Monday, October 27, 2014

Today's Mass Readings : Monday October 27, 2014

Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 479


Reading 1EPH 4:32-5:8

Brothers and sisters:
Be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love,
as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us
as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.
Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you,
as is fitting among holy ones,
no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place,
but instead, thanksgiving.
Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person,
that is, an idolater,
has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.

Let no one deceive you with empty arguments,
for because of these things
the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.
So do not be associated with them.
For you were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light. 

Responsorial Psalm PS 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6

R. (see Eph. 5:1) Behave like God as his very dear children.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Behave like God as his very dear children.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Behave like God as his very dear children.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Behave like God as his very dear children.

Gospel LK 13:10-17

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath.
And a woman was there who for eighteen years
had been crippled by a spirit;
she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.
When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said,
“Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.”
He laid his hands on her,
and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.
But the leader of the synagogue,
indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath,
said to the crowd in reply,
“There are six days when work should be done.
Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.”
The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites!
Does not each one of you on the sabbath
untie his ox or his ass from the manger
and lead it out for watering?
This daughter of Abraham,
whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now,
ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day
from this bondage?”
When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated;
and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.

Pope Francis 4 words that belong to the Children of Light....Homily

Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Santa Marta - OSS_ROM
(Vatican Radio) At morning Mass on Monday Pope Francis said that a conscientious examination of our words will help us understand whether we are Christians of light, Christians of darkness or Christians of grey areas.Reflecting on the First Reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, the Pope said men are recognizable by their words. By inviting Christians to behave as children of light, and not as children of darkness, St. Paul gives "a catechesis on the word". 
Pope Francis continued that there are four [types of ] words which help us understand if we are children of darkness:
 “Are our words hypocrisy? Taking a little from here, a little from there, to fit in with everyone?  Then they are vacuous, of no substance, empty.  Are they vulgar words, trivial, or worldly? A dirty, obscene word? These four [types] of words are not of the children of light, they are not the Holy Spirit, they are not of Jesus, they are not words of the Gospel ... this way of talking, always talking about dirty things or of worldliness or emptiness or hypocrisy".
Then, what are the words of the Saints, those of the children of light? "Paul says: 'Be imitators of God, walk in love; walk in goodness; walk in meekness. Those who walk in this way ... 'Be merciful - says Paul - forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. Be, then,  imitators of God and walk in love', that is, walk in mercy, forgiveness, love. And these are the words of a child of light”.
"There are bright Christians, [who are] full of light – noted the Pope - who seek to serve the Lord in this light" and " there are dark Christians" who lead  "a life of sin, a life distant from the Lord" and who use those four types of words that "belong to the evil one". "But there is a third group of Christians", who are not "neither light nor dark":
"They are the Christians of gray areas. And these Christians of gray areas are on one side first and then the other. People say of these: 'Is this person with God or the devil?' Huh? Always in the grey area. They are lukewarm. They are neither light nor dark. And God does not love these. In Revelation, the Lord says to these Christians of gray areas: 'No, you are neither hot nor cold. If only you were hot or cold. But because you are lukewarm – always in the gray areas- I will vomit you out of my mouth'. The Lord has strong words for these Christians of gray areas. 'I am a Christian, but without overdoing it!' they say, and in doing so cause so much harm, because their Christian witness is a witness that in the end only sows confusion, it sows a negative witness".
Let us not be deceived by empty words – Pope Francis concluded - "we hear so many, some nice, well-articulated, but empty, without meaning". Instead let us behave as children of light. "It would do us all good to reflect on our words today  and ask ourselves: "Am I a Christian of light? Am I a Christian of the dark? Am I a Christian of the gray areas? And thus we can take a step forward to meet the Lord".
Shared from Radio Vaticana

Priest with Terminal Brain Cancer responds to Brittany Maynard - Amazing Testimony - Share!


Raleigh Diocese Release: Raleigh Seminarian with terminal brain cancer responds to Brittany Maynard






Philip Johnson, a 30-year-old Catholic seminarian from the Diocese of Raleigh who has terminal brain cancer, has written an article responding to Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old woman who has publicly stated her plan to commit suicide due to the fact that she has a terminal brain cancer. Johnson is vocal about his disagreement that suicide would preserve one’s dignity in the face of a debilitating illness. His article is below:

Dear Brittany: Our Lives Are Worth Living, Even With Brain Cancer


10/22/2014
by Philip G. Johnson
Last week I came across the heartbreaking story of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer one year after her wedding.  When doctors suggested that she might only have six months to live, she and her family moved from California to Oregon in order to obtain the prescriptions necessary for doctor-assisted euthanasia.  She is devoting her last days to fundraising and lobbying for an organization dedicated to expanding the legality of assisted suicide to other States.
Brittany’s story really hit home, as I was diagnosed with a very similar incurable brain cancer in 2008 at the age of twenty-four.  After years of terrible headaches and misdiagnosis, my Grade III brain cancer (Anaplastic Astrocytoma) proved to be inoperable due to its location.  Most studies state that the median survival time for this type of cancer is eighteen months, even with aggressive radiation and chemotherapy.  I was beginning an exciting career as a naval officer with my entire life ahead of me.  I had so many hopes and dreams, and in an instant they all seemed to be crushed.  As Brittany said in her online video, “being told you have that kind of timeline still feels like you’re going to die tomorrow.”
I was diagnosed during my second Navy deployment to the Northern Arabian Gulf.  After many seizures, the ship’s doctor sent me to the naval hospital on the Persian Gulf island nation of Bahrain, where my brain tumor was discovered.  I remember the moment I saw the computer images of the brain scans – I went to the Catholic chapel on base and fell to the floor in tears.  I asked God, “why me?”  The next day, I flew home to the United States to begin urgent treatment.  A few months after radiation and chemotherapy, I was discharged from the Navy and began formation for the Roman Catholic priesthood, a vocation to which I have felt called since I was nineteen years old.  Despite all of the hardships and delays in my training and formation over the past six years, I hope to be ordained to the transitional diaconate this Spring and to the priesthood one year later.
I have lived through six years of constant turmoil, seizures, and headaches.  I often changed hospitals and doctors every few months, seeking some morsel of hope for survival.  Like Brittany, I do not want to die, nor do I want to suffer the likely outcome of this disease.  I do not think anyone wants to die in this way.  Brittany states relief that she does not have to die the way that it has been explained that she would – she can die “on her own terms.”  I have also consulted with my doctors to learn how my illness is likely to proceed.  I will gradually lose control of my bodily functions at a young age, from paralysis to incontinence, and it is very likely that my mental faculties will also disappear and lead to confusion and hallucinations before my death.  This terrifies me, but it does not make me any less of a person.  My life means something to me, to God, and to my family and friends, and barring a miraculous recovery, it will continue to mean something long after I am paralyzed in a hospice bed.  My family and friends love me for who I am, not just for the personality traits that will slowly slip away if this tumor progresses and takes my life. 
Obviously, I have lived much longer than originally expected, and I attribute this to the support and prayers of others who have helped me to keep a positive outlook.  I will never claim that I have dealt with my illness heroically or with great courage, no matter what others might observe or believe from my reserved disposition.  I am shy and introverted, so I have not let many people become aware of the depth of my suffering.  There have been times over the past six years that I wanted the cancer to grow and take my life swiftly so that it would all be over.  Other times, I have sought forms of escape through sin and denial just to take my mind off of the suffering and sadness, even if only for a few moments.  However, deep in my heart I know that this approach is futile.  My illness has become a part of me, and while it does not define me as a person, it has shaped who I am and who I will become.
In Brittany’s video, her mother mentions that her immediate hope was for a miracle.  My response to my diagnosis was the same – I hoped for a miraculous recovery so that I would not have to deal with the suffering and pain that was likely to come.  However, I now realize that a “miracle” does not necessarily mean an instant cure.  If it did, would we not die from something else later in our lives?  Is there any reason that we deserve fifteen, twenty, or thirty or more years of life?  Every day of life is a gift, and gifts can be taken away in an instant.  Anyone who suffers from a terminal illness or has lost someone close to them knows this very well.
I have outlived my dismal prognosis, which I believe to be a miracle, but more importantly, I have experienced countless miracles in places where I never expected to find them.  Throughout my preparation for the priesthood I have been able to empathize with the sick and suffering in hospitals and nursing homes.  I have traveled to Lourdes, France, the site of a Marian apparition and a place of physical and spiritual healing that is visited by millions of pilgrims each year.  I have had the great opportunity to serve the infirm there who trust in God with their whole hearts to make sense of their suffering.  Through my interaction with these people, I received much more than I gave.  I learned that the suffering and heartache that is part of the human condition does not have to be wasted and cut short out of fear or seeking control in a seemingly uncontrollable situation.  Perhaps this is the most important miracle that God intends for me to experience.
Suffering is not worthless, and our lives are not our own to take.  As humans we are relational – we relate to one another and the actions of one person affects others.  Sadly, the concept of “redemptive suffering” – that human suffering united to the suffering of Jesus on the Cross for our salvation can benefit others – has often been ignored or lost in modern times.  It is perfectly understandable that medication should be made available to give comfort and limit suffering as much as possible during the dying process, especially during a terminal illness, but it is impossible to avoid suffering altogether.  We do not seek pain for its own sake, but our suffering can have great meaning if we try to join it to the Passion of Christ and offer it for the conversion or intentions of others.  While often terrifying, the suffering and pain that we will all experience in our lives can be turned into something positive. This has been a very difficult task for me, but it is possible to achieve.
There is a card on Brittany’s website asking for signatures “to support her bravery in this very tough time.”  I agree that her time is tough, but her decision is anything but brave.  I do feel for her and understand her difficult situation, but no diagnosis warrants suicide.  A diagnosis of terminal cancer uproots one’s whole life, and the decision to pursue physician-assisted suicide seeks to grasp at an ounce of control in the midst of turmoil.  It is an understandable temptation to take this course of action, but that is all that it is – a temptation to avoid an important reality of life.  By dying on one’s “own terms,” death seems more comfortable in our culture that is sanitized and tends to avoid any mention of the suffering and death that will eventually come to us all.
Brittany comments, “I hope to pass in peace.  The reason to consider life and what’s of value is to make sure you’re not missing out, seize the day, what’s important to you, what do you care about – what matters – pursue that, forget the rest.”  Sadly, Brittany will be missing out on the most intimate moments of her life – her loved ones comforting her through her suffering, her last and most personal moments with her family, and the great mystery of death – in exchange for a quicker and more “painless” option that focuses more on herself than anyone else.  In our culture, which seeks to avoid pain at any cost, it is not difficult to understand why this response is so common among those who suffer.  
I have experienced so much sadness due to my illness, but there have also been times of great joy.  The support I have received from others encourages me to keep pushing on. I want to be a priest, I want to see my three young nephews grow up, and these goals give me the hope to wake up each day and live my life with trust.
I will continue to pray for Brittany as she deals with her illness, as I know exactly what she is going through. I still get sad. I still cry. I still beg God to show me His will through all of this suffering and to allow me to be His priest if it be His will, but I know that I am not alone in my suffering.  I have my family, my friends, and the support of the entire universal Church.  I have walked in Brittany’s shoes, but I have never had to walk alone. Such is the beauty of the Church, our families, and the prayerful support that we give to one another. 
May Brittany come to understand the love that we all have for her before she takes her own life, and that if she chooses instead to fight this disease, her life and witness would be an incredible example and inspiration to countless others in her situation.  She would certainly be an inspiration to me as I continue my own fight against cancer.
Shared from Diocese of Raleigh

Saint October 27 : St. Frumentius of Ethiopia : Bishop

St. Frumentius

BISHOP
Feast: October 27
Information:
Feast Day:
October 27
Born:
Tyre (modern Sur, Lebanon)
Died:
380 in Ethiopia
Patron of:
Abyssinia, Ethiopia

ST. FRUMENTIUS was yet a child when his uncle, Meropins of Tyre, took him and his brother Edesius on a voyage to Ethiopia. In the course of their voyage the vessel touched at a certain port, and the barbarians of that country put the crew and all the passengers to the sword, except the two children. They were carried to the king, at Axuma, who, charmed with the wit and sprightliness of the two boys, took special care of their education; and, not long after made Edesius his cup-bearer, and Frumentius, who was the elder, his treasurer and secretary of state; on his death-bed he thanked them for their services, and in recompense gave them their liberty. After his death the queen begged them to remain a court, and assist her in the government of the state until the young king carne of age. Edesius went back to Tyre, but St. Athanasius ordained Frumentius Bishop of the Ethiopians, and vested with this sacred character he gained great numbers to the Faith, and continued to feed and defend his flock until it pleased the Supreme Pastor to recompense his fidelity and labors.
SOURCE http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/F/stfrumentius.asp