13 July – Memorial of Saint Henry
Son of Gisella of Burgundy and Henry II the Quarrelsome, Duke of Bavaria. Educated at the cathedral school in Hildesheim by bishop Wolfgang of Regensburg. Became Duke of Bavaria himself in 995 upon his father‘s death, which ended Henry’s thoughts of becoming a priest. Ascended to the throne of Germany in 1002. Crowned King of Pavia, Italy on 15 May 1004. Married Saint Cunegunda, but was never a father. Some sources claim the two lived celibately, but there is no evidence either way.
Henry’s brother rebelled against his power, and Henry was forced to defeat him on the battlefield, but later forgave him, and the two reconciled. Henry was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1014 by Pope Benedict VIII; he was the last of the Saxon dynasty of emperors. Founded schools, quelled rebellions, protected the frontiers, worked to establish a stable peace in Europe, and to reform the Church while respecting its independence. Fostered missions, and established Bamberg, Germany as a center for missions to Slavic countries. Started the construction of the cathedral at Basel, Switzerland; it took nearly 400 years to complete. Both Henry and Saint Cunegunda were prayerful people, and generous to the poor.
At one point he was cured of an unnamed illness by the touch of Saint Benedict of Nursia at Monte Cassino. He became somewhat lame in his later years. Widower. Following Cunegunda‘s death, he considered becoming a monk, but the abbot of Saint-Vanne at Verdun, France refused his application, and told him to keep his place in the world where he could do much good for people and the advancement of God‘s kingdom.
– The Patron Saint Index
Jacob gave his sons these instructions, ‘I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me near my fathers, in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave in the field at Machpelah, opposite Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial-plot. There Abraham was buried and his wife Sarah. There Isaac was buried and his wife Rebekah. There I buried Leah. I mean the field and the cave in it that were bought from the sons of Heth.’
When Jacob had finished giving his instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, and breathing his last was gathered to his people.
Seeing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, ‘What if Joseph intends to treat us as enemies and repay us in full for all the wrong we did him?’ So they sent this message to Joseph: ‘Before your father died he gave us this order: “You must say to Joseph: Oh forgive your brothers their crime and their sin and all the wrong they did you.” Now therefore, we beg you, forgive the crime of the servants of your father’s God.’ Joseph wept at the message they sent to him.
His brothers came themselves and fell down before him. ‘We present ourselves before you’ they said ‘as your slaves.’ But Joseph answered them, ‘Do not be afraid; is it for me to put myself in God’s place? The evil you planned to do me has by God’s design been turned to good, that he might bring about, as indeed he has, the deliverance of a numerous people. So you need not be afraid; I myself will provide for you and your dependants.’ In this way he reassured them with words that touched their hearts.
So Joseph stayed in Egypt with his father’s family; and Joseph lived a hundred and ten years. Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s children, as also the children of Machir, Manasseh’s son, who were born on Joseph’s lap. At length Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die; but God will be sure to remember you kindly and take you back from this country to the land that he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ And Joseph made Israel’s sons swear an oath, ‘When God remembers you with kindness be sure to take my bones from here.’
Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten; they embalmed him and laid him in his coffin in Egypt.
Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘The disciple is not superior to his teacher, nor the slave to his master. It is enough for the disciple that he should grow to be like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, what will they not say of his household?
‘Do not be afraid of them therefore. For everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops.
‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell. Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.
‘So if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven. But the one who disowns me in the presence of men, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.’
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul
Today’s gospel teaches me a few things about life. The first lesson is to respect our teachers and to give them due honor. As Jesus said, “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master.” In the office for instance, I should not envy those above me, but instead strive to be like them – accomplished and responsible. When I have reached my objective (e.g. a promotion), I should honor those who have helped me get there and not just believe that it is through my own effort. I should remain humble and continue to strive to be like my teachers, whoever they may be at each stage of my career and of my life.
Jesus also said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” Sometimes bad things happen to us in our daily lives on earth. For instance, there may be a bad rumor that is spread about us. Or we may have been harmed by other so that we lose our jobs, or relationships with others. Look to God. He has answers. As Joseph said to his brothers, “Have no fear. Can I take the place of God? Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve his present end, the survival of many people. There have no fear. I will provide for you and for your children.”
Finally Jesus assures us that He loves us, knows us, and will protect us from harm. “Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” We should always acknowledge Christ Jesus in our blessings, for it is He who makes us right with God. In doing so, He too will acknowledge in front of God, at the time of our entrance towards heaven.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Serene Goh)
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord for my job, and for the people who help and support me at work.
Prayer: I pray that each person may find the work you mean for their lives, and be happy and fulfilled while working.