinthians 6:20, and glorify God with our bodies right now? The easiest way to do this is by inviting Christ to share in the whole of my bodily existence.

—from Prayer Everywhere: The Spiritual Life Made Simple


"Whatever you do, think not of yourself, but of God."
— St. Vincent Ferrer

"And so, in the redemptive economy of grace, brought about through the action of the Holy Spirit, there is a unique correspondence between the moment of the Incarnation of the Word and the moment of the birth of the Church. The person who links these two moments is Mary: Mary at Nazareth and Mary in the Upper Room at Jerusalem. In both cases her discreet yet essential presence indicates the path of 'birth from the Holy Spirit'. Thus she who is present in the mystery of Christ as Mother becomes—by the will of the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit—present in the mystery of the Church. In the Church too she continues to be a maternal presence, as is shown by the words spoken from the Cross: 'Woman, behold your son!'; 'Behold your mother.'"
— Pope St. John Paul II, p. 94
Mary: God's Yes to Man

"For thus says the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite."
Isaiah 57:15


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Saint Irenaeus

(c. 130 – c. 202)

The Church is fortunate that Irenaeus was involved in many of its controversies in the second century. He was a student, well trained no doubt, with great patience in investigating, tremendously protective of apostolic teaching, but prompted more by a desire to win over his opponents than to prove them in error.

As bishop of Lyons he was especially concerned with the Gnostics, who took their name from the Greek word for "knowledge." Claiming access to secret knowledge imparted by Jesus to only a few disciples, their teaching was attracting and confusing many Christians. After thoroughly investigating the various Gnostic sects and their "secret," Irenaeus showed to what logical conclusions their tenets led. These he contrasted with the teaching of the apostles and the text of Holy Scripture, giving us, in five books, a system of theology of great importance to subsequent times. Moreover, his work, widely used and translated into Latin and Armenian, gradually ended the influence of the Gnostics.

The circumstances and details about his death, like those of his birth and early life in Asia Minor, are not at all clear.

A deep and genuine concern for other people will remind us that the discovery of truth is not to be a victory for some and a defeat for others. Unless all can claim a share in that victory, truth itself will continue to be rejected by the losers, because it will be regarded as inseparable from the yoke of defeat. And so, confrontation, controversy and the like might yield to a genuine united search for God's truth and how it can best be served.


Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr

Reading 1 2 Kgs 24:8-17

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign,
and he reigned three months in Jerusalem.
His mother's name was Nehushta,
daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.
He did evil in the sight of the LORD,
just as his forebears had done.

At that time the officials of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon,
attacked Jerusalem, and the city came under siege.
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon,
himself arrived at the city
while his servants were besieging it.
Then Jehoiachin, king of Judah, together with his mother,
his ministers, officers, and functionaries,
surrendered to the king of Babylon, who,
in the eighth year of his reign, took him captive.
And he carried off all the treasures
of the temple of the LORD and those of the palace,
and broke up all the gold utensils that Solomon, king of Israel,
had provided in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had foretold.
He deported all Jerusalem:
all the officers and men of the army, ten thousand in number,
and all the craftsmen and smiths.
None were left among the people of the land except the poor.
He deported Jehoiachin to Babylon,
and also led captive from Jerusalem to Babylon
the king's mother and wives,
his functionaries, and the chief men of the land.
The king of Babylon also led captive to Babylon
all seven thousand men of the army,
and a thousand craftsmen and smiths,
all of them trained soldiers.
In place of Jehoiachin,
the king of Babylon appointed his uncle Mattaniah king,
and changed his name to Zedekiah.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 79:1b-2, 3-5, 8, 9
R. (9) For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple,
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
They have given the corpses of your servants
as food to the birds of heaven,
the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the earth.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
They have poured out their blood like water
round about Jerusalem,
and there is no one to bury them.
We have become the reproach of our neighbors,
the scorn and derision of those around us.
O LORD, how long? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy burn like fire?
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name's sake.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.

Alleluia Jn 14:23
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 7:21-29

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,'
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day,
'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?
Did we not drive out demons in your name?
Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?'
Then I will declare to them solemnly,
'I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.'

"Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined."

When Jesus finished these words,
the crowds were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority,
and not as their scribes.


Meditation: Matthew 7:21-29

Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr (Memorial)

The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew. (Matthew 7:25)

As we do from time to time, we wanted to share a reader's testimony for today's meditation:

"Today's Gospel may seem like an unlikely reading for a wedding, but my wife and I were sure that this was the right passage for us. In spite of the blush of young love, we knew our married life would have ups and downs. So we wanted Jesus to be our foundation from the very beginning. And he has been!

"The rain fell. Like many newlyweds, we sometimes struggled to blend very different family traditions. My wife's family relished lively discussions, but mine was more reserved. When dinner conversations got stormy and led to hurt feelings, we tried to remember that we were forming a new family with Jesus as our foundation. Did we sometimes still feel offended? Of course. But we tried to let Paul's words from Philippians 2:3 guide us: 'Humbly regard others as more important than yourselves.'

"The floods came. I was in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, when a jetliner crashed into the building. I escaped unharmed, but the attack filled me with fear. Would God really take care of our family? As we grappled with these questions, we found strength in Romans 8:28— the promise that 'all things work together for good' has become a refrain for our family.

"The winds blew. Sending kids out into the world can whip your emotions around like a strong wind. "Is this the best place for our child? Can she afford to live on her own?" As we prayed, the same Scripture passage kept coming up: 'After three days they found him in the temple' (Luke 2:46). So when our son decided to go to school halfway across the country, we hung onto that truth: God was calling each of our kids, and even if they went on different paths, they would find him in the end.

"The house did not collapse. We've been married more than twenty years now. Things haven't always been picture-perfect, but we keep trying to trust Jesus. His word has helped us so far, and we're confident it will in the future."

"Jesus, you help us weather the storms of life. Keep us on your firm foundation."

2 Kings 24:8-17
Psalm 79:1-5, 8-9



"He deported all Jerusalem" we heard in the first Holy Scripture. The king took over the king. One exiled the other. Why? Because, it is said that the poor king was a bad king, had taken on the bad habits of those who went before him. They were all kicked out of "Jerusalem". Where God came to reclaim. And the bible speaks of the new Jerusalem. Heaven. And this is where we are to aim, our whole of life is geared towards this...isn't it? But, like many of my songs I write say, "what good what it be to go without you?". And here I am once again, reaching out to you. I want you there with me! I love you so much that THAT's what I want for you. Who loves like that? I shall not lose anyone the Father has given me to love and to hold.

Let's pray: " For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us. Remember not against us the iniquities of the past; may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low." The whole of Mass is beautiful. Discover its beauty. At the core and center, are angels worshiping God, and God is at the center of the banquet. This is a heavenly glimpse. Very real. What you can not see in Mass is what the Spirit can see and desires...God. What do I see when I go to daily Mass? I look around, typically the same handful goes. Do I see God? I go, I pray, I lose focus, I refocus, the guitar I play. What do I see with these human eyes? My eyes see a priest, and what he holds in his precious hands, the precious body of Christ, that blessed those very hands. So precious to love and to hold. A love so quiet, yet so bold. So what do I see? I see what an offering does, an offering of love. One who gives his life, and the other life as a whole. I've been seeing something I've not seen eternity extending itself before me. And the most beautiful prayers start flowing from my heart and not from my teeth out, "Lord have mercy on me".

In comes our Lord: ""Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven." And to reiterate the last words there He says again ""Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock." And funny how he called Peter the Rock. Listen and act. Make the Word come alive. If the Eucharist enters me, the Word enters me, I am to make Christ come alive, aren't I? A sincerity of love. Sure you can go to church...AND? Sure you can drive out demons...AND? What about it? Sure you can prophesy....AND? So what? Sure you can heal others in His name....AND? What do you want? A reward? As if to say, these actions deserve Heaven? WRONG.
Why? Why is it so wrong? Because, our Lord said "Get AWAY from Me! you EVILDOER! " As if a Father cried rending His garments. "What I want, you will not give!" I always compare this, a child grows up, life becomes busy, with work and family, and the child puts the parent in the nursing home. There, safely tucked away, the child pays money to keep them there, so the child offers money.
The child talks nicely about the father in the nursing home, yet hardly visits except a few times a year.
The child claims the father is loved. Meanwhile, the father thinks "what happened to my child?" My child no longer loves me, that child I held in my arms, and suffered for all those years. My child no longer loves me. I don't know who this person is! That's not the child I gave life to. That is not the child I knew many years ago. Get away from me! "

So it is with Our Father.
He gave us everything loved us and suffered for us.
And many of us have Him tucked away in a "special place".
That place is one of torment. I briefly visit a friend weekly in a nursing home. It is more of a hospital setting, nurses in and out, I have heard loud yells for help, nobody comes, they go on ignored. "Help Me" the forgotten yell, and the child is nowhere to be seen. "MIJA!" (My daughter) one yelled until he passed away in the nursing home. Imagine our Father, how we treat Him. Many don't go see Him but a few times a year. Many send donations, or tithe to church. Your money is nice. But it's not your heart. Your time is nice, but it is not your heart. Your actions are nice, but they are not your heart.
The 10 virgins waited for the groom. 5 were foolish. 5 were wise. The wise were ready. The foolish were not. The groom locks the door to the banquet room and tells the foolish "I don't know you".
They say sin disfigures the soul. You become a stranger to Him. That is hell. To live without God and God not knowing you. To "know" in the old age meant intimacy. Virgin Mary said "how can this be since I do not know man". She had promised to be a virgin forever. She was wise. They say the Eucharist is the most intimate thing you can do with Christ.
How sad it'd be to be having an affair and claim to love with all your heart...this Christ?
We have many loves to choose from in the world.
It'd be sad if you love yourself more than He.
It'd be more than sad, it'd be foolish.
Love God with all your heart, mind, strength, your soul. And only then will you begin to take the Way, the right path, the little forgotten path.
A deacon said he took care of his father, changed his pampers, suffered the results of an elderly man with dementia. He took care of him when nobody else would. He did not send him to a nursing home and paid a great sacrifice. I said to him one day after school of leaders, "that cross was a gift from God" it unites our love intimately. You will get to know God more by taking to this love. Fans say they know their idols. They meet and the idol knows nothing about the fan, yet the fan swears they know their idol. The idol will dismiss the fan as fanatic wacko and turns and walks away. This is how it is with God. If you don't personally spend time with Him in church, in study groups, in prisons, in hospitals, in the slums of the world, if you don't make the personal effort to meet him even in the needy of a home, He will never know you! Get involved.
Get heavily involved.
Get your hands dirty.
The ways of the world are deteriorating. A new sun is arising.

A new light is awaiting. A fresh love awaits. And it glimpses through these narrow slits, eyes of the soul. God is calling

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