Monday, January 6, 2020

Saint January 7 : St. Raymond of Penyafort a Dominican and the Patron of Lawyers and Canon Law




Born:1175 at Penafort, Catalonia, Spain
Died:6 January 1275 at Barcelona, Spain
Canonized: 29 April 1601 by Pope Clement VIII
Patron of:
canon lawyers, lawyers

Born at Villafranca de Benadis, near Barcelona, in 1175; died at Barcelona, 6 January, 1275. He became professor of canon law in 1195, and taught for fifteen years. He left Spain for Bologna in 1210 to complete his studies in canon law. He occupied a chair of canon law in the university for three years and published a treatise on ecclesiastical legislation which still exists in the Vatican Library. Raymond was attracted to the Dominican Order by the preaching of Blessed Reginald, prior of the Dominicans of Bologna, and received the habit in the Dominican Convent of Barcelona, whither he had returned from Italy in 1222.
At Barcelona he was co-founder with St. Peter Nolasco of the Order of Mercedarians. He also founded institutes at Barcelona and Tunis for the study of Oriental languages, to convert the Moors and Jews. Once he went with King James to the Island of Majorca to preach about Jesus. The Saint commanded the King to send a woman away. The King said he would, but he did not keep his promise. So St. Raymond decided to leave the Island. The King declared he would punish any ship captain who brought the Saint back to Barcelona. Then, Saint Raymond spread his cloak upon the water, tied up one corner of it to a stick for a sail, made the Sign of the Cross, stepped onto the cloak, and sailed along for six hours until he reached Barcelona. This miracle moved the King. He was sorry for what he had done, and he became a true follower of St. Raymond.
St. Raymond was one hundred years old at the time of his death. At the request of his superiors Raymond published the Summa Casuum, of which several editions appeared in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In 1229 Raymond was appointed theologian and penitentiary to the Cardinal Archbishop of Sabina, John of Abbeville, and was summoned to Rome in 1230 by Gregory IX, who appointed him chaplain and grand penitentiary.
 The reputation of the saint for juridical science decided the pope to employ Raymond of Peñafort's talents in re-arranging and codifying the canons of the Church. He had to rewrite and condense decrees that had been multiplying for centuries, and which were contained in some twelve or fourteen collections already existing. We learn from a Bull of Gregory IX to the Universities of Paris and Bologna that many of the decrees in the collections were but repetitions of ones issued before, many contradicted what had been determined in previous decrees, and many on account of their great length led to endless confusion, while others had never been embodied in any collection and were of uncertain authority. The pope announced the new publication in a Bull directed to the doctors and students of Paris and Bologna in 1231, and commanded that the work of St. Raymond alone should be considered authoritative, and should alone be used in the schools. When Raymond completed his work the pope appointed him Archbishop of Tarragona, but the saint declined the honour. Having edited the Decretals he returned to Spain. He was not allowed to remain long in seclusion, as he was elected General of the Order in 1238; but he resigned two years later. During his tenure of office he published a revised edition of the Dominican Constitutions, and it was at his request that St. Thomas wrote the Summa Contra Gentiles. St. Raymond was canonized by Clement VIII in 1601. His Summa de Poenitentia et Matrimonio is said to be the first work of its kind. His feast is 23 January. Edited from The Catholic Encyclopedia

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Saint January 6 : Saint Charles of Sezze, O.F.M. who “By word and example he recalled in all the need of pursuing only that which is eternal”


Saint Charles of Sezze's body is incorrupt (pic above).
Charles thought that God was calling him to be a missionary in India, but he never got there. God had something better for this 17th-century successor to Brother Juniper.

Born in Sezze, southeast of Rome, Charles was inspired by the lives of Salvator Horta and Paschal Baylon to become a Franciscan; he did that in 1635. Charles tells us in his autobiography, “Our Lord put in my heart a determination to become a lay brother with a great desire to be poor and to beg alms for his love.”

Charles served as cook, porter, sacristan, gardener and beggar at various friaries in Italy. In some ways, he was “an accident waiting to happen.” He once started a huge fire in the kitchen when the oil in which he was frying onions burst into flames.

One story shows how thoroughly Charles adopted the spirit of Saint Francis. The superior ordered Charles—then porter—to give food only to traveling friars who came to the door. Charles obeyed this direction; simultaneously the alms to the friars decreased. Charles convinced the superior the two facts were related. When the friars resumed giving goods to all who asked at the door, alms to the friars increased also.

At the direction of his confessor, Charles wrote his autobiography, The Grandeurs of the Mercies of God. He also wrote several other spiritual books. He made good use of his various spiritual directors throughout the years; they helped him discern which of Charles’ ideas or ambitions were from God. Charles himself was sought out for spiritual advice. The dying Pope Clement IX called Charles to his bedside for a blessing.

Charles had a firm sense of God’s providence. Father Severino Gori has said, “By word and example he recalled in all the need of pursuing only that which is eternal” (Leonard Perotti, St. Charles of Sezze: An Autobiography, page 215).

He died at San Francesco a Ripa in Rome and was buried there. Pope John XXIII canonized him in 1959.
Source:https://www.franciscanmedia.org/

Pope Francis says "As we begin the New Year, may we discover anew that faith demands worship...Worship means putting the Lord at the centre..." at Epiphany Mass - Full Text



SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD 
PAPAL MASS
HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS
Vatican Basilica
Monday, 6 January 2020

In the Gospel (Mt 2:1-12), we heard the Magi begin by stating the reason why they have come: “We have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him” (v. 2). Worship is the end and goal of their journey. Indeed, when they arrived in Bethlehem, “they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him” (v. 11). Once we lose the sense of worship, we lose our direction in the Christian life, which is a journey towards the Lord, not towards ourselves. The Gospel warns us about this risk, for alongside the Magi it presents others who are incapable of worship.
First of all, there is King Herod, who uses the word worship, but only to deceive. He asks the Magi to tell him where the child is to be found, “so that I too may come and adore him” (v. 8). The fact is that Herod worshiped only himself; that is why he wanted to rid himself of the child through a lie. What does this teach us? That when we do not worship God, we end up worshiping ourselves. So too, the Christian life, when it fails to worship the Lord, can become a discreet way of affirming ourselves and our own abilities: Christians who do not know how to worship, who do not know how to pray by worshiping. This is a grave risk: we use God instead of serving him. How many times have we confused the interests of the Gospel with our own? How many times have we cloaked in religiosity the things we find convenient? How many times have we confused God’s power, which is for serving others, with power of this world, which is for serving ourselves!
In addition to Herod, other people in the Gospel are incapable of worship: they are the chief priests and the scribes. They tell Herod with great precision where the Messiah is to be born: in Bethlehem of Judea (cf. v. 5). They know the prophecies and can quote them exactly. They know where to go – they are great theologians, great! – but they do not go there. Here too we can draw a lesson. In the Christian life, it is not enough to be knowledgeable: unless we step out of ourselves, unless we encounter others and worship, we cannot know God. Theology and pastoral effectiveness mean little or nothing unless we bend the knee; unless we kneel down like the Magi, who were not only knowledgeable about planning a journey, but also capable of setting out and bowing down in worship. Once we worship, we come to realize that faith is not simply a set of fine doctrines, but a relationship with a living Person whom we are called to love. It is in encountering Jesus face to face that we come to see him as he is. Through worship, we discover that the Christian life is a love story with God, where what really matters is not our fine ideas but our ability to make him the centre of our lives, as lovers do with those whom they love. This is what the Church ought to be, a worshiper in love with Jesus her spouse.
As we begin the New Year, may we discover anew that faith demands worship. If we can fall on our knees before Jesus, we will overcome the temptation to set off on our own path. For worship involves making an exodus from the greatest form of bondage: slavery to oneself. Worship means putting the Lord at the centre, not ourselves. It is means giving things their rightful place, and giving the first place to God. Worship means making God’s plan more important than our personal time, our entitlements and our spaces. It is to accept the teaching of Scripture: “You shall worship the Lord your God” (Mt 4:10). Your God: worship means realizing that you and God belong together to one another. It means being able to speak to him freely and intimately. It means bringing our lives to him and letting him enter into them. It means letting his consolation come down to earth. Worship means discovering that, in order to pray, it is enough to say: “My Lord and my God!”, and to let ourselves be pervaded by his tender love.
Worship means going to Jesus without a list of petitions, but with one request alone: to abide with him. It is about discovering that joy and peace increase with praise and thanksgiving. In worship, we allow Jesus to heal and change us. In worship, we make it possible for the Lord to transform us by his love, to kindle light amid our darkness, to grant us strength in weakness and courage amid trials. Worship means concentrating on what is essential: ridding ourselves of useless things and addictions that anaesthetize the heart and confound the mind. In worship, we learn to reject what should not be worshiped: the god of money, the god of consumerism, the god of pleasure, the god of success, the god of self. Worship means bending low before the Most High and to discover in his presence that life’s greatness does not consist in having, but in loving. Worship means recognizing that we are all brothers and sisters before the mystery of a love that bridges every distance: it is to encounter goodness at the source; it is to find in the God of closeness the courage to draw near to others. Worship means knowing how to be silent in the presence of the divine Word, and learning to use words that do not wound but console.
Worship is an act of love that changes our lives. It is to do what the Magi did. To bring gold to the Lord and to tell him that nothing is more precious than he is. To offer him incense and to tell him that only in union with him can our lives rise up to heaven. To present him with myrrh, balm for the bruised and wounded, and to promise him that we will aid our marginalized and suffering neighbours, in whom he himself is present. We usually know how to pray – we ask the Lord, we thank him – but the Church must move forward in her prayer of worship; we must grow in worshiping. This is wisdom that we must learn each day. Praying by worshiping: the prayer of worship.
Dear brothers and sisters, today each one of us can ask: “Am I a Christian who worships?” Many Christians pray but they do not worship. Let us ask ourselves this question: Do we find time for worship in our daily schedules and do we make room for worship in our communities? It is up to us, as a Church, to put into practice the words we prayed in today’s Psalm: “All the peoples on earth will worship you, O Lord”. In worshiping, we too will discover, like the Magi, the meaning of our journey. And like the Magi, we too will experience “a great joy” (Mt2:10). 
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va - Official Translation

What is the Epiphany - A visit of 3 Kings to Baby Jesus - with Novena Prayers + House Blessing CMB to Share!

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese, 
Visit of the Magi to be baby Jesus
The Solemn Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord, one of the oldest Christian feats, traditionally occurs on January 6, following the 12 days of Christmas.
Epiphany marks the end of the Christmas season for the Western Church and commemorates three important scriptural events.
These are the visit of the Magi to the stable in Bethlehem following the Nativity of Jesus, the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan and the celebration of Christ's first miracle at the wedding feast of Cana many years later.
Although all three are events that are remembered and celebrated by Christians, it is the three kings, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, and their arrival from the East bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the infant Christ that are most closely associated with Epiphany in the Western Church.
In the story, so beloved by children and Catholics everywhere, after seeing the brilliant star in the night sky announcing the birth of the Messiah, the three wise men or Magi, followed the star which took them to Bethlehem. There they visited King Herod of Judea seeking information on where to find the new born king. Not having heard of the arrival of the baby Jesus, and fearing the infant would be a threat to his position as king, Herod instructed the three wise men to seek out the location of the Christ-child and return, to let him know where he was, so that Herod could visit and take him gifts as well. The Magi found the infant Jesus and paid tribute to the greatest of all Kings as he lay in his crib in a humble stable but they did not return to reveal his whereabouts to Herod. Instead directed by God in a dream, they returned home by another route.
With no information about the whereabouts of the Messiah, Herod proceeded to have his troops slaughter all infants under the age of two to remove the possible threat to his throne. But as we know, the baby Jesus escaped Herod's murderous intentions.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, January 6 is celebrated as the Nativity of Christ and instead of three kings, the Magi are depicted as 12 in number. But for Western Christians, the Magi are only three in number with each representing one of the world's three main races - African, Asian and European.
Until the Magi's arrival all characters in the Christmas story are Jewish but with the arrival of three Kings, we have the first indication that Jesus and his message are universal and that Christ arrived on earth to preach to the whole world.
Although when most people talk about the 12 days of Christmas the English song of a partridge in a pear tree usually springs to mind. But it is the Feast of Epiphany that the 12th day after Christmas that resonates with Christians and is observed across the world.
The earliest reference to Epiphany (from a Greek verb meaning "to manifest") occurred sometime around 354 AD when the Western Church separated the celebration of the Nativity of Christ as the feast of Christmas and reserved January 6 as the commemoration of the manifestation of Christ, especially to the Magi, as well as his baptism and miracle at the wedding feast of Cana which Ammianus Marcellinus St Epiphanius declared in 361 AD occurred on the same date.
On the Feast of the Epiphany priests wear white vestments. In many countries the Feast is extended from one day to eight days in what is known as the Octave of Epiphany which begins on January 6 and ends on January 13.
In countries, such as Australia, and Canada, where the Feast of the Epiphany is not regarded as a Holy Day of Obligation, the date of Epiphany varies slightly from year to year and is always celebrated on the first Sunday between that falls between January 2 and January 8.
(SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY)

CMB House Blessing:
Epiphany means to manifest. Pious customs among Christians have placed the letters (using chalk) 20CMB20 and the year above door posts relating to the blood on the door posts of the Old Testament. CMB means "Christus Mansionem Benedicat" in Latin - May Christ bless this dwelling place. CMB also stand for the 3 Magi Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar.  (Image share from Fr. Trigillio Jr.) 
SEE ALSO: 

How to Bless your Home for Epiphany

https://www.catholicnewsworld.com/2020/01/how-to-bless-your-home-for-epiphany-cmb.html


Novena to the Magi for the Epiphany

DAY 1:
O holy Magi! You were living in continual expectation of the rising of the Star of Jacob, which would announce the birth of the true Sun of justice; obtain for us an increase of faith and charity, and the grace to live in continual hope of beholding one day the light of heavenly glory and eternal joy. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.
DAY 2:
O holy Magi! who at the first appearance of the wondrous star left your native country to go and seek the newborn King of the Jews; obtain for us the grace of corresponding with alacrity to every divine inspiration. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. 
DAY 3:
O holy Magi! who regarded neither the severity of the season, nor the inconveniences of the journey that you might find the newborn Messiah; obtain for us the grace not to allow ourselves to be discouraged by any of the difficulties which may meet us on the way of salvation. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. 
DAY 4:
O holy Magi, who, when deserted by the star in the city of Jerusalem, sought humbly, and without human respect, from the rulers of the Church, the place where you might discover the object of your journey; obtain for us grace to have recourse, in faith and humility, in all our doubts and perplexities to the counsel of our superiors, who hold the place of God on earth. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. 
DAY 5:
O holy Magi, who were gladdened by the reappearance of the star which led you to Bethlehem; obtain for us from God the grace, that, remaining always faithful to Him in afflictions, we may be consoled in time by His grace, and in eternity by His glory. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.
DAY 6:
O holy Magi, who, entering full of faith into the stable of Bethlehem, prostrated yourselves on the earth, to adore the newborn King of the Jews, though he was surrounded only by signs of poverty and weakness; obtain from the Lord for us a lively faith in the real presence of Jesus in the blessed Sacrament, the true spirit of poverty, and a Christ-like charity for the poor and suffering. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. 
DAY 7:
O holy Magi, who offered to Jesus Christ gold, incense, and myrrh, thereby recognizing Him to be at once King, God, and Man; obtain from the Lord for us the grace never to present ourselves before Him with empty hands; but that we may continually offer to Him the gold of charity, the incense of prayer, and the myrrh of penance and mortification. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.
DAY 8:
O holy Magi, who, when warned by an angel not to return to Herd, traveled back to your country be another road; obtain for us from the Lord, the grace that, after having found Him in true repentance, we may avoid all danger of losing Him again. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.
DAY 9:
O holy Magi, who were first among the Gentiles called to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and who persevered in the faith till your deaths, obtain for us of the Lord the grace of living always in conformity to our baptismal vows, ever leading to a life of faith; that like you we may attain to the beatific vision of that God Who now is the object of our faith. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

