June 21-26: June 21 Monday (St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious)( https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-aloysius-gonzaga) : 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. USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-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.” (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
June 22 Tuesday (St. Paulinus of Nola, Bishop; St. John Fisher, Bishop & St. Thomas More, Martyrs)(https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-paulinus-of-nola; https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-john-fisher; https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-thomas-more) ; 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. USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-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. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
June 23 Wednesday: 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. USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-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. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
June 24 Thursday (The Nativity of 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. USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-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 John was, by our transparent Christian lives. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
June 25 Friday: Mt 8: 1-4: 1 When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; 2 and behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 3 And he stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.” USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/
The context: Today’s Gospel describes Jesus healing a leper as soon as he had finished his Sermon on the Mount and come down the mountain. In those days, all skin diseases were considered leprosy, and leprosy was known to be highly contagious. Hence “lepers” were separated from their families and society and considered ritually unclean. In addition, they were treated as sinners who had been punished by God with a contagious disease. The punishment given to Miriam, the complaining sister of Moses (Nm 12:9-10), to Gehazi the greedy servant of the prophet Elisha (II Kgs 5: 27) and to the proud king Uzziah (Chr 26:19) supported this Jewish belief. As a general rule, when a Jewish leper was healed (from any of the skin diseases considered as leprosy), he had to go to the local priest to have him confirm that the healed one was now clean and was permitted to mix with the general public.
Jesus rewards the trusting Faith of a humble leper: It is such a leper who has the courage to approach Jesus in public with trusting Faith in Jesus’ power to heal him. In all humility he kneels down and says to Jesus, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” Jesus violates the social taboo against touching a leper, and He heals the leper by a single command, “I will; be clean.”
Life message: 1) We all need healing from our spiritual leprosy. Although we may not suffer from physical leprosy, we all suffer from the “spiritual leprosy” of sins. It is sin that we carry with us that keeps us unclean. Jesus, our Savior, wants to heal us. Since Jesus is not afraid to touch our deepest impurities, and knows all of them better than we do, let us not try to hide them, nor fear to confess them in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Just as the lepers cried out to Jesus for healing, let us also ask Jesus to heal us every night before we go to sleep from the spiritual leprosy of sins, and let us approach Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation whenever we are in grave sin. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
June 26 Saturday: Mt 8: 5-17: 5 As he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, beseeching him 6 and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress.” 7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion answered him, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, `Go,’ and he goes, and to another, `Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, `Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.” 13 And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; be it done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment. 14 And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever; 15 he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and served him. 16 That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.” USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/
Context: Jesus’ healing of the centurion’s slave, described in today’s Gospel, shows us how God listens to our Faith-filled prayers and meets our needs. Centurions were brave, reliable commanding captains in charge of 100 soldiers. They were used to giving and receiving commands. They were the backbone of Roman army. According to Luke’s account (Lk 7:1-10), this centurion loved the Jews and respected their religious customs. He knew that Jews incurred ritual uncleanness on entering the house of a pagan, and he wanted to prevent this from happening by requesting Jesus not to go to his pagan house. Further, the Centurion loved his sick servant, trusted in Jesus’ power of healing, and was ready to face the ridicule of his fellow-centurions by pleading before a Jewish rabbi.
The remote healing: The centurion asked Jesus just to shout a command as he did with his soldiers, so that the illness might leave his servant by the power of that order. Jesus was moved by, and so rewarded, the trusting Faith of this Gentile officer by telling him: “Go; be it done for you as you have believed.”
Life messages: 1) We need to grow to the level of Faith of the centurion by knowing and personally experiencing Jesus in our lives. 2) We do so by our meditative daily reading of the Bible, our daily personal and family prayers, our frequenting of the Sacraments, especially the Eucharistic celebration, and by surrendering our lives to Jesus in rendering loving service to others in all humility. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21