Monday, 29 July 2013

From Me to We: Readings for 17th Sunday in Ordinary time.

Feast Day:July 28
Born:490 at south Wales
Died:565 at Brittany

 One of the first great Missionaries from Britain onto the continent, he was born in Wales of noble, but not royal, birth. While still an infant he was dedicated to God and entrusted to the care of St. Illtyd, by whom he was brought up in the monastery of Llantwit Major. Years later, after much success in his studies, he was ordained deacon and priest by St. Dubric. Years later, was made Abbot of a Monastery.  Not long after his appointment  some Irish monks who were returning from Rome happened to visit Samson's monastery. So struck was the abbot by their learning and sanctity that he accompanied them to Ireland, and there remained some time. After a few years of absence,  he returned to Wales, where his fame as a worker of miracles attracted so much attention that he resolved to found a new monastery or cell "far from the haunts of men", and accordingly retired with a few companions to a lonely spot on the banks of the Severn. He was soon discovered, however, and forced by his fellow-countrymen to become abbot of the monastery formerly ruled by St. Germanus;  He was ordained by St Dubric as Bishop, but eventually received a warning  from an angel,  which made him  determined to leave England and,set sail for Brittany. He landed near Dol, and there built a monastery which became the center of his episcopal work in the district.  It's where he lived until the age of 85, and where's he is buried.
 I'm afraid Today's saint really has not many connections to my reflections on the readings, but I'll only point out that I love it when the stories of Saints mentions other Saints! I promise to attach the Wikipedia link to the Saints mentioned from here on in. It's educational, and will help us get a better picture of this communion of Saint of ours!

Reflections:  World Youth Day in Rio has come to a close. News is still coming in about the actual figures, but an estimated over 3 million people  attended the last Mass - there aren't many events in modern history that have drawn that many people in one single place at the same time!  The Philippine World youth day in 1995 still holds the Catholic record with 5 million in attendance at the last Mass!- Part of the reason for the big numbers is of course Pope Francis. There are still many controversies around his papacy, and yet, his words and deeds embody so much of the Gospel message with them. Pope Francis is eager to restore some humility and simplicity in the Church, and many are excited about this call.

  Another one of his emphasis is how our faith  should take us out of ourselves, and into service of others. Our personal relationship with God is of great significance, and any journey of faith needs to begin at a very personal level. We see it with Abraham in the first reading. He has an incredible intimate awareness of God, an ability to speak with God at a very personal level, but also a deep knowledge of Who God is, how God would act. " Far be it from you to do such a thing as destroy a place that has righteous people". And yet, in this reading we see that Abraham is not turned to an interior experience of faith only. He gladly prays to God on behalf of the sinful city of Sodom and  Gomorah. He's concerned for his own relative, Lot,  but he is praying for the well being of the entire city. It's not just a personal, isolated relationship with God anymore. He has gone from his own needs to that of others. And he is pretty courageous in doing so too, as he tries to bargain for the safety of this town with God, almost calling God to task!! Ironically, that strength, that courage to speak his heart so honestly before God, comes not from himself, but from God!! This is a sentiment also  expressed in the 2nd reading as well, as Paul reminds us that though we die in our sins, through the power of our faith in God, through the intercession of our Lord, we take on a new life.

 This is the whole point of having a personal faith/relationship with God. It eventually grows/buds into something stronger, more courageous that will be of greater service to all humanity. As the  Psalm states beautifully  (paraphrased!)" I called, and you answered by strengthening my spirit".  With that strengthened spirit, we can move mountains!  Still, some people may say to me ' I tried talking to God, and he doesn't respond/ listen".  I promise you...God listens. The only problem is, many people out there assume God doesn't care simply because he doesn't give 'ME the things I want when I want them'. Yes...that's right. God don't work that way! That's a good thing. Otherwise Our Lord and Savior would be nothing more than a butler for us!! Instead, God is trying to teach us to exercise patience, faith, and care of others. To move from what 'I want' to what ' the people around me need". This is an act of courage and strength that we need to's an act of courage and strength that we need to let God exercise in us.

 This is why we pray as Jesus taught us. Those of you who pray the 'Our Father' regularly will know this: We do not pray 'My Will' be done...but 'YOUR/THY will be done'  And God's will does not lie in the selfish gratification of our own desires, but in the betterment of  all humanity. That's what Jesus means when he says ' ask and you shall receive'. He's really not saying 'ask anything you want', but instead, 'ask for the good in our world' We have a ways to go before our Christian community lives this unselfish prayer with the fullness of  Her heart, but let us never stop praying as Jesus has taught us...that's a wonderful start:


Genesis 18: 20 - 32

20Then the LORD said, "Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomor'rah is great and their sin is very grave,21I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me; and if not, I will know."22So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham still stood before the LORD.23Then Abraham drew near, and said, "Wilt thou indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked?24Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt thou then destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it?25Far be it from thee to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"26And the LORD said, "If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake."27Abraham answered, "Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.28Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Wilt thou destroy the whole city for lack of five?" And he said, "I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there."29Again he spoke to him, and said, "Suppose forty are found there." He answered, "For the sake of forty I will not do it."30Then he said, "Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there." He answered, "I will not do it, if I find thirty there."31He said, "Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there." He answered, "For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it."32Then he said, "Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there." He answered, "For the sake of ten I will not destroy it."

Psalms 138: 1 - *-3, 6 - 8

1I give thee thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods (heavenly beings subordinate to God!) Souce: NAB, Bible study)  I sing thy praise;
2I bow down toward thy holy temple and give thanks to thy name for thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness; for thou hast exalted above everything thy name and thy word.
3On the day I called, thou didst answer me, you strengthened my spirit.
6For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he knows from afar.
7Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou dost preserve my life; thou dost stretch out thy hand against the wrath of my enemies, and thy right hand delivers me.
8The LORD will fulfil his purpose for me; thy steadfast love, O LORD, endures for ever. Do not forsake the work of thy hands. --
Colossians 2: 12 - 14
12     You were buried with him in baptism, in which  you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
13      And even when you were dead (in) transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he brought you to life along with him, having forgiven us all our transgressions;
14      obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims, which was opposed to us, he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross;

Luke 11: 1 - 13

 He was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples."
 He said to them, "When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread 
and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test."
And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,'
and he says in reply from within, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.'
I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.
"And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those who ask him?"

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