From SFS Bible Diary
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Please note: From October 16th to November 13th daily reflection will not be posted. I will be away for home holidays - Fr. John Peter msfs)
Saint John Leonardi (1541 –1609) was founder of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca. He was born in theCity-state of Lucca, Tuscany. He was ordained as a priest in 1572. He first dedicated himself to the Christian formation of young people in his parish.He worked hard to spread devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, devotion to the Forty Hours, and frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist. He is the patron of pharmacists
Reflection: Love of God and love of neighbour involve love of oneself too, for Jesus said, love your neighbour as yourself. Maturity in these three dimensional love, that is, love of God, neighbour and self, characterizes the life of the age to come. Knowing the commandment of love is not enough to be mature in love. Jesus invites us today to grow in love by doing. Do this and you will live. Pressing duties should not prevent us from doing good to the wounded persons, whoever they might be. Mercy is not the conduct of a calculative heart. We are expected to show mercy to those in need, regardless of their race, caste, religion or region with no thought of reward. Mercy sees only need and responds with compassion. Often, it is the one who is branded as insignificant who turns out to be the Good Samaritan in our life.
St. Francis Borgia (1510-1572) is regarded as the second founder of the Jesuits. He grew up in an important Spanish family, but a series of events made him join Jesuits. He helped in the founding of the Gregorian University in Rome. At 55 he was elected Head of the Jesuits. He founded missions in Florida, Mexico and Peru.
Reflection: Both the Good Samaritan and Mary, the sister of Lazarus, represent the marginalized persons in the society. It is amazing that Jesus chose them to be model disciples! The Good Samaritan was a neighbour to the mistreated man and Mary dared to be at the feet of the Lord listening to His teachings. Both violated a clear social boundary as the Good Samaritan cared for a wounded Jew and Mary, a Jewish woman, preferred to learn the word of God. These two disciples articulate Jesus’ protest against the rules and boundaries set by the society in which He lived. It is regrettable that the boundaries, which Jesus abolished, still prevail in our communities of faith even after two thousand years! How unbending we are towards building up a true community where love of God and neighbour can be practiced without any barrier! The time is up for us to rise up from the callous notions and customs that breed division rather than love of God and neighbour.
St Pope John XXIII: Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (1881-1963) was from a farming family at Bergamo, Italy. He was ordained a priest in 1904. He worked as stretcher-bearer for the Italian army during World War I. He was named a cardinal and was appointed patriarch of Venice in 1954. He was elected Pope on the death of Pope Pius XII and took the name John XXIII.
Hallowing the name of God is the first part of the Lord’s Prayer. Our Fa¬ther, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be your name! If we analyze, each religion, each community of faith and each believer endeavours to his/her/its best to hallow the name of God. How can God’s name be hallowed when God is Holy and Blessed in Himself? The answer lies probably in the invocation of God as ‘Our’ Father. When we consider the others as our kith and kin and pray in oneness of heart, God’s name is hallowed. When we are in communion with ourselves, every human being and the entire cosmos, we hallow the name of God, for, there we live His image in our life. Regrettably, those who ruin themselves in wretched living, eliminate the fellow beings in the name of God or devastate the natural world, cannot realize the image of God represent in them. Our Father’s name is hallowed when we live His image in its fullness.
Our Lady of the Pillar: The first Marian apparition in history appeared to Saint James the Apostle, in Saragossa, Spain. This took place during the earthly life of the Mother of God. In 40 A.D., while praying one night the Virgin appeared with the Child Jesus standing on a pillar and asked Saint James and his eight disciples to build a church.
Reflection: The Gospel beautifully portrays a life situation wherein we have no other way but disturb the neighbour for an actual and immediate need. Here, familiarity with the neighbour is presupposed as a valid reason to impose upon or pressurize him or her to do a favour in the middle of a night. If our relationship with the neighbour is not intact, we might not dare to approach him or her at night. What does it imply in the spiritual realm? Why do we feel at times God does not treat us with kindness and generous care? Most often, it is due to our unfamiliarity with God and His ways. Truly, God’s goodness is greater than that of any human father. Then, shall we not approach Him with confident and persistent prayer even in the worst hours of the nights of our lives? What we require is familiarity with God and consistency in our seeking.
Marie-Rose Durocher (1811-1849) was born in a little village near Montreal as the 10th of 11 Children. At 18, she lost her mother, and for 13 years she served as housekeeper, hostess and parish worker in her priest brother’s parish. At 32, she founded the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary dedicated to education in the faith.
Reflection: We often resolve to do away with our evil inclinations and amend our ways. However we act in laxity to plant virtues in the place of vices. The daily prayers, participation in the sacraments and communion in family/community life, bring in good effects and help us to be free from our enslavement to evil influences. However, it is not enough to have been liberated from the enslavement. The emptiness left by the evil influences should be filled with the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It is childish to think that they will crop up automatically. We need to persevere, take pain to practice virtues, fill the life with the word of God and eat the Bread of Life to grow in God. We may consider ourselves morally upright, but lack of the fruits of the Spirit in us would make us worse than what we are. We should not only clean ourselves but also preserve our cleanliness to the end.
St Callistus: Tradition has it that Callistus was a slave who when obtained freedom was made a deacon by Pope Zephyrinus and later succeeded him. He was martyred in 222 and buried on the Via Aureli
Reflection: The Gospel of today highlights the greatness of those who live according to the word of God. Greatness in God’s eyes lies not in the gifts and privileges that have been granted to us but in the response that is given to God. The true foundation of Mary’s greatness was neither her being chosen to be the mother of Jesus, nor even her preservation from the original sin but her unconditional ‘yes’ to God. She faithfully regarded that ‘yes’ unto the day she stood in grief at the foot of the cross. What did facilitate her to persevere in her ‘yes’? It was the word of God. She not only received it, but pondered over it, kept it and lived it to the very end. We too can be great like Mary, if we live the word of God. Expertise on the word of God is never equal to being the keeper of the word in life. Greatness lies in the application of the word of God in our contextual living.
Reflection: At the first hearing, it would seem a bit unfair from the part of the king to throw out the person, just because he did not have the required wedding garment. The surprising act of the king would lead us to enquire the implication of the wedding garment. Paul in his Letter to Romans 13:14 would say to put on Christ and Galatians 3:27 emphasizes that we who have received baptism, are clothed with Christ. So it implies that our inclusion in the wedding banquet of the Lamb is not to presume that we are chosen. We are warned of the dire consequences of accepting the invitation and doing nothing except showing up our religiosity. So what can we do now? What¬ever might be our past, act in the present – put on Christ. The past is gone; the present is in our hands. So handle the present with care! Clothing ourselves with Christ would not only enhance our present but avail the essentials for the future too. When we live Jesus, God cannot drive us out of His love.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, V.H.M. ((1647-1690), was a visitation nun and mystic, who promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in its modern form. She worked to prove the genuineness of her vocation and her visions of Jesus and Mary relating to the Sacred Heart. She was initially rebuffed by her mother superior and was unable to convince theologians of the validity of her visions.
Reflection: Sign points to something beyond itself. You need a sign when what it points to is not present. Jesus, the one whom all prophets pointed to, was present amidst the people, but they did not recognise him. It is their blindness, self-opinionated stubbornness that refused to see. They, who are not open, cannot see. Thus, oppor¬tunities are wasted. Times of visitation by-passed; offer of salvation ignored. This is the situation of the Pharisees when they asked for sign from Jesus. Jesus, in response to the demand for sign reveals a startling truth which will remain true forever. He, as the Saviour who suffered, died and rose again ( ref Prophet Jonah in the belly of the whale for three days,)is the sign and what is signified is the same. The definitive presence of the Risen Saviour amidst u makes every moment of the “here and now” a sign of the presence of Jesus. To recognise Him we need no sign but a living and vibrant faith. Ask not for a sign from God; ardently seek eyes of faith, and you will see Him as clear as the dawn.