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SJ-Seal

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Daily Reflections


The message is difficult and makes me unsettled. To do what’s right may mean alienating those I care about. What I need to remember is to find God in all things. To remember that standing up for what I believe does not mean demeaning others. Even in the midst of the division, we have to work for understanding, the kind of understanding that God has for us. My reflections have made me think of Father Greg Boyle, S.J., the priest who works with gang members in Los Angeles. Amid the crushing poverty and violence, he sees humanity. Father Boyle reminds us: “There is no us and them; there is only us.”

Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time


“Christ has no body on earth now but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours; yours are the eyes through which Christ looks with compassion on the world; yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good; yours are the hands with which Christ blesses all the world.” St. Teresa of Avila

The earliest Christians believed that Christ’s second coming would be soon.

We are Christ’s body – and presence – in the world now. We are charged with continuing Christ’s work of building the Kingdom of God on earth. It can be overwhelming when I think of the big picture, the ultimate goal. But, when I remember so much of this is tied up in how I go about my daily life, I am emboldened to live out this charge.

Wednesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time


In the first reading today, Paul is in effect explaining to the Ephesians that all who are believers, Jews and Gentiles alike, are saved and are part of the same spiritual family. In Paul’s time, there was anti-Gentile sentiment based on some who considered the Gentiles to be inferior and unclean. Paul highlights that the Gospel extends hope and a relationship with God through Jesus that is open to all. He reminds the people of his time (and us today) that salvation in achieved on the foundation of grace through faith, and that while our human efforts for good works are encouraged and even expected, that our best intentions will never be enough for salvation.

Each of us have been marked with both deliberate and accidental sin and only through the intercession of the sacrifice of Jesus can we be saved. In this way there should be no room for arrogance or bragging or any cause for animosity among believers as we are all saved by the compassion and kindness of God. Let us always remember to see the best in each other—to see God’s light in each other—even in the midst of our human disagreements.

Tuesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time


Anything with which I surround myself so as to prevent personal relationships of all kinds, would also be a “fool” in the eyes of Jesus. Any thing or things which cushions us from being available to the pains and needs of others announces that we are “fools” by our being self-sufficient.

Gifts are meant not to be “bumpers”, but received in preparation to be shared. Getting is about me. Receiving is about allowing it to be a gift to others. Car-bumprs are for defense, bumper-crops are abundance unconfined, but readied for generous distribution. What we receive is not our definition, but our availability.

Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs


The dynamics of today’s encounter of Jesus with the disciples of the Pharisees and some Herodians are as instructive as the issue itself of paying taxes to the emperor. One thing that is remarkable is the questioners’ hypocrisy, as they start by flattering Jesus, who calls their bluff: why you hypocrites... show me a coin. The Pharisees were purists and purists were not supposed to carry with them Roman currency, though they would keep it at home to pay their taxes. But the most striking element of the encounter is Jesus’ masterful answer ―Houdini would have admired it: give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, a statement most of us would have no difficulty accepting, since people do pay taxes, abide by zoning and building codes, vote to elect leaders. It was the second part of Jesus’ answer that makes people balk: give to God what belongs to God.

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 


All three parts of the readings today call upon us to contemplate our relationship with Christ and His power for those who believe.

In it, we have Jesus going up to Jerusalem, where, as we all know, is crucified for our sins and ultimately triumphs over death.

Like the disciples, we today have a choice to make. At this point in the Gospel, the disciples do not know what awaits them in Jerusalem. The same can be said of us in our daily lives today.

They are assured that through faith in Him, the Holy Spirit can be drawn upon for wisdom and knowledge. I ask myself the question, have I made the final complete commitment to Christ?

Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr

 

 




“In Christ we were chosen… so that we might exist for the praise of his glory.”

When I teach World Literature and teach Candide, there is a section in the book where the main character finds El Dorado, a utopia, a paradise on earth. When Candide asks about their religion, the priest says that of course they have a religion – it consists of thanking God constantly for everything they have been given.

These days there are a lot of hard things happening, and it can seem difficult to stay positive and to be grateful, but even in the midst of hardships there are still things to be thankful for. We can continue to praise God for the good things around us, “the Lord looks down he sees all.”

Friday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

 


Teresa OF JESUS! Such a woman she was who experienced a deep intimacy and union with Christ that she describes through her visions. The Ecstasy of St. Teresa is magnificently depicted in Bernini’s sculpture at Santa Maria della Vittoria, in Rome which I was able to see and spend time in prayer. Bernini was able to portray powerful emotion in his works.  Teresa’s own writing, particularly the Interior Castle describes for us the stages of spiritual growth that leads to complete union with Christ. This she experienced and was one with JESUS. She experienced unity with the Holy Name she carried.

