June 20-25: June 20 Monday: Mt 7:1-5: “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.
The context: In today’s passage, taken from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus condemns our careless, malicious, and rash judgments about others’ feelings, motives, behavior or actions.
Reasons why we should not judge others: 1) No one, except God, is good enough, and only He has the right and authority, to judge us, because only He sees the whole truth and only He can read the human heart. 2) We do not see all the facts or circumstances, nor the power of the temptation, behind a person’s evil deed. 3) We have no right to judge others because we have the same faults as the ones we are judging and often in a higher degree (remember Jesus’ funny example of a man with a wooden beam in his eye trying to remove the dust particle from another’s eye?) St. Philip Neri commented, watching the misbehavior of a drunkard: “There goes Philip but for the grace of God.” 4) We are often prejudiced in our judgment of others, and total fairness cannot be expected from us.
Life messages: 1) Let us leave the judgment to God and refrain from being critical and judgmental. 2) Let us remember the advice of saints: “When you point one finger of accusation at another, three of your fingers point at you. Let us heed the Jewish rabbi’s advice: “He who judges others favorably will be judged favorably by God.” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22
June 21 Tuesday: (St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious)https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-aloysius-gonzaga: Mt 7: 6, 12-14:Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you. 12 So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. 13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.
The context: Today’s Gospel passage, taken from the Sermon on the Mount, speaks about the proper use of holy things, the Golden Rule we have to obey, and the less-traveled narrow way we have to take in our Christian lives.
1) Jesus advises his listeners to use holy things in a holy manner. The Jews had a statement in their Scriptures (“Do not put a golden ring in the nose of a pig or on the ears of a dog” Prv 11:22), parallel to Jesus’ statement, “Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine”(Mt 7:12) The Jews understood the injunction to mean the exclusiveness of their religion, which meant that they should not teach the Law to the Gentiles. The early Church interpreted Jesus’ statement in its earliest catechism,the Didache, to mean that only the baptized should approach the Eucharistic table. This view is reflected in the canons of the Oriental Churches, introducing a command in the text of the Mass before Eucharistic prayer, “Let the catechumens, hearers and unbelievers quit,” and a serious warning before Holy Communion, “Holy things are for holy people.” 2) The statement of the Golden Rule, “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them” (Mt 7:12), is Jesus’ positive contribution to ancient and negative Jewish principles, meaning that real Christianity consists in doing good to others by loving service and works of mercy.
3) Enter by the narrow gate:Supplementing the instructions given by Moses (Dt 30:15-20), Joshua (Dt 24:15), and Jeremiah (21:8), Jesus challenges his followers to “enter by the narrow gate and take the hard way that leads to life.”
Life message: 1) Let us learn to reverence and respect holy things in a holy manner. 2) Let us do to others what we wish them to do to us. 3) Let us choose Jesus’ narrow way of sacrificial love and humble service. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22
June 22 Wednesday: (St. Paulinus of Nola, Bishop,( https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-paulinus-of-nola) Saints, John Fisher, (https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-john-fisher) Bishop, Thomas More, (https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-thomas-more) Martyrs): Mt 7:15-20: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. 18 A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will know them by their fruits. Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.
The context: In today’s Gospel passage, taken from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives his Church a warning against false prophets and their false doctrines. Jesus compares them to wolves in sheep’s clothing and tells us we can recognize them by observing the lives they lead and the doctrines they teach.
False and true prophets: The Old Testament speaks of false prophets and how they mislead God’s people. Jeremiah 23:9-40 is a classic example. The prophet condemns the false prophets of Baal. The Old Testament gives three signs of true prophets: a) they honor God and promote the worship of the one true God; b) they care for the poor; c) they fight for justice. Modern false prophets in the Church try to remove the cross from Christianity, dilute sin, and avoid teaching about God’s judgment while teaching that morality is relative, which God abhors: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who change darkness into light and light into darkness” (Is 5:20). They try to separate the people of God from the Magisterium of the Church. But modern true prophets lead exemplary and righteous lives, obey God’s laws and the Church laws and demonstrate the virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity, Justice, Prudence, Fortitude, and Temperance. In addition, they produce the fruits of the Holy Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). The pre -Vatican II Baltimore Catechism expanded this passage from Galatians to Twelve Fruits: “Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Benignity [Kindness], Goodness, Long-suffering [Patience] Mildness [Gentleness], Modesty, Continency, Chastity [three effects of Self-Control].
Life message: 1) As Christians, we participate in the prophetic role of Christ. Hence, we have the duty of leading others to Christ by our exemplary Christian lives. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22
June 23 Thursday: (The nativity o St. John the Baptist) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/nativity-of-saint-john-the-baptist
Luke 1:57-66: 57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son. 58 And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your kindred is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all marveled. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea; 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him. Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.
The context:Today’s Gospel describes the birth and naming of St. John the Baptist, the last Old Testament prophet. He was given the mission of heralding the promised Messiah and of preparing the Chosen People to welcome that Messiah by preaching to them repentance and the renewal of life. John was born to the priest, Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth in their old age. Today’s Gospel passage describes John’s birth, Circumcision, and Naming ceremony.
A miraculous birth and an event of double joy: His elderly parents rejoiced in John’s birth, as he was a gift from God in their old age. Since the child was a boy, all their neighbors rejoiced with them, and the village musicians celebrated the birth by playing their joyful music. The Naming followed the baby’s Circumcision, and Elizabeth insisted that the child should be named John (which means “the Lord is gracious”), the name given him by the Archangel Gabriel when he spoke to Zechariah. The mute Zechariah approved that name by writing, “His name is John.” At that action of obedient surrender to the Lord God, the priest’s speech was restored, and he loudly proclaimed the praises of God for blessing him with a son and Israel with her Deliverer, Whose herald his son would be.
Life messages: 1) We need to pray for our parents and be thankful to them for the gift of life, the training and discipline they have given us, and the love and affection they have lavished on us. Let us ask God’s pardon if we are, or were, ungrateful to them, do/did not take proper care of them in their illness or old age or ever inflicted pain on them.
2) We need to remember and pray for our godparents who sponsored us in Baptism, which made us children of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus, heirs of Heaven and members of the Church.
3) We should have the courage of our Christian convictions as John the Baptist did, and we should become heralds of Christ as the Baptist was, by our transparent Christian lives. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22
June 24 Friday: (Most Sacred Heart of Jesus):
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the second popular Catholic devotion among Catholics, the first being the Rosary. The infinite love and mercy of God is shown in many different metaphors and symbols like the Baby in the manger, the Good Shepherd, the Crucifix, the Sacred Heart, and the Divine Mercy Picture. The devotion to the Sacred Heart is based on the apparitions of Our Lord from 1673 to 1675 to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a nun of the Visitation Convent at Paray-le-Monial in France. The Gospel passage, “They shall look on him whom they have pierced” (Jn 19:35-37) lies at the foundation of the whole tradition of devotion to the Divine Heart. The practices of the “Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus” in the home and the “Consecration and dedication of the family to the Sacred Heart” were begun by Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and were later approved by the popes. Official and social recognition of the rule of Jesus over the Christian family is the purpose of the consecration of the family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The “Holy Hour,” the “Litany of the Sacred Heart,” “The Act of Consecration of the Family and the Human Race to the Sacred Heart,” the “First Friday Devotion” and the “Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus” are different forms of this devotion.
Life Messages: 1) An invitation for heart transplant. Our hearts become stony and insensitive through our daily exposure to acts of cruelty, terrorism, injustice and impurity. Hence God prescribes a change of heart through His prophet Ezekiel (Ez 11:19-20) to make our hearts soft, elastic, large and sensitive:” I will give them a new heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the stony heart from their bodies and replace it with a natural heart.” The Sacred Heart of Jesus should be the ideal heart for this medical procedure because Jesus said, “Learn of me I am meek and humble of heart.” Let us ask to have the heart of Jesus.
2) An invitation to love. The Sacred Heart of Jesus challenges us to love others as Jesus loved, selflessly, unconditionally and sacrificially, and to express this love in humble and loving service done to others.
c) An invitation to pray: First, let us continue to pray for the grace of healing for those who have been the victims of sexual abuse by the clergy as the Church expresses its sorrow and seeks forgiveness from these victims. Let us also pray that these victims may, in turn, accept the grace to forgive those who have harmed and betrayed them. Second, let us pray for the grace of courage for our bishops to be true shepherds in caring for their flocks; in restoring discipline in clerical and religious life and in ending the dissent that has undermined the Magisterium. Third, let us pray for the grace of perseverance, that clergy and laity alike will keep the Faith and not lose hope in difficult time of purification. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22 Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.
June 25 Saturday (The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary) (https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/seasons-and-feast-days/immaculate-heart-of-mary-14358) Lk 2:41-51: 41 Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. ……51Additional reflections: Click on https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections.
This feast commemorates the joys and sorrows of the Mother of God, her virtues and perfections, her love for God and her Divine Son and her compassionate love for mankind. … In 1969, Pope Paul VI moved the celebration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the Saturday, immediately after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a special form of devotion to the venerable person of Mary, similar to devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Mary’s Immaculate Heart represents her interior life and the beauty of her soul. Devotion to the Heart of Jesus is especially directed to the Divine Heart as overflowing with love for men. This devotion is an attempt to respond to Jesus’ love and to make reparation for the lack of love on the part of mankind. In the devotion to the Heart of Mary, on the other hand, what seems to attract us above all else is the love of Mary’s Immaculate Heart for Jesus and for God. The objective is to love God and Jesus better, by uniting ourselves to Mary for this purpose and by imitating her virtues. In this devotion, we think of the love, virtues, and sentiments of Mary’s interior life and try to put them into practice.
Scriptural basis of this devotion: It was mostly the love, humility, faith, and other virtues of the Heart of Mary that attracted early Christians to Mary, the mother of Jesus. They saw Mary’s heart in its true color at the foot of the Cross. Simeon’s prophecy furnished this devotion with its most popular representation: the heart pierced with a sword. St. Augustine remarks: “At the foot of the cross, Mary cooperated with Jesus in the work of our redemption through charity.” One Scriptural passage in support of this devotion is the twice repeated saying of St. Luke given in today’s Gospel that Mary kept all the sayings and doings of Jesus in her heart, that she might ponder over them and live by them. A few of the sayings of Mary recorded in the Gospel, particularly the Magnificat, disclose new features in Marian psychology. Elizabeth proclaims Mary blessed because she has believed the words of the angel. The Magnificat is also an expression of her humility. Answering the woman in the crowd who praised Jesus’ mother as blessed, Jesus commented “Blessed rather are they that hear the word of God and keep it.” It was Mary’s readiness to hear and do the will of God that endeared her to God and caused her to be selected as the Mother of Jesus.
Life message: Let us take Mary as our role model and practice her virtues of trusting Faith, serving humility and readiness to do God’s will in our daily lives, thus becoming immaculate children of an Immaculate Heavenly Mother. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22
The Miraculous Medal also known as the Medal of Our Lady of Grace, and the Medal of the Immaculate Conception is a devotional medal, the design for which was provided to Saint Catherine Labouré by the Blessed Mother in a vision during a series of apparitions in Daughters of Charity Convent on Rue du Bac, Paris, France, on 19 July 1830. What St. Catherine saw in her vision was both sides of an oval medal. The front of the Medal shows Mary standing on a serpent, (the evil one), coiled on the globe of the earth; Mary has rays of grace streaming from her hand. In the band framing medal on which the image is centered, appear the words, O MARY CONCEIVED WITHOUT SIN, PRAY FOR US WHO HAVE RECOURSE TO THEE; the date of the apparition, 1830, is centered on the band under the globe. On the reverse of the medal, the central image is a cross with its horizontal base woven through the top portion (where straight and diagonal legs join), of the capital letter M. Beneath the letter are pictured the Sacred Heart of Jesus crowned with thorns next to the Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced with a sword. The whole of the image is framed in the twelve stars of the Woman in Revelation, “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of 12 stars” (Rv 12:1), St. Catherine was commanded to have a medal struck, with copies being made and distributed to urge people to pray to the Mary the Virgin Mother of God and to change their lives. The Saint did so, with some difficulties, and the medal was passed out to hundred. Miraculous healings in answer to prayers by those wearing the medal and honoring Our Lady caused the Medal to be called “miraculous” and hundreds to demand and wear the medal, giving copies to their friends, families and strangers The devotion has spread world-wide; the devotion of wearing the Miraculous Medal honors the Hearts of Jesus and Mary). (apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary )