Archive for June, 2008

The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

June 29, 2008

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Collect of the Day:

O God, you have given us this holy day so that we may have the joy of venerating the apostles Peter and Paul.
Grant that your Church may follow their example in all things,
for it was from them that her life began.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.

Today’s Readings:

First reading    Acts 12:1 – 11

It was about this time that King Herod started persecuting certain members of the Church. He beheaded James the brother of John, and when he saw that this pleased the Jews he decided to arrest Peter as well. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread, and he put Peter in prison, assigning four squads of four soldiers each to guard him in turns. Herod meant to try Peter in public after the end of Passover week. All the time Peter was under guard the Church prayed to God for him unremittingly.
On the night before Herod was to try him, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, fastened with double chains, while guards kept watch at the main entrance to the prison. Then suddenly the angel of the Lord stood there, and the cell was filled with light. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him. ‘Get up!’ he said ‘Hurry!’ – and the chains fell from his hands. The angel then said, ‘Put on your belt and sandals.’ After he had done this, the angel next said, ‘Wrap your cloak round you and follow me.’ Peter followed him, but had no idea that what the angel did was all happening in reality; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed through two guard posts one after the other, and reached the iron gate leading to the city. This opened of its own accord; they went through it and had walked the whole length of one street when suddenly the angel left him. It was only then that Peter came to himself. ‘Now I know it is all true’ he said. The Lord really did send his angel and has saved me from Herod and from all that the Jewish people were so certain would happen to me.’

Second reading    2 Timothy 4:6 – 18

As for me, my life is already being poured away as a libation, and the time has come for me to be gone. I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day; and not only to me but to all those who have longed for his Appearing.
The Lord stood by me and gave me power, so that through me the whole message might be proclaimed for all the pagans to hear; and so I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from all evil attempts on me, and bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Gospel    Matthew 16:13 – 19

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’

Reading    A sermon of St Augustine:
The martyrs had seen what they proclaimed

This day has been consecrated for us by the martyrdom of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. It is not some obscure martyrs we are talking about. Their sound has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. These martyrs had seen what they proclaimed, they pursued justice by confessing the truth, by dying for the truth.
The blessed Peter, the first of the Apostles, the ardent lover of Christ, who was found worthy to hear, And I say to you, that you are Peter. He himself, you see, had just said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Christ said to him, And I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. Upon this rock I will build the faith you have just confessed. Upon your words, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, I will build my Church; because you are Peter. Peter comes from petra, meaning a rock. Peter, “Rocky”, from “rock”; not “rock” from “Rocky”. Peter comes from the word for a rock in exactly the same way as the name Christian comes from Christ.
Before his passion the Lord Jesus, as you know, chose those disciples of his whom he called apostles. Among these it was only Peter who almost everywhere was given the privilege of representing the whole Church. It was in the person of the whole Church, which he alone represented, that he was privileged to hear, To you will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. After all, it is not just one man that received these keys, but the Church in its unity. So this is the reason for Peter’s acknowledged pre-eminence, that he stood for the Church’s universality and unity, when he was told, To you I am entrusting, what has in fact been entrusted to all. To show you that it is the Church which has received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, listen to what the Lord says in another place to all his apostles: Receive the Holy Spirit; and immediately afterwards, Whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven them; whose sins you retain, they will be retained.
Quite rightly, too, did the Lord after his resurrection entrust his sheep to Peter to be fed. It is not, you see, that he alone among the disciples was fit to feed the Lord’s sheep; but when Christ speaks to one man, unity is being commended to us. And he first speaks to Peter, because Peter is the first among the apostles. Do not be sad, Apostle. Answer once, answer again, answer a third time. Let confession conquer three times with love, because self-assurance was conquered three times by fear. What you had bound three times must be loosed three times. Loose through love what you had bound through fear. And for all that, the Lord once, and again, and a third time, entrusted his sheep to Peter.
There is one day for the passion of two apostles. But these two also were as one; although they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, Paul followed. We are celebrating a feast day, consecrated for us by the blood of the apostles. Let us love their faith, their lives, their labours, their sufferings, their confession of faith, their preaching.

Closing Prayer:

O God, who didst hallow this day by the martyrdom of your holy Apostles Peter and Paul, grant unto your Church, whose foundations you were pleased to lay by their hands, the grace always in all things to remain faithful to their teaching.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.

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Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop, Doctor

June 26, 2008
About the Saint:

Saint Cyril of Alexandria (ca. 378 – ca. 444) was the Pope of Alexandria when the city was at its height of influence and power within the Roman Empire. Cyril wrote extensively and was a leading protagonist in the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries. He was a central figure in the First Council of Ephesus in 431 which led to the deposition of Nestorius as Archbishop of Constantinople. Cyril is among the patristic fathers, and the Doctors of the Church, and his reputation within the Christian world has resulted in his titles “Pillar of Faith” and “Seal of all the Fathers”. The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates his feast day on June 9 and also, together with St. Athanasius of Alexandria, on January 18. The Roman Catholic Church did not commemorate him in the Tridentine Calendar. It later added his feast, assigning to it the date of 9 February, the date on which Traditionalist Catholics celebrate it, as in the General Roman Calendar of 1962. In 1969, it assigned to the feast the date of 27 June, considered to be the day of his death.

