Monday, August 12, 2019

⛪ ...We May Not Offend Them. . .⛪

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Empty Your Pockets

When we allow others to do things for us, God's goodness shines through them. Poverty is not so much about want or need; it is about relationship. Poverty impels us to reflect on our lives in the world from the position of weakness, dependency and vulnerability. It impels us to empty our pockets—not of money— but the pockets of our hearts, minds, wills—those places where we store up things for ourselves and isolate ourselves from real relationship with others. Poverty calls us to be vulnerable, open and receptive to others, to allow others into our lives and to be free enough to enter into the lives of others. While Clare (and Francis) call us to be poor so that we may enter into relationship with the poor Christ, they also ask us to be poor so as to enter into relationship with our poor brothers and sisters in whom Christ lives.

—from the book Clare: A Heart Full of Love by Franciscan Sister Ilia Delio


†Saint Quote
"He who seeks not the Cross of Christ seeks not the glory of Christ."
— St. John of the Cross

"Oh, how painful it is to Me that souls so seldom unite themselves to Me in Holy Communion. I wait for souls, and they are indifferent toward Me. I love them tenderly and sincerely, and they distrust Me. I want to lavish My graces on them, and they do not want to accept them. They treat Me as a dead object, whereas My Heart is full of love and mercy. In order that you may know at least some of My pain, imagine the most tender of mothers who has great love for her children, while those children spurn her love. Consider her pain. No one is in a position to console her. This is but a pale image and likeness of My love."
— Diary of St. Faustina Kowalska, 1447
Diary of St. Faustina

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
Isaiah 43:1


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Saint Jane Frances de Chantal

(January 28, 1572 – December 13, 1641)

Jane Frances was wife, mother, nun, and founder of a religious community. Her mother died when she was 18 months old, and her father, head of parliament at Dijon, France, became the main influence on her education. Jane developed into a woman of beauty and refinement, lively and cheerful in temperament. At 21, she married Baron de Chantal, by whom she had six children, three of whom died in infancy. At her castle, she restored the custom of daily Mass, and was seriously engaged in various charitable works.

Jane's husband was killed after seven years of marriage, and she sank into deep dejection for four months at her family home. Her father-in-law threatened to disinherit her children if she did not return to his home. He was then 75, vain, fierce, and extravagant. Jane Frances managed to remain cheerful in spite of him and his insolent housekeeper.

When she was 32, Jane met Saint Francis de Sales who became her spiritual director, softening some of the severities imposed by her former director. She wanted to become a nun but he persuaded her to defer this decision. She took a vow to remain unmarried and to obey her director.

After three years, Francis told Jane of his plan to found an institute of women that would be a haven for those whose health, age, or other considerations barred them from entering the already established communities. There would be no cloister, and they would be free to undertake spiritual and corporal works of mercy. They were primarily intended to exemplify the virtues of Mary at the Visitation—hence their name the Visitation nuns—humility and meekness.

The usual opposition to women in active ministry arose and Francis de Sales was obliged to make it a cloistered community following the Rule of Saint Augustine. Francis wrote his famous Treatise on the Love of God for them. The congregation consisting of three women began when Jane Frances was 45. She underwent great sufferings: Francis de Sales died; her son was killed; a plague ravaged France; her daughter-in-law and son-in-law died. She encouraged the local authorities to make great efforts for the victims of the plague, and she put all her convent's resources at the disposal of the sick.

During a part of her religious life, Jane Frances had to undergo great trials of the spirit—interior anguish, darkness, and spiritual dryness. She died while on a visitation of convents of the community.

It may strike some as unusual that a saint should be subject to spiritual dryness, darkness, interior anguish. We tend to think that such things are the usual condition of "ordinary" sinful people. Some of our lack of spiritual liveliness may indeed be our fault. But the life of faith is still one that is lived in trust, and sometimes the darkness is so great that trust is pressed to its limit.


Reading 1 Dt 10:12-22

Moses said to the people:
"And now, Israel, what does the LORD, your God, ask of you
but to fear the LORD, your God, and follow his ways exactly,
to love and serve the LORD, your God,
with all your heart and all your soul,
to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD
which I enjoin on you today for your own good?
Think! The heavens, even the highest heavens,
belong to the LORD, your God,
as well as the earth and everything on it.
Yet in his love for your fathers the LORD was so attached to them
as to choose you, their descendants,
in preference to all other peoples, as indeed he has now done.
Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and be no longer stiff-necked.
For the LORD, your God, is the God of gods,
the LORD of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome,
who has no favorites, accepts no bribes;
who executes justice for the orphan and the widow,
and befriends the alien, feeding and clothing him.
So you too must befriend the alien,
for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.
The LORD, your God, shall you fear, and him shall you serve;
hold fast to him and swear by his name.
He is your glory, he, your God,
who has done for you those great and terrible things
which your own eyes have seen.
Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy strong,
and now the LORD, your God,
has made you as numerous as the stars of the sky."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20

R. (12a) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has granted peace in your borders;

with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

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

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious (Optional Memorial)

But that we may not offend them . . . (Matthew 17:27)
Peter is in a tight spot. Even as he answered yes to Jesus' question about paying the Temple tax, he must have wondered what Jesus might end up doing. Would he really pay it?

