Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Thursday April 23, 2020 - #Eucharist in Eastertide - Your Virtual Church


Thursday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 270
Reading 1ACTS 5:27-33
When the court officers had brought the Apostles in
 and made them stand before the Sanhedrin,
the high priest questioned them,
“We gave you strict orders did we not,
to stop teaching in that name.
Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching
and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
But Peter and the Apostles said in reply,
“We must obey God rather than men.
The God of our ancestors raised Jesus,
though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.
God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior
to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.
We are witnesses of these things,
as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”
When they heard this,
they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.

Responsorial Psalm34:2 AND 9, 17-18, 19-20

R.    (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Many are the troubles of the just man,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 20:29

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord;
blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 3:31-36

The one who comes from above is above all.
The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things.
But the one who comes from heaven is above all.
He testifies to what he has seen and heard,
but no one accepts his testimony.
Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.
For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.
He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.
The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life,
but the wrath of God remains upon 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. Amen
Mass Video Starts at 3:39 : 

Saint April 23 : St. George a Martyr and Patron of Soldiers, Skin Diseases, Shepherds, and Equestrians



Patron of:
agricultural workers; Amersfoort, Netherlands; Aragon; archers; armourers; Beirut, Lebanon; Bulgaria; butchers; Cappadocia; Catalonia; cavalry; chivalry; Constantinople; Corinthians; Crusaders; England; equestrians; Ethiopia; farmers; Ferrara; field workers; Genoa; Georgia; Gozo; Greece; Haldern, Germany; Heide; herpes; horsemen; horses; husbandmen; knights; lepers and leprosy; Lithuania; Lod; Malta; Modica, Sicily; Moscow; Order of the Garter; Palestine; Palestinian Christians; Piran; plague; Portugal; Portuguese Army; Portuguese Navy; Ptuj, Slovenia; Reggio Calabria; riders; saddle makers; Scouts; sheep; shepherds; skin diseases; soldiers; syphilis; Teutonic Knights

Born:
between ca. AD 275 and 281, Nicomedia, Bithynia, modern-day northwestern Turkey
Died:
April 23, 303, Lydda, Palestine
A Prayer to St George, for Intercession
 Almighty and eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of Saint George and following his example imitate, like him, the life of Thy divine Son. Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saving, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul. Amen.

Biography: Martyr, patron of England, suffered at or near Lydda, also known as Diospolis, in Palestine, probably before the time of Constantine. According to the very careful investigation of the whole question recently instituted by Father Delehaye, the Bollandist, in the light of modern sources of information, the above statement sums up all that can safely be affirmed about St. George, despite his early cultus and pre-eminent renown both in East and West (see Delehaye, "Saints Militaires", 1909, pp. 45-76). Earlier studies of the subject have generally been based upon an attempt to determine which of the various sets of legendary "Acts" was most likely to preserve traces of a primitive and authentic record. Delehaye rightly points out that the earliest narrative known to us, even though fragments of it may be read in a palimpsest of the fifth century, is full beyond belief of extravagances and of quite incredible marvels. Three times is George put to death—chopped into small pieces, buried deep in the earth and consumed by fire—but each time he is resuscitated by the power of God. Besides this we have dead men brought to life to be baptized, wholesale conversions, including that of "the Empress Alexandra", armies and idols destroyed instantaneously, beams of timber suddenly bursting into leaf, and finally milk flowing instead of blood from the martyr's severed head. There is, it is true, a mitigated form of the story, which the older Bollandists have in a measure taken under their protection (see Act. SS., 23 Ap., no. 159). But even this abounds both in marvels and in historical contradictions, while modern critics, like Amelineau and Delehaye, though approaching the question from very different standpoints, are agreed in thinking that this mitigated version has been derived from the more extravagant by a process of elimination and rationalization, not vice versa. Remembering the unscrupulous freedom with which any wild story, even when pagan in origin, was appropriated by the early hagiographers to the honour of a popular saint (see, for example, the case of St. Procopius as detailed in Delehaye, "Legends", ch. v) we are fairly safe in assuming that the Acts of St. George, though ancient in date and preserved to us (with endless variations) in many different languages, afford absolutely no indication at all for arriving at the saint's authentic history. This, however, by no means implies that the martyr St. George never existed. An ancient cultus, going back to a very early epoch and connected with a definite locality, in itself constitutes a strong historical argument. Such we have in the case of St. George. The narratives of the early pilgrims, Theodosius, Antoninus, and Arculphus, from the sixth to the eighth century, all speak of Lydda or Diospolis as the seat of the veneration of St. George, and as the resting-place of his remains (Geyer, "Itinera Hierosol.", 139, 176, 288). The early date of the dedications to the saint is attested by existing inscriptions of ruined churches in Syria, Mesopotamia, and Egypt, and the church of St. George at Thessalonica is also considered by some authorities to belong to the fourth century. Further the famous decree "De Libris recipiendis", attributed to Pope Gelasius in 495, attests that certain apocryphal Acts of St. George were already in existence, but includes him among those saints "whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose actions are only known to God".
There seems, therefore, no ground for doubting the historical existence of St. George, even though he is not commemorated in the Syrian, or in the primitive Hieronymian Martyrologium, but no faith can be placed in the attempts that have been made to fill up any of the details of his history. For example, it is now generally admitted that St. George cannot safely be identified by the nameless martyr spoken of by Eusebius (Church History VIII.5), who tore down Diocletian's edict of persecution at Nicomedia. The version of the legend in which Diocletian appears as persecutor is not primitive. Diocletian is only a rationalized form of the name Dadianus. Moreover, the connection of the saint's name with Nicomedia is inconsistent with the early cultus at Diospolis.
Still less is St. George to be considered, as suggested by Gibbon, Vetter, and others, a legendary double of the disreputable bishop, George of Cappadocia, the Arian opponent of St. Athanasius. "This odious stranger", says Gibbon, in a famous passage, "disguising every circumstance of time and place, assumed the mask of a martyr, a saint, and a Christian hero, and the infamous George of Cappadocia has been transformed into the renowned St. George of England, the patron of arms, of chivalry, and of the Garter." "But this theory, says Professor Bury, Gibbon's latest editor, "has nothing to be said for it." The cultus of St. George is too ancient to allow of such an identification, though it is not improbable that the apocryphal Acts have borrowed some incidents from the story of the Arian bishop. Again, as Bury points out, "the connection of St. George with a dragon-slaying legend does not relegate him to the region of the myth, for over against the fabulous Christian dragon-slayer Theodore of the Bithynian Heraclaea, we can set Agapetus of Synnada and Arsacius, who though celebrated as dragon-slayers, were historical persons". This episode of the dragon is in fact a very late development, which cannot be traced further back than the twelfth or thirteenth century. It is found in the Golden Legend (Historia Lombardic of James de Voragine and to this circumstance it probably owes its wide diffusion. It may have been derived from an allegorization of the tyrant Diocletian or Dadianus, who is sometimes called a dragon (ho bythios drakon) in the older text, but despite the researches of Vetter (Reinbot von Durne, pp.lxxv-cix) the origin of the dragon story remains very obscure. In any case the late occurrence of this development refutes the attempts made to derive it from pagan sources. Hence it is certainly not true, as stated by Hartland, that in George's person "the Church has converted and baptized the pagan hero Perseus" (The Legend of Perseus, iii, 38). In the East, St. George (ho megalomartyr), has from the beginning been classed among the greatest of the martyrs. In the West also his cultus is very early. Apart from the ancient origin of St. George in Velabro at Rome, Clovis (c. 512) built a monastery at Baralle in his honour (Kurth, Clovis, II, 177). Arculphus and Adamnan probably made him well known in Britain early in the eighth century. His Acts were translated into Anglo-Saxon, and English churches were dedicated to him before the Norman Conquest, for example one at Doncaster, in 1061. The crusades no doubt added to his popularity. William of Malmesbury tells us that Saints George and Demetrius, "the martyr knights", were seen assisting the Franks at the battle of Antioch, 1098 (Gesta Regum, II, 420). It is conjectured, but not proved, that the "arms of St. George" (argent, a cross, gules) were introduced about the time of Richard Coeur de Lion. What is certain is that in 1284 in the official seal of Lyme Regis a ship is represented with a plain flag bearing a cross. The large red St. George's cross on a white ground remains still the "white ensign" of the British Navy and it is also one of the elements which go to make up the Union Jack. Anyway, in the fourteenth century, "St. George's arms" became a sort of uniform for English soldiers and sailors. We find, for example, in the wardrobe accounts of 1345-49, at the time of the battle of Crecy, that a charge is made for 86 penoncells of the arms of St. George intended for the king's ship, and for 800 others for the men-at-arms (Archaeologia, XXXI, 119). A little later, in the Ordinances of Richard II to the English army invading Scotland, every man is ordered to wear "a signe of the arms of St. George" both before and behind, while the pain of death is threatened against any of the enemy's soldiers "who do bear the same crosse or token of Saint George, even if they be prisoners". Somewhat earlier than this Edward III had founded (c. 1347) the Order of the Garter, an order of knighthood of which St. George was the principal patron. The chapel dedicated to St. George in Windsor Caste was built to be the official sanctuary of the order, and a badge or jewel of St. George slaying the dragon was adopted as part of the insignia. In this way the cross of St. George has in a manner become identified with the idea of knighthood, and even in Elizabeth's days, Spenser, at the beginning of his Faerie Queene, tells us of his hero, the Red Cross Knight:
But on his breast a bloody Cross he bore,
The dear remembrance of his dying Lord, For whose sweet sake that glorious badge we wore And dead (as living) ever he adored.
We are told also that the hero thought continually of wreaking vengeance:
Upon his foe, a dragon horrible and stern.
Ecclesiastically speaking, St. George's day, 23 April, was ordered to be kept as a lesser holiday as early as 1222, in the national synod of Oxford. In 1415, the Constitution of Archbishop Chichele raised St. George's day to the rank of one of the greatest feasts and ordered it to be observed like Christmas day. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries St. George's day remained a holiday of obligation for English Catholics. Since 1778, it has been kept, like many of these older holidays, as a simple feast of devotion, though it ranks liturgically as a double of the first class with an octave.
Saint George and the dragon
The best known form of the legend of St. George and the Dragon is that made popular by the "Legenda Aurea", and translated into English by Caxton. According to this, a terrible dragon had ravaged all the country round a city of Libya, called Selena, making its lair in a marshy swamp. Its breath caused pestilence whenever it approached the town, so the people gave the monster two sheep every day to satisfy its hunger, but, when the sheep failed, a human victim was necessary and lots were drawn to determine the victim. On one occasion the lot fell to the king's little daughter. The king offered all his wealth to purchase a substitute, but the people had pledged themselves that no substitutes should be allowed, and so the maiden, dressed as a bride, was led to the marsh. There St. George chanced to ride by, and asked the maiden what she did, but she bade him leave her lest he also might perish. The good knight stayed, however, and, when the dragon appeared, St. George, making the sign of the cross, bravely attacked it and transfixed it with his lance. Then asking the maiden for her girdle (an incident in the story which may possibly have something to do with St. George's selection as patron of the Order of the Garter), he bound it round the neck of the monster, and thereupon the princess was able to lead it like a lamb. They then returned to the city, where St. George bade the people have no fear but only be baptized, after which he cut off the dragon's head and the townsfolk were all converted. The king would have given George half his kingdom, but the saint replied that he must ride on, bidding the king meanwhile take good care of God's churches, honour the clergy, and have pity on the poor. The earliest reference to any such episode in art is probably to be found in an old Roman tombstone at Conisborough in Yorkshire, considered to belong to the first half of the twelfth century. Here the princess is depicted as already in the dragon's clutches, while an abbot stands by and blesses the rescuer. (The Catholic Encyclopedia)

Saint April 23 : St. Adalbert of Prague an Archbishop and Patron of Poland and Bohemia


BISHOP AND MARTYR
Feast Day:
April 23
Born:
939, Libice nad Cidlinou, Bohemia
Died:
997, Truso (ElblÄ…g) or Kaliningrad Oblast
Patron of:
Bohemia; Poland; Prussia
Born 939 of a noble Bohemian family; died 997. He assumed the name of the Archbishop Adalbert (his name had been Wojtech), under whom he studied at Magdeburg. He became Bishop of Prague, whence he was obliged to flee on account of the enmity he had aroused by his efforts to reform the clergy of his diocese. He betook himself to Rome, and when released by Pope John XV from his episcopal obligations, withdrew to a monastery and occupied himself in the most humble duties of the house. Recalled by his people, who received him with great demonstrations of joy, he was nevertheless expelled a second time and returned to Rome. The people of Hungary were just then turning towards Christianity. Adalbert went among them as a missionary, and probably baptized King Geysa and his family, and King Stephen. He afterwards evangelized the Poles, and was made Archbishop of Gnesen. But he again relinquished his see, and set out to preach to the idolatrous inhabitants of what is now the Kingdom of Prussia. Success attended his efforts at first, but his imperious manner in commanding them to abandon paganism irritated them, and at the instigation of one of the pagan priests he was killed. This was in the year 997. His feast is celebrated 23 April, and he is called the Apostle of Prussia. Boleslas I, Prince of Poland, is said to have ransomed his body for an equivalent weight of gold. He is thought to be the author of the war-song, "Boga-Rodzica", which the Poles used to sing when going to battle. (The Catholic Encyclopedia

