Thursday, May 23, 2019

Pope Francis at Mass says "The Lord does not want cosmetic adjustments, he wants the conversion of the heart..." Homily Full Text



Vatican Basilica, Altar of the Chair
Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Word of God, in today's reading of the Acts of the Apostles, tells the first great meeting of the history of the Church. An unexpected situation had occurred: the pagans came to the faith. And a question arises: do they have to adapt, like the others, to all the norms of ancient law? It was a difficult decision to make and the Lord was no longer present. One might ask: why hadn't Jesus left a suggestion to resolve at least this first "great debate" (Acts 15: 7)? A small indication would have been enough for the Apostles, who for years had been with him every day. Why had Jesus not always given clear and quickly resolving rules?

Here is the temptation of efficiency, of thinking that the Church is all right if she has everything under control, if she lives without shocks, with the agenda always in order, all regulated ... It is also the temptation of casuistry. But the Lord does not proceed like this; in fact to his followers he does not send an answer, he sends the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit does not come bearing the agenda, it comes as fire. Jesus does not want the Church to be a perfect model, which welcomes its own organization and is capable of defending its good name. Poor those particular Churches that struggle so much in the organization, in the plans, trying to have everything clear, all distributed. It makes me suffer. Jesus did not live like this, but on the way, without fearing the shocks of life. The Gospel is our program of life, there is everything. He teaches us that questions are not dealt with with the ready recipe and that faith is not a roadmap, but a "Way" (Acts 9: 2) to travel together, always together, with a spirit of trust. From the account of the Acts we learn three essential elements for the Church on its way: the humility of listening, the charism of the whole, the courage of renunciation.

Let's start with the end: the courage of renunciation. The outcome of that great discussion was not to impose something new, but to leave something old. But those early Christians did not abandon anything from nothing: they were important religious traditions and precepts, dear to the chosen people. Religious identity was at stake. However, they chose that the announcement of the Lord comes first and is worth more than everything. For the sake of the mission, to announce to anyone, in a transparent and credible way, that God is love, even those beliefs and human traditions that are more of an obstacle than a help, can and must be left. The courage to leave. We too need to rediscover together the beauty of renunciation, above all to ourselves. Saint Peter says that the Lord "purified hearts with faith" (see Acts 15: 9). God purifies, God simplifies, often makes us grow by removing, not adding, as we would do. True faith purifies from attachments. To follow the Lord one must walk fast and to walk fast one must lighten, even if it costs. As a Church, we are not called to compromise business, but to evangelical outbursts. And in purifying ourselves, in reforming ourselves we must avoid Leopardianism, that is to pretend to change something so that in reality nothing changes. This happens for example when, to try to keep up with the times, the surface of things is put on a little, but it's just make-up to look young. The Lord does not want cosmetic adjustments, he wants the conversion of the heart, which passes through renunciation. Coming out of oneself is the fundamental reform.

Let's see how the first Christians got there. They came to the courage of renunciation starting from the humility of listening. They practiced selflessness: we see that each one lets the other speak and is willing to change their beliefs. He knows how to listen only to those who let the voice of the other really enter into him. And when interest in others grows, selflessness increases. You become humble by following the path of listening, which holds you back from wanting to affirm, from resolutely pursuing your own ideas, from seeking consensus with every means. Humility is born when, instead of speaking, we listen; when you stop being in the center. Then it grows through humiliations. It is the path of humble service, the one that Jesus traveled. It is on this path of charity that the Spirit descends and directs.
For those who want to follow the paths of charity, humility and listening mean that the ear is aimed at the little ones. Let us look again to the first Christians: all are silent to listen to Barnabas and Paul. They were the last to arrive, but they let them report all that God had done through them (see v. 12). It is always important to listen to everyone's voice, especially the little ones and the last ones. In the world those who have more means speak more, but among us it cannot be like this, because God loves to reveal himself through the small and the last. And everyone asks not to look at anyone from the top down. It is permissible to look at a person from the top down only to help her stand up; the only time, otherwise you can't.