Collect of the Day:

Grant us, we beseech you, O Almighty God, through the intecession of the blessed Bishop Cyril, so to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom you have sent, that we may deserve to be numbered forever among the sheep that hear His voice. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit; One God; forever and ever, Amen.

Today’s Readings:

First reading 2 Kings 25:1 – 12
In the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came with his whole army to attack Jerusalem; he pitched camp in front of the city and threw up earthworks round it. The city lay under siege till the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. In the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, when famine was raging in the city and there was no food for the populace, a breach was made in the city wall. At once, the king made his escape under cover of dark, with all the fighting men, by way of the gate between the two walls, which is near the king’s garden – the Chaldaeans had surrounded the city – and made his way towards the Arabah. The Chaldaean troops pursued the king and caught up with him in the plains of Jericho, where all his troops deserted. The Chaldaeans captured the king and took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah, who passed sentence on him. He had the sons of Zedekiah slaughtered before his eyes, then put out Zedekiah’s eyes and, loading him with chains, carried him off to Babylon.
In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month – it was in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon – Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, an officer of the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. He burned down the Temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses in Jerusalem. The Chaldaean troops who accompanied the commander of the guard demolished the walls surrounding Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, deported the remainder of the population left behind in the city, the deserters who had gone over to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the common people. The commander of the guard left some of the humbler country people as vineyard workers and ploughmen.

Gospel Matthew 8:1 – 4
After he had come down from the mountain large crowds followed him. A leper now came up and bowed low in front of him. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘if you want to, you can cure me.’ Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him and said, ‘Of course I want to! Be cured!’ And his leprosy was cured at once. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Mind you do not tell anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest and make the offering prescribed by Moses, as evidence for them.’

From a letter by Saint Cyril of Alexandria, bishop
Defender of the divine motherhood of the Virgin Mary

That anyone could doubt the right of the holy Virgin to be called the Mother of God fills me with astonishment. Surely she must be the Mother of God if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, and she gave birth to him! Our Lord’s disciples may not have used those exact words, but they delivered to us the belief those words enshrine, and this has also been taught us by the holy fathers.
In the third book of his work on the holy and consubstantial Trinity, our father Athanasius, of glorious memory, several times refers to the holy Virgin as “Mother of God”. I cannot resist quoting his own words: “As I have often told you, the distinctive mark of holy Scripture is that it was written to make a twofold declaration concerning our Saviour; namely, that he is and has always been God, since he is the Word, Radiance and Wisdom of the Father; and that for our sake in these latter days he took flesh from the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and became man”.
Again further on he says: “There have been many holy men, free from all sin. Jeremiah was sanctified in his mother’s womb, and John while still in the womb leaped for joy at the voice of Mary, the Mother of God”. Athanasius is a man we can trust, one who deserves our complete confidence, for he taught nothing contrary to the sacred books.
The divinely inspired Scriptures affirm that the Word of God was made flesh, that is to say, he was united to a human body endowed with a rational soul. He undertook to help the descendants of Abraham, fashioning a body for himself from a woman and sharing our flesh and blood, to enable us to see in him not only God, but also, by reason of this union, a man like ourselves.
It is held, therefore, that there are in Emmanuel two entities, divinity and humanity. Yet our Lord Jesus Christ is nonetheless one, the one true Son, both God and man; not a deified man on the same footing as those who share the divine nature by grace, but true God who for our sake appeared in human form. We are assured of this by Saint Paul’s declaration: When the fullness of time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law and to enable us to be adopted as sons.

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Closing Prayer:

Lord, be generous with your grace to those who pray to you:
by your power, may they follow your commandments closely,
receive consolation in this present life,
and embrace the joys that are to come.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Amen.

The Birthday of Saint John the Baptist

June 24, 2008

Collect of the Day:

O God, you raised up the blessed John the Baptist to make ready a perfect people for Christ the Lord.
Give your people the grace of spiritual joy
and guide the minds of all the faithful
onto the path of salvation and peace.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Amen.

Today’s Readings:

First reading Isaiah 49:1 – 6
Islands, listen to me,
pay attention, remotest peoples.
The Lord called me before I was born,
from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.

He made my mouth a sharp sword,
and hid me in the shadow of his hand.
He made me into a sharpened arrow,
and concealed me in his quiver.

He said to me, ‘You are my servant (Israel)
in whom I shall be glorified’;
while I was thinking, ‘I have toiled in vain,
I have exhausted myself for nothing’;

and all the while my cause was with the Lord,
my reward with my God.
I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord,
my God was my strength.

And now the Lord has spoken,
he who formed me in the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him,
to gather Israel to him:

‘It is not enough for you to be my servant,
to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel;
I will make you the light of the nations
so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’

Second reading Acts 13:22 – 26
After forty years, God deposed Saul and made David their king, of whom he approved in these words, “I have selected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose.” To keep his promise, God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said, “I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”
‘My brothers, sons of Abraham’s race, and all you who fear God, this message of salvation is meant for you.
Gospel Luke 1:57 – 80
Meanwhile the time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.
Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother spoke up. ‘No,’ she said ‘he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘But no one in your family has that name’, and made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called. The father asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they were all astonished. At that instant his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God. All their neighbours were filled with awe and the whole affair was talked about throughout the hill country of Judaea. All those who heard of it treasured it in their hearts. ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ they wondered. And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.
Meanwhile the child grew up and his spirit matured. And he lived out in the wilderness until the day he appeared openly to Israel.
Reading A sermon of St Augustine
The voice of one crying in the wilderness
The Church observes the birth of John as in some way sacred; and you will not find any other of the great men of old whose birth we celebrate officially. We celebrate John’s, as we celebrate Christ’s. This point cannot be passed over in silence, and if I may not perhaps be able to explain it in the way that such an important matter deserves, it is still worth thinking about it a little more deeply and fruitfully than usual.
John is born of an old woman who is barren; Christ is born of a young woman who is a virgin. That John will be born is not believed, and his father is struck dumb; that Christ will be born is believed, and he is conceived by faith.
I have proposed some matters for inquiry, and listed in advance some things that need to be discussed. I have introduced these points even if we are not up to examining all the twists and turns of such a great mystery, either for lack of capacity or for lack of time. You will be taught much better by the one who speaks in you even when I am not here; the one about whom you think loving thoughts, the one whom you have taken into your hearts and whose temple you have become.
John, it seems, has been inserted as a kind of boundary between the two Testaments, the Old and the New. That he is somehow or other a boundary is something that the Lord himself indicates when he says, The Law and the prophets were until John. So he represents the old and heralds the new. Because he represents the old, he is born of an elderly couple; because he represents the new, he is revealed as a prophet in his mother’s womb. You will remember that, before he was born, at Mary’s arrival he leapt in his mother’s womb. Already he had been marked out there, designated before he was born; it was already shown whose forerunner he would be, even before he saw him. These are divine matters, and exceed the measure of human frailty. Finally, he is born, he receives a name, and his father’s tongue is loosed.
Zachary is struck dumb and loses his voice, until John, the Lord’s forerunner, is born and releases his voice for him. What does Zachary’s silence mean, but that prophecy was obscure and, before the proclamation of Christ, somehow concealed and shut up? It is released and opened up by his arrival, it becomes clear when the one who was being prophesied is about to come. The releasing of Zachary’s voice at the birth of John has the same significance as the tearing of the veil of the Temple at the crucifixion of Christ. If John were meant to proclaim himself, he would not be opening Zachary’s mouth. The tongue is released because a voice is being born – for when John was already heralding the Lord, he was asked, Who are you and he replied I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.
John is the voice, but the Lord in the beginning was the Word. John is a voice for a time, but Christ is the eternal Word from the beginning.

Daily Reflection June21 2008: Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, religious

June 21, 2008

About the Saint:

Patron of Catholic Youth

Saint Aloysius was born in Castiglione, Italy. The first words St. Aloysius spoke were the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. He was destined for the military by his father (who was in service to Philip II), but by the age of 9 Aloysius had decided on a religious life, and made a vow of perpetual virginity. St. Charles Borromeo gave him his first Holy Communion. A kidney disease prevented St. Aloysius from a full social life for a while, so he spent his time in prayer and reading the lives of the saints. Although he was appointed a page in Spain, St. Aloysius kept up his many devotions and was quite resolved to become a Jesuit. His family eventually moved back to Italy, where he taught catechism to the poor. When he was 18, he joined the Jesuits, after finally breaking down his father, who had refused his entrance into the order. He served in a hospital during the plague of 1587 in Milan, and died from it at the age of 23, after receiving the last rites from St. Robert Bellarmine. The last word he spoke was the Holy Name of Jesus. St. Robert wrote the Life of St. Aloysius

Collect of the Day:

Father of love,
giver of all good things,
in Saint Aloysius you combined remarkable innocence
with the spirit of penance.
By the help of his prayers
may we who have not followed his innocence
follow his example of penance.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.


First Reading: 1 John 5:1-5
Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God, and every one who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?


Gospel Reading: Matthew22:34-40
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, to test Him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

A letter from St Aloysius Gonzaga to his mother:
God’s mercies shall be my song for ever

May the comfort and grace of the Holy Spirit be yours for ever, most honoured lady. Your letter found me lingering still in this region of the dead, but now I must rouse myself to make my way on to heaven at last and to praise God for ever in the land of the living; indeed I had hoped that before this time my journey there would have been over. If charity, as Saint Paul says, means to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who are glad, then, dearest mother, you shall rejoice exceedingly that God in his grace and his love for you is showing me the path to true happiness, and assuring me that I shall never lose him.
The divine goodness, most honoured lady, is a fathomless and shoreless ocean, and I confess that when I plunge my mind into thought of this it is carried away by the immensity and feels quite lost and bewildered there. In return for my short and feeble labours, God is calling me to eternal rest; his voice from heaven invites me to the infinite bliss I have sought so languidly, and promises me this reward for the tears I have so seldom shed.
Take care above all things, most honoured lady, not to insult God’s boundless loving kindness; you would certainly do this if you mourned as dead one living face to face with God, one whose prayers can bring you in your troubles more powerful aid than they ever could on earth. And our parting will not be for long; we shall see each other again in heaven; we shall be united with our Saviour; there we shall praise him with heart and soul, sing of his mercies for ever, and enjoy eternal happiness. When he takes away what he once lent us, his purpose is to store our treasure elsewhere more safely and bestow on us those very blessings that we ourselves would most choose to have.
I write all this with the one desire that you and all my family may consider my departure a joy and favour and that you especially may speed with a mother’s blessing my passage across the waters till I reach the shore to which all hopes belong. I write the more willingly because I have no clearer way of expressing the love and respect I owe you as your son.

Closing Prayer:
Father of Love, giver of all good things, in St. Aloysius you combined remarkable innocence with a spirit of penance.
By the help of his prayers may we who have not followed his innocence follow his example of penance.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.


Daily Reflection June 19 2008: Friday Week 11 of the Year

June 20, 2008

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Collect of the Day:

Almighty Father, let your light soak deeply into our minds.
Stepping forward in the light of your commandments,
may we follow you always, our leader and our guide.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Amen.

Today’s Readings:

2 Kings 11:1-20

11:1 Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal. cb(11,2); 11:2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were slain, even him and his nurse, and put them in the bedroom; and they hid him from Athaliah, so that he was not slain; cb(11,3); 11:3 He was with her hidden in the house of Yahweh six years. Athaliah reigned over the land. cb(11,4); 11:4 In the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the captains over hundreds of the Carites and of the guard, and brought them to him into the house of Yahweh; and he made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of Yahweh, and showed them the king’s son. cb(11,5); 11:5 He commanded them, saying, “This is the thing that you shall do: a third part of you, who come in on the Sabbath, shall be keepers of the watch of the king’s house; cb(11,6); 11:6 A third part shall be at the gate Sur; and a third part at the gate behind the guard. So you shall keep the watch of the house, and be a barrier. cb(11,7); 11:7 The two companies of you, even all who go out on the Sabbath, shall keep the watch of the house of Yahweh around the king. cb(11,8); 11:8 You shall surround the king, every man with his weapons in his hand; and he who comes within the ranks, let him be slain. Be with the king when he goes out, and when he comes in.”cb(11,9);

11:9 The captains over hundreds did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded; and they took every man his men, those who were to come in on the Sabbath, with those who were to go out on the Sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest. cb(11,10); 11:10 The priest delivered to the captains over hundreds the spears and shields that had been king David’s, which were in the house of Yahweh. cb(11,11); 11:11 The guard stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, from the right side of the house to the left side of the house, along by the altar and the house, around the king. cb(11,12); 11:12 Then he brought out the king’s son, and put the crown on him, and gave him the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, “Long live the king!”cb(11,13);

11:13 When Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she came to the people into the house of Yahweh: cb(11,14); 11:14 and she looked, and behold, the king stood by the pillar, as the tradition was, and the captains and the trumpets by the king; and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew trumpets. Then Athaliah tore her clothes, and cried, “Treason! Treason!”cb(11,15);

11:15 Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of hundreds who were set over the army, and said to them, “Bring her out between the ranks. Kill him who follows her with the sword.” For the priest said, “Don’t let her be slain in the house of Yahweh.” cb(11,16); 11:16 So they made way for her; and she went by the way of the horses’ entry to the king’s house. She was slain there. cb(11,17); 11:17 Jehoiada made a covenant between Yahweh and the king and the people, that they should be Yahweh’s people; between the king also and the people. cb(11,18); 11:18 All the people of the land went to the house of Baal, and broke it down; his altars and his images broke they in pieces thoroughly, and killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. The priest appointed officers over the house of Yahweh. cb(11,19); 11:19 He took the captains over hundreds, and the Carites, and the guard, and all the people of the land; and they brought down the king from the house of Yahweh, and came by the way of the gate of the guard to the king’s house. He sat on the throne of the kings. cb(11,20); 11:20 So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet. Athaliah they had slain with the sword at the king’s house.

The Gospel: Matthew 6:19-23

6:19 “Don’t lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; cj(6,20); 6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves don’t break through and steal; cj(6,21); 6:21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

cj(6,22); 6:22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light. cj(6,23); 6:23 But if your eye is evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

Daily Reflection:

Today in the Gospel Jesus tells us that the lamp of the body is the eye, if our eye is sound our body will be full of light, but if our eye is evil our body will be full of darkness. How does this affect us as modern Christians? Actually quite a lot. There is so much to take in with our senses these days with computers, internet, television, ipods, video phones etc that it almost can become a full time job keeping our eye sound.

Keeping our eyes sound is a very important part of being a committed Christian. If we are what we eat as the old saying goes, then our moral compass can be said to be formed on what we feed our minds through our viewing and reading habits. Is the time spent following worldly pursuits inline with developing our spiritual growth?

I had an old teacher who once told me that we become what we associate with, and in life I have found this to be a true adage, so if we spend our free time only watching violent movies, or sitcoms that promote sex as a sport that is to be partaken of just for self pleasure, instead of being an expression of love between two consenting adults, how can we expect our moral compasses to function in a correct capacity.

A case in point is a very popular sitcom ‘Two and a half Men’ starring Charlie Sheen a womanising jingle writer that discards women quicker than most people do tissues. In this show women are shown as a commodity solely to please the sex drive of men, and that a mans real worth is shown in how many ladies he has conquested. The womanising Charlie is portrayed as a hero but his more moral brother Alan comes off as a hapless fool.

Now this show is quite amusing, and I have found portions extremely amusing, but that is the precise danger. Often people equate amusing with harmless, I wonder how many young children’s minds are being corrupted with this warped form of a worldview on women, when Charlie is promoted as the cooler man to emulate? This is especially pertinent with so many single parent homes where there may be no real male role model for the children to copy.

