>>> Alphonsus Liguori – Pray for Us!
HE FED THEM WITH REAL BREAD
A brilliant lawyer at 17, St. Alphonsus (1696-1787) decided to become a priest after losing a court case and to devote himself to the evangelization of the poor. For this purpose, he founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists) to preach “parish missions” to them. He is rightly famous for his balanced moral theology, which was the standard work for a whole era and helped to attenuate the rigorism of Jansenism. His sanctity grew in the trials of his work and of his difficulties with his own congregation, which even expelled him. But nothing could separate him from the love of God.
St. Alphonsus Liguori was a shepherd
who did all he could to lead God’s people to you,
especially the poor and the simple.
Give us shepherds like him,
who show the human face of Christ
and who can therefore attract people
with gentleness and concern
to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen!
1 Reading: JEREMIAH 28:1-17
In the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, in the fifth month of the fourth year, the prophet Hananiah, son of Azzur, from Gibeon, said to me in the house of the LORD in the presence of the priests and all the people: “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon. Within two years I will restore to this place all the vessels of the temple of the LORD which Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, took away from this place to Babylon. And I will bring back to this place Jeconiah, son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the exiles of Judah who went to Babylon,’ says the LORD, ‘for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.’” The prophet Jeremiah answered the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people assembled in the house of the LORD, and said: Amen! thus may the LORD do! May he fulfill the things you have prophesied by bringing the vessels of the house of the LORD and all the exiles back from Babylon to this place! But now, listen to what I am about to state in your hearing and the hearing of all the people. From of old, the prophets who were before you and me prophesied war, woe, and pestilence against many lands and mighty kingdoms. But the prophet who prophesies peace is recognized as truly sent by the LORD only when his prophetic prediction is fulfilled. Thereupon the prophet Hananiah took the yoke from the neck of the prophet Jeremiah and broke it, and said in the presence of all the people: “Thus says the LORD: ‘Even so, within two years I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, from off the neck of all the nations.’” At that, the prophet Jeremiah went away. Sometime after the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: Go tell Hananiah this: Thus says the LORD: By breaking a wooden yoke, you forge an iron yoke! For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: A yoke of iron I will place on the necks of all these nations serving Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and they shall serve him; even the beasts of the field I give him. To the prophet Hananiah the prophet Jeremiah said: Hear this, Hananiah! The LORD has not sent you, and you have raised false confidence in this people. For this, says the LORD, I will dispatch you from the face of the earth; this very year you shall die, because you have preached rebellion against the LORD. That same year, in the seventh month, Hananiah the prophet died.
Responsorial PSALM 119:29, 43, 79, 80, 95, 102
R. (68b) Lord, teach me your statutes.
Remove from me the way of falsehood,
and favour me with your law. R.
Take not the word of truth from my mouth,
for in your ordinances is my hope. R.
Let those turn to me who fear you
and acknowledge your decrees. R.
Let my heart be perfect in your statutes,
that I be not put to shame. R.
Sinners wait to destroy me,
but I pay heed to your decrees. R.
From your ordinances I turn not away,
for you have instructed me. R.
Alleluia JOHN 1:49B
Rabbi, you are the Son of God;
you are the King of Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel – MATTHEW 14:13-21
When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” He said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.” Then he said, “Bring them here to me,” and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over– twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.
Commitment: Piecemeal or Total?
Humanly speaking, as evening approached, Jesus should have been more eager than the disciples to dismiss the crowd and rest a bit; but his commitment to them is total. Whereas the disciples wanted to “get rid” of the people, dismissing them to go get their food, Jesus insisted on providing food for them. When the disciples complained about the lack of resources to do so, Jesus did not budge in his commitment. He would provide. In these years when nations debate the wisdom of caring for the migrants and the need to protect one’s own people and security, when nations are eager to build walls than bridges, this Gospel must challenge us: Commitment to caring for God’s children, whoever they are, cannot be in piecemeal fashion; it must be total, with its challenges and benefits, joys and pains. In our response, would we imitate the disciples or Jesus?
– For the Church, when it has to pass through difficult moments of persecution, ridicule or inner conflict, that it may keep trusting in the Lord, we pray:
– For Christians beset by doubts or facing hard decisions of conscience, that they may see the hand that Jesus extends to them, we pray:
– For people, who have to do dangerous work, that the Lord may protect them we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
you give taste to our lives
with the bread and wine of your Son,
for they steep us in his love and faithfulness.
Do not allow us to lose our savour
but make us use it to preserve in this world
the goodness and dedicated love
which you have shown us in your Son,
Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!
Prayer after Communion
God our Father,
the words spoken by your Son
have been a light on our path of life
and his body our source of renewal.
Do not allow us to hide the light
of his self-forgetting, faithful love,
but let it shine in us
that people may see in us
the reflection of his goodness
and give praise to you,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!
“Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid,” says Jesus. He is with us in our struggles, for he will never desert us. May Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!