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Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham Reg. Charity No. 234216.
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Writings of the Parish Priest (12)
Writings of the Parish priest (13)
Writings of the Parish priest (14)
Read, reflect and live inspired (15)
Writings of the Parish priest (16)
Writings of the Parish priest (17)
Writings of the Parish Priest (18)
Fr. Jimmy Lutwama AJ
TODAYS GOSPEL REFLECTION
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:44-45a
This is not an easy command from our Lord. But it is a command of love.
First, He calls us to love our enemies. Who are our enemies? Hopefully we do not have “enemies” in the sense of those who we have willfully chosen to hate. But we may have people in our lives who we are tempted to have anger toward and who we have a difficult time loving. Perhaps we can consider anyone we struggle with as our enemies.
To love them does not necessarily mean we must become best friends with them, but it does mean we must work toward having a true affection of care, concern, understanding and forgiveness toward them. This can be hard to have toward everyone but it must be our goal.
The second part of this command will help. Praying for those who persecute us will help us grow in the proper love and affection we need to foster. This aspect of love is quite straightforward even though it is also quite difficult.
Think about those whom you have a very difficult time loving. Those toward whom you have anger. It could be a family member, someone at work, a neighbor or someone from your past with whom you have never reconciled. It is in keeping with this Gospel passage to honestly admit that there is at least someone, or perhaps more than one person, with whom you struggle, either externally or internally. Admitting this is simply an act of honesty.
Once you identify this person or persons, think about whether you pray for them. Do you spend time regularly offering them to God in prayer? Do you pray that God pours forth His grace and mercy upon them? This may be hard to do but it is one of the healthiest acts you can do. It may be difficult to show love and affection toward them, but it is not hard to consciously choose to pray for them.
Praying for those with whom we have a hard time is key to letting God foster a true love and concern in our hearts toward them. It’s a way of letting God reform our emotions and feelings so that we will no longer have to hold on to feelings of anger or even hate.
Commit yourself this day to prayer for the person you struggle with the most. This prayer will most likely not change your love for them over night, but if you commit to this form of prayer every day, over time God will slowly change your heart and free you of the burden of anger and hurt that may keep you from the love He wants you to have toward all people.
Lord, I pray for the person for whom You want me to pray. Help me to love all people and help me to especially love those who are hard to love. Reorder my feelings toward them and help me to be free of any anger. Jesus, I trust in You.
Saint Joseph Cafasso
Even as a young man, Joseph loved to attend Mass and was known for his humility and fervor in prayer. After his ordination, he was assigned to a seminary in Turin. There he worked especially against the spirit of Jansenism—an excessive preoccupation with sin and damnation. He used the works of Saint Francis de Sales and Saint Alphonsus Liguori to moderate the rigorism popular at the seminary.
Joseph recommended membership in the Secular Franciscan Order to priests. He urged devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and encouraged daily Communion. In addition to his teaching duties, Joseph was an excellent preacher, confessor, and retreat master. Noted for his work with condemned prisoners, he helped many of them die at peace with God.
Joseph urged one of his former pupils--Saint John Bosco—to establish the Salesians congregation to work with the youth of Turin. Joseph Cafasso died in 1860, and was canonized in 1947. His Liturgical Feast Day is June 23.
Devotion to the Eucharist gave energy to all Joseph’s other activities. Long prayer before the Blessed Sacrament has been characteristic of many Catholics who have lived out the Gospel well: Saint Francis, Bishop Fulton Sheen, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, and Saint Teresa of Calcutta among them.
Be Careful of What You Plant. :
An emperor in the Far East was growing old and knew it was time to choose his successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or his children, he decided something different.
He called young people in the kingdom together one day. He said, 'It is time for me to step down and choose the next emperor. I have decided to choose one of you.'
The kids were shocked! But the emperor continued. 'I am going to give each one of you a seed today. One very special seed…. I want you to plant the seed, water it and come back here after one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring and the one I choose will be the next emperor!'
One boy named Ling was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the story. She helped him get a pot and planting soil and he planted the seed and watered it carefully. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.
Ling kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. 3 weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks went by. Still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants but Ling didn't have a plant, and he felt like a failure. Six months went by, still nothing in Ling's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed.
Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Ling didn't say anything to his friends. However he just kept waiting for his seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But honest about what happened. Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace, when Ling arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other youths.
They were beautiful in all shapes and sizes. Ling put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kinds laughed at him. A few felt sorry for him and just said, "Hey nice try."
When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young people. Ling just tried to hide in the back. "What great plants, trees and flowers you have grown,' said the emperor. Today, one of you will be appointed the next emperor:' All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front. Ling was terrified…"The emperor knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me killed!"
When Ling got to the front, the Emperor asked his name. ’My name is Ling,' he replied.
All the kids were laughing and making fun of him. The emperor asked everyone to quiet down. He looked at Ling and then announced to the crowd, 'Behold your new emperor… His name is Ling!"
Ling couldn't believe it. Ling couldn't even grow his seed. How could he be the new emperor?
Then the emperor said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds which would not grow. All of you, except Ling, have brought me trees and plants and flowers, when you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new emperor."
If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.
If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.
If you plant perseverance, you will reap victory.
If you plant consideration, you will reap harmony.
If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.
If you plant openness, you will reap intimacy.
If you plant patience, you will reap improvements.
If you plant faith, you will reap miracles.
If you plant dishonesty, you will reap distrust.
If you plant selfishness, you will reap loneliness.
If you plant pride, you will reap destruction.
If you plant envy, you will reap trouble.
If you plant laziness, you will reap stagnation.
If you plant bitterness, you will reap isolation.
If you plant greed, you will reap loss.
If you plant gossip, you will reap enemies.
If you plant worries, you will reap wrinkles.
If you plant sin, you will reap guilt.
Remember your graves because your way passes over it. You will be dealt with as you deal with others, you will reap what you sow and what you send today will meet you tomorrow.
So be careful what you plant now, it will determine what you will reap tomorrow, The seeds you now scatter, will make life worse or better, your life or the ones who will come after. Yes, someday, you will enjoy the fruits or you will pay for the choices you plant today.