Though paying the tax is a good thing, Jesus puts it in a new light. As children of the Father whose Temple it is, both Peter and Jesus are free from the tax. Yet Jesus pays it anyway! He doesn't want to present an unnecessary obstacle to his fellow Jews.

Jesus has not changed one bit since then. He is still patiently trying to win us over. He doesn't expect us to get everything right, just as he didn't expect the Jews to understand their relationship to the Temple. He knows that understanding often follows trust, so he needed to first win their trust before he could address this issue.

We are all like Peter and the other Jews of Jesus' time. Perhaps there are some aspects of Jesus' message that you still don't understand or agree with. Jesus doesn't hold that against you. He accepts you where you are and wants to help you take the next step in faith.

For instance, you may wonder about how Jesus could be present in the bread and wine at Mass or how Mary could have been assumed into heaven. It's okay to ask questions as long as you're staying open and trying to learn. Just don't let your questions keep you from following Jesus. Trust that he will continue to open your mind and your heart. He is patient. He will help you to understand—and maybe in ways you don't expect!

Of course, Jesus didn't pay the Temple tax just to show Peter how much he loved him. He was also setting an example: go and do likewise. Be patient with the people around you.

Do you have a friend or family member who is struggling with their faith? Are you close to someone who is not living out a particular teaching of the Church? Don't give up on them, and by all means don't condemn them! Be as kind and generous with them as you can. The last thing you need is to become a stumbling block on their journey to Jesus.

"Lord Jesus, I trust you, even when I don't understand you."

Deuteronomy 10:12-22
Psalm 147:12-15, 19-20



Catholic theology takes literally the notion that 'nothing unclean shall enter heaven'. From this it is inferred that a dirty soul, even if 'covered', remains a dirty soul and is not fit for heaven. It needs to be cleansed or purged of its dirtiness. The purging comes in purgatory.
—Karl Keating
from Catholicism and Fundamentalism


"So you too must befriend the alien,for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt. The LORD, your God, shall you fear, and him shall you serve; hold fast to him and swear by his name. He is your glory, he, your God..."

Befriend the alien? Yes. Why? Because, if not, you will be the alien. Fear God who knows the heart.

Let us pray: "Praise the Lord, Jerusalem. He has proclaimed his word to Jacob, his statutes and his ordinances to Israel. He has not done thus for any other nation; his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia."
From the stump of Jesse, one cult, formed a new cult, but is a new, or is it what God always wanted to continue? Isaiah 11:1 "1A shoot will spring up from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. 2The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge and fear of the LORD.…" and this is what is lost in the world, this Spirit that Isaiah spoke about. This great Spirit that is in the world...but not of the world.


Our Lord said today ""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." Great grief overwhelmed them. The great and mighty Messiah was about to be handed over to crucifixion. This one that had provided all these years, shelter, wisdom, knowledge and fear of the Lord, would now be stripped from them!? Strange. Strange, especially if you have been called to follow Him...wherever He goes! It becomes a pivotal point, a real act of faith. Now what? What are you going to do?

Things continue to be weird. "...the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said, "Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?"
Peter goes to Jesus and before opening his lips, our Lord says "From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?" Of course foreigners. Aliens. They treat Jesus and His followers as aliens. Unaccepted in His own home. And in yours? Is Jesus an alien? For He wants to be one with you in every sense of the word.
Things continue to be weird with our Lord, now He sends Peter to go fishing! And not fishing for fish but for a coin!
What are the odds of that? It has to be a particular fish that can gulp up a coin and keep it in its mouth, and that fish has to be at that spot where Peter would go. I digress. In spanish there is a saying "el pescado muere por la boca" (a fish dies at its mouth). That is how it is caught. That is how it dies. You live by the sword, you'll die by the sword. You live for money, you'll die for money.

Here is your money, for your earthly temples that will deteriorate and become nothing. But there is something greater than the temple here.
Jesus was rejected as a high priest, was scoffed for taking bread on the Sabbath. Jesus says "If only you had known the meaning of 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,'a you would not have condemned the innocent. 8For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."" Mt12.
So what does all this have to do with me today? Go fishing? Follow Jesus? Get ready for a great leap of faith? When will that be? When will you have to take a leap of faith? One word: NOW.
It is always the appropriate time.
Peter had to believe Jesus to go fishing.
After Jesus died, Peter still went fishing. From fish to men. To satisfy their desires.
Peter eventually followed Jesus to the cross. The men He fished for took His life. This is how a true follower dies. Take St. Damien for instance. He moved to an island of sick people. To be with them. To die with them. Today there are but a couple of sick people on that island. The sickness has healed, and the Son was revealed. It is a beautiful place and of beautiful people. And the only way they used to get there, was to take a plunge into the ocean, for it has menacing cliffs and rocks forbidding entry.

And I speak about great Love that entails great faith...


hear it read


Random Bible Verse1
Exodus 15:11 (Listen)

11 "Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?"

Thank You Jesus

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