Wednesday, August 17, 2022

† " I am not cheating you . "


†Saint Quote
"Preserve the warmth of the family, because the warmth of the whole world cannot make up for it."
–St. Charbel Makhlouf

†Today's Meditation
"Reading the holy Scriptures confers two benefits. It trains the mind to understand them; it turns man's attention from the follies of the world and leads him to the love of God. Two kinds of study are called for here. We must first learn how the Scriptures are to be understood, and then see how to expound them with profit and in a manner worthy of them . . . No one can understand holy Scripture without constant reading . . . The more you devote yourself to the study of the sacred utterances, the richer will be your understanding of them, just as the more the soil is tilled, the richer the harvest."
—St. Isidore of Seville, p. 201

An Excerpt From
Witness of the Saints

†Daily Verse
"O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand."
–Psalm 95:6-7


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St. Roch / Rocco

St. Roch, also known as St. Rocco (d. 1327), was born in Montpellier, France, the pious son of the city's governor. He was born with a red cross on his chest, a sign that the Virgin Mary answered his mother's prayer to heal her barrenness. His parents died when he was twenty, after which he gave his wealth to the poor and handed the government of the city over to his uncle. Free from earthly cares, he set off as a pilgrim for Italy. When he came upon a town badly struck by the plague, he sojourned there to help the sick. He cured many people by making the Sign of the Cross over them. These miracles occurred at every plague-infested area that he passed through on his way to Rome. When he reached Piacenza he himself contracted the disease in his leg, and awaited death in a remote forest hut. Providentially, a count's hunting dog found and befriended him, brought him food, and licked his wounds. A spring arose nearby, providing fresh water. The count, who followed his dog one day, discovered the saint and aided him in his recovery. Slowly St. Roch's health was restored, after which he returned to his native Montpellier. He refused to disclose his identity to the townspeople so that he could remain poor and unknown. This secrecy aroused suspicion that he might be a spy, and he was cast into prison by his own uncle, who did not recognize him. St. Roch died in prison five years later. His identity was then discovered by the red cross birthmark on his chest. At his funeral, many miracles attested to his sanctity, and a church was erected for his veneration. St. Roch is the patron saint of dogs, surgeons, invalids, bachelors, and against plague and pestilence. His feast day is August 16th.


Wednesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 EZ 34:1-11

The word of the Lord came to me:
Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel,
in these words prophesy to them to the shepherds:
Thus says the Lord GOD: Woe to the shepherds of Israel
who have been pasturing themselves!
Should not shepherds, rather, pasture sheep?
You have fed off their milk, worn their wool,
and slaughtered the fatlings,
but the sheep you have not pastured.
You did not strengthen the weak nor heal the sick
nor bind up the injured.
You did not bring back the strayed nor seek the lost,
but you lorded it over them harshly and brutally.
So they were scattered for the lack of a shepherd,
and became food for all the wild beasts.
My sheep were scattered
and wandered over all the mountains and high hills;
my sheep were scattered over the whole earth,
with no one to look after them or to search for them.
Therefore, shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
As I live, says the Lord GOD,
because my sheep have been given over to pillage,
and because my sheep have become food for every wild beast,
for lack of a shepherd;
because my shepherds did not look after my sheep,
but pastured themselves and did not pasture my sheep;
because of this, shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
Thus says the Lord GOD:
I swear I am coming against these shepherds.
I will claim my sheep from them
and put a stop to their shepherding my sheep
so that they may no longer pasture themselves.
I will save my sheep,
that they may no longer be food for their mouths.
For thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will look after and tend my sheep.

Responsorial Psalm PS 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness will follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Alleluia HEB 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern the reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 20:1-16

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o'clock,
he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.'
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o'clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o'clock,
he found others standing around, and said to them,
'Why do you stand here idle all day?'
They answered, 'Because no one has hired us.'
He said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard.'
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
'Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.'
When those who had started about five o'clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
'These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day's burden and the heat.'
He said to one of them in reply,
'My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?'
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."


Daily Meditation: Matthew 19:23-30

What will there be for us? (Matthew 19:27)

Peter had never been rich, so Jesus' warning about how difficult it would be for a wealthy person to enter God's kingdom clearly didn't apply to him or to the other disciples. Still, they had given up homes, families, and jobs to follow Jesus. What kind of payback could they expect?

Perhaps you've never put that question to Jesus as boldly as Peter did. But on some level, we are all tempted to think that because we have made sacrifices to follow the Lord, we deserve some sort of reward. But then life happens. Maybe we lose our job, or a close friend dies or moves away, or an injury makes it impossible for us to continue a favorite activity. We might wonder, Don't I deserve good things in life? After all, Lord, I'm trying to follow you.

Jesus does promise Peter a reward, but he will have to wait until the next life to receive it (Matthew 19:28-30). That heavenly reward is God's promise to us too. But in the meantime, we may need to look at our hearts more closely. Have any assumptions, expectations, or disappointments piled up that, like the camel in today's Gospel, are making it difficult for us to enter God's kingdom (19:24)?

Maybe we've come to feel entitled to whatever privileges may come our way instead of receiving them as gracious gifts. Or we may expect our lives to be free of crosses or burdens and begin to resent them when they appear. Or we look back on our lives and think that things should have worked out better than they did.

If that's how you feel sometimes, go to the Lord and ask him to change your heart. He can help you see that all the blessings in your life are his gifts to you and that even the crosses can help you draw closer to him. He can also open your eyes to the grace he is pouring out on you right here and right now. Like Peter, that is the grace that will one day bring you face-to-face with your heavenly Father—a reward that is infinitely better than any earthly one!

"Jesus, purify my heart. I put my hope in your grace and mercy."

Ezekiel 28:1-10
(Psalm) Deuteronomy 32:26-28, 30, 35-36


From today's 1st Holy Scripture:
" sheep were scattered over the whole earth,
with no one to look after them or to search for them."

What do I see in the world, and what is wrong with myself in the world? We are like black holes of love, and what are black holes in the universe? Supposedly a massively heavy star that somehow becomes to heavy for the universe and it sinks into an unknown abyss, taking with it even the nearby lights and matter. In other words, we take in, instead of giving. In other words, we love to be loved but don't know how to love for the sake of love. Does this make sense? And what better love is there than to save someone's soul? And Jesus our Lord did this for the billions of God's creation. His flock. And a lost flock in the free world. Lost, seeking to be loved, and lost not knowing how to love, which is the inverse truth of a hidden reality. Can a selfless person be materially impoverished? Yes. And if this is true, then, a selfish person can be materially rich. And so, God sends His son to open our give light, the truth for all nations. Take note. Your heart is like a lantern.

We pray in Psalms:
"He guides me in right paths for his name's sake. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side With your rod and your staff that give me courage. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want"

What would you give to attain Heaven, that is, to be in Heaven with God forever? What could you possibly offer? Think about it. No thing on earth can afford Heaven, and this is why and how...the value is not measured in human terms. Yet, God offers Heaven. And let us go back to the word "be", to "be" in Heaven is a whole new world in of itself, with that word being a world. Does this make sense? A whole being awaits, and this being starts here and now...for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.


In today's Gospel we heard our of our Lord:
"'Why do you stand here idle all day?'
They answered, 'Because no one has hired us.'

Do you believe you are being idle? How do you know if you are the faith? Do you know what idle means? A quick definition of the word idle pulls up: "

1. (of a person) avoiding work; lazy
1. (of a person) avoiding work; lazy

Example: "idle students"

1. without purpose or effect; pointless
1. without purpose or effect; pointless

And so, were the men being lazy, in the Gospel? Perhaps, inadvertently. There was no purpose to their life, or their day, pointless in fact, a life without God, without faith. Not useless, but without a significant ideal, something to grasp, be.
And so, in our country, we have many busy people at work. Nothing wrong with that, I'm at work, and perhaps you are at your job too, reading this. They say that the 80/20 rule applies to so many aspects of life. That is to say, supposedly 20% of something achieves or owns the 80% of something. Like say, 20% of people own most of the riches or land. Or 20% of an issue affects 80% of the rest. What am I getting at? Let's think about our idle faith.
I'd say, we haven't seen many phenomenal miracles in our lives, and even worse, very few would acknowledge a miracle and be grateful...forever.

What are we doing with our idle faith that's ready to work but not at work?
Some protestants teach that works/deeds are pointless. But this is not true. Faith is shown by love.

Do you love God?

They say we can never out-give our God. It is true. We must learn to give and hold the treasure of Christ in our heart. I don't consider myself a good giver. And you are talking to someone who tries, but I don't feel I've achieved the giving our Lord has asked. I say yes to most things, for our Lord, but the very thing He asks for? It's like Martha and Mary. Martha was great at works...but what about the very core...of being with God?

Lord, Where You are, I wish to be....
forever, in You, and in Love.


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Random bible verse generator:

Proverbs 28:22
22 A stingy man1 hastens after wealth

and does not know that poverty will come upon him.


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God Bless You! Peace

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