Monday, July 1, 2019

⛪ ...He Gave Orders...⛪

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Keep Going Forward!

Junipero Serra's canonization should prompt us to awaken our own missionary spirit. Taking with him only the certainty that God was calling him to missionary discipleship, he came to the New World to be a witness to God's love. Let us keep his spirit before us, a vision of life encompassed in his motto recalled by Pope Francis: "Fr. Serra had a motto which inspired his life and work, not just a saying, but above all a reality which shaped the way he lived: siempre adelante! Keep moving forward! For him, this was the way to continue experiencing the joy of the Gospel, to keep his heart from growing numb, from being anesthetized. He kept moving forward, because the Lord was waiting. He kept going, because his brothers and sisters were waiting. He kept going forward to the end of his life. Today, like him, may we be able to say: Forward! Let's keep moving forward!"

–from Saint Junipero Serra's Camino: A Pilgrimage Guide to the California Missions by Stephen J. Binz


†Saint Quote
"Never will we understand the value of time better than when our last hour is at hand."
— St. Arnold Janssen

"'The Lord measures our perfection not by the number and greatness of the works we do for Him, but by our manner of doing them. And this manner is only the love of God with which, and for which, we do them. They are more perfect as they are done with more pure and perfect love, and as they are less mingled with the thoughts of pleasure or praise in this life or the other (St. John of the Cross).' When St. Bernard was assisting one night at Matins, he saw some angels who were carefully noting down the merit of each of the monks. The merit of those who were praying with much fervor, they set down in golden characters; of those with less fervor, in silver characters; of those with good will, but without affection, in ink; of those with sloth and drowsiness, in water; but as to those who were in mortal sin or voluntarily distracted, they wrote nothing, but, standing motionless, they lamented their blindness."
— Anonymous, p. 292
Cultivating Virtue: Self-Mastery With the Saints

"Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works. My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. Put false ways far from me; and graciously teach me your law. I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your ordinances before me. I cling to your decrees, O Lord; let me not be put to shame. I run the way of your commandments, for you enlarge my understanding."
Psalm 119:27-32


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Saint Junipero Serra

(November 24, 1713 – August 28, 1784)

In 1776, when the American Revolution was beginning in the east, another part of the future United States was being born in California. That year a gray-robed Franciscan founded Mission San Juan Capistrano, now famous for its annually returning swallows. San Juan was the seventh of nine missions established under the direction of this indomitable Spaniard.

Born on Spain's island of Mallorca, Serra entered the Franciscan Order taking the name of Saint Francis' childlike companion, Brother Juniper. Until he was 35, he spent most of his time in the classroom—first as a student of theology and then as a professor. He also became famous for his preaching. Suddenly he gave it all up and followed the yearning that had begun years before when he heard about the missionary work of Saint Francis Solano in South America. Junipero's desire was to convert native peoples in the New World.

Arriving by ship at Vera Cruz, Mexico, he and a companion walked the 250 miles to Mexico City. On the way Junipero's left leg became infected by an insect bite and would remain a cross—sometimes life-threatening—for the rest of his life. For 18 years, he worked in central Mexico and in the Baja Peninsula. He became president of the missions there.

Enter politics: the threat of a Russian invasion south from Alaska. Charles III of Spain ordered an expedition to beat Russia to the territory. So the last two conquistadors—one military, one spiritual—began their quest. José de Galvez persuaded Junipero to set out with him for present-day Monterey, California. The first mission founded after the 900-mile journey north was San Diego in 1769. That year a shortage of food almost canceled the expedition. Vowing to stay with the local people, Junipero and another friar began a novena in preparation for St. Joseph's day, March 19, the scheduled day of departure. On that day, the relief ship arrived.

Other missions followed: Monterey/Carmel (1770); San Antonio and San Gabriel (1771); San Luís Obispo (1772); San Francisco and San Juan Capistrano (1776); Santa Clara (1777); San Buenaventura (1782). Twelve more were founded after Serra's death.

Junipero made the long trip to Mexico City to settle great differences with the military commander. He arrived at the point of death. The outcome was substantially what Junipero sought: the famous "Regulation" protecting the Indians and the missions. It was the basis for the first significant legislation in California, a "Bill of Rights" for Native Americans.

Because the Native Americans were living a nonhuman life from the Spanish point of view, the friars were made their legal guardians. The Native Americans were kept at the mission after baptism lest they be corrupted in their former haunts—a move that has brought cries of "injustice" from some moderns.

Junipero's missionary life was a long battle with cold and hunger, with unsympathetic military commanders and even with danger of death from non-Christian native peoples. Through it all his unquenchable zeal was fed by prayer each night, often from midnight till dawn. He baptized over 6,000 people and confirmed 5,000. His travels would have circled the globe. He brought the Native Americans not only the gift of faith but also a decent standard of living. He won their love, as witnessed especially by their grief at his death. He is buried at Mission San Carlo Borromeo, Carmel, and was beatified in 1988. Pope Francis canonized him in Washington, D.C., on September 23, 2015.

The word that best describes Junipero is zeal. It was a spirit that came from his deep prayer and dauntless will. "Always forward, never back" was his motto. His work bore fruit for 50 years after his death as the rest of the missions were founded in a kind of Christian communal living by the Indians. When both Mexican and American greed caused the secularization of the missions, the Chumash people went back to what they had been—God again writing straight with crooked lines.


Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Gn 18:16-33

Abraham and the men who had visited him by the Terebinth of Mamre
set out from there and looked down toward Sodom;
Abraham was walking with them, to see them on their way.
The LORD reflected: "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do,
now that he is to become a great and populous nation,
and all the nations of the earth are to find blessing in him?
Indeed, I have singled him out
that he may direct his children and his household after him
to keep the way of the LORD
by doing what is right and just,
so that the LORD may carry into effect for Abraham
the promises he made about him."
Then the LORD said:
"The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great,
and their sin so grave,
that I must go down and see whether or not their actions
fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me.
I mean to find out."

While the two men walked on farther toward Sodom,
the LORD remained standing before Abraham.
Then Abraham drew nearer to him and said:
"Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty?
Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city;
would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it
for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it?
Far be it from you to do such a thing,
to make the innocent die with the guilty,
so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike!
Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?"
The LORD replied,
"If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom,
I will spare the whole place for their sake."
Abraham spoke up again:
"See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord,
though I am but dust and ashes!
What if there are five less than fifty innocent people?
Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?"
He answered, "I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there."
But Abraham persisted, saying, "What if only forty are found there?"
He replied, "I will forbear doing it for the sake of forty."
Then Abraham said, "Let not my Lord grow impatient if I go on.
What if only thirty are found there?"
He replied, "I will forbear doing it if I can find but thirty there."
Still Abraham went on,
"Since I have thus dared to speak to my Lord,
what if there are no more than twenty?"
He answered, "I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty."
But he still persisted:
"Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time.
What if there are at least ten there?"
He replied, "For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it."

The LORD departed as soon as he had finished speaking with Abraham,
and Abraham returned home.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 103:1b-2, 3-4, 8-9, 10-11
R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Alleluia Ps 95:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 8:18-22

When Jesus saw a crowd around him,
he gave orders to cross to the other shore.
A scribe approached and said to him,
"Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."
Jesus answered him, "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head."
Another of his disciples said to him,
"Lord, let me go first and bury my father."
But Jesus answered him, "Follow me,
and let the dead bury their dead."


Meditation: Genesis 18:16-33

Saint Junípero Serra, Priest (Optional Memorial)

Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? (Genesis 18:17)

Have you found a way to study the Bible that works for you? Some people practice the Benedictine method lectio divina. Others leaf through academic commentaries. Still others are tempted to lament, "God does 'hide' his wisdom from us everyday people (Genesis 18:17). Leave the Bible studying for the theologians!"

One simple, straightforward way to study Scripture involves asking just two questions. You don't have to be a mystic, and you don't have to spend a lot of time at it. Let's try it.

Here's the first question: Lord, how are you revealing yourself in this passage? At the foundation of this question is a belief that God wants to speak to us through his word. According to the Catechism, "In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them" (104). That sounds like today's first reading from Genesis, doesn't it? Far from hiding, God reveals himself to Abraham and shares his plans with him.

How would you answer the first question? One potential answer is that God is revealing his mercy in the first reading. He was willing to endure a profusion of sins for the sake of just a handful of innocents. Usually you'll find more than one answer to the question, especially if you reread the passage slowly.

Here's the second question: Lord, in light of this passage, how should I live? Sometimes passages clearly state the answer. In today's Gospel, for example, Jesus announces, "Follow me" (Matthew 8:22). Other passages are different—like today's first reading from Genesis. They don't have a clear to-do message. However, they often contain hints. For instance, let's say you were startled by Abraham's audacity in speaking to God. Maybe God wants you to be bolder in prayer or to be blunt with him about how you're feeling.

This method is one way to walk and talk with the Lord. Remember, studying the Bible isn't just reserved for saints and mystics. So what is God saying to you today?

"Lord, I want to hear you speak in the Scriptures."

Psalm 103:1-4, 8-11
Matthew 8:18-22



But despite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree.
—Pope St. John Paul II
from Evangelium Vitae


"He replied, "For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it."
But are there truly 10 in that city? Because I bet there were many in the cities that said they were believers, but their lifestyles proved otherwise.
There was no light in that city. And it imploded, disappeared from the face of the earth. All we have now are memories, a lesson. Can we learn? Yes. Can we repent? That is the call.

Let us pray:
"The Lord is kind and merciful. Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. He will not always chide, nor does he keep his wrath forever." Taste and see the goodness of the Lord. Taste, do not be afraid to taste. We were asked in a bible study we started yesterday "talk to the Lord about joy and what it is". Ask for it...taste.


In the Gospel, we heard our Lord "...he gave orders to cross to the other shore."
And some would-be followers said "let me bury my family" and the Lord said "Let the dead bury the dead". Hard words to swallow. But if this is God talking? When are we going to make a choice between earthly things and Him? Family does not come first always. Not when you decide to follow Jesus. Take it from a family man with 7 kids and married for 15 years and in 12 of those years heavily involved in various ministries. I have to make a choice many times between family and God. And God must win. Why? Because only then will they truly know I do follow and choose Him. I'm not fake or using Him. I truly thank Him and follow...I hope to show. It is a decision to cross the shore and never return. A life freely given. And only expect what He desires for us. Our priest comes from Africa and in tears he said in Homily yesterday "I wouldn't change a thing...I am happy to be a priest". Be purely His.

I leave you with Bishop Barron's reflection daily from Word on Fire:
"Friends, in today's Gospel a man who appears willing to become Jesus' disciple makes a reasonable request: "Lord, let me go first and bury my father." But the man receives a shocking rebuke from Jesus: "Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead."

What is more important than the mission? Nothing. Not even one of the most sacred and revered practices of our society: piety toward our dead relatives. Could you imagine a scenario in which you wouldn't give permission to someone to attend his father's or mother's funeral?

I don't want to soften Jesus' words or explain them away or contextualize them. They are what they are, and they're harsh, for the man in his own time and for us. But they compel us to make a decision: Are we finally about the things of God or about something else? Is religion and the mission attached to it substantial for us, or merely decorative?

Now, mind you, we don't usually have to make such a terrible choice. Normally, our love for God and our love for family don't come into conflict. But this is a sort of spiritual exercise, an experiment. What if it came down to God or my family? Whom would I choose?


hear it read


Random Bible Verse1
Proverbs 17:17 (Listen)

17 A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for adversity.

Thank You Jesus

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