Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Saint April 25 : St. Mark Evangelist : Patron of Lawyers and #Prisoners

1st century AD, Palestine
April 25, 68 AD, Alexandria
Major Shrine:
Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Cairo, Egypt)
Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Alexandria, Egypt)
Basilica di San Marco (Venice, Italy)
Patron of:
against impenitence, against struma, attorneys, barristers, captives, glaziers, imprisoned people, prelature of insect bites, Ionian Islands, lawyers, lions, notaries, prisoners, scrofulous diseases, stained glass workers, struma patients, Venice
On April 25, we celebrate the feast of Saint Mark (died 57), writer of the Gospel, martyr, and follower of Jesus. (Greek Markos, Latin Marcus).
It is assumed in this article that the individual referred to in Acts as John Mark (12:12, 25; 15:37), John (xiii, 5, 13), Mark (15:39), is identical with the Mark mentioned by St. Paul (Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24) and by St. Peter (1 Peter 5:13). Their identity is not questioned by any ancient writer of note, while it is strongly suggested, on the one hand by the fact that Mark of the Pauline Epistles was the cousin (ho anepsios) of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10), to whom Mark of Acts seems to have been bound by some special tie (Acts 15:37, 39); on the other by the probability that the Mark, whom St. Peter calls his son (1 Peter 5:13), is no other than the son of Mary, the Apostle's old friend in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12). To the Jewish name John was added the Roman pronomen Marcus, and by the latter he was commonly known to the readers of Acts (15:37, ton kaloumenon Markon) and of the Epistles. Mark's mother was a prominent member of the infant Church at Jerusalem; it was to her house that Peter turned on his release from prison; the house was approached by a porch (pulon), there was a slave girl (paidiske), probably the portress, to open the door, and the house was a meeting-place for the brethren, "many" of whom were praying there the night St. Peter arrived from prison (Acts 12:12-13).
When, on the occasion of the famine of A.D. 45-46, Barnabas and Saul had completed their ministration in Jerusalem, they took Mark with them on their return to Antioch (Acts 12:25). Not long after, when they started on St. Paul's first Apostolic journey, they had Mark with them as some sort of assistant (hupereten, Acts 13:5); but the vagueness and variety of meaning of the Greek term makes it uncertain in what precise capacity he acted. Neither selected by the Holy Spirit, nor delegated by the Church of Antioch, as were Barnabas and Saul (Acts 13:2-4), he was probably taken by the Apostles as one who could be of general help. The context of Acts 13:5, suggests that he helped even in preaching the Word. When Paul and Barnabas resolved to push on from Perga into central Asia Minor, Mark, departed from them, if indeed he had not already done so at Paphos, and returned to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13). What his reasons were for turning back, we cannot say with certainty; Acts 15:38, seems to suggest that he feared the toil. At any rate, the incident was not forgotten by St. Paul, who refused on account of it to take Mark with him on the second Apostolic journey. This refusal led to the separation of Paul and Barnabas, and the latter, taking Mark with him, sailed to Cyprus (Acts 15:37-40). At this point (A.D. 49-50) we lose sight of Mark in Acts, and we meet him no more in the New Testament, till he appears some ten years afterwards as the fellow-worker of St. Paul, and in the company of St. Peter, at Rome.
St. Paul, writing to the Colossians during his first Roman imprisonment (A.D. 59-61), says: "Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, saluteth you, and Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, touching whom you have received commandments; if he come unto you, receive him" (Colossians 4:10). At the time this was written, Mark was evidently in Rome, but had some intention of visiting Asia Minor. About the same time St. Paul sends greetings to Philemon from Mark, whom he names among his fellow-workers (sunergoi, Philem., 24). The Evangelist's intention of visiting Asia Minor was probably carried out, for St. Paul, writing shortly before his death to Timothy at Ephesus, bids him pick up Mark and bring him with him to Rome, adding "for he is profitable to me for the ministry" (2 Timothy 4:11). If Mark came to Rome at this time, he was probably there when St. Paul was martyred. Turning to 1 Peter 5:13, we read: "The Church that is in Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you, and (so doth) Mark my son" (Markos, o huios aou). This letter was addressed to various Churches of Asia Minor (1 Peter 1:1), and we may conclude that Mark was known to them. Hence, though he had refused to penetrate into Asia Minor with Paul and Barnabas, St. Paul makes it probable, and St. Peter certain, that he went afterwards, and the fact that St. Peter sends Mark's greeting to a number of Churches implies that he must have been widely known there. In calling Mark his "son", Peter may possibly imply that he had baptized him, though in that case teknon might be expected rather than huios (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Timothy 1:2, 18; 2 Timothy 1:2; 2:1; Titus 1:4; Philemon 10). The term need not be taken to imply more than affectionate regard for a younger man, who had long ago sat at Peter's feet in Jerusalem, and whose mother had been the Apostle's friend (Acts 12:12). As to the Babylon from which Peter writers, and in which Mark is present with him, there can be no reasonable doubt that it is Rome. The view of St. Jerome: "St. Peter also mentions this Mark in his First Epistle, while referring figuratively to Rome under the title of Babylon" (Illustrious Men 8), is supported by all the early Father who refer to the subject. It may be said to have been questioned for the first time by Erasmus, whom a number of Protestant writers then followed, that they might the more readily deny the Roman connection of St. Peter. Thus, we find Mark in Rome with St. Peter at a time when he was widely known to the Churches of Asia Minor. If we suppose him, as we may, to have gone to Asia Minor after the date of the Epistle to the Colossians, remained there for some time, and returned to Rome before I Peter was written, the Petrine and Pauline references to the Evangelist are quite intelligible and consistent.
When we turn to tradition, Papias (Eusebius, Church History III.39) asserts not later than A.D. 130, on the authority of an "elder", that Mark had been the interpreter (hermeneutes) of Peter, and wrote down accurately, though not in order, the teaching of Peter (see below, GOSPEL OF SAINT MARK). A widespread, if somewhat late, tradition represents St. Mark as the founder of the Church of Alexandria. Though strangely enough Clement and Origen make no reference to the saint's connection with their city, it is attested by Eusebius (op. cit., II, xvi, xxiv), by St. Jerome ("De Vir. Illust.", viii), by the Apostolic Constitutions (VII, xlvi), by Epiphanius ("Hær;.", li, 6) and by many later authorities. The "Martyrologium Romanum" (25 April) records: "At Alexandria the anniversary of Blessed Mark the Evangelist . . . at Alexandria of St. Anianus, Bishop, the disciple of Blessed Mark and his successor in the episcopate, who fell asleep in the Lord." The date at which Mark came to Alexandria is uncertain. The Chronicle of Eusebius assigns it to the first years of Claudius (A.D. 41-4), and later on states that St. Mark's first successor, Anianus, succeeded to the See of Alexandria in the eighth year of Nero (61-2). This would make Mark Bishop of Alexandria for a period of about twenty years. This is not impossible, if we might suppose in accordance with some early evidence that St. Peter came to Rome in A.D. 42, Mark perhaps accompanying him. But Acts raise considerable difficulties. On the assumption that the founder of the Church of Alexandria was identical with the companion of Paul and Barnabas, we find him at Jerusalem and Antioch about A.D. 46 (Acts 12:25), in Salamis about 47 (Acts 13:5), at Antioch again about 49 or 50 (Acts 15:37-9), and when he quitted Antioch, on the separation of Paul and Barnabas, it was not to Alexandria but to Cyprus that he turned (Acts 15:39). There is nothing indeed to prove absolutely that all this is inconsistent with his being Bishop of Alexandria at the time, but seeing that the chronology of the Apostolic age is admittedly uncertain, and that we have no earlier authority than Eusebius for the date of the foundation of the Alexandrian Church, we may perhaps conclude with more probability that it was founded somewhat later. There is abundance of time between A.D. 50 and 60, a period during which the New Testament is silent in regard to St. Mark, for his activity in Egypt.
In the preface to his Gospel in manuscripts of the Vulgate, Mark is represented as having been a Jewish priest: "Mark the Evangelist, who exercised the priestly office in Israel, a Levite by race". Early authorities, however, are silent upon the point, and it is perhaps only an inference from his relation to Barnabas the Levite (Acts 4:36). Papias (in Eusebius, Church History III.39) says, on the authority of "the elder", that Mark neither heard the Lord nor followed Him (oute gar ekouse tou kurion oute parekoluthesen auto), and the same statement is made in the Dialogue of Adamantius (fourth century, Leipzig, 1901, p. 8), by Eusebius ("Demonst. Evang.", III, v), by St. Jerome ("In Matth."), by St. Augustine ("De Consens. Evang."), and is suggested by the Muratorian Fragment. Later tradition, however, makes Mark one of the seventy-two disciples, and St. Epiphanius ("Hær", li, 6) says he was one of those who withdrew from Christ (John 6:67). The later tradition can have no weight against the earlier evidence, but the statement that Mark neither heard the Lord nor followed Him need not be pressed too strictly, nor force us to believe that he never saw Christ. Many indeed are of opinion that the young man who fled naked from Gethsemane (Mark 14:51) was Mark himself. Early in the third century Hippolytus ("Philosophumena", VII, xxx) refers to Mark as ho kolobodaktulos, i.e. "stump-fingered" or "mutilated in the finger(s)", and later authorities allude to the same defect. Various explanations of the epithet have been suggested: that Mark, after he embraced Christianity, cut off his thumb to unfit himself for the Jewish priesthood; that his fingers were naturally stumpy; that some defect in his toes is alluded to; that the epithet is to be regarded as metaphorical, and means "deserted" (cf. Acts 13:13).
The date of Mark's death is uncertain. St. Jerome ("De Vir. Illustr.", viii) assigns it to the eighth year of Nero (62-63) (Mortuus est octavo Neronis anno et sepultus Alexandriæ), but this is probably only an inference from the statement of Eusebius (Church History II.24), that in that year Anianus succeeded St. Mark in the See of Alexandria. Certainly, if St. Mark was alive when II Timothy was written (2 Timothy 4:11), he cannot have died in 61-62. Nor does Eusebius say he did; the historian may merely mean that St. Mark then resigned his see, and left Alexandria to join Peter and Paul at Rome. As to the manner of his death, the "Acts" of Mark give the saint the glory of martyrdom, and say that he died while being dragged through the streets of Alexandria; so too the Paschal Chronicle. But we have no evidence earlier than the fourth century that the saint was martyred. This earlier silence, however, is not at all decisive against the truth of the later traditions. For the saint's alleged connection with Aquileia, see "Acta SS.", XI, pp. 346-7, and for the removal of his body from Alexandria to Venice and his cultus there, ibid., pp. 352-8. In Christian literature and art St. Mark is symbolically represented by a lion. The Latin and Greek Churches celebrate his feast on 25 April, but the Greek Church keeps also the feast of John Mark on 27 September.
Biography source :The Catholic Encyclopdia
Prayer: Almighty God, who by the hand of Mark the evangelist hast given to thy Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank thee for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
 O Almighty God, who hast instructed thy holy Church with the heavenly doctrines of thy Evangelist Saint Mark; Give us grace, that, being not like children carried away with every blast of vain doctrine, we may be established in the truth of thy holy Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pope Francis says "If you do not forgive, God will not forgive you...But if you can't do it, ask the Lord to give you the strength to do it: Lord, help me to forgive." FULL TEXT + Video


St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Catechesis on the "Our Father": 13. How we refer them to our debtors

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today we complete the catechesis on the fifth question of the "Our Father", dwelling on the expression "as we also forgive our debtors" (Mt 6:12). We have seen that it is proper to man to be a debtor before God: from Him we have received everything, in terms of nature and grace. Our life was not only wanted, but loved by God. There really is no room for presumption when we join hands to pray. There are no "self made man" in the Church, men who have made themselves. We are all indebted to God and to many people who have given us favorable living conditions. Our identity is built starting from the good received. The first is life.

Those who pray learn to say "thank you". And we often forget to say "thank you", we are selfish. Those who pray learn to say "thank you" and ask God to be kind to him or her. However much we strive, there is always an unbridgeable debt before God, which we will never be able to repay: He loves us infinitely more than we love him. And then, as much as we commit ourselves to live according to Christian teachings, in our lives there will always be something to ask forgiveness for: let's think about the days passed lazily, the moments when the grudge has occupied our heart and so on. It is these experiences, unfortunately not rare, that make us implore: "Lord, Father, forgive us our debts". We thus ask forgiveness from God.

Come to think of it, the invocation could also be limited to this first part; it would have been beautiful. Instead, Jesus welds it with a second expression that is one with the first. The relationship of vertical benevolence on the part of God is refracted and is called to translate itself into a new relationship that we live with our brothers: a horizontal relationship. The good God invites us to be all good. The two parts of the invocation are tied together with a merciless conjunction: we ask the Lord to forgive our debts, our sins, "like" we forgive our friends, the people who live with us, our neighbors, the people who he did something not nice about it.

Every Christian knows that for him the forgiveness of sins exists, we all know this: God forgives everything and always forgives. When Jesus tells his disciples the face of God, he outlines it with expressions of tender mercy. He says that there is more joy in heaven for a sinner who repents, rather than for a crowd of righteous people who do not need conversion (see Lk 15.7.10). Nothing in the Gospels suggests that God does not forgive the sins of those who are well disposed and asks to be re-embraced.

But the abundant grace of God is always challenging. Those who have received so much must learn to give so much and not hold back only what they received. Those who have received so much must learn to give so much. It is no coincidence that the Gospel of Matthew, immediately after giving the text of the "Our Father", among the seven expressions used, suffers to emphasize precisely that of fraternal forgiveness: "If you in fact forgive others for their faults, the Father your who is in heaven will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your faults "(Mt 6,14-15). But this is strong! I think: sometimes I heard people say: "I will never forgive that person! I will never forgive what they did to me! " But if you do not forgive, God will not forgive you. You close the door. We think, we are able to forgive or if we do not forgive. A priest, when I was in the other diocese, told me anguished that he had gone to give the last sacraments to an old woman who was on the point of death. The poor lady could not speak. And the priest says to her: "Madam, do you repent of sins?" The lady said yes; he could not confess them but he said yes. It's enough. And then again: "Do you forgive others?" And the lady, on her deathbed said: "No". The priest remained distressed. If you do not forgive, God will not forgive you. We think, we who are here, if we forgive or are able to forgive. "Father, I can't do it, because those people made me so many." But if you can't do it, ask the Lord to give you the strength to do it: Lord, help me to forgive. Here we find the bond between love for God and love of neighbor. Love calls love, forgiveness calls forgiveness. Again in Matthew we find a very intense parable dedicated to fraternal forgiveness (see 18,21-35). Let's listen.

There was a servant who had a huge debt with his king: ten thousand talents! An impossible sum to repay; I don't know how much it would be today, but hundreds of millions. But the miracle happens, and that servant receives not a payment extension, but the full amnesty. An unexpected grace! But here it is that very servant, immediately afterwards, rages against his brother who owes him a hundred denari - small thing -, and, although this is an accessible figure, it does not accept excuses or supplications. Therefore, in the end, the master calls him back and has him condemned. Because if you don't try to forgive, you won't be forgiven; if you do not try to love, you will not be loved either.

Jesus inserts the power of forgiveness into human relationships. In life, not everything is resolved with justice. No. Especially where we must put a barrier to evil, someone must love beyond the necessary, to start a story of grace again. Evil knows its revenge, and if it is not interrupted it risks spreading and suffocating the whole world.

To the law of retaliation - what you did to me, I give it back to you, Jesus replaces the law of love: what God has done to me, I give it back to you! Let us think today, in this very beautiful Easter week, if I am able to forgive. And if I don't feel capable, I have to ask the Lord to give me the grace to forgive, because knowing how to forgive is a grace.

