Friday, July 6, 2018

I Did Not Come To....

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Saint Maria Goretti

Saint of the Day for July 6
(October 16, 1890 – July 6, 1902)

One of the largest crowds ever assembled for a canonization—250,000—symbolized the reaction of millions touched by the simple story of Maria Goretti. She was the daughter of a poor Italian tenant farmer, had no chance to go to school, never learned to read or write. When Maria made her First Communion not long before her death at age 12, she was one of the larger and somewhat backward members of the class.

On a hot afternoon in July, Maria was sitting at the top of the stairs of her house, mending a shirt. She was not quite 12 years old, but physically mature. A cart stopped outside, and a neighbor, 18-year-old Alessandro, ran up the stairs. He seized her and pulled her into a bedroom. She struggled and tried to call for help. "No, God does not wish it," she cried out. "It is a sin. You would go to hell for it." Alessandro began striking at her blindly with a long dagger.

Maria was taken to a hospital. Her last hours were marked by the usual simple compassion of the good—concern about where her mother would sleep, forgiveness of her murderer (she had been in fear of him, but did not say anything lest she cause trouble to his family), and her devout welcoming of Viaticum, her last Holy Communion. She died about 24 hours after the attack.

Alessandro was sentenced to 30 years in prison. For a long time he was unrepentant and surly. One night he had a dream or vision of Maria gathering flowers and offering them to him. His life changed. When he was released after 27 years, his first act was to go to beg the forgiveness of Maria's mother.

Devotion to the young martyr grew, miracles were worked, and in less than half a century she was canonized. At her beatification in 1947, her 82-year-old mother, two sisters and a brother, appeared with Pope Pius XII on the balcony of St. Peter's. Three years later at Maria's canonization, a 66-year-old Alessandro Serenelli knelt among the quarter-million people and cried tears of joy.

Maria may have had trouble with catechism, but she had no trouble with faith. God's will was holiness, decency, respect for one's body, absolute obedience, total trust. In a complex world, her faith was simple: It is a privilege to be loved by God, and to love him—at any cost.

Saint Maria Goretti is the Patron Saint of:
Catholic Youth


Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 381

Reading 1 AM 8:4-6, 9-12

Hear this, you who trample upon the needy
and destroy the poor of the land!
"When will the new moon be over," you ask,
"that we may sell our grain,
and the sabbath, that we may display the wheat?"
We will diminish the containers for measuring,
add to the weights,
and fix our scales for cheating!
We will buy the lowly man for silver,
and the poor man for a pair of sandals;
even the refuse of the wheat we will sell!"

On that day, says the Lord GOD,
I will make the sun set at midday
and cover the earth with darkness in broad daylight.
I will turn your feasts into mourning
and all your songs into lamentations.
I will cover the loins of all with sackcloth
and make every head bald.
I will make them mourn as for an only son,
and bring their day to a bitter end.

Yes, days are coming, says the Lord GOD,
when I will send famine upon the land:
Not a famine of bread, or thirst for water,
but for hearing the word of the LORD.
Then shall they wander from sea to sea
and rove from the north to the east
In search of the word of the LORD,
but they shall not find it.

Responsorial Psalm PS 119:2, 10, 20, 30, 40, 131
R. (Matthew 4:4) One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Blessed are they who observe his decrees,
who seek him with all their heart.
R. One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
With all my heart I seek you;
let me not stray from your commands.
R. One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
My soul is consumed with longing
for your ordinances at all times.
R. One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
The way of truth I have chosen;
I have set your ordinances before me.
R. One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your justice give me life.
R. One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
I gasp with open mouth
in my yearning for your commands.
R. One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Alleluia MT 11:28
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 9:9-13

As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, "Follow me."
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
"Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
He heard this and said,
"Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."


Meditation: Matthew 9:9-13

Saint Maria Goretti, Virgin and Martyr (Optional Memorial)

I desire mercy. (Matthew 9:13)

Imagine you've come to your doctor's office for the results of your routine physical. As you sit waiting for your appointment, you notice that many of the people around you are suffering from a variety of ailments. "Wow, I'm glad I'm not like any of them," you think. "I'd better steer clear of all these sick people."

When you see the doctor, he tells you that everything looks good—you're healthy. "Now," he says, "you can help me take care of everyone in the waiting room."

This scenario gives us some sense of what Jesus told the Pharisees who opposed him in today's Gospel. He didn't want them to avoid people who were spiritually unwell. He wanted them to do the exact opposite: to seek them out and help them. He wanted them to show mercy to the suffering and offer them the blessings of their faith.

This is exactly the same thing Jesus wants to tell us: Spread my message of mercy. But how do we do that? Here are three steps any of us can take:

First, examine your attitude. Look out for ways you stand in judgment over those who are caught up in destructive or sinful behavior. Remember that you are a sinner as well, a sinner who has been saved by God's mercy. People can sense when someone is harboring harsh and judgmental feelings toward them, and they'll avoid them at all costs.

Second, look outward. Be careful not to associate only with those who are already close to you or who share your values. You won't know how to relate to other people when God puts them in your path. For example, strike up a conversation with the stranger behind you while you're in the checkout line at the market. Or get to know that neighbor who has been away from the Church for years. Let unexpected friendships develop, and you'll end up sharing your faith without even trying too hard.

