READING OF THE DAY: 29 OCTOBER, 2015

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“Brothers and sisters: If God is for us, who can be against us?

He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?

Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones?

It is God who acquits us.

Who will condemn?

It is Christ (Jesus) who died, rather, was raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.

What will separate us from the love of Christ?

Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?

As it is written: “For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:31b-39.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 27 OCTOBER, 2015

Saint Frumentius

Bishop, Apostle of Ethiopia
(† 383)

Saint Frumentius

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.

(SOURCE: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).)

READING OF THE DAY: 27 OCTOBER, 2015

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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: 26 OCTOBER, 2015

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“Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath.

And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.

When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.”

He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.

But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.”

The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering?

This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?”

When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated; and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.” – Luke 13:10-17.

READING OF THE DAY: 25 OCTOBER, 2015

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“As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging.

On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”

And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.

But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.”

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, he is calling you.”

He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.

Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”

The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”

Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”

Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.” – Mark 10:46-52.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 24 OCTOBER, 2015

Saint Raphael the Archangel

Saint Raphael the Archangel

This holy Archangel identified himself to the exiled Jew Tobias as one of the Seven who stand before God (Tob. 12:15).

His name means the healing of God, and he is thought to be the Angel who came down and agitated the water of the pool of Bethsaida in Jerusalem.

The sick, who always lay around the pool, strove to be the first to enter the water afterwards, because that fortunate one was always cured.

We read of this in the story of the paralytic cured by Jesus, who had waited patiently for thirty-eight years, unable to move when the occasion presented itself.(Cf. John 5:1-9)

Saint Raphael is best known through the beautiful history of the two Tobias, father and son, exiled to Persia in the days of the Assyrian conquest in the eighth century before Christ. In their story, the Archangel plays the major role.

The father Tobias was a faithful son of Jacob and was old and worn out by his manifold good works; for many years he had assisted his fellow exiles in every possible way, even burying the slain of Israel during a persecution by Sennacherib, and continuing this practice despite the wrath that king manifested towards him.

Having been stripped of all his possessions, he desired to have his son recover a substantial sum of money he had once lent to a member of his family in a distant city.

He needed a companion for the young Tobias.

God provided that guide in the Archangel Raphael, whom the son met providentially one day, in the person of a stranger from the very area where he was to go, in the country of the Medes.

Raphael to all appearances was a young man like himself, who said his name was Azarias(Assistance of God).

Everything went well, as proposed; the young Tobias recovered the sum and then was married, during their stay in Media, to the virtuous daughter of another relative, whom Providence had reserved for him.

All aspects of this journey had been thorny with difficulties, but the wise guide had found a way to overcome all of them.

When a huge fish threatened to devour Tobias, camped on the shores of the Tigris, the guide told him how to remove it from the water, and the fish expired at his feet; then remedies and provisions were derived from this creature by the directives of Azarias.

When the Angel led Tobias for lodging in the city of Rages, to the house of his kinsman Raguel, father of the beautiful Sara, the young man learned that seven proposed husbands had died on the very day of the planned marriage.

How would Tobias fare?

The Angel reassured him that this would not be his own fate, and told him to pray with his future spouse for three nights, that they might be blessed with a holy posterity.

Sara was an only daughter, as Tobias was an only son, and she was endowed with a large heritage.

During the absence of the young Tobias, his father had become blind when the droppings of a pigeon had fallen into his eyes. When the two travelers returned after an extended absence, which had cost his mother many tears, the young Tobias was deeply grieved to find his father unable to see him and his new daughter-in-law.

But Raphael told the son how to cure his father’s blindness by means of the gall of the fish; and after the remedy had proved efficacious, all of them rejoiced time in their blessings.

When Tobias the son narrated his story and told his father that all their benefits had come to them through this stranger, both father and son wished to give Azarias half of the inheritance.

Raphael declined and revealed his identity, saying he was sent to assist the family of the man who had never failed to obey and honor the blessed God of Israel.

Raphael, before he disappeared, said to the family: It is honorable to reveal and confess the works of God. Prayer is good, with fasting and alms, more than to lay up treasures, for alms deliver from death and purge away sins, and cause the giver to find mercy and life everlasting… When thou didst pray with tears and didst bury the dead, and didst leave thy dinner to hide the dead by day in thy house, and bury them by night, I offered thy prayer to the Lord. And because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that trials prove thee… I am the Angel Raphael, one of the seven who stand before the Lord.

(SOURCE: The Holy Bible: Old and New Testaments)

READING OF THE DAY: 24 OCTOBER, 2015

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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.

…..THERE IS NO EXCUSE…..

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I start this with wanting to wish everyone an open mind, open heart, and in hopes it may call those who read it to action.

This is not my normal sermon, nor one I hoped as a cleric to ever have to write. See, I believed that if I gave out The Word, as I have been commanded to…spoke of peace, love, tolerance, and understanding…hope, joy, and the promises my Master gave…that it would somehow inspire and move people enough to realize what I have been trying to do and say all these years…

Sadly, I see little of what I had hoped for.

See, I look at my feed on facebook and what do I see? Politics…this candidate is wrong, this one is right… hatred of this race, love of this one….recipes for cakes….cartoons (and not that I am against those, you understand…for I too have a wicked sense of humor) but I see THESE types as decrying one thing or another in hopes of swaying someone to believe one set of ideals or another…politics or anger at some social thing.

I had hoped to see “I went to this shelter, and fed this many” or “I saw this person in need, and I helped them”..yes, I have seen one or two like that, and it always stirs me….but winter is coming, you see.

The forecasters have said this will be one of the most brutal winters on record…how it will be severe with snow, cold, and well below zero temperatures…and I think of all those who have nothing, or nowhere to go.

This world has become so jaded, so scared of itself, that good people cannot do anything for fear of being robbed, or attacked, or hated for doing GOOD things.

Take me, for instance.

I have been preaching love, understanding, healing….for 8 years now. Every day I wake up to an inbox filled with hatred of the vilest sort. Anger at who I am..what I do…who I help…and these attackers all go by one name: Christian.

How can that be?

How can they justify attacking someone who is only doing what is right? Doing what Christ TOLD us to do?

“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” – Mark 16:15

I remember an old saying “If God be for us, who can stand against us?” (BTW: they took that from Romans 8:31, just to be clear) …and yet they seldom embody the principles and instructions He gave to us to help one another.

I see governments passing laws making it illegal to be poor or homeless….I see them keeping people so afraid to help ANYONE because of the colour of their skin…or their religion…or where they are from…

Sad really, when you think about it.

We used to pride ourselves on the quality of our hearts, of our generosity…now we measure ourselves by the bank ledger, or goods we own…

I have tried to set the example…I have no money, nor property, yet I give all that I find (be it the pennies others have dropped on the sidewalk, or the extra can of soup in the larder) to any who have naught regardless of their colour, or race, or religion…

…I had hoped this would inspire others to do the same.

My Master set out what He expected of us in a parable…

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.

All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?

When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?

When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” – Matthew 25:31-45

“But”, you say “The government has made it illegal to help the poor”…..

Who rules your heart?

Who do you put your hope in?

Who promises you life…is it the government? Or God…?

When you appear before God in Judgement, how will you justify your actions? Will you say “It was not convenient at the time”..? THIS WILL NOT DO…you cannot set aside the dictates of God for the laws of man…

Even my Master said “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” (Luke 20:25 …yes, pay your taxes…yes, obey the law of the land…but when the law of the land tries to negate the law of God, then you must choose.

Sure, it may mean a jail time, or fine…heck, I myself have been cautioned by the police on several occasions about feeding the homeless….but have I stopped? No.

I am not strictly speaking about MEN…for homeless is not limited to mankind…

I am talking about those animals whom God entrusted us to care for as well.

I see stray dogs, cats…I feed them as well..

And yes, I have been cautioned about THEM as well…

It is NOT convenient for me to be arrested, or locked up for going against their laws….for many here would miss my presence…however, I cannot name ONE SINGLE PERSON who would be angry with me FOR doing what I do.

I cannot see one person rebuking me for following the laws of God rather than the laws of man….

So, if I can do it…what’s stopping YOU?

This winter promises to be bitter…that is fact…so…what can YOU do? I am sure there is at least one or two cans of food that would not go amiss from YOUR larder..there is probably a blanket or clothing that is in your closet that YOU can live without…..

Or, to put it the way my Master said…

“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.

A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.

So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.

He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine.

Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.

The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper.

‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”” – Luke 10:26-37

I say to you all…for every one of you who have come to me for aid, solace, or comfort…for spiritual knowledge, or relief from life’s pain….for every one of you who came to me that I have never turned away…for the times I spent leaving my own rest so that I could help you find your’s…for ignoring my own problems so that I could make your’s go away….

“GO, AND DO LIKEWISE”….

SAINT OF THE DAY: 21 OCTOBER, 2015

Saint Hilarion

Patriarch of the Solitaries of Palestine
(† 372)

Saint Hilarion

Saint Hilarion was born of pagan parents near Gaza, and was converted while studying grammar in Alexandria.

He renounced games, the theater and all the vain amusements of young people, to attend the reunions of his fellow Christians.

He desired to see the great Saint Anthony in the desert and went to Egypt, where he remained near him for two months.

He carefully observed everything in his life and conduct — his affability, his gentleness towards others and his severity towards himself, then returned to Palestine with a few solitaries to settle his affairs.

His father and mother had both died, and he kept nothing of his heritage for himself. At this time he was only fifteen years old.

Despite his youth and delicate health, he retired to a desert; he practiced severe mortification, tempted continually by the demons expending all their efforts to make him abandon this life of total renouncement.

He redoubled his austerities, tilled the ground and, following the example of the Egyptian monks, made baskets of reeds and willow branches.

He lived first in a cabin of reeds, then in one of clay, so low and narrow that it seemed more like a tomb than a lodging for a young man.

He learned all of Holy Scripture by heart and repeated it with admirable devotion.

When thieves approached him one day he told them he did not fear them, because he had nothing to lose, and death did not alarm him since he was ready to die.

They were so touched by his answers they promised him to abandon their life of pillage.

He soon began to work miracles by his prayers, and visitors made their way to his former solitude.

Several remained nearby to become his disciples, and thus gave rise to the monastic life in Palestine, of which Hilarion is regarded as the founder.

Saint Anthony esteemed him highly, sometimes wrote him letters, and sent to him the sick persons who came to him from Syria, telling them they had no need to make so long a journey.

Saint Hilarion was a master exorcist and healer of all illnesses, but he refused all remuneration for his assistance, saying to his visitors from the city that they were better placed than he to distribute in alms the money they were offering him.

Frequently the scattered solitaries of Palestine came to him to listen to his instructions, and he also visited them. The pagans too gathered around him.

His exhortations to abandon idolatry were so powerful that on one occasion a group of Saracens promised to convert, asking him to send them a priest to baptize them and establish a church.

One day, accompanied by three thousand persons who were following him, he blessed the vine of a solitary who received him.

The vine furnished a triple harvest and all in the crowd were well nourished.

Saint Hilarion found his solitude transformed into a city, and decided at the age of sixty-five to go elsewhere.

His Palestinian disciples attempted to change his mind without success, and taking with him only forty monks, he set out for Egypt on foot. Saint Anthony had recently died, and he wished to visit the places where he had dwelt.

After spending some time in Egypt, he went with only two religious to a village a few days’ distance from Babylon.

He remained only a short time there also, afterwards going elsewhere, and everywhere assisting those who had recourse to his prayers. In Sicily he delivered a demoniac, and then a crowd came to surround him once again.

In Dalmatia he worked still more miracles, and saved a city from being engulfed by tidal waves raised by an earthquake.

These traditions are still alive in the regions where he passed.

He tried many times to live unknown but never could succeed.

Saint Hilarion died in 372 on the island of Cyprus, at the age of seventy years. His last words were: Go forth, my soul; why dost thou doubt? Nigh seventy years hast thou served God, and dost thou fear death?

His body was found incorrupt some time afterwards, and was transported to Palestine to his original monastery.

Saint Jerome was his original biographer.

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

COMMENTARY ON THE READING: 21 OCTOBER, 2015

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Commentary on the reading of the day provided by 

Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe (467-532),

Bishop in North Africa

Sermon 1, 2-3; CCL 91A, 889

“Servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1Cor 4,1)

In order to clarify the role of the servants he set at the head of his people, the Lord spoke this word related by the Gospel: “Who, then is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time?

Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so”…

If we should be wondering in what that food allowance consists, Saint Paul gives us the answer; it is “the measure of faith that God has apportioned” (Rom 12,3).

What Christ called an allowance of food, Paul termed a measure of faith to teach us that there is no other spiritual food than the mystery of Christian faith.

We give you this allowance of food in the Lord’s name every time we speak to you according to the rule of the true faith, illumined by the spiritual gift of grace.

As for that allowance, you receive it at the hands of the Lord’s stewards each time you hear the word of truth from the mouth of God’s servants.

May that food allowance God shares among us be our nourishment.

Let us draw from it the solid food of our worthy behaviora so that we may come to the reward of eternal life.

Let us believe in him who gives himself as food to us for fear we may collapse on the way (Mt 15,32) and who reserves himself to be our reward so that we may find joy when we reach our homeland.

Let us believe and hope in him; let us love him above all and in all.

For Christ is our food and will be our reward.

Christ is the nourishment and comfort of travelers on their way; he is the contentment and rejoicing of the blessed in their repose.