Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 481

59 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 6:1-9
Psalms 145:10-14: The Lord is faithful in all his words.
Gospel: Luke 13:22-30
Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.’
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.” href=””>

Reflection:  What does the image of a door say to us about the kingdom of God? Jesus’ story about the door being shut to those who come too late suggests they had offended their host and deserved to be excluded. It was customary for teachers in Jesus’ time to close the door on tardy students and not allow them back for a whole week in order to teach them a lesson in discipline and faithfulness.

Who will be invited to enter God’s kingdom?
Jesus told this story in response to the question of who will make it to heaven – to God’s kingdom of everlasting peace and eternal life. Many rabbis held that all Israel would be saved and gain entry into God’s kingdom, except for a few blatant sinners who excluded themselves! After all, they were specially chosen by God when he established a covenant relationship with them.

Jesus surprised his listeners by saying that one’s membership as a people who have entered into a covenant relationship with God does not automatically mean entry into the everlasting kingdom of God. Second, Jesus asserts that many from the Gentile (non-Jewish) nations would enter God’s kingdom. God’s invitation is open to Jew and Gentile alike.

Jesus is the door to the kingdom of heaven
But Jesus warns that we can be excluded if we do not strive to enter by the narrow door. What did Jesus mean by this expression? The door which Jesus had in mind was himself. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved (John 10:9). God sent his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to open the way for us to have full access to the throne of God grace (favor and blessing) and mercy (pardon for our sins). Through Jesus’ victory on the cross he has freed us from slavery to sin and hurtful desires and addictions, and he has made us sons and daughters of God and citizens of his heavenly kingdom. We are free now to choose which kingdom we will serve – the kingdom of truth and light ruled by God’s wisdom or the kingdom of falsehood and darkness ruled by Satan and the world system or society of people who are opposed to God and his laws.

Following the Lord requires effort and commitment on our part
If we want to enter God’s kingdom and receive our full inheritance which is stored up for us in heaven, then we must follow the Lord Jesus in his way of the cross through a willing renunciation of our own will for his will – our own life for his life – our own way for his way.

Why did Jesus say we must strive to enter his kingdom of righteousness and peace? The word strive can also be translated as agony. To enter the kingdom of God we must struggle against every force or power of opposition – even the temptation to remain indifferent, apathetic, or compromising in our faith and personal trust in Jesus, our hope in holding firm to the promises of Jesus, and our uncompromising love for God above all else (the “love that has been poured into our hearts through the gift of the Spirit which has been given to us” – Romans 5:5).

The Lord is with us to strengthen us in our trials and struggles
The good news is that we do not struggle alone. God is with us and his grace is sufficient! As we strive side by side for the faith of the Gospel (Philippians 1:27) Jesus assures us of complete victory! Do you trust in God’s grace and help, especially in times of testing and temptation?

“Lord Jesus, may I never doubt your guiding presence and mercy towards me. Through the gift of your Spirit fill me with courage and persevering faith to trust you in all things and every circumstance I find myself in. Give me the strength to cling to your promises when the world around me begins to shake or crumble. And when my love and zeal begin to waver, fan it into a flame of consuming love and dedication for you who are my All.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Bean
On December 16, there is named in the Roman Martyrology and in certain Irish calendars a Saint Bean in Ireland, who had been confused with the St. Bean whose feast is still observed in the Scottish diocese of Aberdeen, but on October 26, as founder of the bishopric of Mortlach in Banff which was the forerunner of that of Aberdeen. Nothing else is known about him. The fourteenth century chronicler Fordun, states that he was made bishop by Pope Benedict VIII, at the request of Malcolm Canmore, who is said to have founded an episcopal monastery at Mortlach. If true, this would be between 1012 and 1024; but the See of Mortlach is generally said to date from 1063. St. Bean’s dwelling place is supposed to have been at Balvanie, near Mortlach (Bal-beni-mor, “the dwelling of Bean the Great”). His feast day is October 26th.

More Saints of the Day
St. Albinus
St. Alfred the Great
St. Bean
St. Cedd
St. Cuthbert of Canterbury
St. Demetrius of Thessaloniki
St. Eadfrid
St. Eata
St. Evaristus
St. Fulk of Pavia
St. Gibitrudis
St. Lucian
St. Quadragesimus
St. Quodvultdeus
St. Rogatian
St. Rusticus of Narbonne

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 480

60 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 5:21-33
Psalms 128:1-5: Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Gospel: 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:  What can mustard seeds and leaven teach us about the kingdom of God? The tiny mustard seed literally grew to be a tree which attracted numerous birds because they loved the little black mustard seed it produced. God’s kingdom works in a similar fashion. It starts from the smallest beginnings in the hearts of men and women who are receptive to God’s word. And it works unseen and causes a transformation from within.

The transforming power of the Holy Spirit within us
Leaven is another powerful agent of change. A lump of dough left to itself remains just what it is, a lump of dough. But when the leaven is added to it a transformation takes place which produces rich and wholesome bread when heated – the staple of life for humans. The kingdom of God produces a transformation in those who receive the new life which Jesus Christ offers. When we yield to Jesus Christ, our lives are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. Paul the Apostle says, “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). Do you believe in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit?

“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and transform me into the Christ-like holiness you desire. Increase my zeal for your kingdom and instill in me a holy desire to live for your greater glory.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Daria
There is very little known about them. Chrysanthus was an Egyptian, son of a Patrician, Polemius. He was brought to Rome from Alexandria during the reign of Numerian, and despite the objections of his father, who had brought him to Rome, was baptized by a priest named Carpophorus. Chrysanthus refused is father’s attempts to get him married, finally married Daria, a Greek and a priestess of Minerva, converted her, and convinced her to live with him in chastity. When they converted a number of Romans, Chrysanthus was denounced as a Christian to Claudius, the tribune. Chrysanthus’ attitude under torture so impressed Claudius that he and his wife, Hilaria, two sons, and seventy of his soldiers became Christians, whereupon the Emperor had them all killed. Daria was sent to a brothel, where she was defended by a lion, brought before Numerian, who ordered her execution, and was stoned and then buried alive. When several followers of Daria and Chrysanthus were found praying at their crypt, among them Diodorus, a priest, and Marianus, a deacon, they were all entombed alive. Their feast day is October 25.

More Saints of the Day
St. Ambrose Edward Barlow
St. Boniface I
St. Chrysanthus
Sts. Crispin & Crispinian
St. Cyrinus
St. Daria
St. Dulcardus
St. Fronto
St. Fronto and George
St. Fronto and George
St. Fructus
St. Goeznoveus
St. Guesnoveus
St. Hilary
St. Hildemarca
St. John Houghton
St. John Roberts
St. Lupus of Bayeux
St. Marnock
St. Minias of Florence
St. Tabitha

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 479

61 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 4:32–5:8
Psalms 1:1-4, 6: Behave like God as his very dear children.
Gospel: Luke 13:10-17
Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath.
And a woman was there who for eighteen years
had been crippled by a spirit;
she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.
When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said,
“Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.”
He laid his hands on her,
and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.
But the leader of the synagogue,
indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath,
said to the crowd in reply,
“There are six days when work should be done.
Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.”
The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites!
Does not each one of you on the sabbath
untie his ox or his ass from the manger
and lead it out for watering?
This daughter of Abraham,
whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now,
ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day
from this bondage?”
When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated;
and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.

Reflection:  Is there anything that keeps you bound up or oppressed? Infirmity, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, can befall us for a variety of reasons and God can use it for some purpose that we do not understand. When Jesus encountered an elderly woman who was spent of her strength and unable to stand upright, he gave her words of faith and freedom and he restored her to health. She must have suffered much, both physically and spiritually for eighteen years, since Jesus remarked that Satan had bound her. How can Satan do this? The Scriptures indicate that Satan can act in the world with malice and can cause injuries of a spiritual nature, and indirectly even of a physical nature. Satan’s power, however, is not infinite. He cannot prevent the building up of God’s kingdom or reign in our lives.

Jesus wants to set free us from oppression
Jesus demonstrates the power and authority of God’s kingdom in releasing people who are oppressed by physical and emotional sickness, by personal weakness and sin, and by the harassment of the evil one in their lives. It took only one word from Jesus to release this woman instantly of her infirmity. Do you believe in the power of Jesus to release you from affliction and oppression?

The Jewish leaders were indignant that Jesus would perform such a miraculous work on the Sabbath, the holy day of rest. They were so caught up in their ritual observance of the Sabbath that they lost sight of God’s mercy and goodness. Jesus healed on the Sabbath because God does not rest from showing his mercy and love, ever. God’s word has power to change us, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Is there anything that keeps you bound up or that weighs you down? Let the Lord speak his word to you and give you freedom.

“Lord Jesus, you grant freedom to those who seek you. Give me freedom to walk in your way of love and to praise and worship you always. Show me how I can bring your mercy and healing love to those in need around me.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Anthony Mary Claret, Patron of Textile Merchants, Weavers, Savings, Catholic press, Claretians Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Diocese of the Canary Islands , Claretian Students , Claretian Educators, Technical and Vocational Educators (18071870)

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

More Saints of the Day
St. Anthony Mary Claret
St. Bernard of Calvo
St. Cadfarch
St. Evergislus
St. Fromundus
St. Joseph Thi
St. Marcius
St. Martin of Vertou
Martyrs of Nagran
St. Senoch

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 150

62 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18
Psalms 34:2-3, 17-19, 23: The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
Gospel: 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 tax 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 whoever exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Reflection:  How can we know if our prayer is pleasing to God or not? The prophet Hosea, who spoke in God’s name, said: “I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice” (Hosea 6:6). The prayers and sacrifices we make to God mean nothing to him if they do not spring from a heart of love for God and for one’s neighbor. How can we expect God to hear our prayers if we do not approach him with humility and with a contrite heart that seeks mercy and forgiveness? We stand in constant need of God’s grace and help. That is why Scripture tells us that “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6; Proverbs 3:34).

God hears the prayer of the humble
Jesus reinforced this warning with a vivid story of two people at prayer. Why did the Lord accept one person’s prayer and reject the other’s prayer? Luke gives us a hint: despising one’s neighbor closes the door to God’s heart. Expressing disdain and contempt for others is more than being mean-minded. It springs from the assumption that one is qualified to sit in the seat of judgment and to publicly shame those who do not conform to our standards and religious practices. Jesus’ story caused offense to the religious-minded Pharisees who regarded “tax collectors” as unworthy of God’s grace and favor. How could Jesus put down a “religious person” and raise up a “public sinner”?

Jesus’ parable speaks about the nature of prayer and our relationship with God. It does this by contrasting two very different attitudes towards prayer. The Pharisee, who represented those who take pride in their religious practices, exalted himself at the expense of others. Absorbed with his own sense of self-satisfaction and self-congratulation, his boastful prayer was centered on his good religious practices rather than on God’s goodness, grace, and pardon. Rather than humbling himself before God and asking for God’s mercy and help, this man praised himself while despising those he thought less worthy. The Pharisee tried to justify himself before God and before those he despised; but only God can justify us. The tax collector, who represented those despised by religious-minded people, humbled himself before God and begged for mercy. His prayer was heard by God because he had true sorrow for his sins. He sought God with humility rather than with pride.

The humble recognize their need for God’s mercy and help
This parable presents both an opportunity and a warning. Pride leads to self-deception and spiritual blindness. True humility helps us to see ourselves as we really are in God’s eyes and it inclines us to seek God’s help and mercy. God dwells with the humble of heart who recognize their own sinfulness and who acknowledge God’s mercy and saving grace. I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit (Isaiah 57:15). God cannot hear us if we boast in ourselves and despise others. Do you humbly seek God’s mercy and do you show mercy to others, especially those you find difficult to love and to forgive?

“Lord Jesus, may your love and truth transform my life – my inner thoughts, intentions, and attitudes, and my outward behavior, speech, and actions. Where I lack charity, kindness, and forbearance, help me to embrace your merciful love and to seek the good of my neighbor, even those who cause me ill-favor or offense. May I always love as you have loved and forgive others as you have forgiven.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. John of Capistrano, Patron of Jurists (1386-1456)
St. John was born at Capistrano, Italy in 1385, the son of a former German knight in that city. He studied law at the University of Perugia and practiced as a lawyer in the courts of Naples. King Ladislas of Naples appointed him governor of Perugia. During a war with a neighboring town he was betrayed and imprisoned. Upon his release he entered the Franciscan community at Perugia in 1416. He and St. James of the March were fellow students under St. Bernardine of Siena, who inspired him to institute the devotion to the holy Name of Jesus and His Mother. John began his brilliant preaching apostolate with a deacon in 1420. After his ordination he traveled throughout Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia preaching penance and establishing numerous communities of Franciscan renewal. When Mohammed II was threatening Vienna and Rome, St. John, at the age of seventy, was commissioned by Pope Callistus III to preach and lead a crusade against the invading Turks. Marching at the head of seventy thousand Christians, he gained victory in the great battle of Belgrade against the Turks in 1456. Three months later he died at Illok, Hungary. His feast day is October 23. He is the patron of jurists.

More Saints of the Day
St. Allucio
St. Amo
Bl. Arnold Reche
St. Benedict of Sebaste
St. Clether
St. Elfleda
St. John of Capistrano
St. John of Syracuse
St. Leothade
St. Maroveus
St. Oda
St. Paul Tong Buong
St. Romanus of Rouen
Sts. Servandus & Cermanus
St. Severinus
St. Severinus
St. Severinus Boethius
St. Theodoret of Antioch
Bl. Thomas Thwing
St. Verus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
St. John Paul II, Pope (Optional Memorial)
Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 478

63 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 4:7-16
Psalms 122:1-5: Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Gospel: 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:  What can a calamity, such as a political blood-bath or a natural disaster, teach us about God’s kingdom and the consequences of bad choices and sinful actions? Jesus used two such occasions to address the issue of sin and judgment with his Jewish audience. Pilate, who was the Roman governor of Jerusalem at the time, ordered his troops to slaughter a group of Galileans who had come up to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice in the Temple. We do not know what these Galileans did to incite Pilate’s wrath, nor why Pilate chose to attack them in the holiest of places for the Jews, in their temple at Jerusalem. For the Jews, this was political barbarity and sacrilege at its worst!

The second incident which Jesus addressed was a natural disaster, a tower in Jerusalem which unexpectedly collapsed, killing 18 people. The Jews often associated such calamities and disasters as a consequence of sin. Scripture does warn that sin can result in calamity! Though the righteous fall seven times, and rise again; the wicked are overthrown by calamity (Proverbs 24:16).

The time for repentance and forgiveness is right now!
The real danger and calamity which Jesus points out is that an unexpected disaster or a sudden death does not give us time to repent of our sins and to prepare ourselves to meet the Judge of heaven and earth. The Book of Job reminds us that misfortune and calamity can befall both the righteous and the unrighteous alike. Jesus gives a clear warning – take responsibility for your actions and moral choices and put sin to death today before it can destroy your heart, mind, soul, and body as well. Unrepentant sin is like a cancer which corrupts us from within. If it is not eliminated through repentance – asking God for forgiveness and for his healing grace – it leads to a spiritual death which is far worse than physical destruction.

The sign of the barren fig tree
Jesus’ parable of the barren fig trees illustrates his warning about the consequences of allowing sin and corruption to take root in our hearts and minds. Fig trees were a common and important source of food for the people of Palestine. A fig tree normally matured within three years, producing plentiful fruit. If it failed, it was cut down to make room for more healthy trees. A decaying fig tree and its bad fruit came to symbolize for the Jews the consequence of spiritual corruption caused by evil deeds and unrepentant sin.

The unfruitful fig tree symbolized the outcome of Israel’s indifference and lack of response to God’s word of  repentance and restoration. The prophets depicted the desolation and calamity of Israel’s fall and ruin – due to her unfaithfulness to God – as a languishing fig tree (see Joel 1:7,12; Habbakuk 3:17; and Jeremiah 8:13). Jeremiah likened good and evil rulers and members of Israel with figs that were either good for eating or rotten and wasteful (Jeremiah 24:2-8). Jesus’ parable depicts the patience of God, but it also contains a warning that we should not presume upon God’s patience and mercy. God’s judgment will come in due course – very soon or later.

Why God judges
Why does God judge his people? He judges to purify and cleanse us of all sin that we might grow in his holiness and righteousness. And he disciplines us for our own good, to inspire a godly fear and reverence for him and his word. God is patient, but for those who persistently and stubbornly rebel against him and refuse to repent and change their course, there is the consequence that they will lose both their soul and body to hell. Are God’s judgments unjust or unloving? When God’s judgments are revealed in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:9). To pronounce God’s judgment on sin is much less harsh than what will happen if those who sin are not warned to repent and turn back to God.

Don’t tolerate sin
God, in his mercy, gives us time to get right with him, but that time is now. We must not assume that there is no hurry. A sudden and unexpected death leaves one no time to prepare to settle one’s accounts when he or she must stand before the Lord on the day of judgment. Jesus warns us that we must be ready at all times. Tolerating sinful habits and excusing unrepentant sin and wrongdoing will result in bad fruit, painful discipline, and spiritual disease that leads to death and destruction. The Lord in his mercy gives us both grace (his gracious help and healing) and time to turn away from sin, but that time is right now. If we delay, even for a day, we may discover that grace has passed us by and our time is up. Do you hunger for the Lord’s righteousness (moral goodness) and holiness?

“Lord Jesus, increase my hunger for you that I may grow in righteousness and holiness. May I not squander the grace of the present moment to say “yes” to you and to your will and plan for my life.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Pope John Paul II, Patron of World Youth Day (Co- Patron) (1920-2005)
Karol J. Wojtyla, known as John Paul II since his October 1978 election to the papacy, was born in Wadowice, a small city 50 kilometres from Cracow, on May 18, 1920. He was the second of two sons born to Karol Wojtyla and Emilia Kaczorowska. His mother died in 1929. His eldest brother Edmund, a doctor, died in 1932 and his father, a non-commissioned army officer died in 1941.

He made his First Holy Communion at age 9 and was confirmed at 18. Upon graduation from Marcin Wadowita high school in Wadowice, he enrolled in Cracow’s Jagiellonian University in 1938 and in a school for drama.

The Nazi occupation forces closed the university in 1939 and young Karol had to work in a quarry (1940-1944) and then in the Solvay chemical factory to earn his living and to avoid being deported to Germany.

In 1942, aware of his call to the priesthood, he began courses in the clandestine seminary of Cracow, run by Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha, archbishop of Cracow. At the same time, Karol Wojtyla was one of the pioneers of the “Rhapsodic Theatre,” also clandestine.

After the Second World War, he continued his studies in the major seminary of Cracow, once it had re-opened, and in the faculty of theology of the Jagiellonian University, until his priestly ordination in Cracow on November 1, 1946.

Soon after, Cardinal Sapieha sent him to Rome where he worked under the guidance of the French Dominican, Garrigou-Lagrange. He finished his doctorate in theology in 1948 with a thesis on the topic of faith in the works of St. John of the Cross. At that time, during his vacations, he exercised his pastoral ministry among the Polish immigrants of France, Belgium and Holland.

More Saints of the Day
St. Abercius Marcellus
Sts. Alexander, Heraclins, and Companions
Bl. Alix Le Clercq
St. Alodia
St. Benedict of Macerac
St. Bertharius
St. Donatus of Fiesole
St. Pope John Paul II
St. Mark
St. Mary Salome
St. Mellon
St. Moderan
St. Nepotian
St. Nunctus
St. Philip
St. Philip of Heraclea
St. Verecundus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 477

65 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 4:1-6
Psalms 24:1-6:   Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Gospel: Luke 12:54-59
Jesus said to the crowds,
“When you see a cloud rising in the west
you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does;
and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south
you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is.
You hypocrites!
You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky;
why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

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

Reflection:  How good are you at reading warning signs? Jesus expects his disciples to accurately read the signs of the times! Seafarers and farmers know the importance of spotting weather conditions for safe travel and planting. A lot of effort is made today, with the help of science and technology, to discern potential natural dangers, such as tropical storms, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earth quakes, and erupting volcanoes, so that people can be warned to take shelter before disaster hits.

Don’t miss God’s kingdom and power to transform your life
Our need for accurately discerning the spiritual condition and moral climate around us is vital if we want to avert spiritual crisis and moral disaster. The Lord is ready to transform our lives by offering us his kingdom of righteousness (moral goodness), peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). – But we can miss it if we allow a permissive attitude that takes sin lightly or puts off repairing wrongdoing before it is too late to get reconciled with God.

Jesus used a very vivid illustration of a threatening lawsuit to show the urgency of settling a bad case outside of court before a worse sentence could passed against us. Why did the neighbor in Jesus’ story make an effort to come to an agreement with his adversary before the matter was sent to court for judgment? The accused knew that he had a bad case which would likely go against him in court. He quickly tried to come to an agreement with his adversary to avoid receiving a worse sentence of being thrown into prison and given a costly fine as well.

Jesus will set us free and fill us with the Holy Spirit
We all stand in need of God’s mercy, grace, and protection. The Lord Jesus is our physician and healer and he is ready to set us free from any sinful patterns of thinking, acting, and speaking. If we give our lives over to him he will fill us with his Holy Spirit and give us a new heart and a transformed mind that is filled with his truth, love, and goodness. If you want lasting peace and joy with God, then allow the Lord Jesus to transform every area of your life, your home, your work, your relationships, and possessions so that he may truly be the Lord and Giver of abundant life. Are you ready to surrender all to him – and to receive all from him?

“Lord Jesus, flood my heart with your love and free me from all that would keep me from doing your will. Transform my mind that I may discern what is right and choose what is good and pleasing to you.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Hilarion (291-371)
Abbot and disciple of St. Anthony the Great, companion of St. Hesychius. He was born in Tabatha, Palestine, and was educated in Alexandria, Egypt. He stayed with St. Anthony in the desert there before becoming a hermit at Majuma, near Gaza, Israel. In 356, Hilarion returned to St. Anthony in the Egyptian desert and found that his fame had Spread there too. He fled to Sicily to escape notice, but Hesychius traced him there. The two went to Dalmatia, Croatia, and then to Cyprus. Hilarion performed so many miracles that crowds flocked to him when it was discovered he was in any region. He died on Cyprus, and St. Hesychius secretly took his remains back to Palestine. His cult is now confined to local calendars.

More Saints of the Day
St. Agatho
St. Astericus
St. Berthold
St. Cilinia
St. Condedus
St. Dasius
St. Gaspar
St. Gebizo
Bl. Giuseppe “Pino” Puglis
St. Hilarion
St. Hugh of Ambronay
St. John of Bridlington
Bl. Josephine Leroux
St. Laura of Saint Catherine of Siena
St. Maichus
St. Maurontus
Bl. Nicolas Barre
St. Tuda
St. Ursula
St. Viator
St. Wendolinus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 476

66 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 3:14-21
Psalms 33:1-2, 4-5, 11-12, 18-19:  The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Gospel: 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:  Do you want to be on fire for God? Jesus shocked his disciples when he declared that he would cast fire and cause division rather than peace upon the earth. What kind of fire did Jesus have in mind here?

The fire of God’s purifying love and cleansing word
The image of fire in biblical times was often associated with God and with his action in the world and in the lives of his people. God sometimes manifested his presence by use of fire, such as God’s revelation to Moses through the burning bush in the wilderness which was not consumed by the flames (Exodus 3:2). God assured the Hebrew people of his continual presence, guidance, and protection for them through the wilderness for forty years with the pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day (Exodus 13:21-22). The prophet Elijah called down fire from heaven to reveal God’s presence and power and to purify the people of false idols (1 Kings 18:36-39). The image of fire was also used as a sign of God’s glory (Ezekiel 1:4, 13) and holiness (Deuteronomy 4:24), his protective presence (2 Kings 6:17), and his righteous judgment (Zechariah 13:9) and holy wrath against sin (Isaiah 66:15-16).

Fire is also a sign and symbol of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist said that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11-12 and Luke 3:16-17). When the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples at Pentecost “tongues of fire” appeared above their heads (Acts 2:3). We can see from both the Old and New Testament Scriptures that God’s fire purifies and cleanses to make us clean (sins washed away) and holy (fit to offer him acceptable praise and worship), and it inspires a reverent fear (awe in God’s presence) and respect (obeying and giving God his due) for God and for his holy word.

Loyalty unites – division separates
Why did Jesus link fire from heaven with costly division on the earth? Did he expect his followers to take his statement of “father against son and son against father” and “mother against daughter and daughter against mother” literally? Or was he intentionally using a figure of speech to emphasize the choice and cost of following him above all else? Jesus used a typical Hebrew hyperbole (a figure of speech which uses strong language and exaggeration for emphasis) to drive home an important lesson. We often do the same when we want to emphasize something very strongly. Jesus’ hyperbole, however, did contain a real warning that the Gospel message does have serious consequences for our lives.

When Jesus spoke about division within families he likely had in mind the prophecy of Micah: a man’s enemies are the men of his own household(Micah 7:6). The essence of Christianity is loyalty to Jesus Christ – the Son of God and Savior of the world – a loyalty that takes precedence over every other relationship. The love of God compels us to choose who will be first in our lives. To place any relationship (or anything else) above God is a form of idolatry.

Who do you love first and foremost?
Jesus challenges his disciples to examine who they love first and foremost. A true disciple loves God above all else and is willing to forsake all for Jesus Christ. Jesus insists that his disciples give him the loyalty which is only due to God, a loyalty which is higher than spouse or kin. It is possible that family and friends can become our enemies if the thought of them keeps us from doing what we know God wants us to do. Does the love of Jesus Christ compel you to put God first in all you do (2 Corinthians 5:14)?

The Gospel message is good news for those who seek pardon, peace, and the abundant life which God offers us through his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus offers true freedom to those who believe in him – freedom from slavery to sin, Satan, and the oppressive forces of hatred and evil that can destroy body, mind, and spirit. Do you listen to the voice of your Savior and trust in his word? Commit your ways to him, obey his word, and you will find true peace, joy, and happiness in the Lord your God.

“Lord Jesus, may the fire of your love consume me and transform my life that I may truly desire nothing more than life with you. Fill me with the power of your Holy Spirit that I may always seek to please you and do your will.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Paul of the Cross (1694-1775)
St. Paul of the Cross was born at Ovada in the Republic of Genoa, January 3, 1694. His infancy and youth were spent in great innocence and piety. He was inspired from on high to found a congregation; in an ecstacy he beheld the habit which he and his companions were to wear. After consulting his director, Bishop Gastinara of Alexandria in Piedmont, he reached the conclusion that God wished him to establish a congregation in honor of the Passion of Jesus Christ. On November 22, 1720, the bishop vested him with the habit that had been shown to him in a vision, the same that the Passionists wear at the present time. From that moment the saint applied himself to repair the Rules of his institute; and in 1721 he went to Rome to obtain the approbation of the Holy See. At first he failed, but finally succeeded when Benedict XIV approved the Rules in 1741 and 1746. Meanwhile St. Paul built his first monastery near Obitello. Sometime later he established a larger community at the Church of St. John and Paul in Rome. For fifty years St. Paul remained the indefatigable missionary of Italy. God lavished upon him the greatest gifts in the supernatural order, but he treated himself with the greatest rigor, and believed that he was a useless servant and a great sinner. His saintly death occurred at Rome in the year 1775, at the age of eighty-one. He was canonized by Pope Pius IX in 1867. His feast day is October 20.

More Saints of the Day
St. Acca
St. Adelina
Bl. Adeline
St. Aderald
St. Artemius
St. Barsabas
St. Bernard of Bagnorea
St. Bertilla Boscardin
St. Caprasius of Agen
Bl. Francis Serrano
St. Irene of Tomar
Bl. Jakob Kern
St. Martha
Bl. Oleksa Zaryckyj
St. Paul of the Cross
St. Usthazanes
St. Vitalis

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Wednesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs

Lectionary: 475
67 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 3:2-12
Isaiah 12:2-6:  You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Gospel: Luke 12:39-48
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

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

Reflection:  What lesson can we draw from Jesus’ parable about a thief in the night and the parable about the master of the household who surprises his stewards with an unexpected visit? Both parables confront us with the possibility of losing everything we presently own and treasure and losing our the future inheritance as well.

The thief in the night
Jesus’ story (parable) of the thief in the night brings home the necessity for constant watchfulness and being on guard to avert the danger of plunder and destruction, especially under the cover of darkness and secrecy! While no thief would announce his intention in advance, nor the time when he would strike, lack of vigilance would nonetheless invite disaster for those who are unprepared to keep their treasure and their lives secure at all times! The intruder strikes when he is least expected!

Guarding the treasure God’s has given us
What treasure does the Lord expect us to vigilantly guard in this present life? It is the treasure of the gifts he has won for us – the gift of salvation purchased by his blood on the cross which has ransomed us from slavery to sin, Satan,and death – and the gift of his Holy Spirit who works in and through us to make us a a new creation refashioned in the image of God. The Father and the Son through the gift of the Holy Spirit come to make their home with us. But we can ignore their presence, close our ears to their voice, or reject them through pride and unfaithfulness.

Satan comes like a thief in the night to rob us of our faith and to draw us away from God. He works with the world (that society which is opposed to God) and with our flesh (our sinful inclinations) to make us believe that we can find treasure and happiness apart from God and his will for our lives.

And we can deceive ourselves by putting off for tomorrow what must be done today. God offers us grace today to turn away from sin and rebellion. We must not presume that we can wait another day. The day of the Lord – when he returns again at the end of this present world – will come like a thief. We need to be spiritually alert and watchful at all times. The Lord comes to us – each and every day – to draw us to himself and to strengthen us in faith, hope, and love.

God rewards those who are faithful and wise 
Jesus ends his teaching on watchfulness and vigilance with another parable about a master and his servants (Matthew 24:.45-49). The storyline is similar. There is an element of surprise – the master suddenly returns home unexpectedly, probably from a long journey. He rewards one servant for his faithfulness to his master. He has performed his service dutifully and has done all that the master required of him.

He punishes the other servant who behaved wickedly. This servant was not only irresponsible – he was frequently absent from work and spent his master’s money by partying (eating and drinking) a lot with his friends. The wicked servant also abused his fellow workers with physical force and violence – probably to make them do the work he was supposed to do for his master. The master not only throws him out of his house (he fires him from his job!). He also throws him into the worst possible place – a prison of no return where there is nothing but torment and misery. Should we be surprised to see the master acting with such swift judgment? He rewards faithfulness with honor, blessing, and promotion, and he punishes unfaithfulness due to laziness and abuse with demotion, dishonor, and imprisonment.

Are you ready to meet the Lord?
The Lord Jesus calls us to be vigilant in watching for his return and to be ready to meet him when he calls us to himself. The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit so that we may have the wisdom, help, and strength we need to turn away from sin to embrace God’s way of love, justice, and holiness. The Lord’s warning of judgment causes dismay for those who are unprepared, but it brings joyful hope to those who eagerly wait for his return in glory. God’s judgment is good news for those who are ready to meet him. Their reward is God himself, the source of all truth, beauty, goodness, love and everlasting life.

“Lord Jesus, you have captured my heart for you. Make me strong in faith, steadfast in hope, and generous in love that I may seek to please you in all things and bring you glory.  May I always be watchful and ready to answer when you draw near.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Sts. Isaac Jogues and Rene Goupil
In 1642 the Huron country was in great distress. Harvests were poor, sickness abounded, and clothing was scarce. Quebec was the only source of supplies, and Isaac Jogues was chosen to lead an expedition. It reached its objective safely and started back well supplied with goods for the mission, but the Iroquois, the bitter enemies of the Hurons, and fiercest of all Indian tribes, were on the war-path and ambushed the returning expedition. The story of the ill-treatment and torture of the captives cannot be told here. Suffice it to say that Jogues and his assistant, Rene Goupil, besides being beaten to the ground and assailed several times with knotted sticks and fists, had their hair, beards and nails torn off and their forefingers bitten through. What grieved them far more, was the cruelty practiced on their Christian converts. The first of all the martyrs to suffer death was Rene Goupil, who was tomahawked on September 29, 1642, for having made the Sign of the Cross on the brow of some children. This Rene Goupil was a remarkable man. He had tried hard to be a Jesuit and had even entered the Novitiate, but his health forced him to give up the attempt. He then studied surgery and found his way to Canada, where he offered his services to the missionaries, whose fortitude he emulated. Rene Goupil is one of the North American martyrs who died at the hands of the Indians between the years 1642-1649. Their feast day is October 19.

More Saints of the Day
Bl. Agnes de Jesus Galand
St. Altinus
St. Anthony Daniel
St. Aquilinus
St. Beronicus
St. Charles Garnier
St. Cleopatra
St. Cleopatra
St. Desiderius
St. Eadnot
St. Ethbin
St. Eusterius
St. Frideswide
St. Gabriel Lalement
Sts. Isaac Jogues and Rene Goupil
St. Jean de Brebeuf
St. John de Brebeuf & Companions
St. John of Rila
St. Laura
St. Laura
St. Lupus of Soissons
St. Philip Howard
St. Theofrid (Chaffre) of Orange
St. Theofrid
St. Varus
St. Varus
St. Veranus of Cavaillon

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Tuesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Feast of Saint Luke, Evangelist

Lectionary: 661
68 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: 2 Timothy 4:10-17
Psalms 145:10-13, 17-18: Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Gospel: 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:  What kind of harvest does the Lord want us to reap today for his kingdom? When Jesus commissioned seventy of his disciples to go on mission, he gave them a vision of a vast field that is ready to be harvested for the kingdom of God. Jesus frequently used the image of a harvest to convey the coming of God’s reign on earth. The harvest is the fruition of much labor and growth – beginning with the sowing of seeds, then growth to maturity, and finally the reaping of fruit for the harvest.

