Psalms

Psalm 5

I through the abundance of your steadfast love,

will enter your house,

i will bow down towards your holy temple

in awe of you.

lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness

because of my enemies;

make your way straight before me.

Let all who take refuge in you rejoice;

let them ever sing for joy.

Spread your protection over them,

so that those who love your name

may exult in you.

For you bless the righteous, O Lord;

you cover them with favour as with a shield.

Saint Apollinaris – July 20

Saint Apollinaris – July 20

St. Apollinaris was one of the first great martyrs of the church.  He was made Bishop of Ravenna by St. Peter. The miracles he conducted in Ravenna soon attracted official attention, for they and his preaching won many converts to the faith. However, at the same time, his words and works brought upon the fury of the pagan people who beat Apollinaris cruelly on several occasions.

During one beating, Apollinaris was cut with knives, and scalding hot water poured over his wounds, then put on a ship to be sent to Greece. 

In Greece the same course of preachings, and miracles, and sufferings continued. In fact, after a cruel beating by Greek pagans, he was sent back to Italy.

When Emperor Vespasian issued a decree of banishment against the Christians, Apollinaris was kept hidden for some time, but as he was leaving, passing through the gates of the city, he was attacked and savagely beaten.  He lived for seven days, foretelling that the persecutions would increase, but that the Church would ultimately triumph.

Reflection

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” Matthew 12:38

Jesus had already shown many marvelous signs, and the scribes and Pharisees would surely have seen or heard about them. Yet some of them wanted even more. Imagine how their lives would have been enriched if they would have recognized and accepted what had already been given. Could there be a lesson here for all of us? Each one of us has been touched by many signs of God’s love and goodness. We have been given the precious ability to give and to receive love, to appreciate what is beautiful in our lives, to use our particular talents to bring joy to ourselves and to others. We don’t all have the same gifts, but we find joy when we appreciate what we do have. Sometimes, though, we forget what we have been given, and that can cause a lot of unhappiness.

Today, may we more deeply appreciate the gifts we have received and be thankful for the ways they have enriched our lives.

Book Shelf – Matilda

Book Shelf – Matilda

Matilda is a book by British writer Roald Dahl. It was published in 1988 by Jonathan Cape in London, with 232 pages and illustrations by Quentin Blake. It was adapted as an audio reading by actress Kate Winslet; a 1996 feature film directed by Danny DeVito; a two-part BBC Radio 4 programme starring Lauren Mote as Matilda, Emerald O’Hanrahan as Miss Honey, Nichola McAuliffe as Miss Trunchbull and narrated by Lenny Henry; and a 2000 musical.

In a small Buckinghamshire village, Matilda Wormwood, a five-and-half-year-old girl of unusual precocity, whose parents treat her with disdain, resorts to pranks like gluing her father’s hat to his head, hiding a friend’s parrot in the chimney to simulate a burglar or ghost, and secretly bleaching her father’s hair, to get revenge on her parents (particularly her father) for their rude and neglectful manners towards her. Matilda has read a variety of books by different authors, especially at the age of four, when she read many in six months.

At school, Matilda befriends her teacher, Jennifer Honey, who is astonished by her intellectual abilities. She tries to move her into a higher class but is refused by the headmistress, the tyrannical Miss Agatha Trunchbull. Miss Honey also tries to talk to Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood about their daughter’s intelligence, but they just ignore her.

Miss Trunchbull also confronts a girl with pigtails called Amanda Thripp and does a hammer throw with the girl. Another boy called Bruce Bogtrotter is caught by the cook stealing a piece of Miss Trunchbull’s cake; she makes him eat all of the cake.

Matilda quickly develops a particularly strong bond with Miss Honey and watches as Miss Trunchbull terrorizes her students with deliberately creative, over-the-top punishments to prevent parents from believing them. When Matilda’s friend, Lavender, plays a practical joke on Miss Trunchbull by placing a newt in her jug of water, Matilda uses an unexpected power of telekinesis to tip the glass of water containing the newt onto Miss Trunchbull.

Matilda reveals her powers to Miss Honey, who confides that she was raised by an abusive aunt after her father’s suspicious death. Her aunt is revealed to be Miss Trunchbull, who appears (among other misdeeds) to be withholding her niece’s inheritance so that Miss Honey has to live in poverty in a derelict farm cottage.

In 2012 Matilda was ranked number 30 among all-time children’s novels in a survey published by School Library Journal, a monthly with primarily US audience. It was the first of four books by Dahl among the Top 100, more than any other writer. Time included Matilda in its list of the 100 Best Young-Adult Books of All Time. Worldwide sales have reached 17 million, and since 2016 sales have spiked to the extent that it outsells Dahl’s other works.

Asterix in Corsica – Book 20

Asterix in Corsica – Book 20

Asterix in Corsica is the twentieth volume of the Asterix comic book series, by René Goscinny (stories) and Albert Uderzo (artwork). It was originally serialized in Pilote issues 687–708 in 1973. It is the best-selling title in the history of the series, owing to its sales in the French market, but is one of the lowest-selling titles in the English language.

In most editions of this book the map that is shown before the story begins does not present Gaul and a close-up of the village with the four surrounding Roman camps. Instead the reader is shown a map of Corsica and a multitude of camps around the coastline.

The story begins with a banquet celebrating the anniversary of Vercingetorix’s victory at the Battle of Gergovia. As part of the celebrations, the indomitable Gauls always attack the local Roman camps; as a result, the Roman soldiers always go on “special manoeuvres” en masse to avoid the punch-up.

The Roman camp of Totorum, too, has visitors: three Roman soldiers escorting the Corsican leader Boneywasawarriorwayayix, exiled by Praetor Perfidius. He is left to spend the night in the Centurion’s tent, to its owner’s dismay. While the other camps are deserted, the Romans of Totorum have no option but to stay and be decimated by the Gauls and their friends, who discover Boneywasawarriorwayayix awakening from a long siesta (meaning sleep).

The proud Boneywasawarriorwayayix attends the Gaulish banquet and leaves the next day for Corsica with Asterix, Obelix and Dogmatix accompanying him. At Massalia, he hires a ship crewed by none other than Captain Redbeard and his pirates. When the passengers go aboard it is too dark for the captain and the Gauls to recognise each other. But when, in the middle of the night, the pirates attempt to rob the Corsican and his three companions, they recognize the sleeping Gauls and the entire crew vacates the ship in a rowboat.