Wednesday, August 29, 2018


PASSION OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST

Revelation, Chapter 18, Verse 11-18
11 The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn for her, because there will be no more markets for their cargo: 12 their cargo of gold, silver, precious stones, and pearls; fine linen, purple silk, and scarlet cloth; fragrant wood of every kind, all articles of ivory and all articles of the most expensive wood, bronze, iron, and marble; 13 cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, and frankincense; wine, olive oil, fine flour, and wheat; cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human beings. 14“The fruit you craved has left you. All your luxury and splendor are gone; never again will one find them.”15 The merchants who deal in these goods, who grew rich from her, will keep their distance for fear of the torment inflicted on her. Weeping and mourning, 16 they cry out: “Alas, alas, great city, wearing fine linen, purple and scarlet, adorned [in] gold, precious stones, and pearls. 17 In one hour this great wealth has been ruined.” Every captain of a ship, every traveler at sea, sailors, and seafaring merchants stood at a distance 18 and cried out when they saw the smoke of her pyre, “What city could compare with the great city?”

The world is mourning Babylon’s fall in these verses. After watching this year’s MTV awards show I am convinced that we morally are much closer to a Babylonian culture than we are to the original vision of the founders of this great nation of “A city on the hill” and a shining light to the world. Is America the new Babylon or that shining city on the hill? Yet for those who are united in Christ there is hope. Don’t worry the victory is for those who are in the risen one.

Behold my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight; I shall place my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not contend or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory. And in his name the Gentiles will hope. (Matthew 12:18-21)

You cannot receive if you do not ask. Let us ask for God’s mercy and count on it, to deliver our soul from death and keep us alive through this earthly famine for ourselves and others. In fact, one pious work we could do this week is a Novena to the Divine Mercy. In the novena Christ asks us to pray each day for a certain group of people.

1.      All Sinners
2.      Priests and Religious
3.      Devout Souls
4.      Unbelievers
5.      Departed brethren
6.      Children
7.      Saints
8.      Those in purgatory
9.      And the Lukewarm

A good time to pray the novena is the hour of Christ’s death. “At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy…”

Blessed are you who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways!

Martyrdom of John the Baptist[1]

The drunken oath of a king with a shallow sense of honor, a seductive dance and the hateful heart of a queen combined to bring about the martyrdom of John the Baptist. The greatest of prophets suffered the fate of so many Old Testament prophets before him: rejection and martyrdom. The “voice crying in the desert” did not hesitate to accuse the guilty, did not hesitate to speak the truth. But why? What possesses a man that he would give up his very life? This great religious reformer was sent by God to prepare the people for the Messiah. His vocation was one of selfless giving. The only power that he claimed was the Spirit of Yahweh. “I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). Scripture tells us that many people followed John looking to him for hope, perhaps in anticipation of some great messianic power. John never allowed himself the false honor of receiving these people for his own glory. He knew his calling was one of preparation. When the time came, he led his disciples to Jesus: “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’ The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus” (John 1:35-37). It is John the Baptist who has pointed the way to Christ. John’s life and death were a giving over of self for God and other people. His simple style of life was one of complete detachment from earthly possessions. His heart was centered on God and the call that he heard from the Spirit of God speaking to his heart. Confident of God’s grace, he had the courage to speak words of condemnation, repentance, and salvation.

Reflection

Each of us has a calling to which we must listen. No one will ever repeat the mission of John, and yet all of us are called to that very mission. It is the role of the Christian to witness to Jesus. Whatever our position in this world, we are called to be disciples of Christ. By our words and deeds, others should realize that we live in the joy of knowing that Jesus is Lord. We do not have to depend upon our own limited resources but can draw strength from the vastness of Christ’s saving grace.

International Day against Nuclear Tests[2]

The International Day against Nuclear Tests seeks to raise awareness about the negative effects of nuclear weapons and the need to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world. The day also serves to educate people everywhere about the need to ban nuclear weapon tests in order to ensure world safety. Since the first nuclear test in 1945, over 2,000 nuclear tests have been carried out and led to accidents, such as the Chernobyl, Ukraine accident of 1986, ending in tragedy, long-term radiation poisoning and atmospheric damage. International Day against Nuclear Tests was declared by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2009. It is observed every year on the 29th of August, a day that commemorates the 1991 closure of the Soviet Semipalatinsk site, the world's largest nuclear testing facility, in the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan.

International Day against Nuclear Tests Facts & Quotes

·         The US, the Soviet Union and France have carried out the most nuclear tests over the past 6 decades, with 1,032, 715 and 210 respectively.
·         The cost of the Manhattan Project, where the first nuclear bomb was ever built, is estimated to have cost $20 Billion.
·         The total number of nuclear missiles built from the year 1951 to the present is 67,500.
·         There is an estimated total of 16,400 nuclear weapons on Earth today.
·         So long as nuclear weapons continue to exist, so will the temptation to threaten others with overwhelming military force. – Daisaku Ikeda, Buddhist philosopher, educator, author and anti-nuclear activist.

Top Events and Things to Do

·         Watch a movie or documentary about nuclear disasters.  Some suggestions are: The Day After (1983), Threads (1984), Trinity and Beyond (1995), Fukushima Nuclear Disaster and Seconds from Disaster: Meltdown at Chernobyl.
·         Attend the meeting held by the president of the UN General Assembly by either going to the event in person or watching the recorded webcast.
·         Read a book about nuclear issues in the world today. Some suggestions are: Contesting the Future of Nuclear Power (2011), In Mortal Hands (2009), and Nuclear or Not? Does Nuclear Power Have a Place in a Sustainable Energy Future? (2007).
·         Spread awareness about the day by using the hashtag #InternationalDayAgainstNuclearWeapons, #notonuclear #againstnucleartests.


The Way[3]

"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."

55.  A Priest — whoever he may be — is always another Christ.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Please Pray for soul of Senator McCain and his family and for the unity of our country; asking Our Lady of Beauraing to intercede.
·         Pray the 54 Day Rosary

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