God’s word grows like a seed within us
In like manner, the word of God is sown in the hearts of receptive men and women who hear his word, accept it with trust and obedience, and then share the abundant fruit of God’s word in their life with others. The harvest Jesus had in mind was not only the gathering in of the people of Israel, but all the peoples (and nations) of the world. John the Evangelist tells us that  “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Be a sower of God’s word of peace and mercy
What does Jesus mean when he says his disciples must be “lambs in the midst of wolves”? The prophet Isaiah foretold a time when wolves and lambs will dwell in peace (Isaiah 11:6 and 65:25). This certainly refers to the second coming of of the Lord Jesus when all will be united under the Lordship of Jesus after he has put down his enemies and established the reign of God over the heavens and the earth. In the meantime, the disciples must expect opposition and persecution from those who would oppose the Gospel. Jesus came to lay down his life for us, as our sacrificial lamb, to atone for our sins and the sins of the world. We, in turn, must be willing to offer our lives with gratitude and humble service for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are called to speak and witness in God’s name
What is the significance of Jesus appointing seventy disciples to the ministry of the word? Seventy was a significant number in biblical times. Moses chose seventy elders to help him in the task of leading the people through the wilderness. The Jewish Sanhedrin, the governing council for the nation of Israel, was composed of seventy members. In Jesus’ times seventy was held to be the number of nations throughout the world. Jesus commissioned the seventy to a two-fold task – to speak in his name and to act with his power.

Jesus gave his disciples instructions for how they were to carry out their ministry. They must go and serve as people without guile, full of charity (selfless giving in love) and peace, and simplicity. They must give their full attention to the proclamation of God’s kingdom and not be diverted by other lesser things. They must  travel light – only take what was essential and leave behind whatever would distract them – in order to concentrate on the task of speaking the word of the God. They must do their work, not for what they can get out of it, but for what they can give freely to others, without expecting reward or payment. “Poverty of spirit” frees us from greed and preoccupation with possessions and makes ample room for God’s provision. The Lord Jesus wants his disciples to be dependent on him and not on themselves.

God gives us his life-giving word that we may have abundant life in him. He wills to work in and through each of us for his glory. God shares his word with us and he commissions us to speak it boldly and plainly to others. Do you witness the truth and joy of the Gospel by word and example to those around you?

“Lord Jesus, may the joy and truth of the Gospel transform my life that I may witness it to those around me. Grant that I may spread your truth and merciful love wherever I go.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Luke, Evangelist, Patron of Physicians and Surgeons
Luke, the writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, has been identified with St. Paul’s “Luke, the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14). We know few other facts about Luke’s life from Scripture and from early Church historians.

It is believed that Luke was born a Greek and a Gentile. In Colossians 10-14 speaks of those friends who are with him. He first mentions all those “of the circumcision” — in other words, Jews — and he does not include Luke in this group. Luke’s gospel shows special sensitivity to evangelizing Gentiles. It is only in his gospel that we hear the parable of the Good Samaritan, that we hear Jesus praising the faith ofGentiles such as the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian (Lk.4:25-27), and that we hear the story of the one grateful leper who is a Samaritan (Lk.17:11-19). According to the early Church historian Eusebius Luke was born at Antioch in Syria.

In our day, it would be easy to assume that someone who was a doctor was rich, but scholars have argued that Luke might have been born a slave. It was not uncommon for families to educate slaves in medicine so that they would have a resident family physician. Not only do we have Paul’s word, butEusebius, Saint Jerome, Saint Irenaeus and Caius, a second-century writer, all refer to Luke as a physician.

We have to go to Acts to follow the trail of Luke’s Christian ministry. We know nothing about hisconversion but looking at the language of Acts we can see where he joined Saint Paul. The story of theActs is written in the third person, as an historian recording facts, up until the sixteenth chapter. In Acts16:8-9 we hear of Paul’s company “So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ ” Then suddenly in 16:10 “they” becomes “we”: “When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.”

So Luke first joined Paul’s company at Troas at about the year 51 and accompanied him into Macedonia where they traveled first to Samothrace, Neapolis, and finally Philippi. Luke then switches back to the third person which seems to indicate he was not thrown into prison with Paul and that when Paul leftPhilippi Luke stayed behind to encourage the Church there. Seven years passed before Paul returned to the area on his third missionary journey. In Acts 20:5, the switch to “we” tells us that Luke has leftPhilippi to rejoin Paul in Troas in 58 where they first met up. They traveled together through Miletus, Tyre, Caesarea, to Jerusalem.

Luke is the loyal comrade who stays with Paul when he is imprisoned in Rome about the year 61: “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers” (Philemon 24). And after everyone else deserts Paul in his final imprisonment and sufferings, it is Luke who remains with Paul to the end: “Only Luke is with me” (2 Timothy 4:11).

Luke’s inspiration and information for his Gospel and Acts came from his close association with Paul and his companions as he explains in his introduction to the Gospel: “Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus” (Luke 1:1-3).

Luke’s unique perspective on Jesus can be seen in the six miracles and eighteen parables not found in the other gospels. Luke’s is the gospel of the poor and of social justice. He is the one who tells the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man who ignored him. Luke is the one who uses “Blessed are the poor” instead of “Blessed are the poor in spirit” in the beatitudes. Only in Luke’s gospel do we hear Mary ‘s Magnificat where she proclaims that God “has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty” (Luke 1:52-53).

Luke also has a special connection with the women in Jesus’ life, especially Mary. It is only in Luke’s gospel that we hear the story of the Annunciation, Mary’s visit to Elizabeth including the Magnificat, the Presentation, and the story of Jesus’ disappearance in Jerusalem. It is Luke that we have to thank for the Scriptural parts of the Hail Mary: “Hail Mary full of grace” spoken at the Annunciation and “Blessed are you and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus” spoken by her cousin Elizabeth.

Forgiveness and God’s mercy to sinners is also of first importance to Luke. Only in Luke do we hear the story of the Prodigal Son welcomed back by the overjoyed father. Only in Luke do we hear the story of the forgiven woman disrupting the feast by washing Jesus’ feet with her tears. Throughout Luke’s gospel, Jesus takes the side of the sinner who wants to return to God’s mercy.

Reading Luke’s gospel gives a good idea of his character as one who loved the poor, who wanted the door to God’s kingdom opened to all, who respected women, and who saw hope in God’s mercy for everyone.

The reports of Luke’s life after Paul’s death are conflicting. Some early writers claim he was martyred, others say he lived a long life. Some say he preached in Greece, others in Gaul. The earliest tradition we have says that he died at 84 Boeotia after settling in Greece to write his Gospel.

A tradition that Luke was a painter seems to have no basis in fact. Several images of Mary appeared in later centuries claiming him as a painter but these claims were proved false. Because of this tradition, however, he is considered a patron of painters of pictures and is often portrayed as painting pictures of Mary.

He is often shown with an ox or a calf because these are the symbols of sacrifice — the sacrifice Jesusmade for all the world.

Luke is the patron of physicians and surgeons.

More Saints of the Day
St. Asclepiades
St. Athenodorus
St. Gwen
St. Justus of Beauvais
St. Kevoca
St. Luke
St. Monon
St. Peter of Alcantara
St. Tryphonia

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Posted by: RAM | October 16, 2016

Monday (October 17): Storing up true riches

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Monday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr
Lectionary: 473

69 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10
Psalms 100:2-5: The Lord made us, we belong to him.
Gospel: Luke 12:13-21
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

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

Reflection:  Have you ever tried to settle a money dispute or an inheritance issue? Inheritance disputes are rarely ever easy to resolve, especially when the relatives or close associates of the deceased benefactor cannot agree on who should get what and who should get the most. Why did Jesus refuse to settle an inheritance dispute between two brothers? He saw that the heart of the issue was not justice or fairness but rather greed and possessiveness.

Loving possessions rather than loving my neighbor
The ten commandments were summarized into two prohibitions – do not worship false idols and do not covet what belongs to another. It’s the flip side of the two great commandments – love God and love your neighbor. Jesus warned the man who wanted half of his brother’s inheritance to “beware of all covetousness.” To covet is to wish to get wrongfully what another possesses or to begrudge what God has given to another. Jesus restates the commandment “do not covet”, but he also states that a person’s life does not consist in the abundance of his or her possessions.

August of Hippo (354-430 AD) comments on Jesus’ words to the brother who wanted more:

Greed wants to divide, just as love desires to gather. What is the significance of ‘guard against all greed,’ unless it is ‘fill yourselves with love?’ We, possessing love for our portion, inconvenience the Lord because of our brother just as that man did against his brother, but we do not use the same plea. He said, ‘Master, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ We say, ‘Master, tell my brother that he may have my inheritance.'(Sermon 265.9)

The fool who was possessed by his riches
Jesus reinforces his point with a parable about a foolish rich man (Luke 12:16-21). Why does Jesus call this wealthy landowner a fool? Jesus does not fault the rich man for his industriousness and skill in acquiring wealth, but rather for his egoism and selfishness – it’s mine, all mine, and no one else’s. This parable is similar to the parable of the rich man who refused to give any help to the beggar Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). The rich fool had lost the capacity to be concerned for others. His life was consumed with his possessions and his only interests were in himself. His death was the final loss of his soul! What is Jesus’ lesson on using material possessions? It is in giving that we receive. Those who are rich towards God receive ample reward – not only in this life – but in eternity as well.

Where is your treasure?
In this little parable Jesus probes our heart – where is your treasure? Treasure has a special connection to the heart, the place of desire and longing, the place of will and focus. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure. What do you treasure above all else?

“Lord Jesus, free my heart from all possessiveness and from coveting what belongs to another. May I desire you alone as the one true treasure worth possessing above all else. Help me to make good use of the material blessings you give me that I may use them generously for your glory and for the good of others.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Ignatius of Antioch
CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) – The second Bishop of Antioch, Syria, this disciple of the beloved Disciple John was consecrated Bishop around the year 69 by the Apostle Peter, the first Pope. A holy man who was deeply loved by the Christian faithful, he always made it his special care to defend “orthodoxy” (right teaching) and “orthopraxy” (right practice) among the early Christians.

In 107, during the reign of the brutal Emperor Trajan, this holy Bishop was wrongfully sentenced to death because he refused to renounce the Christian faith. He was taken under guard to Rome where he was to be brutally devoured by wild beasts in a public spectacle. During his journey, his travels took him through Asia Minor and Greece. He made good use of the time by writing seven letters of encouragement, instruction and inspiration to the Christians in those communities. We still have these letters as a great treasure of the Church today.

The content of the letters addressed the hierarchy and structure of the Church as well as the content of the orthodox Christian faith. It was Bishop Ignatius who first used the term “catholic” to describe the whole Church. These letters connect us to the early Church and the unbroken, clear teaching of the Apostles which was given to them directly by Jesus Christ. They also reveal the holiness of a man of God who became himself a living letter of Christ. The shedding his blood in the witness of holy martyrdom was the culmination of a life lived conformed to Jesus Christ. Ignatius sought to offer himself, in Christ, for the sake of the Church which he loved. His holy martyrdom occurred in the year 107.

In his pastoral letters he regularly thanked his brother and sister Christians for their concern for his well being but insisted on following through in his final witness of fidelity: “I know what is to my advantage. At last I am becoming his disciple. May nothing entice me till I happily make my way to Jesus Christ! Fire, cross, struggles with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs-let them come to me, provided only I make my way to Jesus Christ. I would rather die and come to Jesus Christ than be king over the entire earth. Him I seek who died for us; him I love who rose again because of us.”

Bishop Ignatius was not afraid of death. He knew that it had been defeated by the Master. He followed the Lord Jesus into his Passion, knowing that he would rise with Him in his Resurrection. He wrote to the disciples in Rome: “Permit me to imitate my suffering God … I am God’s wheat and I shall be ground by the teeth of beasts, that I may become the pure bread of Christ.” The beauty of this Eucharistic symbolism in these words reflects the deep theology of a mystic. He was dedicated to defending the true teaching handed down by the Apostles so that the brothers and sisters in the early Christian communities, and we who stand on their shoulders, would never be led astray by false teaching. He urged them to always listen to their Bishops because they were the successors of the Apostles. He died a Martyrs death in Rome, devoured by two lions in one of the cruel demonstrations of Roman excess and animosity toward the true faith.

More Saints of the Day
St. Anstrudis
St. Berarius
St. Ethelbert and Etheired
St. Florentius
St. Francis Isidore Gagelin
St. Francois Gagelin
St. Herodion
St. Ignatius of Antioch
Bl. Jane Louise Barre and Jane Reine Prin
St. John the Dwarf
St. Louthiem
St. Mamelta
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
St. Marie Magdalen Desjardin
St. Nothlem
St. Regulus
St. Richard Gwyn
St. Rudolph of Gubbio
St. Victor
St. Victor, Alexander, and Marianus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 147

70 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Exodus 17:8-13
Psalms 121:1-8:  Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 3:14–4:2
Gospel: Luke 18:1-8
Jesus told his disciples a parable
about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.
He said, “There was a judge in a certain town
who neither feared God nor respected any human being.
And a widow in that town used to come to him and say,
‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’
For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,
‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being,
because this widow keeps bothering me
I shall deliver a just decision for her
lest she finally come and strike me.’”
The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.
Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones
who call out to him day and night?
Will he be slow to answer them?
I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Reflection:  What can a shameless and unjust judge pitted against a crusty and pestering woman teach us about justice and vindication (to restore what is right and just) in the kingdom of God? Jesus tells a story that is all too true – a defenseless widow is taken advantaged of and refused her rights. Through sheer persistence she wears down an unscrupulous judge until he gives her justice. Persistence pays off, and that’s especially true for those who trust in God. Jesus illustrates how God as our Judge and Vindicator is much quicker to come to our defense and to bring us his justice, blessing, and help when we need it. But we can easily lose heart and forget to ask our heavenly Father for his grace and help.

Faith-filled persistence reaps the fruit of justice and grace
Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8) to give his disciples fresh hope and confidence in God’s unfailing care and favor towards us (grace). In this present life we can expect trials and adversity, but we are not without hope in God. The Day of the Last Judgment will reveal that God’s justice triumphs over all the injustices perpetrated by a fallen world of sinful people and that God’s love is stronger than death (Song of Songs 8:6). Those who put their faith in God and entrust their lives to him can look forward with hope and confident assurance. They will receive their reward – if not fully in this present life then surely and completely in the age to come in God’s kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy (Romans 14:17).

Jesus ends his parable with a probing question for us. Will you and I have faith – the kind of faith that doesn’t give up or lose hope in God – but perseveres to the end of our lives – and to the end of this present age when the Lord Jesus will return in glory as Ruler and Judge of All? Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to us. We could not believe, trust, and persevere with hope if God did not first draw us to himself and reveal to us his merciful love and care. If we want to grow and persevere in faith until the end of our days, then we must nourish our faith with the word of God and ask the Lord to increase it (Luke 17:5). When trials and setbacks disappoint you, where do you place your hope and confidence? Do you pray with expectant faith and confident hope in God’s merciful care and provision for you?

“Lord Jesus, increase my faith and make it strong that I may never doubt your word and promise to be with me always. In every situation I face – whether trials, setbacks, or loss – may I always find strength in your unfailing love and find joy and contentment in having you alone as the treasure of my heart.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Gerard Majella, Patron of Expectant Mothers (d.-1755)
St. Gerard Majella is the patron of expectant mothers. He was born in 1726 in Muro, Italy to a family of seven. Majella grew up in a poverty with a great respect for the poor. As he was just 12 when his father passed away, he was forced to grow up fast. Shortly after his father’s death, his mother sent him away to live with his uncle and learn to become a tailor, like his father. After a few years of working as a sewing apprentice, Majella took on a job with the local Bishop of Lacedonia as a servant.

Once Majella began earning money as a journeyman at the age of 21, he split his earnings with his mother, the poor of Muro and the rest in offerings for the poor souls. As the days passed, Majella began to grow pale and thin, often fasting and in prayer at a nearby Cathedral.

He applied to the Capuchin monastery at Muro twice, but was turned down both times. Majella was told his health was not well enough for such a strenuous life. However, Majella did not give up. In 1749, at the age of 23, he joined the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and just three years later became a professed lay brother.

Majella lived with the three vows of Poverty, Chasity and Obedience. He stayed close with the poor and worked very many different jobs. He served as sacristan, gardener, porter, infirmarian, and tailor. However, because of his great piety, extraordinary wisdom, and his gift of reading consciences, he was permitted to counsel communities of religious women. Majella was often called on by the poor and the sick. Wherever his presence was demanded he graciously presented himself. He was there to “do the Will of God.”

This humble servant of God also had faculties associated with certain mystics including, levitation, bi-location and the ability to read souls. His charity, obedience, and selfless service as well as his ceaseless mortificationfor Christ, made him the perfect model of lay brothers.

Throughout his years of life, several reported miracles are tied to Majella including, restoring a boy’s life after he fell from a high cliff; blessing a poor farmer’s crops, ridding it of mice; blessing a poor family’s supply of wheat, causing it to last until the next harvest; and he multiplied bread for the poor on several occasions.

Along with his miracles effected through prayers for woman in labor, Majella’s last recorded miracle is one that many credit toward his becoming the patron of expectant mothers. Shortly before his death, Majella encountered a young girl. He had dropped his handkerchief and she set out to return it, only to be told to keep it. Majella told her she “may need it someday.” Years after Majella’s passing, the young girl became married and with child. She unexpectedly went into labor and was on the verge of losing her baby. She called for Majella’s handkerchief to be applied to her. Almost immediately, her pain abated and she proceeded to give birth to a healthy child, something very rare during that time.

His prayers are sought for the children, unborn children, women in childbirth, mothers, expectant mothers, motherhood, falsely accused people, good confessions, lay brothers and Muro Lucano, Italy.

Even as Majella became ill with tuberculosis, he only desired to live in God’s will. His one last request was that a small placard be placed on his door stating, “Here the will of God is done, as God wills, and as long as God wills.” Majella was told the Will of God wanted him to get better, and almost at once he became well. However, this only lasted for a month and quickly he became very ill once again. St. Gerard Majella died of disease on October 16, 1755 at the age of 29, living in the religious life for six years.

Due to the numerous miracles performed through Majella’s prayers, proceedings for his canonization began shortly after his death. In 1893, Majella was beatified by Pope Leo XIII and on December 11, 1904, Pope Pius X canonized the man of God.

More Saints of the Day
St. Ambrose
St. Anastasius XX
St. Balderic
St. Baldwin
St. Bercharius
St. Bertrand of Comminges
St. Colman of Kilroot
St. Conogon
St. Dulcidius
St. Eliphius
St. Eremberta
St. Florentinus of Trier
St. Gerard Majella
St. Hedwig
St. Junian
St. Kiara
St. Lull
St. Magnobodus
St. Maxima
St. Mummolinus
St. Saturninus & Companions
St. Vitalis

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Saturday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 472

71 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 1:15-23
Psalms 8:2-7:  You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
Gospel: 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:  What is the unforgivable sin which Jesus warns us to avoid? Jesus knows that his disciples will be tested and he assures them that the Holy Spirit will give them what they need in their time of adversity and temptation. He warns them, however, that it’s possible to reject the grace of God – his favor, blessing, and help – and to fall into apostasy – giving up our faith and loyalty to Jesus Christ out of fear (being a coward), pride, or disbelief (refusing to believe and trust in the Lord Jesus). The scriptural expression to deny someone means to disown them – to have nothing to do with them anymore.

Do not reject the gift and help of the Holy Spirit
Jesus also speaks against blaspheming the Holy Spirit. What is blasphemy and why is it reprehensible (extremely bad and deserving severe rebuke)? Blasphemy consists in uttering against God, inwardly or outwardly, words of hatred, reproach, or defiance. It’s contrary to the honor and respect we owe to God (who is our Father, Creator, and Savior) and to his holy name. Jesus speaks of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit as the unforgivable sin. Jesus spoke about this sin immediately after the scribes and Pharisees had attributed his miracles to the work of the devil instead of to God.

Do you trust in God’s help and deliverance?
A sin can only be unforgivable if repentance (admitting wrongdoing and asking forgiveness) is impossible. If someone repeatedly closes his or her heart to God and shuts their ear to his voice, they come to a point where they can no longer recognize God even when God makes his word and presence known to them. Such a person ends up perceiving evil as good and good as evil (Isaiah 5:20). To fear such a sin, however, signals that one is not dead to God and is conscious of the need for God’s merciful help and strength.

There are no limits to the mercy of God, but we can reject his mercy by refusing to ask God’s pardon for our wrongdoing and by refusing to accept the help he gives us to turn away from sin and from whatever would keep us from doing his will. God gives sufficient grace (his favor and mercy towards us) and he gives sufficient help (his wisdom and strength) to all who humbly call upon him. Giving up on God and refusing to turn away from sin and disbelief results from our own sinful pride, stubborn will, and the loss of hope in God’s promises.God never turns a deaf ear to those who seek his help and listen to his voice – his word of hope, pardon, and freedom from sin and oppression.

Our hope and confidence come from God
What is the basis of our hope and confidence in God? It is the free gift of his beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave his life for our sake and who now intercedes for us at the right hand of the throne of God’s mercy (Hebrews 4:14-15). John the Evangelist tells us that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Jesus’ death on the cross won for us new life and freedom to live as men and women of faith, hope, and love. That is why Jesus offers us the gift and power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13) who enables us to live each day as God’s beloved children – his sons and daughters. The love and mercy of Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sins, and the gift of the Holy Spirit are freely given to all who acknowledge Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Is your hope securely placed in the Lord Jesus and his victory on the cross?

“Lord Jesus, you are my hope and my salvation. May I never waver in my hope and trust in your merciful help and strength. Let the fire of your Holy Spirit burn in my heart and fill me with a consuming love for you.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Teresa of Avila, Patron of Headache sufferers, Spanish Catholic Writers (1515-1582)
Imagine that your biography was written by an enemy of yours. And that its information was all anyone would have not only for the rest of your life but for centuries to come. You would never be able to refute it — and even if you couldno one would believe you because your accuser was a saint.

That is the problem we face with Pope Callistus I who died about 222. The only story of his life we have is from someone who hated him and what he stood for, an author identified as Saint Hippolytus, a rival candidate for the chair of Peter. What had made Hippolytus so angry? Hippolytus was very strict and rigid in his adherence to rules and regulations. The early Church had been very rough on those who committed sins of adultery, murder, and fornication. Hippolytus was enraged by the mercy that Callistus showed to these repentant sinners, allowing them back into communion of the Church after they had performed public penance. Callistus’ mercy was also matched by his desire for equality among Church members, manifested by his acceptance of marraiges between free people and slaves. Hippolytus saw all of this as a degradation of the Church, a submission to lust and licentiousness that reflected not mercy and holiness in Callistus but perversion and fraud.

Trying to weed out the venom to find the facts of Callistus’ life in Hippolytus’ account, we learn that Callistus himself was a slave (something that probably did not endear him to class-conscious Hippolytus). His master, Carporphorus made him manager of a bank in the Publica Piscina sector of Rome where Callistus took in the money of other Christians. The bank failed — according to Hippolytus because Callistus spent the money on his own pleasure-seeking. It seems unlikely that Carporphorus would trust his good name and his fellow Christians’ savings to someone that unreliable.

Whatever the reason, Callistus fled the city by ship in order to escape punishment. When his master caught up with him, Callistus jumped into the sea (according to Hippolytus, in order to commit suicide). After Callistus was rescued he was brought back to Rome, put on trial, and sentenced to a cruel punishment — forced labor on the treadmill. Carporphorus took pity on his former slave and manager and Callistus won his release by convincing him he could get some of the money back from investors. (This seems to indicate, in spite of Hippolytus’ statements, that the money was not squandered but lent or invested unwisely.) Callistus’ methods had not improved with desperation and when he disrupted a synagogue by shouting for money, he was arrested and sentenced again.

This time he was sent to the mines. Other Christians who had been sentenced there because of their religion were released by negotiations between the emperor and the Pope (with the help of the emperor’s mistress who was friendly toward Christians). Callistus accidentally wound up on the same list with the persecuted brothers and sisters. (Hippolytus reports that this was through extortion and connniving on Callistus’ part.) Apparently, everyone, including the Pope, realized Callistus did not deserve his new freedom but unwilling to carry the case further the Pope gave Callistus an income and situation — away from Rome. (Once again, this is a point for suspecting Hippolytus’ account. If Callistus was so despicable and untrustworthy why provide him with an income and a situation? Leaving him free out of pity is one thing, but giving money to a convicted criminal and slave is another. There must have been more to the story.)

About nine or ten years later, the new pope Zephyrinus recalled Callistus to Rome. Zephyrinus was good-hearted and well-meaning but had no understanding of theology. This was disastrous in a time when heretical beliefs were springing up everywhere. One minute Zephyrinus would endorse a belief he thought orthodox and the next he would embrace the opposite statement. Callistus soon made his value known, guiding Zephyrinus through theology to what he saw as orthodoxy. (Needless to say it was not what Hippolytus felt was orthodox enough.) To a certain extent, according to Hippolytus, Callistus was the power behind the Church before he even assumed the bishopric of Rome.

When Zephyrinus died in 219, Callistus was proclaimed pope over the protests of his rival candidate Hippolytus. He seemed to have as strong a hatred of heresy as Hippolytus, however, because he banished one of the heretics named Sabellius.

Callistus came to power during a crucial time of the Church. Was it going to hang on to the rigid rules of previous years and limit itself to those who were already saints or was it going to embrace sinners as Christ commanded? Was its mission only to a few holy ones or to the whole world, to the healthy or to the sick? We can understand Hippolytus’ fear — that hypocritical penitents would use the Church and weaken it in the time when they faced persecution. But Callistus chose to trust God’s mercy and love and opened the doors. By choosing Christ’s mission, he chose to spread the Gospel to all.

Pope Callistus is listed as a martyr but we have no record of how he was martyred or by whom. There were no official persecutions at the time, but he may well have been killed in riots against Christians.

As sad as it is to realize that the only story we have of his life is by an enemy, it is glorious to see in it the fact that the Church is large enough not only to embrace sinners and saints, but to proclaim two people saints who hold such wildly opposing views and to elect a slave and an alleged ex-convict to guide the whole Church. There’s hope for all of us then!

More Saints of the Day
St. Agileus
St. Antiochus
St. Aurelia of Strasbourg
St. Callistus
St. Cannatus
St. Euthymius the Younger
St. Flavia
St. Fortunatus
St. Leonard Vandoeuvre
St. Sabinus
St. Severus
St. Teresa of Avila
St. Thecla of Kitzingen
Bl. Victoria Strata

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito East Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Friday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 471

72 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Ephesians 1:11-14
Psalms 33:1-2, 4-5, 12-13: Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Gospel: Luke 12:1-7
At that time:
So many people were crowding together
that they were trampling one another underfoot.
Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples,
“Beware of the leaven–that is, the hypocrisy–of the Pharisees.

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

Reflection:  What does leaven have to do with hypocrisy? To the Jews leaven was a sign of evil. It was a piece of dough from left-over bread which fermented. Fermentation was associated with decay and rotting – the state of foul-smelling decomposition. Why did Jesus warn his disciples to avoid the ways of the Pharisees? The Pharisees wanted everyone to recognize that they were pious and good Jews because they meticulously and scrupulously performed their religious duties. Jesus turned the table on them by declaring that outward appearance doesn’t always match the inward intentions of the heart. Anyone can display outward signs of goodness while inwardly harboring evil thoughts and intentions.

God’s light exposes darkness and transforms our minds and hearts
The word hypocrite means actor – someone who pretends to be what he or she is not. But who can truly be good, but God alone? Hypocrisy thrives on making a good appearance and masking what they don’t want others to see. The good news is that God’s light exposes the darkness of evil and sin in our hearts, even the sin which is unknown to us. And God’s light transforms our hearts and minds and enables us to overcome hatred with love, pride with humility, and pretense with integrity and truthfulness. God gives grace to the humble and contrite of heart to enable us to overcome the leaven of insincerity and hypocrisy in our lives.

Godly fear draws us to God’s love and truth
What does fear have to do with the kingdom of God? Fear is a powerful force. It can lead us to panic and flight or it can spur us to faith and action. The fear of God is the antidote to the fear of losing one’s life. “I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears… O fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no want! ..Come, O sons, listen to me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” (Psalm 34:4,9,11)

What is godly fear? It is reverence for the One who made us in love and who sustains us in mercy and kindness. The greatest injury or loss which we can experience is not physical but spiritual – the loss of one’s soul and life to the power of hell. A healthy fear of God leads to spiritual maturity, wisdom, and right judgment and it frees us from the tyranny of sinful pride, deceit, and cowardice – especially in the face of evil, falsehood, and deception. Do you trust in God’s grace and mercy and do you submit to his life-giving word of truth and righteousness (moral goodness)?

“Lord Jesus, may the light of your word free my heart from the deception of sin and consume me with a burning love for your truth and righteousness.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Callistus I, Patron of Cemetery workers

Imagine that your biography was written by an enemy of yours. And that its information was all anyone would have not only for the rest of your life but for centuries to come. You would never be able to refute it — and even if you couldno one would believe you because your accuser was a saint.

That is the problem we face with Pope Callistus I who died about 222. The only story of his life we have is from someone who hated him and what he stood for, an author identified as Saint Hippolytus, a rival candidate for the chair of Peter. What had made Hippolytus so angry? Hippolytus was very strict and rigid in his adherence to rules and regulations. The early Church had been very rough on those who committed sins of adultery, murder, and fornication. Hippolytus was enraged by the mercy that Callistus showed to these repentant sinners, allowing them back into communion of the Church after they had performed public penance. Callistus’ mercy was also matched by his desire for equality among Church members, manifested by his acceptance of marraiges between free people and slaves. Hippolytus saw all of this as a degradation of the Church, a submission to lust and licentiousness that reflected not mercy and holiness in Callistus but perversion and fraud.

Trying to weed out the venom to find the facts of Callistus’ life in Hippolytus’ account, we learn that Callistus himself was a slave (something that probably did not endear him to class-conscious Hippolytus). His master, Carporphorus made him manager of a bank in the Publica Piscina sector of Rome where Callistus took in the money of other Christians. The bank failed — according to Hippolytus because Callistus spent the money on his own pleasure-seeking. It seems unlikely that Carporphorus would trust his good name and his fellow Christians’ savings to someone that unreliable.

Whatever the reason, Callistus fled the city by ship in order to escape punishment. When his master caught up with him, Callistus jumped into the sea (according to Hippolytus, in order to commit suicide). After Callistus was rescued he was brought back to Rome, put on trial, and sentenced to a cruel punishment — forced labor on the treadmill. Carporphorus took pity on his former slave and manager and Callistus won his release by convincing him he could get some of the money back from investors. (This seems to indicate, in spite of Hippolytus’ statements, that the money was not squandered but lent or invested unwisely.) Callistus’ methods had not improved with desperation and when he disrupted a synagogue by shouting for money, he was arrested and sentenced again.

This time he was sent to the mines. Other Christians who had been sentenced there because of their religion were released by negotiations between the emperor and the Pope (with the help of the emperor’s mistress who was friendly toward Christians). Callistus accidentally wound up on the same list with the persecuted brothers and sisters. (Hippolytus reports that this was through extortion and connniving on Callistus’ part.) Apparently, everyone, including the Pope, realized Callistus did not deserve his new freedom but unwilling to carry the case further the Pope gave Callistus an income and situation — away from Rome. (Once again, this is a point for suspecting Hippolytus’ account. If Callistus was so despicable and untrustworthy why provide him with an income and a situation? Leaving him free out of pity is one thing, but giving money to a convicted criminal and slave is another. There must have been more to the story.)

About nine or ten years later, the new pope Zephyrinus recalled Callistus to Rome. Zephyrinus was good-hearted and well-meaning but had no understanding of theology. This was disastrous in a time when heretical beliefs were springing up everywhere. One minute Zephyrinus would endorse a belief he thought orthodox and the next he would embrace the opposite statement. Callistus soon made his value known, guiding Zephyrinus through theology to what he saw as orthodoxy. (Needless to say it was not what Hippolytus felt was orthodox enough.) To a certain extent, according to Hippolytus, Callistus was the power behind the Church before he even assumed the bishopric of Rome.

When Zephyrinus died in 219, Callistus was proclaimed pope over the protests of his rival candidate Hippolytus. He seemed to have as strong a hatred of heresy as Hippolytus, however, because he banished one of the heretics named Sabellius.

Callistus came to power during a crucial time of the Church. Was it going to hang on to the rigid rules of previous years and limit itself to those who were already saints or was it going to embrace sinners as Christ commanded? Was its mission only to a few holy ones or to the whole world, to the healthy or to the sick? We can understand Hippolytus’ fear — that hypocritical penitents would use the Church and weaken it in the time when they faced persecution. But Callistus chose to trust God’s mercy and love and opened the doors. By choosing Christ’s mission, he chose to spread the Gospel to all.

