Friday, January 25, 2019

World Youth Day Penitential Service with Pope Francis hearing Confessions "He welcomes sinners and eats with them" FULL Text Homily + Video

(23-28 JANUARY 2019)



Centro de Cumplimiento de Menores Las Garzas de Pacora (Panama)
Friday, 25 January 2019

"He welcomes sinners and eats with them" (Lk 15: 2), we have just heard in the Gospel. It is what some Pharisees, scribes, doctors of the law murmured, rather scandalized, rather annoyed by the way Jesus behaved.

With this expression they tried to disqualify him, discredit him in front of everyone, but they did nothing but highlight one of the most common, most distinctive, most beautiful attitudes of Jesus: "He welcomes sinners and eats with them". And we are all sinners, all, and for this Jesus welcomes us with affection, all of us who are here; and if anyone does not feel a sinner, among all of us who are here, know that Jesus will not receive him, we will lose the best.

Jesus is not afraid of approaching those who, for a thousand reasons, carried the weight of social hatred, as in the case of publicans - remember that the publicans were enriched by robbing their own people; they aroused much, much indignation - or they brought social hatred because they had made some mistakes in their lives, mistakes and mistakes, some guilt, and so they called them sinners. Jesus does so because he knows that in Heaven there is more celebration for one of those who err, of converted sinners, who for ninety-nine just who continue well (cf. Lk 15: 7).

And while these people merely murmured or disdained, because Jesus met with people marked by some social error, some sin, and closed the doors of conversion, of dialogue with Jesus, Jesus approaches and compromises, Jesus puts in I play his reputation and always invites us to look at a horizon capable of renewing life, of renewing history. Everyone, we all have a horizon. All. Someone can say, "I do not have it". Open the window, and you will find it. Open the window of your heart, open the window of love that is Jesus, and you will find it. We all have a horizon. They are two very different looks that are opposed: that of Jesus and that of these doctors of the law. A sterile and infertile look - that of murmuring and gossip, which always speaks ill of others and feels right - and another - that of the Lord - that calls to transformation and conversion, to a new life, like you you said a little while ago [addressed to the young man who made the testimony].

The look of murmuring and gossip

And this is not only valid for those times, it is also valid for today! Many do not bear and do not like this choice of Jesus, indeed, first in a low voice and finally shouting they express their disappointment trying to discredit this behavior of Jesus and all those who stand with Him. They do not accept, they refuse this choice to be near and to offer new opportunities. These people condemn once and for all, discredit once and for all and forget that in the eyes of God they themselves are discredited and need tenderness, they need love and understanding, but they do not want to accept. They do not accept it. With people's lives it seems easier to give titles and labels that freeze and stigmatize not only the past but also the present and the future of people. We put labels on people: this is how it is, that has done this and now it is there and must take it for the rest of its days. So it is these people who mumble, the gossipers, they are like that. Labels that, in the end, do nothing but divide: here the good, beyond the bad ones; here the righteous, beyond the sinners. And this, Jesus does not accept it. This is the culture of the adjective: we like to "adject" people, we like it a lot. "What's your name?" - "My name is good" - "No, this is an adjective. What's your name?". Go to the name of the person: who you are, what you do, what dreams you have, what your heart feels ... To the gossipers this does not interest; immediately seek a label to get rid of them. The culture of the adjective that discredits the person. Think about it, not to fall into this [attitude] that is so easily offered to us in society.
This attitude pollutes everything because it raises an invisible wall that suggests that by marginalizing, separating and isolating all problems will be magically resolved. And when a society or a community allows itself this, and it does nothing but whisper, gossip and murmur, it enters a vicious circle of divisions, reproaches and condemnations. It is interesting: these people who do not accept Jesus and what Jesus teaches us are people who are always fighting each other, condemning each other, among those who are called righteous. Moreover, it is an attitude of marginalization and exclusion, of opposition that makes us say irresponsibly as Caiaphas: "It is fitting that one man dies for the people, and the whole nation does not fall into ruin" (Jn 11: 5). Better that everyone is kept there, that they do not bother us, we want to live in peace. This is hard, and this has had to face Jesus, and this we too face today. Normally the thread breaks at the thinnest point: that of the poor and the defenseless. And they are the ones who suffer the most from these social condemnations, which do not allow them to get up again.

How it hurts to see a society that concentrates its energies on murmuring and disdaining rather than committing oneself, striving to create and opportunities and transformation!

The look of conversion: the other look

Instead, the whole Gospel is marked by this other gaze that is born no more or less than from the heart of God. God never abandons you. God does not abandon anyone. God tells you: "Come". God is waiting for you and hugs you, and if you do not know the way, he comes looking for you, as did the shepherd with the sheep. Instead, the other look refuses. The Lord wants to celebrate when he sees his children returning home (cf. Lk 15: 11-32). Thus he witnessed Jesus, manifesting to the extreme the merciful love of the Father. We have a Father. You said so: I liked your confession: we have a Father. I have a Father who loves me. It's a nice thing. A love, that of Jesus, who does not have time to murmur, but tries to break the circle of useless and indifferent, neutral and aseptic critique. "I thank you, Sir," said that doctor of the law, "because I am not like that." I'm not like that. These who think they have the soul purified ten times in an illusion of aseptic life that serves no purpose. Once I heard a farmer say something that struck me: "The cleanest water is it? Yes, distilled water - he said -. You know, father, that when I drink it, you do not know anything ". So it is the life of those who criticize and gossip and separate from others: they feel so clean, so aseptic that they know nothing, they are unable to invite someone, they live taking care of themselves, to get cosmetic surgery in the soul and not to reach out to others and help them grow. Which is what Jesus does, who accepts the complexity of life and every situation; the love of Jesus, the love of God, the love of God the Father - as you said - is a love that inaugurates a dynamic capable of inventing ways, offering opportunities for integration and transformation, opportunities for healing, forgiveness, of salvation. And eating with publicans and sinners, Jesus breaks the logic that separates, that excludes, that isolates, that divides falsely between "good and bad". And it does not do it by decree or just with good intentions, not even with voluntarism or sentimentality. How does Jesus do it? Creating bonds, bonds capable of allowing new processes; betting and celebrating with each step possible. This is why Jesus, when Matthew is converted - you will find him in the Gospel - does not tell him: "Well, okay, congratulations, come with me". No, he says to him: "Let's go and celebrate at home", and invite all his friends, who were, like Matteo, condemned by society, to celebrate. The gossip, the one who divides, does not know how to party because he has a bitter heart.
Creating bonds, partying, is what Jesus does. And in this way he breaks with another murmur that is not easy to discover and that "pierces dreams" because he repeats like a continuous whisper: "You will not make it, you will not make it. ". How many times have you heard this: "You will not make it". Attention, attention: this is like the woodworm that you eat from inside. When you feel "you will not make it", give yourself a slap: "yes, I'll do it and I'll show it". It is the inner murmuring, the inner gossip, which emerges in who, having cried his own sin, and aware of his mistake, does not believe he can change. And this happens when you are intimately convinced that those born "publish" must die "publish"; and this is not true. The Gospel tells us all the opposite. Eleven of the twelve apostles were serious sinners, because they committed the worst of sins: they abandoned their Master, others denied him, others ran away. They betrayed the apostles, and Jesus went to look for them one by one, and they are the ones who changed the world. Nobody has said to say: "you will not make it", because having seen the love of Jesus after the betrayal, [says]: "I will do it, because You will give me the strength". Beware of the "you will not make it" worm! It takes a lot of attention.

Friends, each of us is much more than the "labels" that put them; it is much more than the adjectives that they want to give us, it is much more than the condemnation that they have imposed on us. Thus Jesus teaches us and calls us to believe. The gaze of Jesus causes us to ask and seek help to walk the paths of overcoming. Sometimes the murmur seems to win, but do not believe it, do not listen to it. Look for and listen to the voices that push you to look forward and not those that pull you down. Listen to the voices that open the window and show you the horizon. "But it's far!" - "Yes, but you'll do it". Look at it well and you'll do it! Every time the woodworm comes with the "you will not make it", answer from inside: "I will do it", and look at the horizon.

The joy and hope of the Christian - of all of us, and also of the Pope - arises from having experienced this gaze of God that sometimes tells us: "you are part of my family and I can not abandon you to the elements". This is what God says to each of us, because God is Father - you said it. "You are part of my family and I will not abandon you to the elements, I will not leave you on the road, no, I can not get lost in the street" - God tells us, to each of us, with name and surname - "I am here with you". Here? Yes, here. This is to have felt, as you shared it, Luis, who in those moments when everything seemed to have finished something told you: no !, it's not all over, because you have a great purpose that allows you to understand that God Father was and is with all of us and he gives us people to walk with and help us reach new goals.

