Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Saint of the Day

Conformity to the Will of God

Great St. Joseph, to whose will the Savior subjected Himself, obtain for me the grace to subject myself in all things to the will of God. Through the merits you obtained when in the darkness of night you obeyed the angel's commands, ask for me this grace, that nothing may detain me from fulfilling the will of God with perfect conformity. In the stable of Bethlehem, on the flight to Egypt, you recommended yourself and those dear to you to divine Providence. Ask for me this same grace to conform myself to the will of God in discouragement and despondency, in health and sickness, in happiness and misfortune, in success and failure so that nothing may disturb the tranquility of my soul in obediently following the way of God for me.


Tuesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1
Ez 6:7-8, 12b, 14-20

King Darius issued an order to the officials
of West-of-Euphrates:
“Let the governor and the elders of the Jews
continue the work on that house of God;
they are to rebuild it on its former site.
I also issue this decree
concerning your dealing with these elders of the Jews
in the rebuilding of that house of God:
From the royal revenue, the taxes of West-of-Euphrates,
let these men be repaid for their expenses, in full and without delay.
I, Darius, have issued this decree;
let it be carefully executed.”

The elders of the Jews continued to make progress in the building,
supported by the message of the prophets,
Haggai and Zechariah, son of Iddo.
They finished the building according to the command
of the God of Israel
and the decrees of Cyrus and Darius
and of Artaxerxes, king of Persia.
They completed this house on the third day of the month Adar,
in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.
The children of Israel–priests, Levites,
and the other returned exiles–
celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy.
For the dedication of this house of God,
they offered one hundred bulls,
two hundred rams, and four hundred lambs,
together with twelve he-goats as a sin-offering for all Israel,
in keeping with the number of the tribes of Israel.
Finally, they set up the priests in their classes
and the Levites in their divisions
for the service of God in Jerusalem,
as is prescribed in the book of Moses.

The exiles kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.
The Levites, every one of whom had purified himself for the occasion,
sacrificed the Passover for the rest of the exiles,
for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 122:1-2, 3-4ab, 4cd-5

R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

I rejoiced because they said to me,
“We will go up to the house of the LORD.”
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.

R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.

R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.

R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Lk 8:19-21

The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him
but were unable to join him because of the crowd.
He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside
and they wish to see you.”
He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers
are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”

Saint of the Day

September 28

St. Lawrence Ruiz and Companions (1600?-1637)

Lawrence (Lorenzo) was born in Manila of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, both Christians. Thus he learned Chinese and Tagalog from them and Spanish from the Dominicans whom he served as altar boy and sacristan. He became a professional calligrapher, transcribing documents in beautiful penmanship. He was a full member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary under Dominican auspices. He married and had two sons and a daughter.

His life took an abrupt turn when he was accused of murder. Nothing further is known except the statement of two Dominicans that "he was sought by the authorities on account of a homicide to which he was present or which was attributed to him."

At that time three Dominican priests, Antonio Gonzalez, Guillermo Courtet and Miguel de Aozaraza, were about to sail to Japan in spite of a violent persecution there. With them was a Japanese priest, Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and a layman named Lazaro, a leper. Lorenzo, having taken asylum with them, was allowed to accompany them. But only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan.

They landed at Okinawa. Lorenzo could have gone on to Formosa, but, he reported, "I decided to stay with the Fathers, because the Spaniards would hang me there." In Japan they were soon found out, arrested and taken to Nagasaki. The site of wholesale bloodshed when the atomic bomb was dropped had known tragedy before. The 50,000 Catholics who once lived there were dispersed or killed by persecution.

They were subjected to an unspeakable kind of torture: After huge quantities of water were forced down their throats, they were made to lie down. Long boards were placed on their stomachs and guards then stepped on the ends of the boards, forcing the water to spurt violently from mouth, nose and ears.

The superior, Antonio, died after some days. Both the Japanese priest and Lazaro broke under torture, which included the insertion of bamboo needles under their fingernails. But both were brought back to courage by their companions.

In Lorenzo's moment of crisis, he asked the interpreter, "I would like to know if, by apostatizing, they will spare my life." The interpreter was noncommittal, but Lorenzo, in the ensuing hours, felt his faith grow strong. He became bold, even audacious, with his interrogators.

The five were put to death by being hanged upside down in pits. Boards fitted with semicircular holes were fitted around their waists and stones put on top to increase the pressure. They were tightly bound, to slow circulation and prevent a speedy death. They were allowed to hang for three days. By that time Lorenzo and Lazaro were dead. The three Dominican priests, still alive, were beheaded.

Pope John Paul II canonized these six and 10 others, Asians and Europeans, men and women, who spread the faith in the Philippines, Formosa and Japan. Lorenzo Ruiz is the first canonized Filipino martyr.

Office of Readings

O Lord, open my lips.
– And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Antiphon: Come, let us worship the Lord, the great King.

(repeat antiphon*)

O God, take pity on us and bless us,
and let your face shine upon us,
so that your ways may be known across the world,
and all nations learn of your salvation.

(repeat antiphon*)

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and rejoice,
for you judge the peoples with fairness
and you guide the nations of the earth.

(repeat antiphon*)

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has produced its harvest:
may God, our God, bless us.
May God bless us,
may the whole world revere him.

(repeat antiphon*)

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.


(repeat antiphon*)

Psalm 9B (10)

The Lord will give just judgments to the poor.
With what purpose, Lord, do you stay away,
hide yourself in time of need and trouble?
The wicked in their pride persecute the weak,
trap them in the plots they have devised.
The sinner glories in his desires,
the miser congratulates himself.
The sinner in his arrogance rejects the Lord:
“there is no God, no retribution.”
This is what he thinks
– and all goes well for him.
Your judgements are far beyond his comprehension:
he despises all who stand against him.
The sinner says to himself: “I will stand firm;
nothing can touch me, from generation to generation.”
His mouth is full of malice and deceit,
under his tongue hide trouble and distress.
He lies in ambush by the villages,
he kills the innocent in some secret place.
He watches the weak,
he hides like a lion in its lair, and makes plans.
He plans to rob the weak,
lure him to his trap and rob him.
He rushes in, makes a dive,
and the poor victim is caught.
For he has said to himself, “God has forgotten.
He is not watching, he will never see.”

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.


The Lord will give just judgments to the poor.
Psalm 9B (10)

Lord, you see the poor man’s trouble and his suffering.
Rise up, Lord, raise your hand!
Do not forget the weak.
Why does the wicked man spurn God?
Because he says to himself, “you will not take revenge.”
But you do see: you see the trouble and the pain,
and then you take things into your own hands.
The weak fall to your care,
and you are the help of the orphan.
Break the arms of the sinner and evil-doer:
seek out wickedness until there is no more to be found.
The Lord is King for ever and for ever.
The Gentiles have perished from his land.
You have heard the prayer of the weak, Lord,
and you will strengthen their hearts.
You will lend your ear to the pleas of the orphans and the helpless,
so mere mortals can frighten them no longer.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.


Lord, you see the poor man’s trouble and his suffering.
Psalm 11 (12)

A prayer against the proud
The words of the Lord are pure words, they are silver refined in the furnace.
Save me, Lord, for the good men are all gone:
there is no-one to be trusted among the sons of men.
Neighbour speaks falsehood to neighbour:
with lying lips and crooked hearts they speak.
Let the Lord condemn all lying lips,
all boastful tongues.
They say “Our tongues will make us great,
our lips are ours, we have no master.”
“On account of the sufferings of the poor,
the groans of the weak, I will rise up,” says the Lord.
“I will bring to safety the one whom men despise.”
The words of the Lord are pure words,
silver tried by fire, freed from dross,
silver seven times refined.
You, Lord, will help us
and guard us from now to all eternity –
while the wicked walk round outside,
where the vilest are most honoured of the children of men.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.


The words of the Lord are pure words, they are silver refined in the furnace.
The Lord will guide the humble on the right path.
– He will teach his ways to the meek.

Reading Ezekiel 36:16-36

The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows: ‘Son of man, the members of the House of Israel used to live in their own land, but they defiled it by their conduct and actions; to me their conduct was as unclean as a woman’s menstruation. I then discharged my fury at them because of the blood they shed in their land and the idols with which they defiled it. I scattered them among the nations and dispersed them in foreign countries. I sentenced them as their conduct and actions deserved. And now they have profaned my holy name among the nations where they have gone, so that people say of them, “These are the people of the Lord; they have been exiled from his land.” But I have been concerned about my holy name, which the House of Israel has profaned among the nations where they have gone. And so, say to the House of Israel, “The Lord says this: I am not doing this for your sake, House of Israel, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I mean to display the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned among them. And the nations will learn that I am the Lord–it is the Lord who speaks– when I display my holiness for your sake before their eyes. Then I am going to take you from among the nations and gather you together from all the foreign countries, and bring you home to your own land. I shall pour clean water over you and you will be cleansed; I shall cleanse you of all your defilement and all your idols. I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you; I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead. I shall put my spirit in you, and make you keep my laws and sincerely respect my observances. You will live in the land which I gave your ancestors. You shall be my people and I will be your God. I shall rescue you from all your defilement. I shall summon the corn and make it plentiful, and no more bring famines on you. I shall increase the yield of fruit trees and fields so that you will no longer have the ignominy of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil conduct and actions. You will loathe yourselves for your sins and your filthy practices. I assure you that I am not doing this for your sake–it is the Lord who speaks. Be ashamed and blush for your conduct, House of Israel.

The Lord says this: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will repopulate the cities and cause the ruins to be rebuilt. Waste land, once desolate for every passer-by to see, will now be farmed again. Everyone will say: This land, so recently a waste, is now like a garden of Eden, and the ruined cities once abandoned and levelled to the ground are now strongholds with people living in them. And the nations left round you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt what was destroyed and replanted what was ruined. I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do it.

Reading St Augustine's sermon On Pastors
The church, like a vine, grows and spreads everywhere

They are straying across the mountains and the high hills, they have been scattered over all the face of the earth. What does this mean, scattered over all the face of the earth? That they attach themselves to earthly things, the things that glitter on the face of the earth: they love and desire them. They do not want to die and be hidden away in Christ. Over all the face of the earth not only because they love earthly things but because across all the earth there are sheep astray. They are everywhere, but one thing, pride, is the mother of them all, just as Christians who are spread over all the world have one mother, the Church.

So it is not to be wondered at that pride gives birth to dissension while love generates unity. The Church is the mother of all, and everywhere the shepherd in her seeks those who are astray, strengthens those who are weak, cares for the sick and puts the broken together again. Many of them are not even known to one another, but she knows them all because she is merged with them all.

She is like a vine that has grown and sprouted everywhere. Those in love with earthly things are like sterile shoots pruned away by the grower’s knife because of their sterility, cut away so that the vine should not have to be cut down. And those sterile shoots, once they are pruned away, lie on the ground and stay there. But the vine grows over all, and it knows those shoots that remain part of it, and it knows the cut-off shoots that lie next to it.

But from where they lie she calls them back, for as St Paul says of the broken branches, God has the power to graft them back again. Whether you speak of sheep straying away from the flock or branches cut off from the vine, God is equally able to call back the lost sheep and to graft back the lost branches: the Lord, the true vine-dresser. They have been scattered over all the face of the earth and no-one misses them, no-one calls them back – no-one among the bad shepherds. No-one misses them – that is, no man does.

Well then, shepherds, hear the words of the Lord. As I live, says the Lord God... See how he starts. It is like an oath sworn by God, calling his very life to witness. As I live, says the Lord God. The shepherds are dead but the sheep are safe. As I live, says the Lord God. What shepherds are dead? Those who have sought their own interests rather than Christ’s. So what of the shepherds who seek Christ’s interests and not their own? Of course there will be such shepherds, of course they will be found: there is no lack of them and there never will be.

Concluding Prayer

O God, you have summed up the entire Law as love of you and our neighour.
Grant that we may obey your commandments
and deserve to come to eternal life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.