Government in Austria Allows Religious Services to Reopen from May 15 onward with Precautions


Austria: Worship services possible again from May 15th

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced on Tuesday, April 22, 2020  at a press conference in Vienna that services on Friday, May 15 with believers will be possible again.
Peter Schipka, Secretary General of the Austrian Bishops' Conference, confirmed this to Kathpress. The episcopal ad hoc commission held a video conference on Tuesday morning.

The bishops are therefore working intensively on a phased plan of how church life in Austria and, in a first step, public church meetings can be brought up again. One is also in good talks with the government, but with which some details still need to be discussed or agreed, said Schipka.

Kurz had emphasized at the press conference that the services - "naturally" - would only take place under certain conditions and safety regulations to protect health. For services as well as for all other areas, it is important to find the best possible arrangements in consultation with experts, according to Kurz. The most important basic rule is "that the distance rule is observed everywhere".

The responsible minister of culture, Susanne Raab, will present details of what the re-admission of public services will look like in consultation with all churches and religious communities next Thursday, the Chancellor announced.

On request, Kurz said that churches and religious communities should be treated just as specifically as all other areas. Church services are neither one with one comparable with the gastronomy nor with the events. The freedom to practice one's own religion was a "very, very high and constitutionally protected asset", Kurz said, and he was very grateful to all religious communities, "

Edited from Kath.net

Pope Francis says "As an imago Dei, image of God, we are called to take care and respect for all creatures and to nourish love and compassion for our brothers and sisters..." Full Text


GENERAL AUDIENCE

Library of the Apostolic Palace
Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Catechesis on the occasion of the 50th World Earth Day

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today we celebrate the 50th World Earth Day. It is an opportunity to renew our commitment to love our common home and take care of it and the weakest members of our family. As the tragic coronavirus pandemic is showing us, only together and taking on the most fragile can we overcome global challenges. The Encyclical Letter Laudato si ’has this subtitle:" on the care of the common home ". Today we will reflect a little together on this responsibility that characterizes "our passage on this earth" (LS, 160). We must grow in awareness of the care of the common home.

We are made of earthly matter, and the fruits of the earth support our lives. But, as the book of Genesis reminds us, we are not simply "earthly": we also carry within us the vital breath that comes from God (cf. Gen 2: 4-7). We therefore live in the common home as a single human family and in biodiversity with the other creatures of God. As an imago Dei, image of God, we are called to take care and respect for all creatures and to nourish love and compassion for our brothers and sisters, especially the weakest, in imitation of God's love for us, manifested in his Son Jesus, who became man to share this situation with us and save us.

Because of selfishness, we have failed in our responsibility as custodians and administrators of the earth. "It is enough to look at reality with sincerity to see that there is a great deterioration in our common home" (ibid., 61). We polluted it, plundered it, endangering our own lives. For this, various international and local movements have been formed to awaken consciences. I sincerely appreciate these initiatives, and it will still be necessary for our children to take to the streets to teach us what is obvious, that is, there is no future for us if we destroy the environment that supports us.

We have failed to guard the earth, our home-garden, and to guard our brothers. We have sinned against the earth, against our neighbor and, ultimately, against the Creator, the good Father who provides for everyone and wants us to live together in communion and prosperity. And how does the earth react? There is a Spanish saying that is very clear in this, and says so: "God always forgives; we men forgive some times yes some times no; the earth never forgives ”. The earth does not forgive: if we have deteriorated the earth, the answer will be very bad.

