Friday, September 20, 2019

Saint September 21 : St. Matthew the Apostle and Patron of Accountants, Taxes, Bankers whose symbol is a winged man


Apostle and evangelist.

The name Matthew is derived from the Hebrew Mattija, being shortened to Mattai in post-Biblical Hebrew. In Greek it is sometimes spelled Maththaios, BD, and sometimes Matthaios, CEKL, but grammarians do not agree as to which of the two spellings is the original. Matthew is spoken of five times in the New Testament; first in Matthew 9:9, when called by Jesus to follow Him, and then four times in the list of the Apostles, where he is mentioned in the seventh (Luke 6:15, and Mark 3:18), and again in the eighth place (Matthew 10:3, and Acts 1:13). The man designated in Matthew 9:9, as "sitting in the custom house", and "named Matthew" is the same as Levi, recorded in Mark 2:14, and Luke 5:27, as "sitting at the receipt of custom". The account in the three Synoptics is identical, the vocation of Matthew-Levi being alluded to in the same terms. Hence Levi was the original name of the man who was subsequently called Matthew; the Maththaios legomenos of Matthew 9:9, would indicate this.
The fact of one man having two names is of frequent occurrence among the Jews. It is true that the same person usually bears a Hebrew name such as "Shaoul" and a Greek name, Paulos. However, we have also examples of individuals with two Hebrew names as, for instance, Joseph-Caiaphas, Simon-Cephas, etc. It is probable that Mattija, "gift of Iaveh", was the name conferred upon the tax-gatherer by Jesus Christ when He called him to the Apostolate, and by it he was thenceforth known among his Christian brethren, Levi being his original name.
Matthew, the son of Alpheus (Mark 2:14) was a Galilean, although Eusebius informs us that he was a Syrian. As tax-gatherer at Capharnaum, he collected custom duties for Herod Antipas, and, although a Jew, was despised by the Pharisees, who hated all publicans. When summoned by Jesus, Matthew arose and followed Him and tendered Him a feast in his house, where tax-gatherers and sinners sat at table with Christ and His disciples. This drew forth a protest from the Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked in these consoling words: "I came not to call the just, but sinners".
No further allusion is made to Matthew in the Gospels, except in the list of the Apostles. As a disciple and an Apostle he thenceforth followed Christ, accompanying Him up to the time of His Passion and, in Galilee, was one of the witnesses of His Resurrection. He was also amongst the Apostles who were present at the Ascension, and afterwards withdrew to an upper chamber, in Jerusalem, praying in union with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and with his brethren (Acts 1:10 and 1:14).
Of Matthew's subsequent career we have only inaccurate or legendary data. St. Irenæus tells us that Matthew preached the Gospel among the Hebrews, St. Clement of Alexandria claiming that he did this for fifteen years, and Eusebius maintains that, before going into other countries, he gave them his Gospel in the mother tongue. Ancient writers are not as one as to the countries evangelized by Matthew, but almost all mention Ethiopia to the south of the Caspian Sea (not Ethiopia in Africa), and some Persia and the kingdom of the Parthians, Macedonia, and Syria. According to Heracleon, who is quoted by Clement of Alexandria, Matthew did not die a martyr, but this opinion conflicts with all other ancient testimony. Let us add, however, that the account of his martyrdom in the apocryphal Greek writings entitled "Martyrium S. Matthæi in Ponto" and published by Bonnet, "Acta apostolorum apocrypha" (Leipzig, 1898), is absolutely devoid of historic value. Lipsius holds that this "Martyrium S. Matthæi", which contains traces of Gnosticism, must have been published in the third century.
There is a disagreement as to the place of St. Matthew's martyrdom and the kind of torture inflicted on him, therefore it is not known whether he was burned, stoned, or beheaded. The Roman Martyrology simply says: "S. Matthæi, qui in Æthiopia prædicans martyrium passus est".
Various writings that are now considered apocryphal, have been attributed to St. Matthew. In the "Evangelia apocrypha" (Leipzig, 1876), Tischendorf reproduced a Latin document entitled: "De Ortu beatæ Mariæ et infantia Salvatoris", supposedly written in Hebrew by St. Matthew the Evangelist, and translated into Latin by Jerome, the priest. It is an abridged adaptation of the "Protoevangelium" of St. James, which was a Greek apocryphal of the second century. This pseudo-Matthew dates from the middle or the end of the sixth century.
The Latin Church celebrates the feast of St. Matthew on 21 September, and the Greek Church on 16 November. St. Matthew is represented under the symbol of a winged man, carrying in his hand a lance as a characteristic emblem.
Text shared from The Catholic Encyclopedia

