Sunday, January 24, 2016

Saint January 25 : Conversion of St. Paul - #StPaul #Apostle

In the Acts of the Apostles there are three accounts of the conversion of St. Paul (9:1-19; 22:3-21; 26:9-23) presenting some slight differences. Jesus spoke to Paul : “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5b). Jesus was mysteriously identified with the group of people Saul had been killing like criminals. Jesus, he saw, was the mysterious fulfillment of all.
Acts 9: 1-19 1And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: [it is] hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 7And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. 8And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought [him] into Damascus. 9And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. Ananias Baptizes Saul 10And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I [am here], Lord. 11And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for [one] called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting [his] hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. 17And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, [even] Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. 19And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. 
Paul's faith in Christ which engendered the vision, whereas according to the concordant testimony of the Acts and the Epistles it was the actual vision of Christ which engendered faith. After his conversion, his baptism, and his miraculous cure Paul set about preaching to the Jews (Acts 9:19-20). He afterwards withdrew to Arabia — probably to the region south of Damascus (Galatians 1:17), doubtless less to preach than to meditate on the Scriptures. On his return to Damascus the intrigues of the Jews forced him to flee by night (2 Corinthians 11:32-33; Acts 9:23-25). He went to Jerusalem to see Peter (Galatians 1:18), but remained only fifteen days, for the snares of the Greeks threatened his life. He then left for Tarsus and is lost to sight for five or six years (Acts 9:29-30; Galatians 1:21). Barnabas went in search of him and brought him to Antioch where for a year they worked together and their apostolate was most fruitful (Acts 11:25-26). Together also they were sent to Jerusalem to carry alms to the brethren on the occasion of the famine predicted by Agabus (Acts 11:27-30). They do not seem to have found the Apostles there; these had been scattered by the persecution of Herod. Apostolic career of Paul This period of twelve years (45-57) was the most active and fruitful of his life. It comprises three great Apostolic expeditions of which Antioch was in each instance the starting-point and which invariably ended in a visit to Jerusalem.

Daily Mass a Key to #Heaven - Quotes to SHARE by #Saints on the #Eucharist


The wonders of the Mass
by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P.

The saints never speak so eloquently as when they speak of the Mass. They can never say enough on this sublime subject, for St. Bonaventure says that the wonders of the Mass are as many as there are stars in the heavens and grains of sand on the seashores of the world.

The graces, blessings, and favors granted to those who assist at this Divine Sacrifice are beyond all comprehension. The Mass is the greatest wonder in the world. There is nothing on earth equal to it, and there is nothing in Heaven greater than it.

The next greatest wonder is the indifference and ignorance of Catholics regarding Holy Mass. How is it that so many Catholics do not go to Mass?

The great Sacrifice of Calvary is offered near their homes, almost at their very doors, and they are too slothful to assist at it. The Sacrifice of Calvary? Yes, for the Mass is really and truly the very same as the Death of Jesus on the Cross.

Why do not mothers, why do not catechists, why do not teachers instill into the minds and hearts of those in their charge the wonders of the Mass? Priests are bound by the Council of Trent to do so.

Protestants may well ask those Catholics who neglect hearing daily Mass if they do really believe that God is born on the altar, and that God dies on the altar as He did on Calvary? If they do believe, why do they not assist at Mass?

St. Augustine tells us that pagans and Gentiles of his time asked tepid and indifferent Christians with bitter irony, if they sincerely believed that the God of all mercy and goodness descended on their altars. You Christians, they continued, accuse us of adoring false gods, but at least we believe they are gods, and we honor them; whereas, you despise Him whom you call the True God!

No intelligent, no enlightened Christian would fail to hear Mass if he only knew what it was.

St. Louis and the Mass

King Louis IX of France, who labored perhaps more strenuously than any man in his kingdom, and who was one of the best and most glorious sovereigns who ever ruled over France, found time to hear two or three Masses every day. Some of his courtiers suggested that he was overtaxing himself with so many Masses. The King replied: “If I spent much more time in following the pleasures of the chase, or in entertaining my friends at rich banquets, or in frequenting for several hours each day theaters and places of amusement, you would not complain that I was devoting too much time to pleasure. You forget, my good friends, that by hearing Mass I not only secure for myself innumerable blessings, but I confer the most important benefits on my kingdom, many more than I could possibly do in any other way.”

