Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Our Lady of Sorrows
The Sacred Stigmata of Saint Francis of Assisi (Feast)
Wednesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
99 Days Before Christmas 

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
Psalms 33:2-22:  Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Gospel: Luke 7:31-35

Jesus said to the crowds:
“To what shall I compare the people of this generation?
What are they like?
They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another,

‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance.
We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.’

For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine,
and you said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said,
‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/091714.cfm

Reflection: What do childrens’ games have to do with the kingdom of God? Games are the favorite pastime of children who play until their energy is spent. The more interaction the merrier the game. The children in Jesus’ parable react with disappointment because they cannot convince others to join in their musical play. They complain that when they make merry music such as played at weddings, no one dances or sings along – and when they play mournful tunes for sad occasions such as  funerals, it is the same dead response. This refrain echoes the words of Ecclesiastes 3:4, there is a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance. Both joyful and sad occasions – such as the birth of a child and the homecoming of a hero or the loss of a loved one or the destruction of a community or nation – demand a response. To show indifference, lack of support, or disdain is unfitting and unkind.

Spiritual indifference and deaf ears can block God’s word for us
Jesus’ message of the kingdom of God is a proclamation of good news that produces great joy and hope for those who will listen – but it is also a warning of disaster for those who refuse to accept God’s gracious offer. Why did the message of John the Baptist and the message of Jesus meet with resistance and deaf ears? It was out of jealously and spiritual blindness that the scribes and Pharisees attributed John the Baptist’s austerities to the devil and they attributed Jesus’ table fellowship as evidence for pretending to be the Messiah. They succeeded in frustrating God’s plan for their lives because they had closed their hearts to the message of  John the Baptist and now they close their ears to Jesus, God’s anointed son sent to redeem us from bondage to sin and death.

Those who hunger for God will be satisfied
What can make us spiritually dull and slow to hear God’s voice? Like the generation of Jesus’ time, our age is marked by indifference and contempt, especially in regards to the message of God’s kingdom. Indifference dulls our ears to God’s voice and to the good news of the Gospel. Only the humble of heart who are hungry for God can find true joy and happiness. Do you listen to God’s word with expectant faith and the willingness to trust and obey?

“Lord Jesus, open my ears to hear the good news of your kingdom and set my heart free to love and serve you joyfully. May nothing keep me from following you with all my heart, mind, and strength.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/sep17.htm http://www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621)

When Robert Bellarmine was ordained in 1570, the study of Church history and the fathers of the Church was in a sad state of neglect. A promising scholar from his youth in Tuscany, he devoted his energy to these two subjects, as well as to Scripture, in order to systematize Church doctrine against the attacks of the Protestant Reformers. He was the first Jesuit to become a professor at Louvain.

His most famous work is his three-volume Disputations on the Controversies of the Christian Faith. Particularly noteworthy are the sections on the temporal power of the pope and the role of the laity. He incurred the anger of monarchists in England and France by showing the divine-right-of-kings theory untenable. He developed the theory of the indirect power of the pope in temporal affairs; although he was defending the pope against the Scottish philosopher Barclay, he also incurred the ire of Pope Sixtus V.

Bellarmine was made a cardinal by Pope Clement VIII on the grounds that “he had not his equal for learning.” While he occupied apartments in the Vatican, Bellarmine relaxed none of his former austerities. He limited his household expenses to what was barely essential, eating only the food available to the poor. He was known to have ransomed a soldier who had deserted from the army and he used the hangings of his rooms to clothe poor people, remarking, “The walls won’t catch cold.”

Among many activities, he became theologian to Pope Clement VIII, preparing two catechisms which have had great influence in the Church.

The last major controversy of Bellarmine’s life came in 1616 when he had to admonish his friend Galileo, whom he admired. Bellarmine delivered the admonition on behalf of the Holy Office, which had decided that the heliocentric theory of Copernicus (the sun as stationary) was contrary to Scripture. The admonition amounted to a caution against putting forward—other than as a hypothesis—theories not yet fully proved. This shows that saints are not infallible.

Bellarmine died on September 17, 1621. The process for his canonization was begun in 1627 but was delayed until 1930 for political reasons, stemming from his writings. In 1930, Pope Pius XI canonized him and the next year declared him a doctor of the Church. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1141&calendar=1

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Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark. ram

Posted by: RAM | September 19, 2014

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Our Lady of Sorrows
Saturday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs
96 Days Before Christmas
 

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:35-37, 42-49
Psalms 56:10-14: I will walk in the presence of God, in the light of the living.
Gospel: Luke 8:4-15

When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another
journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable.
“A sower went out to sow his seed.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled,
and the birds of the sky ate it up.
Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew,
it withered for lack of moisture.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew with it and choked it.
And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew,
it produced fruit a hundredfold.”
After saying this, he called out,
“Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

Then his disciples asked him
what the meaning of this parable might be.
He answered,
“Knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God
has been granted to you;
but to the rest, they are made known through parables
so that they may look but not see, and hear but not understand.

“This is the meaning of the parable.
The seed is the word of God.
Those on the path are the ones who have heard,
but the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts
that they may not believe and be saved.
Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear,
receive the word with joy, but they have no root;
they believe only for a time and fall away in time of temptation.
As for the seed that fell among thorns,
they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along,
they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life,
and they fail to produce mature fruit.
But as for the seed that fell on rich soil,
they are the ones who, when they have heard the word,
embrace it with a generous and good heart,
and bear fruit through perseverance.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/092014.cfm

Reflection: Are you ready to serve the Lord Jesus and to support the work of the Gospel with your personal resources? During his three years of public ministry Jesus traveled widely. The Gospel records that a band of women accompanied Jesus and the twelve apostles. This was a diverse group of women; some came from rich and prominent families; some had been prostitutes, and others had been afflicted with mental and physical infirmities.

The women who served Jesus out of their own resources
We know that Mary Magdalene had lived a very troubled life before Jesus freed her from seven demons. She was privileged to be the first to see Jesus as the risen Lord. As the wife of King Herod’s chief financial officer, Joanna was a wealthy lady of the court. It’s unlikely that these two would have ever met under other circumstances. What brought them together and united them in a bond of friendship, service, and loyalty to Jesus? Certainly Jesus and his message of the kingdom of God had transformed them. Unlike the apostles, who took great pride in being the chosen twelve, these women did not seek position or demand special privileges. Jesus had touched them so deeply that they were grateful to do anything for him, even menial service. They brought their gifts and resources to Jesus to use as he saw fit.

Whose concerns do you put first – yours or others?
Are you more like the status-conscious apostles who were concerned for their position, or like the women who were content to serve Jesus quietly and generously with their personal resources? In our fallen state, our natural tendency is to want to be served and placed first and to avoid giving too much of ourselves to the service of others. And besides, who really prefers to take the lowly place of a servant who puts the needs of others before their own needs? Jesus is our best example who “came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom” for us (Matthew 20:28). The Gospel honors these women who imitated Jesus in his selfless sacrificial love and humble service.

Our privilege and joy is to serve the Lord Jesus
Our privilege as children of God and disciples of Jesus is to serve as Jesus served with humility, selfless love, generosity, joy, and a willingness to do whatever God asks of us. God, in his turn, gives us every good gift and grace we need to carry out our task and mission. God in his infinite power needs no one, but in his wisdom and love, he chooses to entrust his work through each one of us. His Holy Spirit equips us with all that we need to love and serve others. No one is unimportant or unnecessary in God’s economy. The least in his kingdom find a home and a mission at Jesus’ side. Do you know the joy of serving Jesus in company with others who love and serve him willingly?

“Lord Jesus, set my heart on fire for you that I may give freely of the gifts, talents, and resources you give me, for your sake and for the work of the Gospel.” How good are you at listening, especially for the word of God? God is always ready to speak to each of us and to give us understanding of his word. Jesus’ parable of the sower is aimed at the hearers of his word. There are different ways of accepting God’s word and they produce different kinds of fruit accordingly. There is the prejudiced hearer who has a shut mind. Such a person is unteachable and blind to the things of God. Then there is the shallow hearer who fails to think things out or think them through; such a person lacks spiritual depth. They may initially respond with an emotional fervor; but when it wears off their mind wanders to something else.

Does God’s word for you go in one ear and out the other?
Another type of hearer is the person who has many interests and cares, but who lacks the ability to hear and understand what is truly important. Such a person is for ever too busy to pray and to listen and reflect on God’s word because he or she allows other things to occupy their mind and heart. Whose voice or message gets the most attention from you – the voice of the world with its many distractions or the voice of God who wishes to speak his word of love and truth with you each and every day?

A receptive heart and mind that listens attentively
Jesus compares the third type of hearer with the good soil that is ready to receive the seed of his word so it can take root and grow, and produce good fruit. A receptive heart and open mind are always ready to hear what God wants to teach us through his word. The “ears of their heart” and the “eyes of their mind” search out the meaning of God’s word for them so that it may grow and produce good fruit in their lives. They hear with a listening ear and teachable spirit (Isaiah 50:4-5) that wants to learn and understand the intention of God’s word for them. They strive to tune out the noise and distractions of the world around them so they can give their attention to God’s word and find nourishment in it. They listen in order to understand.

God’s word has power to change and transform each one of us if we receive it with trust (a believing heart)  and allow it to take root in our inner being (the depths of our heart, mind, and soul). God’s word is our daily food to nourish and strengthen us on our journey of faith to his everlasting kingdom. Do you hunger for God’s word?

“Lord Jesus, faith in your word is the way to wisdom, and to ponder your divine plan is to grow in the truth. Open my eyes to your deeds, and my ears to the sound of your call, that I may understand your will for my life and live according to it.”http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/sep20.htm http://www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Sts. Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang and Companions (1821-1846)

This first native Korean priest was the son of Korean converts. His father, Ignatius Kim, was martyred during the persecution of 1839 and was beatified in 1925. After Baptism at the age of 15, Andrew traveled 1,300 miles to the seminary in Macao, China. After six years he managed to return to his country through Manchuria. That same year he crossed the Yellow Sea to Shanghai and was ordained a priest. Back home again, he was assigned to arrange for more missionaries to enter by a water route that would elude the border patrol. He was arrested, tortured and finally beheaded at the Han River near Seoul, the capital. Paul Chong Hasang was a lay apostle and married man, aged 45.

Christianity came to Korea during the Japanese invasion in 1592 when some Koreans were baptized, probably by Christian Japanese soldiers. Evangelization was difficult because Korea refused all contact with the outside world except for bringing taxes to Beijing annually. On one of these occasions, around 1777, Christian literature obtained from Jesuits in China led educated Korean Christians to study. A home Church began. When a Chinese priest managed to enter secretly a dozen years later, he found 4,000 Catholics, none of whom had ever seen a priest. Seven years later there were 10,000 Catholics. Religious freedom came in 1883.

When Pope John Paul II visited Korea in 1984 he canonized, besides Andrew and Paul, 98 Koreans and three French missionaries who had been martyred between 1839 and 1867. Among them were bishops and priests, but for the most part they were lay persons: 47 women, 45 men.

Among the martyrs in 1839 was Columba Kim, an unmarried woman of 26. She was put in prison, pierced with hot tools and seared with burning coals. She and her sister Agnes were disrobed and kept for two days in a cell with condemned criminals, but were not molested. After Columba complained about the indignity, no more women were subjected to it. The two were beheaded. A boy of 13, Peter Ryou, had his flesh so badly torn that he could pull off pieces and throw them at the judges. He was killed by strangulation. Protase Chong, a 41-year-old noble, apostatized under torture and was freed. Later he came back, confessed his faith and was tortured to death.

Today, there are almost 5.1 million Catholics in Korea. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1144&calendar=1

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Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark. ram

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Our Lady of Sorrows
Friday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
St. Francis Mary of Camporosso (Memorial)
97 Days Before Christmas

 First Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:12-20
Psalms 17:1, 6-8, 15: Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
Gospel: Luke 8:1-3

Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another,
preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.
Accompanying him were the Twelve
and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities,
Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza,
Susanna, and many others
who provided for them out of their resources. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/091914.cfm

Reflection: Are you ready to serve the Lord Jesus and to support the work of the Gospel with your personal resources? During his three years of public ministry Jesus traveled widely. The Gospel records that a band of women accompanied Jesus and the twelve apostles. This was a diverse group of women; some came from rich and prominent families; some had been prostitutes, and others had been afflicted with mental and physical infirmities.

The women who served Jesus out of their own resources
We know that Mary Magdalene had lived a very troubled life before Jesus freed her from seven demons. She was privileged to be the first to see Jesus as the risen Lord. As the wife of King Herod’s chief financial officer, Joanna was a wealthy lady of the court. It’s unlikely that these two would have ever met under other circumstances. What brought them together and united them in a bond of friendship, service, and loyalty to Jesus? Certainly Jesus and his message of the kingdom of God had transformed them. Unlike the apostles, who took great pride in being the chosen twelve, these women did not seek position or demand special privileges. Jesus had touched them so deeply that they were grateful to do anything for him, even menial service. They brought their gifts and resources to Jesus to use as he saw fit.