Free Catholic Movie : The Reluctant Saint : Stars Maximilian Schell about Saint Joseph Cupertino

The Reluctant Saint (1962) 105 min - Comedy | Drama - 2 November 1962 (West Germany)
Saint Joseph of Cupertino was born Giuseppe Maria Desa in Copertino, Puglia, Kingdom of Naples. (June 17, 1603 — September 18, 1663) Joseph of Cupertino, a simple young man thought by many in his village to be an idiot, is pressured to enter a monastery. He does so, and surprises everyone by passing the entrance exam to study for the priesthood. But this is only the first of many surprises from the man who would become Saint Joseph Cupertino. (Review by Internet IMDB)
Director: Edward Dmytryk
Writers: John Fante, Joseph Petracca
Stars: Maximilian Schell, Ricardo Montalban, Lea Padovani
RIP Maximilian Schell

Pope Francis tells Doctors "...we can and must reject the temptation – to use medicine to support ...assistance to suicide or directly causing death by euthanasia." Full Text


ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE
ORDERS OF DOCTORS AND DENTAL SURGEONS
Clementine Hall
Friday, 20 September 2019

Dear brothers and sisters,
It is with pleasure that I welcome you all, members of the National Federation of the Orders of Doctors and Dental Surgeons, and I thank your vice president for his kind words. I know you have devoted the last three years to the “general states” of the medical profession, or rather, to the exchange on how best to exercise your activity in a changed social context, to identify better the changes useful to interpret people’s needs and to offer them, along with professional competences, also a good human relationship.
Medicine is by definition service to human life, and as such in involves an essential and indispensable reference to the person in his spiritual and material integrity, in his individual and social dimension: medicine is service to man, to the whole man, every man. And you doctors are convinced of this truth on the basis of a very long tradition, which dates back to the Hippocratic intuitions; and it is precisely from this conviction that there arise your just concerns for the pitfalls to which today’s medicine is exposed.
We must always remember that illness, the object of your concerns, is more than a clinical fact, medically circumscribable; it is always the condition of a person, the sick person, and it is with this entirely human vision that doctors are called to relate to the patient: considering therefore his singularity as a person who has an illness, and not only a case of whatever illness that patient has. For doctors it is a matter of possessing, together with the due technical-professional competence, a code of values and meanings with which to give meaning to the disease and to their work, and to make each individual clinical case a human encounter.
Faced, therefore, with any change in medicine and in the society you have identified, it is important that the doctor does not lose sight of the uniqueness of each patient, with his dignity and his fragility. A man or a woman to be accompanied with conscience, intelligence and heart, especially in the most serious situations. With this attitude we can and must reject the temptation – also induced by legislative changes – to use medicine to support a possible willingness to die of the patient, providing assistance to suicide or directly causing death by euthanasia.
These are hasty ways of dealing with choices that are not, as they might seem, an expression of the person’s freedom, when they include the discarding of the patient discard as a possibility, or false compassion in the face of the request to be helped to anticipate death. As the New Charter for Health Care Workers states: “There is no right to dispose arbitrarily of one's life, so no doctor can become an executive guardian of a non-existent right” (169).
Saint John Paul II observes that the responsibility of health care workers “today is greatly increased. Its deepest inspiration and strongest support lie in the intrinsic and undeniable ethical dimension of the health-care profession, something already recognized by the ancient and still relevant Hippocratic Oath, which requires every doctor to commit himself to absolute respect for human life and its sacredness” (Evangelium vitae, 89).
Dear friends, I invoke God's blessing on your commitment and I entrust you to the intercession of the Virgin Mary Salus infirmorum. Please do not forget to pray for me.


*Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 20 September 2019
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va - Official Translation - Image Source: Google Images 

#BreakingNews New Research shows Abortions Declining in the USA to its lowest rate since legalization in 1973


 The Guttmacher Institute releases latest findings, showing that abortion has decreased:

Between 2011 and 2014, the U.S. abortion rate declined from 16.9 to 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44, the lowest rate ever recorded and the continuation of a decades-long trend.1  

KEY POINTS

  • This study used new data from the Guttmacher Institute to examine trends in abortion incidence and rates between 2014 and 2017. In addition, we examined changes in the number of health care facilities that provide abortions.
  • In 2017, an estimated 862,320 abortions were provided in clinical settings in the United States, representing a 7% decline since 2014 and the continuation of a long-term trend.
  • The U.S. abortion rate dropped to 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 in 2017, the lowest rate recorded since abortion was legalized in 1973. Abortion rates fell in most states and in all four regions of the country.
  •  A total of 339,640 medication abortions occurred in 2017—about 39% of all abortions.
  • As in previous years, clinics provided the overwhelming majority of U.S. abortions (95%), while private physicians’ offices and hospitals accounted for 5%.
  • In 2017, 808 clinic facilities provided abortions, a 2% increase from 2014. However, regional and state disparities in clinic availability grew more pronounced; the number of clinics increased in the Northeast and the West, by 16% and 4% respectively, and decreased in the Midwest and the South, by 6% and 9%, respectively.
  • Although the number of state abortion restrictions continued to increase in the Midwest and South between 2014 and 2017, these restrictive policies do not appear to have been the primary driver of declining abortion rates. There was also no consistent relationship between increases or decreases in clinic numbers and changes in state abortion rates. 
  • Fertility rates declined in almost all states between 2014 and 2017, and it is unlikely that the decline in abortion was due to an increase in unintended births.
  • Factors that may have contributed to the decline in abortion were improvements in contraceptive use and increases in the number of individuals relying on self-managed abortions outside of a clinical setting.
  • Excerpt from Source : https://www.guttmacher.org/report/abortion-incidence-service-availability-us-2017

Pope Francis says “as a bishop and as a priest, you must always be close to the people of God” in Homily at Mass


Pope at Mass: bishops and priests must be close to each other and to God's people
Pope Francis asks for prayers for priests and bishops during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, and urges all those who have received the gift of the priesthood to be close to each other and to the people of God.
By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis on Friday focused on the ministry of bishops and asked the faithful to pray for them so they may never neglect the gift of their ministry.

He recalled Thursday’s Liturgical reading in which the Apostle Paul gives his advice to the young bishop Timothy, and said more advice to bishops is to be found in today’s reading.

Yesterday, he said, at the heart of the message was the call to never neglect the gift of ordained ministry.

Today, he continued, the reflection focusses on things that weaken the life of the ordained minister like money, gossip and silly arguments.

“When a minister – a priest, a deacon, a bishop – gives too much value to money”, he attaches himself to the root of all evils, the Pope said, recalling that Paul describes the love of money as the root of all evils.

Closeness to God
Continuing to give advice to bishops, but also to priests and deacons, Pope Francis then focused on the need for “closeness”.

He pinpointed four different ways that ordained ministers must be “close”.

First of all, a bishop "is a man who is close to God,” he said, recalling the fact that the apostles “invented” deacons in order to better serve widows and orphans,

Peter, he explained, tells us that our duty – that is the duty of the apostles – is “to pray and proclaim the Word”.

Thus, the Pope continued, “the bishop’s first task” is to pray: it gives us strength and awakens within us the awareness of this gift of the ordained ministry that must never be neglected.

Closeness to priests
Then he called on bishops to be close to their priests, to their deacons and to their collaborators: the ones who are closest to them.

“It is sad when a bishop forgets about his priests,” Pope Francis noted, it is sad to hear a priest complain he is unable to get in touch with his bishop or make an appointment to see him in a brief space of time.

“A priest has the right to know that he has a father,” he said.

Closeness between priests
The Pope then went on to speak of the need for closeness between priests.

