Friday, January 18, 2019

#BreakingNews Hundreds of Thousands at MARCH FOR LIFE in Washington DC - USA - with VP - Mike Pence and Pres. Trump

Hundreds of THOUSANDS attended the MARCH FOR LIFE in Washington, DC on January 18, 2019. The great crowds marked the 46th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade the decision in 1973 that permitted abortion. President Trump and VP Mike Pence made a surprise speeches - (See Video at bottom of this post)
 Even POPE FRANCIS tweeted last year: "Every life counts: from the beginning to the end, from conception to natural death"in  2014 he tweeted in English and Spanish,
 “I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers. May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable”. 
 Over 60,000,000 Abortions have occurred in America Since Roe vs. Wade in 1973.  The United States remembers 46 years of legalized abortion in all fifty states at any time for any reason throughout pregnancy on January 22nd, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.  This massive crowd gathered to honor life from conception to natural death with the support and speech by the President of the United States. It is hoped that the legislation will soon be changed to end abortion in the US. (IMAGE SOURCE : GOOGLE)
 There was an overnight prayer vigil in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception with thousands in attendance. Cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, and seminarians were present at the Mass in the Basilica. This annual March has become a large event spanning many days and involving talks, demonstrations, prayer, videos and other activities. Many politicians, clergy, religious, youth and leaders partake every year. This year the President Donald Trump gave a surprise speech, and Vice-President Mike Pence also gave a speech. Martin Luther King's niece Dr. Alveda King also attended and is part of a large movement in support of life. Two years ago over 800,000 attended. This year noted a particularly strong youth presence.

Wow Thousands at Pro-Life Mass at Youth Rally for March for Life with US Papal Nuncio who brought Message from Pope Francis

President Trump - "Every child is a sacred gift from God." FULL Text March for Life Speech

Pope Francis - "Christian unity is a fruit of God’s grace..." FULL Official Text Homily for Week of Christian Unity + Video

Here is the full text of Pope Francis’ prepared homily for the celebration of First Vespers at the Basilica of St Paul’s Outside-the-Walls, for the start of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis

Today marks the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, in which all of us are asked to implore from God this great gift.  Christian unity is a fruit of God’s grace, and we must dispose ourselves to accept it with generous and open hearts.  This evening I am particularly pleased to pray together with representatives of other Churches present in Rome, and I offer them a fraternal and heartfelt greeting.  I also greet the ecumenical delegation from Finland, the students of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, who are visiting Rome to deepen their knowledge of the Catholic Church.  My greeting also goes to the young Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox students sponsored by the Committee for Cultural Collaboration with Orthodox Churches of the Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
The Book of Deuteronomy sees the people of Israel encamped in the plains of Moab, about to enter the land that God promised them.  Here Moses, as a kind father and the leader appointed by the Lord, repeats the Law to the people, and instructs and reminds them that they must live with fidelity and justice once they have been established in the Promised Land.
The passage we have just heard shows how to celebrate the three main feasts of the year: Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Weeks), Sukkot (Tabernacles).  Each of these feasts requires Israel to give thanks for the good things received from God.  The celebration of a feast calls for everyone’s participation.  No one is to be excluded: “And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your son and your daughter, your manservant and your maidservant, the Levite who is within your towns, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are among you, at the place which the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there” (Deut 16:11).
Each of these feasts requires a pilgrimage to the “place that the Lord will choose, to make his name dwell there” (v. 2).  There the faithful Israelite must come before God.  Though the Israelites had been slaves in Egypt, lacking personal possessions, they are not to “appear before the Lord empty-handed” (v. 16); the gift of each is to correspond to the blessing received from the Lord.  In this way, all will receive their share of the country’s wealth and will benefit from God’s goodness.
It should not surprise us that the biblical text passes from the celebration of the three principal feasts to the appointment of judges.  The feasts themselves exhort the people to justice, stating that all are fundamentally equal and all equally dependent on God’s mercy.  They also invite all to share with others the gifts they have received.  Rendering honour and glory to the Lord in these yearly feasts goes hand in hand with rendering honour and justice to one’s neighbour, especially the weak and those in need.
The Christians of Indonesia, reflecting on the theme chosen for this Week of Prayer, decided to draw inspiration from these words of Deuteronomy: “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue” (16:20).  They are deeply concerned that the economic growth of their country, driven by the mentality of competition, is leaving many in poverty and allowing a small few to become immensely wealthy.  This jeopardizes the harmony of a society in which people of different ethnic groups, languages and religions live together and share a sense of responsibility for one another.
But that is not simply the case in Indonesia; it is a situation we see worldwide.  When society is no longer based on the principle of solidarity and the common good, we witness the scandal of people living in utter destitution amid skyscrapers, grand hotels and luxurious shopping centres, symbols of incredible wealth.  We have forgotten the wisdom of the Mosaic law: if wealth is not shared, society is divided.
Saint Paul, writing to the Romans, applies the same thinking to the Christian community: those who are strong must bear with the weak.  It is not Christian “to please ourselves” (15:1).  Following Christ’s example, we are to make every effort to build up those who are weak.  Solidarity and shared responsibility must be the laws that govern the Christian family.
As God’s holy people, we too constantly find ourselves on the threshold of entering the Lord’s promised kingdom.  Yet, since we are also divided, we need to recall God’s summons to justice.  Christians too risk adopting the mentality known to the ancient Israelites and contemporary Indonesians, namely that in the pursuit of wealth, we forget about the weak and those in need.  It is easy to forget the fundamental equality existing among us: that once we were all slaves to sin, that the Lord saved us in baptism and called us his children.  It is easy to think that the spiritual grace granted us is our property, something to which we are due, our property.  The gifts we have received from God can also blind us to the gifts given to other Christians.  It is a grave sin to belittle or despise the gifts that the Lord has given our brothers and sisters, and to think that God somehow holds them in less esteem.  When we entertain such thoughts, we allow the very grace we have received to become a source of pride, injustice and division.  And how can we then enter the promised kingdom?
The worship befitting that kingdom, the worship demanded by justice, is a celebration that includes everyone, a feast in which gifts received are available to and shared by all.  To take the first steps towards the promised land that is our unity, we must first of all recognize with humility that the blessings we have received are not ours by right, but have come to us as a gift; they were given to be shared with others.  Then, we must acknowledge the value of the grace granted to other Christian communities.  As a result, we will want to partake of the gifts of others.  A Christian people renewed and enriched by this exchange of gifts will be a people capable of journeying firmly and confidently on the path that leads to unity.
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Wow True Story of how a Muslim Imam Prevented a Deadly Attack on Christian Church on Christmas Eve