And so Jesus turns the whispering into a party and tells us: "Rejoice with me! (cfr Lc 15,6), let's go to celebrate ". In the parable of the prodigal son I once liked that I found a translation that said that when the father saw his son returning home, he said: "Let's go and celebrate", and there the party began. And a translation said: "And there the dance began". The joy, the joy with which we are welcomed by God with the embrace of the Father. "The dance started".

Brothers, you are part of the family, you have a lot to share. Help us to know what is the best way to live and accompany the transformation process we all need as a family. All!
A society gets sick when it is not able to party for the transformation of its children; a community gets sick when the murmur that crushes and condemns, without sensitivity, gossip. A society is fruitful when it knows how to generate dynamics capable of including and integrating, of taking charge and struggling to create opportunities and alternatives that give new possibilities to its children, when it is committed to creating a future with community, education and work. This community is healthy. And even if he can experience the impotence of not knowing how, he does not give up and tries again. And we all have to help us to learn, in the community, to find these roads, to try again. It is a pact that we must have the courage to do: you, boys, girls, supervisors and the authorities of the Center and the Ministry, all of you, and your families, as well as pastoral workers. Everyone, fight, fight - but not among you, please! -, for what ?, to search and find ways of insertion and transformation. And this the Lord blesses him. This the Lord supports him and this the Lord accompanies him.

Soon we will continue with the penitential celebration, in which we can all experience the gaze of the Lord, who does not see an adjective, never: see a name, look at the eyes, look at the heart. He does not see a label or a conviction, but he sees children. Gaze of God that denies the disqualifications and gives us the strength to create the necessary pacts to help us all to deny the murmurings, those fraternal pacts that allow our lives to always be an invitation to the joy of salvation, to the joy of having a horizon ahead , to the joy of the son's party. Let's go on this path. Thank you.

Way of the Cross at World Youth Day with Pope Francis "From Mary we learn how to say “yes” FULL TEXT + Video

Complete speech of the Pope during the Way of the Cross with youth 
 Lord, Father of mercy, in this Coastal Beltway, together with so many young people from all over the world, we have accompanied your Son on his Way of the Cross: the way he wanted to walk in order to show us how much you love us and how much you care about our lives.

The way of Jesus leading to Calvary is a way of suffering and solitude that continues in our own time. He walks and suffers in all those faces hurt by the complacent and anesthetizing indifference of our society that consumes and is consumed, that ignores and is ignorant, blind to the pain of our brothers and sisters.

Lord, we too, your friends, have given in to apathy and inaction. All too often, we have ended up going along with the crowd, and this has paralyzed us. It has been hard to see you in our suffering brothers and sisters. We have looked away in order not to see; we have taken refuge in noise in order not to hear; we have covered our mouths in order not to cry out.

The temptation is always the same. It is easier and “it pays” to be friends in triumphs and in glory, in success and applause; it is easier to be around someone who is considered popular and a winner.

How easy it is to fall into a culture of bullying, harassment and intimidation. It is not like that for you, Lord: on the cross, you identified yourself with all those who suffer, with all those who feel forgotten.

It is not like that for you, Lord: because you wanted to embrace all those whom we so often consider unworthy of an embrace, a caress, a blessing; or, worse yet, do not even realize that they need it.

It is not like that for you, Lord: on the cross, you accompany the way of the cross of every young person, of every situation, in order to turn it into a way of resurrection.

Father, today your Son’s way of the cross continues: in the muffled cry of children kept from being born and of so many others denied the right to a childhood, a family, an education, or to be able to play, sing or dream... in women who are mistreated, exploited and abandoned, stripped of their dignity and treated as nothing; in the saddened eyes of young people who see their hopes for the future snatched away for lack of education and dignified work; in the anguish of young faces, our friends, who fall into the snares of unscrupulous people – including people who claim to be serving you, Lord – snares of exploitation, criminal activity, and abuse which feed on their lives.

Your Son’s way of the cross continues in all those young people and families who, caught up in a spiral of death as a result of drugs, alcohol, prostitution and human trafficking, are deprived not only of a future but also of a present. Just as they divided your garments, Lord, their dignity is divided and mistreated.

Your Son’s way of the cross continues in those young people with downcast faces who have lost the ability to dream, create and shape their future, and have already chosen to “retire” in glum resignation or complacency, one of the narcotics most consumed in our time.

It continues in the quiet and anger-filled pain of those who, instead of solidarity from an opulent society, encounter rejection, sorrow and misery, and are singled out and treated as responsible for all society’s ills.

It continues in the despairing solitude of the discarded and abandoned elderly. It continues in the indigenous peoples whom others strip of their lands, roots and culture, ignoring and silencing the great wisdom that they can bring.

Your Son’s way of the cross continues in the plea of our mother earth, profoundly wounded by the pollution of her skies, the barrenness of her fields, the contamination of her waters, trampled underfoot by disregard and a fury of consumption beyond all reason.

It is prolonged in a society that has lost the ability to weep and to be moved by suffering. Yes, Father, Jesus keeps walking, carrying his cross and suffering in all these faces, while an uncaring world is caught up in the drama of its own frivolity.

And we, Lord, what are we to do? How are we to react to Jesus as he suffers, travels, emigrates in the faces of many our friends, or of all those strangers that we have learned to make invisible?

And we, Father of mercy, do we console and accompany the Lord, helpless and suffering in the poorest and most abandoned of our brothers and sisters? do we help carry the burden of the cross, like Simon of Cyrene, by being peacemakers, builders of bridges, a leaven of fraternity? do we remain, like Mary, at the foot of the cross? Let us look to Mary, woman of strength. From her let us learn how to stand beneath the cross with her same determination and courage, without evasions or illusions. She accompanied the suffering of her Son, your Son; she supported him by her gaze and protected him with her heart. She shared his suffering, yet was not overwhelmed by it. She was the woman of strength who uttered her “yes”, who supports and accompanies, protects and embraces. She is the great guardian of hope.

We too want to be a Church that supports and accompanies, that is able to say, “Here I am!” in the lives and amid the crosses of all those Christs who walk by our side.

From Mary we learn how to say “yes” to the patience and perseverance of the many mothers, fathers and grandparents who never cease to support and accompany their children and grandchildren in trouble.

From her we learn how to say “yes” to the stubborn endurance and creativity of those who, undaunted, are ready to start over again in situations where everything appears to be lost, in an effort to create spaces, homes and centres of care that can be an outstretched hand to all those in difficulty.

In Mary, we learn the strength to be able to say “yes” to those who have refused to remain silent in the face of a culture of mistreatment and abuse, disparagement and aggression, and who work to provide opportunities and to create an atmosphere of safety and protection.

In Mary, we learn how to welcome and take in all those abandoned, and forced to leave or lose their land, their roots, their families and their work.

Like Mary, we want to be a Church that fosters a culture that welcomes, protects, promotes and integrates; that does not stigmatize, much less indulge in a senseless and irresponsible condemnation of every immigrant as a threat to society.

From her we want to learn to stand beneath the cross, not with hearts tightly shut, but with hearts that can accompany, that feel tenderness and devotion, that show mercy and treat others with respect, sensitivity and understanding. We want to be a Church of memory, which appreciates and respects the elderly and gives them their rightful place.

Like Mary we want to learn what it means to “stand”. Lord, teach us to stand, at the foot of the cross, at the foot of every cross. Open our eyes and hearts this night, and rescue us from paralysis and uncertainty, from fear and desperation. Teach us to say: Here I stand, alongside your Son, alongside Mary and all those beloved disciples who desire to welcome your Kingdom into their heart. 

Wow 250 Confessionals built by Inmates for World Youth Day in Panama - #WYD2019

Inmates from La Joya and Nueva Joya prisons constructed 250 confessionals used in the Sacrament of Reconciliation at World Youth Day in Panama, 2019.

The confessionals were installed in Omar Recreation Park in Panama City. This is called “Forgiveness Park” during the youth event. 35 inmates are worked from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily, sanding, painting, and assembling the crosses and wooden confessionals.

Lilibeth Bennet was the interior designer who created different two models for the confessionals,  inspired by the WYD logo and using the same colors.

“Even though we won't be able to be there (at World Youth Day) we still feel that we're doing something important, and I thank God for the opportunity he has given us as prisoners to contribute to a mission as important as World Youth Day,” explained Luis Dominguez, who is in charge of painting and supervising the sanding of the confessionals.

Saint Pope John Paul II, one of the Patrons of World Youth Day, said of Confession:
"Confession is an act of honesty and courage – an act of entrusting ourselves, beyond sin, to the mercy of a loving and forgiving God."
- Saint Pope John Paul II – September 14, 1987 Homily
(with information from ACI-CNA)

Religious Persecution in India as Hindu Radicals Vandalise Catholic School - Please Pray

Hindu radicals vandalise Catholic school in Maharashtra
Members of the youth wing of the Shiv Sena attacked the Holy Cross High School for girls in Kolhapur, vandalising classes and offices in front of pupils and teachers. The police arrested two people, whilst the school was closed. For John Dayal, the incident is part of “the run up to the general elections”.
Kolhapur (AsiaNews) – Members of the Yuva Sena, the youth wing of the Shiv Sena, a hard-line Hindu party, vandalised a Catholic school in Kolhapur, Maharashtra.
The Holy Cross High School for girls, in Nagala Park, is run by Holy Cross Sisters. The school principal reports that the pupils who, along with the teachers were witnesses to the attack, are in a state of shock.
The vandalism “is shocking in itself but is also indicative of the more strident confrontation that fundamentalist groups plan for religious minorities in the run up to the general elections,” said John Dayal, general secretary of the All India Christian Council. The attack by the “youth wing of the Shiv Sena, which is an ally of the ruling BJP, is a matter of grave concern,” he told AsiaNews.
The incident took place on Tuesday around 1.30 pm (local time), during class time. School principal Sr Bharati told Indian Catholic Matters that about 20 activists forced their way into the school shouting slogans against the school management. They ransacked the office, breaking windows and damaging religious items, including the cross and the statue of Our Lady.
"They complained about the fees and started abusing me and the staff,” Sr Bharati said. “When I asked them to stay calm and offered to discuss the issue peacefully, they started breaking the office furniture and the glass windows."
In the evening a complaint was filed with the police. Kolhapur Superintendent of Police Abhinav Deshmukh said that two people were arrested whilst another 18 are on the run. The police also deployed some agents to protect the school, which is closed for now. “Ours is a school for girls,” Sr Bharati explained. “The attack was so sudden and heinous, that the students from the lower classes were trembling with fear and are still in the state of shock. It was a traumatic situation and we could do nothing except watch the act of vandalism.”
The girls’ parents issued a statement condemning the attack and defending the nuns. Mgr Thomas Dabre, archbishop of Pune, did the same.
“I am sorry and saddened to learn about the attack,” he said. “We are always open for discussion on any matters and issues; therefore, there was no need for such an aggressive reaction on the part of the assailants. This is not the way to settle the issues in a civilised society. Church-run institutions are intended to serve people, especially the poor and marginalised.” The Holy Cross High School is not the first Catholic educational facility to end up in the crosshairs of Hindu radicals. With a nationalist government ruling the country, several Christian schools have been attacked in recent years. The most striking case occurred in January 2018 at the Catholic college in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, where extremists tried to forcibly celebrate a Hindu ritual in honour of "Mother India".
Dayal notes that “There is an incident a day, on an average, across India against clergy, institutions or churches of the Christian community, apart from the continuing targeting of Muslims, the largest pf the country’s religious minorities.” For the Catholic activist, “This is part of the design to polarise the people, and to whip up passions which these groups hope will get votes for the ruling political coalitions.”
Unfortunately, “The studied silence of state governments, the impunity shown by the police and civil authorities and the impunity enjoyed by these groups create a vicious environment. This certainly is not good for the health of democracy in India.”
FULL TEXT Share from Asia News IT

#BreakingNews Youth Pilgrims Blocked from attending World Youth Day by Immigration in Pakistan

