Posted by: RAM | November 10, 2016

Friday (November 11): “Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Souls
Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop
Friday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 495

45 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: 2 John 4-9
Psalms 119:1-2, 10-11, 17-18: Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Gospel: Luke 17:26-37
Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be in the days of the Son of Man;
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage up to the day
that Noah entered the ark,
and the flood came and destroyed them all.
Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot:
they were eating, drinking, buying,
selling, planting, building;
on the day when Lot left Sodom,
fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all.
So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.
On that day, someone who is on the housetop
and whose belongings are in the house
must not go down to get them,
and likewise one in the field
must not return to what was left behind.
Remember the wife of Lot.
Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it,
but whoever loses it will save it.
I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed;
one will be taken, the other left.
And there will be two women grinding meal together;
one will be taken, the other left.”
They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?”
He said to them, “Where the body is,
there also the vultures will gather.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/111116.cfm

Reflection:  What can nature teach us about the return of the Lord Jesus on the day of final judgment at the end of the world? Jesus quoted a familiar proverb to his audience: Where the body is, there the eagles (or vultures) will be gathered together (Luke 17:37). Eagles, like vultures, are attracted to carrion – the carcass of dying or dead animals. The Book of Job describes the eagle spying out its prey from afar (Job 39:29). The eagles swoop to catch their prey when the conditions are right, especially if the prey is exposed and vulnerable to a surprise attack. Severely weakened or dying prey have no chance of warding off forces that can destroy and kill.

Sign of the gathering eagles and vultures
What’s the point of this analogy? When the day of God’s final judgment and vindication comes, the scene and location will be obvious to all.  Those who have rejected God and refused to believe in his Son the Lord Jesus Christ will perish on the day of judgment – just like the beasts of prey who are cut off from the land of the living. The Lord Jesus will vindicate those who have believed in him and he will reward them with everlasting joy and happiness in his kingdom. The return of the Lord Jesus at the close of this present age is certain, but the time is unknown. The Day of the Lord’s judgment and final verdict will come swiftly and unexpectedly. Jesus warns his listeners to not be caught off guard when that day arrives. It will surely come in God’s good time!

Those who accept Jesus Christ as Lord will enter his everlasting kingdom
What does Jesus mean when he says that one person will be taken and another left? God judges everyone individually on how each person has  responded to his gracious mercy and invitation to accept his Son as Lord and Ruler over all. The Lord Jesus gives us personal freedom to accept or reject him as Lord and Savior. We are free to live as citizens of his kingdom or to choose for the kingdom of darkness that stands in opposition to God and his rule. No one can pass off their personal responsibility to someone else – no matter how close the ties may be in this present life. We will each have to give an account to the Judge of All for how we have accepted or rejected him as our lord and savior.

The good news is that the Lord Jesus freely offers each one of us the grace, strength, and help we need to turn to him to receive pardon for our sins and healing for our minds and hearts so we can embrace his good will for our lives and find the way to our heavenly Father’s home. The Lord Jesus gives us his Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in his wisdom, truth, and love. The Holy Spirit helps us to turn away from sin and rebellion and to embrace God’s way of love, righteousness (moral goodness), and holiness.

The Lord’s warning of judgment is motivated by his love for each one of us. He does not desire the death of any one (Ezekiel 18:23 and 33:11). He bids us to choose for life rather than death – for goodness and righteousness rather than sin and evil (Deuteronomy 30:19). The Lord’s ‘Day of Judgment’ will bring terror and disaster for those who have not heeded his warning or who have refused his gracious help. The Day of the Lord’s Return will be a cause for great joy and vindication for those who have put their trust in the Lord Jesus.

The choices we make now – for or against Christ – will either lead us on the path of life or death – heaven or hell
God’s Day of Judgment is a cause for great joy and reward for those who have waited with patient hope and longing for the Lord Jesus to return again in glory and power. The people in Noah’s time ignored the Lord’s warning of judgment because their hearts were hardened and they were rebellious towards God. When the great flood swept over the earth, they missed the boat, literally! Whose boat or safety net are you staking your life on – the world’s life-raft to short-lived success and happiness or to the indestructible Ark of God whose foundation is Jesus Christ and his victorious cross? Those whose hope is firmly anchored in heaven will not be disappointed when the day of final judgment comes. They rejoice even now that their names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20) and they look with eager longing for the day when they will see the Lord face to face (Revelation 22:4). Is your hope firmly placed in the Lord Jesus and his return in glory?

“Lord Jesus Christ, I place all my hope in you because you have redeemed the world by your death on the cross and by your victory over the grave. Help me to never lose sight of the goal of heaven that I may live each day in joyful anticipation of your return in glory.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov11.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Saint Martin of Tours, Patron of the poor, soldiers, conscientious objectors, tailors, and winemakers (316 or 336-397)
Saint Martin of Tours was born in in Savaria, Pannonia in either the year 316 or 336 AD. That region is what is today the nation of Hungary. His father was a tribune, which is a high-ranking officer in the Imperial Horse Guard. Martin and his family went with his father when he was assigned to a post at Ticinum, in Northern Italy. It is here that Martin would grow up.

Just before Martin was born, Christianity was legalized in the Roman Empire and the bloody persecution of Christians soon came to an end. It was not the official religion of the State, but it could be practiced and proclaimed openly. The Gospel message soon flourished in ancient Rome, transforming the empire. Martin’s parents were pagans, but at the age of 10, Martin chose to respond to the call of the Gospel and become a Christian.

At the age of fifteen, Martin was required to follow his father into the cavalry corps of the Roman military. By the time he was 18, Martin is believed to have served in Gaul, and also eventually Milan and Treves. Scholars think he served as part of the emperor’s guard.

