Sunday, July 21, 2019

Saint July 22 : St. Mary Magdalene the Patron of Prostitutes, Hairdressers, Converts and Temptation

Follower of Jesus
Born:
1st century AD, Magdala
Died:
1st century AD, Ephesus, Asia Minor or Marseilles, France
Patron of:
apothecaries; contemplative life; converts; glove makers; hairdressers; penitent sinners; people ridiculed for their piety; perfumeries; pharmacists; reformed prostitutes; sexual temptation; tanners; 
Mary Magdalen was so called either from Magdala near Tiberias, on the west shore of Galilee, or possibly from a Talmudic expression meaning "curling women's hair," which the Talmud explains as of an adulteress.
In the New Testament she is mentioned among the women who accompanied Christ and ministered to Him (Luke 8:2-3), where it is also said that seven devils had been cast out of her (Mark 16:9). She is next named as standing at the foot of the cross (Mark 15:40; Matthew 27:56; John 19:25; Luke 23:49). She saw Christ laid in the tomb, and she was the first recorded witness of the Resurrection.
The Greek Fathers, as a whole, distinguish the three persons:
the "sinner" of Luke 7:36-50;
the sister of Martha and Lazarus, Luke 10:38-42 and John 11; and
Mary Magdalen.
On the other hand most of the Latins hold that these three were one and the same. Protestant critics, however, believe there were two, if not three, distinct persons. It is impossible to demonstrate the identity of the three; but those commentators undoubtedly go too far who assert, as does Westcott (on John 11:1), "that the identity of Mary with Mary Magdalene is a mere conjecture supported by no direct evidence, and opposed to the general tenour of the gospels." It is the identification of Mary of Bethany with the "sinner" of Luke 7:37, which is most combatted by Protestants. It almost seems as if this reluctance to identify the "sinner" with the sister of Martha were due to a failure to grasp the full significance of the forgiveness of sin. The harmonizing tendencies of so many modern critics, too, are responsible for much of the existing confusion.
The first fact, mentioned in the Gospel relating to the question under discussion is the anointing of Christ's feet by a woman, a "sinner" in the city (Luke 7:37-50). This belongs to the Galilean ministry, it precedes the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand and the third Passover. Immediately afterwards St. Luke describes a missionary circuit in Galilee and tells us of the women who ministered to Christ, among them being "Mary who is called Magdalen, out of whom seven devils were gone forth" (Luke 8:2); but he does not tell us that she is to be identified with the "sinner" of the previous chapter. In 10:38-42, he tells us of Christ's visit to Martha and Mary "in a certain town"; it is impossible to identify this town, but it is clear from 9:53, that Christ had definitively left Galilee, and it is quite possible that this "town" was Bethany. This seems confirmed by the preceding parable of the good Samaritan, which must almost certainly have been spoken on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem. But here again we note that there is no suggestion of an identification of the three persons (the "sinner", Mary Magdalen, and Mary of Bethany), and if we had only St. Luke to guide us we should certainly have no grounds for so identifying them. St. John, however, clearly identifies Mary of Bethany with the woman who anointed Christ's feet (12; cf. Matthew 26 and Mark 14). It is remarkable that already in 11:2, St. John has spoken of Mary as "she that anointed the Lord's feet", he aleipsasa; It is commonly said that he refers to the subsequent anointing which he himself describes in 12:3-8; but it may be questioned whether he would have used he aleipsasa if another woman, and she a "sinner" in the city, had done the same. It is conceivable that St. John, just because he is writing so long after the event and at a time when Mary was dead, wishes to point out to us that she was really the same as the "sinner." In the same way St. Luke may have veiled her identity precisely because he did not wish to defame one who was yet living; he certainly does something similar in the case of St. Matthew whose identity with Levi the publican (5:7) he conceals.
