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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Sit Down and Listen. The Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2020

   Sit Down and Listen.
The Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2020
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June 21, 2020
Jeremiah 20:10-13; Psalm 69; Romans 5:12-15; Matthew 10:26-33

In the Church we return to Ordinary Time, the Twelfth Sunday, but in our world, we remain in times that are anything but ordinary. The first reading tells us of the obedience of the unjustly treated righteous servant who endures brutality from many sources. The second reading looks at the origin of sin as entering the world through Adam, and though we are mired in a world of sin, we have access to grace through Christ. The Gospel encourages us not to fear the terror around us because we are valued and known by God. The psalmist pleas for God to answer his prayers as he finds himself in terror.

As Christians, we are not separated from the world and we have to reconcile with turbulence that we face within it. We are still in the throes of COVID-19, which has upended our daily life patterns and has taken countless lives prematurely; we face social unrest and upheaval from the systemic racism that is embedded into the fabric of the nation; the Supreme Court has ended discrimination in the workplace against gay and transgendered people, which may have consequences for churches, schools, and affiliated agencies, and oh, yes, we have a national election that will undoubtedly be divisive, and Catholics will be wondering how to vote responsibly. We have a lot on our minds without much trusted leadership on how to approach these topics.

Every Catholic has a duty to form and inform his or her conscience. We cannot betray our conscience and we have our primary allegiance to it because the Word of Christ is written there. Now, how do we do that? We educate ourselves by reading and bringing to prayer the insights from what we learned. Perhaps our reading gives us a new lens by which to view the world’s events and our responsibility to care for the world. We have to be open to new ideas that make sense to us. Know the sources that you are reading. Read a point and a counter-point and try to find a balance between those two views. Check out the author’s style. If someone is angry, declarative, and firm, it probably means that someone is operating out of an unmet need and it is not a very scholarly reflection. If someone is open to ideas and viewpoints that are counter to what one believes, it is probably worth reading because we will learn something. In all circumstances, we can learn something if we are disposed to it. We have to view the lens by which people are perceiving the world. Many people like to make themselves out to be experts to have their voices heard and we have to responsibly sift through the information to make it into meaningful data for us. From our study, we then practice right speech and we listen meaningfully.

Perhaps the best thing we can do is to not speak at all right away, and when we do, our words ought to be sparse and infrequent. We do not own the truth, nor does the other person, and we do not have to speak every time we get the chance. We have a right to speak and with every right, we have a corresponding responsibility. Rights don’t come without responsibility. Even when someone else speaks, you do not have to respond, even if that person is uninformed. Call for good behavior and don’t allow vulgarities, but your words to counter someone else’s statement are most likely not going to convert one to your side. Conversation is not about winning with zingers, and some exchanges are not worth continuing. Don’t feed them with fuel, but let them fizzle out. Firmness or loud words, talking over someone, proclaiming declaratively will not convince anyone and is not a tactic that permits free speech. Rather, sit with your discomfort. Listen to what you are feeling and experiencing whether it is confusion, anxiety, guilt, shame, anger. We have to know what our bodies are telling us. Bring those feelings into prayer and tell God why you are feeling that way, but refrain from judging your emotions. Just listen meaningfully and fully. You can’t go wrong with listening meaningfully. At the right time, you’ll get the insight you need to discern wisely. You will know when it is right to speak. Your understanding heart that grows in compassion and wisdom will lead you to discern rightly.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading:

Monday: (2 Kings 17) In the ninth year of Hoshea, king of Israel the king of Assyria took Samaria, and deported the children of Israel to Assyria, setting them in Halah, at the Habor, a river of Gozan, and the cities of the Medes. This came about because the children of Israel sinned against the LORD, their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt, from under the domination of Pharaoh, king of Egypt,
and because they venerated other gods.

Tuesday: (1 Kings 19) “Thus shall you say to Hezekiah, king of Judah: ‘Do not let your God on whom you rely deceive you by saying that Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria. You have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all other countries: they doomed them! Will you, then, be saved?’”

Wednesday: (Isaiah 49) The LORD called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name. He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm. He made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me. You are my servant, he said to me, Israel, through whom I show my glory.

