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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze

Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
July 12, 2015
Amos 7:12-15; Psalm 85; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13

            Last week, the United States celebrated its independence; also Canada celebrated its birth as a nation that united three colonies into one nation. The spirit of rugged individualism comes from our pursuit of independence. It is a great value to espouse, but I would like to suggest that we might want to pursue interdependence as the greater virtue. For many, independence means that we stoically do things on our own; interdependence shows that we are merely mortal and that we need to depend upon God and others to help us along the way. Our independence makes us self-gods, which is a blasphemy. We want independence from something we perceive as a negative, but we need interdependence to move towards a something that is positive.

            The prophet Amos realizes he must depend upon God, who calls him out of shepherding to become vulnerable as a prophet to a people who do not care to listen to him. Amos realizes that his life is nothing unless he obeys God, even though the task before him is daunting. Jesus sends the Twelve out with instructions on how to conduct themselves. He sent them out two by two so that each person has a companion on the journey. They watch out for one another and they are able to discern how long they are to stay in each village. They are able to respect the wisdom of the other disciple. The disciples learn to depend upon one another and upon their hosts who will feed and shelter them. They take with them no food, no sack, and no money so they become interdependent upon their hosts. The moral of the story is: we learn to take care of one another. In reciprocation for their gracious hospitality, the people are rewarded as the disciples drive out demons and anointed and cured those who were sick.

            Leave the rugged individualism behind and turn to your neighbor for help. Most are very willing to help out. If they are not, simply shake the dust from your feet and turn to another person, who will surely come to your aid. If someone says no, they generally are not free enough to assist. Do not be discouraged or defeated. Ask someone else. People are more willing to help than we realize, but they want to be careful to respect your autonomy. Sometimes, we just have to give a direct clue that we need help. Be forthright in your language so it is not misinterpreted.

            If we cannot depend upon one another, then it is unlikely that we can depend upon God. Out of our goodness, we act more than we are expected. It would be far better for us to listen to God and to others so we may gain the wisdom that makes life easier. Granted, we have to learn whose voices are sagely and whose voices are simply filled with noise, but often well-meaning words. Amos learned that he must depend upon God to carry out his mission; Jesus spent much time in prayer to sift out the noise of the surrounding religious authorities; the disciples learned to heed the words of Jesus as they faced new challenges in their mission. Likewise, we will undoubtedly come to a point when we realize we need God more than we ever thought we did. Life changes when we understand that God sustains us, and that we can do very little without God’s involvement in our life.

            Once we hear God’s voice, we begin to see the power of the blessing in Ephesians. All glory rightly belongs to God who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. He chose us to be holy and to receive the favor of his will. He gives us all insight and wisdom in a plan that was set forth for the fullness of time. Though it is difficult, surrender part of your will to Christ. It may go against our Western ideas, but submission to the will of God will lead us to greater freedom. We will have a faithful friend for our journey.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: 
Monday: (Exodus 1) A new king came to power in Egypt who knew nothing of Joseph. He became fearful of the Israelite’s numbers. He set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. Pharaoh commanded them to throw every Hebrew boy into the river.
Tuesday: (Exodus 2) A Levite woman bore a son, took a papyrus basket, and placed it in the reeds of the Nile when Pharaoh’s daughter fetched the basket and raised the boy as her own. She named him Moses because she drew him out of the water.
Wednesday: (Exodus 3) Moses was tending his flock near Horeb, the mountain of God. The Lord appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush, but the bush was not consumed. God said, “I am God your faither, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I have heard the cry of the children of Israel. I will send you to Pharaoh to leave my people out of Egypt.
Thursday: (Exodus 3) When the people ask you my name, tell them, “I AM sent me to you.” Go tell the elders and tell them the Lord is concerned and will lead them out of misery. Since Egypt will not allow you to go, I will stretch out my hand and smite the Egyptians.
Friday (Exodus 11) Pharaoh remained obstinate and would not let the people go. The Lord instructed Moses and Aaron to prepare the Passover meal because on this particular night, the Lord will go through Egypt and strike down the firstborn of the land. Seeing the blood of the lamb, the Lord will pass over you and will not destroy you.
Saturday (Exodus 12) Israel will set out for Rameses with their livestock and possession. Since their dough did not have a chance to rise, they brought their unleavened bread. Every Israelite must keep a vigil throughout all the generations to keep in mind this vigil of the Lord, as he led them out of Egypt.

Monday: (Matthew 10) Jesus told his friend, “Do not think I have come to bring peace on earth. I have come to set a man against his father, daughter against her mother, and one’s enemies will be those of his household.”   
Tuesday: (Matthew 11) Jesus began to reproach the towns where he worked mighty deeds. These towns will suffer a worse fate than Sodom and Gomorrah.
Wednesday (Matthew 11) As Jesus ends his public discourse, he retires with his friends and says, “I give you praise for revealing these truths to the childlike and hiding them from the learned and the wise.” Nothing comes to the Father except through me.
Thursday (Matthew 11) Come to me all who are burdened and I will give you rest. Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart. My yoke is easy; my burden light.
Friday (Matthew 12) Jesus was going through a field on the Sabbath and he began to pick the heads of grain and eat them despite the Pharisees’ objections. Jesus says that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, and he called forth the Psalmist who cried out, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”
Saturday (Matthew 12) The Pharisees took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. When Jesus realized his, he withdrew and many followed him. His actions recalled Psalm 22, the Suffering Servant who is favored by the Holy Spirit and will remain faithful to God despite all the persecutions and hardships.

Saints of the Week

July 13: Henry, king (972-1024) was a descendent of Charlemagne who became king of Germany and the Holy Roman Emperor. His wife had no offspring. He merged the church's affairs with the secular government and built the cathedral in the newly erected diocese of Bamberg. He was a just ruler who paid close attention to his prayer.

July 14: Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680) was the daughter of a Christian Algonquin mother and a non-Christian Mohawk chief. As a child, she contracted smallpox and was blinded and severely disfigured by it. She was baptized on Easter Sunday 1767 by Jesuit missionaries and was named after Catherine of Siena. She kept a strong devotion to the Eucharist and cared for the sick. She is named "the Lily of the Mohawks."

July 15: Bonaventure, bishop and Doctor (1221-1273), was given his name by Francis of Assisi to mean "Good Fortune" after he was cured of serious childhood illnesses. He joined the Franciscans at age 20 and studied at the University of Paris. Aquinas became his good friend. Bonaventure was appointed minister general of the Franciscans and was made a cardinal. He participated in the ecumenical council at Lyons to reunite the Greek and Latin rites. Aquinas died on the way to the council.

July 16: Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the patronal feast of the Carmelites. The day commemorates the day Simon Stock was given a brown scapular by Mary in 1251. In the 12th century, Western hermits settled on Mount Carmel overlooking the plain of Galilee just as Elijah did. These hermits built a chapel to Mary in the 13th century and began a life of solitary prayer.

July 18: Camillus de Lellis (1550-1614), began his youthful life as a soldier where he squandered away his father's inheritance through gambling. He was cared for by Capuchins, but was unable to join them because of a leg ailment. He cared for the sick in hospitals that were deplorable. He founded an order that would care for the sick and dying and for soldiers injured in combat.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Jul 12, 1594. In the French Parliament Antoine Arnauld, the Jansenist, made a violent attack on the Society, charging it with rebellious feelings toward King Henry IV and with advocating the doctrine of regicide.
·      Jul 13, 1556. Ignatius, gravely ill, handed over the daily governance of the Society to Juan de Polanco and Cristobal de Madrid.
·      Jul 14, 1523. Ignatius departs from Venice on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
·      Jul 15, 1570. At Avila, St Teresa had a vision of Blessed Ignatius de Azevedo and his companions ascending to heaven. This occurred at the very time of their martyrdom.
·      Jul 16, 1766. The death of Giusuppe Castiglione, painter and missionary to China. They paid him a tribute and gave him a state funeral in Peking (Beijing).
·      Jul 17, 1581. Edmund Campion was arrested in England.

·      Jul 18, 1973. The death of Fr. Eugene P Murphy. Under his direction the Sacred Heart Hour, which was introduced by Saint Louis University in 1939 on its radio station [WEW], became a nationwide favorite.

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