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

Spiritual Reading

  • Wednesday 8 June 2022

    Wednesday of week 10 in Ordinary Time 

    Spiritual Reading

    Your Second Reading from the Office of Readings:

    Wednesday of week 10 in Ordinary Time

    A sermon by Origen
    The crossing of the Jordan

    The ark of the covenant led the people of God across the Jordan. The priests and the Levites halted, and the waters, as though out of reverence to the ministers of God, stopped flowing. They piled up in a single mass, thus allowing the people of God to cross in safety. As a Christian, you should not be amazed to hear of these wonders performed for men of the past. The divine Word promises much greater and more lofty things to you who have passed through Jordan’s stream by the sacrament of baptism: he promises you a passage even through the sky. Listen to what Paul says concerning the just: We shall be caught up in the clouds to meet Christ in heaven, and so we shall always be with the Lord. There is absolutely nothing for the just man to fear; the whole of creation serves him. Listen to another promise that God makes him through the prophet: If you pass through fire, the flame shall not burn you, for I am the Lord your God. The just man is everywhere welcome, and everything renders him due service.
    So you must not think that these events belong only to the past, and that you who now hear the account of them do not experience anything of the kind. It is in you that they all find their spiritual fulfilment. You have recently abandoned the darkness of idolatry, and you now desire to come and hear the divine law. This is your departure from Egypt. When you became a catechumen and began to obey the laws of the Church, you passed through the Red Sea; now at the various stops in the desert, you give time every day to hear the law of God and to see the face of Moses unveiled by the glory of God. But once you come to the baptismal font and, in the presence of the priests and deacons, are initiated into those sacred and august mysteries which only those know who should, then, through the ministry of the priests, you will cross the Jordan and enter the promised land. There Moses will hand you over to Jesus, and He himself will be your guide on your new journey.
    Mindful, then, of all the mighty works of God, remembering that he divided the sea for you and held back the waters of the river, you will turn to them and say: Why was it, sea, that you fled? Jordan, why did you turn back? Mountains, why did you skip like rams, and you hills, like young sheep? And the word of the Lord will reply: The earth is shaken at the face of the Lord, at the face of the God of Jacob, who turns stones into a pool and rock into springs of water.


    In other parts of the world and other calendars:

    Saint William of York, Bishop

    Address of Pope John Paul I to the Clergy of Rome
    On priestly discipline

    To a certain degree all priests are guides and pastors; but have they all the right idea of what it really means to be a pastor of a particular Church, that is a Bishop? On the one hand Jesus, the supreme Pastor, said of himself: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”. And on the other hand he added: “I came to serve”, and he washed his Apostles’ feet. In him, therefore, power and authority went together.
    Something similar should be said of the Apostles and Bishops. We Bishops preside, if we serve; our presidency is just if it consists of service or takes place for the purpose of service, with the spirit and style of service. This Episcopal service would be lacking, however, if the Bishop did not wish to exercise the powers received. Augustine said: “The Bishop who does not serve the public (by preaching, guiding) is only a scarecrow put in the vineyards so that the birds will not peck the grapes.” For this reason it is written in Lumen Gentium: “Bishops govern… by their counsel, exhortations and example, as well, indeed, as by their authority and sacred power.”
    Another element of priestly discipline is love of one’s own job. It is not easy, I know, to love one’s job and stick to it when things are not going right, when one has the impression that one is not understood or encouraged, when inevitable comparisons with the job given to others would drive us to become sad and discouraged. But are we not working for the Lord? Ascetical theology teaches: do not look at whom you obey but for whom you obey. Reflection helps too. I have been a bishop for twenty years. On several occasions I suffered because I was unable to reward someone who really deserved it; but either the prize position was lacking or I did not know how to replace the person, or adverse circumstances occurred. Then too, St Francis de Sales wrote: “There is no vocation that does not have its troubles, its vexations, its disgust. Apart from those who are fully resigned to God’s will, each of us would like to change his own condition with that of others. Those who are bishops wish they were not; those who are married wish they were not; and those who are not married wish that they were. Where does this general restlessness of spirits come from, if not from a certain allergy that we have towards constraint and from a spirit that is not good, which makes us suppose that others are better off than we are?”
    I have spoken simply and I apologise for it. I can assure you, however, that since I have become your Bishop I love you a great deal.

    Copyright © 1996-2022 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.