Jul 20 – Memorial for St. Apollinaris, Bishop & Martyr
According to tradition, Apollinaris was a native of Antioch in the Roman Province of Syria. He was made the first Bishop of Ravenna by St. Peter, during the persecutions of Emperor Vespasian (or Nero, depending on the source).
On his way out of the city, he was identified and arrested as being the leader, tortured and martyred by being run through with a sword. Centuries after his death, he appeared in a vision to St. Romuald. He was a noted miracle worker, and is considered especially effective against gout and epilepsy.
Moses, hearing the voice of God coming from the middle of the bush, said to him, ‘I am to go, then, to the sons of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you.” But if they ask me what his name is, what am I to tell them?’ And God said to Moses, ‘I Am who I Am. This’ he added ‘is what you must say to the sons of Israel: “I Am has sent me to you.”’ And God also said to Moses, ‘You are to say to the sons of Israel: “The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.” This is my name for all time; by this name I shall be invoked for all generations to come.
‘Go and gather the elders of Israel together and tell them, “The Lord, the God of your fathers, has appeared to me, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; and he has said to me: I have visited you and seen all that the Egyptians are doing to you. And so I have resolved to bring you up out of Egypt where you are oppressed, into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land where milk and honey flow.” They will listen to your words, and with the elders of Israel you are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, “The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has come to meet us. Give us leave, then, to make a three days’ journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifice to the Lord our God.” For myself, knowing that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless he is forced by a mighty hand, I shall show my power and strike Egypt with all the wonders I am going to work there. After this he will let you go.’
Jesus exclaimed, ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’
“My yoke is easy and my burden light”
This year, my wife and I celebrate 20 years of marriage and 23 years of togetherness. She is the person who best understands and loves me. 23 years IS a long time!
We were speaking recently and I was distracted, thinking about the work tasks that I had to do. She took one look at me and commented that I had a tendency to “go inside”. I knew exactly what she meant… I do indeed have a tendency to run things over and over in my head. Unknowingly, I tend to carry these thoughts in my head. If I catch myself doing that (and I seldom do), I would lift my concerns up to the Lord.
Similarly, our Lord exhorts us to cast our burdens on Him. Very often though, I find it most challenging, especially if I have not been closely connected to God. We see this in the first reading of today, where Moses has a close relationship with God. He listens to God, who guides Moses through the exact things that he has to do and say. Yes, the prerequisite for casting our cares onto our Lord is that we have an ongoing relationship with Him. Otherwise, such ‘surrender’ would be rendered meaningless.
This is where the daily practices come into play — a daily quiet time, prayer, meditation, the daily examen and so forth. All these create a conversation between us and our Lord, and helps us to deepen our relationship with Him. I find these daily practices tough, but have also found that when I am able to perservere, it becomes easier for me to ‘place my burdens’ on Him.
Let us all continue on this journey together and endeavour to be in constant touch with God!
(Today’s Oxygen by Paul Wee)
Prayer – Lord Jesus, give us strength to walk with You every day. Help us to be closer with You as we travel on our journey of life.
Thanksgiving – We thank You Jesus, for sharing our lives and our burdens with us. We are grateful for Your love!