Daily Archives: October 23, 2007

Wednesday, October 24 – Listen And Obey

24 Wed – Memorial for St. Anthony Mary Claret, bishop

St. Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870) was a weaver before he joined the seminary where he was a student with Blessed Francis Coll, and was ordained on June 13, 1835. He became a missionary in Catalonia and the Canary Islands where he directed retreats and founded the Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretians). He was ordained the Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba on May 20, 1850 and later founded the Teaching Sisters of Mary Immaculate.

Following his work in the Caribbean, Blessed Pope Pius IX ordered him back to Spain where he was the confessor to Queen Isabella II and ended up being exiled with her. He had the gifts of prophecy and miracles and was reported to have preached 10,000 sermons, published 200 works. Throughout his life, he worked to spread devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

He is the patron saint for the Catholic press, and of weavers.

– Source: Patron Saint Index
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Romans 6:12-18

That is why you must not allow sin to reign over your mortal bodies and make you obey their desires; or give any parts of your bodies over to sin to be used as instruments of evil. Instead, give yourselves to God, as people brought to life from the dead, and give every part of your bodies to God to be instruments of uprightness; and then sin will no longer have any power over you — you are living not under law, but under grace.

What is the implication? That we are free to sin, now that we are not under law but under grace? Out of the question! You know well that if you undertake to be somebody’s slave and obey him, you are the slave of him you obey: you can be the slave either of sin which leads to death, or of obedience which leads to saving justice. Once you were slaves of sin, but thank God you have given whole-hearted obedience to the pattern of teaching to which you were introduced; and so, being freed from serving sin, you took uprightness as your master.
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Luke 12:39-48

Jesus said, ‘You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house. You too must stand ready, because the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’

Peter said, ‘Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?’ The Lord replied, ‘Who, then, is the wise and trustworthy steward whom the master will place over his household to give them at the proper time their allowance of food? Blessed that servant if his master’s arrival finds him doing exactly that. I tell you truly, he will put him in charge of everything that he owns. But if the servant says to himself, “My master is taking his time coming,” and sets about beating the menservants and the servant-girls, and eating and drinking and getting drunk, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.

‘The servant who knows what his master wants, but has got nothing ready and done nothing in accord with those wishes, will be given a great many strokes of the lash. The one who did not know, but has acted in such a way that he deserves a beating, will be given fewer strokes. When someone is given a great deal, a great deal will be demanded of that person; when someone is entrusted with a great deal, of that person even more will be expected.’
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In the first reading, we are told who our master is. In the Gospel reading, Jesus tells us how we can fulfill our duty as His servants.

Jesus’ last sentence mirrors the situation where an employee receives a high pay and has to perform according to the expectation attached to the pay. Similarly, as servants of the Lord, we already have abundant blessings. Unlike any employer, however, the Father has also equipped us to fulfill our duty.

Whether we are good servants will depend on whether we listen to what our Master has to say — through the Word and in our hearts, and whether we obey what He says. Do we answer His everyday callings to show a friend more concern or restrain ourselves from blowing up at people when we are angry?

Sometimes, it just seems so hard to obey, isn’t it? Do we draw on what He has provided to help us, or do we often visualise ourselves to be going through our days alone? When we do the latter, it is definitely more difficult. It is unconsciously saying that He has not provided us with what we need. That is where faith comes in. There are times when we feel that we are alone, yet we must hold on to the knowledge that God is around in our lives.

Whether we are struggling against sin or to make that step to love our neighbour more, let us persevere. Let us remember Jesus’ words today as both encouragement and reminder.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Regina Xie)
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Prayer: Lord, help us to listen to You and obey You.

Give thanks to the Lord for: creating each and every one of us for a purpose.

Upcoming Readings:
Thu, 25 Oct – Romans 6:19-23; Luke 12:49-53
Fri, 26 Oct – Romans 7:18-25a; Luke 12:54-59
Sat, 27 Oct – Romans 8:1-11; Luke 13:1-9
Sun, 28 Oct – Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14; Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.

Tuesday, October 23 – True Freedom

23 Oct – Memorial for St. John of Capistrano, priest

John of Capristrano (1386-1456) was the son of a former German knight who died when John was still young. He studied law at the University of Perugia and was a lawyer in Naples, Italy, before being the reforming governor of Perugia under King Landislas of Naples. When war broke out between Perugia and Malatesta in 1416, John tried to broker a peace, but instead his opponents ignored the truce, and made him a prisoner of war.

