The Universal Call to Mission
The Church today teaches us that all of the baptized have two fundamental calls: the universal call to holiness and the universal call to mission. In the extraordinary lives of Saint Francis and Saint Junípero Serra, holiness and mission were one, unified in the joy of the Gospel. When we follow in their way, they show us the way forward as witnesses of Jesus in the world. As disciples of Jesus, we experience the joy of faith, the joy of prayer, the joy of life's pilgrimage, the joy of detachment, the joy of relationship, the joy of service, and indeed the joy of salvation. Like Francis and Junípero, we find deep joy in following the command: Go forth and proclaim the Good News! Because of our call to holiness, we proclaim the Good News not only with words, but above all by a life transfigured by Jesus Christ.
–from Saint Junipero Serra's Camino: A Pilgrimage Guide to the California Missions
"God does not fit in an occupied heart."
— St. John of the Cross
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"I do not wish the soul to consider her sins, either in general or in particular, without also remembering the Blood and the broadness of My mercy, for fear that otherwise she should be brought to confusion. And together with confusion would come the devil, who has caused it, under color of contrition and displeasure of sin, and so she would arrive at eternal damnation, not only on account of her confusion, but also through the despair which would come to her, because she did not seize the arm of My mercy. This is one of the subtle devices with which the Devil deludes My servants, and, in order to escape from his deceit, and to be pleasing to Me, you must enlarge your hearts and affections in My boundless mercy, with true humility. You know that the pride of the Devil cannot resist the humble mind, nor can any confusion of spirit be greater than the broadness of My good mercy, if the soul will only truly hope therein."
— St. Catherine Of Siena, p. 94
AN EXCERPT FROM
Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena
VERSE OF THE DAY
"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it."
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Saint Veronica Giuliani
(December 27, 1660 – July 9, 1727)
Veronica's desire to be like Christ crucified was answered with the stigmata.
Veronica was born in Mercatelli, Italy. It is said that when her mother Benedetta was dying she called her five daughters to her bedside and entrusted each of them to one of the five wounds of Jesus. Veronica was entrusted to the wound below Christ's heart.
At the age of 17, Veronica joined the Poor Clares directed by the Capuchins. Her father had wanted her to marry, but she convinced him to allow her to become a nun. In her first years in the monastery, she worked in the kitchen, infirmary, sacristy, and also served as portress. At the age of 34, she was made novice mistress, a position she held for 22 years. When she was 37, Veronica received the stigmata. Life was not the same after that.
Church authorities in Rome wanted to test Veronica's authenticity and so conducted an investigation. She lost the office of novice mistress temporarily and was not allowed to attend Mass except on Sundays or holy days. Through all of this Veronica did not become bitter, and the investigation eventually restored her as novice mistress.
Though she protested against it, at the age of 56 she was elected abbess, an office she held for 11 years until her death. Veronica was very devoted to the Eucharist and to the Sacred Heart. She offered her sufferings for the missions, died in 1727, and was canonized in 1839. Her Liturgical Feast Day is July 9.
Why did God grant the stigmata to Francis of Assisi and to Veronica Giuliani? God alone knows the deepest reasons, but as Celano points out, the external sign of the cross is a confirmation of these saints' commitment to the cross in their lives. The stigmata that appeared in Veronica's flesh had taken root in her heart many years before. It was a fitting conclusion for her love of God and her charity toward her sisters.
Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Hos 8:4-7, 11-13
Thus says the LORD:
They made kings in Israel, but not by my authority;
they established princes, but without my approval.
With their silver and gold they made
idols for themselves, to their own destruction.
Cast away your calf, O Samaria!
my wrath is kindled against them;
How long will they be unable to attain
innocence in Israel?
The work of an artisan,
no god at all,
Destined for the flames—
such is the calf of Samaria!
When they sow the wind,
they shall reap the whirlwind;
The stalk of grain that forms no ear
can yield no flour;
Even if it could,
strangers would swallow it.
When Ephraim made many altars to expiate sin,
his altars became occasions of sin.
Though I write for him my many ordinances,
they are considered as a stranger's.
Though they offer sacrifice,
immolate flesh and eat it,
the LORD is not pleased with them.
He shall still remember their guilt
and punish their sins;
they shall return to Egypt.
Responsorial Psalm pS 115:3-4, 5-6, 7ab-8, 9-10
R. (9a) The house of Israel trusts in the Lord.
Our God is in heaven;
whatever he wills, he does.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the handiwork of men.
R. The house of Israel trusts in the Lord.
They have mouths but speak not;
they have eyes but see not;
They have ears but hear not;
they have noses but smell not.
R. The house of Israel trusts in the Lord.
They have hands but feel not;
they have feet but walk not.
Their makers shall be like them,
everyone that trusts in them.
R. The house of Israel trusts in the Lord.
Alleluia Jn 10:14
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 9:32-38
A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus,
and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke.
