Forgiveness Frees Us from the Past
In forgiving and pardoning my neighbor, I I make the conscious decision not to "fuss" over and live in the past. I never really forget what you did to me, but I deliberately choose not to keep picking the scab, not to become entangled in the grudge. I choose to free you from the past by electing not to dwell, mention or remind others of what you did. To use another image, the portal to the past remains in my heart but I make the choice to close the door, lock it, and throw the key away.
—from Instruments of Christ: Reflections on the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
"Many people [in authority] oppose us, persecute us, and would like even to destroy us, but we must be patient. As long as their commands are not against our conscience, let us obey them, but when the case is otherwise, let us uphold the rights of God and of the Church, for those are superior to all earthly authority."
— St. John Bosco
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ's Passover, that is, of the work of salvation accomplished by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, a work made present by the liturgical action. It is Christ himself, the eternal high priest of the New Covenant who, acting through the ministry of the priests, offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. And it is the same Christ, really present under the species of bread and wine, who is the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice."
— (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1409-10)
AN EXCERPT FROM
Catechism of the Catholic Church
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY
Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.
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BLESSED JANE OF AZA
Blessed Jane of Aza (12th c.), also known as Joanna or Juana of Aza, belonged to the Spanish nobility. At a young age she married a nobleman and together they had five children. She was a pious woman known for her life of prayer and generosity to the poor. When her two eldest sons were given to the priesthood, she went to the nearby church of St. Dominic Silos, a miracle worker and a patron saint of pregnant women, to pray earnestly for another son who would carry on the succession of the family. In a dream the saint appeared to her and said that she would bear a son who would be a shining light to the Church. She also dreamed of a dog that leaped from her womb carrying a torch in its mouth, lighting all the world on fire. She gave birth to a son in answer to her prayers, and in gratitude named him Dominic. She brought her son to the altar of St. Dominic Silos and there offered him to God. At the child's baptism his godmother saw a star shining from his forehead. All of these signs were taken to mean that the child would be great. Jane brought her son up with the utmost care, and as the child grew he evidenced uncommon sanctity and virtue. When Dominic turned age seven Jane generously gave him to be educated as a priest, leaving her family without a male heir. St. Dominic went on to found the famous Order of Preachers, or Dominicans, who became known as the "Hounds of the Lord", a great preaching order against heresy and in defense of the Catholic faith. Her feast day is August 2nd.
Thursday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Jer 18:1-6
This word came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
Rise up, be off to the potter's house;
there I will give you my message.
I went down to the potter's house and there he was,
working at the wheel.
Whenever the object of clay which he was making
turned out badly in his hand,
he tried again,
making of the clay another object of whatever sort he pleased.
Then the word of the LORD came to me:
Can I not do to you, house of Israel,
as this potter has done? says the LORD.
Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter,
so are you in my hand, house of Israel.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 146:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6ab
R. (5a) Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
Praise the LORD, O my soul;
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
Put not your trust in princes,
in the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation.
When his spirit departs he returns to his earth;
on that day his plans perish.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
Blessed he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD, his God.
Who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
Alleluia See Acts 16:14b
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Open our heart, O Lord,
to listen to the words of your Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 13:47-53
Jesus said to the disciples:
"The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind.
When it is full they haul it ashore
and sit down to put what is good into buckets.
What is bad they throw away.
Thus it will be at the end of the age.
The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
and throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth."
"Do you understand all these things?"
They answered, "Yes."
And he replied,
"Then every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven
is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom
both the new and the old."
When Jesus finished these parables, he went away from there.
Meditation: Matthew 13:47-53
Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, Bishop (Optional Memorial)
The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea. (Matthew 13:47)
Fishing nets are designed to scoop up everything in their path. So naturally, when a net is hauled into the boat, it contains all sorts of things: edible fish, inedible fish, crustaceans, sea urchins, as well as all manner of debris. The net doesn't discriminate between the good and the bad or the useful and the useless. It's up to the fisherman to decide what to keep and what to discard.
Scripture is filled with stories of Jesus fishing for people: when he rescued the woman caught in adultery, when he had dinner with the tax collector Zacchaeus, when he patiently taught the upright Pharisee Nicodemus, and so many others. No matter where he went, Jesus was casting his net; he was always trying to gather people into his kingdom. He even commanded his followers to become "fishers of men," and sent them out to cast their own nets to everyone they encountered (Luke 5:10).
