Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze

The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 10, 2016
Deuteronomy 30:10-14; Psalm 69; Colossians 1:15-20; Luke 10:25-37

            Respecting the laws of society allows us to be mindful of the lives of others. Moses pleaded with the liberated Israelites to heed the voice of God and to respect the laws that helped people live in harmony and not merely for themselves. He told them that these rules were for their benefit and they would prosper by keeping them because it generated the smooth operation of society. The common good was within their grasp if they chose to work for it. These commands were implanted into their souls. Innately, they knew of the “correctness” of following them, and they did not choose to honor them. Moses implored to their better side by urging them to consider God and others when they made choices.

            Jesus likewise appealed to the thoughtful side of the scribe who asked him about the necessary steps to obtain eternal life. The answer by Jesus shifted the scribe’s consciousness from thinking only about himself to one in which his salvation was tied to his mindfulness of others. Attaining eternal life cannot be done solely by one’s efforts and is tied to caring for our neighbors as if they are part of our circle of loved ones. Likewise, one cannot love God alone because part of loving God is to love those around us that are also loved by God.

            The Good Samaritan story teaches us to be mindful of others while respecting while not being inhibited by the laws. Laws are designed for a smooth, efficient flow of society that takes care of the most vulnerable in our midst. The moral of the story is to be merciful to anyone who is in need because this person is our neighbor. Too often, our rules restrict our ability to care well for others, especially in a society where lawsuits are regular occurrences. Old ways do not open new doors. Our challenge becomes not that I do something to relieve someone’s pain, but how do I do the good I intend for the other person.

            While governments and civic leaders understand that we are interconnected, it is a challenge to get through to the average citizen that society’s protocols are meant for our safety and progress. Religious leaders know this, especially in light of the Colossians reading where Jesus is the image of the invisible God and the head of all things in heaven and on earth. Our task then is to make the invisible God visible to others. It includes making people being mindful that a social misdemeanor or willful neglect of traffic laws negatively affects those around us. It is not merely “I am in the world,” but “I am part of a larger world” in which my every action is connected to the fate of others.

            During a recent stroll around Boston a friend remarked, “Everyone is friendly and happy. They are enjoying life.” I responded, “Let’s do everything to be kind to them. For each person, life is hard and this could be their most positive memory of enjoying life. Let’s do everything to increase their happiness. This might be the meaningful moment they need to sustain their lives.” My friend replied, “Life is very hard. Come. Let’s sit down and watch them enjoy each other.”

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Isaiah 1) Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Tuesday: (Isaiah 7) Go meet Ahaz and tell him: In sixty five years, Ephraim and Samaria will be crushed and no longer called a nation.
Wednesday: (Isaiah 10) Woe to Assyria. My wrath falls upon an impious nation. I will bring destruction to those that trample on justice.   
Thursday: (Isaiah 26) The way of the just is smooth. Those who have been faithful will rise again and the dead shall live.     
Friday (Isaiah 38) King Hezekiah was told he would die, but he turned to the Lord and prayed and the Lord heard his prayers. His recovery was a sign that the Lord will do what he promised.  
Saturday (Micah 2) Woe to those who plan iniquity. A satire will be sung over them: Our ruin is complete; our fields are portioned out among the captives.

Monday: (Matthew 10) Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. No, I come to bring a sword. Everyone who follows me, must take up their cross and lose their lives.  
Tuesday: (Matthew 10) Woe to you, mighty cities. You would have repented long ago in mighty deeds were done in your town. The mighty will go down in flames.  
Wednesday (Matthew 11) I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth for revealing yourself to the childlike. All who know the Father will know the Son.
Thursday (Matthew 11) Come to me, all who are weary, and I will give you rest. Learn about gentleness and humility from me.   
Friday (Matthew 12) Jesus ate grain on the Sabbath and called to mind the example of David when he went into the house and ate what was offered. The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.
Saturday (Matthew 12) The Pharisees looked for ways of putting Jesus to death. He withdrew and was consoled by words of Scripture.

Saints of the Week

July 11: Benedict, Abbot (480-547), was educated in Rome, but left after a few years to take on a life of solitude. He became a monk at Subiaco and lived alone, but his lifestyle developed followers so he built 12 monasteries for them. He left to found a monastery at Monte Cassino where he wrote his Rule that became a standard for Western monasticism. He adopted the practices of the austere Desert Fathers for community life and emphasized moderation, humility, obedience, prayer, and manual labor. 

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.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Jul 10 , 1881. Fr. Frederick Garesche' wrote from Sequin, Texas, to his Superior: "The cowboys who had not deigned at first to lift their hat to the priest or missionary; who had come to the mission as to a camp meeting, for the fun of the thing, gave in, and their smiles and awkward salutes showed that they had hearts under their rude exterior."
·      Jul 11, 1809. After Pius VII had been dragged into exile by General Radet, Fr. Alphonsus Muzzarrelli SJ, his confessor, was arrested in Rome and imprisoned at Civita Vecchia.
·      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).

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