Imam prevented a deadly attack against church on the eve of Coptic Christmas Eve.
 Sheikh Saad Askar shouted warnings to Christians after two Al-Azhar students noticed the possible attacker. The imam called on Christians and Muslims to :
“stand by each other’s side and take care of each other. Those who target places of worship have no religion and are neither Muslim nor Christian”. 

 The bomb attack against the church in east Cairo was averted thanks to the prompt action of the Muslim cleric, Imam Saad Askar who also called the police. When the bomb squad tried to dismantle the devices, one exploded killing a bomb disposal expert.
 Visiting the church afterwards, Imam Askar said: “We have to stand by each other’s side and take care of each other. Those who target places of worship have no religion and are neither Muslim nor Christian”. The incident took place Saturday evening at the end of the celebrations for Coptic Orthodox Christmas at the Church of the Virgin Mary and Abu Seifin in Ezbat al-Haganah, Nasr City, an eastern suburb of the Egyptian capital. Two al-Azhar students told the imam about a stranger with a suitcase.
Along with mosque worker Gouda Shaaban Khalifa, 63, Askar ran after him, but he fled the scene leaving behind a trolley case. The police found three explosive devices inside. Major Mostafa Ebeid al-Azhari, from the bomb squad at the Cairo Security Directorate, defused two bombs before the third one exploded, killing him. According to local sources, Coptic Christians who were celebrating their Christmas, were the target. Sheikh Saad Askar, the imam of the mosque opposite the church, was thus able to warn people at the church, urging them to leave.
 A video posted on social media shows the sheikh warning people in the church to quickly get away. When police arrived, they  dismantled the bombs, and looked for other explosive devices. Christians (mostly Orthodox Copts) are substantial minority (10 per cent) in Egypt, a Muslim majority country of almost 95 million people. In 2016 and 2017, several violent attacks were carried out against the Christian community. For this reason, this year’s Christmas celebrations were held under tight security. Edited from Asia News IT

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday January 18, 2019 - #Eucharist

Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 309

Reading 1HEB 4:1-5, 11

Let us be on our guard
while the promise of entering into his rest remains,
that none of you seem to have failed.
For in fact we have received the Good News just as our ancestors did.
But the word that they heard did not profit them,
for they were not united in faith with those who listened.
For we who believed enter into that rest,
just as he has said:

As I swore in my wrath,  
"They shall not enter into my rest,"

and yet his works were accomplished
at the foundation of the world.
For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this manner,
And God rested on the seventh day from all his works;
and again, in the previously mentioned place,
They shall not enter into my rest. 

Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest,
so that no one may fall after the same example of disobedience.

Responsorial PsalmPS 78:3 AND 4BC, 6C-7, 8

R. (see 7b)  Do not forget the works of the Lord!
What we have heard and know,
and what our fathers have declared to us,
we will declare to the generation to come
The glorious deeds of the LORD and his strength.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
That they too may rise and declare to their sons
that they should put their hope in God,
And not forget the deeds of God
but keep his commands.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
And not be like their fathers,
a generation wayward and rebellious,
A generation that kept not its heart steadfast
nor its spirit faithful toward God.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!