So take the time to guard your eyes and those of your loved ones, for it may save heartache in the future.

Msgr. Ian+

cj(6,24);

Daily Reflection 18 June 2008: Wednesday Week 11 of the Year

June 18, 2008

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Collect of the Day:

Lord, in your kindness fill our deepest being with your holy light,
so that we may be steadfast in our devotion to you:
for your wisdom created us and your providence guides us.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.

Today’s Readings: The First Reading: 2 Kings 2:1-14

It happened, when Yahweh would take up Elijah by a whirlwind into heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Please wait here, for Yahweh has sent me as far as Bethel.” Elisha said, “As Yahweh lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. The sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that Yahweh will take away your master from your head today?” He said, “Yes, I know it; hold your peace.”

Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please wait here, for Yahweh has sent me to Jericho.”He said, “As Yahweh lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho.

The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho came near to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that Yahweh will take away your master from your head today?”He answered, “Yes, I know it. Hold your peace.” Elijah said to him, “Please wait here, for Yahweh has sent me to the Jordan.”He said, “As Yahweh lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” They both went on. Fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood opposite them at a distance; and they both stood by the Jordan. Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that they two went over on dry ground. It happened, when they had gone over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be on me.”

He said, “You have asked a hard thing. If you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” It happened, as they still went on, and talked, that behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha saw it, and he cried, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!”He saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and tore them in two pieces.

He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of the Jordan. He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and struck the waters, and said, “Where is Yahweh, the God of Elijah?” When he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha went over.

The Gospel: Matthew 6:1-18

6:1 “Be careful that you don’t do your charitable giving before men, to be seen by them, or else you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. cj(6,2); 6:2 Therefore when you do merciful deeds, don’t sound a trumpet before yourself, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may get glory from men. Most certainly I tell you, they have received their reward. cj(6,3); 6:3 But when you do merciful deeds, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand does, cj(6,4); 6:4 so that your merciful deeds may be in secret, then your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. cj(6,5); 6:5 “When you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Most certainly, I tell you, they have received their reward. cj(6,6); 6:6 But you, when you pray, enter into your inner room, and having shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. cj(6,7); 6:7 In praying, don’t use vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking. cj(6,8); 6:8 Therefore don’t be like them, for your Father knows what things you need, before you ask him. cj(6,9); 6:9 Pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. cj(6,10); 6:10 Let your Kingdom come. Let your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. cj(6,11); 6:11 Give us today our daily bread. cj(6,12); 6:12 Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. cj(6,13); 6:13 Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

cj(6,14); 6:14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. cj(6,15); 6:15 But if you don’t forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

cj(6,16); 6:16 “Moreover when you fast, don’t be like the hypocrites, with sad faces. For they disfigure their faces, that they may be seen by men to be fasting. Most certainly I tell you, they have received their reward. cj(6,17); 6:17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face; cj(6,18); 6:18 so that you are not seen by men to be fasting, but by your Father who is in secret, and your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.

Daily Reflection:

Today’s Gospel is very solemn. Jesus is telling us the way in which we should live out our spirituality. The overall message of this passage seems to be not to make an open show of our Faith as to receive accolades from others. Or to make ourselves seem more pious, in the eyes of people by our actions. This leads to a lot of empty actions and wasted words that neither further our own good or the real good of others.

Does this mean that we are not to be proud of our Faith and lives as Christians? Of course not. What it does mean however, is that our charitable acts, times of prayer and devotions should become such a part of our lives that they become ‘ORDINARY FRUITS’ of our daily existence rather than  ‘EXTRAORDINARY FEATS’ of spectacular endurance. As a Christian seeking praise for an act of forgiveness, love or mercy should seems as strange as it would, for seeking praise for sleeping, breathing or eating.

Though we all sometimes fall and miss the mark, and that is what sin is, missing the mark. As we mature on our journey through life with Christ the Twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit:

  1. Love
  2. Joy
  3. Peace
  4. Long-suffering
  5. Gentleness
  6. Goodness
  7. Faith
  8. Meekness
  9. Patience
  10. Modesty
  11. Temperance
  12. Chastity

Should become so ingrained in our very being, that the extraordinary feat would be their absence not their presence.

Msgr. Ian+

cj(6,19);

Daily Reflection June 17 2008: Tuesday Week 11 of the Year

June 17, 2008

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Collect of the Day:

Almighty God, creator of a good and beautiful world,
may we joyfully set out on this day in your name,
and fill it with acts of love for you and our brethren.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Amen.

