Posted by: RAM | October 14, 2016

Saturday (October 15): “The Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”

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.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/101516.cfm

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.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct15.htm  www.dailyscripture.net 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! http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=208

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

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