Monday, August 13, 2018

⛪You Will Find

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Sacraments Draw Us into the Life of God

Patterned after unambiguous, significant moments in the life of Christ and instituted by him, the sacraments are a great gift of the Church. They draw us into the life of God and open us to God's loving care. From birth until death, we experience this loving care in concrete ways, through signs and symbols that really communicate that which they symbolize. Our personal faith and conviction do not impart power into the symbols used by the Church; Christ does. The efficacious nature of the sacraments is wholly a work of God, which the Church safeguards and celebrates. With or without our willingness to believe, God continues to offer himself to us because of his love and care.

—from Prayer Everywhere: The Spiritual Life Made Simple


"You must ask God to give you power to fight against the sin of pride which is your greatest enemy—the root of all that is evil, and the failure of all that is good. For God resists the proud."
— St. Vincent de Paul

"Christ is the second person of the Blessed Trinity, true God and true man, eternally united with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Just as there can be no separation within Christ's human nature, so there can be none within His divine nature. Just as we cannot separate Christ's body from His blood, or His soul from His body and blood, so we cannot separate Christ from the other persons in the Trinity. Time after time, we hear the priest pray to the Father at the end of the opening prayer of the Mass: We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever."
— Vinney Flynn, p. 25
7 Secrets of the Eucharist

Are not all angels spirits in the divine service, sent to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?
Hebrews 1:14


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Saints Pontian and Hippolytus

(d. 235)

Two men died for the faith after harsh treatment and exhaustion in the mines of Sardinia. One had been pope for five years, the other an antipope for 18. They died reconciled.

Pontian. Pontian was a Roman who served as pope from 230 to 235. During his reign he held a synod in Alexandria which confirmed the excommunication of the great theologian Origen. Pontian was banished to exile by the Roman emperor in 235, and resigned so that a successor could be elected in Rome. He was sent to the "unhealthy" island of Sardinia, where he died that same year of harsh treatment. With him was Hippolytus with whom he was reconciled. The bodies of both were brought back to Rome and buried as martyrs with solemn rites.

Hippolytus. As a priest in Rome, Hippolytus—the name means "a horse turned loose"—was at first "holier than the Church." He censured the pope for not coming down hard enough on a certain heresy—calling him a tool in the hands of one Callistus, a deacon—and coming close to advocating the opposite heresy himself. When Callistus was elected pope, Hippolytus accused him of being too lenient with penitents, and had himself elected antipope by a group of followers. He felt that the Church must be composed of pure souls uncompromisingly separated from the world: Hippolytus evidently thought that his group fitted the description. He remained in schism through the reigns of three popes. In 235, he also was banished to the island of Sardinia. Shortly before or after this event, he was reconciled to the Church, and died in exile with Pope Pontian.

Hippolytus was a rigorist, a vehement and intransigent man for whom even orthodox doctrine and practice were not purified enough. He is, nevertheless, the most important theologian and prolific religious writer before the age of Constantine. His writings are the fullest source of our knowledge of the Roman liturgy and the structure of the Church in the second and third centuries. His works include many Scripture commentaries, polemics against heresies, and a history of the world. A marble statue dating from the third century, representing the saint sitting in a chair, was found in 1551. On one side is inscribed his table for computing the date of Easter; on the other, a list of how the system works out until the year 224. Pope John XXIII installed the statue in the Vatican library.

Hippolytus was a strong defender of orthodoxy, and admitted his excesses by his humble reconciliation. He was not a formal heretic, but an overzealous disciplinarian. What he could not learn in his prime as a reformer and purist, he learned in the pain and desolation of imprisonment. It was a fitting symbolic event that Pope Pontian shared his martyrdom.


Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Ez 1:2-5, 24-28c

On the fifth day of the fourth month of the fifth year,
that is, of King Jehoiachin's exile,
The word of the LORD came to the priest Ezekiel,
the son of Buzi,
in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar.—
There the hand of the LORD came upon me.

As I looked, a stormwind came from the North,
a huge cloud with flashing fire enveloped in brightness,
from the midst of which (the midst of the fire)
something gleamed like electrum.
Within it were figures resembling four living creatures
that looked like this: their form was human.

Then I heard the sound of their wings,
like the roaring of mighty waters,
like the voice of the Almighty.
When they moved, the sound of the tumult was like the din of an army.
And when they stood still, they lowered their wings.

Above the firmament over their heads
something like a throne could be seen,
looking like sapphire.
Upon it was seated, up above, one who had the appearance of a man.
Upward from what resembled his waist I saw what gleamed like electrum;
downward from what resembled his waist I saw what looked like fire;
he was surrounded with splendor.
Like the bow which appears in the clouds on a rainy day
was the splendor that surrounded him.
Such was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm PS 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14
R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights;
Praise him, all you his angels;
praise him, all you his hosts.
R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.
Let the kings of the earth and all peoples,
the princes and all the judges of the earth,
Young men too, and maidens,
old men and boys,
R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.
Praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
His majesty is above earth and heaven.
R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.
And he has lifted up the horn of his people.
Be this his praise from all his faithful ones,
from the children of Israel, the people close to him.
R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia See 2 Thes 2:14
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God has called you through the Gospel
To possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 17:22-27

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee,
Jesus said to them,
"The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,
and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day."
And they were overwhelmed with grief.

