Daily Devotional May 7-13
Navarre commentary on the Pharisee and women who anointed Him…
Jesus notices the omission of the expression of human courtesy and refinement which the Pharisee failed to show him. Christ is perfectus Deus, perfectus homo (Quicumque Creed). He is perfect God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, and perfect man. He comes to save, not to destroy nature. It is from him that we learn that it is unchristian to treat our fellow men badly, for they are creatures of God, made to his image and likeness (Gen 1:26)” (J. Escrivá, Friends of God, 73).
Moreover, the Pharisee was wrong to think badly of this sinner and of Jesus: reckoning that Christ did not know anything about her, he complained inwardly. Our Lord, who could read the secret thoughts of men (which showed his divinity), intervenes to point out to him his mistake. True righteousness, says St Gregory the Great , is compassionate; whereas false righteousness is indignant. There are many people like this Pharisee: forgetting that they themselves were or are poor sinners, when they see other people’s sin they immediately become indignant, instead of taking pity on them, or else rush to judge them or sneer at them. They forget what St Paul says: “Let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor 10:12); “Brethren, if any man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. . . Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal 6:1-2) …
We should strive to have charity govern all our judgments. Otherwise, we will easily be unjust towards others. “Let us be slow to judge. Each one sees things from his own point of view, as his mind, with all its limitations, tells him, and through eyes that are often dimmed and clouded by passion.
“Of what little worth are the judgments of men! Don’t judge without sifting your judgment in prayer” (J. Escrivá, The Way, 451).
Prayer: O my God I firmly believe that Thou art one God in three Divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; I believe that Thy Divine Son became man, and died for our sins, and that he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, who canst neither deceive nor be deceived. (Act of Faith)
Commentary on the Pharisee and woman cont…
Man cannot merit forgiveness for his sins because, since God is the offended party, they are of infinite gravity. We need the Sacrament of Penance, in which God forgives us by virtue of the infinite merits of Jesus Christ; there is only one indispensable condition for winning God’s forgiveness — our love, our repentance. We are pardoned to the extent that we love; and when our heart is full of love there is no longer any room in it for sin, because we have made room for Jesus, and he says to us as he said to this woman, “Your sins are forgiven”. Repentance is a sign that we love God. But it was God who first loved us (cf. 1 Jn 4:10). When God forgives us he is expressing his love for us. Our love for God is, then, always a response to his initiative.
Jesus declares that it was faith that moved this woman to throw herself at his feet and show her repentance; her repentance wins his forgiveness. Similarly, when we approach the Sacrament of Penance we should stir up our faith in the fact that it is “not a human but a divine dialogue. It is a tribunal of divine justice and especially of mercy, with a loving judge who ‘has no pleasure in the death of the wicked; I desire that the wicked turn back from his way and live’ (Ezek 33:11)” (J. Escrivá, Christ is passing By)
Prayer: Having risen from sleep I hasten to Thee, O Lord, Lover of men, and by Thy loving-kindness I strive to do Thy work, and I pray to Thee: help me at all times, in everything, and deliver me from every evil thing of the world and every attack of the devil, and lead me into Thine eternal Kingdom. For Thou art my Creator, the Giver and Provider of everything good, and all my hope is in Thee, and to Thee I send up glory, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
*Prayer for the next day’s morning
Luke 8:1 Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and [a]bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, 2 and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and [b]infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, 3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for [c]Him from their [d]substance.
4 And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: 5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. 8 But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded [e]a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
9 Then His disciples asked Him, saying, “What does this parable mean?”
10 And He said, “To you it has been given to know the [f]mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that
‘Seeing they may not see,
And hearing they may not understand.’
Prayer: Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears! Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Navarre Commentary…The Gospel makes special reference to the generosity of these women. It is nice to know that our Lord availed of their charity, and that they responded to him with such refined and generous detachment … (cf. J. Escrivá, The Way, 981).
The seed is Jesus Christ himself and his preaching; and the different kinds of ground it falls on reflect people’s different attitudes to Jesus and his teaching: our Lord sows the life of grace in souls through the preaching of the Church and through an endless flow of actual graces.
Jesus uses parables to teach people the mysteries of the supernatural life and thereby lead them to salvation. However, he foresaw that, due to the bad dispositions of some of his listeners, these parables would lead them to harden their hearts and to reject grace.
Prayer: Queen of Heaven rejoice, alleluia: For He whom you merited to bear, alleluia, Has risen as He said, alleluia. Pray for us to God, alleluia. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia. Because the Lord is truly risen, alleluia.
Let us pray : O God, who by the Resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, granted joy to the whole world: grant we beg Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may lay hold of the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Luke 8:11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of [g]temptation fall away. 14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.[h]
16 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. 18 Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he [i]seems to have will be taken from him.”
Prayer: The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary. And she conceived of the Holy Ghost.
Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and in the hour of our death.
Commentary on Parable of the Sower…
Some people are so immersed in a life of sin that they are like the path on which falls the seed “which suffers from two kinds of hazard: it is trodden on by wayfarers and snatched by birds. The path, therefore, is the heart, which is trodden on by the frequent traffic of evil thoughts, and cannot take in the seed and let it germinate because it is so dried up” (St Bede, In Lucae Evangelium expositio, in loc.). Souls hardened by sin can become good soil and bear fruit through sincere repentance and penance. We should note the effort the devil makes to prevent souls from being converted.
“Many people are pleased by what they hear, and they resolve to do good; but as soon as they experience difficulties they give up the good works they started. Stony ground has not enough soil, which is why the shoots fail to produce fruit. There are many who, when they hear greed criticized, do conceive a loathing for it and extol the scorning of it; but as soon as the soul sees something else that it desires, it forgets what it previously promised. There are also others who when they hear talk against impurity not only desire not to be stained by the filth of the flesh but are even ashamed of the stains that they already bear; but as soon as bodily beauty presents itself to their eyes, their heart is so drawn by desires that it is as if they had done or decided to do nothing against these desires, and they act in a manner deserving condemnation and in a way which they themselves previously condemned when they reflected on their behaviour. Very often we feel compunction for our faults and yet we go back and commit them even after bemoaning them” (St Gregory the Great, In Evangelia homiliae, 15).
Prayer: Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that, we to whom the Incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an Angel, may by His Passion and Cross, be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord.
Commentary on Parable of the Sower…
This is the case of people who after receiving the divine seed, the Christian calling, and having stayed on the right path for some time, begin to give up the struggle. These souls run the risk of developing a distaste for the things of God and of taking the easy, and wrong, way of seeking compensations suggested to them by their disordered ambition for power and their desire for material wealth and a comfortable life involving no suffering.
A person in this situation begins to be lukewarm and tries to serve two masters: “It is wrong to have two candles lighted — one to St Michael and another to the devil. We must snuff out the devil’s candle: we must spend our life completely in the service of the Lord. If our desire for holiness is sincere, if we are docile enough to place ourselves in God’s hands, everything will go well. For he is always ready to give us his grace” (J. Escrivá, Christ is passing by, 59).
Jesus tells us that the good soil has three features — listening to God’s demands with the good disposition of a generous heart; striving to ensure that one does not water down these demands as time goes by; and, finally, beginning and beginning again and not being disheartened if the fruit is slow to appear. “You cannot ‘rise’. It’s not surprising: that fall!
“Persevere and you will ‘rise’. Remember what a spiritual writer has said: your poor soul is like a bird whose wings are caked with mud.
Prayer: Christ is Risen – Indeed He is Risen!