Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 31, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 13:31-35

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. 26dda05f131c17031c5117121ebc7e6d_w600Yet 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 reading: Jesus is the model and pattern of our lives. His witness that his life has a purpose is testament that all of our lives have purposes. When Jesus says that he casts out demons, he suggests we too are to quiet the the distress we encounter in one another. When he says that he heals, he invites us to mind each others’ wounds. When he obliquely refers to his resurrection on the third day, he encourages us to be resilient. And when Jesus says it is impossible for him to die outside of Jerusalem, he reassures us that we will not go before we achieve what God sent us to do.

Saint of the day: Fernando de la Fuente de la Fuente was born December 16, 1943. He was a Spanish Marist Brother and missionary who was one of four Marist Brothers martyred at the Nyamirangwe refugee camp, Zaire. Together with the brothers of his community who were assassinated, Brother Miguel Ángel Isla Lucio, Brother Servando Mayor García, and Brother Julio Rodríguez Jorge. Brothers Fernando, Miguel, Servando, and Julio are commemorated in Marist circles on October 31 as the Martyrs of Bugobe. The cause of the canonization of the four men is pending.

Born to Sigismundo and Primitiva de la Fuente de la Fuente in Burgos, Spain, Fernando became a teacher in Chile after taking his first vows on July 2, 1962. He had also worked as a formator and a member of the Chilean provincial council. Congo Marist MartyrsThe Marist Brothers had had a strong presence in east-central Africa, particularly Rwanda, where they had been since 1952. However, with the Rwandan genocide in 1994, the General Assembly and the District Council of the Brothers of Rwanda made the decision in August 1994 to have a renewed presence among the Rwandans to assist in the nation’s rebuilding. Within the country, three communities which centered their mission on the schools were reopened. Six Brothers formed a new community at the service of the refugees outside the country. In view of the escalating difficulties faced by the refugees and the Rwandan Brothers themselves, the community was reinforced with three non-African Brothers. But as the inter-racial tensions persisted, it was decided to withdraw the Rwandan Brothers from the Bugobe community.

To aid the mission of the Rwandan Brothers, Brother Fernando offered to participate as an expression of missionary solidarity. He was accepted and left in December 1995 to serve the mission. After two months in Belgium at the Center for the Formation of French-Speaking Missionaries, he went in February 1996 to Zaire, to the refugee camp of Nyamirangwe (Bugobe). Fernando de la Fuente de la Fuente, Miguel Ángel Isla Lucio, Servando Mayor García, and Julio Rodríguez Jorge were murdered on October 31, 1996 around 8:00 in the evening. They were apparently shot. The perpetrators of the crime were a group of the Officers of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (APR), who murdered the Archbishop Christophe Munzihirwa two days before and the Rwandan and Burundian refugees in the refugee camp Nyamirangwe. The bodies of the four Marists were recovered from the waste-water tank on November 14 and were interred at the brothers’ novitiate house in Nyangezi.

Spiritual reading: Lord, when I feel that what I’m doing is insignificant and unimportant, help me to remember that everything I do is significant and important in your eyes, because you love me and you put me here, and no one else can do what I am doing in exactly the way I do it. (Brennan Manning)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 30, 2013

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 ic_xc_ni_kaknocking 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: it would terrible to hear those words, “I do not know where are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers.” Admission to the Kingdom of God is not an entitlement; each day and all the days of our lives Jesus calls us to walk through that narrow gate, the gate of faith, trust, and love for the Lord and one another. With that faith, trust, and love, we will find ourselves joining the patriarchs, the prophets, and all the saints in that life of unending happiness and union with our God for which we were made.