When they came to Capernaum,
the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said,
"Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?"
"Yes," he said.
When he came into the house, before he had time to speak,
Jesus asked him, "What is your opinion, Simon?
From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax?
From their subjects or from foreigners?"
When he said, "From foreigners," Jesus said to him,
"Then the subjects are exempt.
But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook,
and take the first fish that comes up.
Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax.
Give that to them for me and for you."


Meditation: Matthew 17:22-27

Saints Pontian, Pope, and Hippolytus, Priest, Martyrs (Optional Memorial)

Take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin. (Matthew 17:27)

Wouldn't we all like to find the money for our taxes in the mouth of a fish! Jesus certainly surprised Peter with this unconventional tax plan. How easy it would be if Jesus stood beside us all day, visibly present and explaining how to meet every challenge that came along. How to appease the tax collector would be just the start!

The truth is, Jesus loves to share his thoughts. He is always speaking to us. Or to put it in a more immediate personal way, he is always speaking to you.

Sometimes Jesus speaks matter-of-factly about practical needs. He offered Peter a simple concrete (unusual) way to solve a problem. He can do that for you too. Try to lean into his presence and listen at different points during your day. Perhaps an idea will pop into your thoughts as you ask about an issue or need. Or maybe a friend will give you a suggestion that seems just right. Jesus might be speaking to you through him or her!

Other times, Jesus speaks in more mystical ways, as he spoke to Ezekiel in today's first reading. Ezekiel recognized that God was speaking to him in the violent winds, the flashing fire, the flapping wings, and the roaring waters—even if he wasn't exactly sure of what the message was. It's like that sometimes, almost like learning a foreign language. God occasionally does speak through dreams, visions, and even talking donkeys (Numbers 22:22-35)!

More often than not, God speaks in more commonplace ways. He may make a line from Scripture strike a chord in your heart. A homily at Mass may seem to have been written exactly to help you. Or a conversation gives you direction, encouragement, or wisdom when you need it most and expect it least.

God can use anything. He is speaking always, everywhere. Little by little you can learn to hear his voice. Then, with practice, you will grow in understanding what God is saying and how he wants you to respond.

"Father, you know my needs and desires. Open my ears today to hear what you are saying to me!"

Ezekiel 1:2-5, 24-28
Psalm 148:1-2, 11-14



The 1st holy Scripture ends "Such was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the LORD." Beautiful images, lots of colors, majesty in full splendor. All this while Ezekiel was in exile? Like Saint John of the Cross in darkness? Like Saint Paul while bound in chains? Glimmers and hope. Glimpses of Heaven, while tied down? Indeed, our Lord today speaks about Glory, and He said He'd have to suffer first. We visited a another city on the weekend. The priest said he asks the kids who all wants to go to Heaven, and all kids yell raising their hands "Me!". And then he asked "who all wants to die?" And nobody raised their hands. Something for nothing. Nothing for something. Surrender. The world wants you to be filled with nothing calling it something. God asks us to be filled with something as if it were nothing. In comes this bit on faith.

Let us pray: "And he has lifted up the horn of his people. Be this his praise from all his faithful ones, from the children of Israel, the people close to him.
Alleluia. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory" Heaven AND Earth are filled with His Glory? Where is His Glory on Earth? Jesus says in John 16:14 "He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you." Ahh. Glimpses of Heaven and Glory. John 13:31 "31When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. 32If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify the Son in Himself—and will glorify Him at once.…" Wait up. Judas just walked out with a peace of bread, the body of Christ. How is God glorifying here? Two verses later, Jesus says "A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another." Glory to God. It takes guts to show glory. I can say it, that's fine, but to say it with our life? That's the true word.

The True Word enters: "Give that to them for me and for you." Jesus pays, twice as much, always going the extra mile. The fish had their coin, what they wanted. How does fishing for money work out salvation here? Jesus is a fisher of men. Peter was a fisher of fish prior to meeting Jesus. Jesus speaks through his life. This is how you will now trust everything God says. Whatever you are going through now, God is teaching you something. He is teaching you to trust. This lesson was amazing. What are the odds of finding the exact coins you need for the time you need? God provides. It is something to show us that we need to rely fully on Him. And His heart was not made mad by the people charging him tax for His own temple. The temple would be destroyed anyway. You make up your own version of God and see what happens. It will be razed because He will be raised. It is foolish to think we are always in the right. God is in the full majesty of right. Those in exile with Ezekiel saw glory. My friend in the nursing home, went into a coma when he first suffered his stroke. He said he saw his deceased father and spoke with him. The dad told him he'd be alright. But fast forward nearly 10 years later, he's still in the nursing home suffering. Progress as slow as a snail. But what is offered is hope from the father right? Something to hang on to and to live for. We need something to live for. Better yet, someone to live for...
It is our Father to whom we can offer our glory.

Glory to You Father
Glory to You Son,
Glory to You Holy Spirit.



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