Finally, keep receiving mercy. Don't stop praying. Stay close to the Lord in prayer. Let his heart of mercy continue to soften your own heart. Let his openness to everyone, rich and poor, healthy and ailing, successful and struggling, move you to the same kind of openness. Then be on the alert for opportunities to share his mercy. With everyone.

"Jesus, thank you for looking upon everyone with mercy—including me."

Amos 8:4-6, 9-12
Psalm 119:2, 10, 20, 30, 40, 131


Our Lord said to Amos:
"I will turn your feasts into mourning and cover the earth with darkness in broad daylight." and "I will make them mourn as for an only son, and bring their day to a bitter end." And He did. Why? Why did He send His only Son? Why was Mary our Mother wailing and suffering for her only son? Why? Why did God not only rend His garments but tore open His flesh? He said "enough!". And he revealed Himself. Blood and water gushed. Spirit and mercy. And it sprinkled on a non-believer. Now non-believers would believe. Now the Word would be written on our hearts. No longer would people turn so easily from the Lord.

Let us pray: "One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. My soul is consumed with longing for your ordinances at all times. " In the world, there is a thirst for truth. Yet, evil quenches it with what makes one thirst all the more, even to death. Only truth can quench. Only God can quench. The truth goes on, but do we go on in truth, in Him?

In the Holy Gospel, Jesus directs His attention on Matthew, a tax collector just doing his job. "Follow Me". They say in our so called modern world, there is a real lack of communication, no matter how much technology says it improves communication. People feel more lonely than ever before. Depression hitting all time highs. What our Lord does today is the original communication, a heart to heart and eye to eye reaching out with an arm stretched out "come on, let's go together". I spend many times a week and per day inviting people, to work, to eat, to pray, to do things at church, and so forth. This is good and all, but, one thing is lacking; reaching out to the unreachables. Homosexuality rises as communication declines. Abortions rise as people become more and more inwardly inclined. No more sharing. No more opening up. No more being intimate with the other. And this goes to say with our Lord. Why don't my loved ones go to church? Because their prayer life is silent. They are not truly seeking. They are happy saying no to all my invitations "I got this thing going with God". What thing? Adultery? Because this is a Love affair. Those that reject my invitations go on their own way...and get lost, many are in jail, some have died. Some are living a living hell. Why? Can I force you to join me?

Today's Saint Maria Goretti has a tragic lesson for us. Her neighbor, Alessandro, a young man lusted for her, and killed her. She was just being the mom, even to him and his dad. Alessandro had lost his mom as a young boy. His dad was an alcoholic. Maria had lost her dad at 9 years old, her mom now had to work the farm to keep the place to live in. Tragedy. Alessandro had no real faith. Maria was a living saint already at 11 years old loved the Eucharist with all her Heart, Christ. She yelled as he was attacking her ""No, never, that is a sin! God forbids that and we would go to hell!". He stabbed her multiple times and left her for dead. She managed to open the door to cry for help. He stabbed her again, bending the file he made in her spine. The doctors couldn't save her. A priest asked her to forgive her killer. She died saying ""I forgive Alessandro Serenelli … and I want him with me in heaven forever."

Jesus says today "Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."
Half a million people went to her canonization, including the older Alessandro who had spent 27 years in jail for what he did. She had appeared to this savage young man 3 years into his prison term, in a dream, giving him 14 flowers, one for each wound, each one standing for purity. When released, the first thing he did was to go to Assunta, Maria's mother, to ask for forgiveness. She says some of the most powerful words one can hear from Jesus to him: ""If Maria forgives you, and God forgives you, how can I not also forgive you?" What you don't know is that Assunta had lost not only her child that was her right hand, and love, but had to give up the rest of her children to adoption, and she was left all alone.

Tragedy upon tragedy. So what does Assunta do? Craziness. The only kind of crazy of a soul in love with Christ; she adopts Alessandro! Say WHAAT? talk about going the extra mile. They say Alessandro became a Franciscan brother and lived a life of simple charity, and children flocked around him, calling him "uncle". He was probably one of the most devoted to the saint Maria Goretti.

They say God writes straight with crooked lines.

I say He writes with mercy.
Can you write in mercy?
It is a peculiar language and writing.
It looks funny. Makes no sense really.
But that's God's crazy love for sinners.
Who's the saint? Goretti? Assunta? Or Alessandro? Some say he's moving up to sainthood soon. Stay tuned.
I want to call out Assunta on her rise to sainthood.
She desired mercy, more than sacrifice.
Nowadays, human sacrifice runs rampant. All sorts of people kill. And all the worse, mothers kill their unborn. And worse than that? People make themselves infertile. Taking medicines and living lifestyles to obliterate children. Killing in abortions with knives and chemicals, to the tune of millions per year.
Who needs mercy?
The whole world.
What's it going to take to bring mercy?

A love sacrifice.
You matter, much more than you think.
You are God's creation.
God says "I love you so much, I am going to trust you with my creation".
And here we are...
Mercy calling on

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