Sunday, September 29, 2013

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Am 6:1a, 4-7

Thus says the LORD the God of hosts:
Woe to the complacent in Zion!
Lying upon beds of ivory,
stretched comfortably on their couches,
they eat lambs taken from the flock,
and calves from the stall!
Improvising to the music of the harp,
like David, they devise their own accompaniment.
They drink wine from bowls
and anoint themselves with the best oils;
yet they are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph!
Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile,
and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 146:7, 8-9, 9-10

R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed he who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 1 Tm 6:11-16

But you, man of God, pursue righteousness,
devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. 
Compete well for the faith. 
Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called
when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.
I charge you before God, who gives life to all things,
and before Christ Jesus,
who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate for the noble confession,
to keep the commandment without stain or reproach
until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ
that the blessed and only ruler
will make manifest at the proper time,
the King of kings and Lord of lords,
who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light,
and whom no human being has seen or can see. 
To him be honor and eternal power. Amen.

Gospel Lk 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
"There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man's table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.'
Abraham replied,
'My child, remember that you received
what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go
from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’
He said, 'Then I beg you, father,
send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers,
so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.'
But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.'
He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
Then Abraham said, 'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'"

Morning Prayer

St. Michael, glorious prince
of the heavenly hosts
and victor over rebellious spirits,
be mindful of me
who am so weak and sinful
and yet so prone to pride and ambition.
Lend me, I pray,
your powerful aid
in every temptation and difficulty,
and above all do not forsake me
in my daily struggle
with the powers of evil. Amen.

Anonymous

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Am 8:4-7

Hear this, you who trample upon the needy
and destroy the poor of the land!
“When will the new moon be over,” you ask,
“that we may sell our grain,
and the sabbath, that we may display the wheat?
We will diminish the ephah,
add to the shekel,
and fix our scales for cheating!
We will buy the lowly for silver,
and the poor for a pair of sandals;
even the refuse of the wheat we will sell!”
The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
Never will I forget a thing they have done!

Responsorial Psalm Ps 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8

R. (cf. 1a, 7b) Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Praise, you servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
both now and forever.
R. Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
High above all nations is the LORD;
above the heavens is his glory.
Who is like the LORD, our God, who is enthroned on high
and looks upon the heavens and the earth below?
R. Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He raises up the lowly from the dust;
from the dunghill he lifts up the poor
to seat them with princes,
with the princes of his own people.
R. Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 1 Tm 2:1-8

Beloved:
First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers,
petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,
for kings and for all in authority,
that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life
in all devotion and dignity. 
This is good and pleasing to God our savior,
who wills everyone to be saved
and to come to knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God.
There is also one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus,
who gave himself as ransom for all.
This was the testimony at the proper time. 
For this I was appointed preacher and apostle
— I am speaking the truth, I am not lying —,
teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray,
lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.

Gospel Lk 16:1-13

Jesus said to his disciples,
“A rich man had a steward
who was reported to him for squandering his property. 
He summoned him and said,
‘What is this I hear about you? 
Prepare a full account of your stewardship,
because you can no longer be my steward.’
The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do,
now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? 
I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. 
I know what I shall do so that,
when I am removed from the stewardship,
they may welcome me into their homes.’
He called in his master’s debtors one by one. 
To the first he said,
‘How much do you owe my master?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. 
Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’
Then to another the steward said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’
He replied, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’
The steward said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note;
write one for eighty.’
And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
“For the children of this world
are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than are the children of light. 
I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth,
so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters
is also dishonest in great ones. 
If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,
who will trust you with true wealth? 
If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,
who will give you what is yours? 
No servant can serve two masters. 
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other. 
You cannot serve both God and mammon.”

Morning Prayer

God the Father,
source of everything divine,
you are good surpassing everything good
and just surpassing everything just.
In you is tranquility,
as well as peace and harmony.
Heal our divisions
and restore us to the unity of love,
which is similar to your divine nature.
Let the bond of love
and the ties of divine affection
make us one in the Spirit by your peace
which renders everything peaceful.
We ask this through the grace, mercy,
and compassion of your only Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ.

