July 28 2020
Tuesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 JER 14:17-22
Let my eyes stream with tears
day and night, without rest,
Over the great destruction which overwhelms
the virgin daughter of my people,
over her incurable wound.
If I walk out into the field,
look! those slain by the sword;
If I enter the city,
look! those consumed by hunger.
Even the prophet and the priest
forage in a land they know not.
Have you cast Judah off completely?
Is Zion loathsome to you?
Why have you struck us a blow
that cannot be healed?
We wait for peace, to no avail;
for a time of healing, but terror comes instead.
We recognize, O LORD, our wickedness,
the guilt of our fathers;
that we have sinned against you.
For your name’s sake spurn us not,
disgrace not the throne of your glory;
remember your covenant with us, and break it not.
Among the nations’ idols is there any that gives rain?
Or can the mere heavens send showers?
Is it not you alone, O LORD,
our God, to whom we look?
You alone have done all these things.
Responsorial Psalm 79: 8, 9, 11 and 13
R. (9) For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name’s sake.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Let the prisoners’ sighing come before you;
with your great power free those doomed to death.
Then we, your people and the sheep of your pasture,
will give thanks to you forever;
through all generations we will declare your praise.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel MT 13:36-43
Jesus dismissed the crowds and went into the house.
His disciples approached him and said,
“Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom.
The weeds are the children of the Evil One,
and the enemy who sows them is the Devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire,
so will it be at the end of the age.
The Son of Man will send his angels,
and they will collect out of his Kingdom
all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun
in the Kingdom of their Father.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The covenant with Noah
56 After the unity of the human race was shattered by sin God at once sought to save humanity part by part. the covenant with Noah after the flood gives expression to the principle of the divine economy toward the “nations”, in other words, towards men grouped “in their lands, each with (its) own language, by their families, in their nations”.
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
TUESDAY, JULY 28TH Mt. 13: 36-43 “His disciples approached him and said, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.’”
The story is told of a town with a tavern. On top of this tavern was one devil. On the hill above the town was a monastery of monks with legions of devils climbing up the walls and on the roof top trying to get inside. Why? Those in the tavern were already on the highway to hell. Whereas the monks were on the highway to heaven.
The devil is never in a hurry for those he is sure of, but he goes after those he is not sure of with a vengeance!
St. Peter Chrysologus has this to say about the Weeds and the Wheat…the devil’s purpose and tactics:
“He sowed weeds among the wheat” … because the devil has become accustomed to sow of his own accord heresies among the faithful, sin among the saints, quarrels among the peaceful, deceptions among the simple, and wickedness among the innocent. He does this not to acquire the weeds of cockle, but to destroy the wheat; not to capture the guilty ones, but to steal away the innocent. An enemy seeks the leader rather than a soldier. He does not besiege the dead but attacks the living. Thus the devil is not seeking to capture sinners whom he already has under his dominion, but is laboring thus to ensnare the just.
“He sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away”… because with great might the devil drives men towards destruction. But after he has prostrated someone, he abandons him. The devil seeks not the man, but his destruction. Brethren, he rejoices over our evils, he swells with pride over our ruin, he grows strong from our wounds, he thirsts after our blood, he is sated from our flesh, he lives by our death. The devil does not wish to possess a man, but to destroy him! Why? Because he does not wish, he does not dare, he does not allow the man to arrive at the heaven from which the devil fell.
St. Peter Chrysologus (+450) was a Bishop, Confessor and Doctor of the Church.
THE DEVIL AND HIS DEADLY DECEPTIONS by Father Ed Broom, OMV
The Deceiver, the ancient serpent, the Liar and murderer, demon, devil, Lucifer, Beelzebub, the tempter, the enemy of human nature, the roaring lion on the prowl—all of these names describe the devil both from Sacred Scripture and from the writings of the saints.
Hatred of the devil. The devil is the exact antithesis of God. The Letter of Saint John describes God as love. The devil, on the contrary, is the epitome of hatred; the devil hates God, he hates all of humanity and all of us individually, and the devil even hates himself.
