Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Thursday, December 31, 2020 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church


The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary: 204
Reading 1
1 JN 2:18-21
Children, it is the last hour; 
and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming,
so now many antichrists have appeared. 
Thus we know this is the last hour. 
They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;
if they had been, they would have remained with us. 
Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number. 
But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One,
and you all have knowledge. 
I write to you not because you do not know the truth 
but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.

 

Responsorial Psalm
PS 96:1-2, 11-12, 13
R.  (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name;
announce his salvation, day after day. 
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the LORD.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD comes,
he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
 
 
Alleluia
JN 1:14A, 12A
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us.
To those who accepted him
he gave power to become the children of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel
JN 1:1-18
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God. 
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light, 
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.
But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God, 
to those who believe in his name, 
who were born not by natural generation 
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision 
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son,
full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying, 
“This was he of whom I said, 
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me 
because he existed before me.’”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses, 
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, 
has revealed him.  

Prayer to Make a 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 may 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

Saint December 31 : St. Sylvester the Pope who Converted and Baptized Constantine and Miraculously Cured him of Leprosy


Feast Day: December 31
Died:31 December 335 at Rome, Italy
Patron of:Feroleto Antico, Italy
Saint Sylvester I, also spelled Silvester (born , Rome [Italy]—died 335, Rome; Western feast day December 31, Eastern feast day January 2), pope from 314 to 335, whose long pontificate saw the beginnings of the Christian Roman Empire. 
A presbyter when elected to succeed Pope St. Miltiades (Melchiades), Sylvester was consecrated on Jan. 31, 314. The most important event of his reign was the Council of Nicaea (May 325), which condemned the Alexandrian Christian priest Arius, founder of Arianism, a heretical doctrine teaching that the Son was neither equal with God the Father nor eternal. While the Roman emperor Constantine I the Great favoured Christianity and was a major controller of its ecclesiastical affairs, neither he nor his immediate successors gave any official recognition to papal primacy over the church. Thus, it was a rare and significant exception when Sylvester was accorded a preeminent role in the Arian crisis. Although invited, he did not attend the Council of Nicaea personally but was represented by two legates, who were treated with great honour and respect yet did not preside at the debates. According to subsequent legend, Sylvester converted and baptized Constantine, who was the first Roman emperor to become a Christian, and miraculously cured him of leprosy, for which the emperor allegedly gave him the Donatio Constantini (Donation of Constantine), a grant of spiritual supremacy over the Eastern patriarchates and over all matters of faith and worship as well as temporal dominion over Rome and the entire Western world. The Donation is now universally admitted to be an 8th-century forgery, but it was important in the development of the medieval theory of church and state. Sylvester is believed to have built at the Cemetery of St. Priscilla on the Via Salaria a church, where he was buried. His relics were transferred in 762 by Pope St. Paul I to the Church of San Silvestro in Capite, now the national church of English Catholics in Rome. Text source Britannica

LISTEN to the Beautiful Christmas Concert in the Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris the Cathedral's 1st Concert since the Fire



Notre-Dame Choir sang inside its cathedral for first time since their devastating fire in April of last year.  Choir members had to wear hard hats, as they performed inside the Notre-Dame cathedral due to the danger of the damaged structure. "Notre-Dame is a bit like our home," Henry Chalet, conductor of the Notre Dame Choir told the Paris BFM TV station. The conductor said he was "excited" to be able to enter the cathedral again after a year and a half. The choir has sung at the Paris church for 850 years. On Christmas Eve, 20 singers, two soloists and an organist performed a beautiful concert. There was no live audience in the cathedral itself, due to strict coronavirus protection measures, but it was broadcast live and you can watch it below. 

Pope Francis says "For us Christians, thanksgiving was the name given to the most essential Sacrament there is: the Eucharist." FULL TEXT + Video





POPE FRANCIS at GENERAL AUDIENCE

Library of the Apostolic Palace
Wednesday, 30 December 2020



Catechesis on prayer - 20. The prayer of thanksgiving

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Today, I would like to focus on the prayer of thanksgiving. And I take my cue from an episode recounted by the Evangelist Luke. While Jesus was on the way, ten lepers approached Him who begged him: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (17:13). We know that those who had leprosy suffered not only physically, but also from social marginalization and religious marginalization.  

 

 They were marginalized. Jesus did not back off from meeting them. Sometimes, He surpassed the limitations imposed by the law and touched, embraced and healed the sick person – which was not supposed to be done. In this case, there was no contact. From a distance, Jesus invited them to present themselves to the priests (v. 14), who were designated by law to certify healings that had occurred. Jesus said nothing else. He heard their prayer, He heard their cry for mercy, and He sent them immediately to the priests.

Those ten lepers trusted, they did not remain there until they were cured, no: they trusted and they went immediately, and while they were on their way, they were cured, all ten were cured. The priests would have therefore been able to verify their healing and readmit them to normal life. But this is where the important point enters in: only one in the group, before going to the priests, returned to thank Jesus and to praise God for the grace received. Only one, the other nine continued on their way. And Jesus points out that that man was a Samaritan, a sort of “heretic” for the Jews of that time. Jesus comments: “Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” (17:18). This narrative is touching.

