GOSPEL LIVING

Sunday January 19,2020

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Heb. 4:12-16   Ps. 18:8-10,15    Mk.2:13-17.

13 He went out again beside the sea; and all the crowd gathered about him, and he taught them. 14 And as he passed on, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him. 15 And as he sat at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were sitting with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." 

 

Meditation: Today’s First Reading contains the most best interpretation of the Word of God. It is double-edged sword. It can be spoken and delivered to the one, not without being tormented and wounded ourselves, at the same time, simultaneously wounding others. It pokes and penetrates to the depths. Such is the power of the Word of God.

In the following verses of the same passage, the author exhorts us to be confident of ourselves and approach the throne of grace, since the one who is seated there is an approachable persona, none other than Jesus, who knows us all and who is familiar to us and to whom we all are familiar, since He was like us in everything, but sin. He identified with us so much so that we could identify with him in ways much beyond our imagining.

And the gospel of the day is the best example for his identification with man, where He calls and sits at table with Levi, the Tax Collector. His conversion initiated the conversion of many more like him, with whom Levi was socially identified with and Jesus, in His identification with them could do much more that otherwise without.

His gesture itself was the word of God, which was double-edged. It did cut more smoothly than any other things that not only Levi, but many others were wounded and were really touched in gestures. It began the flow of grace from the throne of grace, who identified with men, and which resulted in the salvation of mankind.

Come; let’s approach the throne of Grace with confidence. For He has the right treatment for us. For He has come not to call the righteous, but to call the sinners. For He has the sharper than any double-edged sword, which is His Word, which is He Himself. Come; Let’s approach Him with much more confidence than ever. 

Bro Fidelis

 

Saint of the day "Thomas of Cori and St. Eustochia Calafato"

 

Thomas of Cori (1655-1729), priest, O.F.M. Born in Cori (Latina) on June 4, 1655, Thomas knew a childhood marked by the premature loss first of his mother and then of his father, thus being left alone at the age of 14 to look after his younger sister. Shepherding sheep, he learned wisdom from the simplest things. Once his sister was married, the youth was free to follow the inspiration that for some years he had kept in the silence of his heart: to belong completely to God in the Religious Life of a Franciscan. He had been able to get to know the Friars Minor in his own village at St. Francis convent. Once his two sisters were settled in good marriages and he was rendered free of all other preoccupations, he was received into the Order and sent to Orvieto (PG) to fulfill his novitiate year. After professing his vows according to the Rule of St. Francis and completing his theological studies, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1683. He was immediately nominated vice master of novices at Holy Trinity convent in Orvieto, since his superior recognized at once his gifts. 

After a short time, Fr. Thomas heard of the hermitages that were beginning to bloom in the Order and the intention of the superiors of the Roman Province to inaugurate one at the convent at Civitella (today Bellegra). His request was accepted, and the young friar thus knocked at the door of the poor convent in 1684, saying, "I am Fr. Thomas of Cori, and I come here to become holy!" In speech perhaps distant from ours, he expressed his anxiousness to live the Gospel radically, after the spirit of Saint Francis. 

From then, Fr. Thomas lived at Bellegra until death, with the exception of six years in which he was Guardian at the convent of Palombara, where he initiated the Hermitage modeled after the one at Bellegra. He wrote the Rule first for one and then for the other, observing it scrupulously aid consolidating by word and example the new institution of the two Hermitages. 

St. Thomas did not close himself up in the Hermitage, forgetting the good of his brothers and sisters, and the heart of the Franciscan vocation, which is apostolic. He was called with good reason the Apostle of Sublacense (the Subiaco region), having crossed the territory and its villages with the indefatigable proclamation of the Gospel, in the administration of the sacraments and the flowering of miracles at his passage, a sign of the presence and nearness of the Kingdom. His preaching was clear and simple, convincing and strong. He did not climb the most illustrious pulpits of his time; his personality was able to give its best in an ambit restricted to our territory, living his Franciscan vocation in littleness and in the concrete choice of the poorest. 

Exquisite charity. St. Thomas of Cori was to his brothers a very gentle father. In face of the resistance of some brothers before his will to reform and his radicality in living the Franciscan ideal, the Saint knew how to respond with patience and humility, even finding himself alone to mind the convent. He had understood well that every true reform initiates itself. The considerable correspondence that is here annexed demonstrates St. Thomas' attention to the smallest expectations and needs of his Friars, and of numerous friends, penitents and Friars who turned to him for his counsel. In the convent, he demonstrated his spirit of charity in his availability for every necessity, even the most humble. 

Rich in merits, he fell asleep in the Lord on January 11, 1729. St. Thomas of Cori shines among us and in Rome, of which he is the co-patron, above all in his thirst for a Christian and Franciscan ideal that is pure and lived in its essentials. A provocation for all of us not to take lightly the Gospel and its all-encompassing exigencies.

St. Eustochia Calafato

Foundress and Poor Clare. She was born circa 1435, the daughter of Countess Matilda Carafata, at Messina, Sicily. Betrothed, Eustochium lost her fiance before they could wed. When her father died in 1446, she became a Poor Clare at Bascio convent and devoted herself to penance and charitable activities. Her mother and sister were at Monte Vergine Convent, and Eustochium went there for the stricter observances. She became abbess in 1462. She was canonized in 1988. In some lists her name is Eustachia or Smaragda.