Word Home | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002

OCTOBER 2001

Word Today, Oct. 1, 2001 (Monday of the 26th Week, St. Therese of the Child Jesus)

    Readings: Zec 8:1-8/ Lk 9:46-50

St. Therese of the Child Jesus died on September 30, 1897. However, we celebrate her memory today, October 1. The Church declared St. Therese of Lisieux (she came from that place in France) a doctor of the Church. This means that she is considered to be an outstanding "teacher" of faith. 

She did not write extensively. She is best known for a small little work, her autobiography, which is entitled "The Story of a Soul". She is a teacher, not for the quantity of her teachings, but for their quality and depth. What did she teach? She taught our modern, self-reliant age the importance of the "way of childhood." If we want to go to God, she reminded us that we must become like little children - simple, humble, trusting. Above all, we must be loving towards God our father. 

Word Today, Oct. 2, 2001 (Guardian Angels)

    Readings: Zec 8:20-23 (456)/ Mt 18:1-5, 10 

The existence of a guardian angel for each one of us is part of the ordinary teaching of the Church. The word "angel" appears in the Sacred Scripture at least 300 times. When Peter was miraculously released from prison and he knocked at the door of Mark's house (See Acts 12: 13), the occupants of the house could not believe it was Peter himself. They told the excited Roda, "It must be his angel," who was knocking. 

It is indeed fitting that God, who is a loving father, should want to protect us by providing us with a powerful guide and companion. Let us be more aware of our guardian angel's presence. We can do so by addressing him or her (the angels have no gender since they are pure spirits) as we would a good and helpful friend who is always by our side. 

Word Today, Oct. 3, 2001 (Wednesday of the 26th Week)

    Readings: Neh 2:1-8/ Lk 9:57-62  

The gospel today presents the demands of the following of Christ. The first demand, manifested by Christ's answer to the eager person who wanted to follow him, is detachment from material goods and from personal comforts. "The foxes have dens, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." 

The surprising thing is that, when a person decides to follow Christ under such demanding conditions, he finds out that he is rewarded with greater joy than if he had remained with his comforts. Happiness does not consist in having an easy life. It is to be found in having a meaningful life, which can only be found in God. 

Word Today, Oct. 4, 2001 (Thursday of the 26th Week)

    Readings: Neh 8:1-4a, 5-6, 7b-12/ Lk 10:1-12  

The gospel today contains a lesson that could very well be the continuation of the reading when James and John reacted badly to the towns that did not receive them well. Here, Jesus tells them how to react: "If they do not receive you, go out to its streets and say, 'Even the dust from your town that cleaves to us we shake off against you; yet know this, that the kingdom of God is at hand." 

We should not wish evil upon anyone, not even those who may not receive the Gospel well. However, we should not be hindered from preaching the good news and reiterating to those same persons that the kingdom of heaven is indeed at hand. If they do not receive it well, they will be responsible for the consequences of their lack of correspondence. Perhaps that will give them food for thought and help them in their future conversion. 

Word Today, Oct. 5, 2001 (Friday of the 26th Week)

    Readings: Bar 1:15-22/ Lk 10:13-16  

"He who hears you, hears me; and he who rejects you, rejects me; and he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me." These words of Christ were applied to the apostles and disciples who had been sent by Christ. Nowadays, we can very well apply them to the successors of the apostles and disciples in the Church. 

The successors of the apostles are the legitimate bishops of the Church. In spite of their all too human weaknesses, they rule with the authority of Christ. We should listen to them and follow them in everything that is their proper competence. 

Word Today, Oct. 6, 2001 (Saturday of the 26th Week)

    Readings: Bar 4:5-12, 27-29/ Lk 10:17-24

"Do not rejoice that the spirits are subject to you; rejoice rather in this, that your names are written in heaven." This admonition of Jesus can apply very well to persons who are serving God in some kind of apostolic work. 

In serving God and the Church, we can very easily rejoice at the fruits of our labors, and that is quite understandable. But sometimes such fruits are not evident. When we do apostolate, we should rather rejoice in the fact that we are doing God's will. That is its own reward.  