Today, God calls us to the same task. Just as indiscriminately as the first Christians did and just as indiscriminately as Jesus himself did, God wants us to share the good news as often as we can. Imagine how the world could be changed if every person reading this meditation were to try to share the good news with just one person. The catch could be huge!
You can make a difference. You can tell people in your office about the love of God, even if all you do is offer a smile and a kind greeting. You can set your family on the right path by doing something as small as praying the Lord's Prayer together each day. You can lift up your neighbor simply by listening to them more than talking to them. And if a moment arises, you can tell any of these people, "God loves you."
There seems to be such a short supply of compassion and consideration in the world. So many people are immersed in their problems and challenges. And therein lies our opportunity! Our love and care for other people will stand out. It's attractive and it's infectious. So keep casting your nets!
"Holy Spirit, fill me with the desire to share the gospel. Use me to bring your love to everyone I meet."
"Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand..." says our Lord. What does it mean when we are clay? We are of earthen materials? Earthen vessels? Yes. We come in all shapes and sizes, right? But, spiritually? Can He doe the same? Can He mold us into different shapes and sizes? Some pleasing and some displeasing? What of the vessels and what of the souls? What does God see? What does God like? Ahh, that is what we are after here, is it not? Seeking God's will for our lives.
Let us pray: "Blessed he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD, his God. Who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them." And earlier we had prayed "Praise the LORD, O my soul; I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God while I live." I'm studying the Psalms Basics for Catholics by Bergsman. I believe these Psalms were written after the Davidic Kingdom, probably when they were exiled, had nothing, and all they could do in Psalms is praise God, dwell in God, and the creator of creation. We are, in a sense, in exile. We are in the earth part, and there is a Heaven part. If you are not in Heaven, there are some flames to deal with. It is better to be on fire now. Be on fire for the Lord and nothing else. So many give fire, life for other things, work, sports, pleasures, recreations, but what about to the life of God? That is what the Psalms are about. They are geared to a direction...in Heaven. Jesus spoke in this language of Psalms, for He has always been.
In comes our Lord, our beautiful Savior: "The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind." Ahh. Jesus our Lord says "follow me, and I will make you fishers of men". This means so, soooo much. Because in the end times, there will be certain angels picking the good from the bad. But fishermen? Fishers of men? It means much. It means a whole new life. It is an invitation. It means to change your whole scope and outlook on life. To be net throwers. You don't worry who you spread the word to. Our job here is to be all-compassing in this mission on earth. Be a broad seed thrower. Be an evangelist. Be an apostle. Be a disciple. Be a sower. Be a flame thrower, by being set ablaze by the life in the Spirit of our Lord. Praise God in the storm. People may know you are a church-goer. But, check this out, what you don't know, is that deep inside, most want to be a church-goer too. What's happening is we are living among many zombies. Something is making them tick, but something else must make them come alive. Zombies follow animalistic things, like power and pleasure and lights. But to be deeply in love and in life, one must take on the life of Christ. A real sign of maturity is Christian maturity. This is what angels will look for. They don't look for bad fish, fish that can't be eaten, fish that are poisonous, fish that are of no nutritional value, fish that aren't really fish. Be real. Be really His.
Apart from Heaven, there are flames to face. Even in purgatory. Burning souls, that wished they would've taken this life more seriously for Jesus. And now all they can do is wait...in a place where there is no time. This is hellish thoughts. This is no place to be in mediocrity. We must be on fire for our Lord, we want to be that good fish that angels see and say "ahh! look at this one! Wow that one stands out for Jesus! How pretty? I bet the Lord would love this one!" We wouldn't want to hear "eww, look at that one, it seems ok on this side, but on the other side it is rotting!".
Our Lord says ""Then every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom
both the new and the old." He is binding, the old to the new. He is the centerpiece, the cornerstone of the new unfolding. His parable of nets cast into the sea, the world He created, is all about catching men for Himself. His is an eternal invitation. Yes we love each other, but our loves should be ordered toward God. They should not be ordered to self or others. Most people taking their lives had twisted loves. And those earthly people failed them. Set your loves all on God. He will NOT fail you. As a matter of fact, instead of taking lives, He gives lives. Today's saints gave lives. Saint Jane of Aza gave her last son to God and he became a power house of lives on fire. Another saint today, Saint Eusebius Of Vercelli, gave his life to God, as is believed his father was a martyr for the faith. You see, giving and giving to God makes the net wider and more agile. Bring souls to God. Be a net thrower. Many people come back to the faith and simply for one reason; someone simply asked them to come.
Come back to God.