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - The Department for Immigration Office at Allama Iqbal airport in Lahore stopped young Catholics who, on 23rd and 24th January, were about to embark to participate in World Youth Day, underway in Panama. As Agenzia Fides learns, the Pakistani Catholic delegation was blocked and 14 young people, provided with a regular visa, were not allowed to travel. Only the Jesuit seminarian Emmanuel was allowed to embark.
Paul Mohan, coordinator of the Catholic Youth Commission of the Diocese of Hyderabad, tells Fides about the misadventure and the bitter disappointment: "On the morning of January 23, we passed the security checks at the airport and collected the boarding passes to reach the Immigration Office. They kept us waiting for more than an hour and then they refused us permission". He continues: "It was a very sad fact for the whole group, we tried a way out, talking with the members of the Office and with the officials of the airlines, we changed the ticket for the following day, paying a penalty and hoping that everything will be clarified. But the next day, the Office stopped us again, even though we all had a regular visa and the letters of accompaniment of the Bishops".
The plane ticket that the young people bought, costs 300,000 Pakistani rupees (about 1,800 euros). Atif Sharif, Coordinator of the "Jesus Youth" movement in Karachi, speaking to Fides said: "It is a valid discrimination: if you meet the criteria, if you have the regular documentation requested by the Consulates of foreign countries and you get a visa, a citizen must be free to leave, among other things, there was a huge investment for a trip abroad, and today our government discriminates against us".
"The right to movement, including the right to travel, is a fundamental right of every citizen, in some cases the government can enter the names of some citizens in the special exit checklist, applying a restriction to prevent expatriation. But if this is not the case, government departments can not prevent people from traveling, if they have all the documents in place", notes Fr. Bonnie Mendes, priest of Faisalabad. Fr. Mendes affirms: "At this point a political and legal battle is needed to protect this right. It is a matter that the Justice and Peace Commission or the Human Rights Commission will have to face".
It is not the first time that Pakistani Christians are denied the right to travel. In 2018 it was the Irish government that refused entry visas for Pakistani Christians who intended to participate in the World Meeting of Families. And in 2011 the Spanish government refused to issue visas for WYD to the youth of Pakistan and Bangladesh. This time the obstacle is the Pakistani government. (AG) (FULL TEXT Release from Agenzia Fides, 25/1/2018)

Novena to St. Paul for Conversion - Powerful Prayers to SHARE

Blessed Apostle Paul, who labored so zealously for the conversion of the Gentiles in many lands, obtain for us a perpetual zeal for the salvation of souls and especially enkindle our interest in the conversion of our separated brethern. Ever mindful of the interest that our Divine Lord, the Good Shepherd, has for the other sheep not of His fold, I now beg your intercession and obtain for me the gift of the true faith for ............. (Pause here and name relatives and friends)
May God grant this request so close to my heart and thus enable me to extend to another what I so richly enjoy, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen Father in Heaven through the mystical wounds of Your Son Jesus have mercy on the souls who visit my web pages. Whoever visits this site is automatically prayed for night and day as long as I live God knows who you are and He will apply your petitions. My motto is I will not let the devil have my family, or any family. My soul or any soul, if I can prevent it, through prayer, sacrifice and pain and despair. I will fight the devil tooth and nail, till I take my last breath and then fight him from heaven for souls here on earth
Say for 9 days: say 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory be each day in addition to above prayers.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday January 25, 2019 - #Eucharist

Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle
Lectionary: 519

Reading 1ACTS 22:3-16

Paul addressed the people in these words:
"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia,
but brought up in this city.
At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law
and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.
I persecuted this Way to death,
binding both men and women and delivering them to prison.
Even the high priest and the whole council of elders
can testify on my behalf.
For from them I even received letters to the brothers
and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem
in chains for punishment those there as well.

"On that journey as I drew near to Damascus,
about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me.
I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me,
'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'
I replied, 'Who are you, sir?'
And he said to me,
'I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.'
My companions saw the light
but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.
I asked, 'What shall I do, sir?'
The Lord answered me, 'Get up and go into Damascus,
and there you will be told about everything
appointed for you to do.'
Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light,
I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.

"A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law,
and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
came to me and stood there and said,
'Saul, my brother, regain your sight.'
And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw him.
Then he said,
'The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will,
to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice;
for you will be his witness before all
to what you have seen and heard.
Now, why delay?
Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away,
calling upon his name.'"

OrACTS 9:1-22

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his  journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
He said, "Who are you, sir?"
The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do."
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, AAnanias."
He answered, "Here I am, Lord."
The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight."
But Ananias replied,
"Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name."
But the Lord said to him,
"Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name."
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
"Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
All who heard him were astounded and said,
"Is not this the man who in Jerusalem
ravaged those who call upon this name,
and came here expressly to take them back in chains
to the chief priests?"
But Saul grew all the stronger
and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus,
proving that this is the Christ.

Responsorial PsalmPS 117:1BC, 2

R. (Mark 16:15)  Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R.  Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

AlleluiaSEE JN 15:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I chose you from the world,
to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 16:15-18

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
"Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."