Divisions within the presbytery, he warned, are the work of the devil. And when that happens, he continued, it leads to small groups who are divided by ideologies or by sympathies.

So, the third “closeness” of which I am speaking, Pope Francis said, is the need for closeness among priests themselves.

Closeness to the people of God
Finally, he continued, the fourth is that of bishops and priests with the people of God.

In the second Letter, he explained, Paul tells Timothy not to forget his mother and his grandmother, meaning that he must not forget his roots.

“Do not forget about your people, do not forget about your roots!” he said;  “as a bishop and as a priest, you must always be close to the people of God”.

When a bishop breaks away from the people of God, the Pope explained, he ends up following ideologies that have nothing to do with the ministry: “he is not a minister, he is not a servant. He has forgotten the free gift that he received.”

The Pope concluded urging all ordained ministers not to forget the four ways in which they must nurture “closeness”: closeness to God, prayer, closeness of the bishop to his priests; closeness of priests to each other; closeness to the people of God.

And he asked those present to pray for their priests and bishops”, he said, “So we may safeguard the gift that has been given to us - with this closeness”.
Full Text Source: VaticanNews.va - Image source : Google Images

Philippine Bishops' Conference say No to Divorce bill - "Divorce is, first of all, unconstitutional, it is anti-family, anti-marriage and anti-children"


ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Bishops: No to bills on divorce, anti-constitutional and anti-family
Friday, 20 September 2019
Manila - (Agenzia Fides) - "Divorce is, first of all, unconstitutional, it is anti-family, anti-marriage and anti-children". This is what was stated in a message sent to Agenzia Fides by Father Jerome Secillano, executive Secretary of the Bishops' Conference of the Philippines and in charge of public relations. The position taken by the Philippine Bishops, confirms their "No" to introduce divorce in the national legislation, and disprove the statements of Senator Riza Hontiveros who is conducting a public divorce campaign, defining a law in that sense "pro family and pro children". In a recent hearing in the Senate, Hontiveros said that a divorce law "will offer people the opportunity to find true and meaningful relationships", as well as "protect children from abuse and rebuild broken families".
The Bishops express their radical dissent, noting that "Senator Hontiveros’ statement contradicts the provisions of the 1987 Constitution", says Fr. Secillano. "In this way do we perhaps mean that the Family Code and our Constitution are against marriage and against children, given that they do not allow divorce?", he asks. According to the spokesman, "divorce can never be pro-marriage, pro-family and pro-children. Do not twist facts about divorce just to suit a particular agenda". The Church's position is clear: "Legalizing divorce in the Philippines would only lead to the destruction of many families. Filipinos deserve better", the Bishops' spokesman said, asking instead legislators to "work to modify existing laws on marital separations" in a path that "respects the Constitution". Currently there are three divorce bills pending: Senate Bill No. 67 - Recognizing the Foreign Decree of Termination of Marriage"; Senate Bill Nos. 288 and 356 - Instituting Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in the Philippines"; Senate Bill No. 504 - Recognizing the Civil Effects of Church Annulment Decree". The second bill, which promotes the full legalization of divorce, presented by senators Riza Hontiveros and Pia Cayateno, seeks to go beyond psychological incapacity, lack of consent, incapability to bear children, among others, as the acceptable reason for annulment.
Christian communities of various denominations oppose the legalization of divorce in the Philippines. "Marriage is a sacrament and must be protected from any possible human intervention. Divorce is not the solution to human problems", lay Catholic Mary Christine Ortega, a mother of four, tells Fides. The Philippine Constitution (Article XV, section 2) states that "marriage, an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State". The State, observes a document written by 77 Catholic organizations and sent to Fides, "has the task of protecting rather than weakening marriage as a social institution". (SD-PA) (Full Text Release from Agenzia Fides, 20/9/2019) Image Source: Google Images

Pope Francis says "Today, healthcare is recognized as a universal human right and as an essential dimension..." Full Text


ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE SYMPOSIUM PROMOTED BY THE
"SOMOS COMMUNITY CARE" ORGANIZATION
Paul VI Audience Hall
Friday, 20 September 2019

