Monday, March 30, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - #Eucharist in Lent - Your Virtual Church


Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 252
Reading 1NM 21:4-9
From Mount Hor the children of Israel set out on the Red Sea road,
to bypass the land of Edom.
But with their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and Moses,
“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!”
In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents,
which bit the people so that many of them died.
Then the people came to Moses and said,
“We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.
Pray the LORD to take the serpents away from us.”
So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses,
“Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live.”
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole,
and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent
looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Responsorial Psalm102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21

R.    (2)  O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
O LORD, hear my prayer,
and let my cry come to you.
Hide not your face from me
in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;  
in the day when I call, answer me speedily.
R.    O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R.    O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.”
R.    O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.

Verse Before The Gospel

The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live forever.


GospelJN 8:21-30

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“I am going away and you will look for me,
but you will die in your sin.
Where I am going you cannot come.”
So the Jews said,
“He is not going to kill himself, is he,
because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?”
He said to them, “You belong to what is below,
I belong to what is above.
You belong to this world,
but I do not belong to this world.
That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.
For if you do not believe that I AM,
you will die in your sins.”
So they said to him, “Who are you?”
Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning.
I have much to say about you in condemnation.
But the one who sent me is true,
and what I heard from him I tell the world.”
They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.
So Jesus said to them,
“When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me.
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him.”
Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.
Prayer to make spiritual communion:

People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion.

At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it.

Saint March 31 : St. Benjamin : Martyr and Deacon of Persia


St. Benjamin
MARTYR, DEACON

Died:
424 in Persia Isdegerdes, son of Sapor III, who put a stop to the cruel persecution against the Christians in Persia, which had been begun by Sapor II, and the church had enjoyed twelve years' peace in that kingdom when, in 420, it was disturbed by the indiscreet zeal of one Abdas, a Christian bishop, who burned down the Pyraeum, or temple of fire, the great divinity of the Persians. King Isdegerdes threatened to demolish all the churches of the Christians unless he would rebuild it. Abdas had done ill in destroying the temple, but did well in refusing to rebuild it; for nothing can make it lawful to contribute to any act of idolatry, or to the building a temple, as Theodoret observes. Isdegerdes therefore demolished all the Christian churches in Persia, put to death Abdas, and raised a general persecution against the church, which continued forty years with great fury. Isdegerdes died the year following, in 421. But his son and successor, Varanes, carried on the persecution with greater inhumanity. The very description which Theodoret, a contemporary writer, and one that lived in the neighbourhood, gives of the cruelties he exercised on the Christians strikes us with horror: some were flayed alive in different parts of the body, and suffered all kinds of torture that could be invented: others, being stuck all over with sharp reeds, were hauled and rolled about in that condition; others were tormented divers other ways, such as nothing but the most hellish malice was capable of suggesting. Amongst these glorious champions of Christ was St. Benjamin, a deacon. The tyrant caused him to be beaten and imprisoned. He had lain a year in the dungeon when an ambassador from the emperor obtained his enlargement on condition he should never speak to any of the courtiers about religion.

The ambassador passed his word in his behalf that he would not; but Benjamin, who was a minister of the gospel, declared that he could not detain the truth in captivity, conscious to himself of the condemnation of the slothful servant for having hid his talent. He therefore neglected no opportunity of announcing Christ. The king, being informed that he still preached the faith in his kingdom, ordered him to be apprehended; but the martyr made no other reply to his threats than by putting this question to the king: What opinion he would have of any of his subjects who should renounce his allegiance to him, and join in war against him? The enraged tyrant caused reeds to be run in between the nails and the flesh both of his hands and feet, and the same to be thrust into other most tender parts, and drawn out again, and this to be frequently repeated with violence. He lastly ordered a knotty stake to be thrust into his bowels, to rend and tear them, in which torment he expired in the year 424. The Roman Martyrology places his name on the 31st of March.
St. Ephrem, considering the heroic constancy of the martyrs, makes on them the following pious reflections: "The wisdom of philosophers, and the eloquence of the greatest orators, are dumb through amazement, when they contemplate the wonderful spectacle and glorious actions of the martyrs: the tyrants and judges were not able to express their astonishment when they beheld the faith, the constancy, and the cheerfulness of these holy champions. What excuse shall we have in the dreadful day of judgment, if we, who have never been exposed to any cruel persecutions, or to the violence of such torments, shall have neglected the love of God and the care of a spiritual life? No temptations,  no torments, were able to draw them from that love which they bore to God; but we, living in rest and delights, refuse to love our most merciful and gracious Lord. What shall we do in that day of terror, when the martyrs of Christ, standing with confidence near his throne, shall show the marks of their wounds? What shall we then show? Shall we present a lively faith? true charity towards God? a perfect disengagement of our affections from earthly things? souls freed from the tyranny of the passions? silence and recollection? meekness? almsdeeds? prayers poured forth with clean hearts? compunction, watchings, tears? Happy shall he be whom such good works shall attend. He will be the partner of the martyrs, and, supported by the treasure of these virtues, shall appear with equal confidence before Christ and his angels." We entreat you, O most holy martyrs, who cheerfully suffered most cruel torments for God our Saviour and his love, on which account you are now most intimately and familiarly united to him, that you pray to the Lord for us miserable sinners, covered with filth, that he infuse into us the grace of Christ that it may enlighten our souls that we may love him, &c."
Edited from Butler's Lives of the Saints