If the foregoing argument holds good, Mary of Bethany and the "sinner" are one and the same. But an examination of St. John's Gospel makes it almost impossible to deny the identity of Mary of Bethany with Mary Magdalen. From St. John we learn the name of the "woman" who anointed Christ's feet previous to the last supper. We may remark here that it seems unnecessary to hold that because St. Matthew and St. Mark say "two days before the Passover", while St. John says "six days" there were, therefore, two distinct anointings following one another. St. John does not necessarily mean that the supper and the anointing took place six days before, but only that Christ came to Bethany six days before the Passover. At that supper, then, Mary received the glorious encomium, "she hath wrought a good work upon Me . . . in pouring this ointment upon My body she hath done it for My burial . . . wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached . . . that also which she hath done shall be told for a memory of her." Is it credible, in view of all this, that this Mary should have no place at the foot of the cross, nor at the tomb of Christ? Yet it is Mary Magdalen who, according to all the Evangelists, stood at the foot of the cross and assisted at the entombment and was the first recorded witness of the Resurrection. And while St. John calls her "Mary Magdalen" in 19:25, 20:1, and 20:18, he calls her simply "Mary" in 20:11 and 20:16.
In the view we have advocated the series of events forms a consistent whole; the "sinner" comes early in the ministry to seek for pardon; she is described immediately afterwards as Mary Magdalen "out of whom seven devils were gone forth"; shortly after, we find her "sitting at the Lord's feet and hearing His words." To the Catholic mind it all seems fitting and natural. At a later period Mary and Martha turn to "the Christ, the Son of the Living God", and He restores to them their brother Lazarus; a short time afterwards they make Him a supper and Mary once more repeats the act she had performed when a penitent. At the Passion she stands near by; she sees Him laid in the tomb; and she is the first witness of His Resurrection--excepting always His Mother, to whom He must needs have appeared first, though the New Testament is silent on this point. In our view, then, there were two anointings of Christ's feet--it should surely be no difficulty that St. Matthew and St. Mark speak of His head--the first (Luke 7) took place at a comparatively early date; the second, two days before the last Passover. But it was one and the same woman who performed this pious act on each occasion.
Subsequent history of St. Mary Magdalen
The Greek Church maintains that the saint retired to Ephesus with the Blessed Virgin and there died, that her relics were transferred to Constantinople in 886 and are there preserved. Gregory of Tours (De miraculis, I, xxx) supports the statement that she went to Ephesus. However, according to a French tradition (see SAINT LAZARUS OF BETHANY), Mary, Lazarus, and some companions came to Marseilles and converted the whole of Provence. Magdalen is said to have retired to a hill, La Sainte-Baume, near by, where she gave herself up to a life of penance for thirty years. When the time of her death arrived she was carried by angels to Aix and into the oratory of St. Maximinus, where she received the viaticum; her body was then laid in an oratory constructed by St. Maximinus at Villa Lata, afterwards called St. Maximin. History is silent about these relics till 745, when according to the chronicler Sigebert, they were removed to Vézelay through fear of the Saracens. No record is preserved of their return, but in 1279, when Charles II, King of Naples, erected a convent at La Sainte-Baume for the Dominicans, the shrine was found intact, with an inscription stating why they were hidden. In 1600 the relics were placed in a sarcophagus sent by Clement VIII, the head being placed in a separate vessel. In 1814 the church of La Sainte-Baume, wrecked during the Revolution, was restored, and in 1822 the grotto was consecrated afresh. The head of the saint now lies there, where it has lain so long, and where it has been the centre of so many pilgrimages.
Source : The Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis prays "...grant us the grace to love and serve God and our brothers with the hands of Martha and the heart of Mary..." Full Text + Video