As a young soldier, Martin encountered a beggar in Amiens. The beggar was unclothed and it was very cold. Martin removed his cloak and with his sword, he cut it in half. He gave this half to the beggar and dressed himself in the remnant. That night, Martin had a vision in which Christ appeared to him. The vision spoke to him, “Martin, a mere catechumen has clothed me.” A catechumen is one who is being instructed in the Christian faith. In the early centuries of Christianity, that was a long process of instruction – and Martin was deeply dedicated to it.

About the age of 20, Martin made clear to his superiors that he would no longer fight, following his formed Christian conscience. He refused his pay prior to a battle and announced he would not join in the combat. He became the first recognized conscientious objector in recorded history. His proclamation occurred before a battle near the modern German city of Worms. His superiors accused him of cowardice and ordered that he be imprisoned. Martin offered to demonstrate his sincerity by going into battle unarmed. This was seen as an acceptable alternative to jailing him, but before the battle could occur, the opposing army agreed to a truce and no conflict took place. Martin was subsequently released from military service.

Now out of the military service, Martin could fully dedicate himself to service of Jesus Christ and the Church. He traveled to Tours where he began studying under Hilary of Poitiers, who is now recognized as a doctor of the Church. Martin’s studies lasted until Hilary was forced into temporary exile, likely because of his refusal to participate in a political dispute.

Martin then traveled to Italy. According to one account, Martin was confronted by a highwayman and led him to faith in Jesus Christ. Another account tells of Martin confronting the Devil. While on this journey, Martin had a vision which compelled him to return to his mother in Pannonia. He did so and led his own mother to faith in Jesus Christ. Martin attempted to persuade his father to embrace faith in Jesus Christ, but as far as we know, his father refused.

After bringing his mother to the Church, Martin then turned to confronting a growing heresy which was afflicting the faithful and sowing confusion. He became involved in countering the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. The reaction against him was so violent from the Arian leaders that he was compelled to flee. Martin took up residence on an island in the Adriatic where he lived as a hermit for a time.

Martin’s teacher Hilary returned to Tours from temporary exile in 361 so Martin traveled there to work and study. Hilary gave Martin a small grant of land where he and his disciples lived.

Martin established a monastery which would be inhabited by the Benedictines. Established in 361, the Liguge Abbey was destroyed during the French Revolution, then reestablished in 1853. The abbey remains to this day. From the site of his abbey, Martin worked to bring people to faith in Jesus Christ and Baptism into His Church in the surrounding areas. He was an extraordinary evangelist.

In 371, the city of Tours needed a new bishop and the people decided to call Martin to the office. Martin did not want the job so the people decided to trick him into the office. The people insisted he was needed to administer to someone sick, so he came out as quickly as he could. He did not even bother to improve his appearance. When he learned it was a trick to make him a bishop, Martin actually tried to hide. He was quickly discovered and the people called him forward to be ordained to the office of Bishop. Even though he did not really want the office, he was ordained – and he became a holy and hardworking Bishop.

As a Bishop Martin established a system of parishes to manage his diocese. He made a point to visit each parish at least once per year. In addition to his appointed rounds, Martin combated paganism, particularly the Druid religion which was still prevalent at the time. He passionately and faithfully proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ and won many to the Christian faith.

Yet, he longed for more prayer and wanted to pursue a monastic life. In the year 372 Martin established an abbey at Marmoutier so he could retreat there and live as a monk with the many disciples he had attracted.

In the following years, a heresy broke out in the church. An aesthetic sect called the Priscillianists after their leader, Priscillian, had developed in Spain and Gaul. The First Council of Saragossa condemned the heresy, but the Priscillians did not change they practices. This prompted one bishop, Ithacius of Ossonoba to petition the Roman Emperor Magnus Maximus to put him to death. Martin was opposed to the sentence of death, and was joined by Bishop Ambrose of Milan in his opposition. Martin traveled to Trier where the Emperor held court. Martin was able to persuade the Emperor to refrain from putting Priscillian and his followers to death. However, after Martin left, Ithacius persuaded the Emperor to change him mind again and Priscillian and his followers were executed in 385.

Martin was so upset by Ithacius, he refused to communicate with his fellow bishop until the Emperor pressured him to resume communicating with his colleague.

Martin died in Candes-Saint-Martin, Gaul in 397.

The Hagiographer Sulpicius Severus, knew Martin personally and wrote about his life. Many miracles and the casting out of demons were attributed to Martin during his lifetime. According to one account, Martin, while trying to win Druids to follow Jesus Christ and renounce their pagan beliefs, was dared to stand in the path of a sacred tree that was being felled. Martin agreed and was missed by the falling pine, although standing right in its path. This was widely seen as miraculous and a symbol that the message he proclaimed about Jesus Christ was true. Many were converted to the Christian faith.

Veneration of St. Martin became popular in the Middle Ages, and was popular with the Frankish kings.

Saint Martin is the patron of the poor, soldiers, conscientious objectors, tailors, and winemakers. Many locations across Europe have also been placed under his patronage. His feast is on November 11. He commonly appears on horseback and is shown cutting his cloak in half with a sword.
http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=299

More Saints of the Day
St. Aba Mina 
St. Athenodorus
St. Bartholomew of Rossano
St. Bertuin
St. Columba the Virgin
St. Cynfran
Bl. Kamen Vitchev
St. Martin of Tours
St. Mennas
St. Menas
St. Mercurius
St. Rhediw
St. Theodore
St. Theodore of Studites
St. Veranus

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

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