Thursday, April 27, 2017

#PopeFrancis “Father, Lord Jesus, send me your Spirit so that I may become a witness of obedience, that is, a Christian.” Homily


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday reflected on the fact that being Christian is not a social status.Speaking during the homily at the Mass in the Casa Santa Marta the Pope said Christians must be witnesses of obedience to God, like Jesus was.
Recalling the reading of the day Pope Francis quoted Peter’s words before the Sanhedrin when he  said “You must obey God rather than men." 
Peter and the Apostles had been freed from prison by an Angel, and forbidden to teach in Jesus’s name 
And yet the high priest said “You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man's blood upon us”.
In order to better understand this event the Pope also referred to the Book of Acts regarding the early months of the Church  which describes a growing Christian community and many miracles. 
There was the faith of the people, he said, but there were also “wily” people trying to take advantage of the situation and “wanting to make a career for themselves” like Hananiah and Sapphira.  
The same kind of dynamics take place today, the Pope noted, and there are those who despise “God’s faithful people.”
Turning back to the reading of today, the Pope said that Peter, who out of fear had betrayed Jesus on Holy Thursday, this time courageously answered  the high priest saying that “we must obey God rather than men." 
This answer, he said, makes it clear that "a Christian is a witness of obedience" as Jesus was, when in the garden of Gethsemane, he addressed these words to the Father: “not my will but yours be done”.
"The Christian is a witness of obedience; if we are not on this path and growing in our witness we are not Christians. We must at least walk this way” he said.
The Pope pointed out that “Jesus is not the testimonial of an idea, of a philosophy, of a company, of a bank or of power: he is a testimonial of obedience”.
However, Francis explained, to become a “witness of obedience” we need the "grace of the Holy Spirit".
"Only the Spirit can make us witnesses of obedience. It’s not enough to listen to spiritual guides or to read books…. all that is fine but only the Spirit can change our heart and make us witnesses of obedience” he said.
The Pope said it is a grace we must ask for: “Father,  Lord Jesus, send me your Spirit so that I may become a witness of obedience, that is, a Christian.”
Francis also said that to be witnesses of obedience implies consequences, as narrated by the First reading; in fact, after Peter's response, the high priests wanted to put him to death:
"Persecutions were the consequences of this witness of obedience. When Jesus lists the Beatitudes he ends with the words ‘Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you’” he said.
And pointing out that the cross cannot be taken away from the life of a Christian, the Pope said “being a Christian has nothing to do with social status, it is not a lifestyle that makes one feel good; being a Christian means being a witness of obedience and the life of a Christian is full of insults and persecutions”.
Pope Francis concluded his homily saying that in order to be witnesses of obedience like Jesus, it is necessary to pray, to recognize that we are sinners with much “worldliness” in our hearts and to ask God for the grace of becoming witnesses of obedience" and to not be afraid when we are insulted and persecuted "because as the Lord said: the Spirit will tell us what to answer."

Saint April 28 St. Peter Chanel - Patron of #Oceania


St. Peter Chanel
PROTOMARTYR OF OCEANIA
Feast: April 28

Feast Day:
April 28
Born:
July 12, 1803, Cuet, near Belley, France
Died:
April 28, 1841, Futuna Island
Canonized:
12 June 1954, Rome by Pope Pius XII
Major Shrine:
Futuna
Patron of:
Oceania
On April 18, 1841, a band of native warriors entered the hut of Father Peter Chanel on the island of Futuna in the New Hebrides islands near New Zealand. They clubbed the missionary to death and cut up his body with hatchets. Two years later, the whole island was Catholic.
St. Peter Chanel's death bears witness to the ancient axiom that "the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians." He is the first martyr from Oceania, that part of the world spread over the south Pacific, and he came there as the fulfillment of a dream he had had as a boy.
Peter was born in 1803 in the diocese of Belley, France. At the age of seven, he was a shepherd boy, but the local parish priest, recognizing something unusual in the boy, convinced his parents to let him study, in a little school the priest had started. From there Peter went on to the seminary, where it was said of him: "He had a heart of gold with the simple faith of a child, and he led the life of an angel."
He was ordained a priest and assigned to a parish at Crozet. In three years he had transformed the parish. In 1831, he joined the newly founded Society of Mary, since he had long dreamed of being a missionary; but for five years he was assigned to teach at the seminary in Belley. Finally, in 1836, his dream was realized, and he was sent with other Marists to the islands of the Pacific. He had to suffer great hardships, disappointments, frustration, and almost complete failure as well as the opposition of the local chieftain. The work seemed hopeless: only a few had been baptized, and the chieftain continued to be suspicious and hostile. Then, when the chief's son asked for baptism, the chief was so angry that he sent warriors to kill the missionary.
Peter's violent death brought about the conversion of the island, and the people of Futuna remain Catholic to this day. Peter Chanel was beatified in 1889 and canonized in 1954.
Thought for the Day: Success or failure is often not completely in our hands, and sometimes we have to face what seems almost certain failure. But success is not required of us, only fidelity. St. Peter Chanel's work ended in his own death in the face of what seemed total failure. Out of  that failure, God brought about the success Peter was seeking.
From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': . .

