Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Dt 30:10-14

Moses said to the people:
“If only you would heed the voice of the LORD, your God,
and keep his commandments and statutes
that are written in this book of the law,
when you return to the LORD, your God,
with all your heart and all your soul.

“For this command that I enjoin on you today
is not too mysterious and remote for you.
It is not up in the sky, that you should say,
‘Who will go up in the sky to get it for us
and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’
Nor is it across the sea, that you should say,
‘Who will cross the sea to get it for us
and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’
No, it is something very near to you,
already in your mouths and in your hearts;
you have only to carry it out.”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36, 37

R. (cf. 33) Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
I pray to you, O LORD,
for the time of your favor, O God!
In your great kindness answer me
with your constant help.
Answer me, O LORD, for bounteous is your kindness:
in your great mercy turn toward me.
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
I am afflicted and in pain;
let your saving help, O God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.”
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
For God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah.
The descendants of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall inhabit it.
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.

Or Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R.(9a) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
the decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Reading 2 Col 1:15-20

Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation.
For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers;
all things were created through him and for him.
He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the church.
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
that in all things he himself might be preeminent.
For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile all things for him,
making peace by the blood of his cross
through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.

Gospel Lk 10:25-37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said,
“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?
How do you read it?”
He said in reply,
You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”

He replied to him, “You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live.”

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied,
“A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
‘Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.’
Which of these three, in your opinion,
was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Pope Francis' 1st encyclical released

The Holy See has released Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith), the first encyclical letter of Pope Francis.
The document is dated June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. It was introduced to the media at a press conference in Rome on July 5.

The encyclical on faith was begun by Pope Benedict XVI, before his resignation, and completed by Pope Francis, who referred to the document as the work of “four hands,” suggesting that the encyclical represented the work of both himself and his predecessor.

In his introduction, Pope Francis writes that Benedict XVI “had almost completed a first draft of an encyclical on faith.” He says that he “added a few contributions of my own.” Still the document is signed only by Pope Francis, and will be known to Church history as the 1st encyclical of the new Pontiff.
At the Vatican press conference introducing the new encyclical, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, commented on the question of authorship: “It must be said without hesitation that while Lumen Fidei resumes some of the intuition and themes typical of the ministery of Benedict XVI, it is fully Pope Francisco’s text.” Pope Francis himself, clearly intent on underlining that his teachings are in full accord with those of Pope Benedict, observed in his introduction that the text is “in continuity with all that the Church’s magisterium has pronounced on this theological virtue.”
The encyclical does cover some of the arguments that were central to the teaching of Benedict XVI during his pontificate, such as the importance of joining faith and reason and the danger of eliminating God from public discussion. The document also bears the scholarly tone of the Pope-emeritus, including allusions to Nietzsche, Dante, Dostoevsky, Wittgenstein, and T. S. Eliot along with citations from early Church fathers and a plethora of Scriptural references. At the same time, the encyclical also covers themes that Pope Francis has emphasized, including the impossibility of achieving justification through one’s own merits and the need to put faith into action through help for the poor. Following the usual Vatican practice, the encyclical takes its title from the opening words: Lumen Fidei, the light of faith. In its opening section the Pope remarks on how the gift of faith has always been associated with light, which enables believers to see things clearly.
However, the encyclical continues, in modern thought “faith came to be associated with darkness,” and philosophers sought for truth divorced from faith. That quest proved illusory, the Pope writes: “Slowly but surely, however, it would become evident that the light of autonomous reason is not enough to illumine the future; ultimately the future remains shadowy and fraught with fear of the unknown.” The encyclical strongly insists on the need to regain a proper understanding for the natural partnership between faith and reason.

“Today more than ever, we need to be reminded of this bond between faith and truth, given the crisis of truth in our age.”
The faith of the Judeo-Christian tradition traces back to God’s revelation to Abraham, Lumen Fidei notes. That revelation was a dramatic departure from the beliefs of others at that time, the encyclical notes: “God is not the god of a particular place, or a deity linked to specific sacred time, but the God of a person, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, capable of interacting with man and establishing a covenant with him.”
This personal God called the people of Israel into a covenant, the encyclical continues. But Chosen People did not always respond: “The history of Israel also shows us the temptation of unbelief to which the people yielded more than once. Here the opposite of faith is shown to be idolatry.” The temptation toward idolatry continues among believers to this day, the Pope says, adding that idolatry is “a pretext for setting ourselves at the center of reality and worshiping the work of our own hands.”
The God of Abraham seeks the love of his people. Modern man tends to think of love as an emotion, the Pope observes. But a deep love is something far more than an emotional reaction; it is based on a recognition of truth. “Only to the extent that love is grounded in truth can it endure over time, can it transcend the passing moment and be sufficiently solid to sustain a shared journey. If love is not tied to truth, it falls prey to fickle emotions and cannot stand the test of time.”
Pope Francis writes that anyone who shows love for others is taking the first steps toward faith: “Anyone who sets off on the path of doing good to others is already drawing near to God, is already sustained by his help, for it is characteristic of the divine light to brighten our eyes whenever we walk towards the fullness of love.”

Still, Lumen Fidei cautions that no one should seek faith alone. In fact the Pope writes bluntly: “It is impossible to believe on our own.” In the New Covenant, Jesus offers the Church as the guarantor of faith. Moreover the faith is transmitted and strengthened through the sacramental life of the Church, especially in Baptism. Sharing in the faith, all members of the Church, at all times, “possess a unity which enriches us because it is given to us and makes us one.”
Christian faith, the encyclical teaches, is not a static idea; it is recognized by believers as “a journey, but also as a process of building.” Here Lumen Fidei goes on to say that the faithful should build the Church, and awaken the faith of others, by service to the world’s poor and needy. There is no tension between service to the poor and the quest for truth, Pope Francis writes: “How many men and women of faith have found mediators of light in those who suffer!”

The encyclical concludes with an invocation of the Virgin Mary. “In her own life Mary completed the pilgrimage of faith,” the Pope writes, referring to her as a “perfect icon” of faith.
Introducing the document to the press, Archbishop Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, took note of the encyclical’s message that faith is necessary to the welfare of society. He said that the Pope “wishes to restate in a new way the truth that faith in Jesus Christ is a good for humanity-- truly a good for everyone; a common good.”
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, drew out another aspect of the papal teaching. Calling attention to the encyclical’s connection between truth and lasting love, he said that the Pope “reminds us of the deep affinities between faith and the endless love a man and woman promise to each other when they unite in matrimony.”

THE WEIGHT OF THE HOLY MASS

 A wonderful story from one of the catholic groups I belong to. Please read and enjoy.

THE WEIGHT OF THE HOLY MASS (From the Catholic Society of Evangelists Newsletter, August, 1999)

The following TRUE STORY was related to Sr. M. Veronica Murphy by an elderly nun who heard it from the lips of the late Reverend Father Stanislaus. 

One day many years ago, in a little town in Luxembourg , a Captain of the Forest Guards was in deep conversation with the butcher when an elderly woman entered the shop. The butcher broke off the conversation to ask the old woman what she wanted. She had come to beg for a little meat but had no money.

The Captain was amused at the woman and the butcher. “Only a little meat, but how much are you going to give her?”, he wondered.

“I am sorry I have no money, but I’ll hear Mass for you”, the woman told the butcher. Both the butcher and the Captain were indifferent about religion, so they at once began to scoff at the old woman’s idea.

“All right then”, said the butcher. “You go and hear Mass for me and when you come back I’ll give you as much as the Mass is worth”.
The woman left the shop and returned later. She approached the counter and the butcher said. “All right then we’ll see.”

He took a slip of paper and wrote on it ‘I heard a Mass for you.’
He placed the paper on the scales and a tiny bone on the other side, but nothing happened.
Next he placed a piece of meat instead of the bone, but still the paper proved heavier.

Both men were beginning to feel ashamed of their mockery but continued their game. A large piece of meat was placed on the balance, but still the paper held its own. The butcher, exasperated, examined the scales but found they were alright.

“What do you want my good woman? Must I give you a whole leg of mutton?” At this he placed the leg of mutton on the balance, but the paper outweighed the meat. A larger piece of meat was put on, but again the weight remained on the side of the paper. This so impressed the butcher that he was converted and promised to give the woman her daily ration of meat.

As for the Captain, he left the shop a changed man and became an ardent lover of daily Mass. Two of his sons became priests, one a Jesuit and the other a Father of the Sacred Heart.

Father Stanislaus finished the story by saying, “I am from the Religious of the Sacred Heart and the Captain was my father.”

>From this incident the Captain became a daily Mass attendant and his children were trained to follow his example.

Later, when his sons became priests, he advised them to say Mass well every day and never miss the Sacrifice of the Mass through any fault of their own.
If you like the story, share it with someone.*
Remember too that 'a Holy Mass a day keeps the Devil away'.

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1

Thus says the LORD:
Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her,
all you who love her;
exult, exult with her,
all you who were mourning over her!
Oh, that you may suck fully
of the milk of her comfort,
that you may nurse with delight
at her abundant breasts!
For thus says the LORD:
Lo, I will spread prosperity over Jerusalem like a river,
and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent.
As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms,
and fondled in her lap;
as a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you;
in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort.

When you see this, your heart shall rejoice
and your bodies flourish like the grass;
the LORD's power shall be known to his servants.


Responsorial Psalm

R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
sing praise to the glory of his name;
proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God, "How tremendous are your deeds!"
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
"Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you,
sing praise to your name!"
Come and see the works of God,
his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
He has changed the sea into dry land;
through the river they passed on foot;
therefore let us rejoice in him.
He rules by his might forever.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy. 
Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
Blessed be God who refused me not
my prayer or his kindness!
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

Reading 2

Brothers and sisters:
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world has been crucified to me,
and I to the world.
For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision,
but only a new creation.
Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule
and to the Israel of God.

From now on, let no one make troubles for me;
for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit,
brothers and sisters. Amen.

At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter, first say,
`Peace to this household.'
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
`The kingdom of God is at hand for you.'
Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you,
go out into the streets and say,
`The dust of your town that clings to our feet,
even that we shake off against you.'
Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand.
I tell you,
it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town."

The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said,
"Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name."
Jesus said, "I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.
Behold, I have given you the power to `tread upon serpents' and scorpions
and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice because your names are written in heaven."


At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter, first say,
`Peace to this household.'
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
`The kingdom of God is at hand for you.'"

SPIRITUAL PROTECTION of the HOME PRAYER:

[At this time of spiritual warfare and agitation in all aspects of life -- in the family, in the Church, in media, in society -- let us sta...