August 1 2020
Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Reading 1 JER 26:11-16, 24
The priests and prophets said to the princes and to all the people,
“This man deserves death;
he has prophesied against this city,
as you have heard with your own ears.”
Jeremiah gave this answer to the princes and all the people:
“It was the LORD who sent me to prophesy against this house and city
all that you have heard.
Now, therefore, reform your ways and your deeds;
listen to the voice of the LORD your God,
so that the LORD will repent of the evil with which he threatens you.
As for me, I am in your hands;
do with me what you think good and right.
But mark well: if you put me to death,
it is innocent blood you bring on yourselves,
on this city and its citizens.
For in truth it was the LORD who sent me to you,
to speak all these things for you to hear.”
Thereupon the princes and all the people
said to the priests and the prophets,
“This man does not deserve death;
it is in the name of the LORD, our God, that he speaks to us.”
So Ahikam, son of Shaphan, protected Jeremiah,
so that he was not handed over to the people to be put to death
Responsorial Psalm 69:15-16, 30-31, 33-34
R. (14c) Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Rescue me out of the mire; may I not sink!
may I be rescued from my foes,
and from the watery depths.
Let not the flood-waters overwhelm me,
nor the abyss swallow me up,
nor the pit close its mouth over me.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your saving help, O God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.”
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Alleluia MT 5:10
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel MT 14:1-12
Herod the tetrarch heard of the reputation of Jesus
and said to his servants, “This man is John the Baptist.
He has been raised from the dead;
that is why mighty powers are at work in him.”
Now Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison
on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip,
for John had said to him,
“It is not lawful for you to have her.”
Although he wanted to kill him, he feared the people,
for they regarded him as a prophet.
But at a birthday celebration for Herod,
the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests
and delighted Herod so much
that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for.
Prompted by her mother, she said,
“Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests who were present,
he ordered that it be given, and he had John beheaded in the prison.
His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl,
who took it to her mother.
His disciples came and took away the corpse
and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
60 The people descended from Abraham would be the trustee of the promise made to the patriarchs, the chosen people, called to prepare for that day when God would gather all his children into the unity of the Church. They would be the root on to which the Gentiles would be grafted, once they came to believe.
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
SATURDAY, AUGUST 1ST Mt. 14: 1-12 Death of John the Baptist… “Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” (Alleluia verse)
PART ONE: Our purpose in Life and Death…
PART TWO: Jesus, the Center of My Life… by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
Reflection on Death by St. Alphonsus Liguori (+1787)
But you might still insist: “Who knows what will be my lot? Maybe I will die an unhappy death!” Let me ask you: “What causes a bad death?” Only sin! We should then fear only sin; not death. If you desire not to fear death, then lead a holy life. “The fear of the Lord is glory and exultation. Those who fear the Lord will have a happy end.” (Sir 1: 9-11)
Father Colombiere (St. Claude Colombiere +1682) held it to be morally impossible for a person who was faithful to God during life to die a bad death. And before him, Saint Augustine wrote: “He who has lived well cannot die badly. He who is prepared to die, fears no death however sudden.”
Those who offer their death to God make the most perfect act of divine love possible, because by cheerfully accepting the kind of death which God is pleased to send them, when and how God sends it, they are just like the holy martyrs who died for the sake of the faith and out of love for Jesus!
So then, let us live our life only to advance in divine love.
End of Reflection by St. Liguori.
- Certainly St. Liguori describes St. John the Baptist when he says: “He who has lived well cannot die badly. He who is prepared to die fears no death however sudden.”
- St. Liguori tells us how to prepare for death: “If you desire not to fear death, then lead a holy life. So then, let us live our life only to advance in divine love.”
- When we love God above all others and above all else, it matters not whether we love Him here or in heaven, it is the same to us. We desire only to do His will. St. Paul gives witness to this: “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil 1: 20-24) This is Ignatian Principle and Foundation!
- St. Paul goes on: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:11-13) This is Ignatian Holy Indifference!
- It matters not if we are rich or poor, healthy or sick, live a long life or short life, receive honors or suffer humiliations – because in all things we desire to show our love for God by accepting His holy will, believing with St. Paul, “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” (Rom 8: 28)
- Our life, our purpose for being, is a love relationship with the God who created us out of love, who suffered and died on the cross to redeem us out of love, and who even now keeps us in being out of love! Therefore, we are to love all others as He has loved us, for they too were created out of love. Let the words of St. Liguori ring in our ears! “So then, let us live our life only to advance in divine love.”
- The tangible goods of this world, whether it be riches (money and possessions), or honors, or even people are distractions from the one Love that can make us happy. How many people come to this realization only at the end of their lives, when they come face to face with death and the emptiness that is still inside them!
- This emptiness only God can fill! Do we not see this? It is unreasonable to expect any person or thing to fill the space in our heart and soul that God created to be filled by Him alone! “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (Is. 49:15)
- St. John Chrysostom put the following words on the lips of Our Lord. We cannot read or meditate on this too often!
It is not only in this way that I manifest My love, but also by My passion. For you, I was covered with spittle and buffeted, I stripped Myself of My glory, I left My Father and came to you, to you who hated me, who fled Me, who did not even wish to hear My name. I followed you, I ran after you, I caught hold of you, and embraced you.
“Eat Me,” I said, “and drink Me.” It is not enough that I should possess your first fruits (a physical body like that of men) in heaven: that does not satisfy My love, I come once more to earth, not only to “mingle” Myself with you, but to entwine Myself in you. I am eaten, I am broken into pieces, in order that this fusion, this union, may be more intimate. When other things are united each remains distinct in itself; but I weave Myself into you, I want nothing to come between us: I wish the two to become one.
- Following is a series of short contemplative prayers for deeper intimacy with Jesus!
JESUS, THE CENTER OF MY LIFE! by Father Ed Broom, OMV
Jesus Christ is the center of all human history, the alpha and the omega, the principle and foundation, the beginning and the end, the key that unlocks eternal life to all who believe and place their trust in Him. By His Incarnation, life, death, and Resurrection He has divided history into two blocks of time: A.D. and B.C. Never has any person ever come onto the stage of human history that has had such a huge impact and Jesus did this all in no more than 33 years.
The following exposition in its essence is a prayer to Jesus. The short prayer expressions or prayer gems are taken from Sacred Scripture, most of them from the texts of one of the Gospels. If you like, these are Christological titles transformed into short prayers. It is our intention and desire that you will very slowly pray over these titles in imitation of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who pondered the Word of God in her Immaculate Heart.
CHRISTOLOGICAL TITLES TRANSFORMED INTO PRAYER…
Titles for Jesus are many and rich indeed! Let us learn to pray, to really talk to Jesus through the many and various titles inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus, you are the Bread of Life, give me a growing hunger and insatiable thirst for you. (Jn. 6)
Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd, grant me the deep inner security that I am never really alone because you are walking next to me, walking side by side with me and guiding me by your rod and your staff. (Psalm 23/ Jn. 10:1-18)
Jesus, you are truly The Resurrection and the Life, attain for me an ardent yearning to live with you for all eternity in heaven. (Jn. 11:1-44)
Jesus, your name means Savior, I beg you to stretch our your gentle but strong hand to save me. Lord Jesus, save me from doubt, from my inner fears and anxieties, from my lack of trust in your Divine Providence. Lord, in the midst of the storms of life, when it seems as if my life is on the verge of capsizing and sinking, descend upon me with your calm. Lead me to a safe haven. (Lk. 1:26-56)
Jesus, you are truly the Divine Physician, the Divine Doctor, I implore you to touch me with your hand and heal me. (Mt. Chapters 8 and 9). Lord Jesus, I admit my infirmities. Heal my mind with your light. Heal my soul with your grace. Heal my memory with your peace. Heal my body with your strength.
Jesus, you are the best of all Teachers. (Jn. 20:16) As I sit before you, I beg for your light to truly become my Teacher. I thank you for the Gospels (Good News) in which I can sit at your feet and absorb and drink in the Words of your Truth. (The Four Gospels).
Jesus, you are The Way, the Truth, and the Life. Pave the way for me as a highway to heaven. Inundate me in the rays of your truth. Finally, attain for me eternal life in heaven. (Jn. 14:6)
Jesus, you are the Alpha and the Omega, the Principle and Foundation of my life. Attain for me fullness of life by having you at the very center of my life, my thoughts, my words, my decisions, and my actions. (Rev. 22:13)
Jesus, you said: “I am the Light of the world”, cast out the dark regions present in my mind, memory, understanding, intentions, and my entire life. Shine on me and in me so that your Presence in my life may enlighten many others. (Jn. 8:12)
Jesus, you are truly the Logos—the Word of God issuing forth from the Eternal Father. May your Words be engraved deeply in my whole being so that I will be a living expression of your truth in the world. (Jn. 1:1)
Jesus, you are Emmanuel—God with us! In this journey of life heading toward our eternal destiny—heaven—may I constantly be aware of your gentle and consoling presence. May me prayer be that of the disciples on the road to Emmaus: “Stay with us, Lord, for the day is far spent.” (Lk. 24:13-35)
Jesus, you are the Christ-Messiah, the Anointed One. Through Baptism and Confirmation, I have received a double-anointing. I implore you to anoint my thoughts and words so that I will be an Anointed presence for my brothers and sisters. (I Jn. 5:1)
Jesus, you indeed are the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. By your Precious Blood that I receive through the Sacraments of Confession and Communion may I be cleansed and purified of all my past sins and live in the liberty of the sons and daughters of God. (Jn. 1:29)
Jesus, you are the healing hand that saves. Stretch out your hand to touch my festering wounds and heal me and all of suffering humanity. (Mt. 8:1-4)
Jesus, you are indeed the wounded-healer. Indeed, it is by your wounds that we are healed. May I seek refuge in your wounds, especially your wounded Sacred Heart. Indeed, this is my true and eternal refuge. (Is. 53:5)
Jesus, you are the Friend who is always faithful. May I always experience you as a true Friend, always willing to walk with me, talk with me, welcome me, and be present to me. You indeed are my true friend who will never fail me. (Jn. 15:15)
Jesus, you are the Son of God made man. I am eternally grateful to you for becoming like us in all things except sin. I praise and thank you for assuming your humanity from the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Jesus, you are The Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. As such I adore you and pay you homage as King of my whole being. Jesus, as King, I beg you to reign over my whole being. Reign over my mind, my thoughts, my imagination, my feelings, my intentions, my body and soul, in time and for all eternity. (Rev. 19:16)
Jesus, you indeed are the Crucified Savior. May my love and devotion to you result in crucifying and putting to death all in me that is unworthy of you—that is to say, sin and all of its negative effects. Jesus, “We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.” (Mt. 27:32-56)
Jesus, your Most Sacred Heart is a burning furnace of charity. Set my heart on fire for love of you and for love of souls. You said: “I have come to cast fire on the earth, and I am not at peace until that fire be enkindled.” Lord Jesus, give me that fire! (Lk. 12:49)
Jesus, you are the Son of God, the Son of man, and the Son of Mary. Through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your loving Mother, may I arrive at a deeper knowledge of you, a deeper love for you, a deeper understanding of you, and a more earnest yearning and longing to follow you all the days of my life! Jesus, Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary, may you be the very center of my life now and for all eternity. Amen. (Mk.6:3)
Copyright 2020 Oblates of the Virgin Mary
St. Peter Chanel Church, Hawaiian Gardens, CA