How can we restore a harmonious relationship with the earth and the rest of humanity? A harmonious relationship ... Many times we lose the vision of harmony: harmony is the work of the Holy Spirit. Even in the common home, in the earth, even in our relationship with people, with our neighbor, with the poorest, how can we restore this harmony? We need a new way of looking at our common home. Mind you: it is not a repository of resources to be exploited. For us believers, the natural world is the "Gospel of Creation", which expresses the creative power of God in shaping human life and in making the world exist together with what it contains to support humanity. The biblical account of creation ends thus: "God saw what he had done, and behold, it was a very good thing" (Gen 1:31). When we see these natural tragedies that are the earth's response to our mistreatment, I think: "If I ask the Lord now what he thinks about it, I don't think he tells me that it is a very good thing." It was we who ruined the work of the Lord!

In celebrating World Earth Day today, we are called to rediscover the sense of sacred respect for the earth, because it is not only our home, but also the home of God. From this comes the awareness of being on a sacred land!

Dear brothers and sisters, "let us awaken the aesthetic and contemplative sense that God has placed in us" (Apostolic Exhortation postsin. Querida Amazonia, 56). The prophecy of contemplation is something we learn above all from the original peoples, who teach us that we cannot care for the earth if we do not love it and do not respect it. They have that wisdom of "good living", not in the sense of having a good time, no: but of living in harmony with the earth. They call this harmony "good living".

At the same time, we need an ecological conversion that is expressed in concrete actions. As a single, interdependent family, we need a shared plan to ward off threats against our common home. "Interdependence obliges us to think of one world, of a common project" (LS, 164).
We are aware of the importance of collaborating as an international community for the protection of our common home. I urge those with authority to lead the process that will lead to two important international conferences: COP15 on Biodiversity in Kunming (China) and COP26 on Climate Change in Glasgow (United Kingdom). These two meetings are very important.

I would like to encourage organizing concerted interventions also at national and local level. It is good to converge together from all social conditions and also give life to a popular movement "from below". The same World Earth Day, which we celebrate today, was born just like that. Each of us can make our own small contribution: «We must not think that these efforts will not change the world. Such actions spread a good in society that always produces fruit beyond what can be ascertained, because they cause within this land a good that always tends to spread, sometimes invisibly "(LS, 212).

In this Easter time of renewal, let us strive to love and appreciate the magnificent gift of the earth, our common home, and to take care of all members of the human family. As brothers and sisters as we are, let us pray to our heavenly Father together: "Send your Spirit and renew the face of the earth" (cf. Ps 104: 30)

New US Bishop of Alexandria Father Robert W. Marshall, Appointed by Pope Francis


Pope Francis Names Father Robert Marshall of Diocese of Memphis as Bishop of Alexandria
 April 21, 2020
WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Father Robert W. Marshall, a priest of the Diocese of Memphis as the Bishop of Alexandria.
The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on April 21, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The Diocese of Alexandria has been a vacant see since March 2019.
Bishop-elect Marshall was born in Memphis, Tennessee on June 17, 1959 and ordained to the priesthood on June 10, 2000 for the Diocese of Memphis. He attended Christian Brothers University in Memphis (1977-1980) where he received a Bachelor of Arts in History. In 1983, he received a Juris Doctorate from the Humphreys School of Law at University of Memphis, and a Master of Divinity from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans in 2000. Prior to entering seminary, Father Marshall worked as a civil attorney.
Father Marshall’s assignments in the Diocese of Memphis after ordination include: Parochial Vicar at Incarnation Church in Collierville (2000-2002); Pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Humboldt and St. Matthew Parish in Milan (2002-2004); Pastor at Church of the Ascension in Memphis (2004-2012); Pastor at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Cordova (2012-2017); and Parochial Administrator at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Memphis (2017-2019). Since 2019, Bishop-elect Marshall has served as Vicar General for the Diocese of Memphis and Pastor of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
The Diocese of Alexandria is comprised of 11,108 square miles in the State of Louisiana and has a total population of 389,837 of which 35,402 are Catholic.
--- FULL TEXT Release: USCCB
Image source: Google Images -  The Dialog.org

2 Catholic Nuns from Quebec Die from COVID-19 and their Superior also Infected


Two religious Sisters of the Antoniennes de Marie community in Chicoutimi have died from COVID-19. Sister Yvette Rivard died on Wednesday, confirmed the leadership of the congregation. Sister Yvette was 92-years-old and had spent 71 years as a Nun.

On April 10, the first nun with coronavirus of the order, Bertha Laforest, died in the monastery on rue Jacques-Cartier in Chicoutimi. She was 94-years-old and had spent 75 years as a Nun.

