Invest just five minutes a day, and your faith will deepen and grow - a day at a time.
Look up the daily passages from the New American Bible online at www.usccb.org/nab/bible.
SUNDAY, JULY 29, 2012
SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Take me to the king
The story of Jesus’ feeding of thousands from only a few loaves of bread and some fish is a miracle all the gospels tell at least once, some twice, for a total of six times. That means it was important for just about the whole early Christian community. The people in the story who originally ate the food, however, got the meaning a little wrong. Who is this person, they asked? He must be a prophet (good thinking!). Let’s make him king (bad thinking!). Jesus did not want to be a king, or at least the kind of king the people desired. No, he was something much more important: the Bread of Life. If you read the story, you’ll notice it sounds a lot like the Eucharist. The next time you’re in the “crowd” at the sacred meal, remember you’re partaking of eternity.
“Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them.”
MONDAY, JULY 30
FEAST OF PETER CHRYSOLOGUS, BISHOP, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Not only golden words but golden deeds
After Mass, a tall, lanky parishioner with the drawl of the Southwest greeted the priest, who was anything but tall. Instead of the usual mumbled “nice sermon, Father,” the cowboy-like gent looked down and said, “You know Father, if you lived among Native Americans out West, they might give you a name: ‘Short-Man-Who-Talks-Long.’ ” Saint Peter “of the Golden Words” (Chrysologus) had the short homily down pat. People loved his preaching—not merely because he didn’t give long sermons but because he made sense, so much so that he became known as the Doctor of Homilies. Whether you are a preacher by trade or not, you carry messages of goodness, kindness, compassion, and holiness in how you live.
“I will open my mouth in parables.”
TUESDAY, JULY 31
FEAST OF IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA, PRIEST
Find the sense in suffering
Studies suggest that human beings can tolerate a great deal of pain and suffering as long as they can find meaning in it. A young Spanish warrior hit by a cannonball in 1521 and confronted by a long, painful convalescence was forced to search for that meaning. The result was the Society of Jesus, one of the largest and most influential religious orders in history. The meaning Saint Ignatius of Loyola found on his sickbed gives hope to those who face disabling injury or illness, as nearly all of us will at one time or another. All things can work for good, “for the greater glory of God,” as the Jesuits say.
“The righteous will shine like the sun.”
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1
FEAST OF ALPHONSUS LIGUORI, BISHOP, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Good things can come in small packages
Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) went looking to cultivate the faith in out-of-the-way places. In Naples he organized little “chapels” of folks who met in places like the back rooms of barbershops or corners of public squares to pray, sing hymns, and receive basic religious education. These groups were the uneducated, street-sellers, longshoremen, ex-soldiers, and others. For them Alphonsus wrote a cheaply reproduced, pocket-sized book of devotions called Maxims of Eternity that they could carry with them and read throughout the day. Find some short moments every day for prayer and learning.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field.”
THURSDAY, AUGUST 2
Leave the sorting out to God
The Kingdom of heaven, Jesus once said, is like a net put into the water that collects all kinds of fish. On shore the fishermen save the good fish and throw away the bad. “Thus,” he said, “it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous.” Note, however, it’s the angels at the end, not human beings now, who do the separating. The 20th-century Scottish scholar William Barclay wrote: “It is not a person’s place to say who is committed to Christ and who is not. . . . Therefore, it is our duty to gather in all who will come and not to judge and not to separate, but to leave the final judgment to God who alone can judge.”
The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea.”
FRIDAY, AUGUST 3
Are the prophets in?
It’s hard to find a good prophet nowadays. No one wants the job; neither did Isaiah nor Jeremiah. Why? Because it usually ends with both message and messenger rejected, sometimes violently. As Jesus reminded his opponents: “You killed the prophets!” Jesus did embrace his role as prophet, as God’s Son, as God’s call to repentance and salvation, though his family and neighbors wondered, “Who does he think he is?” We might not consider ourselves prophets, but the Second Vatican Council makes it clear that the People of God share in Christ’s prophetic office, “especially by means of a life of faith and charity and by offering to God a sacrifice of praise.”
“Speak to the people . . . ; whatever I command you, tell them, and omit nothing.”
SATURDAY, AUGUST 4
FEAST OF JOHN VIANNEY, PRIEST
Good is good enough
Some of the Hebrew prophets only reluctantly accepted their call, but when they did they committed themselves completely to their missions, which involved setbacks, opposition, even death. The life of Saint John Vianney reflects similar paradoxes. He was a poor student but was ordained a priest anyway. He got drafted but escaped from the army. His parish was a spiritually moribund village, but he transformed it into a place of great devotion. Burdened by his unrelenting work, he left town three times only to be begged back. Being dedicated doesn’t mean doing everything right or never having doubts or fears. If that were true, no one would ever accomplish anything good.
“In truth it was the Lord who sent me to you, to speak all these things for you to hear.”
©2012 by TrueQuest Communications, L.L.C. PHONE: 800-942-2811; E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org; WEBSITE: PrepareTheWord.com Licensed for noncommercial use. All rights reserved. Scripture quotes come from the New American Bible.
Contributors: Alice Camille, Daniel Grippo, Caroline Hopkinson, Father Larry Janowski, O.F.M., Ann O'Connor, Joel Schorn, Patrice J. Tuohy, and Sister Julie Vieira, I.H.M.