Posted by: RAM | August 20, 2012

Tuesday (August 21): “For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope

The field of battle between God and Satan is the human soul. It is in the soul that the battle rages every moment of life. The soul must give free access to the Lord so that it may be fortified by Him in every repect and with all kinds of weapons; that His light may enlighten it to combat the darkness of error; that it may be clothed with Jesus Christ. To be clothed with Jesus Christ it is necessary to die to oneself. That which comes from Satan begins with calmness and ends in storm, indifference, and apathy. In the spiritual life he who does not advance goes backward. It happens as with a boat which always must go ahead. If it stands still the wind blows it back. Fix the time, the length of your meditation, and do not rise from your place until you have finished even at the cost of being crucified. — Saint Pio of Pietrelcina http://origin.ewtn.com/devotionals/inspiration.asp#21

First Reading: Ezekiel 28:1-10
Psalm: Deuteronomy 32:26-28, 30, 35-36: It is I who deal death and give life.
Gospel: Matthew 19:23-30
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich
to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you,
it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said,
“Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men this is impossible,
but for God all things are possible.”
Then Peter said to him in reply,
“We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you
that you who have followed me, in the new age,
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life.
But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” http://usccb.org/bible/readings/082112.cfm

Video Reflection: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/

Reflection: Was Jesus really against wealth? And why did he issue such a strong warning to the rich (as well as to the rest of us who desire to be rich)? We know that Jesus was not opposed to wealth per se, nor was he opposed to the wealthy. He had many friends who were well-to-do, including some notorious tax collectors! One even became an apostle! Jesus’ warning reiterated the wisdom of the Old Testament: “Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is perverse in his ways” (Proverbs 28:6; see also Psalm 37:16). “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; be wise enough to desist” (Proverbs 23:4). Jesus seems to say that it is nearly impossible for the rich to live as citizens of God’s kingdom. The camel was regarded as the largest animal in Palestine. The “eye of the needle” could be interpreted quite literally or it could figuratively describe the narrow and low gate of the city walls which was used by travellers when the larger public gate was locked after dark. A normal sized man had to “lower” himself to enter that gate. A camel would literally have to kneel and crawl through it.

Why is Jesus so cautious about wealth? Wealth can make us falsely independent. The church at Laodicea was warned about their attitude towards wealth and a false sense of security: “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing” (Revelations 3:17). Wealth can also lead us into hurtful desires and selfishness (see 1 Timothy 6:9-10). Look at the lesson Jesus gave about the rich man and his sons who refused to aid the poor man Lazarus (see Luke 16:19ff). They also neglected to serve God. The Scriptures give us a paradox: we lose what we keep and we gain what we give away. Generosity will be amply repaid, both in this life and in eternity (Proverbs 3:9-10, Luke 6:38). Jesus offers us an incomparable treasure which no money can buy and no thief can steal. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure. Material wealth will shackle us to this earth unless we guard our hearts and set our treasure in God and his everlasting kingdom. Where is your treasure?

“Lord Jesus, you have captured our hearts and opened to us the treasures of heaven. May you always be my treasure and delight and may nothing else keep me from giving you my all.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/aug21.htm

Saints of the Day: St. Pius X (1835-1914)

Pope Pius X is perhaps best remembered for his encouragement of the frequent reception of Holy Communion, especially by children.
The second of 10 children in a poor Italian family, Joseph Sarto became Pius X at 68, one of the 20th century’s greatest popes.

Ever mindful of his humble origin, he stated, “I was born poor, I lived poor, I will die poor.” He was embarrassed by some of the pomp of the papal court. “Look how they have dressed me up,” he said in tears to an old friend. To another, “It is a penance to be forced to accept all these practices. They lead me around surrounded by soldiers like Jesus when he was seized in Gethsemani.”

Interested in politics, he encouraged Italian Catholics to become more politically involved. One of his first papal acts was to end the supposed right of governments to interfere by veto in papal elections—a practice that reduced the freedom of the conclave which had elected him.

In 1905, when France renounced its agreement with the Holy See and threatened confiscation of Church property if governmental control of Church affairs were not granted, Pius X courageously rejected the demand.

While he did not author a famous social encyclical as his predecessor had done, he denounced the ill treatment of indigenous peoples on the plantations of Peru, sent a relief commission to Messina after an earthquake and sheltered refugees at his own expense.

On the 11th anniversary of his election as pope, Europe was plunged into World War I. Pius had foreseen it, but it killed him. “This is the last affliction the Lord will visit on me. I would gladly give my life to save my poor children from this ghastly scourge.” He died a few weeks after the war began. He was canonized in 1954. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1114

More Saints of the Day
St. Abraham of Smolensk
St. Anastasius Cornicularius
St. Apollinaris Sidonius
St. Avitus I of Clermont
St. Bassa and Companions
St. Cyriaca
St. Euprepius of Verona
St. Hardulph
St. Joseph Nien Vien
St. Leontius the Elder
St. Luxorius
St. Paternus
St. Quadratus
Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.

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