Today’s Readings:

The First Reading:    1 Kings 21:17 – 29

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, ‘Up! Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, in Samaria. You will find him in Naboth’s vineyard; he has gone down to take possession of it. You are to say this to him, “the Lord says this: You have committed murder; now you usurp as well. For this – and the Lord says this – in the place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth, the dogs will lick your blood too.”’ Ahab said to Elijah, ‘So you have found me out, O my enemy!’ Elijah answered, ‘I have found you out. For your double dealing, and since you have done what is displeasing to the Lord, I will now bring disaster down on you; I will sweep away your descendants, and wipe out every male belonging to the family of Ahab, fettered or free in Israel. I will treat your House as I treated the House of Jeroboam son of Nebat and of Baasha son of Ahijah, for provoking my anger and leading Israel into sin. (Against Jezebel the Lord spoke these words: The dogs will eat Jezebel in the Field of Jezreel.) Those of Ahab’s family who die in the city, the dogs will eat; and those who die in the open country, the birds of the air will eat.’
And indeed there never was anyone like Ahab for double dealing and for doing what is displeasing to the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the most abominable way, adhering to idols, just as the Amorites used to do whom the Lord had dispossessed for the sons of Israel.
When Ahab heard these words, he tore his garments and put sackcloth next his skin and fasted; he slept in the sackcloth; he walked with slow steps. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, ‘Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Since he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; I will bring the disaster down on his House in the days of his son.’

The Gospel: Matthew 5:43 – 48

Jesus said, ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’

Daily Reflection:

Today’s Gospel is a continuation of the theme that we covered in Yesterday’s Gospel. Here Jesus is telling us about loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute you, as we said Yesterday this is a way to measure our commitment as a Christian to living out a Christlike love. But having said all that, it is often very hard to do and runs against the grain of Human Nature.

Although we must try everyday to put this into practice. I like how St. Francis of Assisi puts it in Expositio in Pater Noster:

“And forgive us our trespasses, by Thy ineffable mercy in virtue of the Passion of Thy Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and through the merits and intercession of the most Blessed Virgin Mary and of all Thy elect.

As we forgive their that trespass against us, and what we do not fully forgive, do Thou, O Lord, make us fully forgive, that for Thy sake we may truly love our enemies and devoutly intercede for them with Thee; that we may render no evil for evil, but in Thee may strive to do good to all.”

We definately have some food for thought there, until Tomorrow.

Msgr. Ian+

Daily Reflection June 16 2008: Monday Week 11 of the Year

June 16, 2008


Collect of the Day:

Lord God, King of heaven and earth, guide and sanctify, rule and govern our hearts and our bodies, our feelings, words and actions, according to your law and following your commandments.
With your help, in this world and the next,
may we deserve to receive freedom and salvation.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Amen.

Today’s Readings:

The First Reading: 1 Kings 21:1 – 16

Naboth of Jezreel had a vineyard close by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria, and Ahab said to Naboth, ‘Give me your vineyard to be my vegetable garden, since it adjoins my house; I will give you a better vineyard for it or, if you prefer, I will give you its worth in money.’ But Naboth answered Ahab, ‘The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors!’
Ahab went home gloomy and out of temper at the words of Naboth of Jezreel, ‘I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.’ He lay down on his bed and turned his face away and refused to eat. His wife Jezebel came to him. ‘Why are you so dispirited’ she said ‘that you will not eat?’ He said, ‘I have been speaking to Naboth of Jezreel; I said: Give me your vineyard either for money or, if you prefer, for another vineyard in exchange. But he said, “I will not give you my vineyard”.’ Then his wife Jezebel said, ‘You make a fine king of Israel, and no mistake! Get up and eat; cheer up, and you will feel better; I will get you the vineyard of Naboth of Jezreel myself.’
So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, sending them to the elders and nobles who lived where Naboth lived. In the letters she wrote, ‘Proclaim a fast, and put Naboth in the forefront of the people. Confront him with a couple of scoundrels who will accuse him like this, “You have cursed God and the king” Then take him outside and stone him to death.’
The men of Naboth’s town, the elders and nobles who lived in his town, did what Jezebel ordered, what was written in the letters she had sent them. They proclaimed a fast and put Naboth in the forefront of the people. Then the two scoundrels came and stood in front of him and made their accusation, ‘Naboth has cursed God and the king.’ They led him outside the town and stoned him to death. They then sent word to Jezebel, ‘Naboth has been stoned to death.’ When Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, ‘Get up! Take possession of the vineyard which Naboth of Jezreel would not give you for money, for Naboth is no longer alive, he is dead.’ When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth of Jezreel and take possession of it.

The Gospel: Matthew 5:38 – 42

Jesus said, ‘You have learnt how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.’

Daily Reflection:

How many times in life do we hear the term ‘An eye for an eye’ to justify the use of violence, vengeance, retribution against others that have wronged someone or society in general. If we look at this passage of Scripture where it is first given in Exodus 21:24, we can see that its intention is not to legitimise violence and vengeance, but rather to hold it in check. In the Ancient Near East, vengeance for an injury, real or perceived could be swift and harsh. Resulting in the wiping out of whole tribes, and family units. The punishment far out weighing the magnitude of the crime. We can see an example of this in Genesis 4:23-24; where Lamech says:

“I have slain a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. If Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold.”

Here we find that Lamech has killed a young man for striking him, then in fear of retribution he says that if Cain was to be avenged sevenfold, that if anything should happen to him that he should be avenged seventy-sevenfold. Where does this kind of thinking end? Could the man who might come after Lamech claim seven hundred and seventy-sevenfold times vengeance?

So it is to counter this kind of mind set that we were given the Commandments in Exodus 21; that retribution sought, must be limited to the magnitude of the offense. Hence ‘An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth etc,’ was in more brutal times a way to limit bloodshed and possible genocide, rather than giving a free pass to commit wanton violence.

But Jesus gives us a new way of reacting to violence and hatred, and that is the path of least resistance. He tells us if we are slapped on one cheek, to offer the other also. If someone asks for our coat give them your cloak as well. If we are forced to go one mile, go two. Is Jesus asking us to be cowards or doormats? I do not think so. Rather He is showing us the path to true strength.

Most conflicts in life occur because of the ego or the insecurity of the aggressor, and when we are hurt or wronged in this way it can play on our own ego and insecurities so we often react in a like manner. To react to violence in a non-violent way can often confound the aggressor and make them look bad in the eyes of others. This is where the true strength lies, in responding with love when we could easily vindicate ourselves by a physical or verbal response. This non-violent reaction can be likened to Ghandi’s concept of Ahisma or the Chinese concept of Wu-wei which means even in no action there is action.

We as Christians are called to love those who hate us, bless those who curse us and pray for our enemies, this kind of response that Jesus is describing here is putting these concepts into action. There of course is also a time for action that does not counter these rules, for example in the defense of ones family or those unable to take care of themselves. But a psychical response to an attack on our ego is never the best or Christian option.

I would like to leave you with a little story to reflect on:

“Once in a great kingdom there lived a man whose strength was praised far and wide. Now the King being a strong man and very proud of military prowess called for a meeting with this man. When the man arrived he was frail and old, the King scoffed and asked him: ‘How strong are you?’ the man replied, ‘I can withstand the morning breeze and pull a cicada from a blade of grass.’ The King laughed and said, ‘Away with you, you have nothing for me, I can tear the hide of a rhinoceros’s hide and withstand the blows of ten men. How can you have amassed such fame?’ The man replied ‘ My teachers strength was without peer, but his own family never knew, for he never used it.”

Msgr. Ian+

Daily Reflection June 15 2008: Sunday Week 11 of the Year

June 15, 2008

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Collect of the Day:

O God, you are the strength of those who hope in you: in your kindness, attend to our prayers.
Weak and mortal, we can achieve nothing without you: always give us your support,
so that we carry out your commandments, pleasing you in both intention and action.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Amen.

Today’s Readings:

The First reading: Exodus 19:2 – 6
From Rephidim the sons of Israel set out again; and when they reached the wilderness of Sinai, there in the wilderness they pitched their camp; there facing the mountain Israel pitched camp.
Moses then went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, ‘Say this to the House of Jacob, declare this to the sons of Israel, “You yourselves have seen what I did with the Egyptians, how I carried you on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself. From this you know that now, if you obey my voice and hold fast to my covenant, you of all the nations shall be my very own for all the earth is mine. I will count you a kingdom of priests, a consecrated nation.”’

The Second reading: Romans 5:6 – 11
We were still helpless when at his appointed moment Christ died for sinful men. It is not easy to die even for a good man – though of course for someone really worthy, a man might be prepared to die – but what proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. Having died to make us righteous, is it likely that he would now fail to save us from God’s anger? When we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, we were still enemies; now that we have been reconciled, surely we may count on being saved by the life of his Son? Not merely because we have been reconciled but because we are filled with joyful trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have already gained our reconciliation.

The Gospel: Matthew 9:36 – 10:8
And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’
He summoned his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness.
These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the one who was to betray him. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: ‘Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge.’

St Cyprian’s treatise on the Lord’s Prayer
Prayer comes from a humble heart
Let our speech and our petition be kept under discipline when we pray, and let us preserve quietness and modesty – for, remember, we are standing in God’s sight. We must please God’s eyes both with the movements of our body and with the way we use our voices. For just as a shameless man will be noisy with his cries, so it is fitting for the modest to pray in a moderate way. Furthermore, the Lord has taught us to pray in secret, in hidden and remote places, in our own bed-chambers – and this is most suitable for faith, since it shows us that God is everywhere and hears and sees everything, and in the fulness of his majesty is present even in hidden and secret places, as it is written I am a God close at hand and not a God far off. If a man hides himself in secret places, will I not see him? Do I not fill the whole of heaven and earth?, and, again, The eyes of God are everywhere, they see good and evil alike.
When we meet together with the brethren in one place, and celebrate divine sacrifices with God’s priest, we should remember our modesty and discipline, not to broadcast our prayers at the tops of our voices, nor to throw before God, with undisciplined long-windedness, a petition that would be better made with more modesty: for after all God does not listen to the voice but to the heart, and he who sees our thoughts should not be pestered by our voices, as the Lord proves when he says: Why do you think evil in your hearts? – or again, All the churches shall know that it is I who test your motives and your thoughts.
In the first book of the Kings, Hannah, who is a type of the Church, observes that she prays to God not with loud petitions but silently and modestly within the very recesses of her heart. She spoke with hidden prayer but with manifest faith. She spoke not with her voice but with her heart, because she knew that that is how God hears, and she received what she sought because she asked for it with belief. The divine Scripture asserts this when it says: She spoke in her heart, and her lips moved, and her voice was not audible; and God listened to her. And we read in the Psalms: Speak in your hearts and in your beds, and be pierced. Again, the Holy Spirit teaches the same things through Jeremiah, saying: But it is in the heart that you should be worshipped, O Lord.
Beloved brethren, let the worshipper not forget how the publican prayed with the Pharisee in the temple – not with his eyes boldly raised up to heaven, nor with hands held up in pride; but beating his breast and confessing the sins within, he implored the help of the divine mercy. While the Pharisee was pleased with himself, it was the publican who deserved to be sanctified, since he placed his hope of salvation not in his confidence of innocence – since no-one is innocent – but he prayed, humbly confessing his sins, and he who pardons the humble heard his prayer.