Dear brothers and sisters:I welcome all of you who are participating in the Symposium on the theme: “The Immigrant Family and its healthcare needs” organized by Somos Community Care. It is a theme that is dear to my heart and which challenges our conscience.
For several years now, in New York City, you have dedicated yourselves to the assistance and healthcare of those who live on the margins of society, in situations of poverty and hunger. In this way you spread the culture of encounter, “where no one is discarded or pigeonholed, but all are sought out, because all are needed to reveal the Lord’s face” (Homily, Bucarest, 31 May 2019). Your organization is distinguished by the relationship of empathy and trust that it succeeds in establishing with the sick and their families, sharing their lives and becoming closer to their culture and language, in order to foster human relations.
The personal engagement you have with those you care for is praiseworthy. It is an attitude that must be encouraged in a society that tends to develop within itself an “extreme individualism which, combined with a utilitarian mentality [produces] a ‘globalization of indifference’. In this scenario … anyone who does not fall within the accepted norms of physical, mental and social well-being is at risk of marginalization and exclusion” (Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2019). Your daily commitment is aimed at contrasting that throwaway culture that dominates many social settings. In doing so, you are the protagonists of an overall care of the person, making available with generosity and altruism a holistic service of doctors and social-sanitary agents, who offer the benefits of preventive medicine, therapies and rehabilitation. This solidarity with the sick is a real treasure, and is a distinctive sign of a care and authentic health assistance that place the person and their needs at the centre.
Today, healthcare is recognized as a universal human right and as an essential dimension of integral human development. However, at global level, it still remains a right guaranteed to the few and unavailable to many. And it should also be noted that often, where assistance to the sick is guaranteed, it is dominated by technicality which ends up prevailing over the person, distorting the ultimate meaning of care itself. But this – we must not forget – is “the expression of a profoundly human commitment, assumed and carried out not only as a technical activity, but out of devotion and love for neighbour” (New Charter for Health Care Workers, 2016, 4).
Even though not all medical interventions lead to physical healing, healthcare offered with a human heart will always have the capacity to do good to life, in body and spirit. Therefore, the commitment of every healthcare worker to the sick finds its fullest expression, and is also most effective, when it is animated by love. And, through daily gestures, this style makes the culture of care flourish as an essential element of the common good.
Dear brothers and sisters, I exhort you to continue with your important mission at the service of human frailty, and I entrust you to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Consoler of the Afflicted. I assure you of my prayer and blessing, and please do not forget to pray also for me.


*Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 20 September 2019
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va - Official Translation - Image Source: Google Images 

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday, September 20, 2019 - #Eucharist


Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs
Lectionary: 447

Reading 11 TM 6:2C-12

Beloved:
Teach and urge these things.
Whoever teaches something different
and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ
and the religious teaching
is conceited, understanding nothing,
and has a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes.
From these come envy, rivalry, insults, evil suspicions,
and mutual friction among people with corrupted minds,
who are deprived of the truth,
supposing religion to be a means of gain.
Indeed, religion with contentment is a great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world,
just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it.
If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that.
Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap
and into many foolish and harmful desires,
which plunge them into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is the root of all evils,
and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith
and have pierced themselves with many pains.

But you, man of God, avoid all this.
Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion,
faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
Compete well for the faith.
Lay hold of eternal life,
to which you were called when you made the noble confession
in the presence of many witnesses.

Responsorial PsalmPS 49:6-7, 8-10, 17-18, 19-20

R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Why should I fear in evil days
when my wicked ensnarers ring me round?
They trust in their wealth;
the abundance of their riches is their boast.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Yet in no way can a man redeem himself,
or pay his own ransom to God;
Too high is the price to redeem one’s life; he would never have enough
to remain alive always and not see destruction.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Fear not when a man grows rich,
when the wealth of his house becomes great,
For when he dies, he shall take none of it;
his wealth shall not follow him down.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Though in his lifetime he counted himself blessed,
“They will praise you for doing well for yourself,”
He shall join the circle of his forebears
who shall never more see light.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!

AlleluiaSEE MT 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 8:1-3

Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another,
preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.
Accompanying him were the Twelve
and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities,
Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza,
Susanna, and many others
who provided for them out of their resources.