We know well that the great commandment that the Lord Jesus left us is to love: to love God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves (cf. Matthew 22:37-39), that is, we are called to love, to charity. And this is our highest vocation, our vocation par excellence, and linked to it also is the joy of Christian hope. One who loves has the joy of hope, of arriving to encounter the great love that is the Lord.
In the passage of the Letter to the Romans that we just heard, the Apostle Paul puts us on guard: there is the risk that our charity is hypocritical, that our love is hypocritical. Therefore, we must ask ourselves: when does this happen? And how can we be sure that our love is sincere, that our charity is genuine? That we not feign to do charity or that our love not be a soap opera <but a> sincere, strong love . . .
Hypocrisy can insinuate itself everywhere, also in our way of loving. This is verified when ours is a self-interested love, moved by personal interests and how many self-interested loves there are . . . when charitable services, in which it seems that we spend ourselves, are carried out to put ourselves forward or to feel ourselves gratified: “But how good I am!” No, this is hypocrisy!– or again when we look at things that have “visibility” to show off our intelligence or our capacities. Behind all this is a false, deceitful idea, that is to say that, if we love, it is because we are good, as if charity were a creation of man, a product of our heart. Instead, charity is first of all a grace, a gift; to be able to love is a gift of God, and we must ask for it. And He gives it willingly, if we ask for it. Charity is a grace: it does not consist in having what we are resonate, but what the Lord gives us and that we freely receive. And, it cannot be expressed in our encounter with others, unless it is first generated from the encounter with Jesus’ meek and merciful face.
Paul invites us to acknowledge that we are sinners, and that even our way of loving is marked by sin. At the same time, however, he makes himself bearer of a new proclamation, a proclamation of hope: the Lord opens before us a way of liberation, a way of salvation. It is the possibility for us also to live the great commandment of love, to become instruments of God’s charity. And this happens when we let our heart be healed and renewed by the risen Christ. The risen Lord who lives among us, who lives with us is able to heal our heart: He does so if we ask for it. It is He who enables us, despite our littleness and poverty, to experience the Father’s compassion and to celebrate the wonders of His love. And then we understand that all that we can live and do for our brethren is nothing other than a response to what God has done and continues to do for us. Thus, it is God himself who, dwelling in our heart and in our life, continues to be close and to serve all those we meet every day on our path, beginning from the last and the neediest in whom He first recognizes Himself.
So with these words the Apostle Paul does not want so much to reprove us as, rather, to encourage and revive hope in us. All of us, in fact, have the experience of not living fully or as we should the commandment of love. However, this is also a grace, because it makes us understand that of ourselves we are not capable of truly loving: we need the Lord to continually renew this gift in our heart, through the experience of His infinite mercy. And then yes, we will turn to appreciate the little, simple and ordinary things; we will turn to appreciate these little everyday things and will be capable of loving others as God loves them, wishing them well, namely, that they be saints, friends of God, and we will be happy to have the possibility to be close to one who is poor and humble, as Jesus does with each one of us when we are far from Him, to bend down to the feet of brothers, as He, the Good Samaritan, does with each one of us, with His compassion and His forgiveness.
Dear brothers, what the Apostle Paul has reminded us of is the secret to be – I use his words – it is the secret to be “joyful in hope” (Romans 12:12): joyful in hope. The joy of hope because we know that in every circumstance, even the most adverse, and also through our own failures, God’s love does not fail. And then, with our heart visited and inhabited by His grace and His fidelity, we live in joyful hope to reciprocate in brothers, with the little that we possess, the much that we receive every day from Him. Thank you.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. I am happy to receive the participants in the congress promoted by the Focolare Movement, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its foundation, and I exhort them to witness the beauty of new families, guided by peace and the love of Christ. Go on like this!
I greet the Arch-Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity of the Pilgrims of Naples, accompanied by Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe; the members of the Italian-Ukrainian Christian Cultural Association; the Laureana di Borrello youth orchestra; the choir of the Catholic Union of Artists of Benevento and the members of the Granarolo Group. I hope that this meeting will revive in each one communion with the universal ministry of the Successor of Peter.
A special thought goes to the “Sky Italia” workers, and I hope that their work situation can find a speedy solution, in respect of the rights of all, especially of the families. Work gives us dignity, and leaders of people, rulers have the obligation to do all so that every man and every woman can work and thus hold their head high, look at others in the face, with dignity. One who, by economic manoeuvres, engages in negotiations that are not altogether clear, closes factories, closes work enterprises and takes work away from men, commits a very grave sin.
Finally, a greeting goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. May the liturgical Season of Lent foster renewed closeness to God: fast not only from meals but especially from bad habits, dear young people, to acquire greater mastery over yourselves; may prayer be for you, dear sick, the means to feel God close particularly in <your> suffering; may the exercise of works of mercy help you, dear newlyweds, to live your conjugal existence by opening it to the needs of brothers.
Text Blog SHARE from ZENIT [Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
Official Notice of Death from Archdiocese of Toronto:
Reverend Monsignor Vincent N. Foy, P.H. died on Monday, March 13, 2017. Monsignor
Foy was 101 years old and in his 78th year of the priesthood. He was ordained to the
priesthood on June 3, 1939 by Cardinal McGuigan. Monsignor Foy was the Chancellor
of Spiritual Affairs, Associate Judicial Vicar for the Marriage Tribunal and Pastor of
St. John’s Parish, Toronto, Holy Martyrs of Japan Parish, Bradford and St. Patrick’s
Parish, Phelpston. He retired in 1979 and was in residence at Houses of Providence,
Each diocesan priest is reminded of our common agreement to offer the Eucharistic
Sacrifice for the repose of the soul of a deceased brother priest of the Archdiocese.
VISITATION: Friday, March 17, 2017
2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Holy Family Parish
1372 King Street West, Toronto
FUNERAL: Saturday, March 18, 2017 at 11:30 a.m.
Holy Family Parish
1372 King Street West, Toronto
(Please note: The Mass will be in the old traditional
Latin rite and will not be a concelebrated Mass.)
INTERMENT: St. Augustine’s Seminary, Queen of Clergy
Official BIOGRAPHY from the Website of Mons. Foy
Msgr. Foy is a retired priest and canon lawyer of the Archdiocese of Toronto. He was born in Toronto, Ontario on August 14, 1915, second of a family of eight children. He attended Holy Name Catholic Elementary School and De La Salle High School in Toronto. In 1933 he entered St. Augustine’s Seminary and was ordained on June 3, 1939 by Archbishop, later Cardinal McGuigan. He was sent for post-graduate studies to Laval University in Quebec City where he took a doctoral course in Canon Law. In 1942, he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the Archdicoese of Toronto and Secretary of the Toronto Archdiocesan Matrimonial Tribunal. In 1947, he was named the Secretary of the new Toronto Regional Tribunal, which he served later as Defender of the Bond and Judge. In 1957, he was named Presiding Judge of the Regional and Archdiocesan Tribunals. In the same year, he was named a Domestic Prelate by Pope Pius XII. In a part time capacity for many years, he was Director of Catechetics of the Archdiocese of Toronto.
He is a founder and honorary member of the Canadian Canon Law Society.
He was named pastor of his natal parish of St. John’s in Toronto in 1966 and was there until 1973. He then served as pastor of Holy Martyrs Church in Bradford and St. Patrick’s Church in Phelpston. In 1977 and 1978 he lived in Rome in an advocacy capacity. He served as chaplain for 25 years of the Pro Aliis Club and was chaplain also of the Legion of Mary, has helped religious orders and convents and been active in other groups including the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.
(Cardinal Collins of Toronto with Msgr. Foy at his 75th anniversary)
On June 3, 2016, he celebrated his 77th year of his ordination to the holy priesthood and on August 14, 2016, he celebrated his 101st birthday. Msgr. Foy is the oldest diocesan priest and has the most years of ordination ever attained in the history of his Archdiocese. He is the only surviving priest of the class of 1939 of St. Augustine’s Seminary. According to records sought and obtained from nationwide diocesan archives, he has surpassed with more years of ordination all monsignors, bishops, cardinals, canon lawyers, Anglophone diocesan priests and currently living priests in the history of the Church in Canada.
