Aug 2 – 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
Leviticus 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34-37
The Lord spoke to Moses. He said:
‘These are the Lord’s solemn festivals, the sacred assemblies to which you are to summon the sons of Israel on the appointed day.
‘The fourteenth day of the first month, between the two evenings, is the Passover of the Lord; and the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of Unleavened Bread for the Lord. For seven days you shall eat bread without leaven. On the first day you are to hold a sacred assembly; you must do no heavy work. For seven days you shall offer a burnt offering to the Lord. The seventh day is to be a day of sacred assembly; you must do no work.’
The Lord spoke to Moses. He said:
‘Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them:
‘“When you enter the land that I give you, and gather in the harvest there, you must bring the first sheaf of your harvest to the priest, and he is to present it to the Lord with the gesture of offering, so that you may be acceptable. The priest shall make this offering on the day after the sabbath.
‘“From the day after the sabbath, the day on which you bring the sheaf of offering, you are to count seven full weeks. You are to count fifty days, to the day after the seventh sabbath, and then you are to offer the Lord a new oblation.
‘“The tenth day of the seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. You are to hold a sacred assembly. You must fast, and you must offer a burnt offering to the Lord.
‘“The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of Tabernacles for the Lord, lasting seven days. The first day is a day of sacred assembly; you must do no heavy work. For seven days you must offer a burnt offering to the Lord. On the eighth day you are to hold a sacred assembly, you must offer a burnt offering to the Lord. It is a day of solemn meeting; you must do no heavy work.
‘“These are the solemn festivals of the Lord to which you are to summon the children of Israel, sacred assemblies for the purpose of offering burnt offerings, holocausts, oblations, sacrifices and libations to the Lord, according to the ritual of each day.”’
Coming to his home town, Jesus taught the people in their synagogue in such a way that they were astonished and said, ‘Where did the man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? This is the carpenter’s son, surely? Is not his mother the woman called Mary, and his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Jude? His sisters, too, are they not all here with us? So where did the man get it all?’ And they would not accept him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country and in his own house’, and he did not work many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
Is he not the carpenter’s son? … Where did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him
An ex-boyfriend is getting married this fall. In his enthusiasm to introduce the love of his life to the people he grew up with, he invited all of us to his wedding. “It will be like a school reunion! You’ll get to see everyone again!” he exclaimed, when we spoke about it. I am happy for him, I truly am, but I have an aversion to reunions. Some lives are meant to be lived just once. I have no desire to rip the scabs off old wounds or face-off with the ghosts of mean girls past. There’s nothing like a ‘reunion’ to stir up old animosities. It takes a thick skin to go to one of these things, something I just can’t conjure up at the moment. So I wished him well and declined his kind invitation.
Today’s gospel reading shows Jesus dealing with some ‘reunion’ angst of his own. It’s almost a universal truth that the people you grew up around, the people of your ‘native place’, are the ones who will discount your success the most. They’ll make you fit in their little boxes and try to tear you down every chance they get. You’ll hear it in their barbed comments – “They live in that neighbourhood! What good ever comes out of there?” Or “They used to only have hand me downs, how did she manage to do that?” In Jesus’ case, it was “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter’s son?… Where did this man get all this?” (Matt 13: 54-57)
Preconceived notions about someone discount the transforming power of God’s grace. Scripture is full of ordinary characters doing great things through Him – the lowly shepherd boy who slew a giant and became a great king; the exiled prince who led his people out of captivity in Egypt; the frustrated fisherman who became the rock of Christ’s church. These were ordinary people who rose above their humble origins and went on to live extraordinary lives because they were open to God’s grace. They didn’t forget their roots; they were rooted in God. They said yes to Him and He changed their lives. Their peers probably mocked them, but so what? Who needs the affirmation of envious peers when one has God on one’s side?
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me – 2 Cor 12:9
(Today’s Oxygen by Sharon Soo)
Prayer: We pray for those who are stuck in toxic friendships, may God give them the strength to walk away from them.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all the kind and compassionate individuals who showed us encouragement instead of criticism, positivity instead of negativity, faith instead of doubt.