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 AlOriginalhad 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 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 have learned only how to be a success, your life has probably been wasted. (Thomas Merton)

Homily November 3, 2013 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time

Posted in christian, Christianity, church events, ecclesiology, ethics, inspirational, religion, scripture by Fr Joe R on October 30, 2013

ZacchaeusToday’s gospel is different from the past few weeks as it recalls an encounter rather than a parable of Jesus. The encounter involves many elements that have come up in Jesus’ ministry, a rich man, a tax collector, the Romans, the poor and people’s perception of sin and sinners. Zacchaeus was a wealthy man who made his living by collecting taxes. He was short so to get higher for a better view so he climbed a tree. Jesus, seeing him called him down and invited himself for dinner. At this point, the translators have some disagreement as to whether Zacchaeus promises to give half his wealth to the poor and make restitution for any errors or that he is all ready doing that. I suppose they will argue forever over the nuances of translating, but either way, taxJesus has placed himself in the house of a rich man and in the company of a man who was perceived to be a sinner and collaborator, a person making money collecting taxes for the Romans. This is the same Jesus who has so often talked about the difficulties for the rich to gain eternal life.

But think, Jesus came for all. Sure he sought out the poor and outcasts, but he was there for all who sought him out and believed. Wealth might be a hindrance in one way or another, but it was not a reason to be turned away. Jesus met each person he encountered as a new relationship. His message was for all and he would meet and give it to anybody, even the rich, even perceived sinners. The life of faith, the call to morality or a good life is an invitation by God. It is not a threat, but a result of the gift of life, the gift to choose or free will as it is traditionally called. Each of us can make our own choices, but Jesus shows us a special way, a way to life. His choices were always the way to his father. Eating, sharing with Zacchaeus and his friends was a new friend and more followers for Jesus. His concern was not what people thought, but rather what was his mission. He was sent to bring all to his Father. Each person is unique and each is in one way or another lost and needs to be found or touched by the spirit of God. His invitation is just that so we can remember who we are meant to be. Once we receive his invitation, it is up to us to follow-up and answer its call.

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 29, 2013

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: 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: Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained. (Marie Curie)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, ethics, religion, scripture by Mike on October 28, 2013

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 fig-treeLord 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: Jesus’ mission in Luke’s gospel commences with his unrolling a scroll in the synagogue in Nazareth to read from the prophet Isaiah about his work to bring healing to the afflicted and announce liberation to captives. On another sabbath later in his ministry, a woman enters a synagogue crippled and unable to stand up straight. Like so many of us, she is bowed over with the burdens of her life and comes to the place of worship to be set free of the infirmities that weigh her down. Just as her encounter with Jesus permits her to stand up straight, so too our encounter with Jesus lets us do the same.

Saint of the day: Fr. Tom Gafney was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on November 28, 1932. He joined the Jesuits in September 1952 and came to Nepal in 1959 after doing his philosophy studies at West Baden, Indiana. He had regency at St. Xavier’s Godavari, and then went to India for theology and tertianship.

Fr. Tom returned to Kathmandu in 1967 after his Jesuit training, and he began working in the schools, which at that time was the main work of the Jesuits in Nepal. He was vice-principal and teacher at St. Xavier’s Godavari in 1967-68, then treasurer, teacher, and rector at St. Xavier’s Jawalakhel, from 1969 To 1976. In the meantime, he became director of the Social Service Centre for the region, and this became his full-time job from 1976. Fr. Tom began his Social Service Center in a house close to St. Xavier’s School, Jawalakhel. He used to go into the streets and fr-thomas-gafneygather the homeless boys from the city. The main goal of his venture was to give them education, a home, arid paternal love. Being well aware of the psychological needs of the boys, he designed the appearance of the building with a cheerful look. He also took care of their physical growth by introducing various sports activities such as Taekwondo, a form of martial art, for the boys. They were very happy and full of fun.

Gradually, Fr. Tom expanded his work, and established other centers in the city. Somehow Tom managed to do all the good things most of us would like to do. He saw the effects of drug-addiction on the youth of Nepal, and he began detoxification programs, he founded Mukti Kendra (Freedom Centre), to help them. He also had a heart for the handicapped. This led him to open a center for the handicapped at Nakipot. Many a time he would take a child, or even adult, for heart surgery or to get an artificial limb or any special treatment, to India or any other country where the care was available. As the HIV epidemic emerged, he gave a lot of time and attention to people with AIDS. Money was no consideration. Fr. Tom would somehow find enough money to help those who needed it for the treatment. He attended international conferences on drug addiction, and took handicapped children for special “Olympics” in Nepal or abroad. He treated them just like ordinary human beings, which was just what they needed. He never forgot his priesthood, and was, for many years, the spiritual director of IBMV Sisters. Underlying all his social action was a deep spirituality and the Jesuit charism.

Fr. Tom was a person who took a “prophetic stand.” He could not tolerate corruption or inefficiency. He was not afraid to confront anyone who he thought was exploiting or profiting from the funds intended for the poor or outcasts of society. He did not hesitate to denounce corruption in the columns of the Kathmandu newspapers. In doing so, he certainly made enemies among the rich and powerful. In the morning of December 14, 1997, his body was found on his bed in the small bungalow where he lived alone, by one of the workers. There were deep knife wounds on his neck, and much blood all around his body. The door was closed, but not locked, and did not seem to have been forced open. His death came as a terrible shock to the Nepal Jesuits, and to all who knew him. (more…)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 27, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 18:9-14

Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. “Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity, greedy, dishonest, adulterous, or even like this christ-in-the-wilderness-awakingtax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Prayer is always a conversation between God and each of us. The tax collector as he stands in the temple knows that someone is listening to him. The Pharisee exalt himself in his prayer. He is not listening to God. There is no conversation; the Pharisee is essentially praying to himself.

Spiritual reading: Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? (Mary Oliver)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 26, 2013

1589956249fdad6331f0d044f600bd9e_w600Gospel 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: Jesus speaks with a group of people who tell him about a couple of calamities that have befallen people. Jesus volunteers that sudden death came to people who neither deserved to die nor in any way contributed to their untimely deaths, but he holds it out as a warning that we should always live our lives in the way we would want to live our last minutes. In the parable at the end of this passage, Jesus points out that the three years of his ministry have not caused his listeners, who are like the fig tree in the parable, to bear fruit. But as long as there is life, Jesus says, there is hope.

Saint of the day: Celine Chludzińska was born on October 29, 1833 in Antowil, Orsza, formerly Poland and now Belarus, one of the three children of wealthy land-owning parents, Ignatius and Petronella Chludzińska. Growing up, she considered a religious vocation, but out of obedience to her parents she married Joseph (Józef) Borzęcki in 1853 becoming Celine Borzęcka. Celina_Chludzińska-BorzęckaDuring their marriage, Celine gave birth to four children, two of whom died in infancy. She helped her husband manage their estate and educated her two daughters, Celine and Hedwig (Jadwiga), at home. In 1869 her husband Joseph had a stroke and was struck by paralysis. Seeking out the best medical treatment for her husband, Celine and her family moved to Vienna. Joseph died a few years later, after which Celine went with her two daughters, Celine and Hedwig, to Rome.

In Rome, she met Fr. Peter Semenenko, a co-founder of the Congregation of the Resurrection, who became her spiritual director. In 1882, Celine Borzęcka along with her daughter Hedwig (her daughter Celine had married) and two other women began living as a religious community. In 1887, Celine Borzęcka opened her first school. On January 6, 1891, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Resurrection was officially founded, and the two co-foundresses, Mother Celine Borzęcka and her daughter Mother Hedwig Borzęcka, made their final vows. In the fall of 1891, the congregation’s first house was opened near Wadowice in Poland. Other houses soon followed in Bulgaria, Poland, and the United States. Mother Celine Borzęcka continued to lead the institute until 1911. She died in Krakow, Poland on October 26, 1913. She was beatified on October 27, 2007.

Spiritual reading: The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creation. Not to make people with better morals but to create a community of prophets and professional lovers, men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who would live in ever greater fidelity to the omnipresent Word of God, who would enter into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ, into the center of the flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant, furious love. This, my friend, is what it really means to be a Christian. (Brennan Manning)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 25, 2013

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. dpotok1You 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: Jesus invites us to take a long loving look at the real. When Jesus tells us we know how to interpret the rising cloud and the blowing wind, he means that to the extent that we behold the world as it really is, we become aware of the presence of the God who is in all things. For the one who has fallen in love with God, God is to be found everywhere, from the farthest stretches of the cosmos to the crowds gathered to watch the World Series. Jesus urges us to cultivate eyes that truly see into the appearances of the universe and recognize God’s presence suffusing everything we sense.

ArenareSaint of the day: Angela Arenare was born February 23, 1816 in Naples, Italy. She was the daughter of a distinguished physician name Fortunato Arenare. She became a woman religious in a congregation that no longer exists, the Servite Nuns of the Third Order Regular. Her name in religion was Maria Juliana of the Blessed Sacrament. Sister Juliana was tending the young daughter of Marquis Vigo; the girl was very ill. Sister Juliana prayed to God that God spare the girl and take her life instead. Sister Juliana quickly became ill with the same disease the child had suffered at the same time that the child regained her health. Sister Juliana died in Naples on October 25, 1857. The investigation into her cause commenced in April 1898.

Spiritual reading: Ultimately, it is where we are not perfect—where we are broken and cracked, where the wind whistles through—that is the stuff of transformation. (Mark Nepo)

Introducing Our New Bishop: Ron Stephens Long Time Homilist

Posted in christian, church events, ecclesiology, religion, Uncategorized by Fr Joe R on October 24, 2013

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Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 24, 2013

847d9e3418a094612c1d0fa907e7e36f_w600Gospel 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: In the Old Testament, God appeared to Israel as a pillar of fire that led God’s people through the desert. When Jesus says he comes to set the earth on fire, he is talking about the complete inbreaking of God into human history, where God and God’s values hold sway over human destiny, and God leads God’s people through future time as once God led God’s people in the desert. Until that day arrives when all live the passionate life of God on earth, to follow the way of truth and love and of freedom and justice is always going to arouse the hostility of those whom goodness threatens. No matter who may hurt by our choices, we are to keep our eyes on Jesus and our feet on Jesus’ path.

Saint of the day: Luigi Guanella was a priest from Northern Italy. Luigi was the ninth of thirteen children born to Lawrence and Maria Guanella in 1842. The family was poor but respected and devoted to their religious beliefs and practices. He had it appears a normal childhood for the times. He entered the seminary when he was 12 years old and was ordained in 1866. From 1875 until 1878 he assisted Don Bosco famous for his care of homeless children. During much of Father Guanella’s lifetime, Italy was in a state of political unrest. Numerous laws were passed by the anticlerics and socialists restricting and suppressing the works of the church. Father Guanella continued his works of ministering to the homeless, poor, orphans and handicapped. He was a friend and a contemporary of Pope Pius X often appealing to him to help in his works. To continue his works he founded two religious orders, the Servants of Charity and the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence. Both groups are still at work in Italy, the United States, and other countries.


Father Guanella came to the United States in 1912 to investigate the plight of the Italian immigrants. While in Chicago he attempted to visit Genoa, Wisconsin to visit old friends and relatives, but was unable to fit in a visit. Father Guanella died in 1915. Father Guanella was beatified in 1964. The miracle needed for his canonization was the healing of a young American, William Glisson, who was 21 when he fell over a hole and hit his head while skating backward without a helmet, rollerblading down the Baltimore Pike in Springfield, Pennsylvania. He needed two separate skull surgeries and was in a coma for nine days with a grave prognosis. After a doctor, who was a family friend and who worked at a rehabilitation center run by the Opera Don Guanella, gave Glisson’s mother two relics of the future saint, Glisson was released from the hospital in less than a month and returned to work just seven months later. Luigi Guanella was canonized in 2011.

Spiritual reading: You wouldn’t think it would be so easy to forget who we really are, or that death is always at our shoulder, or that everything is alive, or that God is everywhere singing. (Claudio Mauro)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 23, 2013

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.”

812cb2ce456104121a2316d45c0325c4_w600Then 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: Jesus in today’s gospel indicates that we Christians enjoy a real advantage in the gift of the Scriptures and the Church’s teaching. But with this advantage comes a greater responsibility for the weight of the wrongs we do are greater than the weight of the equivalent wrong of others who, as either non-Christians or non-religious people, do not have the benefit of knowing the Lord. The gospel is a gift and carrying it with us is our privilege, so our failures sting harder because the light we have seen is brighter.

Paul Tong Viet Buong (Phaolô Tống Viết Bường)Saint of the day: Paul Tong Viet Buong was born around 1773 (some say 1782) in the city of Hue, where his family were teachers employed at the court of the emperor. He later served in the imperial troops. He defended villages against invading marauders, and his brave deeds were made known to the Emperor. Emperor Minh Mang then recruited him into his Imperial Guards and soon made him the Praetor of Imperial Guards. He met the priests of the Paris Foreign Missions and became a Catholic, later refusing to persecute Catholics. He was questioned by the Emperor if he had visited the local pagodas. At first, he avoided the questions by saying that without his Majesty’s commands, he would not visit the pagodas. After being pressed several times, he confessed that his Christian belief did not allow him to visit pagodas or worship other gods.

Paul was then arrested and forced to act as a servant to other noblemen. When these noblemen tried to protect him the emperor had him imprisoned, tortured, and beheaded. His head was displayed in pubic at Tho Duc parish as warning to Catholics who defied royal decrees. Paul Tong Viet Buong was canonized in 1988 along with the other 116 Vietnamese Martyrs.

Spiritual reading: The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet. (James Oppenheim)

Homily October 27, 2013 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Posted in christian, Christianity, ecclesiology, ethics, inspirational, religion, scripture by Fr Joe R on October 22, 2013

In hearing today’s parable, I am amazed at how human and even normal a person the pharisee would seem to be even today. phariseeAndTaxCollectorI think we today sometimes fall into the trap of looking at our faith and even defining it by what we don’t like or what we are against rather than by what we are for. It is easy to be against many things like abortion, and a whole laundry list of things like addiction, adultery, violence and bad movies and many other things. But tell me, where did Jesus put us on such a negative track? Jesus’ command to us was love God and love your neighbor as yourself. If we think about it, in loving God we realize that we owe everything to Him and can never really fully and completely give back the love He has given us. In essence, sin is just that falling short in giving the proper love to God. His love is always there as is His forgiveness for when we fall short. On an individual basis, only He and ourself can completely realize when we have sinned. That is why we should be very slow in judging others or being so self-righteous as to compare ourselves to others. Our humility before God must be a real thing, not something feigned or imagined or postured. Throughout history, we see many holy people we call saints who really and truly understood that in their love and commitment and relationship to God that always they were capable of falling short of what His love demanded. Surely we must understand that as love grows then more and more is required as the relationship goes on. Every relationship is unique and who are we really to judge how a person stands in any relationship especially their relationship with God.

But not being judgmental, does not call for anarchy in the world, for inherent in God’s love we have the sense and knowledge of knowing when we are failing in our love, or are giving in to ourself, or are putting ourself first before God or neighbor. Many people in distress or trying times make choices and do things we don’t like or understand or approve. It is important that we refrain from judging, but forgive any slight or hurt and leave judgment to God. forgivenessAs a human being, we have the same failings and weaknesses as everyone else, and simply put we too could make bad choices if we were distressed or pushed to the wall. In reality, who are we to judge someone who is at a point in their life that presents only what seem to be impossible choices and no clear path. Life changing moments occur in people’s lives and incredible consideration and thought and psychological problems occur that none of us could truly answer for anyone else. In light of two or more bad or impossible choices, how could we expect anyone not to fall short of God’s love? But there is the conundrum, God’s love and forgiveness is there, not endorsing the decision but endorsing the person and HIS or Her relationship with Him. You know every parent says they love each of their children the same and in many ways they do, but still there is a special way as to how they relate to each one. So it is with God. But specialness doesn’t mean better or worse. After all who knows us better than God who knew us before we were even conceived and knows all our thoughts and actions. In all our own reality, all we can really say and know is that while we might have great love we are still falling short of that Love that is God.

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion by Mike on October 22, 2013

ace5357a226498881b691c61e1656845_w600Gospel 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: Graziella Fumagalli was born in Italy on August 24, 1944. She was the third of nine children; after completing her compulsory education, she had to work to 15 years as a factory work to continue her studies. In 1971, she received a scientific degree and conceived a desire to become a doctor. In 1980, she graduated in medicine and surgery. In the first image002half of the 1980s, she served as an assistant professor of pathology and surgery at the University of Milan. She next specialized in pediatric surgery in Paris. In 1989, she completed academic work in tropical medicine and was able to realize a desire that she had cultivated for years to help the poor and most fragile as a Catholic volunteer worker.

Her sacrifice, including her work in factories and the years of study, was a testament to her faith but also the culmination of a vocation pursued with tenacity and conviction. She went to Africa as a true missionary, although her missionary work was conducted with the tools rigorous medical science; the end of her life in African had the strength of testimony martyrdom, even if 93519Athe first reason for the killing was not specifically Graziella’s Christian faith. From 1989 to 1993 he was chief physician of the Integrated Project Water and Health in the west African country of Guinea Bissau. From 1993 to 1994, she was the chief physician of the Integrated Project Health Mozambique. In 1994 she came to direct the anti-tuberculosis efforts of the Italian Caritas in Merca, Somalia, with more than 100 inpatients and 400 outpatients. Despite the unsettled situation in Somalia, Graziella accepted the assignment rejecting pressures and threats and not favoring any clan or faction. On the morning of October 22, 1995 on World Mission Day, the Sunday dedicated to Christian prayer throughout the world for the well-being and success of the missions, Graziella Fumagalli, at age 51, was killed in the tuberculosis hospital by two men who fired three bullets at her who had seen her tireless witness of charity for 16 months.

Spiritual reading: When a person is with God in awe and love, then he is praying. (Karl Rahner)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 19, 2013

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: It is a testament to Christian belief in God’s mercy that the question of what constitutes the unforgivable sin has challenged theologians down through the centuries as they have speculated what such a sin could be. How can human beings of finite powers commit a sin that the infinitely merciful God cannot forgive? Jesus contextualizes unforgivable sin within witness to him. He says that anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. People may find Jesus or what Jesus said a stumbling block that they need to work through, but to set oneself up against the Holy Spirit is to lock oneself into opposition to truth itself. It is to adopt a stance which fundamentally opposes reconciliation with the truth, and since reconciliation requires participation by both the forgiver and the forgiven, reconciliation becomes impossible. God is merciful even to the extent of letting us shut the door completely to the truth, if that is what we desire.

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)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 18, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 10:1-9

The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’”

Reflection on the gospel reading: When Jesus commissions the 72 disciples to go and prepare the towns where he was to visit, he offered a description of Christian mission. Jesus said that the harvest is plenty but the laborers are few; we tend to think this comment refers to the need for priests and ministers, and that is true to an extent, but Jesus is extending to all of us a call to reap the harvest he has sown. The call to prepare the way for Jesus’ coming is universal. Jesus says our vocations to minister will not always be easy. We are to travel light on this path and be flexible in accepting the hospitality that is offered to us. Our mission is to carry peace with us and to heal the sick, and when others reject what we bring them, we are to leave them to their own devices with the hope that they one day will recollect our counsel that the kingdom of God is at hand.

Saint of the day: Luke wrote the Gospel according to Luke, an account that addressed wealthy Gentile who converted to Christianity. Based on reference to a certain Luke in the Pauline letters and certain Pauline themes in the gospel, scholars have speculated that Luke’s gospel might depend upon the teachings and writings of Paul. Certainly, Luke’s own experiences, his love of the poor, his interest in the universality of Christ’s message, his respect for women, and his sense of compassion all color the account of Christ’s life that he wrote. Luke also wrote a second volume, the history of the early church recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. The gospel and Acts were intended to form a single work, and only through the interpolation of John’s gospel between the two accounts have Luke and Acts become thought of as separate books. Tradition suggests Luke was martyred for Christ. Luke’s Greek is excellent; in the New Testament, only the Letter to the Hebrews uses better Greek than Luke’s. The preponderance of evidence would suggest Luke was a Greek pagan who converted to Christianity. Paul refers to Luke the physician, and tradition has identified Paul’s Luke with the Luke who wrote the gospel. Legend has that he was also a painter. Luke may have traveled with Saint Paul and evangelized Greece and Rome with him, personally attending the shipwreck and other perils of the voyage to Rome.

Spiritual reading: In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken, after giving instructions through the holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for “the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the holy Spirit.” (The Acts of the Apostles by Luke the Evangelist)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 17, 2013

ad3010fe62ab7ed5dc636c27f6fc541e_w600Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 11:47-54

The Lord said: “Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets whom your fathers killed. Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building. Therefore, the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and Apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute’ in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who died between the altar and the temple building. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood! Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.” When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him and to interrogate him about many things, for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.

Reflection on the gospel reading: Jesus rails today against hypocrisy. The scribes and pharisees build monuments to the prophets even as they seek to stop truth tellers. They set up religious obligations that are impossible for anyone, even themselves, to maintain. Over and over again, Jesus calls on us to live our lives with integrity–to be who we truly are before God and one another.

Saint of the day: Contardo Ferrini was a noted Italian jurist and legal scholar. He was born on April 5, 1859 in Milan, Italy, to Rinaldo Ferrini and Luigia Buccellati. He was baptized at the same baptismal font where the Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, also a native of Milan, had been baptized 46 years prior. Contardo’s father was a professor of mathematics and science and taught his son at an early age. Contardo learned to speak several languages. His love for the Catholic faith caused friends to nickname him “Saint Aloysius” (after St. Aloysius Gonzaga.)

beato-contardo-ferrini-bContardo entered the University of Pavia at 17 and, two years later, he was appointed Dean of Students. At age twenty-one he became a doctor of the law. His doctoral thesis, which related Penal Law to Homeric poetry, was the basis of his being awarded a scholarship to the University of Berlin, where he specialized in Roman-Byzantine law, a field in which he became internationally recognized as an expert. During a stay in Berlin, he wrote of his excitement at receiving the sacrament of reconciliation for the first time in a foreign land. The experience brought home to him, he wrote, the Church’s universality. Upon his return to Italy, Ferrini was a lecturer in the universities at Messina, Modena, and Pavia. He received his first professorship when he was just 26-years-old. Contardo attempted to discern a vocation as a secular priest, a member of a religious order, or as a married person. Ultimately, he fulfilled his vocation as an unmarried layperson. He vowed himself to God, became a member of the lay Franciscans in 1886, and was also a member of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, to which he had been introduced by his father, a member of the Society. As a faculty member at University of Pavia, Ferrini was considered an expert in Roman Law. Over the course of his career he published books, articles, and reviews. He taught for a time at the University of Paris. He later became a canon lawyer in addition to being a civil lawyer.

In 1900 Ferrini developed a heart lesion. In the Autumn of 1902, he went to his country home on the shores of Lake Maggiore to rest. While there, he became ill with typhus. He died at age 43 on October 17, 1902, and the residents of Suna immediately declared him a saint. He was beatified in 1947.

Spiritual reading: The day I acquired the habit of consciously pronouncing the words “thank you”, I felt I had gained possession of a magic wand capable of transforming everything. (Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov)