Friday, January 17, 2020

Saint January 18 : Saint Margaret of Hungary - a Princess who became a Nun and Mystic who came from a Family of Saints

  January 18 is the memorial of Saint Margaret of Hungary, a thirteenth century woman who is remembered as a nun, virgin, princess, and mystic.

Saint Margaret was born in A.D. 1242, the last daughter (ninth of 10 children) of the King of Hungary, Bela IV, and Maria Lascaris, the daughter of the emperor of Constantinople. Saint Margaret is the niece of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and the younger sister of Saint Kinga and Blessed Yolanda.

Before Margaret's birth, her parents had promised Our Lord to dedicate their child to Him if Hungary was victorious over the invading Tartars. After their prayers were answered, now nearly four, they placed Margaret with the Dominican monastery of Veszprim. At the age of 12 Saint Margaret moved to a new monastery built by her father at Buda, and made profession of her final vows before Humbert of Romans.

Saint Margaret lived a life totally dedicated to Christ crucified and by her example of living inspired her sisters to follow her in her asceticism, works of mercy, pursuit of peace, and striving to be of humble service. Saint Margaret opposed all attempts by her father to arrange a political marriage between herself and King Ottokar II of Bohemia. Saint Margaret had a special love for the Eucharist and the Passion of Christ and showed a special devotion to the Holy Spirit and Our Lady.

Saint Margaret died on 18 January 1270. However, she was venerated as a saint during her lifetime. After her death the canonization investigation was begun immediately, including the testimony of 77 persons who said they had received miracles as a result of Saint Margaret's intercession. However, it was not until 19 November 1943 that Saint Margaret was canonized by Venerable Pope Pius XII, on the feast day of her cousin, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.
(Edited from


O God of truth,
through the Holy Spirit
you blessed our sister Margaret with true humility.
Teach us that same integrity
so that we may constantly turn from our selfishness
to your love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


At Mass, Pope Francis Reminds Us to Look after Spiritual Health too - ".. the Lord teaches us that the health of the heart, spiritual health, must also be cherished.” Homily

Pope Francis celebrated Mass at Casa Santa Marta, in the Vatican and spoke on the Gospel of Mark. The Gospel recalled when Jesus healed the paralyzed man brought to him. Pope Francis explained, “Physical health is a gift we have to cherish, but the Lord teaches us that the health of the heart, spiritual health, must also be cherished.” report:
 Pope Francis' homily was based on Jesus’ miraculous healing of the paralytic in St. Mark’s Gospel. Unable to approach Jesus in the packed house in Capernaum, the four men lowered the paralytic on a mat down from the roof. The pope drew attention to the first words of Jesus: “Your sins are forgiven.” Jesus later orders him to get up, take up his mat and go home. Jesus, a man of God, the pope said, heals, but He is not a medicine man. He teaches, but is more than a teacher, and in this episode, He focuses on what is essential. The pope said physical health is a gift we must preserve, but the Lord teaches us that we must also preserve the health of the heart, spiritual health.

The Holy Father picked out other instances where Jesus focuses on the essential. In the episode of the sinful and weeping woman, Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven.” However, those present are scandalized, the pope said, because there is prophecy, there is strength. In the same way, to the sick man who never got to the pool on time to be healed, Jesus says, “Do not sin anymore.” To the Samaritan woman who asks so many questions, Jesus goes to what is essential in life.

The pope said “relationship with God is essential.” “We often forget this as if afraid of an encounter with the Lord, with God.” He said we do a lot for our physical health, we advise ourselves regarding doctors and medicines, which is good, the pope said, “but do we think about the health of the heart?” The words of Jesus to the paralytic, he said, can help us in this. Jesus tells him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” The pope noted that we get so used to this medicine of forgiveness of our sins, mistakes and anything, that it gets watered down and loses its strength and the power of prophecy that Jesus has when He focuses on the essential.

Today Jesus tells each one of us, “I want to forgive your sins.” The pope pointed out that perhaps someone may not find sins to confess because “there is a lack of awareness of sins.” The medicine needed to be healed from “concrete sins,” “diseases of the soul,” the pope said, is forgiveness. It is simple when Jesus goes to the essentials, the pope said. The health of both body and soul is essential. Watching over our body and the soul, he said, we go to that Doctor who can heal us, who can forgive our sins. He is Jesus who came for this and gave His life for this.

Quote to SHARE by St Padre Pio “Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.” 

“Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.” 
Saint Padre Pio

RIP Fr. Diego - Young Priest Ordained with Terminal Cancer Dies and Funeral celebrated in packed Church

On December 4, the Diocese of Garzon posted this message about the death of Fr. Diego:
I inform you all that our brother Father Diego Omar Peña Navia rested this morning in the peace of God. Let us give thanks to God and trust him to his father's mercy. May the Lord all strengthen us with our eyes on the resurrection. The natural human pain is overcome by the hope that springs from faith. Peace and good. (Mons. Fray Fabio Duque Jaramillo, OFM. - Bishop of Garzón). Source:

Before being ordained he was in the final phase of his disease, a nasopharyngeal cancer but given special permission by Pope Francis to be ordained despite this.

* «It was the most beautiful thing that happened to me, not because they called me to be a priest, which in itself is a lot of joy, but because the disease helped me discover the love of Jesus Christ. He has manifested his work in me and also wants it for the lives of others. I am in God's hands and if things become very serious for me, I have begged you to fill me with strength to take on the pain with much love, although my pains have been small in front of people who have really suffered. I want to die with the chasuble on, because dying as a priest is worth everything, just like Polish father Michel Los died. I feel happy that the will of Jesus Christ is done, no matter if it is after the ordination or later, if God gives me a little more time »

 Diego Omar explained “I never asked for ordination… it was God who wanted it for me. It is He in his infinite goodness who has manifested in this way. ”

When he was 16 years old and was a young man who went out to dance, had friends, played football, almost never went to mass and traveled the streets of his town, Saladoblanco (department of Huila, in southern Colombia). . At that time he decided to return to the church where on Sunday he felt that during the Eucharist he "had been healed." From that moment - Peña Navia tells the journalist Humberto Sosa in the “Focus” program of the San.TV Channel - “my priestly vocation was born and I decided to surrender to the Lord”. Diego Omar entered the Conciliar María Inmaculada de Garzón Seminar on February 1, 2015 and is currently in the third year of Philosophy.

Shortly after, on February 1, 2015 he entered the Diocesan Seminary of Mary Immaculate, in Garzón, where he already recovered began his studies to become a priest and follow in the footsteps of José Ervin, his older brother. Diego Omar is currently in the third year of Philosophy. For four years, the seminarian fully complied with the demanding academic program of one of the most prestigious seminars in Colombia, but again, cancer attacked him this year 2019 with such fierceness that he had to divide his time between studies, trips to Bogotá, consultations with dozens of specialists, strenuous examinations and a terrible diagnosis: the disease had advanced and had to prepare for the worst.

Even so, it remains attached to God, to prayers and to the divine will. Diego Omar says it calmly and without drama: “It has been the most beautiful thing that has happened to me, not because they called me to be a priest, which in itself is a lot of joy, but because the disease helped me discover the love of Jesus Christ . He has manifested his work in me and also wants it for the lives of others. ”

The future priest affirms that he is not afraid of death, but of the pain and physical suffering he may feel as a result of the final attack of the disease and the ineffectiveness of medications. “If death came at this time and I was in the presence of Jesus Christ, that would make me very happy, although I know that I am a great sinner and that I am not yet modeled as God would like, for example, as a great saint, type the priest de Ars ”, emphasized the Colombian seminarian.

Edited from Source:

Pope Francis says "As baptized Christians..Christ wishes to meet us precisely in those who are...shipwrecked in life." Full Text to Lutherans

Friday, 17 January 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I offer you a cordial welcome in the words of Saint Paul: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 1:7). I thank Bishop Teemu for his words, a beautiful invitation to mutual understanding in the midst of today’s many misunderstandings. Your ecumenical pilgrimage for the feast of Saint Henrik has once more brought you to Rome. Together you are journeying – as all of us are – in communion of faith, so as to encourage one another and to strengthen one another in Christian discipleship.
This past Sunday, we celebrated the Baptism of Jesus and we recalled our own baptism. A Christian is someone who can give thanks for his or her baptism; and this gratitude unites us within the community of all the baptized. The “baptism for the forgiveness of sins” that we profess in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is also a clear summons to holiness.
The Report of the Catholic-Lutheran dialogue group for Sweden and Finland, entitled Justification in the Life of the Church, rightly observes that “those who are already baptized can, together with their brothers and sisters, develop their opportunities for holiness, which come from their common justification in Christ. As members of one and the same mystical body of Christ, Christians are bound to one another and must bear one another’s burdens. Since Christ came to redeem the whole world, it is also a mission for the church and for individual Christians, both lay and ordained, to witness to the good news in the midst of their daily life” (No. 203).
Hospitality is likewise part of our shared witness of faith in daily life. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which begins tomorrow, shows us this ecumenical virtue, and indeed recommends it to us. “They showed us unusual kindness” (Acts 28:2) as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, with reference to the inhabitants of the island of Malta, who received with hospitality the Apostle Paul, together with hundreds of shipwrecked people.
As baptized Christians, we believe that Christ wishes to meet us precisely in those who are – both literally and figuratively – shipwrecked in life. Those who show hospitality grow richer, not poorer. Whoever gives, receives in return. For the humanity we show to others makes us in a mysterious way partakers in the goodness of the God who became man.
Dear Finnish friends, as heralds of humanity, as recipients of the goodness of God incarnate, we are journeying together in the community of all the baptized. Christians are those who can give thanks for their baptism. This gratitude links and expands our hearts, and opens them to our neighbour, who is not an adversary but our beloved brother, our beloved sister. The community of all the baptized is not a mere “standing beside one another”, and certainly not a “standing against one other”, but wants to become an ever fuller “standing together”.

Spiritual ecumenism and ecumenical dialogue serve to deepen this “standing together”. May this “standing together” continue to grow, prosper and bear fruit in Finland. To that end, I pray that God may grant you his abundant grace and his blessing. I would ask you also to please pray for me. Thank you.
Full Text + Image Source: - Official Translation

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday, January 17, 2020 - #Eucharist

Memorial of Saint Anthony, abbot
Lectionary: 309

Reading 11 SM 8:4-7, 10-22A
All the elders of Israel came in a body to Samuel at Ramah
and said to him, “Now that you are old,
and your sons do not follow your example,
appoint a king over us, as other nations have, to judge us.”
Samuel was displeased when they asked for a king to judge them.
He prayed to the LORD, however, who said in answer:
“Grant the people’s every request.
It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king.”
Samuel delivered the message of the LORD in full
to those who were asking him for a king.
He told them:
“The rights of the king who will rule you will be as follows:
He will take your sons and assign them to his chariots and horses,
and they will run before his chariot.
He will also appoint from among them his commanders of groups
of a thousand and of a hundred soldiers.
He will set them to do his plowing and his harvesting,
and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.
He will use your daughters as ointment makers, as cooks, and as bakers.
He will take the best of your fields, vineyards, and olive groves,
and give them to his officials.
He will tithe your crops and your vineyards,
and give the revenue to his eunuchs and his slaves.
He will take your male and female servants,
as well as your best oxen and your asses,
and use them to do his work.
He will tithe your flocks and you yourselves will become his slaves.
When this takes place,
you will complain against the king whom you have chosen,
but on that day the LORD will not answer you.”
The people, however, refused to listen to Samuel’s warning and said,
“Not so!  There must be a king over us.
We too must be like other nations,
with a king to rule us and to lead us in warfare
and fight our battles.”
When Samuel had listened to all the people had to say,
he repeated it to the LORD, who then said to him,
“Grant their request and appoint a king to rule them.”

Responsorial Psalm89:16-17, 18-19

R.    (2)    For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Blessed the people who know the joyful shout;
in the light of your countenance, O LORD, they walk.
At your name they rejoice all the day,
and through your justice they are exalted.
R.    For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
For you are the splendor of their strength,
and by your favor our horn is exalted.
For to the LORD belongs our shield,
and to the Holy One of Israel, our King.
R.    For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

AlleluiaLK 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 2:1-12

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,
“Child, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,
“Why does this man speak that way?  He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what
they were thinking to themselves,
so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”
–he said to the paralytic,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”
He rose, picked up his mat at once,
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Saint January 17 : St. Anthony the Abbot and the Patron of Amputees; Butchers; Epilepsy; graveyards; Monks; Pigs; Skin diseases;

Feast Day: January 17
Born: 251, Herakleopolis Magna, Egypt
Died: 356, Mount Colzim, Egypt
Major Shrine: Monastery of Anthony, Egypt; Vienna, Austria His body was at Saint-Antoine l'Abbaye, Isère, France
Patron of: against pestilence; amputees; animals; basket makers; basket weavers; brushmakers; butchers; cemetery workers; domestic animals; eczema; epilepsy; epileptics; ergotism; erysipelas; gravediggers; graveyards; hermits; hogs; Hospitallers; monks; pigs; relief from pestilence; shingles; skin diseases; skin rashes; swine; swineherds

Founder of Christian monasticism. The chief source of information on St. Anthony is a Greek Life attributed to St. Athanasius (ca. 296-373). Anthony was born at Coma, near Heracleopolis Magna in Fayum, about the middle of the third century. He was the son of well-to-do parents, and on their death, in his twentieth year, he inherited their possessions. He had a desire to imitate the life of the Apostles and the early Christians, and one day, on hearing in the church the Gospel words, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell all thou hast", he received them as spoken to himself, disposed of all his property and goods, and devoted himself exclusively to religious exercises. Long before this it had been usual for Christians to practice asceticism, abstain from marriage and exercising themselves in self-denial, fasting, prayer, and works of piety; but this they had done in the midst of their families, and without leaving house or home. Later on, in Egypt, such ascetics lived in huts, in the outskirts of the towns and villages, and this was the common practice about 270, when Anthony withdrew from the world. He began his career by practising the ascetical life in this fashion without leaving his native place. He used to visit the various ascetics, study their lives, and try to learn from each of them the virtue in which he seemed to excel. Then he took up his abode in one of the tombs, near his native village, and there it was that the Life records those strange conflicts with demons in the shape of wild beasts, who inflicted blows upon him, and sometimes left him nearly dead.
After fifteen years of this life, at the age of thirty-five, Anthony determined to withdraw from the habitations of men and retire in absolute solitude. He crossed the Nile, and on a mountain near the east bank, then called Pispir, now Der el Memum, he found an old fort into which he shut himself, and lived there for twenty years without seeing the face of man, food being thrown to him over the wall. He was at times visited by pilgrims, whom he refused to see; but gradually a number of would-be disciples established themselves in caves and in huts around the mountain, Thus a colony of ascetics was formed, who begged Anthony to come forth and be their guide in the spiritual life. At length, about the year 305, he yielded to their importunities an emerged from his retreat, and, to the surprise of all, he appeared to be as when he had gone in, not emaciated, but vigorous in body and mind.
For five or six years he devoted himself to the instruction and organization of the great body of monks that had grown up around him; but then he once again withdrew into the inner desert that lay between the Nile and the Red Sea, near the shore of which he fixed his abode on a mountain where still stands the monastery that bears his name, Der Mar Antonios. Here he spent the last forty-five years of his life, in a seclusion, not so strict as Pispir, for he freely saw those who came to visit him, and he used to cross the desert to Pispir with considerable frequency. The Life says that on two occasions he went to Alexandria, once after he came forth from the fort at Pispir, to strengthen the Christian martyrs in the persecution of 311, and once at the close of his life (c. 350), to preach against the Arians. The Life says he died at the age of a hundred and five, and St. Jerome places his death in 356-357. All the chronology is based on the hypothesis that this date and the figures in the Life are correct. At his own request his grave was kept secret by the two disciples who buried him, lest his body should become an object of reverence.
Of his writings, the most authentic formulation of his teaching is without doubt that which is contained in the various sayings and discourses put into his mouth in the Life, especially the long ascetic sermons (16-43) spoken on his coming forth from the fort at Pispir. It is an instruction on the duties of the spiritual life, in which the warfare with demons occupies the chief place. Though probably not an actual discourse spoken on any single occasion, it can hardly be a mere invention of the biographer, and doubtless reproduces St. Anthony's actual doctrine, brought together and co-ordinated. It is likely that many of the sayings attributed to him in the "Apophthegmata" really go back to him, and the same may be said of the stories told of him in Cassian and Palladius. There is a homogeneity about these records, and a certain dignity and spiritual elevation that seem to mark them with the stamp of truth, and to justify the belief that the picture they give us of St Anthony's personality, character, and teaching is essentially authentic. A different verdict has to be passed on the writings that go under his name, to be found in P.G., XL. The Sermons and twenty Epistles from the Arabic are by common consent pronounced wholly spurious. St. Jerome (Illustrious Men 88) knew seven epistles translated from the Coptic into Greek; the Greek appears to be lost, but a Latin version exists (ibid.), and Coptic fragments exist of three of these letters, agreeing closely with the Latin; they may be authentic, but it would be premature to decide. Better is the position of a Greek letter to Theodore, preserved in the "Epistola Ammonis ad Theophilum", sect. 20, and said to be a translation of a Coptic original; there seems to be no sufficient ground for doubting that it really was written by Anthony (see Butler, Lausiac History of Palladius, Part I, 223). The authorities are agreed that St. Anthony knew no Greek and spoke only Coptic. There exists a monastic Rule that bears St. Anthony's name, preserved in Latin and Arabic forms (P.G., XL, 1065). While it cannot be received as having been actually composed by Anthony, it probably in large measure goes back to him, being for the most part made up out of the utterances attributed to him in the Life and the "Apophthegmata"; it contains, however, an element derived from the spuria and also from the "Pachomian Rules". It was compiled at an early date, and had a great vogue in Egypt and the East. At this day it is the rule followed by the Uniat Monks of Syria and Armenia, of whom the Maronites, with sixty monasteries and 1,100 monks, are the most important; it is followed also by the scanty remnants of Coptic monachism. It will be proper to define St. Anthony's place, and to explain his influence in the history of Christian monachism. He probably was not the first Christian hermit; it is more reasonable to believe that, however little historical St. Jerome's "Vita Pauli" may be, some kernel of fact underlies the story (Butler, op. cit., Part I, 231, 232), but Paul's existence was wholly unknown unknown till long after Anthony has become the recognized leader of Christian hermits. Nor was St. Anthony a great legislator and organizer of monks, like his younger contemporary Pachomius; for, though Pachomius's first foundations were probably some ten or fifteen years later than Anthony's coming forth from his retreat at Pispir, it cannot be shown that Pachomius was directly influenced by Anthony, indeed his institute ran on quite different lines. And yet it is abundantly evident that from the middle of the fourth century throughout Egypt, as elsewhere, and among the Pachomian monks themselves, St. Anthony was looked upon as the founder and father of Christian monachism.
This great position was no doubt due to his commanding personality and high character, qualities that stand out clearly in all the records of him that have come down. The best study of his character is Newman's in the "Church of the Fathers" (reprinted in "Historical Sketches"). The following is his estimate: "His doctrine surely was pure and unimpeachable; and his temper is high and heavenly, without cowardice, without gloom, without formality, without self-complacency. Superstition is abject and crouching, it is full of thoughts of guilt; it distrusts God, and dreads the powers of evil. Anthony at least had nothing of this, being full of confidence, divine peace, cheerfulness, and valorousness, be he (as some men may judge) ever so much an enthusiast" (op. cit., Anthony in Conflict). Full of enthusiasm he was, but it did not make him fanatical or morose; his urbanity and gentleness, his moderation and sense stand out in many of the stories related of him. Abbot Moses in Cassian (Coll. II) says he had heard Anthony maintaining that of all virtues discretion was the most essential for attaining perfection; and the little known story of Eulogius and the Cripple, preserved in the Lausiac History (xxi), illustrates the kind of advice and direction he gave to those who sought his guidance.
The monasticism established under St. Anthony's direct influence became the norm in Northern Egypt, from Lycopolis (Asyut) to the Mediterranean. In contradistinction to the fully coenobitical system, established by Pachomius in the South, it continued to be of a semi-eremetical character, the monks living commonly in separate cells or huts, and coming together only occasionally for church services; they were left very much to their own devices, and the life they lived was not a community life according to rule, as now understood (see Butler, op. cit., Part I, 233-238). This was the form of monastic life in the deserts of Nitria and Scete, as portrayed by Palladius and Cassian. Such groups of semi-independent hermitages were later on called Lauras, and have always existed in the East alongside of the Basilian monasteries; in the West St. Anthony's monachism is in some measure represented by the Carthusians. Such was St. Anthony's life and character, and such his role in Christian history. He is justly recognized as the father not only of monasticism, strictly so called, but of the technical religious life in every shape and form. Few names have exercised on the human race an influence more deep and lasting, more widespread, or on the whole more beneficent.
Edited from The Catholic Encyclopedia - Image SHARED from Google Images
God our Father,
You gave St Anthony of Egypt
the courage and belief of an apostle
to give up his wealth,
living a life of poverty and solitude,
and to found monasteries.
Help us to be zealous in imitating his virtues
and to follow in the footsteps of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Grant this through the same Christ Our Lord
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Pope Francis recommends a Prayer to be Repeated Daily “Lord, I am a sinner, have mercy on me, have compassion on me"

Pope: asking Jesus 'if you will’ is a challenge and an act of trust
"His compassion, He will take upon Himself our problems, our sins, our inner diseases, everything". " “Compassion gets involved, it comes from the heart and gets involved, and it leads you to do something. Compassion is “suffering with”, taking the suffering of the other person upon yourself in order to resolve it, to heal it."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The prayer “Lord, if you will”, it is “a challenge, but also it is an act of trust. I know that He can and for this reason I entrust myself to Him "," His compassion will take up our problems, our sins, our inner diseases, everything", said Pope Francis today at mass celebrated this morning at Casa Santa Marta, taking inspiration from the passage of the Gospel (Mk 1,40-45) which tells of the healing of the leper who turns to Jesus saying "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean”.

In his homily, Pope Francis said that the leper’s request is a simple prayer, “an act of confidence” — but at the same time, “a true challenge”. It is plea that comes from the depths of his heart, which also reveals something about Jesus and His compassion for us. Jesus, the Pope said, suffers “with and for us”, He takes the suffering of others upon Himself, comforting them and healing them in the name the love of the Father.

Reflecting on the “simple” story of the healing of the leper, Pope Francis said that the phrase, “If you will…” is a prayer that “gets God’s attention”. “It is a challenge”, he said, “but also an act of confidence: I know that He can do it, and so I entrust myself to Him”.The leper was able to make this prayer, Pope Francis said, “because he saw how Jesus acted. This man had seen the compassion of Jesus”. Compassion, not pity, is a “refrain in the Gospel” — a common theme seen in the story of the widow of Nain, and in the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son:

Compassion gets involved, it comes from the heart and gets involved, and it leads you to do something. Compassion is “suffering with”, taking the suffering of the other person upon yourself in order to resolve it, to heal it. And this was the mission of Jesus. Jesus did not come to preach the law and then leave. Jesus came in compassion, that is, to suffer with and for us and to give us life itself. The love of Jesus is so great that compassion led Him precisely to the Cross, to give His life.

The Pope invited us to repeat “this little phrase” often. Because Jesus has compassion, the Pope explained, “He is capable of involving Himself in our sorrows, in the problems of others”. Jesus, he said, did not come simply to give a few sermons and then return to heaven; not to wash His hands.  He came to be close to us, and He remains always at our side.

Pope Francis explained how this expression can be turned into a prayer that we can use every day:“Lord, if you will, you can heal me; if you will, you can forgive me; if you will, you can help me.” Or, if you want, [you can make it] a little longer: “Lord, I am a sinner, have mercy on me, have compassion on me”. A simple prayer that can be said many times a day. “Lord, I, a sinner, ask you: have mercy on me”. Many times a day, inwardly, from the heart, without saying it out loud: “Lord, if you will, you can; if you will, you can. Have compassion on me”. Repeat this.

The leper, with his simple and “miraculous” prayer, was able to obtain healing thanks to the compassion of Jesus, who loves us despite our sinfulness.He is not ashamed of us. “O Father, I am a sinner, how can I say this?...” [This is] better! For He came precisely for us sinners, and the greater a sinner you are, the closer the Lord is to you, for He has come for you, the greatest sinner; for me, the greatest sinner; for all of us. Let us make a habit of repeating this prayer, always: “Lord, if you will it, you can do it. If you will it, you can do it”, with confidence that the Lord is close to us; and with His compassion, He will take upon Himself our problems, our sins, our inner diseases, everything.
Full Text Source: AsiaNews.IT

#BreakingNews RIP Fr. Jozef Hollanders, OMI - Missionary Priest from Belgium Killed in Robbery Attempt at Age 83 in S. Africa

AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - Belgian missionary killed in alleged robbery attempt
Thursday, 16 January 2020

Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) - The Oblates of Mary Immaculate in South Africa, OMISA are devastated by the death of Fr. Jozef (Jef) Hollanders, killed in a robbery in the parish of Bodibe, near Mahikeng, in the northwestern province of South Africa, on Sunday night 12 January", says a statement sent to Agenzia Fides. "His body was discovered on Monday afternoon by a parishioner. The police are fully involved in investigating his murder".
"We are deeply affected by what has happened. Jeff was found tied hand and foot and with a rope around his neck. A terrible death for someone who dedicated his whole life to his mission", says Fr. Daniël Coryn, provincial superior of the Oblate Missionaries of Mary, from Blanden in Belgium. According to His Exc. Mgr. Victor Phalana of Klerksdorp, Bishop of Bodibe, the missionary probably died of a heart attack or strangulation.
It is not excluded that Fr. Hollanders suffered a robbery attempt, but according to Archbishop Phalana, the robbers were misinformed: "Everyone knows he had no money. He served a poor community. He used every penny he ever owned for his people. He gave away everything he had". According to the Bishop, the ecclesial community has been hit hard. Fr. Hollanders was "full of enthusiasm, life and dedication" and spoke fluently Afrikaans and Tswana, a Bantu language spoken in South Africa and Botswana. "He was part of people's lives".
Fr. Hollanders was born in Belgium on March 4, 1937. He professed his first vows as an Oblate on September 8, 1958 and was ordained a priest on December 26, 1963. He arrived in South Africa on January 31, 1965.
"For 55 years was a dedicated and faithful missionary in the Tswana-speaking area, now North West Province of South Africa", underlines the statement. "He liked to create new Christian communities, which have become parishes or parish stations in what has become the diocese of Klerksdorp."
"We were reminded that Jesus died at the hands of others and we imagined that Father Jef would say:" Forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing", concludes the OMISA statement.
The funeral of Fr. Hollanders will take place on Wednesday 22 January, at 10 am, in the cathedral of Klerksdorp. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 16/1/2020)

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday, January 16, 2020 - #Eucharist

Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
 Lectionary: 308
 Reading 11 SM 4:1-11
The Philistines gathered for an attack on Israel.
Israel went out to engage them in battle and camped at Ebenezer,
while the Philistines camped at Aphek.
The Philistines then drew up in battle formation against Israel.
After a fierce struggle Israel was defeated by the Philistines,
who slew about four thousand men on the battlefield.
When the troops retired to the camp, the elders of Israel said,
“Why has the LORD permitted us to be defeated today
by the Philistines?
Let us fetch the ark of the LORD from Shiloh
that it may go into battle among us
and save us from the grasp of our enemies.”
So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there
the ark of the LORD of hosts, who is enthroned upon the cherubim.
The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were with the ark of God.
When the ark of the LORD arrived in the camp,
all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth resounded.
The Philistines, hearing the noise of shouting, asked,
“What can this loud shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?”
On learning that the ark of the LORD had come into the camp,
the Philistines were frightened.
They said, “Gods have come to their camp.”
They said also, “Woe to us! This has never happened before. Woe to us!
Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods?
These are the gods that struck the Egyptians
with various plagues and with pestilence.
Take courage and be manly, Philistines;
otherwise you will become slaves to the Hebrews,
as they were your slaves.
So fight manfully!”
The Philistines fought and Israel was defeated;
every man fled to his own tent.
It was a disastrous defeat,
in which Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers.
The ark of God was captured,
and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were among the dead.

Responsorial Psalm44:10-11, 14-15, 24-25

R.    (27b)  Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
Yet now you have cast us off and put us in disgrace,
and you go not forth with our armies.
You have let us be driven back by our foes;
those who hated us plundered us at will.
R.    Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
You made us the reproach of our neighbors,
the mockery and the scorn of those around us.
You made us a byword among the nations,
a laughingstock among the peoples.
R.    Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
Why do you hide your face,
forgetting our woe and our oppression?
For our souls are bowed down to the dust,
our bodies are pressed to the earth.
R.    Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.

AlleluiaMT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 1:40-45

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Saint January 16 : St. Berard of Carbio a Franciscan Friar Minor and of the 1st Martyrs of the Friars in Morocco


St. Berard of Carbio

Carbio, Umbria, Italy
16 January 1220, Morocco
1481, Rome by Pope Sixtus IV
Of the noble family of Leopardi, and a native of Carbio in Umbria, Berard was received into the Franciscan Order by the Seraphic Patriarch  himself, in 1213. He was well versed in Arabic, an eloquent preacher, and was chosen by St. Francis, together with two other priests, Peter and Otho, and two lay-brothers, Accursius and Adjutus, to evangelize the infidels of the East. On the conclusion of the Second General Chapter in 1219, St. Francis believed that the time had then come for the religious of his order to extend their apostolic labours beyond the Italian peninsula and Northern Europe; and, choosing for himself and twelve other religious the greater part of Syria and Egypt, he allotted to Berard and his companions the missions of Morocco. The five missionaries set sail from Italy, and after sojourning some time in Spain and Portugal finally arrived in the Kingdom of Morocco. Their open preaching of the Gospel there and their bold denunciation of the religion of Mahomet soon caused them to be apprehended and cast into prison. Having vainly endeavoured to persuade them to abandon the true religion, the Moorish king in a fit of rage opened their heads with his scimitar, and thus were offered to God the first fruits of the blood of the Friars Minor. Berard and his companions were canonized by Sixtus V, in 1481. The feast of the martyrs of Morocco is kept in the order on the 16th of January.
SOURCE: Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis explains "...the Spirit revives in each of us the call to be courageous and joyful evangelizers." Full Text at Audience


Paul VI Hall
Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles: 20. "Paul welcomed all those who came to him, announcing the kingdom of God ... with all frankness and without impediment" (Acts 28,30-31). Paul's imprisonment in Rome and the fruitfulness of the announcement.

Dear brothers and sisters!

Today we conclude the catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, with the last missionary stage of Saint Paul: that is, Rome (cf Acts 28.14).
Paul's journey, which was one with that of the Gospel, is the proof that the routes of men, if lived in faith, can become a transit space for the salvation of God, through the Word of faith which is ferment active in history, capable of transforming situations and opening ever new paths.

With Paul's arrival in the heart of the Empire, the story of the Acts of the Apostles ends, which does not end with Paul's martyrdom, but with the abundant sowing of the Word. The end of Luke's story, centered on the journey of the Gospel in the world, contains and summarizes all the dynamism of the Word of God, an unstoppable Word that wants to run to communicate salvation to all.

In Rome, Paul first of all meets his brothers in Christ, who welcome him and instill courage in him (cf. Ac 28:15) and whose warm hospitality suggests how much his arrival was expected and desired. Then he was allowed to live on his own under military custody, that is, with a soldier who was guarding him, he was under house arrest. In spite of his prisoner condition, Paul can meet the Jewish notables to explain why he was forced to appeal to Caesar and to talk to them about the kingdom of God. He tries to convince them about Jesus, starting from the Scriptures and showing the continuity between the newness of Christ and the "hope of Israel" (Acts 28.20). Paul recognizes himself deeply Jewish and sees in the Gospel that he preaches, that is, in the proclamation of the dead and risen Christ, the fulfillment of the promises made to the chosen people.

After this first informal meeting which finds the Jews well disposed, a more official one follows during which, for a whole day, Paul announces the kingdom of God and tries to open his interlocutors to faith in Jesus, starting from "the law of Moses and the Prophets "(Ac 28,23). Since not everyone is convinced, he denounces the hardening of the heart of the people of God, the cause of his condemnation (cf. Is 6,9-10), and celebrates with passion the salvation of the nations that show themselves sensitive to God and capable of listen to the Word of the Gospel of life (cf Acts 28,28).

At this point in the narrative, Luke concludes his work by showing us not the death of Paul but the dynamism of his sermon, of a Word that "is not chained" (2Tm 2,9) - Paul does not have the freedom to move but is free to speak because the Word is not chained - it is a Word ready to be sown with full hands by the Apostle. Paul does it "with all frankness and without impediment" (Ac 28,31), in a house where he welcomes those who want to receive the announcement of the kingdom of God and know Christ. This house open to all hearts in search is an image of the Church which, although persecuted, misunderstood and chained, never tires of welcoming every man and woman with a motherly heart to announce to them the love of the Father who made himself visible in Jesus .

Dear brothers and sisters, at the end of this journey, lived together following the race of the Gospel in the world, the Spirit revives in each of us the call to be courageous and joyful evangelizers. Make us, like Paul, capable of impregnating our houses with the Gospel and making them cenacles of fraternity, where we can welcome the living Christ, who "comes to meet us in every man and at all times" (cf. II Preface of Advent).
Greetings in Various Languages:
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier les jeunes venus de Lyon. Avec Paul, nous sommes invités à imprégner nos maisons de l’Evangile et à les transformer en cénacles de fraternité. Que l’esprit Saint ravive en chacun de nous l’appel à être des évangélisateurs courageux et joyeux. Que Dieu vous bénisse !
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from Finland and the United States of America. Upon you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you!
Herzlich grüße ich die Pilger deutscher Sprache. Die Reise des Wortes Gottes geht weiter – auch in unseren Tagen. Der Herr beruft uns als Zeugen trotz unserer Begrenztheit. Der Heilige Geist begleite euch.
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española venidos de España y Latinoamérica —a los paraguayos, uruguayos, nicaragüenses, argentinos, españoles—. Pidamos al Espíritu Santo que estimule en todos nosotros la llamada a ser evangelizadores valientes y decididos para que, como san Pablo, vivamos la alegría del Evangelio y convirtamos nuestros hogares en cenáculos de fraternidad abiertos a todos los hermanos. Que Dios los bendiga.
De coração, saúdo os peregrinos brasileiros da paróquia de Nossa Senhora da Salete, os grupos de salesianos de São Paulo e de focolares e todos os presentes de língua portuguesa. Sede bem-vindos! Que nada vos impeça de viver e crescer na amizade do Senhor Jesus, e testemunhar a todos a sua grande bondade e misericórdia! Desça generosamente a sua Bênção sobre vós e vossas famílias.
[From the bottom of my heart, I greet the Brazilian pilgrims from the parish of Our Lady of La Salette, the groups of the Salesians of San Paolo and the Focolare, and all those present in Portuguese. Welcome! Nothing prevents you from living and growing in the friendship of the Lord Jesus, and to testify to all of his great goodness and mercy! Let his blessing descend generously on you and your families.]
أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربية، وخاصةً بالقادمينَ منالشرق الأوسط. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، إنَّ فرح الإنجيل ينبعث من اللقاء بيسوع، لأننا عندما نلتقي بالرب يغمرنا ذلك الحب الذي وحده الله قادر على منحنا إياه، وهنا يكمن مصدر كل عمل البشارة. فلا يوقفنَّن إذًا الخوف بأن نخطئ أو أن نسير على دروب جديدة لأنّ ضعفنا ليس حاجزًا بل أداة ثمينة لأن نعمة الله تحب أن تظهر في ضعفنا. ليبارككُم الرب!
[I cordially welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from the Middle East! Dear brothers and sisters, the joy of the Gospel comes from the encounter with Jesus. It is when we meet the Lord that we are flooded with that love of which he alone is capable, and therein lies the source of evangelizing action. So let us not be afraid of making mistakes and fear of taking new paths, because our poverty is not an obstacle, but a precious tool, because the grace of God loves to manifest himself in weakness. The Lord bless you!]
Serdecznie pozdrawiam polskich pielgrzymów. Drodzy bracia i siostry, niech Duch ożywi w każdym z was powołanie do bycia odważnymi i radosnymi ewangelizatorami. Niech was uzdolni do nasycenia naszych domów Ewangelią i uczynienia ich wieczernikami braterstwa, abyście mogli przyjąć Chrystusa żywego, który przychodzi do nas w każdym człowieku i w każdym czasie. Z serca wam błogosławię!
[I cordially greet the Polish pilgrims. Dear brothers and sisters, the Spirit revives in each of you the call to be courageous and joyful evangelizers. Make you capable of impregnating your homes with the Gospel and making them cenacles of fraternity, where you can welcome the living Christ, who comes to meet us in every man and in every age. I bless you from my heart!]

* * *
I cordially welcome the Italian-speaking pilgrims. In particular, I greet the Franciscan Alcantarine Sisters - these nuns make noise! -, who celebrate their General Chapter, and I encourage them to put their charism ever more at the service of the Church. I also greet the Prayer Group Padre Pio of Pariana, San Carlo Terme and Antona; the participants in the meeting promoted by BMW Italy; the Italian Ophthalmological Society; and the Kim Association.

Lastly, I greet the young, the elderly, the sick and the newlyweds. Open your heart to the needs of the Church, and, following the example of Jesus, stay close to the brothers, building a more just world.
Full Text + Image Source: - UnOfficial Translation

BREAKING Diocese of Brooklyn releases Video of Man Desecrating Altar During Mass after Priest says “I pray for this person..."

Diocese of Brooklyn Release: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn is releasing the video of a heinous act of religious intolerance which occurred this past weekend, on Sunday, January 12, 2020, during the 9:30 a.m. Mass at St. Anthony of Padua, located at 862 Manhattan Avenue in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.
 The attached video shows a man walking onto the church altar as Father Jossy Vattothu is celebrating the Mass. The perpetrator poured juice on the altar, desecrating the altar and interrupting the Mass. He also tossed some juice at the priest, staining his garments. The NYPD’s 94th Precinct responded quickly and the suspect, who was detained by church attendees, was arrested.
“During my years as a priest, nothing like this has ever happened. At first, as he approached the altar, I thought he had something to tell me. It is a miracle that the bread and wine were not damaged, and I was able to continue the Mass, consecrating the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ,” said Father Jossy Vattothu.
“It’s really egregious that somebody would do that at the most sacred part of the Catholic Mass, which is the consecration. I think right now, people are scared given the current environment of anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic incidents. People are afraid to go to their house of worship,” said Monsignor Anthony Hernandez, Chancellor of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
 “I pray for this person and do not know what was going through his mind. I am grateful for the parishioners who were so caring and consoled me after Mass.  I would urge Catholics who attend mass to sit closer to the altar so that we as a faith community can be more together and make the priest feel more comfortable,” continued Father Vattothu.
 Father Jossy Vattothu recently celebrated his 10th year as a priest. He is a priest of the religious order of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate assigned to the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Protests in Iran Continue after Airplane Crash revealed to be Caused by Missile

AsiaNews report: Tehran, fifth day of protests (and first arrests) for the shooting down of the Ukrainian plane
Citizens anger at authorities admission of responsibility, after days of denials. A video would show two, not one, missiles launched by the Iranians against the aircraft. Rouhani: the culprits of the "tragic event" will be punished, the government is "responsible" for the victims.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - In Iran, appeals and messages are multiplying online and on the main social media networks, inviting citizens to take to the streets - for the fifth consecutive day - to protest against the shooting down of the Ukrainian airliner. The first admissions of responsibility by the authorities also contributed to unleashing the anger of the citizens, confirming that they had "accidentally" shot down the plane after days of categorical denials.

"We are coming to the streets" reads an online post, which invites citizens of the whole nation to demonstrate against "a corrupt government and thieves". Another message summons the population of Hamedan to take to the streets. University students are on the front line, while the authorities continue to deny videos and images on the internet that would show a violent repression of the demonstrations, including the use of bullets and firearms.

The aircraft crashed on the night of maximum tension (January 8) between the Islamic Republic and the United States, when Tehran launched a missile attack against US targets in Iraq in response to the killing of General Qasem Soleimani, head of the Qods Force. And according to images verified and published by the New York Times, there were two, and not one, rockets fired - 30 seconds apart - by the Iranian military against the scheduled flight.

The rockets, report the US newspaper, were fired from a base of the Islamic Republic about 12 km away from the aircraft. This new video would also explain why the vehicle's transponder stopped working before being hit by the second missile, thus causing the death of all 170 people on board, mostly Iranian and Canadian citizens.

Meanwhile, the Iranian government has admitted the first responsibilities and promised that those responsible for the affair will be brought to justice. The first arrests took place yesterday morning, as confirmed by the spokesperson for the judiciary in Tehran Gholamhossein Esmaili. "There have been thorough investigations - he stressed - and some people have been arrested". According to the BBC, among the arrested there is also the person who released the first video circulated in recent days that proved the plane was hit by a rocket.

Lastly, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also intervened yesterday and in a speech on TV he promised to punish the guilty, adding that the "tragic event" will be investigated. "It is - he said - an unforgivable mistake and there cannot be a single person responsible" for what happened, adding that the government "is responsible towards the Iranian nation and the other nations that mourn the victims of the accident".
Full Text Source: AsiaNewsIT