2 August – Memorial for St. Eusebius of Vercelli, Bishop; St Peter Julian Eymard, Bishop
Eusebius (283-371) was a priest and lector in Rome, Italy. He was consecrated bishop of Vercelli, Italy in 340, but was exiled to Palestine and Cappadocia due to his struggle against Arianism. He was a friend of St. Athanasius of Alexandria. He was a prolific writer according to his contemporaries, but none of his works have survived. He was the first bishop to live with and follow the same rule as his priests. He may be been martyred by Arians, but reports vary. Many consider him a martyr as he may have died as a result of his sufferings in exile.
– Patron Saint Index
Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868) had a strong Marian devotion, and travelled to the assorted Marian shrines and apparition sites in France. He organised lay societies under the direction of the Marists, preached and taught, and worked for Eucharistic devotion. He felt a call to found a new religious society, and founded the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament and the lay Servants of the Blessed Sacrament. His work encountered a series of setbacks, including have to close his nascent houses and move twice, and the houses not being able to support themselves financially. However, his vision of priests, deacons, sisters, and lay people dedicated to the spiritual values celebrated in the Mass and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament anticipated many of the renewals brought about by Vatican Councils I and II.
– Patron Saint Index
The word addressed to Jeremiah by the Lord: the Lord, the God of Israel says this: Write all the words I have spoken to you in a book.
Yes, the Lord says this:
Your wound is incurable,
your injury past healing.
There is no one to care for your sore,
no medicine to make you well again.
All your lovers have forgotten you,
they look for you no more.
Yes, I have struck you as an enemy strikes,
with harsh punishment
so great is your guilt, so many your sins.
Why bother to complain about your wound?
Your pain is incurable.
So great is your guilt, so many your sins,
that I have done all this to you.
The Lord says this:
Now I will restore the tents of Jacob,
and take pity on his dwellings:
the city shall be rebuilt on its ruins,
the citadel restored on its site.
From them will come thanksgiving
and shouts of joy.
I will make them increase, and not diminish them,
make them honoured, and not disdained.
Their sons shall be as once they were,
their community fixed firm in my presence,
and I will punish all their oppressors.
Their prince will be one of their own,
their ruler come from their own people.
I will let him come freely into my presence and he can come close to me;
who else, indeed, would risk his life
by coming close to me? – it is the Lord who speaks.
And you shall be my people and I will be your God.
When Jesus received the news of John the Baptist’s death, he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he would send the crowds away. After sending the crowds away he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, while the boat, by now far out on the lake, was battling with a heavy sea, for there was a head-wind. In the fourth watch of the night he went towards them, walking on the lake, and when the disciples saw him walking on the lake they were terrified. ‘It is a ghost’ they said, and cried out in fear. But at once Jesus called out to them, saying, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’ It was Peter who answered. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.’ ‘Come’ said Jesus. Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water, but as soon as he felt the force of the wind, he took fright and began to sink. ‘Lord! Save me!’ he cried. Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. ‘Man of little faith,’ he said ‘why did you doubt?’ And as they got into the boat the wind dropped. The men in the boat bowed down before him and said, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God.’
Having made the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret. When the local people recognised him they spread the news through the whole neighbourhood and took all that were sick to him, begging him just to let them touch the fringe of his cloak. And all those who touched it were completely cured.
Come, why did you doubt?
In June, a group of us went to Majodi for a retreat. When I signed up, I had no idea what it was about. The title intrigued me. I was at a point in my spiritual journey when I just about gave up trying to understand Jesus. This faith journey was just too hard. I felt complete and utter emptiness. I just coasted along and hoped for the best.
I had no expectations of the retreat. Only that God, in His infinite love and mercy, might steer me towards a direction. The retreat was short, not intense. Days leading up to the retreat, Jesus was already preparing me. He blessed me with several small incidents and events that showed me that He was right there with me. Just that I didn’t see Him.
Something had been festering in my heart for months and I just didn’t know how to deal with it. A thorn in my side which I hoped would just go away. It didn’t. But 3 days before the retreat, Jesus gave me the opportunity to ‘make good’ with the person I was upset with. I resisted and made all sorts of excuses not to come face to face with this person. But Jesus, in all his wisdom, kind of just shoved me along. And so things were restored. I could now go freely to this retreat with no baggage.
The theme of the retreat was ‘Get Out Of The Boat’. The scripture Father used for reflection is today’s gospel reading. On Day One, we were asked to take stock of our lives. Where were we in relation to: family, church, ministry, neighbourhood, health, recreation, work, vocation and relationships? And in these areas of our lives, we were to picture what type of boat it was – sampan, speed boat, luxury liner?
All this while I have been so afraid to get out of my comfort zone. I remained in the boat despite how bumpy the ride was. Didn’t matter what sort of boat it was. However, as I journaled and started to share with my friend, I came to realisation that I was no longer in the boat.
“Come! Why did you doubt?”
Jesus had all along been slowly cajoling me, like a little child, to step out of the boat with a little lolly in his hand. I am so unteachable He had to ‘trick’ me like how a parent would coax a child. ‘Come!’
Looking at my life, and all the events leading up to where I am today. I am indeed out of the boat and did not even realise it. It was a revelation of sorts for me. And Jesus also revealed that I am now actually living out my vocation. Not in the way I had pictured it would be. But I am living it!
A few of us were laughing about our own states. Someone told me that she too was out of the boat, only she was desperately clinging to the sides of her boat trying to climb back in! Funny how we humans are.
Peter got out of the boat. His eyes were fixed on Jesus and he actually walked across the water! But the moment he doubted, he started to sink. Our spiritual walk is a leap of faith. Yup, we don’t know what’s ahead. But if we keep our eye on Jesus, we will not sink.
Oh yes. Jesus had another revelation for me. Actually, I am now back in the boat. Like what?? Yup. I am now back in the boat. And Jesus is the Seamaster.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)
Prayer: Jesus, despite how deaf and blind we can be, continue to lead us to live the live you had intended for us. Help us to have the courage and faith to step out into the unknown, knowing that you have your eyes on us.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus, for our lives. For what you have done for us, so much more than we imagined or prayed for. You are the source of our strength. You comfort us, fill us and provide for us. For this we are every so grateful.