For decades he has fearlessly articulated and defended the teachings of the Church – in a time of moral and doctrinal chaos in the Church in Canada. He is best known for his untiring defense of Catholic teachings on marriage and family life, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae vitae. His efforts have earned him a papal commendation and the Pro-life Man of the Year Award.
Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent Lectionary: 232
Reading 1JER 18:18-20
The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem said, "Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah. It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests, nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets. And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue; let us carefully note his every word."
Heed me, O LORD, and listen to what my adversaries say. Must good be repaid with evil that they should dig a pit to take my life? Remember that I stood before you to speak in their behalf, to turn away your wrath from them.
Responsorial PsalmPS 31:5-6, 14, 15-16
R. (17b) Save me, O Lord, in your kindness. You will free me from the snare they set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God. R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness. I hear the whispers of the crowd, that frighten me from every side, as they consult together against me, plotting to take my life. R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness. But my trust is in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God." In your hands is my destiny; rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors. R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
Verse Before The GospelJN 8:12
I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day."
Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, "What do you wish?" She answered him, "Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom." Jesus said in reply, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?" They said to him, "We can." He replied, "My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father." When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus summoned them and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."
(Vatican Radio) Avoiding evil, learning to do good, and allowing yourself to be carried forward by the Lord: this is the path of Lenten conversion pointed out by Pope Francis in his homily at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. It is a conversion, the Pope said, that is manifested not with words, but with “concrete things.”
The Pope’s attempt to trace out the lines of Lenten conversion took its starting point from the words of the Prophet Isaiah from the day’s First Reading. Avoiding evil and learning to do good – the heart of Isaiah’s exhortation – are stages along this path. “Each one of us, every day, does something ugly.” The Bible, in fact, says that even “the most holy people sin seven times a day.”
Avoiding evil and learning to do good is a journey
The problem, the Pope said, lies in not getting into the habit of “living in ugly things” and avoiding those things that “poison the soul,” that make it small. And then we have to learn to do good:
“It’s not easy to do good: we must learn it, always. And He teaches us. But: Learn. Like children. Along the path of life, of the Christian life one learns every day. You have to learn every day to do something, to be better than the day before. To learn. Avoiding evil and learning to do good: this is the rule of conversion. Because being converted doesn’t come from a fairy who converts us with a magic wand: No! It’s a journey. It’s a journey of avoiding and of learning.”
You learn to do good with concrete actions, not with words
And so one needs courage, to learn to avoid evil; and humility to learn to do good, which is expressed in concrete actions:
“He, the Lord, names three concrete things, but there are many: seek justice, relieve the oppressed, give orphans justice, defend the cause of the widow… but concrete things. You learn to do good with concrete things, not with words. With deeds… For this reason Jesus, in the Gospel we have heard, rebukes this ruling class of the people of Israel, because ‘they talk and don’t act,’ they don’t know concreteness. And if there is no concreteness, there can be no conversion.”
Lift yourself up with the help of the Lord with humility, and we will be forgiven
The First Reading then continues with the invitation from the Lord: “Come [It: ‘su’ – arise], let us reason together.” “Arise” – a beautiful word, Pope Francis said, a word that Jesus addressed to the paralytics, to the daughter of Jairus, as well as to the son of the widow of Naim. And God gives us a hand to help us up. And He is humble, He lowers Himself so much to say, “Come, let us reason together.” Pope Francis emphasized how God helps us: “Walking together with us to help us, to explain things to us, to take us by the hand.” The Lord is able “to do this miracle” – that is, “to change us” – not overnight, but on a journey:
“An invitation to conversion, avoid evil, learn to do good… ‘Come, arise, come to me, let us reason together, and let us go forward.’ But [you might say] I have so many sins…’ ‘But don’t worry’ [God responds]. ‘If your sins should be like scarlet, they will become white as snow.’ And this is the path of Lenten conversion. Simple. It is the Father who speaks, it is the Father who loves us, who really loves us. And who accompanies us on this path of conversion. Only He asks us to be humble. Jesus says to the rulers: ‘He who exalts himself will be humble; and he who humbles himself will be exalted’.”
Francis concluded his homily by recalling the stages along the path of Lenten conversion: avoiding evil, learning to do good, getting up and going with Him. And then, he said, “our sins will all be forgiven.”