#PopeFrancis "...our witness to the Gospel message of hope in the redemptive and reconciling power of God’s love." FULL TEXT to Papal Foundation

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received members of the Papal Foundation on Thursday who are on their annual visit to the Vatican. The Holy Father thanked them for supporting many religious and charitable causes and encouraged them, as a vital part of their "commitment to the work of the Papal Foundation, to pray for the needs of the poor, the conversion of hearts, the spread of the Gospel, and the Church’s growth in holiness and missionary zeal."
Below please find the English translation of the Pope's address to members of the Papal Foundation.
I am pleased to greet the members of The Papal Foundation on this, your annual visit to Rome.  Our meeting today is pervaded by the joy of the Easter season, as the Church celebrates the Lord’s victory over death and his gift of new life in the Holy Spirit.  It is my hope that your pilgrimage to the Eternal City will strengthen you in faith and hope, and in your commitment to promote the Church’s mission by supporting so many religious and charitable causes close to the heart of the Pope.
            Today’s world, so often torn by violence, greed and indifference, greatly needs our witness to the Gospel message of hope in the redemptive and reconciling power of God’s love.  I am grateful for your desire to assist the Church’s efforts to proclaim that message of hope to the ends of the earth and to work for the spiritual and material advancement of our brothers and sisters throughout the world, especially in developing countries.  Each of us, as a living member of Christ’s body, is called to foster the unity and peace that is the Father’s will, in Christ, for our human family and all its members.  I ask you, as a vital part of your commitment to the work of the Papal Foundation, to pray for the needs of the poor, the conversion of hearts, the spread of the Gospel, and the Church’s growth in holiness and missionary zeal.  And I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me!
            Dear friends, with these words of encouragement, and with great affection, I commend you and your families to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church.  To all of you I impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of abiding joy and peace in the Lord.

#BreakingNews Capuchin Friar, Fr. Lucien Njiva killed by Bandits in Madagascar - RIP


Antananarivo (Agenzia Fides) - Malagasy Capuchin Friar, aged 46, Fr. Lucien Njiva, was killed during the night of 22 April at the Friary in Ambendrana Antsohihy.
Fides was told by Rev. Eric Franck Randriamiandrinirinarivo, Director of Radio Don Bosco Madagascar, “around one in the morning at least five bandits broke into the friary, attacking and wounding 26 year old deacon Jeremy. On hearing the cries of the deacon, Fr. Lucien ran to the spot brandishing a shotgun, but the bandits shot him dead with a Kalashnikov rifle”.
“The deacon was taken to a hospital in the capital Antananarivo, and in the meantime the police announced the arrest of some suspects” says Fr Franck.
The bandits wanted to steal the friary bell. The Friars had thwarted an earlier burglary attempt during Holy Week, when the bandits broke into the friary during the night but the brothers managed to frighten them away. The bell had been hidden, but this did not deter the evildoers.
The Director of Radio Don Bosco Madagascar says “ for some time now we have seen an increase in thefts of church bells to extract the metals of which they are made and sell it on the black market. This activity is very profitable”.
The assault on the friary of Ambendrana Antsohihy is the latest in a series of robberies in Catholic convents and churches. Before the murder of Fr. Lucien, the most serious incident was an attack during the night of April 1 at the convent of the Sisters de Notre Dame de la Salette in Antsahatanteraka Antsirabe, when some of the sisters and postulants suffered sexual violence (see Fides 8/4/2017). According to the local press in five weeks there were as many as four reports of assaults and sacking of four different convents . (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 26/4/2017)

Today' Mass Readings and Video : Thursday April 27, 2017 - #Eucharist


Thursday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 270


Reading 1ACTS 5:27-33

When the court officers had brought the Apostles in
and made them stand before the Sanhedrin,
the high priest questioned them,
"We gave you strict orders did we not,
to stop teaching in that name.
Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching
and want to bring this man's blood upon us."
But Peter and the Apostles said in reply,
"We must obey God rather than men.
The God of our ancestors raised Jesus,
though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.
God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior
to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.
We are witnesses of these things,
as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him."

When they heard this,
they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.

Responsorial PsalmPS 34:2 AND 9, 17-18, 19-20

R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Many are the troubles of the just man,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 20:29

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord;
blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe?
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 3:31-36

The one who comes from above is above all.
The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things.
But the one who comes from heaven is above all.
He testifies to what he has seen and heard,
but no one accepts his testimony.
Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.
For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.
He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.
The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life,
but the wrath of God remains upon him.