This reply of St. Louis may be addressed to those thousands of apathetic and indifferent Christians who could easily hear daily Mass, and do not do so. Even were they to make a great sacrifice, they would receive blessings and favors above their highest hopes. But, as a matter of fact, many could hear Mass without any sacrifice, or at so trifling a cost that their guilt in neglecting this Divine Sacrifice is, indeed, incomprehensible. Nothing but lamentable ignorance can explain the reason why so many Catholics neglect to hear daily Mass.

By hearing Mass, the day would become worth a thousand days to them, so wonderful would be the graces and benefits they should receive. Far from losing time, their business would prosper more, and they would reach a degree of happiness that they could never otherwise hope to attain.

What is the Mass?

1. In the Mass, the Son of God becomes man again, so that in every Mass the stupendous Mystery of the Incarnation, with all its infinite merits, is repeated as truly as when the Son of God first took flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary.

St. Augustine: “What a sublime dignity is that of the priest, in whose hands Christ once more becomes man!”

2. The Mass is the birth of Jesus Christ. He is really born on the altar each time that Mass is said, as He was born in Bethlehem.

St. John Damascene: “If anyone wishes to know how the bread is changed into the Body of Jesus Christ, I will tell him. The Holy Ghost over-shadows the priest, and acts on him as He acted on the Blessed Virgin Mary.”

St. Bonaventure: “God, when He descends upon the altar, does no less than He did when He became man the first time in the womb of the Virgin Mary.”

3. The Mass is the same as the sacrifice of Calvary. In it, God dies as He died on the first Good Friday. It has the same infinite value of Calvary, and brings down on men the same priceless graces. The Mass is not an imitation nor a memory of Calvary; it is identically the same sacrifice, and differs only from Calvary in appearance. In every Mass, the Blood of Jesus is shed for us again.

St. Augustine: “In the Mass, the Blood of Christ flows anew for sinners.”

4. Nothing on this earth, nothing in Heaven itself gives more glory to God and obtains more benefits for us than a single Mass.

5. By the Mass, we offer to God the greatest praise, the greatest glory He could possibly desire. We give Him most perfect thanks for all the benefits He has bestowed on us. We make more reparation for our faults than by the severest penances.

6. We can do nothing better for the conversion of sinners than offer for them the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. If mothers would only hear and get Masses said for their erring children, and wives for their husbands, how happy their families would be!

7. No prayers, no suffrages, no matter how fervent, can help the Holy Souls as the Mass. Oh, let us think of the Souls in Purgatory. Among them may be our dear father and mother and friends. We can help them most easily, we can relieve their awful pains most efficaciously, by hearing Mass for them.

What the saints say of the Mass

To make still more manifest what we have just stated, we shall quote the very words of the saints and holy doctors.

St. Lawrence Justinian: “There is no prayer or good work so great, so pleasing to God, so useful to us as the Mass.”

St. Alphonsus: “Even God Himself could do nothing holier, better, nor greater than the Mass.”

St. Thomas teaches that the Mass is nothing less than the Sacrifice of Calvary renewed on the altar, and that every Mass brings to men the same benefits as the Sacrifice of the Cross.

St. John Chrysostom: “The Mass has just the same value as Calvary.”

St. Bonaventure: “The Mass is a compendium of all God's love, of all His benefits to men, and each Mass bestows on the world a benefit not less than what was conferred on it by the Incarnation."

The benefits of the Mass

St. Thomas, the prince of theologians, write wonderfully of the Mass. “The Mass,” he says, “obtains for sinners in mortal sin the grace of repentance. For the just, it obtains the remission of venial sins and the pardon of the pain due to sin. It obtains an increase of habitual (sanctifying) grace, as well as all the graces necessary for their special needs.”

St. Paul the Hermit stood once at the church door as the people entered. He saw the soul of one man, a great sinner, in such a state of horrible corruption that it appalled him. Moreover, he saw a devil standing by his side who seemed to have complete control of him. On leaving the church, he saw the same man so completely changed that he called him aside and asked him confidentially if he was sorry for his sins. The poor man at once confessed that he had committed many and very grave sins, but during the Mass he had read in his prayer book, “If your sins are as red as scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.” “I began at once to ask God to pardon and forgive me, and I am very sorry for my sins, and I wish to go to Confession at once.”

St. Paul saw that by his act of sincere sorrow, the man was, by the infinite merits of the Mass, pardoned of all his sins.

Our Lord said to St. Mechtilde: “In Mass I come with such humility that there is no sinner, no matter how depraved he be, that I am not ready to receive, if only he desires it. I come with such sweetness and mercy that I will pardon my greatest enemies, if they ask for pardon. I come with such generosity that there is no one so poor that I will not fill him with the riches of my love. I come with such heavenly food as will strengthen the weakest, with such light as will illumine the blindest, with such a plenitude of graces as will remove all miseries, overcome all obstinacy, and dissipate all fears.”

What words of divine comfort — words of God Himself. If we heard nothing else about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, are not these words alone sufficient to fill us with faith and confidence in the Divine Mysteries.

It obtains for us a happy death

The crowning grace of our life is a holy and happy death. What avails it to have had a long and happy life, to have enjoyed all the comforts which riches can give, all the honors the world can bestow, if in the end we die a bad death? An unhappy death means a never-ending eternity of misery and woe.

We can only die once, and if we die badly, there is no possibility of remedying the mistake. A bad death plunges a man into the fires of hell forever and forever. It is consequently of the utmost importance that we do all in our power, that we use every means possible, to secure a happy death.

Holy writers recommend various excellent methods thereby we may make our salvation certain, and all these we should use to the best of our ability. All agree, however, that the best and easiest of these means is the frequent assistance at Holy Mass.

Do not miss Mass

The obligation to hear Mass on Sundays and holy days is very grave, and to fail in the fulfillment of this duty on these days, without sufficient reason, is a mortal sin. Not only does the sinner thereby lose important graces, which he may never again receive, but God may also punish him severely, as has frequently happened.

The following fact happened near Rome. Three businessmen went to a fair at Cisterno, and after having transacted satisfactorily their business, two of them prepared to return home on Sunday morning. The third pointed out to them that they could not thus hear Mass. They laughed at his words, and replied that they could go to Mass some other day. So saying, they mounted their horses, and set out on their return journey.

Their companion heard Mass, and then proceeded to follow them. What was not his consternation on learning that both his friends had been killed on the road, victims of a dreadful accident!

How to hear Mass with profit

1. The first condition for hearing Mass well is to understand thoroughly the infinite sanctity of the Holy Sacrifice and the graces it obtains. To this end, we must read, not once, but many times, this article on the Mass.

The Mass is a stupendous mystery. Our minds, on the other hand, are weak and slow to understand. Therefore, we must read frequently and ponder seriously on the wonders of the Mass. One Mass heard with understanding and devotion obtains for us more graces than a hundred, than a thousand Masses heard carelessly and in ignorance of what the Mass is.

2. We should make it an inviolable rule to arrive at church some minutes before Mass commences, firstly, in order to be prepared and recollected when the priest comes on the altar, and, secondly, to avoid causing distraction to others.

3. We should not only hear Mass, but we should offer it with the priest. Moreover, we should have the intention of hearing and offering all the Masses being said at the same time all over the world. In this way, we receive a share in these innumerable Masses!

The cross

We at once notice that the crucifix is on every altar, that the priest's vestments are all marked with the Sign of the Cross, that the priest commences the Mass with the Sign of the Cross, that he makes this holy sign very many times during the Mass. Why? To make clear to us that the Mass is really and truly the Sacrifice of the Cross, that in the Mass Christ is crucified, sheds His Precious Blood, and dies for us. We must have no doubt that we are really assisting at the Sacrifice of the Cross.

Prayers at Mass

We may use any prayers that we wish and that help us most, but it is generally admitted that it is best to use a prayer book, and follow, as closely as we can, the Mass with the priest.

The Confiteor. When the priest bends down at the beginning of the Mass and says the Confiteor, we, too, should unite ourselves with Jesus in His Agony, should humbly confess our faults, and ask pardon for them through the merits of Christ's agony.

We then follow the various prayers with the celebrant.

At the Sanctus, we should remember that the Angels come down to assist at Mass in multitudes, and that we are in the midst of them, and we should join our voices with theirs in adoring and praising God. They present our prayers to God.

At the Consecration, we should be filled with the deepest reverence and love, for Jesus is really born in the hands of the priest, as He was born in Bethlehem. When the priest lifts up the Sacred Host, we should look on our God in an ecstasy of joy, as the Angels look on Him in Heaven, and say, “My Lord and my God.”

At the Consecration of the Precious Blood, we must remember that all the Precious Blood that Jesus shed on Calvary is in the chalice, and we should offer it to God with the priest for God's glory and for our own intentions. It is well to place ourselves, our sins, all our intentions, our dear ones, the souls in Purgatory in all the chalices being ,at this moment, offered to God in every part of the world.

We must be full of holy awe and love from the Consecration to the Communion. We are in the midst of countless adoring Angels.

It is indeed a sign of woeful ignorance to manifest irreverence, to look around or speak during this most sacred time. It is much worse to leave the church, to abandon God dying on the altar for us. Nothing but the gravest necessity should induce one to go away until, at least, the Communion of the Priest.

Remember: the day you hear Mass is worth a thousand days to you, that all the labors and work of a day, or a week, or a whole year, are nothing in comparison with the value of one Mass.

Edited from Wonders of the Mass by Fr. Paul O'Sullvian 

SHARE #Novena to St. Francis de Sales - #Litany and #Prayers


O Blessed Francis de Sales, 
who in your mortal life did excel in all virtues, 
especially in love of God and of neighbor, 
I earnestly entreat you to take me under your immediate protection, 
to obtain from God my perfect conversion, 
and that of all sinners, especially of 

(the names of persons for whom you wish to pray should be mentioned here). 

Teach me, O Father, 
to fix my eyes on heaven, 
that I may generously trample under foot 
every obstacle that presents itself in my way, 
and attain that degree of glory 
which You in Your mercy hold out to me. 
Obtain also that particular favor for which I now pray. 

(mention intention)

Assist us, O Lord, we beseech You, 
through the merits of St. Francis de Sales. 
That what our endeavors cannot obtain may be given us by his intercession. 

Let us pray: 

O God, who for the salvation of souls, 
did will that St. Francis de Sales, 
Your confessor and bishop, 
should become all things to all men and women, 
mercifully grant that we, 
infused with the gentleness of his charity, 
guided by his teachings, 
and sharing in his merits, 
may obtain eternal happiness. 
Through Christ our Lord.

Litany of St. Francis de Sales

Lord, have mercy on us. 
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
O God, the Father of heaven,
Have mercy on us.
O God, the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
O God, the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy on us
O Holy Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us. *

St. Francis de Sales, *
St. Francis, miracle of the most august Trinity, *
St. Francis, faithful imitator of Jesus Christ, *
St. Francis, attached to the the service of the Blessed Virgin, *
St. Francis, practicing the virtues of the Saints, *
St. Francis, most devote to Jesus crucified, *
St. Francis, august tabernacle of true religion, *
St. Francis, most humble in prosperity, *
St. Francis, most patient in adversity, *
St. Francis, true portrait of the meekness of Christ, *
St. Francis, simple as the dove, *
St. Francis, example of angelic modesty, *
St. Francis, exact observer of evangelic poverty, *
St. Francis, excellent example of the purity of angels, *
St. Francis, ever obedient to the Apostolic See, *
St. Francis, generously despising the world, *
St. Francis, powerful vanquisher of demons, *
St. Francis, invincible triumpher over the flesh, *
St. Francis, inflamed with the love of God, *
St. Francis, abounding in virtues, *
St. Francis, all to all for the salvation of souls, *
St. Francis, most dear to God, and beloved by men, *
St. Francis, unwearied apostle of Geneva and its territory, *
which thou didst so laboriously reunite to the one true Church of God, *
St. Francis, most fervent pastor, ever careful to lead thy flock to the fold of Jesus the Good Shepherd, *
St. Francis, most renowned for thy miracles, *
St. Francis, greatest of all thy miracles, *
St. Francis, patriarch of the Visitation, *
St. Francis, continual martyr to thy love of God, *
St. Francis, father of many Saints, by the holy rules which thou hast left for every state, *
St. Francis, powerful protector to obtain of God that mildness which preserves the peace of the heart, *
St. Francis, amiable patron of those who invoke thee, *

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, 
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, 
Hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, 
Have mercy on us, O Lord.

O Blessed Francis, like the fruitful olive-tree in the house of God, radiant in miracles, make us partakers of thy sanctity and of the light which thou enjoyest.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Francis of Sales.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:
O God, by whose gracious will the Blessed Francis, thy confessor and bishop, became all things unto all men, for the saving of their souls, mercifully grant that, being filled with the sweetness of thy love, we may, through the guidance of his counsels, and by the aid of his merits, attain unto the joys of life everlasting. Through Christ our Lord. Amen
Prayer in Special Need to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Say not, merciful Virgin, that you cannot help me; for your beloved Son has given you all power in heaven and on earth. Say not that you ought not assist me, for you are the mother of all the poor children of Adam, and mine in particular. Since then, merciful Virgin, you are my mother and you are all-powerful, what excuse can you offer if you do not lend your assistance? See. my mother, see, you are obliged to grant me what I ask, and to yield to my entreaties. 
(St. Francis De Sales)

#BreakingNews #Saskatchewan community mourns 4 Killed in Shooting at School by 17 year old - RIP

Four people were killed in the La Loche, Saskatchewan, Canada, during shootings on Jan. 22, 2016 at a junior and senior high school. A teacher named Adam Wood, age 35, (pictured above) was killed. The 17-year old suspect shot nine people. Two staff members died. .Police have captured and charged the suspect with four counts of first-degree murder, and seven counts of attempted murder and unauthorized possession of a firearm. The teen cannot be named because of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.  Maria Janvier, 21, died at the school. She had graduated from there two years earlier and was a teacher's aide. Two brothers, Drayden Fontaine, 13, and Dayne Fontaine, 17, were found dead at a nearby house. Their mother wrote on Facebook; "My heart shattered into a million pieces," said Alicia Fontaine. "So sad I don't have no more babies."  Please pray for their Souls...

#Breaking #Eucharistic Congress starts in #Cebu Philippines with 1 Million Expected

Logo of IEC in Cebu.  - RV
Logo of IEC in Cebu. - RV
23/01/2016 15:17

The 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) gets under way on Sunday in the Philippine city of ‎Cebu. Some 15,000 people from about 90 countries, and at least 1 million Filipinos, are expected to ‎participate in the Jan 24-31 event, on the theme, “Christ in You, Our Hope of Glory.”   ‎
A Eucharistic Congress gathers together the clergy, religious and laity to ‎promote the ‎awareness ‎of ‎the ‎central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Catholic ‎Church. It ‎helps ‎improve ‎the ‎understanding and celebration of the liturgy and draws attention to the ‎social ‎dimension ‎of ‎the ‎Eucharist.‎  A Eucharistic Congress includes Masses, adoration of the Blessed ‎Sacrament, prayers, devotional ceremonies, catechesis, exhibitions and other events, and are also ‎organized at national, regional and diocesan levels. ‎
Some 16 international speakers are expected to address participants during the 8 days of the IEC in ‎Cebu, with translations in English, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, French, and ‎Italian.  Masses, prayers and liturgical celebrations will be held in seven languages.  Besides a ‎Eucharistic procession, adoration and benediction, the congress will also feature events such as ‎workshops, films, concerts and stage plays, with organizers providing video streaming online. ‎
The first International Eucharistic Congress was held in Lille, France, on June 21, 1881.  Since then, Asia has ‎hosted the international event four times.  The first International Eucharistic Congress in Asia was hosted by the Philippine capital Manila, in Feb. 1937.  Bombay, or Mumbai today, became the ‎second Asian city to host it in Nov. 1964.  It also became the occasion for the first ever ‎visit by a pontiff – Blessed Pope Paul VI  -  to India.  The  44th International Eucharistic Congress took ‎place in Seoul, South Korea, in October, 1989.  The choice of Cebu for the 2016 IEC was announced by Pope Emeritus ‎Benedict XVI at the conclusion of the last IESin Dublin, Ireland, in ‎June 2012.‎ Text Radio Vaticana

#PopeFrancis "..Jesus addresses the Good News to everyone..." #Angelus - FULL TEXT - Video

Pope Francis prays the Angelus on Sunday. In his address before the Marian prayer, the Holy Father said the mission of Christ, and of the Church, is to preach the Good News to the poor.  - RV
Pope Francis prays the Angelus on Sunday. In his address before the Marian prayer, the Holy Father said the mission of Christ, and of the Church, is to preach the Good News to the poor. - RV
24/01/2016 12:36

(Vatican Radio) In his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis looked to the day's Gospel, which recounts how Jesus preached in the synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth. The Lord read a passage from the Prophet Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor." Jesus Himself fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: "Today," He said, "this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."
This, said Pope Francis, is the mission of Jesus, and also the mission of the Church: to preach the Good News to the poor. Although the Gospel is addressed to everyone, he explained, Jesus nonetheless privileges those "who are farthest away, the suffering, the sick, those who are discarded by society." The poor, he concluded, "are at the centre of the Gospel."
Below, please find Vatican Radio's translation of Pope Francis' remarks at the Sunday Angelus: 
Dear brothers and sisters, good day!
In the Gospel of today, Luke the evangelist, before presenting the programmatic discourse of Jesus at Nazareth, briefly summarizes the work of evangelization. It is a work that He accomplishes with the power of the Holy Spirit: His word is original, because it reveals the sense of the Scripture; it is an authoritative word, because He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey (cf. Mk 1:27). Jesus is different from the teachers of His time. For example, Jesus didn’t open a school for the study of the Law, but went about everywhere to preach and teach: in the synagogues, in the streets, in the houses. Jesus also differs from John the Baptist, who proclaims the imminent judgement of God, while Jesus proclaims the forgiveness of God.
And now we enter, we imagine, into the synagogue of Nazareth, the village where Jesus lived until He was about thirty years old. What happened there is an important event, which delineates the mission of Jesus. He stood up to read the Holy Scripture. He opens the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and takes the passage where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.” Then, after a moment of silence full of expectation on the part of everyone, He says, to general amazement: “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
To evangelize the poor: This is the mission of Jesus, according to what He Himself says; this is also the mission of the Church, and of every person baptized in the Church. To be Christian and to be a missionary is the same thing. To proclaim the Gospel, with words, and, even before that, with one’s life, is the principle end of the Christian community and of each of its members.
It is known that Jesus addresses the Good News to everyone, without excluding anyone; and yet, He privileges those who are furthest away, the suffering, the sick, those discarded by society.
But let us ask ourselves a question. What does it mean to evangelize the poor? It means above all being close to them, having the joy of serving them, freeing them from oppression, and all this in the name of and with the Spirit of Christ, because He is the Gospel of God, He is the Mercy of God, He is the liberation of God. It is He Who was made poor in order to enrich us with His poverty. The text of Isaiah, reinforced by some small adaptations introduced by Jesus, indicates that the messianic proclamation of the Kingdom of God that has come amongst us is addressed in a preferential way to the marginalized, to prisoners, to the oppressed.
Probably in the time of Jesus these people were not at the centre of the community of faith. And we can ask ourselves: today, in our parish communities, in the associations, in the movements, are we faithful to the program of Christ? Is the evangelization of the poor, bringing to them the good news, the priority? Be attentive: this isn’t about giving social assistance, much less about political activity. It has to do with the strength of the Gospel of God, Who converts hearts, heals the wounded, transforms human and social relationships according to the logic of love. The poor, in fact, are at the heart of centre of the Gospel.
May the Virgin Mary, Mother of evangelizers, help us to feel strongly the hunger and thirst for the Gospel that exists in the world, especially in the heart and the flesh of the poor – and obtain for each and every one of us, the whole Christian community, to bear concrete witness to the mercy that Christ has given to us. 

As they enter the Kingdom - Faith and #Cancer how #Prayer can help...SHARE

It's been a rough first half of the school year. We've lost not one, but two parents to cancer (and had another just recently diagnosed and several others who are living with cancer). In a school population made up of about 200 families, that's a remarkable statistic. And, because we are such a small school, mainly made up of siblings and cousins -- with a real small town America feel -- it strikes at every raw emotion. These weren't people who were acquaintances. Our children didn't simply pass them their children in the hallway; they grew up with them. They watched their families grow. We frequented their businesses, we smiled at their children's talents. We were part of their existence and they were part of ours. We may not have been close, but they knew us and we knew them. They prayed for us, and we prayed for them.

It's hard to witness these families experience the news of cancer. It's hard to watch them wage their war against the enemy disease. One friend today put it beautifully -- these people didn't lose their battle with cancer, they won it. They fought the fight for as long as God asked them to endure; and believe me they endured with the example of holiness that each of us can draw upon when it is our time to struggle. They were true witnesses to redemptive suffering, to surrendering to the will of God -- not giving up, but doing His will in each moment. And all of those moments required the virtues of strength, perseverance and trust to continue on, to look for the hope of a cure, to leave no stone unturned.

I know that in the grand scheme of things, death is unavoidable. Sadly, when you love someone, the reality is that one of you will have to leave before the other. There are very few who get to make that journey into eternity together. When you are a Christian, however, death is the entrance into a new way of living. While we will surely feel the pain of that loss here in what we have left of our own existence on this side of heaven, we know that the ones we have loved have entered into eternity. We will pray for them as they make their way to heaven, and they, when they arrive in the Beatific Vision, will pray for us through the remainder of our sojourn here on earth.

Does this knowledge make it easier to bear the loss?

Not even remotely.

But, the comfort and grace that descends on us from the Heavenly choirs of angels and saints, the warmth of compassion that is showered down by the Blessed Mother, and the strength and love given by the Trinity in these times is a remarkable balm to the heart wounded by the loss of a loved one.

Faith -- Hope -- Love.

Faith -- that God's promises are true and we will ardently trust in Him.

Hope -- that we will be made worthy through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Love -- the greatest of these is love -- that God, Who is Love, will remain ever present in our lives. And, like our friends and family who have gone before us bearing in their flesh the witness of Love, we too will be an inspiration to others in emulating their love through joyful sacrifice.

Requiescat in pace, dear friends. Pray for us as you enter the Kingdom. Help us along our way as we journey toward that same reward. 
By: Kathy Vestermark, Professor at CDU

Sunday Mass Online : Sun. January 24, 2016 - Readings and Video - 3rd in Ordinary Time - Year C

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 69

Reading 1NEH 8:2-4A, 5-6, 8-10

Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly,
which consisted of men, women,
and those children old enough to understand.
Standing at one end of the open place that was before the Water Gate,
he read out of the book from daybreak till midday,
in the presence of the men, the women,
and those children old enough to understand;
and all the people listened attentively to the book of the law.
Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform
that had been made for the occasion.
He opened the scroll
so that all the people might see it
— for he was standing higher up than any of the people —;
and, as he opened it, all the people rose.
Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God,
and all the people, their hands raised high, answered,
“Amen, amen!”
Then they bowed down and prostrated themselves before the LORD,
their faces to the ground.
Ezra read plainly from the book of the law of God,
interpreting it so that all could understand what was read.
Then Nehemiah, that is, His Excellency, and Ezra the priest-scribe
and the Levites who were instructing the people
said to all the people:
“Today is holy to the LORD your God.
Do not be sad, and do not weep”—
for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law.
He said further: “Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks,
and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared;
for today is holy to our LORD.
Do not be saddened this day,
for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!”

Responsorial PsalmPS 19:8, 9, 10, 15

R. (cf John 6:63c) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
find favor before you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Reading 2 1 COR 12:12-30

Brothers and sisters:
As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

Now the body is not a single part, but many.
If a foot should say,
“Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body,”
it does not for this reason belong any less to the body.
Or if an ear should say,
“Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body,”
it does not for this reason belong any less to the body.
If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be?
If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?
But as it is, God placed the parts,
each one of them, in the body as he intended.
If they were all one part, where would the body be?
But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you,”
nor again the head to the feet, “I do not need you.”
Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker
are all the more necessary,
and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable
we surround with greater honor,
and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety,
whereas our more presentable parts do not need this.
But God has so constructed the body
as to give greater honor to a part that is without it,
so that there may be no division in the body,
but that the parts may have the same concern for one another.
If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it;
if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.

Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.
Some people God has designated in the church
to be, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers;
then, mighty deeds;
then gifts of healing, assistance, administration,
and varieties of tongues.
Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers?
Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing?
Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?

Or1 COR 12:12-14, 27

Brothers and sisters:
As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.
Now the body is not a single part, but many.
You are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.

AlleluiaCF. LK 4:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
and to proclaim liberty to captives.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 1:1-4; 4:14-21

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events
that have been fulfilled among us,
just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning
and ministers of the word have handed them down to us,
I too have decided,
after investigating everything accurately anew,
to write it down in an orderly sequence for you,
most excellent Theophilus,
so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings
you have received.

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,
and news of him spread throughout the whole region.
He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”