5 July – Memorial for St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria, Priest
St. Anthony (1502-1539) studied medicine at Padua, receiving his doctorate at age 22. Working among the poor in Cremona, he felt called to the religious life. He was ordained at age 26; legend says that angels were seen around the altar at his first Mass. St. Anthony established two congregations that helped reform the morals of the faithful, encouraged laymen to work together with the apostolate, and frequent reception of Communion.
– Patron Saint Index
Thus says the Lord:
They have set up kings, but not with my consent,
and appointed princes, but without my knowledge.
Out of their own silver and gold they have made idols,
which are doomed to destruction.
I spurn your calf, Samaria,
my anger blazes against it.
(How long will it be before they purge themselves of this,
the sons of Israel?)
A workman made the thing,
this cannot be God!
Yes, the calf of Samaria shall go up in flames.
They sow the wind, they will reap the whirlwind;
their wheat will yield no ear,
the ear will yield no flour,
or, if it does, foreigners will swallow it.
Ephraim has built altar after altar,
they have only served him as occasion for sin.
Were I to write out the thousand precepts of my Law for him,
they would be paid no more attention than those of a stranger.
They love sacrificing; right, let them sacrifice!
They love meat; right, let them eat it!
The Lord takes no pleasure in these.
He is now going to remember their iniquity
and punish their sins;
they will have to go back to Egypt.
A man was brought to Jesus, a dumb demoniac. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb man spoke and the people were amazed. ‘Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel’ they said. But the Pharisees said, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts out devils.’
Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness.
And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’
Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel
I was recently on holiday in Bhutan during the June break, and had the opportunity to learn more about Buddhism during the trip. It appears that the idea of karma governs the morality of the Bhutanese, as a lot of their actions or non-actions can be attributed to whether they lead to good or bad karma. To quote Wikipedia – “Good moral actions lead to wholesome rebirths, and bad moral actions lead to unwholesome rebirths.”
I was sharing with my cell group that this concept of karma is a lot easier to grasp than the nature of God’s love. Human nature is very attuned to the idea of rewards and punishment, and I find it very difficult to shake off the feeling that I will be less loved because of my sins. I am aware that God’s love will not be diminished due to one’s sin, but it is really a daily challenge to cast off my doubts and be open to that love.
In the gospel reading for today, there were those who were not open to Jesus’ messages and the signs that He gave. To those whom He healed, Jesus not only took away their physical ailments, but also encouraged them in their faith. One needs to be open and to have faith in order to be fully healed. Insecurity, doubts, pride, fear and that often-overwhelming sense of unworthiness are obstacles that can really block us from God’s love. Only prayer and a sincere, humble submission to the Lord can save us from ourselves.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Edith Koh)
Prayer: We pray for the grace of a child-like simplicity and wonder at the power of the Lord’s love.
Thanksgiving: We thank the Lord for His presence within our hearts.