SS CORNELIUS, PP & CYPRIAN, B.M. (Memorial) Red
Cornelius was the 21st Pope elected during the period when persecutions were so bad that papal ascension was often a death sentence. He worked for unity in a time of schism and apostasy. Cornelius fought Novatianism, a heresy that held that the lapsed Christian might not be received again into communion with the Church, and that second marriages were unlawful. He died a martyr in 253.
Cyprian was born into a rich pagan family of Carthage in North Africa in early third century. Soon after converting to Christianity, he was ordained a priest and was chosen against his will as Bishop of Carthage in 249. Cyprian opposed Novatus’ belief that apostates should not be readmitted to the Church. Cyprian believed they should be readmitted but with stringent conditions. He was martyred by beheading on September 258. He is a Latin father of the Church.
First Reading: 1Tim 1:15-17; Psalm: 113. R. v. 2; Gospel: Lk 6:43-49
OUR HEARTS ARE STOREHOUSES
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
“. . . for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Lk 6:45).
Sometimes, what we say betrays us. There are times we do not wish to divulge some dark secrets about ourselves but somehow we inadvertently say something that brings to light our hidden thoughts or intentions. When this happens, we often regard what we’ve just said as a slip of the tongue. But this immediate defensive approach is just a form of damage control; for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Even as we joke, we sometimes say some dirty and vulgar words that people laugh at. But that was just something true about us revealed under the guise of a joke.
Think of this: words spoken freely when conversing with people without being too careful or calculative is often a clear revelation of our true self. Even the images and metaphors we sometimes use to describe a person or thing say so much about us. Jesus reminds us in the gospel of today that our hearts are like storehouses where good or bad fruits are stored. The truth is that vulgar or dirty words would hardly emerge from the mouth of anyone with a pure heart because such thoughts are not stored within. The words on our lips are in the final analysis the contents of our hearts.
Whenever we joke or say anything, let us listen carefully to ourselves because times like this often reveal the real state of our hearts. It is really not easy to nurture a pure heart for it takes a lot of discipline to ward off worldly thoughts and desires. But when we make effort to spiritually discipline ourselves, we would be purifying our hearts and building our lives on Christ the rock. It is always difficult to dig and build on a rocky ground but very profitable at the end. So, it is okay when we struggle to jostle our way through impure thoughts to reach purity of heart; for we would become grounded in Christ as vessels of holiness. Finally, we must understand that whatever we feed our hearts with are reproduced in our words and actions. We must therefore mind what we take in if we cared about what we give out.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, purify the thoughts of our hearts by the help of your grace so that our words and deeds will always reflect the values of the gospel. Amen.