Skip to comments.Catholic Caucus: Sunday Mass Readings, 07-06-14, Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Posted on 07/05/2014 8:26:22 PM PDT by Salvation
July 6, 2014
Reading 1 Zec 9:9-10
Thus says the LORD:
Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion,
shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king shall come to you;
a just savior is he,
meek, and riding on an ass,
on a colt, the foal of an ass.
He shall banish the chariot from Ephraim,
and the horse from Jerusalem;
the warrior’s bow shall be banished,
and he shall proclaim peace to the nations.
His dominion shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13-14
R/ (cf. 1) I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
I will extol you, O my God and King,
and I will bless your name forever and ever.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
R/ I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R/ I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R/ I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R/ I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
reading 2 Rom 8:9, 11-13
Brothers and sisters:
You are not in the flesh;
on the contrary, you are in the spirit,
if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
the one who raised Christ from the dead
will give life to your mortal bodies also,
through his Spirit that dwells in you.
Consequently, brothers and sisters,
we are not debtors to the flesh,
to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die,
but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body,
you will live.
Gospel Mt 11:25-30
At that time Jesus exclaimed:
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to little ones.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
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The arrival of the Messiah
9:1-14:21. The prophecies concerning the new circumstances of Jerusalem
and Judah in chapters 7-8 give way now to two long oracles describing how that
definitive time will he established by the Messiah (chaps. 9-10), and how the king-
dom of God will come about (chaps. 12-14). Worked in among these themes are
short prophetical pieces which are apparently anonymous, for there is no mention
of Zechariah in them and no dates are given. The two oracles start in the same
way: An oracle. The word of the Lord ...(9:1; 12:1), a formula which is also used
at the start of the book of Malachi (Mal 1:1). Because this construction is found
on only these three occasions in the Old Testament, the three pieces are thought
to come from some third source and to have found their way into the biblical text
here — two into the book of Zechariah and one into that of Malachi.
9:1-11:17. This first oracle includes two prophetical proclamations — one about
the advent of the Messiah king (9:1-10:12), and the other about the rejection of
the good shepherd who tries to lead the people along the paths of faithfulness
and unity (11:1-17). The first one starts with a prophetical description of the vic-
torious progress of the Lord as he makes his way down to Jerusalem from the
north (9:1-8); then the city is invited to rejoice at the arrival of its king (9:9-10);
and finally the restoration of Israel is proclaimed (9:11-17).
9:9-10. The prophet now speaks directly to Jerusalem (daughter of Zion) and
her citizens (daughter of Jerusalem) as representatives of the entire chosen
people. An invitation to rejoice and celebrate is often found in the Old Testament
in connexion with the arrival of the messianic era (cf. Is 12:6; 54:1; Zeph 3:14);
here it is issued because Jerusalems king is arriving. Although the text does
not say so explicitly, it is implied that he is the descendant of David; there is
an echo here of 2 Samuel 7:12-16 and Isaiah 7:14. This king is distinguished
by what he is and what he does. The word triumphant translates the Hebrew
saddiq, which means just: he does the will of God perfectly; and the term vic-
torious” means that he enjoys divine protection and salvation. The Septuagint
and the Vulgate, however, read it as meaning that he was the saviour. He is
also humble, that is, he is not boastful in the presence of either God or men.
He is peaceable — as can be seen from the fact that he rides not on a horse like
kings of the time but on an ass, like the princes of ancient times (cf. Gen 49:11;
Judg 5:10; 10:4; 12:14). He will cause the weapons of war to disappear from
Samaria and Judah (cf. Is 2:4, 7; Mic 5:9), who will form a single, united people;
and he will also establish peace among the nations (v. 10). This king has features
similar to those of the servant of the Lord of whom Isaiah spoke (cf. Is 53:11)
and to those of the lowly people whom God found acceptable (cf. Zeph 2:3; 3:12).
Our Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled this prophecy when he entered Jerusalem before
the Passover and was acclaimed by the crowd as the Messiah, the Son of David
(cf. Mt 21:1-5; Jn 12:14). The King of glory (Ps 24:7-10) enters his City riding
on an ass (Zech 9:9). Jesus conquers the Daughter of Zion, a figure of his
Church, neither by ruse nor by violence, but by the humility that bears witness
to the truth (cf. Jn 18:37) (”Catechism of the Catholic Church”, 559). In an alle-
gorical reading, Clement of Alexandria takes the young ass of v. 9 to stand for
people who are not subject to evil: It was not enough to say a colt; the sacred
writer added, the foal of an ass, to emphasize the youth of the humanity of
Christ, his eternal youth. The divine groom tends to us and trains us, the youn-
gest, smallest colts (”Paedagogus”, 1, 15, 1).
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.
Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States
From: Romans 8:9, 11-13
Life in the Spirit
 “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who
raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through
his Spirit who dwells in you.”  So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the
flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you live according to the flesh you
will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.
1-13. After original sin man is pulled in two different directions: either he seeks
God above all things and contends, with God’s grace, against the inclinations
of his own concupiscence; or else he lets himself be overwhelmed by the disor-
dered passions of the flesh. The former lifestyle is “life in the Spirit”, the latter,
life “according to the flesh”. “There are only two possible ways of living on this
earth: either we live a supernatural life, or we live an animal life” ([St] J. Escriva,
“Friends of God”, 200).
Sanctifying grace is the source of life “according to the Spirit”. It is not a matter
of simply being in the state of grace or of performing a number of regular pious
practices. Life according to the Spirit—spiritual or supernatural life—means a
living-according-to-God which influences everything a Christian does: he is cons-
tantly trying to bring his thoughts, yearnings, desires and actions into line with
what God is asking of him; in everything he does he tries to follow the inspira-
tions of the Holy Spirit.
Life according to the flesh, on the other hand, has its source in the triple concu-
piscence which is a consequence of original sin—”all that is in the world the lust
of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” (1 Jn 2:16). In this pre-
sent life it is not possible to kill concupiscence at its root: it is forever producing
new growths. The Christian is freed from original sin through Baptism (chap. 6);
the coming of Christ has set aside the ritualistic precepts of the Mosaic Law
(chap. 7); but his life in Jesus Christ is threatened by concupiscence even after
Baptism, which places him under the Law of the Spirit. “We need to submit to
the spirit, to wholeheartedly commit ourselves and strive to keep the flesh in its
place. By so doing our flesh will become spiritual again. Otherwise, if we give in
to the easy life, this will lower our soul to the level of the flesh and make it car-
nal again” (St John Chrysostom, “Hom. on Rom”, 13).
10-11. Once he is justified the Christian lives in the grace of God and confidently
hopes in his future resurrection; Christ Himself lives in him (cf. Galatians 2:20;
1 Corinthians 15:20-23). However, he is not spared the experience of death, a
consequence of Original Sin (cf. Romans 5:12; 6:23). Along with suffering, con-
cupiscence and other limitations, death is still a factor after Baptism; it is some-
thing which motivates us to struggle and makes us to be like Christ. Almost all
commentators interpret the expression “your bodies are dead because of sin” as
referring to the fact that, due to sin, the human body is destined to die. So sure
is this prospect of death that the Apostle sees the body as “already dead”.
St. John Chrysostom makes an acute observation: if Christ is living in the Chris-
tian, then the divine Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, is also present in him.
If this divine Spirit is absent, then indeed death reigns supreme, and with it the
wrath of God, rejection of His laws, separation from Christ, and expulsion of our
Guest. And he adds: “But when one has the Spirit within, what can be lacking?
With the Spirit one belongs to Christ, one possesses Him, one vies for honor
with the angels. With the Spirit, the flesh is crucified, one tastes the delight of
an immortal life, one has a pledge of future resurrection and advances rapidly on
the path of virtue. This is what Paul calls putting the flesh to death” (”Hom. on
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.
Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.
From: Matthew 11:25-30
Jesus Thanks His Father
25-26. The wise and understanding of this world, that is, those who rely on their
own judgment, cannot accept the revelation which Christ has brought us. Super-
natural outlook is always connected with humility. A humble person, who gives
himself little importance, sees; a person who is full of self-esteem fails to per-
ceive supernatural things.
27. Here Jesus formally reveals His divinity. Our knowledge of a person shows
our intimacy with Him, according to the principle given by St. Paul: “For what
person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him?”
(1 Corinthians 2:11). The Son knows the Father by the same knowledge as that
by which the Father knows the Son. This identity of knowledge implies oneness
of nature; that is to say, Jesus is God just as the Father is God.
28-30. Our Lord calls everyone to come to Him. We all find things difficult in one
way or another. The history of souls bears out the truth of these words of Jesus.
Only the Gospel can fully satisfy the thirst for truth and justice which sincere peo-
ple feel. Only our Lord, our Master—and those to whom He passes on His power
— can soothe the sinner by telling him, “Your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2). In
this connection Pope Paul VI teaches: “Jesus says now and always, ‘Come to
Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ His attitude to-
wards us is one of invitation, knowledge and compassion; indeed, it is one of of-
fering, promise, friendship, goodness, remedy of our ailments; He is our comfor-
ter; indeed, our nourishment, our bread, giving us energy and life” (”Homily on
Corpus Christi”, 13 June 1974).
“Come to Me”: the Master is addressing the crowds who are following Him, “ha-
rassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). The Phari-
sees weighed them down with an endless series of petty regulations (cf. Acts
15:10), yet they brought no peace to their souls. Jesus tells these people, and
us, about the kind of burden He imposes: “Any other burden oppresses and cru-
shes you, but Christ’s actually takes weight off you. Any other burden weighs
down, but Christ’s gives you wings. If you take a bird’s wings away, you might
seem to be taking weight off it, but the more weight you take off, the more you
tie it down to the earth. There it is on the ground, and you wanted to relieve it
of a weight; give it back the weight of its wings and you will see how it flies” (St.
Augustine, “Sermon” 126).
“All you who go about tormented, afflicted and burdened with the burden of your
cares and desires, go forth from them, come to Me and I will refresh you and
you shall find for your souls the rest which your desires take from you” (St. John
of the Cross, “Ascent of Mount Carmel”, Book 1, Chapter 7, 4).
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.
Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.
Zechariah 9:9-10 ©
The Lord says this:
Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion!
Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem!
See now, your king comes to you;
he is victorious, he is triumphant,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He will banish chariots from Ephraim
and horses from Jerusalem;
the bow of war will be banished.
He will proclaim peace for the nations.
His empire shall stretch from sea to sea,
from the River to the ends of the earth.
Psalm 144:1-2,8-11,13-14 ©
I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.
I will give you glory, O God my king,
I will bless your name for ever.
I will bless you day after day
and praise your name for ever.
I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.
The Lord is kind and full of compassion,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
How good is the Lord to all,
compassionate to all his creatures.
I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.
All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord,
and your friends shall repeat their blessing.
They shall speak of the glory of your reign
and declare your might, O God.
I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.
The Lord is faithful in all his words
and loving in all his deeds.
The Lord supports all who fall
and raises all who are bowed down.
I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.
Romans 8:9,11-13 ©
Your interests are not in the unspiritual, but in the spiritual, since the Spirit of God has made his home in you. In fact, unless you possessed the Spirit of Christ you would not belong to him, and if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.
So then, my brothers, there is no necessity for us to obey our unspiritual selves or to live unspiritual lives. If you do live in that way, you are doomed to die; but if by the Spirit you put an end to the misdeeds of the body you will live.
Blessed are you, Father,
Lord of heaven and earth,
for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom
to mere children.
Matthew 11:25-30 ©
Jesus exclaimed, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’
Unping me please
We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.
Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.
Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.
Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.
Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.
Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.
O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.
Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests
This icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.
The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.
The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.
Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem. He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.
St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.
1. Sign of the Cross: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
2. The Apostles Creed: I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
3. The Lord's Prayer: OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
4. (3) Hail Mary: HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)
5. Glory Be: GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.
Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer. Repeat the process with each mystery.
End with the Hail Holy Queen:
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Final step -- The Sign of the Cross
The Glorious Mysteries
(Wednesdays and Sundays)
1.The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-29) [Spiritual fruit - Faith]
2. The Ascension (Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11) [Spiritual fruit - Christian Hope]
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-13) [Spiritual fruit - Gifts of the Holy Spirit]
4. The Assumption [Spiritual fruit - To Jesus through Mary]
5. The Coronation [Spiritual fruit - Grace of Final Perseverance]
St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:
"Pray for Obama. Psalm 109:8"
PLEASE JOIN US -
A Prayer for PriestsO my God, help those priests who are faithful to remain faithful; to those who are falling, stretch forth Your Divine Hand that they may grasp it as their support. In the great ocean of Your mercy, lift those poor unfortunate ones who have fallen, that being engulfed therein they may receive the grace to return to Your Great Loving Heart. Amen. Precious Blood of Jesus, protect them!
The Most Precious Blood of Jesus
July is traditionally associated with the Precious Blood of Our Lord. It may be customary to celebrate the votive Mass of the Precious Blood on July 1.
The extraordinary importance of the saving Blood of Christ has ensured a central place for its memorial in the celebration of this cultic mystery: at the centre of the Eucharistic assembly, in which the Church raises up to God in thanksgiving "the cup of blessing" (1 Cor 10, 16; cf Ps 115-116, 13) and offers it to the faithful as a "real communion with the Blood of Christ" (1 Cor 10, 16); and throughout the Liturgical Year. The Church celebrates the saving Blood of Christ not only on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, but also on many other occasions, such that the cultic remembrance of the Blood of our redemption (cf 1 Pt 1, 18) pervades the entire Liturgical Year. Hence, at Vespers during Christmastide, the Church, addressing Christ, sings: "Nos quoque, qui sancto tuo redempti sumus sanguine, ob diem natalis tui hymnum novum concinimus." In the Paschal Triduum, the redemptive significance and efficacy of the Blood of Christ is continuously recalled in adoration. During the adoration of the Cross on Good Friday the Church sings the hymn: "Mite corpus perforatur, sanguis unde profluit; terra, pontus, astra, mundus quo lavanturflumine", and again on Easter Sunday, "Cuius corpus sanctissimum in ara crucis torridum, sed et cruorem roesum gustando, Deo vivimus (194).
Catholic Word of the Day: LITANY OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD, 09-25-12
ST. GASPAR: Founder of the Society of the Precious Blood
Mass in the Cathedral of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ (London, 9/18)
Devotion to the Drops of Blood Lost by our Lord Jesus Christ on His Way to Calvary (Prayer/Devotion)
Chaplet of the Most Precious Blood
Catholic Word of the Day: PRECIOUS BLOOD, 12-03-11
The Traditional Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Catholic Caucus)
Devotion to the Precious Blood
DOCTRINE OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,And More on the Precious Blood
Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ
NOTHING IS MORE POTENT AGAINST EVIL THAN PLEADING THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST
Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
Universal: That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
For Evangelization: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A
Commentary of the day
Saint Gregory of Nyssa (c.335-395), monk and Bishop
Catechetical Discourse 23-26 ; SC 453
"Although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike"
The fact that the all-powerful God has been able to humble himself even to the humility of the human condition constitutes a greater proof than the impact and supernatural character of miracles. Indeed, when divine power effects something of great sublimity this is, after a fashion, in conformity with and appropriate to God’s nature… On the other hand, that God descended even to our lowliness is, in a certain way, the expression of an overwhelming power that is not in the least restrained by what is contrary to its nature…
Neither the expanse of the heavens, the brightness of the stars, the governing of the universe, nor the harmony of created things reveal the splendid power of God so much as his indulgence, which leads him to lower himself to the weakness of our nature… God’s goodness, wisdom, justice and power are revealed in his plans on our behalf: goodness in his will to “save that which was lost” (Lk 19,10); wisdom and justice in his manner of saving us; power in the fact that Christ became “in the likeness of men” (Phil 2,7-8) and made himself conformable to the humility of our nature.
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A - July 6, 2014
Zec 9:9-10; Rm 8,9.11-13; Mt 11,25-30
1) The gentle and humble of heart.
After the journey of Lent and the Passion (the Way of the Cross) and Easter (the Way of Light), after the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity (Communion of Love and Light) and of the Body of Christ (the gift of His life for us), the Liturgy takes us back to "ordinary time." The Liturgy offers us the Word of God so as to continue the journey began in January, inviting us to follow Jesus and to listen to what he has to say in todays life.
Christs words in todays readings are truly comforting: "Come to me, tired and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls "(Mt 11, 29-30). To the humility of the incarnate Son of God we must respond with the humility of our faith. It is the humility to recognize that to live we need the merciful goodness of a God, who forgives every day. We become like Christ, the only One perfect to the greatest extent, possible, when we, imitating Him who is meek and humble in heart, become like Him people of mercy.
We must not, then, forget the words of the prophet Zechariah, Thus says the LORD:
Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is he, meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass. He shall banish the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; the warriors bow shall be banished, and he shall proclaim peace to the nations. His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth."(Zec 9:9-10 - first reading of today's Mass). These are words that frame those of Jesus in todays reading as well as those of the beatitude when He says, "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth" (Mt 5:5). If we keep this beatitude joined to the invitation: "Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart" (Mt 11, 29), we infer that the beatitudes are not only a good ethics program that the master designs for his followers, but are also the self-portrait of Jesus. He is the true poor, the meek, the pure of heart and the persecuted for justice. He is the real king of peace that restores his subjects and protects them with the scepter of the Cross, scepter of powerful gentleness.
In fact, the higher test of the kingly meekness of Christ is his passion. No wrath, no threat: "Outraged did not revile, and suffering did not threaten" (1 Peter 2: 23). This side of the person of Christ was so stamped in the memory of his disciples that Paul, wanting to beg the Corinthians for something dear and sacred, writes to them: "I beseech you for the kindness and gentleness of Christ" (2 Cor 10 , 1). But Jesus did much more than give us an example of heroic meekness and patience. He made meekness the sign of true greatness. This will no longer mean to raise oneself lonely above the crowd, but to serve and uplift others. On the Cross, Saint Augustine says, he reveals that the real victory does not consist in making victims, but in being a victim, " Winner because victim (Victor quia victima)" (Confessions, 10, 43).
2) Humble of heart.
In a world where everyone says that we should always come forward, the Gospel invites us to step back. "Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and here you will find rest for your souls" (Mt 11, 29). "Gentle and humble" are two terms that Jesus applies to himself. And rightly so, because they indicate his attitude toward God and toward men, an attitude of confidence, obedience, and docility toward God and an attitude of welcoming, patience, discretion, availability, forgiveness and even service toward men. Even the addition of heart is not without importance: it indicates that the availability of Jesus to the Father and to the brothers and sisters - is rooted deeply in his heart and involves his entire Being.
Its true that for man humility, as well as poverty, seems a condition for having a relationship with God, moreover it is the essential condition to live it. But, as St. Francis of Assisi had sensed, it is equally true that humility is a characteristic of God.
When a human being kneels before God, the Lord of heaven, that is not humility, it's just realism. When God bends over the sick and the sinner, when he bows down to wash the feet of man, this is divine humility. By becoming incarnate, the Son of God does not deny his infinite dignity but manifests it in a sublime way, delicate and full of love. God bows down to give himself totally to man and to save him. He becomes "nothing" so that man can be everything.
This did not happen only once, more than two thousand years ago. It takes place every time he makes himself present in the Mass under the species of bread and wine to donate himself, to be eaten. Mass finds its completion in the Eucharistic Communion in which He totally gives himself so to disappear for each of us and for all of us.
God is humility because He is love, teaches St. Francis of Assisi, who knew God in a sublime way because he had experience of Him and because in the Church he meditated the Holy Scriptures. In fact, already in the Old Testament God says that "He (God) delights himself in being with the children of men." Lets think of the joy of the Father in being in the heart of Jesus. Lets also think of the joy of Jesus for the fact that God has been pleased to conceal his greatness to the big ones so as to reveal it to the little and the forgotten ones, to the point of becoming guarantor of our poor fragile human life and suffer its fate. St. Paul refers to this mystery when he says: " Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness and found human in appearance Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name*that is above every name (Phil. 2, 6-9). Here is the humility of God: his Condescension in what is nothing before him and that is made possible only because he is the Almighty. Here is the humility of Jesus Christ: "Even he, the Son of God, is lowered to receive the love of the Father" (Pope Francis, homily of June 27, 2014).