AlleluiaLK 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 2:1-12

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,
"Child, your sins are forgiven."
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,
"Why does this man speak that way?  He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?"
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what
they were thinking to themselves,
so he said, "Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
'Your sins are forgiven,'
or to say, 'Rise, pick up your mat and walk'?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth"
–he said to the paralytic,
"I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home."
He rose, picked up his mat at once,
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this."

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

Pope Francis “Exhort each other every day, as long as this today lasts, so that none of you may be..." Homily

Word of God is not ideology, it is life that makes us grow
What does it mean for a Christian to have a “perverse heart,” a heart that can lead to faintheartedness, ideology, and compromise? That was the theme of Pope Francis’ homily Thursday morning at the Mass at Casa Santa Marta.
“Take care, brothers, that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God.” This is the harsh “message”, the “warning” as Pope Francis calls it, that the author of the Letter to the Hebrews addresses to the Christian community in today’s liturgy. The Pope warns that the Christian community, in all its components - “priests, nuns, bishops” - runs this danger of “slipping towards a perverse heart”.
But what does this warning mean to us? The Pope focuses on three words, again taken from the First Reading, which can help us to understand: “hardness”, “obstinacy”, and “seduction”.

Fainthearted Christians, without the courage to live
A hard heart is a “closed” heart, “that does not want to grow, that defends itself, that is closed in on itself”. In life this can happen because of many factors; as, for example, a “great sorrow”, because, as the Pope explains, “blows harden the skin”. It happened, he said, to the disciples of Emmaus, as well as to St Thomas the Apostle. And whoever remains in this “bad attitude” is “fainthearted”; and a “cowardly heart is perverse”:

We can ask ourselves: Do I have a hard heart, do I have a closed heart? Do I let my heart grow? Am I afraid that it will grow? And we always grow with trials, with difficulties, we grow as we all grow as children: we learn to walk [by] falling. From crawling to walking, how many times we have fallen! But we grow through difficulties. Hardness. And, what amounts to the same thing, being closed. But who remains in this? “Who are they, father?” They are the fainthearted. Faintheartedness is an ugly attitude in a Christian, he lacks the courage to live. He is closed off...

Obstinate Christians, ideologues
The second word is “obstinacy”: In the Letter to the Hebrews we read, “Exhort each other every day, as long as this today lasts, so that none of you may be obstinate”; and this is “the accusation that Stephen makes to those who will stone him afterwards”. Obstinacy is “spiritual stubbornness”: an obstinate heart – explains Pope Francis - is “rebellious”, is “stubborn”, is closed in by its own thought, is not “open to the Holy Spirit”. This is the profile of “ideologues”, and of the proud and the arrogant:

Ideology is a [kind of] obstinacy. The Word of God, the grace of the Holy Spirit is not ideology: it is life that makes you grow, always, [that makes you] go forward, and also opens your heart to the signs of the Spirit, to the signs of the times. But obstinacy is also pride, it is arrogance. Stubbornness, that stubbornness that does so much harm:  closed-hearted, hard – the first word – those are the fainthearted; the stubborn, the obstinate, as the text says the ideologues are. But do I have a stubborn heart? Each one should consider this. Am I able to listen to other people? And if I think differently, do I say, “But I think this...” Am I capable of dialogue? The obstinate don’t dialogue, they don’t know how, because they always defend themselves with ideas, they are ideologues. And how much harm do ideologues do to the people of God, how much harm! Because they close the way to the work of the Holy Spirit.

Compromising Christians, slaves to seduction
Finally, in order to help us understand how not to slip into the risk of having a perverse heart, the Pope reflects on the word “seduction”: the seduction of sin, used by the devil, the “great seducer”, “a great theologian but without faith, with hatred”, who wants to “enter and dominate” the heart and knows how to do it. So, concludes the Pope, a “perverse heart is one that lets itself be seduced; and seduction leads him to obstinacy, to closure, and to many other things”:

And with seduction, either you convert and change your life or you try to compromise: but a little here and a little there, a little here and a little there. “Yes, yes, I follow the Lord, but I like this seduction, but just a little...” And you’re starting to lead a double Christian life. To use the word of the great Elijah to the people of Israel at that moment: “You limp from both legs”. To limp from both legs, without having one set firmly. It is the life of compromise: “Yes, I am a Christian, I follow the Lord, yes, but I let this in...”. And this is what the lukewarm are like, those who always compromise: Christians of compromise. We, too, often do this: compromise. Even when the Lord lets us know the path, even with the commandments, also with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but I prefer something else, and I try to find a way to go down two tracks, limping on both legs.
The Pope concludes, “may the Holy Spirit, therefore, enlighten us so that no one may have a perverse heart: a hard heart, which will lead you to faintheartedness; a stubborn heart that will lead you to rebellion, that will lead you to ideology; a heart that is seduced, a slave to seduction”.
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