The superior sister, Ginette Laurendeau, confirms that she herself received a positive diagnosis on Tuesday and that she was placed in confinement, as were the 21 potentially affected nuns.

The Antonian Sisters of Mary religious community was founded 115 years ago and has 48 nuns.
Image Share: Google Image - Pulperie.com
Text edited from Ici.Radio-Canada.ca

At Mass, Pope Francis says "The crucifix is ​​precisely the great book of God's love." Full Text + Video


MORNING CELEBRATION BROADCAST LIVE
FROM THE CHAPEL OF CASA SANTA MARTA

HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS

"To let the light of God enter us
not to be like bats in the dark "

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Introduction

In this time in which so much unity is needed among us, among nations, we pray for Europe today: for Europe to have this unity, this fraternal unity that the founding fathers of the European Union dreamed of.

Homily

This passage from the Gospel of John, chapter 3 (cf. Jn 16-21), the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus, is a true treatise on theology: there is everything here. Kerygma, catechesis, theological reflection, parenesis ... there is everything in this chapter. And every time we read it, we encounter more wealth, more explanations, more things that make us understand the revelation of God. It would be nice to read it many times, to get closer to the mystery of redemption. Today I will take only two points of all this, two points that are in today's step.

The first is the revelation of God's love. God loves us and loves us - as a saint says - like madness: God's love seems like madness. He loves us: "he loved the world so much that he gave the only-begotten Son" (Jn 3:16). He gave his Son, sent his Son and sent him to die on the cross. Whenever we look at the crucifix, we find this love. The crucifix is ​​precisely the great book of God's love. It is not an object to be put here or put there, more beautiful, not so beautiful, older, more modern ... no. It is precisely the expression of God's love. God loved us thus: he sent his Son, he annihilated himself until the death of the cross for love. "He loved the world so much, God, to give his Son" (cf. v. 16).

How many people, how many Christians spend time looking at the crucifix ... and there they find everything, because they understood, the Holy Spirit made them understand that there is all science, all the love of God, all Christian wisdom. Paul talks about this, explaining that all the human reasoning that he does serves up to a certain point, but the true reasoning, the most beautiful way of thinking, but also that the most explaining everything is the cross of Christ, is "Christ crucified who it is scandal ”(cf. 1 Cor 1:23) and madness, but it is the way. And this is the love of God. God "loved the world so much that he gave the only-begotten Son" (Jn 3:16). And why? "So that anyone who believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life" (v. 3,16). The love of the Father who wants his children with him.

Looking at the crucified in silence, looking at the wounds, looking at the heart of Jesus, looking at the whole: Christ crucified, the Son of God, annihilated, humiliated ... for love. This is the first point that today makes us see this treatise on theology, which is Jesus' dialogue with Nicodemus.

The second point is a point that will help us, too: "Light came into the world, but men loved darkness more than light, because their works were evil" (Jn 3:19). Jesus also takes this of the light. There are people - we too, many times - who cannot live in the light because they are used to darkness. The light dazzles them, they are unable to see. They are human bats: they only know how to move in the night. And we too, when we are in sin, are in this state: we do not tolerate light. It is more comfortable for us to live in darkness; the light slaps us, shows us what we don't want to see. But the worst is that the eyes, the eyes of the soul from so much living in the darkness get used to such a point that they end up ignoring what light is. Losing the sense of light, because I get used to the darkness more. And so many human scandals, so many corruptions tell us this. The corrupt don't know what light is, they don't know. We too, when we are in a state of sin, in a state of estrangement from the Lord, we become blind and feel better in the darkness and go like this, without seeing, like the blind, moving as we can.

Let the love of God, who sent Jesus to save us, enter us and "the light that brings Jesus" (cf. v. 19), the light of the Spirit enter us and help us to see things with light of God, with the true light and not with the darkness that the lord of darkness gives us.

Two things today: the love of God in Christ, in the crucifix, in everyday life. And the daily question we can ask ourselves: “Do I walk in the light or walk in the darkness? Am I a child of God or did I end up being a poor bat? ”.

Prayer to make spiritual communion

People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion:

My Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. I love you above all things and I desire you in my soul. Since I cannot receive you sacramentally now, at least spiritually come to my heart. As already come, I embrace you and I join everything with you. Don't let it ever separate me from you.
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va Unofficial Translation -