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Sept 27- Oct 2: Sept 27 Monday (St. Vincent de Paul, Priest) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-vincent-de-paul : Lk 9:46-50: 46 And an argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. 47 But when Jesus perceived the thought of their hearts, he took a child and put him by his side, 48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me; for he who is least among you all is the one who is great.” 49 John answered, “Master, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he does not follow with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him; for he that is not against you is for you.” USCCB video reflections: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/ ; https://www.epriest.com/homily_packs Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
The context: Today’s Gospel describes Jesus’ criterion for greatness with advice to be accepting of others who do good in ways different from ours. Jesus exhorts the spiritual leaders as well as all believers in responsible positions in the Church to be like children, humble, trusting and innocent. Child-like qualities: Children are basically innocent and honest. They are naturally humble, because they depend on their parents for everything. They trust and obey their parents because they know their parents love them. Hence, Jesus advises his disciples to forget their selfish ambitions and to spend their lives serving others in all humility, with trusting Faith in a loving and providing God. Then they will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Next, Jesus tells his disciples that there should not be any rivalry, jealousy or suspicion among them, as long as all hold the same belief. In today’s passage, the Apostles, upset by seeing someone who did not belong to their group using Jesus’ name to cast out demons, complain to Jesus. Since the present-day divisions in Christianity are substantive, rising from differences over the basic tenets of Faith, today’s Gospel passage does not apply to them. But there is no reason for any Christian denomination to be jealous of another denomination because of the greater good they do for people for the glory of God. True love seeks the highest good of our neighbor, while envy results from selfishness and pride, and it is contrary to true Christian love.
Life Messages: 1) We need to practice humility in thoughts, words and actions. “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart.” 2) We should not seek recognition and recompense for the service we do for Christ and the Church as parents, teachers, pastors etc. 3) Trusting Faith resulting from true humility is essential for all corporal and spiritual works of mercy. 4) Let us not try to prevent anyone from doing good to others because of envy or jealousy. Envy and jealousy are sinful because they lead us to sadness over what should make us rejoice. True love always seeks the highest good of the neighbor. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
Oct 27, 2021: St. Vincent de Paul: Vincent de Paul was born to a poor peasant family in France in 1580. Although he later achieved fame for his dedication to the poor, his early life was spent attempting to escape his humble roots. His family shared his ambition, hoping that a career in the priesthood would better the family fortune. Vincent became a priest at the young age of 19. But he had to be 24 to become an associate pastor in a parish. So he was sent for higher studies in theology and canon law for six years. As a young priest of 25, he spent most of his early priesthood mingling with members of the elite. He was very well liked because of his charm, intelligence, and sense of humor.
God had a different plan for Vincent: In 1605, (at 25) Vincent was returning home by boat from a trip. He had been on his way to sell some property he had received in an inheritance from a wealthy patron. While travelling, he was captured by pirates, who brought him to Tunis in Northern Africa. He was sold into slavery, and he remained a slave for two years. During this time, he prayed to God, telling Him that if his life would be spared and he was freed, he would devote the rest of his life to the service of the poor.
A pastor and community organizer: After his eventual escape from Africa, Vincent volunteered to serve a church in rural France. The poverty he found there shocked him—it was not uncommon for people who were unable to find work in his poor community to die from starvation. He began to take stock of his resources, and his former connections with the wealthy and influential led him to seek their financial assistance. He met with affluent friends and inspired them to organize into groups going from house to house requesting furniture, food and clothing for the poor parishioners. They were extremely successful in their efforts, and other parishes began to seek him out to learn how they could organize in the same way.
Founding the Vincentian congregation and Sisters of Charity: As time went by, Fr. Vincent realized that the mistakes of his young life, especially his focus on wealth and fame, had been caused by a poor faith foundation. As a result, he founded in 1625 an order of priests, the Vincentians, who received thorough seminary training and who pledged to devote their lives to the spiritual and material needs of the poor. Later, along with Louise de Marillac, he founded the Sisters of Charity. He then expanded his work, founding hospitals, orphanages and homes for people who were mentally ill. He also devoted his last years to serving prisoners and slaves, sharing with them his story of hope as a former slave himself. He was very well known throughout Europe in his own time. He died on September 27, 1660, and he was canonized in 1737. Pope Leo XIII made him the patron of all charitable societies.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul: The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was not founded until more than 150 years after St. Vincent’s death. When Frederic Ozanam founded the Society, he named it after St. Vincent de Paul. Ozanam was devoted to St. Vincent, who is the patron saint of charitable societies, and he modeled the Society on his call to “see Christ in the poor and to be Christ to the poor”. The members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul continue to honor his life and legacy by helping people in need and do not discriminate against cultural, religious or political beliefs.
Sept 28 Tuesday (St. Wenceslaus, Martyr) (https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-wenceslaus) , St. Lawrence Ruiz & companions, Martyrs) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-lorenzo-ruiz-and-companions : Lk 9: 51-56: 51 When the days drew near for him to be received up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him; 53 but the people would not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But he turned and rebuked them. 56 And they went on to another village. USCCB video reflections: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/ Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21; https://www.epriest.com/homily_packs
The context: Today’s Gospel passage deals with the beginning of Jesus’ journey from the northern towns of Galilee to the southern city of Jerusalem in Judea through the land of Samaria. The Samaritans were hostile towards the Jews because the Jews considered them impure. The Samaritans were descendants of Jewish men and women who married Assyrian Gentile immigrants during the Assyrian captivity(721 BC). In addition, the Samaritans had mixed the religion of Moses with various superstitious practices of the Assyrians. When the “pure” Israelites of Judah rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem (520-525 BC) after their Babylonian captivity (598 BC—538 BC), the Samaritans offered to help, but they were rejected because of their racial impurities. Hence, the angry Samaritans built their own temple on Mount Gerizim, in opposition to the Temple in Jerusalem (cf. John 4:20), and started offering sacrifices there. Because of this mutual hatred, the Jews from Galilee never took the shortcut through Samaria to go to Jerusalem. They took the long route east of the Jordan River. Jesus, however, chose the shortcut through Samaria. Hence, the Samaritans not only refused to honor Jesus as a prophet, but also violated the sacred duties of hospitality due to a rabbi. This made the Apostles angry, and two of them, James and John, asked if Jesus wanted them to command fire to come down from Heaven and consume these Samaritans as Elijah had done to destroy the messengers from the king of Samaria. (II Kings 1:9-12). Jesus rebuked them because Jesus was not a destroyer but a Savior. Lesson in tolerance: In today’s Gospel, Jesus corrects the disciples’ desire for revenge because it is out of keeping with the mission of the Messiah, to save men and not to destroy them. Jesus knew that prejudices are cured through love, not force, through mercy, not punishment.
Life message: Today’s Gospel gives us the greatest passage in the Bible concerning tolerance, which is brotherly, patient love, our “bearing with” one another. Quick anger over little incidents flares up – in the home between parents and children, in the workplace between the co-workers, and in the neighborhood between neighbors. Very often the anger explodes over nothing. The Spirit of Jesus is opposed to such feelings. Hence, let us have this beautiful prayer in our hearts and on our lips: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and a right spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation.” (Psalms 51: 10). Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
Sept 29 Wednesday (St. Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Archangels): Saints Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Archangels): (The Archangels: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saints-michael-gabriel-and-raphael/ : Jn 1: 47-51: Jesus saw Nathaniel coming to him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” 48 Nathaniel said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathaniel answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”50… 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”
The Archangels: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael: The angels are spirits created by God before He created man. They are meant to be extensions of God’s love and provident care for us. Their role is to praise and worship God, act as God’s messengers, do God’s will, and protect human beings. “He will give His angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways (Psalm 91:1). God sent His angels to destroy the evil cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, and to save Lot’s family. God gave Moses an angel to support and guide him: “My angel shall go before you” (Ex 32:34). It was an angel who helped Jesus in the desert and encouraged Jesus during His agony in Gethsemane. The Acts of the Apostles (1:14) describes how God sent an angel to liberate Peter from the prison. The Archangels form one of the nine orders of angels. The most prominent among them in Scripture are Michael the protector, Gabriel the messenger of God, and Raphael, the healer and guide for humans. All their names end in the suffix –el. This is a reference to God called Elohim in the Old Testament. Michael then means “Who is like God?” Gabriel means “God is my strength.” Raphael means “God heals.”
Michael: Michael means “Who is like God?” from the challenge he flung at the rebel angels led by Lucifer. In Daniel, he is the great prince who defended Israel. In the Book of Revelation, he is the mighty prince who fought with Lucifer and who dragged the serpent into Hell. Since he is the protector of the Church we recite the prayer to him, composed by Pope Leo XIII. Gabriel: He is God’s messenger. (Gabriel means “God is my strength”). It was Gabriel who announced to Elizabeth’s husband, the priest Zechariah, the happy news that his barren wife would conceive a son, John the Baptist. He announced the “good news” to Mary, that she was to bear the Son of God. He may have been the angel sent to Joseph in a dream to tell him that he was to take Mary into his home as his wife, “for it is through the Holy Spirit that this Child has been conceived in her. She will bear a Son, and you are to name Him Jesus because He will save His people from their sins.” Gabriel also announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds; he may have been the messenger instructing the Magi to return to their lands by another route rather than returning to King Herod, and also the messenger who appeared to Joseph in a dream to instruct him to return to Israel, as, “They who sought the life of the Child are dead.” Raphael: He is man’s God-appointed guide and healer. He guided Tobiah’s journey, did Tobiah’s task of collecting his father’s money from Gabael of Rhages, arranged Tobiah’s marriage with Sarah, gave Tobiah the means to heal Tobit’s blindness, and protected Sarah from the devil.
Life messages: 1) Dependable angelic assistance is a salutary, encouraging assurance for us to remember in our fears. 2) The truth that an angel is always watching us is an incentive for us to do good and to avoid evil. 3) Angelic protection and assistance form a great provision for which we must be always thankful to God. https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/ Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21; https://www.epriest.com/homily_packs
Sept 30 Thursday (St. Jerome, Priest, Doctor of the Church) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-jerome : Lk 10:1-12: — 1 After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. 2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4..9 USCCB video reflections: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/ ; https://www.epriest.com/homily_packs Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
The context: Today’s Gospel describes the sending forth of another group of paired disciples by Jesus to prepare towns and villages for Jesus’ own arrival there. Sent out with power and authority from Jesus, they exercised their preaching and healing mission according to the action plan given by Jesus. Jesus sent out seventy disciples, just as God had Moses commission 70 elders to be prophets in Israel. (Nm 11:24-25). Their ministry anticipates the Church’s mission to the nations. Jesus’ instructions and travel tips. Elisha gave similar instructions when he sent his servant on a pressing mission (2 Kgs 4:29). By these instructions, it is clear that Jesus meant the disciples to take no supplies for the road. They were simply to trust that God, the Provider, would open the hearts of believers to take care of their needs. Jesus’ instructions also suggest that the disciples should not be like the acquisitive priests of the day, who were interested only in gaining riches. They were to be walking examples of God’s love and providence. The Jews supported their rabbis and judged doing so a privilege as well as an obligation, for hospitality was an important religious tradition in Palestine. The Apostles and disciples were to choose temporary accommodation in a reputable household, they were to bless the residents with God’s peace, and they were to be satisfied with the food and accommodation they received, not search for better.
Life messages: 1) We have a witnessing mission: Each Christian is called, not only to be a disciple, but also to be an apostle. As apostles, we are sent out to evangelize the world by sharing with others, not just words, or ideas, or doctrines, but our experiences of God and His Son. We are to make Jesus “visible” through our transparent Christian lives, showing the people around us the love, mercy, and concern of Jesus for them. 2) We also have a liberating mission: There are many demons which can control our lives and the lives of people around us making us and them helpless slaves —the demon of nicotine, the demon of alcohol, the demon of gambling, the demons of pornography and promiscuous sex, the demons of secularism, materialism and consumerism. We need the help of Jesus to be liberated from these demons ourselves and to help Him liberate others from these bondages. 3) We have a supporting mission: According to Catholic tradition and Canon Law (Canon 222 #1), Christians are obliged to contribute to the Church from their earnings to help to support the clergy, to provide for the necessities of liturgical worship and to equip the Church to minister to the needy (CCC #2043, 2122). (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
Oct 1 Friday (St. Teresa of Child Jesus, Virgin, Doctor of the Church) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-teresa-of-avila : 1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me. USCCB video reflections: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/ ; https://www.epriest.com/homily_packs Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
Marie Therese Martin was born on Jan 2, 1873 as the youngest of nine children of a watch-maker, Louis Martin, and his wife, a lace-maker, Zelie Guerin. Therese lost her mother at 4 and four of her siblings in their early childhood. She was the “little flower” of her father. One of her older sisters joined the Visitation convent and three others became Carmelite nuns. Therese joined the Carmelite convent at Lisieux at 15 with special permission from Pope Leo XIII. She died of tuberculosis when she was 24 years and 9 months old on September 30, 1897. Pope Pius XI declared her a saint on May 17, 1925, just 28 years after her death. Pope St. John Paul II declared her a “Doctor of the Church” in 1997.
Sources of her life history: 1) Autobiography of a Little Flower (The Story of a Soul); 2) 300 letters; 3) 8- One act Plays; 4) 50 poems.
Secret of her Little Way and short-cut to Heaven: Do ordinary things in an extraordinary way out of love for God, with 100% dedication and child-like trust, being ever ready to undertake any type of sacrifice. Convert suffering into redemptive suffering and use it for the apostolate.
Conditions: 1) Be child-like and innocent with trusting Faith in a loving Heavenly Father. 2) Do everything with 100% dedication as being done for our caring and forgiving God, our Father. 3) Be ready to undertake sacrifice for others. St. Therese offered all her sacrifices a) in reparation for the sins of others and for her own sins b) for missionaries c) for the conversion of sinners.
Message: Let us follow the shortcut of Little Flower by becoming child-like in our relationship with God by doing His will with 100% sincerity, commitment and love. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
Oct 2 Saturday (The Holy Guardian Angels): https://www.franciscanmedia.org/feasaint-of-the-guardian-angels/ : Mt 18:1-5, 10: 1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; 10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven 1 angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven. USCCB video reflections: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/ https://www.epriest.com/homily_packs ; Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
The Guardian Angel: Although the doctrine and traditional belief in the Guardian Angel is not a dogma of Faith, it is based on the Bible. Each person’s Guardian Angel is an expression of God’s enduring love and providential care extended to him or her every day. Today’s prayers in the Breviary and in the Roman Missal mention the three-fold function of the angels: a) they praise and worship God, b) they serve as His messengers, c) they watch over human beings.
Historical note: Devotion to the Guardian Angels began to develop in the monasteries. St. Benedict gave it an additional impetus and St. Bernard of Clairvaux (12th century reformer), spread the devotion in its present form. The feast of the Guardian Angels originated in the 1500s. It was placed on the official liturgical calendar of the Church by Pope Paul V in 1607. “By God’s Providence angels have been entrusted with the office of guarding the human race and of accompanying every human being so as to preserve him from any serious dangers […]. Our Heavenly Father has placed over each of us an angel under whose protection and vigilance we are” (“St. Pius V Catechism”, IV, 9, 4).
Biblical teaching: Today’s Gospel (Mt 16:10), clearly states that even children have their Guardian Angels: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in Heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father Who is in Heaven.” Psalm 91:1 teaches: “For He has given His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.”
Life messages: 1) The conviction that we are protected by an angel is an encouragement against our baseless fears and unnecessary anxieties. 2) The thought that a messenger from God is constantly watching our thoughts, words and deeds is an inspiration for us to lead holy lives and to do good for others and avoid evil. 3) We need to be grateful to God every day, thanking Him for His loving care given us through His angel. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21