Prayer and Meditation for Wednesday, September 16, 2015 — Do you seek through prayer and meditation to improve your conscious contact with God?

Memorial of Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs
Lectionary: 445

Art: Peter Baptizing the Centurion Cornelius, by Francesco Trevisani, 1709.

Reading 1 1 TM 3:14-16

I am writing you,
although I hope to visit you soon.
But if I should be delayed,
you should know how to behave in the household of God,
which is the Church of the living God,
the pillar and foundation of truth.
Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion,Who was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated in the spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed to the Gentiles,
believed in throughout the world,
taken up in glory.

Responsorial Psalm PS 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (2) How great are the works of the Lord!
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
Majesty and glory are his work,
and his justice endures forever.
He has won renown for his wondrous deeds;
gracious and merciful is the LORD.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
He has given food to those who fear him;
he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
He has made known to his people the power of his works,
giving them the inheritance of the nations.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!

Alleluia SEE JN 6:63C, 68C

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life,
you have the words of everlasting life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 7:31-35

Jesus said to the crowds:
“To what shall I compare the people of this generation?
What are they like?
They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance.
We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.’For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine,
and you said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said,
‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”

Commentary on Luke 7:31-35 From Living Space

Today’s passage follows immediately after the scene (not in our Mass readings) where Jesus answers the query from John the Baptist languishing in prison about whether Jesus is truly the Messiah. Jesus uses the occasion to speak words of high praise for John, “Of all the children born of women, there is no one greater than John”.

Jesus now criticises the cynicism and self-contradictory attitudes of those who reject both him and John. They have simply closed their ears and want to hear nothing and learn nothing. He compares them to children in a city square calling to their playmates. “When we played lively music for you, you would not dance; when we played funereal music, you would not mourn.”

This comparison Jesus applies to John the Baptist and himself. John led an austere life in the desert eating, as we are told elsewhere, only locusts and wild honey. They said he was mad and rejected him. Jesus came leading a highly convivial life, mixing with all kinds of people. They called him a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and other sinful people. He even invited a tax collector to be one of his twelve Apostles!

It was a no-win situation. When people are like that there is really nothing that can be done. Jesus concludes with the enigmatic statement, “Wisdom has been proved right by all her children.” Both John and Jesus could both be described as children of Wisdom, whose origin is God himself. Those who can see the hand of God in the lives of John and Jesus are also children of Wisdom. Those who adamantly refuse to see God are not.

It is important for us not to fall into such a trap. God speaks to us in so many ways and through so many people and situations. It is very easy to find ourselves excluding a priori the people or situations by which God is trying to reach us.

We cannot expect God to speak to us in ways which we find congenial. He may speak to us through a saint or a sinner. Through a conservative or a liberal. Through a man or a woman – or a young child. Through an old person or a young person. Through an educated or an illiterate person… Through a local person or a foreigner. Through a straight or gay person… Through a saint or a sinner. We have at all times to be ready to listen with an unprejudiced mind and heart.

Lectio Divina from the Carmelites


In today’s Gospel we see the novelty of the Good News which opens its way and thus persons who are attached to ancient forms of faith feel lost and do not understand anything more of God’s action. In order to hide their lack of openness and of understanding they defend and seek childish pretexts to justify their attitude of lack of acceptance. Jesus reacts with a parable to denounce the incoherence of his enemies: “You are similar to children who do not know what they want”.

Luke 7, 31: To whom, then, shall I compare you? Jesus is struck by the reaction of the people and say: “What comparison, then, can I find for the people of this generation? What are they like?” When something is evident and the persons, out of ignorance or because of bad will, do not perceive things and do not want to perceive them, it is good to find an evident comparison which will reveal their incoherence and the ill will. And Jesus is a Master in finding comparisons which speak for themselves.

Luke 7, 32: Like children without judgment. The comparison which Jesus finds is this one. You are like “those children, shouting to one another while they sit in the market place: we played the pipes for you, and you would not dance; we sang dirges and you would not cry!” Spoiled children, all over the world, have the same reaction. They complain when others do not do and act as they say. The reason for Jesus’ complaint is the arbitrary way with which people in the past reacted before John the Baptist and how they react now before Jesus.

Luke 7, 33-34: Their opinion on John and on Jesus. “For John the Baptist has come, not eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say: he is possessed. The Son of man has come eating and drinking, and you say: look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners”. Jesus was a disciple of John the Baptist; he believed in him and was baptized by him. On the occasion of this Baptism in the Jordan, he had the revelation of the Father regarding his mission as Messiah-Servant (Mk 1, 10). At the same time, Jesus stressed the difference between him and John. John was more severe, more ascetical, did not eat nor drink.


He remained in the desert and threatened the people with the punishment of the Last Judgment (Lk 3, 7-9). Because of this, people said that he was possessed. Jesus was more welcoming; he ate and drank like everybody else. He went through the towns and entered the houses of the people; he accepted the tax collectors and the prostitutes. This is why they said that he was a glutton and a drunkard. Even considering his words regarding “the men of this generation” (Lk 7, 31), in a general way, probably, Jesus had in mind the opinion of the religious authority who did not believe in Jesus (Mk 11,29-33).

