- Wednesday, June 29 : Acts of the Apostles 12,1-11.
In those days, King Herod laid hands upon some members of the Church to harm them. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword, and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews he proceeded to arrest Peter also. (It was (the) feast of Unleavened Bread.) He had him taken into custody and put in prison under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. He intended to bring him before the people after Passover. Peter thus was being kept in prison, but prayer by the church was fervently being made to God on his behalf. On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter, secured by double chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison. Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying, "Get up quickly." The chains fell from his wrists. The angel said to him, "Put on your belt and your sandals." He did so. Then he said to him, "Put on your cloak and follow me." So he followed him out, not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first guard, then the second, and came to the iron gate leading out to the city, which opened for them by itself. They emerged and made their way down an alley, and suddenly the angel left him. Then Peter recovered his senses and said, "Now I know for certain that (the) Lord sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting."
- Wednesday, June 29 : Psalms 34(33),2-3.4-5.6-7.8-9.
I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. Let my soul glory in the LORD; the lowly will hear me and be glad. Glorify the LORD with me, let us together extol his name. I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and your faces may not blush with shame. When the poor one called out, the LORD heard, and from all his distress he saved him. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Taste and see how good the LORD is; blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
- Wednesday, June 29 : Second Letter to Timothy 4,6-8.17-18.
Beloved: I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance. But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was rescued from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.
- Wednesday, June 29 : Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 16,13-19.
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
- Wednesday, June 29 : Saint Leo the Great
You were not afraid to come to this city of Rome, O holy apostle Peter ! (…) You were not afraid of Rome, the mistress of the world, you who in the house of Caiaphas took fright when faced with the high priest’s servant girl. So was the power of the emperors Claudius and Nero less than Pilate’s judgment or the fury of the Jewish leaders ? It is because the power of love triumphed in you over your reasons to fear. You did not think you had to fear those whom you had been sent to love. You had already received this intrepid charity when the love you professed for the Lord was strengthened by his threefold question (Jn 21:15 f.) (…) And so that your trust might grow, there were the signs of so many miracles, the gift of so many charisms, the experience of so many marvelous works. (…) Thus, without doubting in the fruitfulness of the task and without remaining ignorant of the time you still had to live, you brought the trophy of Christ’s cross to Rome, where through divine predestination, both the honor of authority and the glory of martyrdom awaited you. Saint Paul came to this same city. With you, he was an apostle, a chosen instrument (Acts 9:19) and teacher of the nations (1 Tim 2:7). He came to be with you in this time when already all innocence, all freedom, all modesty were oppressed under Nero’s power, who in his madness was the first to decree a general and terrible persecution against the christian name, as if God’s grace could have been stopped by massacring saints. (…) But “Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.” (Ps 116:15) No cruelty could destroy the religion founded through the mystery of Christ’s cross. The Church is not reduced but rather enlarged through persecutions; the field of the Lord is constantly clothed with a greater harvest when the seeds that fall alone are born again as many (Jn 12:24). What a lineage those two divinely sown plants produced as they developed ! Thousands of martyr saints, imitating the two apostles’ triumph, (...) crowned this city with a diadem adorned with countless jewels.
- Tuesday, June 28 : Book of Amos 3,1-8.4,11-12.
Hear this word, O children of Israel, that the LORD pronounces over you, over the whole family that I brought up from the land of Egypt: You alone have I favored, more than all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your crimes. Do two walk together unless they have agreed? Does a lion roar in the forest when it has no prey? Does a young lion cry out from its den unless it has seized something? Is a bird brought to earth by a snare when there is no lure for it? Does a snare spring up from the ground without catching anything? If the trumpet sounds in a city, will the people not be frightened? If evil befalls a city, has not the LORD caused it? Indeed, the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants, the prophets. The lion roars-- who will not be afraid! The Lord GOD speaks-- who will not prophesy! I brought upon you such upheaval as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah: you were like a brand plucked from the fire; Yet you returned not to me, says the LORD. So now I will deal with you in my own way, O Israel! and since I will deal thus with you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel:
- Tuesday, June 28 : Psalms 5,5-6.7.8.
For you, O God, delight not in wickedness; No evil man remains with you; The arrogant may not stand in your sight. You hate all evildoers. You destroy all who speak falsehood; the bloodthirsty and the deceitful the LORD abhors. But I can enter your house because of your great love. I can worship in your holy temple because of my reverence for you, LORD.
- Tuesday, June 28 : Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 8,23-27.
As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" He said to them, "Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?" Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. The men were amazed and said, "What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?"
- Tuesday, June 28 : Saint Augustine
Christ's sleep is the symbol of a mystery. The ship's passengers represent souls traversing the life of this world on the wood of the cross. In addition, the ship is the symbol of the Church. Indeed, truly (...) the heart of each member of the faithful is a ship sailing across the sea: it cannot sink provided the spirit engages in good thoughts. Has someone insulted you ? It is the wind beating against you. Have you become angry ? It is the swell mounting. Does temptation arise ? It is the wind blowing. Is your soul troubled ? It is waves rising up (...) Wake up Christ and let him speak to you. “Who, then, is this that even the wind and the sea obey him ?” Who is he ? “His is the sea for he has made it”; “all things were made by him” (Ps 95:5; Jn 1:3). So imitate the winds and the sea: obey your Creator. The sea shows itself to be docile to Christ’s voice and do you remain deaf ? The sea obeys, the winds drop, and do you continue to blow ? What are we trying to say by this ? Speaking, getting upset, plotting revenge: isn’t this continuing to blow and not wanting to give way before Christ’s word ? When your heart is stirred up don’t allow yourself to be swamped by the waves. If, nevertheless, the wind blows us over – for we are only human – and if it stirs up the bad feelings in our hearts, let us not despair. Let us wake up Christ so as to continue our journey on a peaceful sea.
- Monday, June 27 : Book of Amos 2,6-10.13-16.
Thus says the LORD: For three crimes of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke my word; Because they sell the just man for silver, and the poor man for a pair of sandals. They trample the heads of the weak into the dust of the earth, and force the lowly out of the way. Son and father go to the same prostitute, profaning my holy name. Upon garments taken in pledge they recline beside any altar; And the wine of those who have been fined they drink in the house of their god. Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorites before them, who were as tall as the cedars, and as strong as the oak trees. I destroyed their fruit above, and their roots beneath. It was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt, and who led you through the desert for forty years, to occupy the land of the Amorites: Beware, I will crush you into the ground as a wagon crushes when laden with sheaves. Flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong man shall not retain his strength; The warrior shall not save his life, nor the bowman stand his ground; The swift of foot shall not escape, nor the horseman save his life. And the most stouthearted of warriors shall flee naked on that day, says the LORD.
- Monday, June 27 : Psalms 50(49),16bc-17.18-19.20-21.22-23.
"Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, Though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you?" "When you see a thief, you keep pace with him, and with adulterers you throw in your lot. To your mouth you give free rein for evil, you harness your tongue to deceit." "You sit speaking against your brother; against your mother's son you spread rumors. "When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it? Or do you think that I am like yourself? I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes. "Consider this, you who forget God, lest I rend you and there be no one to rescue you. He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me; and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
- Monday, June 27 : Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 8,18-22.
When Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side. A scribe approached and said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus answered him, "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head." Another of (his) disciples said to him, "Lord, let me go first and bury my father." But Jesus answered him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead."