Friday, September 20, 2013

TODAY'S SAINT: SEPT. 21: ST. MATTHEW, APOSTLE



St. Matthew
APOSTLE
Feast: September 21
Information:
Feast Day:
September 21
Died:
January 24, near Hierapolis or Ethiopia
Patron of:
accountants, bankers, bookkeepers, customs officers, financial officers, guards, money managers, security forces, security guards, stock brokers, tax collectors

Apostle and evangelist. The name Matthew is derived from the Hebrew Mattija, being shortened to Mattai in post-Biblical Hebrew. In Greek it is sometimes spelled Maththaios, B D, and sometimes Matthaios, CEKL, but grammarians do not agree as to which of the two spellings is the original. Matthew is spoken of five times in the New Testament; first in Matt., ix, 9, when called by Jesus to follow Him, and then four times in the list of the Apostles, where he is mentioned in the seventh (Luke, vi, 15, and Mark, iii, 18), and again in the eighth place (Matt., x, 3, and Acts, i, 13). The man designated in Matt., ix, 9, as "sitting in the custom house", and "named Matthew" is the same as Levi, recorded in Mark, ii, 14, and Luke, v, 27, as "sitting at the receipt of custom". The account in the three Synoptics is identical, the vocation of Matthew-Levi being alluded to in the same terms. Hence Levi was the original name of the man who was subsequently called Matthew; the Maththaios legomenos of Matt., ix, 9, would indicate this. The fact of one man having two names is of frequent occurrence among the Jews. It is true that the same person usually bears a Hebrew name such as "Shaoul" and a Greek name, Paulos. However, we have also examples of individuals with two Hebrew names as, for instance, Joseph-Caiaphas, Simon-Cephas, etc. It is probable that Mattija, "gift of Iaveh", was the name conferred upon the tax-gatherer by Jesus Christ when He called him to the Apostolate, and by it he was thenceforth known among his Christian brethren, Levi being his original name. Matthew, the son of Alpheus (Mark, ii, 14) was a Galilean, although Eusebius informs us that he was a Syrian. As tax-gatherer at Capharnaum, he collected custom duties for Herod Antipas, and, although a Jew, was despised by the Pharisees, who hated all publicans. When summoned by Jesus, Matthew arose and followed Him and tendered Him a feast in his house, where tax-gatherers and sinners sat at table with Christ and His disciples. This drew forth a protest from the Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked in these consoling words: "I came not to call the just, but sinners". No further allusion is made to Matthew in the Gospels, except in the list of the Apostles. As a disciple and an Apostle he thenceforth followed Christ, accompanying Him up to the time of His Passion and, in Galilee, was one of the witnesses of His Resurrection. He was also amongst the Apostles who were present at the Ascension, and afterwards withdrew to an upper chamber, in Jerusalem, praying in union with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and with his brethren (Acts, i, 10 and 14).
Of Matthew's subsequent career we have only inaccurate or legendary data. St. Irenæus tells us that Matthew preached the Gospel among the Hebrews, St. Clement of Alexandria claiming that he did this for fifteen years, and Eusebius maintains that, before going into other countries, he gave them his Gospel in the mother tongue. Ancient writers are not as one as to the countries evangelized by Matthew, but almost all mention Ethiopia to the south of the Caspian Sea (not Ethiopia in Africa), and some Persia and the kingdom of the Parthians, Macedonia, and Syria. According to Heracleon, who is quoted by Clement of Alexandria, Matthew did not die a martyr, but this opinion conflicts with all other ancient testimony. Let us add, however, that the account of his martyrdom in the apocryphal Greek writings entitled "Martyrium S. Matthæi in Ponto" and published by Bonnet, "Acta apostolorum apocrypha" (Leipzig, 1898), is absolutely devoid of historic value. Lipsius holds that this "Martyrium S. Matthæi", which contains traces of Gnosticism, must have been published in the third century. There is a disagreement as to the place of St. Matthew's martyrdom and the kind of torture inflicted on him, therefore it is not known whether he was burned, stoned, or beheaded. The Roman Martyrology simply says: "S. Matthæi, qui in Æthiopia prædicans martyrium passus est". Various writings that are now considered apocryphal, have been attributed to St. Matthew. In the "Evangelia apocrypha" (Leipzig, 1876), Tischendorf reproduced a Latin document entitled: "De Ortu beatæ Mariæ et infantia Salvatoris", supposedly written in Hebrew by St. Matthew the Evangelist, and translated into Latin by Jerome, the priest. It is an abridged adaptation of the "Protoevangelium" of St. James, which was a Greek apocryphal of the second century. This pseudo-Matthew dates from the middle or the end of the sixth century. The Latin Church celebrates the feast of St. Matthew on 21 September, and the Greek Church on 16 November. St. Matthew is represented under the symbol of a winged man, carrying in his hand a lance as a characteristic emblem.

POPE FRANCIS AVOID ... MAKING MONEY OUR IDOL


RADIO VATICANA REPORT: The love of money is the root of all evil: that stark warning contained in St Paul’s first letter to Timothy was at the heart of Pope Francis’ homily at his morning Mass in Santa Marta on Friday.

Reflecting on the way in which greed can corrupt our hearts and weaken our faith, the Pope stressed we can never serve God and money at the same time. Money, the Pope went on, sickens our minds, poisons our thoughts, even poisons our faith, leading us down the path of jealousy, quarrels, suspicion and conflict. While money begins by offering a sense of wellbeing, if we are not careful wealth can quickly lead to vanity, self-importance and the sin of pride.

Pope Francis noted many people may object that the Ten Commandments say nothing about the evils of money. Yet when we worship money, he said, we are sinning against the first Commandment and making money our idol in place of God. The early Fathers of the Church, he said, put it in a very blunt way, calling money the dung of the devil which corrupts and leads us away from our faith.

Instead of focusing on money, the Pope said, we should strive for justice, piety, faith and charity, as well as the gifts of patience and meekness which are the ways of the Lord. Pope Francis concluded with the wish that God will help each one of us to avoid falling into the trap of making money our idol. 

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA 

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : FRI. SEPT. 20, 2013

Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs
Lectionary: 447

Reading 1           1 TM 6:2C-12

Beloved:
Teach and urge these things.
Whoever teaches something different
and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ
and the religious teaching
is conceited, understanding nothing,
and has a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes.
From these come envy, rivalry, insults, evil suspicions,
and mutual friction among people with corrupted minds,
who are deprived of the truth,
supposing religion to be a means of gain.
Indeed, religion with contentment is a great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world,
just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it.
If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that.
Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap
and into many foolish and harmful desires,
which plunge them into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is the root of all evils,
and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith
and have pierced themselves with many pains.

But you, man of God, avoid all this.
Instead, 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.

Responsorial Psalm                        PS 49:6-7, 8-10, 17-18, 19-20

R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Why should I fear in evil days
when my wicked ensnarers ring me round?
They trust in their wealth;
the abundance of their riches is their boast.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Yet in no way can a man redeem himself,
or pay his own ransom to God;
Too high is the price to redeem one’s life; he would never have enough
to remain alive always and not see destruction.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Fear not when a man grows rich,
when the wealth of his house becomes great,
For when he dies, he shall take none of it;
his wealth shall not follow him down.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Though in his lifetime he counted himself blessed,
“They will praise you for doing well for yourself,”
He shall join the circle of his forebears
who shall never more see light.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!

Gospel                  LK 8:1-3

Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another,
preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.
Accompanying him were the Twelve
and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities,
Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza,
Susanna, and many others
who provided for them out of their resources.

POPE FRANCIS WRITES TO IMAM OF ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a personal message to Ahmed al-Tayyeb, the great Imam of al-Azhar University in Cairo, one of the most prestigious Sunni Islamic institutions in the Arab world. The Fides news agency, the information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies, reported the news after receiving an official statement from al-Azhar which said the papal message expresses esteem and respect “for Islam and Muslims.” The note conveys the hope that efforts will be made to promote "understanding among Christians and Muslims in the world, to build peace and justice".

Fides reports that the Pope’s personal letter “was delivered on Tuesday, September 17 to the Great Imam of Al-Azhar by the Apostolic Nuncio in Egypt, Msg. Jean-Paul Gobel, together with the message to the Islamic world also signed by Pope Bergoglio for the end of Ramadan, recently issued by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.”

Dialogue between the Holy See and al-Azhar was interrupted by the university which, according to Fides, “interpreted Pope Benedict XVI’s statements on the need to protect Christians in Egypt and the Middle East as undue Western interference” following an attack against the Coptic Cathedral in Alexandria on New Year’s eve 2011.

Speaking to Fides about Pope Francis’ message to Imam al-Tayyeb, Father Hani Bakhoum, secretary of the Patriarchate of Alexandria of the Catholic Copts said it "is a way of expressing the deep sense of respect and affection that the Catholic Church, the Holy See and the Pope have towards all Muslims and especially for al-Azhar, which is the most representative institution of moderate Sunni Islam. Surely this letter will help over time to put aside any misunderstanding and also to resume the bilateral dialogue with the Holy See". 
SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA 

CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE RELEASES SOCIAL JUSTICE STATEMENT

ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE RELEASE: ACBC Social Justice Statement launch

Mark Clarke, Office for Justice and Peace, Wednesday 18 September 2013

EACH year the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ACBC) releases a social justice statement on an issue of contemporary concern for the Church in Australia. The 2013 -14 Statement from the Australian Bishops is entitled Lazarus at our Gate. A Critical moment in the Fight against World Poverty. It draws heavily on the Gospel reading for Social Justice Sunday which this year will be celebrated on Sunday 29 September.

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In the Bishop’s statement we are challenged to identify the people who “sit at our gate” like Lazarus desperately longing for our support and for a just solution to their poverty. Like the Rich Man (who wore purple and fine linen), we can become blinded, by our own enormous wealth, to the plight of those around us who struggle daily for their mere existence. Luke’s Gospel reminds us that such a chasm - between the rich and poor - is not of God’s making, but of our own.

The Statement highlights five examples of those whom we can identify as “Lazarus at our Gate”. Firstly the Bishops identify the hungry of the world. Through the example of people such as Flabiana and her family in Timor-Leste, the Bishops’ point to a path whereby the God-given of even the poorest may be restored though actions of Solidarity and in support of the Common Good.

Though natural disasters occur throughout the world, the Bishops identify disaster-affected communities in developing nations as experiencing additional trauma due to their limited access to resources in order to rebuild and progress.

The third group identified by the Statement is Indigenous peoples throughout the world. While Indigenous people comprise only 5% of the world’s population they make up 15% of the world’s poor.

People with disabilities make up the fourth group of those whom the Bishops’ identify with Lazarus. The Statement informs us that disabilities are both a cause and consequence of poverty.

Lastly the 2013-14 Social Justice Statement talks of the plight of those people on the move – the displaced people. With an estimated 45 million people displaced by war or civil violence, the Bishops challenge us, the Church, to be a source of hope and assistance to those on the move around the Globe.

The Victorian Launch of the ACBC Statement took place on Friday 13 September 2013. As all worthwhile endeavours should begin with prayer, the launch began with Mass celebrated in the St Mary MacKillop chapel at Australian Catholic University – St Patrick’s campus.

Following Mass, the “Rich”, identifying themselves by dressing in purple, assembled at the birth place of St Mary MacKillop in Brunswick Street Fitzroy.  Mr Damien McCartin represented the Diocese of Ballarat, Mr Mark Clarke, the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Ms Julie Purdey, the Diocese of Sandhurst, and Ms Susan Grout was an apology, due to illness, from the Diocese of Sale.

Messages of support were received and read on behalf of Bishop Paul Bird, Bishop of Ballarat, and Archbishop-elect Christopher Prowse, Archbishop-elect of Canberra and Goulburn (diocesan administrator of Sale).

Mark Green, Manager of People and Mission for Caritas Australia performed the official launch of the Statement and the official Response was given by Fr Tony Kerin, the Episcopal Vicar for Justice and Social Services for the Archdiocese of Melbourne. The Episcopal Vicar guided the assembled to the realisation that in this parable of Luke’s Gospel, Lazarus remains silent – only the Rich Man and Abraham have speaking roles. What is true of this parable is often the truth of the world. It is frequently the poor and marginalised that do not, or cannot, speak.

Bishop Vincent Long, Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne, thanked the two engaging speakers on behalf of those present, and the Australian Bishops’ Conference, for their eloquent expose of the Statement.

Bishop Long spoke passionately of his own life as a refugee, and opened the Gospel story for those assembled. He challenged us all to see those “at our gate” and in the name of justice to work to ensure that the good things of God’s creation should be available equally to all.

Immediately following the launch, a luncheon of fine foods prepared by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre catering service was enjoyed by all.

Copies of the Statement, Prayer Cards and “Ten Steps” booklet are available from the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council. Ph (02) 8306 3499 or email admin@acsjc.org.au

Photo: (Left to Right) Damien McCartin , Office for Justice and Peace Diocese of Ballarat; Tara O’Toole, Office for Justice and Peace Archdiocese of Melbourne; Julie Purdey, Diocese of Sandhurst Social Justice Council; Bishop Vincent Long, Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne; Mr Mark Green, Manger Mission and People Caritas Australia; Fr Tony Kerin, Episcopal Vicar for Justice, Archdiocese of Melbourne; Mark Clarke, Office for Justice and Peace, Melbourne.
 
 
All Photos by Ashoka Peiris T.H.

G.K. CHESTERTON CAUSE OPEN WITH CANON UDRIS APPOINTED TO INVESTIGATE

Catholic Herald Report: By  on Thursday, 19 September 2013
G.K. Chesterton, critic, novelist and poet, takes a stroll in Brighton (AP Photo)
G.K. Chesterton, critic, novelist and poet, takes a stroll in Brighton (AP Photo)
The Diocese of Northampton has appointed a cleric to investigate the possibility of opening the Cause of GK Chesterton.
In a statement released today, the Diocese of Northampton said: “The Bishop has appointed Canon John Udris, a priest of the Diocese and currently a spiritual director at St Mary’s College, Oscott, to undertake a fact-finding exercise on his behalf.”
In August this year, the American Chesterton Society released a statement announcing that Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton was seeking “a suitable cleric” to investigate the possibility of opening up the Cause of the prolific writer.
GK Chesterton died at his home in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire in 1936. He wrote biographies of St Francis of Assisi and St Thomas Aquinas.
Shared from Catholic Herald UK

ARCHBISHOP'S PLACE ATTACKED BY MORTARS IN SYRIA

Agenzia Fides report - In a "besieged" Aleppo, the conflict also affects churches. As reported to Fides Agency by Jean-Clément Jeanbart, Melkite Archbishop of Aleppo, last night "two mortar shells damaged the seat of our Greek - Catholic archbishopric: there are no victims only because the shots were fired at night". The Archbishop says: "The city is strangled and the situation is worsening day by day. As citizens we feel trapped, and do not know what our fate will be. We have a short supply of goods or prices are very high, people have problems concerning their daily subsistence". 
This is why, continues the Archbishop, "the faithful continue to flee, the exodus continues and one sees the effects even on the coasts of the European nations". "For two years we have been offering consolation to the faithful, moral support, but the more time passes, the more difficult it is to persuade them to stay", he says. "Yet we Christians in Syria have a mission: that of dialogue, peace, reconciliation, to keep a light of faith, hope and charity. And we want to live up to this mission".
But to do so, the weapons must be silent. Today, in an interview with the British newspaper "Guardian", the Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil said, on behalf of his government, that "the situation has stalled, since neither the regime nor the armed opposition are able to prevail" and launches a proposal for a "cease- fire and the start of a peaceful political process". The proposal is welcomed by the Syrian Church: "We are certainly in favor of a truce, anything useful to put an end to violence and promote a peaceful solution", Mgr. Jeanbart said to Fides. "If there were a commitment by the warring parties to silence the weapons, it would be a ray of hope". The point is that "today there are a myriad of uncontrollable armed groups", he explains . According to information gathered by Fides, both groups of jihadist militants and the militias of pro regime "Shabiha" are out of control and it is difficult to ensure an effective truce on the ground. However, "the international community has a duty to try to put an end to the immense suffering endured by the Syrian people who have been living in this situation for two and a half years ", concludes the Archbishop. (PA)