Today’s gospel reading:
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?” But they kept silent; so he took the man and, after he had healed him, dismissed him. Then he said to them “Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern, would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?” But they were unable to answer his question.
Reflection on the gospel: We see in the gospel today a Jesus who is engaged in the issues of his day and their implications for the lives of people. The issue of the observation of the sabbath preoccupied his contemporaries, but Jesus was unwilling to adopt a conventional view of sabbath rest when the lives of people were at stake. His example calls us to remain radically open to the needs of people when we weigh those needs against the demands of law and convention.
Saint of the day: Wolfgang was born in Swabia, Germany, and was educated at a school located at the abbey of Reichenau. There he encountered Henry, a young noble who went on to become Archbishop of Trier. Meanwhile, Wolfgang remained in close contact with the archbishop, teaching in his cathedral school and supporting his efforts to reform the clergy.
At the death of the archbishop, Wolfgang chose to become a Benedictine monk and moved to an abbey in Einsiedeln, now part of Switzerland. Ordained a priest, he was appointed director of the monastery school there. Later he was sent to Hungary as a missionary, though his zeal and good will yielded limited results.
Emperor Otto II appointed him Bishop of Regensburg (near Munich). He immediately initiated reform of the clergy and of religious life, preaching with vigor and effectiveness and always demonstrating special concern for the poor. He wore the habit of a monk and lived an austere life.
The draw to monastic life never left him, including the desire for a life of solitude. At one point he left his diocese so that he could devote himself to prayer, but his responsibilities as bishop called him back.
In 994 he became ill while on a journey; he died in Puppingen near Linz, Austria. His feast day is celebrated widely in much of central Europe. He was canonized in 1052.
Spiritual reading: Praise ye and bless the Lord, and give thanks to Him and serve Him with great humility. (“The Canticle of the Sun” by St. Francis of Assisi)
Today’s gospel reading
Some Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose. Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day, for it is impossible that a prophet should die outside of Jerusalem.’
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned. But I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Reflection on the gospel: Jesus in today’s gospel describes both his mission and its implications. His ministry is to heal. His ministry is to make us holy. His ministry is to comfort us. He comes to suffer. He comes to be resurrected. He comes to accomplish the Father’s will. And in the end, we all shall see him and bless him. So let us today be about his business, healing, comforting, making holy, even if it means we must suffer along the way. Let us bless him this day that we may see him this day.
Saint of the day: Alphonsus Rodriguez was born in Segovia, Spain, on July 25, 1532, the son of a wealthy merchant. He was prepared for First Communion by Blessed Peter Favre, a friend of Alphonsus’ father. While studying with the Jesuits at Alcala, Alphonsus had to return home when his father died. In Segovia, he took over the family business, was married, and had a son. That son died, as did two other children and then his wife. Alphonsus sold his business and applied to the Jesuits. His lack of education and his poor health, undermined by his austerities, made him less than desirable as a candidate for the religious life, but he was accepted as a lay brother by the Jesuits on January 31, 1571. He underwent novitiate training and was sent to Montesion College on the island of Majorca. There he labored as a hall porter for twenty-four years. Overlooked by some of the Jesuits in the house, Alphonsus exerted a wondrous influence on many. Not only the young students, such as St. Peter Claver, but local civic tad and social leaders came to his porter’s lodge for advice tad and direction. Obedience and penance were the hallmarks of his life, as well as his devotion to the Immaculate Conception. He experienced many spiritual consolations, and he wrote religious treatises, very simple in style but sound in doctrine. Alphonsus died after a long illness on October 31, 1617, and his funeral was attended by Church and government leaders.
Spiritual reading: If you are very busy, you should make a choice and employ yourself in the more important occupations where there is greater service of God, greater spiritual advantage for the neighbor, and the more general or perfect good. (Letter to Father Fulvio Androzzi, July 18, 1556, by Ignatius of Loyola)
CACINA has set aside the month of November as IJM Month, our outreach program supporting the International Justice Mission (IJM). In many parts of the world, the poor have no voice and are often the victim of brutal violence and abuse. For these individuals, the difference between life and death, freedom and prison, and justice and injustice often depends upon the willingness of others to step in on their behalf. IJM provides this kind of support.
Our contributions will enable IJM to “show up” and intervene on behalf of individuals who are trafficked into prostitution, forced to work long hours in abusive bonded slavery, and abused by local authorities. A gift of any amount will support IJM in its mission to serve as a voice for the voiceless in our world, providing these men, women, and children with rescue, support, and renewed hope for their lives and futures. To learn more about IJM go to www.ijm.org If you wish to contribute to the IJM mission go to http://www.ijm.org/give
Gospel of the day:
Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’ And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
Reflection on today’s gospel: Today’s gospel reminds us that Jesus brings an inclusive message for all peoples. Moreover, no matter how we see ourselves and our relationship with Jesus, none of us enjoys privileged position at the table in the Kingdom of God. When we use the prism of our belief to look down on others, we jeopardize God’s gift to us of a place at God’s table in heaven. So it is that we should judge not lest we be judged.
Saint of the day: Narcissus was a 2nd-3rd century bishop of Jerusalem. Late in life, he was accused of a crime. None of the Christians in his diocese believed it, but Narcissus did not believe he should serve after being under such a cloud, and he became a desert hermit. After a complete acquittal, Narcissus returned to his see, older, weathered, but stronger and more zealous than ever, and served several more years. When his age began to wear on him, he begged God to send a bishop to help him. Saint Alexander of Cappadocia responded, and the two ruled the diocese together, Narcissus living to age 116.
Spiritual reading of the day: If I did not believe, if I did not make what is called an act of faith (and each act of faith increases our capacity for faith), if I did not have faith that the works of mercy do lighten the sum total of suffering in the world, so that those who are suffering in this ghastly struggle somehow mysteriously find their pain lifted and some balm of consolation poured on their wounds, if I did not believe these things, the problem of evil would indeed be overwhelming. (Dorothy Day)
Today’s gospel reading:
Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Reflection on the gospel: In today’s gospel reading, Jesus prepares to make an important decision. But before he does it, he gives himself over to God in prayer. We often act in haste without consultation with God. The gospel recommends to us to bring our concerns to God before we act.
Saint of the day: Today is the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, the apostles. Jude was the son of Cleophas, who died a martyr and Mary who stood at the foot of the Cross. Mary was one of the women who annointed Christ’s body after death. Brother of Saint James the Lesser; nephew of Mary and Joseph; blood relative of Jesus Christ, and reported to look a lot like him. He hay have been a fisherman. He was a writer of a canonical letter. He preached in Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia with Saint Simon. His patronage of lost or impossible causes traditionally derives from confusion by many early Christians between Jude and Judas; not understanding the difference between the names, they never sought through prayer Jude’s help, and devotion to him became something of a lost cause. Tradition says he was beaten to death with a club, then beheaded post-mortem in 1st century Persia. Simon was an Apostle who evangelized in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Several places claim to have been the site of his martyrdom. The Abbyssinians claim he was crucified in Samaria; Lipsius says he was sawn in half at Suanir, Persia; Moses of Chorene writes that he was martyred at Weriosphora in Iberia; many locations claim to have relics.
Spiritual reading: He received us with joy. We felt remorse about being forced to carry out the order of his execution, because we revered him as a very good and innocent man. He constantly preached to us about the Christian religion. In prison we always saw him praying to his God with a joyful countenance. (Statement by the Executioners of Saint Joachim Royo Pèrez)
Our first CACINA liturgy was celebrated today, October 26th, 10:00 am, at the American Legion hall in Arbutus, MD. Father Peter Smith and Bishop Tony Santore concelebrated this inaugural Mass. Several members from Holy Trinity Parish in Reston Virginia, shared this faith filled experience with twenty five people from the Baltimore areas. If you are interested in learning more about the Baltimore Mission please contact Bishop Santore at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please watch this site for more information and the next scheduled celebration in the Baltimore area.
Today’s gospel reading:
Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.” The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?” When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated; and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.
Reflection on today gospel reading: The Lord heals a handicapped woman on the sabbath and receives a rebuke for having violated the sabbath rest. Jesus takes him to task for his hypocrisy pointing out that the people of his day even on the sabbath would untie their beasts of burden to lead them to water. He points out that the value of a human being is much greater. How often do we become so bound by laws and regulations that we forget the basic human goods that trumps every other concern? Jesus calls us to a freedom of heart that is prepared to do good no matter the cost.
Saint of the day: Born in 1115 in France, Emilina joined the Cistercian Abbey of Boulancourt at Longeville, France when still very young. She was noted for her deep prayer life, fasts, and austere, sometimes severe self-imposed penances such as wearing a pointed chain under her habit, walking barefooted throughout the year and fasting from food and liquids three days a week. Word of her devotion soon spread, and pilgrims came to consult her about holiness and prayer. She had the gift of prophesy, and sometimes prophesied about visitors before they arrived. She never sought honor or glory for herself from her gifts but dealt with visitors humbly and patiently, always concerned with their conversion and relationship with God, She died in 1178 at Longeville, France of natural causes.
Spiritual reading: You must always reflect on what takes place within your own mind: not what other may do, whether they are good or bad, but what you make of their deeds – in other words, how you can use their deeds, both good and bad, and how much you can profit from them, whether by favoring and helping them, or by having compassion and correcting them. (Meditations by Guigo I)
THE READINGS FOR THE DAY
Thus says the LORD: “You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt. You shall not wrong any widow or orphan. If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry. My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword; then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans.
“If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors among my people, you shall not act like an extortioner toward him by demanding interest from him. If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you shall return it to him before sunset; for this cloak of his is the only covering he has for his body. What else has he to sleep in? If he cries out to me, I will hear him; for I am compassionate.”
1 Thes 1:5-10
Brothers and sisters: You know what sort of people we were among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from the Holy Spirit, so that you became a model for all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth not only in Macedonia and in Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. For they themselves openly declare about us what sort of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to await his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus, who delivers us from the coming wrath.
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law tested him by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Ex 22:20-26; 1 Thes 1:5c-10; Mt 22:34-40
John Paul served as the patriarch of the West and the bishop of Rome for a quarter century. In one letter he wrote, he made this observation: “The meaning of life is in giving and receiving love.” The readings for the thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time strike the same theme: compassion of one human being for another is an integral component of the love that exists between God and the human person.
In the first reading, a reading from the Book of Exodus, we hear God tell what God will do for the dispossessed and the oppressed. God promises to hear the cry of the widow and orphan. God will listen to our poor neighbors and attend to their plea. Because of this engagement by God in the lives of God’s people, each of us receives a charge to attend to the needs of all of those who have not received the blessings we have received. It is a duty incumbent upon us as people who have received more: More is expected of us. The first reading lays down this lesson with neither ambiguity nor equivocation.
In the gospel, a scholar of the Mosaic law asks Jesus which among the laws is the greatest, and Jesus replies that we shall love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and that after this, we must love our neighbors as though our neighbors were our very selves. Everything else in our faith, Jesus teaches us, flows from these two commandments. Love of God and neighbor are the foundations of our religion.
So the readings of the thirtieth Sunday evoke a consistent theme: We are to set ourselves on the Lord’s path, and an inherent attribute of this walk is our commitment to our neighbors. Such charges have practical implications in our day-to-day lives.
Jesus says elsewhere in the gospel, “Give to everyone who asks you.” If when the panhandler on the street asks us for a few coins, we go walking coldly past, we fail our charge to love freely. It would be best to give a little money and even offer a quiet prayer for the person. But if there is nothing in our pockets and we cannot give, we have a duty, I think, to offer a prayer, a smile, an apology, and a word of encouragement. The poor we have with us always, and they come to us in myriad forms, in the homeless, in the victims of disaster, in a tired spouse and frustrated child. The poor we have in many forms all through our lives. We have a charge to love, and in giving love, we open ourselves to the reception of love. And so it is through all the events of our lives, we lift ourselves up to God by the movement of our hearts outwards toward one another, inviting them in return to move their hearts back to us. Why? Because the meaning of life is in giving and receiving love, and love is a movement that involves me, my neighbor, and God. In these we fashion the meaning of our existence.
Today’s gospel reading:
Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them–do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”
And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’
He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”
Reflection on the gospel: Jesus in today’s gospel teaches uses the ordinariness of current events and the things that are accessible in the lives of people. He uses two news items that were making the rounds among the people and apparently were well-known to his hearers to make a point about the need for conversion. He also uses an analogy from horticulture, a process that his listeners would appreciate, to reinforce the point. In this, Jesus gives us an example about how to teach and make the Good News come alive for the people we meet.
The saint we celebrate today: Peter de Geremia was born in 1381 at Palermo, Sicily. Educated at the University of Bologna, he was a brilliant law student. One night while he meditated on the worldly success he would have, he was visited by the spirit of a deceased relative, a man who had also been a lawyer, whose pride and perjury had lost him his chance at paradise. Shaken, Peter devoted himself to prayer, asking for his vocation. Soon he received a word that he should become a Dominican. In a rage, his father came to Bologna to stop him, but when he saw completely happy Peter was, the older man gave him his blessing.
Peter became one of the finest preachers in Sicily, always preaching in the open air because no church was large enough to hold the crowds. He became an abbey prior.
One day when there was no food for the community, Peter asked a fisherman for a donation; he was rudely refused. Getting into a boat, Peter rowed from the shore and made a sign to the fish; they broke the nets and followed him. The fisherman apologized, Peter made another sign to the fish, and they returned to the nets. The monastery was ever afterwards supplied with fish.
Sent to establish regular observance in Sicilian monasteries. Called to Florence to help heal the Greek schism, he managed a brief union. Offered a bishopric, but refused.
Once when Peter was preaching at Catania, Mount Etna erupted and lava flowed toward the city. The people begged him to save them. He preached a brief sermon on repentance, went to the nearby shrine of Saint Agatha, removed the saint’s veil, and held it towards the lava flow. The eruption ceased, and the town was saved. He died March 3, 1452 in Sicily of natural causes.
Spiritual reading for the day: Contemplation is also the response to a call: a call from Him Who has no voice, and yet Who speaks in everything that is, and Who, most of all, speaks in the depths of our own being: meant to respond to Him and signify Him. Contemplation is this echo. It is a deep resonance in the inmost center of our spirit in which our very life loses its separate voice and re-sounds with the majesty and the mercy of the Hidden and Living One . . . It is awakening, enlightenment, and the amazing intuitive grasp by which love gains certitude of God’s creative and dynamic intervention in our daily life. Hence contemplation does not simply “find” a clear idea of God and confine Him within the limits of that idea, and hold Him there as a prisoner to Whom it can always return. On the contrary, contemplation is carried away by Him into His own realm, His own mystery, and His own freedom. (New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton)