READINGS for 2007-10-08
And who is my neighbor... – Luke 10:29
We are not bad people. We are just BUSY! You have to know though what life has been teaching us: Busyness is the death of kindness. The Scripture reading said that the priest “happened to be going down the same road.” God’s will comes to us often in the form of interruptions.
Many are emotionally beaten and spiritually wounded. We just don’t recognize them. Remember, the Samaritan only gave what he had at that moment. We may not have a lot of things, but all of us have time. We all have the “special” abilities to put the newspaper down and embrace the kids, to stare into our wives’ eyes when they tell a story, to dial the phone and say hi to Dad, to smile at a coworker, to encourage a brother, to listen to a friend. These can be the healing balm for the beaten up souls God puts on our way.
One early Christian writer, Jean-Pierre de Caussade, said, “Love is the duty of the present moment.” We ask, “Lord, who is my neighbor?” Jesus replies, “The person in need I’m sending your way.” Jon E.
Do you have interruptions today? What is his or her name?
Lord, please save me from the trap of busyness. Help me see interruptions as opportunities to love. Amen.
Jonah 1:1—2:1, 11
I think I can sympathize with Jonah as I can remember times when I did not want to do what the Lord was asking me to do. Here is the real message of the story: even though Jonah tries to run away from God, God finds him and in the end Jonah does what God wants him to do! It seems that there are times that God’s will is done in our lives despite our desire to run away. Yet when we reflect upon the event, we know that we have not been forced to act against our will!
1 This is the word of the LORD that came to Jonah, son of Amittai: 2 “Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and preach against it; their wickedness has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah made ready to flee to Tarshish away from the LORD. He went down to Joppa, found a ship going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and went aboard to journey with them to Tarshish, away from the LORD. 4 The LORD, however, hurled a violent wind upon the sea, and in the furious tempest that arose the ship was on the point of breaking up. 5 Then the mariners became frightened and each one cried to his god. To lighten the ship for themselves, they threw its cargo into the sea. Meanwhile, Jonah had gone down into the hold of the ship, and lay there fast asleep. 6 The captain came to him and said, “What are you doing asleep? Rise up, call upon your God! Perhaps God will be mindful of us so that we may not perish.” 7 Then they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots to find out on whose account we have met with this misfortune.” So they cast lots, and thus singled out Jonah. 8 “Tell us,” they said, “what is your business? Where do you come from? What is your country, and to what people do you belong?” 9 “I am a Hebrew,” Jonah answered them; “I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” 10 Now the men were seized with great fear and said to him, “How could you do such a thing!” — They knew that he was fleeing from the LORD, because he had told them — 11 “What shall we do with you,” they asked, “that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea was growing more and more turbulent. 12 Jonah said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea, that it may quiet down for you; since I know it is because of me that this violent storm has come upon you.” 13 Still the men rowed hard to regain the land, but they could not, for the sea grew ever more turbulent. 14 Then they cried to the LORD: “We beseech you, O LORD, let us not perish for taking this man’s life; do not charge us with shedding innocent blood, for you, LORD, have done as you saw fit.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea’s raging abated. 16 Struck with great fear of the LORD, the men offered sacrifice and made vows to him. 2: 1 But the Lord sent a large fish, that swallowed Jonah; and he remained in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. 11 Then the LORD commanded the fish to spew Jonah upon the shore.
P S A L M
Jonah 2:3, 4, 5, 8
R: You will rescue my life from the pit, O Lord.
3 Out of my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me; From the midst of the nether world I cried for help, and you
heard my voice. (R) 4 For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the sea, and the flood enveloped me; All your breakers and your billows passed over me. (R) 5 Then I said, “I am banished from your sight! yet would I again look upon your holy temple.” (R) 8 When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; My prayer reached you in your holy temple. (R)
G O S P E L
Once again we see that words are not enough. It is not enough to be able to say that we love one another; we must be willing to turn our words of love into concrete actions. The Samaritan in this parable demonstrates a far greater love for God than the priest or Levite. We all know that we cannot love God without loving our neighbor and vice versa.
25 There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” 27 He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” 29 But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. 32 Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. 33 But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. 34 He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ 36 “Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” 37 He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
We all know that we cannot love God without loving our neighbor.