Thursday: (2 Kings 24) At that time the officials of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, attacked Jerusalem, and the city came under siege. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, himself arrived at the city while his servants were besieging it.

Friday (2 Kings 25) Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and his whole army advanced against Jerusalem, encamped around it, and built siege walls on every side. The siege of the city continued until the eleventh year of Zedekiah. On the ninth day of the fourth month, when famine had gripped the city, and the people had no more bread, the city walls were breached.

Saturday (Lamentations 2) The Lord has consumed without pity all the dwellings of Jacob; He has torn down in his anger the fortresses of daughter Judah; He has brought to the ground in dishonor her king and her princes. On the ground in silence sit the old men of daughter Zion.

Monday: (Matthew 7) “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?

Tuesday: (Matthew 7) Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces. Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets.

Wednesday (Act 13) God raised up David as king; of him God testified, I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will carry out my every wish. From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise, has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.

Thursday (Matthew 7) Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’

Friday (Matthew 8) When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I will do it.  Be made clean.”

Saturday (Matthew 8) When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.

Saints of the Week

June 21: Aloysius Gonzaga, S.J., priest (1568-1591), gave up a great inheritance to join the Jesuits in 1585 in his dreams of going to the missions. However, when a plague hit Rome, Gonzaga served the sick and dying in hospitals where he contracted the plague and died within three months. He is a patron saint of youth.

June 22: Paulinus of Nola, bishop (353-431) was a prominent lawyer who married a Spaniard and was baptized. Their infant son died while in Spain. He became a priest and was sent to Nola, near Naples, where he lived a semi-monastic life and helped the poor and pilgrims.

June 22: John Fisher, bishop and martyr (1469-1535) taught theology at Cambridge University and became the University Chancellor and bishop of Rochester. Fisher defended the queen against Henry VIII who wanted the marriage annulled. Fisher refused to sign the Act of Succession. When the Pope made Fisher a cardinal, the angry king beheaded him.

June 22: Thomas More, martyr (1478-1535) was a gifted lawyer, Member of Parliament, scholar, and public official. He was reluctant to serve Cardinal Woolsey at court and he resigned after he opposed the king’s Act of Succession, which would allow him to divorce his wife. He was imprisoned and eventually beheaded.

June 24: Nativity of John the Baptist (first century) was celebrated on June 24th to remind us that he was six months older than Jesus, according to Luke. This day also serves to remind us that, as Christ is the light of the world, John must decrease just as the daylight diminishes. John’s birth is told by Luke. He was the son of the mature Elizabeth and the dumbstruck Zechariah. When John was named, Zechariah’s tongue was loosened and he sang the great Benedictus.

June 27: Cyril of Alexandria, bishop and doctor (376-444), presided over the Council of Ephesus that fought Nestorian the heresy. Cyril claimed, contrary to Nestorius, that since the divine and human in Jesus were so closely united that it was appropriate to refer to Mary was the mother of God. Because he condemned Nestorius, the church went through a schism that lasted until Cyril's death. Cyril's power, wealth, and theological expertise influenced many as he defended the church against opposing philosophies.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Jun 21, 1591. The death of St Aloysius Gonzaga, who died from the plague, which he caught while attending the sick.
·      Jun 22, 1611. The first arrival of the Jesuit fathers in Canada, sent there at the request of Henry IV of France.
·      Jun 23, 1967. Saint Louis University's Board of Trustees gathered at Fordyce House for the first meeting of the expanded Board of Trustees. SLU was the first Catholic university to establish a Board of Trustees with a majority of lay members.
·      Jun 24, 1537. Ignatius, Francis Xavier, and five of the companions were ordained priests in Venice, Italy.
·      Jun 25, 1782. The Jesuits in White Russia were permitted by the Empress Catherine to elect a General. They chose Fr. Czerniewicz. He took the title of Vicar General, with the powers of the General.
·      Jun 26, 1614. By a ruse of the Calvinists, the book, "Defensio Fidei" by Francis Suarez was condemned by the French Parliament. In addition, in England James I ordered the book to be publicly burned.
·      Jun 27, 1978. Bernard Lisson, a mechanic, and Gregor Richert, a parish priest, were shot to death at St Rupert's Mission, Sinoia, Zimbabwe.

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