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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Hold Tightly to Wisdom. The Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2020

Hold Tightly to Wisdom.
The Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2020
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July 26, 2020
1 Kings 3;5-12; Psalm 119; Romans 8:28-30; Matthew 13:44-52

Solomon’s request for wisdom gives us hope as he is a model for religious and civic leaders. The new king, in his youthful idealism, desires the right judgment to care for the people of Israel and to remain in right relations to God. It shows Solomon’s humility and his understanding of the weighty responsibility that befalls him. God, in customary fashion, desires to be generous and God grants his wishes in abundance.

In the four parables that Jesus speaks in the Gospels, he points to aspects of God’s kingdom, which, as we know, resides in both heaven and earth. The treasure of great worth is preserving with ones’ totality; the pearl of great price is worth devoting all of one’s resources to acquire; the dragnet is one of abundance in which the good fish lives among the bad, and each has to be saved; and the head of the household adopts an attitude of honoring the old while ushering in the new. Each parable is infused with the wisdom of God and is given to us by Jesus to live in right relations to God.

With an election year upon us, we yearn to elect a leader who has the wisdom of Solomon, one who can guides us through our current troubles and can show us that our leaders hear us and know of our concerns and sufferings. We want guidance from scientists, elected and civic leaders, and school officials about the safest ways to proceed to open our schools and to resume life in an untamed virus environment. We desire national and local leaders to help us learn how to proceed with delicate and sensitive discussions on race, gender, and diversity. We wish religious leaders with sensitivity could speak up with moral principles to steer us through these troubled times. Wisdom and care for the people are the keys virtues that we seek and need.

However, we can have responsibility over our own decisions and choices, and we have to figure out how to grow in wisdom to govern our own lives well, as our choices have consequences upon others. We must place ourselves in a constant state of learning so we stay open to new ideas, because, as the parable says, the wise person adopts an attitude of honoring the old while ushering in the new. When we, through our prayer, receive wisdom from God, it is a gift that we are to value and hold onto tightly. We must listen until we understand what God is saying to us, and we have to work it over in our minds until it fits. We then have to accept the gift so that we really possess it and it becomes part and parcel of our life. Then we have to hold onto the wisdom wholeheartedly so that we live out of it and use it as our moral compass. This is our pearl of great price, the treasure on which we stake our lives. It will see us through our troubled times, and it will give us the foundations of happiness that make our lives meaningful and rich. May our prayer for each of us be: Lord, God, give me an understanding heart that seeks you, and in seeking you, finds you right by our side.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading:
Monday: (Jeremiah 13) Take the loincloth which you bought and are wearing, and go now to the Parath; there hide it in a cleft of the rock. Obedient to the Lord’s command, I went to the Parath and buried the loincloth.

Tuesday: (Jeremiah 14) Let my eyes stream with tears day and night, without rest, Over the great destruction which overwhelms the virgin daughter of my people, over her incurable wound.

Wednesday: (Jeremiah 15) Woe to me, mother, that you gave me birth! a man of strife and contention to all the land! I neither borrow nor lend, yet all curse me. When I found your words, I devoured them; they became my joy and the happiness of my heart

Thursday: (Jeremiah 18) Rise up, be off to the potter’s house; there I will give you my message. I went down to the potter’s house and there he was, working at the wheel. Whenever the object of clay which he was making turned out badly in his hand, he tried again, making of the clay another object of whatever sort he pleased.

Friday (Jeremiah 26) Stand in the court of the house of the Lord and speak to the people of all the cities of Judah who come to worship in the house of the Lord; whatever I command you, tell them, and omit nothing.

Saturday (Jeremiah 26) The priests and prophets said to the princes and to all the people, “This man deserves death; he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.”

Monday: (Matthew 13) The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.

Tuesday: (Matthew 13) He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom. The weeds are the children of the Evil One, and the enemy who sows them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

Wednesday (John 11) When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

Thursday (Matthew 13) The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away.

Friday (Matthew 13) Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?”

Saturday (Matthew 14) Herod the tetrarch heard of the reputation of Jesus and said to his servants, “This man is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.”

Saints of the Week

July 26: Joachim and Anne, Mary's parents (1st century) are names attributed to the grandparents of Jesus through the Proto-Gospel of James. These names appeared in the Christian tradition though we don't know anything with certitude about their lives. Devotion of Anne began in Constantinople in the 6th century while Joachim gained acclaim in the West in the 16th century. He was revered in the Eastern churches since the earliest times.

July 29: Martha (1st century), is the sister of Mary and Lazarus of Bethany near Jerusalem. Martha is considered the busy, activity-attentive sister while Mary is more contemplative. Martha is known for her hospitality and fidelity. She proclaimed her belief that Jesus was the Christ when he appeared after Lazarus had died.

July 30: Peter Chrysologus, bishop and doctor (406-450), was the archbishop of Ravenna, Italy in the 5th century when the faithful became lax and adopted pagan practices. He revived the faith through his preaching. He was titled Chrysologus because of his 'golden words.'

July 31: Ignatius of Loyola, priest (1491-1556), is one of the founders of the Jesuits and the author of the Spiritual Exercises. As a Basque nobleman, he was wounded in a battle at Pamplona in northeastern Spain and convalesced at his castle where he realized he followed a methodology of discernment of spirits. When he recovered, he ministered to the sick and dying and then retreated to a cave at Manresa, Spain where he had experiences that formed the basis of The Spiritual Exercises. In order to preach, he studied Latin, earned a Master’s Degree at the University of Paris, and then gathered other students to serve Jesus. Francis Xavier and Peter Faber were his first friends. After ordination, Ignatius and his nine friends went to Rome where they formally became the Society of Jesus. Most Jesuits were sent on mission, but Ignatius stayed in Rome directing the rapidly growing religious order, composing its constitutions, and perfecting the Spiritual Exercises. He died in 1556 and the Jesuit Order was already 1,000 men strong. 

August 1: Alphonsus Liguori, bishop and doctor(1696-1787), founded a band of mission priests that became the Redemptorists. He wrote a book called "Moral Theology" that linked legal aspects with kindness and compassion for others. He became known for his responsive and thoughtful way of dealing with confessions.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Jul 26, 1872. At Rome, the greater part of the Professed House of the Gesu was seized and appropriated by the Piedmontese government.
·      Jul 27, 1609. Pope Paul V beatifies Ignatius.
·      Jul 28, 1564. In a consistory held before twenty-four Cardinals, Pope Paul IV announced his intention of entrusting the Roman Seminary to the Society.
·      Jul 29, 1865. The death in Cincinnati, Ohio of Fr. Peter Arnoudt, a Belgian. He was the author of The Imitation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
·      Jul 30, 1556. As he lay near death, Ignatius asked Juan de Polanco to go and obtain for him the blessing of the pope.
·      Jul 31, 1556. The death in Rome of Ignatius Loyola.
·      Aug 1, 1938. The Jesuits of the Middle United States, by Gilbert Garrigan was copyrighted. This monumental three-volume work followed the history of the Jesuits in the Midwest from the early 1820s to the 1930s.

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