Thursday, September 6, 2018

⛪They Left Everything

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"Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee."
— St. Augustine

"The invitation to lift up our hearts at the most important part of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is an invitation by Jesus through the voice of the priest to give our hearts to the Father, as He gave His life for us. We prepare to make our hearts and lives a total self-gift to the Father as Jesus made Himself a total gift to the Father for us on the Cross."
— Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila
Meditations Before Mass

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
Hebrews 11:1


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St. Eleutherius (d. 585 A.D.) was a monk living in Spoleto, Italy. Little is known of his early life. He became the Abbot of St. Mark's Abbey and was well-known as a man of simplicity and penance. He also demonstrated the gift of miracles and exorcism, and raised a dead man to life. After he healed a boy from demonic possession and saw that the child was afterwards left unharmed, St. Eleutherius made a remark to this effect: "Since the child is among the servants of God, the devil dares not approach him." Then the boy, who came to live at St. Mark's Abbey to be educated by the monks, became possessed again. St. Eleutherius repented of his vain and presumptuous remark, and the whole monastery underwent a penitential fast before the devil would leave the boy for the final time. St. Eleutherius was a friend of Pope St. Gregory the Great, the latter having called upon the saint to pray for him in his illness. St. Eleutherius died in Rome in 585 A.D. His feast day is September 6th.


Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1 Cor 3:18-23

Brothers and sisters:
Let no one deceive himself.
If anyone among you considers himself wise in this age,
let him become a fool, so as to become wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God,
for it is written:

God catches the wise in their own ruses,

and again:

The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

So let no one boast about human beings, for everything belongs to you,
Paul or Apollos or Cephas,
or the world or life or death,
or the present or the future:
all belong to you, and you to Christ, and Christ to God.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 24:1bc-2, 3-4ab, 5-6
R. (1) To the Lord belongs the earth and all that fills it.
The LORD's are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. To the Lord belongs the earth and all that fills it.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. To the Lord belongs the earth and all that fills it.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. To the Lord belongs the earth and all that fills it.

Alleluia Mt 4:19
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come after me, says the Lord,
and I will make you fishers of men.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 5:1-11

While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God,
he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret.
He saw two boats there alongside the lake;
the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets.
Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon,
he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore.
Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
"Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch."
Simon said in reply,
"Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
but at your command I will lower the nets."
When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish
and their nets were tearing.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat
to come to help them.
They came and filled both boats
so that the boats were in danger of sinking.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
"Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man."
For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him
and all those with him,
and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
who were partners of Simon.
Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid;
from now on you will be catching men."
When they brought their boats to the shore,
they left everything and followed him.


Meditation: Luke 5:1-11

22nd Week in Ordinary Time

From now on you will be catching men. (Luke 5:10)

It seems pretty clear from Jesus' words what he is getting at here. Peter and the other disciples are going to be doing a different kind of fishing now. No more boats, no more nets. Instead, they will be going out and catching people and carrying them to Jesus Christ and his gospel.

But in this familiar story, there's a connection between the miracle of Peter's great catch of fish and Jesus' call to evangelize that we can easily miss: it wasn't Peter's great catch! Without Jesus, Peter wouldn't have caught one single fish that morning. But with Jesus, he caught so many fish that his nets were in danger of breaking. Sure, Peter still had to put his nets out so that he could haul the fish in. But this great haul did not depend only on Peter's natural ability. It was only after he basically said, "I will listen to you and not just my own logic" that he found where the fish were.

That's an important lesson for us to learn as well. The Lord has some specific callings for each of us in this life, things that only we can do. So how do we answer that call? Of course, God wants us to use our natural abilities. But he also wants us to acknowledge our need for help—and not just when we work really hard and come up empty! He wants us to call on him in whatever we are doing. And just as Peter was astonished by the great haul of fish, so might we be when we see how God can enhance and multiply our own efforts.

Today, take the time to focus on what you can do with God. He is already with you—but take some time to consciously bring him into your activities. If you're at home and the children are acting up, ask him for strength, grace, and patience. If you're facing a challenging issue at work, ask him to inspire you and give you wisdom. You're not just throwing empty words at the sky—God is a father, and he wants you to call on him. So trust that, indeed, "all things are possible" when you rely on him (Matthew 19:26)!

"Lord, I believe that when I give my problems to you, miracles can happen!"

1 Corinthians 3:18-23
Psalm 24:1-6


"If anyone among you considers himself wise in this age, let him become a fool, so as to become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God". There's something strange about belief. There's something peculiar about faith. You have to let go of your own belief in exchange for another's belief. A daddy tells his little girl "give me your fake necklace of pearls and I'll give you one that is real". She says no. She loves her fake pearls. Pearls of no value. But the girl prefers them over what He offers. He says His is of greater value, will last longer, and the worth alone is life changing. But she says no. She likes plastic. She likes fake. It makes her happy. Can the daddy force her to like the real pearls? The little girl grows in age. And you'd believe in wisdom. She looks at her plastic pearls. She sees her daddy's pearls, and her plastic ones are looking dull. His are still perfect and pretty. But she won't let go. Daddy offers them again. She says "it's not about the value" and it becomes apparent, sentiments, feelings, are more important now, that so called "value". She becomes very old, and the plastic pearls are discolored and brittle now. Daddy has passed on. She is in dire need of money, her husband left her and the kids all moved out. She opens daddy's box. There they are. As pretty as ever, glistening in the sun light various hues. Her pearls are no good anymore, they have fallen apart, as had all her dreams and hopes she had put on. She takes the pearl necklace out of the box, and puts it on. Something comes over her, she can feel her daddy's hands embracing her neck, and the biggest pearl is over her chest, over her heart. "Now I know what daddy meant" she says to herself. His love lasts better. My loves didn't last.
My brothers and sisters, I am a witness of human frailties and atrocities. I see the "scum" of the earth, and I see the forgotten and lonely and abandoned. They believed the ways of the world and the world threw them away. God's wisdom is out of this world. I thought this week in meditation with Him "God, me being a creature of yours, I am amazed that we can even communicate the way we do".

Let us pray: " To the Lord belongs the earth and all that fills it. Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD? or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain." Not everyone who says "Lord, LORD!" will enter into Heaven. Not everyone who casts demons in His name, not every preacher, and certainly not every person found on the street. Kingdom calls for reservations. Yes everyone is invited but you must prepare a place for Him as He prepares a place for you. Is everyone in Heaven? Certainly not. Yet, this is what protestants teach in some denominations now. Is everyone in hell if not in Heaven? Let's put it this way...Anything other than Heaven is hell. Fires of purgatory are like hell. So why do many live like Heaven or hell do not matter? Well, daddy is offering us pearls, "real pearls" He says. It will take a trade, ours for His...let go. In comes faith.

In comes our Lord, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch."
Ahh ha. Uhhh...k? Peter, (our first pope) was an experienced fisherman, by trade, by generations even, a professional you may say. Jesus...a carpenter, a good teacher though, tells him to go back. GO BACK. "Get back there and do what I say!". Peter files a disclaimer but obeys. Peter is slow to come back. Because his boats are so full, almost sinking with so many fish. Jesus wants fish for His people. He wants to feed His people. Peter gets on His knees. He looks to Jesus and away and down ""Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." He asks Jesus to leave...for he is not worthy. Jesus says something that is always said in the bible "Do Not Be Afraid". From now on you will fish for ME. This is where Peter and the companions leave their fake pearls. Everything they thought they knew, they surrendered for what Jesus knows. And today, they are with Jesus in splendid Glory. For they gave true glory to God...they gave every bit of their lives...even their sinful selves. Surrendered.
What happens to a person that does not give glory to God? Are they suitable for Heaven? Only God knows. That is for Him to know. The question is "are YOU suitable for Heaven?". There are some qualifiers: Holiness, and disposition. Two key ingredients to make for grace. What happens if you do not prefer grace and holiness? The world sees darkness. Peter was fishing in darkness, that's what "he knew". Come to Jesus. Fish in plain light. I invite you to a world where we live on belief and God's providence. You live off only by what He provides. This is the Franciscan way. Saint Francis depended solely on God's providence as He toiled to serve Him with his bare hands.

Are you ready to surrender? This is the active ingredient God can work with. Tillable soil. God makes beauty out of plain dirt.



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