Friday before Epiphany: Saint John Neumann, First American Male Saint (1811-1860)

January 05, 2018
Friday before Epiphany: Saint John Neumann, First American Male Saint (1811-1860)
First Friday of the Month
Readings of the day: RB Prol. 33-38Mass: 1 John 3:11-21; Resp. Psalm 100; John 1:43-51

It seems to me what we hear today can’t be more straightforward, apparently the same message we’ve heard for some time now, namely, ‘Beloved: This is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another’. Continuing to listen, we hear words that are not minced. Don’t go the way of Cain who belonged to the Evil One. If we don’t love, we remain in death. Everyone! who hates her sister or brother is a murderer. The saying is banal but right on: They know we are Christians by our love. Or, they should know we are Christians by our love. We ought to lay down our lives for our sisters and our brothers. When we see someone in need, extend compassion. Love in deed and truth. Turn to the Prologue of the Holy Rule for more: keep our tongue from evil; let our lips speak no deceit; turn away from wrongdoing; seek peace and pursue it. Been there and done that, so to speak, I still ask why we can’t all just love one another and get along. Why do people raise their voices and scream at one another? Why pierce others with accusatory glares? Extending love and compassion is draining. Look at John Neumann, so exhausted from eight years of intense pastoral work he dropped dead on Vine Street, Philadelphia! Our loving God waits patiently for us, Saint Benedict reminds us: ‘The Lord waits for us every day to see if we will respond by our deeds, as we should, to his holy guidance.’ Saint Paul, too: ‘Do you not know that God is patient with us so as to lead us to repentance?’ (Rom 2:4/Prol. 37). The Prophet Ezekiel: ‘I do not want the death of a sinner; let all sinners rather turn away from sin and live’ (Ezk 33:11/Prol. 38).
Loving, gentle Jesus, please grant us the grace.May they say of us: There is no duplicity in them.
God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God.(1 John 3:21)

January 05, 2018 Back to Lectio Divina
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