The fallen angels. Even though the devils are evil incarnate, their intellects are still very keen, though bent on perversity, evil, and destruction. Plotting and conniving day and night, the devil strives to use all of his astute strategies and tactics to wins souls to himself, to the eternal flames of hell forever. His dastardly and destructive maneuvers terminate only at the end of time. This being the case, let us offer a presentation of five of the most common tools the devil has in his armory to tempt us and then five of the most efficacious weapons that we can utilize so as to win the battle—the salvation of our immortal soul and those entrusted to our care and providence.
1. DESOLATION. Saint Ignatius of Loyola reiterates in the Rules for Discernment, as well as the Two Standards, the importance of vigilance. We must be aware of the inner state of our emotional life to detect when we find ourselves in a state of desolation, for then the enemy of our eternal salvation—the devil and his army—are raising their bows and arrows, their rifles, their machine guns, their tanks to shoot for the kill! Therefore, with an attentive awareness of being in desolation we can resist the onslaught of the enemy with greater intelligence and courage, and not succumb to his wily attacks.
2. KRYPTONITE: MAJOR WEAK-POINT. Athletes study their opponents to detect their weak points. In debates, the loophole or weak-point of one’s opponent once discovered can result in victory. Soldiers in the army use military tactics to defeat the enemy by discovering their vulnerable point open to attack. So it is with us; we all have our own kryptonite or weak point. Why the word kryptonite? Superman was an impregnable fortress except when he was exposed to the fictional mineral kryptonite; then he was rendered as weak as any human being. The desert Fathers coined the pithy adage, so useful for our spiritual combat: KNOW THYSELF!
3. SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT/MILIEU. We live in a very challenging environment, more challenging than prior centuries. The work world, the social environment, the social media, the entertainment world, and often even the family context allow the devil an open door for temptations. For example, with the Internet there is the constant temptation to view noxious and poisonous material; the devil takes advantage of this! Parties can be provocative—immodesty, drinking, and the proliferation of drugs. Even at work today, the temptation, behind which is lurking the devil, is to fall into dishonesty in so many different shapes, sizes, and forms.
4. THE DEMONIC PROLIFERATION OF IMPURITY. More than 100 years ago, Our Lady of Fatima stated sadly that most souls are lost forever due to the sins against the 6th and 9th Commandments—that is to say: sins against the virtue of purity or chastity. Given our social milieu, nobody with right reason would fail to admit that the situation has been exacerbated and has deteriorated to an all-time low with respect to the virtue of purity. Impurity are sins of the flesh, but they can involve the body, the mind, the imagination, even feelings, and the devil, once again behind the scene, stokes the fire with his invisible poker!
5. DEVIL OF DESPAIR. In the“Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul”, Jesus revealed to the modern mystic-saint, Faustina Kowalska that the worst of all sins and offenses against God is the lack of trust in His Infinite Mercy and the ultimate succumbing to despair. Once again, behind the scene is the nefarious, insidious, and malicious presence of the devil and his crew. The real and the worst sin of Judas Iscariot was his despair, his failure to beg forgiveness and to trust in the Infinite Mercy of the Heart of Jesus. With the devil in the background, but truly present, many in modern society have given up all hope and trust in the Love and Mercy of Jesus, their Savior, and Mary’s maternal power of intercession.
We have exposed to the light, five of some of the most prominent temptations of the devil, who in the words of St. Peter, is prowling like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. In all truth, the devil never takes a break, has a sabbatical, or goes on vacation either long or short. He works day and night in the houses, on the streets, in the factories, in the offices, in the schools, in the Churches and monasteries, in all places to win his prize—the damnation of souls for all eternity. Therefore, let us offer the counterattack, our strategy of defense. We will offer classic ascetical tools to win the combat against the devil, whom Ignatius calls the enemy of our salvation.
1. FERVENT PRAYER. No matter how powerful, insistent, insidious, ugly and astute the temptation might be, if we have recourse to frequent, fervent, humble, and persevering prayer, the victory will definitely be ours over the devil and his army. The best example is Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane as presented in the movie of Mel Gibson, The Passion of the Christ. Praying with so much fervor, Jesus even sweat huge drops of Blood. Then He rose to crush the devil with the heel of his foot! Prayer can conquer all!
2. PRACTICE OF PENANCE. Jesus was tempted by the devil in the desert for forty days and forty nights. In His trial and sojourn in the desert, Jesus basically dedicated his efforts to two activities: fervent prayer and intense penance. If you like, Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights. As a result, when the devil tried to tempt Jesus in the realm of food, to turn the stones into bread, Jesus responded: “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Mt. 4:4) The attempts of the devil to tempt Jesus were foiled, frustrated, and failed miserably. In another Biblical passage, when the Apostles asked the Lord why they could not cast out the devils, Jesus responded: “Those can be cast out only by prayer and fasting.” (Mt. 17:21) Therefore, if we can imbue and permeate our lives with at least small acts of penance and mortification daily, we can keep the devil and the temptations at bay!
3. PERIODIC SPIRITUAL DIRECTION AND TRANSPARENCY. Both St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Teresa of Avila insist upon the dire need for spiritual direction in the pursuit of holiness. We all have blind spots that can only be detected with the help of a trained spiritual director. However, most especially is it urgent and indispensable, to open up one’s troubled soul and conscience to a trained spiritual director when one finds oneself in turmoil, in the midst of a spiritual storm, when it seems as if the roof is about to collapse and the foundation is about to crumble. If you like, this is the classical Rule 13 in the Rules for Discernment of Spirits in the scheme of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. The devil wants us to keep our temptations and struggles hidden; if done, the enemy can easily transform a molehill into a huge mountain, a small cut into a gangrenous infection. (Editor’s Note: In this time of Covid-19 you may not be able to find spiritual direction. All the more necessary to go Confession at least every two weeks, confess mortal sins, and even venial sins though not required, and any strong temptations! This will confound the devil! Fr. Gabriele Amorth (+2016), the exorcist of Rome who performed untold numbers of exorcisms, counselled Confession every two weeks on a regular basis to ward off the devil.)
4. FALL OR FAILURE? BOUNCE BACK! NUNC CAEPI! Being weak and exposed to many temptations, it might be that we collapse and capitulate to the insidious and insistent murmurings of the devil. Only God is perfect and all of us are sinners, hopefully on the path towards holiness. A very ugly but ubiquitous attack of the devil precisely after we fall into whatever sin it might be—is to push us to give into despair and to lose hope. Or it might be the binge-complex! By this we mean, the diabolic temptation that might be expressed as such: “Well you fell, why not just fall again and again—drinking, porn, drugs, gluttony, promiscuity, etc…” The true soldier of Jesus and Mary, after a fall, will not give in to despair, will not throw the towel in and succumb to sinking into the mud, into the quagmire of sin. Quite the contrary! They will humbly admit their fall, have recourse to Sacramental Confession and start again! In the words of the Founder of the Congregation of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, Venerable Bruno Lanteri: NUNC CAEPI—START AGAIN!!! The arms of the Heavenly Father of the Prodigal Son or Daughter are always wide-open!
5. MARY: THE GENERAL OF THE HEAVENLY ARMY. Jesus is the King and Mary is the Queen. In Guadalajara Mexico, there is a noteworthy title given to Mary: “La Generala del Ejercito”—meaning: The General of the Army! In our constant battle against the devil and his army we must have recourse to Mary. We should be consecrated to Mary, wear the Scapular of Mary, pray the most Holy Rosary to Mary every day, and most especially in times of temptation to call upon the Holy Name of Mary. If done, the victory will be ours because of the powerful intercession of Mary! “Maria invoca; Maria cogita!” Invoke the Holy Name of Mary; think often about Mary… and the victory will surely be ours!
Copyright 2020 Oblates of the Virgin Mary