Saturday, August 14, 2021

Sunday August 15th, the Solemnity of the Assumption.

"For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the first fruit; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ." (1 Corinthians 15: 20 – 27)

Sunday 15th August 2021, 20th Week in Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Just as in  the Transfiguration of Jesus, Mary's Son confirms our hope of transformation at the general Resurrection. The Assumption of Mary reveals our hope and destiny.

In heaven, there is a hierarchy of merits. There is also a "proper order" (Order of glory) in the resurrection of the body:

1st. Christ
2nd. Mary
3rd. Then at the end of time, everyone who belongs to Christ.

It is God's plan and wisdom that Mary will be raised body and soul into heaven before the general resurrection of the body. This is an ancient belief of the Church. The Church made this teaching a doctrine of faith on 1st November 1950. Pope Pius XII in an Apostolic Constitution defined the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven.  As it is bound on earth, so it is in heaven.

The Assumption of Mary fulfilled one of the prayer intentions of Jesus in the Last Supper:

"Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world." (John 17: 24).

The Blessed Virgin Mary is primus inter pares, ie first among equals in the order of privileges.  Mary our Mother goes before us. Where she is, there shall we be.

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Friday, August 13, 2021

The Feast of St Maximilian Kolbe of the Immaculata.

 “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” After he placed his hands on them, he went away." (Matthew 19: 13 - 15).

Saturday 14th August, eve of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the 19th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Maximilian Kolbe (1894 - 1941), Polish. Priest and Martyr.

Maximilian is known for his profound love for the Blessed Virgin Mary. He founded the "City of the Immaculate." An avid evangelizer, he used the press and the written word to propagate the Gospel. He was a missionary in Japan. Arrested by the Gestapo in Poland, Kolbe was sent to Auschwitz. St Maximilian took the place of a young father who was condemned for execution by the Gestapo. St Maximilian exhibited a greater love for his co-prisoner who cried about his wife and children who would miss him. The Gestapo executed St Maximilian Kolbe and made him a martyr.

In the Gospel for today the disciples rebuked children and their mothers who prayed that Jesus might lay His hands on them. But Jesus said,
“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Maximilian Kolbe understood this and lived like a little child.

St Maximilian Mary Kolbe loved deeply the Blessed Virgin Mary as a Mother, a Teacher and a Queen. Mary returned the love abundantly. No surprise Kolbe died on the eve of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was canonized in 1982 by Pope St John Paul II, Polish like St Maximilian Kolbe and a great Marian Saint.

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Thursday, August 12, 2021

Holy Rivals - Feast of Saints Pontian and Hippolytus.

"I brought your father Abraham from the region beyond the River and led him through the entire land of Canaan.... I led you out of Egypt.. “I gave you a land which you had not tilled and cities which you had not built, to dwell in; you have eaten of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.” (Joshua 24: 1 - 13).

Friday 13th August 2021, 19th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of a Pope and an anti Pope: Saints Pontian, Pope and Hippolytus, anti Pope (priest). St Pontian was elected Pope in 230 and St Hippolytus challenged him and set up himself as a rival. By a mysterious design of Divine Providence, both waring clerics found themselves in the the same prison at the same time. They reconciled and were martyred together under the Emperor Maximinus Thrax. (+ 235).

Our heavenly Father smiled upon Pontian and Hippolytus as He welcomed them into paradise because they heard the message of His Son, Jesus Christ and forgave "his brother from his heart."

Our key Scripture for today is from the first Reading (Joshua 24: 1 - 13). We have a very interesting Scripture to contemplate today.
God is the Lord of all history. He is also the supreme Teacher of all mankind. God gives a history lesson to Joshua, the new leader of Israel.

"I brought your father Abraham from the region beyond the River and led him through the entire land of Canaan.... I led you out of Egypt.. “I gave you a land which you had not tilled and cities which you had not built, to dwell in; you have eaten of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.”

What is the import of this history lesson for us?
Don't oppose my plan with regard to the movements of people in the world. Your forebears were once immigrants. You are where you are because of My mighty and merciful Providence. Be kind to widows, orphans and immigrants. "I AM the Lord your God."

"The vision has been shown to you; you have written it down. Now is the time to make it known. Hearts will be moved, and through the kindness of a multitude of little ones I will provide what is needed for My work to go forward. You have not been active enough in sharing—through writing, and by spreading what you have written—the work that I have entrusted to you. I do not call you to an activism that would exhaust you and draw you away from prayer but, rather, to a courageous engagement in the project that I have shown you, and that I yearn to fulfil, not as something for you alone, or even for your lifetime, but as a gift to My Church and My beloved priests. Write, spread the word, and then trust Me to open hearts. The support for the work will come, but it will come mostly from the little and the poor to whom I have given hearts of compassion for My priests who suffer." (IN SINU JESU page 207).

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Wednesday, August 11, 2021

St Jane Frances Chantal, Religious and Cofounder of a Religious Order.

"Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times." (Matthew 18: 21 - 22).

Thursday 12th August 2021, 19th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Jane Frances Chantal (1572 - 1641). Religious. French.
At the age of 20, Jane married a noble man, Baron de Chantal. After her husband died, Jane settled her children and embraced the ideals of religious life: chastity and severe poverty. Jane cofounded the Order of the Visitation with St Francis de Sales (Bishop and Doctor of the Church).
Jane Frances left behind large quantities of letters between her and St Francis de Sales that offer great insight on spiritual direction.

The Gospel today deals with the sensitive topic of Forgiveness. I had written on this topic a couple of times and presumed that I am a forgiving person and understand a few things about Forgiveness. My attitude changed today when I looked closely at Peter's question. “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?”
I reflected thus: If someone offends me once on something serious, I am disposed by grace to forgive the person even immediately. If the same person repeats the same offense three or four times, that's a different ballgame. Then I realized that I had never understood Jesus teaching on Forgiveness.

When Jesus answered Peter, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times." Jesus is saying: You have to be perfect as My Father is perfect. His mercy has no limit. Let your own mercy be limitless. Think about this: Many of us who use the Sacrament of Reconciliation confess the same sins over and over again. For example:  "Forgive me Father for I have sinned....I lied 5 times in the past 4 weeks."  Many of us come back in the next 4 weeks and repeat: 
"Forgive me Father for I have sinned....I lied 7 times in the past 4 weeks."
The priest who is acting in persona Christi in the Sacrament of Confession gives us absolution in the name of Jesus.

If we do not make effort to forgive those who offend us without counting the number of times we are offended, we will hear from Jesus:

"You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?"

"My Mother, on the other hand, raises souls when they fall; she instills in them a confidence in My loving mercy, a readiness to believe in My merciful love, a desire to come into My presence and to expose to Me, the divine physician, the wounds suffered in spiritual combat. My Mother is the Mother of Holy Hope. She is the Mother of Holy Confidence. One who entrusts himself to My Mother will never fall into the pit of despair. Even when sorely tempted, there will remain in that soul enough confidence to turn to Me, and to make an act of abandonment to My merciful love that will touch My Heart and release from it a torrent of forgiveness, healing, and mercy." (IN SINU JESU page 203).

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Tuesday, August 10, 2021

The Feast of St Clare, Founder of the Poor Clares.

"Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18: 19 - 20).

Wednesday 11th August 2021 is the feast of St Clare. (1193 - 1253). Italian. At 18, Clare was not only beautiful but her parents were very wealthy. She gave up everything to follow the original Little One, Jesus Christ our Savior. Imitating St Francis of Assisi, the little poor man of Assisi, Clare embraced radical poverty. She founded the Poor Clares and modeled its constitution from what she learned from St Francis of Assisi.

I know one Poor Clare Nun, who made a great contribution to the world. Mother Angelica (+ 2016). She founded EWTN which is the only global Catholic Television Network in the world. For me, Mother Angelica is a saint in the making.

Jesus promises in our key Scripture : "Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father."

Let us take Jesus up on this promise and pray assiduously for reconciliation in the Church, Community and Country. I believe in prayer. I believe in the word of God. I believe in miracle. I surrender the rest to God.

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Monday, August 09, 2021

The Feast of St Lawrence, Doyen of Deacons.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and who­ever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life." (John 12: 24... 26).

Tuesday 10th August 2021, 19th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr. (+258). St Lawrence, Roman citizen born in Spain. Archdeacon in the Church of Rome during the pontificate of Pope St Sixtus II. St Lawrence spent his life in the service of the poor of Rome. He perished in a gruesome torture under the persecution of Emperor Valerian. St Lawrence is the Doyen of all the Deacons of the Church. Happy feast day all you holy deacons out there.

Lavishly Lawrence gave to the poor;
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
(Cf Responsorial Psalm 112).

"Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." (2 Corinthians 9: 6).
St Lawrence sowed bountifully and the Lord rewarded him and made him the Doyen of Deacons and patron Saint of many charities.

During the trial of St Lawrence, the  judge asked: “Where are the riches of the Church?” But Lawrence extended his hand toward the poor and said: “These are the riches of the Church.”

Lawrence cared for the poor, the ill, and the abandoned of Rome and became their patron. St Lawrence is the patron saint of deacons, librarians, cooks, seminarians and students, butchers, etc.

St Lawrence answered the call to the clerical state when that calling was a certain death sentence. Jesus empowered Lawrence with His grace and the Holy Spirit enabled Lawrence to produce large harvest.

"The attack on My priesthood that appears to be spreading and growing is, in fact, in its final stages. It is a satanic and diabolical onslaught against My Bride the Church, an attempt to destroy her by attacking the most wounded of her ministers in their carnal weaknesses; but I will undo the destruction they have wrought and I will cause My priests and My Spouse the Church to recover a glorious holiness that will confound My enemies and be the beginning of a new era of saints, of martyrs, and of prophets." (IN SINU JESU page 149).

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Sunday, August 08, 2021

The Feast of St Teresa of the Cross, born Edit Stein.

"When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said, “Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?” “Yes,” he said." (Matthew 17:

Monday 9th August 2021, in the 19th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. (1891 - 1942). Virgin & Martyr. Polish.  Teresa was born Edith Stein of Jewish parents and converted to the Church after reading the books of St Teresa of Avila. Some years after her conversion to the Catholic Church, she followed St Teresa of Avila into the Carmelite Order.  Edith Stein was a well established philosopher in the universities in Germany.  The Gestapo arrested her on August 2nd 1942 and sent her to Auschwitz where she died in the gas chambers on August 9th.

There are two tracks in today's Gospel:
#1. How did Jesus handle tax matters?
#2. How did Jesus handle money?

The first is easy. Jesus paid His taxes.
Throughout His ministry, there is no single incident where we see Jesus handling money directly. Jesus and the Twelve had a bursar who was charged with keeping the donations and buying the necessities for the Group. Jesus seemed to have a disdain for money. He called money  dishonest wealth and the Bible calls it filthy lucre.

When Jesus sent His disciples to evangelize, He discouraged them from carrying large amounts of cash. Trust completely in the mighty and merciful Providence of God to provide all your needs.

When the Temple Tax collectors challenged Jesus over tax, Jesus and the Twelve probably had no money in their purse. Not wanting to delay the payment of the Temple tax, Jesus did an interesting thing.

"But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.” Jesus knew precisely where the fish with the golden coin in its mouth would be hiding.

In our work for the Gospel, we trust in the mighty and merciful Providence of Jesus, to provide our necessities.

"His Eucharistic love surpasses all the laws of perishable nature: there is no greater miracle on the face of the earth than the real presence of my Son in the Sacrament of the Altar." (Mary in IN SINU JESU page 184).

The greatest miracle according to Jesus and His Mother is the Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Do we appreciate this?

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