Readings & Reflections: Thursday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, October 30,2014
Even before the lancing, we witness Christ’s heart being pierced as we hear Jesus cry, “Jerusalem, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, but you were unwilling!” His prayer makes us pray for the grace to “be able to stand firm against the tactics of the Devil” and to persevere in “the mystery of the Gospel.” We were made for this Mystery.
Dear Lord, Give us the grace put on the armor of God,
that we may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold our ground. Enable us to stand fast with our loins girded in truth,
clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and our feet shod in readiness for the Gospel of peace. In Jesus’ Mighty Name, we pray.Amen.
Brothers and sisters:
Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.
Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm
against the tactics of the Devil.
For our struggle is not with flesh and blood
but with the principalities, with the powers,
with the world rulers of this present darkness,
with the evil spirits in the heavens.
Therefore, put on the armor of God,
that you may be able to resist on the evil day
and, having done everything, to hold your ground.
So stand fast with your loins girded in truth,
clothed with righteousness as a breastplate,
and your feet shod in readiness for the Gospel of peace.
In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield,
to quench all the flaming arrows of the Evil One.
And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God.
With all prayer and supplication,
pray at every opportunity in the Spirit.
To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication
for all the holy ones and also for me,
that speech may be given me to open my mouth,
to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel
for which I am an ambassador in chains,
so that I may have the courage to speak as I must.
The word of the Lord.
Ps 144:1b, 2, 9-10
R. (1b) Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
My mercy and my fortress,
my stronghold, my deliverer,
My shield, in whom I trust,
who subdues my people under me.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
O God, I will sing a new song to you;
with a ten‑stringed lyre I will chant your praise,
You who give victory to kings,
and deliver David, your servant from the evil sword.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Some Pharisees came to Jesus and said,
“Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you.”
He replied, “Go and tell that fox,
‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose.
Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day,
for it is impossible that a prophet should die
outside of Jerusalem.’
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together
as a hen gathers her brood under her wings,
but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned.
But I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say,
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection 1– Soldier of Christ
A soldier of Christ is not daunted by any problem or difficulty for he knows that in Him we have already won the battle and in Him we have salvation. He uses the Sword of the Spirit, God’s Word in every circumstance that may came his way. But above all, the life he leads is founded on prayer-supplication, intercession, confession, praise and thanksgiving!
As we live our Christian lives and face up to our daily battles against the evil one, it is important for us to stand still and allow God to fight for us. We should be able to acknowledge that the battle is not ours but the Lord’s. We must turn over the control to God to allow his grace to flow to through us.
In 1 Peter 5:7 we are admonished to cast all our care upon God, for he cares for us. We need to gladly toss away our troubles and give them over to God, because He is big enough to catch them and to deal with them. We should be like Christ, brave and courageous, even in the midst of persecution, Who was not discouraged by any threat but spoke, “Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day, for it is impossible that a prophet should die outside of Jerusalem.”
Every believer must therefore be firmly founded on Christ so that when storms of life try to blow one over, he will not be shaken and moved. In all circumstances, we need to hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. We need to take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. We ought to draw our strength from the Lord and from his mighty power and must put on the armor of God so that we may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the Devil, for our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. In all these, with all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. And as Psalm 55;23 states: “Cast your cares upon the Lord and He will support you and never will He permit the just man to be disturbed.”
Why fear in our work and battle against the evil one, “if God is for us, who can be against us? He did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?
Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? Let us remember that God is always with us, even till the end of time and will never forsake us, “for I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We should be able to acknowledge that the battles we encounter are not ours but the Lord’s. We must turn over the control to God to allow his grace to flow through us.
Heavenly Father, give us the strength to endure the struggles and trials of life and enable us to let your will prevail in us. In Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Reflection 2 – On the third day I will accomplish my purpose
- In the Gospel, Jesus demonstrates that he is fully aware of Herod’s plans, as well as those of the chief priests, scribes, elders and Pharisees. He alludes to his imminent death in Jerusalem as well as to the third day of his Resurrection.
- During his public ministry Jesus preached about the Kingdom of God, cast out demons and healed the sick. His mission, though, will culminate in Jerusalem in a few months. He knows that he will return to Jerusalem for the Passover. On that day, Palm Sunday, the crowds will cry out: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”. They will recognize him as royal savior.
Just as the people of Israel refused to heed the word of the prophets, they will refuse to listen to Jesus, who brings a divine message of love, compassion, mercy and salvation. Jesus says that he desires to gather the people under his arms and he will do this on the Cross. His arms will stretch out and he will embrace us.
Jesus fights against evil, sin and death. He is a mighty warrior, clothed in the armor of God. Today, Saint Paul encourages us to draw strength from God in our fight against evil. The armor we will put on in our fight is not made of steel or leather. Just as the Kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but rather of peace, righteousness and justice, so too the armor of God is one of truth, righteousness, good news, faith, salvation, and fortitude.
God is our Rock, God is the one who trains us for battle. God is our fortress of mercy, our stronghold of deliverance, our trustworthy shield. We are under God’s care in all we do. He guides us as we proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Our mission against evil and our mission to extend the Kingdom, must be sustained by prayer in the Spirit. We should not trust in our own strength or armor, nor should we proclaim our own set of truths. Rather, we rely on the help and power of the Holy Spirit; we are protected and guided by our God, and we seek proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ, so that all men and women may welcome the word of the Kingdom and in turn become soldiers for Christ.
Reflection 3 – St. Alphonsus Rodriguez (c. 1533-1617 A.D.)
Tragedy and challenge beset today’s saint early in life, but Alphonsus Rodriguez found happiness and contentment through simple service and prayer.
Born in Spain in 1533, Alphonsus inherited the family textile business at 23. Within the space of three years, his wife, daughter and mother died; meanwhile, business was poor. Alphonsus stepped back and reassessed his life. He sold the business and, with his young son, moved into his sisters’ home. There he learned the discipline of prayer and meditation.
Years later, at the death of his son, Alphonsus, almost 40 by then, sought to join the Jesuits. He was not helped by his poor education. He applied twice before being admitted. For 45 years he served as doorkeeper at the Jesuits’ college in Majorca. When not at his post, he was almost always at prayer, though he often encountered difficulties and temptations.
His holiness and prayerfulness attracted many to him, including St. Peter Claver, then a Jesuit seminarian. Alphonsus’s life as doorkeeper may have been humdrum, but he caught the attention of poet and fellow-Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins, who made him the subject of one of his poems.
Alphonsus died in 1617. He is the patron saint of Majorca.
Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1184
We like to think that God rewards the good even in this life. But Alphonsus knew business losses, painful bereavement and periods when God seemed very distant. None of his suffering made him withdraw into a shell of self-pity or bitterness. Rather, he reached out to others who lived with pain, including enslaved blacks. Among the many notables at his funeral were the sick and poor people whose lives he had touched. May they find such a friend in us!