Saturday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Today we rejoice with the Immaculate Heart of Mary. At the Annunciation the Angel announced to her what her vocation was to be. “How can this come about…?” Only because the Master of the Impossible will overshadow you, enabling you to do what you could never do on your own. ”Blessed are you who believed,” who lived a life of faith and thanksgiving.
“Do whatever he tells you,” was the advice she gave to the servants at Cana. Only because she lived this advice herself she could give it others. Immaculate Heart of Mary be a model for me in carrying out what He tells me to do.
“Be it done unto me according to thy word.” Such a prayer came from the depths of her Immaculate Heart. How similar it is to the prayer of Jesus, the Sacred Heart, in the Garden of Gethsemani: “Let your will be done, not mine.”
“Rejoice Mary, full of grace,” said the angel at the Annunciation. They were the words that echoed in her heart throughout her life bringing her peace and joy. May our Father send the same peace of Christ and the same joy of the Holy Spirit in my heart and in the hearts of all for whom I pray while saying my rosary today.
Memorial of Saint John Vianney, Priest
So what should I pray for as I reflect on what Jesus tells me in today’s Gospel?
The people of Nazareth were astonished by what he said. Hadn’t he lived with them, undistinguished from them for 30 years? Now he is teaching with authority and working miracles. What gives! Such is the realism of the Incarnation: nothing distinguishing in God made man; nothing apparent in him that singles him out from others.
Jesus allows this incomprehension on the part of his one-time neighbors. He worked no miracles in Nazareth. It was enough for him to have lived in hidden simplicity with them for 30 years.
Faith allows me to see beyond appearances; to recognize and welcome the Lord who comes to me in them each day. They give discrete witness, more convincing than words or actions of his hidden presence in each of them.
Thursday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
The lesson to be gained from reading and praying over the parable Jesus gives me in this mass today is not different from what I have gotten from the parable of the wheat and the weeds, and that is, the Kingdom of God will be realized definitively at the final judgment, the end of time.
Until then the good will be mixed up with the evil. Jesus will make the final separation. My role is to wait and pray.
To be a collaborator with Jesus in building up the Kingdom means to face everyday situations with confident realism. To dream of a better state of affairs, a sinless world is to brush aside the work of salvation.
Jesus did not come to condemn, but to save, To save does not mean to reject definitively everything I disapprove of. It means accepting it with hopeful patience desiring to transform it, to save it with Jesus.
Memorial of Saint Julian Eymard, Priest
The 1st reading today invites me to reflect on the life of Moses. His “face became radiant” after spending 40 days alone with God. Result: he had to put on the veil when dealing with every day business matters. He became, what is known as “a contemplative in action”.
In commenting on his two parables cited in our Gospel, Jesus teaches that to be his follower does not mean we have to reject everything, but to put a value on all in relation to our ultimate vocation: to be with him for all eternity.
Does this good that attracts my attention help or hinder me in achieving my final purpose in life? Should I invest in it or put it aside?
These are practical, every day questions. If I want the end, I want the means. Moses also had to deal with practical matters when dealing with the Israelites. His time spent with God enabled him to put the right price tag on his choices and doing so enabled him to rely more on God for light. That’s being “a contemplative in action”.
Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Again, Christ teaches me in today’s Gospel the importance of patience. Meeting him in prayer means seeing the world through his eyes and what he shows me is that it’s useless to dream life would be easier in a world without evil. To accept each day, mixed as it is means to accept him.
Patience is not weakness. It is built on a firm foundation. Didn’t Christ conquer death? So isn’t he able to make bad grain good? He invites us to collaborate patiently in this transformation. But I must do it with patience.
The good grain is mixed with the bad. That’s a fact, something to be accepted. It is useless to wish the world were better. It’s futile to stop and have a pity-party over my weakness. The Lord accepts me to do his work in the world as I am, as it is; not as I dream it or I should be.
He alone can teach me all this is not hopeless resignation, but confidence in him, the Master of the Impossible. He, whose Son died for the love of the world, can show me how with him, I can transform weeds into good grain.
Then there is the 1st reading. It is “a merciful and gracious God”, who shows me how to progress down his ways, patiently through the weeds, not stomping out the grain.
Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Priest
In the parable of the mustard seed Jesus invites me to cultivate confident patience. History teaches me that the Kingdom developed slowly. From the time he sent the apostles out to preach the Good News until today that Kingdom has grown exceedingly through the action of Jesus in us. And the final days are yet to come.
Confident patience. It is what I need when I reflect on the Church today. No one put that virtue into greater practice than Ignatius of Loyola. He paid no attention to the scandals that were so prevalent in the Church of his time. Reforms would come about primarily through the reform of individuals.
Confident patience. It is what I need for myself. The seed takes time to germinate; the leaven takes time to rise. I need time to let God’s grace delve within me. Prayer orientates me toward patience with my sins and imperfections.
Then there is the first reading of today’s Mass. It teaches me to make intercession for others, especially for those people and events that tax my patience.
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the first two parables of today’s Mass, Christ teaches me that living the Christian life does not mean I must reject whatever is human. Rather, I must learn to put a price tag on every thing. Can I afford to make this good my own? Will that good help or hinder me from living the Christian life? Faith is the virtue that gives me the eye to discern.
The lesson in parable of the net thrown into the sea is the same that Christ taught about separating the wheat from the chaff. Faith invites me to be realistic. It is normal for me to find in myself and in others the good mixed up with the bad, the valuable with the cheesy.
To refuse to see the world as it is, is to refuse to accept the invitation Christ gives to me to be a collaborator – a co-worker – in his work of salvation, He did not come to the world to condemn, but to save. Wanting to save the world with him does not mean to reject the world, but to accept it with confidence and to educate it with patience.
Today I shall ask Christ to increase my faith and to preserve me from a false notion of the Benedict Option.
The Gospel in today’s Mass is a continuation of the dialogue between Peter and Jesus in yesterday’s Mass. Here we consider Jesus’ response to Peter’s answer. It is more about the personal, special vocation given to each person.
Jesus asks each one the question he asked Peter: “Do you love me?” Then: “You follow men.” To accept this invitation is to acknowledge that each one follows the Lord in a different way. The African saints whose feast we celebrate today did so in ways different from how we are called. It is senseless to compare one vacation with another. Each one enters his own path in following where Christ calls.
Vocations are complementary within the Body of Christ. Diversity bespeaks the beauty, the richness and the building up of the Church.
Mary is the model for accepting vocations. She probably thought she’d be a housewife; the Lord wanted her to be the Mother of Christ. She did his will. “You follow me.” That was her calling. She did. That’s why she is holy.
Today is the First Saturday of month. Pray to Mary, Our Lady of Fatima, to do what God wants of each person, and that each person accept his will in doing it, as did Mary.
Today is the First Friday of June, which is dedicated to the Sacred Heart.
In today’s Gospel Jesus asks Peter a question that he repeats twice more. This means that he insists that the response comes from the depths of his being. It is the same question that Jesus asks me today.
The question is simple but it implies the total gift of myself. Do you love me? Prayer disposes me to hear that question, to know what it entails, to be able to answer it realistically.
The implication of the question to Peter is that he had to be involved with the flock that the Lord entrusted to him. So, do I love the Lord? The ‘yes’ depends upon on the answer to the question: “Are you involved with the people I have placed into you life? Are you aware of your relationship and duties toward them? Do you pray for them”
It is so easy for me to kid myself by separating the first question from the second. But Jesus has given me the model to assess my answer: His Sacred Heart, the symbol of an unlimited love for all. How best can I imitate that love? The Eucharist makes me a part of his Sacred Heart. So, my answer to his question is: How do I regard the Eucharist?
Today, I shall spend some time prayerfully reflecting on the courageous, intelligent and saintly manner in which St. Paul cooperated with God’s grace to fulfill the vocation to martyrdom the Lord was giving him. St. Justin would be asked to follow the same script, and he did so with wit.
In today’s Gospel I read that Jesus prayed for unity among his own, a unity that is manifested in the Trinity: “that they may be one.” And I will pray for unity in the Church.
I’ll end this part of my daily prayer by recommending to the Lord the bishops and priests of our country, who seem divided on so many important issues, divisions like Sts. Paul and Justin had experienced, but fought against.
We are the sons and daughters of the same Father, and so unity is the law of life: We are all destined for salvation in Jesus, who is the truth. To live in unity with Jesus and with one another we must be willing to live beyond ourselves, to give up prejudices for truth.
At the end of the Gospel Jesus tells us he wants to be with us. Pray that we fulfill his desire; to express and defend the truth as brothers and sisters of the same Heavenly Father. Sts. Paul and Justin pray for us, that we may yearn for, accept and defend the truth.