Monday, October 22, 2018

⛪ In What Matters

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Seeing the Face of Christ

Oscar Romero reminds us: "The face of Christ is among the sacks and baskets of the farmworker; the face of Christ is among those who are tortured and mistreated in the prisons; the face of Christ is dying of hunger in the children who have nothing to eat; the face of Christ is in the poor who ask the church for their voice to be heard. How can the church deny this request when it is Christ who is telling us to speak for him."

—from Saint Oscar Romero: Pastor, Prophet, Martyr


"Put up willingly with the faults of others if you wish others to put up with yours."
— St. John Bosco

"My dear brothers and sisters, not only is prayer very powerful; even more, it's of the utmost necessity for overcoming the enemies of our salvation. Look at all the saints: They weren't content with watching and fighting to overcome the enemies of their salvation and with keeping well away from all that could offer them temptation. They passed their whole lives in prayer, not only the day, but very often the whole night as well. Yes, my dear children, we watch over ourselves and all the motions of our hearts in vain, and in vain we avoid temptation, if we don't pray. If we don't continually resort to prayer, all our other ways will be of no use at all to us, and we'll be overcome. We won't find any sinner converted without turning to prayer. We won't find one persevering without depending heavily on prayer. Nor will we ever find a Christian who ends up damned whose downfall didn't begin with a lack of prayer."
— St. John Vianney, p. 155
Manual for Spiritual Warfare

"We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error."
1 John 4:6


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Saint John Paul II

Saint of the Day for October 22
(May 18, 1920 – April 2, 2005)

"Open wide the doors to Christ," urged John Paul II during the homily at the Mass where he was installed as pope in 1978.

Born in Wadowice, Poland, Karol Jozef Wojtyla had lost his mother, father, and older brother before his 21st birthday. Karol's promising academic career at Krakow's Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. While working in a quarry and a chemical factory, he enrolled in an "underground" seminary in Kraków. Ordained in 1946, he was immediately sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology.

Back in Poland, a short assignment as assistant pastor in a rural parish preceded his very fruitful chaplaincy for university students. Soon Fr. Wojtyla earned a doctorate in philosophy and began teaching that subject at Poland's University of Lublin.

Communist officials allowed Wojtyla to be appointed auxiliary bishop of Kraków in 1958, considering him a relatively harmless intellectual. They could not have been more wrong!

Bishop Wojtyla attended all four sessions of Vatican II and contributed especially to its Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. Appointed as archbishop of Kraków in 1964, he was named a cardinal three years later.

Elected pope in October 1978, he took the name of his short-lived, immediate predecessor. Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. In time, he made pastoral visits to 124 countries, including several with small Christian populations.

John Paul II promoted ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, especially the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi. He visited Rome's main synagogue and the Western Wall in Jerusalem; he also established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. He improved Catholic-Muslim relations, and in 2001 visited a mosque in Damascus, Syria.

The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, a key event in John Paul's ministry, was marked by special celebrations in Rome and elsewhere for Catholics and other Christians. Relations with the Orthodox Churches improved considerably during his papacy.

"Christ is the center of the universe and of human history" was the opening line of John Paul II's 1979 encyclical, Redeemer of the Human Race. In 1995, he described himself to the United Nations General Assembly as "a witness to hope."

His 1979 visit to Poland encouraged the growth of the Solidarity movement there and the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe 10 years later. John Paul II began World Youth Day and traveled to several countries for those celebrations. He very much wanted to visit China and the Soviet Union, but the governments in those countries prevented that.

One of the most well-remembered photos of John Paul II's pontificate was his one-on-one conversation in 1983, with Mehmet Ali Agca, who had attempted to assassinate him two years earlier.

In his 27 years of papal ministry, John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals and five books, canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people. In the last years of his life, he suffered from Parkinson's disease and was forced to cut back on some of his activities.

Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II in 2011, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014.

Before John Paul II's funeral Mass in St. Peter's Square, hundreds of thousands of people had waited patiently for a brief moment to pray before his body, which lay in state inside St. Peter's for several days. The media coverage of his funeral was unprecedented.

Presiding at the funeral Mass, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—then dean of the College of Cardinals and later Pope Benedict XVI—concluded his homily by saying: "None of us can ever forget how, in that last Easter Sunday of his life, the Holy Father, marked by suffering, came once more to the window of the Apostolic Palace and one last time gave his blessing urbi et orbi ('to the city and to the world').

"We can be sure that our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the Father's house, that sees us and blesses us. Yes, bless us, Holy Father. We entrust your dear soul to the Mother of God, your Mother, who guided you each day and who will guide you now to the glory of her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."


Monday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Eph 2:1-10

Brothers and sisters:
You were dead in your transgressions and sins
in which you once lived following the age of this world,
following the ruler of the power of the air,
the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient.
All of us once lived among them in the desires of our flesh,
following the wishes of the flesh and the impulses,
and we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest.
But God, who is rich in mercy,
because of the great love he had for us,
even when we were dead in our transgressions,
brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
raised us up with him,
and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,
that in the ages to come
he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace
in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;
it is not from works, so no one may boast.
For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works
that God has prepared in advance,
that we should live in them.

Responsorial Psalm PS 100:1b-2, 3, 4ab, 4c-5
R. (3b) The Lord made us, we belong to him.
Sing joyfully to the LORD all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. The Lord made us, we belong to him.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. The Lord made us, we belong to him.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise.
R. The Lord made us, we belong to him.
Give thanks to him; bless his name, for he is good:
the LORD, whose kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. The Lord made us, we belong to him.

Alleluia Mt 5:3
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit;
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
"Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me."
He replied to him,
"Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?"
Then he said to the crowd,
"Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one's life does not consist of possessions."

Then he told them a parable.
"There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, 'What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?'
And he said, 'This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, "Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!"'
But God said to him,
'You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?'
Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself
but is not rich in what matters to God."


Meditation: Luke 12:13-21

Saint John Paul II, Pope (Optional Memorial)

One's life does not consist of possessions. (Luke 12:15)

Jesus has just spoken at length to a large crowd about the riches that await those who believe in him. He has just finished telling them not to worry about what their future would look like, because God would care for them. But then, someone interrupts. "Tell my brother to share my father's inheritance with me," he demands. It's a wonder Jesus didn't groan in frustration! Aside from being rude, the interruption demonstrates the kind of distractions that keep people impoverished.

Jesus taught that it is not lack of material possessions that makes us poor. Rather, it's preoccupation with what and how much we have—and how to get more of it—that impoverishes us. Why? Because it moves our attention away from the riches God has for us. It shifts our thoughts and efforts from serving our Creator and focuses us on created things instead. Jesus doesn't say material possessions are bad or to be despised. He is clear, however, that "one's life does not consist of possessions" (Luke 12:15).

What are the things that "matter to God" (Luke 12:21)? First, that we would know his love for us personally. He created us out of love, and he loves us always. Second, that we matter to him—so much so that we can trust him always to take care of us. Third, that Jesus died and rose so that we could experience God's transforming grace in our lives. And finally, that confident in his love for us, we would dedicate ourselves to loving and serving the people around us, especially those in need.

These are the riches we can steep ourselves in no matter how rich or poor we are materially. Every time we pray, we can tell God how much we love him. Better still, we can hear him tell us how much he loves us! Every passage of Scripture can become another sign of that love and show us how to deepen our experience of it. Reading the lives of the saints or spiritual books, attending daily Mass—through all these ways, we can store up for ourselves all the things that matter.

"Father, teach me how to store up your heavenly riches. I trust that you will provide for me."

Ephesians 2:1-10
Psalm 100:1-5


2 cents :

"But God, who is rich in mercy,because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions,
brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved)". We are saved by grace. Not by a few words you say, not by a few things you do. Grace is what we need then. And in the Catholic faith, this is all we look for, strive for and open ourselves for. Grace. I went to a brother's house last night, and the new street name is called Grace. I said "I'm glad I have a brother that lives on grace". And grace is offered in the Holy Sacraments. We must avail ourselves to grace. We must be ready for it. It is the Lord who is rich in grace and mercy coming to the ones in need, and very often, the squeeky wheel gets the grease, in other words, you must ask in order to receive. Otherwise, pearls would be thrown to swine.


Let us pray: "The Lord made us, we belong to him. Sing joyfully to the LORD all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful song." These singing Psalms have been the cause of me writing over 100 songs and singing for the last decade. But I'm starting to realize that singing and writing are analogies, that is, they are asking us to live a new life, a new song. Singing joyfully means living joyfully. Skipping to a new tune, and whistling in completeness which comes from living a life of grace.

In comes our Lord, our amazing Lord from Heaven: ""Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one's life does not consist of possessions." Greed comes to mind when you think of a selfish, stingy person, right? But what does greed consist of? Avarice? Hoarding? It goes deeper, and it pierces the soul, and it is called pride. Filled up with self, self interest, self image. That is something that affects the whole of humanity. As I grew up in school there was much talk about "self esteem". It is kind of funny, because it seems to me it is tied up with "self image". Nothing about the image and likeness of God. It is even worse today, because now they say nobody can be derogatory or offend someone because of their beliefs...unless it's about Christianity. Then it's open game. That is why it is worse today than before. You see, it's not all about you. Never has been. We are living in a world where we can not see the other world...unless, God's grace opens your eyes to this reality. In this reality one can see sin, its effects and all it affects. And, one can see grace, how it moves and how it improves.

Some want to have security, retirement, health, everything set in insurance, and all they work for is that goal. Yet, the richest never live to touch retirement, the healthiest never live to enjoy health, and the insurance goes to someone else. Our goals and aspirations must take a change of direction. "You fool!....Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself
but is not rich in what matters to God." Why does Jesus call them or us fools? Because that is what you call someone who is fooled! We fool around pretending we're not going to die. We fool around acting as if God knows you have the greatest intentions. And we fool around with life. So who are we trying to fool? Ourselves? Or God our Father? It is us, the creatures of the Creator that are fooled. So our Lord is asking us to look up and away from our current goals and aspirations. Yes, it's good to work and save, but it is more important to work for God and save souls. Isn't it?
You are reading this for this exact calling. A life with and for God, in His direction, in His will. Everything else is for moths to destroy. Life eternal awaits with great joy.....



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