St. Dionysius of Alexandria

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Prayer for Today

Dear Lord,

I ask you, today, to fill me with the knowledge of Your will, 
through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

I pray this in order that I might live a life worthy of You, 
and that I may please You in every way. 

Help me, Lord, to bear fruit in every good work.  

Help me to grow in my knowledge of You.

Strengthen me, Lord,  with all power, 
according to Your glorious might, 
so that I may have endurance and patience.

I joyfully thank you and praise you, Father, 
that you have qualified me to share 
in the inheritance of the saints 
in the Kingdom of Light.

Amen.

INTERVIEW WITH POPE FRANCIS IN JESUIT MAGAZINES

Vatican City, 20 September 2013 (VIS) - Pope Francis has granted a lengthy
interview, published in the Italian Jesuit magazine "La Civilta Cattolica"
and simultaneously in another sixteen magazines linked to the Society of
Jesus throughout the world. The interview was the result of three private
meetings and more than six hours of discussion between the Pope and the
editor of "La Civilta Cattolica", Fr. Antonio Spadaro, during the month of
August at the Santa Marta guesthouse.

In the interview, more than thirty pages long, the Pope talks frankly about
himself, his artistic and literary tastes (Dostoyevski and Holderlin, Borges
and Cervantes, Caravaggio and Chagall, but also Fellini's "La Strada",
Rossellini, "Babette's Feast", Mozart, and Wagner's "Tetralogy"), and his
experience in the Society of Jesus and as archbishop of Buenos Aires. He
defines himself as "a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is
not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner."

Referring to his period as Provincial in the Society of Jesus, he says, "My
authoritarian and quick manner of making decisions led me to have serious
problems and to be accused of being ultraconservative". However, as
archbishop this experience helped him to understand the importance of
listening to the viewpoints of others. "I believe that consultation is very
important. The consistories, the synods are, for example, important places
to make real and active this consultation. We must, however, give them a
less rigid form".

He also talks about how his Jesuit training, and the process of discernment
in particular, have enabled him to better face his ministry. "For example,
many think that changes and reforms can take place in a short time. I
believe that we always need time to lay the foundations for real, effective
change. . The wisdom of discernment redeems the necessary ambiguity of life
and helps us find the most appropriate means, which do not always coincide
with what looks great and strong."

For the Pope, the Church nowadays is most in need of "the ability to heal
wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity.
I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a
seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of
his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about
everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds. ... And you have to start
from the ground up. The church sometimes has locked itself up in small
things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first
proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you! . Instead of being just a church
that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, let us try also to be
a church that finds new roads, that is able to step outside itself and go to
those who do not attend Mass, to those who have quit or are indifferent".

With reference to complex questions such as homosexuality or the situation
of divorced and remarried Catholics, he insists on the need to "always
consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In
life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from
their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy".

The Pope added that "The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not
all equivalent" and "The church's pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with
the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed
insistently. . We have to find a new balance. . The proposal of the Gospel
must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the
moral consequences then flow".

Reflecting on the role of women in the Church, he reiterated that "the
feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions. The
challenge today is this: to think about the specific place of women also in
those places where the authority of the church is exercised for various
areas of the church".

Another theme considered during the interview was the importance of the
Vatican Council II as "a re-reading of the Gospel in light of contemporary
culture," says the Pope. "Vatican II produced a renewal movement that simply
comes from the same Gospel. Its fruits are enormous. Just recall the
liturgy. The work of liturgical reform has been a service to the people as a
re-reading of the Gospel from a concrete historical situation. Yes, there
are hermeneutics of continuity and discontinuity, but one thing is clear:
the dynamic of reading the Gospel, actualising its message for today - which
was typical of Vatican II - is absolutely irreversible".

In the final passages of the interview, Francis spoke of the "temptation to
seek God in the past or in a possible future", and remarked that "God is
certainly in the past because we can see the footprints. And God is also in
the future as a promise. But the 'concrete' God, so to speak, is today. For
this reason, complaining never helps us find God. The complaints of today
about how 'barbaric' the world is - these complaints sometimes end up giving
birth within the Church to desires to establish order in the sense of pure
conservation, as a defence. No: God is to be encountered in the world of
today".


I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can
do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the
something that I can do.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pope Francis: mystery of the Cross is bittersweet

.- On the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, Pope Francis devoted his daily homily to considering both the bitterness of suffering and the beauty of sacrifice present in the mystery of the Cross.
“Today we look upon the Cross, the story of mankind and the story of God. We look upon this Cross, where you can try that honey of aloe, that bitter honey, that bitter sweetness of the sacrifice of Jesus,” said Pope Francis to the congregation at Domus Sancta Marta on Sept. 14.
Despite the fact that humanity sinned, God chose to “take up the story” of mankind, “to journey with us.”
According to the Genesis narrative, the first man and woman allowed sin into the world by eating from the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The incarnation of the Son of God brought salvation through a different kind of tree: the wood of the Cross.
“This tree of the Cross saves us, all of us, from the consequences of that other tree, where self-sufficiency, arrogance, the pride of us wanting to know all things according to our own mentality, according to our own criteria, and also according to that presumption of being and becoming the only judges of the world," Pope Franis explained.
"This is the story of mankind: from one tree to the other.”
The only possible explanation for our salvation is Divine love, said the Pope.
“God takes this course for love! There’s no other explanation: love alone does this.”
In the Cross we find both the sweetness of God’s love in redeeming us, and the bitterness of his suffering and death due to sin.
This bittersweet reality is a mystery, which “can only be understood, a little bit, by kneeling, in prayer, but also through tears.”
Moreover, each of us must be aware of the cry of our brothers and sisters “who are looking upon so much human misery.”
Pope Francis emphasized the motherly role of Mary in understanding the dual nature of the cross.
“In order to enter into this mystery, which is not a labyrinth but resembles one a little bit, we need the Mother, the mother’s hand. That she, Mary, will make us understand how great and humble this mystery is; how sweet as honey and how bitter as aloe.”
Each Christian must take up the bittersweet journey of the cross for himself, “with our mother, weeping and on our knees.”

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Ex 32:7-11, 13-14

The LORD said to Moses,
“Go down at once to your people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt,
for they have become depraved.
They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them,
making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it,
sacrificing to it and crying out,
‘This is your God, O Israel,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt!’
“I see how stiff-necked this people is, ” continued the LORD to Moses.
Let me alone, then,
that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.
Then I will make of you a great nation.”

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying,
“Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
with such great power and with so strong a hand?
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,
and how you swore to them by your own self, saying,
‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky;
and all this land that I promised,
I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.’”
So the LORD relented in the punishment
he had threatened to inflict on his people.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19

R. (Lk 15:18) I will rise and go to my father.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. I will rise and go to my father.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. I will rise and go to my father.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. I will rise and go to my father.

Reading 2 1 Tm 1:12-17

Beloved:
I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
because he considered me trustworthy
in appointing me to the ministry.
I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and arrogant,
but I have been mercifully treated
because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief.
Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant,
along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
Of these I am the foremost.
But for that reason I was mercifully treated,
so that in me, as the foremost,
Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example
for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life.
To the king of ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God,
honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Gospel Lk 15:1-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them he addressed this parable.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents.”

Then he said,
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him,
and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns,
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’”

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Lectionary: 638


Reading 1
NM 21:4B-9

With their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and Moses,
“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents,
which bit the people so that many of them died.
Then the people came to Moses and said,
“We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.
Pray the LORD to take the serpents from us.”
So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses,
“Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and if any who have been bitten look at it, they will live.”
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole,
and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent 
looked at the bronze serpent, he lived. 

Responsorial Psalm
PS 78:1BC-2, 34-35, 36-37, 38

R. (see 7b) Do not forget the works of the Lord!
Hearken, my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable,
I will utter mysteries from of old.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
While he slew them they sought him
and inquired after God again,
Remembering that God was their rock
and the Most High God, their redeemer.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
But they flattered him with their mouths
and lied to him with their tongues,
Though their hearts were not steadfast toward him,
nor were they faithful to his covenant.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
But he, being merciful, forgave their sin
and destroyed them not;
Often he turned back his anger
and let none of his wrath be roused.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!

Reading 2
PHIL 2:6-11

Brothers and sisters:
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Gospel
JN 3:13-17

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”


For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,

but that the world might be saved through him. 

A Morning Prayer

HOLY NAME OF MARY

Holy Name of Mary

 O Almighty God,
Who beholdest Thy servants
earnestly desirous
of placing themselves
under the shadow
of the name and protection
of the Most Holy Virgin Mary,
vouchsafe, we beseech Thee,
that by her
charitable intercession,
we may be delivered from all
evil on earth,
and may arrive
at everlasting joys
in Heaven,
through Jesus Christ 

Our Lord
Amen

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Praying for peace in Syria, pope calls selfishness the cause of war

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Leading a crowd in prayer for peace in Syria, Pope Francis said that war is ultimately caused by selfishness, which can be overcome only though expressions of fraternity and never with violence.

"Leave behind the self-interest that hardens your heart, overcome the indifference that makes your heart insensitive towards others, conquer your deadly reasoning, and open yourself to dialogue and reconciliation," the pope said Sept. 7 before an estimated 100,000 people in St. Peter's Square.

The pope had called the prayer vigil less than a week earlier, as the central event of a worldwide day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East and the world.

The Vatican called the vigil an unprecedented papal gesture for peace, by virtue of its scale and prominence of location. It took place the same day that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with European leaders to make President Barack Obama's case for a military strike on the government of Syria's President Bashar Assad, as punishment for the alleged use of chemical weapons in the ongoing civil war there.

The pope's homily, which took up about 15 minutes of the four-hour liturgy, did not refer to contemporary events but spoke in biblical terms about the nature of war, whose origins he traced to the fall of Adam and the first murder, by Cain of his brother Abel.

Answering Cain's famous question to God -- "Am I my brother's keeper?" -- the pope replied: "Yes, you are your brother's keeper! To be human means to care for one another."

"We bring about the rebirth of Cain in every act of violence and in every war," the pope said. "All of us!"

War's ultimate source, Pope Francis said, is the original sin of disobedience.

"When man thinks only of himself, his own interests and places himself in the center, when he permits himself to be captivated by the idols of dominion and power, when he puts himself in God's place, then all relationships are broken and everything is ruined," the pope said. "Then the door opens to violence, indifference and conflict."

The pope concluded on a hopeful note, asking the crowd: "Can we get out of this spiral of sorrow and death? Can we learn once again to walk and live in the ways of peace?"

"Yes, it is possible for everyone!" he said, drawing applause, and he then invoked the image of Christ's redemptive sacrifice as the ultimate symbol of peace.

"How I wish that all men and women of good will would look to the cross, if only for a moment," he said. "There, we can see God's reply: violence is not answered with violence, death is not answered with the language of death. In the silence of the cross, the uproar of weapons ceases and the language of reconciliation, forgiveness, dialogue and peace is spoken."

The pope's homily was followed by a period of eucharistic adoration, including several stretches when all present stood or knelt in silence, without any musical accompaniment.

At other times, as during the praying of the rosary in the first half of the vigil, prayers and readings alternated with choir music or performances on the harp and other string instruments.

During the adoration, people representing five different countries or regions with direct or indirect links to the Syrian conflict -- Egypt, the Holy Land, Russia, the United States and Syria itself -- brought up incense to burn in a brazier beside the altar.

The ancient icon of Mary known as "Salus Populi Romani" (health of the Roman people), which had been transported for the occasion from Rome's Basilica of St. Mary Major, stood on an easel beside the altar. The icon has special importance for Pope Francis, who went to pray before it on the first morning of his pontificate in March.

The atmosphere in the square was solemn, with none of the festivity of a Sunday Angelus or Wednesday public audience. Security guards confiscated flags, though some Syrian flags could be seen on the periphery of the square.

Many in the congregation clapped and cheered when Pope Francis came out of the basilica at 7 p.m., but soon fell silent when they noticed his serious demeanor and his failure to wave or smile.

At the end of the liturgy, just before 11 p.m., after the pope had returned to the basilica, the crowd applauded again. Pope Francis came out to offer a few final words, thanking the congregation for their company and asking them to continue praying for peace.

Morning Prayer


I praise you, O sacred virgin, 
for your holy nativity, 
which for the entire Christian world 
was a birth of joy, 
the hope and solace of its life. 
When you were born, 
then the world was made light! 
Have mercy upon me a sinner, 
and give me aid, O lady, 
so that just as your nativity 
announced joy to the entire world, 
so may it fill me with true joy 
and cleanse me from every sin. 
Pray for me, O virgin most prudent, 
that the joys of your nativity 
may put a cloak over all my sins. Amen. 

 St. Ambrose of Milan

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time


Reading 1
WIS 9:13-18B

Who can know God’s counsel,
or who can conceive what the LORD intends?
For the deliberations of mortals are timid,
and unsure are our plans.
For the corruptible body burdens the soul
and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind that has many concerns.
And scarce do we guess the things on earth,
and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty;
but when things are in heaven, who can search them out?
Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom
and sent your holy spirit from on high?
And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14-17

R. (1) In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You make an end of them in their sleep;
the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.

Reading 2
PHMN 9-10, 12-17

I, Paul, an old man,
and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus,
urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus,
whose father I have become in my imprisonment;
I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you.
I should have liked to retain him for myself,
so that he might serve me on your behalf
in my imprisonment for the gospel,
but I did not want to do anything without your consent,
so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary.
Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while,
that you might have him back forever,
no longer as a slave
but more than a slave, a brother,
beloved especially to me, but even more so to you,
as a man and in the Lord. 
So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me.

Gospel
LK 14:25-33

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,
and he turned and addressed them,
“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother,
wife and children, brothers and sisters,
and even his own life,
he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me
cannot be my disciple.
Which of you wishing to construct a tower
does not first sit down and calculate the cost
to see if there is enough for its completion? 
Otherwise, after laying the foundation
and finding himself unable to finish the work
the onlookers should laugh at him and say,
‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’
Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand troops
he can successfully oppose another king
advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? 
But if not, while he is still far away,
he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. 
In the same way,
anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple.”

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time


Reading 1
SIR 3:17-18, 20, 28-29

My child, conduct your affairs with humility,
and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.
Humble yourself the more, the greater you are,
and you will find favor with God.
What is too sublime for you, seek not,
into things beyond your strength search not.
The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs,
and an attentive ear is the joy of the wise.
Water quenches a flaming fire,
and alms atone for sins.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11

R. (cf. 11b) God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.
The just rejoice and exult before God;
they are glad and rejoice.
Sing to God, chant praise to his name;
whose name is the LORD.
R. God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.
The father of orphans and the defender of widows
is God in his holy dwelling.
God gives a home to the forsaken;
he leads forth prisoners to prosperity.
R. God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.
A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance;
you restored the land when it languished;
your flock settled in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy.
R. God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.

Reading 2
HEB 12:18-19, 22-24A

Brothers and sisters:
You have not approached that which could be touched
and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness
and storm and a trumpet blast
and a voice speaking words such that those who heard
begged that no message be further addressed to them.
No, you have approached Mount Zion
and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
and countless angels in festal gathering,
and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven,
and God the judge of all,
and the spirits of the just made perfect,
and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant,
and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.

Gospel
LK 14:1, 7-14

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.

He told a parable to those who had been invited,
noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,
do not recline at table in the place of honor. 
A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,
‘Give your place to this man,’
and then you would proceed with embarrassment
to take the lowest place. 
Rather, when you are invited,
go and take the lowest place
so that when the host comes to you he may say,
‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’
Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. 
For every one who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” 
Then he said to the host who invited him,
“When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Homily for Today

Unto us it is given so we may blossom in Jesus! Good morning to everyone and welcome to our guests who have found their way to our humble...