Friday, July 27, 2018

The Lure of Riches

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Nutrients for Our Souls

Exploring the details of our life allows us to see more clearly and tend to the presence of God in our midst. Tending to God in our lives affords us knowledge about ourselves, while it sustains us and creates us anew. In a garden, tending to the soil and light ultimately provides the nourishment and ability for plants to take root. Like plants, we have places that we dig our life roots into deeply and that nourish us. At different times in our lives, we may take the opportunity to determine if we need additional nutrients, look more closely at the ground of what our life is "growing" in, and pay attention to light sources and the life-giving water available to us.

—from Your Spiritual Garden: Tending to the Presence of God


"The accidents of life separate us from our dearest friends, but let us not despair. God is like a looking glass in which souls see each other. The more we are united to Him by love, the nearer we are to those who belong to Him."
— St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

"Yet such are the pity and compassion of this Lord of ours, so desirous is He that we should seek Him and enjoy His company, that in one way or another He never ceases calling us to Him . . . God here speaks to souls through words uttered by pious people, by sermons or good books, and in many other such ways. Sometimes He calls souls by means of sickness or troubles, or by some truth He teaches them during prayer, for tepid as they may be in seeking Him, yet God holds them very dear."
— St. Teresa of Avila, p.26
Interior Castle

Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
John 14:13-14


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Pope St. Celestine I (d. 432 A.D.) was a Roman deacon who was elected Supreme Pontiff in 422 A.D. He was a contemporary of St. Augustine, and it is said that the two were good friends. He also lived with St. Ambrose in Milan prior to serving in Rome. Pope St. Celestine lead the Church for nine years during a troubled time of social upheaval. Within the Church there were multiple dangerous heresies spreading and corrupting the faith of the people, especially Nestorianism and Pelagianism, which he staunchly fought against, and for this he is known as a defender of orthodox doctrine. Outside the Church, barbarian hordes were invading the West, leading to the collapse of the Roman Empire. Pope St. Celestine I worked to restore the churches that were attacked when Alaric the Goth sacked Rome. He also established the papal diplomatic service to send ambassadors, known as nuncios, from the Vatican to other governments around the world. He is also the Holy Father who sent St. Patrick to evangelize Ireland, and who introduced the responsorial psalm into the papal Mass at Rome. His feast day is July 27th.


Friday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Jer 3:14-17

Return, rebellious children, says the LORD,
for I am your Master;
I will take you, one from a city, two from a clan,
and bring you to Zion.
I will appoint over you shepherds after my own heart,
who will shepherd you wisely and prudently.
When you multiply and become fruitful in the land,
says the LORD,
They will in those days no longer say,
"The ark of the covenant of the LORD!"
They will no longer think of it, or remember it,
or miss it, or make another.

At that time they will call Jerusalem the LORD's throne;
there all nations will be gathered together
to honor the name of the LORD at Jerusalem,
and they will walk no longer in their hardhearted wickedness.

Responsorial Psalm Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12abcd, 13
R. (see 10d) The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
proclaim it on distant isles, and say:
He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together,
he guards them as a shepherd his flock.
R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
The LORD shall ransom Jacob,
he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror.
Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion,
they shall come streaming to the LORD's blessings:
The grain, the wine, and the oil,
the sheep and the oxen.
R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
Then the virgins shall make merry and dance,
and young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will console and gladden them after their sorrows.
R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.

Alleluia See Lk 8:15
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 13:18-23

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Hear the parable of the sower.
The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the Kingdom
without understanding it,
and the Evil One comes and steals away
what was sown in his heart.
The seed sown on rocky ground
is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.
But he has no root and lasts only for a time.
When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
he immediately falls away.
The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word,
but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word
and it bears no fruit.
But the seed sown on rich soil
is the one who hears the word and understands it,
who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold."


Meditation: Matthew 13:18-23

16th Week in Ordinary Time

Hear the parable of the sower. (Matthew 13:18)

"Can you hear me now?" This old slogan for a phone company sought to convince people that their phone network provided the best service—clear reception, no static, and no dropped calls. No matter where you were, you would always hear clearly. It was a successful campaign because we all know how important hearing each other and being heard are.

It's important to God too. In fact, Jesus used the word "hear" over and over again in today's short Gospel reading! He wanted to make sure his disciples heard his explanation of the parable, and the story itself involves four "hearers." The first three hear, but their listening is compromised by distraction and anxiety. The last hears and understands—and is fruitful. It's not enough, Jesus says, to hear what is said; it's listening that brings depth and understanding.

So how can we hear God more clearly?

Don't allow distractions in prayer to cut your connection with the Lord. They can be like background noise pressing in on you, garbling the words. Imagine trying to carry on a phone conversation while you're in a crowded shopping mall. What would you do? You'd find someplace quieter so that you could listen. You can do the same in prayer—find a quiet place to spend time listening to the Lord.

Also, try to get rid of the mental static of preoccupations and anxieties. This is another type of noise that can get in your way. Take the things you're feeling anxious about, maybe your to-do list or a stressful conversation you recently had, write a couple of notes about them, and then put the paper aside. Then take a moment of silence, and notice how much more peaceful you feel because you have put your concerns in God's hands.

Finally, recognize the things that might be blocking your connection with the Lord. If your phone was losing its signal, you'd try to find a place with better reception. If you feel you've lost your connection with God, identify what's blocking it, and move away from it. Repent of any sins you are aware of, and be as open as you can to the voice of the Lord.

Let's pray for each other today:

"Lord, help all of us to hear your voice more clearly!"

Jeremiah 3:14-17
(Psalm) Jeremiah 31:10-13


Our Lord said "... they will walk no longer in their hardhearted wickedness". He did everything He said He would do. He brought them together. He got them a shepherd to make them prosperous. And the ark of the covenant? It would no longer be asked for because it would be everywhere. God's promise held within. What's more, the Blessed Mother has been availed to us all! This creation of God, this Mother of the world is an awesome gift. She gives through God grace, through God's grace we are given grace. It is a tough world. Yes. And to get through it, we need grace. And then, we will no longer walk in hardhearted wickedness. The kind that is far from Him.

Let us pray: "The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock. Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, proclaim it on distant isles, and say: He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together, he guards them as a shepherd his flock." The Lord scatters, and gathers. So let us turn to the Lord always.

Our Lord said this: ""Hear the parable of the sower." I've heard it, you've heard it.

Some seeds falls on the path, the devil snatches it away.
Some seeds fall on rocky ground, they grow and wilt fast.
Some seeds fall on weeds, anxieties and lures of the world choke it, and sadly, it bears no fruit, the Word does not grow, much less flourish, this fruit.
But, and here is a dash of Good News, some seed falls on fertile soil. That soil is that person who takes it in, understand what God is asking, and goes on to bear tremendous flourishing, fruit.

Seeds take to things in their environment. It depends on the environment to flourish. It needs the proper nutrients, and water, and the light to grow. Not enough light, and it will stunt the growth, if it grows at all. Not enough nutrients, and it will not be able to grow, much less give fruit. No water? Then death. Thank God for His living waters, baptism. Thank God for nutrients, the Eucharist, His Body and Blood. Thank God for light, His Son Jesus who shows the way. Who blocks out the light of Christ? What blocks it out? Worldly ways, other beliefs, a good one is a mirror, it blocks the son while you look at yourself. This produces mass hysteria in the body and soul. We are designed to be creatures of light, not darkness. When you fumble in darkness, many hidden (unseen) dangers lurk. Pits. Animals that can see you in the dark are ready to defend themselves or prey on you, even if it costs you your own life. You are worthless in the dark, because you are created for the light. That is why you can not see in the dark. So why do so many venture off? Lures of the world. They feed on souls, live to torment them. So what about those who "once were into Church" and are no longer active? What happened? Why did they wilt away?
It's as if, it was an amusement, and now say "been there done that" don't need to do it again. Some of the sad stories I hear all start with "I used to be this and that for the Kingdom". And now? Nothing. Just working for the dollar really. The other god. New gods now are called Science, Technology, and the false old new one is Libertarian-ism. They call for man to look on himself, and to be free from any other religion.

But, there are a few who take the seed, the Word of God, and make it flourish. Like Mother Teresa, or Padre Pio, or Today's saint, Celestine 1. What makes for fertile soil? A heart that can accept, like a soil that has been prepared, like an ark of the covenant, like Mother Mary. What prepared Mary? Her parents and God. Today, kids are left to be prepared by public schools and technology, TV, tablets and phones, the gods of the world. And, the modern parents just hope kids turn out ok. That's called spiritual sloth. It is a sin. I would say, it leans heavy on being a grave sin. Now, that being said, praying is not first. It takes tremendous amount of effort. Years of effort. And I'm talking about daily family prayer, daily rosary, daily Mass, and then more. Who does this daily? I been to many churches daily, I don't see complete families, no matter what time of year or what day of the weak. I see maybe a mom, or dad, or a child. This shows us the few seeds in fertile soil. These seeds are the ones to give fruit.
Your every effort for God is a giving of fruit. My brother in Christ showed us a picture last night, proud of his first watermelon in his garden, first fruit really. I said "offer it to God". How? How do you offer something to God? You give it away in thanksgiving. Why would God give us His only Son and call it "thanksgiving" to the world? What would God give us thanks for? All the sins and wretchedness? I'll tell you what, like mercy over-flooding, His love abounds more. There have been souls that have given their lives to God whole-heartedly. For those, He gave thanks. And with this thanks comes more thanks and multiplies over and over, 60, 30 fold. A multiplication of blessings. It becomes exponential, and this leads us to an eternal thanksgiving. A life with Christ.
In case you haven't got the gist of today's message, God is calling you.
He is making a special call. The kind where you must sit to listen, and by the end of the call, you are opening the door to go out to the world with Christ.

The Lord in front,
the world behind....



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