God gives every Christian the grace to write a story of good in the lives of his brothers, especially those who have done something unpleasant and wrong. With a word, a hug, a smile, we can convey to others what we have received most precious. What is the precious thing we have received? Forgiveness, which we must be able to give to others.

Greetings in Various Languages:
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins venant de France et de Suisse, en particulier les jeunes de Guyane française, et les Guides du Liban ! En ce temps où nous célébrons la Résurrection du Seigneur, n’ayez pas peur de manifester que Jésus est vivant, qu’il est votre vie ! Bonnes fêtes pascales à tous et que Dieu vous bénisse.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and the United States of America. In the joy of the Risen Christ, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you all!
Herzlich heiße ich die Brüder und Schwestern deutscher Sprache willkommen. Ich freue mich, die vielen jungen Menschen zu begrüßen, besonders die Firmlinge und Ministranten. Christus lebt! Mit seiner Auferstehung hat der Herr die Sünde und den Tod überwunden. Der Auferstandene erneuere unser Leben und mache uns fähig, die Kraft der Liebe und Vergebung unseren Nächsten zu schenken. Gesegnete Ostern!
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española venidos de España y Latinoamérica, en modo particular saludo a los alumnos del Seminario Menor de Tui-Vigo, en su 60 aniversario de fundación, acompañados por su Obispo, Mons. Luis Quinteiro Fiuza. Pidamos al Señor que nos dé la gracia de saber escribir una historia de bien en la vida de nuestros hermanos y de transmitirles con gestos de ternura la experiencia del perdón gratuito que Él nos ha dado. ¡Feliz Pascua de Resurrección! Que Dios los bendiga.
De coração saúdo todos os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, com menção particular dos fiéis de Ramalhão, Alvorminha, Vidais e Salvador da Bahia. A Virgem Maria, que permaneceu ao pé da cruz de Jesus, amando até ao fim, para depois ser inundada de alegria infinita com a ressurreição do seu Filho, nos ensina que o amor faz a Páscoa: quem ama passa da morte à vida. A todos vós e aos vossos entes queridos, desejo uma santa Páscoa!
أرحب بالحاضرين الناطقين باللغة العربية، وخاصة بالقادمين من مصر، ومن الشرق الأوسط. إن "أغفر لنا ... كما نغفر نحن" هو ذروة الصلاة الربية، كما يعلمنا القديس يوحنا ذهبي الفم، أن: "دينونتنا تعتمد علينا"، أي أننا سنحصل في المقابل على ما قدمناه نحن للآخرين. ليبارككم الرب جميعا ويحرسكم دائما من الشرير!
[I warmly welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from Egypt and the Middle East. "Forgive us ... as we forgive" is the culminating point of the Lord's Prayer, and, as Saint John Chrysostom teaches us, "the judgment of ourselves depends on us", that is we will have in return what we ourselves have offered to others . May the Lord bless you and always protect you from the evil one!]
* * *

I affectionately greet the Italian-speaking pilgrims.

In particular, I welcome the preadolescents of Milan, accompanied by their Archbishop, Monsignor Mario Delpini, and their priests and educators. Dear children, I encourage you to grow in faith and charity, committing yourselves to bear good fruit. May the Gospel be your rule of life, as it was for your saints: Ambrose and Charles, who with their love changed their world.

I address a special thought to the confirmed candidates of the Diocese of Treviso, gathered here with their Pastor, Monsignor Gianfranco Gardin; with the power of the Holy Spirit, be generous witnesses of Christ.

I greet the faithful of the oratories and parishes, especially those of Lecce, Cava dei Tirreni and Magione; the new Deacons of the Society of Jesus, with their families; the Religious and Religious; educational institutions and associations, in particular the Città della Speranza Foundation, of Monte di Malo.

A thought I address to the young, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds.