The Angelus with Pope Francis
St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 21 July 2019

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

In this Sunday's passage, the evangelist Luke narrates the visit of Jesus to the house of Martha and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus (see Lk 10.38-42). They welcome him, and Mary sits at his feet and listens to him; leave what he was doing to be close to Jesus: he does not want to lose any of his words. Everything must be put aside because, when he comes to visit us in our lives, his presence and his word come before everything. The Lord always surprises us: when we start to listen to him really, the clouds vanish, doubts give way to truth, fears of serenity, and the different situations of life find their rightful place. The Lord always, when he comes, arranges things, even to us.

In this scene of Mary of Bethany at the feet of Jesus, St. Luke shows the prayerful attitude of the believer, who knows how to stay in the presence of the Master to listen to him and be in tune with Him. It is a matter of taking a break during the day, of gathering in silence, a few minutes, to make room for the Lord who "passes" and find the courage to remain a little "apart" with him, to then return, with serenity and effectiveness, to everyday things. Praising the behavior of Mary, who "chose the best part" (v. 42), Jesus seems to repeat to each of us: "Do not be carried away by things to do, but listen first of all to the voice of the Lord, to perform well the tasks that life assigns to you ".

Then there is the other sister, Marta. St. Luke says that it was she who hosted Jesus (see verse 38). Perhaps Marta was the older of the two sisters, we don't know, but certainly this woman had the charisma of hospitality. In fact, while Mary is listening to Jesus, she is completely taken in by the many services. Therefore Jesus tells her: "Martha, Martha, you are worried and you are agitated for many things" (v. 41). With these words he certainly does not intend to condemn the attitude of the service, but rather the anxiety with which it is sometimes experienced. We too share the concern of Santa Marta and, on her example, we propose to ensure that, in our families and in our communities, we live the sense of acceptance, of fraternity, so that everyone can feel "at home", especially the little ones and the poor when they knock on the door.

Therefore, today's Gospel reminds us that the wisdom of the heart lies precisely in knowing how to combine these two elements: contemplation and action. Martha and Mary show us the way. If we want to enjoy life with joy, we must associate these two attitudes: on the one hand, the "standing at the feet" of Jesus, to listen to him while he reveals the secret of everything to us; on the other hand, be attentive and ready in hospitality, when He passes and knocks on our door, with the face of a friend who needs a moment of refreshment and fraternity. We need this hospitality.

May Mary Most Holy, Mother of the Church, grant us the grace to love and serve God and our brothers with the hands of Martha and the heart of Mary, so that by always listening to Christ we can be artisans of peace and hope. And this is interesting: with these two attitudes we will be artisans of peace and hope.

 After the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters,

fifty years ago as yesterday the man set foot on the moon, realizing an extraordinary dream. May the memory of that great step for humanity ignite the desire to progress together towards even greater goals: more dignity for the weak, more justice among peoples, more future for our common home.

I now address a cordial greeting to all of you, Romans and pilgrims! In particular, I greet the novices of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians from different countries. I greet you in a special way, and I hope that some of you will go to Patagonia: we need to work there! I greet the students of the Cristo Rey College of Asunción (Paraguay), the seminarians and formators of the Opera Don Guanella of Iaşi (Romania), the youth of Chiry-Ourscamp (France) and the faithful of Cantù.

I wish you all a good Sunday and, please, do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!

Sunday Mass Online : Sunday, July 21, 2019 - #Eucharist - Readings + Video


Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 108

Reading 1GN 18:1-10A

The LORD appeared to Abraham by the terebinth of Mamre,
as he sat in the entrance of his tent,
while the day was growing hot.
Looking up, Abraham saw three men standing nearby.
When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them;
and bowing to the ground, he said:
"Sir, if I may ask you this favor,
please do not go on past your servant.
Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet,
and then rest yourselves under the tree.
Now that you have come this close to your servant,
let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves;
and afterward you may go on your way."
The men replied, "Very well, do as you have said."

Abraham hastened into the tent and told Sarah,
"Quick, three measures of fine flour! Knead it and make rolls."
He ran to the herd, picked out a tender, choice steer,
and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it.
Then Abraham got some curds and milk,
as well as the steer that had been prepared,
and set these before the three men;
and he waited on them under the tree while they ate.

They asked Abraham, "Where is your wife Sarah?"
He replied, "There in the tent."
One of them said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year,
and Sarah will then have a son."

Responsorial Psalm PS 15:2-3, 3-4, 5

R.(1a) He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
One who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
by whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
One who does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Reading 2COL 1:24-28

Brothers and sisters:
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
and in my flesh I am filling up
what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ
on behalf of his body, which is the church,
of which I am a minister
in accordance with God's stewardship given to me
to bring to completion for you the word of God,
the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past.
But now it has been manifested to his holy ones,
to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory
of this mystery among the Gentiles;
it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.
It is he whom we proclaim,
admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

AlleluiaCF. LK 8:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
"Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me."
The Lord said to her in reply,
"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her."