CACINA

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 31, 2012

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 13:22-30

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 the gospel reading: At the heart of the passage that we read today lies the question, “How many will be saved?” Jesus, as he so often did, did not answer the question directly. Instead, he addressed the underlying assumptions in the question.

When we read the gospels, we can never lose sight of the fact that Jesus lived in a time and place that had a particular viewpoint. In Jesus’ time and place, the assumption among the people with whom he lived was that they were God’s chosen people. They were a people set apart, a people who knew the rules, a people who had to do a certain set of activities that would guarantee them salvation. Everyone else was just plain out of luck.

Jesus, however, challenges this presupposition. He says that being a member of the “chosen people” does not of itself guarantee a place in the kingdom of God. Moreover, he says that many people who are not among the “chosen,” people who “come from the east and the west and from the north and the south,” will recline at the table of God.

It is easy for all of us to imagine that our membership in some group is the guarantee that we need to be “right,” which may include the implicit suggestion that other people are “wrong.” Jesus in today’s gospel essentially says, “This is not so.”

We too may be tempted to believe that something about us makes us “right” in a way that other people are not. If we are to hear what Jesus says in today’s gospel, we have to let go of this notion. God’s kingdom is not the exclusive property of one people over another people, of one group over another group. It is a place of inclusion, not of exclusion.

Before we speculate on the central question of the gospel passage, “How many will be saved?” we perhaps do well to ask the question, “What exactly does it mean to be saved?” Certainly, in the Catholic tradition, it has meant for a good period of time in Church history to “die in a state of grace” and without mortal sin. But these are cliches that border on meaningless for their overuse. What then does it mean to be saved? Does it not mean to live a life for others? A life that does not close down in and on itself, but instead, an expansive life that frees other people from the bondage of self? A life that so loves that it invites and allows other to love?

Ultimately, we cannot know how many people will be saved, but if the evidence of our lives provides any answer to the question, we perhaps should assume that the answer question is, “Many will be saved.” If our God is a God who will let recline at the table of the kingdom people from north, south, east, and west, perhaps the gospel does directly answer the question: the expansive and all embracing love of God will in the end conquer many hearts.

Saint of the day: The son of a butcher and born in Florence in about 1370, Thomas Bellaci led such a wild life for a time that parents warned their sons to stay away from him. A rich man in town befriended him and led him deeper into depravity. Accused of a serious crime that he had not committed, Thomas went to his friend for protection. The man would not even see him and told him to stay away. Crushed, Thomas wandered the streets until he met a priest who listened to his story and took Thomas into his home. Ultimately, he was able to get Thomas declared innocent of the crime.

Thomas broke off his former associations and began to lead a life of prayer and penance. Filled with grace, he asked to be admitted to a Franciscan friary as a lay brother. He went on to become a model friar, fasting, keeping vigils, disciplining himself. He wore the cast-off clothes of his brothers. He was frequently wrapped in ecstasy. Though he was never ordained a priest and remained content to serve as a lay brother, Thomas was appointed novice master. Many young men followed in his path of holiness.

Thomas founded numerous friaries in southern Italy. And Pope Martin V called upon him to preach against the Fraticelli, a branch of heretical Franciscans. He was also asked to go to the Orient to promote the reunion of the Eastern and Western Churches. There he was imprisoned and expected to receive the crown of martyrdom. But the pope ransomed him for a large sum of money. Thomas returned to Italy and died in 1447 on a journey to Rome, where he had hoped to receive permission to return to the Orient.

