Friday, July 18, 2014

Pope Francis Phones President Abbas and Peres for Peace in Palestine and Israel

THE HOLY FATHER TELEPHONES SHIMON PERES AND MAHMOUD ABBAS: SEEK AN END TO HOSTILITIES (Image source Radio Vaticana)
Vatican City, 18 July 2014 (VIS) – Following last Sunday’s heartfelt appeal for continued prayer for peace in the Holy Land, this morning the Holy Father Francis personally telephoned President Shimon Peres of Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine to share his very serious concerns regarding the current situation of conflict involving in particular the Gaza Strip which, in a climate of growing hostility, hatred and suffering for the two populations, is claiming many victims and giving rise to a serious humanitarian emergency.
As during his recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land and on the occasion of the invocation for peace on 8 June, the Holy Father assured them of his ceaseless prayer, and that of all the Church, for peace in the Holy Land. He reminded the presidents, whom he considers to be men of peace and seekers of peace, of the need to continue to pray and endeavour to ensure that all the interested parties and those who hold political office at local and international level work to bring an end to hostilities, making efforts to promote truce, peace and reconciliation in the hearts of those involved.

ASIA/HOLY LAND - The Israeli army enters Gaza. Pope's message to the local Catholic community


Gaza (Agenzia Fides) - The Israeli army's ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, concentrated in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, was accompanied by intensified air and naval raids also on Gaza City throughout the night. The small Catholic parish in Gaza, dedicated to the Holy Family, is employed in the humanitarian emergency triggered by the military intervention. Pastor Jorge Hernandez, Argentine missionary of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, has welcomed numerous family groups in the school premises who have fled from their homes situated in the bombed areas, and since this morning is engaged in the search for water and food for the displaced.
"I spoke with the families of the parish" refers to Fides Agency Sister Laudis, a religious of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, currently in Beit Jala after leaving the Gaza Strip, "everyone told me that they did not slept a wink all night because of the bombing. The houses were shaking, the children were crying".
In this dramatic situation, Pope Francis sent a short message to the parish priest and the small Catholic community in Gaza to show his closeness. "I am close to you, to the nuns and the entire Catholic community. I accompany you with my prayers and my closeness. May Jesus bless you and the Blessed Virgin protect you", reads the brief text, published on the website of the Institute of the Incarnate Word. "Yesterday evening", says Sister Laudis to Fides "father Jorge translated the text in Arabic to make it known to all families. Everybody was touched by the message". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 18/07/2014)

Today's Mass Readings : Thurs. July 18, 2014

Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 393


Reading 1IS 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8

When Hezekiah was mortally ill,
the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, came and said to him:
“Thus says the LORD: Put your house in order,
for you are about to die; you shall not recover.”
Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD:

“O LORD, remember how faithfully and wholeheartedly
I conducted myself in your presence,
doing what was pleasing to you!”
And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: “Go, tell Hezekiah:
Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David:
I have heard your prayer and seen your tears.
I will heal you: in three days you shall go up to the LORD’s temple;
I will add fifteen years to your life.
I will rescue you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria;
I will be a shield to this city.”

Isaiah then ordered a poultice of figs to be taken
and applied to the boil, that he might recover.
Then Hezekiah asked,
“What is the sign that I shall go up to the temple of the LORD?”

Isaiah answered:
“This will be the sign for you from the LORD
that he will do what he has promised:
See, I will make the shadow cast by the sun
on the stairway to the terrace of Ahaz
go back the ten steps it has advanced.”
So the sun came back the ten steps it had advanced.

Responsorial Psalm IS 38:10, 11, 12ABCD, 16

R. (see 17b) You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.
Once I said,
“In the noontime of life I must depart!
To the gates of the nether world I shall be consigned
for the rest of my years.”
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.
I said, “I shall see the LORD no more
in the land of the living.
No longer shall I behold my fellow men
among those who dwell in the world.”
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.
My dwelling, like a shepherd’s tent,
is struck down and borne away from me;
You have folded up my life, like a weaver
who severs the last thread.
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.
Those live whom the LORD protects;
yours is the life of my spirit.
You have given me health and life.
R. You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.

Gospel MT 12:1-8

Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath.
His disciples were hungry
and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him,
“See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.”
He said to the them, “Have you not read what David did
when he and his companions were hungry,
how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering,
which neither he nor his companions
but only the priests could lawfully eat?
Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath
the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath
and are innocent?
I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.
If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
you would not have condemned these innocent men.
For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”