The crowds were amazed and said,
"Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel."
But the Pharisees said,
"He drives out demons by the prince of demons."
Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest."
Meditation: Matthew 9:32-38
14th Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus went around to all the towns and villages. (Matthew 9:35)
What an amazing thought: even Jesus had to evangelize! Why didn't he supernaturally infuse the knowledge of God into everyone's mind? As divine Creator, he easily could have compelled people to believe. They would have known instantaneously that he was God and that he could redeem them from their sins.
But it wasn't Jesus' goal simply to pass out information. And it wasn't his goal to overwhelm his people with works of power. He wanted a relationship with them. He wanted them to love him for who he was and not for what he said or for what he could give them. That's why he chose ordinary human ways to reach out to them. As Matthew tells us, Jesus visited "all the towns and villages" (9:35). He walked the dusty roads. He went into the synagogues, one at a time. He talked to the villagers and got to know their stories. And he healed them.
That's a great example to follow. We might think we need a complex plan to bring the good news to our friends or family members or even strangers. Or we might just wish God would infuse them with knowledge of the gospel. But Jesus shows us the right place to start: through relationships.
How? Make yourself present to people, as Jesus did. Listen to them. Show them some kindness. So many people just want to be heard; they just want someone to treat them with a little kindness. As you start doing that, you will see trusting relationships beginning to form.
It's in the context of a relationship that you are able to speak honestly about who God is in your life. It's when a friend asks, "Why do you even go to church?" that you can share how the Eucharist gives you strength. It's when he comments on the Bible you keep in your car that you can talk about how you hear God speaking to you through Scripture.
Relationships. That's where it all starts. But it doesn't end there. With every friendship you make and every encounter you have, you can be sowing seeds that lead someone closer to the Lord.
"Jesus, help me to reach out to people with kindness and attention. Open my heart and theirs to receive your good news!"
Hosea 8:4-7, 11-13
"He shall still remember their guilt and punish their sins". In our world, we have much belief in mercy. But many fail to believe in righteousness. This morning Amos said through a text message (daily bible verse from my brother in law) "But let Judgement run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream" Amos5:24. Judgement enters. Judgement day is coming. What is at stake? Eternity.
We pray: "The house of Israel trusts in the Lord. They have mouths but speak not; they have eyes but see not; They have ears but hear not; they have noses but smell not." Why not? Who can not see? Who can not hear? Those that don't have a heart for God. And many say they do. But is it a lie? Tough words. And it has to be tough, because judgement is coming. And it is a terrible thing, so mighty a thing. Incomprehensible really. And you know, many think they are "good enough". That's what we think. But that's not good enough. God says He wants perfect. God says He wants Holy. He never said I want "good enough".
Let us turn to the Lord. The crowds were amazed and said, "Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel." And the Pharisees blurted out that it was by the power of the devil he was doing these things. How quickly we write things off as bad, when they are good. Nowadays many consider being "religious" is bad. But it is good. Some people call Holy people "Holy Rollers" and "Hypocrites". They call what is good bad and what is bad, good. They can not see and can not hear. They are this and "they" are that. Who are these savages? We are. We are savages that get wrapped up in sin. Every single one of us. None are exempt. Things are the same at work, at home, and even at church. People act like people, and sometimes like savages. And then, there are those that are really ugly, stinky, and forgotten, really, the unlovables. Oh there are so many in the world. So many you'd rather not socialize with. Right? Just go to a hospital, nursing home, the slums or to the mall. You will see many you would not socialize with. Not attractive. Crowds. They say people feel isolated in crowds. They say intelligent people stay away from crowds. We need a good friend. And what if today, our Lord is asking to be THAT friend? And why not? Can't you confide in Him? Can't you trust Him with your secrets? Can't you trust Him with your job, family, ...your very life?
Yes. Yes you can.
And He too trusts in you! Our Lord said ""The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest." Jesus is a hard worker. Jesus was and is always on the go, ever since He was a little boy on this earth and to this day and forever. Love is always on the go. It is not sitting still, not stagnant. I always tell people that are looking at retiring, to make sure they still get to work, an inactive lifestyle brings ruin on the body and soul. We are not designed to sit still. We are designed to be like our Lord and friend. Isn't it cool that we have in common the best of friends? Jesus. When we are together, He is so intimate. So loving. So humble. I found Him working. I found Him among the unlovables. I found Him in total silence and alone in the Blessed Sacrament. I found Him at the table, the altar. I found Him once when I was just walking outside throwing the trash, and there He was. Just there. Being. Surprise here and surprise there. And then He calls "can you come help?" and I look at my schedule...yep, it's wide open for HIM! Everything else takes 2nd place. Like one of my godsons always replies "yes sir boss, I'll be right there". Music to my ears. And then he arrives, and what we do takes 2nd place as to being with each other.
God is simply asking us to be one with Him...in everything because He is in everything and everywhere. And He loves being in your heart! I promise