†Saint Said: "Let the Word of God come; let it enter the church; let it become a consuming fire, that it may burn the hay and stubble, and consume whatever is worldly; there is heavy lead of iniquity in many; let it be molten by divine fire; let the gold and silver vessels be made better, in order that understanding and speech, refined by the heat of suffering, may begin to be more precious." — St. Ambrose
† MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Joseph's virtue was sublime and exceptional; therefore it was subjected to a great and singular trial. But, as he heroically surmounted this trial, so God was pleased, not only to console him, but to exalt him to a dignity of extraordinary glory. ... Jesus, the Son of God ... willed to recognize this virgin spouse as His father in affection, adoption, government, and education, and to be constantly obedient and subject to him. The Holy Ghost, who had operated the incarnation of the Son of God in the womb of Mary, willed that to Joseph this His spouse should be entirely confided. He was to be the zealous guardian of her virginity, her guide, her aid, her support, and her inseparable companion through all the vicissitudes of life. And where, apart from the Divine Maternity, can so great a dignity be found upon earth as that which was conferred on Joseph by the Three Divine Persons of the Most Holy Trinity?" — Edward Healy Thompson, p. 197 AN EXCERPT FROM The Life & Glories of St. Joseph
TODAY'S FEAST DAY
⛪ FIRST MARTYRS OF THE HOLY ROMAN CHURCH A great number of Christians perished at the hands of the Roman Emperor Nero during the terrible persecution that lasted from 64-68 A.D. This was the first of many major persecutions of the newly founded Church at Rome. The holy men and women who first died for the Gospel of Jesus Christ are also called the "Protomartyrs of Rome." Some were burned as living torches in the Emperor's gardens; some were crucified; others were fed to wild animals. Many died even before Sts. Peter and Paul, and therefore it is said of them that they are the "Disciples of the Apostles ... whom the Holy Roman Church sent to their Lord before the Apostles' death." God used the sacrifice of these holy men and women, who suffered like their savior Jesus Christ, to lay the indestructible foundation of His Church. Their bold witness for the Christian faith as they endured a brutal death won many converts and caused the Church to grow and spread throughout the world. The feast day of the First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church is June 30th. See More About Today's Feast >
†VERSE OF THE DAY "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven." Matthew 7:21
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SABLESSED GENNARO SARNELLI
Bl. Gennaro Sarnelli (1702 – 1744) was born to a noble family in Naples, Italy. He was very well educated, and completed his doctorate in civil and canon law at the age of 20. He gave much of his time to caring for the incurably sick, through which he discerned a call to the priesthood. He was ordained in 1732. He became good friends with St. Alphonsus Liguori, founder of the Redemptorists. Shortly afterward, Blessed Gennaro became a Redemptorist priest. Gennaro's special work was preaching to those who were the most spiritually deprived, while also caring for the temporal needs of impoverished children. He was a great defender of the dignity of women, and worked intensely to free women and girls from forced prostitution. Blessed Gennaro was also a talented writer, penning over 30 books ranging in subjects such as theology, law, prayer, spiritual direction, and contemporary moral issues. He worked so hard that his health suffered, and he died when he was only 42 years old. He was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II in 1996. His feast day is June 30.
Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 379 Reading I
Gn 21:5, 8-20a
Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Isaac grew, and on the day of the child's weaning Abraham held a great feast.
Sarah noticed the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham playing with her son Isaac; so she demanded of Abraham: "Drive out that slave and her son! No son of that slave is going to share the inheritance with my son Isaac!" Abraham was greatly distressed, especially on account of his son Ishmael. But God said to Abraham: "Do not be distressed about the boy or about your slave woman. Heed the demands of Sarah, no matter what she is asking of you; for it is through Isaac that descendants shall bear your name. As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a great nation of him also, since he too is your offspring."
Early the next morning Abraham got some bread and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. Then, placing the child on her back, he sent her away. As she roamed aimlessly in the wilderness of Beer-sheba, the water in the skin was used up. So she put the child down under a shrub, and then went and sat down opposite him, about a bowshot away; for she said to herself, "Let me not watch to see the child die." As she sat opposite Ishmael, he began to cry. God heard the boy's cry, and God's messenger called to Hagar from heaven: "What is the matter, Hagar? Don't be afraid; God has heard the boy's cry in this plight of his. Arise, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand; for I will make of him a great nation." Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water, and then let the boy drink.
God was with the boy as he grew up.
34:7-8, 10-11, 12-13
R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor. When the poor one called out, the LORD heard, and from all his distress he saved him. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor. Fear the LORD, you his holy ones, for nought is lacking to those who fear him. The great grow poor and hungry; but those who seek the LORD want for no good thing. R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor. Come, children, hear me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Which of you desires life, and takes delight in prosperous days? R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. The Father willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
When Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him. They were so savage that no one could travel by that road. They cried out, "What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?" Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding. The demons pleaded with him, "If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine." And he said to them, "Go then!" They came out and entered the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea where they drowned. The swineherds ran away, and when they came to the town they reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district.
Daily Meditation: Matthew 8:28-34
Go then! (Matthew 8:32)
The people were in awe: this man, Jesus, had authority over demons! The two men had been possessed, maybe for a long time, but with just a few words, Jesus set them free.
This same man—Jesus, our Messiah—has authority over the parts of our lives that, like those demons, are opposed to the Lord and afraid of his power. Jesus has authority over Satan and his lies and deceptions. He has the power to come and drive out whatever is enticing us to sin. He even has authority over patterns of sinful behavior that we have fought for years to overcome but thought we could never be rid of. Jesus sees it all, and he wants to come to our aid.
How do we enlist Jesus' help? By calling on his name. The name of Jesus is a powerful weapon because when we say it, we are invoking his authority over sin and evil. It's the same authority that he used to drive out the demons in the two men in today's Gospel. And because you were joined to Jesus in Baptism, you have this authority as well. When you pray in the name of Jesus, you are praying with him.
So remember to call on the name of Jesus in the midst of temptation, like when you're fighting the urge to reach for another dessert or when you want to pick a fight with your spouse. Invoke his name when you have doubts about your self-worth and think that God couldn't possibly love you. Cry out to him when you feel guilty for a sin you've already confessed or feel like you are drowning in worry. In those moments, pray, "In the name of Jesus, I renounce this anxiety . . . or evil thought . . . or sinful urge. Jesus, help me!"
You might find immediate relief. But even if you don't, keep praying in Jesus' name. Believe that he has the power to drive out Satan and every sin and temptation in your life. Jesus doesn't want anything to hinder your ability to love him and other people. Just as he freed the two men coming from the tombs in the Gadarenes, he wants to free you.
"Jesus, I call on your name. Come and set me free!"
Genesis 21:5, 8-20 Psalm 34:7-8, 10-13
Listen to 2cents
my2cents: "God heard the boy's cry, and God's messenger called to Hagar from heaven: "What is the matter, Hagar? Don't be afraid; God has heard the boy's cry in this plight of his. Arise, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand; for I will make of him a great nation." Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water, and then let the boy drink. God was with the boy as he grew up."
We pray in the Psalms: "Fear the LORD, you his holy ones, for nought is lacking to those who fear him. The great grow poor and hungry; but those who seek the LORD want for no good thing. The Lord hears the cry of the poor."
In the Holy Gospel we heard: "The demons pleaded with him, "If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine." And he said to them, "Go then!" They came out and entered the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea where they drowned. The swineherds ran away, and when they came to the town they reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district."
From a Spanish reflection today, allow me to translate: "Of course, we don't always like to be taken out of our safety and comfort. The Gerasenes lived very peacefully. Their demoniacs were a problem but they had it localized by having them chained at the cemetery. The Gerasenes lived in peace. They had not thought that to Jesus, the envoy of God, the health, the life, of those demonized was much more important than all the pigs of the town. Perhaps it was possible that the Gerasenes wanted to be rid of the demonized. But not at the price of losing your wealth, your comfort, your security. It was preferable for these men to suffer if that was the price to pay for living well. What Jesus does they don't like. That's why they kick him out of the country. Without contemplations, without a second thought. It would be interesting to examine in which areas of our life we do not want Jesus to enter because, although a bit demonized, we prefer not to move from where we are."
I have a tendency to speak crass, rough, not political with finesse or sugar coating things. And so today, I may have another one, our Lord sees and demands for us to care for the ones nobody wants to care about. This hits me personally. There are some people I'd rather not talk to, or deal with (too deep). Are they demoniacs? Are they locked up? Are they out of people's way and where they cannot harm others? Am I speaking of prison ministry? Is that what our Lord sees? I have a feeling our Lord is going deeper. Think of those you have in chains, locked out of your life in your heart. The ones you rather not mention. The ones that are completely crazy.
Now, lets think about the encounter the demoniacs have with our Lord. How did that happen? Someone cared and dared...to tell our Lord about these lost souls. You too can be the one that dares to care. Tell our Lord about these souls, and bring the Lord to them (as hard as it may be, let's try this gently and never stop). I'm speaking of your loved ones, and the ones you cannot love.
Let's pray: "Lord, I am afraid to rock the boat of peace. I am afraid to speak about You openly and to deliver some from oppression and depression because I am afraid to ruin our relationship or in some cases, I'm just afraid of them period! Please Lord, give me Grace and I pray for them to have grace, so as to be open to You and so we can connect with You together...and so be it forever! In Your Precious name we pray...."
from your brother in Christ our Lord, adrian
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Random Bible Verse from online generator:
Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,1 by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.2
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