Archives: Year C-S20 - Year B-S19 -Year A-S18 - Year C-S17 - Year B-S16 - Year A-S15 - Year C-S14 - Year B-S13 - Year A-S12 - Year C-S11 - Year B-S10 - Year A-S9 - YYear C-S8

Year B-S7 - Year A-S6  - Year C-S5 - Year B-S4 - Year A-S3  - Year C-S2 - Year B

 

A Lectio Divina Approach to the Sunday & Weekday Liturgy

 

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N.B. The Lectio Divina for the 19th Week in Ordinary Time is ready. You can access it by going to ARCHIVES "Year C - Series 20" (cf. above) and click on "Ordinary Week 19".

 

Please go to our website www.pddm.us and click on "PDDM Internet Library". It contains the Lectio Divina of all the readings for the Sunday Cycle (A, B & C) and the Weekday Cycle (I & II). A fruit of 12 years apostolic work, this pastoral tool is most useful for liturgy preparation.

 

This year is the 20th anniversary of the PDDM USA apostolic initiative, LECTIO DIVINA ON THE INTERNET. We invite you to read the enclosed article "The PDDM Apostolate: In the Spirit of Blessed Alberione and the Desiderio Desideravi of Pope Francis" . It is at the very end of the Lectio Divina weekly reflection below. Let us rejoice in the Lord for the grace of this apostolate and pray that we may reach out to more and more people to share with them "the bread of the Word".

 

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BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD (Series 20, n. 37)

19th Week in Ordinary Time: August 7-13, 2022

 

 

(The pastoral tool BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD: A LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY & WEEKDAY LITURGY includes a prayerful study of the Sunday liturgy from various perspectives. For the Lectio Divina on the liturgy of the past week: July 31 – August 6, 2022 please go to ARCHIVES Series 20 and click on “Week 18 Ordinary Time”.

 

Below is a LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY - WEEKDAY LITURGY:

August 7-13, 2022.)

 

 

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August 7, 2022: NINETEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Prepares Us for the Final Call”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Wis 18:6-9 // Heb 11:1-2, 8-19 // Lk 12:32-48

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

A. Gospel Reading (Lk 12:32-48): “You also must be prepared.”

 

The call to a faithful response is underlined in this Sunday’s Gospel reading (Lk 12:32-48). Through various images (the treasure in heaven, the servants awaiting the Master’s return, the burglar who comes in unexpectedly, the faithful steward and the abusive, irresponsible slave), the Gospel passage reminds us of the challenge of our Christian vocation, especially for those called to priestly ministry and religious consecration. We are called to share our resources with the needy and seek “the inexhaustible treasure in heaven”. We are exhorted to be vigilant and ever ready for the coming of God’s kingdom. We are challenged moreover to fulfill our daily tasks with personal dedication and to be the faithful stewards and responsible servants of our Lord Jesus Christ. Priests and religious, who have received gifts and blessings more abundantly in view of their particular vocation and mission, need to be keenly aware of the double-edged warning issued by Jesus: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more” (Lk 12:48).

 

The following story illustrates dramatically a person’s response to the final call (cf. Edward Mullen, “Answering the Call” in Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul, ed. Jack Canfield, et. al., Deerfield Beach, Health Communications, Inc., 1997, p. 245-246).

 

Father John’s little desert parish truly loved and appreciated his sincere style and caring ways. During the Sign of Peace, he always called all of the children attending Mass to come up and give him hugs. He did it for himself I’m sure, but he did it for the children, too. Each and every child waited for the time during Mass when he or she could stand next to the altar, be the center of attention and hug the not-so-old, and slightly plump priest.

 

On one particular Sunday, after all the hugs were thought to have been completed and the “Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world”, had begun, one small voice from half-way back in the church said, “What about me?” Father John stopped his prayer, and held out his arms. The little voice with freckled face, slicked black hair, shiny cowboy boots and shorts, ran down the aisle towards the altar, crying because he thought he had been forgotten. Father John just held out his arms, picked up the little boy and held him very near, and held him very dear.

 

Three weeks later, I returned to the little desert parish and there was a different priest, one I didn’t recognize, saying Mass. I sat next to a woman who silently cried as she held my hand as we all sang, “Our Father, who art in Heaven …” It seems that Father John had lost his place in the same part of the Mass the Sunday before. He told his parishioners, “As the Lord so taught us to pray …” and the parish responded with the “Lord’s Prayer”. And after they were finished, Father John again said, “As the Lord taught us to pray …” and again, the confused, but willing parish responded with the “Lord’s Prayer”. And for the third time after the prayer was finished, Father John said, “As the Lord so taught us to pray …” But then, before his willing congregation could have obliged him for the third time, Father John stopped and he fainted, and then Father John died. And once again, Father John had stopped his prayer, and held out his arms, and he answered the one who called out to him.

    

 

B. First Reading (Wis 18:6-9): “Just as you punished our adversaries, you glorified us whom you have summoned.”

 

The First Reading of this Sunday’s liturgy (Wis 18:6-9) highlights the vocation of Israel, radically “summoned” by God and eventually formed into a chosen people through the Passover events. The “transitus” or crossing over from a situation of slavery in Egypt into an experience of freedom in the Promised Land helped forge the tribes of Israel into a holy, priestly and kingly people consecrated to Yahweh. The trials and duress of the Exodus experience led to an intimate, covenantal relationship with the liberating God. As for the people of Israel, the Lord God is the origin of our Christian vocation and of priestly and religious vocations in the Church. The vocation to priestly ministry and to religious consecration occurs through God’s initiative and is accomplished in his Son Jesus Christ. Just as the saving will of God who “summoned” his people Israel manifested its special power during the night of Exodus, the divine call in Jesus Christ to religious consecration and priestly ministry manifests its irresistible force in our daily “paschal” experiences – in moments of trial, suffering and sacrifice. Intimate union with Jesus Christ in his paschal mystery disposes the Christian disciple to open up to God’s call to religious consecration and priestly ministry.

 

My own vocation story illustrates this. I was almost sixteen when my father was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. When I heard the terrible news I wept inconsolably. After midnight, I realized that the light in my mother’s room was still on. I peeked and saw my mom praying intensely, with arms extended in the form of a cross. I went to my mom and told her that if my father would get well, I would enter the convent and become a nun. By the healing power of God, my father miraculously recovered and lived for thirty more years. Three years after that paschal experience, I entered the PDDM congregation and dedicated my entire life to a ministry of prayer.

 

 

C. Second Reading (Heb 11:1-2, 8-19): “Abraham looked forward to the city whose architect and maker is God.”

 

The Second Reading (Heb 11:1-2, 8-19) depicts the wonderful response of faith of Abraham to God’s call. Faith is our response to God. “By faith, Abraham obeyed when God called him” (v. 8). He put absolute trust in the word of God and the divine promise to make out of him a great nation. Harold Buetow comments: “Abraham’s faith was not according to the principle of most people, who cautious and comfort-loving, put safety first, his faith went into the unknown, where it could not see the end of the path. Abraham did everything God wanted of him – and, sure enough, ultimately his wife conceived and his son Isaac was born. Then, when God asked him to leave the comforts of his hometown Ur in the Chaldean mountains for what came to be known as the Promised Land and endure all the problems of a stranger in a foreign land, he did it – even though he was not sure where God was leading him. God, to test him even further, some years later asked him to give his young son Isaac as a living sacrifice. Despite his hope that through Isaac he would have descendants, he prepared to do as God asked. It was only at the last moment that God prevented him from going through with his sacrifice. We, like Abraham, should let go and let God!

 

The life of my former student, Rhoel Gallardo, who was ordained a Claretian priest, is an example of a total faith response to God. After ordination, he was assigned in Basilan Island, in southern Philippines, a place infested by the dreaded Abu Sayaf Muslim rebels, notorious for senseless crimes and kidnapping. The young Fr. Rhoel was kidnapped together with some catechists of his parish. He was mocked for his faith and ordered to do something ugly and awful – to rape his own catechists. The priest refused. He was tortured and eventually, killed. He sacrificed his own life to protect his sheep. His response to his priestly vocation was total and sacrificial. Fr. Rhoel was faithful to his priestly ministry until the end.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Do we truly believe that God is the font of the Christian vocation? Are we receptive to his “summons” and loving plan for us? How do we respond to the demands of Christian discipleship? Are our lives coherent with the faith we profess? Are we ready and vigilant to answer God’s “final call”? Do we pray that those called by God to the priestly ministry and a life of religious consecration may be total in their response and integral in their commitment? 

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO 

 

Loving Father,

you summoned Israel to be your people.

In Jesus Christ you summon us

to be part of your new chosen people.

Give us the grace to respond faithfully to your call.

Let us be ready and vigilant

for our final encounter with your judgment.

Grant to your Church

more priestly-religious vocations

who will serve you in your people

and give witness to the eternal value of your kingdom.

You live and reign,

forever and ever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

           

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the week. Please memorize it.

 

“You also must be prepared.” (Lk 12:40)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Pray for the grace of a happy death. Do what you can to promote and care for vocations to the ministerial priesthood and to the consecrated life.

 

 

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August 8, 2022: MONDAY – SAINT DOMINIC, Priest

“JESUS SAVIOR: His Passion Redeems Us … He Gives Us Visions of His Glory”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Ez 1:2-5, 24-28c // Mt 17:22-27

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

A. Gospel Reading (Mt 17:22-27): “They will kill him and he will be raised. The subjects are exempt from the tax.”

 

In the Gospel episode (Mt 17:22-27) we hear that Jesus Master wants to rectify the false adulation that honors him as a political leader, miracle worker, and breadbasket king, and not as the Suffering Servant to redeem the world from sin. The three predictions of the passion that he made on separate occasions are meant to dispel a false Messianic expectation that is based primarily on temporal powers, and not on service to God’s saving will. Today’s Gospel reading contains Jesus’ second prediction of his passion: “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day”. His paschal destiny does not involve constraint on his part, but total union with the Father’s saving will. Jesus freely accepts his passion and death to bring about our redemption. He pays the price for our salvation. His paschal sacrifice is sheer grace. For this we are deeply thankful.

 

The following story, circulated on the Internet, gives us an insight into the “grace” aspect of Jesus’ saving sacrifice.

 

There once was a man named George Thomas, a preacher in a small Texas town. One Sunday morning he came to the Church building carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit. Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, the preacher began to speak.

 

"I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright. I stopped the lad and asked, "What do you have there, son?" "Just some old birds", came the reply. "What are you going to do with them?" I asked. "Take 'em home and have fun with 'em," he answered. "I'm gonna tease 'em and pull out their feathers to make 'em fight. I'm gonna have a real good time." "But you'll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do then?" "Oh, I got some cats," said the little boy. "They like birds. I'll take 'em to them."

 

The preacher was silent for a moment. "How much do you want for those birds, son?" "Huh?” Why, you don't want them birds, mister. They're just plain old field birds. They don't sing. They ain't even pretty!" "How much?" the preacher asked again. The boy sized up the preacher as if he were crazy and said,"$10?" The preacher reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the boy's hand. In a flash, the boy was gone.

 

The preacher picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free. Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the preacher began to tell this story.

 

One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden and he was gloating and boasting. "Yes, sir, I just caught a world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn't resist. Got 'em all!" "What are you going to do with them?" Jesus asked. Satan replied, "Oh, I'm gonna have fun! I'm gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I'm gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I'm really gonna have fun!" "And what will you do when you are done with them?" Jesus asked. "Oh, I'll kill 'em”, Satan glared proudly.

 

"How much do you want for them?" Jesus asked. "Oh, you don't want those people. They ain't no good. Why, you'll take them and they'll just hate you. They'll spit on you, curse you and kill you. You don't want those people!" "How much?” Jesus asked again. Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, "All your blood, tears and your life”. Jesus said, "DONE!"  Then he paid the price.

 

The preacher picked up the cage and walked from the pulpit.

  

 

B. First Reading (Ez 1:2-5, 24-28c): “Such was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.”

For two weeks we will be hearing passages from the book of Ezekiel. It is generally assumed that he was exiled from Judah to Babylon in the first deportation of 597 B.C. Ezekiel is a man of deep faith and great imagination. Many of his insights come in the form of visions and many of his messages are expressed in vivid symbolic actions. Ezekiel emphasizes the need for inner renewal of the heart and spirit. He also proclaims his hope for the renewal of the life of the nation. As a priest and prophet Ezekiel has great interest in the Temple and underlines the need for holiness.

 

In today’s Old Testament reading (Ez 1:2-5, 24-28c) Ezekiel recounts his visionary experience by the Babylon river Chebar. He sees God seated on a throne and experiences the splendor of his glory. Ezekiel depicts him as shining with bright light that has all the colors of the rainbow. The dazzling light indicates the personal presence of God. Though Ezekiel’s vision is not easily comprehensible, it is clearly a sign that the Lord has not abandoned his people in the land of Exile. God wants to assure the Jewish exiles of his abiding presence and that his saving plan for them continues.

 

The movie “Heaven Is for Real” is inspiring, but the book is even more so. The little boy Colton’s experience of heaven as he made it through an emergency appendectomy – when he was not yet four years old - gives insight into Ezekiel’s heavenly vision. Here is an excerpt from Colton’s experience as gleaned by his dad (cf. Todd Burpo, Heaven Is for Real, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010, p. 62-67).

 

Sitting at my makeshift desk, I looked at my son as he brought Spider-Man pouncing down on some nasty-looking creature from Star Wars. “Hey, Colton”, I said. “Remember when we were in the car and you talked about sitting on Jesus’ lap?” Still on his knees, he looked up at me. “Yeah.” “Well, did anything else happen?” He nodded, eyes bright. “Did you know that Jesus has a cousin? Jesus told me his cousin baptized him.” “Yes, you’re right”, I said. “The Bible says Jesus’ cousin’s name is John.” Mentally, I scolded myself. Don’t offer information. Just let him talk … “I don’t remember his name”, Colton said happily, “but he was really nice.” John the Baptist is “nice”?!

 

Just as I was processing the implications of my son’s statement – that he had met John the Baptist – Colton spied a plastic horse among his toys and held it up for me to look at. “Hey, Dad, did you know Jesus has a horse?” “A horse?” “Yeah, a rainbow horse. I got to pet him. There’s a lot of colors. Lots of colors? What was he talking about? “Where are there lots of colors, Colton?” “In heaven, Dad. That’s where all the rainbow colors are.” (…)

 

“Hey, Colton, can I ask you something else about Jesus?” He nodded but didn’t look up from his devastating attack on a little pile of X-Men. “What did Jesus look like?” I said. Abruptly, Colton put down his toys and looked up at me. “Jesus has markers.” “What?” “Markers, Daddy … Jesus has markers. And he has brown hair and he has hair on his face”, he said, running his tiny palm around his chin. I guessed that he didn’t yet know the word beard. “And his eyes … oh, Dad, his eyes are so pretty!” (…)

 

I thought through what he had said so far … John the Baptist, Jesus and his clothes, rainbows, horses. I got all that. But what about the markers? What did Colton mean when he said Jesus has markers? What did Colton mean when he said Jesus has markers? What are markers to a little kid? Colton nodded. “Yeah, like colors. He had colors on him.” “Like when you color a page?” “Yeah.” “Well, what colors are Jesus’ markers?” “Red, Daddy. Jesus has red markers on him.”

 

At that moment, my throat nearly closed with tears as I suddenly understood what Colton was trying to say. Quietly, carefully, I said, “Colton, where are Jesus’ markers?” Without hesitation, he stood to his feet. He held out his right hand, palm up and pointed to the center of it with his left. Then he held out his left palm and pointed with his right hand. Finally, Colton bent over and pointed to the tops of both his feet. “That’s where Jesus markers are, Daddy”, he said. I drew in a sharp breath. He saw this. He had to have. (…)

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

1. Do we appreciate the meaning of Christ’s passion and its significance for us? How do we respond to this wonderful grace and great act of love?

 

2. What is our response to visions of glory that God offers us daily? Like Ezekiel, are we sensitive to these moments of grace?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Lord Jesus,

you suffered for us.

To redeem us you paid a great price.

You suffered the passion and death on the cross

to free us from the clutches of sin and death

and to give us eternal life.

Grant that we may treasure

your sacrificial love for us.

Help us to respond to this grace in obedient love.

Make us sensitive to visions of heavenly glory

that you offer us daily.

We give you glory and praise,

now and forever.

Amen.

    

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

           

            The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the week. Please memorize it.

 

“They will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” (Mt 17:23) // “Such was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.”

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Make an effort to unite the sacrifices of your daily life with the redeeming passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Be present to the people around you in their trials and difficulties and help them in any way you can. // Thank the Lord for giving us daily glimpses of heavenly glory.

  

 

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August 9, 2022: TUESDAY – WEEKDAY (19); SAINT TERESA BENEDICTA OF THE CROSS, Virgin, Martyr

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Wants Us to Be Childlike and To Care for the Little Ones … His Words Are Sweet as Honey”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Ez 2:8-3:4 // Mt 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

A. Gospel Reading (Mt 18:1-5, 10, 12-14): “See that you do not despise one of these little ones.”

 

Today’s Gospel (Mt 18:1-5, 10, 12-14) tells us that the disciples’ response to the Divine Master’s patient endeavor to help them understand his messianic mission and paschal destiny is disappointing. They fail to understand. They even put a question that is tinged with a power struggle: “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Their narrow vision degenerates into an authority issue. Jesus therefore teaches them the meaning of true greatness. He calls a child and puts him in front of them saying, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

 

A child represents complete dependence. The heavenly kingdom is for those who are completely dependent on God and, in the spirit of a child, trust fully in him. An authentic Christian follower relies totally on God. The greatest in the heavenly kingdom are those who imitate Jesus in his complete trust and dependence on the Father’s will. Jesus also warns us not to despise the “little ones”, that is, the humble and lowly, all those who put their faith in God with childlike trust. He teaches us that it is not the will of the heavenly Father that any of the “little ones” be lost. By his pastoral ministry, Jesus invites us to promote the well-being and salvation of the poor and vulnerable.

 

The following inspiring story gives us insight into how to care for the “little ones” in our midst (cf. Rick Hamlin’s reflections in Daily Guideposts 2010, p. 260).

 

My father gets around with a walker these days, and he doesn’t get around much. But he was there when the whole clan – twenty and counting – gathered for a week at the beach, staying at a rental on the sand. We sailed, we surfed, we rode bikes on the boardwalk, swam out to the buoy and kayaked in the bay. Dad seemed to enjoy having everybody together, but even from under the umbrella on the porch, he got frustrated at not being able to do half of what he once could.

 

Late one afternoon, I suggested a walk. “I’m not sure how I can do it with this walker on the sand”, he said. “Let’s try”, I said. “You can hold my hand if you need to.” He made his way down the beach, leaning on the walker or me. We stopped to watch some sailors bring their boats to shore and take down their sails. “Hey, Mr. Hamlin!” one of the guys called. “How are you doing?” “Just fine”, he said, his hands on the walker.

 

We trudged back next to the water, choosing the hard sand. A pelican dipped past us and plunged into the bay, picking up dinner. A kayak cut across the smooth water, a fish leaping in its wake. The shadows of the palms lengthened across the sand in front of us. “The shadows lengthen”, he observed.

 

They do, I thought. The years go by, and you don’t know where they went. Age brings us struggles. But at the end of the day there are still beauties to be found in a setting sun and a slow walk on the beach, father and son.

       

 

B. First Reading (Ez 2:8-3:4): “He fed me with scroll and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.”

 

Today’s Old Testament reading (Ez 2:8-3:4) depicts the vocation of the priest Ezekiel to be a prophet. By the River Chebar in Babylon where the Jews are exiled, Ezekiel receives a powerful vision of God and is commissioned to proclaim the divine word. God enjoins him not to be rebellious and commands him to eat the scroll that is filled with “lamentation, wailing and woe”. Ezekiel obediently eats the scroll and it tastes as sweet as honey in his mouth. The “eating” signifies Ezekiel’s total assimilation of God’s message so that his whole being is permeated by it. Nourished and animated by the divine word, the prophet follows God’s command to go to the people of Israel and say to them whatever God tells him to say.

 

The obedient stance of the prophet Ezekiel to the divine word that needs to be proclaimed is a good background for the following modern-day story (cf. Mark Mallett, “Stay and Be Light” in Amazing Grace for Survivors, West Chester: Ascension Press, p. 92-93).

 

One of the messages that burned in my heart was the terrible silence over the abortion in Canada. And so, one day at home, I penned a letter to the newspapers criticizing us “journalists” for being willing to cover every graphic murder, domestic violent crime, or war scene, but refusing to publish the pictures that clearly showed the reality of abortion. I signed my name as a producer of the TV station I worked for.

 

The backlash was immediate. The newspaper chains wanted to do follow-up stories, but only to sensationalize my stance, not to address the issue. My company warned me that to say anything more would put me in jeopardy. Memos were fired off, some sent to the entire news staff attacking my position and me.

 

A month later, I was laid off, and my show was cut. The station manager insisted it had nothing to do with my letter. As I stood looking out upon the familiar landscape of unemployment, I turned to my wife and said: “There’s nothing for me to do now but ministry.” This time, there was a tremendous peace. Still, how on earth was I to support a family? But what mattered was God’s will. This time, a burning desire for ministry was replaced with fear and trembling. (…)

 

Since my secular work has ended, my ministry has grown to extraordinary measure. My wife and I have traveled to three different continents and ministered to tens of thousands of souls. My ministry includes concerts, parish missions, and school evangelization. More recently, I’ve returned to my roots of leading people into an “encounter with Jesus”, but this time, through Eucharistic Adoration. In all these years of ministry, we’ve never missed a meal. We have since been richly blessed with three more healthy children, with one more on the way. More importantly, we’ve learned through the trials and crosses that come with serving the Lord (Sir 2:1), that he will never, never abandon us.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

1. Do we heed Jesus’ teaching that unless we become like children, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven? Do we care for God’s “little ones”?

 

2. Like Ezekiel, do we allow ourselves to be nourished by God’s word in order to proclaim it to those for whom we are sent?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO 

 

Loving Jesus,

you revealed to us

that only those who become like children

will enter the heavenly kingdom.

Help us to be childlike in our dependence on God

and teach us to be fully trusting in him.

You exhort us not to neglect the “little ones”

but rather to care for them.

Let our ways be compassionate

on behalf of the poor and vulnerable in our midst.

Nourish us by your word

and grant us the grace to speak your word to the nations.

We praise and bless you, now and forever.

Amen.

   

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

  

“It is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.” (Mt 18:14) // “I ate it and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.” (Ez 3:3)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Show God’s care and compassion for the “little ones” in our midst by your kind words and deeds. With childlike trust, ask God for the grace to be instruments of his pastoral care for the “little ones” in our society today. // Promote the practice of Lectio Divina, the prayerful reading of God’s word, among your family members, friends and loved ones.

 

 

 

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August 10, 2022: WEDNESDAY – SAINT LAWRENCE, DEACON, MARTYR

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Is the Grain of Wheat

that Dies and Bears Fruit … He Is a Cheerful Giver”

 

BIBLE READINGS

2 Cor 9:6-10 // Jn 12:24-26

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

Jesus is the “grain of wheat” that falls to the ground and dies to produce abundant fruit. God reveals and accomplishes his saving plan through him. Jesus’ “hour” of glorification entails a death and birthing process similar to that of a germinating seed. Eternal life is offered to the world by his passion and death. Buried like a seed and lifted up on the cross, Jesus draws all to himself and produces a rich spiritual harvest. 

 

The destiny of the Master is also the destiny of the disciples. Today’s Gospel (Jn 12:24-26) is an invitation to walk with him the path to glory by imitating the sacrificial love of Christ. Readiness to suffer for the Gospel is part of the challenge of Christian discipleship. Saint Lawrence replicates the paschal destiny of the “grain of wheat”.

 

Today’s First Reading (2 Cor 9:6-10) as we celebrate the feast of Saint Lawrence is an excellent description of his life. He is a cheerful giver. He sows the spirit of love bountifully and reaps its fruits bountifully. He gives to the poor and his righteousness endures. Saint Lawrence manifests his good-natured and cheerful self-giving even in martyrdom.

 

The following notes circulated on the Internet will help us understand that, like Jesus, Saint Lawrence is a “grain of wheat” that falls on the ground and dies to bear abundant fruit and that he is a “cheerful giver”.

 

Lawrence of Rome (Latin: Laurentius, Lit, “Laurelled”: c. 225–258) was one of the seven deacons of ancient Rome serving under Pope St. Sixtus, who were martyred during the persecution of Valerain in 258. After the death of Sixtus, the prefect of Rome demanded that Lawrence turn over the riches of the Church. Ambrose is the earliest source for the tale that Lawrence asked for three days to gather together the wealth. Lawrence worked swiftly to distribute as much Church property to the poor as possible, so as to prevent its being seized by the prefect. On the third day, at the head of a small delegation, he presented himself to the prefect, and when ordered to give up the treasures of the Church, he presented the poor, the crippled, the blind and the suffering, and said, “Behold in these poor persons the treasures which I promised to show you; to which I will add pearls and precious stones, those widows and consecrated virgins, which are the Church’s crown.”

 

The prefect was so angry that he had a great gridiron prepared, with coals beneath it, and had Lawrence’s body placed on it (hence St. Lawrence’s association with a gridiron). After the martyr had suffered the pain for a long time, he made his famous cheerful remark: “It is well done. Turn me over!”

 

Lawrence is one of the most widely venerated saints of the Roman Catholic Church. Devotion to him was widespread by the fourth century. St Lawrence is especially honored in the city of Rome, where he is one of the city's patrons. There are several churches in Rome dedicated to him, including San Lorenzo in Panisperna, traditionally identified as the place of his execution. He is invoked by librarians, archivists, cooks, and tanners as their patron. His celebration on August 10 has the rank of feast throughout the entire Catholic world. On this day, the reliquary containing his burnt head is displayed in the Vatican for veneration.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

1. Like Jesus, the “grain of wheat”, are we willing “to die” in order to live anew and bear abundant fruits? Are we willing to use our gifts and resources for the service of others? As Christian disciples, are we willing to share in the “hour” of Jesus’ passion and glorification and make it a personal experience of healing and redemption?

 

2. Are we cheerful givers?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

O God,

Saint Lawrence shared in your Son’s paschal destiny

as a “grain of wheat

that falls to the ground and dies

to produce much fruit”.

He showed forth the fire of his love for you,

both by his faithful service and glorious martyrdom.

Help us to be like him

in loving you and doing your work.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

***

Father,

we thank you for Saint Lawrence

and his witness of cheerful giving.

Your gifts are infinite.

Teach us to open our hearts to your bounty.

Give us the grace to sow generously

the seeds of goodness wherever we go.

Make us cheerful even when self-giving hurts

and comfort us with the thought

of the abundant harvest of righteousness.

You live and reign, forever and ever.

Amen.     

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

            The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the week. Please memorize it.

 

“But if it dies, it produces much fruit.” (Jn 12:24) //“God loves a cheerful giver.” (II Cor 9:7)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Pray for all deacons in the Church that they may imitate Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr, in his life of holiness and service to the poor. Let every moment of your life, especially the daily trials, be a participation in the paschal mystery of Christ. // When things are rough and challenging, especially with regards to caring for others, try to smile and be a cheerful giver.

 

 

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August 11, 2022: THURSDAY – SAINT CLARE, Virgin

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Teaches Us to Forgive Seventy Times … He Teaches Us Not to Be Captives by Sin”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Ez 12:1-12 // Mt 18:21-19:1

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

A. Gospel Reading (Mt 18:21-19:1): “I say to you not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

(By Mario S. Estrella: Member of the Religious Congregation Opifices Christi, Philippines)

 

            When I was working as one of the training officers of the different training programs of the Department of Education, I had made a decision that was detrimental to the mandate of the Department to provide continuous service to teachers and principals. My immediate superior called it to my attention when he discovered my irresponsibility and incompetence. I thought I would be reprimanded and incriminated for negligence and my conduct, which was unbecoming to a government employee. The superior asked me if I was guilty of the offense and I replied affirmatively. He surprised me when he asked, “If I keep you in your present capacity, can I trust you in the future?” I replied, “I am sorry, sir. I have learned my lesson and you surely can trust me again.” He must have detected the sincerity of my repentance. “I am not going to press charges anymore and you can continue in your present responsibility,” he said. He told me then that he had once succumbed to the same situation, but he was given mercy and was asked to learn from it. His position now in the Department can attest how far he has gone because of the opportunity accorded to him.

 

Truly, according to Steve Goodlier, those who forgive best are those who are forgiven. The story is centered on the fruit of forgiveness. Forgiveness multiplies when freely given to the offender. Whether we like it or not, something good may come from the experience and could possibly change the person for the better.

 

There is another way of looking at why Jesus asked us to forgive seventy-seven times (cf. today’s Gospel reading, Mt 18:21-19:1). The number of times we exonerate is most likely equivalent to those who will have a change of heart for the better. The number of recipients who have been rehabilitated as a result of forgiveness is already a great contribution to the continuing proclamation of the Kingdom of God. If the recipients will do the same to their offenders, forgiveness multiplies until it reaches the core number that will make the world a better place to live in.

 

 

B. First Reading (Ez 12:1-12): “You shall bring out your baggage like an exile in the daytime while they are looking on.”

In today’s Old Testament reading (Ez 12:1-12), Ezekiel’s message is addressed to a rebellious people about God’s judgment on them and about the coming fall and destruction of Jerusalem. Upon God’s command, the prophet performs a symbolic act in front of them.  Ezekiel gathers what he can carry, digs a hole in the wall with his hands, goes out through the breach and leaves, with the pack on his shoulder and with eyes covered. His action is a sign that the inhabitants of Jerusalem will be refugees and captives. King Nebuchadnezzar fulfills this prophecy through his ultimate destructive blow against Jerusalem in 587 B.C. and the final deportation of the Jews to Babylon. The prophecy of doom concerning the ruler literally happens. King Zedekiah leaves Jerusalem at night by making a breach in the walls of the city, flees into the hands of the punitive Babylonians, is blinded by the captors and led in chains to Babylon. There he remains in prison until the day he dies.

 

The following modern day event in the Middle East gives insight into the sufferings that the people of Judah experienced from their oppressors.

 

Iraq's Christians have perhaps suffered more than any other group since the Islamic State formerly known as ISIS rose to power, but Christianity is in decline all over the Middle East. Just 5% of the region's population identifies as Christian, and that figure is dropping still. The Christian residents of Mosul, Iraq, are under blatant attack, as the Islamic State distributed flyers in July giving the three options: convert to Islam, pay a fine, or be killed. Many of their abandoned homes now say in black lettering, "Property of the Islamic State."

 

Canon Andrew White also known as the "Vicar of Baghdad," is the Chaplain of St George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad, Iraq. He estimates that his flock used to number around 6,000 people, but in the last decade over 1,200 have been been killed according to CNN’s Arwa Damon.

 

"One of the things that really hurt was when one of the Christians came and said, 'For the first time in 1,600 years, we had no church in Nineveh,'" he told Damon. White refuses to leave Baghdad despite the danger, as St. George's is Iraq's last Anglican Church.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

1. Do we ever forgive? Do we set limits and conditions on Christian forgiveness? Do we imitate God in his willingness to forgive? Do we respond positively and fully to God’s healing and forgiving love? In our daily life, do we act like the merciless and unforgiving steward?  If so, what do we do about it?

 

2. Do we take care to cultivate our personal relationship with God so that our sin and weakness will not “exile” us from him?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Jesus Lord,

thank you for your forgiving love!

We have a duty to forgive

for you have been truly merciful.

Heal us totally of our resentments

that we may be able to forgive seventy times seven.

Let our hearts be open to your saving grace

that we may be instruments of your peace and benediction

to a wounded world in need of healing and reconciliation.

Let us never be separated from you.

We adore you and glorify you,

now and forever.

Amen.

  

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

            “I say to you forgive, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Mt 18:22) // “As captives they shall go into exile.” (Ez 12:11)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO 

 

Seek to extend God’s forgiving love to those who have wronged you. In a spirit of contrition, beg forgiveness from the people you have wronged that you may truly experience God’s forgiving and healing love. // Pray for those in various situations of alienation and marginalization and do an act of charity for them.  

 

 

*** *** ***

 

August 12, 2022: FRIDAY – WEEKDAY (19); SAINT FRANCES DE CHANTAL, Religious

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Teaches That What God Has Joined Together, No Human Being Must Separate … He Is Our Everlasting Covenant”

 

 

BIBLE READINGS

Ez 16:1-15, 60, 63 // Mt 19:3-12

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

A. Gospel Reading (Mt 19:3-12): “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so”

 

A young couple we know recently divorced. The ex-husband came to visit us at our convent. His eyes were glazed with anguish. We tried to offer consoling words, but the depth of his suffering was beyond understanding. Indeed, divorce inflicts terrible pain on its victims. In his book, Life on the Edge, Dr. James Dobson writes: “A Russian woman who was my guest on the radio talked about her years in a Nazi extermination camp. She had seen mass murder and every form of deprivation. After the war, she came to America and married, only to have her husband be unfaithful and abandon her a few years later. Unbelievably, she said that experience of rejection and loss was actually more painful than her years in a German death camp. That says it all.”

 

In today’s Gospel reading (Mt 19:3-12), Jesus rejects divorce and underlines the permanence of marriage. When a man and woman become one in marriage, they enter into a covenant relationship that is never to be broken. In the divine plan, marriage is indissoluble and no human agent could end such a union. The sacredness and integrity of marriage could be understood in the context of God’s faithful relationship with his covenant people, whom he has espoused to himself forever. Though the Mosaic Law allows divorce, it is only a concession to human weakness and not really the divine will. The radical nature of Jesus’ teaching on marriage leads his disciples to question whether it is advisable to marry at all. They naively contend that the single state is preferable to an indissoluble difficult marriage. The Divine Master responds by helping them to see celibacy as a gift of God and not an aversive option to a binding marriage. Indeed, it is possible for a Christian disciple to renounce marriage in view of the kingdom. The grace of God enables that person to embrace chastity and celibacy for the sake of the heavenly kingdom.

 

The Catholic Church today is confronted with an increasing number of divorced and remarried persons. Every member of the family suffers when a marriage shatters. Divorce is painful for all those involved. It is thus necessary to state here the Catholic position and the pastoral work concerning divorced and remarried persons.

 

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1650: Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ – “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” – the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was.

 

If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesiastical responsibilities.

 

Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented from having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence.

 

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1651: Toward Christians who live in this situation, and who often keep the faith and desire to bring up their children in a Christian manner, priests and the whole community must manifest an attentive solicitude, so that they do not consider themselves separated from the Church, in whose life they can and must participate as baptized persons.

 

They should be encouraged to listen to the Word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to the works of charity and to community efforts for justice, to bring up the children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God’s grace.

 

 

B. First Reading (Ez 16:1-15, 60, 63): “You are perfect because of my splendor which I bestowed on you; you became a harlot.”

 

In today’s reading (Ez 16:1-15, 60, 63), we hear an allegory that relates God’s graciousness to Israel and announces an everlasting covenant.  The prophet Ezekiel narrates the figurative story of a faithless spouse so that Jerusalem may know her abominations and thus turn away from them. God takes care of Jerusalem, an unwanted and cast off orphan, and lets her grow. He makes a marriage covenant with her and she belongs to the Lord. Abundant riches, goods and ornaments are showered upon her. God makes her so lovely that she becomes famous for her perfect beauty. But she takes advantage of her beauty and fame and becomes a harlot. Jerusalem squanders the gifts of God, her spouse, to attract partners in illicit affairs. She prostitutes herself by being unfaithful to God and by adopting the other nations’ idolatrous practices.

 

The compassionate and merciful God, however, is conciliatory. Cast out by her lovers, despoiled and despised, Jerusalem finds forgiveness in God who seeks her out and espoused herself to him again. He remembers the nuptial covenant made with her when she was young and now he resolves to make a covenant with her that will last forever. Appreciative of such forgiving love, Jerusalem will be ashamed of her ungrateful and adulterous conduct and will turn to the Lord God in complete fidelity.

 

The life of Saint Mary of Egypt (as reported by Wikipedia) gives insight into the harlotry practiced by Jerusalem against God as well as the grace of renewed covenant bestowed upon that nation.

Mary of Egypt (ca. 344 – ca. 421) is revered as the patron saint of penitents, most particularly in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic churches as well as in the Roman Catholic.   

The primary source of information on Saint Mary of Egypt is the Vita written of her by St. Sophronius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem (634-638). Most of the information in this section is taken from this source.

Saint Mary, also known as Maria Aegyptica, was born somewhere in Egypt, and at the age of twelve ran away to the city of Alexandria where she lived an extremely dissolute life.[3] In her Vita it states that she often refused the money offered for her sexual favors, as she was driven "by an insatiable and an irrepressible passion," and that she mainly lived by begging, supplemented by spinning flax. 

After seventeen years of this lifestyle, she traveled to Jerusalem for the Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. She undertook the journey as a sort of "anti-pilgrimage”, stating that she hoped to find in the pilgrim crowds at Jerusalem even more partners in her lust. She paid for her passage by offering sexual favors to other pilgrims, and she continued her habitual lifestyle for a short time in Jerusalem. Her Vita relates that when she tried to enter the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for the celebration, she was barred from doing so by an unseen force. Realizing that this was because of her impurity, she was struck with remorse, and upon seeing an icon of the Theotokos (the Virgin Mary) outside the church, she prayed for forgiveness and promised to give up the world (i.e., become an ascetic). Then she attempted again to enter the church, and this time was permitted in. After venerating the relic of the true cross, she returned to the icon to give thanks, and heard a voice telling her, "If you cross the Jordan, you will find glorious rest." She immediately went to the monastery of St. John the Baptist bank of the River Jordan, where she received absolution and afterwards Holy Communion. The next morning, she crossed the Jordan and retired to the desert to live the rest of her life as a hermit in penitence. She took with her only three loaves of bread, and once they were gone, lived only on what she could find in the wilderness.

Approximately one year before her death, she recounted her life to St. Zosimas of Palestine who encountered her in the desert. When he unexpectedly met her in the desert, she was completely naked and almost unrecognizable as human. She asked Zosimas to toss her his mantle to cover herself with, and then she narrated her life's story to him, manifesting marvelous clairvoyance. She asked him to meet her at the banks of the Jordan, on Holy Thursday of the following year, and bring her Holy Communion. When he fulfilled her wish, she crossed the river to get to him by walking on the surface of the water, and received Holy Communion, telling him to meet her again in the desert the following Lent. The next year, Zosimas travelled to the same spot where he first met her, some twenty day's journey from his monastery, and found her lying there dead.

According to an inscription written in the sand next to her head, she had died on the very night he had given her Communion and had been somehow miraculously transported to the place he found her, and her body was preserved incorrupt. He buried her body with the assistance of a passing lion. On returning to the monastery he related her life story to the brethren, and it was preserved among them as oral tradition until it was written down by St. Sophronius.

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

1. Do we try to see the meaning of marriage and celibacy in the context of the kingdom of God?  Do we strive to be faithful to our covenant fidelity with God and reflect his faithful love in whatever we do?  Do we help those struggling with the pain of divorce and assist the divorced and remarried persons to continue to live their vocation as baptized persons?

 

2. Have we been unfaithful to God and “prostituted” or covenant relationship with him?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Lord Jesus,

you teach the sacredness and integrity of marriage.

Bless all married couples

with the grace of faithful love.

Fill with courage and patience

all divorced persons struggling with loneliness and rejection.

Assist all divorced and remarried persons

to remain united with the Church

and faithful in their Christian duties of charity.

Grant your gift of chastity and celibacy

to those called for a special service of your kingdom.

We love you

and we surrender to your saving will.

You live and reign, forever and ever.

Amen.

 

***

Loving God,

you have loved us with an everlasting love.

You have espoused us to yourself,

but we have been unfaithful.

Draw us back to you,

forgive our sins,

and renew your nuptial covenant with us.

We are sorry of our wrongdoings and detest our harlotry.

Give us the grace to be faithful.

Great is your love for us.

We glorify you and serve you, now and forever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

            The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the week. Please memorize it.

 

“What God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mt 19:6) // “I will set up an everlasting covenant with you.” (Ez 16:60)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

By your prayers, words and actions, promote the sacredness and integrity of Christian marriage in society today. // Pray for a more committed covenant relationship with God.

            

 

 

*** *** ***

 

August 13, 2022: SATURDAY – WEEKDAY (19); SAINTS PONTIAN, Pope, AND HIPPOLITUS, Priest; Martyrs

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Blesses the Children … He Teaches Us the Meaning of Responsibility”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Ez 18:1-10, 13b, 390-32// Mt 19:13-15

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

A. Gospel Reading (Mt 19:13-15): “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

 

The Gospel reading (Mt 19:13-15) tells us that as Jesus makes his way to Jerusalem, teaching and healing, children are brought to him to be blessed. This account precedes the story of the young man who wants to follow Jesus but fails to do so because of his attachment to his possessions. Unlike the rich young man, the children are a symbol of the anawim – of the poor and lowly who depend totally on God. The kingdom of God is meant for the “children” who, in their simplicity and trust, totally rely on God. Jesus delights in them and he wants the children to come to him. The heavenly kingdom belongs to such as them. Jesus lays his hands upon the “little ones”. This gesture signifies his bestowal of the blessings and abundant riches of the kingdom upon them.

 

The following story entitled “Potato Chips”, circulated on the Internet, gives us a glimpse into the child-like quality that enables us – whether young or old - to experience the presence of God.

 

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey. When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park, just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her some chips. She gratefully accepted and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Again, she smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

 

As twilight approached, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave; but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman, and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever. When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?” He replied, “I had lunch with God.” But before his mother could respond, he added, “You know what? She’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”

 

Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, “Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?” She replied, “I ate potato chips in the park with God.” However, before her son responded, she added, “You know, he’s much younger that I expected.”

 

 

B. First Reading (Ez 18:1-10, 13b, 30-32): “I will judge you according to your ways.”

 

In today’s Old Testament reading (Ez 18:1-10, 13b, 30-32) we come to grips with the issue of personal responsibility. The people in the land of Israel keep on repeating the proverb: “The parents ate the sour grapes, but the children got the sour taste.” The cynical use this proverb to complain about their need to suffer for their parents’ misdeeds. Faced with the disasters that follow in close succession plus the specter of doom that Ezekiel keeps on repeating, the question arises: “Whose fault it is?” Moreover, the disasters are of such magnitude that they cannot be caused only by the sins of one generation.

 

God answers the complaint by asserting that he is the God of life and that it is only the person who sins that shall die. Hence, a truly good man who doesn’t worship the idols of Israel or eat sacrifices offered at forbidden shrines, who follows the Lord’s way, such a righteous person shall live. And if his son robs and kills, goes to pagan shrines and worships disgusting idols, does disgusting things, that son of his shall die for his misdeeds. God reiterates that he shall judge each person for what he has done.

 

Then God’s climactic appeal comes: “Turn away from all the evil you have been doing, and get yourselves new minds and new hearts … Turn away from your sins and live.” The decisive argument for this appeal is: “I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies.” The promise of life and the threat of death do not refer to life and death in the physical sense, but communion with God, the giver of life, or separation from God which can only bring death.

 

The following pastoral letter of Archbishop Oakley, entitled “Deliver Us from Evil. Amen” (10 July, 2014) is an appeal to personal and communal responsibility.

 

Recently I came across a schedule of events for the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City. Imagine my astonishment upon reading about a ticketed “Black Mass” performance that will be presented at this public institution.

 

I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt and assume that this event was scheduled without knowledge of what was going to be taking place. The so-called Black Mass is an occult ritual normally carried out in secret among those initiated into its dark mysteries. It is astonishing that this is being performed in such a public way and in a public space. In a Black Mass a consecrated Sacred Host obtained by stealth from a Catholic Mass, is corrupted in a vile and sexual manner and then becomes the sacrifice of this pseudo Mass offered in homage to Satan.

 

For over one billion Catholics worldwide and more than 200,000 Catholics in Oklahoma the Mass is the most sacred of religious rituals. It is the center of Catholic worship and celebrates Jesus Christ’s redemption of the world by his saving death and resurrection. In particular, the Eucharist – which we believe to be the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ – is the source and summit of our faith. A Black Mass is a satanic inversion and mockery of the most sacred beliefs not only of Catholics but of all Christians.

 

I am astonished and grieved that the Civic Center would promote as entertainment and sell tickets for an event that is essentially a blasphemous and sacrilegious mockery of the Catholic Mass.

 

It is hard to imagine the Civic Center turning a blind eye and allowing a group to use its facilities to burn a copy of the Koran, or to conduct an overtly anti-Semitic performance. Nor should they! Why is this any different? There are community standards to uphold. And these prohibit works that are “illegal, indecent, obscene, immoral or in any manner publicly offensive.” A Black Mass certainly qualifies as offensive, obscene and immoral. Its sole purpose is to show hostility toward Catholicism and all that is sacred to Christians.

 

Acts of public sacrilege undermine the foundations of a civil society and have no redeeming social values. They undermine respect for social, cultural and religious institutions. They mock and tear down and provide no comparable social goods.

 

I certainly hope that those allowing this event will consider whether this is an appropriate use of public space. We trust that community leaders do not actually wish to enable or encourage such a flagrantly inflammatory event and that they can surely find a way to remedy this situation.

 

If the event does move forward, we will consider other peaceful, prayerful and respectful options to demonstrate our opposition to this publicly supported sacrilegious acts.

 

In the meantime, I call on all Catholics in Oklahoma and elsewhere, as well as men and women of good will, to pray for a renewed sense of the sacred and that the Lord might change the hearts and minds of the organizers of this event. May God protect us from the power of evil which such an event invokes.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

1. Do we believe that the kingdom of heaven belongs to the “little ones”?  How do we prove that we are truly children of God?

 

2. Do we believe that God does not want the death of a sinner but that he be converted and live?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Loving Jesus,

you said, “Let the children come to me,

and do not prevent them;

for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

We are your disciples

and within us is the spirit of the “little ones”.

Draw us to you.

Bless us and lay your hands upon us

that we may be filled with the abundant riches of your kingdom.

You are meek and gentle of heart.

You call us to serve God the Father

for we are his own children

and you are our dear brother.

Help us to turn away sinners from sin

that they may live.

We love and adore you, now and forever.

Amen.

    

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

            The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the week. Please memorize it.

 

“Let the children come to me … He placed his hands on them.” (Mt 19:14) // “Return and live!” (Ez 18:32)

 

  

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Cultivate a child-like attitude that will enable you to perceive the blessings of God and his presence in every moment of your life. // By your prayers and kind deeds help sinners turn away from sin and return to God.

 

 

BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD (Series 20, n. 36)

18th Week in Ordinary Time: July 31 – August 6, 2022

 

 

(The pastoral tool BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD: A LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY & WEEKDAY LITURGY includes a prayerful study of the Sunday liturgy from various perspectives. For the Lectio Divina on the liturgy of the past week: July 24-30, 2022 please go to ARCHIVES Series 20 and click on “Week 17 Ordinary Time”.

 

Below is a LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY - WEEKDAY LITURGY:

July 31 – August 6, 2022.)

 

 

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July 31, 2022: EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Is the Essential”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Eccl 1:2; 2:21-23 // Col 3:1-5, 9-11 // Lk 12:13-21

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

A. Gospel Reading (Lk 12:13-21): “The things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?”

 

Disputes regarding family inheritance can be very bitter and destructive. A priest narrated to our Sisters an incident that he witnessed personally. He was called to assist a dying rich man. While he was praying over him and administering the last rites, the children were quarrelling in the kitchen over the inheritance. The priest felt frustrated. This was probably the same feeling that Jesus had when someone in the crowd asked him: “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me” (Lk 12:13).

 

            Jesus’ response to the request shows that he is truly an excellent and wise Teacher. Refusing to be dragged into the litigation, he denies any jurisdiction over the dividing of the inheritance: “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” (Lk 12:14). Then he turns to the crowd, warns them about the trap of earthly possessions: “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions” (Lk 12:15). The Divine Master wants to show his disciples and would-be followers the true and efficacious way of dealing with earthly possessions. Jesus does this by narrating a parable about the hoarding Rich Fool. The latter is eagerly looking forward to a life of abundance and leisure, unaware that he is to die that very night.

             

            For the Rich Fool, the acquisition of material goods has become an end in itself. Unfortunately, this foolishness is rampantly replicated even today. The biblical scholar Samuel Oyin Abogunrin remarks: “Greed often corrupts one’s priorities. The actions of the Rich Fool are too often emulated in our world. The cause of the heinous crimes committed by political leaders in many areas of the world is greed, avarice, and the insatiable desire to accumulate wealth at the expense of those ordinary citizens who live in abject poverty and die daily for lack of the basic necessities of life.”

  

            In the context of Jesus’ paschal journey to Jerusalem and the Easter saving mystery that the disciples are called to share with him, the Divine Master’s warning against obsessive attachment to material goods and his exhortation to seek the true riches that matter to God become a challenge for us today. The Christian followers are called to focus on what is essential, to rely on divine providence, and to cling to the person of Christ – the absolute Good. Indeed, to focus on Christ, “the essential” and to seek him as the ultimate Treasure strengthens the disciples for a full participation in his life-giving paschal destiny.

    

 

B. First Reading (Eccl 1:2; 2:21-23): “What profit comes to a man from all his toil?”

 

In the first reading (Eccl 1:2; 2:21-23), Qoheleth, the purported author of Ecclesiastes, declares that the acquisitive life is vanity and that the feverish drive for material things is human tragedy. All of life is vanity, with all its attendant anxiety, sorrow, futile effort and restlessness. The purpose of Qoheleth is not to shock or discourage, nor to overwhelm with pessimism, but to put things in proper perspective. Not content with what is temporary, ephemeral, or vanishing, Qoheleth sees the emptiness and senselessness of a life of worldly acquisition and thus points toward the direction of the Absolute.

 

The authors of the Days of the Lord, vol. 6, page 149-150, comment: “His anguish, which we sometimes share, is a heartrending appeal not to be taken in by mirages, by those things that, in the end, are only vanity, only wind. But this anguish also – paradoxically – turns out to be an expression of a burning desire for the Absolute, and the deeply rooted certitude that it exists, that it will reveal itself.  It is like a gulf, an abyss that God alone can fill, he who is not vanity. This is felt at least when the deception engendered by all things haunts the heart of a believer, and Ecclesiastes is definitely one of these believers, sharing much in common with other figures of the Bible. His cry will never cease to resound and find an echo in whoever is able to see through the fundamentally empty vanity of human efforts to create something more than the wind. He is irresistibly turned toward God, who not only stills his anguish, but redeems it.

 

An example of a person who had experienced the anguish of meaninglessness and the emptiness of material goods, and had turned to the Absolute is Kurt, a good friend of the former hippie and drug-addict, Mike McGarvin, the founder of Fresno-based Poverello House. In his excellent book, PAPA MIKE (cf. p. 53), McGarvin narrates:

 

Kurt was a convert to Catholicism, which interested me. I was more or less journeying the same path he had already trodden, going from no religion to conversion. Kurt possessed a wealth of knowledge. Before entering the Franciscan order, he had been a lawyer in a western state. He’d had it all: money, women, luxury cars, an airplane, and prestige. One day, he asked himself, “Is this all there is?” Somehow, he realized that if he stayed in the fast lane that would be all there was, and he faced a crisis. He turned to the Church, and before he knew it, he was taking his vows as a Franciscan.

 

 

C. Second Reading (Col 3:1-5, 9-11): “Seek what is above, where Christ is.”

 

The Second Reading (Col 3:1-5, 9-11) underlines very impressively the meaning of true riches: Christ who raised us to new life. He challenges us to seek what is aboveto think of what is above, not of what is on earth. We are being summoned to live the new way in Christ and set our priorities right. Through baptismal consecration, Christ leads us on the way of Passover, which involves detachment from what passes away and directs us towards the attainment of the kingdom of God.

 

Harold Buetow concludes: “We who are trying to live out our baptism have a new set of values. We think of giving instead of getting, serving rather than ruling, forgiving and not avenging. We are grateful for life given by God without cost, friends provided without price, eternity promised without merit. We have the insight that our worth is not measured by what we own but by what we share and that we have the opportunity to grow in the lasting wealth of love. We see that wealth is not necessarily a sign of God’s favor, and that poverty can be … We reject greed and grow rich in God. We are to prepare to move into the dwelling place prepared for us in heaven rather than building bigger barns. Do we have our priorities right?”

 

The following article is about a daring initiative that goes against selfish acquisitiveness (cf. Donna Gordon Blankinship, “Gates, Buffet Urge Wealthy to Give” in San Jose Mercury News, June 17, 2010, p. C2). This philanthropic effort is very inspiring. Let us invoke God’s blessings upon it.

 

Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates and billionaire investor Warren Buffet are launching a campaign to get other American billionaires to give at least half their wealth to charity. Buffet, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said in a letter introducing the concept that he couldn’t be happier with his decision in 2006 to give 99 % of his roughly $46 billion fortune to charity.

 

Patty Stonesifer, former CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Gates and Buffet have been campaigning for the past year to get others to donate the bulk of their wealth. The friends and philanthropic colleagues are asking people to pledge to donate either during their lifetime or at the time of their death. They estimate their efforts could generate $600 billion in charitable giving. In 2009, American philanthropies received a total of about $300 billion in donations, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

 

The handful of billionaires approached so far have embraced the campaign, said Stonesifer, a close friend of Gates who offered to speak about the effort. Four wealthy couples have already announced their pledges, including John and Ann Doerr of Menlo Park, John and Tasha Mortgridge of San Jose, Los Angeles philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad and Garry and Marguerite Lenfest of Philadelphia.

 

In addition to making a donation commitment, Gates and Buffet are asking billionaires to pledge to give wisely and learn from their peers. They said they were inspired by the philanthropic efforts of not just other billionaires but of the people of all financial means and backgrounds who have given generously to make the world a better place. Their philosophic forebears are the Carnegie and Rockefeller families, who donated most of their wealth to improve society and were the grandparents of modern philanthropy, said Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

 

Ted Turner’s announcement 13 years ago of a $1 billion gift to United Nations programs also was done in part to inspire other big givers, but did not have a noticeable result, Palmer said. “It’s a stretch to see how they’re going to get the $600 billion figure”, she said, noting that only 17 people on the Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest people in America are also on the Chronicle’s list of the most generous American donors. Many of these people may have given anonymously or plan to donate when they die, but the bulk of money raised by charities today comes from non-billionaires giving $5, $10 or $50 at a time, Palmer said.

 

Gates and Buffet are asking each individual or couple who make a pledge to do so publicly, with a letter explaining their decision. “The pledge is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract. It does not involve pooling money or supporting a particular set of causes or organizations”, they explain in a written statement about the project.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

How do I deal with material goods and temporal possessions? Is it obsessively, or with true freedom and wisdom? Do I deeply realize that Christ is the essential? How does this realization affect my daily choices and actions?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO 

 

Loving Father, source of good,

your greatest gift to us is Jesus your Son.

He is “the essential” and ultimate good.

He teaches trust in your providence.

Fill us with greater concern for the poor and needy.

Help us to share the blessings received from you.

Do not allow greed to corrupt our priorities

and warp our responsibilities to our neighbor.

Let us listen to the voice of Jesus.

He leads us to the riches of our Easter destiny.

We praise and bless you, now and forever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

           

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the week. Please memorize it.

 

“Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” (Lk 12:15)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Thank the Lord for the blessings you have received from him. Then ask him to inspire you how to share the goods you have received from God with others.

 

 

 

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August 1, 2022: MONDAY – SAINT ALPHONSUS LIGOURI, Bishop, Doctor of the Church

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Multiplies the Five Loaves and Two Fish … He Upholds His Prophet”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jer 28:1-17 // Mt 14:13-21

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

A. Gospel Reading (Mt 14:13-21): “Looking up to heaven, he said the blessing and gave the loaves to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.”

 

The Gospel episode (Mt 14:13-21) depicts Jesus’ “banquet” of the loaves and fish in a deserted place in Galilee near the sea. The miraculous banquet laid out by Jesus the Master-Shepherd points to the Eucharistic feast and the dawning of messianic salvation. In the superabundance of the multiplied loaves and the twelve baskets filled with leftovers is a sign of the copious spiritual nourishment and the unfailing Eucharistic food that Jesus offers to hungry crowds over the course of centuries. Our sense of faith is heartened by the remarkable quality of Jesus’ banquet of the loaves and fish, especially of what it prefigures – the Eucharist. Moreover, in the miraculous event of the multiplication of the “five loaves and two fish”, Jesus is forming his disciples’ faith in preparation for their role as pastors and givers of nourishment to the ecclesial community.

 

The Lord of the feast and Eucharistic banquet is Christ Jesus, who invites us to share at the table of the Word and Sacraments. As his beloved and privileged disciples, he summons us to bring his spiritual nourishment to the “hungry” crowd of today’s world. He is the gracious host who transforms our paltry, humble supply of “five loaves and two fish” into a table of plenty. In our vocation as Christian believers in the modern world, he assures us that with only “five loaves and two fish” and by his grace, we will be able to respond to the “hungers” of today’s anguished and restless modern society. If only we turn to Jesus Host in faith, our poverty will be transformed into spiritual riches for the benefit of the world’s poor and their salvation. Indeed, the miracle of “superabundance” begins with “little”. In his compassion, the power of God – through Christ and the Holy Spirit - is actively and marvelously at work in us, embracing our poverty and multiplying the meager resources we lovingly place at his disposal.

 

The following modern day account teaches us that with God we can do all and that the miraculous sign of “multiplication” can be experienced even now (cf. Lisa Beech, “A Lesson in Multiplication” in Guideposts, March 2014, p. 23).

 

Last year I joined San Francisco’s City Impact, a nondenominational group doing outreach to inner-city residents. This was my first day visiting a public housing complex. The leader put me and another newbie in charge of handing out groceries. My partner and I agreed we had the best job. Who didn’t love food, especially when they couldn’t afford much of it?

 

“Not everyone will need some”, our leader reminded us. “We’re also just here to talk, check in with people, pray with them if they want. It’s about showing love.”

 

The people on our assigned floors seemed happy to see us and our big box of supplies when we knocked – all except one. “I have company”, he said. “Sorry. I have to go.” He shut the door before we’d even had time to offer him anything. Which might have been for the best. Our box is almost empty. “We’re going to run out of food!” I said. “We must be giving people too much.”

 

My partner and I looked at each other in alarm. Had we messed everything up? We had a whole floor of apartments left to visit! Lord, I said silently, you fed the five thousand. Could you multiply this food the way you did the loaves and the fishes?”

 

“I asked God to multiply the food”, I whispered to my partner. “Me too!” he whispered back. Visit by visit our supplies dwindled. We still had quite a few apartments left when I checked the box again: one lime and a can of soup. Soon those were gone. “We’ll have to tell people we ran out”, I said. “We really miscalculated.” No way is God going to bail us out, I told myself miserably.

 

Just then someone came running down the hall. It was the impatient man from the floor above. His arms were full of groceries: cereal and cans of soup. “Here”, he said, putting them in the box. “Thought some of the other residents could use them. I’ve got plenty this month. Gotta run!”

 

We had just enough for the apartments we still had left to visit. God had multiplied our groceries – and multiplied our faith too.

   

 

B. First Reading (Jer 28:1-17): “The Lord has not sent you and you have raised false confidence in this people.”

 

In today’s Old Testament reading (Jer 28:1-17), there is face-to-face confrontation between Jeremiah, the true prophet, and Hananiah, the false prophet. Jeremiah wears a wooden yoke, urging the people of Judah to submit for now to the king of Babylon to avert total destruction. Hananiah, a charlatan, paints a rosy picture. Indeed, his empty promise of peace suits God’s chosen people in denial. Using a symbolic action, Hananiah breaks Jeremiah’s wooden yoke and predicts that God will break the Babylonian rule within two years. After some time the Lord commands Jeremiah to replace the wooden yoke with an iron yoke and to refute the false prophecy. Jeremiah reiterates his message of doom and complete subjugation for the rebellious people of Judah. Moreover, Hananiah who predicts success and not humility, the one “not sent” by God, is to be “dispatched” that very year. Two months later, Hananiah dies! The fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prediction authenticates Jeremiah’s mission as true prophet.

 

Lionel Bottori’s story “The Uninvited Guests” (cf. Bostoniano, July 2014, p. 30-31) is very entertaining. It is about two charlatan monks who presented themselves as devotees of the Order of St. Bulbous. They said they were on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and asked shelter from the hospitable archpriest Papa Galeazzo. Brother Mangiatutto (= Brother “He Eats All”) and Brother Berfinafondo (= Brother “He Drinks Till He Empties the Cup”) ate everything that was put in front of them and were not shy to ask for more wine when the first pitcher was emptied. In no time, Papa Galeazzo became suspicious. The following account of the showdown between the two fraudulant monks and their gracious host Papa Galeazzo evokes, in a humorous vein, the victorious struggle experienced by Jeremiah in today’s Old Testament account.

 

(…) Resolving to learn more about these dubious fellows, he prepared a quiz on religious doctrine to see if he could expose them. But, as luck would have it, he happened upon an open window behind some heavy drapes just as the pair walked by. Unaware of his presence, the pair spoke freely. “Ha, ha”, they both laughed, then the man who called himself Mangiatutto said: “That ‘Papa Gallo’ is such a fool! As soon as we’re rested, we’ll get a couple of big sacks and clean out all those gold and silver antiques from the church, and have a proper party when we get back home!”

 

If they weren’t a pair of devils, they were at least thieves and charlatans, thought Galeazzo. They obviously had told him a pack of lies, up to and including inventing their own saint. The archpriest had no means to evict these frauds, so he decided that he would use a real saint to beat them at their own game.

 

That night at dinner, he announced the news that the Feast of St. Celestino il Quinto would be celebrated in the most traditional manner. All the “religiosi” in the “canonica” were asked to respect this observance, which would last for a week or so, said the priest who stood before the two so-called monks. Fearing they’d lose the opportunity to burglarize the church, they nodded their affirmation.

 

“This daily repast will consist of a piece of bread and a cup of water”, said Papa Galeazzo, eliciting a pair of loud gasps. The archpriest had all other food removed from the building, and the doors of the wine cellar locked. Soon, the two false monks found few occasions to call down the blessing of St. Bulbous. Then Papa Galeazzo told his guests they would have to stay in unfurnished cells and sleep on the hard stone floors. He explained that St. Celestino was famous for abnegating the world and its sins by means of the mortifications of the flesh, and so he expected his fellow clergy to set the same example for the laity as the saint himself had done.

 

As they listened, their faces slowly reddened and changed from expressions of expectation to those of exasperation. They began whispering to one another. The archpriest was now convinced that these were common thieves, and not the Devil and a demon in disguise. So he decided to take a chance by inventing one more lie of his own. He announced that on the third day, the ritual of flagellation would commence, and that members of the Order of St. Celestino il Quinto would come and beat them for an hour or two in order to cleanse them of all sin and help them focus their thoughts on the afterlife as the saint himself had done. He went on to describe the heavy horsewhips and large physiques of the volunteers who were coming to so generously assist in this ritual blessing.

 

“Diavolo!” exclaimed the pair in unison. “Better to suffer a bit in this short life than to burn in eternal damnation, don’t you think?” asked the archpriest, relieved that they had not disappeared in a cloud of sulfurous smoke only to reappear as bright red demons intent on carrying him to hell.

 

Just then, Brother Mangiatutto announced that it was their sacred duty to leave immediately, since their pilgrimage was a higher obligation than celebrating St. Celestino’s rituals. When they asked for a letter of introduction, the archpriest presented them with a copy of a grocery list, asking them if something like that would suffice. They carefully looked it over and stated that it was quite adequate.

 

Armed with the knowledge that the two could not read, he told them that he’d be nothing less than truthful in this recommendation. He wrote: “These men are neither monks nor devils, but incorrigible liars and thieves. Anyone who meets them should beware.” Then they departed to “Jerusalem” as fast as they could.

 

When Papa Galeazzo met his bishop again, his superior asked him how he handled the situation with the demons in disguise. “Well, they left! Apparently the threat of penance can scare off even the Devil!” answered Papa Galeazzo.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

1. Do we see the miraculous possibility of the “five loaves and two fish” that are available to us in our ministry to the poor? Do we trust that Jesus will multiply our resources? Do we allow ourselves to be filled by the superabundant riches of God?

 

2. Do we trust that God will give us the grace to overcome threats and conflicts brought about by false prophets?

  

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

O loving Father,

your Son Jesus, our Master-Shepherd,

multiplied the “five loaves of bread and two fish”.

He is both the host and the fare.

He is the bread of the Word and the bread and wine

of the Eucharistic sacrifice on the cross. .

Strengthened by the bread of life,

help us to overcome all kinds of trials, difficulties and distress

through the love of God in Christ Jesus.

He is our Lord and he lives and reigns, forever and ever.

            Amen.

 

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Loving Jesus,

deliver us too from raging storms created by false prophets.

We love you for you are kind and merciful.

You come to our aid always.

You live and reign, forever and ever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“They all ate and were satisfied.” (Mt 14:20) //“You have raised false confidence in this people.” (Jer 28:15)  

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Seek to alleviate the hunger of a needy brother and sister in any way. Contribute to the local Church’s effort to provide bread for the poor in your community. // Pray that we may be delivered from the evil influence of today’s false prophets.

  

 

 

 

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August 2, 2022: TUESDAY – SAINT EUSEBIUS OF VERCELLI, Bishop; SAINT PETER JULIAN EYMARD, Priest

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Saves Us from the Raging Waters … He Gives Us Hope of Restoration”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jer 30:1-2, 12-15, 18-22 // Mt 14:22-36

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

A. Gospel Reading (Mt 14:22-36): “Command me to come to you on the water.”

 

The need for deeper faith permeates the Gospel reading (Mt 14:22-36). Peter, impetuous as ever, asks to come to Jesus on the waters, but his faith fails him. After a tentative beginning, he begins to sink. Jesus saves him, but rebukes him for his feeble faith. Even Peter, the “prince of apostles”, wavers in his faith.

 

St. Augustine exhorts us to contemplate this Gospel episode so that, when beset with the turmoil of temptations, we can put our faith in Jesus, who for our sake suffered death in order to save us: “Look at Peter, who in this episode is an image of ourselves; at one moment he is all confidence, at the next all uncertainty and doubt; now he professes faith in the immortal One, now he fears for his life … Think, then, of this world as a sea, whipped up to tempestuous heights by violent winds. A person’s own private tempest will be his or her unruly desires. If you love God you will have power to walk upon the waters, and all the world’s swells and turmoil will remain beneath your feet. But if you love the world, it will surely engulf you, for it always devours its lovers, never sustains them. If you feel your foot slipping beneath you, if you become a prey to doubt or realize that you are losing control, if, in a word, you begin to sink, say: Lord, I am drowning, save me! Only he, who for your sake died in your fallen nature, can save you from the death inherent in that fallen nature.”

 

The following lovely story illustrates that those who love God and have faith in him have power to walk upon the waters (cf. Anthony de Mello, The Song of the Bird, New York: Image Books, 1984, p. 72-73).

 

When the bishop’s ship stopped at a remote island for a day, he determined to use the time as profitably as possible. He strolled along the seashore and came across three fishermen mending their nets. In pidgin English they explained to him that centuries before they had been Christianized by missionaries. “We Christians!” they said, proudly pointing to one another.

 

The bishop was impressed. Did they know the Lord’s Prayer? They had never heard it. The bishop was shocked. “What do you say, then, when you pray?” “We lift eyes in heaven. We pray, ‘We are three, you are three, have mercy on us.’” The bishop was appalled at the primitive, the downright heretical nature of their prayer. So he spent the whole day teaching them the Lord’s Prayer. The fishermen were poor learners, but they gave it all they had and before the bishop sailed away next day he had the satisfaction of hearing them go through the formula without a fault.

 

Months later the bishop’s ship happened to pass by those islands again, and the bishop, as he paced the deck saying his evening prayers, recalled with pleasure the three men on that distant island who were now able to pray, thanks to his patient efforts. While he was lost in the thought he happened to look up and noticed a spot of light in the east. The light kept approaching the ship and, as the bishop gazed in wonder, he saw three figures walking on the water. The captain stopped the boat and everyone leaned over the rails to see this sight.

 

When they were within speaking distance, the bishop recognized his three friends, the fishermen. “Bishop”, they exclaimed. “We hear your boat go past island and come hurry hurry to meet you.” “What is it you want?” asked the awe-stricken bishop. “Bishop”, they said, “we so, so sorry. We forget lovely prayer. We say, ‘Our Father in heaven, holy be your name, your kingdom come …’ then we forget. Please tell us prayer again.”

 

The bishop felt humbled. “Go back to your home, my friends”, he said, “and each time you pray, say, ‘We are three, you are three, have mercy on us!’”

 

 

In imitation of Jesus Christ, who walks on the water, the beloved St. John Mary Vianney, whose memorial we celebrate on August 4, saves many people from the raging waters of evil and sin (cf. The Word Among Us, June 2008, p. 54-57).

 

Jean-Marie had very little education and did poorly in class. No matter how hard he studied, he couldn’t remember his Latin grammar. Just when all seemed lost, Fr. Charles Balley – a far-seeing pastor who recognized Vianney’s potential – decided to tutor him. Vianney passed the required tests, was ordained in August 1815, and served as Fr. Balley’s assistant for two and a half years, until his assignment to Ars. (…)

 

Vianney set to work. Very early each morning and very late each night, he spent hours before the altar in the dilapidated church. Face down on the floor, he begged God – often with tears – to change the people’s hearts. A curious parishioner who once followed him inside was surprised at what his new pastor was praying out loud: “My God, grant me the conversion of my parish. I am willing to suffer all my life … I am prepared to endure the sharpest pains even for a hundred years. Only let my people be converted. (…)

 

In time, the people of Ars began to heed their pastor’s exhortations to stay out of the taverns and come to church, to refrain from work on Sundays, and to end the wild dances. They came to love the religious processions and pilgrimages that Vianney organized to help them know that God was among them. Many learned to pray and grew close to God themselves … As Vianney’s fame grew, pilgrims began showing up – twenty a day at first, then over the next three decades, up to eighty thousand each year. Often they waited for days, crowded together in the church, awaiting their turn in the confessional … Young people flocked to him to help them discern whether they had a religious vocation. The sick came to be prayed over for healing. (…)

 

For forty-one years, Vianney persevered as the pastor of the little village … He died on August 4, 1859, at the age of seventy-three. Already acclaimed a saint by the people, Jean-Marie Vianney was canonized on May 31, 1925, and later named the patron of parish priests. His life can be summed up by one of his sayings: “To be loved by God, to be united with God, to live in the presence of God, to live for God. Oh! What a beautiful life and what a beautiful death!”

       

 

B. First Reading (Jer 30:1-2, 12-15, 18-22): “Because of your numerous sins, I have done this to you. See! I will restore the tents of Jacob.”

 

Today’s Old Testament reading (Jer 30:1-2, 12-15, 18-22) is from Jeremiah’s oracles of salvation in which the prophet declares God’s intention to restore the chosen people Israel. The first part of today’s text is a vivid description of the sufferings and miseries of Israel due to her sins. Her wounds are incurable; her injuries cannot be healed; her pain is without relief. The Lord asserts that this is because of Israel’s great guilt and her numerous sins. The second part depicts the reversal of fortune, which is God’s gracious work. The Lord promises to restore his people to their land. Jerusalem will be rebuilt and the people who live there will sing his praise. The Lord offers a beautiful vision of the future: “They will be my people and I will be their God.”

 

The interplay of judgment and salvation in today’s oracle helps us understand better the following words of Pope Francis during the Mass that he celebrated on July 7, 2014, for six victim of sexual abuse (cf. Pope Francis, “I Humbly Ask Forgiveness” in L’Osservatore Romano, July 11, 2014, p. 5).

 

(…) I feel the gaze of Jesus and I ask for the grace to weep, the grace for the Church to weep and make reparation for her sons and daughters who betrayed their mission, who abused innocent persons … For some time now I have felt in my heart deep pain and suffering. (…)

 

Today the heart of the Church looks into the eyes of Jesus in these boys and girls and wants to weep; she asks the grace to weep before the execrable acts of abuse which have left lifelong scars. I know that these wounds are a source of deep and often unrelenting emotional and spiritual pain, and even despair. Many of those who have suffered in this way have also sought relief in the path of addiction. Others have experienced difficulties in significant relationships, with parents, spouses and children. Suffering in families has been especially grave, since the damage provoked by abuse affects these vital family relationships. Some have even had to deal with the terrible tragedy of the death of a loved one by suicide. (…)

 

Before God and his people I express my sorrow for the sins and grave crimes of clerical abuse committed against you. And I humbly ask forgiveness. (…)

 

Dear brothers and sisters, because we are all members of God’s family, we are called to live lives shaped by mercy. The Lord Jesus, our Savior, is the supreme example of this; though innocent, he took our sins upon himself on the cross. To be reconciled is the very essence of our shared identity as followers of Christ. By turning back to him, accompanied by our most holy Mother, who stood sorrowing at the foot of the cross, let us seek the grace of reconciliation with the entire people of God. The loving intercession of Our Lady of Tender Mercy is an unfailing source of help in the process of our healing. (…)

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

1. When we are buffeted by howling winds and violent storms in the sea of life, how steadfast is our faith? Do we dare to walk on the “raging waters” on the basis of our faith in Jesus? When we sin and falter, what do we do? Do we have recourse to Jesus and cry out: “Lord, save me”?

 

2. When we are overwhelmed by miseries created by evil and sin, do we allow ourselves to be strengthened by the promise of restoration and the hope of salvation?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Loving Jesus,

you walk on the water and you master the raging sea.

When we are buffeted

by howling winds and violent storms in the sea of life,

help us to have steadfast faith in you.

Hold us by the hand

and we too will walk with you upon the raging sea.

But when our faith falters,

save us and do not let us perish.

Deliver us too from raging storms created by false prophets.

We love you for you are kind and merciful.

You come to our aid always.

You live and reign, forever and ever.

Amen.

 

***

Loving Father,

our pain is great and our wound incurable

on account of our great guilt and numerous sins.

By your tender mercy restore us to your friendship.

Grant that we may always follow

the promptings of your Son Jesus, the Divine Master.

In him, we become your people

and we acknowledge you as our compassionate God.

who leads us to eternal life.

You live and reign, forever and ever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

           

            The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the week. Please memorize it.

 

“He came toward them, walking on the sea.” (Mt 14:25) //“See! I will restore the tents of Jacob.” (Jer 30:18)

  

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Pray for those whose lives are in a “raging sea” and beset with trials and difficulties. Assist them in any way you can. Pray for fishermen and seamen and all those engaged in ministering to their material, moral and spiritual needs. // Pray for the victims of sexual abuse and the conversion of the perpetrators of this violent crime. Assist them in any way you can.

 

 

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August 3, 2022: WEDNESDAY – WEEKDAY (18)

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Extols the Woman’s Faith … His Love Is Everlasting”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jer 31:1-7 // Mt 15:21-28

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

A. Gospel Reading (Mt 15:21-28): “O woman, great is your faith!”

 

Today’s Gospel episode of the healing of the non-Jewish woman’s daughter (Mt 15:21-28) contains the fascinating dialogue of faith between the Gentile mother and Jesus. Indeed, this faith encounter between an irrepressible intercessor and the source of healing would encourage the Church in its mission to the Gentiles after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Although, in the divine plan of salvation, pride of place belongs to the Jews, the “bread of salvation”, that is Jesus, would be offered to assuage the hunger of all nations, prefigured in the faith-filled Canaanite mother. The universal mission to the Gentiles would primarily be the work of the Spirit-propelled missionary Church, born in the wake of the Easter event.

  

The Canaanite woman epitomizes the remarkable attitude of the recipients of the Good News through time and space. The faith of the Filipino people is of the same sterling quality as the Canaanite woman. As recipients of the Church’s evangelizing work they show what great things can be achieved through faith in Jesus Christ. The following “Open Letter of Steve Ray to the Filipino People” is a tribute to their Christian faith. Steve Ray authored many best-selling books, among which are Crossing the Tiber (his conversion story), Upon This Rock (on the papacy), and just recently John's Gospel (a comprehensive bible study guide and commentary). 

 

We stepped into the church and it was old and a bit dark. Mass had just begun and we sat toward the front. We didn't know what to expect here in Istanbul, Turkey.  I guess we expected it to be a somber Mass but quiet and somber it was not - I thought I heard angels joyously singing behind me. The voices were rich, melodic and beautiful. What I discovered as I spun around to look did not surprise me because I had seen and heard the same thing in other churches around the world. It was not a choir of angels with feathered wings and halos but a group of delightful Filipino Catholics with smiles of delight and joy on their faces as they worshiped God and sang His praises. I had seen this many times before in Rome, in Israel, in the United States and other countries.


Filipinos have special traits and they are beautifully expressed as I gazed at the happy throng giving thanks to God. What are the special traits which characterize these happy people? I will share a few that I have noticed - personal observations - as I have traveled around the world, including visits to the Philippines.


FIRST, there is a sense of community, of family. These Filipino Christians did not sit apart from each other in different aisles. They sat together, closely. They didn't just sing quietly, mumbling, or simply mouthing the words.  No, they raised their voices in harmony together as though they enjoyed the sense of unity and communion among them. They are family even if they are not related.


SECOND, they have an inner peace and joy which is rare in the world today. When most of the world's citizens are worried and fretful, I have found Filipinos to have joy and peace and a deep sense of God’s love that overshadows them. They have problems too, and many in the Philippines have less material goods than others in the world, yet there is still a sense of happy trust in God and love of neighbor.

 

THIRD, there is a love for God and for his Son Jesus that is almost synonymous with the word Filipino. There is also something that Filipinos are famous for around the world - their love for the Blessed Mother.  Among the many Filipinos I have met, the affectionate title for Mary I always hear from their lips is "Mama Mary".  For these gentle folks, Mary is not just a theological idea, a historical person, or a statue in a church - Mary is the mother of their Lord and their mother as well, their "mama".


The Philippines is a Catholic nation -- the only such nation in Asia -- and this wonderful country exports missionaries around the world. They are not hired to be missionaries, not official workers of the church. No, they are workers and educators, doctors, nurses and housekeepers that go to other lands and travel to the far reaches of the earth, and everywhere they go they take the joyous gospel of Jesus with them. They make a somber Mass joyful when they burst into song. They convict the pagan of sin as they always keep the love of Jesus and the Eucharist central in their lives.


My hope and prayer, while I am here in the Philippines sharing my conversion story from Baptist Protestant to Roman Catholic, is that the Filipino people will continue to keep these precious qualities. I pray that they will continue loving their families, loving the Catholic Church, reading the Bible, loving Jesus, His Mother and the Eucharist. As many other religions and sects try to persuade them to leave the Church, may God give the wisdom to defend the Catholic faith.  As the world tempts them to sin and seek only money and fame and power, may God grant them the serenity to always remember that obedience to Christ and love for God is far more important than all the riches the world can offer. May the wonderful Filipino people continue to be a light of the Gospel to the whole world! Be a proud Filipino and forward this to friends!

  

 

B. First Reading (Jer 31:1-7): “With age-old love I have loved you.”

 

Today’s reading (Jer 31:1-7) is a beautiful prophecy of hope. The Lord God announces the good news of the return of Israel from Exile, emphasizing his great and enduring love for his people: “With age-old love I have loved you, so I have kept my mercy toward you.” God’s covenant love for Israel is said to be “age-old” or “eternal” for it originates from the desert period of the Exodus from Egypt and will never cease. The return of Israel’s “remnant” from Exile is a “new Exodus” but in a more glorious form. It is a cause of joy for the repatriates and the foreign nations that the Lord God has bestowed salvation on his chosen people. There is exuberance as the nations are called to sing with joy for Israel. There is a rhapsody of joy as God assures Israel that they will take their tambourines and dance and that they will plant vineyards and eat of their produce.

 

The following article gives insight into the meaning of God’s “age-old love” for Israel and for us, the new Israel (cf. Karen Valentin in Daily Guideposts 2016, p. 342).

 

I rummaged through hundreds of family photos in boxes and picture albums. My mother and father were about to celebrate their forty-fiftieth wedding anniversary, and I was making a video of their journey together. The first pictures were frail black-and-whites of a nervous bride and groom, the exchange of rings, and smiles near a tall wedding cake. The honeymoon followed and they looked like movie stars.

 

I scanned each picture, focusing only on the two of them. They had the same look of love in their eyes in each one. I couldn’t contain my emotion as I completed the video and played it over and over. The music in the background vowed “I will be here” as I watched my parents grow old together in less than four minutes.

 

Their testament of love and commitment has been remarkable. Though it’s beautiful it pales in comparison to the greater love God has promised to me, to all of us. It also helped me to understand an even greater love. Through the years of joy and pain since I said yes to the Lord, His promise of “I will be here” has never faltered. It’s one I can count on for a lifetime.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

1. Is our faith as steadfast as that of the Canaanite mother? Does the faith of others move us to positive and compassionate action? In light of the Easter event, do we commit ourselves to share the saving work of Jesus, the “bread of salvation”, with all peoples of the earth?

 

2. Do you trust in God’s “age-old” or eternal love for you? Do you rejoice at the gift of restoration and new beginning?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO 

 

Loving Jesus,

you extolled the faith of the Canaanite mother.

Help us to imitate her steadfast faith.

We thank you for revealing to us

that you are the “bread of salvation” for all nations.

Give us the grace to share the bread of your Word

to all peoples of the earth.

You are the universal Savior and giver of life.

You live and reign, forever and ever.

Amen.

 

***

Almighty God,

you have loved us with an everlasting love.

We rejoice at the gift of restoration

and treasure the beauty of new beginning.

Rejoicing at the marvels of your love,

we sing festive songs and dance merrily

for the grace of salvation.

We give you glory and praise,

now and forever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“Great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” (Mt 15:28) // “With age-old love I have loved you.” (Jer 31:3)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Pray for Christian missionaries who spread the Gospel beyond ethnic and cultural boundaries. Bring the healing touch of Jesus to the sick and needy. Contribute to the ecumenical effort of the Church and the task of inter-religious dialogue. // Manifest the joy of salvation and your response to God’s age-old love, by participating actively and meaningfully in Church worship.

 

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August 4, 2022: THURSDAY – SAINT JOHN VIANNEY, Priest

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Gives Peter the Keys to the Kingdom … He Calls Us to a Committed Covenant”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jer 31:31-34 // Mt 16:13-23

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

A. Gospel Reading (Mt 16:13-23): “You are Peter. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.”

 

Today’s Gospel reading (Mt 16:13-23) is about the investiture of Peter with the keys to the kingdom. In response to Peter’s confession of faith in Jesus, whom he acknowledges as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” – a spiritual truth revealed by the heavenly Father – Jesus establishes him as the “rock” of the Church. He presents to him the “power of the keys”. The commissioning of Simon Peter is part of God’s benevolent plan for his chosen people. It is an important step in the realization of his saving design to provide them with trustworthy stewards and spiritual shepherds. Indeed, the “power of the keys” is a pastoral power meant to benefit God’s people.

 

Through time and space, the Church – the community of faith founded on the Risen Lord Jesus Christ and ministered to by Peter and his successors – experiences various crises, persecutions and trials. But the “gates of the netherworld” do not prevail against the Church because Christ is its leader. He has radically conquered the power of sin and death. He remains with his disciples until the end of time.

 

The ministry of the Pope is a vital expression of the pastoral office of Jesus who lives on in the Church. The following account of John Thavis, Catholic News Service (CNS) Rome Bureau Chief concerning Benedict XVI, illustrates the Pope’s effort to live up to the challenge of his pastoral ministry and as Christ’s trusted steward of faith for today’s society (cf. Carrie Swearingen’s “PAPA-RAZZI: Following the Man who Follows the Pope” in St. Anthony Messenger, July 2008, p. 16).

 

John Thavis found it stunning to see the Pope, during his tour of a Turkish mosque, turn toward Mecca and pray alongside his Muslim host. “In one gesture, he bridged the gap of misunderstanding that had arisen after his Regensburg lecture several months earlier”, says Thavis. “Of course, Christians and Muslims pray to the same God, so there was nothing really revolutionary about it. But after some media had labeled him ‘the Pope against Islam’, this was a clear illustration that Benedict was not about to play the role of anti-Islamic crusader.”

 

Thavis has been moved by Pope Benedict XVI’s simplicity and clarity when speaking to foreign groups. In May of 2007 the Pope and the press corps took a long bus ride through picturesque hills in central Brazil. “He addressed recovering drug addicts. It was a rousing welcome by a mostly young group of people and, when the Pope ended, they kept chanting his name. When he was getting into the pope-mobile, his aides telling him they had to hurry up and leave, he suddenly stopped, got out of the vehicle and walked back on the stage. He waved and gave them one last greeting. It was just a small kindness, but it meant so much to these people.” (…)

 

Thavis knew that this Pope would want to make an effort to be more engaging. “And he does. He makes eye contact, is always kind, and says a few words to each person he meets. The world had known him as a doctrine enforcer, but that was not on his mind as Pope.” The Pope’s main goal, Thavis explains, is to reawaken a sense of God in society and a deeper faith in Christ and the Catholic Church.

 

 

B. First Reading (Jer 31:31-34): “The days are coming when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and I will remember their sin no more.” 

 

Today’s Old Testament reading (Jer 31:31-34) invites us to meditate on the promise of the New Covenant announced by the prophet Jeremiah to a disobedient people at the brink of disaster. A catastrophe will ensue, leaving only a remnant of the nation. And then an everlasting covenant will be made, a covenant as in the days of Noah. The covenant is “new” in three respects: God’s spontaneous forgiveness of sin, individual responsibility and retribution, and the interiorization of religion. The Law is no longer a code regulating external activity, but an inspiration working on our heart, under the influence of the spirit of God. It is the Spirit who gives us a new heart, capable of knowing God. This new and eternal covenant will be inaugurated by the sacrifice of Christ. The apostles and followers of Christ will proclaim its fulfillment.

 

The following testimony of a 22-year-old youth gives insight into the “new Covenant” that is our work in our daily life (cf. Karen Ferris, “What God Means to Me” in Alive! July/August 2014, p. 13).

 

I was born a cradle Catholic, the youngest of five children and the only girl. (…) At secondary school I slipped away from God. None of my friends spoke about him, so I didn’t. Social media, gossip and parties became more important.

 

At this time my father, having become a lay Dominican, went back to church and began speaking about God and the Divine Mercy. I never had any interest as I was so unfamiliar with the subject. (…)

 

I constantly fought with my parents, teachers and with myself. I felt angry and didn’t know why. When I began college peer pressure wasn’t so strong, and I wasn’t a sheep anymore. I wasn’t afraid to express my feelings or thoughts. I began to notice a change in my father; he seemed happier with life and with himself, like an inner peace. I was amazed by this. I love being around him because it made me feel happy. When my father spoke about God I was genuinely interested and it brought me peace. I started asking questions and eventually it became a daily thing. (…)

 

Recently I attended the Divine Mercy conference and while I was meditating with my mother and close friend I got an overwhelming sense of happiness and peace. I had to hold back my tears. I felt warmth in my heart that I only heard or read of in books. It was wonderful.

 

I used to be too embarrassed or shy to talk about God, but no more. I feel as if I’m keeping great news from people if I don’t tell them how I feel about God and our Savior Jesus. That God loves us so immensely and gives us such comfort and strength when needed. (…)

 

I have been told countless times that I only have faith for comfort, or that I have been brainwashed. It’s so sad to think that younger people don’t have faith today. They are not happy with the latest trends, clothes, electronics but I will be happy with my faith alone. Hopefully I can lead as example. (…)

 

My relationship with God has just been renewed and is growing. I now understand that you need to have your heart open to receive God’s love. I found a great friend in God and I will trust in him.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

1. How does Peter’s confession of faith affect us? Do we make an effort to understand the role of Peter and his successors in salvation history? Do we pray for the Pope and lovingly sustain him in his pastoral ministry and as “steward” of faith? 

 

2. Do we treasure the New Covenant that God establishes with us through his Son Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

O God, our Father,

we thank you for Peter’s faith confession

that Jesus is indeed “the Christ, the Son of the living God”.

We thank you for the Church,

the community of believers founded on the faith of the apostles.

We thank you for Peter’s successors,

whom you have established as stewards of Christian faith.

May they all be trustworthy and faithful!

O compassionate God, help us to be faithful

to the new covenant established in the blood of Jesus Christ.

We give you praise, now and forever. 

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 16:19) // “I will make a new covenant.” (Jer 31:31)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO 

 

Pray for the Pope that he may be strengthened in his pastoral ministry as chief steward of Christian faith. By your service to the poor and the needy, and through a life of holiness and personal dedication, let the love of Christ Shepherd touch a world in need of healing. // Be thankful for the gift of the new covenant ratified in Christ’s blood.

 

 

*** *** ***

 

August 5, 2022: FRIDAY – THE DEDICATION OF THE BASILICA OF SAINT MARY MAJOR

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Teaches Us the Meaning of Discipleship … He Teaches Us to Overcome Violence with Peace”

 

 

BIBLE READINGS

Na 2:1, 3; 3:1-3, 6-7 // Mt 16:24-28

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

A. Gospel Reading (Mt 16:24-28): “What can one give in exchange for one’s life?”

 

In today’s Gospel reading (Mt 16:24-28), Jesus challenges us to take up our cross. After prophesying his paschal destiny on the Cross, Jesus delineates the meaning of the discipleship: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it”. Jesus thus connects the fate of his disciples with his own. Christian discipleship involves a share in his paschal sacrifice on the cross. Only in letting go of self and in letting God realize his mysterious, saving plan in us, can we achieve true life and happiness. Indeed, taking up one’s cross is a badge of discipleship.

 

The following personal reflection of Eli Doroteo, one of our dear friends and benefactors in the Philippines, is likewise insightful.

  

The call to discipleship entails suffering. Jesus himself, in his words to his disciples, asserts: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”

 

As we heed the call to follow the will of God and Jesus who has shown us the way, at times, there are obstacles. Sometimes they are our attachments. They could be our families, our possessions and even our friends. In Jesus’ case, Peter – a disciple and a friend – tried to obstruct Jesus on his way to Jerusalem, which eventually led to Calvary. For Jesus, the way of suffering and death has a different meaning. It is a service and an offering of self to fulfill God’s saving plan. But Peter, seeing it in the context of the world’s desires, would not allow any evil or disaster to happen to his friend. His was a genuine, fraternal concern, which shows that our ways and thinking are far different from God’s. From a human perspective, Jesus’ way of suffering and death was futile and needless, but from the viewpoint of God and Jesus, it was a “necessary fault”. 

 

Our attachments tend to blur our vision in fulfilling the calling we have received. The Gospel affirms that what could derail us in following the will of God must be cut off at once. We should and must resist the temptations of the devil and the evil designs of this world.

 

In our journey of faith, we make choices. This is where the challenge lies. At times, we take the shorter, easy way, and avoid the long, winding way. More often than not, the easy way out, the practical one, is the way of the world, and not of God. Jesus has shown us the way - the way of the cross – and no other. His death is the truth that brings life to the Church.

 

 

B. First Reading (Na 2:1,3; 3:1-3, 6-7): “Woe to the city of blood!”

 

Today’s Old Testament reading (Na 2:1,3; 3:1-3, 6-7) is from the prophet Nahum, whose name means “consolation”. Nahum “consoles” Judah: Assyria is destroyed and Judah will no longer be invaded. The Book of Nahum celebrates the fall of Nineveh, the capital city of Israel’s ancient and oppressive enemy, the Assyrians. The fall of Nineveh, near the end of the 7th century B.C., is seen as the judgment of God upon a cruel and arrogant nation. By cunning and unscrupulous strategies Assyria has lulled many nations into relaxing their guard, and then forced them to do her bidding by bloody campaigns. Ever rapacious, she has filled her coffers with plunder. But the Lord will bring retribution on Nineveh, which will be filled with disgrace and treated with contempt. With irony Nahum poses the question: “Nineveh lies in ruins! Who has any sympathy for her? Who will want to comfort her?”

 

The sinful crimes associated with Nineveh, “the bloody city, all lies” evokes some of the detestable violence in today’s society. Here is an example (cf. “Sick in Belgium? They’re Coming to Get You!” in Alive! July/August 2014, p. 2)

 

A doctors’ professional body in Belgium has told its members that killing off terminally ill patients without their consent is acceptable and, in some cases, to be recommended. The Belgian Society of Intensive Care Medicine revealed its views in a statement drawn up by its members and published in its journal. Whether sick people or their families desire it or not, and whether the patient is in pain or not, the Society holds it is acceptable for a doctor to intentionally “shorten the dying process”. The policy also applies to sick children.

 

The document makes clear the issue is not simply “about giving sedatives to combat pain, nor about the so-called double effect”, when pain-killers “may have the adverse effect of shortening the dying process.” Rather, the issue is about giving drugs “with the direct intention of shortening the process of terminal palliative care in patients with no prospect of meaningful recovery.”

 

In other words, it’s about doctors deciding, regardless of the wishes of an individual or family, to execute a patient who is not dying quickly enough. Killing patients who desire it is already legal in Belgium, but the latest development would considerably extend the power of doctors to decide who is to be terminated. The statement tries to reassure intensive care doctors that giving a lethal injection, for example, is “not to be interpreted as killing but as a humane act to accompany the patient at the end of his or her life.”

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

1. How do we actualize in our daily lives the discipleship of the cross? How do we translate into concrete reality the Christian challenge: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mt 16:24)?

 

2. How do we respond to the many threats of violence and the many structures of violence in today’s society?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO 

 

(From “Suffering with Jesus”, a prayer composed by Francois Fenelon)

O crucified Jesus,

in giving me your cross,

give me too your spirit of love and self-abandonment.

Grant that I may think less of my suffering

than of the happiness of suffering with you.

What do I suffer that you have not suffered?

Or rather what do I suffer at all,

if I dare to compare myself with you?

            O Lord, grant that I may love you

and then I shall no longer fear the cross.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mt 16:24) // “Woe to the bloody city, all lies!” (Na 3:1)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Pray for those who find the cross of their daily lives overwhelming and burdensome. In your own way and doing the best you can, try to alleviate the sufferings of the people around you. // Be an instrument of peace to help overcome the violence in today’s world.

        

 

 

*** *** ***

 

August 6, 2022: SATURDAY – THE TRANSFIGURATION OF THE LORD

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Is Transfigured in Glory” 

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 12:1-11 // Tm 4:6-8, 17-18 // Lk 9:28b-36

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

A. Gospel Reading (Lk 9:28b-36): “While Jesus was praying his face changed in appearance.”

 

Shortly after his conversion, the young man, Mike McGarvin, the future founder of the Poverello House in Fresno, volunteered to help out at a huge home for elderly people in San Francisco. The job kept him depressed, but it was there that he had a “vision of glory”. He narrates:

 

The very last time I went to Mass there, I had an upsetting experience that brought about a good change in me. I had wheeled a couple of ladies to the service, and I sat by them. The Mass came to the point at which we turned and greeted each other, shook hands, and said, “Peace be with you.” A woman turned around, and she was the most grotesque person I’d ever seen. She apparently had the same disease as John Merrick, “The Elephant Man”. I had never seen anyone so horribly disfigured, even at Poverello. I tried hard not to react, shook her hand, and quickly said the peace greeting. Afterward, I was haunted by the fact that despite her deformity, she had the most beautiful smile that I had ever seen. It was disturbing to see that disfigurement and that smile all in the same person. I said a little prayer for her, because I couldn’t imagine how hard it was for her to go through life like that. She must have truly felt God’s joy, because her smile was so radiant. One of the things I’ve tried to do since then is to get people to smile, no matter what their circumstances. A smile is a gift, and it erases misery, if only for a few seconds.

 

God gives us glimpses of his beloved Son’s Easter glory to strengthen us in our weakness. The vision of the Lord’s transfiguration puts the paschal suffering in proper perspective. Today’s feast invites us to meditate on the radiant glory that flows forth from Christ’s passion and death. Forty days before the feast of the Triumph of the Cross (September 14), we celebrate his transfiguration (August 6) as an event that illumines the enigma of the cross.

  

The authors of the Days of the Lord, vol. 7, underline the role of the Lord’s transfiguration in the life of his disciples: “All Christians must summon up from their innermost depths the memory of this revelation whenever they see the Son of God dead on the cross, or the Church in agony, or when they are overwhelmed by personal tribulations, or on the edge of despair, or of losing faith. If they do, they will find the strength to pull themselves up from these depths and climb to the heights of the mountain, no matter how difficult the way. Through mists and tears, they too will be graced with a glimpse of the figure of the resurrected Christ surrounded by light.”

 

 

B. First Reading (Dn 7:9-10): “His clothing was snow bright.”

 

The Old Testament reading (Dn 7:9-10, 13-14) is about Daniel’s vision of the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven and receiving dominion, glory and kingship. This vision originally represents the vindication of the persecuted people of Israel, bitterly oppressed under the reign of the detestable pagan Syrian king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes whose kingship is about to be shattered. The image of the human figure enthroned in glory, however, is later applied to the expected Messiah. Christians see the fulfillment of this apocalyptic vision in the person of Jesus Christ, whose glorious transfiguration we celebrate today. Jesus brings to perfection the enigmatic working principle, “through suffering to glory”. Reigning from his cross, the messianic King draws all peoples and creation to himself by the power of his self-surrendering love.

 

The martyrdom in Arima (Japan) of the young boy catechist Diego and his companions illustrates what transfiguration into glory means (cf. Full Sail with the Wind of Grace, ed. “Martyres” Editorial Committee, Tokyo: Don Bosco Sha, 2008, p. 49-53).

 

In Arima, catechism classes were held almost every day for children learning about Jesus. Diego Hayashida, a boy who had just turned 12, was their teacher … At Our Lady’s Church in Kitaoka, a group was born made up of children only: the Confraternity of Martyrs. Diego, who was teaching the catechism class, was chosen as the group’s leader. Diego was a third generation Christian in the Church of Arima. The town of Arima was located on the Shimabara Peninsula. Almeida, a physician and missionary, and Brother Lorenzo were the first to bring Christianity to Shimabara. (…) In Arima, the fastest growing Church in Japan, a peaceful wind was blowing. Diego, born in 1601, grew up in these surroundings.

 

It was the year 1612 when Tokugawa Ieyasu suddenly issued a decree banning Christianity in Edo (Tokyo), Sumpu (Shizuoka City) and Arima … The springtime of Arima thus came to an end. It was at this time when the persecution started, that the children of Arima started the group of Confraternity of the Martyrs. The children knew that they were preparing for the crucial moment that was approaching.

 

On 7 October 1613, although it was still early in the morning, crowds of the faithful began to gather on the banks of Arima River which ran along the foot of the castle. The Christians, dressed in their best clothes, holding candles and rosaries in their hands, numbered 20 thousand. It was the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and also the anniversary of the Confraternity of Santa Maria whose mission was “Educating in Faith”. But this was not why the faithful had gathered.

 

Naozumi had ordered 8 people representing the Christians to be burned to death on the sandbar of the river. “We want to serve our Heavenly Father as our master, instead of you who order us to give up our faith.” Three samurais who resolutely rejected Naozumi’s orders were chosen to be burned together with their families. They were Adrian Takahashi Mondo, Leo Taketomi Kanemon and Diego’s father Leo Hayashida Sukeemon, Takahashi’s wife Joanna, Taketomi’s son Paul, Diego’s mother Martha, his sister Magdalena and Diego.

 

With arms crossed and tied in front of them, they were taken by boat to the sandbar in the river. The path on the sandbar leading to the execution site was thick with wet mud because of the high tide. One of the officers, who was a Christian, tried to carry Diego on his back. “Jesus walked to Calvary carrying his cross. Let me walk this path, too.” Diego declined the offer and walked step by step in the mud toward the site. He felt as if he was putting his feet in the steps of Jesus who went before him. He cried, but they were tears of joy.

 

There were eight stakes prepared at the site, with huge piles of straw and wood. The officers tied the eight to their stakes. Just then, Leo Taketomi cried out in a deep voice. “Behold, this is the faith of the people of Arima. The Christians of Arima are one with the same heart. At this time of farewell, I ask all of you to persevere in your faith.”

 

The officers taken by surprise at this outpouring of faith, hurriedly lit the fire on the piles of straw in every direction in an effort to avert everyone’s attention. At that moment, the crowds watching on the riverbanks let out a loud cry. “Jesus, Mary!” They all started to recite the rosary. The prayer of the 20 thousand on either side of the river became a rumbling from the land of Arima reaching up to the heavens.

 

When the fire was lit, the rope that tied Diego to his stake soon burned away. Diego ran through the flames toward his mother and clung to her. Embracing him, his mother Martha pointed toward heaven with her right hand. “Diego, look up to Heaven … to Heaven!” Diego and his mother breathed their last calling out the names, “Jesus, Mary”.

 

Diego’s sister Magdalena, who was 19 years old, took the burning wood in her hands when the ropes burned away and held them high above her. “Lord, purify me. Let the flame of faith never die.” Even before she was chosen to be martyred, Magdalena had taken a vow of chastity. She offered everything to God in martyrdom.

 

As the fires started to die out at the execution site, the Christians rushed over to the martyrs, running down the make-shift bamboo fence surrounding the site. They wanted to take away the remains of the martyrs and keep and treasure them as tokens of their faith. The faithful of Kouzuura (Amakusa City, Kumamoto Prefecture), deeply moved by Magdalena’s last moments, with special reverence took her remains home to their island where they were kept for a while. The Christians of Arima, after witnessing the martyrdom of the eight, began to take the same path following Diego’s example.

 

     

C. Second Reading (II Pt 1:16-19): “We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven.”

 

The Second Reading (II Pt 1:16-19) underlines that Peter is an eyewitness at the transfiguration event. Peter asserts that with their own eyes they saw his greatness and that they were there when Christ was given honor and glory by God the Father. Saint Peter narrates that when they were on the mountain, the voice from the Supreme Glory declared about Jesus: “This is my own dear Son, with whom I am well pleased!” Peter’s “prophetic message” about Christ’s transfiguration gives a firm foundation to the apostolic teaching about the “power and coming” (dynamis kai parousia) of the Lord. Therefore, Peter exhorts a Christian community, whose faith in the Lord’s second coming is being undermined by false teachers, to be faithful to the message of Christ’s coming. He says it is like a lamp shining in a dark place until the Day dawns and the light of the morning star shines in our hearts. At his final coming at the end time (parousia) we will all experience our Lord Jesus Christ transformed in glory.

 

The following story gives insight into how we are to respond to the voice of the Father speaking to us and how to be attentive to the divine message (cf. Mark Mallett, “Stay and Be Light” in Amazing Grace for Survivors, ed. Jeff Cavins, et. al., West Chester: Ascension Press, 2008, p. 88-93).

 

In our early twenties, my wife and I finally gave way to a fallen-away Catholic’s invitation to a Sunday morning Baptist service. It turned out to be a moving experience. That one hour seemed to highlight for me all the dysfunction in my Catholic parish that was seething beneath the surface of my heart. The cold environment, the poor homilies, the dreary music, the lack of zeal for God. I turned to my wife and said, “We should start coming here. Maybe we can slip into a Catholic Church on Monday for the Eucharist.

 

That night I was brushing my teeth when I suddenly heard clearly in my heart the words: “Stay and be light to your brothers.” I stopped, and heard them again. “Stay and be light to your brothers.” I told my wife, Lea, what had happened, and she agreed: we should stay in the Catholic Church.

 

A short time later, my mom sat me down in a chair to watch a video in which an ex-Protestant pastor explained how he had set out to debunk the Catholic Church. In the course of his historical and theological study, he found that what the Church teaches has been consistent through the centuries back to the apostles. Dr. Scott Hahn converted and became a Catholic, eventually taking thousands of Protestants with him. By the end of the video, I had tears streaming down my face. My heart suddenly burned with a deep love for the Church because it was Jesus’ Church, the one He built on Peter the Rock.

 

I spent the next two years pouring over the teachings of the Church until one day I received another word from the Lord: “Music is a doorway to evangelize.” With that, I began a Catholic praise and worship band that met monthly. After four years, there were up to seven or eight hundred Catholics worshipping with us on a Sunday night as we’d preach the Gospel and then lead them through song into personal encounter with Jesus. It was powerful.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

1. Do we perceive in the event of the Lord’s transfiguration a glimpse of hope that will enable us to overcome our troubles? Are we ready to perceive the vision of Christ’s paschal glory? Are we open to receive the hope that Jesus, the Suffering Messiah, brings into our lives? Do we believe that suffering is an itinerary to glory?

 

2. Do we believe that Christ’s dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away and that his kingship shall not be destroyed?

 

3. Like Peter, are we ready to give witness to our experiences of the glory of the Lord? Are we attentive to the voice of the Lord and ready to follow his commands?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Lord Jesus,

in your transfiguration on the mountain,

you have given us a glimpse of your Easter glory.

Help us to summon from our innermost depths

the memory of this revelation

to give us strength and hope in all our trials and afflictions.

Help us to trust that our suffering in this life

is an itinerary to glory.

We trust and believe in you, now and forever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“And he was transfigured before them.” (Mt 17:2) for Year A // (Mk 9:2) for Year B // (Lk 9:29) for Year C

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Pray for all those whose present afflictions are great so that they may experience a vision of Christ’s Easter glory and be strengthened by it. Be aware of the glimpses of glory that God grants to you gratuitously every day of your life. Through your care, love and attention, enable a suffering person to have a glimpse of the glorious God and of his Risen Christ at work in their lives.

 

 

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Prepared by Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang PDDM

 

 

PIAE DISCIPULAE DIVINI MAGISTRI

SISTER DISCIPLES OF THE DIVINE MASTER

3700 North Cornelia Avenue, Fresno, CA 93722 (USA)

Tel. (559) 275-1656

Website: WWW.PDDM.US

 

 

 

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50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE “DIES NATALIS”

OF BLESSED ALBERIONE (April 4, 1884 - November 26, 1971)

Delving into the Legacy of a Founder # 10

 

 

THE PDDM APOSTOLATE:

IN THE SPIRIT OF BLESSED ALBERIONE AND THE DESIDERIO DESIDERAVI OF POPE FRANCIS

 

 

The Apostolic Letter Desiderio Desideravi of Pope Francis was issued on June 29, on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. The Pope declared: I would like this letter to help us to rekindle our wonder for the beauty of the truth of the Christian celebration, to remind us of the necessity of an authentic liturgical formation, and to recognize the importance of an art of celebrating that is at the service of the truth of the Paschal Mystery and of the participation of all of the baptized in it, each one according to his or her vocation” (DD n. 62).

 

Pope Francis invites us to continue to be astonished at the beauty of the Liturgy because it is the celebration and actualization of the Paschal Mystery of Christ, the Beauty that saves the world. Indeed, true Beauty is the love of God that is definitively revealed in Christ’s Paschal Mystery. That we may be deeply permeated by this “beauty” - by the beauty of the Liturgy, Pope Francis invites us to rediscover the meaning of the liturgical year and of the Lord’s Day (cf. DD n. 63-65). The liturgical year helps us grow in our knowledge of the mystery of Christ. Through this annual celebration which is a spiritual itinerary, we are immersed into the very mystery of Christ’s death and rising. Thus, our life is progressively conformed and configured to him. Pope Francis also underlines the importance of the celebration of the Lord’s Day, the event of our salvation. The Sunday celebration offers to the Christian community the possibility of being formed by the Eucharist.

 

These inspiring thoughts of Pope Francis confirm the spirituality of the PDDM that is expressed in their Rule of Life, n. 17: “The Paschal Mystery of the Lord Jesus is at the heart of our apostolic spirituality. We live it in communion with the Church, following the itinerary of the liturgical year and in all areas of our daily life. Gathered by the love of Christ, we joyfully celebrate Sunday, the weekly Easter. As we await the Lord’s return we announce his death and proclaim his resurrection, while renewing our strength at the banquet of the Word and of the Bread.”

 

The Eucharistic-liturgical and apostolic spirituality of the PDDM is deeply rooted in Blessed Alberione’s charismatic intuition and spirit. Regarding the liturgical year, our Founder remarks: “The liturgical year is really meant to help us grow, that we may understand our redemption and our response to the graces of redemption. Hence, to grow each year. That we may never be in the same level … that it truly be: donec formetur Christus vobis, which is expressed by Saint Paul as: Vivit vero in me Christus – Jesus Christ lives in me!” (cf. APD 1964, p. 433). Cognizant that the Lord’s Day is the original feast day and that it is the foundation and kernel of the whole liturgical year, Blessed Alberione exhorts us to honor the Lord’s Day: “Sunday must be completely dedicated to God and to good works, charity, love of neighbor. Sundays are always to be peaceful. In this we behave as children of God in the Father’s house. Therefore, the songs, rites and everything done on Sunday is to be done for the Lord as part of worship. This is a special day” (cf. APD 1955/1956, p. 337).

 

This year 2022 is the 20th anniversary of the PDDM USA apostolic initiative, LECTIO DIVINA ON THE INTERNET, cf. www.pddm.us. When I was transferred from the Philippines to the United States in September 2002, our Mother General, Sr. Maria Paola Mancini, gave the mandate: to do in English what the PDDM Sisters in Spain were doing in Spanish – posting the Lectio Divina of the Sunday liturgy on the Internet, the new forum for evangelization. By God’s grace and with the help of Novice Anh Therese Nguyen, who built our website, and Sr. Mary Lucille Van Hoogmoed, who edited my articles, our humble effort to nourish people with “the bread of the Word” has reached out to the five continents of the world. Recently, one reader from Harvard University (Boston) who evaluated some of our Lectio Divina articles for COURSE HERO, an American education technical website, gave us a rating of 100%.

 

In the Philippines, in 2015, Fr. Gil Alinsangan, SSP biblical scholar and editor, initiated the publication of the Lectio Divina of the Sunday Gospel readings. In 2018, the PDDM in the States enhanced the apostolate of “breaking the bread of the Word” by publishing the Lectio Divina of the First Reading/Second Reading of the Sunday Masses in English and in Spanish. In September 2022, we hope to print our new book, “A Lectio Divina Approach to the Mass Readings: ADVENT – CHRISTMAS”. This is the first in the series of Lectio Divina books on the liturgical year. With humble pride and with gratitude to God, we can declare that our apostolic effort to help the faithful understand the treasures of the Sunday liturgy and the liturgical year is in consonance with the liturgical spirit of our Founder, Blessed James Alberione, and with Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter Desiderio Desideravi.

 

 

 

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Prepared by Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang, PDDM

3700 North Cornelia Avenue, Fresno, CA 93722, USA

July 29, 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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Prepared by Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang PDDM

 

 

PIAE DISCIPULAE DIVINI MAGISTRI

SISTER DISCIPLES OF THE DIVINE MASTER

3700 North Cornelia Avenue, Fresno, CA 93722 (USA)

Tel. (559) 275-1656

Website: WWW.PDDM.US

 


PIAE DISCIPULAE DIVINI MAGISTRI

SISTER DISCIPLES OF THE DIVINE MASTER
3700 North Cornelia Avenue, Fresno, CA 93722 (USA)
Tel. (559) 275-1656
Website: 
WWW.PDDM.US


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