On the day of 7 August

At Augusta of the Vindelici* in Raetia, of Saint Afra, martyr, who, a sinner converted to Christ but not yet baptized, is said to have been delivered up to fire on account of her profession of Christ.

**Saint/Feast of the day segment copied from the USCCB page.

Reading 1: Jeremiah 31:31-34

According to the footnotes in the New American Bible, prophets since Hosea were talking about this "new covenant". You know, God tried to tell us over and over that he had a whole new kind of arrangement coming for the whole world. It seems like he kept trying to figure out how to save humanity from our own crapulence. Well, apparently, he had a plan all along and gave us plenty of foreshadowing. For your reading pleasure, I give you the rest of the footnote: " [31-34] The new covenant to be made with Israel is a common theme of the prophets, beginning with Hosea. According to Jeremiah, the qualities of the new covenant that make it different from the old are: (a) It will not be broken, but will last forever; (b) Its law will be written in the heart, not merely on tablets of stone; (c) The knowledge of God will be so generally shown forth in the life of the people that it will no longer be necessary to put it into words of instruction. In the fullest sense, this prophecy was fulfilled only through the work of Jesus Christ; cf Luke 22:20; 1 Cor 11:25."

Gospel Reading: Matthew 16:13-23

This confused me a little so I went and looked back at yesterday's reading. All of this happened before the transfiguration. So Peter already knew, in his heart, just like Jeremiah had prophesied, who Jesus was. This was something that Saint Afra (Ah, the tie-in with the saint!) spoke about in her confession, prior to being burned at the stake.

But the reading goes on to show that Peter got scared when Jesus told him that bad times were ahead. Peter wanted to protect Jesus from persecution. Understandable. Jesus was Peter's friend, and it must have been hard not to view him as flesh and blood. Jesus should have laughed at him instead of getting mad. Protect the living God made incarnate? It's pretty silly when you think about it. Poor Peter must have lived in confusion most of the time he was around Jesus. I think that all of us who have invited Jesus to be a part of our own lives has to live with that confusion a bit as well. I think that maybe these readings today have been about opening our hearts to hear the true words and direction of the Holy Spirit.

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord  

Posted by siouxbhoney

On the day of 6 August

The Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, in which Christ Jesus, beloved only-begotten Son of the eternal Father, revealed his glory in the presence of the holy Apostles Peter, James and John, with the law and prophets as witnesses, so that he might make the regeneration of grace visible in the lowliness of our servile form which he had united himself, and the image of God in which man was created, although corrupted in Adam, might be proclaimed restored in Christ unto the ends of the earth.

**Saint/Feast of the day segment copied from the USCCB page.

First Reading: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14

This is what the footnotes from the NAB say on this: "Just as our Lord applied the figure of the stone hewn from the mountain to himself (Daniel 2:36-45), he also made the title "Son of Man" his most characteristic way of referring to himself, as the One in whom and through whom the salvation of God's people came to be realized."

This passage is pure prophecy, in my mind. It'd hard to see how Daniel could be talking about anything else than the coming messiah.

Second Reading: 2 Peter 1:16-19

Peter is telling people over and over that the things that he says about Jesus are true. He knows that they are true because he saw them with his own eyes. It's very easy to disregard, or to distance ourselves from ancient biblical times, but truth be told, Peter got himself killed in Rome because he couldn't shut up about what he'd seen with his own eyes. What better testament to the truth? Who would get himself crucified over a lie or a bid for power as a false prophet? Maybe one crazy man, but 11 of the 12 apostles died proclaiming the same things about Jesus.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 17:1-9

This is what the NAB footnotes have to say: "[1-8] The account of the transfiguration confirms that Jesus is the Son of God (Matthew 17:5) and points to fulfillment of the prediction that he will come in his Father's glory at the end of the age (Matthew 16:27). It has been explained by some as a resurrection appearance retrojected into the time of Jesus' ministry, but that is not probable since the account lacks many of the usual elements of the resurrection-appearance narratives. It draws upon motifs from the Old Testament and non canonical Jewish apocalyptic literature that express the presence of the heavenly and the divine, e.g., brilliant light, white garments, and the overshadowing cloud."

This is what most of the apostles died to tell everyone. For them, I'm sure, the beginning of the truth started with this event, and ended with Jesus' Ascension.

Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time  

Posted by siouxbhoney

On the day of 5 August

The dedication of the
basilica of Santa Maria* in Rome, erected on the Esquiline, that Pope Sixtus III presented to the people of God in commemoration of the Council of Ephesus at which the Virgin Mary was acclaimed the Mother of God.

*Saint Mary Major
**Saint of the day segment copied from the
USSCB NAB website

Prayer for the Basilica:
I couldn't find a specific prayer for the Basilica, so I thought that this might be appropriate:

Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.

Reading 1: Jeremiah 30:1-2, 12-15, 18-22

I was having a lot of trouble with this one, and then a light bulb just went off in my head. It seems pretty simple now, actually. God is saying that he punished his people in a big way. He seriously beat them down for their sins, but not to worry, he will make it all better. And by the way, he wants it all recorded in a book so that future generations can learn from the mistakes that his early people made. If that's not it, I still don't got it.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 15: 1-2, 10-14

Well, there is no link to the reading because the USCCB website went down the the middle of me writing this. I hope it comes back up soon.

This reading seems pretty simple to me today, also. Jesus is trying to show the Pharisees and scribes that they place too much importance on empty traditions, and not enough on actions and words. It reminds me of the Isaiah readings last month, when God was angry that people were having festivals in his name, and making sacrifices, but weren't feeling the worship. It was all empty, just going through the motions. Going to church and taking communion and following all the right motions are great, but it doesn't mean anything if I spend the whole time thinking about what I'm gonna do later, then fuss out the family behind me for making too much noise. It's our actions and words that count, all of the ceremony and tradition is there to help us remember that, not excuse us from that.

Memorial of Saint John Mary Vianney, priest  

Posted by siouxbhoney

I cut and paste this from the USCCB website:

The commemoration of Saint Jean Marie Vianney, priest, who, for more than forty years served the parish entrusted to him in the town of Ars near Belley in France wondrously by energetic preaching, prayer and the example of penance; daily catechizing children and adults, reconciling penitents, aglow with ardent charity drawn from the holy Eucharist as from a font, he made such great progress that his counsels spread far and wide and many were brought to God through his wisdom.

This is a new segment I'm gonna try. A saint-prayer for every saint of the day: Today's is copied from SAINTS.SQPN.COM

Prayer to Saint John Vianney
Saintly Pastor of Ars and splendid model of all servants of souls, you were considered not very bright, but you possessed the wisdom of the Saints. You were a true pontifex, a bridge-builder, between God and his people as countless penitents streamed to your confessional. Inspire all priests to be dedicated mediators between God and his people in our day.

First Reading: Jeremiah 28:1-17

First of all, everybody must have thought that Jeremiah was nuts. When Hananiah was speaking in the temple, Jeremiah shows up with a YOKE around his neck. I'm sure everybody wanted to hear what Hananiah had to say, because he was all happy endings and butterflies. Apparently, the reason for the yoke was that Jeremiah was illustrating a point he had been making about submitting voluntarily to the Babylonian power. Jeremiah's point was that only God could free the Israelite people.

Anyway, this passage is really about Jeremiah proving that Hananiah was a false prophet. Hananiah was telling everyone what they wanted to hear, and encouraging people to act against God's will. Jeremiah was mocked by his own people, and Hananiah was loved. This seems to be the life of the prophet and the saint. The bible tells us over and over that one of our tests is the misunderstanding of our faith by the people around us.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 14:22-36

To me, this reading is almost more about Peter than Jesus. Of course Jesus can walk on water. He's God. But with a little faith, Peter was walking on water for a second also. Then the wind scared him, and he sank. Both readings today tell me that thinks will look bleak often, and we will feel bad even when we are doing God's will, but we are supposed to have faith and stay on the right path no matter what.

I have added a news section to this page, so instead of my news for the day being here at the bottom, they are at the top right. I tried a Google news gadget for a minute, but it was coming up with stories I didn't like. So, every day I will hand pick a few. If you see any you like, send me the link, and I will put it up.