And finally, listening to life: Paolo and Barnaba talk about experiences, not ideas. The Church makes such discernment; not in front of the computer, but in front of the reality of people. Ideas are discussed, but situations are discerned. People before the programs, with the humble look of one who knows how to seek in others the presence of God, who does not live in the greatness of what we do, but in the smallness of the poor we meet. If we don't look directly at them, we end up always looking at ourselves; and to make them instruments of our affirmation, we use others.

From the humility of listening to the courage of renunciation, everything passes through the charism of the whole. In fact, in the discussion of the first Church, unity always prevails over differences. For each of them, in the first place there are not one's own preferences and strategies, but being and feeling Church of Jesus, gathered around Peter, in charity that does not create uniformity, but communion. No one knew everything, no one had the totality of charisms, but each held to the charisma of the whole. It's essential, because you can't really do good without really caring for yourself. What was the secret of those Christians? They had different sensibilities and orientations, there were also strong personalities, but there was the strength to love each other in the Lord. We see him in James who, at the time of drawing conclusions, says a few words of his and cites a lot of the Word of God (see verses 16-18). Let the Word speak. While the voices of the devil and the world lead to division, the voice of the Good Shepherd forms one flock. And so the community is based on the Word of God and remains in his love.

"Remain in my love" (Jn 15: 9): it is what Jesus asks in the Gospel. How do you do? We must stay close to him, broken bread. It helps us to stand before the tabernacle and before the many living tabernacles that are the poor. The Eucharist and the poor, a fixed tabernacle and mobile tabernacles: there one remains in love and the mentality of broken bread is absorbed. There one understands the "how" of which Jesus speaks: "As the Father has loved me, I too have loved you" (ibid.). And how did the Father love Jesus? Giving it everything, not holding back anything for itself. We say this in the Creed: "God from God, light from light"; gave him everything. When instead we hold back from giving, when in the first place there are our interests to defend, we do not imitate God's how, we are not a free and liberating Church. Jesus asks to remain in Him, not in our ideas; to get out of the pretense of controlling and managing; asks us to trust others and to give ourselves to others. We ask the Lord to free us from efficiency, from worldliness, from the subtle temptation to worship ourselves and our skill, from obsessive organization. We ask for the grace to accept the way indicated by the Word of God: humility, communion, renunciation.

#BreakingNews Catholic Nun Beheaded in Africa - RIP Spanish Sister Ines Nieves Sancho,

A spanish speaking Nun was beheaded in the Central African Republic on Monday, May 20, 2019. Agenzia Fides reports: "I have no idea. In our area ritual killings do not take place", says His Exc. Mgr. Juan José Aguirre Muños, Bishop of Bangassou, to whom Agenzia Fides has asked for more details on the murder of Sister Ines Nieves Sancho, the 77-year-old Spanish nun of the local community of the Daughters of Jesus, murdered in the early hours of May 20, in the village of Nola, near Berberati, in the south-west of the Central African Republic, on the border with Cameroon.
"I am a thousand miles from Nola. I phoned the Bishop and the Provincial Superior and they did not tell me much more than what had already been published", said Mgr. Aguirre, to whom we asked if he believed in the news that the murderers took parts of the body to be used in propitiatory rites after beheading the nun. "They tell us that in the areas of the Central African Republic on the border with Cameroon, there are Cameroonians who practice ritual murders to extract organs to be used in propitiatory rites in order to bring luck in the search for diamonds, one of the riches of the area", said Mgr. Aguirre who states "here in Bangassou this does not happen".
Sister Ines Nieves Sancho, despite her age, continued to serve in Nola where she gave the girls sewing lessons. And in one of the rooms of the building she used to teach girls how to sew and learn a trade.
This morning, May 22, during the general audience in St. Peter's Square Pope Francis recalled the missionary killed: "Today I would like to remember Sister Ines, 77, educator of poor girls for decades, barbarously killed in Central Africa in her room where she taught how to sew, an extra woman who gives her life for Jesus at the service of the poor", underlined the Holy Father. (L.M.) (Source: Agenzia Fides, 22/5/2019) (Sister Ines is pictured second from the right in the pic)
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Pope Francis tells Ambassadors ".. the painful lesson of division and hatred also teaches us that peace is always possible."

Clementine Hall
Thursday, 23 2019

Your Excellencies,
I cordially welcome all of you for this presentation of the Letters accrediting you as Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of your countries to the Holy See: Thailand, Norway, New Zealand, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Luxembourg, Mozambique and Ethiopia. I would ask you to convey to the Heads of State of your respective countries my sentiments of esteem, and to assure them of my prayers for them and for the people that they serve.
Taking this opportunity, at the start of your new mission, to acknowledge the variety of positive contributions your nations make to the world’s common good, allow me to make reference to the high responsibility we bear together to protect the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters. The pressing need to be attentive to the poorest of our fellow citizens is a solemn duty, which is eloquently expressed when, respectful of legitimate diversity, we are united in promoting their integral human development. This unity, furthermore, has a concrete name: fraternity!
As we face increasingly complex global challenges, it is right to underline the importance of fraternity, for striving together to ensure just and peaceful coexistence is not merely a socio-political strategy but is an example of that solidarity which runs deeper than a mutual desire to achieve a shared goal. Such fraternity, moreover, can be seen in a universal desire for friendship between individuals, communities and nations, though it can never be taken for granted. Among the greatest threats to harmonious living together are violence and armed conflict. Yet the painful lesson of division and hatred also teaches us that peace is always possible. Conflict resolution and reconciliation are positive signs of the unity that is stronger than division and of the fraternity that is more powerful than hatred.
It is deeply encouraging to witness the ongoing efforts of the international community to overcome situations of armed conflict and to forge pathways of peace, and to see how fraternal dialogue is indispensable in achieving this most precious of goals. Indeed “dialogue, understanding and the widespread promotion of a culture of tolerance, acceptance of others and of living together peacefully would contribute significantly to reducing many economic, social, political and environmental problems that weigh so heavily on a large part of humanity” (cf. Document on Human Fraternity, Abu Dhabi, 4 February 2019).

Dear Ambassadors, as you commence your new responsibilities in serving your nations, I assure you of the cooperation and support of the various offices of the Holy See. Please be certain of my prayerful best wishes for your important work, and upon you, your families and all your fellow citizens, I gladly invoke God’s abundant blessings.

FULL TEXT + Image Share from - official Translation

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday, May 23, 2019 - #Eucharist in Eastertide

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 288

Reading 1ACTS 15:7-21

After much debate had taken place,
Peter got up and said to the Apostles and the presbyters,
"My brothers, you are well aware that from early days
God made his choice among you that through my mouth
the Gentiles would hear the word of the Gospel and believe.
And God, who knows the heart,
bore witness by granting them the Holy Spirit
just as he did us.
He made no distinction between us and them,
for by faith he purified their hearts.
Why, then, are you now putting God to the test
by placing on the shoulders of the disciples
a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear?
On the contrary, we believe that we are saved
through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they."
The whole assembly fell silent,
and they listened
while Paul and Barnabas described the signs and wonders
God had worked among the Gentiles through them.

After they had fallen silent, James responded,
"My brothers, listen to me.
Symeon has described how God first concerned himself
with acquiring from among the Gentiles a people for his name.
The words of the prophets agree with this, as is written:

After this I shall return
and rebuild the fallen hut of David;
from its ruins I shall rebuild it
and raise it up again,
so that the rest of humanity may seek out the Lord,
even all the Gentiles on whom my name is invoked.
Thus says the Lord who accomplishes these things,
known from of old.

It is my judgment, therefore,
that we ought to stop troubling the Gentiles who turn to God,
but tell them by letter to avoid pollution from idols,
unlawful marriage, the meat of strangled animals, and blood.
For Moses, for generations now,
has had those who proclaim him in every town,
as he has been read in the synagogues every sabbath."