Luke 7, 35: The obvious conclusion to which Jesus arrives. And Jesus ends drawing this conclusion: “Yet, wisdom is justified by all her children”. The lack of seriousness and of coherence is clearly seen in the opinion given on Jesus and on John. The bad will is so evident that it needs no proof. That recalls the response of Job to his friends who believe that they are wise: “Will no one teach you to be quiet! – the only wisdom that becomes you!” (Job 13, 5).


Personal questions


When I express my opinion on others, am I like the Pharisees and the Scribes who gave their opinion on Jesus and John? They expressed only their preconceptions and said nothing on the persons whom they judged.
Do you know any groups in the Church who would merit the parable of Jesus?


Concluding Prayer


How blessed the nation whose God is Yahweh,
the people he has chosen as his heritage.
From heaven Yahweh looks down,
he sees all the children of Adam. (Ps 33,12-13)



Reflection by The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
SCRIPTURE READINGS: 1 TIM 3:4-16; LK 7:31-35It is very difficult to try to please some people in life.  In fact, I think we should never even try because no one can please anyone in life.  Ultimately, the problem is a problem of the heart and not the reality of the situation or the truth.  There are some people whom we cannot please or reason with; no matter how logical are our arguments and principles.   Right from the start their minds are already closed and they are not ready to listen to anything.   The mind is closed because the heart is hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.   This was what happened in the time of Jesus.  The Gospel tells us that Jesus’ contemporaries were negative, critical and cynical of everything, especially of the messengers of God.  They were critical of both John the Baptist and of Jesus.  They could see no good in them regardless of what they said or what they did.   They found fault with both of them.  When John the Baptist lived an ascetic life, they called him mad; and when Jesus ate and drank with sinners, they called Him a drunkard and a glutton, a friend of sinners and tax-collectors.

Underlying this rejection of John the Baptist and Jesus is a deeper problem, namely, that of pride, fear and selfishness, which led to a closed mind and a closed heart.  They had their motives for not listening.   It was not so much because what John the Baptist or Jesus said was not true but because they were too true and thus they felt their status quo threatened.  They were not ready to change or be converted.  They knew that what John the Baptist said was truly the Word of God but they did not want to change their lifestyle.   At the same time, they did not want people to follow John the Baptist as they were afraid to lose their popularity.  On the other hand, they also felt threatened by Jesus.  He was challenging not only their status quo but the institutions of the day.  They needed to discredit Jesus’ reputation so that people would not take Jesus seriously.  They wanted to cling to their own ideas, concepts and views of life and God.  That is why pride which springs from fear and selfishness lead to lying.  Their lies of course were covered up by rationalization, seeking reasons to justify their positions.  As the proverb says, even the devil can quote the scriptures for his purpose.

Today, we are invited to examine the depths of our hearts as to why we cannot accept certain things and people in life.  Is the matter more to do with others, the situation or more with ourselves?  When we search deep in our hearts, most of the time we will find that it is not so much the people or the situations that make us unhappy, but rather because we feel threatened or our ego is wounded.   Hence, we are too proud to admit that others could be right because it implies a need for change on our part.  In other words, it is our attachment to our ideas, our securities and our comforts that make us unwilling to be open.  Our inability to be receptive and docile to the Word of God springs from fear, anger and selfishness. For this reason, it is impossible to please a person whose heart is closed.

But adopting such a cynical attitude towards the truth is self-destructive.  We will never learn and we can never be open to a wider world that is offered to us.  In closing ourselves, we make ourselves inaccessible to others.  We live in our own narrow confines, in our little wells, mistaking them for the ocean.  To continue to live in such a situation is not to live in reality.  This becomes the cause of our unhappiness.   How do we know that we are living in illusion and falsehood?  When we suffer the loss of peace, joy and freedom, we know that we are not living in reality.  People who live in false security, unable to confront the truth, know that their foundation of happiness is shaky.  It can be taken away anytime.  If that were so, they are really not liberated anyway.  And even if we are seemingly happy, we know we are just putting on a mask pretending that we are happy when deep within we feel empty and fearful.  Indeed, for such a man, even when he lives in heaven, he will think it is hell.

A person whose heart is open will find God even when he thinks he is in hell because of his sufferings.  For such a person, life is always enriching and liberating.   Those who are truly happy remain joyful in all circumstances in life because their freedom and happiness are not tied down to the passing things of this world, whether power, glory or pleasure.  Their joy is found in a heart of peace and love.  The exemplar of such a life is that of John the Baptist and Jesus our Lord.  They embraced life to its fullest.  Whether we fast like John the Baptist at times; or feast like Jesus; we are all called to enjoy life like Him  Even in suffering, we remain at peace and happy to suffer for love and truth.  A truly happy person is one who is open to all things in life, embracing everything and aligning himself to the will of God in faith and trust.  By so doing, he neutralizes every situation.  He lives in perfect freedom, perfect joy and in wisdom.

Yes, today the gospel invites us to follow the path of wisdom.  The path of wisdom is the way of Jesus which is now enshrined in the Church, which is the pillar of truth, as the first reading tells us.  St Paul wrote, “I wanted you to know how people ought to behave in God’s family – that is, in the Church of the living God, which upholds the truth and keeps it safe.”   The Church as the Body of Christ with Christ as its head is where we find the fullness of truth and love.   Catholics should bear in mind that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church.  If they are seeking for the fullness of life and truth in love, they should not seek counsel from the world because they promote a selfish, materialistic, passing world.   As Catholics, we believe that the Church as the Sacrament of Christ, whom we call Mother Church, continues to instruct, teach and empower her children through the teaching, preaching and ministering of the ordained ministry and the authoritative teaching of the magisterium, the bishops in union with the Pope.   The Church is the pillar of truth and remains the guardian of truth and love in the world.

What is this way of wisdom that the world can never appreciate?  What is this wisdom that the world through reason and philosophy alone cannot come to understand?  St Paul wrote, “Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is very deep indeed: He was made visible in the flesh, attested by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed to the pagans, believed in by the world, taken up in glory.”  The truths of our faith is that God is incarnated in Christ Jesus, who in the power of the Holy Spirit announced the Good News of God’s kingdom, then crucified and raised from the dead and now ascended to heaven reigning with His Father.   We who have been baptized in Christ share in His sonship by adoption and reign with Him in truth and love.  So when our faith is founded in Christ, we know that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Following Christ is the way to live life abundantly and to the fullest.

Who does silent meditation any more?
Luke asks in his Gospel, ““To what shall I compare the people of this generation?”
The truth is, we all find what we need, when we need it, according to God’s plan.
Most Catholics and many other Christians are generally encouraged or trained in meditation and prayer.
In his book, “Four Sign of a Dynamic Catholic,” Matthew Kelly lists prayer as one of his four signs. If you ever have a chance to meet him, ask him about meditation. We’ve heard him say, “We should have called this trait ‘Prayer and Meditation.'”
Alcoholic Anonymous also insists upon prayer and meditation in Step 11:
“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”
John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom
See also:

The greatest problem of Cornelius’s two-year term as pope had to do with the Sacrament of Penance and centered on the readmission of Christians who had denied their faith during the time of persecution. Two extremes were finally both condemned. Cyprian, primate of North Africa, appealed to the pope to confirm his stand that the relapsed could be reconciled only by the decision of the bishop.

In Rome, however, Cornelius met with the opposite view. After his election, a priest named Novatian (one of those who had governed the Church) had himself consecrated a rival bishop of Rome—one of the first antipopes. He denied that the Church had any power to reconcile not only the apostates, but also those guilty of murder, adultery, fornication or second marriage! Cornelius had the support of most of the Church (especially of Cyprian of Africa) in condemning Novatianism, though the sect persisted for several centuries. Cornelius held a synod at Rome in 251 and ordered the “relapsed” to be restored to the Church with the usual “medicines of repentance.”

The friendship of Cornelius and Cyprian was strained for a time when one of Cyprian’s rivals made accusations about him. But the problem was cleared up.

A document from Cornelius shows the extent of organization in the Church of Rome in the mid-third century: 46 priests, seven deacons, seven subdeacons. It is estimated that the number of Christians totaled about 50,000.

Cornelius died as a result of the hardships of his exile in what is now Civitavecchia (near Rome).

Cornelius (Greek: Κορνήλιος) was a Roman centurion who is considered by Christians to be the first Gentile to convert to the faith, as related in Acts of the Apostles.



St. Cyprian was bishop of Carthage and an important Early Christian writer, many of whose Latin works are extant. He was born around the beginning of the 3rd century in North Africa, perhaps at Carthage, where he received a classical education. After converting to Christianity, he became a bishop soon after in 249. A controversial figure during his lifetime, his strong pastoral skills, firm conduct during the Novatianist heresy and outbreak of the plague, and eventual martyrdom at Carthage vindicated his reputation and proved his sanctity in the eyes of the Church. His skillful Latin rhetoric led to his being considered the pre-eminent Latin writer of Western Christianity until Jerome and Augustine.

Glorious Martyr,
Saint Cyprian of Antioch,
who by Divine Grace converted to the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ,
you who possessed the highest secrets of Magic,
build now a refuge for me against my enemies and their evil deeds.
For the merit that you obtained before God, Creator of heaven and earth,
cancel out all evil spirits, products of hate,
the spells that hardened hearts have cast or will come to cast
against my person and against my home.
With the permission of the All Powerful God,
answer my prayer and come to my assistance,
through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Read about “The days of Saint Cyprian” —



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One Response to “Prayer and Meditation for Wednesday, September 16, 2015 — Do you seek through prayer and meditation to improve your conscious contact with God?”

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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