In short, the Christian love, the love that the life of Jesus brings and that, according to St. John, is God himself, rests on humility.
3) Humility, foundation of spiritual life.
Lets finish by mentioning the fact that humility is the foundation of spiritual life in particular for the consecrated Virgins.
Spiritual life always involves the feeling of being nothing in front of God, a nothing that does not exclude the fact that the creature exists. It excludes, however, every feeling of opposition, every feeling of otherness, every feeling that gives a man the consciousness of being something independent from Him and not in Him and for Him. The creature for all that she is, is from God and in God.
Therefore with the recognition of God as the Lord, a certain annihilation of our inner self is implied. In the infinite light of God, man disappears like the sun that as soon as it is high above the horizon, eclipses the stars.
God reveals himself to us through creation, but his most perfect revelation is Jesus Christ. And Christ for Saint Francis of Assisi is humility. He cannot recover from the astonishment caused by his contemplation of the Christian mystery as a mystery of supreme humility: the humility of Christ in His birth, in His Passion and in the Eucharist.
The consecrated Virgins together with the Virgin Mary, model of discipleship and consecration, grow with special affection and devotion the humble filial confidence, the intercessory prayer and the contemplation of the mysteries of her Son Jesus. They testify in the Church that the fidelity of the Christian has his role in the faithfulness of God, who manifests the humility of his heart. Jesus didnt come to conquer men as the kings and the powerful of this world, but came to offer love with meekness and humility.
These women let themselves to be enveloped by the humble faithfulness and gentleness of Christ, the revelation of the Father's mercy. Their vocation is to serve God in the world with humble courage and with all the strength of their heart.
St. Francis of Assisi
Letter to the General Chapter and to all the Friars
In lieu of the patristic reading this time Im proposing one of the most beautiful texts of the Franciscan writings;
Consider your dignity, brothers, priests, and be holy because He Himself is holy. And as the Lord God has honored you above all through this mystery, even so do you also love and reverence and honor Him above all. It is a great misery and a deplorable weakness when you have Him thus present to care for anything else in the whole world. Let the entire man be seized with fear; let the whole world tremble; let heaven exult when Christ, the Son of the Living God, is on the altar in the hands of the priest. O admirable height and stupendous condescension!
O humble sublimity! O sublime humility! That the Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles Himself that for our salvation He hides Himself under a morsel of bread. Consider, brothers, the humility of God and "pour out your hearts before Him, and be ye humbled that ye may be exalted by Him. Do not therefore keep back anything for yourselves that He may receive you entirely who gives Himself up entirely to you.
 To find out who are the gentle and humble that Jesus called blessed, it is useful to briefly review the various terms with which the word humble (praeis) is rendered in modern translations. The Italian has two terms mite and mansueto. The latter is also the term used in the Spanish translations, los mansos, the meek. In French the word is translated as doux, those who possess the virtue of gentleness. (There is not a specific term in French to say meekness, in the "Dictionnaire de spiritualité" this virtue is under the word douceur, sweetness).
In German there are different translations. Luther translated the term as Sanftmuetigen, mild and meek. In the ecumenical translation of the Bible, Bibel Einheits, the meek are those who do not act violently - die keine Gewalt anwenden- therefore the non-violent. Some authors emphasize the objective and sociological dimension and translate praeis with Machtlosen, the helpless, the powerless. The English usually translate praeis with gentle, introducing the gradient of kindness and courtesy.
Each of these translations highlights a true but partial component of the beatitude. We must keep them together and not isolate any to get an idea of the richness of the original term of the Gospel. Two constant associations in the Bible and in ancient Christian exhortation, help to grasp the "full meaning" of gentleness, one links gentleness to humility, the other gentleness to patience. The first association highlights the interior dispositions from which gentleness flows, the other the attitudes that we must have towards others: gentleness and kindness. These are the same traits that the Apostle emphasizes speaking of charity: "Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury (1 Cor 13: 4-5)T
(July 06, 2014) © Innovative Media Inc.
GOSPEL COMMENTARY MT 11: 25-30
Fr. Jerry Pokorsky
The effects of original sin abound. Walking to the church one Sunday, I came across a mother with an unruly baby in her arms near one of the exits. Her two-year-old son was also standing at her side. On my shoulder I had placed a lightweight tree branch that had fallen, intending to toss it behind the church. I jokingly asked the two-year-old, “Did you break this branch?” The child’s response was immediate and exculpatory: “No, (pointing to his baby brother) Jason did it.” The lie (or perhaps merely a stated conclusion of faulty childish logic) was transparent and very amusing. I was amused. Mom wasn’t. Parents know that cute kids, without parental vigilance and gentle correction, quickly become not-so-cute in habitual misbehavior. My chuckles for the moment would need to be suppressed.
The customary interpretation of Christ’s teaching, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3), is that we must become “childlike but not childish.” Christ seems to be referring to a child’s lack of adults’ crusty cynicism and negativity, the openness to goodness and truth, the ability to accept the almost unbelievable extent of God’s mercy, generosity and love Jesus is telling of. So it’s a convenient and reasonably satisfying distinction, but upon reflection it may be helpful to reconsider. In Sunday’s Gospel, Christ similarly teaches, “for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones.” What is it about being “childlike” and perhaps even a bit “childish” that prepares us to receive and live a life of faith and goodness?
Little children are capable of lying easily and blatantly or wildly misunderstanding the world around them. They might deny snitching cookies, for example, even when the cookie crumbs grace their tiny lips. This transparency of children may be one key to understanding these words of Christ. Unlike many adults, little children are usually not good liars. When they lie, they likely know they are lying (provided, of course, they know that what they’re saying is false). We know they are lying. And it’s a good guess they know we know they are lying.
One day in the parish school, I asked the children preparing for first penance if they knew, before they learned the Ten Commandments, that disobeying mom and dad, lying, cheating and throwing temper tantrums were wrong. They all agreed, affirming the teaching of St. Paul — and St. Thomas Aquinas — that the Commandments are written on our hearts as the “natural moral law.” So if we already know what’s wrong, why must we learn the Ten Commandments? A thoughtful child answered correctly: “To remind us.”
The seeds of bad habits and narcissism (and other psychological disorders, some of which may be rooted in habitual sin) have not yet come to full bloom in a child. This is why healthy and straightforward Christian formation at a very young age not only is relatively easy to sustain by churchgoing Catholic families, but is so necessary for character development. The dandelion sprouts of venial sin have not yet sunk deep, making it possible to root out the weeds of sin before they blossom into hardness of heart (to press a metaphor). Hence, in our parish (and in many parishes), the priests hear the confessions of the school children monthly during the school year, helping to direct them to a life of virtue.
A child usually has a simple view of morality. After hearing a heartfelt confession of sin, I often encourage the child by suggesting he knows something that many adults do not know, or refuse to know: the difference between right and wrong. For as we get older, we tend to convince ourselves that the norms of right and wrong blur and become much more complicated in a “complex and technological” world. This may be true with respect to the great questions of war and peace and economics. But it is not true with respect to the everyday rules of morality that form the foundation of our character, both personally and culturally. We never grow out of the need to abide by the Ten Commandments.
If little children at times transparently attempt to deceive their elders, they do not seem to deceive themselves and are responsive to prudent correction. But grown-ups frequently cultivate the delicate crafts of self-deception and denying personal responsibility for evil. Indeed, as we grow older and become more settled in our habits, we need increasing measures of God’s grace to recognize our sins, anesthetized away as we make them by adult rationalizations and self-justifications. This is why a priest greets the penitent with an invocation, “May the Lord who has enlightened every heart help you to know your sins and trust in His mercy.”
In our day, as in every age, we need to be reminded of how readily God’s wisdom is received by children. God’s law is not complicated, nor is it difficult to grasp or understand, if we open our hearts with childlike simplicity. Even sinning with a childlike simplicity without self-deception has its merits, provided we respond as children, accept correction and repent. A child has a sense of freedom and security within a loving family. By becoming childlike, even childish, in the presence of Christ, a path to happiness opens as true children of God.
Nevertheless, lest we become too sentimental with childish things, we might all agree the face of a child can say it all — especially the mouth part of the face.
Fr. Pokorsky is pastor of St. Michael Church in Annandale.
Year A - 14th Sunday in ordinary time
I am gentle and humble of Heart
25 At that time Jesus said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants;
26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (NRSV)
Inspiration of the Holy Spirit - From the Sacred Heart of Jesus
My wisdom is not to be wasted in the minds of the proud. It is a very delicate, yet powerful gift that I give to the humble, yes to the little ones of my kingdom.
Who can be little but the wise man that follows the words of John the Baptist,“ I must decrease so that the Lord may increase.” And how can you decrease unless you empty yourself of your self-love and your egoism?
I am here to teach you my child. What really matters is not what you think of yourself, but what I think of you.
Your self-opinion is full of pride and arrogance, because you always think of yourself as being better than others. In the spiritual life, no one must claim credit for anything at all. If you really give yourself to me, it will not be you yourself acting and working in my kingdom, it will be I myself acting through you and directing your life and your work for the Glory of God. Therefore you will be deprived of your credit since all credit must be given to the one guiding you. However this is the part that humbles you and makes you little, when you can give all the power, the honor and the glory to the Lord your God and when you deprive yourself of honor and material rewards here, to start making your treasure in heaven.
In order to know me, you must know yourself first. You must understand that you are a sinner and depend totally on my mercy and grace. You must descend into your nothingness in order to perceive the heights of my being. You must see very clearly your own darkness in order to be able to see my light. You must become a nothing so that I can make you something, because when you think you are something I think of you as a nothing.
The spiritual life is like when you are climbing a ladder, the higher you are, the more dangerous will be your fall, and unless you remain humble and let me help you to ascend, you will always remain down.
Come to me accepting that you are heavily burdened, this way I can help you and give you rest. Do not be over confident about your self; choose to work for your salvation with fear and trembling as Saint Paul advises you.
Salvation is not something that you can accomplish by yourself; it is my work for you. So come humbly before me your Lord and Savior, let me work in your life, let me take you by the hand and guide you, let me be your company, until you find your self in my eternal presence.
