4th AUGUST 2021

Strength out of weakness – Arise Ambassadors Ministries

WEDNESDAY, EIGHTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Saint John Mary Vianney, Priest

 

Num 13:1-2,25 – 14:1,26-29,34-35;   Ps 106:6-7,13-14,21-23;   Mt 15:21-28


 

FINDING STRENGTH IN WEAKNESS

In the Old Testament the general understanding was that when someone was successful, rich, healthy and comfortable, the Lord had favoured him/her. Yet, the life of Jesus appeared to be an absolute failure. He was disgraced and publicly humiliated. He suffered and died a most shameful death. His friends abandoned him and in his hour of need, it seemed that even God had forsaken him. Centuries down the line, however, many of his followers have resolutely followed the same path that their master took. They embraced suffering, torture, pain, humiliation, poverty, disdain, and even death. They considered as a blessing what the world considered a curse.

From time to time we encounter many setbacks, disappointment, suffering and failure. These incidents often leave us shattered and broken. The word of God today invites us not to give in to discouragement, but to continue trusting in the goodness of God who never abandons us. We are strongest when we are weakest because in these moments we learn to depend on the strength of God. Having experienced God’s help in such situations St Paul proclaims, “I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:10)

The moments when we are brought down to our knees are indeed moments of grace and blessing. Instead of becoming discouraged and frightened, we must learn not to depend on ourselves but solely on God, for on our own we can do nothing. (cf. Jn 15:5) By clinging on to Jesus and relying on him alone we will exclaim, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13). St. John Vianney, overcame several obstacles on his path to the priesthood. Instead of becoming discouraged he depended upon the Lord and experienced what Jesus meant when he said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9)


Response: O Lord, remember us with the favour you show to your people.


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3rd AUGUST 2021

20 Observations from Peter Walking on Water | StaceyTuttle

TUESDAY, EIGHTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Num 12:1-13;                         Ps 51:3-7, 12-13;                    Mt 14:22-36


 

WALKING ON WATER WITH JESUS

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus goes up the mountain to pray. Later in the evening, he meets the disciples at sea, as their boat is “tossed by the waves.” The faith of the disciples is tested, as, amidst the storm, they see Jesus as a ghost. Their faith in Jesus is probed, whether the belief they had in Jesus was true?

 

Two things in this episode jump out in particular. First, Jesus invites Peter to do something astounding, and this is also a realization that we too as followers of Jesus are invited to do extraordinary things too. Through the mystery of the Incarnation and his life on earth, Jesus showed us what humans are meant to be. We are meant to be loving, forgiving, compassionate, and merciful. We are meant to question and challenge figures of authority who appear to have forgotten that leadership means service to others first, not the protection of power and position. We are called to be faithful to our deepest convictions and our central identity as beings created in the image and likeness of God. This might seem daunting, but I doubt most of us see it as miraculous. Human history and today’s news, are filled with stories of war, murder, deceit, and the worship of wealth and power. When we look at that long tale, the humanity that Jesus invites us into making him present extraordinarily.

 

Second, God comes to our rescue. Living in the way of Christ looks pretty daunting when we consider some aspects of the social and political reality in which we live, with human jealousy, selfishness, and pettiness so prevalent. We can probably count on failing or falling short. But God reaches out to us like Jesus reaches out to Peter. Our focus on living the life that Jesus has revealed to us sometimes becomes challenging. But if we are open to and strive for that life, we won’t be allowed to drown. Instead, God will continually invite us to walk on water, and reach out to us in our need, and pull us out of the storms of life.


Response: Have mercy, O Lord, for we have sinned.


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2nd AUGUST 2021

18 Top Pope Francis Quotes - We Need Fun

MONDAY, EIGHTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Num 11:4-15;             Ps 81:12-17;               Mt 14:13-21


 

A FIELD HOSPITAL FOR THE NEEDY

Pope Francis said, we find Jesus’ wounds in carrying out works of mercy, giving to the body (and also the soul) of our wounded brothers (and sisters), because he is hungry, thirsty, naked and humiliated, because he is a slave, he’s in jail, he is in the hospital. Those are the wounds of Jesus today. And Jesus asks us to take, a leap of faith, towards Him, but through these His wounds. (Cf. Homily July 2, 2013)

‘Oh, great! Let’s set up a foundation to help everyone and do many good things to help’. That’s important, but if we remain on this level, we will only be philanthropic. We need to touch the wounds of Jesus, we must caress the wounds of Jesus, we need to bind the wounds of Jesus with tenderness, we have to kiss the wounds of Jesus, and do this literally. Just think of what happened to St. Francis, when he embraced the leper?

In today’s gospel, we can see how God is concerned for the care of his people. We can read the miracle of feeding the five thousand in two ways. On the one hand, it is, without doubt, a miraculous event, pointing to the divine origins of Jesus. On the other hand, we can also imagine how the action of the disciples of sharing the little food they had with those around triggered a similar movement among the crowd, many of whom had brought some food with them. When everyone shared, everyone had enough.

This is what is behind Jesus’ wish to feed the hungry. Surely, he does provide bread to satisfy physical hunger, but the story of the gospel today carries a deeper meaning; that of the invitation to get fully involved in the lives of those in need. Today the hungry need to be fed, the refugees need a home and the sick and wounded need healing. Especially, with the pandemic, many have reached poverty and destitution. May we, the members of the Church, join together to become messengers of healing, a ‘Field hospital’ for the needy.


Response: Sing joyfully to God our strength.


Copyright ©2021 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

1st AUGUST 2021

Jesus replied, "I am the bread of life.

SUNDAY, EIGHTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Ex 16:2-4,12-15;     Ps 78:3-4,23-35,54;     Eph 4:17,20-24;     Jn 6:24-35


 

I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE

 

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” The shared theme of this Sunday’s readings is the provident care of a loving and merciful God who not only provides for the physical sustenance of his children, but gives his only son for their spiritual sustenance. In the first reading, we hear the grumbling of the people of Israel in the desert against God and his anointed servant Moses. However, God miraculously provides them with manna for food and quails for meat. In the Gospel we see the people, who had been miraculously fed on the loaves on the previous evening, coming in search of Jesus, seeking yet more food. However, Jesus tries to introduce them to the spiritual food – which is his own flesh and blood. In the second reading, Paul asks the Ephesians to “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Our desires are connected with our knowledge. We cannot desire anything that we do not know. Animals desire only physical food; whereas we human beings, along with food, desire many other things – knowledge, freedom, respect, peace, a healthy spiritual life, etc. Though some of these are innate, most of them grow with our knowledge of them. That is why the right knowledge is important. Hence, Jesus spent three long years teaching the people. The teaching about the bread of life is one of the most important ones. For without it, we could never grasp what he desired to give each one of us for our nourishment.

What does eating the body and drinking the blood of Jesus mean? Just receiving the consecrated bread and wine? Of course, there is no denying that through the Eucharist the faithful are nourished spiritually. But is that all? Is it not experiencing the proximity and companionship of Jesus at every moment in our lives each day?

Because of the prevalent pandemic, in some parts of the world people have lost the opportunity to partake in the Eucharist. However, people in some parts are so accustomed not to go to Church, or to partake in the Mass online, that they don’t find the need to come to Church anymore. Nevertheless, it does not mean that people do not have spiritual hunger. Each year a great number of people are heading towards new-age religions. More than ever, people are greatly searching for the supernatural. The age-old Christian practices like the Lectio Divina, meditation, the practice of the presence of God, etc. are hijacked and presented in an attractive garb by the new-age movements. The faithful have forgotten how to ‘chew and masticate’ upon the flesh and blood of Christ.

