Sunday, July 13, 2014:  (FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME)  Readings for today:  Isaiah 55:10-11  /  Romans 8:18-23 /  Matthew 13:1-23:


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Reading 1 - A reading from the book of the Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 55:10-11):


Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.





Responsorial Psalm - (Psalm 65:10, 11, 12-13, 14):


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R/ (Lk 8:8) The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.

You have visited the land and watered it;
greatly have you enriched it.
God’s watercourses are filled;
you have prepared the grain.

R/ The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.

Thus have you prepared the land: drenching its furrows,
breaking up its clods,
Softening it with showers,
blessing its yield.

R/ The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.

You have crowned the year with your bounty,
and your paths overflow with a rich harvest;
The untilled meadows overflow with it,
and rejoicing clothes the hills.

R/ The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.

The fields are garmented with flocks
and the valleys blanketed with grain.
They shout and sing for joy.

R/ The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.



Reading 2 - A reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Romans (Romans 8:18-23):


Brothers and sisters:

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing
compared with the glory to be revealed for us.
For creation awaits with eager expectation
the revelation of the children of God;
for creation was made subject to futility,
not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it,
in hope that creation itself
would be set free from slavery to corruption
and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.
We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now;
and not only that, but we ourselves,
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
we also groan within ourselves
as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.






Gospel - A reading from the holy Gospel according to St. Matthew (Matthew 13:1-23):


On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
“A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

The disciples approached him and said,
“Why do you speak to them in parables?”
He said to them in reply,
“Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven
has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.
To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich;
from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
This is why I speak to them in parables, because
they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.
Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:
You shall indeed hear but not understand,
you shall indeed look but never see.
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears,
they have closed their eyes,
lest they see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts and be converted,
and I heal them.

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see,
and your ears, because they hear.
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people
longed to see what you see but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

“Hear then the parable of the sower.
The seed sown on the path is the one
who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it,
and the evil one comes and steals away
what was sown in his heart.
The seed sown on rocky ground
is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.
But he has no root and lasts only for a time.
When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
he immediately falls away.
The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word,
but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word
and it bears no fruit.
But the seed sown on rich soil
is the one who hears the word and understands it,
who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”





07/13/2014 - St. Francis Solano (1549-1610) - (Feast Day: July 13)- Wonder-worker:



Saint Francis Solano

Saint Francis Solano was born in 1549 at Montilla in the beautiful province of Andalusia, of distinguished and very devout parents. At the special request of his mother, he received the name of Francis in baptism, because she ascribed the fortunate delivery of the child to the intercession of the Seraphic Founder to whom she had recommended herself in her distress.

The boy grew to be a joy to his parents. While he was pursuing his studies with the Fathers of the Society of Jesus, his modesty, gentleness, and piety merited the esteem of his teachers as well as the friendship of his fellow students.

At the age of 20, Saint Francis Solano entered the Friars Minor. It was necessary to check his zeal rather than to stimulate it, for he knew no bounds in the practice of the strictest penitential exercises. In everything he chose the worst for his own use and spent the greater part of the night in prayer.

After he completed his studies and was ordained to the priesthood, he evinced tireless zeal for souls. The heroic sacrifices he made during an epidemic were especially admirable. He cared for the corporal and spiritual needs of the sick without any fear of infection. He became afflicted with the malady, but was miraculously restored to health. On every hand the name of Father Francis was spoken with the greatest reverence, and he was regarded as a saint. Such veneration offended his humility, and he requested his superiors to send him to the missions in Africa, but another field of mission activity was assigned to him.

Since the discovery of the New World by Columbus, the sons of St Francis had been active in preaching the Gospel in America. The fearless missionaries advanced farther and farther in their effort to bring the message of salvation to the savage Indians.

In 1589 Father Francis was sent to South America with several members of his order. The provinces of Tucuman (Argentina), Gran Chaco (Bolivia), and Paraguay fell to his lot. He encountered countless hardships; nevertheless he began his mission activities with glowing zeal. He approached the Indians so courteously and kindly that they rejoiced at his very appearance.



God Almighty assisted Saint Francis Solano in an extraordinary way. He learned the difficult language of the Indians in a very short time, and he was understood wherever he went, even in those places which he visited for the first time.



God also gave Saint Francis marvelous power over hearts. Once when he was in the city of La Rioja, a horde of thousands of armed Indians approached in order to slay all Europeans and Christianized Indians. Saint Francis went out to meet them. His words at once disarmed them. All understood what he said although they spoke different languages. They begged him for instructions, and 9,000 were baptized.



Saint Francis would lay his mantle on roaring rivers and sail across on it to the opposite shore. He placed his cord around the neck of a mad bull that had everybody in a panic, and led it away as though it were a lamb. Once when a swarm of wild locusts came up and hovered like a black cloud over the fields of the poor Indians, threatening to devastate the entire harvest, he commanded that none of them should alight but that they should depart to the mountains; at once they withdrew. Such miracles and benefits opened to him the hearts of all; they loved and revered him as their common father.

During the holy season of Christmas, Saint Francis assembled his Indians around the crib, and taught them to sing the most beautiful hymns to the Christ Child, and he himself accompanied them on the violin. He often cheered the sick with song and music. Once he was seen sitting under a tree, playing his beloved violin, and the birds flocked about him and sang along.
After Father Francis had labored 12 years among the Indians, and had won an uncounted number of heathens to Christendom, he was called to the city of Lima in Peru. There Christianity had been established for a longer time, and many Spaniards lived there, but much wantonness and immorality prevailed in this large city.

One day, led by divine inspiration, St Francis passed through the town the way the prophet Jonas once did at Ninive, and proclaimed to the inhabitants the judgements of God if they would not be converted. They were all seized with fear. They called aloud upon God for mercy, and desired the holy sacrament of Penance. The worst sinners publicly declared their determination to reform. The saint thanked God for these fruits of grace, and in devout hymns at her altar gave praise to the Mother of Mercy.

Saint Francis Solano had labored untiringly for the salvation of souls in South America for twenty years, when God called him to Himself on the feast of his special patron, St. Bonaventure, July 14, 1610. The viceroy and the most distinguished persons of Lima bore the body of the poor Friar Minor to the grave.

Almighty God glorified Saint Francis after death by many miracles, especially in favor of sick children; yes, even dead children were restored to life at his grave. Pope Benedict XIII canonized Saint Francis Solano amid great solemnity in the year 1726.

*from: The Franciscan Book of Saints, ed. by Marion Habig, ofm.