Saint Laurence of Brindisi, Priest, Doctor

Exodus 11:10-12:14; Psalm 115(116):12-13,15-18; Matthew 12:1-8

He was born in Brindisi, joined the Capuchin Friars, and studied at the University of Padua, where he learned a number of languages (including Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, French, and German) and acquired a deep knowledge of the Bible.
  His principal vocation was preaching. He preached all over Europe, not just to Catholics but to Protestants (because of his knowledge of Scripture) and to Jews (because of his knowledge of Hebrew). He wrote many sermons, commentaries, and works of controversy in support of this vocation.
  His administrative talents meant that he also held a number of high administrative offices in the Capuchin order. He was also entrusted with many important diplomatic missions. On one of these, he not only persuaded the German princes to help defend Hungary from the invading Turks, but also led their troops into battle, armed only with a crucifix. He was engaged in another delicate mission, to plead the cause of the oppressed people of Naples to King Philip III of Spain, when he died in Lisbon.
  For Laurence of Brindisi, preaching was the most important task of his life; but he took care to ensure that his preaching was backed by sound learning, so that he could preach to and not at his audiences.

Thursday of Week 15 in Ordinary Time

Exodus 3:13-20; Psalm 104(105):1,5,8-9,24-27; Matthew 11:28-30

The image of Oxen labouring to pull a plough, harnessed with a Yoke, is easy to imagine. The Law, given by God to Moses, was simple and clear, just ten statements, but mankind crafted many sensible rules of life such as washing before eating  into rules and regulations that indeed could be a burden to live by. Rabbis carted the text of the law in small leather boxes on their shoulders when in temples or the synagogue symbolising that they had placed themselves under this burden.

At the end of Wisdom (Chapter 51 vs 26) Ben Sira tells us to put our neck under the Yoke of Gods Wisdom. Wisdom is indeed much longer than the ten commandments, but it is not a set of burdensome rules: rather a set of suggestions as to how we can lead our lives to draw close with God.

Jesus' rules for life return to the simple - elsewhere he says that there is only one rule to follow (Love God, Love you neighbour) and if we can manage that, then none of the other rules are burdensome at all.

Parking near Church

Please be aware of where you park your vehicle within the vicinity of St James’ Square.  Please do not obstruct driveways, dropped kerbs and gates where there are residential homes.  There is also the facility of a car park close by to St James’ Square (by the roundabout) for you to use.  Thank you.

Wednesday of week 15 in ordinary time

Exodus 3:1-6,9-12; Psalm 102(103):1-4,6-7; Matthew 11:25-27

There is much danger in cults and fraternities which possess a secret knowledge - and we are well advised to stay well away from them. So is Jesus talking today about such a thing in Christianity? "for hiding these things from the learned" He says...

No - the thing that is hidden from the learned is not a knowledge, but a relationship - the tight bond of Love that holds the three persons of God in the Trinity, so much that we often rightly say that God IS Love. That relationship is revealed to us in the person of Jesus who walked on this earth with us, and comes to us in communion. So we do not have a secret knowledge, we have the privilege of being in Gods Love.

The good news is - if we can live in that Love - then those around us can not but help be affected by that Love. We do not have a secret to hide away - we have Gods Love to share.

Tuesday of week 15 in ordinary time

2:1-15; Psalm 68(69):3,14,30-31,33-34; Matthew 11:20-24

Jesus had worked his miracles in Israelite towns - thus mainly for peoples who believed in God. Yet, few had accepted his message (which as we saw yesterday contained some 'hard sayings' that a reasonable person might struggle with!).

Jesus laments at this, in another of his sayings that can (and should) make us squirm slightly: he is indeed very distressed. He says that the same works of mercy given to the heathen peoples would have resulted in a much greater number of active believers.

We can become a little casual about the everyday miracles we witness  - like communion, baptism, reconciliation - frequently. Perhaps taking a moment to consider how these miracles of Christ appear to those on the outside of our church, and perhaps we need to be just a little more in awe of them.

Monday of week 15 in Ordinary Time

Exodus 1:8-14,22; Psalm 123(124); Matthew 10:34-11:1

Today's Gospel continues one of the hard teachings of Jesus. Possibly - very hard, as it seems to say we should put aside all our family relationships.

That would be a mis-reading of Christ's message. Christ is in everyone we meet, obviously including our family. [Col 3:11, Matt. 25:45] So when we welcome  them we are also welcoming Christ into our lives.

No - todays teaching is only saying that we must put God first, not God only...

St Bonaventure

Genesis 49.29-33; 50.15-26; Psalm 104; Matthew 10.24-38

John di Fidanza (1221-74) was born at Bagnoregio, near Viterbo.  Little is known about his childhood, but his father was a physician and a man of means.  There is a legend that St Francis of Assisi healed him as a four-year-old boy of a dangerous illness.  At the age of 22 he joined the Franciscans and took the religious name of Bonaventure.  He went to the University of Paris to study theology; at the age of 27 he was appointed Professor of Theology.  He became a close friend of St Thomas Aquinas.   

His academic life was cut short when in 1257 he was elected Minister General of the Franciscans.  He governed the order for the remainder of his life.  In 1265 he was chosen to be Archbishop of York, but he declined the appointment.  In 1273, however, Pope Gregory X insisted that he accept the bishopric of Albano and the dignity of the Cardinalate.  He was entrusted with direction of the Council of Lyons (1272-74), which was convened in an effort to heal the breach between the Eastern and Western churches.  Bonaventure fell ill after the third session and died between the 14th and 15th of July 1274.  He was canonised in 1482 and was declared a Doctor (teacher) of the Church in 1587.

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, 16 July 2023