17 September – Memorial for St. Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor
Robert (1542-1621) wrote the most complete work of his day to defend Catholicism against Protestant attack. He also wrote a children’s catechism and a catechism for teachers. As cardinal-priest, he gave most of his money to the poor. At one point he used the tapestries in his living quarters to clothe the poor, saying that “the walls won’t catch cold”.
He was involved in settling various disputes including that of King James I and the Vatican in 1607 and 1609 concerning control of the Church in England, action against Galileo Galilei with whom he established a friendly correspondence, but was forced to deliver the order for the scientist to submit to the Church, and issues concerning clerical discipline and Vatican authority. He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on 17 September 1931.
– Patron Saints Index
1 Corinthians 15:35-37,42-49
Someone may ask, ‘How are dead people raised, and what sort of body do they have when they come back?’ They are stupid questions. Whatever you sow in the ground has to die before it is given new life and the thing that you sow is not what is going to come; you sow a bare grain, say of wheat or something like that, It is the same with the resurrection of the dead: the thing that is sown is perishable but what is raised is imperishable; the thing that is sown is contemptible but what is raised is glorious; the thing that is sown is weak but what is raised is powerful; when it is sown it embodies the soul, when it is raised it embodies the spirit.
If the soul has its own embodiment, so does the spirit have its own embodiment. The first man, Adam, as scripture says, became a living soul; but the last Adam has become a life-giving spirit. That is, first the one with the soul, not the spirit, and after that, the one with the spirit. The first man, being from the earth, is earthly by nature; the second man is from heaven. As this earthly man was, so are we on earth; and as the heavenly man is, so are we in heaven. And we, who have been modelled on the earthly man, will be modelled on the heavenly man.
With a large crowd gathering and people from every town finding their way to him, Jesus used this parable:
‘A sower went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some fell on the edge of the path and was trampled on; and the birds of the air ate it up. Some seed fell on rock, and when it came up it withered away, having no moisture. Some seed fell amongst thorns and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some seed fell into rich soil and grew and produced its crop a hundredfold.’ Saying this he cried, ‘Listen, anyone who has ears to hear!’
His disciples asked him what this parable might mean, and he said, ‘The mysteries of the kingdom of God are revealed to you; for the rest there are only parables, so that
they may see but not perceive,
listen but not understand.
‘This, then, is what the parable means: the seed is the word of God. Those on the edge of the path are people who have heard it, and then the devil comes and carries away the word from their hearts in case they should believe and be saved. Those on the rock are people who, when they first hear it, welcome the word with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of trial they give up. As for the part that fell into thorns, this is people who have heard, but as they go on their way they are choked by the worries and riches and pleasures of life and do not reach maturity. As for the part in the rich soil, this is people with a noble and generous heart who have heard the word and take it to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance.’
Embodies the spirit
Today’s first reading is actually a very good reflection written by Saint Paul. It shows that the greatness of the Lord cannot be appreciated and understood without first being understood on earth. We were being created in the image of God, and life is being given to us. Sometimes it makes me wonder if Earth is the transitional world, where we are given the opportunity to go good, to do the best we can in the name of our Lord with the talents and help surrounding us. This is regardless of which country we are born into, or the richness that we have from the start. It has never been about the aesthetics of life, but how we are living it. But if we have been given more and graced with much fortunate events, then I believe we would be expected to give more and make someone else’s life better.
As I reflect further on today’s reading, it points out to me that indeed it is not about the biggest house or most luxurious car one own when your heart is just mediocre. What we perhaps aim to live is about life-giving. As I grew older, and begin to realise what touches us, in our hearts, is truly not about what materials we buy but what relationships we have with others. This may only happen to me, but do try this, when you open your Facebook account and begin to look at the friends and their behaviours and the stories being posted, you will tend to realise that those with more ‘likes’ is a lot about family, love, emotions with loved ones, precious moments with family, post that require encouragement as compared to posts on new cars, new house, food posts, vacation posts and any luxury items. Essentially, as we build our earthly family, we tend to know what is important and what matters to us. We grow from young adults, to being a responsible spouse, to being a parent, to being responsible for the elderly and sometimes, posts that opens up for us to face the death of a loved one.
A lot of successful businessmen says, it is not about what you have or built, but it is very much about how you get there. Thus, the greatness lies in what have we done to touch the lives of others, but not how much have we possessed for ourselves.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Austin Leong)
Prayer: O Lord, I know we can get busy with work and family and looking out for non-important things, make me put in the time and effort that enrich the life of my family and the lives of others.
Thanksgiving: Praise you O Lord Jesus Christ for a fulfilling week, that it has been peaceful and loving.