Monday, July 17, 2023

† 'Whoever finds his life will ...."


†Saint Quote of the Day
"Everybody today seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater developments and greater riches and so on, so that children have very little time for their parents. Parents have very little time for each other, and in the home begins the disruption of peace in the world."
–St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

†Today's Meditation
"There is, actually, only one person in all humanity of whom God has one picture and in whom there is a perfect conformity between what he wanted her to be and what she is, and that is his own mother. Most of us are a minus sign, in the sense that we do not fulfill the high hopes the heavenly Father has for us. But Mary is the equal sign. The ideal that God had of her, that she is, and in the flesh. The model and the copy are perfect; she is all that was foreseen, planned, and dreamed. The melody of her life is played just as it was written."
—Archbishop Fulton Sheen, p. 15

An Excerpt From
A Year With Mary

†Daily Verse
"Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proved he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him."
–James 1:12


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St. Alexius of Rome

St. Alexius (d. 417 A.D.) was a native of Rome, the son of a distinguished Roman senator. His parents arranged a marriage for him, but he had a divine calling to a higher vocation. On the night of his wedding, with permission from his fiance, he secretly fled to Edessa in Syria to live in poverty and obscurity as a holy ascetic. He disguised himself as a beggar, unrecognized by all, even accepting alms from his own servants who were sent to look for him. St. Alexius lived in this way for seventeen years. A vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the church near his dwelling identified him as a "Man of God." When the fame of his sanctity spread in Edessa, he moved back to Rome so that he could continue his hidden life. He lived as a beggar under the very stairs of his father's palace, his true identity completely unknown to anyone. He lived in this way for another seventeen years. He was befriended by other Christians, shared his alms with the poor, and taught catechism to children. It was only after his death that his identity was revealed through a document that he secretly carried on his person. He was then venerated as a saint, and his father's palace was converted into a church in his honor. St. Alexius' feast day is July 17.


Monday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Audible Link Hear Scripture

Lectionary: 389
Reading 1

Ex 1:8-14, 22

A new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, came to power in Egypt.
He said to his subjects, "Look how numerous and powerful
the people of the children of Israel are growing, more so than we ourselves!
Come, let us deal shrewdly with them to stop their increase;
otherwise, in time of war they too may join our enemies
to fight against us, and so leave our country."

Accordingly, taskmasters were set over the children of Israel
to oppress them with forced labor.
Thus they had to build for Pharaoh
the supply cities of Pithom and Raamses.
Yet the more they were oppressed,
the more they multiplied and spread.
The Egyptians, then, dreaded the children of Israel
and reduced them to cruel slavery,
making life bitter for them with hard work in mortar and brick
and all kinds of field work—the whole cruel fate of slaves.

Pharaoh then commanded all his subjects,
"Throw into the river every boy that is born to the Hebrews,
but you may let all the girls live."

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 124:1b-3, 4-6, 7-8

R. (8a) Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Had not the LORD been with us–
let Israel say, had not the LORD been with us–
When men rose up against us,
then would they have swallowed us alive,
When their fury was inflamed against us.
R. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Then would the waters have overwhelmed us;
The torrent would have swept over us;
over us then would have swept
the raging waters.
Blessed be the LORD, who did not leave us
a prey to their teeth.
R. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
We were rescued like a bird
from the fowlers' snare;
Broken was the snare,
and we were freed.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
R. Our help is in the name of the Lord.


Mt 5:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Mt 10:34—11:1

Jesus said to his Apostles:
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one's enemies will be those of his household.

"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

"Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet's reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is righteous
will receive a righteous man's reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because he is a disciple–
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward."

When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples,
he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.


Daily Meditation: Matthew 10:34–11:1

I have come to bring not peace but the sword. (Matthew 10:34)

At first glance, this passage might stop us in our tracks. Wasn't Jesus' whole mission about peace and reconciliation? So why the sword? How can Jesus be the Prince of Peace but also be preparing us for conflict?

Jesus knew that many people would not accept him or his message. He also knew that this could lead to division, sometimes even within a family. As he warned, "I have come to set 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother'" (Matthew 10:35).

Any kind of division like this is tragic, and yet God has given every human being the freedom to accept or reject him. He loves each one of us beyond our comprehension, but he won't force his love on anyone. For a variety of reasons, many people are unable to accept God's personal love for them or the blessings that come with being one with Jesus. We all want every person to come to know the Lord. But we must also expect at times to experience pushback, conflict, or even division when we try to share our faith.

In such situations, it's important not to let our witness turn into an attempt just to "convince" someone of the truth. Too often, conversations like these create deeper divisions rather than the unity and healing that Jesus longs for. Instead, we can focus on preaching the gospel, not just with our words, but with the love and compassion of the One who is himself the Truth (John 14:6)!

Jesus knew that his coming would cause division and conflict. At the same time, he is the only One who can bring true peace and unity. So let's strive to be Christ to those who have not yet accepted the gospel but who still long for the love that only he can give. Let's take the advice of St. Paul and "put on . . . heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience" (Colossians 3:12). May the witness of Jesus' life in us be the catalyst that sparks faith in our loved ones—and in everyone we will encounter today!

"Jesus, Prince of Peace, help me reflect your love and compassion to everyone who is far from you."

Exodus 1:8-14, 22
Psalm 124:1-8


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Reflections with Brother Adrian:

From today's 1st Holy Scripture:
"The Egyptians, then, dreaded the children of Israel
and reduced them to cruel slavery,
making life bitter for them with hard work in mortar and brick
and all kinds of field work—the whole cruel fate of slaves...."
end of verse.

After a few hundred years of enjoying certain things, the people of God, Israel got so complacent that our Lord allowed evil things to happen, like hard slave labor and killing of the boys for them to wake up to the reality of the jealousy, the bitter inner pride of the new Egyptian ruler. And still, after all this, Israel didn't want to go, or rock the boat. This is a perfect setup for the story, the holy Gospel of today, because our Lord calls us to pick up our cross, that is, do God's will, not my own comfortable will.


We pray today:
_"Had not the LORD been with us–
let Israel say, had not the LORD been with us–
When men rose up against us,
then would they have swallowed us alive,
When their fury was inflamed against us.

Our help is in the name of the Lord."_ end of Psalm.


In the Gospel today we heard:
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword..."
end of Gospel verse.

From Bishop Barron:
"Friends, in today's Gospel, the Lord explains what it means to become a disciple. Once we make the decision to follow Jesus, then every other claimant to supremacy must fall away. Every one of us has something that we consider greatest. Perhaps it is money, material things, power, the esteem of others, your country, your political party, or your ethnic identity. Or perhaps it is your family, your kids, your wife, your husband.
Now mind you, all of these are good things. However, when you place any of them in the absolute center of gravity, things go awry. When you make any of them your ultimate or final good, your spiritual life goes haywire. When you attach yourself to any of them with an absolute tenacity, you will fall apart.
This is what Jesus means in our Gospel for today: not that you should hate your family or country or wealth, but rather that you should detach yourself from them lest they become idols. And only if we do this are we truly ready for mission. If we try to do this work while we are stuck to any number of attachments, we will fail. Period." end quote Bishop Barron

"Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me."

The Word is to be made flesh. This incarnation of the Holy Word is to become alive and active within each and every one of us.

Have you received the Word of God into your flesh? We do in many ways. By way of hearing. By way of an invitation, a calling. You know what a calling is, because it is an inevitable part of living life in the spirit. The calling is so deep that the doors are made opened by the very will of God.

And so, the sword comes instead of a peace and unity like the world teaches and preaches.
Have you ever experienced the sword of persecution within your own family? The sword of ridicule and insult for being a holy person, or one speaking in the name of the Lord? It happens, and it happens to the best of saints.

The sword is a natural byproduct of the very will of God becoming flesh. Our Lord was put on a cross. Ridiculed for doing the will of God. He was scorned, beaten, and left for dead, just like the poor man on the side of the road while all the other priests dodged him and went around him to do what the believed was pure and never touch an unclean and unworthy person, an untouchable.

Yet these are points that make up the sword of God, the heart of our Lord is Jesus.

I have lost family and friends for being a Christ follower. They no longer wish to hang out! We no longer have something in common. The sword rather comes, a division that was not brought about by me, but for doing God's will, I can no longer go drinking and partying with them. I can no longer be who I was in the past. Therefore...if you look at it, the sword is good. God's sword is one of righteousness and justice. He never slayed demons. He never hurt a fly. But the sword is powerful.
If only we would take to the sword, and clasp our hands like our Blessed Mother in Heaven, and pray for God's will to be done, in each and every one of our lives.

Our Lord's eyes pierce through a soul.
Our Lord's clothes, shine brighter than the sun.
Super powers? I think not, for this is His very essence in being.
A light. A truth. A formidable force that is destined and designed to rescue lost souls.

And guess what? You are called to the body of Christ! To share in this awesome, this amazing adventure of a unified body, fighting for a unified love. Is it about growth and numbers?

Or about quality? Such is always the fight and the question among life savers.
But the answer is not one or the other, but both. Quality in quanitity. For God qualifies the called.

Division? Yes. At first. But then comes salvation. The ones in the side of light, reaching now to darkness, searching for lost souls. This world is more deeper and more amazing than we care to thing about on all levels, nano, molecular, mental, spiritual, and macro, and beyond human comprehension.

Let's pray:
Lord, may Your sword of light shine forth the way, and may it pierce us too, to be scarred forever, and in remembrance of this Holy Sacrifice, be made one in the Holy Covenant of the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar, true bread and true life for the world and forever.


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Psalm 90:2

Before the mountains were brought forth,

or ever you had formed the earth and the world,

from everlasting to everlasting you are God.


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God Bless You! Peace

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