SEE ALSO:

Free Epiphany Movie : The 4th Wise Man - Stars Martin Sheen

https://www.catholicnewsworld.com/2020/01/epiphany-movie-4th-wise-man-stars.html

Free RECIPE FOR 3 KINGS https://www.catholicnewsworld.com/2020/01/3-kings-cake-recipe-for-epiphany.html

#BreakingNews Nativity set on Fire at Catholic Church in Germany and entire Church interior Damaged with Smoke


As the police announced on Thursday (02.01.2020), fire was lit in several places in the Catholic Church of the Holy Spirit on New Year's Eve (01.01.2020). A bookshelf and the community's nativity scene were completely destroyed.   Arson in church of the Archdiocese of Cologne - heavy sooting of the church Ratingen (kath.net) A Christmas crib and a bookcase had burned, the Holy Spirit Church (Heilig-Geist-Kirche )in Ratingen (Archdiocese of Cologne) is covered with a thick layer of soot. A sacristan discovered this on New Year's morning. The police suspect arson. The WDR reported. Fortunately, the fires went out on their own. There was no damage to the building structure of the church, but the soot caused considerable damage to property, according to initial estimates at least 10,000 euros. According to the "Rheinische Post" the community will probably not be able to use their church for weeks.
Source: https://www1.wdr.de/nachrichten/rheinland/krippe-kirche-ratingen-feuer-100.html

Pope Francis says "We celebrate the solemnity of the Epiphany, in memory of the Magi who came from the East to Bethlehem, following the star, to visit the newborn Messiah..." Full Text


SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD

POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

St. Peter's Square
Monday, January 6, 2020

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

We celebrate the solemnity of the Epiphany, in memory of the Magi who came from the East to Bethlehem, following the star, to visit the newborn Messiah. At the end of the Gospel story, the Magi are said to have been "warned in a dream not to return to Herod, by another way they returned to their country" (v. 12). For another way.

These wise people, coming from distant regions, after traveling a lot, find the one who wished to know, after having searched for him for a long time, certainly also with hardships and vicissitudes. And when they finally reach their goal, they prostrate themselves before the Child, adore him, offer him their precious gifts. After which they set off again without delay to return to their land. But that meeting with the Child changed them.

The encounter with Jesus does not hold back the Magi, on the contrary, it infuses them with a new push to return to their country, to tell what they have seen and the joy they have felt. In this there is a demonstration of the style of God, of his way of manifesting himself in history. The experience of God does not block us, but frees us; it does not imprison us, but puts us back on the road, returns us to the usual places of our existence. The places are and will be the same, but we, after the encounter with Jesus, are not the same as before. The encounter with Jesus changes us, transforms us. Matthew the evangelist stresses that the Magi returned "by another way" (v. 12). They are led to change direction by the angel's warning, so as not to run into Herod and his plots of power.

Each experience of meeting with Jesus leads us to take different paths, because from him comes a good force that heals the heart and detaches us from evil.

There is a wise dynamic between continuity and novelty: you return "to your country", but "by another way". This indicates that it is we who have to change, to transform our way of life even in the usual environment, to change the criteria for judging the reality around us. Here is the difference between the true God and the treacherous idols, such as money, power, success ...; between God and those who promise to give you these idols, like magicians, fortune tellers, sorcerers. The difference is that idols bind us to themselves, make us idol-dependent, and we take possession of them. The true God neither holds us back nor lets himself be held back by us: he opens up ways of novelty and freedom, because He is the Father who is always with us to make us grow. If you meet Jesus, if you have a spiritual encounter with Jesus, remember: you must go back to the same places as always, but in another way, with another style. It is so, it is the Holy Spirit, which Jesus gives us, which changes our heart.

We ask the Holy Virgin that we can become witnesses of Christ where we are, with a new life transformed by his love.

After the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters,

I address a special thought to the brothers of the Eastern, Catholic and Orthodox Churches, many of whom celebrate the Lord's Christmas tomorrow. For them and their communities we wish the light and peace of Christ the Savior. We applaud our Orthodox and Catholic brothers from the Eastern Churches.

World Missionary Childhood Day is celebrated on Epiphany. It is the feast of missionary children and young people who live the universal call to holiness by helping their peers in need, through prayer and sharing gestures. Let us pray for them.

I extend my cordial welcome to all of you, Romans and pilgrims. Among these, I greet in particular those who came from South Korea and the students of the Franciscan Institute "Siena College" in New York; as well as the missionary group of Biassono and the faithful of Ferrara.

A special greeting goes to all those who give life to the historical-folkloric procession, inspired by the traditions of the Epiphany and dedicated this year to the territory of Allumiere and the Mignone Valley. And I also extend it to the procession of the Magi in numerous cities and villages in Poland. I like to greet many popular expressions related to today's festival - I think of Spain, Latin America, Germany - customs that must be kept in their genuine Christian meaning.

I wish you all a happy feast. And please don't forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!
Full Text Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation

Catholic Cardinal Sako, Chaldean Patriarch's message "We implore the Almighty God to grant Iraq and the region a peaceful, stable, secure and “normal life” Full Text


Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako
Patriarch of the Chaldean Church
Iraqis are still in shock of what happened last week. They have fears of having Iraq turned to a battleground, rather than being a sovereignty homeland, capable of protecting its citizens and wealth.
In such critical and tense circumstances, it is wise to hold a round table meeting for all the parties concerned to have a reasonable and civilized dialogue that spares Iraq the unexpected consequences.
We implore the Almighty God to grant Iraq and the region a peaceful, stable, secure and “normal life” that we are longing for.

Isn’t it Time to Form a Single Political Grouping for the Christians of Iraq?

Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako

It is a question came up after deep thinking of the Iraqi current situation, it is extended from the ideology that an individual or group life is made up of thoughts, presented by clear conscience and morality that adds up all its benefits to many affected Christians.

From this standpoint, I direct some ideas to the Iraqi Christian in Iraq and abroad, in light of the unstable events that Iraq is experiencing, and the New Year 2020 hoping that this message finds its way to the listening ears and good will to unify them.

The Christian citizens are known for their ability to integrate completely through out history, and it is not surprising that their roots are solid on this blessed earth since before and after Christianity.  They are considered the oldest Christian civilization in the world, Their Christianity dates to the end of the first century and the beginning of the second century AD.  Sadly, since 2003, Iraq has seen many changes, and Iraqi Christians have lost many great opportunities to enjoy it.  Today, there stands a big challenge in front of them: How to keep Christians in Iraq while achieving dignity for them, and enhancing their presence and role, especially as Iraq is approaching early elections?

I ask our Christians, especially the elite of them: Is it not time for them to think carefully about reviewing themselves, and take responsibility for their reunification, as they face fateful challenges represented by a number of factors from: a decrease in the number due to emigration and marginalization in employment, and weak political representation due to the kidnapping of the quota, and the dispersion of the Chaldean, Syriac and Assyrian parties, and changing the demographics of their historical regions, the unjust legislations against them, and others, to the importance of amending the constitution and reforming personal status laws. It is essential for their survival and historical continuation.

The question remains in the soul: Wonder Why do you see the Christian parties remain at the mercy of the major parties that capture the votes of Christians and make them without real representation and a unified political leadership that defends them?

More than one observer believes that there is an excellent opportunity for Christians to think of forming a single political alliance that includes all parties, intellectual elites, specialties and abilities, especially young people. We have prominent specialists and academics in law, politics, sociology, economics, and media, rather than the dispersal and splitting of Christian and national parties vertically and consensually, and for the lack of “Front Face” each party claims supremacy.

Perhaps it is now necessary, before it is too late, to think and plan a unified Christian strategy, from which a document will be produced, to which everyone will adhere under a name such as “The Christian Parties Group”, or the Christian Alliance or under whatever name they agree on, existing parties, elites and talents are involved. The more diverse parties, allied to challenges, under common names … and such an alliance gives a strong impetus to Christians in decision-making circles. They enter the elections of the Parliament of the Center and the Kurdistan Region with one well-studied list of competencies that have a clear and frank national and Christian breath, known for their integrity and courage, who are at the level of national and Christian responsibility, and prepare a paper of their demands and rights..

Why the Christian name? Because, frankly, for various reasons and there is no room for digging into it, all attempts to unite Christians in designating a single nationalism that is acceptable to all have failed. The complex designation is unsuccessful and does not unite us. Rather, it is worth leaving our differences, and each one to follow his own nationality, traditions and church: Chaldean, Syriac, Assyrian, and Armenian, and this is not a problem, but to have awareness and seriousness in his affiliation and openness to unification and teamwork, and take responsibility for Iraq and Christians.

The priorities in the Central and the Kurdistan region:

The national, civil and democratic state is the primary standard for protecting citizens and ensuring equal rights for all through the constitution and laws. Therefore, it is necessary to form a committee of professionals in law and politics who know the legal aspects, to work with others on the tool for drafting the constitution and laws, in the Central and the Kurdistan region, and to establish the rights of Christians In the constitution, such as amending personal status laws relating to Christians such as engagement, marriage, alimony, invalidity of marriage, custody, inheritance, and others (Personal Status Law No. 188 of 1959), and fixing Christmas and Easter as holidays for all Iraqis, similar to tens of Muslim citizens holidays, especially given that some countries have endorsed a holiday official and most recently in Sudan!  Here, I refer to the ease of working with the Kurdish communities, which are all open. The distinction there is that the national side overwhelms its religious side.
Building educational curricula to consolidate national unity and properly incorporate our heritage into it as part of the Iraqi national heritage. For example, and not limited to, the Iraqi constitution of 2005 neglected our role in making a civilization between the two rivers and what our ancestors did in transferring knowledge and science to the Arabic language.
Changing the demographics of our regions and seizing lands. Here, we should focus on the towns of the Nineveh Plain. The future of Iraqi Christians passes through the Nineveh Plain.
Reducing migration by finding money in every way to build and develop basic facilities in our regions, creating job opportunities for the unemployed, and encouraging expatriates to invest or contribute to projects.
The need for independent media and institutions at home and abroad.
The formation of a team to follow up on the affairs of Christians in the state departments, because there is a major imbalance in the follow-up, and if not for our churches, our people and our rights would be lost! We must express our satisfaction with the directions that go in this regard from the three presidencies in the center and the region.
Strengthening relations with our Arab citizens, Kurds, Turkmen, Yazidis, and Mandaean Sabeans, developing and clarifying them, and seeking to agree with them on common constitutional concepts of the state and citizenship, and the place of indigenous minorities in the state and society, and preserving their rights equally through establishing a just civil state, a state of right and law.
Finally, on our part as a church, we are ready to support the achievement of such a comprehensive meeting if there are a sincere will and serious or sober people or people willing to hold it.

I wish you a blessed year, a year of peace, security and stability

Source: https://saint-adday.com/

Mexican Bishop's Message of Hope despite Evils that surround us ".. let's start with ourselves, with our family and community. As Jesus says, treat everyone well..."


Bishop Emeritus of San Cristóbal de las Casas


By: Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel | Source: Catholic.net

At the beginning of a new year, we all express our desires that we do well, that we have health and work, that there is happiness and that we enjoy life in peace. But are these only occasional words, or are there grounds for them to come true? It seems that they are empty words, since laments and worries prevail.

Presidential promises are not being reflected in everyday life. The economy does not grow as offered. Social security, despite changes in strategies and structures, does not improve, but we are exposed to gangs of criminals and extortionists who do not touch their hearts to impose their laws and kill those who do not support them. Communities that are fleeing violence and threats from these groups are being depopulated.

The country has broken down socially. We do not explain why we have reached this unfortunate situation, if we have many natural and human resources, if there are so many good and capable people, if we have history and values ​​... What happens is that the social base has been destroyed, which is the family. Our legislators are dominated by small groups that put their debauchery as a right, and are cowards to defend the family. If children grow up without parents to educate them by example, what can we expect! Everyone does what they want, regardless of the rights of others! We are reaping what has been sown. Therefore, it seems that the outlook for the new year is not encouraging.

And in our churches, we are not always very exemplary. I listen to complaints from parishioners who say they have turned away from religious practice because of the bad treatment of their pastors. They do not turn away for doctrinal reasons, but for the aggressive, cold, dry, indolent, moody ways of some priests, who seem to give more importance to the economic, than to evangelization. They say that, for that reason, there are those who change their religion.

THINK
About this, Pope Francis said in his homily on Christmas night:"On the nights of life, to us as to the shepherds, God tells us:" Do not fear "(Lk 2,10). Courage, don't lose confidence, don't lose hope, don't think that loving is wasted time! On this night, love overcame fear, a new hope appeared, the gentle light of God overcame the darkness of human arrogance. Humanity, God loves you, became man for you, you are no longer alone! ... Let us accept the gift that is Jesus, and then transform ourselves into a gift like Jesus. Becoming a gift is giving meaning to life and it is the best way to change the world: we change, the Church changes, history changes when we begin to not want to change others, but ourselves, making our life a gift .

Jesus tells us tonight. He did not change history by constraining someone or by force of words, but with the gift of his life. He did not wait for us to be good at loving us, but he gave himself to us for free. Nor can we expect others to change to do good, that the Church is perfect to love her, that others have consideration for us to serve them. Let's start ”(24-XII-2019).

In his letter Admirabile signum , he says: “Let's think about how many times the night involves our lives. Well, even in those moments, God does not leave us alone, but becomes present ... His proximity brings light where there is darkness and illuminates those who go through the darkness of suffering ” (No. 4).

In his Message for the Peace Day 2020, he states: "Hope is the virtue that sets us on track, gives us wings to move forward, even when the obstacles seem insurmountable" (No. 1).

ACT
If we want the country to change and there is peace, let's start with ourselves, with our family and community. As Jesus says, treat everyone well, even those who treat you badly. Do not settle for not harming others, but open your eyes and heart to do something for those who suffer more than you. Forgive from the heart who has harmed you. Educate your family in honest work, in respect for others, in sobriety and austerity, in the generous concern for the community. This new year, and every year, also depends on you and me. Cheer up and congratulations.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday, January 6, 2020 - #Eucharist

Monday After Epiphany
Lectionary: 212
Reading 11 JN 3:22–4:6
Beloved:
We receive from him whatever we ask,
because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this:
we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
and love one another just as he commanded us.
Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them,
and the way we know that he remains in us
is from the Spirit whom he gave us.
Beloved, do not trust every spirit
but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God,
because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
This is how you can know the Spirit of God:
every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh
belongs to God,
and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus
does not belong to God.
This is the spirit of the antichrist
who, as you heard, is to come,
but in fact is already in the world.
You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them,
for the one who is in you
is greater than the one who is in the world.
They belong to the world;
accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world,
and the world listens to them.
We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us,
while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us.
This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.

Responsorial PsalmPS 2:7BC-8, 10-12A

R. (8ab)  I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
The LORD said to me, “you are my Son;
this day I have begotten you.
Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession.”
R. I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
And now, O kings, give heed;
take warning, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him;
with trembling rejoice.
R. I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.

AlleluiaMT 4:23

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

GospelMT 4:12-17, 23-25

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness
have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.
His fame spread to all of Syria,
and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases
and racked with pain,
those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics,
and he cured them.
And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea,
and from beyond the Jordan followed him.