For all I invoke the joy and hope that come from the Easter of Christ. May you experience the living Jesus, to welcome the gift of his peace and become his witnesses in the world.
Source of Text and Image: - Unofficial Translation 

Archbishop of Paris Thanks Firefighters and Fr. Fournier for Saving Blessed Sacrament from Notre Dame Cathedral in Easter Homily - FULL TEXT

The Homily of the Easter Mass in Paris. After the fire of Notre-Dame, Mass was held in the church St Eustache which welcomed Archbishop Mgr Michel Aupetit. Thousands of faithful flocked to attend Mass.Saint Eustatius on Easter Sunday 21 April 2019.
FULL TEXT Homily of Msr Aupetit:

"We removed the Lord from his tomb and we do not know where it was deposited" is the breathless testimony of Mary Magdalene to the two apostles Peter and John. Where is the body of the Lord?

This is the question that arose Monday evening at the height of the fire of Notre-Dame de Paris: "Where is the body of the Lord"? It was necessary to save the cathedral, the treasure, made up of goldsmith's pieces accumulated over the centuries. It was also necessary to save, for the believers, this infinitely precious relic: the crown of thorns of Jesus brought back by King Saint-Louis.

But an agonizing question arose in my heart: "Where is the body of the Lord"? Was it possible to leave the Blessed Sacrament? The body of Jesus who was in the tabernacle?

It is for this body, veiled under the appearance of a crumb of bread that was built this cathedral. What is most valuable? The cathedral, the treasure or the crumb of bread?

The crumb of bread is the Body of God, the Body of Christ, his Risen Body, elusive unless he gives himself. And he gives himself: "My life no one takes it, it's me who gives it". And then what we celebrated on Holy Thursday: "Take, eat, this is my Body". This crumb of bread is the Life of God that communicates itself. This crumb of bread gives to those who receive it eternal life, it opens us the gates of Heaven, it makes us participate in the resurrection of Christ, this resurrection that we are celebrating today and which will call our own resurrection in the flesh. return from the Lord as we wait for the completion of time.

We want to save the cathedral. This splendid jewel was intended to be the magnificent manifestation of human genius that pays tribute to the love of a God who gives himself out of love and who, to give himself, became one of us.

Let us pay homage to the faith of the builders who have united human genius and divine grace.

Today we pay tribute to our dear firefighters who, too, have shown their know-how, their courage, and we thank them for having been able to preserve the essential, sometimes at the risk of their life. When the prayer of the whole people of God joined your courage and professionalism, everything was still possible. And that was possible. Thank you really on behalf of all.

But I would also like to thank the fire chaplain, Father Fournier who went to get the Body of Christ, the Blessed Sacrament, this crumb of bread that gives full meaning to the life of this splendid building. He also took risks to save a crumb of bread because it was the resurrected Body of our Lord that we are celebrating today, as we celebrate every Sunday, which has become the central day of our week because it is is the day of his resurrection.

The apostles rushed to the tomb of Christ, they did not find his body, they believed. We found the resurrected body of the Lord. We, too, believe.

Michel Aupetit,
Archbishop of Paris
Full Text Homily Source:

Annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast hears Strong Pro-Life Message from Bishop Olmsted in Washington, DC

The annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast took place at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Washington April 23, 2019. There were 1,400 people who attended. The breakfast was established in 2004, in answer to St. John Paul’s call for a new evangelization. George W. Bush addressed the gathering, from 2005 to 2008. Vice President Mike Pence addressed the breakfast in 2017.
This year's speakers were Sister Bethany Madonna, vocations director of the Sisters of Life, and Curtis Martin, the founder and CEO of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget, spoke about President Donald Trump's commitment to religious liberty.
The main guest speaker was the Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix. Olmsted is also a consultant to the pro-life committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"Faith in the crucified and risen Christ shields us from two cold and deadly sins: arrogant presumption and cynical despair," said Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix, the guest speaker. "Neither of which are appropriate in a Christian leader. The enemy of our souls does not care which we prefer."

"It is my pastoral duty to proclaim the Gospel of life and the protection in law of the most vulnerable among us. The love of Christ compels me."