Responsorial PsalmPS 96:1-2A, 2B-3, 10

R.(3) Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
R. Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
R. Alleluia.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
R. Alleluia.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 15:9-11

Jesus said to his disciples:
"As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father's commandments
and remain in his love.

"I have told you this so that
my joy might be in you and
your joy might be complete."

Saint May 23 : St.John Baptiste de Rossi : Missionary and Catechist : Died in 1764

St.John Baptiste de Rossi
Feast: May 23
Feast Day:
May 23
February 22, 1698, Voltaggio, Province of Alessandria, Piedmont, Duchy of Savoy
May 23, 1764, Rome, Papal States

December 8, 1881, Rome by Pope Leo XIII
Major Shrine:
Church of San Giovanni Battista de Rossi, Rome
Born at Voltaggio in the Diocese of Genoa, 22 February, 1698; died at Rome, 23 May, 1764; feast on 23 May. His parents, Charles de Rossi and Frances Anfossi, were not rich in earthly goods, but had solid piety and the esteem of their fellow-citizens. Of their four children, John excelled in gentleness and piety. At the age of ten he was taken to Genoa by friends for his education. There he received news of the death of his father. After three years he was called to Rome by a relative, Lorenzo de Rossi, who was canon at St. Mary in Cosmedin. He pursued his studies at the Collegium Romanum under the direction of the Jesuits, and soon became a model by his talents, application to study, and virtue. As a member of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin and of the Ristretto of the Twelve Apostles established at the college, he led the members in the meetings and pious exercises, in visits to the sick in the hospitals and in other works of mercy, and merited even then the name of apostle. At the age of sixteen he entered the clerical state. Owing to indiscreet practices of mortification he contracted spells of epilepsy, notwithstanding which he made his course of scholastic philosophy and theology, in the college of the Dominicans, and, with dispensation, was ordained priest on 8 March, 1721. Having reached the desired goal, he bound himself by vow to accept no ecclesiastical benefice unless commanded by obedience. He fulfilled the duties of the sacred ministry by devoting himself to the labourers, herds, and teamsters of the Campagna, preaching to them early in the morning, or late in the evening, at the old Forum Romanum (Campo Vaccino), and by visiting, instructing, and assisting the poor at the hospital of St. Galla. In 1731 he established near St. Galla another hospital as a home of refuge for the unfortunates who wander the city by  night ("Rom. Brev.", tr. Bute, Summer, 573). In 1735 he became titular canon at St. Mary in Cosmedin, and, on the death of Lorenzo two years later, obedience forced him to accept the canonry. The house belonging to it, however, he would not use, but employed the rent for good purposes.

For a number of years John was afraid, on account of his sickness, to enter the confessional, and it was his custom to send to other priests the sinners whom he had brought to repentance by his instructions and sermons. In 1738 a dangerous sickness befell him, and to regain his health he went to Cività Castellana, a day's journey from Rome. The bishop of the place induced him to hear confessions, and after reviewing his moral theology he received the unusual faculty of hearing confessions in any of the churches of Rome. He showed extraordinary zeal in the exercise of this privilege, and spent many hours every day in hearing the confessions of the illiterate and the poor whom he sought in the hospitals and in their homes. He preached to such five and six times a day in churches, chapels, convents, hospitals, barracks, and prison cells, so that he became the apostle of the abandoned, a second Philip Neri, a hunter of souls. In 1763, worn out by such labours and continued ill-health, his strength began to ebb away, and after several attacks of paralysis he died at his quarters in Trinità de' Pellegrini. He was buried in that church under a marble slab at the altar of the Blessed Virgin. God honoured his servant by miracles, and only seventeen years after his death the process of beatification was begun, but the troubled state of Europe during the succeeding years prevented progress in the cause until it was resumed by Pius IX, who on 13 May, 1860, solemnly pronounced his beatification. As new signs still distinguished him, Leo XIII, on 8 December, 1881, enrolled him among the saints.

(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)