Monday, September 21, 2015

#PopeFrancis "Jesus’ love goes before us, his look anticipates our needs." at Mass in #Cuba FULL TEXT/Video


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’s celebrated Mass in the Cuban city of Holguin on Monday, for the feast of St Matthew. Please find below the English translation of the Pope’s prepared homily Homily of Pope Francis for the Mass at Holguín, (Plaza de la Revolución)
We are celebrating the feast of the apostle and evangelist Saint Matthew. We are celebrating the story of a conversion. Matthew himself, in his Gospel, tell us what it was like, this encounter which changed his life. He shows us an “exchange of glances” capable of changing history.
On a day like any other, as Matthew, the tax collector, was seated at his table, Jesus passed by, saw him, came up to him and said: “Follow me”. Matthew got up and followed him. Jesus looked at him. How strong was the love in that look of Jesus, which moved Matthew to do what he did! What power must have been in his eyes to make Matthew get up from his table! We know that Matthew was a publican: he collected taxes from the Jews to give to the Romans. Publicans were looked down upon and considered sinners; as such, they lived apart and were despised by others. One could hardly eat, speak or pray with the likes of these. For the people, they were traitors: they extorted from their own to give to others. Publicans belonged to this social class.
Jesus, on the other hand, stopped; he did not quickly take his distance. He looked at Matthew calmly, peacefully. He looked at him with eyes of mercy; he looked at him as no one had ever looked at him before. And this look unlocked Matthew’s heart; it set him free, it healed him, it gave him hope, a new life, as it did to Zacchaeus, to Bartimaeus, to Mary Magdalen, to Peter, and to each of us. Even if we do not dare raise our eyes to the Lord, he looks at us first. This is our story, and it is like that of so many others. Each of us can say: “I, too, am a sinner, whom Jesus has looked upon”. I ask you, in your homes or in the Church, to be still for a moment and to recall with gratitude and happiness those situations, that moment, when the merciful gaze of God was felt in our lives.
Jesus’ love goes before us, his look anticipates our needs. He can see beyond appearances, beyond sin, beyond failures and unworthiness. He sees beyond our rank in society. He sees beyond this, to our dignity as sons and daughters, a dignity at times sullied by sin, but one which endures in the depth of our soul. He came precisely to seek out all those who feel unworthy of God, unworthy of others. Let us allow Jesus to look at us. Let us allow his gaze to run over our streets. Let us allow that look to become our joy, our hope. After the Lord looked upon him with mercy, he said to Matthew: “Follow me.” Matthew got up and followed him. After the look, a word. After love, the mission. Matthew is no longer the same; he is changed inside. The encounter with Jesus and his loving mercy has transformed him. He leaves behind his table, his money, his exclusion. Before, he had sat waiting to collect his taxes, to take from others; now, with Jesus he must get up and give, give himself to others. Jesus looks at him and Matthew encounters the joy of service. For Matthew and for all who have felt the gaze of Jesus, other people are no longer to be “lived off”, used and abused. The gaze of Jesus gives rise to missionary activity, service, self-giving. Jesus’ love heals our short-sightedness and pushes us to look beyond, not to be satisfied with appearances or with what is politically correct.
Jesus goes before us, he precedes us; he opens the way and invites us to follow him. He invites us slowly to overcome our preconceptions and our reluctance to think that others, much less ourselves, can change. He challenges us daily with the question: “Do you believe? Do you believe it is possible that a tax collector can become a servant? Do you believe it is possible that a traitor can become a friend? Do you believe is possible that the son of a carpenter can be the Son of God?” His gaze transforms our way of seeing things, his heart transforms our hearts. God is a Father who seeks the salvation of each of his sons and daughters. Let us gaze upon the Lord in prayer, in the Eucharist, in Confession, in our brothers and sisters, especially those who feel excluded or abandoned. May we learn to see them as Jesus sees us. Let us share his tenderness and mercy with the sick, prisoners, the elderly and families in difficulty. Again and again we are called to learn from Jesus, who always sees what is most authentic in every person, which is the image of his Father.
I know the efforts and the sacrifices being made by the Church in Cuba to bring Christ’s word and presence to all, even in the most remote areas. Here I would mention especially the “mission houses” which, given the shortage of churches and priests, provide for many people a place for prayer, for listening to the word of God, for catechesis and community life. They are small signs of God’s presence in our neighborhoods and a daily aid in our effort to respond to the plea of the apostle Paul: “I beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (cf. Eph 4:1-3).
I now turn my eyes to the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, whom Cuba embraced and to whom it opened its doors forever. I ask Our Lady to look with maternal love on all her children in this noble country. May her “eyes of mercy” ever keep watch over each of you, your homes, your families, and all those who feel that they have no place. In her love, may she protect us all as she once cared for Jesus.

#PopeFrancis "May hope in Christ, your friend, always guide you along your path in life." to #Youth


Pope Francis met with thousands of young students gathered at the Fr Felix Varela cultural centre in Havana. 
Please find below the prepared text of the Pope’s words to young people in Havana: Meeting with Students at the Fr. Félix Varela Cultural Center, Havana Sunday, 20 September 2015 
Dear Friends,              
I am very happy to be with you here in this Cultural Center which is so important for Cuban history.  I thank God for this opportunity to meet so many young people who, by their work, studies and training, are dreaming of, and already making real, the future of Cuba.             
I thank Leonardo for his words of welcome, and particularly because, although he could have spoken about so many other important and concrete things such as our difficulties, fears, and doubts – as real and human as they are – he spoke to us about hope.  He talked to us about those dreams and aspirations so firmly planted in the heart of young Cubans, transcending all their differences in education, culture, beliefs or ideas.  Thank you, Leonardo, because, when I look at all of you, the first thing that comes into my mind and heart, too, is the word “hope”.  I cannot imagine a young person who is listless, without dreams or ideals, without a longing for something greater.             
But what kind of hope does a young Cuban have at this moment of history?  Nothing more or less than that of any other young person in any other part of the world.  Because hope speaks to us of something deeply rooted in every human heart, independently of our concrete circumstances and historical conditioning.  Hope speaks to us of a thirst, an aspiration, a longing for a life of fulfillment, a desire to achieve great things, things which fill our heart and lift our spirit to lofty realities like truth, goodness and beauty, justice and love.  But it also involves taking risks.  It means being ready not to be seduced by what is fleeting, by false promises of happiness, by immediate and selfish pleasures, by a life of mediocrity and self-centeredness, which only fills the heart with sadness and bitterness.  No, hope is bold; it can look beyond personal convenience, the petty securities and compensations which limit our horizon, and can open us up to grand ideals which make life more beautiful and worthwhile.  I would ask each one of you: What is it that shapes your life?  What lies deep in your heart?  Where do your hopes and aspirations lie?  Are you ready to put yourself on the line for the sake of something even greater?             
Perhaps you may say: “Yes, Father, I am strongly attracted to those ideals.  I feel their call, their beauty, their light shining in my heart.  But I feel too weak, I am not ready to decide to take the path of hope.  The goal is lofty and my strength is all too little.  It is better to be content with small things, less grand but more realistic, more within my reach”.  I can understand that reaction; it is normal to feel weighed down by difficult and demanding things.  But take care not to yield to the temptation of a disenchantment which paralyzes the intellect and the will, or that apathy which is a radical form of pessimism about the future.  These attitudes end either in a flight from reality towards vain utopias, or else in selfish isolation and a cynicism deaf to the cry for justice, truth and humanity which rises up around us and within us.
            But what are we to do?  How do we find paths of hope in the situations in which we live?  How do we make those hopes for fulfillment, authenticity, justice and truth, become a reality in our personal lives, in our country and our world?  I think that there are three ideas which can help to keep our hope alive:
             Hope is a path made of memory and discernment.  Hope is the virtue which goes places.  It isn’t simply a path we take for the pleasure of it, but it has an end, a goal which is practical and lights up our way.  Hope is also nourished by memory; it looks not only to the future but also to the past and present.  To keep moving forward in life, in addition to knowing where we want to go, we also need to know who we are and where we come from.  Individuals or peoples who have no memory and erase their past risk losing their identity and destroying their future.  So we need to remember who we are, and in what our spiritual and moral heritage consists.  This, I believe, was the experience and the insight of that great Cuban, Father Félix Varela.  Discernment is also needed, because it is essential to be open to reality and to be able to interpret it without fear or prejudice.  Partial and ideological interpretations are useless; they only disfigure reality by trying to fit it into our preconceived schemas, and they always cause disappointment and despair.  We need discernment and memory, because discernment is not blind; it is built on solid ethical and moral criteria which help us to see what is good and just.
            Hope is a path taken with others.  An African proverb says: “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with others”.  Isolation and aloofness never generate hope; but closeness to others and encounter do.  Left to ourselves, we will go nowhere.  Nor by exclusion will we be able to build a future for anyone, even ourselves.  A path of hope calls for a culture of encounter, dialogue, which can overcome conflict and sterile confrontation.  To create that culture, it is vital to see different ways of thinking not in terms of risk, but of richness and growth.  The world needs this culture of encounter.  It needs young people who seek to know and love one another, to journey together in building a country like that which José Martí dreamed of: “With all, and for the good of all”.             
Hope is a path of solidarity.  The culture of encounter should naturally lead to a culture of solidarity.  I was struck by what Leonardo said at the beginning, when he spoke of solidarity as a source of strength for overcoming all obstacles.  Without solidarity, no country has a future.  Beyond all other considerations or interests, there has to be concern for that person who may be my friend, my companion, but also someone who may think differently than I do, someone with his own ideas yet just as human and just as Cuban as I am.  Simple tolerance is not enough; we have to go well beyond that, passing from a suspicious and defensive attitude to one of acceptance, cooperation, concrete service and effective assistance.  Do not be afraid of solidarity, service and offering a helping hand, so that no one is excluded from the path.             This path of life is lit up by a higher hope: the hope born of our faith in Christ.  He made himself our companion along the way.  Not only does he encourage us, he also accompanies us; he is at our side and he extends a friendly hand to us.  The Son of God, he wanted to become someone like us, to accompany us on our way.  Faith in his presence, in his friendship and love, lights up all our hopes and dreams.  With him at our side, we learn to discern what is real, to encounter and serve others, and to walk the path of solidarity.
            Dear young people of Cuba, if God himself entered our history and became flesh in Jesus, if he shouldered our weakness and sin, then you need not be afraid of hope, or of the future, because God is on your side.  He believes in you, and he hopes in you.
            Dear friends, thank you for this meeting.  May hope in Christ, your friend, always guide you along your path in life.  And, please, remember to pray for me.  May the Lord bless all of you.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Mon. September 21, 2015


Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and evangelist
Lectionary: 643


Reading 1EPH 4:1-7, 11-13

Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit
through the bond of peace:
one Body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the Body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ.

Responsorial PsalmPS 19:2-3, 4-5

R. (5) Their message goes out through all the earth.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day,
and night to night imparts knowledge.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.
Not a word nor a discourse
whose voice is not heard;
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
and to the ends of the world, their message.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.

Alleluia - See Te Deum

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
the glorious company of Apostles praise you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 9:9-13

As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
He heard this and said,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Novena to St. Matthew - SHARE this #Prayer - Patron of #Money, #Bankers and #Tax Collectors

Author unknown.
Opening Prayer
God of mercy you chose a tax collector, Saint Matthew, to share the dignity of the apostles. By his example and prayers help us to follow Christ and remain faithful in your service. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
Amen.
Day One
Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”  (Matthew 5:3)
Dear Jesus, I have sinned against God and you.  I have gone against you and hurt you with each and every sin I have committed.  I am not worthy of your love, but you are my only hope.  Please save me, and please forgive me, for I am lost without you.
Saint Matthew, as you were one of the lucky twelve who walked the Earth with Jesus by your side, you were continually made aware of your own nothingness before his greatness and saw many evidences of God’s immense grace.  Help me to be so poor in spirit that I acknowledge my own nothingness before God on a moment-by-moment basis, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Amen.
Day Two
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
Dear Jesus, even though I have committed such grave offenses against you and God, you still loved me enough to give your life for me so I could be free in Heaven.  With all my heart, please forgive me for ever having offended you.  I know it was my sins that condemned you to die.  I love you more than I love myself, and can do nothing without you.  All that I am and all that I hope to be is solely because of your grace and mercy and nothing else.
Saint Matthew, as a former tax-collector, you were considered one of the worst sinners, but Jesus called you anyway to be one of his apostles.  Help me to truly mourn for all the sins I have committed and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST). 
Amen.
Day Three
Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.”(Matthew 5:5)
Dear Jesus, I know that I can do all things through you who gives me strength, but not according to my will, but yours.  Therefore, I submit my will totally to you.  Although evil may seem to triumph, these are temporary triumphs indeed, because the meek, not the wicked, shall inherit the Earth.
Saint Matthew, you gave up a life of worldly pleasures to follow God’s word made flesh in Jesus, trusting that he would take care of all your needs.  This must not have been easy, since you came from a life of privilege.  Please help me to have the quality of meekness before God constantly being produced within me, relying on his strength for every move I make and every action I take, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Amen.
Day Four
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
Dear Jesus, I want to be just like you.  Please lead and guide me so I can live my life completely in conformity with the will of God, going contentedly wherever his will takes me.  Help me to do everything just as you would.
Saint Matthew, you left behind a very financially lucrative career and the ways of the world to follow Jesus’s way instead.  Help me to constantly hunger and thirst for righteousness just as you did, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST). 
Amen.
Day Five
Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
Dear Jesus, thank you for the mercy you have shown me time and time again, even when my actions have not merited it.  Thank you for comforting me in times of sickness and trouble.  Help me to look at everyone I come across with a tender heart, truly feeling in my heart the pain and suffering of others.  Help me to always make the effort to ease the pain and suffering of others, with an ever ready, always affectionate, and joyful heart.
Saint Matthew, as an apostle, you were an extension of Jesus in the world.  You got to see his kindness and mercy displayed firsthand and then were asked to emulate it.  Help me to emulate Jesus by demonstrating true kindness and mercy to others, just as Jesus did, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Amen.
Day Six
Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”(Matthew 5:8)
Dear Jesus, I have so often let you down because of my impure heart; please forgive me.  Help me to be pure in my imagination, in my thoughts, in my words, in my decisions, and in my desires.  Help me to think how God thinks, desire what God desires, hate what God hates, and love only what God loves.  Please make my heart completely free of all evil thoughts.
Saint Matthew, I know you understand what it means to struggle with maintaining a pure heart because you were a man and struggled with the desires of the flesh just as I do.  Help me to remain truly pure in heart, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Amen.
Day Seven
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
Dear Jesus, first and foremost, help me to find peace with God, for only then can I find true peace with others.  Help me to do whatever it takes to create peace wherever I go, although my efforts may often meet with failure.  Help me to love, desire, and delight in peace.  Forgive me for all of the times my actions have resulted in discord and dissention, whether intentional or unintentional.
Saint Matthew, you made your peace with God through Jesus, now please help me to make mine.  Help me also to sow peace wherever I may go, just as you did, as a witness to Jesus Christ, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Amen.
Day Eight
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:10)
Dear Jesus, please show me how to persevere in this struggle for things which are holy and honorable, because I fall down and grow weak so often.  Help me to be faithful to you in all things, so that your will may be done in and through my life.  Help me to be bold in my steady struggle for faith and unwavering in my commitment to all Godly things.
Saint Matthew, please guide me to be courageous like you in standing on the side of God’s truth, even in the face of being persecuted for righteousness, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Amen.
Day Nine
Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”(Matthew 5:11)
Dear Jesus, as the times in which we live become darker and darker, living by your ways and following you is branding me in such a way that invites persecution and insult, just as it did you.  If I live by your ways and love you with my whole being, I live by the light and provide a target for those who do not live by the light.  Sinning is what gives most people pleasure, but I can no longer live that way, because I am aware of how much you sacrificed for me in love by dying on the cross.  For all that you have done for me, I no longer desire to live in the darkness.  Each time I receive an insult for belonging to you, please help me to bear it with great patience.
Saint Matthew, in being given the awesome honor of being chosen to be an apostle, you were persecuted just as Jesus was persecuted.  You felt, however, the persecution you experienced was also a great honor, because Jesus was not just a man, but he was indeed God.  Help me to be strong enough to love Jesus’s light and to run from the darkness of sin and then, when persecution comes, to be strong enough to handle that as well.  And please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Amen.

Wow Thousands at March for Life in Germany held in #Berlin - #ProLife - SHARE

The 2015 Berlin March for Life was held on September 19, 2015, many people from all over Germany and other European countries gathered for the annual Berlin march for life („Marsch für das Leben“), a pro-life event to remember the aborted children and the unnumerous women, men, and families who suffer from an abortion. The march started on 13:00 in front of Bundeskanzleramt (Willy-Brandt-Straße, 10557 Berlin), the seat of the German chancellor, next to Reichstag (seat of the German parliament) and Hauptbahnhof (Berlin main station). It ended around 17:00 after an ecumenical church service. The Berlin march for life, calls the German socitey and politics to take action to really prevent and avoid abortion and to better help unplanned pregnant parents in need. We are also deeply concerned about the silent increase of acceptance of euthanasia in Europe, as it is already being practiced again in some countries. The march for life is organized by Bundesverband Lebensrecht, an alliance of currently 13 organizations and initiatives with focus on different pro-life areas. The march is supported by several members of the German parliament and many people from different organizations and churches. International guests and representatives of pro-life initiatives are welcome to contact us in advance. Save the date: The Berlin March for Life usually takes place on the second last Saturday in September. Edited from Marsch fuer das Leben

#BreakingNews US Government Votes to Block #PlannedParenthood Funding in 241-187 vote

The USA Government House has Voted to Block Planned Parenthood Funding for 1 Year.   The funds given to thousands of government community health centers   —  This vote to place on Friday to block Planned Parenthood’s federal funds for a year. The House voted 241-187.Secretly recorded videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing sell aborted Babies for profit have caused a scandal. “In the face of these videos, with all the alternatives women have for health, why would you want to force your constituents to pay for something so evil?” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. The bill by Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., will give Planned Parenthood’s payments to the government community health centers, to treat PP. displaced patients. “Planned Parenthood gets around $450 million yearly in federal payments, about one-third of the $1.3 billion yearly budget.  Tapes show Planned Parenthood illegally profited from tissue sales.The House is also considering a bill that doctors allowing born-alive babies to die would face murder charges.    Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona said, “Our response as a people and a nation to these horrors shown in these videos is vital to everything those lying out in Arlington Cemetery died to save.”   Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said, “I’m proud to stand for life.”