Spiritual reading: If God causes you to suffer much, it is a sign that He has great designs for you, and that He certainly intends to make you a saint. And if you wish to become a great saint, entreat Him yourself to give you much opportunity for suffering; for there is no wood better to kindle the fire of holy love than the wood of the cross, which Christ used for His own great sacrifice of boundless charity. (Ignatius of Loyola)

Homily November 4, 2012 Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted in christian, Christianity, ethics, religion, scripture by Fr Joe R on October 30, 2012

In today’s gospel, Jesus summed up a whole history of faith and salvation in two commandments. Legalism and ritual which are okay, but really a means to an end, are put to the side as Jesus tells the scribe the two commandments that are above all the others and upon which the others are based. Finding and carrying out these commandments starts with ourselves. Love is something that starts from our own inner experience and develops as we grow as an individual. We find it in our family and with and through them it grows and ultimately leads us to a love of God. In finding and experiencing God’s love we come to know that loving and sacrificing our self in love is the way of faith and finding God. The pursuit of the world with its vanities and values and excuses and self centeredness, and its concepts of reward and punishment, all confound and hide what is the true value of God’s love. God loves all of us personally. No matter what we do, that love remains perfect. It is what WE do to respond and return that love that determines our relationship with God. He always responds to us, but how do we respond to him? How do we respond to our neighbor? Are we petty, arrogant, harassing, prejudiced, judgmental, unforgiving, or unloving in a hundred other ways? Are these ways of developing and growing in love of finding God who is love itself? Love is a living growing active thing. Certainly the love a young just married couple changes as the years go on. It deepens and unites them all the more. So it is with our Love of God and how we stand with Him.

But let us not be misled. The demands of love are much more demanding than simple legalism or ritual with all their detailed instructions. It means we must be present and give ourself far beyond a very minimal pat answer. Great truths, great laws, great principles are that only if we see them in light of God’s love and the requirements of that love. Seeing our neighbor as ourself, means no one is better or less than we are, we are called to respond in love to those we meet. We share God’s love and bring it to others each time we do that. Just being a joyful, happy person helps doing that.

So, to sum up, Love is not easy, because it requires much work. At the same time it is joyful because it is self-fulfilling and God gives us His love to do it. But then what is ever easy if it is good?

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 30, 2012

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 13:18-21

Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.”

Again he said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: These two sayings of Jesus remind us that projects which begin small can result in great things: a tiny mustard seed grows into an immense bush and a little yeast and flour rise to a batch of dough. God calls us to trust that our little projects, like a prayer for a suffering friend, a word of encouragement to a homeless person, or patience when a coworker makes a mistake, can bear great results when we trust that it is God who nurtures our little projects. The Kingdom of God is latent in every act of kindness, ready to bring forth prodigies.

Saint of the day: Dominic Collins (1566-1602) gave up the life of a soldier for the peace of religious life, but was executed when he accompanied a military force as a chaplain in a campaign to free Ireland from English Rule. Collins was born to a well-established family in Youghal in County Cork about the year 1566 when Elizabeth I was queen of England and Ireland. The Irish Parliament had established Anglicanism six years earlier as the official religion of the land. These laws were not fully enforced yet in Youghal, but young Catholic men had few careers open to them so young Collins chose to leave Ireland to seek his fortune in France. He managed to enlist in the army of the Duke of Mercoeur who was fighting against the Huguenots in Brittany. He served with distinction in the cause of the Catholic League for over nine years and rose through the ranks. His greatest moment came when he captured a strategic castle and was appointed military governor of the region.

With the passing of time Collins became less and less enamored of soldiering, even though King Philip II had granted him a pension and placed him in the garrison at La Coruña on Spain’s Bay of Biscay. During Lent 1598 he met a fellow Irishman, a Jesuit priest called Thomas White, whom he told of his desire to do something else with his life. He decided that he wanted more than anything else to join the Jesuits and serve as a brother. The superiors were initially reluctant to accept him because they felt that a battle-hardened soldier would never be able to settle into religious life. Dominic bombarded the provincial with requests and was finally admitted to the novitiate in Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain.

If he was seeking peace and quiet in religious life, he was not to find it. He had barely arrived in Santiago when the Jesuit College was struck by plague. Seven of the community were infected and many others fled for fear of catching the awful disease. Collins stayed on and tended the victims for two months, nursing some of them back to health and comforting the others in their last hours. He had proved his worth and completed his novitiate without further question. A report sent to Rome by his superiors states that he was a man of sound judgment and great physical strength, mature, prudent and sociable, though inclined to be hot-tempered and obstinate.

Ireland was in turmoil at this time. In Ulster O’Neill and O’Donnell were defying the power of the English crown and trying to call all of Ireland into revolt. In 1601 King Philip III of Spain decided to send an army to the help of the Irish rebels. A number of priests traveled with the expedition including an Irish Jesuit, Father James Archer who asked that Brother Collins be sent as his companion for the journey even though the priest had never met Collins. The two set sail on different vessels, however, which became separated during a storm. Collins’ ship had to return to La Coruña before finally reaching Ireland. Collins arrived at Castlehaven on Dec. 1, 1601, only 30 miles from his native Kinsale, where the main part of the Spanish fleet was already ensconced. A large English army under Lord Mountjoy had laid siege to the town.

Irish forces converged on Kinsale from North and South. The leaders were Hugh O’Neill, Red Hugh O’Donnell and O’Sullivan Beare from West Cork. The Irish army surrounded the English on the outside while the Spanish faced the English from inside the town. The Irish attacked at dawn on Christmas Eve, but for reasons never fully understood, suffered a humiliating defeat, with no help from the Spaniards who remained within the town.

The Irish scattered, with the O’Neill and O’Donnell armies marching northward while O’Sullivan Beare led his people home to the Beare peninsula. Dominic Collins accompanied him in his retreat. Thus he found himself some months later besieged inside Dunboy Castle with 143 defenders. As a religious, Dominic Collins could not take part in the fighting but tended the wounded. After a bitter siege, with huge casualties, the defenders surrendered. Almost all were put to the sword, but on June 17 the Jesuit was taken off in chains for interrogation. He was savagely tortured and promised rich rewards if he would renounce his Catholic faith. Even though some of his own family visited him and encouraged him to pretend a conversion in order to save his life, he stood firm.

On Oct. 31, 1602 Dominic was taken to Youghal for execution. Before he ascended the scaffold to be hanged, he addressed the crowd in Irish and English, saying that he was happy to die for his faith. He was so cheerful that an officer remarked, “He is going to his death as eagerly as I would go to a banquet.” Collins overheard him and replied, “For this cause I would be willing to die not once but a thousand deaths.”

mughilSpiritual 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)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 29, 2012

Gospel reading:

Luke 13:10-17

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 woman on the sabbath and receives a rebuke from the leader of the synagogue 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: Chiara “Luce” Badano was born in Italy in 1971, to devout parents who had waited 11 years to welcome their first and only child. From a young age, she was active in the Focolare Movement, and her joyful witness earned her the nickname “Luce” (Light).

As early as age 12, Chiara expressed a desire to give herself totally to Jesus, to take Him her spouse — and she set out to “give Him to others” in the ordinariness of her daily life. Full of zeal for God and souls, Chiara was eager to reach the heights of holiness — never guessing that her opportunity to be united to Christ would come much sooner than she expected.

At age 17, Chiara was diagnosed with bone cancer, and an unsuccessful surgery left her paralyzed from the waist down — but this did not dampen her spirits. Throughout her excruciating illness, Chiara remained cheerful and offered up her suffering for souls, even refusing morphine because she wished to remain alert and to offer her pain to Jesus. She often said, “It’s for you, Jesus; if you want it, I want it too.”

Chiara died in 1990 at age 19. Her last words to her family were, “Be happy, because I am happy!” Chiara’s parents were present at her beatification in September 2010.

Spiritual reading: Medicine has laid down its weapons. With interrupting the treatments, the pains in my back have increased. I can scarcely move. I feel so small and the road ahead is so hard….I often feel that the pain is suffocating me. It is the Bridegroom who is coming out to meet me, no? If I also repeat with you: ‘if you wish it, I also wish it’ … with you I am sure that together with him we will conquer the world! (Blessed Chiara Badano on her experience with terminal stages of bone cancer)

Apologies

Posted in Uncategorized by Mike on October 29, 2012

I apologize. There has been a tragedy in my family that I have had to tend to which has made it difficult to update the blog.

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 28, 2012

Gospel reading of the day:

Mark 10:46-52

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry blind_bartimaeus_arminian_225hout and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

Reflection on the gospel reading: I am loathe to repeat the cliche that there are many ways in which we humans can suffer from blindness, but it is perhaps a cliche because it it so apparent to all of us that it is true. Certainly, there is the kind of physical blindness that afflicted Bartimaeus, and we all have met people who cannot see in the physical way that Bartimaeus could not see. But there are many other kinds of blindness as well: kinds that are more pervasive and afflict even more of us than those whose physical vision is impaired. There are many examples: We can be blind to the beauty in God’s creation; we can be blind to the situations that others face; we can be blind to our own situation; we can be blind to the deepest meaning of life; we can be blind to the path that God calls us to tread. Bartimaeus in a sense represents all of us, for his physical blindness stands as a symbol of all the ways in which all of us are blind.

All of us have suffered, I think, the experience of being dismissed, of having our feelings and ideas being diminished. Bartimaeus was a man of little account in the world in which he lived, so in this second sense, Bartimaeus represents all of us. Because of Bartimaeus’s similarities to us in his inability to see and his weakness before the world, he has something to teach us: when he hears that Jesus is passing by, this blind, dismissed, and diminished human fearlessly shouts out, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”

The people around him tell him to be quiet. After all, Jesus is an important person, and Bartimaeus is a man of no position in the world. Bartimaeus, however, is undeterred. Consonant with Jesus’ teaching that we should be confident and consistent in prayer, Bartimaeus shouts again, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” Bartimaeus is persistent in asking Jesus for help, and as the result of his persistence, Jesus hears him cry out and calls Bartimaeus to come to himself. Bartimaeus throws off his cloak, and in his nakedness, he approaches the Lord.

Jesus asks Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” And Bartimaeus responds, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus grants his request, and with his newly acquired vision, Bartimaeus is able to follow the Lord along the Lord’s way.

So it with us: in the midst of our blindness and marginalization, we may become disheartened and fail to call out to Jesus, “Son of David, have pity on me.” But let us be attentive: the Lord is passing by. If he appears at first not to hear us, let us cry out again, “Have pity on me,” and persist until he hears our call. When the Lord asks us what we want, let us throw off our cloaks, those things which conceal who we are, and in the complete vulnerability of our nakedness before the Lord, approach him in confidence that if we ask for our sight, the Lord will not deny us. And when he restores us, let us with our new eyes train our sight on his way and follow the path he lays out for us as he leads us in his way.

Spiritual reading: 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)

contemplation

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 27, 2012

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 13:1-9

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 reading: This passage from Luke’s gospel shows Jesus as a person rooted in his contemporary situation, a person who knew the events of his day, and a person who reflected on the deeper meaning of current events. God likewise has called us to live in a certain time and be people immersed in a situation, people who probe the deepest meanings of the things that occur around us as we look for manifold signs of God’s hand.

Still, there is a caution: our every interpretation of an event is not necessarily correct. The passage demonstrates that Jesus recognized that the things which happened to a person do not reflect God’s judgment on an individual. Bad things do indeed happen to good people, and when they happen, we are left to stare into the face of God, face the reality that the immensity of our challenges fit meaningfully into the tapestry of the whole project God has undertaken in creating us in freedom, and make an act of faith in the dynamism of the ultimate good of God’s creation. It is not always easy, but belief in a loving God calls us to strive to see the bigger picture and take the long view.

Ultimately, as with the parable Jesus teaches us in this passage, we need to wait and test whether the insights we receive bear fruit. We need to remain vigilant and wait upon the Lord.

holy hermitSaint of the day: Saint Abraham was a holy hermit, listed in some records as “the Poor” of “the Child.” Writings have survived that speak of his purity of heart and the simplicity of his lifestyle. He was born in Menuf or Minuf, Egypt, a site northwest of Cairo in the Delta region of the Nile, and became a disciple of St. Pachomius, the founder of cenobitic monasticism. Abraham spent almost two decades in a cave near Pachomius’ foundations in the Delta. Saint Abraham the Poor died 367.

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)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 26, 2012

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 12:54-59

Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

“Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the constable, and the constable throw you into prison. I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: All of us who love God seek God’s will; in fact, the spiritual life, in a sense, is a process of discernment of God’s will. Today’s reading counsels us to look at the signs of the times. Where do we look for the signs of God’s activities? We tend to think of things as inside of ourselves and outside of ourselves, but the fact of the matter is that our insides are a part of the whole, and what is inside is continuous with what is outside. What is God saying to us right here, right now? God is in the midst of our thoughts, feelings, and social interactions. God is present in all the facts of our existence, inside and outside of us: God is shouting at us in the midst of all the cacophony of our existence, if only we will attend.

Saint of the day: Contardo Ferrini was the son of a teacher who went on to become a learned man himself, one acquainted with some dozen languages. Today he is known as the patron of universities.

Contardo FerriniBorn in Milan, he received a doctorate in law in Italy and then earned a scholarship that enabled him to study Roman-Byzantine law in Berlin. As a renowned legal expert, he taught in various schools of higher education until he joined the faculty of the University of Pavia, where he was considered an outstanding authority on Roman law.

Contardo was learned about the faith he lived and loved. “Our life,” he said, “must reach out toward the Infinite, and from that source we must draw whatever we can expect of merit and dignity.” As a scholar he studied the ancient biblical languages and read the Scriptures in them. His speeches and papers show his understanding of the relationship of faith and science. He attended daily Mass and became a lay Franciscan, faithfully observing the Third Order rule of life. He also served through membership in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

His death in 1902 at the age of 43 occasioned letters from his fellow professors that praised him as a saint; the people of Suna where he lived insisted that he be declared a saint.

praying handsSpiritual reading: The everyday itself must be prayed. But how is that supposed to happen? How will the everyday itself become a prayer? Through selflessness and prayer. (The Need and Blessing of Prayer by Karl Rahner, S.J.)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 25, 2012

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 12:49-53

Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Jesus speaks in today’s gospel about the radical nature of our commitment to the Good News. In my experience, the passage sometimes causes confusion. Jesus does not call for the division of families. Rather, he calls us to prefer the kingdom to every other commitment even if it means that our commitment to the Lord causes unease or even turmoil in our most important and intimate relationships. Jesus is Lord, and there is nothing, not even our natural affection for mother and father, that we should allow to stand in the way of our relationship to him.

Saint of the day: 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 afterward 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: 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)

contemplation

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 24, 2012

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 12:39-48

Jesus said to his disciples: “Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Then Peter said, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?” And the Lord replied, “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. Truly, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish the servant severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful. That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: This last statement of the Lord’s in today’s gospel, “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more,” speaks to all of us who have received the gospel of Jesus Christ. Having been given much, God’s expects more from us. When we injure one another, ours is the greater guilt because we know more about what God asks from us.

Saint of the day: Anthony Mary Claret was an archbishop and the founder of the Claretians. The son of a weaver, he was born in Salient in Catalonia, Spain in 1807. He took up weaving 098_StAntonioMarieClaretbut then studied for the priesthood, desiring to be a Jesuit. Ill health prevented his entering the order, and he served as a secular priest. In 1849, he founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, known today as the Claretians, and the Apostolic Training Institute of the Immaculate Conception, Claretian nuns. From 1850 to 1857, Anthony served as the archbishop of Santiago de Cuba, Cuba. He returned to the court of Queen Isabella II as confessor and went into exile with her in 1868. In 1869 and 1870, Anthony participated in the First Vatican Council. He died in the Cistercian monastery of Fontfroide in southern France on October 24, 1870. Anthony Mary Claret had the gift of prophecy and performed many miracles. He was opposed by forces in Spain and Cuba and endured many trials.

