Saturday, 2 August 2008

Memorial of Peter Julian Eymard

Peter Julian Eymard, the second person for whom today is memorial of, was:

- born 4 February 1811 at La Mure, Isère, France
- ordained a priest for the Diocese of Grenoble on 20 July 1834
- member of the Society of Mary (Marist Fathers and Brothers) in 1839 where he worked as a spiritual advisor promoting devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to the Eucharist
- founder of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (devoted to the perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament) in 1856
- (together with Marguerite Guillot) founder of the lay Servants of the Blessed Sacrament (a contemplative congregation of sisters with a focus on Eucharistic adoration) in 1858

He died on 1 August 1868. He was declared venerable in 1908, beatified in 1925, and canonized by Pope John XXIII on 9 December 1962. His feast day is celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church on 3 August.

Memorial of Eusebius of Caesarea

So who is this Eusebius of Caesarea? According to Wikipedia, he:

- was often called Eusebius Pamphili, "Eusebius [the friend] of Pamphilus"
- was often referred to as the Father of Church History because of his work in recording the history of the early Christian church, especially Chronicle and Ecclesiastical History
was estimated to be born in 265
- became friendly with Pamphilus of Caesarea, with whom he seems to have studied the text of the Bible
- succeeded Agapius to become bishop of Caesarea Maritima soon after 313
- was prominent in the transactions of the Council of Nicaea when it met in 325; the confession that he proposed became the basis of the Nicene Creed
- was involved in the further development of the Arian heresy (the heretical/heterodox teachings of Arius [c. AD 250-336], the most controversial of which dealt with the relationship between God the Father and the person of Jesus, saying that Jesus was not one with the Father and that he was not fully, although almost, divine in nature)
- was remembered for his method of authorship i.e. his comprehensive and careful excerpts from original sources
- probably died between 337 and340 A.D.

My Thoughts on Today's Bible Readings

Today's readings speak of power- the power of people in positions of authority over the life and well-being of others. It reminds me of a story where a king wanted to prove that he was a god. Thus the king had two slaves dragged out, beheaded one, and said that there was the prove of his godliness- he commanded one slave to live, and the slave lived, while he commanded the other slave to die, and the slave died. That's how it was with both the priests of Jeremiah's time and the Romans in authority of Jesus' time. Nothing stood between them and the exercise of this power except conscience and fear of repercussions.
The people in democratic positions of authority have a similar power nowadays: the power to make or break people's career and lives. Let us pray that they use this power with God in mind, and those who feel the effects of this power do so with God in mind too.

Bible Readings for Today (Memorial of Eusebius of Caesarea , Father of Church History, and Peter Julian Eymard, Apostle of the Eucharist )

Here are the reading for today Sat 2 August:

Jeremiah 26: 11-16, 24
Then the priests and the prophets made their charges before the officials and all the people. They said, “This man should be condemned to die because he prophesied against this city. You have heard him do so with your own ears.”
Then Jeremiah made his defense before all the officials and all the people. “The Lord sent me to prophesy everything you have heard me say against this temple and against this city. But correct the way you have been living and do what is right. Obey the Lord your God. If you do, the Lord will forgo destroying you as he threatened he would. As to my case, I am in your power. Do to me what you deem fair and proper. But you should take careful note of this: If you put me to death, you will bring on yourselves and this city and those who live in it the guilt of murdering an innocent man. For the Lord has sent me to speak all this where you can hear it. That is the truth!”
Then the officials and all the people rendered their verdict to the priests and the prophets. They said, “This man should not be condemned to die. For he has spoken to us under the authority of the Lord our God.”

However, Ahikam son of Shaphan used his influence to keep Jeremiah from being handed over and executed by the people.

Matthew 14: 1-12
At that time Herod the tetrarch1 heard reports about Jesus, and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead! And because of this, miraculous powers are at work in him.” For Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because John had repeatedly told him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Although Herod wanted to kill John, he feared the crowd because they accepted John as a prophet. But on Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod, so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Instructed by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” Although it grieved the king, because of his oath and the dinner guests he commanded it to be given. So he sent and had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. Then John’s disciples came and took the body and buried it and went and told Jesus.