Pope Callistus is listed as a martyr but we have no record of how he was martyred or by whom. There were no official persecutions at the time, but he may well have been killed in riots against Christians.

As sad as it is to realize that the only story we have of his life is by an enemy, it is glorious to see in it the fact that the Church is large enough not only to embrace sinners and saints, but to proclaim two people saints who hold such wildly opposing views and to elect a slave and an alleged ex-convict to guide the whole Church. There’s hope for all of us then!

More Saints of the Day
St. Angadresma
St. Bernard of Arce
St. Burchard
St. Burkard
St. Calixtus
St. Callistus I
St. Carponius
St. Dominic Loricatus
St. Donatian
St. Fortunata
St. Fortunatus of Todi
Bl. Jacques Laigneau de Langellerie
St. Manakus
St. Manechildis
Bl. Marie Poussepin
St. Menehould
St. Rusticus
Sts. Saturninus & Lupus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito East Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Thursday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 470

73 Days Before Christmas
First Reading: Ephesians 1:1-10
Psalms 98:1-6: The Lord has made known his salvation.
Gospel: 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:  How can God’s wisdom free us from being double-minded and spiritually blind? God sent his prophets to open the ears of his people to hear and understand God’s word and intention for their lives. God’s wisdom is personified in the voice of the prophets, a voice that often brought rejection and death because they spoke for God rather than for human favor and approval. Jesus chastised many of the religious leaders of his day for being double-minded and for demanding from others standards which they refused to satisfy. They professed admiration for the prophets from the past by building their tombs while at the same time they opposed the message that the prophets spoke in God’s name. They rejected the prophets’ warnings and closed their ears to the word of God.

Jesus in the key of knowledge that opens God’s kingdom for us
What does Jesus mean when he says they have taken away the key of knowledge? The religious lawyers and scribes held the “office of the keys” since they were the official interpreters of the Scriptures. Unfortunately their interpretation of the Scriptures became so distorted and difficult to understand that others were “shut off” to the Scriptures. They not only shut themselves to heaven – they also hindered others from understanding God’s word. Through pride and envy, they rejected not only the prophets of old, but God’s final prophet and Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the “key of David” (see Isaiah 22:22; Revelations 3:7) who opens heaven for those who accept him as Lord and Savior. He is the “Wisdom of God” and source of everlasting life.

Humility helps us to be receptive to God’s wisdom
Only the humble of heart – those who thirst for God and acknowledge his word as true – can truly understand the wisdom which comes from above. [See Psalm 119:99ff: “I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.”] God is ever ready to speak his word to us and to give us true wisdom and understanding. Do you hunger for the wisdom which comes from above?

“Lord Jesus, may your word take root in my heart and transform all my thoughts and actions. Give me wisdom and understanding that I may know your will for my life and have the courage to live according to it.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Edward the Confessor (633-710)
Born in Northumberland in 634, St. Wilfrid was educated at Lindesfarne and then spent some time in Lyons and Rome. Returning to England, he was elected abbot of Ripon in 658 and introduced the Roman rules and practices in opposition to the celtic ways of northern England. In 664, he was the architect of the definitive victory of the Roman party at the Conference of Whitby. He was appointed Bishop of York and after some difficulty finally took possession of his See in 669. He labored zealously and founded many monasteries of the Benedictine Order, but he was obliged to appeal to Rome in order to prevent the subdivision of his diocese by St. Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury. While waiting for the case to be decided, he was forced to go into exile, and worked hard and long to evangelize the heathen south Saxons until his recall in 686. In 691, he had to retire again to the Midlands until Rome once again vindicated him. In 703, he resigned his post and retired to his monastery at Ripon where he spent his remaining time in prayer and penitential practices, until his death in 709. St. Wilfrid was an outstanding personage of his day, extremely capable and possessed of unbounded courage, remaining firm in his convictions despite running afoul of civil and ecclesiastical authorities. He helped bring the discipline of the English Church into line with that of Rome. He was also a dedicated pastor and a zealous and skilled missionary; his brief time spent in Friesland in 678-679 was the starting point for the great English mission to the Germanic peoples of continental Europe. His feast day is October 12th.

More Saints of the Day

St. Amicus
Bl. Camillus Constanzi
St. Cosmas of Maiuma
St. Domnina of Anazarbus
St. Edistius
St. Edwin of Northumbria
St. Edwin of Northumbria
St. Eustace
St. Evagrius
St. Felix and Cyprian
St. Fiace
St. Heribert of Cologne
Bl. Maria Teresa Fasce
St. Maximilian of Lorch
St. Monas
St. Pantalus
St. Salvinus
St. Seraphinus
St. Wilfrid

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito East Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Wednesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 469

74 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Galatians 5:18-25
Psalms 1:1-4, 6: Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Gospel: Luke 11:42-46
The Lord said:
“Woe to you Pharisees!
You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb,
but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God.
These you should have done, without overlooking the others.
Woe to you Pharisees!
You love the seat of honor in synagogues
and greetings in marketplaces.
Woe to you!
You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.”

Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply,
“Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.”
And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law!
You impose on people burdens hard to carry,
but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”

Reflection:  Why does Jesus single out the religious teachers and lawyers for some rather strong words of rebuke? The word woe can also be translated as alas. It is as much an expression of sorrowful pity as it is of anger. Why did Jesus lament and issue such a stern rebuke? Jesus was angry with the religious leaders because they failed to listen to God’s word and they misled the people they were supposed to guide in the ways of God.

God’s commandments are rooted in his love and care for us
The scribes devoted their lives to the study of the Law of Moses and regarded themselves as legal experts in it. They divided the ten commandments and precepts into thousands of tiny rules and regulations. They were so exacting in their interpretations and in trying to live them out, that they had little time for anything else. By the time they finished compiling their interpretations it took no less than fifty volumes to contain them! In their misguided zeal, they required unnecessary and burdensome rules which obscured the more important matters of religion, such as love of God and love of neighbor. They were leading people to Pharisaism rather than to God.

Do not lay heavy burdens on others
Jesus used the example of tithing to show how far they had missed the mark. God had commanded a tithe of the first fruits of one’s labor as an expression of thanksgiving and honor for his providential care for his people (Deuteronomy 14:22; Leviticus 27:30). The scribes, however, went to extreme lengths to tithe on insignificant things (such as tiny plants) with great mathematical accuracy. They were very attentive to minute matters of little importance, but they neglected to care for the needy and the weak. Jesus admonished them because their hearts were not right. They were filled with pride and contempt for others. They put unnecessary burdens on others while neglecting to show charity, especially to the weak and the poor. They meticulously went through the correct motions of conventional religion while forgetting the realities.

Why does Jesus also compare them with “unmarked graves”? According to Numbers 19:16 contact with a grave made a person ritually unclean for seven days. Jesus turns the table on the Pharisees by declaring that those who come into contact with them and listen to their self-made instruction are likewise defiled by their false doctrine. They infect others with wrong ideas of God and of his intentions. Since the Pharisees are “unmarked”, other people do not recognize the decay within and do not realize the danger of spiritual contamination. The Pharisees must have taken Jesus’ accusation as a double insult: They are not only spiritually unclean themselves because they reject the word of God, but they also contaminate others with their dangerous “leaven” as well (see Luke 12:1).

Love lifts the burdens of others
What was the point of Jesus’ lesson? The essence of God’s commandments is love – love of the supreme good – God himself and love of our neighbor who is made in the image and likeness of God. God is love (1 John 4:8) and everything he does flows from his love for us. God’s love is unconditional and is wholly directed towards the good of others. True love both embraces and lifts the burdens of others. Paul the Apostle reminds us that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given us” (Romans 5:5). Do you help your neighbors carry their burdens? God gives each of us sufficient grace for each day to love as he loves and to lift the burdens of others that they, too, may experience the grace and love of Jesus Christ.

“Lord Jesus, inflame my heart with your love that I may always pursue what matters most – love of you, my Lord and my God, and love of my fellow neighbor whom you have made in your own image and likeness. Free my heart from selfish desires that I may only have room for kindness, mercy, and goodness toward every person I know and meet.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Wilfrid (633-710)
Born in Northumberland in 634, St. Wilfrid was educated at Lindesfarne and then spent some time in Lyons and Rome. Returning to England, he was elected abbot of Ripon in 658 and introduced the Roman rules and practices in opposition to the celtic ways of northern England. In 664, he was the architect of the definitive victory of the Roman party at the Conference of Whitby. He was appointed Bishop of York and after some difficulty finally took possession of his See in 669. He labored zealously and founded many monasteries of the Benedictine Order, but he was obliged to appeal to Rome in order to prevent the subdivision of his diocese by St. Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury. While waiting for the case to be decided, he was forced to go into exile, and worked hard and long to evangelize the heathen south Saxons until his recall in 686. In 691, he had to retire again to the Midlands until Rome once again vindicated him. In 703, he resigned his post and retired to his monastery at Ripon where he spent his remaining time in prayer and penitential practices, until his death in 709. St. Wilfrid was an outstanding personage of his day, extremely capable and possessed of unbounded courage, remaining firm in his convictions despite running afoul of civil and ecclesiastical authorities. He helped bring the discipline of the English Church into line with that of Rome. He was also a dedicated pastor and a zealous and skilled missionary; his brief time spent in Friesland in 678-679 was the starting point for the great English mission to the Germanic peoples of continental Europe. His feast day is October 12th.

More Saints of the Day
St. Amicus
Bl. Camillus Constanzi
St. Cosmas of Maiuma
St. Domnina of Anazarbus
St. Edistius
St. Edwin of Northumbria
St. Edwin of Northumbria
St. Eustace
St. Evagrius
St. Felix and Cyprian
St. Fiace
St. Heribert of Cologne
Bl. Maria Teresa Fasce
St. Maximilian of Lorch
St. Monas
St. Pantalus
St. Salvinus
St. Seraphinus
St. Wilfrid

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito East Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 468

75 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Galatians 5:1-6
Psalms 119:41, 43, 45, 47-48: Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
Gospel: Luke 11:37-41
After Jesus had spoken,
a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home.
He entered and reclined at table to eat.
The Pharisee was amazed to see
that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal.
The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees!
Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish,
inside you are filled with plunder and evil.
You fools!
Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?
But as to what is within, give alms,
and behold, everything will be clean for you.”

Reflection:  Is the Lord Jesus welcomed at your table and are you ready to feast at his table? A Pharisee, after hearing Jesus preach, invited him to dinner, no doubt, because he wanted to hear more from this extraordinary man who spoke the word of God as no one else had done before. It was not unusual for a rabbi to give a teaching over dinner. Jesus, however, did something which offended his host. He did not perform the ceremonial washing of hands before beginning the meal. Did Jesus forget or was he deliberately performing a sign to reveal something to his host? Jesus turned the table on his host by chiding him for uncleanness of heart.

Which is more important to God – clean hands or a clean mind and heart? Jesus chided the Pharisees for harboring evil thoughts that make us unclean spiritually – such as greed, pride, bitterness, envy, arrogance, and the like. Why does he urge them, and us, to give alms? When we give freely and generously to those in need we express love, compassion, kindness, and mercy. And if the heart is full of love and compassion, then there is no room for envy, greed, bitterness, and the like. Do you allow God’s love to transform your heart, mind, and actions toward your neighbor?

“Lord Jesus, fill me with your love and increase my thirst for holiness. Cleanse my heart of every evil thought and desire and help me to act kindly and justly and to speak charitably with my neighbor.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Damien of Molokai, Patron of people with leprosy (1840-1889)
The man who would become St. Damien of Molokai, was born in rural Belgium, on January 3, 1840. His name was Jozef De Veuster, and he was the youngest of seven children. Growing up on the farm, Jozef was prepared to take over for his family, but he did not want the responsibility. Instead, he wanted to follow his older brother and two sisters who took religious vows.

Jozef attended school until the age of 13 when his help was needed on the family farm full-time. He aided his family until he was old enough to enter the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. He took the name Damien, after a sixth century martyr.

In 1864, Damien’s brother who was also in the same order of religious, was ordered to Hawaii. But his brother became ill, so Br. Damien offered to go in his place.

The brothers worried that Br. Damien was too uneducated to become a priest, although he was not considered unintelligent. Br. Damien demonstrated his ability by quickly learning Latin from his brother. He was also devoted in prayer, Br. Damien prayed each day before an icon of Saint Francis Xavier to be sent on a mission.

Eventually, his religious brothers agreed to send him and have him ordained.

Br. Damien arrived in Hawaii in March 1864, and was ordained as a priest on the island of Hawaii two months later. For nine years, he worked on the island as a priest, leading an important, yet undistinguished life.

In 1866, Hawaii established a leper colony on the Kalaupapa Peninsula. It was still mistakenly believed that leprosy was highly contagious. This belief resulted in the forced quarantine of leprosy patients.

These people still needed spiritual and medical care, so to Fr. Damien discerned his call to serve them. In 1873, Fr. Damien made the trip to be with these people in their colony.

Upon arrival, he found the colony was poorly maintained. Anarchy reigned among the people living there. Many patients required treatment but had nobody to care for them. Other patients took to drinking and became severe alcoholics. Every kind of immorality and misbehavior was on display in the lawless colony. There was no law or order.

Fr. Damien realized the people needed leadership, so he provided it. He asked people to come together to build houses and schools and eventually the parish church, St. Philomena. The church still stands today.

The sick were cared for and the dead buried. Order and routine made the colony livable. Fr. Damien personally provided much of the care the people needed.

He was supposed to only work in the colony for a time then he would be replaced by one of three other volunteers for the work. But the leper colony was to become his permanent home. After working with the people for a time Fr. Damien grew attached to the people and his work. He asked permission to stay at the colony to serve. His request was granted.

Leprosy is not as contagious as most people of the period assumed, however five percent of the human population is susceptible. The disease can also take several years to show symptoms.

Fr. Daminen became one of those people. He contracted leprosy in 1885, after several years of work. He realized he had the disease when he placed his foot into scalding water by accident, but felt no pain. This was a common way by which people discovered they were infected. Leprosy attacks nerve endings and a victim may hurt themselves but not feel any pain.

Fr. Damien continued his work, despite his illness, which slowly took over his body. He derived strength from prayer and devotion. He often went to the cemetery to pray the Rosary or spent time in the presence of the Eucharist. “It is at the foot of the altar that we find the strength we need in our isolation,” he wrote.

By all accounts, Fr. Daminen was courageous, headstrong and resilient. His personal toughness served to inspire others. He was also reportedly very happy, a common phenomenon for those who pray and work hard to serve others and the Lord.

After sixteen years in the colony, Fr. Damien succumbed to leprosy on April 15, 1889. He was first buried nearby, then his remains were transferred to Belgium in 1936. His right hand was returned to Hawaii in 1995 to be reburied in his original grave at Molokai.

He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in Brussels, Belgium on June 4, 1995. His sainthood was confirmed on October 11, 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI. His feast day is May 10.

The day of his passing, April 15, is a minor statewide holiday in Hawaii.

Saint Damien is the patron saint of people suffering from leprosy.

More Saints of the Day
St. Agilbert
St. Alexander Sauli
St. Anastasius V
St. Ansillo
St. Canice
St. Damien of Molokai
St. Ethelburga of Barking
St. Eufridus
St. Firminus of Uzes
St. Gummarus
St. Juliana of Pavilly
St. Kenneth
St. Maria Soledad
St. Nectarius
St. Peter Tuy
St. Placidia
St. Sarmata
St. Tharacus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito East Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Monday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 467

76 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Galatians 4:22-24, 26-27, 31–5:1
Psalms 113:1-7: Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.
Gospel: Luke 11:29-32

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
“This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here.”

Reflection:  Do you pay attention to warning signs? Many fatalities could be avoided if people took the warning signs seriously. When the religious leaders demanded a sign from Jesus, he gave them a warning to avert spiritual disaster. It was characteristic of the Jews that they demanded “signs” from God’s messengers to authenticate their claims. When the religious leaders pressed Jesus to give proof for his claims he says in so many words that he is God’s sign and that they need no further evidence from heaven than his own person.

The Ninevites recognized God’s warning when Jonah spoke to them, and they repented. And the Queen of Sheba recognized God’s wisdom in Solomon. Jonah was God’s sign and his message was the message of God for the people of Nineveh. Unfortunately the religious leaders were not content to accept the signs right before their eyes. They had rejected the message of John the Baptist and now they reject Jesus as God’s Anointed One (Messiah) and they fail to heed his message. Simeon had prophesied at Jesus’ birth that he was “destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that inner thoughts of many will be revealed” (Luke 2:34- 35). Jesus confirmed his message with many miracles in preparation for the greatest sign of all – his resurrection on the third day.

The Lord Jesus came to set us free from slavery to sin and hurtful desires. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit he pours his love into our hearts that we may understand his will for our lives and walk in his way of holiness. God searches our hearts, not to condemn us, but to show us where we need his saving grace and help. He calls us to seek him with true repentance, humility, and the honesty to see our sins for what they really are – a rejection of his love and will for our lives.

God will transform us if we listen to his word and allow his Holy Spirit to work in our lives. Ask the Lord to renew your mind and to increase your thirst for his wisdom. James says that the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity (James 3:17). A double-minded person cannot receive this kind of wisdom. The single of heart desire one thing alone – God’s pleasure. God wants us to delight in him and to know the freedom of his truth and love. Do you thirst for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14)?

“Lord Jesus, give me a heart that loves what is good and in accord with your will and fill me with your wisdom that I my understand your ways. Give me the grace and the courage to reject whatever is evil and contrary to your will.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Bl. Mary Angela Truszkowska (d. 1988)
Blessed Mary Angela, baptized as Sophia Camille, was born in Kalisz, Poland on May 16, 1825. Her parents, Joseph and Josephine Truszkowski, from noble families of the landed gentry, were well educated, devout Catholics and loyal patriots.

Sophia was a highly intelligent, generous, vivacious but frail child. She began her education at home under a private tutor. When the family moved to Warsaw in 1837, Sophia was enrolled in the then prestigious Academy of Madame Guerin.

Because of ill health, Sophia was withdrawn from the Academy and continued her education at home where she availed herself of her father’s vast library. She read extensively and, with profound insight, studied the causes and effects of contemporary social problems. Her father, in sharing his experiences as judge in the juvenile courts, broadened her knowledge of the social evils of her day. He helped to shape her sense of justice in an unjust world.

Already from her childhood, Sophia was drawn to prayer and genuine concern for others; but it was in 1848 at the age of 23 that she experienced a great change in her spiritual life which she herself called her “conversion”. This was the beginning of a more intensive interior life which manifested itself in a growing devotion to the Holy Eucharist, a greater love of prayer and a more ascetic life. She seriously considered joining the cloistered Visitation Sisters but her confessor advised her not to leave her ailing father. Later, while traveling with him through Germany, Sophia was enlightened by the Lord during her prayer in the cathedral of Cologne that, despite her love of prayer and solitude, she was destined to go among the suffering poor and to serve Christ in them through prayer and sacrifice. She became a member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. During the day she worked zealously for the cause of the poor and at night she prayed, constantly searching for God’s will for herself.

Finally, Sophia discovered her path and forged ahead independently. By this time she had a crystallized vision of her mission. Acknowledging that the evils of her day were due to broken families, a licentious social milieu and a lack of religious and moral training, she undertook the moral and religious education of poor neglected children, gradually extending her spacious heart to the downtrodden, the exploited, the aged and homeless. With her father’s financial help and her cousin Clothilde’s assistance she rented two attic rooms. This center then became the acclaimed “Institute of Sophia Truszkowska” which began to serve as a conscience of its cultural milieu.

Here, before an icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, Sophia – now named Angela – together with Clothilde solemnly dedicated themselves on the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, November 21, 1855, to do the will of her Son, Jesus Christ, in all things. Hereafter, this was recorded as the official founding day of the Congregation of the Sisters of St.Felix of Cantalice. Mother Angela determined that the aim of her Congregation was that “in all and by all, God may be known, loved and glorified”.

Mother Angela was not only a deeply spiritual woman but a truly enlightened woman of her day. Her community, unique to the then traditional religious life in Poland, was innovative in pioneering nontraditional leadership roles for women and service-oriented roles to meet the needs of the times. However, she integrated these nontraditional roles with the existing forms of religious life, thereby uniting ministry and contemplation within the framework of her own charism.

Through her life, work and personal holiness, the Foundress marked out the role and destiny of this 19th century innovation in Poland. As one of the first active-contemplative communities, her sisters actualized the Gospel message in generating needed social changes, actively survived political suppression of foreign conquerors, and assumed a vital and lasting role in the mission of the Church.

Mother Angela envisioned service for God’s kingdom on earth as all-embracing. When the Church called, the Felician Sisters responded. The myriad of ministries in which they engaged ranged from social and catechetical centers to converted makeshift hospitals for the wounded guerrilla fighters, including Russian and Polish soldiers – the oppressors with the oppressed – with a charity that made no distinctions.

For three successive terms, Mother Angela was elected as superior general of the Congregation. Her desire to multiply herself a thousand times and travel to all parts of the world, to live God’s love and teach his merciful love to all living souls was realized in God’s own way. At the age of 44, at the peak of human competency, the Foundress moved aside and placed her Congregation in the hands of another. She abandoned herself to God’s will and for 30 long years she lived in complete hiddenness suffering progressive deafness, malignant tumors, and excruciating headaches.

Despite the fact that she retired into the background, her concern for the sisters remained very much alive. As foundress and mother of the Congregation, she was the inspirator in the writing of the Constitutions, the initiator of new ministries and, above all, mother and guide to her spiritual daughters. She exerted her influence through letters, petitions, and even confrontations to bring to fruition the vision she had for her Congregation of Felician Sisters. She heartily endorsed the plan to send sisters to America and personally blessed the five pioneers as they left in 1874.

Her submission to God’s will gradually brought her to a complete union with Him in the long mystic experience of her annihilation. Hers was a spirituality of essentials. There were no extraordinary forms of prayer, no visions, ecstasies, or divine revelations. Her lasting legacy of love is the childlike love and imitation of the virtues of Mary, and the Eucharistic spirituality which she bequeathed to her spiritual daughters as a way of life. To this day every provincial house of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice has the privilege of public exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament throughout the day.

Mother Mary Angela died on October 10, 1899, at 12:45 a.m. Her face, ravaged by suffering, in death took on an expression of peace and quiet dignity. Victory over death shone in the gentle countenance of her face, and the sisters claimed that she was so beautiful and pleasing to look at that they could scarcely take their eyes off her. By special authorization of the municipality of Cracow, Mother Mary Angela Truszkowska was buried in the chapel adjoining the convent of the Felician Sisters on SmolenskStreet.

For this world today, Blessed Mary Angela Truszkowska remains an example of true femininity, a woman of conviction; a woman who has dared to be prophetic; a religious who has inspired and challenged many to action and contemplation.

More Saints of the Day
St. Aldericus
St. Cassius
St. Cerbonius
St. Daniel
St. Daniel Comboni
Sts. Eulampius and Eulampia
St. Francis Borgia
St. Fulk
St. Gercon
St. Gereon
St. Maharsapor
Bl. Mary Angela Truszkowska
St. Patricain
St. Paulinus of Capua
St. Paulinus of York
St. Pinytus
St. Tanca
St. Victor and Companions

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito East Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 144

77 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: 2 Kings 5:14-17
Psalms 98:1-4: The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 2:8-13
Gospel: Luke 17:11-19
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”

Reflection:  What can adversity teach us about the blessing of thanksgiving and the healing power of love and mercy? The Book of Proverbs states: A friend loves at all times; and a brother is born for adversity (Proverbs 17:17). When adversity strikes you find out who truly is your brother, sister, and friend. The Gospel records an unusual encounter between two peoples who had been divided for centuries. The Jews and Samaritans had no dealings with one another even though Samaria was located in the central part of Judea. Both peoples were openly hostile whenever their paths crossed. In this Gospel narrative we see one rare exception – a Samaritan leper in company with nine Jewish lepers. Sometimes adversity forces people to drop their barriers or to forget their prejudices. When this band of Jewish and Samaritan lepers saw Jesus they made a bold request. They didn’t ask for healing, but instead asked for mercy.

Mercy is heartfelt sorrow at another’s misfortune
The word mercy literally means “sorrowful at heart”. But mercy is something more than compassion, or heartfelt sorrow at another’s misfortune. Compassion empathizes with the sufferer. But mercy goes further – it removes suffering. A merciful person shares in another’s misfortune and suffering as if it were his or her own. And such a person will do everything in his or her power to dispel that misery.

Mercy is also connected with justice. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), a great teacher and scripture scholar, said that mercy “does not destroy justice, but is a certain kind of fulfillment of justice. ..Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution; (and) justice without mercy is cruelty.” Pardon without repentance negates justice.

God’s mercy brings healing of mind, heart, and body
So what is the significance of these ten lepers asking for mercy? They know they are in need of healing, not just physical, but spiritual healing as well. They approach Jesus with contrition and faith because they believe that he can release the burden of guilt and suffering and make restoration of body and soul possible. Their request for mercy is both a plea for pardon and release from suffering. Jesus gives mercy to all who ask with faith and contrition.

Why did only one leper out of ten return to show gratitude? Gratefulness, another word which expresses gratitude of heart and a thankful disposition, is related to grace – which means the release of loveliness. Gratitude is the homage of the heart which responds with graciousness in expressing an act of thanksgiving. The Samaritan approached Jesus reverently and gave praise to God.

Ingratitude leads to lack of love and kindness, and intolerance towards others
If we do not recognize and appreciate the mercy and help shown to us we will be ungrateful and unkind towards others. Ingratitude is forgetfulness or a poor return for kindness received. Ingratitude easily leads to lack of charity and intolerance towards others, as well as to other vices, such as complaining, grumbling, discontentment, pride, and presumption. How often have we been ungrateful to our parents, pastors, teachers, and neighbors? Do you express gratitude to God for his abundant help and mercy towards you and are you gracious, kind, and merciful towards your neighbor in their time of need and support?

“Lord Jesus, may I never fail to recognize your loving kindness and mercy towards me. Fill my heart with compassion and thanksgiving, and free me from ingratitude and discontentment. Help me to count my blessings with a grateful heart and to give thanks in all circumstances.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Denis, Patron of France; Paris; against frenzy, strife, headaches, hydrophobia, possessed people, rabies (d. 258)

Denis (or Dionysius as he is also called) is the most famous of the three. Born and raised in Italy, he was sent as a missionary to Gaul (now France) circa 250 A.D. by Pope St. Clement along with five other bishops.

Denis made his base of missionary activity an island in the Seine near the city of Lutetia Parisorium — what would become Paris. For this reason he is know as the first bishop of Paris and the Apostle of France. There he was captured by the Parisians along with Rusticus and Eleutherius. Later writers have referred to these as Denis’ priest and deacon, or his deacon and subdeacon, but we have no further information on them.

After a long imprisonment and several aborted executions, the three martyrs were beheaded with a sword and their bodies were thrown into the river. Denis’ body was retrieved from the Seine by his converts and buried. The chapel that was built over his tomb grew into the abbey of Saint-Denis.

In the ninth century, Denis’ story and identity became fused and confused with Dionysius the Areopagite and Pseudo-Dionysius, but later scholarship has re-established his identity as a separate saint.

Denis is pictured as he was martyred — headless (with a vine growing over the neck) and carrying his own mitred head.

Recognized since the time of St. Gregory as a special saint of Paris, Denis is the patron saint of France.

More Saints of the Day
St. Alfanus
St. Andronicus
St. Anicet Adolfo
St. Augusto Andres
St. Benito de Jesus
St. Cirilo Bertran
St. Demetrius
Sts. Denis, Rusticus, and Eleutherius
St. Deusdedit
St. Dionysius the Areopagite
St. Domninus of Fidenza
St. Geminus
St. Ghislain
St. Goswin
Bl. Gunther
St. John Leonardi
St. Julian Alfredo
St. Lambert & Valerius
St. Louis Bertrand
St. Marciano Jose
St. Sabinus
St. Theodoric of Emden
St. Victoriano Pio

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Saturday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 466

78 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Galatians 3:22-29
Psalms 105:2-7: The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
Gospel: Luke 11:27-28
While Jesus was speaking,
a woman from the crowd called out and said to him,
“Blessed is the womb that carried you
and the breasts at which you nursed.”
He replied, “Rather, blessed are those
who hear the word of God and observe it.”

Reflection:  Who do you seek to favor and bless? When an admirer wished to compliment Jesus by praising his mother, Jesus did not deny the truth of the blessing she pronounced. Her beatitude (which means “blessedness” or “happiness”) recalls Mary’s canticle: All generations will call me blessed(Luke 1:48). Jesus adds to her words by pointing to the source of all true blessedness or happiness – union with God in heart, mind, and will.

We can hear God’s Word and believe it
Mary humbly submitted herself to the miraculous plan of God for the incarnation of his only begotten Son – the Word of God made flesh in her womb, by declaring: I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word (Luke 1:38). Mary heard the word spoken to her by the angel and she believed it.

On another occasion Jesus remarked that whoever does the will of God is a friend of God and a member of his family – his sons and daughters who have been ransomed by the precious blood of Christ. (Luke 8:21). They are truly blessed because they know their God personally and they find joy in hearing and obeying his word.

Jesus unites us with our heavenly Father
Our goal in life, the very reason we were created in the first place, is for union with God. We were made for God and our hearts are restless until they rest in him. Lucian of Antioch (240-312), an early Christian theologian and martyr, once said that “a Christian’s only relatives are the saints.” Those who follow Jesus Christ and who seek the will of God enter into a new family, a family of “saints” here on earth and in heaven. Jesus changes the order of relationships and shows that true kinship is not just a matter of flesh and blood. Our adoption as sons and daughters of God transforms all our relationships and requires a new order of loyalty to God and his kingdom. Do you hunger for God and for his word?

“Lord Jesus, my heart is restless until it rests in you. Help me to live in your presence and in the knowledge of your great love for me. May I seek to please you in all that I do, say, and think.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Pelagia
Pelagia, more often called Margaret, on account of the magnificence of the pearls for which she had so often sold herself, was an actress of Antioch, equally celebrated for her beauty, her wealth and the disorder ofher life.  During a synod at Antioch, she passed Bishop St. Nonnus of Edessa, who was struck with her beauty; the next day she went to hear him preach and was so moved by his sermon that she asked him to baptize her which he did. She gave her wealth to Nonnus to aid the poor and left Antioch dressed in men’s clothing. She became a hermitess in a cave on Mount of Olivette in Jerusalem, where she lived in great austerity, performing penances and known as “the beardless monk” until her sex was discovered at her death. Though a young girl of fifteen did exist and suffer martyrdom at Antioch in the fourth century, the story heretold is a pious fiction, which gave rise to a whole set of similar stories under different names. Her feast day is October 8th.

More Saints of the Day
St. Amor of Aquitaine
St. Badilo
St. Benedicta
St. Evodius
St. Keyne
St. Martin Cid
Bl. Matthew de Eskandely
St. Nestor
St. Palatias and Laurentia
St. Pelagia
Bl. Peter of Seville
St. Reparata
St. Thais
St. Triduana
St. Ywi

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary
Lectionary: 465
79 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Galatians 3:7-14
Psalm 111:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6: The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
Gospel: Luke 11:15-26Jesus said to his disciples:
When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said:
“By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone,
it roams through arid regions searching for rest
but, finding none, it says,
‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’
But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order.
Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits
more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there,
and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”Top of Form

Reflection:  When danger lurks, what kind of protection do you seek? Jesus came to free us from the greatest danger of all – the corrupting force of evil which destroys us from within and makes us slaves to sin and Satan (John 8:34). Evil is not an impersonal force that just happens. It has a name and a face and it seeks to master every heart and soul on the face of the earth (1 Peter 5:8-9). Scripture identifies the Evil One by many names, ‘Satan’, ‘Beelzebul – the ‘prince of demons’, the ‘Devil’, the ‘Deceiver’, the ‘Father of Lies’, and ‘Lucifier’, the fallen angel who broke rank with God and established his own army and kingdom in opposition to God.

Jesus has power to cast out the Deceiver and set us free
Jesus declared that he came to overthrow the power of Satan and his kingdom (John 12:31). Jesus’ numerous exorcisms brought freedom to many who were troubled and oppressed by the work of evil spirits. Jesus himself encountered personal opposition and battle with Satan when he was put to the test in the wilderness just before his public ministry (Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1). He overcame the Evil One through his obedience to the will of his Father.

Some of the Jewish leaders reacted vehemently to Jesus’ healings and exorcisms and they opposed him with malicious slander. How could Jesus get the power and authority to release individuals from Satan’s influence and control? They assumed that he had to be in league with Satan. They attributed his power to Satan rather than to God. Jesus answers their charge with two arguments. There were many exorcists in Palestine in Jesus’ time. So Jesus retorted by saying that they also incriminate their own kin who cast out demons. If they condemn Jesus they also condemn themselves.

Whose kingdom do you follow and serve?
In his second argument Jesus asserts that no kingdom divided against itself can survive for long. We have witnessed enough civil wars in our own time to prove the destructive force at work here for the annihilation of whole peoples and their land. If Satan lends his power against his own forces then he is finished.