Daily Reflection June 11 2008: The Feast of St. Barnabas, Apostle and Martyr

June 10, 2008

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About the Saint:

Joseph, a Levite, born in Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (son of encouragement), sold a field he owned, brought the money, and turned it over to the apostles.” (Acts 4:36f). This is the first mention we have of Barnabas.

His new name fits what we know of his actions. When Saul (or Paul) came to Jerusalem after his conversion, most of the Christians there wanted nothing to do with him. They had known him as a persecutor and an enemy of the Church. But Barnabas was willing to give him a second chance. He looked him up, spoke with him, and brought him to see the other Christians, vouching for him. Later, Paul and Barnabas went on a missionary journey together, taking Mark with them. Part way, Mark turned back and went home. When Paul and Barnabas were about to set out on another such journey, Barnabas proposed to take Mark along, and Paul was against it, saying that Mark had shown himself undependable. Barnabas wanted to give Mark a second chance, and so he and Mark went off on one journey, while Paul took Silas and went on another. Apparently Mark responded well to the trust given him by the “son of encouragement,” since we find that Paul later speaks of him as a valuable assistant (2 Tim 4:11; see also Col 4:10 and Phil 24).
by James Kiefer

Collect of the Day:

O God, you decreed that the blessed Barnabas, full of faith and the Holy Spirit, should be set apart for the conversion of the gentiles.
Grant that the Gospel of Christ which he so strenuously preached
should continue to be proclaimed faithfully by word and deed.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Amen.

The Daily Readings:

The First reading: Acts 11:21 – 13:3
The Lord helped them, and a great number believed and were converted to the Lord.
The church in Jerusalem heard about this and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. There he could see for himself that God had given grace, and this pleased him, and he urged them all to remain faithful to the Lord with heartfelt devotion; for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith. And a large number of people were won over to the Lord.
Barnabas then left for Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. As things turned out they were to live together in that church a whole year, instructing a large number of people. It was at Antioch that the disciples were first called ‘Christians.’
In the church at Antioch the following were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. One day while they were offering worship to the Lord and keeping a fast, the Holy Spirit said, ‘I want Barnabas and Saul set apart for the work to which I have called them.’ So it was that after fasting and prayer they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

The Gospel: Matthew 10:7 – 13
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘As you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge. Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with a few coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff, for the workman deserves his keep.

‘Whatever town or village you go into, ask for someone trustworthy and stay with him until you leave. As you enter his house, salute it, and if the house deserves it, let your peace descend upon it; if it does not, let your peace come back to you.’

A treatise on Matthew by St Chromatius

You are the light of the world

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp only to put it under a bushel basket; they put it on a stand where it gives light to all in the house. The Lord called his disciples the salt of the earth because they seasoned with heavenly wisdom the hearts of men rendered insipid by the devil. Now he calls them the light of the world as well, because they have been enlightened by him, the true and everlasting light, and have themselves become a light in the darkness.
Since he is the Sun of Justice, he fittingly calls his disciples the light of the world. The reason for this is that through them, as through shining rays, he has poured out the light of the knowledge of himself upon the entire world. For by manifesting the light of truth, they have dispelled the darkness of error from the hearts of men.
Moreover, we too have been enlightened by them. We have been made light out of darkness as the Apostle says: For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light. He says another time: For you are not sons of the night and of darkness, but you are all sons of light and of the day.
Saint John also rightly asserts in his letter: God is light, and whoever abides in God is in the light just as God himself is in the light. Therefore, because we rejoice in having been freed from the darkness of error, we should always walk in the light as children of light. This is why the Apostle says: Among them you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life.
If we fail to live in the light, we shall, to our condemnation and that of others, be veiling over and obscuring by our infidelity the light men so desperately need. As we know from Scripture, the man who received the talent should have made it produce a heavenly profit, but instead he preferred to hide it away rather than put it to work and was punished as he deserved.
Consequently, that brilliant lamp which was lit for the sake of our salvation should always shine in us. For we have the lamp of the heavenly commandment and spiritual grace, to which David referred: Your law is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Solomon also says this about it: For the command of the law is a lamp.
Therefore, we must not hide this lamp of law and faith. Rather, we must set it up in the Church, as on a lamp-stand, for the salvation of many, so that we may enjoy the light of truth itself and all believers may be enlightened.

Concluding Prayer:

Father, I thank you that you are instructing me in way which I should go and that you are guiding me with your eye. I thank you for your guidance and leading concerning your will, your plan, and your purpose for my life. I do hear you and follow you. You lead me in the paths of righteousness for your name’s sake.

Thank you, Father, that my path is growing brighter and brighter until it reaches the full light of day. As I follow you, Lord, I believe my path is becoming clearer each day.

Thank you, Father, that Jesus was made unto me wisdom. Confusion is not a part of my life. I am not confused about your will for my life. I trust in you and lean not unto my own understanding. As I acknowledge you in all my ways, you are directing my paths. I believe that as I trust in you completely you will show me the path of life. Amen.