READING OF THE DAY: 31 OCTOBER, 2013

Jesus teaching at the Temple

“Some Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you.”

He replied, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose.

Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day, for it is impossible that a prophet should die outside of Jerusalem.’

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling!

Behold, your house will be abandoned.

(But) I tell you, you will not see me until (the time comes when) you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'” -Luke 13:31-35.

READING OF THE DAY: 30 OCTOBER, 2013

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Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.

Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?”

He answered them, Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’

He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from.’

And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’

Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where (you) are from.

Depart from me, all you evildoers!’

And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out.

And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.

For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” -Luke 13:22-30.

READING OF THE DAY: 29 OCTOBER, 2013

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“Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like?

To what can I compare it?

It is like a mustard seed that a person took and planted in the garden.

When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and ‘the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.'”

Again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God?

It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.” -Luke 13:18-21.

READING OF THE DAY: 28 OCTOBER, 2013

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“Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.

When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named apostles:

Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot,and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground.

A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon
came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured.

Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all.” -Luke 6:12-19.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 27 OCTOBER, 2013

saint_frumentius

Saint Frumentius
Bishop, Apostle of Ethiopia
(† 383)

Saint Frumentius was still a child when his uncle, a Christian philosopher of Tyre in Phoenicia, took him and his brother Edesius on a voyage to Ethiopia.

In the course of their voyage the vessel anchored at a certain port, and the barbarians of that country slew with the sword all the crew and passengers, except the two children.

Because of their youth and beauty they were taken to the king at Axuma, who, charmed with the wit and sprightliness of the two boys, took special care of their education, and later made Edesius his cup-bearer and Frumentius, who was a little older, his treasurer and secretary of state.

The king, on his deathbed, thanked them for their services and in reward gave them their liberty.

After his death the queen begged them to remain at court and assist her in the government of the state until the young prince came of age; this they did, using their influence to spread Christianity. When the young king reached his majority, Edesius desired to return to Tyre, and Frumentius accompanied him as far as Alexandria.

There he begged Saint Athanasius, its Patriarch, to send a bishop to the country where they had spent many years; and the Patriarch, considering him the best possible candidate for this office, in the year 328 consecrated him bishop for the Ethiopians.

Vested with this sacred character he gained great numbers to the Faith by his discourses and miracles, and the entire nation embraced Christianity with its young king, thus fulfilling a famous prophecy of Isaiah, uttered 800 years before Christ. (Isaiah 45:14)

Saint Frumentius continued to feed and defend his flock until it pleased the Supreme Pastor to call him home and reward his fidelity and labors, in about the year 383.

We may note that the date of October 27th is also the feast day of a king of Ethiopia, Saint Elesbaan, who after overcoming the enemies of Christ, sent his royal diadem to Jerusalem in the time of the Emperor Justinus, and embraced monastic life.

He died 250 years after Saint Frumentius, in 523.

READING OF THE DAY: 27 OCTOBER, 2013

Pharisee&TaxCollector

“Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.

Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.

The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,

‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity–greedy, dishonest, adulterous–or even like this tax collector.

I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’

But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’

I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” -Luke 18:9-14.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 26 OCTOBER, 2013

saint_evaristus

Saint Evaristus
Pope and martyr
(† 108)

Saint Evaristus succeeded Saint Anacletus on the throne of Saint Peter, elected during the second general persecution, under the reign of Domitian.

That emperor no doubt did not know that the Christian pontificate was being perpetuated in the shadows of the catacombs.

The text of the Liber Pontificalis, says of the new pope:

Evaristus, born in Greece of a Jewish father named Juda, originally from the city of Bethlehem, reigned for thirteen years, six months and two days, under the reigns of Domitian, Nerva and Trajan, from the Consulate of Valens and Veter (96) until that of Gallus and Bradua (108). This pontiff divided among the priests the titles of the city of Rome. By a constitution he established seven deacons who were to assist the bishop and serve as authentic witnesses for him.

During the three ordinations which he conducted in the month of December, he promoted six priests, two deacons and five bishops, destined for various churches. Evaristus received the crown of martyrdom.

He was buried near the body of Blessed Peter in the Vatican, on the sixth day of the Calends of November (October 25, 108).

The episcopal throne remained vacant for nineteen days.

The Bollandists explain two passages of this text as follows: Saint Anacletus had ordained twenty-five priests for the city of Rome; Saint Evaristus completed this institution by settling the boundaries of each of these titles, and filling the vacancies which probably occurred during the persecution of Diocletian.

As for the decree by which he ordains that seven deacons make up the cortege of the bishop, we find in the first epistle of Saint Anacletus a text which helps us to grasp and better perceive the discipline of the early Church.

There existed amid the diverse elements which composed it in its first years, proud minds, envious souls, ambitious hearts which could not bear the yoke of obedience, and who by their revolts and incessant detraction fatigued the patience of the Apostles.

The deacons were to be the Pope’s guards against their ill-intentioned projects.

It was at the same time as Saint Ignatius, the illustrious bishop of Antioch, that Pope Saint Evaristus gave his life by martyrdom.

The acts of his martyrdom are lost, but we perceive that the same faith, heroism and devotion united the churches of the East and of the West.

He is often represented with a sword because he was decapitated, or with a crib, because it is believed that he was born in Bethlehem, from which his father migrated.

Reflection: The disciples of the apostles, by assiduous meditation on heavenly things, were so rapt by foreshadowings of the life to come, that they seemed no longer to inhabit this world.

If Christians esteem and set their hearts on earthly goods and lose sight of eternity, they are no longer animated by the spirit of the primitive Saints and have become children of this world, slaves to its vanities and to their own irregular passions.

If we do not correct this disorder of our heart and conform our interior life, with its decisions and propensities, to the spirit of Christ, we cannot be heirs to His promises.

(SOURCE: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 12;)

READING OF THE DAY: 26 OCTOBER, 2013

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“Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.

He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?

By no means!

But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!

Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them –do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?

By no means!

But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. (So) cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’

He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.'” -Luke 13:1-9.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 25 OCTOBER, 2013

saints_crispin_and_crispinian

Saints Crispin and Crispinian
Martyrs
(†285 or 286)

These two glorious martyrs, who were brothers, were born of a distinguished Roman family; they came from Rome to preach the Faith in Gaul toward the middle of the third century, and took up residence in Soissons.

They instructed many in the Faith of Christ, which they preached publicly during the day. At night they worked at making shoes, following the example of Saint Paul who recommends that the preachers of Christ imitate him — that is, sustain themselves when necessary by the work of their own hands.

The infidels who came to their workshop were charmed by their polite and affable manners, and enjoyed coming to ask their services and converse with them.

The profound conviction which imbued all they said about Christianity made a strong impression on those who heard them.

They remained about forty years in this occupation at Soissons without being troubled, even though they determined many to renounce the cult of false gods.

But the time was coming when they were destined to give the most perfect testimony possible to their faith, by suffering many and varied tortures and shedding their blood.

In 285 the emperor Diocletian sent his vicar Maximian Herculeus into Gaul, where this tyrant revealed his intentions by ordering the massacre of the entire Theban legion.

At Soissons, he soon discovered that the progress of the religion of the Nazarene was largely the effect of the presence there of the two brothers. When summoned to appear before him, they were not moved by either threats or promises; and Maximian, seeing he could do nothing with them, sent them to his minister Rictiovarus, prefect of Gaul, with orders to spare them no sort of torture.

At Soissons the memory of their torment is still much alive; an abbey was built at the site of the prison where they were enclosed.

They were suspended by pulleys and struck with clubs; they were tormented in their hands and mouth with wires, and strips of flesh were cut off their backs.

They ceased not to pray; when certain instruments destined for them turned against their tormenters, they were regarded as magicians. They were attached to millstones and thrown in the river, but the stones detached themselves, and they swam to the far shore. A hotbed of fire, molten lead and tar did not consume them, and they sang hymns to the Lord.

A drop of this mixture seemed to leap from the fire into the eye of Rictiovarus.

Out of his mind with fury, he threw himself onto the brazier and there met his end.

The martyrs were patient and constant under these fearful torments and finished their course by the sword in the year 286.

A Christian brother and sister buried their bodies on their own terrain, where later a public oratory was constructed.

On its site, the parish priest of Mattaincourt, Saint Peter Fourier, long afterwards established the Congregation of teaching Sisters which he founded.

READING OF THE DAY: 25 OCTOBER, 2013

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“Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is.

You hypocrites!

You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?

If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the constable, and the constable throw you into prison.

I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.” – Luke 12:54-59.