At Mass, Pope Francis Prays those who are Frightened by the Pandemic saying "...pray, with confidence in the mercy of God, pray for forgiveness." Full Video


MORNING CELEBRATION BROADCAST LIVE
FROM THE CHAPEL OF CASA SANTA MARTA

HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS

"Trust in the mercy of God"

Monday, March 30, 2020

Introduction

We pray today for so many people who cannot react: they are frightened by this pandemic. May the Lord help them to stand up, to react for the good of all society, of the whole community.

Homily

In the responsorial psalm we prayed: “The Lord is my shepherd: I lack nothing. On grassy pastures it rests me, it leads me to calm waters, it refreshes my soul. He leads me on the right path because of his name. Even if I go to a dark valley, no bad weather because you are with me. Your staff and your bondage give me security "(Ps 23: 1-4).

This is the experience these two women have had, whose story we read in the two Readings. An innocent woman, falsely accused, slandered, and a sinful woman. Both sentenced to death. The innocent and the sinner. Some Father of the Church saw in these women a figure of the Church: holy, but with sinful children. They said in a beautiful Latin expression: "The Church is the caste meretrix", the saint with sinful children.

Both women were desperate, humanly desperate. But Susanna trusts God. There are also two groups of people, men; both employees in the service of the Church: the judges and teachers of the Law. They were not clergymen, but were at the service of the Church, in the court and in the teaching of the Law. Several. The former, those who accused Susanna, were corrupt: the corrupt judge, the emblematic figure in history. In the Gospel too, in the parable of the persistent widow, Jesus takes up the corrupt judge who did not believe in God and did not care about the others. The corrupt. The doctors of the Law were not corrupt, but hypocrites.

And these women, one fell into the hands of the hypocrites and the other into the hands of the corrupt: there was no way out. "Even if I go to a dark valley I do not fear any harm, because you are with me, your staff and your bondage give me security" (Ps 23.4). Both women were for a dark valley, they went there: a dark valley, towards death. The first explicitly trusts God and the Lord intervened. The second, poor thing, knows that she is guilty, shameless in front of all the people - because the people were present in both situations - the Gospel does not say it, but she certainly prayed inside, she asked for some help.

What does the Lord do with these people? He saves her from the innocent woman, does her justice. To the sinful woman, forgive her. To the corrupt judges, he condemns them; to the hypocrites, he helps them to convert and before the people he says: “Yes, really? The first of you who has no sins, who throws the first stone "(cf. Jn 8: 7), and one by one they are gone. The apostle John has some irony here: "Those who heard this went one by one, beginning with the older ones" (Jn 8: 9). Give them some time to repent; to the corrupt he does not forgive, simply because the corrupt is unable to ask for forgiveness, he went further. He has tired ... no, he has not tired: he is not capable. Corruption has also taken away from him the ability we all have of being ashamed, of asking for forgiveness. No, the corrupt is safe, he goes on, destroys, exploits people, like this woman, everything, everything ... goes on. He put himself in God's place.

And the women respond to women. Susanna frees her from these corrupt, keeps her going, and to the other: "I don't condemn you either. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore "(Jn 8:11). He lets her go. And this, before the people. In the first case, the people praise the Lord; in the second case, the people learn. Learn what God's mercy is like.

Each of us has our own stories. Each of us has our own sins. And if you don't remember them, think a little: you will find them. Thank God if you find them, because if you don't find them, you are corrupt. Each of us has our own sins. We look to the Lord who does justice, but who is so merciful. Let us not be ashamed of being in the Church: let us be ashamed of being sinners. The Church is the mother of all. We thank God for not being corrupt, for being sinners. And each of us, looking at how Jesus acts in these cases, trust in the mercy of God. And pray, with confidence in the mercy of God, pray for forgiveness. “Because God guides me on the right path because of his name. Even if I go to a dark valley - the valley of sin - I do not fear any harm because you are with me. Your staff and your bondage give me security "(cf. Ps 23.4).

Prayer to make spiritual communion:

People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion.

At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation