Thursday, August 17, 2017
Mary, our queen, holy mother of God, make our hearts overflow with divine grace and heavenly wisdom. Pour down upon us the gift of mercy so that we may obtain pardon of our sins. Help us to live in such a way as to merit the glory and bliss of heaven. May this be granted us by your son, Jesus, who has exalted you above the angels, has crowned you as queen, and has seated you with him forever on his throne.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
The Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time
August 20, 2017
Isaiah 56:1, 6-7; Psalm 67; Romans 11:13-5, 29-32; Matthew 15:21-28
Jesus is changed when he encounters the Canaanite woman who pleads for pity for her daughter who is tormented by a demon. At first, he does not want to bother with her because she is not a Jew. She is of no importance to him because she is not one who is included in his mission to the Twelve Tribes of Israel, but her persistence and logic make him pause and reconsider his response to her. His heart was compelled to deal with her pleads of mercy. His mercy plunges deep into the chaos of her life.
We have hard lessons to learn from the example of this woman. She used her power to warm the heart of Jesus and she pushed the limits of his mission because she was concerned about her beloved daughter. Her actions opened his missioner wider to include those people whom no one would have ever included within his sphere of concern. Because of her actions, we see that the mission of Jesus has no limits or frontiers.
What does this mean for today? We are still reeling from the events in Charlottesville. We recognize that many of us are far apart from one another and we cannot talk civilly or with finesse about politics or about issues within our church. We choose sides and we associate with those who are like-minded, and we remain silent in order to keep the peace at social or family gatherings. It is tense and fraught with fear that someone might become unhinged. We remain silent and we withdraw.
While we instinctively move away from conflict and bite our tongues until the storm passes, we may now realize that it is far better to speak directly and immediately to those who speak words of division. Our voices matter. Voices that speak of hope and healing matter. Voices that speak of connection and mercy matter. Voices that speak for the rights of others. Voices that speak from the faith of Jesus matter, and these voices are in high demand. Are you speaking in a way that your voice can be heard? The trick is to learn how to speak in a style that penetrates and raises questions. It is never a voice of force or condemnation, it is never a voice that bullies or silences, It is never a voice that sets limits or precludes possibilities. It is a voice that is gently intrusive into a soul that is begging for help.
Our current mission is to be gently intrusive into the lives of others. We have to understand what makes our neighbor tick. We have to find out how others are thinking so we can provide them with mercy and understanding. A heart that listens to another person can heal someone who is reaching out for a guiding hand. The Canaanite woman gently intruded into the consciousness of Jesus, which allowed his stance to be changed. She said, “I’m not satisfied and I’m hurting. I want my needs met.” By listening, he connected with her. Our job is to connect and forge relationships, especially with those who hold opposing opinions. Our gentle intrusions can save lives.
A calm, thoughtful, reflective use of our voices can save the life of a person who is in great need. People, from whatever side they represent, act out of their unmet needs. We have to gently dig and find out what they need, which means we have to give them time and place to speak. As they tell us what they need, we can help direct them. The Canaanite woman was an outcast. The foreigners of the first reading were outcasts. Those who hold extreme views are outcasts and need to be brought into closer connection and relationships. We may save lives. We may save souls. We cannot be passive because there is too much at stake. As Christians, we have to bring people to the Lord, who can reach into the chaos of our lives, and touch our neediness.
More than that, he promises, as Isaiah says, to bring the foreigners to the holy mountain and make joyful in his house of prayer. We can never lose sight of his vision. It is not us and them. It is us and the Lord.
Scripture for Daily Mass
Monday: (Judges 2) The children of Israel offended the Lord by worshiping Baal. Whatever they undertook, the Lord foiled their plans. Enemies sieged their villages.
Tuesday: (Judges 6) Gideon was sitting at his winepress when an angel of the Lord said, “The Lord be with you.” Gideon was selected to save Israel.
Wednesday: (Judges 9) When it came time to anoint a king, a parable was told to illustrate how a bad king can negatively affect the nation.
Thursday: (Revelation 21) Come. I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. He took me to the highest point to show me the glories of God.
Friday (Ruth 1) After a great famine and hardships, Ruth, the Moabite, chose to live with her mother-in-law, Naomi, and to worship the God of her people.
Saturday (Ruth 2) Boaz sought out Ruth for her goodness. They married and produced a son named Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Monday: (Matthew 19) What must I do to gain eternal life? Keep all the commandments, but sell what you have and give it to the poor, then come, follow me.
Tuesday: (Matthew 19) It is difficult for the rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Who then can be saved? For God, anything is possible.
Wednesday (Matthew 20) The kingdom is like a landowner who went out to hire laborers for his vineyard. The early laborers received the same wages as the late laborers, which caused grumbling because they cannot see God’s generosity to all people.
Thursday (John 1) Philip found Nathaniel and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law and also the prophets.”
Friday (Matthew 22) Teacher, what is the greatest commandment. You shall love the Lord you God. The second commandment is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Saturday (Matthew 23) The scribes and Pharisees have taken the seat of Moses, but do as they say, not as they do.
Saints of the Week
August 20: Bernard, Abbot and Doctor (1090-1153) became a Benedictine abbey in Citeaux because of its strict observance. He was sent to set up a new monastery in Clairvaux with 12 other monks. He wrote theological treatises, sermons, letters, and commentaries that dominated the thought of Europe. His writings had a tremendous influence of Catholic spirituality.
August 21: Pius X, pope (1835-1914), was an Italian parish priest for 17 years before he became bishop of Mantua, the cardinal patriarch of Venice, and eventually pope. He urged frequent communion for adults, sacramental catechesis for children, and continued education for everyone. He is known for rigid political policies that put him at odds with a dynamically changing world that led to World War I.
August 22: The Queenship of Mary concludes the octave of the principal feast of Mary as she celebrates her installation as queen and mother of all creation. This feast was placed on our calendar in 1954 following the dogmatic proclamation of the Assumption.
August 23: Rose of Lima (1586-1617) was the first canonized saint of the New World. She had Spanish immigrant parents in Lima. Rose joined the Dominicans and lived in her parents' garden to support them while she took care of the sick and the poor. As a girl, she had many mystical experiences as she practiced an austere life. She also had many periods of darkness and desolation.
August 24: Bartholomew (First Century), according to the Acts of the Apostles, is listed as one of the Twelve Disciples though no one for sure knows who he is. Some associate him with Philip, though other Gospel accounts contradict this point. John's Gospel refers to him as Nathaniel - a Israelite without guile.
August 25: Louis of France (1214-1270) became king at age 12, but did not take over leadership until ten years later. He had eleven children with his wife, Marguerite, and his kingship reigned for 44 years. His rule ushered in a longstanding peace and prosperity for the nation. He is held up as a paragon of medieval Christian kings.
August 25: Joseph Calasanz, priest (1556-1648), was a Spaniard who studied canon law and theology. He resigned his post as diocesan vicar-general to go to Rome to live as a pilgrim and serve the sick and the dying. He used his inheritance to set up free schools for poor families with children. He founded an order to administer the schools, but dissension and power struggles led to its dissolution.
This Week in Jesuit History
· Aug. 20, 1891: At Santiago, Chile, the government of Balmaceda ordered the Jesuit College to be closed.
· Aug. 21, 1616: At Pont a Mousson in Lorraine died Fr. William Murdoch, a Scotchman, who when only 10 years of age was imprisoned seven months for the faith and cruelly beaten by the order of a Protestant bishop. St. Ignatius is said to have appeared to him and encouraged him to bear the cross bravely.
· Aug. 22, 1872: Jesuits were expelled from Germany during the Bismarckian Kulturkampf.
· Aug. 23, 1558: In the First General Congregation, the question was discussed about the General's office being triennial, and the introduction of Choir, as proposed by Pope Paul IV, and it was decreed that the Constitutions ought to remain unaltered.
· Aug. 24, 1544: Peter Faber arrived in Lisbon.
· Aug. 25, 1666: At Beijing, the death of Fr. John Adam Schall. By his profound knowledge of mathematics and astronomy, he attained such fame that the Emperor entrusted to him the reform of the Chinese calendar.
· Aug. 26, 1562: The return of Fr. Diego Laynez from France to Trent, the Fathers of the Council desiring to hear him speak on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.