Whose concerns do you put first – yours or others?
Are you more like the status-conscious apostles who were concerned for their position, or like the women who were content to serve Jesus quietly and generously with their personal resources? In our fallen state, our natural tendency is to want to be served and placed first and to avoid giving too much of ourselves to the service of others. And besides, who really prefers to take the lowly place of a servant who puts the needs of others before their own needs? Jesus is our best example who “came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom” for us (Matthew 20:28). The Gospel honors these women who imitated Jesus in his selfless sacrificial love and humble service.

Our privilege and joy is to serve the Lord Jesus
Our privilege as children of God and disciples of Jesus is to serve as Jesus served with humility, selfless love, generosity, joy, and a willingness to do whatever God asks of us. God, in his turn, gives us every good gift and grace we need to carry out our task and mission. God in his infinite power needs no one, but in his wisdom and love, he chooses to entrust his work through each one of us. His Holy Spirit equips us with all that we need to love and serve others. No one is unimportant or unnecessary in God’s economy. The least in his kingdom find a home and a mission at Jesus’ side. Do you know the joy of serving Jesus in company with others who love and serve him willingly?

“Lord Jesus, set my heart on fire for you that I may give freely of the gifts, talents, and resources you give me, for your sake and for the work of the Gospel.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/sep19.htm http://www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Januarius, Patron of blood banks; Naples; volcanic eruptions (d. 305?)

Little  is known about the life of  Januarius. He is believed to have been martyred in the Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of 305. Legend has it that after Januarius was thrown to the bears in the amphitheater of Pozzuoli, he was beheaded, and his blood ultimately brought to Naples. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1142&calendar=1

St. Januarius was born in Italy and was bishop of Benevento during the Emperor Diocletion persecution.Bishop Januarius went to visit two deacons and two laymen in prison. He was then also imprison along with his deacon and lector. They were thrown to the wild beasts, but when the animals did not attack them, they were beheaded. What is believed to be Januarius’ blood is kept in Naples, as a relic. It liquifies and bubbles when exposed in the cathedral. Scientists have not been able to explain this miracle to date. St. Januarius lived and died around 305 A.D. and his feast day is September 19th. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=355

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Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark. ram

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Our Lady of Sorrows
Thursday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
98 Days Before Christmas
 

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Psalms 118:1-28:   Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Gospel: Luke 7:36-50

A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him,
and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table.
Now there was a sinful woman in the city
who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee.
Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment,
she stood behind him at his feet weeping
and began to bathe his feet with her tears.
Then she wiped them with her hair,
kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself,
“If this man were a prophet,
he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him,
that she is a sinner.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Simon, I have something to say to you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
“Two people were in debt to a certain creditor;
one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty.
Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both.
Which of them will love him more?”
Simon said in reply,
“The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.”
He said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon,
“Do you see this woman?
When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet,
but she has bathed them with her tears
and wiped them with her hair.
You did not give me a kiss,
but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered.
You did not anoint my head with oil,
but she anointed my feet with ointment.
So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven;
hence, she has shown great love.
But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”
He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The others at table said to themselves,
“Who is this who even forgives sins?”
But he said to the woman,
“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/091814.cfm

Reflection: What fuels the love that surpasses all other loves? Unbounding gratitude for sure! No one who met Jesus could do so with indifference. They were either attracted to him or repelled by him. Why did a rabbi invite Jesus to a nice dinner and then treat him discourteously by neglecting to give him the customary signs of respect and honor? Simon was very likely a collector of celebrities. He patronized Jesus because of his popularity with the crowds. Why did he criticize Jesus’ compassionate treatment of a woman of ill repute – most likely a prostitute? The Pharisees shunned the company of public sinners and in so doing they neglected to give them the help they needed to find healing and wholeness.

The power of extravagant love and gratitude
Why did a woman with a bad reputation approach Jesus and anoint him with her tears and costly perfume at the risk of ridicule and abuse by others? The woman’s action was motivated by one thing, and one thing only, namely, her love for Jesus – she loved greatly out of gratitude for the kindness and forgiveness she had received from Jesus. She did something a Jewish woman would never do in public. She loosened her hair and anointed Jesus with her tears. It was customary for a woman on her wedding day to bind her hair. For a married woman to loosen her hair in public was a sign of grave immodesty. This woman was oblivious to all around her, except for Jesus.

Love gives all – the best we have
She also did something which only love can do. She took the most precious thing she had and spent it all on Jesus. Her love was not calculated but extravagant. In a spirit of humility and heart-felt repentance, she lavishly served the one who showed her the mercy and kindness of God. Jesus, in his customary fashion, never lost the opportunity to draw a lesson from such a deed.

The debt of gratitude for mercy and forgiveness
Why did Jesus put the parable of the two debtors before his learned host, a rabbi and teacher of the people? This parable is similar to the parable of the unforgiving official (see Matthew 18:23-35) in which the man who was forgiven much showed himself merciless and unforgiving. Jesus makes clear that great love springs from a heart forgiven and cleansed. Peter the Apostle tells us that “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). It was love that motivated the Father in heaven to send his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus, to offer up his life on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. The woman’s lavish expression of love was an offering of gratitude for the great forgiveness, kindness, and mercy Jesus had shown to her.

The stark contrast of attitudes between Simon and the woman of ill-repute demonstrates how we can either accept or reject God’s mercy and forgiveness. Simon, who regarded himself as an upright Pharisee, felt no need for love or mercy. His self-sufficiency kept him from acknowledging his need for God’s grace – his gracious gift of favor, help, and mercy.  Are you grateful for God’s mercy and grace?

“Lord Jesus, your grace is sufficient for me. Fill my heart with love and gratitude for the mercy you have shown to me and give me joy and freedom to love and serve others with kindness and respect.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/sep18.htm http://www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Joseph of Cupertino, Patron of Aviators, Air travelers, Flying & Studying (1603-1663)

Joseph is most famous for levitating at prayer.

Already as a child, Joseph showed a fondness for prayer. After a short career with the Capuchins, he joined the Conventuals. Following a brief assignment caring for the friary mule, Joseph began his studies for the priesthood. Though studies were very difficult for him, Joseph gained a great deal of knowledge from prayer. He was ordained in 1628.

Joseph’s tendency to levitate during prayer was sometimes a cross; some people came to see this much as they might have gone to a circus sideshow. Joseph’s gift led him to be humble, patient and obedient, even though at times he was greatly tempted and felt forsaken by God. He fasted and wore iron chains for much of his life.

The friars transferred Joseph several times for his own good and for the good of the rest of the community. He was reported to and investigated by the Inquisition; the examiners exonerated him.

Joseph was canonized in 1767. In the investigation preceding the canonization, 70 incidents of levitation are recorded. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1142&calendar=1

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Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark. ram

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Our Lady of Sorrows
Memorial of St. Cornelius, Pope, Martyr and St. Cyprian, Bishop, Martyr
Tuesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
 

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 27-31
Psalms 100:1-5:  We are his people: the sheep of his flock.
Gospel: Luke 7:11-17

Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,
and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city,
a man who had died was being carried out,
the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her,
he was moved with pity for her and said to her,
“Do not weep.”
He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
at this the bearers halted,
and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst,”
and “God has visited his people.”
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea
and in all the surrounding region. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/091614.cfm

Reflection: How do you respond to the misfortunes of others? In a number of places the Gospel records that Jesus was “moved to the depths of his heart” when he met with individuals and with groups of people. Our modern use of the word “compassion” doesn’t fully convey the deeper meaning of the original Hebrew word which expresses heart-felt “sympathy” and personal identification with the suffering person’s grief and physical condition. Why was Jesus so moved on this occasion when he met a widow and a crowded funeral procession on their way to the cemetery? Jesus not only grieved the untimely death of a young man, but he showed the depth of his concern for the woman who lost not only her husband, but her only child as well. The only secure means of welfare in biblical times was one’s family. This woman had lost not only her loved ones, but her future security and livelihood as well.

Jesus is lord of the living and the dead
The Scriptures make clear that God takes no pleasure in the death of anyone (see Ezekiel 33:11) – he desires life, not death. Jesus not only had heart-felt compassion for the widow who lost her only son, he also had extraordinary supernatural power – the ability to restore life and to make a person whole again. Jesus, however, did something which must have shocked the sensibilities of the widow and her friends. Jesus approached the bier to make physical contact with the dead man. The Jews understood that contact with a dead body made oneself ritually unclean or impure. Jesus’ physical touch and personal identification with the widow’s loss of her only son not only showed the depths of his love and concern for her, but pointed to his desire to free everyone from the power of sin and moral corruption, and even death itself. Jesus’ simple word of command – “Young man, arise” – not only restored him to physical life, but brought freedom and wholeness to his soul as well as his body.

The Lord Jesus has power to restore us to wholeness of life – now and forever
This miracle took place near the spot where the prophet Elisha raised another mother’s son back to life again (see 2 Kings 4:18-37). Jesus claimed as his own one whom death had seized as its prey. By his word of power he restored life for a lad marked for death. Jesus is Lord not only of the living but of the dead as well. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins he also triumphed over the grave when he rose again on the third day, just as he had promised his disciples. Jesus promises everyone who believes in him, that because he lives (and will never die again), we also shall have abundant life with and in him both now and forever (John 14:19). Do you trust in the Lord Jesus to give you abundant life and everlasting hope in the face of life’s trials, misfortunes, and moments of despair?

“Lord Jesus, your healing presence brings life and restores us to wholeness of mind, body, and spirit. Speak your word to me and give me renewed hope, strength, and courage to follow you in the midst of life’s sorrows and joys.”http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/sep16.htm http://www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Cyprian (d. 258)

Cyprian is important in the development of Christian thought and practice in the third century, especially in northern Africa.

Highly educated, a famous orator, he became a Christian as an adult. He distributed his goods to the poor, and amazed his fellow citizens by making a vow of chastity before his baptism. Within two years he had been ordained a priest and was chosen, against his will, as Bishop of Carthage (near modern Tunis).

Cyprian complained that the peace the Church had enjoyed had weakened the spirit of many Christians and had opened the door to converts who did not have the true spirit of faith. When the Decian persecution began, many Christians easily abandoned the Church. It was their reinstatement that caused the great controversies of the third century, and helped the Church progress in its understanding of the Sacrament of Penance.

Novatus, a priest who had opposed Cyprian’s election, set himself up in Cyprian’s absence (he had fled to a hiding place from which to direct the Church—bringing criticism on himself) and received back all apostates without imposing any canonical penance. Ultimately he was condemned. Cyprian held a middle course, holding that those who had actually sacrificed to idols could receive Communion only at death, whereas those who had only bought certificates saying they had sacrificed could be admitted after a more or less lengthy period of penance. Even this was relaxed during a new persecution.

During a plague in Carthage, he urged Christians to help everyone, including their enemies and persecutors.

A friend of Pope Cornelius, Cyprian opposed the following pope, Stephen. He and the other African bishops would not recognize the validity of baptism conferred by heretics and schismatics. This was not the universal view of the Church, but Cyprian was not intimidated even by Stephen’s threat of excommunication.

He was exiled by the emperor and then recalled for trial. He refused to leave the city, insisting that his people should have the witness of his martyrdom.

Cyprian was a mixture of kindness and courage, vigor and steadiness. He was cheerful and serious, so that people did not know whether to love or respect him more. He waxed warm during the baptismal controversy; his feelings must have concerned him, for it was at this time that he wrote his treatise on patience. St. Augustine remarks that Cyprian atoned for his anger by his glorious martyrdom. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1136&calendar=1

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Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark. ram

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Our Lady of Sorrows
Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
Monday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
 

First Reading: Hebrews 5:7-9
Psalms 31:2-6, 15-16, 20:  Be a rock of refuge for me,
   a strong fortress to save me.
Gospel: John 19:25-27

But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/sep15.htm

Reflection: Does suffering or sorrow weigh you down? The cross brings us face to face with Jesus’ suffering. He was alone. All his disciples had deserted him except for his mother and three women along with John, the beloved disciple. The apostles had fled in fear. But Mary, the mother of Jesus and three other women who loved him were present at the cross. They demonstrate the power of love for overcoming fear (1 John 4:18).

Love sustains us in hope through griefs and trials

At the beginning of Jesus’ birth, when he was presented in the temple, Simeon had predicted that Mary would suffer greatly – a sword will pierce through your own soul (see Luke 2:33-35). Many have called Mary a martyr in spirit. Bernard of Clairvaux said: Jesus “died in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since his.” Mary did not despair in her sorrow and loss, since her faith and hope were sustained by her trust in God and the love she had for her Son.

The love of Christ enables us to bear all things
Jesus, in his grief and suffering, did not forget his mother. He entrusted her care to John, as well as John to her. No loss, no suffering can keep us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35-39). Paul the Apostle says that love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:3). We can find no greater proof of God’s love for us than the willing sacrifice of his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, on the cross. Do you know the love that enables you to bear your cross and to endure trial and difficulties with faith and hope in God?

“Lord Jesus Christ, by your death on the cross you have won pardon for us and freedom from the tyranny of sin and death. May I live in the joy and freedom of your victory over sin, condemnation, and death.”http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/sep15.htm http://www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word

Feast of the Day: Our Lady of Sorrows

For a while there were two feasts in honor of the Sorrowful Mother: one going back to the 15th century, the other to the 17th century. For a while both were celebrated by the universal Church: one on the Friday before Palm Sunday, the other in September.

The principal biblical references to Mary’s sorrows are in Luke 2:35 and John 19:26-27. The Lucan passage is Simeon’s prediction about a sword piercing Mary’s soul; the Johannine passage relates Jesus’ words to Mary and to the beloved disciple.

Many early Church writers interpret the sword as Mary’s sorrows, especially as she saw Jesus die on the cross. Thus, the two passages are brought together as prediction and fulfillment.

St. Ambrose (December7) in particular sees Mary as a sorrowful yet powerful figure at the cross. Mary stood fearlessly at the cross while others fled. Mary looked on her Son’s wounds with pity, but saw in them the salvation of the world. As Jesus hung on the cross, Mary did not fear to be killed but offered herself to her persecutors. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1139&calendar=1

Saint of the Day: St. Valerian
The massacre of the martyrs of Lyons with their bishop, St. Pothinus, took place during the persecutions of Marcus Aurelius in the year 177. Marcellus, a priest, we are told, by Divine intervention, managed to escape to Chalon-sur-Saone, where he was given shelter. His host was a pagan, and seeing him offer incense before images of Mars, Mercury, and Minerva, Marcellus remonstrated with and converted him. While journeying toward the North, the priest fell in with the governor Priscus, who asked him to a celebration at his house. Marcellus accepted the invitation, but when he found that Priscus was preparing to fulfill religious rites, he asked to be excused on the ground that he was a Christian. This raised an outcry, and the bystanders tried to kill Marcellus there and then by tying him to the tops of two young trees in tension and then letting them fly apart. The governor ordered him to make an act of worship before an image of Saturn. He refused, whereupon he was buried up to his middle in the earth on the banks of the Saone, and died in three days of exposure and starvation. Butler mentions with St. Marcellus, the martyr St. Valerian who is named in the Roman Martyrology on September 15th. He is said to have escaped from prison at the same time as Marcellus, and was beheaded for the Faith at Tournus, near Autun. St. Valerian’s feast day is September 15th. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=720

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Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark. ram

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Our Lady of Sorrows
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Sunday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
 

First Reading: Numbers 21:4-9
Psalms 78:1-2, 34-38:  To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11
Gospel: John 3:13-17

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.   http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/091414.cfm
Reflection: Do you know the healing transforming power of the cross of Jesus Christ? The Lord Jesus came to unite earth with heaven and to raise those on earth to the glory of  heaven. Jesus explains to Nicodemus, one of the chief leaders of the Jewish nation, that he is the “Son of Man” sent by the Father in heaven to restore our fallen and broken relationship with God. The “Son of Man” is a key Old Testament title for the Messiah who comes from heaven to establish God’s kingdom on the earth (see the prophecy of Daniel 7:13-14).

Moses delivers his people from death in the wilderness
What does Jesus mean when he says the “Son of Man must be lifted up?” Jesus links this expression with Moses who “lifted up” the bronze serpent in the wilderness in order to bring about healing and restoration of life to those who were bitten by deadly serpents. This plague of death was the result of the peoples’ stubborn refusal to follow God’s counsel and direction for their own welfare. God in his mercy heard the prayer of Moses to free his people from this curse. God instructed Moses to “make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live” (Numbers 21:8).  Moses lifted high for all the people to see the image of a bronze serpent fixed to the wood of the pole which resembled a cross. Those who put their faith in God by repenting of their disobedience were healed and restored to wholeness of life.

Jesus links his victory on the cross with Moses act of deliverance 
Jesus clearly links Moses’ act of deliverance in the wilderness with his impending sacrificial death when he is “lifted up” on the wood of the cross at Calvary. Unlike Moses’ deliverance in the wilderness which only resulted in temporary relief for the people, Jesus’ atoning death on the cross brought decisive victory over sin, Satan, and death. Jesus’ victory on the cross cancels the debt of our sin, and releases us from guilt and condemnation. His death and victory brings us new life – the new abundant life in his Holy Spirit which lasts forever.

Jesus’ victory on the cross also brought about his glorious bodily resurrection to new unending life and to his ascension to the right hand of the Father in heaven where he now rules and intercedes for us. The result of Jesus “being lifted up on the cross,” and his rising and exaltation to the Father’s right hand in heaven, is our “new birth in the Spirit” and adoption as sons and daughters of God. God not only has redeemed us from sin in Christ, he also fills us with his own divine life through the gift of his Spirit that we might share in his own glory.

The proof of God’s love for us
There is no greater proof of God’s love for us then the sending of his Son to become one with us in our humanity and to lay down his life for us. “To ransom a slave God gave his Son” (an ancient prayer from the Easter vigil liturgy). God sent his Son to free us from the worst of tyrannies – slavery to sin and the curse of death. Jesus’ sacrificial death was an act of total love in self-giving. Jesus gave himself completely out of love for his Father. And he willing laid down his life out of selfless love for our sake and for our salvation. His death on the cross was both a total offering to God and the perfect sacrifice of atonement for our sin and the sin of the world.

John tells us that God’s love cannot be limited because it is boundless and encompasses all of creation (John 3:16). His love is not limited to a single nation or a few chosen friends. His love is limitless because it embraces the whole world and every individual created in “his image and likeness”. God is a persistent loving Father who cannot rest until all of his wandering children have returned home to him. Saint Augustine says, God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us to love.

The love of God is rooted in truth, goodness, and mercy
God gives us the freedom to choose whom and what we will love and not love. Jesus shows us the paradox of love and forgiveness and judgment and condemnation. We can love the darkness of sin and unbelief or we can love the light of God’s truth, goodness, and mercy. If our love is guided by truth, goodness, and that which is truly beautiful, then we will choose for God and love him above all else. What we love shows what we prefer. Do you love God who is the supreme good above all else? And do you seek to put him first in all your thoughts, cares, choices, and actions?

God’s love sets us free to love and serve others
God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the gift of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Do you allow God’s love to purify your heart and the way your treat others? Do you allow God’s love to transform your mind and the way you think of others? Do you allow God’s love to conquer every unruly passion and addiction that would enslave you to sin and harmful behavior? The Holy Spirit gives us his seven-fold gifts of wisdom and understanding, right judgment and courage, knowledge and reverence for God and his ways, and a holy fear in God’s presence (see Isaiah 11) that we may live God’s way of life and serve in the power and strength of his enduring love and mercy. Do you thirst for new life in the Spirit?

“Lord Jesus Christ, your death brought life for us. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may walk in freedom and joy as a child of God and as an heir with Christ of an eternal inheritance.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/sep14.htm http://www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word

Feast of the Day: Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Early in the fourth century St. Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, went to Jerusalem in search of the holy places of Christ’s life. She razed the second-century Temple of Aphrodite, which tradition held was built over the Savior’s tomb, and her son built the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher over the tomb. During the excavation, workers found three crosses. Legend has it that the one on which Jesus died was identified when its touch healed a dying woman.

The cross immediately became an object of veneration. At a Good Friday celebration in Jerusalem toward the end of the fourth century, according to an eyewitness, the wood was taken out of its silver container and placed on a table together with the inscription Pilate ordered placed above Jesus’ head: Then “all the people pass through one by one; all of them bow down, touching the cross and the inscription, first with their foreheads, then with their eyes; and, after kissing the cross, they move on.”

To this day the Eastern Churches, Catholic and Orthodox alike, celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the September anniversary of the basilica’s dedication. The feast entered the Western calendar in the seventh century after Emperor Heraclius recovered the cross from the Persians, who had carried it off in 614, 15 years earlier. According to the story, the emperor intended to carry the cross back into Jerusalem himself, but was unable to move forward until he took off his imperial garb and became a barefoot pilgrim. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1138&calendar=1

Saint of the Day: St. Notburga, Patron servants and peasants (1265-1313)

Patroness of poor peasants and servants in the Tyrol. Born in Rattenberg, in the Tyrol, she was the daughter of peasants. At eighteen she became a servant in the household of Count Henry of Rattenberg When Notburga repeatedly gave food to the poor, she was dismissed by Count Henry�s wife, Ottilia, and took up a position as a servant to a humble farmer. Meanwhile, Henry suffering a run of misfortune and setbacks, wasted no time restoring Notburga to her post after his wife died. Notburga remained his housekeeper for the rest of her life, and was famous for her miracles and concern for the poor. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=4875

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Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark. ram

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Our Lady of Sorrows
Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Saturday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
 

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:14-22
Psalms 116:12-13, 17-18:  To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
Gospel: Luke 6:43-49

Jesus said to his disciples:
“A good tree does not bear rotten fruit,
nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.
For every tree is known by its own fruit.
For people do not pick figs from thornbushes,
nor do they gather grapes from brambles.
A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good,
but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil;
for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command?
I will show you what someone is like who comes to me,
listens to my words, and acts on them.
That one is like a man building a house,
who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock;
when the flood came, the river burst against that house
but could not shake it because it had been well built.
But the one who listens and does not act
is like a person who built a house on the ground
without a foundation.
When the river burst against it,
it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/091314.cfm

Reflection: Why does Jesus set figs and grapes over against thorns and brambles? The fig tree was the favorite of all trees for the people of Palestine. It symbolized fertility, peace, and prosperity. Grapes, likewise, produced wine, the symbol of joy. Thorns and brambles were only good for burning as fuel for the fire. There’s a proverbial saying that you know a tree by its fruit. Likewise a person will produce good or bad fruit depending on what is sown in the heart. Charles Read said: “Sow an act and you reap a habit.  Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.” Character, like fruit, doesn’t grow overnight. It takes a lifetime.

A healthy and sound mind produces good fruit
Jesus connects soundness with good fruit. Something is sound when it is free from defect, decay, or disease and is healthy. Good fruit is the result of sound living – living according to moral truth and upright character. The prophet Isaiah warned against the dangers of falsehood: Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness (Isaiah 5:20). The fruits of falsehood produce an easy religion which takes the iron out of religion, the cross out of Christianity, and any teaching which eliminates the hard sayings of Jesus, and which push the judgments of God into the background and makes us think lightly of sin.

How do we avoid falsehood and bad fruit? By being true – true to God, his word, and his grace. And that takes character! Those who are true to God know that their strength lies not in themselves but in God who supplies the grace  we need to live as his disciples. The fruit of a disciple is marked by faith, hope and love, justice, prudence, fortitude and temperance. Do you cultivate good fruit in your life and reject whatever produces bad fruit?

What kind of foundation are you building your life?
Jesus told another story about the importance of building on the right foundation to reinforce his lesson about sound living. When Jesus told the story of the builders he likely had the following proverb in mind: When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm for ever (Proverbs 10:25). What’s the significance of the story for us? The kind of foundation we build our lives upon will determine whether we can survive the storms that are sure to come. Builders usually lay their foundations when the weather and soil conditions are at their best. It takes foresight to know how a foundation will stand up against adverse conditions. Building a house on a flood plain, such as a dry river-bed, is a sure bet for disaster!

Our character is revealed in the choices we make
Jesus prefaced his story with a warning: We may fool other people with our speech and gestures, but God cannot be deceived. He sees the heart as it truly is – with its motives, intentions, desires, and choices (Psalm 139:2). There is only one way in which a person’s sincerity can be proved, and that is by one’s practice. Fine words can never replace good deeds. Our character is revealed in the choices we make, especially when we are tested. Do you cheat on an exam or on your income taxes, especially when it will cost you? Do you lie, or cover-up, when disclosing the truth will cause you  injury or embarrassment? A true person is honest and reliable before God, themselves, and their neighbor. Their word can be counted on. What foundation is your life built upon?

“Lord Jesus, you are the sure foundation and source of life and strength for us. Give me wisdom and strength to live according to your truth and to reject every false way.  May I be a doer of your word and not a hearer only.”http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/sep13.htm http://www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word

Feast of the Day: St. John Chrysostom (d. 407)

The ambiguity and intrigue surrounding John, the great preacher (his name means “golden-mouthed”) from Antioch, are characteristic of the life of any great man in a capital city. Brought to Constantinople after a dozen years of priestly service in Syria, John found himself the reluctant victim of an imperial ruse to make him bishop in the greatest city of the empire. Ascetic, unimposing but dignified, and troubled by stomach ailments from his desert days as a monk, John became a bishop under the cloud of imperial politics.

If his body was weak, his tongue was powerful. The content of his sermons, his exegesis of Scripture, were never without a point. Sometimes the point stung the high and mighty. Some sermons lasted up to two hours.

His lifestyle at the imperial court was not appreciated by many courtiers. He offered a modest table to episcopal sycophants hanging around for imperial and ecclesiastical favors. John deplored the court protocol that accorded him precedence before the highest state officials. He would not be a kept man.

His zeal led him to decisive action. Bishops who bribed their way into office were deposed. Many of his sermons called for concrete steps to share wealth with the poor. The rich did not appreciate hearing from John that private property existed because of Adam’s fall from grace any more than married men liked to hear that they were bound to marital fidelity just as much as their wives were. When it came to justice and charity, John acknowledged no double standards.

Aloof, energetic, outspoken, especially when he became excited in the pulpit, John was a sure target for criticism and personal trouble. He was accused of gorging himself secretly on rich wines and fine foods. His faithfulness as spiritual director to the rich widow, Olympia, provoked much gossip attempting to prove him a hypocrite where wealth and chastity were concerned. His actions taken against unworthy bishops in Asia Minor were viewed by other ecclesiastics as a greedy, uncanonical extension of his authority.
Theophilus, archbishop of Alexandria, and Empress Eudoxia were determined to discredit John. Theophilus feared the growth in importance of the Bishop of Constantinople and took occasion to charge John with fostering heresy. Theophilus and other angered bishops were supported by Eudoxia. The empress resented his sermons contrasting gospel values with the excesses of imperial court life. Whether intended or not, sermons mentioning the lurid Jezebel (1 Kings 9:1—21:23)  and impious Herodias (Mark 6:17-29) were associated with the empress, who finally did manage to have John exiled. He died in exile in 407. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1137&calendar=1
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Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark. ram

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Our Lady of Sorrows
The Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Optional Memorial)
Friday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
 

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:16-27
Psalms 84-:3-12:  How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!
Gospel: Luke 6:39-42

Jesus told his disciples a parable:
“Can a blind person guide a blind person?
Will not both fall into a pit?
No disciple is superior to the teacher;
but when fully trained,
every disciple will be like his teacher.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’
when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?
You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/091214.cfm

Reflection: What makes Christians different and what makes Christianity distinct from any other religion? It is grace – treating others, not as they deserve, but as God wishes them to be treated – with loving-kindness and mercy. God is good to the unjust as well as the just. His love embraces saint and sinner alike. God seeks our highest good and teaches us to seek the greatest good of others, even those who hate and abuse us. Our love for others, even those who are ungrateful and selfish towards us, must be marked by the same kindness and mercy which God has shown to us. It is easier to show kindness and mercy when we can expect to benefit from doing so. How much harder when we can expect nothing in return.

Give and forgive – the two wings of prayer
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) describes Jesus double precept to give and forgive as two essential wings of prayer:

Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given you. These are the two wings of prayer on which it flies to God. Pardon the offender what has been committed, and give to the person in need” (Sermon 205.3). “Let us graciously and fervently perform these two types of almsgiving, that is, giving and forgiving, for we in turn pray the Lord to give us things and not to repay our evil deeds” (Sermon 206.2).

Bless and do not curse
Our prayer for those who do us ill both breaks the power of revenge and releases the power of love to do good in the face of evil. How can we possibly love those who cause us harm or ill-will? With God all things are possible. He gives power and grace to those who believe in and accept the gift of the Holy Spirit. His love conquers all, even our hurts, fears, prejudices and griefs. Only the cross of Jesus Christ can free us from the tyranny of malice, hatred, revenge, and resentment and gives us the courage to return evil with good. Such love and grace has power to heal and to save from destruction. That is why Paul the Apostle tells those who know the love and mercy of Jesus Christ to “bless and not curse.. nor take revenge.. and to overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:14,17,21). Do you know the power of God’s love, mercy, and righteousness (moral goodness) for overcoming evil with good?

“Lord Jesus, your love brings freedom and pardon. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and set my heart free with your merciful love that nothing may make me lose my temper, ruffle my peace, take away my joy, nor make me bitter towards anyone.” Are you clear-sighted, especially in your perception of sin and the need for each of one of us to see ourselves correctly as God sees us – with our faults,weaknesses, and strengths? Jesus’ two parables about poor vision allude to the proverb: Without vision the people perish! (Proverbs 29:18) What can we learn from the illustration of a blind guide and a bad eye (the log in the eye)? A bad eye left untreated and a blind guide can cause a lot of trouble that will only end in misery and disaster for us! We can only help and  teach others what we have learned and received from wise teachers and guides. And how can we help others overcome their faults if we are blinded by our own faults and misperceptions? We are all in need of a physician who can help us overcome the blind spots and failing of own sins, weaknesses, and ignorance.

Overcoming blind spots in our own lives
The Gospel of Luke was written by a disciple who was trained as a physician. Luke, with keen insight, portrays Jesus as the good physician and shepherd of souls who seeks out those who desire healing, pardon,and restoration of  body, mind, and spirit. Jesus came to free us from the worst oppression possible – slavery to sin, fear, and condemnation. Like a gentle and skillful doctor, the Lord Jesus exposes the cancer of sin, evil, and oppression in our lives so we can be set free and restored to wholeness. A key step to healing and restoration requires that we first submit to the physician who can heal us. The Lord Jesus is our great Physician because he heals the whole person – soul and body, mind and heart – and restores us to abundant life both now and in eternity.

Thinking the best of others
The Lord Jesus wants to heal and restore us to wholeness, not only for our own sake alone. He also wants us to be his instruments of healing, pardon, and restoration for others as well. What can hinder us from helping others draw near to Jesus the divine Physican? The Rabbis taught: “He who judges his neighbor favorably will be judged favorably by God.” How easy it is to misjudge others and how difficult it is to be impartial in giving good judgment. Our judgment of others is usually “off the mark” because we can’t see inside the other person, or we don’t have access to all the facts, or we are swayed by instinct and unreasoning reactions to people. It is easier to find fault in others than in oneself. A critical and judgmental spirit crushes rather than heals, oppresses rather than restores, repels rather than attracts.  “Thinking the best of other people” is necessary if we wish to grow in love. And kindliness in judgment is nothing less that a sacred duty.

What you give to others will return to you
Jesus states a heavenly principle we can stake our lives on: what you give to others (and how you treat others) will return to you (Mark 4:24). The Lord knows our faults and he sees all, even the imperfections and sins of the heart which we cannot recognize in ourselves. Like a gentle father and a skillful doctor he patiently draws us to his seat of mercy and removes the cancer of sin which inhabits our hearts. Do you trust in God’s mercy and grace? Ask the Lord to flood your heart with his loving-kindness and mercy that you may only have room for charity, forbearance, and kindness towards your neighbor.

“O Father, give us the humility which realizes its ignorance, admits its mistakes, recognizes its need, welcomes advice, accepts rebuke. Help us always to praise rather than to criticize, to sympathize rather than to discourage, to build rather than to destroy, and to think of people at their best rather than at their worst. This we ask for thy name’s sake.” (Prayer of William Barclay, 20th century) http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/sep12.htm http://www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word

Feast of the Day: Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary

This feast is a counterpart to the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus (January 3); both have the possibility of uniting people easily divided on other matters.

The feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary began in Spain in 1513 and in 1671 was extended to all of Spain and the Kingdom of Naples. In 1683, John Sobieski, king of Poland, brought an army to the outskirts of Vienna to stop the advance of Muslim armies loyal to Mohammed IV in Constantinople. After Sobieski entrusted himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he and his soldiers thoroughly defeated the Muslims. Pope Innocent XI extended this feast to the entire Church. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1930&calendar=1

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Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark. ram

Posted by: RAM | September 11, 2014

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Our Lady of Sorrows
The Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Optional Memorial)
Friday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time 

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:16-27
Psalms 84-:3-12:  How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!
Gospel: Luke 6:39-42

Jesus told his disciples a parable:
“Can a blind person guide a blind person?
Will not both fall into a pit?
No disciple is superior to the teacher;
but when fully trained,
every disciple will be like his teacher.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’
when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?
You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/091214.cfm

Reflection: What makes Christians different and what makes Christianity distinct from any other religion? It is grace – treating others, not as they deserve, but as God wishes them to be treated – with loving-kindness and mercy. God is good to the unjust as well as the just. His love embraces saint and sinner alike. God seeks our highest good and teaches us to seek the greatest good of others, even those who hate and abuse us. Our love for others, even those who are ungrateful and selfish towards us, must be marked by the same kindness and mercy which God has shown to us. It is easier to show kindness and mercy when we can expect to benefit from doing so. How much harder when we can expect nothing in return.

Give and forgive – the two wings of prayer
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) describes Jesus double precept to give and forgive as two essential wings of prayer:

Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given you. These are the two wings of prayer on which it flies to God. Pardon the offender what has been committed, and give to the person in need” (Sermon 205.3). “Let us graciously and fervently perform these two types of almsgiving, that is, giving and forgiving, for we in turn pray the Lord to give us things and not to repay our evil deeds” (Sermon 206.2).

Bless and do not curse
Our prayer for those who do us ill both breaks the power of revenge and releases the power of love to do good in the face of evil. How can we possibly love those who cause us harm or ill-will? With God all things are possible. He gives power and grace to those who believe in and accept the gift of the Holy Spirit. His love conquers all, even our hurts, fears, prejudices and griefs. Only the cross of Jesus Christ can free us from the tyranny of malice, hatred, revenge, and resentment and gives us the courage to return evil with good. Such love and grace has power to heal and to save from destruction. That is why Paul the Apostle tells those who know the love and mercy of Jesus Christ to “bless and not curse.. nor take revenge.. and to overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:14,17,21). Do you know the power of God’s love, mercy, and righteousness (moral goodness) for overcoming evil with good?

“Lord Jesus, your love brings freedom and pardon. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and set my heart free with your merciful love that nothing may make me lose my temper, ruffle my peace, take away my joy, nor make me bitter towards anyone.” Are you clear-sighted, especially in your perception of sin and the need for each of one of us to see ourselves correctly as God sees us – with our faults,weaknesses, and strengths? Jesus’ two parables about poor vision allude to the proverb: Without vision the people perish! (Proverbs 29:18) What can we learn from the illustration of a blind guide and a bad eye (the log in the eye)? A bad eye left untreated and a blind guide can cause a lot of trouble that will only end in misery and disaster for us! We can only help and  teach others what we have learned and received from wise teachers and guides. And how can we help others overcome their faults if we are blinded by our own faults and misperceptions? We are all in need of a physician who can help us overcome the blind spots and failing of own sins, weaknesses, and ignorance.

Overcoming blind spots in our own lives
The Gospel of Luke was written by a disciple who was trained as a physician. Luke, with keen insight, portrays Jesus as the good physician and shepherd of souls who seeks out those who desire healing, pardon,and restoration of  body, mind, and spirit. Jesus came to free us from the worst oppression possible – slavery to sin, fear, and condemnation. Like a gentle and skillful doctor, the Lord Jesus exposes the cancer of sin, evil, and oppression in our lives so we can be set free and restored to wholeness. A key step to healing and restoration requires that we first submit to the physician who can heal us. The Lord Jesus is our great Physician because he heals the whole person – soul and body, mind and heart – and restores us to abundant life both now and in eternity.

Thinking the best of others
The Lord Jesus wants to heal and restore us to wholeness, not only for our own sake alone. He also wants us to be his instruments of healing, pardon, and restoration for others as well. What can hinder us from helping others draw near to Jesus the divine Physican? The Rabbis taught: “He who judges his neighbor favorably will be judged favorably by God.” How easy it is to misjudge others and how difficult it is to be impartial in giving good judgment. Our judgment of others is usually “off the mark” because we can’t see inside the other person, or we don’t have access to all the facts, or we are swayed by instinct and unreasoning reactions to people. It is easier to find fault in others than in oneself. A critical and judgmental spirit crushes rather than heals, oppresses rather than restores, repels rather than attracts.  “Thinking the best of other people” is necessary if we wish to grow in love. And kindliness in judgment is nothing less that a sacred duty.

What you give to others will return to you
Jesus states a heavenly principle we can stake our lives on: what you give to others (and how you treat others) will return to you (Mark 4:24). The Lord knows our faults and he sees all, even the imperfections and sins of the heart which we cannot recognize in ourselves. Like a gentle father and a skillful doctor he patiently draws us to his seat of mercy and removes the cancer of sin which inhabits our hearts. Do you trust in God’s mercy and grace? Ask the Lord to flood your heart with his loving-kindness and mercy that you may only have room for charity, forbearance, and kindness towards your neighbor.

“O Father, give us the humility which realizes its ignorance, admits its mistakes, recognizes its need, welcomes advice, accepts rebuke. Help us always to praise rather than to criticize, to sympathize rather than to discourage, to build rather than to destroy, and to think of people at their best rather than at their worst. This we ask for thy name’s sake.” (Prayer of William Barclay, 20th century) http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/sep12.htm http://www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word

Feast of the Day: Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary

This feast is a counterpart to the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus (January 3); both have the possibility of uniting people easily divided on other matters.

The feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary began in Spain in 1513 and in 1671 was extended to all of Spain and the Kingdom of Naples. In 1683, John Sobieski, king of Poland, brought an army to the outskirts of Vienna to stop the advance of Muslim armies loyal to Mohammed IV in Constantinople. After Sobieski entrusted himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he and his soldiers thoroughly defeated the Muslims. Pope Innocent XI extended this feast to the entire Church. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1930&calendar=1

More Saint of the Day  

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark. ram

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