Friday, October 8, 2010

The LORD Will Remember His Covenant Forever.

Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Reading I
Galatians 3:7-14
Brothers and sisters:
Realize that it is those who have faith
who are children of Abraham.
Scripture, which saw in advance that God
would justify the Gentiles by faith,
foretold the good news to Abraham, saying,
Through you shall all the nations be blessed.
Consequently, those who have faith are blessed
along with Abraham who had faith.
For all who depend on works of the law are under a curse;
for it is written, Cursed be everyone
who does not persevere in doing all the things
written in the book of the law.
And that no one is justified before God by the law is clear,
for the one who is righteous by faith will live.
But the law does not depend on faith;
rather, the one who does these things will live by them.
Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law
by becoming a curse for us, for it is written,
Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree,
that the blessing of Abraham might be extended
to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus,
so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
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Psalm 111
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
Majesty and glory are his work,
and his justice endures forever.
He has won renown for his wondrous deeds;
gracious and merciful is the LORD.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
He has given food to those who fear him;
he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
He has made known to his people the power of his works,
giving them the inheritance of the nations.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
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Luke 11:15-26
When Jesus had driven out a demon,
some of the crowd said:
“By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself,
how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul
that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God
that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone,
it roams through arid regions searching for rest
but, finding none, it says,
‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’
But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order.
Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits
more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there,
and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”
St. John Leonardi

"I am only one person! Why should I do anything? What good would it do?" Today, as in any age, people seem plagued with the dilemma of getting involved. In his own way John Leonardi answered these questions. He chose to become a priest.

After his ordination, he became very active in the works of the ministry, especially in hospitals and prisons. The example and dedication of his work attracted several young laymen who began to assist him. They later became priests themselves.

John lived after the Protestant Reformation and the Council of Trent. He and his followers projected a new congregation of diocesan priests. For some reason the plan, which was ultimately approved, provoked great political opposition. John was exiled from his home town of Lucca, Italy, for almost the entire remainder of his life. He received encouragement and help from St. Philip Neri [whose feast is May 26], who gave him his lodgings—along with the care of his cat!

In 1579, John formed the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, and published a compendium of Christian doctrine that remained in use until the 19th century.

Father Leonardi and his priests became a great power for good in Italy, and their congregation was confirmed by Pope Clement in 1595. He died at the age of 68 from a disease caught when tending those stricken by the plague.

By the deliberate policy of the founder, the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God have never had more than 15 churches and today form only a very small congregation.


What can one person do? If you ever glanced through a Christopher Notes pamphlet you know—plenty! In the life of each saint one thing stands clear: God and one person are a majority! What one individual, following God's will and plan for his or her life, can do is more than our mind could ever hope for or imagine. Each of us, like John Leonardi, has a mission to fulfill in God's plan for the world. Each one of us is unique and has been given talent to use for the service of our brothers and sisters for the building up of God's kingdom.


"Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy" (Luke 12:32-33).

Saint of the Day


Sarah in the tent said...

'he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils.'

I suppose the spoils include the valuable armour. Perhaps this could refer to the way joyful pagan festivals, which had been a great strength of pagan cults, were expropriated and put to good use by the Church Fathers. More recently, William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, made good use of music saying: "Why should the devil have all the best tunes?" I like this kind of cheek!

Joy is one good sometimes put to bad use, but are there others? This Gospel reading makes us think about healing. In modern times the 'culture of death' has made great inroads into the healing professions. Catholic involvement is even called evil - just like Our Lord here.

Why did some people think this healing had come from Beelzebul? The man healed had been dumb, so he must have spoken. What did he say? Something blasphemous, perhaps, such as would make Jesus the equal of God?

Angelina Bong said...

How timely the words and quotes that you have used. Thank you for writing. God bless you for using these talents to reach many in the internet.Amen.

Fr. John L. Sullivan said...

Sarah writes, "Joy is one good sometimes put to bad use, but there are others". I beg to differ: The feelings and state of mind that can be put to bad use is "enjoyment", or "pleasure", not "joy". William Booth was on the mark when he asked "Why should the devil have all the best tunes?" If we experience an emotionally positive response to "Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs..." it it because they are expressions of joy, and joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit.

Sarah in the tent said...

You're right, of course!

Maybe Joy is the pure gift and when we do things 'for en-joy-ment' we are actually trying to create something like that Joy for ourselves, to put it in our own heart. The heart wants Joy and the will tries to satisfy it. The devil makes it his business to divert the heart's healthy desire from the true good.

The human desire for Joy should lead us to God, but it can be hijacked and used to lead us even further away from Him. People can become hooked on the joy they put in their own hearts (with a bottle or a needle or endless shiny new things), but even without any kind of addiction, someone who has found a source of enjoyment that he can control is probably reluctant to exchange it for the Joy that is in someone else's gift - a bit like Milton's Lucifer saying: 'It is better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven'.

We yearn for Joy, but crave enjoyment. Yearning reaches out beyond ourselves, but craving is more like greed.

I feel confident that the 'strong man' stole everything he has - property and armour. When they are seized and distributed to us as spoils, we are able to use them again for their proper purpose. Satan steals control of our human nature - with all its strong desires, including the desire for Joy - and uses it against us, but Christ defeats him and gives us back our true humanity.

Stolen armour is also a reliable disguise for a deceiver - people might mistake Beelzebul for Christ, or idolatry for true religion, or our enemy for our heart's strongest desire. If Christ takes this armour back for us, perhaps Paul (Eph 6:10) describes what we are to do with it: 'Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.'