Welcome to the ULC Minister's Network

Arch Bishop Ralph Vendegna S.O.S.M.A.

Spiritual Reading


  • Sunday 2 August 2020

    18th Sunday in Ordinary Time 


    Spiritual Reading

    Your Second Reading from the Office of Readings:


    18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

    From the beginning of a letter attributed to Barnabas
    Hope of life is the beginning and end of our faith

    Greetings, sons and daughters. In the name of the Lord who loves us, peace be to you.
    Because the Lord has granted you an abundance of blessings, I rejoice immeasurably in your blessed and glorious company.
    You have received abundantly that indwelling grace which is the Spirit’s gift, and for this reason I hope in my own salvation and I give thanks all the more when I see the bountiful fullness of the Lord’s Spirit pouring over you. I have longed so much for you that when I saw you I was overwhelmed.
    I am now convinced and fully aware that I have learned much by speaking with you, for the Lord accompanied me on the road to righteousness, and so I am driven in all ways to love you more than my own life. For surely there is a great store of faith and charity within you because of your hope for life in Christ. Therefore, I have been thinking that if my concern for you inspires me to pass on to you a portion of what I have received, then I will be rewarded for ministering to souls such as yours. Consequently, I am writing to you, that you may have perfect knowledge along with your faith.
    The Lord has given us these three basic doctrines: hope for eternal life, the beginning and end of our faith; justice, the beginning and end of righteousness; and love, which bears cheerful and joyous witness to the works of righteousness. Now the Lord has made the past and present known to us through his prophets, and he has given us the ability to taste the fruits of the future beforehand. Thus, when we see prophecies fulfilled in their appointed order, we ought to grow more fully and deeply in awe of him. Let me suggest a few things – not as a teacher, but as one of you – which should bring you joy in the present situation.
    When evil days are upon us and the worker of malice gains power, we must attend to our own souls and seek to know the ways of the Lord. In those times reverential fear and perseverance will sustain our faith, and we will find need of forbearance and self-restraint as well. Provided that we hold fast to these virtues and look to the Lord, then wisdom, understanding, knowledge and insight will make joyous company with them.
    Truly, the Lord has revealed to us through the prophets that he has no need of sacrifice, burnt offerings or oblations. He says in one place: Your endless sacrifices, what are they to me? says the Lord. I have had my fill of holocausts; I do not want the fat of your lambs, nor the blood of your bulls and goats, nor your presence in my sight. Indeed, who has made these demands of you? No more will you trample my courts. Your sacrifices of fine flour are in vain; your incense is loathsome to me; I cannot bear your feasts of the new moon, nor your sabbaths.


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    On this date in other years:

    Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, Bishop

    The Vercelli Codex (late 4th century), written by command of St Eusebius. The oldest copy of the Old Latin translation of the Gospel. John 16:23 "Nam si quid| petieritis Pa|trem in no|mine meo da|vit vobis".


    From a letter by Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, bishop
    I have run the race: I have kept the faith

    Dearly beloved, I know now that you are safe, as I was hoping, and I felt that I had paid you a visit, by being suddenly transported over the face of the earth like Habakkuk, when the angel brought him to Daniel. When I receive a letter from one of you and see in your writings your goodness and love, joy mingles with tears, and my desire to continue reading is checked by my weeping. Both emotions are inescapable, as they vie with each other in discharging their duty of affection, when such a letter satisfies my longing for you.
    Days pass in this way as I imagine myself in conversation with you, and so I forget my past sufferings. Consolations surround me on all sides: your firm faith, your love, your good works. In the midst of so many great blessings I soon imagine myself in your company, in exile no longer.
    Dearly beloved, I rejoice in your faith, in the salvation that comes from faith, in your good works, which are not confined to your own surroundings but spread far and wide. Like a farmer tending a sound tree, untouched by axe or fire because of its fruit, I want not only to serve you in the body, good people that you are, but also to give my life for your well-being.
    Somehow or other I have managed with difficulty to complete this letter. I asked God constantly to keep the guards away hour by hour, and to allow the deacon to bring you some kind of greeting in writing, not simply news of my suffering. So I beg you to keep the faith with all vigilance, to preserve harmony, to be earnest in prayer, to remember me always, so that the Lord may grant freedom to his Church which is suffering throughout the world, and that I may be set free from the sufferings that weigh upon me, and so be able to rejoice with you.
    I also ask and beseech you in God’s mercy, that each one of you should add his own name to the greeting in this letter. Of necessity I cannot write to each of you as was my custom. So in this letter I ask you all – brothers and holy sisters, sons and daughters, men and women, old and young – to be content with this greeting and to be good enough to give my respectful good wishes to those who are outside the community and are kind enough to be my friends.


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    Saint Peter Julian Eymard

    From the writings of St Peter Julian Eymard
    Eucharist: sacrament of life

    The Eucharist is the life of the people. The Eucharist gives them a centre of life. All can come together without the barriers of race or language in order to celebrate the feast days of the Church. It gives them a law of life, that of charity, of which it is the source; thus it forges between them a common bond, a Christian kinship. All eat the same bread, all are table companions of Jesus Christ who supernaturally creates among them a feeling of togetherness. Read the Acts of the Apostles. It states that the whole community of the first Christians, converted Jews and baptized pagans, belonging to different regions, “had but one heart and one soul”. Why? Because they were attentive to the teaching of the Apostles and faithful in sharing in the breaking of the bread.
    Yes, the Eucharist is the life of souls and of societies, just as the sun is the life of the body and of the earth. Without the sun, the earth would be sterile, it is the sun which makes it fertile, renders it beautiful and rich; it is the sun which provides agility, strength and beauty to the body. In the face of these amazing effects, it is not astonishing that the pagans should have adored it as the god of the world. In actual fact, the sun obeys a supreme Sun, the divine Word, Jesus Christ, who illumines everyone coming into this world and who, through the Eucharist, Sacrament of life, acts in person in the very depths of souls in order to form Christian families and peoples. Oh how happy, a thousand times happy, is the faithful soul who has found this hidden treasure, who goes to drink at this fountain of living water, who eats often this Bread of eternal life!
    Christian society is also a family. The link between its members is Jesus Christ. He is the head of the household who has prepared the family table. He is the head, Jesus Christ, who celebrated Christian togetherness at the Supper; he called his Apostles filioli, my little children, and he commanded them to love one another as he had loved them.
    At the holy table we are all children who receive the same nourishment, and Saint Paul draws out the consequence of this, that is, that we form but one family, one same body, because we all share in the same bread, which is Jesus Christ. Lastly, the Eucharist gives Christian society the strength to observe the law of honour, and to practise charity towards one’s neighbour. Jesus Christ wants everyone to honour and love his brothers and sisters. For this reason he identifies himself with them: “What you do to the least of mine, you do to me”; and he gives himself to each one of them in Communion.


    Copyright © 1996-2020 Universalis Publishing Limited: see www.universalis.com. Scripture readings from the Jerusalem Bible are published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. Text of the Psalms: Copyright © 1963, The Grail (England). Used with permission of A.P. Watt Ltd. All rights reserved.