Let us pray again these words of St. Teresa with confidence to obtain courage and peace of soul, that our God, in Christ Jesus, together with the Holy Spirit, is with us.

Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church


Sometimes we too can feel disoriented, turned around and without our berrings.  We lose sight of our true home.  The resulting behaviors that emerge from our confusion might look similar to those St. Paul listed to the Galatians in today’s first reading:  immorality...jealousy...acts of selfishness…  Fortunately, God sends us our own version of Lynne Cox who will lead us back to the safety and life of God’s presence--Jesus.

We look to Jesus and we see one exuding “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”  (Gal 5:22-23)  If we desire to have the same in our lives, we must rub shoulders with the shepherd and follow that leader.

Wednesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time


We want to be good…to be good Christians.  But sometimes we forget the reason Jesus came.  He didn’t come to give us a new set of rules. Jesus came to teach us a new path, a new way of living.  However, following rules can often seem a much easier path to God. We think:  If we do X or Y or Z, we are good people and we will be loved more by our God. But that’s not how it works.  Jesus wants us to follow God’s commandments, but not at the cost of our ability to love our neighbors. 

Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time


The simple fact is, we who have been brought by God’s compassion to new life in Baptism already dwell in the Reign of God and could be enjoying its benefits more fully even now as we gaze at the natural world bursting with life.  Why do we choose unhappiness?  Why do we assume the fears others want to foist on us?   In his recent encyclical “All Brothers and Sisters” Pope Francis points out: “The best way to dominate and gain control over people is to spread despair and discouragement, even under the guise of defending certain values. . . hyperbole, extremism and polarization have become political tools. Employing a strategy of ridicule, suspicion and relentless criticism . . .  one denies the right of others to exist or to have an opinion.” (#15 ) 

Monday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

 




The reading from Isaiah depicts a great banquet. The psalm is the familiar Good Shephard passage. In the excerpt from Paul’s letter he thanks the Philippians for their support and reflects on God meeting one’s needs. The Gospel is the parable of a great feast to which those who are originally invited respond with a variety of excuses. Subsequently anyone that can be found is invited.

I see the first reading as preparing the stage for the Gospel. A banquet becomes the setting for God’s ultimate reward. The psalm depicts the security brought about by the Good Shepherd. I see the same kind of security promised to the faithful in Paul’s letter. I find it interesting that Lectionary brings these passages together with Matthew’s version of the parable of the great feast rather than Luke’s. In Luke’s Gospel it is simply a feast with servants extending invitations. In Matthew’s Gospel it becomes a king’s wedding feast for his son, the servants end up being slaughtered and a city destroyed.

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Weekly Guide


It becomes real when I realize that I am on the road with Jesus to Jerusalem in my life. I can sense the resistance in me to face all that it means. I resist the call to greatness that Jesus offers – to be a servant for others. Greed can take a serious role in my life – unconscious, of course, but once I experience how many things I “want,” I’ll sense the role of greed within me.

The Twenty-Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

 




Justice and compassion are keys to loving, in the readings for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Ezekiel proclaims God's call that we act justly toward foreigners, and the most vulnerable among us: widows, orphans and the poor. Jesus says it most simply: "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. ...You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

As Jesus continues to head toward Jerusalem in this week’s readings, it can be easy to pray if we can focus. For simple thoughts and feelings to make their way into the background of our reflections this week we have to make a conscious choice to do it. Once we choose to let ourselves be reflective in this way, we can let this week’s readings into our consciousness.

The Twenty-Ninth Week of Ordinary Time



This week in Luke's Gospel we hear Jesus giving us his challenging message: be prepared for the coming of the Kingdom, be unemcumbered enough to follow Jesus freely. When a rich man builds a place to store his surplus, God says, "‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you." Jesus tells us to "be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks." Our faith and calling as Christians means we are called to go beyond what our world and culture requires: "Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” Jesus envisions his mission on earth as a purifying fire, "and how I wish it were already blazing!" He tells us, "If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way." The weekday gospels end with the parable of the gardner who saves the barren fig tree from being cut down, saying to his owner ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”

The Twenty-Ninth Week of Ordinary Time


Paul's Letter to the Ephesians speaks about God's mercy and grace, calling us "members of the household of God" and saying that as a community we "are being built together into a dwelling place" of the Spirit. Paul, who was probably a prisoner at the time he wrote this letter, urges us to live "in a manner worthy of the call you have received" and calling us to patience and humility.

The Twenty-Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

 

 




On the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time we see Matthew's gospel tell us of the Pharisee plot to set a trap for Jesus. This time they use politics to see if he will offend either Rome or the people. Should they pay Rome's census tax? Jesus pushes the challenge back to them: "Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God." What is it they must repay to God that is God's? Their trust in Jesus, God's gift to them.

Monday is the Memorial of the North American Jesuit Martyrs, Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions.

 

The Twenty-Ninth Week of Ordinary Time




At the end of each day this week, we can be grateful for the many opportunities we were given to follow along with Jesus. We can ask the Holy Spirit to help us see the invitation in our lives every day and ask for the clarity to recognize "the poor." When I see the poor, the outcasts, those whose health or habits make them unappealing, do I love them the way Jesus would? Can I look at the brusque and rude people in my life as people Jesus would have gravitated toward, sensing how much they need love?

The Twenty-Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

 

 

 

 






So many of the stories this week are clashes between Jesus and the Pharisees. We can ask ourselves: Where in my life do I worry more about appearances than I worry about the poor who are in front of me? Who are "the poor" in my life? Who are the outcasts, the unpopular or the rejected people I see each day? How can I minister to those people and be a leaven in this world?

The Twenty-Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

 

 

 

 

 


We can repeat this small prayer on our way to work, taking our children to school and walking to the store. "I know you are in my heart, Jesus. I know you are calling me this day, but my heart is not always open to listen. Help me to answer your call today. At the end of this day, help me to be joyful in answering your call through those in my life."

The Twenty-Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

 

 

 



 


On Sunday we hear of the King who invited many to his son's banquet but the invitation was rejected. This might be a good place for us to begin our prayers this week, pondering the invitation from Jesus in our lives.

Whether or not we have a clear picture of where we are being called by Jesus, we can feel the invitation, the call to our hearts, in the silence. We can take just a few minutes each morning as we awaken to sit by the side of the bed and open our hands and hearts and pray, "Jesus, in this quiet moment, I feel my heart being drawn to you. Help me to see where you are calling me this day."

The Twenty-Eighth Week of Ordinary Time




On the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time we see Matthew's gospel tell us of the Pharisee plot to set a trap for Jesus. This time they use politics to see if he will offend either Rome or the people. Should they pay Rome's census tax? Jesus pushes the challenge back to them: "Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God." What is it they must repay to God that is God's? Their trust in Jesus, God's gift to them.

The Twenty-Eighth Week of Ordinary Time


In Luke's Gospel this week, Jesus seems frustrated that some of the people won't listen to him. “This generation is an evil generation." When a Pharisee invited Jesus for dinner, the fellow was shocked that Jesus didn't do the required ritual washing of his hands. Jesus uses this as an opportunity to talk about real purity. He recommends they give money to the poor. But as Jesus continues to challenge the Pharisees, they hatch a plot to get rid of him. Jesus tells his disciples to beware of the "leaven" or "hypocrisy" of the Pharisees. Jesus wants us to acknowledge him, in the face of persecution.

The Twenty-Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

 

 

 



In the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time we hear the story from Matthew about the King who gave a banquet for his son and invited many guests. It is a powerful story about rejecting Jesus' own invitation and about God's universal invitation to a new group of "chosen" people.

Thursday is the Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church. Saturday is the Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr.

This week we end our look at the Letter to the Galatians and begin two weeks of Paul's Letter to the Ephesians. The letters emphasize the universal church and the unity of this church that brings together Gentiles and Jews.

The Twenty-Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

Pope Francis


To all believers, and to men and women of good will, we say: let us become creative artisans of peace, let us build social friendship, let us make our own the culture of dialogue.

Pope Francis

 

 

 




Pope Francis called on Christians to dedicate themselves generously to the promotion and defence of human dignity in today’s world, bearing witness to God and the meaning of life.

Pope Francis explained that it is the mission of the Church and of Christians to speak of God and bear witness to Him to the men and women of our time. 

By virtue of Baptism, he said, we are all called “to be a living presence in society, inspiring it with the Gospel and with the lifeblood of the Holy Spirit.”

Thus, the Pope urged believers to commit themselves with humility and with courage, and make “one's own contribution to building the civilisation of love, where justice and fraternity reign.” 

Pope: good citizens must contribute to society and bear witness to the Gospel


Pope Francis prayed God might grant us the grace to be more united and fraternal.

"The closer we become to the Lord Jesus, the more we will be open and 'universal', since we will feel responsible for others. And others will become the means of our own salvation: all others, every human person, whatever his or her history and beliefs. Beginning with the poor, who are those most like Jesus." 

In being more fraternal, concluded the Pope, we become more "credible witnesses of the true God." 

Pope at Prayer Meeting: Love alone is path to peace and communion

 

 

 

 


Pope Francis said the dream of all men and women of goodwill is for a world rid of every war. But how do we go about, he asked, achieving this dream?

“No people, no social group, can single-handedly achieve peace, prosperity, security and happiness,” he said, noting that the lesson learned from the coronavirus pandemic is “the awareness that we are a global community, all in the same boat, where one person’s problems are the problems of all.”

“Once more we realized that no one is saved alone; we can only be saved together.”

Pope Francis: ‘No one is saved alone’


As part of the books of wisdom, the Psalms communicate to the believer “knowing how to pray”.

“In the Psalms we find all human sentiments: the joys, the sorrows, the doubts, the hopes, the bitterness that colour our lives,” said the Pope.

Pope Francis went on to explore how the Psalmist confronts the issue of suffering, saying it is accepted as part of life...

“Until when?” he said, is the question that remains unanswered.

“Every suffering calls for liberation, every tear calls for consolation, every wound awaits healing, every slander a sentence of absolution.”

Pope at Audience: God remains near to us in suffering when we pray


“May we be sustained by the conviction that education bears within itself a seed of hope: the hope of peace and justice; the hope of beauty and goodness; the hope of social harmony,” the Pope said in his message. “We must move forward, all of us together, each as we are, but always looking ahead to the building of a civilization of harmony and unity, in which there will be no room for the terrible pandemic of the throw-away culture.”

In this situation, the Pope called for a new cultural and development model that respects and protects human dignity, while creating a global interdependence to bring communities and peoples together to care for our common home and to foster peace.

“Education,” the Pope said, “is meant to be transformative.” It should present a hope that can shatter the determinism and fatalism of the selfishness of the strong. It should shatter the conformism of the weak and the ideology of the utopians as the only way forward.

Pope: Global Compact on Education bears in itself 'a seed of hope'


Pope Francis on Thursday appealed to every sector of society across the globe to subscribe to and support the Global Compact on Education.

The initiative promotes the values of care for others, peace, justice, goodness, beauty, acceptance, and fraternity in order to build hope, solidarity and harmony everywhere.

The Compact...is meant to encourage change on a global scale, so that education may become a creator of fraternity, peace, and justice. According to the Pope, the pact is “to ensure that everyone has access to a quality education consonant with the dignity of the human person and our common vocation to fraternity.”

Pope: Global Compact on Education bears in itself 'a seed of hope'


Blessed Carlo Acutis was beatified in the Italian town of Assisi on Saturday during Mass celebrated by Cardinal Agostino Vallini.

Pope Francis recalled the 15-year-old Italian teenager as “a young man in love with the Eucharist.”

“He did not rest in comfortable immobility,” said the Pope. “He grasped the needs of his time, because he saw the face of Christ in the weakest.”

Blessed Carlo Acutis’ example, he added, shows young people that “true happiness is found in putting God in the first place and serving Him in our brothers and sisters.”

Pope: ‘Blessed Carlo Acutis a witness of Christ for younger generations’


The letter sent to Pope Francis concluded with a request for a blessing that the missionary would have liked to receive in person, though he admits himself that this would be impossible as he would be unable to physically undertake the journey to Rome. The story of an old man who, the Pope told the faithful gathered for his Sunday Angelus, lives "old age in peace. This is our Mother Church, this is the messenger of God who goes to the crossroads.”

On the street among the poor of São Paulo whom “we will not abandon"

 





Tenderness is love that draws near and becomes real. A movement that starts from our heart and reaches the eyes, the ears and the hands. Tenderness is the path of choice for the strongest, most courageous men and women.

Pope Francis

 




The Office of Papal Charities in the Vatican has received a building in Rome from a women’s religious congregation for free use to shelter migrants and refugees arriving in Italy. 

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Apostolic Almoner, or the Pope’s official almsgiver, released a statement on Monday saying the Sisters Servants of Divine Providence of Catania were responding to the “invitation of Pope Francis, who in the Encyclical Fratelli tutti repeats several times the need for adequate hospitality to migrants fleeing wars, persecutions and natural catastrophes”. 

Cardinal Krajewski said the Sisters’ building, called Villa Serena, will be used to shelter refugees, especially for single women, women with underage children, and vulnerable families, who arrive in Italy through the Humanitarian Corridors programme.

Nuns lend their building to Pope for refugees


In his prayer intention for October 2020, Pope Francis asks everyone to pray that women be given greater leadership roles in the Church.

This month, the video is a collaboration with the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. It highlights the role of the laity, whom Pope Francis considers true protagonists in the proclamation of the Gospel.

..."By virtue of Baptism, we are all called to faithfully proclaim and serve the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to be missionary disciples of the Lord. Nonetheless, among the lay faithful, women have been consciously and unconsciously relegated to an inferior level. As Francis reminded us in Querida Amazonia, many women, moved by the Holy Spirit, keep the Church alive in many parts of the world with remarkable devotion and deep faith. It’s essential that they participate more and more in areas where decisions are made. This requires a profound change of mentality; it requires our conversion, which implies prayer.”

Pope intention for October: that women have greater leadership roles in the Church

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