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July 26-31: July 26 Monday (St. Joachim & St. Ann, Parents of B.V.Mary): (Grandparents’ Day): Mt 13: 16-17: 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/
The Bible does not say anything about the parents of Mary. The traditional belief that they were Joachim, a shepherd from the tribe of Judah and Ann from the tribe of Levi is taken from the legendary apocryphal source (Protoevangelium Jacobi) written more than a century after Jesus died. According to Protoevangelium Jacobi, Mary was born to her parents in their old age as a gift from God for their fervent and persistent prayer for a child. Mary’s parents offered her to the Temple, and as it was the custom, she was entrusted to the custody of pious widows who assisted the priests in the Temple worship. They taught Mary the prayers, hymns, psalms, and services in the Temple until she became a teenager. Her parents then gave her in marriage to St. Joseph, the carpenter. St. Joachim and St. Anne continued their lives of prayer until God called them home to Heaven. They transmitted to Mary and helped her develop all her good qualities, like trust in God’s providence, humility, love of the Word of God, and a spirit of committed and loving service. They faithfully performed their duties, practiced their Faith and established an atmosphere for the coming of the Messiah, but remained obscure. Veneration of Ann originated in the East in the 6th century as the patroness of childless women and miners. Devotion to Joachim began in the eighth century. France and Canada possess the principal sanctuaries of Saint Anne: in France, at Apt in Provence, and at Auray in Britany; in Canada at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in the Province of Québec.
Life message: Let us remember and pray for our grandparents on this feast of the grandparents of Jesus, gratefully acknowledging the lessons of Faith they taught us and the good religious training they imparted to us, directly or through our parents whom they trained. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
July 27 Tuesday: Mt 13:36-43: 36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “He who sows the good seed is the Son of man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed means the sons of the kingdom; the weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. 41 The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42 and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/
The context: Today’s Gospel text is Jesus’ explanation of the parable of the wheat and weeds. This parable teaches us that a very patient and compassionate God is hopeful that the so-called “weeds” among us will be converted, and that we should not be in a hurry to eliminate such elements from the Church, society, or the family, on the basis of unwarranted and hasty judgment.
Through the parable of the wheat and the weeds, Jesus assures us that we are the field of God. We are the ground Jesus works as well as the seed Jesus plants, and the seedlings Jesus nurtures. We are the people upon whom He rests His hopes, and the folk in whom He plants the seeds — the Word of God. We are the congregation He anoints with the Holy Spirit. In today’s parable, Jesus, presents a wise and patient God Who allows the good and the evil to coexist in the world, so that the ones who do evil may come to conversion before their time ends, and He must punish them. “Let the seed and the darnel grow together till the harvest time.” In other words, God awaits repentant sinners, giving them the strength to acknowledge their weakness. “God’s delays are not God’s denial.” God calmly recognizes that there is evil in the world but sees that evil as no excuse for the good people who have God’s grace at their disposal not to do good. Through the parable of the wheat and the weeds in today’s Gospel, Jesus calls us to be patient with those who fail to meet the high ethical standard expected of a Christian. If we don’t spend all our time wondering why there is so much evil in the world, we may have a little left over for wondering why there is so much good!
Life message: 1) We need to practice patience. We need to be patient with ourselves and with others, especially those who annoy us and those who offend us. 2) Let us patiently and lovingly treat the “weeds” in our society as our brothers and sisters and do all in our power to put them back on the right road to Heaven, especially by our good example and our fervent prayer for their conversion. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
July 28 Wednesday: Mt 13:44-46: 44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/
The context: Today’s Gospel passage gives us twin parables with a common message. Both the pearl and the treasure represent the Kingdom of God, or God’s rule in human hearts, or our close relationship with God kept intact by our doing God’s will.
Treasure & pearl: Since Palestine was the most fought-over country in the world in the first century, people hid their valuables underground when they fled from invading armies. The owners did not always get a chance to return to their land. Some other farm workers occasionally found such treasures, and the rabbinic law gave the ownership of the treasure to the finder. In order to avoid any later legal problems, the intelligent treasure-finder bought the land containing the treasure, selling all his other possessions to do so, if he had to. Pearls were the most valuable of the treasures. A merchant who located a superior pearl would be wise to sell the rest of his stock and property to acquire it.
Acquiring a treasure or a pearl of great value means accepting the will of God in our lives and sacrificing everything to do God’s holy will — in other words, living as God wants us to live. That is God’s Kingship over us and within us in action. The Kingdom of God is also a group of people on earth who, with God’s grace, work to do the will of God as perfectly as it is done in Heaven. Hence, being in God’s Kingdom also means offering willing obedience to God.
Life message: 1) A right relationship with God, or a state of Sanctifying Grace, is the most valuable treasure in the Christian life because it gives us a close relationship with God during this life and a life of everlasting bliss with God after our death. The Holy Spirit, the Holy Bible and the Sacraments are the treasures in the Church which enable us to do the will of God and possess the Kingdom of God. Hence, we must be ready to make any sacrifice to use these treasures, to practice self-control and to offer to those we encounter generous loving service, mercy, and forgiveness, thus keeping a right relationship with God Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
July 29 Thursday (St. Martha, Mary & Lazarus) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saints-martha-mary-and-lazarus : Jn 11:19-27 (or Lk 10: 38-42): 19 many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary sat in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.” USCCB Jn 11:19-27 (or Lk 10: 38-42video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/
July 29th was traditionally celebrated as the feast day of St. Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus. But on February 2, 2021, Pope Francis expanded this memorial to include Martha’s sister and brother, Mary and Lazarus. They were close friends of Jesus. Since they lived in Bethany, less than two miles from Jerusalem, Jesus visited their home each time he with his disciples participated in a major feast in the Temple of Jerusalem and Martha prepared meals for them. It was during one of those meals that Jesus praised Mary for finding time to listen to him and lovingly scolded Martha for being too much anxious and busy in the kitchen.
Pope Francis decided in February, 2021 to include all these three siblings, Martha, Mary and Lazarus for today’s feast. Martha is presented as a woman of great dynamism and action who despite her deep sorrow at her brother’s death, believed in Jesus as the Lord of life and death and proclaimed him by her strong profession of faith as the Messiah and God. Mary is included in the feast as a model of the keen listener of the word of God who was keen on applying the word she heard into her life. Correcting the unbiblical belief that Mary of Magdala and the sinner woman who anointed the feet of Jesus at the house of a pharisee was Mary the sister of Lazarus, the Pope approves the unanimous opinion of modern Bible scholars that all these three are distinct and different Marys. Lazarus is included in the feast because of his courageous and strong testimony of his resuscitation given by Jesus, despite the Pharisees’ threat to arrest him. When this memorial was established, the Congregation for Divine Worship said, “In the household of Bethany the Lord Jesus experienced the family spirit and friendship of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, and for this reason the Gospel of John states that he loved them.”
Life messages: 1) Let us invite Jesus into our families by consecrating our families to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and by allowing him to rule our lives. 2) We need both Marthas and Marys in the Church – women of action and women of contemplation. How would the Church survive if not for the Marthas and Bills who sing in the choir, teach in the Sunday school, work with the youth, run the altar guild, work with the homeless, and build the Church? The same is true with the family. We need responsible people to do the work in the house: to cook, to clean, to keep the house operating, to pay the bills, to keep the cars running, not to speak of rearing the children and loving the spouse. Households can’t survive without Marthas and Bills. Nor can offices, schools or businesses. 3) But we must find time to listen to God speaking to us through His word and time to talk to God. Where would we all be without the cloistered monks and nuns who spend their lives praising God and praying for all of us? Jesus clearly said: be hearers and doers of the word. Jesus never reversed that order. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
July 30 Friday (St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop, Doctor of the Church) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-peter-chrysologus : Mt 13:54-58 54 He came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished* and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?” 55 Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? 56 Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?” 57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.” 5 8And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith. USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/
The context: Today’s Gospel describes how, on a Sabbath, standing before the fellow-townsmen in the synagogue of Nazareth, Jesus read and interpreted what Isaiah had prophesied about the Messiah and the Messianic mission. Jesus claimed to be the One sent “to bring glad tidings to the poor, liberation to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and freedom for the oppressed.” Declaring, to the great amazement and disbelief of fellow-townsmen, that Isaiah’s prophecy was being fulfilled at that very moment “in your hearing,” Jesus announced to them that the prophet was foretelling and describing Jesus’ mission and ministry. Luke reports that the initial reaction of the people was surprise at the power and eloquence of this son of their soil. They were amazed that one of their fellow villagers could speak with such grace and eloquence and with such authority. Luke says they were “amazed at the gracious words that came from [Jesus’] lips,” because they knew Jesus only as a carpenter from a poor family, with no formal training in Mosaic Law. But their amazement turned into displeasure when, during this “Inaugural Address” or “Mission Statement,” Jesus took on the identity of a prophet, different from the image of the miracle-worker that people wished to see. Then their displeasure turned into anger when Jesus claimed that to be the promised Messiah of Isaiah’s prophecy. They challenged his Messianic claim, asking, and “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” They could not understand how a mere carpenter could be the Messiah who would liberate them from Roman rule and reestablish the Davidic kingdom. Jesus explained their attitude by saying “No prophet is accepted in his native place.”
Life messages: 1) We need to face rejection with prophetic courage and optimism. Perhaps we have experienced the pain of rejection, betrayal, abandonment, violated trust, neglect, or abuse, even from friends and family members, when we reached out to them as God’s agents of healing and saving grace. Perhaps we ourselves are guilty of the same rejection of God in His agents. Perhaps we, too, have been guilty of ignoring or humiliating people with our arrogance and prejudice. Let us learn to correct our mistakes and to face rejection from others with courage. 2) Let us not, like the people in Jesus’ hometown, reject God in our lives. We reject God when we are unwilling to be helped by God, or by others. Such unwillingness prevents us from recognizing God’s directions, help and support in our lives, through His words in the Bible, through the teaching of the Church, and through the advice and examples of others. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
July 31 Saturday: (St. Ignatius of Loyola): Ignatius was born in a Spanish noble family. After his initial studies, he was sent to the royal court to serve as a page boy. As he grew up as a young Knight, he joined the royal army. At the battle of Pamplona, a cannon ball hit his leg, making him cripple. During his recovery at the Loyola Castle hospice, he was given only Life of Christ and Lives of Saints to read. As a result, he had a conversion experience. Ignatius asked himself the question, “These were men and women like me, so why can’t I do what they have done?” Then he had the vision of the Mother of Jesus, holding child Jesus in her hands, which prompted him to go on a pilgrimage to the Marian Shrine at Monserrat, near Barcelona where he remained making a retreat at nearby Manresa, staying sometimes with Dominicans and other times in a paupers’ hospice, spending most of his time praying in caves, while fighting against scruples by prayer, fasting, reception of the Sacraments and doing penance until peace returned to him. It was during this time at Manresa that Ignatius wrote down his “Spiritual Exercises.”
He then went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. But because of the hostility of the Muslims, he had to return to Spain. It was there that he planned to start a religious group of men to support the Pope in his ministry. As preparation, he decided to restart his studies, learning Latin grammar, by sitting in the class of young boys when he was thirty-three. Then he went for his college studies. At forty-three, he graduated from the University of Paris. At Montmartre, with six other student friends, Ignatius professed religious vows in 1534, founding a new religious order the “Company of Jesus” or the “Society of Jesus.” They were ordained priests after five years. Along with the triple vows of poverty, chastity and obedience they promised to work for God in whatever way the Holy Father thought best. The new Society of Jesus was approved by Paul III in 1540, and Ignatius was elected to serve as the first general. The spirituality of Ignatius is expressed in the Jesuit motto, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam— “for the greater glory of God.” Ignatius recommended this prayer to penitents: Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O lord, I return it. All is Thine; dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and thy grace, for this is sufficient for me. Ignatius Loyola [www.ignatianspirituality.com]
Before Ignatius died, there were one thousand members of the Society of Jesus or “Jesuits.” Ignatius died in Rome, on July 31, 1556. Pope Gregory XV proclaimed him a saint in 1622.
Ignatius founded the Roman College, intended to be the model of all other colleges of the Society. The Jesuits became the greatest force in the Catholic Counter-Reformation. They continue to have a tremendous influence on politics and education throughout the world.
Life messages: 1) Let us try to do everything AMDG, trying to do it better each time. 2) Let us consider ourselves as trustees of God, as St. Ignatius did, responsible to and accountable to Him as our Lord and Master. 3) Let us try to be men and women for others, caring for their material and spiritual welfare. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
July 31 Saturday: Mt 14:1-12: 1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus; 2 and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist, he has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him.” 3 For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison, for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; 4 because John said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5 And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. 6 But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and pleased Herod, 7 so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” 9 And the king was sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given; 10 he sent and had John beheaded in the prison, 11 and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12 And his disciples came and took the body and buried it; and they went and told Jesus. USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/
The context: Today’s Gospel presents the last scene of a tragic drama with three main characters, Herod, Herodias, and John the Baptist. Herod Antipas, (4 BC – AD 39), was a jealous and weak puppet-king with a guilty conscience. He feared the prophet John because John had publicly scolded him for divorcing his legal wife without adequate cause and for marrying his sister-in-law, Herodias, thus committing a double violation of Mosaic Law. Herodias was an immoral, greedy woman, stained by a triple guilt and publicly criticized by John. 1) She was an unfaithful woman of loose morals. 2) She was a greedy and vengeful woman. 3) She was an evil mother who used her teenage daughter for the wicked purposes of murder and revenge by encouraging her to dance in public in the royal palace against the royal etiquette of the day. John the Baptist was a fiery preacher and the herald of the Promised Messiah. He was also a Spirit-filled prophet with the courage of his convictions who criticized and scolded an Oriental monarch and his proud wife in public.
God’s punishment: After the martyrdom of John, Herod was defeated by Aretas, the father of Herod’s first wife. Later, both Herod and Herodias were sent into exile by Caligula, the Roman emperor.
Life messages: 1) As Christians we need to have the moral integrity and the courage of our convictions as John had. 2) Let us remember that sins of revenge and cruelty will never go unpunished. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
Attached : “Samaritanus bonus” Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith document summarized in 20 points as pdf
For the full document, visit, https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20200714_samaritanus-bonus_en.html