Cyril of Alexandria, a 5th century church father explains the force of Jesus’ argument:

Kingdoms are established by the fidelity of subjects and the obedience of those under the royal scepter. Houses are established when those who belong to them in no way whatsoever thwart one another but, on the contrary, agree in will and deed. I suppose it would establish the kingdom too of Beelzebub, had he determined to abstain from everything contrary to himself. How then does Satan” He does not rebuke his own servants. He does not permit himself to injure his own armor bearers. On the contrary, he helps his kingdom. “It remains for you to understand that I crush Satan by divine power.” [Commentary on Luke, Homily 80]

How can a strong person be defeated except by someone who is stronger? Jesus asserted his power and authority to cast out demons as a clear demonstration of the reign of God. Jesus’ reference to the ‘finger of God’ points back to Moses’ confrontation with Pharoah and his magicians who represented Satan and the kingdom of darkness (see Exodus 8:19). Jesus claims to be carrying on the tradition of Moses whose miracles freed the Israelites from bondage by the finger of God. God’s power is clearly at work in the exorcisms which Jesus performed and they give evidence that God’s kingdom has come.

God and his Word is the source of our protection and security
What is the point of Jesus’ grim story about a vacant house being occupied by an evil force? It is not enough to banish evil thoughts and habits from our lives. We must also fill the void with God who is the source of all that is good, wholesome, true, and life-giving for us. Augustine of Hippo said that our lives have a God-shaped void which only God can fill satisfactorily. If we attempt to leave it vacant or to fill it with something else, we will end up being in a worse state in the end.

What do you fill the void in your life with? The Lord Jesus wants to fill our hearts and minds with the power of his life-giving word and healing love. Jesus makes it very clear that there are no neutral parties in this world. We are either for Jesus or against him, for the kingdom of God or against it. There are ultimately only two kingdoms which stand in opposition to one another – the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness which is under the rule of Satan. If we disobey God’s word, we open to door to the power of sin and Satan.

Is Jesus the Lord of your mind, heart, and home?
If we want to live in true freedom, then our “house” (the inner core of our true being) must be occupied by Jesus where he is enthroned as Lord and Savior. The Lord assures us of his protection from spiritual harm and he gives us the help and strength we need to resist the devil and his lies (James 4:7). “Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your habitation, no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent. For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways”(Psalm 91:9-11). Do you know the peace and security of a life submitted to God and his word?

“Lord Jesus, be the ruler of my heart and the master of my home. May there be nothing in my life that is not under your lordship.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Artaldus (1101-1206)
Artaldus (also called Arthaud) was born in the castle of Sothonod in Savoy. At the age of eighteen, he went to the court of Duke Amadeus III, but a year or two after, he became a Carthusian at Portes. After many years, being a priest and an experienced and holy religious, he was sent by the prior of the Grande Chartreuse to found a charterhouse near his home, in a valley in the Valromey significantly called “the cemetery”. Here Artaldus established himself with six of his brethren from Portes. The community was no sooner well settled down, than there buildings were destroyed by fire, and St. Artaldus had to begin all over again. He chose a fresh site on the Arvieres River, and his second foundation was soon built and occupied. But a Carthusian cell could not contain the ever-increasing reputation of Artaldus: like his master St. Bruno, he was consulted by the Pope, and when he was well over eighty, he was called from his monastery to be bishop of Belley, in spite of his vehement and reasonable protest. However, after less than two years of episcopate, his resignation was accepted, and he thankfully returned to Arvieres, where he lived in peace for the rest of his days. During his last years, he was visited by St. Hugh of Lincoln, who had come into France, and who, while he was prior of the charterhouse of Witham, had induced Henry II to become a benefactor of Arvieres. The Magna vita of St. Hugh records a gentle rebuke administered by Hugh when Artaldus asked him for political news in the presence of the community who had turned their backs upon the world to give themselves entirely to God. The cultus of St. Artaldus, called simply Blessed by the Carthusians, was confirmed for the diocese of Belley in 1834. He was 105 years old when he died and his feast day is October 7th.

More Saints of the Day
St. Adalgis/a>
St. Apuleius
St. Artaldus
St. Augustus
St. Canog
St. Dubtach
St. Helanus
St. Justina of Padua
Pope St. Mark
St. Osyth
St. Palladius
St. Sergius & Bacehus
St. Sergius

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Thursday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 464

80 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Galatians 3:1-5
Responsorial Psalm Luke 1:69-75: Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
Gospel: Luke 11:5-13
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,’
and he says in reply from within,
‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed.
I cannot get up to give you anything.’
I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask him?

Reflection:  What can we expect from God, especially when we recognize that he doesn’t owe us anything and that we don’t deserve his grace and favor? Jesus used the illustration of a late-night traveler to teach his listeners an important lesson about how God treats us in contrast to the kind of treatment we might expect from good neighbors. The rule of hospitality in biblical times required the cooperation of the entire community in entertaining an unexpected or late-night guest. Whether the guest was hungry or not, a meal would be served. In a small village it would be easy to know who had baked bread that day. Bread was essential for a meal because it served as a utensil for dipping and eating from the common dishes. Asking for bread from one’s neighbor was both a common occurrence and an expected favor. To refuse to give bread would bring shame because it was a sign of in-hospitality.

If a neighbor can be imposed upon and coerced into giving bread in the middle of the night, how much more hospitable is God, who, no matter what the circumstances, is generous and ready to give us what we need. Augustine of Hippo reminds us that “God, who does not sleep and who awakens us from sleep that we may ask, gives much more graciously.”

In conclusion Jesus makes a startling claim: How much more will the heavenly Father give! The Lord is ever ready to give us not only what we need, but more than we can expect. He gives freely of his Holy Spirit that we may share in his life and joy. Do you approach your heavenly Father with confidence in his mercy and kindness?

“Heavenly Father, you are merciful, gracious and kind. May I never doubt your love nor hesitate to seek you with confidence in order to obtain the gifts, graces, and daily provision I need to live as your disciple and child.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Bruno
Bruno was born in Cologne of the prominent Hartenfaust family. He studied at the Cathedral school at Rheims, and on his return to Cologne about 1055, was ordained and became a Canon at St. Cunibert’s. He returned to Rheims in 1056 as professor of theology, became head of the school the following year, and remained there until 1074, when he was appointed chancellor of Rheims by its archbishop, Manasses. Bruno was forced to flee Rheims when he and several other priests denounced Manasses in 1076 as unfit for the office of Papal Legate. Bruno later returned to Cologne but went back to Rheims in 1080 when Manasses was deposed, and though the people of Rheims wanted to make Bruno archbishop, he decided to pursue an eremitical life. He became a hermit under Abbot St. Robert of Molesmes (who later founded Citeaux) but then moved on to Grenoble with six companions in 1084. They were assigned a place for their hermitages in a desolate, mountainous, alpine area called La Grande Chartreuse, by Bishop St. Hugh of Grenoble, whose confessor Bruno became. They built an oratory and individual cells, roughly followed the rule of St. Benedict, and thus began the Carthusian Order. They embraced a life of poverty, manual work, prayer, and transcribing manuscripts, though as yet they had no written rule. The fame of the group and their founder spread, and in 1090, Bruno was brought to Rome, against his wishes, by Pope Urban II (whom he had taught at Rheims) as Papal Adviser in the reformation of the clergy. Bruno persuaded Urban to allow him to resume his eremitical state, founded St. Mary’s at La Torre in Calabria, declined the Pope’s offer of the archbishopric of Reggio, became a close friend of Count Robert of Sicily, and remained there until his death on October 6. He wrote several commentaries on the psalms and on St. Paul’s epistles. He was never formally canonized because of the Carthusians’ aversion to public honors but Pope Leo X granted the Carthusians permission to celebrate his feast in 1514, and his name was placed on the Roman calendar in 1623. His feast day is October 6.

More Saints of the Day
Bl. Adalbero
St. Aurea
St. Bruno
St. Ceollach
Bl. Diego Luis de San Vitores
St. Epiphania of Pavia
St. Erotis
St. Faith
St. Faith
St. Francis Trung
Bl. Isidore of Saint Joseph
St. Magnus
St. Mary Frances of the Five Wounds of Jesus
Bl. Marie Rose Durocher
Martyrs of Trier
St. Nicetas
St. Pardulphus
St. Sagar

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Posted by: RAM | October 4, 2016

Wednesday (October 5): “Lord, teach us to pray”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
St. Faustina Kowalska, Virgin (Optional Memorial)
Wednesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 463

81 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Galatians 2:1-2, 7-14
Psalms 117:1-2: Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
Gospel: Luke 11:1-4
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name,
your Kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”

Reflection:  Do you pray with joy and confidence? The Jews were noted for their devotion to prayer. Formal prayer was prescribed for three set times a day. And the rabbis had a prayer for every occasion. It was also a custom for rabbis to teach their disciples a simple prayer they might use on a regular basis. Jesus’ disciples ask him for such a prayer. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray he gave them the disciple’s prayer, what we call the Our Fatheror Lord’s Prayer.

God treats us as his own sons and daughters
What does Jesus’ prayer tell us about God and about ourselves? First, it tells us that God is both Father in being the Creator and Author of all that he has made, the first origin of everything and transcendent authority, and he is eternally Father by his relationship to his only Son who, reciprocally is Son only in relation to his Father (Matthew 11:27). All fatherhood and motherhood is derived from him (Ephesians 3:14-15). In Jesus Christ we are reborn and become the adopted children of God (John 1:12-13; 3:3).

We can approach God confidently as a Father who loves us
Jesus teaches us to address God as “our Father” and to confidently ask him for the things we need to live as his sons and daughters. We can approach God our Father with confidence and boldness because Jesus Christ has opened the way to heaven for us through his death and resurrection. When we ask God for help, he fortunately does not give us what we deserve. Instead, he responds with grace and mercy. He is kind and forgiving towards us and he expects us to treat our neighbor the same.

We can pray with expectant faith and trust in the Father’s goodness
We can pray with expectant faith because our heavenly Father truly loves each one of us and and he treats us as his beloved children. He delights to give us what is good. His love and grace transforms us and makes us like himself. Through his grace and power we can love and serve one another as Jesus taught – with grace, mercy, and loving-kindness.

Do you treat others as they deserve, or do you treat them as the Lord Jesus would with grace and mercy? Jesus’ prayer includes an injunction (charge) that we must ask God to forgive us in proportion as we forgive those who have wronged us (Matthew 6:14-15). God’s grace frees us from every form of anger, resentment, envy, and hatred. Are you ready to forgive others as the Lord Jesus forgives you?

“Father in heaven, you have given me a mind to know you, a will to serve you, and a heart to love you. Give me today the grace and strength to embrace your holy will and fill my heart with your love that all my intentions and actions may be pleasing to you. Help me to be kind and forgiving towards my neighbor as you have been towards me”. author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Faustina Kowalska, Patron of Mercy (1905-1938)
Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska of the Blessed Sacrament was born as Helena Kowalska, in Glogowiec, Leczyca County, north-west of Lódz in Poland on August 25, 1905. She was the third of 10 children to a poor and religious family.

Faustina first felt a calling to the religious life when she was just seven-years-old and attended the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. After finishing her schooling, Faustina wanted to immediately join a convent. However, her parents refused to let her.

Instead, at 16-years-old, Faustina became a housekeeper to help her parents and support herself.

In 1924, Faustina experienced her first vision of Jesus. While at a dance with her sister, Natalia, Faustina saw a suffering Jesus and then went to a Cathedral. According to Faustina, Jesus instructed her to leave for Warsaw immediately and join a convent.

Faustina packed her bags at once and departed the following morning. When she arrived in Warsaw, she entered Saint James Church in Warsaw, the first church she came across, and attended Mass.

While in Warsaw, Faustina approached many different convents, but was turned away every time. She was judged on her appearances and sometimes rejected for poverty.

Finally, the mother superior for the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy decided to take in Faustina on the condition that she could pay for her own religious habit. Working as a housekeeper, Faustina began to save her money and make deposits to the Convent.

On April 30, 1926, at 20-years-old, she finally received her habit and took the religious name of Sister Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament and in 1928, she took her first religious vows as a nun.

Over the next year, Faustina traveled convents as a cook. In May 1930 she arrived in Plock, Poland. Soon after, she began to show the first signs of her illness and was sent away to rest. Several months later, Faustina returned to the convent.

On February 22, 1931, Faustina was visited by Jesus, who presented himself as the “King of Divine Mercy” wearing a white garment with red and pale rays coming from his heart. She was asked to become the apostle and secretary of God’s mercy, a model of how to be merciful to others, and an instrument for reemphasizing God’s plan of mercy for the world.

In her diary, Faustina writes:

“In the evening, when I was in my cell, I became aware of the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening of the garment at the breast there came forth two large rays, one red and the other pale. In silence I gazed intently at the Lord; my soul was overwhelmed with fear, but also with great joy. After a while Jesus said to me, ‘paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.'”

Faustina also describes during that same message, Jesus explained he wanted the Divine Mercy image to be “solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy.”

Faustina, not knowing how to paint, asked around her Plock convent for help but was denied. It wasn’t until three years later, in 1934, that the first painting of the image was created by Eugene Kazimierowski.

In 1932, Faustina returned to Warsaw. On May 1, 1933 she took her final vows in Lagiewniki and became a perpetual sister of Our Lady of Mercy.

After taking her vows, Faustina was transferred to Vilnius, where she met Father Michael Sopocko, the appointed confessor to the nuns. During her first confession with Sopocko, Faustina told him about her conversations with Jesus and his plan for her. Father Sopocko insisted she be evaluated by a psychiatrist. Faustina passed all the required tests and was determined sane, leading Sopocko to support her religious efforts.

Sopocko encouraged her to start keeping a diary and to record all of her conversations with Jesus. Faustina told Sopocko about the Divine Mercy image and it was Sopocko who introduced her to Kazimierowski, the artist of the first Divine Mercy painting.

According to Faustina’s diary, on Good Friday, April 19, 1935, Jesus told her he wanted the Divine Mercy image publically honored. On April 26, 1935, Father Sopocko delivered the very first sermon on the Divine Mercy.

In September 1935, Faustina wrote about her vision of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, used to obtain mercy, trust in Christ’s mercy and to show mercy to others.

During the following year, Faustina attempted to set up a new congregation for Divine Mercy, but was reminded that she was perpetually vowed to her current order and sent back to Warsaw. She reported Jesus said to her, “My Daughter, do whatever is within your power to spread devotion to My Divine Mercy, I will make up for what you lack.”

In 1936, Faustina fell ill again. She moved to the sanatorium in Pradnik, Krakow and continued to spend most of her time in prayer.

In July 1937, the first holy cards with the Divine Mercy image were created and Faustina provided instructions for the Novena of Divine Mercy, which she reported was a message from Jesus. Throughout the rest of 1937, the Divine Mercy image continued to be promoted and grow in popularity.

Faustina’s health significantly deteriorated by the end of 1937. Her visions intensified and she was said to be looking forward to the end of her life. On October 5, 1938, Faustina passed away. She was buried on October 7 and currently rests at the Basilica of Divine Mercy in Krakow, Poland.

Her entire life, in imitation of Christ’s, was to be a sacrifice – a life lived for others. At the Divine Lord’s request, she willingly offered her personal sufferings in union with Him to atone for the sins of others. In her daily life she was to become a doer of mercy, bringing joy and peace to others, and by writing about God’s mercy, she was to encourage others to trust in Him and thus prepare the world for His coming again.

Her special devotion to Mary Immaculate and to the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation gave her the strength to bear all her sufferings as an offering to God on behalf of the Church and those in special need, especially great sinners and the dying.

The message of mercy that Sister Faustina received is now being spread throughout the world; her diary, Divine Mercy in my Soul, has become the handbook for devotion to the Divine Mercy.

In 1965, Archbishop of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla, who would later become Pope John Paul II, opened up the first investigations into Faustina’s life and virtues. He submitted a number of documents on her life to the Vatican and requested the official beatification process to start.

One of his documents noted the case of Maureen Digan of Massachusetts. In March 1981, Digan reported she was healed from Lymphedema after praying at Faustina’s tomb. She explained, while there, she heard a voice saying “ask for my help and I will help you,” and her pain stopped. After returning to the United States, five different doctors all reported she was healed with no medical explanation. In 1992, the Vatican declared Digan’s case miraculous.

St. Faustina Kowalska was beatified on April 18, 1993 and canonized on April 30, 2000, both by Pope St. John Paul II. Her feast day is celebrated on October 5 and she is the patron saint of Mercy.

More Saints of the Day
Bl. Alberto Marvelli
St. Alexander
St. Anna Schaeffer
St. Apollinaris
St. Attilanus
St. Aymard
Bl. Bartholomew Longo
St. Boniface
St. Charitina
St. Faustina Kowalska
St. Firmatus & Flaviana
St. Flora
Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos
St. Galla
St. Magdalevus
St. Meinuph
St. Palmatius
St. Placid
Bl. Raymond of Capua
Bl. Robert Sutton
St. Thraseas
Bl. William Hartley

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Tuesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lectionary: 462

82 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Galatians 1:13-24
Psalms 139:1B-3, 13-14AB, 14C-15: Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Gospel: Luke 10:38-42
Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”

Reflection:  Does the peace of Christ reign in your home and in your personal life? Jesus loved to visit the home of Martha and Mary and enjoyed their gracious hospitality. In this brief encounter we see two very different temperaments in Martha and Mary. Martha loved to serve, but in her anxious manner of waiting on Jesus, she caused unrest. Mary, in her simple and trusting manner, waited on Jesus by sitting attentively at his feet. She instinctively knew that what the Lord and Teacher most wanted at that moment was her attentive presence.

Give your concerns and pre-occupations to the Lord
Anxiety and preoccupation keep us from listening and from giving the Lord our undivided attention. The Lord bids us to give him our concerns and anxieties because he is trustworthy and able to meet any need we have. His grace frees us from needless concerns and preoccupation. Do you seek the Lord attentively? And does the Lord find a welcomed and honored place in your home?

Always welcome the Lord into your home and heart
The Lord Jesus desires that we make a place for him, not only in our hearts, but in our homes and in the daily circumstances of our lives as well. We honor the Lord when we offer to him everything we have and everything we do. After all, everything we have is an outright gift from God (1 Chronicles 29:14). Paul the Apostle urges us to give God glory in everything: “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).

When you sit, eat, sleep and when you entertain your friends and guests, remember that the Lord Jesus is also the guest of your home. Scripture tells us that when Abraham opened his home and welcomed three unknown travelers, he welcomed the Lord who blessed him favorably for his gracious hospitality (Genesis 18:1-10; Hebrews 13:2). The Lord wants us to bring him glory in the way we treat others and use the gifts he has graciously given to us. God, in turn, blesses us with his gracious presence and fills us with joy.

“Lord Jesus, to be in your presence is life and joy for me. Free me from needless concerns and preoccupations that I may give you my undivided love and attention.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Francis of Assisi, Patron of Animals, Merchants & Ecology (1181-1226)
Founder of the Franciscan Order, born at Assisi in Umbria, in 1181.
In 1182, Pietro Bernardone returned from a trip to France to find out his wife had given birth to a son. Far from being excited or apologetic because he’d been gone, Pietro was furious because she’d had his new son baptized Giovanni after John the Baptist. The last thing Pietro wanted in his son was a man of God — he wanted a man of business, a cloth merchant like he was, and he especially wanted a son who would reflect his infatuation with France. So he renamed his son Francesco — which is the equivalent of calling him Frenchman.

Francis enjoyed a very rich easy life growing up because of his father’s wealth and the permissiveness of the times. From the beginning everyone — and I mean everyone — loved Francis. He was constantly happy, charming, and a born leader. If he was picky, people excused him. If he was ill, people took care of him. If he was so much of a dreamer he did poorly in school, no one minded. In many ways he was too easy to like for his own good. No one tried to control him or teach him.

As he grew up, Francis became the leader of a crowd of young people who spent their nights in wild parties. Thomas of Celano, his biographer who knew him well, said, “In other respects an exquisite youth, he attracted to himself a whole retinue of young people addicted to evil and accustomed to vice.” Francis himself said, “I lived in sin” during that time.

Francis fulfilled every hope of Pietro’s — even falling in love with France. He loved the songs of France, the romance of France, and especially the free adventurous troubadours of France who wandered through Europe. And despite his dreaming, Francis was also good at business. But Francis wanted more..more than wealth. But not holiness! Francis wanted to be a noble, a knight. Battle was the best place to win the glory and prestige he longed for. He got his first chance when Assisi declared war on their longtime enemy, the nearby town of Perugia.

Most of the troops from Assisi were butchered in the fight. Only those wealthy enough to expect to be ransomed were taken prisoner. At last Francis was among the nobility like he always wanted to be…but chained in a harsh, dark dungeon. All accounts say that he never lost his happy manner in that horrible place. Finally, after a year in the dungeon, he was ransomed. Strangely, the experience didn’t seem to change him. He gave himself to partying with as much joy and abandon as he had before the battle.

The experience didn’t change what he wanted from life either: Glory. Finally a call for knights for the Fourth Crusade gave him a chance for his dream. But before he left Francis had to have a suit of armor and a horse — no problem for the son of a wealthy father. And not just any suit of armor would do but one decorated with gold with a magnificent cloak. Any relief we feel in hearing that Francis gave the cloak to a poor knight will be destroyed by the boasts that Francis left behind that he would return a prince.

But Francis never got farther than one day’s ride from Assisi. There he had a dream in which God told him he had it all wrong and told him to return home. And return home he did. What must it have been like to return without ever making it to battle — the boy who wanted nothing more than to be liked was humiliated, laughed at, called a coward by the village and raged at by his father for the money wasted on armor.

Francis’ conversion did not happen over night. God had waited for him for twenty-five years and now it was Francis’ turn to wait. Francis started to spend more time in prayer. He went off to a cave and wept for his sins. Sometimes God’s grace overwhelmed him with joy. But life couldn’t just stop for God. There was a business to run, customers to wait on.

One day while riding through the countryside, Francis, the man who loved beauty, who was so picky about food, who hated deformity, came face to face with a leper. Repelled by the appearance and the smell of the leper, Francis nevertheless jumped down from his horse and kissed the hand of the leper. When his kiss of peace was returned, Francis was filled with joy. As he rode off, he turned around for a last wave, and saw that the leper had disappeared. He always looked upon it as a test from God…that he had passed.

His search for conversion led him to the ancient church at San Damiano. While he was praying there, he heard Christ on the crucifix speak to him, “Francis, repair my church.” Francis assumed this meant church with a small c — the crumbling building he was in. Acting again in his impetuous way, he took fabric from his father’s shop and sold it to get money to repair the church. His father saw this as an act of theft — and put together with Francis’ cowardice, waste of money, and his growing disinterest in money made Francis seem more like a madman than his son. Pietro dragged Francis before the bishop and in front of the whole town demanded that Francis return the money and renounce all rights as his heir.

The bishop was very kind to Francis; he told him to return the money and said God would provide. That was all Francis needed to hear. He not only gave back the money but stripped off all his clothes — the clothes his father had given him — until he was wearing only a hair shirt. In front of the crowd that had gathered he said, “Pietro Bernardone is no longer my father. From now on I can say with complete freedom, ‘Our Father who art in heaven.'” Wearing nothing but castoff rags, he went off into the freezing woods — singing. And when robbers beat him later and took his clothes, he climbed out of the ditch and went off singing again. From then on Francis had nothing…and everything.

Francis went back to what he considered God’s call. He begged for stones and rebuilt the San Damiano church with his own hands, not realizing that it was the Church with a capital C that God wanted repaired. Scandal and avarice were working on the Church from the inside while outside heresies flourished by appealing to those longing for something different or adventurous.

Soon Francis started to preach. (He was never a priest, though he was later ordained a deacon under his protest.) Francis was not a reformer; he preached about returning to God and obedience to the Church. Francis must have known about the decay in the Church, but he always showed the Church and its people his utmost respect. When someone told him of a priest living openly with a woman and asked him if that meant the Mass was polluted, Francis went to the priest, knelt before him, and kissed his hands — because those hands had held God.

Slowly companions came to Francis, people who wanted to follow his life of sleeping in the open, begging for garbage to eat…and loving God. With companions, Francis knew he now had to have some kind of direction to this life so he opened the Bible in three places. He read the command to the rich young man to sell all his good and give to the poor, the order to the apostles to take nothing on their journey, and the demand to take up the cross daily. “Here is our rule,” Francis said — as simple, and as seemingly impossible, as that. He was going to do what no one thought possible any more — live by the Gospel. Francis took these commands so literally that he made one brother run after the thief who stole his hood and offer him his robe!

Francis never wanted to found a religious order — this former knight thought that sounded too military. He thought of what he was doing as expressing God’s brotherhood. His companions came from all walks of life, from fields and towns, nobility and common people, universities, the Church, and the merchant class. Francis practiced true equality by showing honor, respect, and love to every person whether they were beggar or pope.

Francis’ brotherhood included all of God’s creation. Much has been written about Francis’ love of nature but his relationship was deeper than that. We call someone a lover of nature if they spend their free timein the woods or admire its beauty. But Francis really felt that nature, all God’s creations, were part of his brotherhood. The sparrow was as much his brother as the pope.

In one famous story, Francis preached to hundreds of birds about being thankful to God for their wonderful clothes, for their independence, and for God’s care. The story tells us the birds stood still as he walked among him, only flying off when he said they could leave.

Another famous story involves a wolf that had been eating human beings. Francis intervened when the town wanted to kill the wolf and talked the wolf into never killing again. The wolf became a pet of the townspeople who made sure that he always had plenty to eat.

Following the Gospel literally, Francis and his companions went out to preach two by two. At first, listeners were understandably hostile to these men in rags trying to talk about God’s love. People even ran from them for fear they’d catch this strange madness! And they were right. Because soon these same people noticed that these barefoot beggars wearing sacks seemed filled with constant joy. They celebrated life. And people had to ask themselves: Could one own nothing and be happy? Soon those who had met them with mud and rocks, greeted them with bells and smiles.

Francis did not try to abolish poverty, he tried to make it holy. When his friars met someone poorer than they, they would eagerly rip off the sleeve of their habit to give to the person. They worked for all necessities and only begged if they had to. But Francis would not let them accept any money. He told them to treat coins as if they were pebbles in the road. When the bishop showed horror at the friars’ hard life, Francis said, “If we had any possessions we should need weapons and laws to defend them.” Possessing something was the death of love for Francis. Also, Francis reasoned, what could you do to a man who owns nothing? You can’t starve a fasting man, you can’t steal from someone who has no money, you can’t ruin someone who hates prestige. They were truly free.

Francis was a man of action. His simplicity of life extended to ideas and deeds. If there was a simple way, no matter how impossible it seemed, Francis would take it. So when Francis wanted approval for his brotherhood, he went straight to Rome to see Pope Innocent III. You can imagine what the pope thought when this beggar approached him! As a matter of fact he threw Francis out. But when he had a dream that this tiny man in rags held up the tilting Lateran basilica, he quickly called Francis back and gave him permission to preach.

Sometimes this direct approach led to mistakes that he corrected with the same spontaneity that he made them. Once he ordered a brother who hesitated to speak because he stuttered to go preach half-naked. When Francis realized how he had hurt someone he loved he ran to town, stopped the brother, took off his own clothes, and preached instead.

Francis acted quickly because he acted from the heart; he didn’t have time to put on a role. Once he was so sick and exhausted, his companions borrowed a mule for him to ride. When the man who owned the mule recognized Francis he said, “Try to be as virtuous as everyone thinks you are because many have alot of confidence in you.” Francis dropped off the mule and knelt before the man to thank him for his advice.

Another example of his directness came when he decided to go to Syria to convert the Moslems while the Fifth Crusade was being fought. In the middle of a battle, Francis decided to do the simplest thing and go straight to the sultan to make peace. When he and his companion were captured, the real miraclewas that they weren’t killed. Instead Francis was taken to the sultan who was charmed by Francis and his preaching. He told Francis, “I would convert to your religion which is a beautiful one — but both of us would be murdered.”

Francis did find persecution and martyrdom of a kind — not among the Moslems, but among his own brothers. When he returned to Italy, he came back to a brotherhood that had grown to 5000 in ten years. Pressure came from outside to control this great movement, to make them conform to the standards of others. His dream of radical poverty was too harsh, people said. Francis responded, “Lord, didn’t I tell you they wouldn’t trust you?”

He finally gave up authority in his order — but he probably wasn’t too upset about it. Now he was just another brother, like he’d always wanted.

Francis’ final years were filled with suffering as well as humiliation. Praying to share in Christ’s passion he had a vision received the stigmata, the marks of the nails and the lance wound that Christ suffered, in his own body.

Years of poverty and wandering had made Francis ill. When he began to go blind, the pope ordered that his eyes be operated on. This meant cauterizing his face with a hot iron. Francis spoke to “Brother Fire”: “Brother Fire, the Most High has made you strong and beautiful and useful. Be courteous to me now in this hour, for I have always loved you, and temper your heat so that I can endure it.” And Francis reported that Brother Fire had been so kind that he felt nothing at all.

How did Francis respond to blindness and suffering? That was when he wrote his beautiful Canticle of the Sun that expresses his brotherhood with creation in praising God.

Francis never recovered from this illness. He died on October 4, 1226 at the age of 45. Francis is considered the founder of all Franciscan orders and the patron saint of ecologists and merchants.

More Saints of the Day
St. Adauctus
St. Ammon
St. Aurea
St. Crispus & Gaius
St. Domnina
St. Francis of Assisi
St. Hierotheus
St. Mark
St. Peter of Damascus
St. Petronius
St. Quintius

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Posted by: RAM | October 2, 2016

Monday (October 3): “Go and do likewise”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Monday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 461

First Reading: Galatians 1:6-12
Psalms 111:1-2, 7-10:  The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
Gospel: Luke 10:25-37
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?
How do you read it?”
He said in reply,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”
He replied to him, “You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live.”

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied,
“A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
‘Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.’
Which of these three, in your opinion,
was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Reflection:  If God is all-loving and compassionate, then why is there so much suffering and evil in this world? Many agnostics refuse to believe in God because of this seemingly imponderable problem. If God is love then evil and suffering must be eliminated in all its forms. What is God’s answer to this human dilemma? Jesus’ parable about a highway robbery gives us a helpful hint. Jesus told this dramatic story in response to a devout Jew who wanted to understand how to apply God’s great commandment of love to his everyday life circumstances. In so many words this religious-minded Jew said: “I want to love God as best as I can and I want to love my neighbor as well. But how do I know that I am fulfilling my duty to love my neighbor as myself?”

Jesus must have smiled when he heard this man challenge him to explain one’s duty towards their neighbor. For the Jewish believer the law of love was plain and simple: “treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself.” The real issue for this believer was the correct definition of who is “my neighbor”. He understood “neighbor” to mean one’s fellow Jew who belonged to the same covenant which God made with the people of Israel. Up to a certain point, Jesus agreed with this sincere expert but, at the same time, he challenged him to see that God’s view of neighbor went far beyond his narrow definition.

God’s love and mercy extends to all
Jesus told a parable to show how wide God’s love and mercy is towards every fellow human being. Jesus’ story of a brutal highway robbery was all too familiar to his audience. The road from Jerusalem to Jericho went through a narrow winding valley surrounded by steep rocky cliffs. Many wealthy Jews from Jerusalem had winter homes in Jerico. This narrow highway was dangerous and notorious for its robbers who could easily ambush their victim and escape into the hills. No one in his right mind would think of traveling through this dangerous highway alone. It was far safer to travel with others for protection and defense.

Our prejudice gets in the way of mercy
So why did the religious leaders refuse to give any help when they saw a half-dead victim lying by the roadside? Didn’t they recognize that this victim was their neighbor? And why did a Samaritan, an outsider who was despised by the Jews, treat this victim with special care at his own expense as he would care for his own family? Who was the real neighbor who showed brotherly compassion and mercy? Jesus makes the supposed villain, the despised Samaritan, the merciful one as an example for the status conscious Jews. Why didn’t the priest and Levite stop to help? The priest probably didn’t want to risk the possibility of ritual impurity. His piety got in the way of charity. The Levite approached close to the victim, but stopped short of actually helping him. Perhaps he feared that bandits were using a decoy to ambush him. The Levite put personal safety ahead of saving his neighbor.

God expects us to be merciful as he is merciful
What does Jesus’ story tell us about true love for one’s neighbor? First, we must be willing to help even if others brought trouble on themselves through their own fault or negligence. Second, our love and concern to help others in need must be practical. Good intentions and showing pity, or emphathizing with others, are not enough. And lastly, our love for others must be as wide and as inclusive as God’s love. God excludes no one from his care and concern. God’s love is unconditional. So we must be ready to do good to others for their sake, just as God is good to us.

Jesus not only taught God’s way of love, but he showed how far God was willing to go to share in our suffering and to restore us to wholeness of life and happiness. Jesus overcame sin, suffering, and death through his victory on the cross. His death brought us freedom from slavery to sin and the promise of everlasting life with God. He willingly shared in our suffering to bring us to the source of true healing and freedom from sin and oppression. True compassion not only identifies and emphathizes with the one who is in pain, but takes that pain on oneself in order to bring freedom and restoration.

The cross shows us God’s perfect love and forgiveness
Jesus truly identified with our plight, and he took the burden of our sinful condition upon himself. He showed us the depths of God’s love and compassion, by sharing in our suffering and by offering his life as an atoning sacrifice for our sins upon the cross. His suffering is redemptive because it brings us healing and restoration and the fulness of eternal life. God offers us true freedom from every form of oppression, sin, and suffering. And that way is through the cross of Jesus Christ. Are you ready to embrace the cross of Christ, to suffer for his sake, and to lay down your life out of love for your neighbor?

