Friday, August 2, 2019

⛪ ...In His Own House. .⛪

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'I want to send everyone to Paradise'

It was at the Porziuncola, St. Mary of the Angels, that the Franciscan story unfolded. Together with San Damiano there are no more important places in the original Franciscan story than these two. That is why it is so important to visit and return to these sanctuaries again and again. This is Francis' heart; this is Francis' center and the center of the entire Franciscan story. Why? Here Francis began his religious life, understanding his vocation and life direction through the hearing of the Gospel. Here his life and vocation developed. Here it ended when he died on October 3, 1226. Here Francis received the promise of the pardon (Il Perdono) from Jesus Christ through Mary. We know this as the Porziuncola Indulgence. When asked why he wanted this, he answered, "I want to send everyone to Paradise." For these reasons the Porziuncola is the heart and center of Francis, the core of the Franciscan movement; it is the womb from which it grew. This is truly holy ground.

—from the book In the Footsteps of Francis and Clare by Roch Niemier, OFM


†Saint Quote
"Many people [in authority] oppose us, persecute us, and would like even to destroy us, but we must be patient. As long as their commands are not against our conscience, let us obey them, but when the case is otherwise, let us uphold the rights of God and of the Church, for those are superior to all earthly authority."
— St. John Bosco

"The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ's Passover, that is, of the work of salvation accomplished by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, a work made present by the liturgical action. It is Christ himself, the eternal high priest of the New Covenant who, acting through the ministry of the priests, offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. And it is the same Christ, really present under the species of bread and wine, who is the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice."
— (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1409-10)
Catechism of the Catholic Church

Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6


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Blessed Jane of Aza (12th c.), also known as Joanna or Juana of Aza, belonged to the Spanish nobility. At a young age she married a nobleman and together they had five children. She was a pious woman known for her life of prayer and generosity to the poor. When her two eldest sons were given to the priesthood, she went to the nearby church of St. Dominic Silos, a miracle worker and a patron saint of pregnant women, to pray earnestly for another son who would carry on the succession of the family. In a dream the saint appeared to her and said that she would bear a son who would be a shining light to the Church. She also dreamed of a dog that leaped from her womb carrying a torch in its mouth, lighting all the world on fire. She gave birth to a son in answer to her prayers, and in gratitude named him Dominic. She brought her son to the altar of St. Dominic Silos and there offered him to God. At the child's baptism his godmother saw a star shining from his forehead. All of these signs were taken to mean that the child would be great. Jane brought her son up with the utmost care, and as the child grew he evidenced uncommon sanctity and virtue. When Dominic turned age seven Jane generously gave him to be educated as a priest, leaving her family without a male heir. St. Dominic went on to found the famous Order of Preachers, or Dominicans, who became known as the "Hounds of the Lord", a great preaching order against heresy and in defense of the Catholic faith. Her feast day is August 2nd.


Saint Eusebius of Vercelli

(c. 300 – August 1, 371)

Someone has said that if there had been no Arian heresy denying Christ's divinity, it would be very difficult to write the lives of many early saints. Eusebius is another of the defenders of the Church during one of its most trying periods.

Born on the isle of Sardinia, he became a member of the Roman clergy, and is the first recorded bishop of Vercelli in Piedmont in northwest Italy. Eusebius was also the first to link the monastic life with that of the clergy, establishing a community of his diocesan clergy on the principle that the best way to sanctify his people was to have them see a clergy formed in solid virtue and living in community.

He was sent by Pope Liberius to persuade the emperor to call a council to settle Catholic-Arian troubles. When it was called at Milan, Eusebius went reluctantly, sensing that the Arian block would have its way, although the Catholics were more numerous. He refused to go along with the condemnation of Saint Athanasius; instead, he laid the Nicene Creed on the table and insisted that all sign it before taking up any other matter. The emperor put pressure on him, but Eusebius insisted on Athanasius' innocence and reminded the emperor that secular force should not be used to influence Church decisions. At first the emperor threatened to kill him, but later sent him into exile in Palestine. There the Arians dragged him through the streets and shut him up in a little room, releasing him only after his four-day hunger strike. They resumed their harassment shortly after.

His exile continued in Asia Minor and Egypt, until the new emperor permitted him to be welcomed back to his see in Vercelli. Eusebius attended the Council of Alexandria with Athanasius and approved the leniency shown to bishops who had wavered. He also worked with Saint Hilary of Poitiers against the Arians.

Eusebius died peacefully in his own diocese at an advanced age.

Catholics in the U.S. have sometimes felt penalized by an unwarranted interpretation of the principle of separation of Church and state, especially in the matter of Catholic schools. Be that as it may, the Church is happily free today from the tremendous pressure put on it after it became an "established" Church under Constantine. We are happily rid of such things as a pope asking an emperor to call a Church council, Pope John I being sent by the emperor to negotiate in the East, or the pressure of kings on papal elections. The Church cannot be a prophet if it's in someone's pocket.


Friday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Lv 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34b-37

The LORD said to Moses,
"These are the festivals of the LORD which you shall celebrate
at their proper time with a sacred assembly.
The Passover of the LORD falls on the fourteenth day of the first month,
at the evening twilight.
The fifteenth day of this month is the LORD's feast of Unleavened Bread.
For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.
On the first of these days you shall hold a sacred assembly
and do no sort of work.
On each of the seven days you shall offer an oblation to the LORD.
Then on the seventh day you shall again hold a sacred assembly
and do no sort of work."

The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the children of Israel and tell them:
When you come into the land which I am giving you,
and reap your harvest,
you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest
to the priest, who shall wave the sheaf before the LORD
that it may be acceptable for you.
On the day after the sabbath the priest shall do this.

"Beginning with the day after the sabbath,
the day on which you bring the wave-offering sheaf,
you shall count seven full weeks,
and then on the day after the seventh week, the fiftieth day,
you shall present the new cereal offering to the LORD.

"The tenth of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement,
when you shall hold a sacred assembly and mortify yourselves
and offer an oblation to the LORD.

"The fifteenth day of this seventh month is the LORD's feast of Booths,
which shall continue for seven days.
On the first day there shall be a sacred assembly,
and you shall do no sort of work.
For seven days you shall offer an oblation to the LORD,
and on the eighth day you shall again hold a sacred assembly
and offer an oblation to the LORD.
On that solemn closing you shall do no sort of work.

"These, therefore, are the festivals of the LORD
on which you shall proclaim a sacred assembly,
and offer as an oblation to the LORD burnt offerings and cereal offerings,
sacrifices and libations, as prescribed for each day."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 81:3-4, 5-6, 10-11ab

R. (2a) Sing with joy to God our help.
Take up a melody, and sound the timbrel,
the pleasant harp and the lyre.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the full moon, on our solemn feast.
R. Sing with joy to God our help.
For it is a statute in Israel,
an ordinance of the God of Jacob,
Who made it a decree for Joseph
when he came forth from the land of Egypt.
R. Sing with joy to God our help.
There shall be no strange god among you
nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God
who led you forth from the land of Egypt.
R. Sing with joy to God our help.

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

Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, Bishop (Optional Memorial)

He did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith. (Matthew 13:58)
Imagine yourself rafting down a river, enjoying the cool summer breeze and the peaceful scenery. Then you run into a huge log. As you try to maneuver around it, your raft flips over, and you fall into the water, getting your feet caught between some rocks. You panic and start thrashing about, and your friend jumps in after you. But he has a hard time releasing you because you're struggling so much. You have a hard time believing he can really help you. "Let go!" he shouts over the water. "I've got you." As you finally surrender, he gets you free and is able to bring you to the shore safe and sound.

Today's Gospel tells us that Jesus wasn't able to perform many miracles in his hometown because of the people's weak faith. Mind you, the people weren't thrashing around emotionally, but they still couldn't bring themselves to surrender to Jesus. They stayed stuck in their limited logical thinking, even though he was right in front of them, offering them a way out and a way up.

In our journey with the Lord, we too need to learn to surrender to Jesus. This is an important element in the call to faith: to trust that Jesus knows what he's doing and to believe that he is strong enough to save you. Yes, faith has to do with knowing the doctrines of the Church. Yes, it has to do with trying our best to follow the commandments and to care for the poor and needy. And yes, it has to do with sharing our beliefs and standing up for what is right. But at the heart of faith is this call to surrender. Without this, all the other things lose their power.

What gets you stuck? Fear over the future? Guilt or resentments from the past? A "logical" approach to the present that doesn't leave room for the grace of God? Whatever it is, know that Jesus is inviting you to something greater. Imagine him standing in front of you, his arms open wide. Hear him tell you, "Relax. I've got you. You can let go."

"Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. By your grace, help me to trust and to reach out to you in confidence."

Leviticus 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34-37
Psalm 81:3-6, 10-11



Whenever the Enemy's assaults on us seem to multiply, we should call on Mary not just as our Blessed Mother, but as a mighty warrior before whom the demons tremble. As St. Bonaventure once put it: Men do not fear a powerful, hostile army as much as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary.
—Paul Thigpen, Ph.D.
from Manual for Spiritual Warfare


"These, therefore, are the festivals of the LORD on which you shall proclaim a sacred assembly, and offer as an oblation to the LORD burnt offerings and cereal offerings, sacrifices and libations, as prescribed for each day."
Our Lord set feast days and festivals for the people of God, those that are to follow His way. Today, we are still given feast days in the Holy Church, and many Holy Days of Obligation, especially that of every Sunday. It almost seems that our Lord wants us to be in community, with a common bond...The Lord Himself. The reason for feasts and festivals? The Lord Himself. A birthday party calls for a community to come together and eat cake to celebrate a special person, a feast is given and gifts. It is like Mass, isn't it? Only, we make Jesus special, with our presence and gifts and then He offers not just sweet cake, but Himself in the Eucharist. A gift truly from Heaven on the 7th day.

