Prayer as an impulse of the will bursts forth in us both as an action of God and of ourselves, establishing a truly vibrant reciprocity. Through this mutual exchange of lives, we discover who we are and what the Lord longs to have us do for him and for others. We begin seeing God from a more intimate perspective, which transforms the way we see others, the world, and ourselves.
"Put your heart aside. Duty comes first. But when fulfilling your duty, put your heart into it. It helps."
— St. Josemaria Escriva
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"In the old days, when there was less education and discussion, perhaps it was possible to get on with a very few simple ideas about God. But it is not so now. Everyone reads, everyone hears things discussed. Consequently, if you do not listen to Theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones—bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas. For a great many of the ideas about God which are trotted out as novelties today are simply the ones which real Theologians tried centuries ago and rejected."
— C. S. Lewis, p. 155
AN EXCERPT FROM
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY
"Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand."
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Saint Peter Julian Eymard
(February 4, 1811 – August 1, 1868)
Born in La Mure d'Isère in southeastern France, Peter Julian's faith journey drew him from being a priest in the Diocese of Grenoble in 1834, to joining the Marists in 1839, to founding the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament in 1856.
In addition to those changes, Peter Julian coped with poverty, his father's initial opposition to Peter's vocation, serious illness, a Jansenistic overemphasis on sin, and the difficulties of getting diocesan and later papal approval for his new religious community.
His years as a Marist, including service as a provincial leader, saw the deepening of his Eucharistic devotion, especially through his preaching of Forty Hours in many parishes. Inspired at first by the idea of reparation for indifference to the Eucharist, Peter Julian was eventually attracted to a more positive spirituality of Christ-centered love. Members of the men's community which Peter founded alternated between an active apostolic life and contemplating Jesus in the Eucharist. He and Marguerite Guillot founded the women's Congregation of the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament.
Peter Julian Eymard was beatified in 1925, and canonized in 1962, one day after Vatican II's first session ended.
In every century, sin has been painfully real in the life of the Church. It is easy to give in to despair, to speak so strongly of human failings that people may forget the immense and self-sacrificing love of Jesus, as his death on the cross and his gift of the Eucharist make evident. Peter Julian knew that the Eucharist was key to helping Catholics live out their baptism and preach by word and example the Good News of Jesus Christ.
ST. LYDIA PURPURARIA
St. Lydia Purpuraria, also called Lydia of Thyatira (1st. c), was a pious and wealthy woman involved in the textile trade in Philippi, Macedonia. She and her husband manufactured and traded in the lucrative business of purple dyes and fabrics, a luxury for the elite. Lydia was a worshiper of the true God, and when St. Paul's missionary journeys brought him to Philippi in about 50 A.D., God opened Lydia's heart to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Lydia and her family became St. Paul's very first converts to Christianity, as mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. After her family was baptized, Lydia invited Paul and his companion, St. Timothy, to stay in her home. Lydia served the Lord through her gift of hospitality, and her home became a meeting place for the early Christians. After Paul and Silas were released from prison, it was to Lydia's home that they first went to meet and encourage the believers gathered there. St. Lydia's feast day is August 3.
Friday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Jer 26:1-9
In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim,
son of Josiah, king of Judah,
this message came from the LORD:
Thus says the LORD:
Stand in the court of the house of the LORD
and speak to the people of all the cities of Judah
who come to worship in the house of the LORD;
whatever I command you, tell them, and omit nothing.
Perhaps they will listen and turn back,
each from his evil way,
so that I may repent of the evil I have planned to inflict upon them
for their evil deeds.
Say to them: Thus says the LORD:
If you disobey me,
not living according to the law I placed before you
and not listening to the words of my servants the prophets,
whom I send you constantly though you do not obey them,
I will treat this house like Shiloh,
and make this the city to which all the nations of the earth
shall refer when cursing another.
Now the priests, the prophets, and all the people
heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the LORD.
When Jeremiah finished speaking
all that the LORD bade him speak to all the people,
the priests and prophets laid hold of him, crying,
"You must be put to death!
Why do you prophesy in the name of the LORD:
'This house shall be like Shiloh,' and
'This city shall be desolate and deserted'?"
And all the people gathered about Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.
Responsorial Psalm PS 69:5, 8-10, 14
R. (14c) Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Those outnumber the hairs of my head
who hate me without cause.
Too many for my strength
are they who wrongfully are my enemies.
Must I restore what I did not steal?
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Since for your sake I bear insult,
and shame covers my face.
I have become an outcast to my brothers,
a stranger to my mother's sons,
Because zeal for your house consumes me,
and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
But I pray to you, O LORD,
for the time of your favor, O God!
In your great kindness answer me
with your constant help.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Alleluia 1 Pt 1:25
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of the Lord remains forever;
this is the word that has been proclaimed to you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 13:54-58
Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue.
They were astonished and said,
"Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?
Is he not the carpenter's son?
Is not his mother named Mary
and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?
Are not his sisters all with us?
Where did this man get all this?"
And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them,
"A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and in his own house."
And he did not work many mighty deeds there
because of their lack of faith.
Meditation: Matthew 13:54-58
They took offense at him. (Matthew 13:57)
You might find it surprising how often Jesus offended people. There's a great example in today's Gospel, when the people of his hometown are at first amazed and then take offense at Jesus.
The Greek word Matthew used for "took offense" is skandalizo. It means to cause to stumble, to shock or offend. It's also where we get the word "scandalize." We might not normally think of Jesus as being scandalous—scandal is usually reserved for movie stars or political players. But Jesus and his message can cause a kind of "scandal" in us as well.
Think about all the shocking things Jesus did and said: he violated the rules of his religion by healing people on the Sabbath. He told his followers that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood to receive life. He said that the Messiah, whom devout Jews expected to be a military leader, would give himself up to a violent death.
In each of these situations and many more, Jesus was presenting a message far beyond anything his hearers had imagined. He spoke of so much mercy, so much intimacy with God, so many blessings that he had in store for them. They were not used to such a message. They struggled with everything that unconditional love implied.
Of course it's challenging—even scandalous—when you try to love as Jesus did. But each opportunity that arises gives you the chance to move beyond your initial discomfort. It invites you to extend your boundaries and step into a new way of thinking.
For instance, when you see a man begging on the street corner, push past your discomfort, put down your car window, and talk with him. Give him some money or even your lunch for the day. If someone has hurt you, and Jesus' command to forgive seventy times seven times rankles you, ask him to help you overcome your pain, reach out, and take a step toward a healed relationship.
The gospel can appear to be scandalous to us because it asks us to go places we don't expect and to do things that would never occur to us. But it also brings us to a place that is better than we could have imagined.
"Jesus, help me not to stumble because of you. I want you to stretch me beyond my boundaries."
Psalm 69:5, 8-10, 14
They said: "...the priests and prophets laid hold of him, crying, "You must be put to death! " Where they speaking to Jeremiah, or to Jesus? "What is truth?" asks Pilate, as he washed his hands in the waters of neutrality. What is the Lord saying to you that you reject? What is He asking of you that is too much? Is it your pain? Is it your fear to forgive? Is it even a fear of coming to Him with all your sins? They say in India they want to pass a law to make it illegal to go to confessions. The law of man wants to interfere with the law of God. God's law says "come to me in confidence and confidentiality, trust me" and the world says "don't go to him and don't speak in confidence with him and don't trust him". God says "do not fear" and the world says "fear Him and stay away from him". Wrong fear. True fear is true love, the only fear is to be afraid to turn your back on Him. And so Jeremiah goes on to the next city after this one threatened to have him killed.
Let us pray: "Lord, in your great love, answer me. Since for your sake I bear insult, and shame covers my face. I have become an outcast to my brothers,
a stranger to my mother's sons, Because zeal for your house consumes me,
and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me." Many of these words we pray in the Stations of the Cross. The words haunt me, when our Lord says "Answer Me". And it goes on: "Happy is the man whom God chastises! Do not reject the punishment of the almighty. For he wounds, but he binds up; he smites, but his hands give healing. Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak; I looked for comforters, and I found none. Rather they put gall in my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. (Jb:5:17-18; Ps 68:21-22).
In the Holy Gospel today, our Lord speaks, and He is rejected. "Where did this man get all this?" And they took offense at him." What an interesting question "where did he get all this from?". They thought they were the only ones that were allowed to have all this power. You don't "GET", you receive in an open heart to grace. But, they wanted all the power and glory. They were the law makers. They would have the final say on who was speaking truth...or so they thought. It becomes a matter of acceptance of the Word of God. Nowadays, many homilies are soft. If you speak to Google or Alexa or anything, they respond with the most "neutral" and soft messages you can ever hear. Gender neutrality is the new old thing. Accept anything that pornography throws at you is the real underlying issue they want. Nobody is speaking enough about the atrocities of this poison that exists. Attacks on marriage. Porn filth. You may not be into it, but it exists and it is poison to the soul. And it leads to a "need" for abortions and contraception. What else is hardly spoken of? Commands from God. First God, the love of God, and the rest that deal with our love of God. What else is hardly spoken of? God Himself. Am I talking about priests? Yes. I am speaking about You. You are baptized a priest, a prophet, and a king. All things rejected by the world. Jesus rejected in the world. How? How come you reject Him so easily as if you just know better? It is in part, a comfort factor. We want to preach from the lazyboy recliner. We want to not lift a finger to save a soul. We think that by praying alone things will get fixed, as if to say "faith alone" has the final say as most protestants believe. No. Faith depends on works as well. What did they tell Jesus today? "Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?" By this time Our Lord was not only preaching faith, but was living faith and showing faith and bringing about faith with deeds! Show me you love me. Don't just tell me you love ME! God is speaking. "Show me your love wounds. Don't just tell Me. I Need To See it. Don't just think about it."
Try this, next time someone "offends you", pretend it is God talking.
"Hey, you are being a hypocrite".
"Hey, you are getting too fat".
"Hey, you are rude".
"Hey, chill out".
"Hey, you are crazy".
Now realize and Take this as a grain of truth, listen:
"I want you to be real".
"I want you to fast, and I want you to turn away from self indulgences".
" I desire mercy, more than sacrifice".
"Do not be afraid"
"Be astute, meek, and humble of heart".
You see what God is trying to say through people? He speaks, if you have ears for Him. He speaks all day.
And the needy speak too. We are called to understand when others do not.
This is the body of Christ communicating.
This is the Eucharist in action.
Being eternally grateful for what He has done....
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