Jun 28 – 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
2 Kings 24:8-17
Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta, daughter of Elnathan, from Jerusalem. He did what is displeasing to the Lord, just as his father had done.
At that time the troops of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched on Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon himself came to attack the city while his troops were besieging it. Then Jehoiachin king of Judah surrendered to the king of Babylon, he, his mother, his officers, his nobles and his eunuchs, and the king of Babylon took them prisoner. This was in the eighth year of King Nebuchadnezzar.
The latter carried off all the treasures of the Temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace, and broke up all the golden furnishings that Solomon king of Israel had made for the sanctuary of the Lord, as the Lord had foretold. He carried off all Jerusalem into exile, all the nobles and all the notables, ten thousand of these were exiled, with all the blacksmiths and metalworkers; only the poorest people in the country were left behind. He deported Jehoiachin to Babylon, as also the king’s mother, his eunuchs and the nobility of the country; he made them all leave Jerusalem for exile in Babylon. All the men of distinction, seven thousand of them, the blacksmiths and metalworkers, one thousand of them, all of them men capable of bearing arms, were led into exile in Babylon by the king of Babylon.
The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in succession to him, and changed his name to Zedekiah.
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?” Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, you evil men!
‘Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’
Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say, and his teaching made a deep impression on the people because he taught them with authority, and not like their own scribes.
“Everyone who listens to these words….and acts on them will be like a sensible man…”
Contemplation and Action are not mutually exclusive; if we contemplate on God’s words, it must surely lead us to action, to participate in His plan. Lately, I have grown very fond of silence. It is beautiful to be able to seek the Lord in prayer and to develop a closer relationship with our Divine Creator and seek knowledge, understanding and wisdom from Him. However, once we have gained this knowledge, we cannot just stop there. Such wisdom needs to translate into action; we need to act on these and fulfill His holy will. Nothing matters if we choose not to act upon His instructions. Today’s gospel reminds me that there is a purpose for me, for each and everyone of us, here on earth. We were not randomly created, but “have been fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps 139:14); intricately crafted so that we can be partakers of His plan for salvation.
Our Blessed Mother Mary is the perfect role model for us in saying ‘yes’ to God and being a willing participant in His divine plan.
An extract from Denise Levertov’s poem “Annunciation”, says it best….
“Aren’t there annunciations of one sort or another in most lives? Some unwillingly undertake great destinies, enact them in sullen pride, uncomprehending.
More often those moments when roads of light and storm open from darkness in a man or woman, are turned away from in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair and with relief.
Ordinary lives continue. God does not smite them. But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.”
We all have our moments of mini annunciations, do we allow the gates to close and the pathway to vanish? Or do we undertake these great destinies, enact them even when they are hard to comprehend? What is our answer?
(Today’s Oxygen by Lorraine Wong)
Prayer: Dear Mother Mary, you are the perfect disciple. Please intercede for us that we may learn to embrace the pathways of God just like you did; to take action towards them even though we may not fully comprehend His ways.
Thanksgiving: Our Father in Heaven, we praise and glorify your name, for your ways are perfect and your will be done.