“Lord Jesus, may your love always be the foundation of my life. Free me from every fear and selfish-concern that I may freely give myself in loving service to others, even to the point of laying my life down for their sake.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Sts. Ewald the Dark and Ewald the Fair (d. 692)
Ewald and his brother of the same name, natives of Northumbria, England, were both priests. They came to be distinguished from one another by the color of their hair as “Ewald the Dark” and “Ewald the Fair.” Stirred by a shared love of God and religious zeal, the two brothers journeyed to Germany with the intent of preaching the Gospel there. Upon reaching the German region of Westphalia, the two brothers lodged for several days with a magistrate who served a lord they were hoping to meet. As they waited, the Ewalds spent each day in prayer together, reciting psalms and celebrating Mass at a consecrated altar they had brought with them, along with the requisite sacred vessels. The Ewalds’ piety aroused fear among the pagans that the two brothers would succeed in converting their lord to the Christian faith. Determined to sabotage the Christianization of their land, the pagans seized both brothers and slaughtered them. Ewald the Fair was slain with a sword. Ewald the Dark was subjected to a prolonged torture, suffering death by dismemberment.

More Saints of the Day
St. Adalgott
St. Candidus
Bl. Columba Marmion
St. Cyprian of Toulon
St. Ebontius
Sts. Ewald the Dark and Ewald the Fair
St. Ewald & Ewald
St. Gerard of Brogne
St. Hesychius
St. Maximian
St. Menna
St. Mother Theodore Guerin
St. Widradus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Posted by: RAM | October 1, 2016

Sunday (October 2): “Lord, increase our faith!”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 141

First Reading: Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4
Psalms 95:1-2, 6-9:  If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14
Gospel: Luke 17:5-10
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
The Lord replied,
“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded,
say, ‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.’”

Reflection:  How strong is your faith in God and how can you grow in it? Faith is not something vague, uncertain, undefineable, or something which requires a leap of the imagination or worse, some kind of blind allegiance. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Faith is a response of trust and belief in what is reliable, truthful, certain, and real. To have faith is to believe and trust in someone or something. We believe in the power of electricity even though we can’t visibly see it with the naked eye.  We know we can tap into that power and use it to do things we could not do by our own human power. Faith in God works in a similar way.

When God reveals himself to us he gives us the “assurance” and “conviction” that his power and presence and glory is just as real, and even more real, than our experience of the natural physical world around us (Letter to the Hebrews 11:1-3). Things around us change, but God never changes. He is constant, ever true to his word, and always faithful to his promises (Psalm 145:13, Hebrews 10:23). That is why we can have the greatest assurance of his unconditional love for us and why we can hope with utter conviction that he will give us everything he has promised. Jesus is God’s visible proof that his word is reliable and true – his love is unfailing and unconditional – and his power is immeasurably great and unlimited.

The Holy Spirit helps us to grow in expectant faith
What did Jesus mean when he said to his disciples that our faith can move trees and mountains as well (see Matthew17:20; Mark 11:23)? The term “mountain remover” was used for someone who could solve great problems and difficulties. Don’t we often encounter challenges and difficulties which seem beyond our power to handle? What appears impossible to human power is possible to those who believe in God’s power. Faith is a gift freely given by God to help us know God personally, to understand his truth, and to live in the power of his love. God expects more from us than we can simply do by ourselves. That is why Jesus gives us the gift and power of the Holy Spirit who helps us to grow strong in faith, persevere in hope, and endure in love.

Faith in God is the key for removing obstacles and difficulties which keep us from doing his will. We belong to God and our lives are no longer our own. Our joy and privilege is to follow the Lord Jesus and to serve in the power of his love and goodness. The Lord Jesus is ever ready to work in and through us by his Spirit for his glory. For our faith to be effective it must be linked with trust and with obedience – an  active submission to God and a willingness to do whatever he commands. Do you trust in the grace and strength which God freely gives to help us resist temptation and to overcome obstacles in doing his will?

Parable of the faithful servant who is indebted to God
Are you ready to give the Lord your best, regardless of what it might cost you? Perhaps we are like the laborer in Jesus’ parable who expected special favor and reward for going the extra mile (Luke 17:5-10)? How unfair for the master to compel his servant to give more than what was expected! Don’t we love to assert our rights: “I will give only what is required and no more!” But who can satisfy the claims of love and loyalty? Our lives are not our own – they belong to God who has ransomed us from slavery to sin with the precious blood of his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18).

Jesus used this parable of the dutiful servant to explain that we can never put God in our debt or make the claim that God owes us something. We must regard ourselves as God’s servants, just as Jesus came “not to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). Service of God and of our neighbor is both a voluntary or free act and a sacred duty. One can volunteer for service or be compelled to do service for one’s country or for one’s family when the call and need arises. Likewise, God expects us to serve him willingly and give him the worship, praise, and honor which is his due. And he gladly accepts the  free-will offering of our lives to him as our Lord and Master. What makes our offering pleasing to God is the love we express in the act of self-giving. True love is always sacrificial, generous, and selfless – it is wholly directed to the one we love and serve.

The love of God compels us to give our best
How can we love God and others selflessly and unconditionally? Scripture tells us that God himself is love (1 John 4:16) – he is the author of life and the source of all true relationships of love and friendship. He created us in love for love, and he fills our hearts with the boundless love that gives all that is good for the sake of the beloved (Romans 5:5). If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us (1 John 4:12).

God honors the faithful servant who loves and serves with a generous heart. He is ever ready to work in and through each one of us by his Spirit for his glory. We must remember, however, that God can never be indebted to us. We have no claim on him. His love compels us to give him our best! And when we have done our best, we have simply done our duty. We can never outmatch God in his immeasurable merciful love, his extravagant kindness and goodness, and his ever constant and unceasing care for us. The Scriptures remind us over and over again that God’s love is steadfast, loyal, and lasts forever – it will never cease (Psalm 89, Psalm 100, Psalm 118, Psalm 136). Saint Augustine of Hippo writes, “God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us to love.” Does the love of God compel you to give your best to him with generous love and gratitude for all that he has done for you?

“Lord Jesus, fill me with your consuming love and set my heart free to love generously and to serve selflessly. Fill me with gratitude for all you have done for me, and increase my faith and loyalty to you who are My All, My Strength, and My Life” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Leger (615- 679)
Leger was raised at the court of King Clotaire II and by his uncle, Bishop Didon of Poitiers. Leger was made archdeacon by Didon, was ordained, and in about 651, became abbot of Maxentius Abbey, where he introduced the Rule of St. Benedict. He served Queen Regent St. Bathildis and helped her govern when Clovis II died in 656, and was named bishop of Autun in 663. He reconciled the differing factions that had torn the See apart, introduced reforms, fortified the town, and was known for his concern for the poor. On the death of Clotaire III, he supported young Childeric II for King against his brother Thierry, who had been backed by Ebroin, mayor of the palace. Ebroin was exiled to Luxeuil and became a bitter enemy of Leger, who became Childeric’s adviser. When Leger denounced the marriage of Childeric to his uncle’s daughter, he also incurred the enmity of Childeric, and in 675 Leger was arrested at Autun and banished to Luxeuil. When Childeric was murdered in 675, his successor, Theodoric III, restored Leger to his See. Ebroin was also restored as mayor of the palace after he had had the incumbent Leudesius murdered and pursuaded the Duke of Champagne and the bishops of Chalons and Valence to attack Autun. To save the town, Leger surrendered. Ebroin had him blinded, his lips cut off, and his tongue pulled out. Not satisfied, several years, he convinced the King that Childeric had been murdered by Leger and his brother Gerinus. Gerinus was stoned to death, and Leger was tortured and imprisoned at Fecamp Monastery in Normandy. After two years Leger was summoned to a court at Marly by Ebroin, deposed, and executed at Sarcing, Artois, protesting his innocence to the end. Though the Roman Martyrology calls him Blessed and a martyr, there is doubt among many scholars that he is entitled to those honors. His feast day is October 2.

More Saints of the Day
St. Beregisius
St. Eleutherius of Nicomedia
Bl. Francis Chakichi
St. Gerinus
St. Leger
St. Leodegarius
St. Leudomer
Bl. Louis Shakichi
Bl. Lucy Chakichi
St. Theophilus
St. Thomas of Hereford

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
85 Days Before Christmas
Lectionary: 460

First Reading: Job 42:1-3, 5-6, 12-17
Psalms 119:66, 71, 75, 91, 125, 130:  Lord, let your face shine on me.
Gospel: Luke 10:17-24
The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus,
“Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.
Behold, I have given you the power
‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions
and upon the full force of the enemy
and nothing will harm you.
Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

Reflection:  Do you know and experience in your personal life the joy of the Lord? The Scriptures tell us that “the joy of the Lord is our strength”(Nehemiah 8:10). Why does Jesus tell his disciples to not take joy in their own successes, even spiritual ones? Jesus makes clear that the true source of our joy is God himself, and God alone. Regardless of the circumstances, in good times and bad times, in success or loss, God always assures us of victory in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus assures his disciples that he has all power over all evil, including the power of Satan and the evil spirits (demons) – the fallen angels who rebelled against God and who hate men and women who have been created in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:29). Jesus told his disciples that he came into the world to overthrow the evil one (John 12:31). That is why Jesus gave his disciples power over Satan and his legion of demons (rebellious angels). We, too, as disciples of Jesus have been given spiritual authority and power for overcoming the works of darkness and evil (1 John 2:13-14).

Self-centered pride closes the mind to God’s revelation and wisdom
Jesus thanks the Father in heaven for revealing to his disciples the wisdom and knowledge of God. What does Jesus’ prayer tell us about God and about ourselves? First, it tells us that God is both Father and Lord of earth as well as heaven. He is both Creator and Author of all that he has made, the first origin of everything and transcendent authority, and at the same time, goodness and loving care for all his children. All fatherhood and motherhood is derived from him (Ephesians 3:14-15).

Jesus’ prayer also contains a warning that pride can keep us from the love and knowledge of God. What makes us ignorant and blind to the things of God? Sinful pride springs from being self-centered and holding an exaggerated view of oneself. Pride closes the mind to God’s truth and wisdom for our lives. Lucifer, who was once the prince of angels, fell into pride because he did not want to serve God but wanted to be equal with God. Through his arrogant pride he led a whole host of angels to rebel against God. That is why the rebellious angels (whom Scripture calls evil spiritsdevils, anddemons) were cast out of heaven and thrown down to the earth. They seek to lead us away from God through pride and rebellion.

How can we guard our hearts from sinful pride and rebellion? The virtue of humility teaches us to put our trust in God and not in ourselves. God gives strength and help to those who put their trust in him. Humility is the only true remedy against sinful pride. True humility, which is very different from the feelings of inferiority or low self-esteem, leads us to a true recognition of who we are in the sight of God and of our dependence on God.

Humility is the only soil where God’s grace and truth can take root
Jesus contrasts intellectual pride with child-like simplicity and humility. The simple of heart are like “babes” or “little children” in the sense that they see purely without pretense or falsehood and acknowledge their dependence and trust in one who is greater, wiser, and more trustworthy. They seek one thing – the “summum bonum” or “greatest good” who is God himself. Simplicity of heart is wedded with humility, the queen of virtues, because humility inclines the heart towards grace and truth.

Just as pride is the root of every sin and evil inclination, so humility is the only soil in which the grace of God can take root. It alone takes the right attitude before God and allows him as God to do all. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6). The grace of Christ-like humility inclines us towards God and disposes us to receive God’s wisdom and help. Allow the Lord Jesus to heal the wounds of pride in your heart and to fill you with the joy of the Holy Spirit who transforms us into the likeness of Christ himself – who is meek and humble of heart (Matthew 11:29).

Nothing can give us greater joy than the knowledge that we are God’s beloved and that our names are written in heaven. The Lord Jesus has ransomed us from slavery to sin, Satan, and death and has adopted us as God’s beloved sons and daughters. That is why we no longer belong to ourselves – but to God alone. Do you seek to be like Jesus Christ in humility and simplicity of heart?

The Lord Jesus wants us to know him personally – experientially
Jesus makes a claim which no one would have dared to make: He is the perfect revelation of God – he and the Father are perfectly united in a bond of unbreakable love and fidelity. One of the greatest truths of the Christian faith is that we can know the living God. Our knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally. The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and other religions, is the knowledge of God as our Father. Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. Saint Augustine of Hippo wrote: “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us to love.”

Seek God with expectant faith and trust
To see Jesus is to see what God is like. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God – a God who yearns over men and women, who cares intensely for them and who shows them unceasing kindness, mercy, and forgiveness. That is why the Father sent his only begotten Son who laid down his life for us on the cross. Jesus taught his followers to confidently pray to the Father with expectant faith, “Our Father who art in heaven …give us this day our daily bread.” Do you believe in your heavenly Father’s care and love for you and do you pray with confident trust and hope that he will give you what you need to live as his son or daughter?

“Most High and glorious God, enlighten the darkness of our hearts and give us a true faith, a certain hope and a perfect love. Give us a sense of the divine and knowledge of yourself, so that we may do everything in fulfillment of your holy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Prayer of Francis of Assisi, 1182-1226) author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Therese of Lisieux, Patron of Missions (1873-1897)
Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called her the “Little Flower”, and found in her short life more inspiration for their own lives than in volumes by theologians.

Yet Therese died when she was 24, after having lived as cloistered Carmelite for less than ten years. She never went on missions, never founded a religious order, never performed great works. The only book of hers, published after her death, was an brief edited version of her journal called “Story of a Soul.” (Collections of her letters and restored versions of her journals have been published recently.) But within 28 years of her death, the public demand was so great that she was canonized.

Over the years, some modern Catholics have turned away from her because they associate her with over- sentimentalized piety and yet the message she has for us is still as compelling and simple as it was almost a century ago.

Therese was born in France in 1873, the pampered daughter of a mother who had wanted to be a saint and a father who had wanted to be monk. The two had gotten married but determined they would be celibate until a priest told them that was not how God wanted a marriage to work! They must have followed his advice very well because they had nine children. The five children who lived were all daughters who were close all their lives.

Tragedy and loss came quickly to Therese when her mother died of breast cancer when she was four and a half years old. Her sixteen year old sister Pauline became her second mother — which made the second loss even worse when Pauline entered the Carmelite convent five years later. A few months later, Therese became so ill with a fever that people thought she was dying.

The worst part of it for Therese was all the people sitting around her bed staring at her like, she said, “a string of onions.” When Therese saw her sisters praying to statue of Mary in her room, Therese also prayed. She saw Mary smile at her and suddenly she was cured. She tried to keep the grace of the cure secret but people found out and badgered her with questions about what Mary was wearing, what she looked like. When she refused to give in to their curiosity, they passed the story that she had made the whole thing up.

Without realizing it, by the time she was eleven years old she had developed the habit of mental prayer. She would find a place between her bed and the wall and in that solitude think about God, life, eternity.

When her other sisters, Marie and Leonie, left to join religious orders (the Carmelites and Poor Clares, respectively), Therese was left alone with her last sister Celine and her father. Therese tells us that she wanted to be good but that she had an odd way of going about. This spoiled little Queen of her father’s wouldn’t do housework. She thought if she made the beds she was doing a great favor!

Every time Therese even imagined that someone was criticizing her or didn’t appreciate her, she burst into tears. Then she would cry because she had cried! Any inner wall she built to contain her wild emotions crumpled immediately before the tiniest comment.

Therese wanted to enter the Carmelite convent to join Pauline and Marie but how could she convince others that she could handle the rigors of Carmelite life, if she couldn’t handle her own emotional outbursts? She had prayed that Jesus would help her but there was no sign of an answer.

On Christmas day in 1886, the fourteen-year-old hurried home from church. In France, young children left their shoes by the hearth at Christmas, and then parents would fill them with gifts. By fourteen, most children outgrew this custom. But her sister Celine didn’t want Therese to grow up. So they continued to leave presents in “baby” Therese’s shoes.

As she and Celine climbed the stairs to take off their hats, their father’s voice rose up from the parlor below. Standing over the shoes, he sighed, “Thank goodness that’s the last time we shall have this kind of thing!”

Therese froze, and her sister looked at her helplessly. Celine knew that in a few minutes Therese would be in tears over what her father had said.

But the tantrum never came. Something incredible had happened to Therese. Jesus had come into her heart and done what she could not do herself. He had made her more sensitive to her father’s feelings than her own.

She swallowed her tears, walked slowly down the stairs, and exclaimed over the gifts in the shoes, as if she had never heard a word her father said. The following year she entered the convent. In her autobiography she referred to this Christmas as her “conversion.”

Therese be known as the Little Flower but she had a will of steel. When the superior of the Carmelite convent refused to take Therese because she was so young, the formerly shy little girl went to the bishop. When the bishop also said no, she decided to go over his head, as well.

Her father and sister took her on a pilgrimage to Rome to try to get her mind off this crazy idea. Therese loved it. It was the one time when being little worked to her advantage! Because she was young and small she could run everywhere, touch relics and tombs without being yelled at. Finally they went for an audience with the Pope. They had been forbidden to speak to him but that didn’t stop Therese. As soon as she got near him, she begged that he let her enter the Carmelite convent. She had to be carried out by two of the guards!

But the Vicar General who had seen her courage was impressed and soon Therese was admitted to the Carmelite convent that her sisters Pauline and Marie had already joined. Her romantic ideas of conventlife and suffering soon met up with reality in a way she had never expected. Her father suffered a series of strokes that left him affected not only physically but mentally. When he began hallucinating and grabbed for a gun as if going into battle, he was taken to an asylum for the insane. Horrified, Therese learned of the humiliation of the father she adored and admired and of the gossip and pity of their so-called friends. As a cloistered nun she couldn’t even visit her father.

This began a horrible time of suffering when she experienced such dryness in prayer that she stated “Jesus isn’t doing much to keep the conversation going.” She was so grief-stricken that she often fell asleep in prayer. She consoled herself by saying that mothers loved children when they lie asleep in their arms so that God must love her when she slept during prayer.

She knew as a Carmelite nun she would never be able to perform great deeds. ” Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.” She took every chance to sacrifice, no matter how small it would seem. She smiled at the sisters she didn’t like. She ate everything she was given without complaining — so that she was often given the worst leftovers. One time she was accused of breaking a vase when she was not at fault. Instead of arguing she sank to her knees and begged forgiveness. These little sacrifices cost her more than bigger ones, for these went unrecognized by others. No one told her how wonderful she was for these little secret humiliations and good deeds.

When Pauline was elected prioress, she asked Therese for the ultimate sacrifice. Because of politics in the convent, many of the sisters feared that the family Martin would taken over the convent. Therefore Pauline asked Therese to remain a novice, in order to allay the fears of the others that the three sisters would push everyone else around. This meant she would never be a fully professed nun, that she would always have to ask permission for everything she did. This sacrifice was made a little sweeter when Celine entered the convent after her father’s death. Four of the sisters were now together again.

Therese continued to worry about how she could achieve holiness in the life she led. She didn’t want to just be good, she wanted to be a saint. She thought there must be a way for people living hidden, little lives like hers. ” I have always wanted to become a saint. Unfortunately when I have compared myself with the saints, I have always found that there is the same difference between the saints and me as there is between a mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds and a humble grain of sand trodden underfoot by passers-by. Instead of being discouraged, I told myself: God would not make me wish for something impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint. It is impossible for me to grow bigger, so I put up with myself as I am, with all my countless faults. But I will look for some means of going to heaven by a little way which is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new.

” We live in an age of inventions. We need no longer climb laboriously up flights of stairs; in well-to-do houses there are lifts. And I was determined to find a lift to carry me to Jesus, for I was far too small to climb the steep stairs of perfection. So I sought in holy Scripture some idea of what this life I wanted would be, and I read these words: “Whosoever is a little one, come to me.” It is your arms, Jesus, that are the lift to carry me to heaven. And so there is no need for me to grow up: I must stay little and become less and less.”

She worried about her vocation: ” I feel in me the vocation of the Priest. I have the vocation of the Apostle. Martyrdom was the dream of my youth and this dream has grown with me. Considering the mystical body of the Church, I desired to see myself in them all. Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was burning with love. I understood that Love comprised all vocations, that Love was everything, that it embraced all times and places…in a word, that it was eternal! Then in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: O Jesus, my Love…my vocation, at last I have found it…My vocation is Love!”

When an antagonist was elected prioress, new political suspicions and plottings sprang up. The concern over the Martin sisters perhaps was not exaggerated. In this small convent they now made up one-fifth of the population. Despite this and the fact that Therese was a permanent novice they put her in charge of the other novices.

Then in 1896, she coughed up blood. She kept working without telling anyone until she became so sick a year later everyone knew it. Worst of all she had lost her joy and confidence and felt she would die young without leaving anything behind. Pauline had already had her writing down her memories for journal and now she wanted her to continue — so they would have something to circulate on her life after her death.

Her pain was so great that she said that if she had not had faith she would have taken her own lifewithout hesitation. But she tried to remain smiling and cheerful — and succeeded so well that some thought she was only pretending to be ill. Her one dream as the work she would do after her death, helping those on earth. “I will return,” she said. “My heaven will be spent on earth.” She died on September 30, 1897 at the age of 24 years old. She herself felt it was a blessing God allowed her to die at exactly that age. she had always felt that she had a vocation to be a priest and felt God let her die at the age she would have been ordained if she had been a man so that she wouldn’t have to suffer.

After she died, everything at the convent went back to normal. One nun commented that there was nothing to say about Therese. But Pauline put together Therese’s writings (and heavily edited them, unfortunately) and sent 2000 copies to other convents. But Therese’s “little way” of trusting in Jesus to make her holy and relying on small daily sacrifices instead of great deeds appealed to the thousands of Catholics and others who were trying to find holiness in ordinary lives. Within two years, the Martin family had to move because her notoriety was so great and by 1925 she had been canonized.

Therese of Lisieux is one of the patron saints of the missions, not because she ever went anywhere, but because of her special love of the missions, and the prayers and letters she gave in support of missionaries. This is reminder to all of us who feel we can do nothing, that it is the little things that keep God’s kingdom growing.

More Saints of the Day
St. Abreha and Atzbeha (Aizan and Sazana)
St. Aizan and Sazana (Abreha and Atzbeha)
St. Aretas and Companions
St. Bavo
Bl. Caspar Fisogiro
St. Dodo
Bl. Edward James
St. Fidharleus
Bl. John Robinson
St. Melorius
St. Nicetius of Trier
St. Nicetius
St. Piaton
St. Ralph Crockett
St. Remigius
Bl. Robert Widmerpool
Bl. Robert Wilcox
St. Romanus the Melodist
St. Therese of Lisieux
St. Verissimus, Maxima, and Julia
St. Virila

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
Memorial of Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church
86 Days Before Christmas
Lectionary: 459

First Reading: Job 38:1, 12-21; 40:3-5
Psalms 139:1-3, 7-10, 13-14:  Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Gospel: Luke 10:13-16
Jesus said to them,
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented,
sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon
at the judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the netherworld.’
Whoever listens to you listens to me.
Whoever rejects you rejects me.
And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

Reflection:  If Jesus were to visit your community today, what would he say? Would he issue a warning like the one he gave to Chorazin and Bethsaida? And how would you respond? Wherever Jesus went he did mighty works to show the people how much God had for them. Chorazin and Bethsaida had been blessed with the visitation of God. They heard the good news and experienced the wonderful works which Jesus did for them. Why was Jesus upset with these communities? The word woe is also translated as alas. It is as much as an expression of sorrowful pity as it is of anger.

Jesus calls us to walk in the way of truth and freedom – justice and holiness
Why does Jesus lament and issue a stern warning? The people who heard the gospel here very likely responded with indifference. Jesus upbraids them for doing nothing! Repentance demands change – a change of heart and way of life. God’s word is life-giving and it saves us from destruction – the destruction of soul as well as body. Jesus’ anger is directed toward sin and everything which hinders us from doing the will of God and receiving his blessing. In love he calls us to walk in his way of truth and freedom, grace and mercy, justice and holiness. Do you receive his word with faith and submission or with doubt and indifference?

“Lord Jesus, give me the child-like simplicity and purity of faith to gaze upon your face with joy and confidence in your all-merciful love. Remove every doubt, fear, and proud thought which would hinder me from receiving your word with trust and humble submission.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Jerome, Patron of Librarians (331-420)
St. Jerome, who was born Eusebius Hieronymous Sophronius, was the most learned of the Fathers of the Western Church. He was born about the year 342 at Stridonius, a small town at the head of the Adriatic, near the episcopal city of Aquileia. His father, a Christian, took care that his son was well instructed at home, then sent him to Rome, where the young man’s teachers were the famous pagangrammarian Donatus and Victorinus, a Christian rhetorician. Jerome’s native tongue was the Illyrian dialect, but at Rome he became fluent in Latin and Greek, and read the literatures of those languages with great pleasure. His aptitude for oratory was such that he may have considered law as a career. He acquired many worldly ideas, made little effort to check his pleasure-loving instincts, and lost much of the piety that had been instilled in him at home. Yet in spite of the pagan and hedonistic influences around him, Jerome was baptized by Pope Liberius in 360. He tells us that “it was my custom on Sundays to visit, with friends of my own age and tastes, the tombs of the martyrs and Apostles, going down into those subterranean galleries whose walls on both sides preserve the relics of the dead.” Here he enjoyed deciphering the inscriptions.

After three years at Rome, Jerome’s intellectual curiosity led him to explore other parts of the world. He visited his home and then, accompanied by his boyhood friend Bonosus, went to Aquileia, where he made friends among the monks of the monastery there, notably Rufinus. Then, still accompanied by Bonosus, he traveled to Treves, in Gaul. He now renounced all secular pursuits to dedicate himself wholeheartedly to God. Eager to build up a religious library, the young scholar copied out St. Hilary’s books on and his Commentaries on the Psalms, and got together other literary and religious treasures. He returned to Stridonius, and later settled in Aquileia. The bishop had cleared the church there of the plague of Arianism and had drawn to it many eminent men. Among those with whom Jerome formed friendships were Chromatius (later canonized), to whom Jerome dedicated several of his works, Heliodorus (also to become a saint), and his nephew Nepotian. The famous theologian Rufinus, at first his close friend, afterward became his bitter opponent. By nature an irascible man with a sharp tongue, Jerome made enemies as well as friends. He spent some years in scholarly studies in Aquileia, then, in search of more perfect solitude, he turned towards the East. With his friends, Innocent, Heliodorus, and Hylas, a freed slave, he started overland for Syria. On the way they visited Athens, Bithynia, Galatia, Pontus, Cappadocia, and Cilicia.

The party arrived at Antioch about the year 373. There Jerome at first attended the lectures of the famous Apollinaris, bishop of Laodicea, who had not yet put forward his heresy1 With his companions he left the city for the desert of Chalcis, about fifty miles southeast of Antioch. Innocent and Hylas soon died there, and Heliodorus left to return to the West, but Jerome stayed for four years, which were passed in study and in the practice of austerity. He had many attacks of illness but suffered still more from temptation. “In the remotest part of a wild and stony desert,” he wrote years afterwards to his friend Eustochium, “burnt up with the heat of the sun, so scorching that it frightens even the monks who live there, I seemed to myself to be in the midst of the delights and crowds of Rome…. In this exile and prison to which through fear of Hell I had voluntarily condemned myself, with no other company but scorpions and wild beasts, I many times imagined myself watching the dancing of Roman maidens as if I had been in the midst of them. My face was pallid with fasting, yet my will felt the assaults of desire. In my cold body and my parched flesh, which seemed dead before its death, passion was still able to live. Alone with the enemy, I threw myself in spirit at the feet of Jesus, watering them with my tears, and tamed my flesh by fasting whole weeks. I am not ashamed to disclose my temptations, though I grieve that I am not now what I then was.”

Jerome added to these trials the study of Hebrew, a discipline which he hoped would help him in winning a victory over himself. “When my soul was on fire with wicked thoughts,” he wrote in 411, “as a last resort, I became a pupil to a monk who had been a Jew, in order to learn the Hebrew alphabet. From the judicious precepts of Quintilian, the rich and fluent eloquence of Cicero, the graver style of Fronto, and the smoothness of Pliny, I turned to this language of hissing and broken-winded words. What labor it cost me, what difficulties I went through, how often I despaired and abandoned it and began again to learn, both I, who felt the burden, and they who lived with me, can bear witness. I thank our Lord that I now gather such sweet fruit from the bitter sowing of those studies.” He continued to read the paganclassics for pleasure until a vivid dream turned him from them, at least for a time. In a letter he describes how, during an illness, he dreamed he was standing before the tribunal of Christ. “Thou a Christian?” said the judge skeptically. “Thou art a Ciceronian. Where thy treasure is, there thy heart is also.”

The church at Antioch was greatly disturbed at this time by party and doctrinal disputes. The anchoritesin the desert took sides, and called on Jerome, the most learned of them, to give his opinions on the subjects at issue. He wrote for guidance to Pope Damasus at Rome. Failing to receive an answer, he wrote again. “On one side, the Arian fury rages, supported by the secular power; on the other side, the Church (at Antioch) is being divided into three parts, and each would draw me to itself.” No reply from Damasus is extant; but we know that Jerome acknowledged Paulinus, leader of one party, as bishop of Antioch, and that when he left the desert of Chalcis, he received from Paulinus’ hands his ordination as priest. Jerome consented to ordination only on condition that he should not be obliged to serve in any church, knowing that his true vocation was to be a monk and recluse.

About 380 Jerome went to Constantinople to study the Scriptures under the Greek, Gregory of Nazianzus, then bishop of that city. Two years later he went back to Rome with Paulinus of Antioch to attend a council which Pope Damasus was holding to deal with the Antioch schism. Appointed secretary of the council, Jerome acquitted himself so well that, when it was over, Damasus kept him there as his own secretary. At the Pope’s request he prepared a revised text, based on the Greek, of the Latin New Testament, the current version of which had been disfigured by “wrong copying, clumsy correction, and careless interpolations.” He also revised the Latin psalter. That the prestige of Rome and its power to arbitrate between disputants, East as well as West, was recognized as never before at this time, was due in some measure at least to Jerome’s diligence and ability. Along with his official duties he was fostering a new movement of Christian asceticism among a group of noble Roman ladies. Several of them were to be canonized, including Albina and her daughters Marcella and Asella, Melania the Elder, who was the first of them to go to the Holy Land, and Paula, with her daughters, Blesilla and Eustochium. The tie between Jerome and the three last-mentioned women was especially close, and to them he addressed many of his famous letters.

When Pope Damasus died in 384, he was succeeded by Siricius, who was less friendly to Jerome. While serving Damasus, Jerome had impressed all by his personal holiness, learning, and integrity. But he had also managed to get himself widely disliked by pagans and evil-doers whom he had condemned, and also by people of taste and tolerance, many of them Christians, who were offended by his biting sarcasm and a certain ruthlessness in attack. An example of his style is the harsh diatribe against the artifices of worldly women, who “paint their cheeks with rouge and their eyelids with antimony, whose plastered faces, too white for human beings, look like idols; and if in a moment of forgetfulness they shed a tear it makes a furrow where it rolls down the painted cheek; women to whom years do not bring the gravity of age, who load their heads with other people’s hair, enamel a lost youth upon the wrinkles of age, and affect a maidenly timidity in the midst of a troop of grand children.” In a letter to Eustochium he writes with scorn of certain members of the Roman clergy. “All their anxiety is about their clothes…. You would take them for bridegrooms rather than for clerics; all they think about is knowing the names and houses and doings of rich ladies.”

Although Jerome’s indignation was usually justified, his manner of expressing it-both verbally and in letters-aroused resentment. His own reputation was attacked; his bluntness, his walk, and even his smile were criticized. And neither the virtue of the ladies under his direction nor his own scrupulous behavior towards them was any protection from scandalous gossip. Affronted at the calumnies that were circulated, Jerome decided to return to the East. Taking with him his brother Paulinian and some others, he embarked in August, 385. At Cyprus, on the way, he was received with joy by Bishop Epiphanius, and at Antioch also he conferred with leading churchmen. It was here, probably, that he was joined by thewidow Paula and some other ladies who had left Rome with the aim of settling in the Holy Land.

With what remained of Jerome’s own patrimony and with financial help from Paula, a monastery for men was built near the basilica of the Nativity at Bethlehem, and also houses for three communities of women. Paula became head of one of these, and after her death was succeeded by her daughter Eustochium. Jerome himself lived and worked in a large cave near the Saviour’s birthplace. He opened a free school there and also a hospice for pilgrims, “so that,” as Paula said, “should Mary and Joseph visitBethlehem again, they would have a place to stay.” Now at last Jerome began to enjoy some years of peaceful activity. He gives us a wonderful description of this fruitful, harmonious, Palestinian life, and its attraction for all manner of men. “Illustrious Gauls congregate here, and no sooner has the Briton, so remote from our world, arrived at religion than he leaves his early-setting sun to seek a land which he knows only by reputation and from the Scriptures. Then the Armenians, the Persians, the peoples ofIndia and Ethiopia, of Egypt, and of Pontus, Cappadocia, Syria, and Mesopotamia!… They come in throngs and set us examples of every virtue. The languages differ but the religion is the same; as many different choirs chant the psalms as there are nations…. Here bread and herbs, planted with our own hands, and milk, all country fare, furnish us plain and healthy food. In summer the trees give us shade. In autumn the air is cool and the falling leaves restful. In spring our psalmody is sweeter for the singing of the birds. We have plenty of wood when winter snow and cold are upon us. Let Rome keep its crowds, let its arenas run with blood, its circuses go mad, its theaters wallow in sensuality….”

But when the Christian faith was threatened Jerome could not be silent. While at Rome in the time of Pope Damasus, he had composed a book on the perpetual virginity of the Virgin Mary against one Helvidius, who had maintained that Mary had not remained always a virgin but had had other children by St. Joseph, after the birth of Christ. This and similar ideas were now again put forward by a certain Jovinian, who had been a monk. Paula’s son-in-law, Pammachius, sent some of this heretical writing to Jerome, and he, in 393, wrote two books against Jovinian. In the first he described the excellence of virginity. The books were written in Jerome’s vehement style and there were expressions in them which seemed lacking in respect for honorable matrimony. Pammachius informed Jerome of the offense which he and many others at Rome had taken at them. Thereupon Jerome composed his , sometimes called his third book against Jovinian, in which he showed by quoting from his own earlier works that he regarded marriage as a good and honorable state and did not condemn even a second or a third marriage.

A few years later he turned his attention to one Vigilantius, a Gallic priest, who was denouncing both celibacy and the veneration of saints’ relics, calling those who revered them idolaters and worshipers of ashes. In defending celibacy Jerome said that a monk should purchase security by flying from temptations and dangers when he distrusted his own strength. As to the veneration of relics, he declared: “We do not worship the relics of the martyrs, but honor them in our worship of Him whose martyrs they are. We honor the servants in order that the respect paid to them may be reflected back to the Lord.” Honoring them, he said, was not idolatry because no Christian had ever adored the martyrs as gods; on the other hand, they pray for us. “If the Apostles and martyrs, while still living on earth, could pray for other men, how much more may they do it after their victories? Have they less power now that they are with Jesus Christ?” He told Paula, after the death of her daughter Blesilla, “She now prays to the Lord for you, and obtains for me the pardon of my sins.” Jerome was never moderate whether invirtue or against evil. Though swift to anger, he was also swift to feel remorse and was even more severe on his own failings than on those of others.

From 395 to 400 Jerome was engaged in a war against Origenism2, which unhappily created a breach in his long friendship with Rufinus. Finding that some Eastern monks had been led into error by the authority of Rufinus’ name and learning, Jerome attacked him. Rufinus, then living in a monastery at Jerusalem, had translated many of Origen’s works into Latin and was an enthusiastic upholder of his scholarship, though it does not appear that he meant to defend the heresies in Origen’s writings. Augustine, bishop of Hippo, was one of the churchmen greatly distressed by the quarrel between Jerome and Rufinus, and became unwillingly involved in a controversy with Jerome.

Jerome’s passionate controversies were the least important part of his activities. What has made his name so famous was his critical labor on the text of the Scriptures. The Church regards him as the greatest of all the doctors in clarifying the Divine Word. He had the best available aids for such an undertaking, living where the remains of Biblical places, names, and customs all combined to give him a more vivid view than he could have had at a greater distance. To continue his study of Hebrew he hired a famous Jewish scholar, Bar Ananias, who came to teach him by night, lest other Jews should learn of it. As a man of prayer and purity of heart whose life had been mainly spent in study, penance, and contemplation, Jerome was prepared to be a sensitive interpreter of spiritual things.

We have seen that already while at Rome he had made a revision of the current Latin New Testament, and of the Psalms. Now he undertook to translate most of the books of the Old Testament directly from the Hebrew. The friends and scholars who urged him to this task realized the superiority of a version made directly from the original to any second-hand version, however venerable. It was needed too for argument with the Jews, who recognized no other text as authentic but their own. He began with the Books of Kings, and went on with the rest at different times. When he found that the Book of Tobias and part of Daniel had been composed in Chaldaic, he set himself to learn that difficult language also. More than once he was tempted to give up the whole wearisome task, but a certain scholarly tenacity of purpose kept him at it. The only parts of the Latin Bible, now known as the Vulgate, which were not either translated or worked over by him are the Books of Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, and the two Books of the Maccabees.3 He revised the Psalms once again, with the aid of Origen’s ,4 and the Hebrew text. This last is the version included now in the Vulgate and used generally in the Divine Office; his first revision, known as the Roman Psalter, is still used for the opening psalm at Matins and throughout the Missal, and for the Divine Office in the cathedrals of St. Peter at Rome and St. Mark at Venice, and in the Milanese rite.

In the sixteenth century the great Council of Trent pronounced Jerome’s Vulgate the authentic and authoritative Latin text of the Catholic Church, without, however, thereby implying a preference for it above the original text or above versions in other languages. In 1907 Pope Pius X entrusted to theBenedictine Order the office of restoring as far as possible the correct text of St. Jerome’s Vulgate, which during fifteen centuries of use had naturally become altered in many places. The Bible now ordinarily used by English-speaking Catholics is a translation of the Vulgate, made at Rheims and Douay towards the end of the sixteenth century, and revised by Bishop Challoner in the eighteenth. The Confraternity Edition of the New Testament appearing in 1950 represents a complete revision.

A heavy blow came to Jerome in 404 when his staunch friend, the saintly Paula, died. Six years later he was stunned by news of the sacking of Rome by Alaric the Goth. Of the refugees who fled from Rome to the East at this time he wrote: “Who would have believed that the daughters of that mighty city would one day be wandering as servants and slaves on the shores of Egypt and Africa, or that Bethlehemwould daily receive noble Romans, distinguished ladies, brought up in wealth and now reduced to beggary? I cannot help them all, but I grieve and weep with them, and am completely absorbed in the duties which charity imposes on me. I have put aside my commentary on Ezekiel and almost all study. For today we must translate the precepts of the Scriptures into deeds; instead of speaking saintly words, we must act them.” A few years later his work was again interrupted by raids of barbarians pushing north through Egypt into Palestine, and later still by a violent onset of Pelagian heretics, who, relying on the protection of Bishop John of Jerusalem, sent a troop of ruffians to Bethlehem to disperse the monks andnuns living there under the direction of Jerome, who had been opposing Pelagianism5 with his customary truculence. Some of the monks were beaten, a deacon was killed, and monasteries were set on fire. Jerome had to go into hiding for a time.

The following year Paula’s daughter Eustochium died. The aged Jerome soon fell ill, and after lingering for two years succumbed. Worn with penance and excessive labor, his sight and voice almost gone, his body like a shadow, he died peacefully on September 30, 420, and was buried under the church of the Nativity at Bethlehem. In the thirteenth century his body was translated and now lies somewhere in the Sistine Chapel of the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore at Rome. The Church owes much to St. Jerome. While his great work was the Vulgate, his achievements in other fields are valuable; to him we owe the distinction between canonical and apocryphal writings; he was a pioneer in the field of Biblical archeology, his commentaries are important; his letters, published in three volumes, are one of our best sources of knowledge of the times.

St. Jerome has been a popular subject with artists, who have pictured him in the desert, as a scholar in his study, and sometimes in the robes of a cardinal, because of his services for Pope Damasus; often too he is shown with a lion, from whose paw, according to legend, he once drew a thorn. Actually this story was transferred to him from the tradition of St. Gerasimus, but a lion is not an inappropriate symbol for so fearless a champion of the faith.

More Saints of the Day
St. Enghenedl
St. Gregory the Enlightener
St. Honorius of Canterbury
St. Jerome
St. Laurus
St. Leopardus
St. Midan
St. Victor and Ursus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels
87 Days Before Christmas
Thursday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 647

First Reading: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
Psalms 138:1-5:  In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
Gospel: John 1:47-51
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,
“Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him.”
Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
Nathanael answered him,
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Do you believe
because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?
You will see greater things than this.”
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see heaven opened
and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Reflection:  What would you give to see beyond the visible – to “see heaven opened and to behold the angels” who stand in God’s presence? When Philip brought his friend Nathanael to see Jesus, Jesus did the unthinkable! He brought revelation to Nathanael – revelation of how God looks at each one of us in the very depths of our hearts and invites us into intimate communion with him in his heavenly court. Nathanael was very startled that Jesus could know him and understand what was in his heart even before Nathanael had the opportunity to speak with Jesus.

God’s word brings blessing and refreshment for those who reflect on it
What is the significance of Jesus’ revelation of seeing Nathanael “under the fig tree”? For the people of Israel, the fig tree was a symbol of God’s peace and blessing (1 Kings 4:24b-25, Micah 4:4). It provided shade from the midday sun and a cool refreshing place to retreat, pray, and reflect on God’s word. Rabbis often gathered their disciples under the shade of the fig to teach them the wisdom and revelation of God from the Scriptures. The rabbis had an expression for comparing the fig tree to being nourished with God’s word in Scripture, “He who tends the fig tree will eat its fruit.”

Jesus offers the greatest gift possible – peace and friendship with God
It is very likely that Nathanial had been thinking about God “under his fig tree” and reflecting on God’s promise in the Scriptures to send a Messiah King who would free his people from sin and oppression and usher in God’s kingdom of righteousness and peace for the whole world. Perhaps Nathanael dozed off for a midday nap and dreamt of God’s kingdom like Jacob had dreamt when God gave him a vision of a great ladder which united earth with heaven (see Genesis 28:12-17). Through the gift of revelation Nathanael recognized that Jesus was truly the Messiah, the everlasting “Son of God and King of Israel” (John 1:49).  The Lord Jesus offered to Nathanael the greatest gift possible – the gift of friendship with God and free access to God’s throne in heaven.

Jesus promises that we will dwell with the living God
What does Jesus mean when he says “you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man”? One of the most remarkable revelations recorded in the bible is the dream of Jacob (Genesis 28:12-17). God had opened a door for Jacob that brought him and his people into a new relationship with the living God. In Jacob’s dream God revealed his angelic host and showed him the throne of heaven and promised Jacob that he and his descendants would dwell with the living God.

God’s angels serve us
Who are the angels and why do they intervene between heaven and earth? The Scriptures tell us the angels are God’s servants and messengers.“They are the mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word” (Psalm 103:20). The angels belong to Christ and were created for and through him (Colossians 1:16). The Letter to the Hebrews speaks of the role of the angels in God’s plan of salvation: “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14)

God’s angels watch over us as his guardians
The angels are not only messengers but protectors and guardians as well. “For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all yours ways”(Psalm 91:11). We are not alone in our struggle against sin and evil in the world. The armies of heaven fight for us and with us in the spiritual battle for our hearts, minds, and wills. Do you know the peace and security of a life submitted to God and to his way of peace and happiness?

Jesus, the Son of God, unites earth and heaven in himself 
Jesus’ response to Nathanael’s new faith is the promise that Jesus himself will be the “ladder which unites earth with heaven.” Jesus proclaims that he is the fulfillment of the promise made to the Patriarch Jacob and his descendants. Jesus is the true ladder or stairway to heaven. In Jesus’ incarnation, the divine Son of God taking on human flesh for our sake, we see the union of heaven and earth – God making his dwelling with us and bringing us into the heavenly reality of his kingdom through his Son Jesus.

Jesus gives us free access to God’s presence
Jesus’ death on the cross, where he defeated sin and won new life for us through his resurrection, opens the way for each of us to come into a new relationship with God as his adopted sons and daughters. The Lord Jesus opens the way for each one of us to “ascend to heaven” and to bring “heaven to earth” in the daily circumstances of our lives. God’s kingdom is present in those who seek him and who strive to do his will. Through the gift of faith God opens a door for each one of us to the heavenly reality of his kingdom. Do you see with the “eyes of faith” what the Lord Jesus has done for us?

“Heavenly Father, through your Son Jesus Christ, you have opened the way to heaven for us. As you revealed yourself to your beloved patriarchs and apostles, so reveal yourself to me that I may recognize your presence with me and know the power of your kingdom at work in my life. May I always find joy in your presence and never lose sight of your kingdom.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Michael the Archangel, Patron of grocers, soldiers, doctors, mariners, paratroopers, police, and sickness
Saint Michael the Archangel isn’t a saint, but rather he is an angel, and the leader of all angels and of the army of God. This is what the title “Archangel” means, that he is above all the others in rank.

St. Michael has four main responsibilities or offices, as we know from scripture and Christian tradition.

  • The first is to combat Satan.
  • The second is to escort the faithful to heaven at their hour of death.
  • The third is to be a champion of all Christians, and the Church itself.
  • And the fourth is to call men from life on Earth to their heavenly judgment.

Very little is known about St Michael other than what we know from scriptures, which themselves are sparse.

In Daniel, St. Michael is mentioned twice. The first time as one who helped Daniel, and the second time he is mentioned with regard to the end times of the world when he will stand for the “children of thy people.”

His next mention comes in the Epistle of St. Jude, where St. Michael is said to guard the tombs of Moses and Eve and has contended with Satan over the body of Moses.

The final mention is in Revelation, where St. Michael and his angels, do battle with the dragon.

There are other scriptures where St. Michael is implied, but not mentioned by name, such as the angel; who defends the gate to Paradise, who defends against Balaam, and “who routed the army of Sennacherib.”

Today, St. Michael is invoked for protection, especially from lethal enemies. He is also the patron of soldiers, police and doctors.

More Saints of the Day
St. Dadas
St. Eutychius
St. Fraternus
St. Gabriel, the Archangel
St. Gabriella
St. Garcia
St. Grimoaldus
St. Gudelia
St. Liutwin
St. Ludwin
St. Michael the Archangel
Bl. Miguel de Aozaraza
St. Quiriacus
St. Raphael
St. Rhipsime
Bl. Richard Rolle de Hampole
St. Theodota

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Posted by: RAM | September 27, 2016

Wednesday (September 28): “I will follow you, Lord.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
St. Lorenzo Ruiz, Patron saint of Filipino youth, the Philippines, people working overseas, and altar servers
88 Days Before Christmas
Wednesday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 457

First Reading: Job 9:1-12, 14-16
Psalms 88:10-15: Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
Gospel: Luke 9:57-62
As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding
on their journey, someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

Reflection:  Are you ready to follow the Lord Jesus wherever he may lead you? With the call the Lord gives the grace to respond and the strength to follow all the way to the end. Why does Jesus issue a challenge with the call? Jesus was utterly honest in telling people what it would cost to follow him. When a would-be disciple approached Jesus and said he was ready to follow, Jesus told him it would require sacrifice – the sacrifice of certain creaturely comforts. Jesus appealed to this man’s heart and told him to detach himself from whatever might hold him back. Spiritual detachment is a necessary step for following the Lord. It frees us to give ourselves without reserve to the Lord and his service. While many of us may not need to give up the comfort of our own home and bed to follow Jesus, we, nonetheless, must be willing to part with anything that might stand in the way of doing God’s will.

Don’t let anything hold you back from following the Lord Jesus
Another would-be disciple said he would follow as soon as he had buried his father. What he meant by this expression was that he felt the need to return to his home to take care of his father through old age until he died. The third had no obligation to return home, but simply wanted to go back and say good-bye. Jesus surprised these would-be disciples with the stark truth that nothing should hinder us from following the Lord. Was Jesus being harsh and rude to his would-be followers? Not really. We are free to decide whether we will take the path which Jesus offers. But if we choose to go, then the Lord wants us to count the cost and choose for it freely.

Don’t miss the good path God has set for you – it will lead to joy and freedom
What does the story of a plowman have to do with the journey? A plowman who looked back while plowing his field caused the line or furrow he cut into the soil to become crooked. One crooked line easily leads to another until the whole field is a mess. The plowman had to look straight ahead in order to keep the plow from going off course. Likewise, if we look back on what we have freely left behind to follow the Lord – whether that be some distraction, attachment, or sinful habit which leads us away from doing God’s will – our path will likely diverge and we’ll miss what God has for us.

Will you say “yes” to the Lord’s call for your life?
The Gospel does not record the response from these three would-be disciples. We are only left with the question which Jesus intends for us as well.  Are you ready to take the path which the Lord Jesus offers? His grace is sufficient and his love is strong. There is nothing greater we can do with our lives than to place them at the service of the Lord and Master of the universe. We cannot outmatch God in his generosity. Jesus promises that those who are willing to part with what is most dear to them for his sake “will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29). The Lord Jesus offers us a kingdom of lasting peace, unending joy, surpassing love, enduring friendship, and abundant life. Is there anything holding you back from pursuing the Lord and his will for you life?

“Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess you have given me. I surrender it all to you to be disposed of according to your will.  Give me only your love and your grace – with these I will be rich enough and will desire nothing more.” (Prayer of Ignatius Loyola, 1491-1556) author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Lorenzo Ruiz
Saint Lorenzo Ruiz was born around the year 1600 in Binondo, Manila in the Philippines. He was the son of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother. Both were Christians and took care to raise Lorenzo as a Catholic. He served happily in his parish church as an altar boy and calligrapher.

As a young man, Lorenzo joined the Dominican Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary.

Later, he married a woman named Rosario. The happy couple had three children, two sons and one daughter. By all accounts, the family was ordinary and happy.

In 1636, Lorenzo was accused of murder. Allegedly he killed a Spaniard. However, to protect his safety at the time, he fled home and found refuge on board a ship with three Dominican priests and a leper. There are no details of this alleged crime other than a journal entry by two Dominican priests, that he joined their group to escape possible arrest. The ship departed the Philippines on June 10, 1636, bound for Okinawa.

A shock awaited the holy passengers when they arrived in Japan. At the time of their arrival, the rulers of Japan, the Tokugawa Shogunate, were persecuting Christians. Prior to this persecution, the Christian population of Japan was thought to number 50,000 souls.

Now Lorenzo was arrested by Japanese officials for the crime of being a Christian and ordered to recant his faith. When he refused he was imprisoned for two years. On September 27, 1637, Lorenzo and his companions were taken to Nagasaki to be tortured and killed if they would not recant their faith.

Lorenzo and his companions were tortured by water, which was forced into their mouths and down their throats and out their noses and ears. Despite the painful torture, the men refused to do so.

Following this, Lorenzo was hanged upside down, with a rope around his ankles. This method of torture was known as tsurushi, or “gallows and pit.” The torture forces a person to be hanged upside down with a gash cut in their forehead to prevent too much blood from gathering in the head. The gash also causes the victim to bleed to death over an extended period of time.

Those who have survived the torture have said it is unbearable.

One hand is left free so the victim can offer an agreed symbol that will represent their desire to recant their faith. Those few who recant are spared and allowed to live. But few people ever recanted, choosing instead to die for their faith.

Lorenzo refused to recant. According to the record of his death, his last words were, “I am a Catholic and wholeheartedly do accept death for God. Had I a thousand lives, all these to Him I shall offer. Do with me as you please.”

His traveling companions were all killed, steadfast until the end.

Lorenzo was beatified by Pope John Paul II on February 18, 1981. The beatification ceremony was held in the Philippines making it the first beatification ceremony ever held outside the Vatican.

A miracle attributed to his intercession occurred in 1983. A two-year-old girl, Alegria Policarpio, suffering from hydrocephaly, a condition she had since birth, was miraculously cured.

His canonization took place at the Vatican on October 18, 1987.

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz is the patron saint of Filipino youth, the Philippines, people working overseas, and altar servers.

His feast day is September 28.

More Saints of the Day
St. Annemund
St. Conwall
St. Domingo Ibanez de Erquicia
St. Eustochium
St. Exuperius
St. Faustus of Riez
Bl. Guillermo Courtet
Bl. Jacobo Kyushei Gorobioye Tomonaga
St. John of Dukla
St. John Kokumbuko
St. Lorenzo Ruiz
Bl. Lawrence Shizu
Bl. Lazaro of Kyoto
St. Lorenzo Ruiz
St. Machan
Bl. Magdalena of Nagasaki
Bl. Marina de Omura
St. Mark
St. Martial
Bl. Michael Kinoshi
St. Paternus
Bl. Peter Kufioji
St. Raymond Li-Ts’Uan
St. Remigius Isore
St. Rose Wang-Hoei
St. Simon de Rojas
St. Tetta
Bl. Thiemo
Bl. Thomas Hioji Rokuzayemon Nishi
Bl. Thomas Kufioji
Bl. Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz
St. Wenceslaus
St. Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia 
St. Willigod & Martin

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
Memorial of Saint Vincet de Paul, Priest
90 Days Before Christmas
Tuesday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 456

First Reading: Job 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23
Psalms 88:2-8: Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
Gospel: Luke 9:51-56
When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them,
and they journeyed to another village.

Reflection:  Are you surprised to see two of Jesus’ disciples praying for the destruction of a Samaritan village? The Jews and Samaritans had been divided for centuries. Jewish pilgrims who passed through Samaritan territory were often treated badly and even assaulted. Jesus did the unthinkable for a Jew. He not only decided to travel through Samaritan territory at personal risk, but he also asked for hospitality in one of their villages!

Jesus faced rejection and abuse in order to reconcile us with God and one another
Jesus’ offer of friendship was rebuffed. Is there any wonder that the disciples were indignant and felt justified in wanting to see retribution done to this village? Wouldn’t you respond the same way? Jesus, however, rebukes his disciples for their lack of toleration. Jesus had “set his face toward Jerusalem” to die on a cross that Jew, Samaritan and Gentile might be reconciled with God and be united as one people in Christ.

Jesus seeks our highest good – friend and enemy alike
Tolerance is a much needed virtue today. But aren’t we often tolerant for the wrong thing or for the wrong motive? Christian love seeks the highest good of both one’s neighbor and one’s enemy. When Abraham Lincoln was criticized for his courtesy and tolerance towards his enemies during the American Civil War, he responded: “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” How do you treat those who cross you and cause you trouble? Do you seek their good rather than their harm?

“Lord Jesus, you are gracious, merciful, and kind. Set me free from my prejudice and intolerance towards those I find disagreeable, and widen my heart to love and to do good even to those who wish me harm or evil.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Vincent de Paul, Patron of charities; horses; hospitals; leprosy; lost articles; Madagascar; prisoners; Richmond, Virginia; spiritual help; Saint Vincent de Paul Societies; Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory; Vincentian Service Corps; volunteers (1581-1660)
St. Vincent de Paul was born to a poor peasant family in the French village of Pouy on April 24, 1581. His first formal education was provided by the Franciscans. He did so well, he was hired to tutor the children of a nearby wealthy family. He used the monies he earned teaching to continue his formal studies at the University of Toulose where he studied theology.

He was ordained in 1600 and remained in Toulose for a time. In 1605, while on a ship traveling from Marseilles to Narbone, he was captured, brought to Tunis and sold as a slave. Two years later he and his master managed to escape and both returned to France.

St. Vincent went to Avignon and later to Rome to continue his studies. While there he became a chaplain to the Count of Goigny and was placed in charge of distributing money to the deserving poor. He became pastor of a small parish in Clichy for a short period of time, while also serving as a tutor and spiritual director.

From that point forward he spent his life preaching missions to and providing relief to the poor. He even established hospitals for them. This work became his passion. He later extended his concern and ministry to convicts. The need to evangelize and assist these souls was so great and the demands beyond his own ability to meet that he founded the Ladies of Charity, a lay institute of woman, to help, as well as a religious institute of priests – the Congregation of Priests of the Mission, commonly referred to now as the Vincentians.

This was at a time when there were not many priests in France and what priests there were, were neither well-formed nor faithful to their way of life. Vincent helped reform the clergy and the manner in which they were instructed and prepared for the priesthood. He did this first through the presentation of retreats and later by helping develop a precursor to our modern day seminaries. At one point his community was directing 53 upper level seminaries. His retreats, open to priests and laymen, were so well attended that it is said he infused a “Christian spirit among more than 20,000 persons in his last 23 years.”

The Vincentians remain with us today with nearly 4,000 members in 86 countries. In addition to his order of Vincentian priests, St. Vincent cofounded the Daughters of Charity along with St. Louise de Marillac. There are more than 18,000 Daughters today serving the needs of the poor in 94 countries. He was eighty years old when he died in Paris on September 27, 1660.He had “become the symbol of the successful reform of the French Church”. St. Vincent is sometimes referred to as “The Apostle of Charity” and “The Father of the Poor”.

His incorrupt heart can be found in the Convent of the Sisters of Charity and his bones have been embedded in a wax effigy of the Saint located at the Church of the Lazarist Mission. Both sites are located in Paris, France.

Two miracles have been attributed to St Vincent – a nun cured of ulcers and a laywoman cured of paralysis. As a result of the first, Pope Benedict XIII beatified him on August 13, 1729. Less than 8 years later (on June 16, 1737) he was canonized by Pope Leo XIII. The Bull of Canonization recognized Vincent for his charity and reform of the clergy, as well as for his early role in opposing Jansenism.

It has been reported that St. Vincent wrote more than 30,000 letters in his lifetime and that nearly 7,000 had been collected in the 18th century. There are at least five collections of his letters in existence today.

The feast day for St. Vincent, the patron of all charitable societies, is September 27.

More Saints of the Day
St. Absadi
St. Adheritus
Sts. Adolphus and John
St. Barrog
St. Bonfilius
Bl. Brother Scubilionis
St. Ceraunus
St. Deodatus
St. Elzear of Sabran
St. Epicharis
St. Euprepius
St. Fidentius and Terence
St. Hiltrude
St. John Mark
St. Vincent de Paul

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
91 Days Before Christmas
Monday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 455

First Reading: Job 1:6-22
Psalms 17:1-3, 6-7: Incline your ear to me and hear my word.
Gospel: Luke 9:46-50
An argument arose among the disciples
about which of them was the greatest.
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child
and placed it by his side and said to them,
“Whoever receives this child in my name receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
For the one who is least among all of you
is the one who is the greatest.”

Then John said in reply,
“Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name
and we tried to prevent him
because he does not follow in our company.”
Jesus said to him,
“Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”

Reflection:  Are you surprised to see the disciples of Jesus arguing about who is the greatest among them? Don’t we do the same thing? The appetite for glory and greatness seems to be inbred in us. Who doesn’t cherish the ambition to be “somebody” whom others admire rather than a “nobody”?  Even the psalms speak about the glory God has destined for us. “You have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:5). Jesus made a dramatic gesture by placing a child next to himself to show his disciples who really is the greatest in the kingdom of God.

What can a little child possibly teach us about greatness? Children in the ancient world had no rights, position, or privileges of their own. They were socially at the “bottom of the rung” and at the service of their parents, much like the household staff and domestic servants. What is the significance of Jesus’ gesture? Jesus elevated a little child in the presence of his disciples by placing the child in a privileged position of honor at his right side. It is customary, even today, to seat the guest of honor at the right side of the host. Who is the greatest in God’s kingdom? The one who is humble and lowly of heart – who instead of asserting their rights willingly empty themselves of pride and self-seeking glory by taking the lowly position of a servant or child.

Jesus, himself, is our model. He came not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28). Paul the Apostles states that Jesus “emptied himself and took the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7).  Jesus lowered himself (he whose place is at the right hand of God the Father) and took on our lowly nature that he might raise us up and clothe us in his divine nature. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). If we want to be filled with God’s life and power, then we need to empty ourselves of everything which stands in the way – pride, envy, self-seeking glory, vanity, and possessiveness. God wants empty vessels so he can fill them with his own glory, power, and love (2 Corinthians 4:7). Are you ready to humble yourself and to serve as Jesus did?

 “Lord Jesus, your grace knows no bounds. You give freely to the humble of heart and you grant us freedom to love and serve others selflessly. May my love for you express itself in an eagerness to do good for others.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Sts. Cosmas & Damian, Patron of Druggists
Sts. Cosmas and Damian were brothers, born in Arabia, who had become eminent for their skill in the science of medicine. Being Christians, they were filled with the spirit of charity and never took money for their services. At Egaea in Cilicia, where they lived, they enjoyed the highest esteem of the people. When the persecution under Diocletian broke out, their very prominence rendered them marked objects of persecution. Being apprehended by order of Lysias, governor of Cilicia, they underwent various torments about the year 283. Their feast day is September 26th. They are patron saints of pharmacists.

More Saints of the Day
St. Amantius
St. Callistratus
St. Colman of Elo
Sts. Cosmas & Damian
St. Eusebius of Bologna
Bl. Giovanni Mazzucconi
St. John of Meda
St. Justina of Antioch
Bl. Louis Tezza
St. Marie Teresa Couderc
St. Meugant
St. Nilus the Younger
St. Neol
St. Senator
St. Theresa Coudere
St. Vigilius

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
92 Days Before Christmas
Lectionary: 138

First Reading: Amos 6:1, 4-7
Psalms 146:7-10:   Praise the Lord, my soul!
Second Reading: 1 Timothy 6:11-16
Gospel: Luke 16:19-31
Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
Abraham replied,
‘My child, remember that you received
what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go
from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father,
send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers,
so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”

Reflection:  What most absorbs your time, your attention, and your heart? In the parable of the rich man who refused to help the beggar named Lazarus Jesus paints a dramatic scene of contrasts – riches and poverty, heaven and hell, compassion and indifference, inclusion and exclusion. We also see an abrupt and dramatic reversal of fortune. Lazarus was not only poor and a beggar, he was also sick and unable to fend for himself.  He was “laid” at the gates of the rich man’s house. The dogs which licked his sores probably also stole the little bread he got for himself. Dogs in the ancient world symbolized contempt. Enduring the torment of these savage dogs only added to the poor man’s miseries and sufferings.

The rich man treated the beggar with contempt and indifference, until he found his fortunes reversed at the end of his life! In God’s economy, those who hold on possessively to what they have, lose it all in the end, while those who share generously receive back many times more than they gave away.

Hope in God and his merciful help
The name Lazarus means God is my help. Despite a life of misfortune and suffering, Lazarus did not lose hope in God. His eyes were set on a treasure stored up for him in heaven. The rich man, however, could not see beyond his material wealth and possessions. He not only had every thing he needed, he selfishly spent all he had on himself. He was too absorbed in what he possessed to notice the needs of those around him. He lost sight of God and  the treasure of heaven because he was preoccupied with seeking happiness in material things. He served wealth rather than God. In the end the rich man became a beggar!

Do you know the joy and freedom of possessing God as your true and lasting treasure? Those who put their hope and security in the kingdom of heaven will not be disappointed (see Hebrews 6:19).

“Lord Jesus, you are my joy and my treasure. Make me rich in the things of your heavenly kingdom and give me a generous heart that I may freely share with others the spiritual and material treasures you have given to me.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Finbar, Patron of Cork, Diocese of Cork (550-620)
He was the son of an artisan and a lady of the Irish royal court. Born in Connaught, Ireland, and baptized Lochan, he was educated at Kilmacahil, Kilkenny, where the monks named him Fionnbharr (white head) because of his light hair; he is also known as Bairre and Barr. He went on pilgrimage to Rome with some of the monks, visiting St. David in Wales on the way back. Supposedly, on another visit to Rome the Pope wanted to consecrate him a bishop but was deterred by a vision, notifying the pope that God had reserved that honor to Himself, and Finbar was consecrated from heaven and then returned to Ireland. At any rate, he may have preached in Scotland, definitely did in southern Ireland, lived as a hermit on a small island at Lough Eiroe, and then, on the river Lee, founded a monastery that developed into the city of Cork, of which he was the first bishop. His monastery became famous in southern Ireland and attracted numerous disciples. Many extravagant miracles are attributed to him, and supposedly, the sun did not set for two weeks after he died at Cloyne about the year 633. His feast day is September 25th.

More Saints of the Day
St. Abadir
St. Albert of Jerusalem
St. Anacharius
Bl. Augustine Ota
St. Austindus
St. Cadoc
St. Caian
St. Ceolfrid
St. Cleophas
St. Egelred
St. Ermenfridus
St. Euphrosyne of Alexandria
St. Finbar
St. Firminus of Amiens
St. Fymbert
St. Herculafilis
Bl. Herman the Cripple
St. Lupus of Lyons
St. Macarius of Fayum
Bl. Mancius Shisisoiemon
Bl. Mark Criado
St. Mewrog
St. Paphnutius
St. Paul and Tatta
St. Philotheus of Pemdje
St. Sergius of Radonezh
St. Sergius of Radonezh
St. Theodore of Chotep
St. Vincent Strambi

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
Saturday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
93 Days Before Christmas
Lectionary: 454

First Reading: Ecclesiastes 11:9–12:8
Psalms 90:3-6, 12-14, 17:  In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Gospel: Luke 9:43-45
While they were all amazed at his every deed,
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Pay attention to what I am telling you.
The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.”
But they did not understand this saying;
its meaning was hidden from them
so that they should not understand it,
and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

Reflection:  Do you know the majesty of God? When we ascribe majesty to someone or something we acknowledge greatness in that person or thing and voice our respect for it. The miracles of Jesus revealed the awesome power and majesty of God and his favor and blessing (grace) – especially towards the lowly and humble of heart.

God’s way to victory and glory is through the cross
But with the miracles Jesus also gave a prophetic warning: There can be no share in God’s glory without the cross. Jesus prophesied concerning his own betrayal and crucifixion – but it did not make any sense to the disciples because it did not fit their understanding of the Messiah who was supposed to come and free his people from tyranny and oppression. Little did they know that the way to victory over sin and death would be through the cross and resurrection of Christ.

Our fear of suffering betrays our lack of hope in Christ’s victory
When the disciples heard Jesus’ prediction of suffering and betrayal they were afraid to ask further questions. Like a person who might receive bad news from the doctor about some tumor or disease that could destroy them and then refuse to ask any further questions, the disciples of Jesus didn’t want to know any more about the consequences of possible suffering, defeat, and death on a cross. They couldn’t understand how the cross could bring victory and lead to new life and freedom in Christ.

How often do we reject what we do not wish to see? We have heard God’s word and we know the consequences of accepting it or rejecting it. But do we give it our full allegiance and mold our lives according to it? Ask the Lord Jesus to show you his majesty and glory that you may grow in reverence of him and in godly fear (reverence) of his word.

“Lord Jesus, by your cross you have redeemed the world and revealed your glory and triumph over sin and death. May I never fail to see your glory and victory in the cross. Help me to conform my life to your will and to follow in your way of love and holiness.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Martyrs of Chalcedon (d. 394)
A group of forty-nine Christians slain in Chalcedon during the reign of Emperor Diocletian. Records indicate that the martyrs were members of the choir in the church of Chalcedon.

More Saints of the Day
St. Anathalon
St. Andochius
Bl. Anton Martin Slomsek
St. Bercthun
St. Chuniald & Gislar
St. Gerard Sagredo
Martyrs of Chalcedon
St. Paphnutius
St. Rupert of Salzberg
St. Rusticus
St. Ysarn

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
94 Days Before Christmas
Memorial of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, Priest

Lectionary: 453

First Reading: Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
Psalms 144:1B and 2ABC, 3-4:  Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Gospel: Luke 9:18-22
Once when Jesus was praying in solitude,
and the disciples were with him,
he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah;
still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’”
Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.”
He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.

He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

Reflection:  Who is Jesus for you – and what difference does he make in your life? Many in Israel recognized Jesus as a mighty man of God, even comparing him with the greatest of the prophets. Peter, always quick to respond whenever Jesus spoke, professed that Jesus was truly the “Christ of God” – “the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). No mortal being could have revealed this to Peter, but only God. Through the “eyes of faith” Peter discovered who Jesus truly was. Peter recognized that Jesus was much more than a great teacher, prophet, and miracle worker. Peter was the first apostle to publicly declare that Jesus was the Anointed One, consecrated by the Father and sent into the world to redeem a fallen human race enslaved to sin and cut off from eternal life with God (Luke 9:20, Acts 2:14-36). The word for “Christ” in Greek is a translation of the Hebrew word for “Messiah” – both words literally mean the Anointed One.

Jesus begins to explain the mission he was sent to accomplish 
Why did Jesus command his disciples to be silent about his identity as the anointed Son of God? They were, after all, appointed to proclaim the good news to everyone. Jesus knew that they did not yet fully understand his mission and how he would accomplish it. Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD), an early church father, explains the reason for this silence:

There were things yet unfulfilled which must also be included in their preaching about him. They must also proclaim the cross, the passion, and the death in the flesh. They must preach the resurrection of the dead, that great and truly glorious sign by which testimony is borne him that the Emmanuel is truly God and by nature the Son of God the Father. He utterly abolished death and wiped out destruction. He robbed hell, and overthrew the tyranny of the enemy. He took away the sin of the world, opened the gates above to the dwellers upon earth, and united earth to heaven. These things proved him to be, as I said, in truth God. He commanded them, therefore, to guard the mystery by a seasonable silence until the whole plan of the dispensation should arrive at a suitable conclusion. (Commentary on LukeHomily 49)
God’s Anointed Son must suffer and die to atone for our sins
Jesus told his disciples that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and die in order that God’s work of redemption might be accomplished. How startled the disciples were when they heard this word. How different are God’s thoughts and ways from our thoughts and ways (Isaiah 55:8). It was through humiliation, suffering, and death on the cross that Jesus broke the powers of sin and death and won for us eternal life and freedom from the slavery of sin and from the oppression of our enemy, Satan, the father of lies and the deceiver of humankind.

We, too, have a share in the mission and victory of Jesus Christ
If we want to share in the victory of the Lord Jesus, then we must also take up our cross and follow where he leads us. What is the “cross” that you and I must take up each day? When my will crosses (does not align) with God’s will, then his will must be done. To know Jesus Christ is to know the power of his victory on the cross where he defeated sin and conquered death through his resurrection. The Holy Spirit gives each of us the gifts and strength we need to live as sons and daughters of God. The Holy Spirit gives us faith to know the Lord Jesus personally as our Redeemer, and thepower to live the gospel faithfully, and the courage to witness to others the joy, truth, and freedom of the Gospel. Who do you say that Jesus is?

“Lord Jesus, I believe and I profess that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Take my life, my will, and all that I have, that I may be wholly yours now and forever.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Padre Piio, Patron of Civil defense volunteers, Adolescents, , Stress relief, & January blues (1887-1968)
Augustinian bishop. Born at Fuentellana, Castile, Spain, he was the son of a miller. He studied at the University of Alcala, earned a licentiate in theology, and became a professor there at the age of twenty-six. He declined the chair of philosophy at the university of Salamanca and instead entered the Order of St Augustine at Salamanca in 1516. Ordained in 1520, he served as prior of several houses in Salamanca, Burgos, and Valladolid, as provincial ofAndal usia and Castile, and then court chaplain to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (r. 1519-1556). During his time as provincial of Castile, he dispatched the first Augustinian missionaries to the New World. They subsequently helped evangelize the area of modern Mexico. He was offered but declined the see of Granada, but accepted appointment as archbishop of Valencia in 1544. As the see had been vacant for nearly a century, Thomas devoted much effort to restoring the spiritual and material life of the archdiocese. He was also deeply committed to the needs of the poor. He held the post of grand almoner of the poor, founded colleges for the children of new converts and the poor, organized priests for service among the Moors, and was renowned for his personal saintliness and austerities. While he did not attend the sessions of the Council of Trent, he was an ardent promoter of the Tridentine reforms throughout Spain.

More Saints of the Day
St. Adamnan
St. Andrew and Companions
Bl. Bernardina Maria Jablonska
St. Cissa
St. Constantius
St. Irais
St. Linus
St. Padre Pio
St. Thecla
Bl. William Way
St. Xantippa & Polyxena

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
95 Days Before Christmas
Thursday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 452

First Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:2-11
Psalms 90:3-6, 12-14, 17:  In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Gospel: Luke 9:7-9
Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening,
and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying,
“John has been raised from the dead”;
others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”;
still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.”
But Herod said, “John I beheaded.
Who then is this about whom I hear such things?”
And he kept trying to see him.

Reflection:  Who do you most admire and want to be like? People with power, influence, fame, or wealth? Scripture warns us of such danger (see Proverbs 23:1-2). King Herod had respected and feared John the Baptist as a great prophet and servant of God. John, however did not fear to rebuke Herod for his adulterous affair with his brother’s wife. Herod, however, was more of a people pleaser than a pleaser of God. Herod not only imprisoned John to silence him, but he also beheaded him simply to please his family and friends.

God’s truth cannot be suppressed
Now when reports of Jesus’ miracles and teaching reach Herod’s court, Herod became very troubled in conscience. He thought that John the Baptist had risen from the dead! Herod sought to meet Jesus more out of curiosity and fear than out of a sincere desire to know God’s will. He wanted to meet Jesus – not to follow him but to prevent him from troubling his conscience any further.

We can try to rid ourselves of guilt and sin by suppressing the truth or by ridding ourselves of anyone or anything that points us to the truth. No power on earth, however, can remove a guilty conscience or free us from slavery to sin – only God can set us free through the atoning sacrifice which his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ made for us on the cross.

Whose voice and message do you follow?
How can we find true peace with ourselves and with God? The Lord Jesus shows us the way. Jesus explained to his followers, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32). Only Jesus can set us free. If we listen to his voice and obey his word, we will find true peace, joy, and freedom to live as sons and daughters of God.

Does God’s word take priority in your daily life? Or do you allow other voices and messages to distract you or lead you astray. The Lord Jesus promises to be with us and to guide us continually if we will listen to his voice and obey his word.

“Heavenly Father, form in me the likeness of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and deepen his life within me that I may be like him in word and deed. Increase my eagerness to do your will and help me to grow in the knowledge of your love and truth.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Thomas of Villanueva (1488-1555)
Augustinian bishop. Born at Fuentellana, Castile, Spain, he was the son of a miller. He studied at the University of Alcala, earned a licentiate in theology, and became a professor there at the age of twenty-six. He declined the chair of philosophy at the university of Salamanca and instead entered the Order of St Augustine at Salamanca in 1516. Ordained in 1520, he served as prior of several houses in Salamanca, Burgos, and Valladolid, as provincial ofAndal usia and Castile, and then court chaplain to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (r. 1519-1556). During his time as provincial of Castile, he dispatched the first Augustinian missionaries to the New World. They subsequently helped evangelize the area of modern Mexico. He was offered but declined the see of Granada, but accepted appointment as archbishop of Valencia in 1544. As the see had been vacant for nearly a century, Thomas devoted much effort to restoring the spiritual and material life of the archdiocese. He was also deeply committed to the needs of the poor. He held the post of grand almoner of the poor, founded colleges for the children of new converts and the poor, organized priests for service among the Moors, and was renowned for his personal saintliness and austerities. While he did not attend the sessions of the Council of Trent, he was an ardent promoter of the Tridentine reforms throughout Spain.

More Saints of the Day
Bl. Carmelo Sastre Sastre
St. Digna & Emerita
St. Emmeramus
St. Felix and Constantia
St. Florentius
St. Jonas
St. Lauto
St. Lioba
St. Lolanus
Bl. Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War
Martyrs of the Theban Legion
St. Maurice
St. Phocas the Gardener
St. Phocas of Sinope
St. Salaberga
St. Sanctinus
St. Thomas of Villanueva

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
96 Days Before Christmas
Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and evangelist
Lectionary: 643

First Reading: Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13
Psalms 19:2-5:  Their message goes out through all the earth.
Gospel: Matthew 9:9-13
As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
He heard this and said,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Bottom of FormBottom of Form

Reflection:  What is God’s call on your life? Jesus chose Matthew to be his follower and friend, not because Matthew was religious or learned, popular or saintly. Matthew appeared to be none of those. He chose to live a life of wealth and ease. His profession was probably the most corrupted and despised by everyone because tax collectors made themselves wealthy by over-charging and threatening people if they did not hand over their money to them.

God searches our heart
What did Jesus see in Matthew that others did not see? When the prophet Samuel came to the house of Jesse to anoint the future heir to the throne of Israel, he bypassed all the first seven sons and chose the last! “God looks at the heart and not at the appearance of a man” he declared. David’s heart was like a compass looking for true north – it pointed to God. Matthew’s heart must have yearned for God, even though he dare not show his face in a synagogue – the Jewish house of prayer and the study of Torah – God’s law. When Jesus saw Matthew sitting at his tax office – no doubt counting his day’s profit – Jesus spoke only two words – “follow me”. Those two words changed Matthew from a self-serving profiteer to a God-serving apostle who would bring the treasures of God’s kingdom to the poor and needy.

John Chrysostom, the great 5th century church father, describes Matthew’s calling: “Why did Jesus not call Matthew at the same time as he called Peter and John and the rest? He came to each one at a particular time when he knew that they would respond to him. He came at a different time to call Matthew when he was assured that Matthew would surrender to his call. Similarly, he called Paul at a different time when he was vulnerable, after the resurrection, something like a hunter going after his quarry. for he who is acquainted with our inmost hearts and knows the secrets of our minds knows when each one of us is ready to respond fully. Therefore he did not call them all together at the beginning, when Matthew was still in a hardened condition. Rather, only after countless miracles, after his fame spread abroad, did he call Matthew. He knew Matthew had been softened for full responsiveness.”

Jesus- the divine physician
When the Pharisees challenged Jesus’ unorthodox behavior in eating with public sinners, Jesus’ defense was quite simple. A doctor doesn’t need to visit healthy people; instead he goes to those who are sick. Jesus likewise sought out those in the greatest need. A true physician seeks healing of the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. Jesus came as the divine physician and good shepherd to care for his people and to restore them to wholeness of life. The orthodox were so preoccupied with their own practice of religion that they neglected to help the very people who needed spiritual care. Their religion was selfish because they didn’t want to have anything to do with people not like themselves. Jesus stated his mission in unequivocal terms: I came  not to call the righteous, but to call sinners. Ironically the orthodox were as needy as those they despised. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

On more than one occasion Jesus quoted the saying from the prophet Hosea: For I desire mercy and not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6). Do you thank the Lord Jesus for the great mercy he has shown to you?  And do you show mercy to your neighbor as well?

“Lord Jesus, our Savior, let us now come to you: Our hearts are cold; Lord, warm them with your selfless love. Our hearts are sinful; cleanse them with your precious blood. Our hearts are weak; strengthen them with your joyous Spirit. Our hearts are empty; fill them with your divine presence. Lord Jesus, our hearts are yours; possess them always and only for yourself.” (Prayer of Augustine, 354-430) author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Matthew, Patron of Bankers
St. Matthew’s birth and death dates are unknown, but he is believed to have been born in Galilee and is the son of Alpheus.

Matthew was a tax collector and is therefore the patron saint of bankers. He was never officially beatified or canonized as he was recognized as a saint “pre-congregation.” Pre-congregation refers to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, and it is the formal process of review by which saints are now recognized by the Church. The Church established St. Matthew’s feast day as September 21.

Matthew was collecting taxes in Capernaum when he was called to be an apostle of Christ. The Bible states that Jesus simply saw Matthew sitting in a tax collector’s booth and said, “Follow me.” That is all it took for Matthew to discard his previous life and follow Christ.

His apostolic activity was at first restricted to the communities of Palestine. Nothing definite is known about his later life. There is a tradition that points to Ethiopia as his field of labor; other traditions mention of Parthia and Persia. It is uncertain whether he died a natural death or received the crown of martyrdom.

St. Matthew’s Gospel was written to fill a sorely-felt want for his fellow countrymen, both believers and unbelievers. For the former, it served as a token of his regard and as an encouragement in the trial to come, for the latter, it was designed to convince them that the Messiah had come in the person of Jesus, our Lord, in Whom all the promises of the Messianic Kingdom embracing all people had been fulfilled in a spiritual, rather than in a carnal, way:

“My Kingdom is not of this world.” His Gospel, then, answered the question put by the disciples of St. John the Baptist, “Are You He Who is to come, or shall we look for another?”

Writing for his countrymen of Palestine, St. Matthew composed his Gospel in his native Aramaic, the “Hebrew tongue” mentioned in the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. Soon afterward, about the time of the persecution of Herod Agrippa I in 42 AD, he took his departure for other lands. Another tradition places the composition of his Gospel either between the time of this departure and the Council of Jerusalem, i.e., between 42 AD and 50 AD or even later.

Definitely, however, the Gospel, depicting the Holy City with its altar and temple as still existing, and without any reference to the fulfillment of our Lord’s prophecy, shows that it was written before the destruction of the city by the Romans in 70 AD, and this internal evidence confirms the early traditions.

Saint Matthew is often depicted with one of the four living creatures of Revelation 4:7, which reads, “The first living creature was like a lion, the second like a bull, the third living creature had a human face, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.”

More Saints of the Day
St. Alexander
Sts. Chastan & Imbert
St. Eusebius
St. Francis Jaccard
St. Gerulph
St. Hieu
St. Matthew
St. Maura Troyes
St. Meletius
St. Pamphilus
St. Thomas Dien

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
97 Days Before Christmas
Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs
Lectionary: 450

First Reading: Proverbs 21:1-6, 10-13
Psalms 119:1, 27, 30, 34-35, 44:  Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
Gospel: Luke 8:19-21
The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him
but were unable to join him because of the crowd.
He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside
and they wish to see you.”
He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers
are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”

Reflection:  Who do you love and cherish the most? God did not intend for us to be alone, but to be with others. He gives us many opportunities for developing relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Why does Jesus seem to ignore his own relatives when they pressed to see him? His love and respect for his mother and his relatives is unquestionable. Jesus never lost an opportunity to teach his disciples a spiritual lesson and truth about the kingdom of God. On this occasion when many gathered to hear Jesus he pointed to another higher reality of relationships, namely our relationship with God and with those who belong to God.

What is the essence of being a Christian? It is certainly more than doctrine, precepts, and commandments. It is first and foremost a relationship – a relationship of trust, affection, commitment, loyalty, faithfulness, kindness, thoughtfulness, compassion, mercy, helpfulness, encouragement, support, strength, protection, and so many other qualities that bind people together in mutual love and unity.

God seeks a personal intimate relationship with each one of us
God offers us the greatest of relationships – union of heart, mind, and spirit with himself, the very author and source of love (1 John 4:8,16). God’s love never fails, never forgets, never compromises, never lies, never lets us down nor disappoints us. His love is consistent, unwavering, unconditional, unrelenting and unstoppable. There is no end to his love. Nothing in this world can make him leave us, ignore us, or withhold from us his merciful love and care (Romans 8:31-39). He will love us no matter what. It is his nature to love. That is why he created us – to be united with him and to share in his love (1 John 3:1).

God is a trinity of divine persons – one in being with the eternal Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and a community of undivided love. God made us in his image and likeness (Genesis 1:26,27) to be a people who are free to choose what is good, loving, and just and to reject whatever is false and contrary to his love and righteousness (moral goodness). That is why Jesus challenged his followers, and even his own earthly relatives, to recognize that God is the true source of all relationships. God wants all of our relationships to be rooted in his love and goodness.

The heavenly Father’s offer of friendship and adoption
Jesus Christ is God’s love incarnate – God’s love made visible in human flesh (1 John 4:9-10). That is why Jesus describes himself as the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep and the shepherd who seeks out the sheep who have strayed and lost their way. God is like the father who yearns for his prodigal son to return home and then throws a great party for his son when he has a change of heart and comes back (Luke 15:11-32).

Jesus offered up his life on the cross for our sake, so that we could be forgiven and restored to unity and friendship with God. It is through Jesus that we become the adopted children of God – his own sons and daughters. That is why Jesus told his disciples that they would have many new friends and family relationships in his kingdom. Whoever does the will of God is a friend of God and a member of his family – his sons and daughters who have been ransomed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

Through Jesus Christ we become brothers and sisters – members of God’s family
Lucian of Antioch (240-312 AD), an early Christian martyr once said that “a Christian’s only relatives are the saints”- namely those who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ and adopted as sons and daughters of God. Those who have been baptized into Jesus Christ and who live as his disciples enter into a new family, a family of “saints” here on earth and in heaven. Jesus changes the order of relationships and shows that true kinship is not just a matter of flesh and blood.

Our adoption as sons and daughters of God transforms all of our relationships and requires a new order of loyalty to God first and to his kingdom of righteousness and peace. Do you want to grow in love and friendship? Allow the Holy Spirit to transform your heart, mind, and will to enable you to love freely and generously as God has loved you.

“Heavenly Father, you are the source of all true friendship and love. In all my relationships, may your love be my constant guide for choosing what is good and for rejecting what is contrary to your will.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs
The evangelization of Korea began during the 17th century through a group of lay persons. A strong vital Christian community flourished there under lay leadership until missionaries arrived from the Paris Foreign Mission Society.

During the terrible persecutions that occurred in the 19th century (in 1839, 1866, and 1867), one hundred and three members of the Christian community gave their lives as martyrs. Outstanding among these witnesses to the faith were the first Korean priest and pastor, Andrew Kim Taegon, and the lay apostle, Paul Chong Hasang.

Among the other martyrs were a few bishops and priests, but for the most part lay people, men and women, married and unmarried, children, young people, and the elderly. All suffered greatly for the Faith and consecrated the rich beginnings of the Church of Korea with their blood as martyrs.

Pope John Paul II, during his trip to Korea, canonized these martyrs on May 6, 1984, and inserted their feast into the Calendar of the Universal Church.

More Saints of the Day
St. Agatha Chon Kyonghyob
St. Agatha Kim
St. Agatha Yi
St. Agatha Yi Kannan
St. Agatha Yi Kyong-i
St. Agatha Yi Sosa
Sts. Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang, and Companions
St. Anna Kim
St. Candida
St. Cecilia Yu
St. Dionysius
St. Eusebia
St. Eustace
St. Eustachius
St. Fausta and Evilasius
St. John Charles Cornay
St. Jose Maria de Yermo y Parres
St. Lawrence Imbert
St. Lucia Park Huisun
St. Magalena Ho Kye-im
St. Martha Kim
Martyrs of Korea
St. Paul Chong Hasang
St. Agapitus
St. Susanna U Surim
St. Teresa Yi Mae-im
St. Theodore, Philippa, and Companions
Bl. Thomas Johnson
St. Thomas Son Chason
St. Vincent Madelgarus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
98 Days Before Christmas
Monday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 449

First Reading: Proverbs 3:27-34
Psalms 15:2-5:  The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
Gospel: Luke 8:16-18
Jesus said to the crowd:
“No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel
or sets it under a bed;
rather, he places it on a lampstand
so that those who enter may see the light.
For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible,
and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.
Take care, then, how you hear.
To anyone who has, more will be given,
and from the one who has not,
even what he seems to have will be taken away.”

Reflection:  What does the image of light and a lamp tell us about God’s kingdom? Lamps in the ancient world served a vital function, much like they do today. They enable people to see and work in the dark and to avoid stumbling. The Jews also understood “light” as an expression of the inner beauty, truth, and goodness of God. In his light we see light ( Psalm 36:9). His word is a lamp that guides our steps (Psalm 119:105).

God’s light frees us from the blindness of sin so we can walk in truth and goodness
God’s grace not only illumines the darkness in our lives, but it also fills us with spiritual light, joy, and peace. Jesus used the image of a lamp to describe how his disciples are to live in the light of his truth and love. Just as natural light illumines the darkness and enables one to see visually, so the light of Christ shines in the hearts of believers and enables us to see the heavenly reality of God’s kingdom. In fact, our mission is to be light-bearers of Christ so that others may see the truth of the Gospel and be freed from the blindness of sin and deception.

Live in the light of God’s truth, beauty, and goodness
Jesus remarks that nothing can remain hidden or secret. We can try to hide things from others, from ourselves, and from God. How tempting to shut our eyes from the consequences of our sinful ways and bad habits, even when we know what those consequences are. And how tempting to hide them from others and even from God. But, nonetheless, everything is known to God who sees all. There is great freedom and joy for those who live in God’s light and who seek his truth. Those who listen to God and heed his voice will receive more from him – abundance of wisdom, guidance, peace, and blessing. Do you know the joy and freedom of living in God’s light?

“Lord Jesus, you guide me by the light of your saving truth. Fill my heart and mind with your light and truth and free me from the blindness of sin and deception that I may see your ways clearly and understand your will for my life. May I radiate your light and truth to others in word and deed.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Januarius, Patron of blood banks; Naples; volcanic eruptions
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.

More Saints of the Day
Bl. Alphonsus de Orozco
St. Arnulf
St. Emily de Rodat
St. Eustochins
St. Goeric of Metz
St. Januarius
St. Maria de Cerevellon
St. Peleus
St. Pomposa
St. Sequanus
St. Theodore of Tarsus
Bl. Thomas Akafuji
St. Trophimus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
99 Days Before Christmas
Lectionary: 135

First Reading: Amos 8:4-7
Psalms 113:1-2, 4-8:  Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor.
Second Reading: 1 Timothy 2:1-8
Gospel: Luke 16:1-13
Jesus said to his disciples,
“A rich man had a steward
who was reported to him for squandering his property.
He summoned him and said,
‘What is this I hear about you?
Prepare a full account of your stewardship,
because you can no longer be my steward.’
The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do,
now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me?
I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg.
I know what I shall do so that,
when I am removed from the stewardship,
they may welcome me into their homes.’
He called in his master’s debtors one by one.
To the first he said,
‘How much do you owe my master?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note.
Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’
Then to another the steward said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’
He replied, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’
The steward said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note;
write one for eighty.’
And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
“For the children of this world
are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than are the children of light.
I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth,
so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters
is also dishonest in great ones.
If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,
who will trust you with true wealth?
If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,
who will give you what is yours?
No servant can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve both God and mammon.”Top of Form

Reflection:  What does wealth and riches have to do with the kingdom of God? Jesus seemed to praise a steward (a manager entrusted with his master’s goods) who misused his wealthy employer’s money. What did the steward do that made Jesus praise him? The steward was responsible for managing his wealthy landowner’s property. The steward very likely overcharged his master’s tenants for their use of the land and kept more than his fair share of the profit. When the landowner discovered the steward’s dishonest practice he immediately removed him from his job, leaving him penniless and ashamed to beg or do manual work.

The necessity of prudent foresight to avert disaster
Before news of his dismissal became public knowledge, the shrewd steward struck a deal with his master’s debtors. In discounting their debts he probably was giving up his generous commission. Such a deal won him great favor with the debtors. Since the steward acted as the landowner’s agent, such a deal made his master look very generous and forgiving towards those who owned him money. Surely everyone would praise such a generous landowner as the town hero! Since the master could not undo the steward’s cancellation of the debts without losing face and making his debtors resent him, he praised the steward for outwitting him and making him appear as a generous and merciful landowner.

Generous giving is rewarded with treasure that lasts forever
What’s the point of Jesus’ parable? Jesus did not praise the steward for his dishonest behavior but for his shrewd foresight in relieving the debts of others who he believed would, in turn, treat him as a friend and show him mercy, kindness, and generosity in his time of need and great want. Jesus immediately followed this parable with an exhortation to his followers to make use of the world’s material goods, including “tainted money” ( which in Hebrew means “unrighteous mammon”), to relieve those who are endebted to us for the material and physical help we give them in their time of need and want. In the Scriptures generous giving is connected with alms giving – the sharing of our financial and material resources with those in need (Luke 12:33). Those who receive alms become your friends because you are merciful to them in their time of need. And God who sees all, rewards those who are generous in helping others.

Generous giving will be repaid in kind. Augustine of Hippo reminds us that we are all beggars of God.

“Even though you possess plenty, you are still poor. You abound in temporal possessions, but you need things eternal. You listen to the needs of a human beggar, you yourself are a beggar of God. What you do with those who beg from you is what God will do with his beggar. You are filled and you are empty. Fill your neighbor from your fullness, so that your emptiness may be filled from God’s fullness” (Sermon 56, 9).

Paul the Apostle reminds us, “We brought nothing into this world and we cannot take anything out of this world” (1 Timothy 6:7). The Lord Jesus wants us to make good use of all the resources that he gives us and that come into our possession. Our life is short – but how we invest in this present life will determine our future in the age to come when the Lord Jesus will raise our mortal bodies to immortality and give to each what he or she has sown in this present life.

The rabbis had a saying, “The rich help the poor in this world, but the poor help the rich in the world to come.” Ambrose, a 4th century bishop commenting on the parable of the rich fool who tore down his barns to build bigger ones to store his goods. said: The bosoms of the poor, the houses of widows, the mouths of children are the barns which last forever. The true treasure which lasts is the treasure stored up for us in heaven. God richly rewards those who give generously from the heart to help those in need.

True generosity does not impoverish – but enriches the giver
What is the enemy of generosity? It’s greed, the excessive desire for personal gain and security. However, we do not need to be afraid for true generosity does not impoverish the giver, but enriches that person a hundredfold! Generosity expands the soul – but greed contracts it. God is generous and superabundant in lavishing his gifts upon us. We can never outmatch God in generosity. He has given us the best of gifts in sending us his only-begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who offered up his life for us on the cross. The Father also offers us the gift of the Holy Spirit who fills us with the fruit of peace, joy, patience, kindness, love, and self-control (Galatians 5:22) – and many other blessings as well. Everything we have is an outright gift of God. Do you know the joy and freedom of blessing others with the gifts and resources God has given to you?

What controls or rules your life?
Jesus concludes his parable with a lesson on what controls or rules our lives. Who is the master (or ruler) in charge of your life? Our “master” is that which governs our thought-life, shapes our ideals, and controls the desires of the heart and the values we choose to live by. We can be ruled by many different things – the love of money or possessions, the power of position, the glamor of wealth and prestige, the driving force of unruly passions and addictions. Ultimately the choice boils down to two: God and “mammon”. What is mammon? “Mammon” stands for “material wealth or possessions” or whatever tends to “control our appetites and desires.”

When a number of the religious leaders heard Jesus’ parable they reacted with scorn (Luke 16:14). Jesus spoke to the condition of their hearts – theywere lovers of money (Luke 16:14). Love of money and wealth crowd out love of God and love of neighbor. Jesus makes clear that our heart must either be possessed by God’s love or our heart will be possessed by the love of something else.

The Lord alone can satisfy our desires and give us generous hearts
There is one Master alone who has the power to set us free from greed and possessiveness. That Master is the Lord Jesus Christ who died to set us free and who rose to give us new abundant life. The Lord Jesus invites us to make him the Master and Lord of our lives. He alone can satisfy the desires of our heart and transform us in his love through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our money, time, and possessions are precious resources and gifts from God. We can guard them jealously for ourselves alone or allow the love of the Lord to guide us in making good use of them for the benefit of others – especially those in need – and for the work of the Lord in advancing his kingdom. Ask the Lord to fill your heart with a spirit of generosity and joy in sharing what you have with others.

“Lord Jesus, all that I have is a gift from you. May I love you freely and generously with all that I possess. Help me to be a wise and faithful steward of the resources you put at my disposal, including the use of my time, money, and possessions.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Joseph of Cupertino, Patron of Aviators, Flying, Studying, and those suffering mental handicaps (1603-1663)

St. Joseph was born in 1603 at Cupertino, in the diocese of Nardo in the Kingdom of Naples. After spending his childhood and adolescence in simplicity and innocence, he finally joined the Franciscan Friars Minor Conventual. After his ordination to the holy priesthood, he gave himself up entirely to a life of devotion to the Lord and his church. His deep devotional life led him to the kind of holiness which is forged through humility, voluntary mortification, and obedience. He was consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and promoted devotion to her among all classes of people as wonderful path to a deeper Christian life and love for Jesus Christ.

It is said that his mother often considered him a nuisance and treated him harshly. Joseph was purported to be slow to learn and absent-minded. He was said to frequently wander aimlessly, with his mouth gaping open. And, he had a bad temper, so, he was not at all popular. He tried to learn the trade of shoemaking, but failed. He asked to become a Franciscan, but they initially would not accept him. Finally he did join the Capuchins. However, for a very short period of time. Eight months later, they sent him away. Sources say it was because he could not seem to do anything right.

He dropped piles of dishes and kept forgetting to do what he was told. His mother was not at all pleased to have the eighteen-year-old Joseph back home again, so she finally got him accepted as a servant at the Franciscan monastery. He was given the friars habit and put to hard work taking care of the horses.

About this time, Joseph began to change. He grew in humility and gentleness, fruits of the Holy Spirit at work in a person. He became more careful and successful at his work. He also began to pray more do more voluntary acts of penance. Finally, he was able to enter the Franciscan order and, eventually, study for the priesthood. Although he was a good and holy friar, he had a very hard time with studies. During his seminary exams, the examiner happened to ask him to explain the only thing he knew well, and so he was ordained a deacon, and later a priest.

After this, the Holy Spirit began to work many amazing miracles through St. Joseph. Over seventy times, people say they saw him rise from the ground while offering mass or praying. Often he went into ecstasy and would be caught up in talking with God. He fell so deeply in love with God that everything he saw only drew him into a deeper union. He said that all the troubles of this world were nothing but the “play” battles children have with popguns. St. Joseph became so famous for the miracles that he was finally kept hidden from the public, but he was happy for the chance to be alone with his beloved Lord. On His part, Jesus never left him alone and one day came to bring him to Heaven. Pope Clement XIII canonized him in 1767. He is the patron saint of air travelers, pilots and learning disabled.

The life of this saint was marked by ecstasies and levitations. The mere mention of God or a spiritual matter was enough to take him out of his senses; at Mass he is said to have frequently floated in the air in rapture. Once as Christmas carols were being sung, he soared to the high altar and knelt in the air, in ecstatic prayer. The people flocked to him in droves seeking help and advice in the confessional, and he assisted many in living a truly devout Christian life. However, this humble man had to endure many severe trials and terrible temptations throughout his life. He died on September 18, 1663.

More Saints of the Day
St. Basilides
Bl. Carlo Erana Guruceta
St. Dominic Trach
St. Eumenes
St. Ferreolus
St. Ferreolus
St. Hygbald
Bl. Jesus Hita Miranda
St. John Macias
St. Joseph of Cupertino
St. Joseph of Cupertino
St. Ludmilla of Bohemia
St. Methodius of Olympus
St. Richardis

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Posted by: RAM | September 16, 2016

Saturday (September 17): The seed is the word of God.

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
The Sacred Stigmata of Saint Francis of Assisi (Feast)
Saturday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 448

First Reading: 1 Corinthian 15:35-37, 42-49
Psalm 56:10C-12, 13-14:  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.”

Reflection:  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.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
Benedictine abbess and mystic called “the Sybil of the Rhine.” She was born in Bockelheim, Germany. Sickly as a child, she was given to an aunt, Jutta, for care in a hermitage near Speyer. She founded Rupertsberg Convent near Bingen around 1147. She was one of the first great German mystics, a poetess, and prophetess. Her music and poetry have remained popular over the centuries, all part of her recorded mystical experiences. Her best known work is Scivias, written between 1141 and 1151, relating twenty six of her visions.

More Saints of the Day
St. Agathoclia
St. Ariadne
St. Brogan
St. Columba of Spain
St. Emmanuel Trieu
St. Flocellus
St. Hildegarde
St. Hildegard of Bingen
St. Justin
St. Lambert of Maastricht
St. Narcissus and Crescentio
St. Peter Arbues
St. Robert Bellarmine
St. Rodingus
St. Satyrus of Milan
St. Theodora
St. Uni
St. Valerian, Niacrinus, & Gordian

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
Memorial of Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs
Lectionary: 447

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.

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.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Cornelius
Cornelius whose feast day is September 16th. A Roman priest, Cornelius was elected Pope to succeed Fabian in an election delayed fourteen months by Decius’ persecution of the Christians. The main issue of his pontificate was the treatment to be accorded Christians who had been apostasized during the persecution. He condemned those confessors who were lax in not demanding penance of these Christians and supported St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, against Novatus and his dupe, Felicissimus, whom he had set up as an antibishop to Cyprian, when Novatus came to Rome. On the other hand, he also denounced the Rigorists, headed by Novatian, a Roman priest, who declared that the Church could not pardon the lapsi (the lapsed Christians), and declared himself Pope. However, his declaration was illegitimate, making him an antipope. The two extremes eventually joined forces, and the Novatian movement had quite a vogue in the East. Meanwhile, Cornelius proclaimed that the Church had the authority and the power to forgive repentant lapsi and could readmit them to the sacraments and the Church after they had performed proper penances. A synod of Western bishops in Rome in October 251 upheld Cornelius, condemned the teachings of Novatian, and excommunicated him and his followers. When persecutions of the Christians started up again in 253 under Emperor Gallus, Cornelius was exiled to Centum Cellae (Civita Vecchia), where he died a martyr probably of hardships he was forced to endure.

More Saints of the Day
St. Abundius
St. Cornelius
St. Curcodomus
St. Cyprian
St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage
St. Dulcissima
St. Edith of Wilton
St. Eugenia
St. Euphemia
St. Lucy & Geminian
Bl. Michael Fimonaya
St. Ninian
Bl. Paul Fimonaya
St. Rogellus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
Lectionary: 446/639

First Reading: 1 Corinthian 15:1-11
Psalm 118:1B-2, 16AB-17, 28:  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Gospel: Luke 2:33-35
Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
and you yourself a sword will pierce
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Saint of the Day: St. Nicomedes
Martyr. A Roman priest who was beaten to death with whips after refusing to sacrifice to the gods, and he was buried in the catacomb on the Via Nomentana. One tradition states that he buried the remains of St. Felicula and was arrested: Since 1969, his cult has been confined to local calendars.

More Saints of the Day
St. Aichardus
St. Aprus
St. Emilas & Jeremiah
St. Eutropia
St. Hernan
St. Joseph Abibos
St. Leobinus
St. Mamilian
St. Maximus
St. Melitina
St. Merinus
St. Merinus
St. Nicomedes
Bl. Paolo Manna
St. Ribert
St. Ritbert
Bl. Roland de’Medici
St. Valerian
St. Valerian
St. Vitus

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Lectionary: 638

First Reading: Numbers 21:4-9
Psalms 78:1-2, 34-38:  Do not forget the works of the Lord!
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.

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 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 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 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 own impending sacrificial death when he will be “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 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 ascending 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 through 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. 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.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Gabriel Taurin Dufresse (1750-1815)
Gabriel Taurin Dufresse, of Lezoux, France, was ordained a priest of the Society for Foreign Missions of Paris at the age of twenty-four. In 1776 he arrived in China to undertake his missionary labors in the country’s Szechwan Province. The renewed persecution of Chinese Christians in 1784 led to Father Dufresse’s arrest. He soon escaped from prison and was taken in by a Chinese Catholic family. He subsequently surrendered himself to the pagan authorities after an auxiliary bishop instructed all the priests staying with families to turn themselves in rather than expose their hosts to the danger of arrest. Father Dufresse was imprisoned and then exiled to Macao. In 1789 he managed to return to Szechwan Province. In the years that followed, his missionary labors were blessed with increasing success. In 1800 he was consecrated an auxiliary bishop. The resumption of intense anti-Christian persecution in 1805 put Bishop Dufresse in so much danger that he had to change his place of residence almost daily. In May of 1815, he was re-captured, and suffered beheading on September 14, 1815.

More Saints of the Day
St. Caerealis & Sallustia
St. Cormac
St. Crescentian
St. Crescentius
St. Gabriel Taurin Dufresse
St. Maternus of Cologne
St. Notburga

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 444

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.

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.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. John Chrysostom (344-407)
St. John, named Chrysostom (golden-mouthed) on account of his eloquence, came into the world of Christian parents, about the year 344, in the city of Antioch. His mother, at the age of 20, was a model of virtue. He studied rhetoric under Libanius, a pagan, the most famous orator of the age.

In 374, he began to lead the life of an anchorite in the mountains near Antioch, but in 386 the poor state of his health forced him to return to Antioch, where he was ordained a priest.

In 398, he was elevated to the See of Constantinople and became one of the greatest lights of the Church. But he had enemies in high places and some were ecclesiastics, not the least being Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, who repented of this before he died. His most powerful enemy, however, was the empress Eudoxia, who was offended by the apostolic freedom of his discourses. Several accusations were brought against him in a pseudo-council, and he was sent into exile.

In the midst of his sufferings, like the apostle, St. Paul, whom he so greatly admired, he found the greatest peace and happiness. He had the consolation of knowing that the Pope remained his friend, and did for him what lay in his power. His enemies were not satisfied with the sufferings he had already endured, and they banished him still further, to Pythius, at the very extremity of the Empire. He died on his way there on September 14, 407.

More Saints of the Day
St. Amatus
St. Columbinus
St. Eulogius of Alexandria
St. John Chrysostom
St. Ligorius
St. Macrobius & Julian
St. Maurilius
St. Nectarius
St. Philip
St. Venerius the Hermit

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Posted by: RAM | September 11, 2016

Monday (September 12): “Say the word – be healed”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
Monday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 443

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:17-26, 33
Psalms 40:7-8A, 8B-9, 10, 17:  Proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes again.
Gospel: Luke 7:1-10
When Jesus had finished all his words to the people,
he entered Capernaum.
A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die,
and he was valuable to him.
When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him,
asking him to come and save the life of his slave.
They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying,
“He deserves to have you do this for him,
for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.”
And Jesus went with them,
but when he was only a short distance from the house,
the centurion sent friends to tell him,
“Lord, do not trouble yourself,
for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.
Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you;
but say the word and let my servant be healed.
For I too am a person subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes;
and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes;
and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him
and, turning, said to the crowd following him,
“I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”
When the messengers returned to the house,
they found the slave in good health.

Reflection:  Do you seek the Lord Jesus with confidence and pray with expectant faith? A Roman official boldly sought Jesus with a daring request. What made him confident that Jesus would receive his request and act favorably towards him? Like a true soldier, he knew the power of command. And he saw in Jesus both the power and the mercy of God to heal and restore life. In the Roman world the position of centurion was very important. He was an officer in charge of a hundred soldiers. In a certain sense, he was the backbone of the Roman army, the cement which held the army together. Polybius, an ancient write, describes what a centurion should be: “They must not be so much venturesome seekers after danger as men who can command, steady in action, and reliable. They ought not to be over-anxious to rush into the fight, but when hard pressed, they must be ready to hold their ground, and die at their posts.”

The centurion who approached Jesus was not only courageous, but faith-filled as well. He risked the ridicule of his Roman companions by seeking help from a Jewish preacher from Galilee, as well as mockery from the Jews who despised Roman occupation of their land. Nonetheless, this centurion approached Jesus with confidence and humility. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) notes that the centurion regarded himself as unworthy to receive the Lord into his house: “Humility was the door through which the Lord entered to take full possession of one whom he already possessed.” The centurion was an extraordinary man because he loved his slave. In the Roman world slaves were treated like animals rather than people. The centurion was also an extraordinary man of faith. He believed that  Jesus had the power to heal his beloved slave. Jesus commends him for his faith and immediately grants him his request.

Are you willing to suffer ridicule in the practice of your faith? And when you need help, do you approach the Lord Jesus confidently with expectant faith?

“Lord Jesus you came to set us free from the tyranny of sin, selfishness, and fear. Increase my faith in the power of your saving word and give me joy and freedom to love and serve others generously for their sake just as you have generously laid down your life for my sake.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Ailbhe (d. 528)
Bishop and preacher, one of the saints whose life has been woven into the myths and legends of Ireland. He was a known disciple of St. Patrick, and is called Albeus in some records. What is known about Ailbhe is that he was a missionary in Ireland, perhaps sponsored by King Aengus of Munster. He was also the first bishop of Emily in Munster, Ireland. Legends and traditions abound about his life. One claims that he was left in the woods as an infant and suckled by a wolf. This legend is prompted in part by Ailbhe’s later life. An old she-wolf came to Ailbhe for protection from a hunting party, resting her head upon his breast. He is supposed to have been baptized by a priest in northern Ireland, possibly in a British settlement. The so called Acts of Ailbhe are filled with traditions that are not reliable. Ailbhe was noted for his charity and kindness, as well as his eloquent sermons. He is beloved in Ireland.

More Saints of the Day
St. Ailbhe
St. Autonomous
St. Curomotus
St. Eanswida
St. Francis of St. Bonaventure
St. Guy of Anderlecht
St. Hieronides
St. Macedonius
Bl. Mancius of St. Thomas
St. Peter Paul of St. Claire
St. Sacerdos of Lyon
Bl. Thomas Zumarraga

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 13

First Reading: Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14
Psalms 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19:  I will rise and go to my father.
Second Reading: 1 Timothy 1:12-17
Gospel: Luke 15:1-32
Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them he addressed this parable.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents.”

Then he said,
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him,
and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns,
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’  

Reflection:  If you lost something of great value and importance to you wouldn’t your search for it until you found it? The joy of finding a lost loved one, a precious member of your fold, and your hard earned savings to feed your hungry family are vivid illustrations which Jesus uses to describe what God’s kingdom is like. God the Father does not rejoice in the loss of anyone. He earnestly searches for the lost until they are restored and joyfully united with the whole community of heaven. Jesus told these three parables right after the scribes and Pharisees, the religious elite among the Jews, expressed disapproval with Jesus’ close contact with people of bad reputation.

Sinners were drawing near to hear Jesus
Luke in his Gospel account tells us that “tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear Jesus speak” (Luke 15:1). Wealthy tax collectors were despised by the Jews because they often forced the people to pay much more than was due. And sinners, like prostitutes and adulterers, were a scandal to public decency. The scribes and Pharisees took great offense at Jesus because he went out of his way to meet with tax collectors and public sinners and he treated them like they were his friends. The Pharisees had strict regulations to avoid all contact with them, lest they incur ritual defilement. They were not to entrust money to sinners of bad repute, or have any business dealings with them, or trust them with a secret, or entrust orphans to their care, nor accompany them on a journey, nor give their daughter in marriage to any of their sons, nor invite them as guests or be their guests. They were quite shocked to see Jesus speaking with sinners and even going to their homes to eat with them.
Finding and restoring what has been lost
Why were many tax collectors and sinners drawn to Jesus? Jesus offered them forgiveness, mercy, and healing and the promise of full restoration with God the Father and the whole community of heaven – God’s kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. When the Pharisees began to question Jesus’ motive and practice of associating with sinners of ill-repute, Jesus responds by giving them a three-fold lesson in the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son (Luke 15:4-32).

What is the point of Jesus’ story about a lost sheep and a lost coin? In Jesus’ time shepherds normally counted their sheep at the end of the day to make sure all were accounted for. Since sheep by their very nature are very social, an isolated sheep can quickly become bewildered and even neurotic, and become easy prey for wolves and lions. The shepherd’s grief and anxiety is turned to joy when he finds the lost sheep and restores it to the fold.

The housewife who lost a coin faced something of an economic disaster, since the value of the coin would be equivalent to her husband’s daily wage. What would she say to her husband when he returned home from work? They were poor and would suffer greatly because of the loss. Her grief and anxiety turn to joy when she finds the coin that she had misplaced.

Restoring the lost to the community of faith
Both the shepherd and the housewife “search until what they have lost is found.” Their perseverance pays off. They both instinctively share their joy with the whole community. The poor are particularly good at sharing in one anothers’ sorrows and joys. What was new in Jesus’ teaching was the insistence that lost sinners must be sought out and not merely mourned for their separation from God and the community of the just. God does not rejoice in the loss of anyone, but desires that all be saved and restored to fellowship with him. That is why the whole community of heaven rejoices when one sinner is found and restored to fellowship with God. Seekers of the lost are much needed today. Do you persistently pray and seek after those you know who have lost their way to God?

A broken family and grieving father
Jesus told another parable about a Father who loses his son. This parable is a story in three parts. The first part of the story focuses on the restless behavior of the younger son who wants to leave home to get away from his father. He offends his father by demanding that his share of the father’s inheritance be handed over to him right away, rather than waiting for the time appointed for passing on the inheritance after the the father has either passed away or has retired from the management of the family estate.

The second part of the story focuses on the extravagant and magnanimous character of the father who loves his younger son very dearly and generously gives his undeserving son whatever he asks for. He yields to his son’s ill-timed request for his share of the family’s wealth. The father must have grieved over his son’s decision to leave him and go off to spend his share of the inheritance while he is still young and ill-prepared to manage such a large sum of money without acting foolishly and getting into serious trouble. Instead of resenting his younger son’s disrespectful behavior and rejection, he maintains unbroken love for his son while he longs and searches for any sign of his return.

The third part of the story focuses on the older son who resents his younger brother for running off with his portion of the inheritance and he also resents his father’s outrageous generosity and mercy towards the younger son.

The lost son “came to his senses” 
Why did the younger son decide to return to his father’s home? Jesus said “he came to his senses” when disaster followed his reversal of fortune and loose living (Luke 15:17). He had lost all of his inheritance on wasted spending, and was barely surviving on what would have been a most shameful job for Jews – feeding swine which Jewish law regarded as unclean and unfit for eating. And to make matters worse, the younger son was now on the point of starving to death since famine had struck the land. He was desperate to stay alive and avoid a painful slow death. His only hope was that his father might take pity on him and let him return home, no longer as a worthy son, but as a hired servant instead.

The foolish son who had shamefully disinherited his father, knew he no longer deserved to be treated like a son. But he also knew that his father was merciful and kind. The son who was now a poor beggar wanted to return home to beg his father’s forgiveness. Before the son could reach home, the father who had been searching daily for him, ran to meet him as soon as he recognized his presence on the road leading to his home. And then the father does the unthinkable – he treats his rebellious son, not with cold reserve, hot anger, or just condemnation, but with warm tender affection and tears of joy – and then restores him beyond his wildest dreams.

The father’s extravagant love and mercy
What is the main point or focus of the parable of the lost (prodigal) son? Is it the contrast between an obedient and a disobedient son? Or is it a contrast between  the warm reception given by a generous and forgiving father or the cold and aloof reception given by the eldest son who wanted to have nothing to do with his rebellious brother? Jesus contrasts the father’s merciful love with the eldest son’s harsh rejection of his errant brother and his refusal to join his father in welcoming his brother back home.

While the errant son had wasted his father’s money, his father, nonetheless, maintained unbroken love for his son. The son, while he was away, learned a lot about himself. And he realized that his father had given him love which he had not returned. He had yet to learn about the depth of his father’s love for him. His deep humiliation at finding himself obliged to feed on the husks of pigs and his reflection on all he had lost, led to his repentance and decision to declare himself guilty before his father.  While he hoped for reconciliation with his father, he could not have imagined a full restoration of relationship. The father did not need to speak words of forgiveness to his son; his actions spoke more loudly and clearly! The beautiful robe, the ring, and the festive banquet symbolize the new life – pure, worthy, and joyful – of each and every person who returns to their heavenly Father.

The prodigal could not return to the garden of innocence, but he was welcomed and reinstated as a son. The errant son’s dramatic change from grief and guilt to forgiveness and restoration express in picture-language the resurrection from the dead, a rebirth to new abundant life from spiritual death and corruption.

The parable also contrasts mercy and forgiveness with its opposite – an unwillingness to forgive and be reconciled. The father who had been wronged, was forgiving and merciful towards the younger repentant son. But the eldest son, who had not been wronged, was unforgiving and refused to be reconciled with his brother.  His refusal to forgive turns into contempt and pride. And his resentment leads to his isolation and estrangement from the community of forgiven sinners.

In this parable Jesus gives a vivid picture of God and what God is like. God is truly generous, kind, and forgiving towards us. He does not lose hope or give up when we stray from him and his commandments. He searches our hearts to lead us in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:1, 23-24). And he always rejoices in in finding the lost and welcoming them home. Do you know the joy of the heavenly Father who welcomes you home to his kingdom of everlasting righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit?

“Lord Jesus, may your light dispel the darkness of sin, deception, and ignorance, so that all who are lost or confused may find their way to the Father’s home and be united with him in a bond of peace and friendship. Transform my heart with your merciful love that I may point many others to the good news of joy and new life which you offer to all who put their trust in you, the Good Shepherd and Savior of the world.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Paphnutius
The holy confessor Paphnutius was an Egyptian who, after having spent several years in the desert under the direction of the great St. Antony, was made bishop in the Upper Thebaid. He was one of those confessors who under the Emperor Maximinus lost the right eye, were hamstrung in one leg, and were afterwards sent to work in the mines. Peace being restored to the Church, Paphnutius returned to his flock, bearing all the rest of his life the glorious marks of his sufferings for the name of his Crucified Master. He was one of the most zealous in defending the Catholic faith against the Arian heresy and for his holiness. As one who had confessed the Faith before persecutors and under torments, he was an outstanding figure of the first General Council of the Church, held at Nicaea in the year 325. Paphnutius, a man who had observed the strictest continence all his life, is said to have distinguished himself at the Council by his opposition to clerical celibacy. Paphnutius said that it was enough to conform to the ancient tradition of the Church, which forbade the clergy marrying after their ordination. To this day it is the law of the Eastern Churches, whether Catholic or dissident, that married men may receive all Holy Orders below the episcopate, and continue to live freely with their wives. St. Paphnutius is sometimes called “the Great” to distinguish him from other saints of the same name; the year of his death is not known. His feast day is September 11.

More Saints of the Day
St. Adelphus
St. Almirus
St. Bodo
Bl. Caspar Kotenda
St. Daniel
St. Deiniol
St. Diodorus
St. Emilian
St. Felix & Regula
Bl. Francis Takea
St. John Gabriel Perboyre
Bl. John-Gabriel Perboyre
St. Paphnutius
St. Patiens
Bl. Peter Ikiemon
St. Peter of Chavanon
St. Protus and Hyacinth
St. Theodora of Alexandria
St. Vincent of Leon

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
Saturday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 442

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.”

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.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day:  Saint Thomas of Villanova (1488 – September 8, 1555)
Saint Thomas was from Castile in Spain and received his surname from the town where he was raised. He received a superior education at the University of Alcala and became a popular professor of philosophy there.

After joining the Augustinian friars at Salamanca, he was ordained and resumed his teaching–despite a continuing absentmindedness and poor memory. He became prior and then provincial of the friars, sending the first Augustinians to the New World. He was nominated by the emperor to the archbishopric of Granada, but refused. When the see again became vacant he was pressured to accept. The money his cathedral chapter gave him to furnish his house was given to a hospital instead. His explanation to them was that “our Lord will be better served by your money being spent on the poor in the hospital. What does a poor friar like myself want with furniture?”

He wore the same habit that he had received in the novitiate, mending it himself. The canons and domestics were ashamed of him, but they could not convince him to change. Several hundred poor came to Thomas’s door each morning and received a meal, wine, and money. When criticized because he was at times being taken advantage of, he replied, “If there are people who refuse to work, that is for the governor and the police to deal with. My duty is to assist and relieve those who come to my door.” He took in orphans and paid his servants for every deserted child they brought to him. He encouraged the wealthy to imitate his example and be richer in mercy and charity than they were in earthly possessions.

Criticized because he refused to be harsh or swift in correcting sinners, he said, “Let him (the complainer) inquire whether Saint Augustine and Saint John Chrysostom used anathemas and excommunication to stop the drunkenness and blasphemy which were so common among the people under their care.”

As he lay dying, Thomas commanded that all the money he possessed be distributed to the poor. His material goods were to be given to the rector of his college. Mass was being celebrated in his presence when after Communion he breathed his last, reciting the words: “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.”

Thomas of Villanova was already called in his lifetime “the almsgiver” and “the father of the poor.” He was canonized in 1658. 

More Saints of the Day
St. Achilleus
Bl. Agnes Takea
Bl. Agnes Tsao-Kou Ying
Bl. Angelus Orsucci
Bl. Anthony Kiun
Bl. Anthony of Korea
Bl. Anthony Sanga
Bl. Anthony Vom
St. Apollinaris Franco
St. Autbert
Bl. Bartholomew Shikiemon
St. Barypsabas
St. Candida the Younger
St. Cosmas of Aphrodisia
Bl. Damien Yamiki
Bl. Dominic Nakano
St. Dominic Shamada
St. Finian
St. Francis de Morales
St. Frithestan
Bl. Gundislavus Fusai
St. Hyacinth Orfanel
Bl. John Kingoku
Bl. John of Korea
St. Joseph of St. Hyacinth
St. Leo Satsuma
Bl. Louis Kawara
Bl. Lucy de Freitas
Bl. Mary Tokuan & Mary Choun
Bl. Mary Tanaura
Bl. Mary Tokuan & Mary Choun
St. Menodora
Bl. Michael Shumpo
Bl. Michael Yamiki
St. Nemesian, Felix, and Companions
Bl. Paul Tanaka
St. Peter Martinez
Bl. Peter Nangashi
Bl. Peter of Avila
Bl. Peter Sampo
Bl. Peter Sanga
Bl. Richard of St. Ann
St. Salvius of Albi
Bl. Sebastian Kimura
Bl. Thecla Nangashi
St. Theodard of Maastricht
Bl. Thomas of the Holy Rosary
Bl. Thomas Sherwood
St. Veranus of Vence

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, Priest
Lectionary: 441

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-27
Psalms 84:3-6, 12:  With delight I rejoice in the Lord.
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.”

Reflection:  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 Physician? 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) author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Peter Claver (1580-1654)
St. Peter Claver was born at Verdu, Catalonia, Spain, in 1580, of impoverished parents descended from ancient and distinguished families. He studied at the Jesuit college of Barcelona, entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tarragona in 1602 and took his final vows on August 8th, 1604. While studying philosophy at Majorca, the young religious was influenced by St. Alphonsus Rodriguez to go to the Indies and save “millions of perishing souls.”

In 1610, he landed at Cartagena (modern Colombia), the principle slave market of the New World, where a thousand slaves were landed every month. After his ordination in 1616, he dedicated himself by special vow to the service of the Negro slaves-a work that was to last for thirty-three years. He labored unceasingly for the salvation of the African slaves and the abolition of the Negro slave trade, and the love he lavished on them was something that transcended the natural order.

Boarding the slave ships as they entered the harbor, he would hurry to the revolting inferno of the hold, and offer whatever poor refreshments he could afford; he would care for the sick and dying, and instruct the slaves through Negro catechists before administering the Sacraments. Through his efforts three hundred thousand souls entered the Church. Furthermore, he did not lose sight of his converts when they left the ships, but followed them to the plantations to which they were sent, encouraged them to live as Christians, and prevailed on their masters to treat them humanely. He died in 1654.

More Saints of the Day
St. Basura
St. Bettelin
Bl. Frederic Ozanam
St. Hyacinth
St. Isaac the Great
Bl. Jacques Laval
St. Joseph of Volokolamsk
St. Kieran
St. Omer
St. Osmanna
St. Peter Claver
Bl. Pierre Bonhomme
St. Severian
St. Wilfrida
St. Wulfhilda

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
Wednesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 439

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:25-31
Psalms 45:11-17:  Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.
Gospel: Luke 6:20-26
Raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for the Kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are you who are now hungry,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who are now weeping,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they exclude and insult you,
and denounce your name as evil
on account of the Son of Man.

Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!
Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.
For their ancestors treated the prophets
in the same way.

But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
But woe to you who are filled now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will grieve and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false
prophets in this way.”

Reflection:  When you encounter misfortune, grief, or tragic loss, how do you respond? With fear or faith? With passive resignation or with patient hope and trust in God? We know from experience that no one can escape all of the inevitable trials of life – pain, suffering, sickness, and death. When Jesus began to teach his disciples he gave them a “way of happiness” that transcends every difficulty and trouble that can weigh us down with grief and despair. Jesus began his sermon on the mount by addressing the issue of where true happiness can be found. The wordbeatitude literally means happiness or blessedness. Jesus’ way of happiness, however, demands a transformation from within – a conversion of heart and mind which can only come about through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit.

True happiness can only be fulfilled in God
How can one possibly find happiness in poverty, hunger, mourning, and persecution? If we want to be filled with the joy and happiness of heaven, then we must empty ourselves of all that would shut God out of our hearts. Poverty of spirit finds ample room and joy in possessing God alone as the greatest treasure possible. Hunger of the spirit seeks nourishment and strength in God’s word and Spirit. Sorrow and mourning over wasted life and sin leads to joyful freedom from the burden of guilt and oppression.

The beatitudes strengthen us in virtue and excellence
Ambrose (339-397 A.D), an early church father and bishop of Milan, links the beatitudes with the four cardinal virtues which strengthen us in living a life of moral excellence. He writes: “Let us see how St. Luke encompassed the eight blessings in the four. We know that there are four cardinal virtues: temperance, justice, prudence and fortitude. One who is poor in spirit is not greedy. One who weeps is not proud but is submissive and tranquil. One who mourns is humble. One who is just does not deny what he knows is given jointly to all for us. One who is merciful gives away his own goods. One who bestows his own goods does not seek another’s, nor does he contrive a trap for his neighbor. These virtues are interwoven and interlinked, so that one who has one may be seen to have several, and a single virtue befits the saints. Where virtue abounds, the reward too abounds… Thus temperance has purity of heart and spirit, justice has compassion, patience has peace, and endurance has gentleness.” (EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 5.62–63, 68).

No one can live without joy
God reveals to the humble of heart the true source of abundant life and happiness. Jesus promises his disciples that the joys of heaven will more than compensate for the troubles and hardships they can expect in this world. Thomas Aquinas said: “No person can live without joy. That is why someone deprived of spiritual joy goes after carnal pleasures.” Do you know the joy and happiness of hungering and thirsting for God alone?

“Lord Jesus, increase my hunger for you and show me the way that leads to everlasting happiness and peace. May I desire you above all else and find perfect joy in doing your will.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813-1853)
A man convinced of the inestimable worth of each human being, Frédéric served the poor of Paris well and drew others into serving the poor of the world. Through the St. Vincent de Paul Society, his work continues to the present day.

Frédéric was the fifth of Jean and Marie Ozanam’s 14 children, one of only three to reach adulthood. As a teenager he began having doubts about his religion. Reading and prayer did not seem to help, but long walking discussions with Father Noirot of the Lyons College clarified matters a great deal.

Frédéric wanted to study literature, although his father, a doctor, wanted him to become a lawyer. Frédéric yielded to his father’s wishes and in 1831 arrived in Paris to study law at the University of the Sorbonne. When certain professors there mocked Catholic teachings in their lectures, Frédéric defended the Church.

A discussion club which Frédéric organized sparked the turning point in his life. In this club Catholics, atheists and agnostics debated the issues of the day. Once, after Frédéric spoke about Christianity’s role in civilization, a club member said: “Let us be frank, Mr. Ozanam; let us also be very particular. What do you do besides talk to prove the faith you claim is in you?”

Frédéric was stung by the question. He soon decided that his words needed a grounding in action. He and a friend began visiting Paris tenements and offering assistance as best they could. Soon a group dedicated to helping individuals in need under the patronage of St. Vincent de Paul formed around Frédéric.

Feeling that the Catholic faith needed an excellent speaker to explain its teachings, Frédéric convinced the Archbishop of Paris to appoint Father Lacordaire, the greatest preacher then in France, to preach a Lenten series in Notre Dame Cathedral. It was well attended and became an annual tradition in Paris.

After Frédéric earned his law degree at the Sorbonne, he taught law at the University of Lyons. He also earned a doctorate in literature. Soon after marrying Amelie Soulacroix on June 23, 1841, he returned to the Sorbonne to teach literature. A well-respected lecturer, Frédéric worked to bring out the best in each student. Meanwhile, the St. Vincent de Paul Society was growing throughout Europe. Paris alone counted 25 conferences.

In 1846, Frédéric, Amelie and their daughter Marie went to Italy; there he hoped to restore his poor health. They returned the next year. The revolution of 1848 left many Parisians in need of the services of the St. Vincent de Paul conferences. The unemployed numbered 275,000. The government asked Frédéric and his co-workers to supervise the government aid to the poor. Vincentians throughout Europe came to the aid of Paris.

Frédéric then started a newspaper, The New Era, dedicated to securing justice for the poor and the working classes. Fellow Catholics were often unhappy with what Frédéric wrote. Referring to the poor man as “the nation’s priest,” Frédéric said that the hunger and sweat of the poor formed a sacrifice that could redeem the people’s humanity

In 1852 poor health again forced Frédéric to return to Italy with his wife and daughter. He died on September 8, 1853. In his sermon at Frédéric’s funeral, Lacordaire described his friend as “one of those privileged creatures who came direct from the hand of God in whom God joins tenderness to genius in order to enkindle the world.”

Frédéric was beatified in 1997. Since Frédéric wrote an excellent book entitled Franciscan Poets of the Thirteenth Century and since Frederick’s sense of the dignity of each poor person was so close to the thinking of St. Francis, it seemed appropriate to include him among Franciscan “greats.”

More Saints of the Day
St. Alcmund
Bl. Alojzije Stepinac
St. Anastasius the Fuller
St. Augustalus
St. Carissima
St. Clodoald
St. Cloud
St. Diuma
Bl. Eugenia Picco
St. Eupsychius
St. Eustace
St. Eustace
St. Evortius
St. Faciolus
St. Gratus
St. Grimonia
St. Hilduard
Bl. John Duckett
Bl. John Maid
St. John of Lodi
St. John of Nicomedia
Bl. Louis Maki
St. Madalberta
St. Marko Krizin
St. Memorius
St. Pamphilus
Bl. Ralph Corby
St. Regina
St. Regina
St. Tilbert

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
Tuesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 438

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:1-11
Psalms 149:1-6, 9:  The Lord takes delight in his people.
Gospel: Luke 6:12-19
Jesus departed to the mountain to pray,
and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew,
James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus,
Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James,
and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground.
A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people
from all Judea and Jerusalem
and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon
came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases;
and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured.
Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him
because power came forth from him and healed them all.

Reflection:  What is God’s call on your life? When Jesus began his mission he chose twelve men to be his friends and apostles. In the choice of the twelve, we see a characteristic feature of God’s work – Jesus chose very ordinary people. They were non-professionals who had no wealth or position. They were chosen from the common people who did ordinary things, had no special education, and no social advantages. Jesus wanted ordinary people who could take an assignment and do it extraordinarily well. He chose these men, not for what they were, but for what they would become under his direction and power. When the Lord calls us to serve, we must not shrug back because we think that we have little or nothing to offer. The Lord takes what ordinary people, like us, can offer and uses it for greatness in his kingdom. Is there anything holding you back from giving yourself wholeheartedly to God?

Approach Jesus with expectant faith
Wherever Jesus went the people came to him because they had heard about all the things he did. They were hungry for God and desired healing from their afflictions. In faith they pressed upon Jesus to touch him. As they did so power came from Jesus and they were healed. Even demons, the fallen angels who had rebelled against God, trembled in the presence of Jesus and left at his rebuke. Jesus offers freedom from the power of sin and oppression to all who seek him with expectant faith. When you hear God’s word and consider all that Jesus has done for us, how do you respond? With doubt or with expectant faith? With skepticism or with confident trust? Ask the Lord Jesus to increase your faith in his saving power and grace.

“Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Inflame my heart with a burning love for you and with an expectant faith in your saving power. Take my life and all that I have as an offering of love for you, who are my All.” author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Blessed Claudio Granzotto (1900-1947)
Born in Santa Lucia del Piave near Venice, Claudio was the youngest of nine children and was accustomed to hard work in the fields. At the age of nine he lost his father. Six years later he was drafted into the Italian army, where he served more than three years.

His artistic abilities, especially in sculpture, led to studies at Venice’s Academy of Fine Arts, which awarded him a diploma with the highest marks in 1929. Even then he was especially interested in religious art. When Claudio entered the Friars Minor four years later, his parish priest wrote, “The Order is receiving not only an artist but a saint.” Prayer, charity to the poor and artistic work characterized his life, which was cut short by a brain tumor. He died on the feast of the Assumption and was beatified in 1994.

More Saints of the Day
St. Arator
St. Cagnoald
St. Chainaldus
St. Cottidus, Eugene, & Companions
St. Dionysius
St. Donatian
St. Eleutherius
St. Faustus
St. Felix and Augebert
St. Maccallin
St. Magnus of Füssen
St. Onesiphorus
St. Petronius
Bl. Thomas Tsughi

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Manila, Philippines

Older Posts »


%d bloggers like this: