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Look up the daily passages from the New American Bible online at www.usccb.org/nab/bible.
SUNDAY, JULY 8, 2012
FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Share in the prophets
Prophets can be annoying, always harping about change, so it shouldn’t be surprising that Jesus’ message—“Repent! Change your heart!”—was not popular. In our own day, we are bombarded by messages of all kinds by those who claim to have unique insights into what constitutes a good and successful life. As a member of a thinking and holy people, your responsibility is twofold: first, to have a healthy skepticism unafraid to challenge cultural assumptions; and second, to be open—you could be wrong! Most of all, pray about these messages in the quiet presence of the Holy Spirit who helps you to discern the true prophets of your time. They may not be the ones you expect.
“As the Lord spoke to me, the spirit entered into me and set me on my feet.”
MONDAY, JULY 9
FEAST OF AUGUSTINE ZHAO RONG, PRIEST, MARTYR, AND COMPANIONS, MARTYRS
Sign on the bottom line
Augustine Zhao Rong was a soldier who accompanied Bishop John Taurin Dufresse from Chengdu to Beijing in China. Zhao Rong was so impressed by the bishop’s patience during the trip that he asked to be baptized. Eventually Zhao Rong was ordained a priest but was later arrested, tortured, and martyred, along with 119 others, in 1815. We can never know how our actions affect those around us. Zhao Rong was moved by Bishop Dufresse’s forbearance, which surely was an outward sign of the latter’s complete faith in Jesus Christ. Today, take some time to consider what those closest to you would say is the outward sign of your faith,
“Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.”
TUESDAY, JULY 10
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Many of us associate the prophet Hosea with the sweet-sounding song “Come Back to Me,” beloved of penance services. His life, however, was anything but sugar-coated. He challenged the people of Israel, seduced by false gods, by allowing his own life to become the medium of his message. By God’s instruction Hosea married a prostitute, and, though she abandoned him for other men, he kept loving her, sought her out, forgave her, and brought her back. He warned the leaders of his day to stop prostituting themselves and assured them of God’s enduring mercy. He allowed his very life to mirror the mercy of God. In some real way the life of every Christian must reflect the one who commanded, “Love one another.”
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.”
WEDNESDAY, JULY 11
FEAST OF BENEDICT, ABBOT
A guide to holy living
The main elements of Saint Benedict’s famous monastic rule are sleep, prayer, and manual labor. Chapter 48 of the Rule states: “Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore, the brothers should have specified periods for manual labor as well as for prayerful reading. . . . They must not become distressed if local conditions or their poverty should force them to do the harvesting themselves. When they live by the labor of their hands, as our fathers and the apostles did, then they are really monks. Yet, all things are to be done with moderation on account of the fainthearted.” Remember Benedict’s concern for moderation. It is the key to all aspects of Christian piety.
“Sow for yourselves justice, reap the fruit of piety.”
THURSDAY, JULY 12
Here are your discipleship marching orders
When Jesus sent out the apostles on mission, he gave them specific instructions. The message: Proclaim the good news that the Kingdom of God is at hand. The work: As signs of that Kingdom, restore people to life and health. The means: utter dependence on God and the hospitality of others. All these things he told the apostles to do, he did himself—and he asks you to do today. What are the ways you can continue this mission?
“As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ ”
FRIDAY, JULY 13
FEAST OF HENRY
The castaway saint
In addition to being named Holy Roman Emperor, Henry II (d.1024) is also known by an even more exalted title: Saint Henry. He was a child of violent times and did his share of warring but somehow found his way to holiness. What made him different from your standard Dark Age despot? Perhaps his early experiences of living in exile had an impact. He knew what it was to be cast out, and this experience may have touched his heart in a way that drew him closer to Christ. All paths can lead to holiness if you keep your heart open. All you need to do is cast out fear!
“When they persecute you in one town, flee to another.”
SATURDAY, JULY 14
FEAST OF KATERI TEKAKWITHA, VIRGIN
Be a saint from the start
The young indigenous American woman the church remembers today took quite a chance in following the promptings of her heart and spirit by becoming a Christian. She was already different among her Mohawk tribe, not interested in the activities of her peers nor in finding a husband, and her conversion to the Catholic faith only accented her separateness. She tried to keep the whole thing quiet, but other members of her Mohawk community, who liked celebrations, turned out for her baptism on Easter Sunday in 1676. Eventually she did have to leave her people to live in a Christian mission, but her courage, faith, serenity, and sense of service, both as a Mohawk holy woman and a saintly Christian, shined through all the circumstances of her life. Those qualities can do the same in yours.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.”
©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.