During his imprisonment, he came to the decision to change vocations. He had married just before the war, but the marriage was never consummated, and with his bride’s permission, it was annulled. He joined the Franciscans at Perugia on Oct 4, 1416, and was fellow student with St. James of the Marches.

St. John was a disciple of St. Bernadine of Siena, and was a noted preached while still a deacon, beginning his work in 1420. An itinerant priest throughout Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia, he preached to hundreds of thousands, and established communities of Franciscan renewal. He was reported to heal by making the Sign of  the Cross over a sick person. He wrote extensively, mainly against the heresies of the day.

After the fall of Constantinople, he preached Crusade against the Muslim Turks. At the age of 70, he was commissioned by Pope Callistus II to lead it, and marched off at the head of 70,000 Christian soldiers. He won the great battle of Belgrade in the summer of 1456. he died in the field a few months later, but his army delivered Europe from the Muslims.

– Source: Patron Saint Index
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Romans 5:12, 15, 17-21

Sin entered the world through one man, and through sin death, and thus death has spread through the whole human race because everyone has sinned.

If it is certain that through one man’s fall so many died, it is even more certain that divine grace, coming through the one man, Jesus Christ, came to so many as an abundant free gift. If it is certain that death reigned over everyone as the consequence of one man’s fall, it is even more certain that one man, Jesus Christ, will cause everyone to reign in life who receives the free gift that he does not deserve, of being made righteous. Again, as one man’s fall brought condemnation on everyone, so the good act of one man brings everyone life and makes them justified. As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous. But however great the number of sins committed, grace was even greater; and so, just as sin reigned wherever there was death, so grace will reign to bring eternal life, thanks to the righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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Luke 12:35-38

Jesus said to his disciples: “See that you are dressed for action and have your lamps lit. Be like men waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks. Happy those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. I tell you solemnly, he will put on an apron, sit them down at table and wait on them. It may be in the second watch he comes, or in the third, but happy those servants if he finds them ready.”
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We know that God made man for the purpose of spending eternity with God, and when God gave man freedom to choose to love God, man chose to disobey. He abused his freedom.

Our present-day use of the term ‘freedom’ is somewhat corrupted. We think of freedom as having many choices in life. This idea of freedom is the same as a child with two dollars in his hand standing in a candy store. The freedom is having the power of choice. The problem with our present-day idea of freedom is that we are actually not free to make a choice, because making a choice means giving up our idea of freedom to commit to a certain thing. Just like the child must spend his two dollars to buy a certain candy. If the child does not want to spend that two dollars, he cannot buy any candy. Likewise, if we do not give up our freedom, we cannot make any choice at all. Hence, we see that our idea of freedom is corrupted. That’s not true freedom.

So what is true freedom then? True freedom is the ability to make the right choice. A test of whether we have true freedom is whether or not we have the ability to say ‘no’ to something that is not good for us, and to say ‘yes’ to something that is good for us. In the case of our spiritual lives, sin is bad for us, not just because it offends God, but because it damages our souls and it damages our relationship with God. We are beings made for God and when that relationship with God is damaged, we are harmed as well. Hence, a test of our true freedom is our ability to say ‘no’ to sin, and to say ‘yes’ to whatever leads us to greater union with God.

When we choose to say ‘yes’ to sin and ‘no’ to union with God, we are abusing that freedom. Freedom is therefore something that all of us have; it is a gift from God. However, because of our sinful state that came through original sin, we have a tendency towards sin. Although Christ came to free us from sin, the tendency to sin still remains. But the difference now is that we know that we have the freedom to make the right choice.
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Prayer:
Let us pray for the grace to make the right choice, to use our freedom the way it is meant to be used. Let us remember what St. Paul says: however great the number of sins committed, grace is even greater.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: Grace which is greater than all our sins.

Upcoming Readings:
Wed, 24 Oct – Romans 6:12-18; Luke 12:39-48; Memorial for St. Anthony Mary Claret, bishop
Thu, 25 Oct – Romans 6:19-23; Luke 12:49-53
Fri, 26 Oct – Romans 7:18-25a; Luke 12:54-59
Sat, 27 Oct – Romans 8:1-11; Luke 13:1-9
Sun, 28 Oct – Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14; Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.