Let us pray:
" Sing with joy to God our help. There shall be no strange god among you
nor shall you worship any alien god. I, the LORD, am your God who led you forth from the land of Egypt. Sing with joy to God our help."
Now we are getting closer to our Lord's message. Sing with joy to God our Help. Now we are celebrating a LIFE that gives life. Sing with joy to God!
Now we are be-ridding ourselves of alien gods. Let us sing with great joy. If once our Lord had his people come to Egypt for help, now was the time to leave Egypt in a Mass Exodus. Let us sing with great joy. If the Lord took His people, alien to Egypt, because Egypt had alien gods, then let us take flight, on this great exodus journey out to a new life, stripped of all creature comforts, and into what is known as glory and faith, for His glory was made known in the desert, where they were stripped of everything, even food and water. Only then would they see His glory and the face of Moses shine! Can you begin to see community...with GOD?


In the Holy Gospel, our Lord speaks from His hometown, where He was raised, along with many neighboring followers called brothers and sisters. They reject Him as King and reject all followers in one fell (failed) swoop. A failed swoop, a great stereotype and judgement. They discriminated and eventually criminalized the ones among them who called out God's message.

Our Lord speaks on this "A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house."
Can anything good come out of Nazareth?
John 1 "45Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law, the One the prophets foretold—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." 46"Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Nathanael asked. "Come and see," said Philip. 47When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, He said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is no deceit."…
The question now is, "are we failing to see Jesus and His sisters and brothers and mothers in our lives?" Not seeing once in a while, but being in communion with them! And not just doing things together, but worshiping God together! That's when things change. Something strange happens in change. For a few years, I've been in the choir because there has not been a guitarist to come help. My dream always was that a choir would meet, and pray, and have a community bond of sorts. The leadership in the first round, no, it did not happen, there was much trouble learning how to sing together, and I was teaching myself how to read music and play guitar better. Another choir leader steps up and now there were fewer choir members. We'd practice every once in a while, focused on singing songs and go home. As of late, after a conference of choirs, and Father asking us to "get better", we are now gathering weekly and kicking off with scripture and prayer, and conversations on the Word of God. Things are changing. There is a strange change. We were those worrisome Marthas now turning into contemplative Marys. We failed to BE with Christ. We failed to SEE Christ. Too worried being apart from community with HIM.
I read (among several reflections today) a spanish one that translates to: "A philosopher claimed that the question is the mercy of thought. In today's Gospel his opinion is not fulfilled, because the questions of Jesus' fellow citizens are, in some cases, purely rhetorical, and in others they do not reveal openness, receptivity, search; rather, they betray distrust, disbelief. And here it is necessary to say: «In the distrust is the danger; in trust, salvation »."

Can anything good come from you?
From your town?
Your community?

Yes. If we stop our lives and start being with Christ. Remember the Exodus? Remember the return to God?
If we were conceived, not physically, but spiritually first in God's eye, then, our first Home was ever Heaven. Could this possibly be true? To return to the Garden of Eve where God conceives...where God walks with His people and even in the wind?

Yes, the Holy Spirit goes and blows where He wishes. Catch the wind and be caught up in the clouds.

Lord, help us, we need you daily, in our lives, in every soul I encounter, I see so much of you so direly needed, day in and day out. Every soul I encounter seems to plea for spiritual help, and I am at a loss for words and actions, because I myself am in dire need of help. How can one make a difference in your Kingdom? Can anything good come from me?

"My child, of course, the more I AM in your life, the more you will see"

From the book "Imitation of Christ" by Kempis, randomly opened:

"What better thought can I have for my soul's profit than to humble myself completely in Your presence, forever praising Your infinite goodness to me? May You be praised and glorified forever, my God; while I despise myself to the depths of my nothingness and cast myself at Your feet.
You are the Saint of all Saints, Lord, while I am the lowest of sinners. You bow Yourself down to me, who am unable and unworthy to look up to You. You come to me, desiring to be with me and to invite me to Your feast.
You desire to give me heavenly food to eat-even the Bread of Angels (PS78:25); none other than Yourself, the living Bread, Who came down from heaven and gives life to the world.
Behold, where love has its source and what lowliness shines upon us! How great ought to be our praise and thanksgiving to You for such a gift! "


hear it read


Random Bible Verse1
Romans 8:26 (Listen)

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Thank You Jesus

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