Regnum Christi | Legionaries of Christ

Weekly Digest of the Regnum Christi Daily Meditations: October 11-18, 2020

Sunday, October 11, 2020 – The Banquet is Prepared

Monday, October 12, 2020 – The Queen, the Ninevites, and Me

Tuesday, October 13, 2020 – Laws That Bind or Free

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 – The Grumpy Catholics Guild

Thursday, October 15, 2020 – History Need Not Repeat Itself

Friday, October 16, 2020 – Into the Lion’s Mouth

Saturday, October 17, 2020 – Fidelity to the Holy Spirit’s Inspirations

Sunday, October 18, 2020 – Signed, Sealed and To Be Delivered

 


October 11, 2020 – Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Banquet is Prepared!

 

Father Daniel Ray, LC

Matthew 22:1-14

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’ Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests, he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.

Petition: Father, help me to prepare to be received into your heavenly kingdom.

  1. A Banquet Beyond Belief: In Palestine during Christ’s time, few festive celebrations rivaled any wedding banquet, let alone a royal one. A wedding was a joyous time, the greatest moment in the lives of the newlyweds. For a royal wedding, it was the greatest moment in the life of the whole kingdom. With his parable of the royal wedding banquet, Christ is giving us a sense of the heaven that he is preparing for us. He is telling each of us, “There is nothing greater than what I want to celebrate with you in eternity!” So if any of our ideas of heaven include something that doesn’t seem attractive or worthwhile, we haven’t yet understood heaven. We should ask Christ to give us a glimpse of the joy he wants us to have with him in heaven.
  2. Worthy Is as Worthy Does: The king sent invitations to many people, but the response was not what he had hoped for. They rejected his generosity, preferring their own less-than-stellar lives (one went off to his farm, another to attend to some business) over accepting the invitation and participating in the king’s rejoicing. Of course, none of them really deserved to be invited: They hadn’t made themselves worthy by some merit of their own. The king invited them out of his generosity. What made them truly unworthy was their lack of response to this generosity. Their “worthiness” was a gift given to them freely, and it was lost only when they refused the gift. We might ask ourselves, “Am I worthy of heaven?” If we are honest, we realize that the answer is “No.” But in Christ’s eyes, that’s not the important question. The real question is, “Am I responding to and accepting the gifts he has already extended to me?”
  3. Underdressed for the Occasion: It is embarrassing for both host and guest when a guest arrives at an elegant banquet dressed in shorts and a t-shirt—thinking he was going to an outdoor pig roast or because he did not know any better. It is another situation altogether when the guest intentionally doesn’t dress up because he doesn’t care, or is presumptuous. Then the host is offended, not just embarrassed. In this parable the king is offended because the guest knew he needed to wear a wedding robe and chose not to. Living in God’s sanctifying grace and friendship is the wedding robe we need to wear in order to be received into the eternal banquet. Christ is warning us against the ultimate pride of presumption: showing up at heaven’s gate without the one thing we know we need in order to share in Christ’s joy. If we strive every day to please our Lord and to live in his grace, we’ll have our wedding gown ready for the banquet.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, the gift of heaven you have gained for me is beyond any merit of my own, but it shows me how great your generosity is. How can I not but thank you? How can I not but strive each day to respond to and accept with joyful humility all the graces you want to give me, even when it is most difficult for me?

Resolution: To respond to God’s love today, I will accept willingly any difficulty or hardship that comes my way.


October 12, 2020 – Monday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

The Queen, the Ninevites, and Me

 

Father Daniel Ray, LC

Luke 11:29-32

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.

Petition: Lord, help me to recognize the signs of your presence in my life.

  1. Three Days in the Fish: When Jonah is swallowed by the whale he dies, and when he is spit out onto the shore, he comes to life again. This is the only sign that Christ promises to his listeners who seek a sign. Christ will be seen by them as truly dead, swallowed by the tomb of the earth. Then, after three days, he will come to life again in the Resurrection. As Jonah preached conversion to the Ninevites after coming back from the dead, so Christ would bring conversion and peace to some of the very ones who abandoned him or cried out for his crucifixion. Even in rebuking the “evil generation”, Christ promises them a sign that will bring hope to any of them who—like the Ninevites—later repent. If later in life they realize their evilness, Christ himself will be there to guide them back to friendship with his Father.
  2. Even the Queen Came: Christ is reminding his unbelieving listeners that the Queen of Sheba traveled from afar to hear Solomon’s wisdom. The distance from the Kingdom of Sheba in southern Arabia to Jerusalem would have taken weeks to traverse. It would have been an exhausting and expensive journey, especially considering the entourage that would have accompanied the Queen. She recognized the gift of God in him and relished the pearls of divine wisdom that he shared with her. We need to reflect on how often we avail ourselves of all that God offers us that is not a journey of weeks away, but is just a few miles away: Christ in the Eucharist. Closer still, the Bible on the shelf is filled with Christ’s message of love. All this is within easy reach and is much more than anything Solomon could share with us.
  3. Greater than Jonah: The whale was greater than Jonah. It swallowed him whole. Yet that violent death and subsequent resurrection was the key moment in Jonah’s life and mission. It was necessary not only for Jonah’s own salvation (he had been running from God), but it also was necessary for the salvation of the whole city of Nineveh. Christ makes this reference to Jonah as a forewarning to his listeners: He is greater than Jonah. He is greater than the death that would swallow him. This should inspire our faith and confidence in Christ. There is nothing greater than him. There is no greater prophet; no greater event can consume him. All things are under his dominion except one: our free will. That he doesn’t force; that he doesn’t conquer. He leaves it perfectly intact, so that we might respond freely to his call to ongoing conversion, just like the citizens of Nineveh.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, the sign of love that you give is your willingness to die a cruel and humiliating death. Yet that is not everything: You give me your Word in the Gospel. You give me your Body and Blood in the Eucharist. Help me to appreciate these great gifts and to make the most of every opportunity to receive them.

Resolution: At some point today, I will offer a prayer of thanksgiving, thanking Christ for the blessings received over the past few days.


October 13, 2020  – Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time 

Laws That Bind or Free

 

Father Daniel Ray, LC 

  

Luke 11:37-41 

After Jesus had spoken, a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home. He entered and reclined at table to eat. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal. The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil. You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside? But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.” 

Introductory PrayerLord, I believe that you are present here as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return. 

PetitionLord, grant me this grace of conversion. 

  1. Law for the Law’s Sake:The Mosaic Law was intended to free them for worship, delivering them from slavery to pagan gods and from slavery to sin. When the Law (and the added customs and regulations) became an end in itself, it was truncated and severed from the One to whom it was meant to lead. Today in the Catholic Church there are enough laws, customs and regulations to make even the most rigorous Pharisee proud. The danger is that we can fall into one of two traps. First, we can adhere to them with such vigor that we lose sight of the One they are freeing us to worship. We don’t allow our hearts and minds to be educated and formed by them; we just follow them blindly. We wind up cleaning the outside of the cup and stopping there, without going on to see God’s love and let it purify our hearts. 
  1. The Second Trap:The second trap we can fall into is at the other extreme: to give ourselves an easy pass by presuming that “if my heart is in the right place, I don’t need to worry about all these rules and such.” With a lax attitude we permit ourselves to ease up on fulfilling these laws which in truth will free us. “I know today is Sunday and I should go to Mass, but it’s vacation! God knows I’m a good person.” Yet it is in the Sunday Mass that we receive the many graces necessary toward our being that “good person”. The commandment to keep the Sabbath holy, as with any of the Ten Commandments and customs of the Church, is there to lead us to God. These free us from our often confused, subjective conclusions about how we should worship God and live our lives. 
  1. Cleaning the Cup:“Charity covers a multitude of sin” (1 Peter 4:8). The law of love is the most important of all the commandments of the Lord. In Chapter 12 of the Gospel of Mark, Christ responds to a scribe’s question about the first of all the commandments: “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Love of God and neighbor is both the source and the summit of the Law of the Old Covenant and of the New. Living these two greatest commandments purifies and cleanses our hearts—the inside of the cup. So, when Christ says to give alms, he is telling the Pharisees to love their neighbors. Then their hearts will be clean. 

Conversation with ChristLord, I want my heart always to be focused on you. I need your guidance, for I can’t do it alone. I need you to teach me how to love you, how to worship and serve you. The laws you give me free me and guide me toward you. Help me to see your hand leading me ever closer to you. 

ResolutionIf there is a rule or custom of the Church that I don’t understand or don’t practice, I will read up on it to come to understand better how it frees me and guides me in my relationship with Christ.


October 14, 2020  – Wednesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time 

The Grumpy Catholics Guild

 

Father Daniel Ray, LC  

 

Luke 11:42-46 

The Lord said: “Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others. Woe to you Pharisees! You love the seat of honor in synagogues and greetings in marketplaces. Woe to you! You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.” Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply, “Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.” And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”  

Introductory PrayerLord, I believe that you are present here as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return. 

Petition: Lord, make my heart more like yours. 

  1. Falling into the Same Trap:Do we ever find ourselves rooting for Jesus in this Gospel passage? “Give it to ’em hard, Lord! They deserve it!” We imagine ourselves there in the scene—our arms sternly crossed, our heads shaking in disapproval of those oh-so hypocritical Pharisees. Soon our thoughts turn to someone we know who “should also receive a good verbal lashing!” Even a priest or a bishop might be the subject of our mental reprimand. Yet we now find ourselves right in the shoes of the very Pharisees we so deplore: Our hearts are embittered and dry. Although we are able to condemn with the Lord, we do not love with the Lord. We forget that Christ would lay down his life for these Pharisees he is calling to conversion—even if they were the only ones who needed to be saved. Pointing the finger is easy, but a call to conversion can come only from a heart that loves.  
  1. The Grumpy Catholics Guild:Is there anyone who can’t find at least one thing wrong in their parish or diocese? One thing is to see, pray for, and help resolve these difficulties. Another matter is to dwell on them. That is what the members of the “Grumpy Catholics Guild” (GCG) do. This Gospel passage is the one exclusive lens through which they view everything. For the Rosary, members of the GCG pray the “Vengeful Mysteries”: Jesus curses the fig tree, Jesus clears the temple, Jesus condemns the scribes and Pharisees. Might I be an anonymous member—or at least a supporter—of the GCG? Christ used hard words, but they were only fruit of an intense love and longing for the scribes’ and Pharisees’ salvation, not an intense bitterness toward them. If I have any bitterness in my heart, I need to ask Christ for the grace to forgive and to forgive as Christ forgives.  
  1. Helping Hand:Our Lord was the greatest teacher, the great pedagogue of the fullness of life: the love of the Father. He knew how to bring souls along little by little, at their pace and to the extent they were capable. The opposite is true of the lawyers at the end of this Gospel passage. They would load restrictions, unwieldy responsibilities and weighty sacrifices upon the people, but would not reach out a helping hand to assist the people in carrying the weight. As Christians we are called to help illuminate the consciences of those around us so that they might have a closer relationship with God. However, if illuminating their consciences is merely our euphemism for “throwing the book at them”, we need to stop and see if Christ’s words don’t apply to us as well: “You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”

Conversation with ChristLord Jesus, at times I look at my heart and see that it is hard and bitter. It is ready to jump self-righteously at the first opportunity to condemn someone else, but only so as to assure myself of my own moral superiority. Grant me a heart, meek and humble like yours. 

ResolutionIf I find myself thinking critically about someone today, I will pray for them and look for two good qualities in them.


October 15, 2020  – Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

History Need Not Repeat Itself

 

Father Daniel Ray, LC

Luke 11:47-54

The Lord said: “Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets whom your fathers killed. Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building. Therefore, the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and Apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute’ in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who died between the altar and the temple building. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood! Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.” When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him and to interrogate him about many things, for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.

Petition: Lord Jesus Christ, help me to follow your example and set a good example for others.

  1. History Will Teach Us Something: Israel’s response to God’s love, as seen in the Old Testament, is pocked and pitted with infidelity, abuse, and ingratitude. At times the people outright reject God and whomever he sends to guide them back to his loving care. These falls from God’s grace are instructive for us today. We see the grandeur of what God did for the people of Israel and marvel at it. We should be aghast at how a people who received so much could respond so little. But more than this, we need to use this history of Israel as a mirror in which to regard our own lives: to recognize the same patterns of failure and lack of fidelity in our own lives and use this self-reflection to inspire us to return to the Lord. If we fail to admit our weaknesses and failures, however, we will be like the Pharisees to whom Christ spoke, who brought the blood of the prophets upon their own heads because of their stubbornness and hardness of heart.
  2. History Repeats Itself: On one occasion Christ warns the disciples that if this is the way he is treated, they should expect no less themselves (cf. John 15:20). Do we honestly expect not to have to face some difficulty as disciples of the Lord? Of course not. But what if that difficulty comes from within? This is from where the most serious menaces to our discipleship come. Our pride, our vanity, our love of comfort: these are the battlegrounds and the martyrs’ fields where first and foremost we need to suffer for being a disciple of the Lord. The prophets and martyrs who suffered for their zeal for the Lord did so even up to the cost of their lives. He might not need us to lay our lives on the line in quite the same way, but an interior sacrifice is what Christ does ask of everyone whom he calls.
  3. Stoppage Time: One of the key moments in Edith Stein’s conversion happened when she went into a Catholic Church to see what it was like, and as she sat there in silence, an older woman came in to spend a few moments with Christ in the Eucharist. She had groceries in her hand and was obviously on her way home to prepare dinner. For young Edith, still struggling with belief in God, it was an example of just how grounded in day-to-day reality the Catholic faith is. There is little chance that woman ever knew the importance her example played in helping form this future saint and patroness of Europe, but the woman’s authentic faith was just what Edith needed to see. Our living witness is critical for those around us, whether or not we ever see or hear of the consequence. We can serve as an occasion of grace, or we can be a stumbling block on the path that delays someone from arriving at the place God wants to lead them.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I know that I am an integral part in your plan to save souls. You have the confidence to use me as a channel of your grace for those around me, particularly those closest to me. I offer you my life today. Use me as a channel of grace and a testimony to your love.

Resolution: I will offer to God today the sacrifice necessary to change something in my behavior that might be an obstacle for someone else coming to know Christ better.


October 16, 2020 – Friday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Into the Lion’s Mouth

 

Father Daniel Ray, LC

Luke 12:1-7

At that time: So many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot. He began to speak, first to his disciples, “Beware of the leaven—that is, the hypocrisy—of the Pharisees. There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. Therefore, whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops. I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one. Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.

Petition: Lord, give me courage to keep following you even in the face of temptation.

  1. Lion Food: St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, was arrested and then transported to Rome, where death by lions awaited him. In a letter, he urges the Romans to do him no “untimely charity” of interceding with the emperor to spare him from execution. He writes to them, “I beseech of you not to show an unseasonable goodwill towards me. Suffer me to become food for the wild beasts, through whose instrumentality it will be granted me to attain to God” (Letter to the Romans). When Christ speaks of having no fear of those who kill the body but after that can do no more, he means it quite literally. If we encounter a situation in which we must either be faithful to Christ or cave in to pressure and abandon the path of the Lord, we should never hesitate. Follow Christ. Do not fear those who might “kill” by their criticism or disapproval of our rectitude of conscience. Do not be afraid.
  2. Becoming Eucharist: St. Ignatius continues, “I am the wheat of God, and am ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of God” (Letter to the Romans). He is drawing a connection between his own coming martyrdom—wheat ground by the teeth of wild beasts—and the Eucharist—the pure bread of God. These words are not just grisly yet pious analogy; rather, they touch on the most profound meaning of the mystery of the Eucharist and our participation in it. The Eucharist is the most complete worship given to God the Father: It is the Incarnation of God among us, it is Christ’s sacrifice of his body on the Cross, and it is his Resurrection from death to eternal life. Through the Eucharist we become an acceptable sacrifice to the Lord. We need to offer the struggles and challenges of each day in order to remain united with Christ in the Eucharist.
  3. More than Birds: In our daily life we take many small things for granted because they seem to have little import in the grand scheme of things. “What were the high and low temperatures a year ago today?” “What does it matter now?” we might as well respond. “Where will the four sparrows I saw in the park two weeks ago get food to eat?” It’s not even a question that occurs to us. We have many other things of immediate importance that require our attention and action. Yet such a question is important enough to occur to God. Christ tells us in Luke 12:24, “They do not sow or reap; they have no storehouses and no barns; yet God feeds them.” He continues, “And how much more are you worth than the birds!” If God would make time to think about something so insignificant among all the goings-on in the world, how much more will he be taking care of our needs!

Conversation with Christ: Lord, when I look at the difficulties and rough spots I know I will be facing today, I worry about the sacrifices I’ll have to make. Maybe events won’t turn out as I hope. Help me to have confidence and trust in you like St. Ignatius. Help me realize that you have taken care of every minute detail of all that will occur today.

Resolution: When faced with any worry today I will pray, “Jesus, I trust in you.”


 

October 17, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr

Fidelity to the Holy Spirit’s Inspirations

 

Father James Swanson, LC

Luke 12:8-12

Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.

Petition: Grant me, Lord, the grace to stand up for my beliefs today.

  1. Too Cowardly for Martyrdom: Sometimes it’s very difficult to acknowledge Jesus before others. We think of the possibility of martyrdom, and we all wonder if we would be able to be faithful to Jesus if it meant death. We may think that we witness to him pretty well in our everyday lives, but do we really? We listen to attacks on Jesus and his Church without objection. Sometimes we even kind of nod or smile as if to let on that we agree. We would never say such things ourselves, but we don’t really stand up for Jesus even when there is no possibility of martyrdom. How many of us have a terrible time just making the sign of the Cross in a public place? It’s a simple thing, something I do every time I come to the table to eat, but somehow, it can be incredibly difficult in a restaurant, where the only burden is that “people might think I’m a Catholic.”
  2. Accepting the Truth: Christ’s teaching about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit may be worrisome because we may think that there exists some unforgivable sin. Yet, there is no unforgivable sin. God’s love and mercy is all-powerful against sin. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit has been understood by the Church to mean final impenitence — that the Holy Spirit is trying to convince us of our sins, and we won’t accept them. If we are finally convinced, there is no blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. However, if we die without having accepted his truth, then we will be guilty of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Do I let the Holy Spirit convince me of my sinfulness? Are there things that the Church teaches as wrong that I don’t want to accept? Are there sins that I think aren’t too bad because I want to make them a part of my life? Sins cannot be forgiven if they are not accepted as sins.
  3. Witnessing with My Life: Maybe we don’t worry too much about being hauled into court for our Christianity, but we still have to testify to it every day with our lives. No matter where we go or what we do, we are witnesses to our belief in Christ. The Greek word “martyr” means “witness.” I need to let the Holy Spirit speak through me when I am in front of others. People will be judging not just me, but all Christians by my actions, so I need to live charity as the mark of a genuine Christian. I need to foster the humility of a person who looks at the greatness and holiness of God the Father and yet recognizes his own pettiness and sinfulness. I need to live all the virtues in the concrete circumstances of my daily life. The only way I can do all these things is by letting the Holy Spirit speak through the actions of my life, so that my life is the testimony that others need it to be.

Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus, I can hear your call to a deeper intimacy with you. I want to draw closer, yet at times, I also feel reluctance. Help my weak will. Inflame my heart with a greater love for you so that I can be a true “martyr”, a witness to your faithful love. Open my heart to your Holy Spirit so that I live as a true Christian.

Resolution: When I am in front of others, I will foster the awareness that I am a witness to the truth of Christ’s revelation and try to let the Holy Spirit speak through my actions.


October 18, 2020  – Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Signed, Sealed and To Be Delivered

 

Matthew 22:15-21

The Pharisees went off and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech. They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion, for you do not regard a person’s status. Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” Knowing their malice, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin that pays the census tax.” Then they handed him the Roman coin. He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” They replied, “Caesar’s.” At that he said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, my Creator and Redeemer, everything good comes from you. You are the one source of peace and happiness. Thank you for bringing me into existence and ensuring I received the inestimable gift of the faith. Thank you for accompanying me in every moment. I am grateful for your mercy and love and wish to respond more generously to you in my life.

Petition: Lord, may I remember who I am: one who bears the name “Christian”.

  1. Signed: How often do we reflect on what we are doing when we make the Sign of the Cross? In “The Spirit of the Liturgy”, the future Pope Benedict said: “To seal oneself with the Sign of the Cross is a public and visible ‘yes’ to him who suffered for us, to him who in the body has made God’s love visible, to a God who reigns not by destruction but by humility of suffering and love which is stronger than all the power of the world and wiser than all the calculating intelligence of men.” We are saying that we believe in the power of the cross and particularly in what it means for our own life – our own bodies will rise again. We sign ourselves as belonging to the one who has won our redemption by his blood on the cross, as belonging to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are signed and we belong to God. The Sign of the Cross is a daily reminder that we are to give to God what is God’s, that is, our very selves.
  2. Delivered: Christ prayed at the Last Supper, “They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world…. Father, I desire that those also whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17: 16-24). And so it is that we are to be delivered to where we will see his glory and be with him. We bear an inscription as those baptized into his life, and we outwardly recall this when we make the Sign of the Cross with water from the fonts in the entrances to our churches. It is up to us then—with the thoughts, words and actions of our lives—to live this truth coherently, giving to God what is God’s.
  3. Detached: Pope Saint John Paul II, reflecting on Psalm 145, writes: “Man therefore finds himself facing a radical choice between two contrasting possibilities: on the one side is the temptation to ‘trust in princes,’ adopting their criteria inspired by wickedness, selfishness and pride. In fact, this is a slippery slope, a ruinous road, a ‘crooked path and a devious way,’ (Proverbs 2:15) whose goal is despair. Indeed, the Psalmist reminds us that man is a frail, mortal being, as the very word ‘adam’ implies; in Hebrew this word is used to signify earth, matter, dust. Man – the bible constantly states – is ‘like (…) a strip of grass that is green at dawn but has withered by evening (Psalms 89:5-6).’” With this in mind, we “give to the emperor” what is of this world by relinquishing or simply detaching ourselves from it. We give what is eternal, namely our souls, over to God because we belong to him.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus Christ, sometimes I am attracted by the things of this world and influenced by those who try to convince me to trust only in the world’s ways. May I not be hoodwinked by this world but keep my heart set on the world that will never pass away. Only in your world will I be filled with your grace forever.

Resolution: Today I will examine my conscience to do some “house cleaning” of my soul. I resolve to treat the goods of this world only as a means towards holiness, stepping stones to communion with God.

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