Author: Joseph of Jesus and Mary
We who live the West live in a time and place where almost every burden of manual labor has been eliminated. Not only that, but creature comforts abound in almost endless number and variety. Everything from air conditioning to hair conditioning, from fast food to 4G internet, from indoor plumbing to outdoor grilling, from instant computer downloads to instant coffee machines. You dont even have to write a letter anymore; just press send and its there. Yet despite all this, it would seem we modern Westerners still keenly experience lifes burdens, for recourse to psychotherapy and psychotropic drugs is widespread.
It is increasingly clear that serenity is an inside job. Merely improving the outside and amassing creature comforts is not enough. A large fluffy pillow may cushion the body (until we get bored with it), but apparently not the soul.
Today, Jesus wants to work on the inside just a bit and presents us a teaching on being increasingly freed of our burdens. He doesnt promise a trouble-free life, but if we will let Him go to work, we can grow in freedom and serenity. Jesus gives a threefold teaching on how we can experience greater serenity and freedom from our burdens. We do this by filiation, imitation, and simplification.
I. Filiation The Gospel today opens with these words: At that time Jesus exclaimed: I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.
Note how Jesus contrasts the wise and learned with the little ones. And in so doing Jesus commends to us a childlike simplicity before our heavenly Father, our Abba, our Daddy-God. This is the experience of divine filiation, of being a child of God, of being one of Gods little ones. The wise, learned, and clever often miss what God is trying to do and say, and because of this, they are anxious and stressful.
It is possible for a person to study a great deal, but if he doesnt pray (if he doesnt go before God like a little child), he isnt going to get very far. The Greek word translated here as revealed is ἀπεκάλυψας (apekalupsas) which more literally means to unveil. And only God can take away the veil, and He only does so for the humble and simple. Thus Jesus commends to our understanding the need for childlike simplicity and prayerful humility.
Half of our problems in life and 80% of the cause of our burdensome stress is that we think too much and pray too little. We have big brains and small hearts; and so we struggle to understand God instead of trusting him. Though our reason is our crowning glory, we must never forget how to be a little child in the presence of God our Father. No matter how much we think we know, it really isnt very much. Jesus first teaching is filiation, embracing a childlike simplicity before our Daddy-God.
What does it mean to be childlike? Consider how humble little children are. They are always asking why and are unashamed to admit that they do not know. Children are also filled with wonder and awe; they are fascinated by the littlest as well as the biggest things. Children know they depend on their parents and instinctively run to them at any sign of trouble, or when they have been hurt. They trust their parents. Not only that, but they ask for everything; they are always seeking, asking, and knocking.
And thus Jesus teaches us that the first step to lessening our burdens is to have a childlike simplicity with the Father wherein we are humble before Him, acknowledge our need for Him, and recognize our dependence on Him for everything. He teaches us to have a simplicity that is humble enough to admit we dont know much and want to learn from Him, a wonder and awe in all that God has done, and an instinct to run to God in every danger, or when we are hurt and in trouble. Above all, Jesus teaches us by this image to grow each day in our trust of Abba, and to have the confidence to ask Him for everything we need. The Book of James says, You have not because you ask not (4:2). An old spiritual says, I love the Lord; he heard my cry; and pitied every groan. Long as I live and troubles rise; Ill hasten to his throne.
Yes, run! Run with childlike simplicity and trust.
So here is the first teaching of Jesus on letting go of our burdens: grow in childlike simplicity and trust before God our loving Father and Abba.
II. Imitation - The text says, Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. Jesus commends to us two characteristics of Himself that, if we embrace them, will give us rest and relief from our burdens. He says He is meek and humble of heart. Lets look at both.
What does it mean to be meek? The Greek word is πραΰς (praus) and there is some debate as to how it is best interpreted. Simply looking at it as a Greek word, we can see that Aristotle defined praotes (meekness) as the mean, or middle ground, between too much anger and not enough anger. Hence the meek are those who have authority over their anger.
However, many biblical scholars think that Jesus uses this word most often as a synonym for being poor in spirit. And what does it mean to be poor in spirit? It means to be humble and dependent on God. By extension it means that our treasure is not here. We are poor to this world, and our treasure is with God and the things awaiting us in heaven. And here is a source of serenity for us, for when we become poor to this world, when we become less obsessed with success, power, and possessions, many of our anxieties go away. To the poor in spirit, the wealth of this world is as nothing. You cant steal from a man who has nothing. A poor man is less anxious because he has less to lose and less at stake. He is free from this worlds obsessions and from the fears and burdens they generate. And so Jesus calls us to accept His example and the growing experience in us of being poor in spirit.
Jesus also says that He is humble of heart. The Greek word here is ταπεινός (tapeinos) meaning lowly or humble and referring to one who depends on the Lord rather than himself. We have already discussed this at length above. But simply note here that the Lord Jesus is inviting us to learn this from Him and to receive it as a gift. The Lord can do this for us. And if we will learn it from Him and receive it, so many of our burdens and anxieties will be lifted.
Here then is the second teaching, which Jesus offers us so that we will see lifes burdens lessened. He teaches us to learn from Him and receive from Him the gifts to be poor in spirit and humble of heart. The serenity that comes from embracing these grows with each day, for this world no longer has its shackles on us. It cannot intimidate us, for its wealth and power do not entice us, and we do not fear their loss. We learn to trust that God will see us through and provide us with what we need.
III. Simplification The text says, Take my yoke upon you For my yoke is easy, and my burden light. The most important word in this sentence is my. Jesus says, MY yoke is easy, MY burden is light.
What is a yoke? Essentially yoke is used here as a euphemism for the cross. A yoke is a wooden truss that makes it easier to carry a heavy load by distributing the weight along a wider part of the body or by causing the weight to be shared by two or more people or animals. In the picture at left, the woman is able to carry the heavy water more easily with the weight across her shoulders rather than in the narrow section of her hands. This eases the load by involving the whole body more evenly. Yokes are also used to join two animals and help them work together in pulling a load.
What is Jesus saying? First, He is saying that He has a yoke for us. That is, He has a cross for us. Notice that Jesus is NOT saying that there is no yoke or cross or burden in following Him. There is a cross that He allows, for a reason and for a season.
Easy? But Jesus says the cross HE has for us is easy. Now the Greek word χρηστὸς (chrestos) is better translated well fitting, suitable, or even useful. In effect, the Lord is saying that the yoke He has for us is suited to us, is well fitting, and has been carefully chosen so as to be useful for us. God knows we need some crosses in order to grow. He knows what those crosses are, what we can bear, and what we are ready for. Yes, His yoke for us is well fitting.
But note again that little word, my. The cross or yoke Jesus has for us is well suited and useful for us. The problem comes when we start adding to that weight with things of our own doing. We put wood upon our own shoulders that God never put there and never intended for us. We make decisions without asking God. We undertake projects, launch careers, accept promotions, even enter marriages without ever discerning if God wants this for us. And sure enough, before long our life is complicated and burdensome and we feel pulled in eight directions. But this is not the my yoke of Jesus; this is largely the yoke of our own making. Of course it is not easy or well fitting; Jesus didnt make it.
Dont blame God; simplify. Be very careful before accepting commitments and making big decisions. Ask God. It may be good, but not for you. It may help others, but destroy you. Seek the Lords will. If necessary, seek advice from a spiritually mature person. Consider your state in life; consider the tradeoffs. Balance the call to be generous with the call to proper stewardship of your time, talent, and treasure. Have proper priorities. It is amazing how many people put their career before their vocation. They take promotions, accept special assignments, and think more of money and advancement than their spouse and children. Sure enough, the burdens increase and the load gets heavy when we dont ask God or even consider how a proposed course of action might affect the most precious and important things in our lives.
Stop yoking around. Jesus final advice, then, is Take MY yoke only my yoke. Forsake all others. Simplify. So stop yoking around. Take only His yoke. If you do, your burdens will be lighter. Jesus says, Come and learn from me. I will not put heavy burdens on you. I will set your heart on fire with love. And then, whatever I do have for you, will be a pleasure for you to do. Because, what makes the difference is love. Love lightens every load.Image Credits: Above right From Goodsalt.com Used with Permission. Picture of Yoke from Seneca Creek Joinery
This video says we do need a yoke; God is preparing us to cross over to glory.
Definitely watch that little video. Profound and childlike.
25 At that time Jesus declared, "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes;
26 yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.
27 All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Acceptance of Jesus' message depends upon the Father's revelation, but this is granted to those who are open to receive, and refused to the arrogant.
-- Saint Ambrose of Milan
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The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.
And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.
Saint Maria Goretti, Virgin & Martyr
St. Maria Goretti, drawing by Helen Hull Hitchcock
O God, author of innocence and lover of chastity,
who bestowed the grace of martyrdom
on your handmaid, the Virgin Saint Maria Goretti, in her youth,
grant, we pray, through her intercession,
that, as you gave her a crown for her steadfastness,
so we, too, may be firm
in obeying your commandments.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.
First Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20
"Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food"--and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!
But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Gospel Reading: John 12:24-26
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If any one serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant be also; if any one serves Me, the Father will honor him.
Read - Michaelmas 2002 winning essay, The Little Lily of Purity by Katherine Buckmaster.
JOHN PAUL II
Sunday, 7 July 2002
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. Maria Goretti died 100 years ago, on 6 July 1902. She had been mortally injured the day before by the blind violence of her attacker. My Venerable Predecessor, the Servant of God Pius XII, canonized her in 1950, holding her up to everyone as a model of courageous fidelity to the Christian vocation, even to the supreme sacrifice of life.
I wanted to recall this important event with a special Message addressed to the Bishop of Albano, stressing the timeliness of this martyr of purity, whom I hope adolescents and young people will get to know better.
St Maria Goretti is an example for the new generations who are threatened by a non-commital attitude that finds it difficult to understand the importance of the values which admit of no compromise.
2. Although she was poor and deprived of a school education, Maria, who was not yet 12 years old had a strong and mature personality, shaped by the religious instruction she had received in the family. This made her capable not only of defending herself with heroic chastity, but even of forgiving her murderer.
Her martyrdom reminds us that the human being is not fulfilled by following the impulses of pleasure but by living life with love and responsibility.
I well know, dear young people, how sensitive you are to these ideals. As I look forward to meeting you in Toronto in two weeks time, I would like to repeat to you today: do not let the consumer culture and pleasure numb your conscience! Be alert and vigilant "watchmen", be the real champions of a new humanity.
3. Let us now address Our Lady, whose name was given to St Maria Goretti. May the purest of human creatures help the men and women of our time, and especially young people, to rediscover the value of chastity and to live interpersonal relations in reciprocal respect and sincere love.
Feast Day: July 6
Born: October 16, 1890(1890-10-16), Corinaldo, Province of Ancona, Marche, Kingdom of Italy
Died: July 6, 1902 (aged 11), Nettuno, Province of Rome, Lazio, Kingdom of Italy
Canonized: June 24, 1950, Rome by Pope Pius XII
Major Shrine: Nettuno, Province of Rome, Lazio, Italy
Patron of: Crime victims, teenage girls, modern youth, Children of Mary
St. Maria Goretti
Feast Day: July 06
Born: 1890 :: Died: 1902
Maria was born at Corinaldo, Ancona in Italy into a poor but loving home and was one of six children. She was baptized the day after she was born. Her father Luigi Goretti was a farmer. Her mother Assunta, was a poor orphan girl who did not know how to read or write. Luigi and Assunta loved God, Mother Mary and each other.
Their oldest child, a boy died when he was just a baby. Although they were very poor, and life was difficult, Luigi and Assunta thanked God for His great gifts. Assunta lovingly taught her children about God’s great love, by her words and actions.
The children had no toys, so a rock or an apple was used as a ball to play with. Maria never had a single doll and they could not afford to go to school, but they were a very happy family that lived in the light of God’s grace.
When Maria was six, she played like other children, running through the grass, picking flowers, laughing and smiling. But instead of playing with her friends, Maria played more often with her younger brothers and sister, and kept them happy so they would not trouble their mother.
Then the family moved to the Pontine Marshes where Luigi, along with his partner Mr. Serenelli and his sixteen year old son Allessandro (Alexander), lived together on Conte Mazzoleni’s farm as tenant farmers.
By the time she was nine, Maria did the family marketing. She always did her errands quickly and returned home where she was needed. She was a friendly girl and everyone loved her. A cheerful grocer Giovanni, gave Maria an apple one day, after she had finished paying for her groceries. But Maria did not eat it.
Instead, she thanked Giovanni and put it in her pocket saying that her brother Allesandrino loved apples. Then he gave her a cookie, which again she put in her pocket saying that she would give it to her little sister Ersilia. Giovanni finally gave her another cookie and said he would be very hurt if she didn’t eat it herself. So Maria not wanting to offend him, ate it.
A short time later, Mr. Luigi fell very ill and died, leaving Assunta to bring up her five children alone. At twelve, Maria was already very pretty. She helped her mother on the farm, in the house and with the care of the other children. She never complained because they were so poor. In fact, she cheered up her poor mother and was a great comfort to her.
She went to Mass every day even though it meant a two-hour walk. Maria received the sacrament of Reconciliation as often as she could. When she came home, she taught the children their prayers and told them Bible stories. Alexander who often joined the family for the rosary slowly began to notice how pretty Maria was.
He tried a few times to touch her and make Maria sin. She absolutely refused and did her best to avoid him. July 5, 1902, was a hot summer day. Maria was alone in the cottage mending clothes while her mother worked on the farm and Mr. Serenelli slept under a tree.
Alexander asked Maria to come to him, and when she refused, he dragged her into a room. Maria begged him not to touch her, repeating over and over that God did not want this, it was a sin and he would go to hell. When she struggled and tried to scream, he stuffed a handkerchief into her mouth and angrily stabbed her many times with a dagger and then ran away.
When they found her, Maria was quickly taken to a hospital but she died about twenty-four hours later. During her last hours she received Jesus in Holy Communion with great joy. She then told the priest that she forgave Alexander with all her heart, for the love of Jesus and hoped God would forgive him too.
Her only worry was for her mother. Alexander was sent to prison for thirty years. For a long time, he did not feel sorry for what he had done. Then one night Maria appeared to him in a dream, walking in a garden and offering him a bunch of Lilies. She said, she hoped he would come to heaven one day. From that moment on, he was a changed man.
He wrote a letter to the bishop, begging God’s forgiveness for the great sin he had committed. When he was freed from prison after twenty-seven years, his first visit was to the Goretti home where he asked Maria's mother for forgiveness. Then Alexander spent the rest of his life as the gardener in a nearby monastery.
On April 27, 1947, Pope Pius XII appeared on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica with Maria's eighty-two-year-old mother, Assunta and declared Maria “blessed”.
Three years later, in a grand ceremony that had to be held outside the Basilica because the crowds were so huge, Maria was declared a saint. It was the only time that a parent was present to witness their child's cannonization. The pope called her "a martyr of holy purity."
Reflection: We pray today for all children, that with courage they may stay away from sin and avoid hurting Jesus, who loves them so much. We ask St. Maria Goretti, to help them stay pure and holy.
|English: Douay-Rheims||Latin: Vulgata Clementina||Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)|
|25.||At that time Jesus answered and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to the little ones.||In illo tempore respondens Jesus dixit : Confiteor tibi, Pater, Domine cæli et terræ, quia abscondisti hæc a sapientibus, et prudentibus, et revelasti ea parvulis.||εν εκεινω τω καιρω αποκριθεις ο ιησους ειπεν εξομολογουμαι σοι πατερ κυριε του ουρανου και της γης οτι απεκρυψας ταυτα απο σοφων και συνετων και απεκαλυψας αυτα νηπιοις|
|26.||Yea, Father; for so hath it seemed good in thy sight.||Ita Pater : quoniam sic fuit placitum ante te.||ναι ο πατηρ οτι ουτως εγενετο ευδοκια εμπροσθεν σου|
|27.||All things are delivered to me by my Father. And no one knoweth the Son, but the Father: neither doth any one know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal him.||Omnia mihi tradita sunt a Patre meo. Et nemo novit Filium, nisi Pater : neque Patrem quis novit, nisi Filius, et cui voluerit Filius revelare.||παντα μοι παρεδοθη υπο του πατρος μου και ουδεις επιγινωσκει τον υιον ει μη ο πατηρ ουδε τον πατερα τις επιγινωσκει ει μη ο υιος και ω εαν βουληται ο υιος αποκαλυψαι|
|28.||Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you.||Venite ad me omnes qui laboratis, et onerati estis, et ego reficiam vos.||δευτε προς με παντες οι κοπιωντες και πεφορτισμενοι καγω αναπαυσω υμας|
|29.||Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.||Tollite jugum meum super vos, et discite a me, quia mitis sum, et humilis corde : et invenietis requiem animabus vestris.||αρατε τον ζυγον μου εφ υμας και μαθετε απ εμου οτι πραος ειμι και ταπεινος τη καρδια και ευρησετε αναπαυσιν ταις ψυχαις υμων|
|30.||For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.||Jugum enim meum suave est, et onus meum leve.||ο γαρ ζυγος μου χρηστος και το φορτιον μου ελαφρον εστιν|
Sunday, July 6
Liturgical Color: Green
Today is optional memorial of St. Bruno,
priest. He founded the Carthusian Order
in 1084. He and his companions led
austere lives dedicated to prayer, poverty
and manual labor.
What is a sin in the first place?
A sin is a word, deed, or intention by which man deliberately and voluntarily offends against the true order of things, as God's loving providence has arranged them.
To sin means more than to violate some rules about which men have agreed. Sin turns freely and deliberately against God's love and ignores him. Sin is ultimately "love of oneself even to contempt of God" (St. Augustine), and in the extreme case the sinful creature says, "I want to be like God" (Gen 3:5). Just as sin burdens me with guilt, wounds me, and by its consequences ruins me, so too it poisons and damages the world in which I live. It becomes possible to recognize sin and its seriousness by drawing near to God.
How can we distinguish serious sins (mortal sins) from less serious (venial) sins?
Serious sin destroys the divine power of love in a person's heart, without which there can be no eternal beatitude. Hence it is also called mortal sin. Serious sin breaks with God, whereas venial sin only strains the relationship with him.
A serious sin cuts a person off from God. One requirement for such a sin is that it be opposed to an important value, for instance, directed against life or God (for example, murder, blasphemy, adultery, and so on) and that it be committed with full knowledge and full consent. Venial sins are opposed to secondary values (honor, truth, property, and so on) or are committed without full knowledge of their seriousness or without full consent of the will. Such sins disrupt the relationship with God but do not sever it. (YOUCAT questions 315-316)
Dig Deeper: CCC section (1849-1861) and other references here.
Part 3: Life in Christ (1691 - 2557)
Section 1: Man's Vocation Life in the Spirit (1699 - 2051)
Chapter 1: The Dignity of the Human Person (1700 - 1876)
Article 8: Sin (1846 - 1876)
II. THE DEFINITION OF SIN ⇡
Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as "an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law."121
St. Augustine, Contra Faustum 22:PL 42,418; St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II,71,6.
Sin is an offense against God: "Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight."122 Sin sets itself against God's love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become "like gods,"123 knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus "love of oneself even to contempt of God."124 In this proud self-exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation.125
St. Augustine, De civ. Dei 14,28:PL 41,436.
Cf. Phil 2:6-9.
It is precisely in the Passion, when the mercy of Christ is about to vanquish it, that sin most clearly manifests its violence and its many forms: unbelief, murderous hatred, shunning and mockery by the leaders and the people, Pilate's cowardice and the cruelty of the soldiers, Judas' betrayal so bitter to Jesus, Peter's denial and the disciples' flight. However, at the very hour of darkness, the hour of the prince of this world,126 the sacrifice of Christ secretly becomes the source from which the forgiveness of our sins will pour forth inexhaustibly.
Cf. Jn 14:30.
III. THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF SINS ⇡
There are a great many kinds of sins. Scripture provides several lists of them. The Letter to the Galatians contrasts the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit: "Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God."127
Sins can be distinguished according to their objects, as can every human act; or according to the virtues they oppose, by excess or defect; or according to the commandments they violate. They can also be classed according to whether they concern God, neighbor, or oneself; they can be divided into spiritual and carnal sins, or again as sins in thought, word, deed, or omission. The root of sin is in the heart of man, in his free will, according to the teaching of the Lord: "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man."128 But in the heart also resides charity, the source of the good and pure works, which sin wounds.
IV. THE GRAVITY OF SIN: MORTAL AND VENIAL SIN ⇡
Sins are rightly evaluated according to their gravity. The distinction between mortal and venial sin, already evident in Scripture,129 became part of the tradition of the Church. It is corroborated by human experience.
Cf. 1 Jn 5:16-17.
Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God's law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him.
Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it.
Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us that is, charity necessitates a new initiative of God's mercy and a conversion of heart which is normally accomplished within the setting of the sacrament of reconciliation: When the will sets itself upon something that is of its nature incompatible with the charity that orients man toward his ultimate end, then the sin is mortal by its very object ... whether it contradicts the love of God, such as blasphemy or perjury, or the love of neighbor, such as homicide or adultery. ... But when the sinner's will is set upon something that of its nature involves a disorder, but is not opposed to the love of God and neighbor, such as thoughtless chatter or immoderate laughter and the like, such sins are venial.130
St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II,88,2, corp. art.
For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."131
RP 17 § 12.
Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother."132 The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.
Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.
Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.
Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.
Daily Readings for:July 06, 2014
(Readings on USCCB website)
Collect: O God, who in the abasement of your Son have raised up a fallen world, fill your faithful with holy joy, for on those you have rescued from slavery to sin you bestow eternal gladness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
· Ordinary Time: July 6th
· Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Old Calendar: Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
"I give praise to you, Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him" (Matt 11:25-27).
The Optional Memorial of St. Maria Goretti, virgin and martyr, is superseded by the Sunday liturgy.
The first reading is taken from the Book of the Prophet Zechariah 9:9-10 and indicates that the humility asked for by Jesus is the kind that he himself endured, for he came in meekness and without pageantry, yet his dominion would be to the ends of the earth. The example of the humble servant is the very person of Jesus himself who invites us in the second part of the gospel to come to Him for refreshment and rest. — A Celebrants Guide to the New Sacramentary - A Cycle by Kevin W. Irwin
The second reading is from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans 8:9, 11-13 and contains one of the most important yet often misunderstood themes of St. Paul. The hellenistic dichotomy between the lower and higher nature is not found here, for flesh and spirit mean the whole man and the whole man stands in need of redemption by Christ. The Pauline teaching is not that part of man is redeemed and part of him is damnable. Rather man's whole personality is redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ. The vocation of the Christian, both "body" and "soul," is to conform his already redeemed person to the same Spirit he has already received at baptism. — A Celebrants Guide to the New Sacramentary - A Cycle by Kevin W. Irwin
The Gospel is from St. Matthew 11:25-30. Pagans and Jews had the same hardships of life to face as we have, and even greater ones. They earned their daily bread with the sweat of brow and body. Their illnesses were more frequent and less bearable than ours, for they had not the medical helps that we have. Death came to young and old then as it does now, but for them it was a final parting from loved ones, and no hope of a future happy meeting served to lighten their sorrow. All their crosses were crushing weights, sent to make life more miserable. Life on earth was passed in gloom and darkness and there was no shining star in the heavens to beckon them on or give them hope.
Surely God is good to us, to put us into this world at this day and age, and give us the light of faith, and the knowledge of God and of His loving plans for us, which make the burdens of this life so relatively light and even so reasonable for us. We still have to earn our bread. We still have sickness and pains. We still have death stalking the earth, but unlike the people before Christ we now see a meaning to all these trials.
The yoke of Christ is not really a yoke but a bond of love, which joins us to Him, and through Him, to our loving Father in heaven. The rule of life which He asks us to keep, if we are loyal followers of His, is not a series of prohibitions and don'ts. It is rather a succession of sign-posts on the straight road to heaven, making our journey easier and safer. He does ask us to carry our cross daily, that is, to bear the burden of each day's duty, but once the cross is grasped firmly and lovingly it ceases to be a burden.
Ours is a world which is in an all-out search for new idols. It is a world which has left the path marked out by Christ, and forgotten or tried to forget, that man's life does not end with death. To be a Christian and to have the light of faith to guide our steps in this neo-pagan darkness, is surely a gift, and a blessing from God, for which we can never thank Him enough. Thank you, God, for this gift. Please give us the grace and the courage to live up to it and to die in the certainty that we shall hear, as we shut our eyes on the light of this world, the consoling words, "come you blessed of my Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you."
Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
You have revealed them to the childlike. (Matthew 11:25)
Life is an adventure for little children. If you give them a present, they might play with the wrapping paper or the box it came in as much as the gift itself. Give a young boy a small fire engine, and he’ll imagine himself putting out a giant fire. Give a young girl a doll, and she’ll treat it as her own child. Children are also curious and imaginative, capable of intently focusing on the task at hand—especially when it comes to playtime!
Children have a tendency to keep things simple. They trust their parents. They believe everything their parents tell them. By contrast, we adults ask far too many questions. We like to think things through, weighing the pros and cons and examining every angle. While that’s usually a good thing, too much examination can make it hard for us to be trusting. This is especially true when it comes to faith. That’s why Jesus encourages us to be “childlike” (Matthew 11:25).
Following Jesus is an adventure. It’s about delving into the heart and mind of God. It’s about, as St. Ignatius of Loyola used to say, using our imagination to picture ourselves in biblical times, watching Jesus multiply the loaves and fishes or journeying to the Promised Land with the children of Abraham. It’s about being like an inquisitive child during story time: “Why did the food multiply? How can Jesus be everywhere at the same time? What does an angel look like?”
Whether you are at Mass, at prayer, or just talking to Jesus in the midst of your day, don’t settle for the same old routine. Discipleship should be an adventure, so go ahead and ask him to open your eyes and give you new insights into his stories and his love for you.
One more thing: children love a good hug. So today, imagine Jesus putting his arms around you and drawing you close to his heart. Hear him telling you how precious you are to him. Dare to be a child again.
“Here I am, Jesus, ready for a new adventure with you today.”
Zechariah 9:9-10; Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14; Romans 8:9, 11-13
(Zechariah 9:9-10; Psalm 145:1-2,8-11,13-14; Romans 8:9,11-13; Matthew 11:25-30)
1. In the first reading, we see the contrast between the Savior who is “meek” and his powerful impact on bringing “peace to the nations.” Can you share an example from your own life where you succeeded by meekness instead of power?
2. In the first reading, the Lord also tells us to “Rejoice heartily” and to “shout for joy.” In the responsorial psalm, the psalmist tells us to praise, extol, and bless the Lord. What are some things the Lord has done in your life that would cause you to do this?
3. In the responsorial psalm, we also read of the Lord who is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness”. With whom might the Lord be asking you to respond in this matter this week?
4. In the letter to the Romans, St. Paul asks us to “put to death the deeds of the body.” You can do this because, “You are not in the flesh; on the contrary you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you” (Romans 8:9). In your life, what “deeds of the body” do you need “to put to death”? How do you think the Lord wants you to do it?
5. In the Gospel, Jesus says that when it comes to revelation, his Father has “hidden these things from the wise and learned,” but he has “revealed them to little ones.” What specifically can you do this week to better hear from the Lord in prayer, through Scriptures, or at Mass?
6. Jesus also says in the Gospel that he will make the Father known to us. In light of the following words of Jesus, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), what do you think the Father is like?
7. The meditation ends with these words: “Dare to be a child again.” What do these words mean to you regarding your relationship with your heavenly Father and Jesus?
8. Take some time now to pray that you would experience a new zeal, and a new sense of expectancy, for what Jesus wants to do in your life. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.
MY YOKE IS EASY AND MY BURDEN IS LIGHT 
(A biblical reflection on the 14th Ordinary Sunday, 6 July 2014)
Gospel Reading: Matthew 11:25-30
First Reading: Zechariah 9:9-10; Psalms: Psalm 145:1-2,8-11,13-14, Second Reading: Romans 8:9,11-13
The Scripture Text
At that time Jesus declared, I thank Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was Thy gracious will. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:25-30 RSV)
It may seem hard to imagine that Jesus was a childlike as He encouraged His disciples to be but He was. We must remember that being childlike does not mean being childish. It means being completely dependent on ones parents as completely as Jesus depended on His Father.
Consider the brief prayer Jesus offered before He raised Lazarus from the dead. Standing outside the tomb, He simply said, Father I thank You for having heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me. Then He called out to Lazarus, and Lazarus returned to life (John 11:41-44). Consider also Jesus agonized prayer in Gethsemane just before He was arrested. Although His suffering was so great that His sweat became like great drops of blood He prayed the simplest and humblest of all prayers: Father not My will but Yours be done (Luke 22:39-44).
In each case, the message is simple: Trust in God today just as Jesus did and He will work more powerfully than You can imagine. It begins with humility. As we abandon all the grown-up ways of thinking we have taken on, our minds will be transformed and renewed by the peace and presence of God.
It is indeed through faith that we are justified before God, but it is in putting our faith into practice that we learn what it means to be children of God. To live every day in a way that pleases God is not always easy, but it is essential if we want to come to know God as our Father. Jesus knew the battle before Him every day was not easy, but He also knew that His Fathers love for Him was even stronger. Just as Jesus was strengthened every day as He turned to the Father in trust, we too will find Gods strength as we come to Him with childlike simplicity.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light. Empower me today with Your Holy Spirit. May the Spirit who dwells in You dwell also in me, and lead me to love and trust the Father as You did. Amen.
Daily Marriage Tip for July 6, 2014:
I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. (Mt 11:25) We are called to praise God in all that we do, but that can be hard in our busy lives. Reflect on [
Click here for USCCB readings
Opening Prayer First Reading: Psalm: Second Reading: Romans 8:9,11-13
First Reading:Zechariah 9:9-10
Second Reading: Romans 8:9,11-13Gospel Reading: Matthew 11:25-30
Catechism of the Catholic Church: §§ 2603, 544, 2785, 151, 459
Every Christian should make Christ present among men. He ought to act in such a way that those who know Him sense `the aroma of Christ' (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:15). Men should be able to recognize the Master in His disciples. --St Josemaria Escriva
The Yoke of Christ
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 6, 2014
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, For although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones….” from Matthew 11:25-30
How often we priests use this very reading when performing the anointing of the sick. When we are ill we are often reduced to a more child-like state of dependency. We long to be freed of the burden of illness. Christ promises us rest if we come to him. What is this rest? We can rest easy because we know we are loved; that somehow, in Christ, our suffering has meaning; that he is yoked right alongside of me, pulling with me.
All of this we can see when we look on the cross and find that the one we are praying to has also been on a bed of suffering and knows how it is. It is humbling to realize that whatever we know about Christ, or the fact that we recognize him as a friend and Savior, is because the Father has revealed Christ to me. Why is this? So that we can have no pride before God! I cannot achieve knowledge of God on my own. That there is a God is manifest in his works, but as to who God is, this requires God to reveal himself to us.
Some people pride themselves on their vast knowledge of how the world works, but in all that knowledge, sometimes there seems to be no room for God! The Lord is the ultimate PhD after all. He is the very definition of "all-knowledge." Yet he has set the world up so that we can understand him best through the simplicity of a child.
Who are the people who seem to “get it,” who are attracted to the Lord in the gospels? The self-righteous, the proud and the Pharisees, with all their education completely missed and misunderstood what God was actually trying to do! Those who were too busy didn't take the time to listen to Jesus either. Those that he grew up with also had preconceived ideas about who Jesus was –they already knew who he was – no room for growth. Others saw only a miracle and followed Jesus out of pure self-interest. It was the disadvantaged, the sick and suffering and the disenfranchised who were attracted to Jesus and who were open to his message.
It has always been that way. It is our sicknesses and weaknesses, our deficits and the things that are not going well that actually attract Christ the most. It is ironic that perhaps the worst thing that could possibly happen would be for us to be too wealthy, too filled with happiness, no problems, surrounded by people who agree with us and a life that is unchallenged. What use would we have for God if this is the kind of life we have on earth?
Fortunately, most of us are challenged regularly and we find that there's a great deal that doesn't go right – but this is precisely the kind of life that Jesus lived. We gain insight into God when we suffer for others. If I know that I am loved, I can get through anything and I think this is what Jesus had in mind when he said my burden is light. I know if God loves me, it's going to be all right. I think this is what Jesus is getting at.
Posted by Nate Roberts on 07.03.14 |
Jesus is portrayed in todays Gospel as a new and greater Moses.
Moses, the meekest man on earth (see Numbers 12:3), was Gods friend (see Exodus 34:12,17). Only he knew God face to face (see Deuteronomy 34:10). And Moses gave Israel the yoke of the Law, through which God first revealed himself and how we are to live (see Jeremiah 2:20; 5:5).
Jesus too is meek and humble. But He is more than Gods friend. He is the Son who alone knows the Father. He is more also than a law-giver, presenting himself today as the yoke of a new Law, and as the revealed Wisdom of God.
As Wisdom, Jesus was present before creation as the firstborn of God, the Father and Lord of heaven and earth (see Proverbs 8:22; Wisdom 9:9). And He gives knowledge of the holy things of the kingdom of God (see Wisdom 10:10).
In the gracious will of the Father, Jesus reveals these things only to the childlikethose who humble themselves before Him as little children (see Sirach 2:17). These alone can recognize and receive Jesus as the just savior and meek king promised to daughter Zion, Israel, in todays First Reading.
We too are called to childlike faith in the Fathers goodness, as sons and daughters of the new kingdom, the Church.
We are to live by the Spirit we received in baptism (see Galatians 5:16), putting to death our old ways of thinking and acting, as Paul exhorts in todays Epistle. Our yoke is to be His new law of love (see John 13:34), by which we enter into the rest of His kingdom.
As we sing in todays Psalm, we joyously await the day when we will praise His name forever in the kingdom that lasts for all ages. This is the sabbath rest promised by Jesusfirst anticipated by Moses (see Exodus 20:8-11), but which still awaits the people of God (see Hebrews 4:9).
"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened."
The Word for Sunday: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/070614.cfm
In our readings this Sunday we hear of peace and reconciliation. The prophet Zechariah writes of great hopes for a “king” who “shall come to you” and “proclaim peace to the nations” whose dominion “shall be from sea to sea.” Immediately our thoughts go to Palm Sunday and Jesus’ glorious entrance to Jerusalem riding on a donkey, which is mentioned in this reading as well. What human king has ever brought such peace and would such a vast promise of a kingdom from “sea to sea” even be possible for any kind of king except God himself?
No need to build walls between warring peoples for this king will come with peaceful intentions, in humility seeking the common good of all. What he brings is “Shalom” for all who would accept it. And that word implies not a fragile peace built on fear but a deep reconciliation and forgiveness between all people. The king himself will be peace – he will be the shalom we all desire.
But, let’s face it, we all know how tenuous and difficult making peace can be. Nations such as Ireland and so many others, including our own, have a long history of periods of war and peace. Often in the midst of war we also see signs of peace. People die for the cause on both sides of the battle and we all turn to and hope for some person or some concrete efforts that can hold it together.
The Gospel words of Jesus today may hold the key to that hope for us. It begins with Jesus praising his Father for revealing the truths of the Gospel not to those consumed with intellectual pride but to “the little ones.” In a disposition of humility, when we know that our wisdom, however learned or full of academic degrees, is no equal to God’s wisdom can we be open to accept the truths of the Gospel that Jesus revealed to us. It was once said: “The heart not the head is the home of the Gospel.” Again it is God desiring a relationship with us, which is a matter of the heart, which is the key to living this Christian way of life and the key to peace between ourselves and all others.
Then Jesus moves to the image of a yoke. For ancient Jews, their faith was filled with regulations, laws, and “thou shalt not’s. Religion was viewed more as a heavy burden, like the yoke placed around the neck of oxen pulling heavy carts, than a joyful relationship with a loving God. Fulfilling all the prescriptions and letters of the law was impossible for nearly everyone yet the burden continued to be laid heavy.
Likewise Jesus speaks of a yoke but not one that is imposed on us but rather one that is “easy and light.” Because Jesus walks with us, side by side like two oxen sharing in the burden of pulling a heavy load which, because of their mutual effort, becomes easier for both, this yoke is not imposed upon us but a sharing in the life of Jesus tempered with his mercy and forgiveness. In fact Jesus states it is “my yoke.”
We all want peace and we all want to live in harmony with one another. We learn today that the key to that is to approach our God in humility, repentance, and reconciliation. And although the life of any Christian is not always hearts and flowers, no matter how “heavy” the yoke of life may become, Jesus shares that with us.
Our Eucharist is a reminder that we do not walk this road alone. Our brothers and sisters are there for us after the example of Christ himself and we are called to bear the load with them.
May this oblation dedicated to your name
purify us, O Lord,
and day by day bring our conduct
closer to the life of heave.
Through Christ our Lord.
(Prayer over Gifts for Sunday)
July 6, 2014. Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
At that time Jesus said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Introductory Prayer: Thank you again, Lord, for this opportunity to spend time with you. I believe in you and your love for me, and I look forward to that day when we can embrace in heaven. Till then, I want to show my love for you in words and deeds.
Petition: Jesus, grant me a meek and humble heart like yours.
1. Counter Intelligence: Jesus thanks his heavenly Father for hiding the divine truths from "the wise and the intelligent" and revealing them to the little ones. Understanding the ways of God requires a simple, pure heart. What we might think of as "intelligence" can sometimes be little more than just a talent for manipulating things or ideas or people for our own ends. Someone, for instance, might be clever at making and managing money, but ends up being a poor steward by spending it on the wrong things. Then there is a prideful intelligence that seems blind to common sense. On the other side of the spectrum are children, simple and trusting. They can accept the things of God more easily. Trust in God´s word requires trust in his love and mercy. It also requires a profound sense of our own littleness compared to his greatness. Do I have such an attitude when approaching him?
2. Like Father, Like Son: Jesus alone in the world knew God the Father. Jesus came, in part, to reveal his Abba. Not everyone understood this. Even the Apostle Philip missed this part of Christ´s message. "Jesus said to him, ´Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ´Show us the Father´?" (John 14:9). Awareness that Jesus reflects the image of his Father should help us in prayer; it puts a human face on the Father, so to speak. We might pray to Jesus´ mother, Mary, with ease. Why not to his Father, too?
3. Model Meekness: It´s significant that Jesus points to his meekness and humility when holding himself up as a model for us. Notice that Our Lord doesn´t point to his miracles, or his talent for catchy one-liners, or even his devotion to his Mother. Rather, he highlights his own meekness and humility. Jesus even shows these qualities from the moment of his birth. "God is so powerful," said Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI in his Christmas midnight Mass homily in 2005, "that he can make himself vulnerable and come to us as a defenseless child, so that we can love him." In turn, Jesus invites us to make ourselves vulnerable, to open our hearts to others even at the risk of being rejected. To incur such a risk is to understand better what Christ did for us. Is Jesus asking me to be more humble with someone?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, you know that humility costs me a lot. It forces me to give up my way of seeing things, of wanting to be appreciated, of wanting always to be in control of everything. Let me be more humble like you. If following you means embracing humility, so be it. Give me the strength to accept that.
Resolution: I will let others have the last word in conversation today.
July 6, 2014
We hate war. War takes away the good things of life: family, abundance, peace, and security. We only have to read the front page of the newspaper to hear about more “wars and rumors of wars.” In this Sunday’s first reading from Zechariah we see the Messiah coming to banish war and establish peace forever.
This reading is just two verses from Zechariah 9. It comes in between a prophecy of judgment on the enemies of God’s people and a promise of salvation for them. At this point in their history, God’s people, the Jews, have suffered under various foreign powers for several generations. They long for the restoration of their independence under the leadership of a legitimate heir to the throne, a king descended from David. Zechariah’s portrait of the Messiah entering the city and his invitation to rejoice point to the fulfillment of these hopes.
The coronation of a new king is a moment of rejoicing. One need only look back on the Prince William and Kate Middleton wedding for an example of what this kind of rejoicing might look like. A new king means a new era, new hope, vindication for the oppressed. This Messiah king—the anointed son of David—is called tzadiq (righteous) and noshua (having salvation). He is righteous or just in that he is the legitimate heir, and he is righteous before God: the perfect combination. His quality of noshua indicates that he comes to bring salvation, just like Joshua, whose name means “the Lord is salvation.” The new, messianic king brings God’s vindication to his people who are oppressed. The new king will re-establish the right reign of justice. Here we see how appropriate it is for this passage to come in between the announcement of judgment and the prophecy of salvation: justice and salvation go hand in hand. A good king with God’s authority will judge oppressors and save those who are oppressed.
Disarmament is the main theme of this reading’s description of the Messiah’s new reign. First, he arrives on a donkey. In one verse there are three Hebrew words for donkey, so the translations always sound confusing, but this repetition indicates how important the donkey is. (He is on a hamor, donkey in general, more specifically on an ‘ayir, young donkey, who is the “son” of an’aton, female donkey.) Why is the donkey important? Oddly enough, the donkey symbolizes peace in contrast to the horse in the next verse, which symbolizes war. In ancient Israel, the horse is like a tank or armored personnel carrier, while the donkey is more like a golf cart, something that you would only use for peaceful purposes. Now, this point is extra significant because Solomon, whose name means peace, had ridden into Jerusalem on a mule when he became king (1 Kings 1:33). It’s true that a mule is only part donkey, but the point is that it is an animal of peace, not a warhorse.
After the donkey-entrance, Zechariah then points out the other disarming features of the Messiah’s reign. He will banish chariots, warhorses and bows—think bombers, tanks, and machine guns—when he comes to rule. Then he will “proclaim peace,” that is, firmly establish the reign of peace in the land. People usually like rulers that bring peace. That’s one reason the Roman emperor Augustus was so successful, since he established the pax Romana. The Messiah’s reign is characterized by a satisfyingly just peace, where the oppressors are judged and the oppressed are saved, and no one needs to be worried about their safety.
Now of course, this passage reaches at least its partial fulfillment in the life of Jesus, who comes into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday mounted on a donkey (Matt 21:1-5). While Jesus frequently avoided identifying himself during his ministry, during the climactic moment of Holy Week, he reveals who he really is: the Messiah, the Son of David. By coming into Jerusalem on a donkey, in fulfillment of Zech 9:9, everyone knows exactly who he is claiming to be. But the kind of reign he ushers in is different than what they expected. He does not initiate a war for independence or set up a royal palace in Jerusalem, but he conquers death by death. Through his cross and resurrection he conquers and judges the enemies of all God’s people: sin and death. He frees all those oppressed by sin from their oppressor and brings salvation to all who are willing to listen to him. The Messiah’s mission is far bigger than Zechariah could have imagined. However, we still await the final judgment where the complete picture will be filled in and all injustices will be undone.
The last stage of the Messiah’s coming to reign is his proclamation of peace. St. Paul teaches that Jesus established “peace by the blood of his cross” (1 Cor 1:20 RSV). The peace which the Old Testament prophets foresee has two major aspects: the temporal peace of this world and the eschatological peace of a right relationship with God. Jesus delivers the second aspect of peace by bringing about reconciliation between God and man. The temporal peace, which includes freedom from war and troubles, will not fully be established until the end when “God will wipe away every tear” (Rev 7:17).
Peace can seem silly or weak in the face of the brutal power of war, but in the end peace will triumph over war. We can be tempted to give up our faith in such a future and allow ourselves to be overcome by despair at the difficulties that surround us. Yet no matter how grave they are, no matter how much we suffer, we know that our Savior, the Messiah, will break the power of war and establish his peace forever. Our hope rests on it.
In the Gospel, Jesus extends a paradoxical invitation: Take up a “yoke” to find rest. What did He mean?
Gospel (Read Mt 11:25-30)
Today’s reading is best understood in its context within Matthew’s Gospel. In the preceding verses, Jesus upbraids some of the cities of Galilee for refusing to repent and believe in Him as Israel’s Messiah, even though they had seen Him perform many “mighty works.” Their proud resistance to Jesus, the carpenter’s Son, brought them spiritual blindness. Because He had revealed so much to them without a response of repentance and faith, He warned them: “…it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you” (Mt 11:24).
It was “at that time” that Jesus turned to His Father with praise and gratitude: “I give praise to You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, You have revealed them to little ones.” Jesus here contrasts the “wisdom” and “learning” of the religious leaders of the people, the scribes and Pharisees, to the simplicity of “little ones.” Opposition to Jesus always came from the ones who prided themselves on their knowledge of Scripture and the tradition of the Jews in the Mosaic Law. Their knowledge, sadly, didn’t lead them to humility. The power they derived from their privileged positions corrupted them, so much so that Jesus once told the people: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach but do not practice. They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger” (Mt 23:2-3). The Law of Moses was meant to be a joy for God’s people, showing them the path to life. It was to be an escape from sin, into which all of us are born, that was even more liberating than their escape from physical slavery in Egypt (see CCC 2057). However, through pride and hard hearts, the “wise” and “learned” manipulated and added so much to the Law that it became a crushing burden on the very people it was meant to free.
Now, Jesus announces that it is the Father’s will to reveal Himself and His truth to the ones least likely to expect it—the “little ones.” So many times Jesus told His followers they must become as children to enter the kingdom of God. Children know and accept their utter dependence on their parents for everything they need. That simple humility becomes the counterpoint to the pride of those whose learning gives them power. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Jesus says He will be the One to reveal God to those seeking Him, but not in an arbitrary, selective way: “Come to Me, all…” His invitation to share the intimate knowledge of the Father that is His through Sonship goes out to all who have the humility to accept it. Jesus knew that religion that did not lead to a relationship with God left its practitioner with a heavy burden—the weight of his own sin, as well as the unfulfilled longing of his heart to know his Creator. To that weary soul, Jesus promised rest, but in a paradoxical way. The rest would not come in cessation of activity but in taking on the “yoke” of Jesus. A yoke always forms a communion—a farmer yokes an animal to a plough, and together they dig up the soil. One animal is yoked to another, and together they share the burden of the work. When we take the yoke of Jesus upon ourselves and learn from Him, we discover that He has perfectly fulfilled God’s Law for us. As St. Paul tells us, Jesus “emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men…He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:7-8). When we are yoked to Jesus, we are yoked to His humble obedience. At long last, we “find rest” for ourselves. We are no longer alone. The yoke of Jesus, although it requires self-denial, is “easy” and His “burden light,” because we share it with Him.
Who would turn down an invitation like this?
Possible response: Lord Jesus, I have often made my burdens in life heavier by trying to bear them alone. Help me yoke myself to You today.
First Reading (Read Zech 9:9-10)
Zechariah was a prophet during the time when a remnant of Jews who had been in exile in Babylon (punishment for their serious covenant unfaithfulness) were allowed to return to Judah and to re-establish the life they had lost as God’s people (about 520 B.C.). Zechariah sought to stir up desire and commitment to re-build the Temple in Jerusalem, the center of religious life. Through him, the LORD gave prophetic visions of a future Messianic king who would rule over a restored kingdom of David.
Today’s reading gives us one such prophetic description: “See, your king shall come to you; a just Savior is he; meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass.” We know, of course, that Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time riding on a donkey (see Jn 12:12-15). A king riding a donkey instead of a powerful warhorse was the picture of humility. King Solomon, David’s son, rode a donkey in his coronation ceremony (see 1 Kings 1:38-40). The Davidic kings were to be like King David, who understood that the throne of Israel truly belonged to God. Their power rested entirely in God’s hands, not in the might of their armies. Zechariah’s prophecy tells of a king who will bring peace for all the nations, not just Israel. The Messiah would “banish the chariot from Ephraim [a poetic name for the northern tribes of Israel] and Jerusalem; the warriors’ bow will be banished.” This is a clear indication that the Messiah would rule His kingdom in a very different way from all the other nations (picture Jesus telling Peter to put away his sword after he lopped off a man’s ear during His arrest). He would be a humble king, establishing peace “from sea to sea.”
This prophecy helps us understand why Jesus, hundreds of years after it was written, would describe Himself as “meek and humble of heart,” offering “rest” to the weary. The humble Messiah had finally arrived, and only the humble could “see” Him.
Possible response: Lord Jesus, help me remember that victories in Your kingdom are won through humility, not might.
Psalm (Read Ps 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14)
The psalmist extols God as his “king” and God. This truly helps us understand that God ruled over Israel, the nation He created for His very own. The kings who sat on Israel’s throne ruled well if they understood this and practiced humility in light of it. God is the good King Who “lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.” When Jesus, in today’s reading, calls out to any who need to be freed from heavy burdens, He shows Himself to be the Divine King praised so wholeheartedly in this psalm. All of us who have experienced this liberation from Jesus can sing with the psalmist: “I will praise Your Name forever, my King and my God.”
Possible response: The psalm is, itself, a response to our other readings. Read it again prayerfully to make it your own.
Second Reading (Read Rom 8:9, 11-13)
St. Paul gives us a practical application of what happens in our lives when we respond to Jesus’ call to take His yoke upon ourselves. The “rest” He offers is our “rest” from the weight of sin. St. Paul tells us that, as believers, we now have God’s own Spirit living in us. The work of the Spirit is to free us from the death-producing power of our “flesh.” St. Paul uses this term to describe the sin that seeks to rule us as we dwell in our mortal bodies (concupiscence). Our bodies, made in God’s image and likeness, are good, but our rebellious self-love always tries to subvert them. Jesus’ victory over sin, death, and the devil means that believers, through baptism, have the gift of the Holy Spirit to disrupt and destroy the power of sin over us. That is why Jesus said, “My yoke is easy, and My burden light” in our Gospel reading. As St. Paul says, the “yoke” of Jesus will mean death to our flesh—mortification—but we are not alone in this work of liberation. The Spirit enables us to “put to death the deeds of the body” so that we “will live.” The heavy mastery of our own sin over us, experienced as our crushing inability to be the people we know we ought to be, is now broken. Finally, we can find rest.
Possible response: Holy Spirit, help me do battle with the self-love that so easily besets me. I know all it can offer is death.
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