Wednesday, January 18, 2017

#PopeFrancis "God knows our weakness, He knows that we remember Him to ask for help, and with the indulgent smile of a father..." Audience FULL TEXT + Video

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning. Among Israel’s prophets, a somewhat anomalous figure stands out in Sacred Scripture, a prophet who tries to flee from the Lord’s call, refusing to put himself at the service of the divine plan of salvation. It is the prophet Jonah, whose story is narrated in a small book of only four chapters, a sort of parable bearer of a great teaching, that of God’s mercy, who forgives.
Jonah is an “outgoing” prophet, and also a prophet in flight! He is an outgoing prophet that God sends “to the periphery,” to Nineveh, to convert the inhabitants of that great city. However, for an Israelite like Jonah, Nineveh represented a threatening reality, the enemy that put Jerusalem itself in danger, and therefore to be destroyed, certainly not to be saved. Hence, when God sends Jonah to preach in that city, the prophet, who knows the Lord’s goodness and His desire to forgive, attempts to withdraw from his task and flees.
During his flight, the prophet comes into contact with pagans, mariners of the ship on which he embarked to flee from God and from his mission. And he flees far away, because Nineveh was in the region of Iraq and he flees to Spain, he flees in earnest. And it is, in fact, the behavior of these men, as it will be later of the inhabitants of Nineveh, which enables us to reflect somewhat today on hope, which in face of danger and death, is expressed in prayer.
In fact, during the crossing of the sea, a mighty tempest breaks out and Jonah goes down to the ship’s hold and abandons himself to sleep. The mariners, instead, seeing themselves lost, “each cried to his god”: they were pagans (Jonah 1:5). The captain of the ship awoke Jonah and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call upon your god. Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we do not perish” (Jonah 1:6).
The reaction of these “pagans” was the right reaction in face of death, in face of danger, because it is then that man has a complete experience of his frailty and his need of salvation. The instinctive horror of dying awakens the necessity to hope in the God of life.“Perhaps the god will give thought to us, that we do not perish”: are the words of hope that becomes prayer, that supplication full of anguish that comes to the lips of man in face of the imminent danger of death.
We disdain too easily from turning to God in our need as if it were only a self-interested prayer and, hence, imperfect. However, God knows our weakness, He knows that we remember Him to ask for help, and with the indulgent smile of a father, He responds benevolently.
When Jonah, acknowledging his responsibilities, had himself thrown into the sea to save his travel companions, the tempest was placated. Imminent death led those pagan men to prayer and, despite everything, made the prophet live his vocation at the service of others, accepting to sacrifice himself for them, and now leads the survivors to acknowledgement of the true Lord and to praise. The mariners who, prey to fear, turned to their gods and prayed, now, with sincere fear of the Lord, acknowledge the true God and offer sacrifices and make vows. Hope, which had induced them to pray so that they would not die, is now revealed more powerful and operates a reality that goes beyond what they hoped for: not only do they not perish in the tempest, but they open themselves to the acknowledgement of the true and only Lord of Heaven and earth.
Subsequently, the inhabitants of Nineveh, in face of the prospect of being destroyed, also prayed, spurred by hope in God’s forgiveness. They would do penance, invoke the Lord and be converted to Him, beginning with the king, who, like the captain of the ship, gave voice to hope saying: “Who knows, God may yet repent and turn from His fierce anger, so that we perish not?” (Jonah 3:9). For them too, as well as for the crew in the tempest, to have faced death and come out saved led them to the truth. Thus, under divine mercy, and even more so in the light of the Paschal Mystery, death can become, as it was for Saint Francis of Assisi, “our sister death” and represent for every man and for each one of us, the astonishing occasion to know hope and to encounter the Lord. May the Lord make us understand this connection between prayer and hope. Prayer leads one forward in hope and when things become dark, there must be more prayer! And there will be more hope. Thank you.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
In Italian
A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. I greet the pilgrimage of the Augustinian Sisters Servants of Jesus and Mary, the Augustinian Religious and the Association of Catholic Notaries, accompanied by the Archbishop of Assisi, Monsignor Domenico Sorrentino. To all I express the wish that the visit to the Eternal City may stimulate each one to reflect further on the Word of God to be able to recognize within it, Jesus the Savior.
Finally, I greet young people, the sick and newlyweds. Today the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins, which this year makes us reflect on the love of Christ, which pushes to reconciliation. Dear young people, pray so that all Christians may return to be one family; dear sick, offer your sufferings for the cause of the unity of the Church; and you, dear newlyweds, experience gratuitous love like God’s for humanity.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wed. January 18, 2017

Wednesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 313

Reading 1HEB 7:1-3, 15-17

Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of God Most High,
met Abraham as he returned from his defeat of the kings
and blessed him.

And Abraham apportioned to him a tenth of everything.
His name first means righteous king,
and he was also "king of Salem," that is, king of peace.
Without father, mother, or ancestry,
without beginning of days or end of life,
thus made to resemble the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

It is even more obvious if another priest is raised up
after the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become so,
not by a law expressed in a commandment concerning physical descent
but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed.
For it is testified:

You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Responsorial PsalmPS 110:1, 2, 3, 4

R. (4b) You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand
till I make your enemies your footstool."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The scepter of your power the LORD will stretch forth from Zion:
"Rule in the midst of your enemies."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
"Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor;
before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD has sworn, and he will not repent:
"You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

AlleluiaMT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 3:1-6

Jesus entered the synagogue.
There was a man there who had a withered hand.
They watched Jesus closely
to see if he would cure him on the sabbath
so that they might accuse him.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
"Come up here before us."
Then he said to the Pharisees,
"Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?"
But they remained silent.
Looking around at them with anger
and grieved at their hardness of heart,
Jesus said to the man, "Stretch out your hand."
He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel
with the Herodians against him to put him to death.

Saint January 18 : St. Volusian : #Bishop of #Tours


Feast Day:January 18
Volusian was bishop of Tours, in France, the see made famous by St. Martin two centuries earlier. He lived at a time before clerical celibacy had been enforced in the West and was married to a woman famous for her violent temper, which was a great trial to the bishop. He also lived in a time when the barbarian invasions had begun and the fear of the Goths was everywhere.
In writing to a friend of his, a certain Bishop Ruricius, of nearby Limoges, St. Volusian expressed his fear of the Goths who were beginning to terrorize his diocese. Ruricius humorously replied that someone who lived with terror inside his house, meaning his wife, should have no fear of terrors from the outside.
Volusian was of senatorial rank, very wealthy, a relative of the bishop who preceded him, St. Perpetuus, and he lived in the days when Clovis was king of the Franks, the avowed enemy of the Goths.
As the Goths began to overrun Volusian's diocese, they suspected him of sympathies with Clovis and of wanting to subject them to the Franks, so Volusian was driven from his see and sent into exile.
He held the office of bishop in a very difficult time, when the whole of Western Europe was in turmoil, in the wake of the barbarian invasions from the East. Cities were sacked, government disrupted, and bishops were the only agents of stability as civil government collapsed. Gregory of  Tours, who succeeded Volusian as bishop of Tours a century later, describes the turmoil of the times, and it is from his writings that we get our knowledge of Volusian.
We have no further information about Volusian's wife or his family, and we are not sure whether he died in southern France or in Spain. It is simply known that he was driven from his see, went into exile, and died after ruling as bishop for seven years.
Thought for the Day: Most of us live in very stable times, and it is difficult to imagine what it would be like if our country were invaded and national and state government ceased to exist. Our dependence on Divine Providence would be more obvious then, and our faith would have to give us strength in very different ways. The saints kept faith in the most difficult of times and leaned on God in every crisis.
From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': "A tree is identified by its fruit. A tree from a select variety produces good fruit; poor varieties, don't.... A good man's speech reveals the rich treasures within him. An evil-hearted man is filled with venom, and his speech reveals it."—Matthew 12:33, 35