28 June – St. Irenaeus, bishop, martyr
Irenaeus (c.130–202) was a disciple of St. Polycapr of Smyrna. He was ordained in 177. He was Bishop of Lugdunum, Gaul (modern Lyons, France). He worked and wrote against Gnosticism, basing his arguments on the works of St. John the Apostle, whose gospel is often cited by Gnostics. He dispatched evangelists, including St. Ferreolus of Besancon, and St. Ferrutio of Bescancon. He is considered the first great Western ecclesiastical writer and theologian, and he emphasized the unity of the Old and New Testaments, as well as Christ’s simultaneous human and divine nature, and the value of tradition. He is a Father of the Church, and was martyred for his faith.
-Patron Saint Index
Listen, sons of Israel, to this oracle the Lord speaks against you, against the whole family I brought out of the land of Egypt:
You alone, of all the families of earth, have I acknowledged,
therefore it is for all your sins that I mean to punish you.
Do two men take the road together
if they have not planned to do so?
Does the lion roar in the jungle
if no prey has been found?
Does the young lion growl in his lair
if he has captured nothing?
Does the bird fall to the ground
if no trap has been set?
Does the snare spring up from the ground
if nothing has been caught?
Does the trumpet sound in the city
without the populace becoming alarmed?
Does misfortune come to a city
if the Lord has not sent it?
No more does the Lord do anything
without revealing his plans to his servants the prophets.
The lion roars: who can help feeling afraid?
The Lord speaks: who can refuse to prophesy?
I overthrew you as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
and you were like a brand snatched from the blaze;
and yet you never came back to me.
It is the Lord who speaks.
This therefore, Israel, is what I plan to do to you,
and because I am going to do this to you,
Israel, prepare to meet your God!
Jesus got into the boat followed by his disciples. Without warning a storm broke over the lake, so violent that the waves were breaking right over the boat. But he was asleep. So they went to him and woke him saying, ‘Save us, Lord, we are going down!’ And he said to them, ‘Why are you so frightened, you men of little faith?’ And with that he stood up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and all was calm again. The men were astounded and said, ‘Whatever kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him.’
You alone have I favored, more than all the families of the earth; therefore, I will punish you for all your crimes.
Upon reflecting on today’s Old Testament reading, I was reminded of a Facebook posting a good friend of mine had written several years ago. It was originally written to someone who was undergoing a difficult time emotionally and spiritually. The message came to my friend through the Holy Spirit and was meant to be shared with all those in need of some encouragement. Re-posted without any edits…
God the Father is so much in love with you. From your afflictions, I can sense that He has been trying to strengthen you for the times to come. Maybe you have elected to serve Him and surrender to His will; remember that God the Father only chastises His sons and daughters, and leaves the unrepentant to the final chastening. If you would find love, you must meet God the Father halfway. He trusts you more than any human will, and thus loves you more than you will ever know. You also are a channel for His love. Maybe there is someone in your life or your social circle that is waiting to feel His love through you.
There will be a time of strength when you will look back on these days and laugh, when you allowed yourself to appreciate equally both the chastisements and the graces with which He showers you daily, as tokens of His love for you. Again, He is so much in love with you, as His child of infinite potential, gradually perfected by His hand.
As a father myself, I can truly appreciate the need to provide loving discipline to my children — loving them for who they are, while correcting them when they are wrong. This only gets harder as children grow older and are exposed to the broader society, ultimately needing to determine for themselves what their own belief systems entails. My wife and I have definitely had many difficult moments trying to balance between the loving and patient approach with the righteous and chastising approach. Yet, we are reminded that God had called us to be His representatives in the home. He created the family as one of the most important teaching venues for spiritual learning.
Friends, we are to be reminded that God chose each of us individually to be a part of His family. In all that we face and are challenged with, trust that the Lord will provide and lovingly chastise us where needed.
(Today’s Oxygen by Steven Su)
Prayer – Heavenly Father, we ask that You grant us wisdom to be good and faithful servant leaders to the children whom You have ve generously placed in our care.
Thanksgiving – Lord, we give thanks to You for the many times we witness Your works through friends, family and others. We thank you for always being at work and inviting us to participate so that we may know You better.