24 Oct – Memorial for St Anthony Claret, Bishop
Anthony Mary Claret (1807–1870) was a weaver and a seminary student with Blessed Francis Coll. He was ordained on 13 June 1835, and became a missionary in Catalonia and the Canary Islands. He directed retreats and founded the Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretians). He became Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba on 20 May 1850, and founded the Teaching Sisters of Mary Immaculate.
Following his work in the Caribbean, Blessed Pope Pius IX ordered him back to Spain where he became confessor to Queen Isabella II and was exiled with her. He had the gift of prophecy and miracles, and was reported to have preached 10,000 sermons, published 200 works. He spread devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
– Patron Saint Index
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.
Everyone moved by the Spirit is a son of God. The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself and our spirit bear united witness that we are children of God. And if we are children we are heirs as well: heirs of God and coheirs with Christ, sharing his sufferings so as to share his glory.
One sabbath day Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who for eighteen years had been possessed by a spirit that left her enfeebled; she was bent double and quite unable to stand upright. When Jesus saw her he called her over and said, ‘Woman, you are rid of your infirmity’ and he laid his hands on her. And at once she straightened up, and she glorified God.
But the synagogue official was indignant because Jesus had healed on the sabbath, and he addressed the people present. ‘There are six days’ he said ‘when work is to be done. Come and be healed on one of those days and not on the sabbath.’ But the Lord answered him. ‘Hypocrites!’ he said ‘Is there one of you who does not untie his ox or his donkey from the manger on the sabbath and take it out for watering? And this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan has held bound these eighteen years – was it not right to untie her bonds on the sabbath day?’ When he said this, all his adversaries were covered with confusion, and all the people were overjoyed at all the wonders he worked.
Was it not right to untie her bonds on the Sabbath day?
Although slavery has been abolished in most parts of the world today, it continues to exist in every part of the world. Slavery refers to the involuntary subjection of a person to another or others. Many of us are slaves to something in one form or another.
One of the more obvious forms of slavery is addiction. Those who have been addicted to something will tell you that it is not easy to break free of the addiction. In most cases, the habit has become a compulsion and the addict is not free to make a choice to not engage in the act. In many cases, until the addict has reached the point called ‘rock bottom’, he or she usually doesn’t want to get rid of the addiction. You can’t help an addict if he doesn’t want to be free.
Today’s readings discuss the matter of slavery. In the gospel reading, there are two slaves. The first is the invalid woman who was slave to her infirmity. The second slave is the synagogue official, who was slave to the law of his religion. Jesus could free the woman of her physical infirmity because she wanted to be free of it. But whether the synagogue official was freed of his slavery is not mentioned… possibly because either he did not see it as a form of slavery or did not want to be free of it.
Regardless of the form of slavery to which we are subjected to, Jesus wants to offer us freedom from it. But we can be free of our slavery only if we are aware of it and want to be free from it. Some forms of slavery are obviously unhealthy for us, for example, smoking, alcoholism, pornography, drugs, gambling, cyber-addiction. But some forms are not so obvious, such as the case of the synagogue official’s slavery of rigid religious laws, an obsession to look good, climbing the corporate ladder, or the need to be seen helping at every church event.
We only have to ask ourselves, is this taking me away from my family, my faith, my God? Is this preventing me from becoming a better Christian? Would I be a better person if I allowed God to free me from this slavery?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Daniel Tay)
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to become aware of the ways in which we have made ourselves slaves, and grant us Your Spirit of freedom to enjoy the salvation You won for us.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the salvific power of Christ’s redemption.
Tue, 25 Oct – Romans 8:18-25; Luke 13:18-21
Wed, 26 Oct – Romans 8:26-30; Luke 13:22-30
Thu, 27 Oct – Romans 8:31-39; Luke 13:31-35
Fri, 28 Oct – Ephesians 2:19-22; Luke 6:12-19; Feast of Ss Simon and Jude, Apostles
Sat, 29 Oct – Romans 11:1-2.11-12.25-29; Luke 14:1.7-11
Sun, 30 Oct – Malachi 1:14-2:2.8-10; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-9.13; Matthew 23:1-12; Thirty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time