Spiritual reading: The love of Christ arouses us, urges us to run, and to fly. (Anthony Marie Claret)

Homily October 28, 2012 Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted in christian, Christianity, ecclesiology, inspirational, religion, scripture by Fr Joe R on October 23, 2012

To truly understand today’s gospel, we have to see it in the context of the last several Sunday gospels which are taken from chapters eight through ten of Mark’s gospel. It is a section where Jesus is revealing his Kingdom to his disciples and what that kingdom would be. Three times he spoke of his passion, death and resurrection. First, when he asked his disciples who he was, and then at the Transfiguration, and again on the road in Galilee when the rich young man showed up.. But interestingly, around his revelations of Himself as a Messiah who would suffer, die and rise, it was a revelation much different from what his disciples expected from the Son of David and the Kingdom to come, whose nature Jesus told them would be serving rather than ruling or lording it over others. He framed all this between the healing stories of two blind men recovering their sight.

Today’s blind man, Bartimaeus, is at the side of the road and makes a nuisance of himself by calling out for “mercy” and “pity” But more than that, he not only calls out the name Jesus, but also his heritage, his title “the Son of David” . It is a recognition of Jesus as Messiah. It is a call of recognition that summoned Jesus to call him and ask “what do you want from Me?” It is interesting that Bartimaeus said he wanted to see which is more than just having sight, but is also wanting understanding or if you will faith rather than just sight. Jesus recognized that faith and told him to go that it had saved him. But he chose to become a follower and joined the disciples.

And so today, we are called for the fourth time by Mark over the last several weeks to see and proclaim Jesus as Lord and his Kingdom as real. As he stopped and showed his own service to the blind man, he calls us as well to serve. We have not seen the wonders and miracles that his immediate disciples saw, but still much has been given us in testimony and more importantly in the imposition of His Spirit received in Baptism and Confirmation. His Life and Spirit continues on even today in this world, broken and ever more seeking God even though it seeks but fails to see because of its own blindness. More than ever we need to help administer God’s pity and open the eyes of those we meet to what faith in Jesus is and where his kingdom lies. We do this one person at a time, but only if we make ourselves be like Christ to others even as imperfect as we may be.

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Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 23, 2012

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 12:35-38

Jesus said to his disciples: “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: There is an echo in this passage from Luke of Matthew’s account of the Bridegroom’s coming and the preparedness of the virgins. We all know that the Lord comes at unexpected times and in unexpected ways. This passage of the gospel calls us to be prepared to meet the Lord whenever he appears in our lives, always ready to encounter the Lord at his arrival.

Saint of the day: Saint John of Capistrano was born in 1386 at Capistrano, Italy. The son of a former German knight, his father died when John was still young. He studied the law at the University of Perugia and worked as a lawyer in Naples, Italy. He served as the reforming governor of Perugia under King Landislas of Naples. When war broke out between Perugia and Malatesta in 1416, John SaintJohntried to broker a peace, but instead his opponents ignored the truce, and John became a prisoner of war.

During his imprisonment he came to the decision to change vocations. He had married just before the war, but the marriage was never consummated, and with his bride’s permission, it was annulled. He became a Franciscan at Perugia on October 4, 1416. He was a classmate of Saint James of the Marches and a disciple of Saint Bernadine of Siena. A noted preacher while still a deacon, he commenced his work in 1420. An itinerant priest throughout Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia, he preached to tens of thousands. He established communities of Franciscan renewal. John wrote extensively, mainly against the heresies of the day.

After the fall of Constantinople, he preached Crusade against the Muslim Turks. At age 70 he was commissioned to lead it and marched off at the head of 70,000 Christian soldiers. He won the great battle of Belgrade in the summer of 1456. He died of natural causes in the field at Villach, Hungary a few months later on October 23, 1456, but his army delivered Europe from the Turks.

Spiritual reading: We may, perhaps, imagine that the creation was finished long ago. But that would be quite wrong. It continues still more magnificently, and at the highest levels of the world. (The Divine Milieu by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 22, 2012

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say angoisseto myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: The gospel passage addresses our relationship to money. Many of us in America in this age spend a great amount of time concerned about our finances, and in a time of economic distress, money may cause us even more anxiety than at other times. The heart of this teaching, however, is that money does not endure: God calls the rich man a fool for having spent his life on material comfort and not on what matters ultimately to God. As Saint Paul tells us in his first letter to the Corinthians, three things endure, faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these things is love.

Saint of the day: Peter of Alcantara was a contemporary of well-known 16th-century Spanish saints, including Ignatius of Loyola and John of the Cross. He served as confessor to St. Teresa of Avila. Church reform was a major issue in Peter’s day, and he directed most of his energies toward that end. His death came one year before the Council of Trent ended.

103f. St Peter of Alcantara bestBorn into a noble family (his father was the governor of Alcantara in Spain), Peter studied law at Salamanca University and, at 16, joined the so-called Observant Franciscans (also known as the discalced, or barefoot, friars). While he practiced many penances, he also demonstrated abilities which were soon recognized. He was named the superior of a new house even before his ordination as a priest; at the age of 39, he was elected provincial; he was a very successful preacher. Still, he was not above washing dishes and cutting wood for the friars. He did not seek attention; indeed, he preferred solitude.

Peter’s penitential side was evident when it came to food and clothing. It is said that he slept only 90 minutes each night. While others talked about Church reform, Peter’s reform began with himself. His patience was so great that a proverb arose: “To bear such an insult one must have the patience of Peter of Alcantara.”

In 1554, Peter, having received permission, formed a group of Franciscans who followed the Rule of St. Francis with even greater rigor. These friars were known as Alcantarines. Some of the Spanish friars who came to North and South America in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were members of this group. At the end of the 19th century, the Alcantarines were joined with other Observant friars to form the Order of Friars Minor.

As spiritual director to St. Teresa, Peter encouraged her in promoting the Carmelite reform. His preaching brought many people to religious life, especially to the Secular Franciscan Order, the friars and the Poor Clares.

Spiritual reading: The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry. The garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of one who is naked. The shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of one who is barefoot. The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor. The acts of charity you do not perform are so many injustices you commit. (Saint Basil the Great)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 21, 2012

Gospel reading of the day:

Mark 10:35-45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” He replied, “What do you wish me to do for you?” They answered him, “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” They said to him, “We can.” Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared.” When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. Jesus summoned them and said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Jesus asks a question this week that we will hear him ask again next Sunday, “What do you wish me to do for you?” Just as Jesus addressed this question to his followers James and John, he addresses this question to us. Many of us will respond to the Lord with what it is that we need now, whatever it may be: a job, the next mortgage payment, whatever urgent need immediately presents itself. But such needs, while important and unavoidable, do not go to the core of who we are as people who have received the Lord’s baptism.

As this passage opens today, Jesus has just made the third prediction of his suffering and death, and yet James and John ask him for the privilege of sitting at his right and left. It is clear that they have not understood what the Lord said. They still imagine an earthly messiah, one who will enjoy political glory, one who will restore David’s throne and throw off Roman oppression. They have missed the point of Jesus’ life and ministry, and by implication, the point of their lives and ministries.

So Jesus tries again: he replies that insofar as he can honor their request, their lots will be to share in his suffering: they will drink the cup he drinks and be baptized with his baptism. One of the Church’s ancient traditions, in fact, suggests James and John did do just that, being martyred in a persecution in Jerusalem in 44.

The answer to the question of, “What do you wish me to do for you,” in the light of the gospel then, is, “Will you, Lord, let us drink from the cup from which you drink and be baptized with the baptism by which you are baptized.” It is only in our pouring ourselves out for the gospel, in whatever charism God has given us, that we realize the import of Jesus’ question for our own lives.

Spiritual reading: I must write about prayer because it is as necessary to life as breathing. It is food and drink. (“On Pilgrimage – July/August 1973″ by Dorothy Day)

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Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 20, 2012

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 12:8-12

Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.

“Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Jesus in today’s gospel talks about witness. If we witness to Jesus, Jesus says he will witness to us. But if we fail to witness to Jesus, the chance remains to reconcile with the Lord. It is only when we set ourselves up in absolute opposition to the truth, that is, when we sin against the Holy Spirit, that all hope for reconciliation perishes. This gospel’s moral is that we should pray to persevere in witness to the truth that we have received in baptism: the truth who is Jesus.

Saint of the day: Maria Bertilla Boscardin knew rejection, ridicule, and disappointment. But such trials only brought her closer to God and more determined to serve God.

Born in Italy in 1888, the young girl lived in fear of her father, a violent man prone to jealousy and drunkenness. Her schooling was limited so that she could spend more time helping at home and working in the fields. She showed few talents and was often the butt of jokes.

In 1904 she joined the Sisters of St. Dorothy and was assigned to work in the kitchen, bakery, and laundry. After some time Maria received nurses’ training and began working in a hospital with children suffering from diphtheria. There the young nun seemed to find her true vocation: nursing very ill and disturbed children. Later, when the hospital was taken over by the military in World War I, Sister Maria Bertilla fearlessly cared for patients amidst the threat of constant air raids and bombings.

She died in 1922 after suffering for many years from a painful tumor. Some of the patients she had nursed decades earlier were present at her canonization in 1961.

Spiritual reading: Above all, always see Jesus in every person, and consequently treat each one not only as an equal and as a brother or sister, but also with great humility, respect, and selfless generosity.
(Charles de Foucauld)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 19, 2012

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 12:1-7

At that time, so many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot. Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples, “Beware of the leaven–that is, the hypocrisy–of the Pharisees.

“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops. I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one. Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Jesus says in the fifth chapter of Matthew’s gospel, May your light so shine before men that they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father. It is exactly this transparency of the Christian who lives the gospel that Jesus infers today when he condemns the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and says that every secret we have held in the darkness will open eventually before the light. We should endeavor, then, to be people through whom the light of God shines.

Saint of the day: Born into a wealthy family in Orleans, France in 1607, Saint Isaac Jogues was enrolled by his parents in the Jesuit school there and became a priest of the Society of Jesus in 1636. Longing to work with the Huron Indians in the foreign missions, Isaac requested and received the assignment to go to Quebec, Canada almost immediately after ordination. The Jesuits had established missions there s the first missionaries in Canada and the upper United States after French explorer J. Cartier discovered this land in 1534. For six years he was very successful and effected many conversions among the Hurons traveling between Nova Scotia and Maryland. But in 1642 a band of Iroquois, who were the natural enemy of the Hurons, captured Isaac along with Rene Goupil and another group of Jesuits. Rene was martyred but Isaac and his companions allowed to live though they underwent hideous and inhumane torture which included mutilation. Isaac’s fingers were severed and he was left to die in the wilderness but the Dutch rescued him and he was able to return to France in 1644. However he longed to be a martyr and finally secured a transfer back to Quebec in 1646. Once they had arrived Isaac and new companion Saint Jean Brebeuf set out for Iroquois country for a peace treaty had been signed. But warmongers among the Mohawks intercepted the missionaries and cruelly tomahawked them and scalped them from the neck up at Auriesville, New York on October 18 and 19, 1646. Isaac died on the 18th and Jean the next day. Over the next three years five other missionaries would join Isaac, Rene, and Jean on the list of the eight Jesuit martyrs: Noel Chabanel, Anthony Daniel, Charles Garnier, John de Lalande, and Gabriel Lallemant. Exactly ten years after Isaac’s death a young Indian girl was born in the same village where Fr. Jogues was murdered: her name, Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. Isaac Jogues and his companions are known as the Martyrs of North America and patron saints of Canada.

Spiritual reading: My confidence is placed in God who does not need our help for accomplishing his designs. Our single endeavor should be to give ourselves to the work and to be faithful to him, and not to spoil his work by our shortcomings. (Isaac Jogues)