Most of the sicknesses these days, are associated in one way or another with the food and drink we take in. Junk food has been the cause of sickness in the younger generation. There are many trying to spread awareness about the health hazards of these foods. However, sadly enough, no one seems to be bothered about the food that we feed our mind and spirit with. The toxic ‘breaking news’ that is served 24×7; the vulgarity, vanity and the vengeance that is freely propagated through the movies, serials, advertisements, etc. have become our staple spiritual food! We are so much hooked on these things that without our full awareness, we are enslaved to them. Because of this malnourishment, marriages are crumbling, families are falling apart, criminal and anti-social activities are spiralling. May we learn to feed on Christ. May we be able to find at least some time daily – 10-15 minutes – in silence to converse with him. May we be able to realize the pangs of hunger and thirst of our spirit, and satisfy it in and through that holy and consecrated bread which the Father gives to his children every day. “Receive Communion often, very often… there you have the sole remedy, if you want to be cured. Jesus has not put this attraction in your heart for nothing.” – St Therese of Lisieux


Response: The Lord gave them bread from heaven.


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31st JULY 2021

Murder During a Birthday Party — Watchtower ONLINE LIBRARY

SATURDAY, SEVENTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Memorial of St Ignatius of Loyola, Priest & Founder of Society of Jesus (Jesuits)

 

Lev 25:1,8-17;                        Ps 67:2-3,5,7-8;                      Mt 14:1-12


 

A BIRTHDAY CELEBRATED WITH 2 MURDERS

During his brief public ministry, Jesus went through many bitter experiences. As a child, he was hounded by Herod the Great, who was a great builder, but not a great character; he desired to kill the divine child only because the wise men from the east came to worship him, and not Herod himself. One of his three sons was the Herod, whom we encounter in today’s gospel. This Herod was living in adultery, with his brother Philip’s wife, Herodias. John the Baptist dared to tell Herod that it was not lawful for him to live with his brother’s wife. Herodias was furious with the Baptist, and had him thrown into prison. Jesus knew about this. Moreover, John, from his prison, sent two disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one, we are waiting for?” Was John undergoing a severe crisis in the gloom and privation of his ordeal? It is more likely that John only wanted to remind Jesus that he, who had prepared the way for him, was in prison. Jesus, however, did not work some miracle to free John.

 

Meanwhile, Herod’s birthday drew near. Herod threw a splendid banquet for his courtiers and officials. The celebrations came to a peak when the daughter of Herodias gave a dance performance that enthralled Herod and his guests. He was so impressed with Salome that he declared he was ready to give her anything she wanted, there and then. Herod repeatedly swore he would give her even half his kingdom if she so desired. Bewildered and overwhelmed, the girl runs to her mother: “What shall I ask?” Constantly carrying with her at all times that bitter resentment against John for pointing out her adulterous life, her mother shakes her head, as though to say: “Nothing for you, my daughter. Today is my day; my lover’s birthday. Nothing other must you ask than the head of John the Baptist.” And at that instant, along with the Baptist, was murdered the conscience of Salome.


Response: Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!


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30th JULY 2021

REJECTION – JESUS SHOWS US WHAT TO DO | Wings A Journey in Faith

FRIDAY, SEVENTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Lev 23:1,4-11,15-16,27,34-37;                Ps 81:3-6,10-11;                   Mt 13:54-58


 

DO YOU REJECT JESUS?

Today’s gospel tells of the rejection of Jesus by his own townsfolk. Today, we the priests, religious and laity are his own people. We do accept him, and no longer question his family origins like in the Gospel. We do know theologically who Jesus is. We are called today to reflect, not on our knowledge of Jesus, but our acceptance of him. It is not an exterior acceptance manifested by rituals and spiritual practices, but an interior acceptance that is founded on an enduring disposition.

How would we describe the depth of our relationship with Jesus? We know that he comes daily in our midst, that he comes in the form of bread and wine in our hearts. Yet do we acknowledge his presence within in the way we live our life, and accept his presence in others in the way we relate to them? We know he is the son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Do we approach him with the same reverence and adoration? We know he is the redeemer who gave his life on the cross out of love for us. Do we give ourselves to him in unconditional love, for his service? We know he desires to be our friend. Do we spend enough time in prayer to grow in his friendship?

We also have something to learn from the response of Jesus to the rejection by his own. He did not quit his mission. Instead, he set aside the attitudes of the people and, with the same zeal, continued with his work of preaching the good news of his Father’s love. The acceptance or rejection of the world is temporary. Your greatest admirer today, may become your most vociferous critic tomorrow. If we hold dear the world’s opinion about us, we will be tossed on the waves of anguish, despair and discouragement. But the Lord’s faithfulness never wavers. Hence, as Christians, we have the Lord’s own challenge before us. “You will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved” (Mk 13:13).


Response: Sing joyfully to God our strength.


Copyright ©2021 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

29th JULY 2021

Mary-Martha-Lazarus icon - Crossroads Initiative

THURSDAY, SEVENTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Memorial of Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus

Ex 40:16-21,34-38;          Ps 84:3-6,8,11;                Jn 11:19-27 or Lk 10:38-42


 

A FAMILY THAT WAS HOME TO JESUS

 

The Church adds to the Liturgical Calendar this year to the memorial of St Martha, her siblings Mary and Lazarus. In the household of Bethany the Lord Jesus experienced the family spirit and friendship of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, and for this reason the Gospel of John states that he loved them. Martha generously offered him hospitality, Mary listened attentively to his words and Lazarus promptly emerged from the tomb at the command of the One who humiliated death.

The liturgy invites us to renew our faith and hope in Jesus. The gospel reading from John focuses on the death of Lazarus, and its impact on his sisters, Martha and Mary. Jesus was not present when Lazarus died. When he received word of Lazarus’ death, he went to the house. Martha went out to meet him while Mary stayed back in the house. When Martha saw Jesus, she immediately reproached him. She bluntly told him that if he had been there, Lazarus would not have died. She had hoped that Jesus would have healed him, and saved him.

John’s gospel applauds Martha. She is the self-confident one, who trusts in God in the time of darkness. She is the one who speaks to Jesus without fear, without hesitation, saying what is in her heart. She comes out to seek the presence of Jesus while Mary stays at home; When Jesus asks her if she believes that he has power over death and life, she believes. Martha is ready to believe in the inexplicable, to hope in the impossible.

How can I let others know that I believe that God is with us on our life’s journey? Have I ever said like Martha to Jesus: “I have come to know and believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God”? Perhaps today is a good opportunity to profess our faith once again in the Lord’s life-giving presence, a profession that comes, not from something learnt, but from something truly experienced!


Response: How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts.


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28th JULY 2021

Archdiocese of Bombay on Twitter: "With St Alphonsa Muttathupadathu's  canonization on October 12, 2008, the Church in India presented its first  saint for the veneration of the faithful of the whole world.…

WEDNESDAY, SEVENTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Saint Alphonsa Muttathupadathu, Virgin

 

Ex 34:29-35;              Ps 99:5-7,9;                Mt 13:44-46 or Mt 25:1-13


 

DISCOVERING GOD’S PRESENCE

Today’s readings call us to discover the Kingdom of God. In the first reading from the book of Exodus, we have Moses who lived amid earthly treasures in Egypt until he discovered his true calling and his real worth on Mount Sinai in the presence of God. From the moment of his personal encounter with Yahweh in the burning bush, Moses yearns to see God’s glory. His face is brightened after his experience of Yahweh. Likewise, as we ponder on the parable of the hidden treasure, we must know that the one who discovers it is willing to give up everything to acquire the land and make the treasure his own. Similarly, only a true merchant would understand the real value of a fine pearl and acquire it at any cost.

In the case of Moses and the two parables we come to realize that one has to set out on the journey of discovery of the most valuable and enduring treasure that a man can enjoy – the kingdom of God. But as we begin this journey, three things are necessary. Firstly, we need to detach ourselves from the things that give us security. Secondly, we need to determined, ready for the sufferings and difficulties that will come along the way. Thirdly, we need to keep reminding ourselves how precious is the heavenly treasure we seek and be willing to pay the price for it.

Today we commemorate St Alphonsa, who serves as a great example of how one needs to be ready to pay any price that is required to attain the kingdom of God. She suffered throughout her life but knew that her call to serve as a religious was far more valuable than any other thing that the world could offer, and so she persevered throughout her journey of discovery. We need to ask ourselves; is the kingdom of God the hidden treasure that I am seeking? Have I begun my journey to discover its presence and power? Am I ready to give up everything to in my endeavour to be part of it?


Response: You are holy, O Lord our God.


Copyright ©2021 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

27th JULY 2021

Pondering with the Padre: Are You a Wheat or a Weed?

TUESDAY, SEVENTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Ex 33:7-11, 34:5-9,28;                       Ps 103:6-13;               Mt 13:36-43


 

BEING LIKE GOD, TENDER AND COMPASSIONATE

In the first reading, God invites us to live a covenantal life in Christ. He reveals himself as the Lord, “a God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness.” Our mission is to model our life to that of this God of ours, avoiding instead, comparing ourselves to others. In this way we can fully focus our attention on following Jesus and learning to live and love like him.

Today’s gospel contains the interpretation of the parable of the weeds. Jesus leaves the crowds and goes into the house to explain its meaning to his disciples. In the interpretation, our attention is drawn to the weeds and the final judgement. Jesus, the divine sower, sows good seed in the field, which is the world. As explained by Jesus, good and evil coexist in the world. The evil one is opposed to those who follow the values of Jesus and relentlessly strives to lead them astray. It is he who is responsible for sowing the darnel. The darnel may not be easily distinguished from the wheat; people can get confused and tempted.

In the present age, it may appear that the wicked seem to prosper and the righteous suffer. The ambiguity of such a situation is temporary and will be brought to a close at the end of the age. The world is moving towards a goal that God has determined. At the end of time there will be a separation of the good and the wicked along with the corresponding reward each deserves. Matthew’s message is a warning to those who reject the message of Christ. To the Christian community, it is an encouragement and an exhortation to stay faithful to Christ till the end. The community must work at all times to bring back those who have gone astray. God’s judgement awaits those who reject his offer of salvation. How do I react to those who do evil around me? What do I do when I see someone gradually going astray?


Response: The Lord is compassionate and gracious.


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26th JULY 2021

Sts. Anne and Joachim

MONDAY, SEVENTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME Memorial of Sts Joachim and Anne, Parents of the BVM

Ex 32:15-24,30-34;      Ps 106:19-23;     Mt 13:31-35


 

RECOGNIZED BY THEIR FRUITS

Saints Joachim and Anne have an important role as the maternal grandparents of Jesus, yet we do not know much about them. They are not mentioned in the Gospels or any writings of the New Testament. What we know about them comes from the Gospel of James, an apocryphal writing from the second century AD, which is not accepted as part of the Scriptures by the Catholic Church. But we can also look at the life of Mary, and safely conclude that her parents were noble and virtuous. Jesus himself said: “You will recognize them by their fruits” (Mt 7:16). In this line, St John Damascene, Father and Doctor of the Church writes: “For by the chaste and holy life you led together, you have fashioned a jewel of virginity… The conduct of your life pleased God and was worthy of your daughter.”

This couple was simple and ordinary. In his apostolic exhortation, “Gaudete et exsultate” (Rejoice and be Glad), on the call to holiness in today’s world, Pope Francis speaks of the saints “next door” (n. 6-9). Often, there are saints in our own families or neighbourhood, whom we fail to notice because there is nothing spectacular about them.

In an interview on on January 31, 2021, Pope Francis announced that on the fourth Sunday of July each year, close to the feast of Sts Joachim and Anne, the church would celebrate the “World Day for Grandparents.” He said, “Grandparents are often forgotten, and we forget this wealth of preserving roots and passing on” what the elderly have received. Small is the seed that they planted and nurtured on this earth, and that seed grew to shelter the son of God. Little is the yeast of their faithful example did they add to the universe, and that yeast brought forth the true bread from heaven. What kind of seed do we plant in the hearts of our children and grandchildren? What kind of yeast? Of worldly ambitions and desires, or of faith, hope and love?


Response: O give thanks to the Lord for he is good.


Copyright ©2021 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in