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August 28, 2018

St. Augustine, Bishop and Martyr

2 Thes 2: 1-3a, 14-17

As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here.

Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Encouraging each other

The reading from Second Thessalonians offers words of encouragement to a new church struggling to understand what they’ve been taught about Christ’s resurrection. In a sermon he preached after Easter, St. Augustine, whom we celebrate today, preached on a similar theme: How ought we celebrate the risen Christ when the world still looks the same?

In this sermon, Augustine doesn’t completely resolve the feeling of fear; he instead encourages people to sing, but “in the way of travelers [who] are in the habit of singing” and to “make some progress in goodness.” Perhaps that song we sing today can be like a prayer that has been taught through generations: “Jesus, may I know you more clearly, love you more dearly, follow you more nearly.” Both today’s first reading and St. Augustine respond to the mystery of faith not by promising certainty but by teaching us how to encourage each other.

—Joe Wotawa, SJ, is a scholastic of the USA Central and Southern Province completing his theology studies at the Xavier University Institute for Black Catholic Studies and the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University.

Prayer

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit,
That my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit,
That my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit,
That I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit,
To defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit,
That I always may be holy.

—St. Augustine’s Prayer to the Holy Spirit

 

 

 

 


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August 28, 2018

Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

Mark 6:17-29

For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him.

But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.”

Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Affirming those “on the fence”

This story details a real train wreck. Herod displays all the emotional self-control of a young adolescent, whipped around by fear and insecurity, and blinded by desire – all ending in an entirely predictable tragedy.

I wonder how he went “off the rails.” Herod was certainly young and impressionable once. You probably also know some people who may not be showing the signs of heading towards a future as thoughtful, compassionate human beings – maybe potential Herods, maybe potential saints.

Let’s consider a person you know whose future seems “on the fence.” Where is there an opportunity to explicitly affirm the better angels of this person’s personality?

St. Ignatius called for us to seek out and affirm the good in others as a tool of spiritual progress, rather than jumping to point out errors (SE 22). What gets noticed and affirmed — grows.

—Michael Coffey is the Executive Director of Casa Romero Renewal Center, an Ignatian, urban, bilingual spirituality center in the central city of Milwaukee.

Prayer

As you contemplate the person you know who is “on the fence,” I invite you to pray with these lyrics from The Servant Song.

Will you let me be your servant
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant too

We are pilgrims on the journey
We are travellers on the road
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load

—Michael Coffey, song lyrics by Richard Gillard, © 1977, Scripture in Song.

 

 

 

 

 


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August 28, 2018

St. Augustine, Bishop and Martyr

2 Thes 2: 1-3a, 14-17

As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here.

Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Encouraging each other

The reading from Second Thessalonians offers words of encouragement to a new church struggling to understand what they’ve been taught about Christ’s resurrection. In a sermon he preached after Easter, St. Augustine, whom we celebrate today, preached on a similar theme: How ought we celebrate the risen Christ when the world still looks the same?

In this sermon, Augustine doesn’t completely resolve the feeling of fear; he instead encourages people to sing, but “in the way of travelers [who] are in the habit of singing” and to “make some progress in goodness.” Perhaps that song we sing today can be like a prayer that has been taught through generations: “Jesus, may I know you more clearly, love you more dearly, follow you more nearly.” Both today’s first reading and St. Augustine respond to the mystery of faith not by promising certainty but by teaching us how to encourage each other.

—Joe Wotawa, SJ, is a scholastic of the USA Central and Southern Province completing his theology studies at the Xavier University Institute for Black Catholic Studies and the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University.

Prayer

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit,
That my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit,
That my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit,
That I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit,
To defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit,
That I always may be holy.

—St. Augustine’s Prayer to the Holy Spirit

 

 

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 28, 2018

Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

Mark 6:17-29

For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him.

But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.”

Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Affirming those “on the fence”

This story details a real train wreck. Herod displays all the emotional self-control of a young adolescent, whipped around by fear and insecurity, and blinded by desire – all ending in an entirely predictable tragedy.

I wonder how he went “off the rails.” Herod was certainly young and impressionable once. You probably also know some people who may not be showing the signs of heading towards a future as thoughtful, compassionate human beings – maybe potential Herods, maybe potential saints.

Let’s consider a person you know whose future seems “on the fence.” Where is there an opportunity to explicitly affirm the better angels of this person’s personality?

St. Ignatius called for us to seek out and affirm the good in others as a tool of spiritual progress, rather than jumping to point out errors (SE 22). What gets noticed and affirmed — grows.

—Michael Coffey is the Executive Director of Casa Romero Renewal Center, an Ignatian, urban, bilingual spirituality center in the central city of Milwaukee.

Prayer

As you contemplate the person you know who is “on the fence,” I invite you to pray with these lyrics from The Servant Song.

Will you let me be your servant
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant too

We are pilgrims on the journey
We are travellers on the road
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load

—Michael Coffey, song lyrics by Richard Gillard, © 1977, Scripture in Song.

 

 

 

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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