I bless the LORD who counsels me; even in the night my heart exhorts me. I set the LORD ever before me; with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

Today marks another Feast day in my name.  Well, sort of.  Monday was the Feast of St. Jerome – today is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.  I’ll have to wait until the day after Christmas for my last patron – St. Stephen.  St. Francis has always been a role model for me when it comes to prayer; St. Francis of Assisi also sponsored a great soccer tournament in South County growing up.  If my memory serves me correctly – their home colors were brown and orange.  I digress.

St. Francis gave up everything for the Church and the God he loved.  I’ve always known he was the patron saint of animals and only this morning, in reading about him online, did I find out he is also the patron saint of the environment.  He was born into wealth but upon hearing the voice of God, gave up everything to follow Gods call.

So the question I have before me now, have I heard the voice of God and followed that call?  Am I willing to give up everything?  The answer to question one is Yes.  God speaks to me in so many ways at various times and I do hear Him.  I hear Jesus speaking to me through the Gospels every morning.  I hear the Holy Spirit whispering in my ear all the time.  Do I heed their call?  I believe I do.  Do I heed it enough?  That is the question that remains; that is what I need to think about, pray about the most.  Do I heed the call of God?  How about any of you reading this?

As I was typing this, I heard the “voice” – nothing very distinct  – but the Spirit told me to go back and read the Gospel for today’s feast.  The Gospel starts with this line…

At that time Jesus said in reply,* “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.

At that time Jesus said in reply, – to what was Jesus replying too?  So I hit the hyper-link that takes you from Today’s Readings to the actual Gospel in the Bible and it turns out, Jesus was replying to the Gospel that is for Today if you don’t read the readings for the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.  Did that make sense?  In other words, we have two choices today – the “regular” readings or the Feast day readings.  If you read them both, the “regular” Gospel is not a gentle as the “Feast day” Gospel BUT the “regular” Gospel is what Jesus is replying too in the “Feast day” Gospel.  Have I lost you completely yet?  And if I haven’t, what is my point.  I’ll get to that soon enough.  Here are the two Gospels for today – back to back…

“Regular” – taken from the Gospel of Luke

 

Gospel             LK 10:13-16

Jesus said to them,
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented,
sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon
at the judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the netherworld.’
Whoever listens to you listens to me.
Whoever rejects you rejects me.
And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
Now, the “Feast of St. Francis” – taken from the Gospel of Matthew…

Gospel           MT 11:25-30

At that time Jesus answered:
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

I didn’t make the connection that the second Gospel here was in reply to the first one at my first read through.  But again, hearing that little voice tell me, I hit the hyper link to Matthew’s 11th Chapter, where I read the verses prior to verse 25 only to  find this…

Reproaches to Unrepentant Towns. 20 j Then he began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented.21“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon,* they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes .k22 But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.23* And as for you, Capernaum:

‘Will you be exalted to heaven?l

You will go down to the netherworld.’

For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.24But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”m

Look familiar to our regular Gospel?  Again, what is my point?  The other day we heard the Gospel about Lazarus and the rich man.  What happened to the rich man?  What was the rich man told when he begged Abraham to send someone to the tell his the brothers  about the consequences of not following the warnings of the prophets?  To paraphrase here, if they didn’t heed the message of the prophets who came before them, neither would they care if a man should rise from the dead.  I believe that is the point of both of these Gospels this morning.  The first one, Jesus warns those who do NOT heed His call and tells them they will go down into the netherworld.  He immediately follows that rebuke with the message for those who do follow His call.  Again, to paraphrase, come to Me all who labor and are burdened – I will give you rest…for MY yoke is easy, MY burden is light.  So where do you stand in all of this?  Are you willing to heed the warnings of the prophets, the Gospels, the Word of the Lord or do you want to be live like the rich man who after living the life of luxury spends eternity in the netherworld where we are warned will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

Do something great for our Lord today – listen to His Word, heed His call.  Praise God.

God’s will, not mine be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase, I must decrease.

But you, man of God, pursue righteousness,
devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
Compete well for the faith.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is dispair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

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