Bishop Olmsted also recalled the words of St. John Paul II at a Mass on the National Mall in October 1979: "We will stand up and proclaim that no one ever has the authority to destroy unborn life."

Speaking of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, recently blocked by House Democrats, Bishop Olmsted asked, "Where does blatant disregard for a child's life come from? From hardened hearts. A child demands love, and love costs."

"Any rejection of bodiliness," he added, "will immediately target two beautiful but demanding and sometimes inconvenient realities: marriage and the human child." Marriage, he said, "stands now in the way of the gender ideology. We Christians will stand for the reality of marriage today in our homes and the public square, even when facing persecution today."

A rapidly lowering birth rate in the United States, he said, means that the warning about contraception in St. Paul VI's 1968 encyclical, "Humanae Vitae," has come true, and "the disaster invited by theologians, bishops, priests and laity who protested Paul VI's prophetic letter is upon us," with sexual pleasure separated from procreation. "Enough!"

"Christians are called not to complacency, but to greatness, to have hearts great enough to be filled with God," Bishop Olmsted concluded.
Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief said,
"The president has allowed us Christians, of all denominations, to be very vocal about their faith and to prioritize our faith," he said. "Over the past two-and-a-half years, I think you can see the principles of our faith being manifested." Trump has addressed the annual March for Life rally via a video hookup the past two years.

"I can assure you," Mulvaney added, that he has sat in the Oval Office many times when Trump has admonished foreign leaders and diplomats in saying, "You're not doing enough to take care of the Christians in your country," or has praised them with "thank you for taking care of the Christians in your country."

"I won't lie to you, that that's pretty powerful stuff. To be able to be there, to be part of that, has been very invigorating," said Mulvaney, a member of Opus Dei and a graduate of Georgetown University.

"I'm comfortable as a Catholic, even though I'm working for a president who is not Catholic, that the principles of our faith are alive and well and well respected in this administration and driving many of our policies," he added.

The 1,400 attendees gave a standing ovation to Ted and Julie Sandmann, parents of Nick Sandmann, the Covington (Kentucky) Catholic High School student who was thrown into the center of a national spotlight in January when videos of him and his classmates interacting with Native Americans and others near Washington's Lincoln Memorial went viral.

 Abby Johnson also received an ovation, she is the pro-life activist who runs And Then There Were None, a ministry to former abortion clinic workers, who was recently portrayed in the film drama "Unplanned," which proved to be successful at the box office.

"The critics, they thought we'd make 40 bucks, and we're sitting on $17 million right now," she said. The film, which cost $6 million to make, is her story as a former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic who eventually rejected abortion to join the pro-life movement.

"I'm waking up every day getting emails from people; who told me they walked into the film pro-choice and walked out pro-life. This is why we decided to do ‘Unplanned' -- for the conversion of hearts."
Edited from Catholic News Service

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - #Eucharist in the Octave of Easter

Wednesday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 263

Reading 1 ACTS 3:1-10

Peter and John were going up to the temple area
for the three o’clock hour of prayer.
And a man crippled from birth was carried
and placed at the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate” every day 
to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple.
When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple,
he asked for alms.
But Peter looked intently at him, as did John,
and said, “Look at us.”
He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.
Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold,
but what I do have I give you: 
in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.”
Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up,
and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong.
He leaped up, stood, and walked around,
and went into the temple with them,
walking and jumping and praising God.
When all the people saw him walking and praising God,
they recognized him as the one
who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple,
and they were filled with amazement and astonishment
at what had happened to him.

Responsorial PsalmPS 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9

R.(3b) Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
make known among the nations his deeds.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
R. Alleluia.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
R. Alleluia.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
R. Alleluia.
He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generationsB 
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac.
R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaPS 118:24

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 24:13-35

That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus’ disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them, 
“What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?”
And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”
They said to him, 
“The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning 
and did not find his Body;
they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
and enter into his glory?”
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the Eleven and those with them who were saying,
“The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”
Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.