Monday, April 19, 2010

Prayers today: The Good Shepherd is risen! He who laid down his life for his sheep, who died for his flock, he is risen, alleluia.

God our Father, your light of truth guides us to the way of Christ. May all who follow him reject what is contrary’ to the gospel. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who liveth and reigneth, world without end. Amen. Alleluia.

Blessed Luchesio and Buonadonna (d.1260)

Luchesio and his wife Buonadonna wanted to follow St. Francis as a married couple. Thus they set in motion the Secular Franciscan Order.

Luchesio and Buonadonna lived in Poggibonzi where he was a greedy merchant. Meeting Francis—probably in 1213—changed his life. He began to perform many works of charity.

At first Buonadonna was not as enthusiastic about giving so much away as Luchesio was. One day after complaining that he was giving everything to strangers, Buonadonna answered the door only to find someone else needing help. Luchesio asked her to give the poor man some bread. She frowned but went to the pantry anyway. There she discovered more bread than had been there the last time she looked. She soon became as zealous for a poor and simple life as Luchesio was. They sold the business, farmed enough land to provide for their needs and distributed the rest to the poor.

In the 13th century some couples, by mutual consent and with the Church’s permission, separated so that the husband could join a monastery (or a group such as Francis began) and his wife could go to a cloister. Conrad of Piacenza and his wife did just that. This choice existed for childless couples or for those whose children had already grown up. Luchesio and Buonadonna wanted another alternative, a way of sharing in religious life, but outside the cloister.

To meet this desire, Francis set up the Secular Franciscan Order. Francis wrote a simple Rule for the Third Order (Secular Franciscans) at first; Pope Honorius III approved a more formally worded Rule in 1221.

The charity of Luchesio drew the poor to him, and, like many other saints, he and Buonadonna seemed never to lack the resources to help these people.

One day Luchesio was carrying a crippled man he had found on the road. A frivolous young man came up and asked, "What poor devil is that you are carrying there on your back?" "I am carrying my Lord Jesus Christ," responded Luchesio. The young man immediately begged Luchesio’s pardon.

Luchesio and Buonadonna both died on April 28, 1260. He was beatified in 1273. Local tradition referred to Buonadonna as "blessed" though the title was not given officially.

The Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John (6.22~29)

The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realised that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with His disciples, but that they had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. Once the crowd realised that neither Jesus nor His disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus. When they found Him on the other side of the lake, they asked Him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?" Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for Me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval." Then they asked Him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent."

The Work of Works
(Homily by Fr. E.J. Tyler)

One of the notable features of the modern university is its abundance and variety of degree programs. There is scarcely a field of human activity that cannot be studied at a university. It was not alway so. Up to the beginning of the nineteenth century there was at Oxford, for instance, an overwhelming stress on Mathematics and the Greek and Latin Classics. An indicator of the change that was coming was the foundation of the professorship of political economy at Oxford in 1825, with Nassau William Senior being elected to fill the chair. At present, one of the most dominant disciplines at tertiary level is Economics, and this stands to reason because Economics is one of the most dominant interests of Western culture. Consider the space given to economic and commercial matters in the printed press and in television and radio news. This of itself is not to be regretted because of the fundamental importance of the material dimension to life. Man must live off his material resources, and so it is of immense importance that his material resources be harvested and adequately organized — and this is what Economics is all about. Famine, disease and material deprivation rage in various parts of the world, and the world has a responsibility to provide economic security for the family of man. We must get our economics right and for this reason the Church has an extensive theological teaching on the economic life of society. That having been said, our special danger is to look to economic security and wellbeing as the key to true security and happiness. If only we are economically healthy and secure, all will be well. If we are not, then whatever else we might have, it is all flawed. This viewpoint has always been the danger for man and society, but in the past it has not endangered the acceptance of religion. Societies have pursued economic progress, but have also endeavoured to be in favour with the gods — or God. Now in a secular culture, though, we tend to dispense with God and place our hopes in material and economic progress alone. We aspire for food that will not last.

This has always been a danger, and our Lord refers to it directly in our Gospel today. The day before he had worked a spectacular miracle, a “sign” of what was coming. He had fed thousands with a mere handful of food and had gathered up many baskets of the fragments remaining. He had shown that he could provide sustenance for the multitudes, but it was meant by him as a sign of the special heavenly sustenance he would bestow on the world. That food from heaven would be his own Self, his body given for the life of the world. All that the multitude took from it, though, was a great sign of coming material security. They would scarcely need to work, with Christ in their midst! The day had ended with their eating to their full, with delicious bread and fish (for we remember the delicious wine, changed from water at the wedding feast of Cana). But the next day they discovered that Jesus had gone and they hastened back to Capernaum and discovered him there. How did you get here, they asked him? Our Lord did not bother with an answer to that question. The only reason why they were looking for him, he replied, was because they had been satisfied materially. They had had their fill, and they wanted more of the same. Their following of him, their seeking after him, was for material purposes. They were not seeking the salvation of their souls. They were concerned only with the food that cannot last. “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” But then comes the central question of the passage: “Then they asked him, What must we do to do the works God requires?” That is to say, what is the central work that God asks of us? What is it that humanity must achieve most of all? It is not just to be religious — for, after all, most of humanity in its long history has been “religious.” What humanity must do more than anything is believe in the one whom God has sent. “Jesus answered, The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:22-29).

Just before he ascended into heaven, our Lord gave to his disciples — which is to say, to the Church — a solemn charge. It was to go to the whole world and make disciples of all the nations. This is the work of the Church, to believe in Jesus Christ and to bring mankind to that belief. This is the work par excellence of man, to believe in Jesus Christ. The religion of Jesus Christ is not just one religion among many — all of them representing man’s aspiration for the divine. Jesus Christ is the one sent by God to save fallen man and to bring him into union with the One for whom he longs. Our work in life is to be united in faith with Jesus Christ. Our fulfilment will be attained in this. All other activity — all other work we do — must be understood and pursued in the context of this primary work. So then, now I begin!


Don't say, "That's the way I am - it's my character." It's your lack of character. Esto vir! - Be a man!

(The Way, no. 4)

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