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Look up the daily passages from the New American Bible online at www.usccb.org/nab/bible.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012
EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Signs come with time
In 1964 Peter Higgs, an unassuming Scottish physicist, proposed a theory on the origin of the universe that was met with much resistance. It took nearly a half-century to prove, but on July 4, 2012 researchers at the CERN nuclear lab in Switzerland confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson, the so-called “God particle” that helps explain how things take shape after a big bang of massless particles. Many visionaries are not as lucky as Higgs, who lived to see his legitimacy established. Jesus gathered relatively few followers in his lifetime. Therefore it was up to the evangelists and early Christians to make a convincing case for choosing Jesus over the prevailing beliefs of the time. Address conflict. It helps shape and strengthen your faith.
“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life.’ ”
MONDAY, AUGUST 6
FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION OF THE LORD
Blinded by the light
On this day in 1945 the United States exploded one of the two nuclear weapons ever used in war. Whatever you think about the ethics of the bombing, the fact is the strike on Hiroshima, Japan killed an estimated 66,000 men, women, and children and injured 69,000 others. Three days later the bomb over Nagasaki left 39,000 dead and 25,000 injured. In the 53 years following the bombings, 2,053 nuclear test explosions occurred around the world. To see their locations in chronological order, visit Japanese multimedia artist Isao Hashimoto’s animated map at ctbto.org/specials/1945-1998-by-isao-hashimoto/. The brightness of the transfigured Jesus’ garments revealed his divinity; the blast of an atomic weapon reveals humanity’s capacity for destruction. Which path shall we choose?
“His clothes became dazzling white.”
TUESDAY, AUGUST 7
Set sail for the unknown
It’s tough at the end of a long day when you just want to go home and put your feet up and instead a friend asks you to go out and work on something—much as Jesus asked his disciples to do. Launching out without known goals is unsettling for most. Being confronted with unpredictable or even hostile environments on the way demands an internal trust in the leader. But as you go, some strange and unexplained events occur that create even greater zeal for the work. How often in your life are you willing to put faith in a leader whom you don’t see yet whose footsteps you wholeheartedly profess a commitment to follow?
“Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side of the sea.”
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8
FEAST OF DOMINIC, PRIEST
Go to the dogs
In the ancient world, people considered dogs to be unclean, low creatures, and to call someone a “dog” was considered a slur. The reputation of dogs, though, must have risen by the time of Saint Dominic (in the 13th century). Before he was born, his mother, Blessed Juana de Aza, had a dream in which she saw a dog with a torch in its mouth setting the world on fire; the name Dominic is a pun on the Latin phrase Domini canes, “dogs of the Lord.” When we look at dogs today we see loyalty and determination. How can you doggedly set the world on fire with the gospel of the Lord?
“Lord . . . even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”
THURSDAY, AUGUST 9
FEAST OF TERESA BENEDICTA OF THE CROSS, VIRGIN, MARTYR
A saint even atheists can admire
Faith in a loving God is not easy in an often cruel world. Some have even concluded that, given the evidence, atheism is the more realistic choice. But consider the case of Edith Stein, who was born Jewish, grew up atheist, converted to Catholicism, and became a Carmelite nun, taking the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Nazi persecutors sent her to die in a concentration camp, but this brilliant philosopher and holy woman responded to the worst of human cruelty with a steadfast heart of faith. Should you do any less in the circumstances of your life?
“Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly.”
FRIDAY, AUGUST 10
FEAST OF LAWRENCE, DEACON, MARTYR
What treasure do you have to offer?
Pancho Villa, the Mexican revolutionary, was assassinated in 1923. The legend arose that, while dying, he said: “Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something.” If legend is to be believed, Saint Lawrence of Rome also uttered some famous last words. As he was being roasted alive, he said to his executioners: “It is well done. Turn me over.” But it was a less colorful—and probably more authentic—remark that assured his death. Commanded by the imperial prefect in Rome to hand over the church’s treasure, Lawrence presented many lame, maimed, orphaned, and widowed persons and said: “Here is the treasure of the church.” We can’t plan our last words, but in the meantime we can learn to see all people as treasured by God and to speak and act in their defense.
“He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”
SATURDAY, AUGUST 11
FEAST OF CLARE, VIRGIN
When piety is strength
Women in consecrated religious life have a long tradition of standing their ground with a church hierarchy that has not on occasion treated them as equal members of the body of Christ. Clare of Assisi, deservedly remembered for her uncompromising piousness, was not shy about defending the simple Franciscan ideals of her order of women against papal attempts to impose a different, softer way of life on the community. Remember that piety is not synonymous with timidity. Show the courage of your convictions through the strength of your devotion.
“Nothing will be impossible for you.”
©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.