Word Today, Oct. 7, 2001 (Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time)

    Readings: Hb 1:2-3; 2:2-4/ 2 Tm 1:6-8, 13-14/ Lk 17:5-10

The gospel of today contains a beautiful petition of the apostles: "Increase our faith!" We can make this petition our own, because we are very much in need of faith. Faith is the virtue by which we assent to the truth of what God has revealed to us. This revelation, in turn, reaches us through the Church, which is the depository of Sacred Scripture and Tradition. When we ask God to "increase" our Faith, we are therefore asking him to increase our assent to these truths--that is to say, we would like our assent and agreement to these truths to become stronger and more firm.  

A truly strong faith does not limit itself to a theoretical or speculative agreement to the truth of our faith. The assent is so firm that it should actually see things and events in the context of these truths. For example, we can say that we "believe in God the Father almighty," as stated in the Creed. But our belief would be stronger if we were aware that this God is not far away and unconcerned for us. God is continually by our side, caring for us and loving us, watching over our every need like the Father that He is. Therefore, we see that God is present in all our joys.  

Word Today, Oct. 8, 2001 (Monday of the 27th Week)

    Readings: Jon 1:1--2:1, 11/ Lk 10:25-37 

"What must I do to gain eternal life?" All of us want to know. And Jesus answers us with the so-called "Great Commandment", the commandment to love God "with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." 

Love of God must be the ruling force in the life of a Christian. "God does not ask for a place in our heart and soul and mind, a slot for him among other loves. He wants the totality of our love: not a little bit of our love; a little of our life; like something rationed. God …must be loved ex toto corde -absolutely." (Ocariz) 

Word Today, Oct. 16, 2001 (Tuesday of the 28th Week)

    Readings: Rom 1:16-25/ Lk 11:37-41  

Christ reproved the Pharisees in these words: "Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but within you are full of robbery and wickedness. Foolish ones!" Christian morality gives importance not only to the external observances but, above all, to the internal dispositions and inner attitudes. 

This gospel can be an occasion for us to examine our own inner attitudes and dispositions. It is not enough to do what is right. We must do it for the right intention. That intention, in the age-old Christian tradition, is the glory of God and the sincere service to our fellowmen. 

Word Today, Oct. 17, 2001 (Wednesday of the 28th Week)

    Readings: Rom 2:1-11/ Lk 11:42-46

Being close to the celebration of All Saints' Day, we can recall the custom in our country to visit the cemeteries and to "beautify" the graves of our loved ones. Hence we can understand better the strength of Jesus' words against the Pharisees. Because of their hypocrisy, the Pharisees were compared to "unmarked tombs that men walk on without knowing it," or, in the version of St. Matthew, they are like "white-washed sepulchres which outwardly appear beautiful to men but within are full of dead men's bones and filthiness." 

Hypocrisy is such an ugly defect. And the problem with it is that hypocrisy is very hard to remedy. The hypocrite refuses to admit his defect to other men. He may even fool himself. Thus he forfeits the possibility of correction from himself or from others. Instead, he becomes stubborn and self-complacent.  

Word Today, Oct. 18, 2001 (Saint Luke, evangelist feast)

    Readings: 2 Tm 4:10-17b/ Lk 10:1-9  

Today is the feast of St. Luke, the author of one of the gospels as well as of the Acts of the Apostles. Both works are preceded by his explanation that he had somehow "researched" what he had written, based on eyewitnesses and reliable written accounts.  

We have here an example of the adage, "God helps those who help themselves." We know that, being part of the Sacred Scriptures, the works of St. Luke are inspired, and therefore their principal author is God himself. At the same time, St. Luke is a real author and his personal characteristics, in this case reliability and accuracy of details, are present in those works. God acts through our efforts. We must pray and act at the same time. We must act diligently and know that while we seem to be putting in everything, it is actually God who puts the effectiveness and goodness in our actions.  

Word Today, Oct. 19, 2001 (Friday of the 28th Week)

    Readings: Rom 4:1-8/ Lk 12:1-7  

"Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings? And yet not one of them is forgotten by God…. Therefore do not be afraid, you are of more value than many sparrows."  

These words of Jesus are an invitation to all of us to trust in divine providence. Everything, even the smallest event, is under the complete control of God. Therefore, if we are trying to do God's will, we should not fear anything. God is a loving father who takes care of all our needs. 

Word Today, Oct. 20, 2001 (Saturday of the 28th Week)

    Readings: Rom 4:13, 16-18/ Lk 12:8-12  

"He who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven." This phrase found in today's gospel has puzzled many people. In another passage Jesus speaks of the unforgivable "sin against the Holy Spirit." 

These words should not lead anyone to discouragement. In ordinary life, we can say that for practical purposes all sins can be forgiven. God wants to forgive our sins - that is why he redeemed us. We should not be afraid to go to confession thinking that we have unforgivable sins. Some authors say that the sin against the Holy Spirit, which is unforgivable, could be the sin of final impenitence (how can one be forgiven if he/she is obstinate to the very end?); or the sin of attributing the works of the Holy Spirit to the devil. In the latter case, it would be unforgivable because we go against the very source of the grace of repentance and conversion. But in no case should we fall into despair due to our personal miseries. 

Word Today, Oct. 21, 2001 (Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

    Readings: Ex 17:8-13/ 2 Tm 3:14--4:2/ Lk 18:1-8  

The gospel of today contains the parable of the judge who was being pestered by a poor widow to do her justice. Although the unjust judge did not do it because of his sense of justice, he nevertheless avenged the poor widow because of her insistence. The lesson that Our Lord added to this parable is quite explicit: "Pray always and do not lose heart." (Lk 18:1)  

God always listens to our prayers. And since He is a loving Father, He not only listens but he wants to give us the best. However, at times we pray for things that, in the all-knowing mind of God, He knows are not the best for us. And so it seems that our prayers are unanswered. In fact they have been answered, better than we could have suspected.   

Word Today, Oct. 22, 2001 (Monday of the 29th Week)

    Readings: Rom 4:20-25/ Lk 12:13-21  

Today's gospel contains a beautiful parable. A man had become so successful and rich that he was so absorbed in providing for his security, but he did not realize that he was going to die that very same day. 

We must all be aware of the reality of death. Many people plan for their life. How few plan for their death. A Christian "plans for death" not only by taking out a memorial plan. Above all, he must "lay up treasures in heaven" in this life. These treasures are the good works that we do for God and for our neighbor. These are the true riches. So if we are blessed with material riches, we must use it for doing works of faith and charity.

Word Today, Oct. 23, 2001 (Tuesday of the 29th Week)

    Readings: Rom 5:12, 15b, 17-19, 20b-21/ Lk 12:35-38  

Be prepared for the return of the master from the wedding feast. Wedding feasts in the time and place of Christ were long drawn affairs that had no definite time of ending. Hence the people who remained at home had to be ready for the unannounced return of the master. "Happy those servants if he finds them ready."  

We can apply this to ourselves. We have to be ready for the coming of Christ into our lives. In the first place, we must be sure that we are in a situation of friendship with God -- this is the "state of grace." If we have offended God and neighbor, we must seek reconciliation in the sacrament of forgiveness. Then we should be ready for the inspirations that the Spirit may whisper in our hearts, so that we can respond to them generously.  

Word Today, Oct. 24, 2001 (Wednesday of the 29th Week)

    Readings: Rom 6:12-18/ Lk 12:39-48  

"But of everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and of him to whom they have entrusted much, they will demand the more." 

When we realize our good qualities or good situation, we should not get complacent about them. Rather, with a Christian vision of life, we must realize that these good things have been given to us for a purpose, not just for our personal profit. We must use our talents and possessions for helping others. When we face God in judgment, we will have to render an accounting of God's gifts. 

 
Word Today, Oct. 25, 2001 (Thursday of the 29th Week)

    Readings: Rom 6:19-23/ Lk 12:49-53  

"I have come to cast fire upon the earth, and what will I but that it be kindled?" We can loosely apply these words of Christ to the love of God. Love has often been compared to a burning flame. That is why in the apparitions of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary, He showed her His heart burning with love. 

As Christians, we must be filled with a holy zeal to spread God's love. Imagine the world burning in flames, consumed by the love of Christ! All of us, through our words and apostolic action, are called to be the spark that will ignite God's love in the heart of everyone we meet. 

Word Today, Oct. 26, 2001 (Friday of the 29th Week)

    Readings: Rom 7:18-25a/ Lk 12:54-59  

"How is it you do not know how to interpret these times?" That is how Jesus accuses those persons who were rejecting his preaching in spite of seeing the signs and wonders he was working. They could interpret the signs of the weather, but they could not interpret the "signs of the times". 

Some persons have loosely interpreted the term "signs of the times" as if the teaching of the Church had to adjust to fashionable trends. But the gospel shows precisely that what we should do is to recognize that the time of Christ has come. We are already in the third millennium of the Christian era and there is still much to be done. This is the moment for all Christians to make a renewed effort in evangelization so that the saving teaching and power of Christ may find wider acceptance in our times.  

Word Today, Oct. 27, 2001 (Saturday of the 29th Week)

    Readings: Rom 8:1-11/ Lk 13:1-9  

The parable of the barren fig tree applies in the first place to the people of Israel in Jesus' time. They received special treatment from God, but they rejected Christ. 

But we can accommodate its meaning to ourselves. Just like the tree, we have been "cultivated" and cared for by God. We have received the grace of Baptism, we have received the Body of Christ in Holy Communion, perhaps we have received an exquisite Christian formation, the Holy Spirit comes to our life with his impulses for good. How have we corresponded? Have we yielded fruits of holiness and works of justice and charity? Apostolate is not something optional. It is an obligation for every Christian. We must do apostolate and bear fruit. 

Word Today, Oct. 28, 2001 (Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

    Readings: Sir 35:12-14, 16-18/ 2 Tm 4:6-8, 16-18/ Lk 18:9-14 (150) 

What a contrast! The pharisee thought himself to be good, just because he was observing some external stipulations of God's law. The publican, on the other hand, that man who was looked down upon by Jewish public opinion because he was "on the side of the oppressors," was deeply aware of his personal shortcomings and miseries. Jesus Christ made the moral lesson of this parable explicit: the publican "went down to his house justified rather than the other." (Lk 18:14)  

The great merit of the publican was that he recognized his sinfulness and the need for God's mercy. And the truth of the matter is that all of us are in need of God's mercy. Considering our human condition, we all have to admit that we have motives for sorrow and contrition. Have we not all, somehow, offended God? Have we been really up to par with what is objectively expected of us? Can we really be completely satisfied with our selves and our accomplishments?  

Word Today, Oct. 29, 2001 (Monday of the 30th Week)

    Readings: Rom 8:12-17/ Lk 13:10-17 (479) 

The gospel today shows how Jesus cured a woman who was "bent double and quite unable to strand upright." Another translation says that the woman was "unable to look upwards." When Christ cured her, she was straightened up and she glorified God. 

We can make an allegorical interpretation of this passage. Many people are spiritually "bent double" and they cannot look up. Their vision is so horizontal; they do not see the transcendental meaning of life and events. Such a situation calls for the healing of Christ. When we fight against sin and evil in ourselves, we get "straightened up" and our vision becomes more penetrating. 

Word Today, Oct. 30, 2001 (Tuesday of the 30th Week)

    Readings: Rom 8:18-25/ Lk 13:18-21  

In today's gospel, Jesus Christ compared the kingdom of God to yeast. Only a small amount of it is mixed with flour, but it leavens all of the dough. 

Many Church documents have emphasized that Christians are like leaven. Wherever they may be, they should be a positive influence in their environment. This is especially true for Christians who are involved in different social and political institutions. They must strive to bring the saving teachings of Christ to their field of competence. They should not be intimidated by being in the minority. By working tenaciously for God, they can help to raise the moral and spiritual level of their surroundings. 

Word Today, Oct. 31, 2001 (Wednesday of the 30th Week)

    Readings: Rom 8:26-30/ Lk 13:22-30  

We might also ask ourselves, like the man in today's gospel, if many or few will be saved. Jesus Christ did not give any definite answer. But he did say, "Try your best to enter by the narrow door, because I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed." 

We can never make any definite judgment about the eternal state of a person. Even the worst sinner may repent and receive God's mercy. On the other hand, a very good man might still fall into despair and sin towards the end of life. Thus the Church keeps a prudent silence about the fate of anyone as far as hell is concerned. However, on the basis of a close study of their heroic life and death as well as "proofs" from heaven through miracles, the Church can declare if someone is in heaven. This is the process called beatification and canonization.  
 

HOME  |  CBCP News  |  Bishops  |  Jurisdictions  |  Commissions  |
CBCP Documents  |  Contact CBCP  |  General Info