02Aug 02 August. Tuesday, Week 18

Saints Eusebius of Vercelli; Julian Eymard, optional memorials

1st Reading: Jeremiah 30:1-2, 12-15, 18-22

After the exile the Israelites will return home, with their own civil and religious leaders

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you.

For thus says the Lord: Your hurt is incurable, your wound is grievous. There is no one to uphold your cause, no medicine for your wound, no healing for you. All your lovers have forgotten you; they care nothing for you; for I have dealt you the blow of an enemy, the punishment of a merciless foe, because your guilt is great, because your sins are so numerous. Why do you cry out over your hurt? Your ain is incurable. Because your guilt is great, because your sins are so numerous, I have done these things to you.”

Thus says the Lord: “I am going to restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob, and have compassion on his dwellings; the city shall be rebuilt upon its mound, and the citadel set on its rightful site. Out of them shall come thanksgiving, and the sound of merrymakers. I will make them many, and they shall not be few; I will make them honoured, and they shall not be disdained. Their children shall be as of old, their congregation shall be established before me; and I will punish all who oppress them. Their prince shall be one of their own, their ruler shall come from their midst; I will bring him near, and he shall approach me, for who would otherwise dare to approach me? says the Lord. And you shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

Gospel: Matthew 14:22-36

Jesus saves Peter from sinking and cures people who touch the tassel of his cloak

Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water. ” He said, “Come. ” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. After the people of that place recognized him, they sent word throughout the region and brought all who were sick to him, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.

Bible

Coping with our anxieties

Today’s readings deal with two moments of crisis, first a national crisis arising from political forces, the Assyrian invasion of the northern Kingdom of Israel, and the other from natural causes, a sudden windstorm sweeping on the Lake of Galilee from the Mediterranean. No circumstance is either too insignificant or too critical for the Lord not to help us.

A tragic situation is described by Jeremiah. The northern Kingdom of Israel had been broken by the Assyrians in 721 B.C. and its people taken forcibly into exile. Jeremiah’s family was among the few left behind. Now more than thirty years later, as the Assyrian empire was collapsing and falling apart, Jeremiah sees hope for their return. Earlier it had seemed hopeless, “Incurable is your wound, grievous your bruise;” but this desperate situation was not too hopeless for the Lord. The prophet is inspired to declare in God’s name, See, I will restore the tents of Jacob. City shall be rebuilt on hill. From them will come songs of praise.

This optimistic spirit continues into the gospels: Jesus saves the disciples, adrift on stormy waters on the Lake of Galilee. His concern also comes to their defense when they fail to wash their hands religiously before eating. Events both small and great show the tender way that God fulfills all his promises. We?re asked to pray, whether like Moses on Mount Sinai, or like Jesus who “went up on the mountain by himself to pray”; or like Jeremiah “hoping against hope” and always allowing God to decide the when and how to come to our help.

St Eusebius of Vercelli, bishop; and St Julian Eymard, priest

Eusebius, born in Sardinia about 300, became the first bishop in Vercelli (northern Italy), in the early 340s. He led his clergy to form a monastic community modelled on that of the Eastern cenobites. Hence the Augustinians honor him along with Augustine as their founder. He sought a solution to the Arian crisis at the synod of Milan (355).

Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868) from Isere in the French Alps became a priest as a member of the Marist Fathers. Later he founded two religious institutes, the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (for clerics) and the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament, a contemplative congregation for women. One of his memorable sayings is, “You take communion to become holy, not because you already are.”



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