 

 This narrative, so to speak, divides the world in two: those who do not give thanks and those who do; those who take everything as if it is owed them, and those who welcome everything as a gift, as grace. The Catechism says: “every event and need can become an offering of thanksgiving” (n. 2638). The prayer of thanksgiving always begins here: to recognize that grace precedes us. We were thought of before we learned how to think; we were loved before we learned how to love; we were desired before our hearts conceived a desire. If we view life like this, then “thank you” becomes the driving force of our day. And how often we even forget to say “thank you”.

For us Christians, thanksgiving was the name given to the most essential Sacrament there is: the Eucharist. In fact, the Greek word, means precisely this: thanksgiving, eucharist: thanksgiving. Christians, as all believers, bless God for the gift of life. To live is above all to have received. To live is above all to have received: to have received life! All of us are born because someone wanted us to have life. And this is only the first of a long series of debts that we incur by living. Debts of gratitude. During our lives, more than one person has gazed on us with pure eyes, gratuitously. Often, these people are educators, catechists, persons who carried out their roles above and beyond what was required of them. And they provoked us to be grateful. Even friendship is a gift for which we should always be grateful.

This “thank you” that we must say continually, this thanks that Christians share with everyone, grows in meeting Jesus. The Gospels attest that when Jesus passed by, He often provoked joy and praise to God in those whom He met. The Gospel accounts are filled with prayerful people who are greatly touched by the coming of the Saviour. And we too are called to participate in this immense jubilation. The episode of the ten lepers who are healed also suggests this. Naturally, all of them were happy for having recovered their health, allowing them to end that unending forced quarantine that excluded them from the community. But among them, there was one who experienced an additional joy: in addition to being healed, he rejoices at meeting Jesus. He is not only freed from evil, but he now possesses the certainty of being loved. This is the crux: when you thank someone, give thanks, you express the certainty that you are loved. And this is a huge step: to have the certainty that you are loved. It is the discovery of love as the force that governs the world – as Dante said: the Love that “moves the sun and other stars” (Paradise, XXXIII, 145). We are no longer vagabonds wandering aimlessly here and there, no: we have a home, we dwell in Christ, and from that “dwelling” we contemplate the rest of the world which appears infinitely more beautiful to us. We are children of love, we are brothers and sisters of love. We are men and woman who thank.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, let us seek to remain always in the joy of encountering Jesus. Let us cultivate joyfulness. The devil, instead, after having deluded us – with whatever temptation – always leaves us sad and alone. If we are in Christ, there is no sin and no threat that can ever prevent us from continuing joyfully on our way, together with many other companions on the road.

Above all, let us not forget to thank: if we are bearers of gratitude, the world itself will become better, even if only a little bit, but that is enough to transmit a bit of hope. The world needs hope. And with gratitude, with this habit of saying thank you, we transmit a bit of hope. Everything is united and everything is connected, and everyone needs to do his or her part wherever we are. The path to happiness is the one Saint Paul described at the end of one of his letters: “Pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thes 5:17-19). Do not quench the Spirit, what a beautiful project of life! Do not quench the Spirit that we have within leads us to gratitude. Thank you.


Special Greetings

I cordially greet the English-speaking faithful. May each of you, and your families, cherish the joy of this Christmas season and draw near in prayer to the Saviour who has come to dwell among us. God bless you!


APPEAL

Yesterday, an earthquake in Croatia caused victims and caused serious damage. I express my closeness to the wounded and to those who have been affected by the quake and I pray in particular for those who have lost their lives and for their families. I hope that the country’s leaders, helped by the international community, might be able to quickly alleviate the suffering of the dear Croatian people.


Summary of the Holy Father's words:

Dear brothers and sisters: As part of our continuing catechesis on prayer, we now turn to the prayer of thanksgiving. Saint Luke tells us that of the ten lepers healed by Jesus, only one came back to thank the Lord. This passage reminds us of the importance of gratitude. It shows the great difference between hearts that are thankful and those that are not; between people who see everything as their entitlement and those who receive everything as grace. As Christians, our prayer of thanksgiving is inspired by gratitude for the love of God revealed in the coming of Jesus, his Son and our Saviour. The Gospel accounts of Christ’s birth show us how the coming of the Messiah was welcomed by hearts that trusted and prayed for the fulfilment of God’s promises. May our celebration of this Christmas season be marked by fervent prayer of thanksgiving for the outpouring of God’s redemptive grace upon our world. May these prayers enlarge our hearts and enable us to bring the hope and joy of the Gospel to all around us, especially to our brothers and sisters most in need.

Source: Vatican.va - Image Screenshot Vatican.va

Saint December 30 : St. Egwin - a Royal Bishop of Worcester and Famous Founder of Abbey at Evesham



Third Bishop of Worcester who died on the 30 December, 717. He was famous as the founder of the great Abbey of Evesham. It appears that either in 692, upon the death of Oftfor, second Bishop of Worcester, Egwin, a prince of the Mercian blood royal, who had retired from the world and sought only the seclusion of religious life, was forced by popular acclaim to assume the vacant see. His biographers say that king, clergy, and commonalty all united in demanding his elevation; but the popularity which forced on him this reluctant assumption of the episcopal functions was soon wrecked by his apostolic zeal in their discharge.

The Anglo-Saxon population of the then young diocese had had less than a century in which to become habituated to the restraints of Christian morality; they as yet hardly appreciated the sanctity of Christian marriage, and the struggle of the English Benedictines for the chastity of the priesthood had already fairly begun. At the same time large sections of England were more or less permanently occupied by pagans closely allied in blood to the Anglo-Saxon Christians. Egwin displayed undaunted zeal in his efforts to evangelize the heathen and no less in the enforcement of ecclesiastical discipline. His rigorous policy towards his own flock created a bitter resentment which, as King Ethelred was his friend, could only find vent in accusations addressed to his ecclesiastical superiors. Egwin undertook a pilgrimage to seek vindication from the Roman Pontiff himself. According to a legend, he prepared for his journey by locking shackles on his feet, and throwing the key into the River Avon. While he prayed before the tomb of the Apostles, at Rome, one of his servants brought him this very key — found in the maw of a fish that had just been caught in the Tiber. Egwin then released himself from his self-imposed bonds and straightway obtained from the pope an authoritative release from the load of obloquy which his enemies had striven to fasten upon him.

It was after Egwin's triumphant return from this pilgrimage that the shepherd Eoves came to him with the tale of a miraculous vision by which the Blessed Virgin had signified her will that a new sanctuary should be dedicated to her. Egwin himself went to the spot pointed out by the shepherd (Eoves ham, or "dwelling") and to him also we are told the same vision was vouchsafed. King Ethelred granted him the land thereabouts upon which the famous abbey was founded. As to the precise date of the foundation, although the monastic tradition of later generations set it in 714, recent research points to some year previous to 709. It was most probably in 709 that Egwin made his second pilgrimage to Rome, this time in the company of Coenred, the successor of Ethelred, and Offa, King of the East Saxons, and it was on this occasion that Pope Constantine granted him the extraordinary privileges by which the Abbey of Evesham was distinguished. One of the last important acts of his episcopate was his participation in the first great Council of Clovesho. Edited from the Catholic Encyclopedia and Dates from Franciscan Media

Large Earthquake Hits Central Europe with Epicenter in Croatia leaves $6 Billion of Damage, 7 People Killed and more Missing



On Tuesday, December 29, 2020 a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck central Croatia. Rescue teams spent the night searching for survivors. Central European countries that were affected include: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czechia, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, and Austria. Some people are still missing and others are injured. Aftershocks are preventing some Croatians from staying in their homes. In total reports say that there is 6 Billion Dollars of damage due to the quake. Source: BBC - National Post

A 12-year-old girl was killed in Petrinja. Also, five people died in the nearby town of Glina, as reported by authorities. Another victim was found in the rubble of a church in Zazina.  
Details of the quake show that a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck near Petrinja, Croatia, about 30 miles southeast of the capital of Zagreb, on December 29, 2020 at about 6:20 am Eastern Time (12:20 pm local time). Seismic instruments indicate the earthquake originated at a depth of about 6 miles (10 kilometers). This is the largest earthquake to occur in Croatia since the advent of modern seismic instruments. An earthquake of similar size occurred in 1880 near Zagreb and three magnitude 6 and larger earthquakes have occurred within 125 miles (200 kilometers) of the December 29, 2020 earthquake since 1900. A magnitude 5.6 earthquake on November 27, 1990, about 110 miles (175 kilometers) to the southeast, injured 10 people. Source: https://www.usgs.gov/news/magnitude-64-earthquake-croatia

Saint December 30 : St. Sabinus and his Companions, Martyrs - a Bishop who Cured a Blind Boy



December 30.—ST. SABINUS, Bishop, and his Companions, Martyrs.

THE cruel edicts of Diocletian and Maximin against the Christians being published in the year 303, Sabinus, Bishop of Assisium, and several of his clergy, were apprehended and kept in custody till Venustianus, the Governor of Etruria and Umbria, came thither. Upon his arrival in that city he caused the hands of Sabinus, who had made a glorious confession of his Faith before him, to be cut off; and his two deacons, Marcellus and Exuperantius, to be scourged, beaten with clubs, and torn with iron nails, under which torments they both expired. Sabinus is said to have cured a blind boy, and a weakness in the eyes of Venustianus himself, who was thereupon converted, and afterward beheaded for the Faith. Lucius, his successor, commanded Sabinus to be beaten to death with clubs at Spoleto. The martyr was buried a mile from that city, but his relics have been since translated to Faƫnza.

Reflection.—How powerfully do the martyrs cry out to us by their example, exhorting us to despise a false and wicked world!

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894], p. 390.