Permanent link to this article: http://bookofheaven.org/2016/10/25/gospel-reading-for-oct-25-2016-with-divine-will-truths-yeast-of-the-kingdom/
Permanent link to this article: http://bookofheaven.org/2016/10/24/the-importance-of-the-holy-cross/
Permanent link to this article: http://bookofheaven.org/2016/10/24/gospel-reading-for-oct-24-2016-with-divine-will-truths-labor-and-rest/
XXX Sunday of Ordinary Time
“O God, be merciful to me a sinner!”
Brothers and sisters, Fiat!
The issue today is linked to that of last Sunday. It is about prayer as the most intense expression of the inner experience that man has of himself and of his more personal relationship with God. Prayer is the experience of liberation from all hypocrisy; it’s the moment of inner truth; it’s the most intense experience of love. It’s the need for love that every man feels in the depths of himself and is found in the gratuitousness of God’s love. Certainly, prayer is part of the path of faith and is the core of this path that requires the courage to cast ourselves into the infinite and always mysterious love of God.
The passage of this Sunday adds a singular connotation to the subject of prayer: the way of conceiving life in relation to God. In fact, prayer reveals something beyond the prayer itself. What is at stake, here, is the way of conceiving God and His salvation, ourselves and our neighbor. With this parable, Jesus warns against the risk of falling into a “prayer that is not prayer,” because before God, no man can boast of anything. To be very clear Jesus takes a photo snapshot of the attitude of two men: the Pharisee and the tax collector.
The Pharisee observed carefully the practices of his religion and had a spirit of sacrifice. He was not happy with what was strictly necessary, but did more. He did not fast only one day a week, as the law prescribed, but two. His error consisted in believing himself as God’s creditor.
He did not mean salvation as a gift, but rather as a fitting reward for the duty fulfilled. In fact, the Pharisee did not pray to recognize the holiness of God, but because people could see him and recognize his supposed holiness. He considered himself the centre of the world! The Pharisee sought his own righteousness and neglected the justice of God. In addition, he condemned the attitude of the tax collector, accusing him during his prayer. “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity — greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.” … The Pharisee exploited the moment of his dialogue with God for his own self-glorification. He did not express the need for God
The tax collector, with his head bowed in shame, beat his breast like a person without dignity. The mercy of God was his only resource. In the Gospel, in fact, Jesus doesn’t say that he was without sin; He didn’t justify his life as a thief and traitor. However, He accepted his humble supplication: “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.” The tax collector was telling the truth: he felt the weight of his dishonesty from which he wanted to be freed, as he felt himself a sinner and felt the need for change. He knew he could not claim anything from God. The humble man feels himself small, a sinner in need of grace and mercy. It is the prayer of the heart, which starts from love, which sees God as a Father; It is the prayer of one who recognizes himself in need of forgiveness and improvement.
The two icons makes us ponder, as they are an extraordinary spiritual verification tool for our journey toward God. Jesus shows us, through the behavior of the Pharisee and the tax collector, that what matters for God is purity of heart, sincerity which leads to a true relationship of communion with Him.
The prayer of the Pharisee is exemplary from the outside; but he went up to the temple to praise his alleged justice and convince himself of that, even more. He focused on himself and judged others. In that attitude there was nothing that concerned prayer.
However, the tax collector acknowledged his limit, he also recognized the greatness of God’s love. He measured himself against his fragility and asked for mercy and forgiveness to the One who can grant such a pardon widely. He had nothing to boast about, he had anything to claim. He counted on God, as he felt in need of His forgiveness and love.
The only way to put us in front of God, in prayer, is to feel in need of His forgiveness and love. Only the good acceptance of our poverty, is the source of authentic prayer that is an exchange of love between man and God. Only in this way, the infinite fragility and infinite generosity come together to restore man who rediscovers the joy of being loved by God and of entering into a genuine dialogue of love and communion.
Speaking of humility, one day, Jesus said to Luisa that only the little ones let themselves be handled as one wants; not those who are little of human reason, but those who are little yet filled with divine reason. Jesus alone can say that He was humble, because in man, that which is said to be humility should rather be called knowledge of self; and one who does not know himself already walks in falsehood.”
In another passage of July 1927, speaking of the simple prayer, Jesus told Luisa that when the soul prays in the Divine Will, all things and all created beings stand at attention, suspend all things, make everything silent, and while they are all intent on admiring the act done in the Divine Will, all together, they follow the prayer.
The power of it calls and imposes itself on everything, in such a way that all do the same thing. If all other prayers were united together in order to compare them with a simple prayer done in the Divine Will, this one surpasses them all, because it possesses a Divine Will, an immense power, an incalculable value. God Himself feels invested by such a prayer, and as He sees that it is His Will that prays, He feels Its power which identifies Him with that very prayer.
We should not feel entitled to have a clear conscience and to consider ourselves good Christians only for having adopted a system of practices and ceremonies or because we participate in the Mass regularly. We just have to be rich in Christ’s treasure, in His love, in His mercy.
May the ancient prayer of the heart, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner” help us
Permanent link to this article: http://bookofheaven.org/2016/10/23/xxx-sunday-in-ordinary-time/
Permanent link to this article: http://bookofheaven.org/2016/10/22/gospel-reading-for-oct-22-2016-with-divine-will-truths-on-bearing-fruit/
Permanent link to this article: http://bookofheaven.org/2016/10/21/gospel-reading-for-oct-21-2016-with-divine-will-truths-time-of-judgment/
Permanent link to this article: http://bookofheaven.org/2016/10/20/st-padre-pio-sees-two-mothers-before-he-dies-mary-and-luisa-jesus-two-mamas/
Permanent link to this article: http://bookofheaven.org/2016/10/20/gospel-reading-for-oct-20-2016-with-divine-will-truths-human-will-caused-division-between-god-and-man/
Permanent link to this article: http://bookofheaven.org/2016/10/19/gospel-reading-for-oct-19-2016-with-divine-will-truths-ungrateful-servant-is-the-human-will/
Feast Day of St. Luke
Luke, the writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, has been identified with St. Paul’s “Luke, the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14). We know few other facts about Luke’s life from Scripture and from early Church historians.
It is believed that Luke was born a Greek and a Gentile. In Colossians 10-14 speaks of those friends who are with him. He first mentions all those “of the circumcision” — in other words, Jews — and he does not include Luke in this group. Luke’s gospel shows special sensitivity to evangelizing Gentiles. It is only in his gospel that we hear the parable of the Good Samaritan, that we hear Jesus praising the faith of Gentiles such as the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian (Lk.4:25-27), and that we hear the story of the one grateful leper who is a Samaritan (Lk.17:11-19). According to the early Church historian Eusebius Luke was born at Antioch in Syria.
In our day, it would be easy to assume that someone who was a doctor was rich, but scholars have argued that Luke might have been born a slave. It was not uncommon for families to educate slaves in medicine so that they would have a resident family physician. Not only do we have Paul’s word, but Eusebius, Saint Jerome, Saint Irenaeus and Caius, a second-century writer, all refer to Luke as a physician.
We have to go to Acts to follow the trail of Luke’s Christian ministry. We know nothing about his conversion but looking at the language of Acts we can see where he joined Saint Paul. The story of the Acts is written in the third person, as an historian recording facts, up until the sixteenth chapter. In Acts 16:8-9 we hear of Paul’s company “So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ ” Then suddenly in 16:10 “they” becomes “we”: “When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.”
So Luke first joined Paul’s company at Troas at about the year 51 and accompanied him into Macedonia where they traveled first to Samothrace, Neapolis, and finally Philippi. Luke then switches back to the third person which seems to indicate he was not thrown into prison with Paul and that when Paul left Philippi Luke stayed behind to encourage the Church there. Seven years passed before Paul returned to the area on his third missionary journey. In Acts 20:5, the switch to “we” tells us that Luke has left Philippi to rejoin Paul in Troas in 58 where they first met up. They traveled together through Miletus, Tyre, Caesarea, to Jerusalem.
Luke is the loyal comrade who stays with Paul when he is imprisoned in Rome about the year 61: “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers” (Philemon 24). And after everyone else deserts Paul in his final imprisonment and sufferings, it is Luke who remains with Paul to the end: “Only Luke is with me” (2 Timothy 4:11).
Luke’s inspiration and information for his Gospel and Acts came from his close association with Paul and his companions as he explains in his introduction to the Gospel: “Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus” (Luke 1:1-3).
Luke’s unique perspective on Jesus can be seen in the six miracles and eighteen parables not found in the other gospels. Luke’s is the gospel of the poor and of social justice. He is the one who tells the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man who ignored him. Luke is the one who uses “Blessed are the poor” instead of “Blessed are the poor in spirit” in the beatitudes. Only in Luke’s gospel do we hear Mary ‘s Magnificat where she proclaims that God “has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty” (Luke 1:52-53).
Luke also has a special connection with the women in Jesus’ life, especially Mary. It is only in Luke’s gospel that we hear the story of the Annunciation, Mary’s visit to Elizabeth including the Magnificat, the Presentation, and the story of Jesus’ disappearance in Jerusalem. It is Luke that we have to thank for the Scriptural parts of the Hail Mary: “Hail Mary full of grace” spoken at the Annunciation and “Blessed are you and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus” spoken by her cousin Elizabeth.
Forgiveness and God’s mercy to sinners is also of first importance to Luke. Only in Luke do we hear the story of the Prodigal Son welcomed back by the overjoyed father. Only in Luke do we hear the story of the forgiven woman disrupting the feast by washing Jesus’ feet with her tears. Throughout Luke’s gospel, Jesus takes the side of the sinner who wants to return to God’s mercy.
Reading Luke’s gospel gives a good idea of his character as one who loved the poor, who wanted the door to God’s kingdom opened to all, who respected women, and who saw hope in God’s mercy for everyone.
The reports of Luke’s life after Paul’s death are conflicting. Some early writers claim he was martyred, others say he lived a long life. Some say he preached in Greece, others in Gaul. The earliest tradition we have says that he died at 84 Boeotia after settling in Greece to write his Gospel.
A tradition that Luke was a painter seems to have no basis in fact. Several images of Mary appeared in later centuries claiming him as a painter but these claims were proved false. Because of this tradition, however, he is considered a patron of painters of pictures and is often portrayed as painting pictures of Mary.
Luke is the patron of physicians and surgeons.
Permanent link to this article: http://bookofheaven.org/2016/10/18/7487/