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR 2 Maccabees 4-6
GETTING TO KNOW THE SAINTS
Saint Mary Faustina
Mary Faustina, or Helen, was born in Glogowiec, Poland on August 25, 1905. She was the third of 10 children of a poor, religious family. In her youth, Helen displayed her love of prayer, work, obedience and sensitivity to the poor. She wanted to enter the convent but her parents would not allow her.
On August 1, 1925, Helen finally joined the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and took the name Mary Faustina. She developed within her the childlike trust in God and of mercy towards her neighbor. A devout to the Mother of Mercy, the nun wanted to reflect the Lord s mercy in saving souls.
The Lord blessed Sister Faustina with the gifts of reading human souls, visions, prophecy, revelations, bilocation, participation in the Passion of the Lord through stigmata, and the mystical espousal and marriage. Through her He wanted people to know of His love and mercy. He wanted Sister Faustina : (1) to remind the people about the truth of God s love through the Blessed Scripture, (2) to intercede God s mercy by practicing devotion to the Divine Mercy, and (3) to begin the apostolic movement of the Divine Mercy.
Sister Faustina died at the age of 33 in Krakow on October 5, 1938. She was declared Blessed by Pope John Paul II on April 18, 1993.
Saints Vitalis and Agricola
Vitalis was a slave and Agricola was his master. Both were martyred under Diocletian at Bologna in c.304.
Agricola was a Christian, active in the evangelization. He actually encouraged the conversion of his slave Vitalis. During their martyrdom, Vitalis never ceased to praise God. This inspired Agricola to endure his own torture of crucifixion. His body was pierced with a number of huge nails.
The bodies of Saints Vitalis and Agricola were laid in the Jewish cemetery.
Saint Herculanus of Perugia
Herculanus was bishop of Perugia in the sixth century. In c.549, he was arrested by the Ostro-Goths under King Totila. While held, a thin slice of the bishop s skin on every part of his body was pulled off. This burdened his own pagan executioner who hastened the end of his suffering by beheading the man.
AN OBEDIENT AND WILLING HEART
The story of Jonah is about a prophet who at first is quite hesitant to carry out the mission he was sent to do. He is asked to go and preach to the great city of Nineveh. Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian empire. The people of Nineveh was proud of their success and turned against the God who has won victory for them in their battles. People began to plot against the Lord, reveled in cruelty and plunder, took part in pagan rituals such as prostitution and witchcraft.
Jonah did not want any part of this and decided to escape to Tarshish – the other side of the world – to escape God, hoping that God will not find him. He boarded a ship and one can almost him hear breathe a sigh of relief. Suddenly there was a violent storm, winds hurl against the ship and the whole crew panicked. Cargo was thrown overboard as an attempt to better maneuver the ship. The people call upon their pagan gods for their safety. Jonah too, is requested to call upon his God. Lots were cast (a customary ritual) so as to expose the guilty one for this terrible upheaval. The lots fell on Jonah. Against their wishes Jonah is thrown overboard. The people are saved as the storm disappears and Jonah is saved by the fish.
Have you ever been in a situation similar to Jonah? Perhaps you too have been prompted by the Spirit to act, speak in a given circumstance. Perhaps fear has got the better of you and you too, like Jonah run and hide. It is amazing how we can be paralyzed by fear. Do you notice that doubts settle in and you feel so vulnerable? We feel if we go and hide God will forget that we exist. We hope someone else can fulfill the role God asks from us, but God will find us. He will continue to seek and find you because He loves you and trusts in you.
Like Jonah we are called to be obedient. The Lord will expect much from us if we truly dedicate ourselves to his causes. There will be many opportunities where we will have to give an answer for our faith. When that time comes the call for us is to remain faithful and obedient. We are to be willing to cooperate with God, whatever He asks of us. It will not be difficult for us because our God will give us the grace that is necessary to carry out what He asks from us. God loves us and by this love, we are to respond also with love. God deserves our love and obedience. Fr. Brian Steele
REFLECTION QUESTION: Reflect on the times when we have heard the call of God to act in a particular situation. How have we responded? What is it that we hide from?
Lord, here I am I come to do Your will. Help me to no longer hide from You. Fill me with your love and grant me a heart willing to obey You. Amen.
St. Nestor, martyr, pray for us.
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