21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
In today's Gospel, Jesus asks his followers to choose whether to follow him to go away. Some chose to leave, but the 12 disciples chose to stay with Jesus. IN our lives, we are often given difficult choices, and sometimes it is hard to know what the right thing to do is. Take some time to journal about the difficult choices you have to make, and consider whether the wisdom of Jesus might help answer these questions.
Consider the following:
1. Ask the Holy Spirit for help.
2. Think about God’s law and the teachings of the Church.
3. Think about what will happen as a result of your choice. Ask yourself, will the consequences be pleasing to God? Will my choice hurt someone else?
4. Seek advice from someone you respect and remember that Jesus is with you.
5. Ask yourself how your choice will affect your relationships with God and others.
Pre-Worboys crossroads sign, Podimore David Howard and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Saint Monica (c. 330 – 387)
The circumstances of Saint Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law, and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism.
Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine, is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17. Monica was distressed to learn that her son was living an immoral life. One night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him.
Today, with Internet searches, online shopping, text messages, tweets and instant credit, we have little patience for things that take time. Likewise, we want instant answers to our prayers. Monica is a model of patience. Her long years of prayer, coupled with a strong, well-disciplined character, finally led to the conversion of her hot-tempered husband, her grumpy mother-in-law and her brilliant but wayward son, Augustine.
From: Franciscan Media
Prayer For Patience
God, teach me to be patient, teach me to go slow,
Teach me how to wait on You when my way I do not know.
Teach me sweet forbearance when things do not go right
So I remain unruffled when others grow uptight.
Teach me how to quiet my racing, rising heart
So I might hear the answer You are trying to impart.
Teach me to let go, dear God, and pray undisturbed until
My heart is filled with inner peace and I learn to know your will.
Helen Steiner Rice
Stained glass window in the Church of Saint James the Greater in Bouxwiller | photo by G Freihalter . This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Feast Day of St Augustine
St. Augustine of Hippo is the patron of brewers because of his conversion from a former life of loose living, which included parties, entertainment, and worldly ambitions. His complete turnaround and conversion has been an inspiration to many who struggle with a particular vice or habit they long to break.
He was one of the most intelligent men who ever lived and though he had been brought up a Christian, his sins of impurity and his pride darkened his mind so much, that he could not see or understand the Divine Truth anymore. Through the prayers of his holy mother and the marvellous preaching of St. Ambrose, Augustine finally became convinced that Christianity was the one true religion.
He was baptized, became a priest, a bishop, a famous Catholic writer, Founder of religious priests, and one of the greatest saints that ever lived. He became very devout and charitable, too. On the wall of his room he had the following sentence written in large letters: "Here we do not speak evil of anyone." St. Augustine overcame strong heresies, practiced great poverty and supported the poor, preached very often and prayed with great fervour right up until his death. "Too late have I loved You!" he once cried to God, but with his holy life he certainly made up for the sins he committed before his conversion.
Reflect on any bad habits you have that you would like to give up. Take some time to write them down, and think about who might be able to support you in giving up these habits. St Augustine had the support of his mother, St Monica, and his teacher, St Ambrose. He also had many good friends to support him. Who do you have?
Say the following short prayer: "Loving God, like St Augustine, help me to give up my bad habits. Give me the strength I need to turn my life around and to rest happily in your love. Amen."
Image fromFrom Wikimedia Commons,
The Passion of St John the Baptist.
St John the Baptist is the only saint who is honoured by the Church on both his birth (June 24) and his death (August 29). He is a heroic example of someone who was determined to fulfil God's will in our lives no matter what the obstacles may be.
Read The Gospel of Mark, Chapter 6: 17-29. It tells the story of St John the Baptist's death.
Consider the following questions:
Why was St John imprisoned by Herod?
Why was Herod reluctant to kill St John?
Why did Herod ultimately decide to have John the Baptist killed?
Can you think of a time when you or someone you know have stood up for what you know is right, even if others might not agree with you?
What would you stand up for?
Is there any truth you would consider risking your life for?
Prayer Help us to be brave like St John the Baptist
And to speak out when we see people doing wrong things.
Help us to encourage people to come and say sorry to you,
and to help others to live good lives.
Help us to be brave like John the Baptist,
When people don’t like what we say.
Loving God, help us stay close to you
When we want to stand up for what’s right,
Help us stray straight and true,
Help us stay close to you.
From Prayer & Prayer Activities, For worship with adults, children and all ages. Edited by Gill Ambrose, Maureen Baldwin, Jean Harrison and Pam Macnaughton. Canterbury Press, 2013.
From Wikimedia Commons
In today's Gospel (Mathew 24: 42-51), Jesus asks the disciples to be watchful and ready for the return of the Son of Man. This reminds us all to be watchful: alert and attentive to the opportunities and chances that our life offers us, and respond to these opportunities with faith, hope and love.
A Prayer Activity:
All stand in a circle holding hands. Ask the Holy Spirit to come and be with you. All turn to your left and put your hand on the shoulder of the prson in front of you. Ask God to be with that person. All turn to your right and do the same. All turn to face outwards and hold hands. Ask God to be with all our brothers and sisters all over the world. ages.
(From Prayer & Prayer Activities, For worship with adults, children and all Press, 2013.)
Image from Wikimedia Commons
In today's Gospel, Jesus reminds us that we must be ready and watchful for whenever he may come.
Give everyone in the room a tealight candle, and get them to light it. Or for small children, you could give them all a picture of a lit candle.
Lord Jesus, you are the light of wisdom.
Lord Jesus, you are the light of love.
Lord Jesus, you are the light of truth.
Lord Jesus, you are the light of peace.
Lord Jesus, you are the light of hope.
Lord Jesus, you are the light of joy.
May we always be ready to keep the lights of our lives alight and ready for you, so that every day, we will be ready to enter the door of your love.
(From Prayer & Prayer Activities, For worship with adults, children and all ages. Edited by Gill Ambrose, Maureen Baldwin, Jean Harrison and Pam Macnaughton. Canterbury Press, 2013.)
Image from Pixabay.com